Monday, July 10, 2017


I started with some loose w/w washes of yellow ocher, cobalt blue and burnt orange for the ground, and burnt orange for the fox. The greys of his hair were cobalt blue, quin. pink and burnt orange. For the blacks, I switched from cobalt to indanthrone.

I got stuck here - didn't know where to take the background. I've been "stuck" [not even wanting to paint] for several years now, and have been very dissatisfied with my work. So I trekked up to Fort Langley to meet with another watercolor artist. She has been involved with teaching, mentoring and painting for at least twice as long as I have, and is a thoroughly delightful person. We had a great session [more to come], and her words did help me with my block.

Swift Fox
12.5 x 10 in.
32 x 26 cm.
$187.50 unframed
Half of proceeds to be donated to wildlife preservation of your choice
This tiny fox, smaller than a house-cat, is fast [60 kph sprints], nocturnal and an omnivore. He has had a hard time with ranching and agriculture  impinging on his territory. Happily, Wildlife Preservation Canada has been able to establish several self-sustaining populations in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Thank you so much for dropping by, and if you have any questions or comment, please leave a note.

Monday, June 19, 2017


A Show of Hands
10 x 13 in.
I think the title is apt, as they make their living, so to speak, with their paws.

I took these two photos this morning. Yup, we have moles in the yard.

Here is my dog, Maggie, a year and a half ago. I read that this particular mole has few natural predators ... except Maggie. Needless to say, I was upset.

Pigments for fur - quin. burnt orange, quin. violet, indanthrone
Pigments for paws and muzzle - quin. sienna, quin. pink, indanthrone
Grass - quin. gold, phthalo green, quin. burnt orange, indanthrone

Meet my next endangered species - Townsend's mole. They live almost everywhere here, and are considered endangered in British Columbia.  I believe their endangered status is attributable to their low rate of reproductivity. They navigate underground, about 10 - 20 cm. under, by their whiskers. They are able to detect light, but not images. As well, they have sensitive hearing and touch. They are solitary and territorial. I am happy to say, they are next to impossible to trap. I remember my landlord [who golfed, and loved a pristine front lawn] trying all sorts of gimmicks to get rid of the moles - from smoke "bombs" and traps, to setting those little hand-sized wind-mills on sticks [the vibrations were supposed to bother the moles] But they are still here :)
Thank you for visiting!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Wet washes on the body with burnt orange and quin. violet. The entire marmot was painted using orange, violet and indanthrone.

Darkening his fur ...

... and still more ... 

I did two gradated washes to the line where sea meets sky, both using phthalo blue and indanthrone.

Lightly painted some distant islands, and started giving a rocky look to his rock. 

My Rock
10.25 x 6.25 inches framable size
I wanted to give the marmot the look that this is his home, and he is not letting go of it.

This adorable beastie is a local - the Vancouver Island marmot, the only uniquely Canadian species of marmot. He lives on the south- and west-facing alpine meadows of the island.  Those long claws and powerful shoulders are for digging for food and making burrows for hibernation. He's hefty - up to 2 1/2 feet long, weighing up to 17 pounds. It is believed the reason for the great decline in numbers [since the mid-1990's] is due to predation by wolves, cougars and golden eagles. There is a captive breeding program on the island, whereby adults are caught and allowed to breed safely, then they and the pups are released back into their natural habitat. It sounds like a logical plan; with their colonies very reduced in numbers, there are no or few potential mates - this program brings them together.
I remember seeing a yellow-bellied marmot in the most unlikely place - the backyard of my mother's house in Kerrisdale in Vancouver. I drove into the back driveway, and there he was, standing on his hind legs looking at me! of course, no-one believed me.



Wet in wet washes of burnt orange and a grey-blue [indanthone, quin. pink and burnt orange].

Playing with the aforementioned colors in different combinations, still wet in wet.

Getting into the nitty-gritty of the fur - small strokes with a fine brush, building up the layers.

Some "ground" - burnt orange, with a bit of orange and quin. violet for contrast.

