More Fall Paintings




Painting #1 Imaginary landscape

I tried my best to match up the photo but at least the pixels aren’t messed up, too much, I think, yay! I think that I got the photo to marry up well with my painting except that the “sun” is way better than what it shows in the photo.

While my grandson entertained himself with drawing dinosaurs, I took the opportunity to get some painting done and this is what I came up with. No idea what I was going to paint other than the chosen colors. I love painting this way, no preconceived idea, and no expectation, just going with the flow of the paint and picking out an imaginary scene.

P1220274Painting #2 Lake Francis

This is an semi-abstract of a scene of Lake Francis that I have painted several times.

P1220272.JPGPainting #3 Imaginary scene

I started out the typical way and that is usually throwing on some colors and looking for a scene. This was painted saturated wet on wet. If you haven’t tried this technique I suggest that you give it a chance. It might seem different and out of control but that is the whole point, right? At least that is the way I like to paint with watercolor.

Be aware that while the paper is saturated, the whites are very easy to pick out but once the paper is dry, it is near to impossible to regain white without scraping the paper with a blade. As long as the paper is wet, wipe out to your hearts’ content.

P1220269.JPGPainting #4 Shenanigan Flat

This is a scene that I have painted the most so far in the past year. In fact I wonder if I have already posted this one but I am pretty sure I haven’t. I had a difficult time to get the light yellow to show up as light as it appears here, keep that in mind.

P1220265.JPGPainting #5 a river scene

Another painting that I had a difficult time getting the photo just right but you get the idea. This started out as a plein air and I finished it up in the studio. I am finding out that what worked for me in the past in regards to painting en plein air isn’t working for me any longer. I just can’t sit and paint, I need to stand, I do this at home and I often step away to take a “look see”. I am considering getting an easel but it has to be very light weight because my neck and back can’t take lugging in heavy equipment any longer.

So, while I painted this, I used a big flat rock as my table and I also painted wet on wet and very loose, just like I would at home. I am trying to carry my attitude and painting style to the field.



Paintings #6

These were painted on small square pieces of leftover paper and purely from my imagination/memory. I think that I had Lake Francis on my mind when I painted these.


Painting #7 Shenanigan Flat (of course!)

I wasn’t too sure if this was successful or not, I haven’t shared it on my Instagram just because of the uncertainty. I love the feeling of it but for some reason I don’t like at the photo of it, there is something lost in translation. No idea.

That is it for now. I have a few more paintings to share but until next time, count your blessings!

One last photo from my plein air painting trip the other day, enjoy!


Sorting Through Old Pastels

I should be working on outdoor activities but nope I had to make that decision to go through my pastel paintings to organize and to throw out paintings that aren’t working.

*for some reason these paintings look fuzzy when I use my Kindle to upload these, go to my Instagram account to see my paintings more clearly. I haven’t uploaded two of them on this post but you can follow me on there and see my art more clearly. I’ll be working at finding out why this happens.

This painting surprised me because I thought it wasn’t good enough and now I am very happy with it.

Another “disappointment” ha!!!! I love it now! I am telling you, gold on to paintings, give them time and you’ll either love them or if not move it along.

Another painting that I had a hard time liking, it was too rough in my assessment. Now that I am looser in painting, it warms my heart to see this one.

All these paintings are plein air and it sure gets me hankering to get out there to paint, that is for certain. Going through these paintings has made me acknowledge that I have been on a long journey of creative acceptance.

I want to encourage those of you who often feel discouraged or who feel that you’ll never get anywhere in your art making. It takes time, patience and a personal vision. Goals are fine but vision is more important, it is the heart of the matter, a focus, trusting that you your inner creative will come into full freedom of expression. Don’t stifle your inner creative! By golly!

