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My Challege to Myself

Because I am a bit of a masochist I have set a challenge for myself..  To paint two small (6 by 9 inch) watercolors per day in addition to anything else I will create.  I want to continue this for at least a month. The goal of this experiment is to force me to treat my traditional subjects with new eyes and to push me to explore other ideas and subjects. Here are two of my first attempts.   The idea of one summer and one fall painting came from Jack.
Recent posts

How To Choose a Watercolor Brush

Buying watercolor brushes can be a confusing (and expensive) process.   What size and shape? Natural hair or synthetic?   Which brands of brush are better?   I have been painting for many years and have strong preferences for my use but each artist is different and you may end up using a very different selection of brushes. The easiest way to approach brushes is by focusing on their function.   What is the brush going to be used for?   There are three main functions of brushes in watercolor.               Broad washes (Skies, large areas of color) Details (Rigging in boats, eyes, patterns)             Textures (Grass, hair, bark)             While by no means an exhaustive list of uses I fine that most brushes fall into one of these categories. Natural or Synthetic Watercolor brushes are made from three main materials, Sable,   Squirrel, or synthetic fibers mimicking natural hair.   Natural hairs hold more liquid, are capable of more subtle and expre

What to Paint after a dry summer

We have had an incredibly dry summer in Nelson so all I can think of is walking in the rain.  The first is from Kaslo and the second is a free form improvisation.  The palette on both was quite limited and I painted very wet.  think I need to start working larger again for greater impact.


The kokanee are spawning all through the Kootenays.  I haven't had a chance to paint any redfish yet you all will have to make do with this one from a few years ago is of some coastal salmon.  I'll get to work on a new salmon painting this week.

Poppies Three Ways

There are many ways to approach a painting.   Using a poppy as subject I explored three of them.  These are all quick sketches, 9 by 12 inches. The first watercolor is done alla prima, directly painting the subjects as positive shapes.  This yields a strong and vivid image that grabs your attention.  It doesn't have much of the transparency of traditional watercolors though. The second painting was done by painting the space around the poppy, using the background to "draw" the flower.  This gives a more ethereal and transparent look. The third painting is a hybrid of the two approaches with the use of underpainting.   painted a warm area where the flower would be and used cool colors for the rest of the background.    The flower was then defined using negative space and then painted with stronger colors.

The Mountains I left Behind

As I mentioned in my last post, the colors in the Kootenays are very different from the mountains of the coast, brighter, warmer.  Looking through my older work however, I was struck by the richness of color that I still saw in the coastal ranges. This watercolor was inspired by the jagged peaks and glacial lakes of the Cayoose  range near Pemberton.  The colors were vivid on the rare times the sun peaked from behind the clouds,

The Blog rises again

Kottenay Light Watercolor 9-12 inches Its been a year since we moved to Nelson and I feel ready to post some of the work I have done. It seems that I have to learn how to paint again.  The colors and the atmosphere is so different from the coast.  It is so much more vibrant and varied.