Mixing colors, thinking of skin for our portrait/figures class today.

burnt sienna + ultramarine (left)

lemon yellow+cad red+ ultramarine (top right)

cad yellow+rose+cerulean blue (bottom right)

composition idea


A watercolor study combining my own photo references after studying Sorolla. Part of a class I am teaching, that hinges on an ocean theme: we are examining other paintings and gathering ideas from that process to influence how we create compositions and paintings from our own photo references. I am enjoying the process.  Looking at Sorolla influenced how I saw and chose my references and expanded my sense of possibility.

Now its time to go sledding!!!

Ocean sketch notes

Homework for my ocean painting class is to make 2 sketches, any media.  They can be 60 second thumbnails or more comprehensive sketches from life or any reference. I encourage students to study paintings they like.

2 ” thumbnail sketch, pencil on paper
6″ composition and color study (2 h pencil)
seashore watercolor
I worked into the above sketch with more color and pencil (a darker pencil this time)

bouquet revisited

autumn bouquet watercolor

A bouquet from the garden in autumn (Marigold, Sage, Sedum, Butterfly bush, Russian Sage, Basil, Echinacea, a few leaves from a Blueberry bush) in a tea mug.  I began (on a canvas made for watercolor) but set it aside because it wasn’t coming to much, felt dull.  Came back to it last night to look for more and deeper color. 9″x12″.

Cityscape Providence, RI


This morning I scoped out our cityscape location for friday’s class.  There was an exercise class meeting in the same space/time.  I was delighted by how helpful the instructor’s advice was to my own endeavor:

“Practice makes progress. You’re stronger than you think. Keep breathing. Geronimo.” Indeed.

The painting is available on etsy.


My process for this sketch

  • Loose sketch in pencil to give myself a chance to feel through some of the shapes
  • Began the painting with paint
  • Focal point was the clump of yellow trees
  • Made marks for the lightest bits: yellow and orange
  • Tried to keep things very small indeed!
  • This panel was not designed for watercolor, dried slowly, beaded up.
  • Moved around the composition to let the paint dry
  • Used white to mix neutrals
  • Deepened the darks
  • Added the burgundy pen, tried to keep a very light hand


remembered colors from the garden and all over

autumn color imagined

This is a sketch made indoors, after dark, as I tried to re-imagine the color relationships that I have been seeing and thinking about trying to paint the past week.  I started with the glowing, yellow balloon flower.  Even in the dark, I noticed when I went to take out the trash, it glows yellow and the oak tree orange/red/purple,  I remembered the sage (regular sage) as a cooler blue green.  and a bit of scarlet blueberry bush.