Mystery In The Garden

These bronze statues and there location in Denver Botanic Gardens invite mystery and intrigue. Rather than being presented on a pedestal, these figures are integrated into the natural landscape and surrounded by tall grasses and trees. As I designed the composition, the dark pine trees were perfect to set off the light value sculptures and the tall delicate grasses were an interesting foil around the hard metal figures. To create these grasses, I started with a light wash of warm gray, then used a script watercolor brush with varied strokes and was careful to leave white paper to represent the blooming plants. I also used some spattering and overlapped some dark strokes in this area. Wi

Mixing Rich Earth Tones

This is a demo painting from my Summer Workshop in Steamboat Springs Colorado. We were on a marvelous ranch along the Elk River and I was intrigued by the sunlight on this old shed with the red trailer. Did you know that brown is actually mixed from the three primary colors red, yellow, and blue? Putting these three colors together in watercolor can often get muddy so I like to have burnt sienna, raw umber, and burnt umber on my palette. I used different mixtures of burnt sienna and ultramarine blue for the shed and mixed cerulean blue and cadmium red for the grays in the metal roofs and the fence posts. I also added a little burnt sienna to the gray roof to indicate rust. With color

Part III Unexpected Color Combinations

Dear Fellow Artist, As painters we can get in a color rut and keep using the same color palette in the same way. This results in boring paintings. - Do you struggle with finding exciting color combinations for your painting? - Do you know why some colors do not appear to agree with each color? - Are you aware that "the rules for mixing colors" do not always work when mixing watercolor paints? - Wouldn't you like to know how to use the color wheel specifically for watercolor painting? I am teaching a one day workshop titled, "The Art of Color: Choosing Colors That Work Together" Friday, October 4th 2019, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Your work will be transformed as you learn how to create the "W

Part II Unexpected Color Combinations

Here is another painting of 17th Street from my ongoing series of downtown Denver paintings. One reason for doing this series is to explore the use of color. For this cityscape, I wanted to capture the noise, traffic, hustle and bustle during the daily rush hour. In my last email, I mentioned that often when I see artists change colors from what they see, the colors do not appear to agree with each other. Here I used the complimentary colors of red and green to create high contrast and set the mood. Complimentary colors always work well together but bright complimentary colors can be jarring in a painting. One way to address this problem is to link them with colors of the same families

Unexpected Color Combinations Part I

This is a painting of 17th Street in downtown Denver and it is a subject that I have returned to many times. I make each painting of the same subject different by considering the weather, time of day, lighting, and even the day of the week. These elements influence my color choices and often lead to unexpected color combinations. I often see artists unconsciously using the same color palette in the same way. Do you ever find yourself in a color rut? Two ways to resolve this issue are learning how to work with color families and color intensity. When people think of a city, they visualize cold steel, bricks and mortar, dull and dirty pavement, traffic, and tall buildings. As you can se

Anticipating Monet Show

Painting this picture of water lilies brought back wonderful memories of visiting Claude Monet's home in Giverny. He created his own world with the magnificent flower gardens and enchanting lily pad pond surrounded by willow and poplar trees that shimmer in the sunlight. Monet then spent the last 40 years of his life creating paintings of this private world and the upcoming show "Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature" at the Denver Art Museum will display 120 of his works. In my painting I was fascinated by the dark water and how it shimmered in the sunlight and added movement and rhythm to the composition. To capture this effect I used different mixtures of indigo, perylene green and ultram

The Blue Gate

In Taos New Mexico blue gates are a tradition that goes all the way back to the early settlers and the Pueblo Indians. This color which is now known as Taos Blue has been used for many years to ward off eval spirits on doorways, window frames and gates. This painting was a demonstration from my Taos workshop and it was a magnificent year for the lilacs which were blooming everywhere and filling the air with their intoxicating fragrance. I chose to dominate the painting with warm colors and use the blue gate as a cool accent. Surrounded by warm colors and dark values the blue gate gains an air of mystery and adds to the story of the painting. Colors are not only warm or cool in regards t

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