Busy Makes Happy


painting #1 of the South Yuba river

If any of you have wondered if I have gone missing for good, here I am! Actually what happened is that I have recently purchased a Kindle Fire tablet and discovered that I can use it to take and upload photos to Instagram. I have tried Instagram before using my cell phone but I hated the quality of the photos (picky me). Posting there is so much easier, less than a minute and I am done. It takes me forever to navigate around WordPress, I almost dread it because it is so funky and slow. I haven’t given up entirely on my blog here but if you want to see what I am up to follow me on Instagram: Here I am!

I have also discovered that I can do a far better job of editing my photos of my paintings spot on. Going from my regular camera and editing I always seem to run into having my blues stand out a bit too much or my yellows are off.  On Instagram I am amazed how spot on I can get my paintings to be. Plus it is so fun and easy.


painting #2 of Bullards

This painting was started as a plein air but finished in the studio. It was so difficult to capture what I saw there and I almost decided to turn this over and use the other side. I decided to finish it and I really like the water.


painting #3 of Bullards morning light

This painting is not as yellow and pink in the sky, more subtle, keep that in mind. I had gone out to plein air paint at Bullards one morning, showed up at 5:45 am. So beautiful there but so very difficult to capture what I was looking at. I decided to sit and watch the light hit that section of trees and I think that about 30 minutes passed and I just sat and observed. In the not so long ago past, this would have upset me, the fact that I couldn’t capture what I was looking at.

Once I got back into the studio, I decided to paint entirely from my memory of the morning. It was simply magical how it poured out of me. To realize that you can’t truly capture Gods’ creation to the absolute T is imperative to being at peace as an artist, imho. But, we sure can express how we feel about what I see or experience, that is for certain. That is my goal.


painting #4 of the North Yuba

Perhaps a little more detailed with the rocks than I like but then I had fun with this one. 


painting #5 of the South Yuba

No don’t adjust your monitor, this was purposely painted with an out of focus, soft approach. I didn’t want to fuss with details or bringing it up to a finish, I wanted an impression, that is all. This was painted saturated wet on wet. 

Thank you for bearing with me on this long post, have a wonderful 4th of July for those who celebrate!

**A word about photos. The paintings and 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.






Early Morning on the North Yuba


on Arches 300# cp quarter sheet

Sorry about the paragraphs not having any space between them but WP is acting up for me and I can’t seem to correct it.

     This painting is from a photo from last year when the temperatures were dropping. The morning that I arrived, the sun was just creeping around the corner and the mist was so beautiful. Here is the same scene but in pastel and on en plein air:  Frosty November Morning
     I have painted this scene at least 5 times. Those bushes across the river is so darn difficult to capture correctly. I didn’t worry about trying to get it to look like the photo, what is the creative fun in that? None! I did the tree section in the background wet on wet and had to go back at least three times to darken and bring up what features I felt would give the scene the correct nuance.
Colors used:  Aureolin, Cobalt Blue, Prussian Blue, Quin. Gold, Ultramarine Blue
*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.


Another View of Goose Lake


I had a difficult time getting  my photo to marry up with my painting but I tried, keep that in mind.


Goose Lake on Lanaquarelle 140# quarter sheet

I have been working on multiple paintings and this one is pretty much finished though I might put in a few dark sections in the back woods. Goose Lake is up in the same area as the Sierra Buttes and for some reason I am intrigued with this view. Here are my previous posts of Goose Lake: Goose Lake in Sierra County and Pastel of Goose Lake and last but not least Acrylic of Goose Lake.

As I worked on the above painting, I kept to an over-all feeling and gist of Goose Lake and tried not to rely solely on my reference photo. I like to imagine myself at the scene, hearing the birds, feeling the environment as I paint. I usually listen to music that helps me to imagine that I am there, in this case Native American flute music. Often when I paint a forest scene, I will listen to nature and bird sounds or lately Chinese music.

Again I truly feel that it is important to paint what you know and love, but that is my own personal prerequisite. I worked on this painting (as I am accustomed to do) when I am in the zone. Once I feel my artist eye or view wane, I step away. The sky, backwoods were painted wet on wet. I went back in to put in some calligraphy. I took more care with painting the trees in the front.

