Choosing A Watercolor Palette

•January 4, 2017 • Leave a Comment

As individuals we all have our likes and dislikes, that’s why there are so many choices when making a purchase. Do your research and read the reviews when buying a new palette.

I use a variety of palettes but I will share my 3 favorites with you.



John Pike Palette

This was my 1st palette and it is my favorite palette for several reasons.  It is almost indestructible because it is made of a very hard plastic that does not bend & crack I am using the same palette for 17 years and I still love it. It is my daily studio palette. About once a year I re-evaluate my choice of colors and I might switch out one for another more desirable color.

~It seals tight and keeps my paints moist, which is very important to me. I use tube pigments and when I open my palette I do not want to find dried up paints.

~It has 20 paint wells. 16= 1 1/2″ & 4= 2″ I also purchase empty full pans. I can fit 2 pans into 1 well to double the color capacity within my palette. The wells are large enough to accommodate my large brushes.

~ 10 1/2″ X 15″ It has a large mixing area plus the top can be used as a mixing area too. I do not mix my colors on the palette, I use large puddles of individual color therefore I need room to work in my style. The only color mixing I do on my palette is for grays or browns




Mijello Artelier Peel Off Palette

~ This is my travel or going to workshop palette because it is slightly smaller than the John Pike palette yet it is large enough for my needs. 9″ x 13″  It fits into most flat bottom art bags.

~This palette seals tight and does not leak. It has a rubber seal to prevent leakage. I never stand my palette on its edge when traveling because the moisture of the paints can run within the palette.

~ Considering it’s size the mixing area is sufficient for my use.

~It has 24 wells, (3 measure 2 1/2″) I can have plenty of color choices because of the amount of wells.


I also use a smaller palette made by Mijello   It is the perfect size for Plein Air painting or for just sitting on my deck while painting the views or gardens. The Mijello Fusion Airtight Leakproof Palette comes in 3 sizes and has a removable tray that fits into the lid. Both the tray and the lid can be used as mixing areas giving me plenty of space to make color puddles.

18 Wells  10 1/2″ x 5″—24 Wells 12″ x 5 “—33 Wells 12 1/2″ x 6”


When using a new palette if the water/pigment beads up & separates in the mixing area use some comet or abrasive cleaner on the mixing area. You want to break up the shiny surface which will then allow the water to pool together.

Pick out your palette, fill it with your favorite colors and have fun. I will share my choices of color and how I set up my palette in my next Blog titled “Setting up my watercolor palette”.


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A Watercolor Wash – Playful & Pretty

•November 28, 2016 • 2 Comments

Watercolor is the most playful medium. It flows and dances beautifully with water. It can be light and transparent or dark and mysterious. You as the artist can choose how you want to describe or convey an image by your numerous choices of techniques in the use of watercolor.

Today I painted a wash while thinking of the softness of flowers.  I used plenty of water allowing the pigment to mingle freely on the paper. I have no fear of blooms appearing in my washes, in fact I welcome them. I like the edges that they make and find them useful.


Working on dry paper, my goal is to allow the original wash to direct me as to how the flowers will appear. By the addition of some hard edges I can create the illusion of roses. The dark stems give the appearance of light coming through from the background.  


My goal was to have a painting of flowers that was mostly soft and glowing. I didn’t do much planning but I knew that I needed a mix of soft & hard edges to add interest to my painting.

I have not painted roses before because I have seen so many outstanding paintings of them I was intimidated.  But today I conquered my fear and I will start a series of these glorious flowers. This will be a great project to paint during the cold short winter days ahead.


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•November 21, 2016 • Leave a Comment


These are a few more of the Rooster paintings I have completed recently. Above is the first wash which was painted using Quinn Gold and two different reds, one cool & one warm. When this dries I add the details in the eyes. I usually paint the eyes first which helps me see the life of the animal I’m painting

This is the finished rooster.



This next Rooster was painted mostly on dry paper therefore it has many hard edges, except for the body which I painted wet-in-wet allowing it to have a very soft feel somewhat like feathers



This painting was done mostly on wet paper which gives it a diffused soft feel. When completely dry I detailed the eyes & beak. One soft brush stroke outlines the breast area and the painting is finished.


Whether you prefer soft & flowing or defined & detailed knowing how to achieve the desired results all depends on your knowledge of watercolor techniques. Practice the basics skills needed to be proficient in the use of watercolor. It can only help you become a more accomplished artist by having command over this amazing medium.


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•November 14, 2016 • Leave a Comment


This lively little rooster watercolor painting was entered into the 61st Annual Art League of Long Island  Member’s Exhibition 2016. All art submitted must be no larger than 25×25 so I rummaged through my recent paintings looking for the ideal one to enter into this show.I thought this cute portrait of a rooster would do nicely.

