Wednesday, May 26, 2021



"Crab Cove Purples," 5" x 8: watercolor and pencil on Arches 100% cotton cold press w/c paper

I'm learning so much about the value of repeating paintings.  It is not something I used to like to do, but somehow I have more patience and interest for it now. 

With this second version of Monday's composition, I  used aureolin (Daniel Smith) for a cooler yellow than the hansa yellow (Daniel Smith) that I used last time. I took out the foreground post, which I didn't think added much to the composition last time. However I realize now it helped with perspective, giving the sense that the flowers are actually well in front of (not next to) the little bathroom shed. 

Both compositions have value and intensity issues. The actual flowers are more light lavender/purple, with only touches of pink. However, my carbazole violet (Daniel Smith) just seems to fade away when it dries (unless applied without much water, in which case it's too dark) that's why I added opera pink (Daniel Smith) and permanent rose (Winsor Newton). But then in both cases, the flower values became too dark. Trying to vary lights and darks is like riding a wild see saw.   

In the end, I think the first composition is better. But the primary dilemma remains: how to interpret that mass of foreground flowers without over-working them. 

Do I have a third try in me? Not sure, but at least I know to be more careful of intensity/value issues with opera pink and permanent rose.  

Monday, May 24, 2021

More Mini's for Mojo


"Crab Cove Purples," 5" x 8: watercolor and pencil on Arches 100% cotton cold press w/c paper

Really feeling off my game with painting of late. We're talking numerous paintings that have failed, folks. (Way too bad to share.) My diagnosis is that I've been trying too hard. 

So it's back to the mini-paintings I wrote about recently.  These two have at least some pleasing elements that make me want to persevere through this creative cold spell. 

"Every Morning Bliss at Crab Cove," 5" x 8" watercolor and pencil on Arches 100% cold press 

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

'Mazing Roses at Morcom


'Mazingly Pink, Morcom Rose Garden, 5" x 7.5" Watercolor on Arches 100% cotton cold press paper

I have such a soft spot for people who make public spaces happen. That includes those who helped create the Morcom Rose Garden in Oakland -- see this Wikipedia site for details

Many movers and shakers worked together with the City of Oakland in the early 1900s to establish the 7.5-acre garden that contains thousands of roses, a fountain and a reflecting pool. And because countless volunteers and city workers continue to maintain the gardens, local residents and tourists can enjoy this lovely place located in the foothills of Oakland.  

And painters and photographers can find endless subject matter. 

The muse is generous at Morcom. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Garden Riot Revisited


"Garden Riot 2," watercolor and pencil, 9" x 11" on Arches 100% cotton hot press paper 

Happier with this one than version one. I tried to be even more intentional about using Sheri Blaukopf's style in her beautiful Mother's Day bouquet

I can see that the dark greens take away from the purples and magentas along the bottom. I tried to compensate by adding titanium white here and there, but it can be tough with watercolors to lighten the dark areas...especially when you've used liberal amounts of phthalo blue, a staining pigment that doesn't lift easily.  

Shari B's bouquet looks so spontaneous and lovely, but I know that she's a dedicated painter with years of experience. I so appreciate her blog, her book The Urban Sketching Handbook: Working with Color, and her instructional videos, several of which I've purchased and review frequently. 

For those interested in learning more about creating dynamic watercolor and gouache paintings, I highly recommend visiting Shari Blaukopf's web site. She's definitely an ace artist and instructor.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Garden Riot


"Garden Riot," 6" x 8.5" watercolor on Arches 100% cotton cold press paper

Tried to channel Shari Blaukopf on this--loved her Mother's Day post yesterday--but came quite short of the mark, though kinda happy with the poppy at the top. Will try, try again. 

Friday, May 7, 2021

Moving Out of the Realm of Small

"Ice Plant in Bloom, Washington Park," 10" x 14" watercolor and ink on Arches 100% hot press w/c paper

It's so easy to live in the realm of small (9" x 12" or less) with watercolor painting, so I decided to go bigger with this one. 

Ice plant is bloom all over Alameda. Wanted to capture those bright pinks of the flowers vs. the luscious chartreuse of the leaves. And this squatty palm tree--well, it's one of my favorites in the nearby park. 


More About the Sally Project

I met Sally forty years ago when I was twenty and she was the one in her sixties. I was a waitress at a Howard Johnson’s restaurant on...