Lately my goal is not to be precise or detailed, I want the essence of a scene, there is something appealing to me about this approach.

Colors used: Aureolin, Cobalt Blue, Prussian Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Quin. Gold, Moonglow

*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.



Sand Pond and Semi-abstract



painting #1 on Fabriano 300# quarter sheet
I felt like a wet on wet painting day going for an atmospheric minimal kind of approach. This photo doesn’t show the depth of color as it should but you get the idea. This is the second time I have painted this particular scene which is Sand Pond looking away from the Sierra Buttes, here is that post (painting #2)  Watercolor Mayhem. I might bring in just a tad more value changes but then I might leave it alone. I have found that Fabriano is wonderful for wet on wet work. After using other papers, Fabriano doesn’t have the texture that I adore. I want a paper that has a responsive surface, Fabriano has a cardboard feel to me. I do enjoy using the Softpress variety of Fabriano, so when I discovered that Fabriano is perfect for wet on wet, I decided that I will be buying more of it. One of my favorite artists, Cheng-Khee Chee uses Fabriano for his saturated wet on wet work. I almost decided not to buy it again, I am so happy that I changed my mind. It is also perfect in wiping off color to the white of the paper with this technique.
colors used: Aureolin, Quin. Sienna, Prussian Blue, Indathrone Blue, Quin. Gold, Cerulean Blue


painting #2 wip on Arches 300# rough quarter sheet

This is a painting that I started over a week ago as a plein air and I am not so sure if it is finished or not. It started out as a waterfall but I liked it turned around and now it looks like an abstract river landscape. I have been keeping it up where I can easily view it and as I see what I need to do, I work on it, otherwise it sits quietly waiting. What’s the rush?

colors used: Cerulean Blue, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Hansa Yellow Med., Green Gold

Learning Points:

  • Wet on wet is fun!
  • Starting a painting without drawing exercises the artistic eye, no harm done.
  • Don’t be afraid to let a painting sit unfinished, sometimes it takes a bit to cook a fantastic painting.

*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.








River Intrigue


Not sure about what is going on with WP but I have tried all day to upload this post. Of course I had difficulty composing it because of all the glitches, once again I am driven to the point of no return with this blog!

This is a studio piece using some reference photos from a recent plein air painting trip to an old haunt of mine. I tried to include a few posts of this same location but I am not able to link up to them. Sigh!!

I started the painting below of this simi waterfall as a plein air and I finished it up in the studio. I was freezing by the time I had several studies started. I have never attempted to paint this before because I am always passing it by to go paint at the river. P1190398.JPG


The painting above is a little plein air, nothing special but while I painted it, I had a wonderful sense of knowing how to paint it. Once I got it home it seemed a bit lack luster. I hiked a total of about 5 miles to one of my favorite areas along the river. I have to get a different set-up because my back and neck was in pain which continued into Mother’s Day, believe me, no fun.

This painting was a quick fun painting, loose and fancy free using one of my photos taken while hiking out to the river.

I couldn’t re-size these paintings or caption them because that option was no where in sight. Finally getting this up!

Abstraction is Heaven


on Fabriano 300# quarter sheet

This painting started out as a plein air on my patio hoping to capture my azaleas in full bloom. I was tittering away (bored out of my mind!) with a simple drawing and then laying in some color. I was uninspired to say the least. Then it hit me why am I trying to depict these flowers in a realistic way when I prefer not to? I was bored out of my mind trying to get the look of realism in these flowers. If you are wondering if I am making excuses, I can have done it: Daring Watercolor #7 way too fussy for me. As I painted that iris, I never felt the creative zing that I love to paint with.

I decided that saturated wet on wet was my technique of choice for this painting. I discovered something magical in this session. I think it would be easier to outline what I did.

