Painting and Chasing Away Fly Fisherman


painting #1 on Arches 300# rough 7 x 9 inches

I had this particular spot in mind for over a week and was very excited to paint here which I haven’t in years, the last time I did I painted it in pastel


Pastel on Wallis paper 9 x 12 inches

So as I was saying I had this spot in mind to paint for a while I come around the corner on Hwy 49  and there is a man and a truck parked, what????? that is MY spot! so I pulled up rather fast, you should have seen the look on his face. I got out of the truck immediately asking “oh are you planning to fish here”? “yes”…..I then say “I plan to paint here”, I didn’t ask him, I told him! then he says….”I will stay out of your way”! Haha! like I was the one who showed up first….anyway…..he lasted only 10 minutes fishing and then moved on up the road. I love it.


My scene! I had to come back and edit it in, I forgot it.



painting #2 on Arches 300# rough 7 x 9 inches

I completed this one later in the studio, I lost quite a bit of definition on the right side but that’s alright, it is a warm-up.


painting #3 on Saunders 200# 11 x 14 inches

I really hate that hump of rocks, I am going to work on softening edges and the horizon line.


painting #4 on Fabriano 300# 7 x 9 inches

I am thinking that I will work on now loosing up my water which actually means I need to soften up the edges of the water and rocks. I don’t like the cookie cutter look but I understand why I have been doing that because of the need to keep my lights but I know that I can have the happy marriage of saving my whites and loosen up with my edges. That is my challenge now.

I have been fortunate to continue painting as it is cooling down. Soon I might have to switch back to pastel work when my washes refuse to corporate in drying.

I stopped in Downieville to look at a new gallery in town Yuba Gallery and I ran into an old artist friend, Katie O’Hara Kelly who also taught art at the elementary school that my daughters had gone to. Her art is in the gallery and she is encouraging me to bring some artwork in to exhibit. The gallery is seasonal because the tourist trade drops during the winter, I am looking forward to next year to bring some of my paintings of the river and Sierra Buttes.

*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.








Not Downieville but the Yuba!

Painting #1 on Arches 140# rough 7 x 9 inches

I had planned on painting in Downieville, a little mountain town that nestles along the edge of the river. I arrived promptly at 8 am but I found that the town was in complete shadow, the mountains surrounding this town are close and tall. Funny because I was thinking about arriving at 7 am but got to thinking that the sun wouldn’t be making it appearance until later. I asked a local man and he told me that I would have to wait until 9 am! what! I decided to go on up the road and paint at an area that I have painted many times and also have swam with the family.

My general scene of three paintings
Painting #2 on Saunders #200 7 x 9 inches

This is my favorite painting out of the entire bunch…there is something about this one that feels almost perfect. I haven’t figured out why, is it the composition, colors? what? any idea? By the way to paint where I did, I had to scramble over rocks and avoid plunging into the river, it was very fun! I had been dealing with vertigo off and on this past month and it is so much better. It had me worried when I was having it several weeks ago because all I could think of is that I HAVE to Paint!

The other problem I ran across is that I forgot my palette, so I improvised. I used the lid to my container of water.  I was planning on using a rock if anything, nothing was going to stop me from painting.

My underpainting for painting #3
My finished painting #3 on Arches 140# rough 7 x 9 inches

For some reason I didn’t finish this painting and later in the studio I thought I would finish it up. It was a fun exercise because I used my memory and “what needs to be done” abilities.

My scene for the next two paintings



Painting #4 on Arches 300# rough 11 x 14 inches

I had a lot of fun trying to paint this one but I got lost in the details and while I was fiddling around, my light was changing. I then proceeded to chasing light and lost my initial focus. I need to learn to get in and get out as quickly as possible. After all this is plein air right? Not meant to be a masterpiece or a refined studio piece. Keep It Simple Precious! I ended up with some nondescript areas and that is alright, I count this as a good exercise.

Painting #5 on Arches Saunders #200 7 x 9 inches

I decided to give it one more try. I went loose and fast, what do I have to lose? Absolutely nothing! My problem is that I am an aggressive painter, my approach is to throw on the paint and sometimes I muck it up or can’t go back the other direction. I can’t seem to hold back that urge and with watercolor careful planning while being aggressive is pulling out an juggling act on my part.

I took longer than usual getting this post out because of having a bout with carpal tunnel, I have been trying to rest my hand and avoid using my computer mouse so much. If any of you deal with this I would like to hear what has helped you other than surgery.


Learning Points:

  • It is alright to be aggressive but also plan ahead, a few steps ahead is all that I need.
  • Just because I am painting on a larger sheet of paper doesn’t mean to go slower and more detailed.
  • Keep it loose, watercolor loves to play and I love to play too!
  • Working with fresh paint is Marvelous!!!
  • Remember to double check my equipment and supplies before leaving.