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Snowy Themes – II

Snowy owls (Bubo scandiacus), which live primarily in the Arctic areas of the globe, are among the world’s largest owls. They are sometimes seen more southerly in open areas like beaches, fields, and even airports in winter, and even farther south of their Arctic range than here in Connecticut. When they are spotted in unexpected…

Snowy Themes- I

In this new year, I finally have a bit more opportunity to add blog posts again… I’ll start with some snowy themes, since it’s winter here. This is one of a snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus), a creature whose fur changes color with the seasons to optimize camouflage. Very white to blend with snowy surroundings, by…

Garden Greens

This a painting of an Edwardian house and estate located near Dorking, Surrey, UK, with formal gardens that include a walled rose garden, cottage, kitchen, and lavender gardens, herbaceous borders, a cut flower garden, and an orchard. To a careful sketch of just mostly the building’s silhouette, I paint in the palest colors as large,…

Exhibitions

I apologize for the lapse between posts here, but I promise I’ll make some new posts soon. In the meantime, Connecticut Watercolor Society (connecticutwatercolorsociety.com) is finally having an exhibition again, its first in two years! My painting On Sticks & Stilts (22×30″ not including mat and frame) can be viewed at Marlborough Arts Center (Marlborougharts.org),…

How to Paint an Owl

This portrait of a northern saw-whet owl (Aegolius acadicus), one of North America’s smallest – and, in my opinion, one of our cutest – owls, begins with mostly dry-on-wet and some wet-on-dry streaks of color across its body. To accomplish these two very different applications quickly, first simply wet random parts of the paper in…

Varying Green

With all the greens in this subject and background, the best way to create impact is to pair them with contrasting value, like white and “black.” Ultimately, green will be an intense midvalue that varies from light to dark and from yellow to blue, as it almost always should. Above is the very first stage…

It’s Here!

This book, which describes my watercolor planning and painting techniques, is finally here and at a bookstore near you! It is also available directly from Schiffer Publishing or, if outside the US, from an online distributor based in the UK, which ships books internationally for free. All images © Bivenne Staiger, 2022

A Negative Space Exercise

Understanding the concept of “negative space,” or, more simply perhaps, (darker) “background space,” is critical to successful watercolor painting. White shapes are derived from the paper itself and are left untouched by paint. To notice or identify a white shape, though, one must paint a darker shade around it, which can range from very pale…

Things in Water

The goal in depicting this underwater motif was to suggest background elements without actually painting them directly. However, the subject must stand out against its background. This is possible because I’ve chosen a blue-purple background in a midvalue to contrast the richly-colored orange fish with dark markings. Into wet paper, blue and purple in a…

A Spring Thing

Though perhaps not quite so obvious here, yellow harmonizes this subject with the background. The former is a warm, dirty “yellow” with red and brown mixed in, while the background is brighter and cooler, with green and blue. There are no defined edges yet, and value is very pale. With dry and script brushes that…

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