  • I wet both sides of paper using a plexi-glass as my surface, it sticks like glue. My surface stays workable up to 2 1/2, this session was an hour long.
  • I always use fresh paint from the tube, your colors are more vivid.
  • I constantly turned my board around and I brushed on color only where I knew it belonged, intuitive painting through the entire process.
  • I kept turning and turning the board seeing it as a puzzle rather than what I “should” do.
  • I applied colors only when I knew what belonged at that particular area. I actually “see” the color, sometimes I feel the color should go there, all intuitive.
  • I didn’t paint this with a particular orientation in mind.
  • After the painting was finished, I turned the painting around and around until the correct orientation revealed itself.

I truly liked this process because it was as though I tricked my mind in reacting and accessing the creative in me rather than relying on my left brain for design decisions. I have an inner design and color scheme that often befuddles me. It will often turn negative and I fight against the inner critic that says something isn’t balanced. Then I do the hard work of trying to balance a painting or make it better. Sometimes it takes relying on the creative intuition for the solution, it was easy for me to tap into that with this technique.

*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.


Bullards and Crystal Hermitage at Ananda

painting #1 on Arches 140# quarter sheet

I was trying for a landscape with minimal detail, just enough to give the viewer the essence of the scene. At first I wasn’t too happy with it but the more I look at it, I believe that I reached my goal. I am trying for that happy medium where I don’t needle my paintings to death with superfluous detail.

Tulips at the Crystal Hermitage at Ananda Village

I wanted to plein air paint at this beautiful local gardens before the tulip season is finished. This is last year’s post about this beautiful place  Glorius Tulips at Crystal Hermitage . I am planning to visit here throughout the year because they do have the gardens open for visitors year round.


Aren’t these beautiful? I love it at Ananda. When I lived with my Mom and Sister back in the 1980’s I often would hike up the road and visit Ananda Village. I still love the area and the people.


painting #2 My first painting at Ananda

I was fretting a bit about painting flowers, because I generally don’t practice with them enough. I decided to keep it loose and fancy free. I might bring in some more darks to bring out the centers but basically I want to keep it loose.


painting #3

I almost abandoned this painting because I have the tendency to freak out when I can’t see where I am going with a painting. But, I pressed in and was determined to get something out of the experience. Happy to say, I ended up liking it rather than hating it. I am unsure if it is finished or not. Plein air is suppose to be not detailed to death and I want to keep the freshness and resist the need to noodle it to endless detail.


Peaceful Beauty

If you ever get up to the Nevada City/North San Juan area, take the time to go see the gardens at Ananda, especially during the tulip blooming season which is typically March-April or early May.


*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.





Trees and Light Oh My


Painting #1 Evening Light at Bullards

I have been working on multiple paintings lately and nothing to show right now so I thought I would post a few from January (and from two years ago) that never made it to my blog. The above painting was one that I enjoyed working on. I decided to go back to fix the tree on the left, the edges were too sharp and it didn’t look right. I straightened the tree and I eliminated that yellow foliage. I will be working more and more on forest scenes in the next several months to learn more of a soft, impressionistic look. Soft and hard edges in watercolor can be difficult to master and I am going to master it, by golly!


Painting #2

Again, hard edges where there should be soft here and there. I lost the definition of the path but over all I really like the light and feeling.


My reference photo – North Yuba Trail


Painting #3 – my second attempt

I really like the light in the far back trees but failed  on several aspects, sharp edges on trees, the closest tree and path needs tons of work (or not), my color choices for the rocks was undecided. The sky is too white, not enough definition. These paintings are steps to getting more experience under my belt.

I might go back and have another go at this scene but try for more impressionistic rather than trying to follow the photo exactly. Lately I have been venturing down this direction but yesterday I decided to follow the photo.


painting #4


The above painting was from about two years ago. I like the overall softness, light and especially the handling of the trees.


painting #5 – Plein air 2014


painting #6 – from 2014

The above painting is how impressionistic I am aiming towards. Perhaps more simplistic than what I have in mind. At first I wasn’t sure if I liked it but my daughter snatched it up before I really started to appreciate it. Now I want it back!



I have been having a hankering to get back into portraits and figures but in watercolor. I am going to have a busy year without a doubt! Happy Painting folks!


*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.