More Frogs in Watercolor

•March 22, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Although my life has been busy I still find time to paint, even if its small studies of things I like.  Doing these 5×7 paintings allows me to wet my brushes, enjoy the color of the pigments and explore the unknown by challenging myself to capture the likeness of a frog.

This little guy was a black & white drawing that was given out in a workshop many years ago and stored in one of my folders. I would never throw out a reference paper. He was fun to paint and by using cool blue tones he has a whimsical feel. But he is still painted too realistic for my liking.

FROGS 3-16

This next guy was painted in a more loose style. I left him half undone and added salt to form the spots on his body. While the foot was still wet I blew out the paint which created an abstract form for the foot. I liked that effect so I will continue by painting another frog and see how far I can push the shapes yet still allow you to see a frog.

FROGS1_ 3-16

You do not need a lot of time or supplies to fit a little painting into your day. By keeping a small bag filled with only the absolute essentials I can take a few minutes and see what develops on my paper. Have fun!

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Painting Frogs in Watercolor

•February 16, 2016 • 4 Comments

Today, while painting with a group of artists, someone asked me if animals are what I paint because I was working on a series of frogs. I found this question quite amusing because painting animals is something I have been struggling with.  I had a full page handout of a variety of frogs that I decided would be my newest challenge.

My first frog was a little misshaped but I like the way I captured the eye. If you have read any of my previous posts on painting animal eyes you have heard me say that if I create an eye that has life in it then I feel I’ve been successful.



This next fella has a great eye but the rest of him need more color & contrast.

Frogs2This guy is my favorite. Good eyes & a decent body shape



In this enlargement you can see the eye and facial colors.


I know I’m not done exploring the many ways I can paint a frog, these were just the beginning or early stages in my series of painting frogs. Don’t be afraid to use whatever colors you want. Color is not important, shapes and values are. I do not draw any pencil lines on the paper I do all my ‘drawing’ with my paintbrush. I found that when I draw the animal I get frustrated if it doesn’t come out exactly right and then I’m trying to correct it with my painting. Working without a drawing gives me total freedom with my brush & paints.

Find an animal that interests you and start painting


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Negative Painting & The Use of Clear Plastic Wrap

•January 26, 2016 • 4 Comments

Although I love to read I would become bored if I had to read the same book over & over again no matter how much I loved the book. That is how I feel about painting. I love using my colors & brushes to make interesting images but I am constantly tweaking how I accomplish the final results. After seeing Jean Haines using ‘cling wrap’ or ‘saran wrap’ to create interesting marks on watercolor paper I thought I would find my own use for it in my painting process.


Negative Trees with saran wrap1_________________________________________________________

I applied a colorful wash and while the paper was still wet I stretched the plastic wrap as I laid it on the lower half of my paper. I crumpled the plastic wrap as I laid it on the top half of my paper. I had tree shapes in mind as I did this trying to make long vertical marks below & scrunched up marks on top. When dry, I gently removed the plastic wrap.


Negative Trees with saran wrap2


The plastic wrap left exactly the imprints I wanted. On the left I started negative painting a tree shape using a slightly darker pink color.


Negative Trees with saran wrap3


The first wash is completed and you can see the outline of the 3 trees and their many branches.


Negative Trees with saran wrap4


In this 4th photo I have half of the second layer of trees completed using a purple color I negative pained around the tree shapes.


Negative Trees with saran wrap5 copy


I use a darker wash to define the final layer of trees & branches.

The painting is complete and I enjoyed the interesting & organic marks left on the paper from the plastic wrap. Using these marks allowed me to direct the tree trunks & branches in unique directions creating engaging & intriguing forms.

This small (6″x9″) painting exudes energy & I will now see what I can achieve on a much larger sheet of watercolor paper.


Even if you love what you are painting, try something different and see how it changes how you paint. Even the smallest change could lead you into a new direction of painting. Have fun!


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A Study of Cats Eyes in WATERCOLOR

•January 12, 2016 • 6 Comments

Happy New Year!

My resolution is to not only create more art but to share it with you more frequently, starting today.