While searching through my artwork I came across a multitude of finished, partially finished & undone practices of roosters. I decided to complete several of them and share them with you.



  I did a simple wash of very light reds, pinks & oranges and once the wash was dry I started to detail the eye & face area still keeping the value very light.



I increased the value as I continue to define the face, beak, comb & wattle. I don’t need to completely illustrate these just a suggestion will do.


The last marks I make are to slightly outline the body. The completed painting has a soft appearance unlike the 1st rooster (top of the page) which is much more distinct and specific. Both are rooster painting but each will appeal to a different viewer. I paint what I like and enjoy, I find these roosters to be challenging yet amusing & enjoyable to paint.


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Acknowledging the Negative Watercolor Workshop 2016

•November 1, 2016 • Leave a Comment


On Oct 29th & 30th I taught my newest Watercolor Workshop titled ‘Acknowledging the Negative’ at the Art League of Long Island in Dix Hills New York. An amazing group of artists were in attendance and everyone was eager to explore this fun yet challenging concept.

I had several exercises for them to do progressing from simple to more advanced as I walked them through the process of painting only the negative space allowing the image to appear as the white of the paper. That is how these images were painted.





Another exercise was to layer images which creates depth in the painting. We used leaves that I gathered from outside and brought to the class. It was easy to trace around the actual leaf, and when layering them we could place one on top of another to see how to work out the design of the painting.



The exercise of ‘finding shapes or images’ from a colorful wash is one of my favorites. For this class I had the students finding flower shapes. Everyone did a great job with this challenge of having to “see” by stretching their imagination as they looked for floral images within their washes.



I am sharing my floral painting although it is not nearly finished. In the first image I have 2 layers of flowers, the yellow flower sits on top of the blue flower.


In this image you can see the 3rd flower or 3rd layer sitting under the 2 other flowers. This is how I build my layered paintings by painting in the negative.


Thank you to everyone who attended my workshop and thank you to the Art League of Long Island for adding me to their roster of educators.

I am completing my Winter/Spring schedule of workshops and I am offering several Negative Painting classes including a full workshop on Negative Painting Flowers. I am excited to have a terrific place to share my love of watercolor painting.

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Watercolor Washes – Painting Animal Faces

•September 6, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Watercolor washes are essential to being a successful painter.

Many artists think of washes as big colorful backgrounds in landscapes. That is definitely  one use for washes. But when I paint a face I think of it as if I’m painting small washes  where each shape contributes to the whole effect of painting a face.

Below are 2 examples of faces where I flooded colors in various shapes to create the image




Because I have a fear of drawing I find that when I think of painting a dog’s face I only think of where the controlled washes will be and what value they need to be. With a little practice I learned how to paint without fear.


Pick a subject that inspires you and break it down into shapes & values. Do a series of paintings and soon you will see the progress you have made. Most of all have a good time!

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All About Watercolor Washes #3 The Variegated Wash

•August 29, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Watercolor is all about the washes

The 3rd wash is a mingling of colors applied on the paper. Unlike a flat wash where you strive to achieve a beautiful color from top to bottom or a graded wash where you apply color to the top of the paper and blend it to clear as you paint down the paper, a variegated wash is simply applying  2 or more colors to the paper.

You must remember the principles of color so you don’t end up with a puddle of muddy color. I suggest to start your practicing of variegated washes using 2 colors. I first slightly wet the paper and alow the shine to leave the paper. I do not want too much water on the paper because I will have little control as I apply my paint. Also too much water will dilute the paint and unless I’m looking for the lightest value for my wash I don’t use an abundance of water.

I paint or drop color off my loaded brush allowing the paint to mix on the paper. I control where I want the most color or where I want to leave the white of the paper showing through.




Many times I have no idea as to what I will be painting on these washes when they dry. Sometimes I know exactly what this wash will become later on when it dries.

If I need hard edges I do not wet the entire paper. I wet sections or I use a clean brush to ‘paint’ with water as needed. As in the image below.


Texture can be added at this stage. This image shows the addition of salt for texture.



These images are to show you how a variegated wash can be useful in a painting.



No matter what level of an artist you are, a beginner, intermediate, or advanced  you will benefit and gain confidence by practicing and perfecting your washes. Get out your brushes, paper & paints and have a good time watching the colors mingle & flow across the paper. Pull out the tubes of unused color and squeeze out some of that paint. I find this a great way to better understand what my paints & colors can do when mixed together.

Many days, in my studio, I’m not prepared to start a new painting. This is when I practice my washes and fill my soul with beautiful colors. This is what makes me feel triumphant and brilliant as an artist

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