Greater Bilby
14.5 x 11.5 inches
37 x 29.5 cm.

Meet the greater bilby, also known in Australia as the Easter Bilby - the name is part of a campaign to raise awareness to its endangered state. This little cutie is about the size of a rabbit, and has keen hearing and sense of smell, but poor eyesight. He lives in hot, dry areas - grasslands, scrub areas. The reason for the decline in numbers is posited to be predation by foxes and feral cats, and to indirect competition for food with the rabbit population.
This is the first of my endangered species series. I have a deep love of Nature and animals, and feel this is the least I can do to [hopefully] help their plight.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Three of the Girls Are Done ...

For Sally, I painted a scrumbly background of aureolin, burnt orange and warm black, letting each color dry before applying the next. I also tried a new technique with her neck fur  - I feathered it in. I drew in a line of black, then used a barely-moist medium-sized flat to spread the color. I think it gave a lovely soft effect. Definitely using this on the next commission [ a Schnauzer by the name of Louis].

Same technique here, trying to go with a background that would draw the viewer's eyes to the cat's eyes. Here I used burnt orange, followed by orange mixed with violet.

Soft scrambling again, with quin. gold mixed with indanthrone - to match her eyes.

Thank you so much for dropping by!

Monday, April 24, 2017

WOO - HOO ... Final Stage of the Cats

THIS is what I LIKE! A nice soft and supportive background. I mixed some gold and indanthrone, painted along the outline and scrambled it outwards to soften. I may add a touch more near her eyes with the blue, but overall I do like the look.

This was one of my many attempts to get "the look".

Sponging ... NO!

A swatch with some other attempts and color combinations.

More trial and error ...

EEK!!! NO!!!


Like the effect but not the color. Thankfully, I had all the color studies I had done earlier  with which to play.

Nice, but too dramatic, I feel, for the owner. I will be using gentle colors tending to warm, and something to bring out their eyes.

And this is a sketch of one of my next projects. Meet the Greater Bilby. I had never heard of this beastie before, and when I saw a photo, I felt compelled to draw and paint him. He is a rabbit-sized marsupial, living in the drier areas of Australia. He is also on the endangered list. I would like to do [hopefully] one drawing and/or painting a week of an endangered animal.

Thank you so much for dropping in!!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Looking absolutely nothing like a cat!!! ... just thin washes of alizarin crimson and burnt orange

Wet-in-wet applications of aureolin and burnt orange for the eyes, and thin direct applications of a black started on her face.

STILL not looking much like a cat. Continuing with direct applications of the black ... 

Another w/w of burnt orange for the eyes. Then I wet the entire area on which I want some black. I start with a very dilute mixture to get the paint flowing over a large area, then stroke on some thicker pigment. I continue till the paper is too dry to accept paint.

A pair of pupils - always a good idea. Also another w/w application of a dark brown from the top of the eyes to simulate shadow. NOW she's starting to look like a cat! 

A bit of touching up with thin glazes of black, and she is done. Just a hint of background needed. 

Another strange-looking beastie! I have wet the entire head and neck and stroked in some phthalo blue and a mix of that blue with a bright pink.

These eyes are also done with w/w applications of aureolin and burnt  orange; the ears with pink and a touch of burnt orange. Lots of teeny, fine brush strokes in the direction of hair growth ...

... and still more brush strokes ... 

I like how the process of wetting and softly brushing in black softens the appearance of the coat. So once again, I mix up three dilutions of color, wet the entire area to be black, and start dropping in paint.

And here is Black Cat #2. I wasn't sure if I really loved the look, but after leaving the two portraits for a day or two, and putting them side by side, I quite like them. YAY!!!!

I worked on these two together - just mixed up a vat of black paint and got going. They were both done inside of a week [that must be a record for me!] The next one is going to be more of a challenge - he has a very flat face ... almost no facial "structure" to work with, as well as having some fussy coat coloration. But that's five portraits done so far!!!

Thank you so much for dropping by!