Monday, April 1, 2024



Spring at Robert Crown Memorial State Beach2
9" x 12" watercolor
Stonehenge Aqua Hotpress

Some artists don't like to repeat their compositions, but I learn a lot by doing so.  

This top composition isn't working quite as well as I would like. However, an earlier one was even less satisfying. (See below.) But I learned from the first one. Everything was too dark, including the sky. And I wasn't capturing the freshness of spring in northern California. This time of year the grasses are so green, and the bluish-purple California lilacs, AKA Ceanothus are so beautiful.

So I tried again and came up with the above. I lightened it up and used hot press, rather than cold press paper. It's much better, though not quite there yet. I'll try again sometime. 

Spring at Robert Crown Memorial Beach1
8" x 10" watercolor
Arches 100% cotton cold press


Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Probably Not


Spring is Here
8" x 10" watercolor
100% cotton Arches cold press paper

Tape a painting to the wall for two weeks and usually you'll be able to tell whether it holds up or you were just briefly infatuated with your creation.  

I do like the way the whites of the two main flowers stand out from the darker background, but I labored over the details on the flowers, and it shows. Also, I'm not sure my color choices work very well (French ultramarine, Prussian blue, hansa yellow medium, burnt sienna, quin magenta, and a touch of opera pink). There's not enough warmth in the background, probably because of the way the Prussian blue dominates. 

I do have ideas for how to do a second version of this. Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 29, 2024



Sending Love
9 x 12" watercolor
Arches 100% hot press

This one is better in person, but you'll just have to trust me 0n that, as I can't seem to get a better photo.

Thursday, February 15, 2024



Outside Gilroy
8" x 8" watercolor
Arches 100% cotton hot press paper

Sadly, I do not think this one will make the cut in my series of mid-view compositions with flowers in the forefront. I like the initial composition better that I painted last year in May, 2023.  

I remember how seeing these flowers against the tree and hillside that day at a garlic shop outside of Gilroy That scene left me so breathless. So I'll likely try it again sometime. 

But for now, the May 2023 version is the clear winner. 

At the time, I didn't want to cut that one out of my sketchbook, but since then I've decided my sketchbooks don't have to be so sacrosanct. If something in them wants to jump out and be framed, so be it. 

Final Product (?)


Poppies at Robert Crown Memorial State Beach
10" x 10" watercolor
Arches 100% cotton hot press paper

Earlier this week I posted preliminary notes and sketches I made in preparation for this painting. This final painting is not what I envisioned, but I have taped it to the wall of my studio, and it's growing on me. The oranges are a tad brighter in the actual painting, but not as bright as in my color study. 

I think I'm calling this one done unless it tells me otherwise. 

Monday, February 12, 2024

Poppy Process


Poppy Study
8" x 8" watercolor 

So it's poppy season in Northern California, and that means new poppy paintings in the works. My process, for better or worse, seems to be shifting somewhat. 

Instead of starting right in on a painting, I've gravitated to making initial sketches that show values and colors in a spiral-bound notebook full of drawing paper. I make notes about the sketch. See the initial sketch-with-notes below. 

Second stage is a quick color study such as the above, usually in a sketchbook with watercolor paper. Sometimes the quick color study makes me decide not to proceed with a stand-along painting; other times, it gives me fuel for going for it. This color study does give me the fuel I need to move forward.

Sometimes I find I like the quick color study better than the finished painting. 

Stay tuned and wish me luck. I'd sure like a stand-alone 10"x 10" painting to accompany the canna painting I finished last week.  

Friday, February 9, 2024



Canna Show
10" x 10" watercolor
Arches 100% cotton cold press

I have tried painting this scene several times over the past few years. Cannas and begonias near Millenial Park, Chicago. The orange and red flowers next to the bright yellow-greens of the canna leaves stopped me in my tracks and made me sing inside. I think I finally captured the melody in my heart that day. 

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