Black Fur and Fabric

Though possibly difficult to see here, this contour drawing also has, for a bit of whimsy, little X’s applied with frisket in the background. The sketch roughly delineates highlighted areas within this black subject, such as the side of the nose and under the chin. Whiskers will eventually be barely suggested. I usually use blueContinue reading “Black Fur and Fabric”

Peony Series

As promised, here’s another in my series of 22×30″ peony paintings; I started this about a week ago. Peonies are among my favorite flowers to paint. Their spectacular colors, curved petals and showy anthers in the garden also truly enhance any painting that features them. As usual, I begin with bright washes of color onContinue reading “Peony Series”

Working with White

In watercolor, only the shadows and dark shapes of white objects are painted. A lit shape is simply left as unpainted paper. So light and shadow are key in developing a shape’s form. I usually begin with the palest blush of shadow and bleed it out into, and integrate it with, the palest background wash,Continue reading “Working with White”

A Seascape

I divert from peonies to paint this simple seascape of a coast in Kittery, Maine. Although not obvious, sky and its soft glow dominate two thirds of the composition; color extends to the water at left. (In a landscape, seascape or cityscape, make sky 1/3 or 2/3 the composition space; this follows the composition RuleContinue reading “A Seascape”

Shapes, Lines & Color

Here’s a graded wash for a clear blue sky, painted by quickly adding blue in a cream consistency to dry paper at top and letting it bleed into wet paper at the bottom of its shape; sky takes up about two thirds of this composition. The bottom third is dominated by long horizontal lines ofContinue reading “Shapes, Lines & Color”

Painting Peonies

Peonies, especially tree peonies, are exquisite flowers in the garden, in a vase, and as painting subjects. Their large cup-shaped petals surrounding long anthers and filaments create interesting three-dimensional forms that, with color, value, and line elements, frequently inspire new paintings. It’s no wonder many artists have depicted these flowers for ages. Above is simplyContinue reading “Painting Peonies”

Watercolor on Scraperboard

Scraperboard, or “scratchboard,” is probably an unexpected substrate for watercolor, but I find it a fun combination. I’ve been creating pieces in this medium since my elementary school days. Whereas in watercolor one works from light to dark, in scraperboard it is the opposite: the black layer is scraped away with various tools, from sharp-edgedContinue reading “Watercolor on Scraperboard”


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