Monday, October 16, 2023



"Struck by Beauty2"
Scottish Highland cattle near Dillon Beach
8" x 8" watercolor on Arches 100% cold press paper 

Today I tried a stand-alone painting based on the sketch I shared earlier. This one's just a little bigger. I'm not sure it's any better, but I enjoyed bringing in some apricot (front lower left and middle, just in front of the green bushes) created with new gamboge and opera pink watercolor, plus a little white acrylic. So fun. 

Saturday, October 14, 2023

From the Sketchbook: Struck by Beauty

"Struck by Beauty"
Scottish Highland cattle near Dillon Beach
6" x 6" watercolor in Hand-Book w/c Journal

My husband and I took a short get-away this week to Dillon Beach, at the mouth of Tomales Bay along the Pacific coast in northern CA. The sand is surprisingly soft for that area of the state, and oh, how I love the feeling of fine, soft sand on my feet. 

One afternoon, on our way to eat at Nick’s Cove to the south, I was struck by the scene of grazing Scottish Highland cattle, whose shaggy, reddish coats glowed yellow with the sun’s afternoon rays and echoed the texture of the grassy hills nearby. Ironically, the beauty of that scene, for me, surpassed even that of Dillon Beach--which was also quite incredible.

I find it best to try to capture in my sketchbook as quickly as possible these transcendent moments of beauty that spark joy when traveling. I drew both these sketches and finished the one below during our stay. I waited until we were home to finish the one above; that scene captured my heart the most, so I wanted to be able to take my time with it. 

Finishing the sketches at home helps extend and savor the travel experience. Travel sketching is such a superpower!   

Palms @ Dillon Beach
7" x 7" watercolor
in Hand-Book w/c journal

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Another Version


Poppies in the Grass2
7" x 7" watercolor
Arches 100% cold press paper

Wanted to circle back to this composition, which I first painted in my sketchbook in June (see second painting in that post). 

This top one is still direct, but more defined. It's not as loose and free-flowing as the initial painting, but it does seem to pass the wall test. That is, it's been taped to my studio wall for a few weeks, and it does look good from a distance. That's something. 

The one below is looser and looks pretty good up close, but not as good from a distance. 

Of course you want something to read well both from afar and up close. Right? Or maybe I am just making that up. 

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...