Saturday, September 27, 2014

Why are watercolors hard? Because the painter is out of sequence. I brush in the "sunlight" at the beginning, then I had the bright colors and also the beautiful colors that I see.
Then I frame these colors with darks: really black but I mix my black or use indigo from the tube. If the bird is dark then the background is light. I'm finished when the darks set off the lights!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How does a painter make something look real? Is it color? The shape? Darks and lights? Brushstrokes? Or all of the above. Lets look at these birds: what is in front of them and behind them? Nature is about things interfering with another thing and painters call this shapes and space. Brushstrokes that make a shape all at once(one sweep of the brush) is what nature does-its there! Try these tricks to make your paintings more "real".

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Today I am posting the watercolor version of the Goldfinches. Yesterday I posted an oil and challenged my self to paint the intensity of the oil paints.
One great American painter, Edgar Payne,  is known to have lamented that our paints are 400 times less intense than nature.
If you don't like your painting then add more color!

Friday, September 5, 2014

This is an oil painting not watercolor! But my challenge today is to replicate this painting in watercolors.
Students come to my classes and have chosen one medium or another for all kinds of reasons- toxicity, ease of painting, ease of clean-up, beauty of the finished painting and more.
I believe painting is painting and the different qualities of each medium are not so different.
Setting a goal is a powerful incentive. Try setting a goal!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ruby Throated Hummers are very colorful and extremely hard to see unless they sit and turn into the sun. I reference a birding guide book for colors which I should try to see. Then when I paint, I use saturated colors-deep rich colors on the dark side to replicate the intensity of what I see. Try it!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Here is my granddaughter's watercolor of me!
There is a bird nest and bluebird bring food to the nest and I am in the middle of the action, on a sunny day birdwatching.
If birdwatching lets my granddaughter paint the story, isn't it all important: painting, kids and birds!
If you paint you will inspire others.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Remember those paintings that didn't mean much when you painted them? I found this gem in my file and my adventures on Hog Island in ME last summer flooded into the present. What duck was it? I'll find it in the bird book just as I would find the real duck, but the experience is what its really is about!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

This is not a new watercolor but one I discovered in my archives-so timely for spring. The wood thrushes are out and about Vermont woods and by streams.
Are you having trouble seeing this bird? I did when I was ten feet away from the actual nest and bird. I painted what I saw and let the image be.
Paintings are about so much more than one person can imagine and wasting time figuring out if it is a good painting totally misses the point. Keep paintings to tell you more each time you see it.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

"Western Bluebird" 4"x6"

Spring is coming and painting outdoors gives credence to any watercolor. Those painters painting outdoors who decide that a painting is not good enough and bring it home to "finish" are losing the painting's immediacy!
All painters whether experienced or beginner have a vision and an idea of what they will paint-matching that vision is very hard. And in the mean time look at what you already have-a fresh exciting painting. Stop and smell the roses on the path to paint just your vision.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Here is a quick study of Cinnamon Teals. As I painted the watercolor on a post-card size sheet of paper, my fellow painters pointed out how important the relationships of head size to tail length was...they "knew" the watercolor was wrong! You know it too, so keep adjusting proportions till it reads right! Just keep going and you will get it.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Watercolors are wonderful because with a few strokes of complimentary colors, juxtaposed on white paper, the medium makes a compelling painting. The birds flit through winter with confidence and painters that show confidence are appreciated also. It makes us want to take a new deep breath and look at winter again.