Daring Watercolor #18

I figured that I am trying to rest my eyes, I would skip painting on my detailed watercolor painting of the middle Yuba.

Something easy….hmmmm so it hit me! I enjoyed painting “color notes” on a past post  Daring Watercolor #16. It was by accident and by trial because I figured why not use that moppish looking brush that I have had for several years? When I first used it I didn’t like all the water it holds, hmm…. perhaps this is why it is called a “mop”? Hello!

I had a squirrel hair mop frolicking good time! Wow, what a mouthful! I feel exclamatory today, sorry if it offends.

This are my first few color notes:

Top painting is a lily among in a pond and the second is a turtle in weeds  4 x5 inches each


Then I decided to paint larger and decided to use this reference photo for another color note:

I love this view!
My painting and my  squirrel hair mop accomplice 7 x 9 inches


Oh I loved painting this one! Oh, don’t even get me started. I had to really rein in that internal fiddler that I have deep down. I have officially put that “fiddler” away and she is not allowed to come out to mess up my paintings no more (big talk!). I did a two tone color note. Hey, I am making up these terms as I go along. I did a “double decker” color note. Maybe that term fits better.

After the initial first note dried thoroughly I laid down my second note for the trees and what ever it takes to bring more to the scene but no more! Use the whites and negative space for part of the painting. Be creative.

I decided to start another one because I had so much fun on the first one:

reference for my 2nd 7 x 9 painting
2nd painting 7 x 9 inches



What I have learned:


  • Don’t take more than one brush stroke or two at the maximum. More than two turns into a fiddling session.
  • Embrace yellow, it is so fun to see that bossy color push the other colors away. Learn to use that frivolous and often flamboyant little rascal. Now if you wondering what I mean, give it a try after your colors are down and you need a spot of yellow (colors are still well) and you’ll see how pushy this color is! Oh boy what fun though! My inner “bully” just got a rip out of that.
  • With these color notes, I didn’t focus on detail, or how to, where or what…just color and light! I squinted out all the detail and focused on those elements. After all that is what our eyes and brains react to first, it is color and light and then detail and what it is that we are looking at.
  • Don’t go back to fix something that I laid down, such as those long shadows. Sometimes we artists want to take back on a decision made or don’t like what we see. Often it takes a while to realize that it isn’t so bad or it actually works out in the latter part of the painting experience. Don’t touch it! I really wanted to so much…..NO….just say no! Why do we people such a hard time with the word “no”?
  • Continuing on with the above point, I wanted to just say that trying to undo a decision while painting puts a stop in that creative process. The need to keep a rein on things is the opposite of the natural interplay between the left brain (need for order and control) and the right side of the brain (creative, go for it). I rather risk failure than to overly control a painting. Watercolor is the perfect medium for those “happy accidents”.
  • For these sloppy, wet color notes, always use 140# or better yet 300# (on my list). I don’t believe in 90# being used for watercolor anyway, just had to re-emphasize the paper choices.
  • These color notes is a good exercise to loosen up and to strip down a scene for an essence rather than the whole tamale. I think of it as closing your eyes and smelling….using only one sense and not all of your senses.

Time to rest my eyes, see you on Monday….

38 thoughts on “Daring Watercolor #18

  1. Love these Margaret! Again the directness and immediacy of them is great. I think this approach really plays to the strengths of watercolour – the white of the paper and the transparency of pigments. I think you’re most definitely onto something here Margaret! I’m very happy and excited for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you John, believe me I am the type of person that wants excessive detail and this is the opposite of what I normally would do….so it is so refreshing to throw off the detail. Who knows what happens from here but it is fun to discover how this will fit into my work in the future.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I really hope you’re able to find a place for it Margaret as I think, frightening as it may be, it’s also a very liberating approach – even if it’s just another arrow in your quiver!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I recently started playing with my big mop brush too and found how fun it was to be less controlled. I like the simplicity and looseness in your paintings here. I tend to overwork things a bit myself. 😉 I liked how you mentioned in your post for #16 to let your paints party together! I will have to remember to do this too! 😍🎨💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are a darling! I had to make a run into town and even painted…hoping to post soon. My eyes are a little better, I am trying to come up with a plan to continue on but back off a bit to protect my eyes. Oh, darn….I hate hearing that you are sick! Hey, are you on facebook?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. HAHA! I know what you are talking about! I am on facebook but don’t hardly spend the time or effort like I used to because I also wanted to back off. Now I am on here! but this is far more worth it. I will be careful that it isn’t a time sucker.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. same here, I am not social except with my daughters and their families and even then I am ready for my “alone time”. Oh I haven’t forgotten my husband, he is quiet and a loner as well, so I have no idea! I talk here like I am a social bee!

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s