Water in Watercolor

Painting water and reflections in any medium often requires an understanding of the principles and properties of refraction, color theory, perspective, how objects sit in and on water and the shapes they thus create, and so much more. Painting them in watercolor requires layering washes. Here’s an example of painting simply water with no reflections.Continue reading “Water in Watercolor”

Using Artistic License

Though this Tolland, CT pond view is lovely on its own at midday, I decided to alter color and value elements in my painting to convey a different mood via a sunrise. First yellow, then a cool pink, and lots of cool blue are painted dry-on-wet to suggest sky and reflections in the pond. AContinue reading “Using Artistic License”

Going Green

Though I begin this garden scene featuring paper birches and forget-me-nots with a spatter of blue and some pink, green will dominate the motif. The first layer of green is very bright and cheery, achieved with a mix of lots of lemon yellow and minor amounts of what I call “fake green,” which is aContinue reading “Going Green”

Simplicity Creates Impact

This motif of a male northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) on snow-laden branches has simple shapes, and begins with a pale wash of blue roughly suggesting shadows and depth between the snowy layers. This is built up with a few more layers of the same value: Hints of the cottonwood branches and buds under the snowContinue reading “Simplicity Creates Impact”

Paint Often

Since this motif represents most mothers everywhere, I found time to paint it today, on Mother’s Day. The background color is applied very quickly with a very large brush as soon as the yellow local color of the goslings is done. Paint overlaps the adult birds’ dark necks. Local color brown is now added toContinue reading “Paint Often”

Value Suggests Space

Photographed already at almost the midstage of this motif, I began with the sky, painting blue quickly onto dry paper and letting it bleed into wet cloud shapes. Then, the distant mountain at right was also painted below the edge of wet paper to suggest clouds over its top. Next, a round brush was usedContinue reading “Value Suggests Space”

White! Light! Bright!

If you’re uncertain how to plan, paint, and distinguish virtually any representational subject in its setting or wish to simply improve your watercolor painting skills beyond studies or vignettes to distinctive finished paintings, this richly illustrated book is for you! Three major value stages simplify easy-to-follow techniques for painting wildlife, floral, and other natural motifsContinue reading “White! Light! Bright!”

Size Creates Impact

The black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) is a very tiny, curious, cute, and decisive bird with a big personality. Enlarging a subject is one way to create greater impact. Since this chickadee’s face is very dark but its cheeks white with light coming from the right, a pale wash covers its face while dark value isContinue reading “Size Creates Impact”

Shape, Color, Line & Value

Frisket protects the lit portions of branches surrounding this motif of an American robin (Turdus migratorius). This is a beloved bird in North America because it seems perfectly comfortable around humans as it nests and raises its young around our homes. It is named after the European robin for their similar coloring, but the twoContinue reading “Shape, Color, Line & Value”


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