I have been studying animal eyes and recently I have been working on cat eyes. I start with a good photo so I can see the eye shape clearly. This is Mickey, one of the stray cats I have been taking care of for years. He’s not a friendly guy but he sure is handsome.

Cat Eyes3

I always start my painting with the eyes. I have said this before, if I can capture life like eyes the rest is easier because I feel the eyes are what create the animal’s soul.

Cat Eyes2

This is my first attempt at these eyes. although the shapes need adjusting I like the fur like quality I have achieved. Recently in a Jean Haines workshop she said, when doing the fur first touch the photo and imagine stroking the fur and feeling the directional patterns it makes. Very helpful advice.

Cat Eyes5

In these studies I can see the eye shape is better and I have added the suggestion of a nose.

Cat Eyes4


I am pleased with these and will continue practicing until I get the results I’m looking for. Get out some scrap paper and get to work doing studies of your own. Find a subject that interests you and pick a small starting point. I choose the eyes because they intrigue me and they are challenging. Be fearless. Remember no one has to see them so take risks with color & shapes. Most of all breath & have fun!


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Watercolor Facial Shapes

•November 9, 2015 • 4 Comments

As an artist I am forever learning or maybe I should say yearning to push myself and not get caught in a comfort zone of doing the same thing over & over again. I am continuing to explore new images and finding new ways to examine how I could paint them using my watercolors.

This is a picture of my husband Bruce that I took several years ago. In photoshop I changed it into a B&W and using a filter I could break the image down further into simple shapes. Next I sketched the image onto my watercolor paper.

Bruce Facial Shapes1

I decided to only use 1 color, a Daniel Smith watercolor called Moonglow which gives me a beautiful granulation of pigment.

Following the image I examined the darks & lights and start by painting the shapes not the portrait of Bruce. I delve into this project with pure pleasure because I have no fear of failure. How can I fail by painting light & dark shapes?

Bruce Facial Shapes2


Amazingly the image turns into a likeness of Bruce. Buy allowing myself to relax and not worry about achieving a perfect portrait I watch as the dark shapes turned into a resemblance of the photo.

This was serious fun and I am going through my reference photos looking for another picture to practice this again.

This was such a safe way to introduce my brain to portraits.  Soon I might even try this using more than 1 color.

Go ahead and give it a try!

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Another Rooster in Watercolor

•September 28, 2015 • 2 Comments

I’m continuing my practice of painting eyes and today I worked on a painting of a Rooster.


A light sketch and then I start painting the eye. I feel if I can create an amazing eye then the rest is just color, shape & fun!


I flooded the eye with color and waited for the pigment to settle into the paper, then with a damp brush I lifted a small amount of the excess water. I love the way the eye looks like it’s wet.


ROOSTER SEPT 28-15b_______________________________________________________

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Painting Ducklings is Fun, Easy & Colorful

•September 1, 2015 • 5 Comments

I have been enjoying painting animals and I recently painted these adorable ducklings. They are sweet and I really like the way this small painting came out.


A Ducklings


I thought I’d do this painting again as a birthday gift for my 5-year-old Grand Niece Brianna. I wanted it to be a personal gift that she would know I painted just for her so I decided to paint the ducklings in her favorite color, aquamarine. After sketching the scene I negative painted around the subjects creating the dark blue background. While working around the heads I defined the short downy feathers so they would look textured. Easy to do using the point of my round brush placing it toward the head & pulling away created the spiked edges.


Aqua Ducklings 1


Painting the bodies was fun because I could choose beautiful aqua blues.

Correct color doesn’t matter as long as the value is right.



Aqua Ducklings 2


Adding eyes, feet & the beaks, still using blues, complete the birds.

Next I grounded them by painting a surface for them to stand on.



Aqua Ducklings 3


The cool colors led me to thinking this looked like a winter scene therefore I added falling snow.


Aqua Ducklings 4


She was so excited to rip off the wrapping paper and see her gift.

She couldn’t wait to get home and hang her new painting in her room.

Aqua Ducklings Bri


Happy Birthday Brianna


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