Friday, August 26, 2011

Building Waves

Painting something as complex as ocean waves takes very close observation of color, value, and edges. It also takes patience. I think that 50% of a painting is just looking at your subject and looking at it deeply. That's the cool thing about artists...they look at the world visually deeply. I may have screwed up my english here by writing "visually deeply", but I think my 11 inch by 13 inch watercolor on 140lb. cold press Arches watercolor paper came out OK.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I stole this collection from Lars who stole it from all of us!

Lars is a German artist who I admire (see my blog roll on the right), He just posted these self portraits from us artists out there in the blogosphere. Pretty cool!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Swimmers On The American

My hometown of Sacramento is bounded by two major rivers: the American and Sacramento Rivers. The American River comes down from the Sierra Nevada mountains east of Sacramento. It flows through massive granite rocks as it gets closer to the city. These are perfect diving platforms for young swimmers during our hot mediterranean summers. I painted the backgrounf wet-on-wet for a soft focus to give the illusion of distance. The granite formation was painted wet-on-dry for a crisp foreground look. I used a toothbrush to give the granite its textural character. The water is a combination of wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry with horizontal reflections pulled off with a bone dry, flat brush. I've posted this painting a few years back, but came across it again in my computer photo file and thought I'd post it again. That's kosher, ain't it?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The ugly swan transformed

I very rarely use masking fluid but sometimes I do, and here is an example that I painted two days ago. It was painted on 140 lb. cold press Kilimanjaro watercolor paper a little larger than a quarter sheet. This will be the project for my watercolor class next week at The School of Light and Color in Fair Oaks, California. If a project like this looks interesting, and you'd like me to travel to your neck of the woods to put on a two or three day workshop on how to "control the flood", let me know. We'll figure out how to make it happen!

Monday, August 15, 2011


This is my third octopus watercolor! The first two were deep sixed!! With this final one, I first laid down, wet-on-wet, warm colors in a soupy tea-like consistency (lots of water,,,let it flow!). After that dried, I painted in a similar palette of colors but more saturated and brighter. As I was doing this, I had to work in my darker values to bring out the form of Mr. (or Ms.) Octopus. The last operation was to heavy up my preliminary pencil drawing to sharpen him (or her) up a little more. What a challenge this was with the equally challenging medium of watercolor. One might call it a "octopus-challenge-squared- watercolor-painting". This third painting will not be deep sixed.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Study of a painter on the beach

Found this in my archives of watercolor people paintings. It was painted on 140lb cold press, about 10 inches by 16 inches. Looks like he's painting Monterrey Bay. Sure wish I was there painting Monterrey Bay!!!!! Note how I use lots of color hue variation and value changes. Lots of juicy washes too...some thin and some more honey-like in consistency.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Here is a "Mindscape" that I painted yesterday at The School of Light and Color in Fair Oaks, California where I teach a Tuesday watercolor class. Please click here to read all about this watercolor exercise. By the way, one of my followers, Meera, came up with the title "mindscape". Thank you, Meera!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Some recent acrylic portraits

I've posted these before, but I thought it would be fun to see them as a collection. They are all painted in acrylic. Do they look like oil paintings?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Line and Wash Sketches

A few months ago, I wrote a little instructional booklet titled "On-The-Go Ink and Wash Sketching" It's all about how to use a combination of pencil, Sharpie pen, Tombow pen, and the fabulous Niji Waterbrush to do really exciting sketches with a minimum of fuss. You can review my book by clicking on the cover in the top, right side bar. This first sketch was a live demonstration I did for my students at the Crocker Art Museum here in Sacramento. It is a sunset scene of part of the east porch of the old Crocker house. The second sketch is of two of my students in my class that I teach at Sacramento City College. This ink and wash process is so stealthy, that they didn't even notice! Both sketches took about 15 minutes. The final image, I did a few years ago with a pencil, Sharpie pen, and a spectrum of watercolor washes. Next month, I will be teaching an "On-The-Go Ink and Wash Sketching" workshop at The School of Light and Color in Fair Oaks, California.