Marymere Falls, WA

Hi, Guys!

Just finished this one this afternoon. I don’t think I’ve ver painted a watercolor this small; it’s only 5×7 inches big. It’s painted on hot-press art board, which was very different from painting on stretched water color paper. The bottom image is the finished painting. The first three show a bit of the process. I made sure I painted to fit the frame size, so this one is framed already with a fifty-cent frame I found at a local swap meet. Enjoy!





Wishing Well at Granny’s Cafe

Hi, Guys. There’s a really cool, neat little place right on Highway 101, heading toward Forks called Granny’s Cafe. The tiny restaurant is on about 3 to 5 acres. The food is really good and the service is great and friendly. Out back there is all kinds of wonderful funky stuff to see. There’s a donkey with white bangs over his eyes, and fat goat that comes right up to the fence to say hello. Also there is a well, which is the subject of my latest water color.

Well at Granny's Cafe

Below is a gallery showing the entire painting from start to finish. I must say, I’m a bit rusty, but I’ll be onto the next painting very soon. Anyway, if you are out west of Port Angeles, stop in at Granny’s Cafe. You won’t be disappointed.


Grand Experiment

Okay, guys – the painting experiment is under way. Here’s how it looks after two hours work. As you may recall from an earlier post, I decided to eliminate the use of a pencil as a mapping tool and instead printed a very light wash of the picture directly onto the Arches 70 lb. paper. One reader suggested this was akin to “paint by numbers” which some of us may remember from childhood. I certainly did not want the painting to look like that, but I personally don’t like pencil lines on my water colors.

Watercolor of my grandchild.

It was interesting to discover that the printed underlay of color has a very short useful lifespan. Again, I was not going to paint every nuance of color and shape which the printer deposited, but instead went for my traditional wash of color, trying to capture the general color of a particular area of the background. It did not take long before the underlay was covered, some of it to such a degree that I could not see it. I was left to my own traditional devices. The building up of color and shape slowly is key if one is going to use this technique, I think that’s true of water color in general.

Anyway, I am working on the background first trying to get it as complete as necessary. I will spend another few hours on the background then finish the figure in the foreground last. I am finding that it is useful to have the background color, because I can see where to place darker strokes of color even though I am not adhering strictly to the printed patterns, as well as seeing what area should not be touched at all. The color scheme my palette is:

  • Cadmium Yellow Light
  • Indian Yellow
  • Hooker’s Green Light
  • Hooker’s Green Deep
  • Phthalo Blue
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Quinacridone Violet
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Payne’s Gray

I’ll post again after a few more hours of work, and lastly when I am finished. As always your opinions and critiques are needed and much appreciated. Thanks.

New Painting Technique

Hello, Everyone. I am about to start a new painting. It will be a portrait of my grand-daughter taken one summer while we were camping near Mt. Rainer in Washington State. When planning a painting, unless it’s not important, you must decide ahead of time what colors will go where on the paper and what shapes the areas of color will take. Once the paper is stained, particularly with a color of dark hue, it’s almost impossible to remove it.

Traditionally water color artist will use a pencil to create a lose sketch directly onto the surface of the paper. These pencil lines are often absorbed or hidden by the finished painting, but not always so. I have used the technique before, but it always bothered me a bit to have pencil lines showing in the finished painting. Most accept it as the natural process of painting in the medium, and for the most part so do I. It just bugs me thus I tried to keep the underlying drawing hidden if possible. I’m just weird like that.

However, this time I am trying something new. I ran a sheet of actually water color paper through a large printer which deposited a very light scrim of ink onto the paper, making the print nearly invisible. This will take the place of the pencil sketch. You can see the effect in the photograph below.


Over this I will apply the actual watercolor paint. 100% of the paper will be touched by my brush. The finished painting will looking something like below.


If you are a watercolor painter I would very much appreciate your opinion of this technique. Am I cheating? Is it still a painting or something else? Is this a viable technique to use? Have you tried something like this yourself? How did it work? Please weigh in. In the mean time I will start on the painting and post a photograph of the finished piece for your consideration. Thanks.

Glacier’s Edge


Hi, Guys!

Above is a quick study I did using old fashioned tempera paint, the same stuff we use to finger-paint with when we were in school. Subject matter is the melted edge of a glacier that has slid down from a distant mountain top. The ice blocks are about four stories tall.

Tempera paint is like watercolor in that water is used as a thinner. However, it is more opaque, more like gouache. My colleague told me gouache is heavier with thicker pigment and more creamy that tempera. I have never painted with gouache, so I might try a session with that. Sounds as if gouache might be a great transition over to oils. I’ll see.