Tuesday, February 25, 2020

BLACK ROCK SANDS - step by step watercolour of landscape

Black Rock Sands, Wales
Transparent watercolour on archival paper
36 x 29.5 cm.
14 x 11.5 in.
Available for purchase
My value sketch

Masked lines of foam under rocks at right.  Painted blue sky first wet-in-wet with cobalt and phthalo. blue. Sand and rocks started w/w with quin. burnt orange, quin. pink and cobalt blue.

Clouds done w/w with mix of aureolin, quin. pink and cobalt blue. Initial washes on rocks using mixture of orange, violet and indanthrone.

Mostly done, but still looked somewhat bland ...

... so I deepened clouds, darkened rocks' shadows and did a w/w application of indanthrone, violet and orange. I think it adds some lovely depth to the work.

I hope you enjoyed seeing the painting evolve, and thank you for dropping by!

Sunday, February 23, 2020


Tuco - 14 x 11.5 in.
I'd like to try mounting the paper on a cradled frame, and varnishing it. But I'll wait to see what Tuco's owner thinks.

Graphite drawing

I masked some of his face where I anticipated screaming along with some bright red paint.

Mask removed, and I started some wet-in-wet washes.

Some wet on dry was done where the shadows and colours were deepest.

More w/w

Here, I was starting to get some expression on his face, and adding some some of the softer, lighter colours.

I was almost done with the face. I added his collar, and some shadows around it. In the final stage, at the top of the post, I added more soft shadow to suggest his neck and chest. Somehow, he looked like a floating head without it.

The colours I used were scarlet lake for the red slash; for the darker hues, I used mixtures of quin. burnt orange, quin. violet and indanthrone; for the softer shadows I worked with combinations of quin. pink, aureolin and cobalt blue.

If you have any questions, or would like to enquire about commissioning a portrait, please feel free to write me at studioatthefarm7@gmail.com

Thank you so much for dropping by!

Monday, February 3, 2020

A VERY DRAMATIC SKY - watercolour step by step

I did a fairly detailed [for me] value sketch.

First wet-in-wet washes. Sky - a bit of aureolin. Beach - a mixture of quin. burnt orange and cobalt blue. 

A mixture of indanthrone, quin. burnt orange and quin. pink for the distant mountains.

Then the part that really makes the picture. I wet the sky twice, drying a bit in between, to keep the paper wetter for more time. I needed the extra time to play with the dark sky, adding more colour here, lifting there. The colours are again indanthrone, quin. burnt orange and quin. pink.

Finally I add the details of the waves to lead the eye to the focus on the lower right, and make the image actually look like a beach scene. I might have made the sky more imposing than it was in the photo, but then the painting IS about the sky. And the dark winter weather here has left me feeling somewhat "dark", too. I wish to thank Barb Thurgood for the use of here image of Black Rock Sands as reference. The painting is 8 1/2 x 14 inches framable.

Thank you so much for dropping by!

Monday, January 27, 2020


Savannah at 18
I was invited to Savannah's family birthday party, and it was a wonderful time. For a gift, I drew this portrait based on a photo I took when Savannah and her family and I went hiking up Mt. Baker. Savannah and her mom were so happy with the portrait!

This is my niece; the photo reference was sent to me by my sister. I was so struck by the intensity of her gaze, I started drawing it, just as an exercise. Her mom loved it so much, she asked me to finish it for her.

Here are two drawing studies I did for our watercolour class. They are based on photos of Black Rock Beach in Wales, and were generously offered as reference photos by Barb Thurgood. I am still working on the watercolour version of these.

Thank you for visiting!


Another pose of my Australian friend's beloved dog. Must get around to mailing them ...

A friend's bull terrier, given as a Christmas gift.

I am still working on a watercolour version of the portrait.
A commission done for a birthday gift. The pup had just arrived by plane, and was being held and cherished by her new mom.
Linda kindly sent me a photo of Asia, posing with her portrait under the Christmas tree. She was so thrilled with her portrait that she was crying [from joy, I hope :) ]

Thank you for dropping by - hope you enjoyed your visit!

Friday, December 13, 2019


This was a recent class project. I combined two reference photos - one of a glorious sunset, and another of some nearby farm buildings.

I started this over three weeks ago, and just can't get motivated to finish it.

I completed this painting of a friend's horse. Cathy helped me a lot when I was recuperating from the hip surgery, and I promised to get a portrait of her [and her daughter's] retired eventing horse. He and Bruno are over-the-fence buddies. His name is Blue, hence the broad stripe of colour. I quite like the more animated pose of Blue, and the random streak of colour. I think it makes the work more dynamic and alive. I was so happy that Cathy and her daughter loved it.

This is another "Blue" portrait - one of our neighbour's blue heeler, named Blue. Donald and Linda live around the corner on a farm that has been in Linda's family for a few generations. They are both good people, and Donald often helps my landlady and me with mechanical work and farm advice. I have been doing a lot more drawing lately, started this, and felt it turned out well. So I took it over to them.

And this is Mitch. He was an Australian heeler, much loved by a far-away friend. I met Eugene while doing my second stint at university; he tutored me in organic chemistry. From there, we developed a long-distance friendship. I'd like to do a few more drawings or paintings of Mitch, and send them off to Australia to Eugene.

So that's life on the farm right now. Thank you for dropping by!

Monday, November 4, 2019


Drawing, bordered with some old mat board to give me an idea of how to format painting.

First thin w/w wash of quin. sienna.

More w/w washes, some dry brush with softening. Colours I used are my favourite animal colours - quin. burnt orange, quin. sienna, quin. violet and indanthrone - all Daniel Smith.

Just gradually building up layers of depth ...

Collar is a combination of phthalo. and cobalt blue. 

Archie is done, looking very adorable as do all dachshunds.

I am pleased with the painting but not with the circumstances surrounding it. I was commissioned to paint both the client's dogs in time for  them to be given to his wife-to-be as wedding gifts. Before I started, I made sure he knew the price, with and without framing, for both paintings. And I asked him several times before I started the painting whether he was SURE. Yes ... yes ...  I finished it, and asked if he would like it framed, and he asked the price. He felt framing was too expensive, and were there any alternatives. I explained prices for matting and/or putting in protective sleeve. And that was the last I heard from him! I am quite miffed, and consider his behaviour to be unprincipled, especially as he was one of the professionals working with me after my surgery. I would really like to be able to trust a client, but I think, in future, I must ask for a deposit before I start even a drawing. What are your thoughts on the matter?

Thank you for dropping by!