Sierra Buttes-Yes! June WC #4

The Sierra Buttes-overcast

I thought I would venture up to the Sierra Buttes about an hour north of me. I arrived just before 6:30 am and it was overcast. This is sand pond and it was so peaceful and quiet. It was quite cold, about 45 degrees and I forgot to take an extra jacket, so I bundled up with what I could find in the truck.

My first painting 11 x 14 Arches #140 rough

Today I decided to paint as many paintings as I could because since it was quite cool out, my paint was taking forever to dry. I have many “learning mistakes” in this painting. No matter, it was my first painting and a warm-up. I had a hard time saving white for the snowy patches and yet I had this strong urge to go bold. Many times I lost my way navigating this huge mountain. I have some strange patches of color and yet it didn’t let it bother or deter me from my painting.

2nd painting 7 x 11 Arches #140 rough
3rd painting 7 x 9 140# rough

My third painting was started as more of a study of the trees at the shore-line, not really completed or serious, just a “see what happens” kind of painting.


4th painting 11 x 14 140# rough
I loved those dead white trees
Sand Pond


I had an exciting moment when I had finished my paintings and I spotted a bald eagle flying over the Buttes and coming over the pond! I was hoping to snap a few photos but I couldn’t find him in my viewer on my camera. Darn! Maybe next time.

mist over Sand Pond


No learning points this time around, I am plum tuckered out! Get out and see some scenery and if you can, paint plein air, exercise your artistic muscles.



Rose To Be June WC #3

I should had skipped this Saturday posting but I couldn’t resist painting. I will rest after this, I promise! Oh I need to tell you that I am joining along with Charlie and friends for a nature hike and will include posts that pertain to nature for the month of June. Hop on over to check out  Charlie’s blog for the juicy details.

I didn’t feel up to a tight painting project because I need to rest my eyes from intense staring. I chose a photo of mine that I had taken of some single roses taken at the Empire State Mine.

my photo reference
7 x 9 inches Arches 140# CP


I realized after a few projects that I need to purchase a special collection just for flowers such as a vibrant pink. My reds won’t work for pinks likes this. I decided to go loose anyway so I can do what I want! even if I want to flatten out the flowers, it is my painting, my way. I didn’t pencil this out at all, going for “let’s see what happens” kind of painting.

You may ask why being a perfectionist such as myself enjoy painting loose. I can say that it takes far more patience for tighter paintings and I do tackle them but it is far and few between. I have noticed that with a tighter a painting project, it often fosters that need for perfection in me. I have found that when I do paint tighter, my approach has a loose attitude to the painting. I will take it slowly and enjoy it but when I paint loose, I feel like a little child set loose in the redwoods or on a beach. I feel like I can run up to the trees, take in the environment, kick up some sand, etc. I am using analogies here but this is what painting loosely means to me. You never know what you’ll get and the mysteries of watercolor allows for this wonderful discovery.

My learning points:

  • I need to purchase special colors for projects such as flowers.
  • Letting go is so fun!
  • Allowing little pockets of white here and there gives life and sparkle to my painting.
  • I am really liking the freedom of painting loosely, this is coming from a perfectionist!
  • I decided not to worry about the not so perfect spots in this painting, it is imperfect, so what?
  • I am learning that the “accidents” that watercolorists avoid such as blooms, areas that dry with a hard edge, etc….again, so what? I don’t see these as imperfections but a part of the painting, unless you are going for super realism, it wouldn’t work.
  • Walking on the loose, devil may care side of painting is kind of addicting!
  • Using a large brush on such a small painting really is fun and again, loosens me up, I used a 24 round Princeton art brush.
  • Let watercolor be watercolor, discover the mysteries and surprises that this medium has to offer, don’t be afraid, go on an adventure!

Colors used: permanent rose (Winsor Newton), quin. red, ultra. blue, ultra. turquoise, quin. gold and lemon yellow, all are Daniel Smith glorious colors. I am a fan of DS. I am trying to use up my other brands, so permanent rose was allowed to play with Daniel Smith colors this go around.

Rose or not? June WC #2

I am going to post an extra post just because I need some feedback on these abstract/loose roses that I had painted yesterday. It was very enjoyable but at first I wasn’t sure about it until the creativity side of my brain kicked in…I love my right brain!

7 x 9 inches Arches  140#

The background does not appear so blotchy, keep that in mind and it is about 20=30% darker….it makes the roses pop. That blue in the center of the rose is not as blotchy or vivid as it appears in the photo.

My thing is the center of the rose has hardly any shape but I love the over-all feeling to the painting and the fact that I tapped into the creativity side on the last half of the experience says a lot. I want to get on that side of the painting experience more and more.

Any suggestions? Should I leave this as is and call it good (or bad)? Does a rose have to look like a rose to be acceptable? is this an abstract? give it to me, don’t be shy.

Madrone Madness-June WC #1

Kind of dark but you get the general idea of my scene


It’s June and I am off to the races with my adventures with watercolor. I decided to paint the view right out my back door. While relaxing early on the patio this weekend, the lighting was so beautiful coming through the trees from where I sat. I decided I had to paint those trees. The madrone is the largest tree and will be my focus and it is at least 75 feet tall.

I can fit my plein air supplies quite well in my backpack but this morning taking everything out to my site took extra trips. I should take my “plein air mentality” out my back door without trying to take my entire studio outside. Lesson learned.

I first warmed up with a couple of color sketches.

I decided to try a larger size paper for plein air and on an easel. I immediately freaked out and decided to put my painting board in my lap. I was doing a few things different and found myself nervous and trying to take back what I was doing. Talk about insecure!

Once I relaxed and enjoyed watching the mixing colors and eventually I realized that I was going against the current by judging and freaking out when I hardly had paint down on my paper.

My final painting on Arches #140 rough 10 x 14.5 inches

That drip was when I had my painting on the easel and I changed my mind because of that drip, I need to get comfortable having my painting tilted and dealing with washes that are cascading down. I probably had too much water on my brush. I will eventually learn this but I wasn’t ready for it today.


My learning points:

  • Steady that wild mustang of fear and anxiety, “she” won’t be bucking me off after all, I am holding those reins, me!
  • Just because I went out of my comfort zone doesn’t mean that I won’t be able put out a decent painting, going out of my comfort zone is not a recipe for failure.
  • Get use to being able to handle both fresh and dried paint, especially fresh gobs of paint on my palette.
  •  Set aside the fear of making mistakes, it dams up creativity.

I have a question for you watercolorists, I have been used to working from the dried paint on my palettes and I find that I can control my washes far easier than with fresh globs. I had to replenish my paint this morning and of course, I had fresh paint. I found that I was being aggressive and getting too much paint on my brush and well, you get the idea. I would like to hear what you all have to say about this.