Daring Watercolor #11



Out and early to the river I go! I love walking this trail and especially when the light is just coming around the canyon. I had to include several more pictures of my hike to where I was going to paint because it was so beautiful, enjoy these photos…….

Alright then, back to watercolor.

My first scene was quite the challenge because it was so beautiful and yet I got lost within the green/yellow of the drying out moss. I decided not to include it because I wanted to focus on the three other watercolors that were more successful.

#1 on top and #2 on bottom 4.5 x 6.5 inches each

And then, my final painting….

My final painting 7 x 10 inches 

I really enjoyed painting the last one but my problem was that the water working its’ way around the rocks didn’t show up to be water as I had hoped. Just to give you a little information, my scene was on the embankment of the river where the water flowed around the rocks and the water from the creek combined and then on down to the river.

The water in actuality was the dark green color that you see here, but my rocks are very similar in color as well. I think in the future I need to be careful to have two separate (or color palette) choices to make sure I delineate the elements….to give the viewer a better reading as to what they are looking at.

The rocks on the North Yuba are very unique in that you will have black, burnt sienna, ochre, blue and even green in the rocks. But…..even so, I need to have a clarity in my painting.

  • When I was painting my first scene (not shown) I was starting to freak out and I could feel my confidence start to mount a wild mustang and take off! I calmed myself down and told myself….just do it!
  • Don’t think so much about how I am going to do it because once my brain starts wondering “how”, my confidence level goes down.
  • Trust that I’ll find my way, it takes a while for the brain and hand to marry up and get into a rhythm.
  • Trust the process, my life is not on the line if I get it right or not.
  • For goodness sakes, relax! Being tense will show up in the painting and it affects my confidence and doubt sets in.
  • Doubt kills!
  • Remind myself values! learn your values! If I am to think about anything at all, think values!

Now for  fun to lighten up the load of all these things to learn….on my way home I had to stop and take a photo of this garbage can that has “NO BEAR” written on it. I am wondering if the lady (I know her) had hoped that by writing this on her garbage can, bears would leave it alone? I always wanted to ask but felt awkward about it. Maybe the local bears are smart and they can read? Any ideas? Have a wonderful weekend.


31 thoughts on “Daring Watercolor #11

  1. I love your list of things to remember. Good tips.
    Your landscape is breathtaking and your watercolour studies captured it so well I thought. I wonder what you would turn out if you painted back at home a longer painting, either in watercolour or pastel, using your plein air studies for reference? For me, sometimes the “proper” painting works well, other times it loses something in translation!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll have to give that a try…I wasn’t happy with my reference photos on the watercolors that worked….good idea on future paintings though. I really like that, I have been so busy with these that I haven’t given it much thought for going deeper with them. Perhaps once the challenge is over.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The thing I find interesting is when I work up a studio painting from a plein air study, even after a few weeks, it’s all still there, in my brain, the light, the atmosphere. Getting it on canvas another matter of course, but I’m impressed my sieve like brain held on to all that – so would be interested if you experienced same. No rush though Margaret – you sound so busy!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. hehe…..maybe that will be my challenge for June. I like challenging myself like this because I need it for “traction”. I am not as busy as I used to be when I had children at home. So, now it is all my time. My husband is so easy peasy that I am spoiled. I’ll have to think on this, I was mentioning to Laura that I am thinking of continuing on with a challenge into June and now you are giving me ideas! 🙂


  2. I love the tips you share Margaret! They are so insightful and helpful. I love looking at your paintings and progress too! Looking forward to getting home and painting again soon. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I get so excited… I love seeing where you went, what you saw! If, I ever get back to the US I will surely pay you a visit, so we can go to that river!! bliss……. anyway
    loved the freshness of the paintings, and the shadows you conveyed on the rocks as well as in the background… was exceptionally well done Margaret!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Debi! I had my little near fits of “oh no” but I didn’t ride that wild pony! lol I stayed cool and calm. I really appreciate hearing your input. 🙂 oh I would love you to see and experience where I went today, if you ever step on this side of the ocean….or is it oceans? lol

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  4. It is beautiful out there. It’s great that you had a chance to do some painting while enjoying the day outdoors. I love the “No Bear” can. It is inspiring. I can see an installation of neighbourhood recycle bins forbidden various animals from opening them. xo

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  5. A few years ago I took a trip with my mother through Northern California and ending in Seattle Washington. You live in such a beautiful part of the country. I can understand why you are painting outside regularly! Your watercolors above are very beautiful and make me want to take another trip out there. Thank you for sharing your wonderful insight.

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  6. Your lists of tips to yourself are always very interesting, and quite often they match up with lessons I’m learning about watercolor. I so enjoyed seeing these rocks! Thank you for painting them and sharing them with me. And the “No Bear” photo…that’s priceless!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I really love the last painting, Margaret! I love the way you’ve used light dancing through the water and shining on the rocks. And the depth of the shadows in the background contrasting against the light places. Love the color range you’ve incorporated as well. I’m also loving your list of things to tell yourself and how to think because I think painting in WC is as much a test of the mind/confidence/approach as it is a test of the artist skills. Enjoying painting with you this month, woman!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. bears that read, who knew?

    Love your scenery, so gorgeous and it’s fun to see (I’m a city slicker — nothing quite as lovely as that around here) — thought the top watercolor has an especially strong design — design is one of those things that really gets room to happen when you turn the critic off and just paint — the light in the last one is very dramatic and bold — these are my favorites.

    so fun reading about your adventure and hearing the advice that you learn each time — you give us lots to think about

    Liked by 1 person

  9. sjqzoom

    These paths in the forest are lovely and I love your watercolours – your rocks are great. And I like water. Water is hard I find and takes practice. I think your note to self to be bold yet slow down will pay off in the end. How do you paint with these bears hanging around? They are big things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I love water and do it justice with soft pastel but it is a challenge with watercolor. I don’t fret about the bears, I have startled a few but it is the mama bears that I am very leery of. I have observed them from a distance but no closer. It is the mountain lion that I have to keep an eye out for. But when I am out there, I don’t focus on that, I paint and forget all about the “dangers”. 🙂


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