Fur and Grass Textures

I first add a warm color to both subject and background, wet-on-wet, to begin to unify the two spaces. Next, with a fairly dry brush used in a sweeping motion, I quickly apply strokes suggesting fur to dry paper, barely touching the surface with the brush. Note that fur direction and length are dictated byContinue reading “Fur and Grass Textures”

Red, White and Blue

On this Independence Day I decided to use our patriotic colors in a motif that would unite them in a cheerful way, with bright green as an accent. On toned vellum paper, I roughly and lightly blocked in major shapes with colored pencil, working from right to left because I’m left-handed. (I have not usedContinue reading “Red, White and Blue”

Peony Season Again

Peonies are a favorite painting subject to me. Their petals offer interesting shapes whose lines circle around a dramatic center, while their white or bright colors contrast dark foliage. So I start by dropping bright primary colors loosely onto partially wet paper, taking care to avoid certain hard edges of lit white petals. Shadowed whiteContinue reading “Peony Season Again”

Green on Green

Differentiating or even creating natural greens can be challenging. The key to success is to vary value and color temperature as you mix yellow and blue. Here’s a motif that’s entirely green: First a base wash of bright yellow-green color is laid down, wet-on-wet; some areas are intentionally left paler than others. Next, the palestContinue reading “Green on Green”

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”


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