Sunday, March 25, 2018


I started this last week, as a demo for class in the lifting technique.  I wish I had taken a photo at the earliest stage.
I started by saturating the paper with water. I had decided on a cool palette, and used quin. violet, phthalo green, indanthrone and a touch of aureolin. I made the colours fairly dilute, and dropped them onto the wet paper, and rocked the board to get the colours to blend a bit. I then used a large flat brush to start lifting the colour from the area of the white flowers. When I had a reasonable likeness of the clematis, I let it dry. I went back later, and did a bit more lifting, using a moist brush to wet select spots I wanted to lift further.
When the lifting was finished, I added some leaves, wet in wet, with a mixture of quin. gold and indanthrone to get a soft, more neutral green. And I painted the stems with quin. violet.

I went over the leaves with a mix of phthalo green and quin. gold, leaving random streaks for the veins. I also started working on the shadows of the petals, using a mix of quin. gold and indanthrone.

More shadowing done wet in wet, or by softening applied paint with a damp brush.

 I considered applying a thin wash of gold and indanthrone to the background, but decided that would defeat the purpose of the lifting technique - to create a background that gently integrates with the subject matter. 

This is a quick demo I did in Thursday's class, using the same triad of colours. It shows how a lifted painting looks in the very early stages.

Thank you so much for dropping by!

Some Latest Student Work

Here we have two versions of the goslings we all recently completed.  I am so happy to see the improvements in their work. Though they must sometimes think I am an ogre, standing over them, giving step-by-step advice as they paint, cracking my whip [not really]. 

This is a landscape of a nearby steam - the Little Campbell River. I tried the scene recently, was very dissatisfied, may try again. But here J. has done a gorgeous job, bringing into being a typical Fraser Valley morning sky. She has laid down a graded wash of aureolin, and after drying, another wash of grey [aureolin, quin. pink, cobalt blue].

One of our projects this last week was on lifting - not an easy concept or technique, but well handled here.

I am still very happily teaching one or two days a week, and I believe my students are happy with their work, too.  I wouldn't mind having a few more students, especially in the Spring and Summer when we are able to paint outside on the large patio, overlooking Pat's garden and Bruno's paddock and field. If you know of anyone in the Fraser Valley area who would like help with drawing or watercolour painting, please leave me a note.

Thank you so much for dropping by!

Friday, March 16, 2018



Reference photo for subject

Reference for snow

I mask out areas that have a bit of snow on the surface, then just start in, working mostly wet on dry as the areas to be painted are quite small and not too conducive to wet-in-wet. 

Again, I am using my favourite triad of quin. burnt orange, quin. violet and indanthrone.

And as usual, I give little thought to a background till the subject is well under way [NOT a great method, but it's me]. I decide to put in a wintery morning sky, and lay in a w/w graded wash of aureolin. I let it dry, then do another graded wash of grey [perm. rose, aureolin and cobalt blue] on the sky. I also wash on a thin application of the grey on the unmasked snow, to make the white on the wagon stand out.

It still looks too empty, so I put in a line of trees over the rise.  To get a more natural look, I use a sponge evenly along the edge of the hill and randomly above. I then quickly drop in a pre-mixed dull green [quin. gold and indanthrone], starting at the bottom and letting it flow upwards into the sponged areas. It still looks rather bleak and miserable, but that's how I feel about winter, and also how I feel about what is happening where I live. Here in south Langley, we are being "invaded" by real estate developers and speculators, and I truly fear for the continuance of this incredibly beautiful rural, agricultural area!

Thank you so much for dropping by!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

TAKING A GANDER - available for purchase

Taking a Gander
framable size 8.5 x 6.5 in./ 21 x 16.5 cm.
$95.00 Cdn

TAKING A GANDER - step by step watercolour painting

 This is the drawing I prepared for my students - much cleaner and more precise than what I work with myself. I tend to be a very rough sketcher.

 First washes - all done wet in wet. Aureolin  and quin. burnt orange for the body, quin. sienna for the feet, and a dark brown [quin. burnt orange, quin. violet and indanthrone] for the legs. The class and I will be doing more of the technique I used on their feet - having two concentrations of the colour I am using, one more dilute for the overall wash of colour, and a thicker one for more depth. It's important to keep the brush you use for the thicker paint rather dry, so you are adding mostly pigment, not more water to the area.

Building up more of the local colour. Their bills are quin. sienna with some thin indanthrone.

I add more of the dark [burnt orange, violet and indanthrone] to their bodies and legs, and some detailed markings with a thick mixture and fairly dry brush.

I hope you enjoyed the goslings. Thank you for dropping by!