A Twist Of Lemon

Do you know that some of the truly transparent yellows are brownish in their concentrate? For example, Transparent Yellow and Quinacridone Gold can be diluted to the palest yellow tints yet when you squeeze them from the tube they appear brown. Every watercolor palette needs a warm and cool version of yellow as well as a transparent and opaque yellow. Don't forget that even raw umber and raw sienna are included in the yellow family and when mixed with blue make interesting greens. This painting was done in a private garden in the town of Luca in Tuscany where I taught a workshop. For the darker shades on the lemons, I added cobalt violet which is the complement of lemon yellow. Darkenin

Painting On Plastic

I have always been a big Ray Charles fan and when I was an art student at The Ohio State University I saw him live at a theater in downtown Columbus Ohio. I found a portrait of him on an old CD cover and that was my reference for this watercolor portrait. It was painted on yupo paper and, if you haven't tried it, you might find it interesting. It is not actually paper but rather a sheet of plastic resembling paper. Because it is plastic the paint never soaks in but dries on top of the surface. This means that anything you don't like you can wipe right off with a damp cloth. The interesting part is when you go back into an area that you have painted your brush is lifting out the earlier

Guess The Size!

Before you read any further GUESS THE SIZE OF THIS PAINTING. I will give the answer later in today's lesson. This watercolor of a flower market in Paris was done on Claybord by Ampersand. It is a very slick surface with no texture. I found painting on it was fun because I could move the paint more easily and lifting out was also much easier. When I first went to Paris years ago on a painting trip, there were flower stalls and flower markets all over the city and, sadly, most of them are gone now. It is too bad because they were a glorious and colorful addition to the city. I decided to place the figures in the upper right corner so the emphasis would be on the flowers which take up abo

Spring In Taos

Last Sunday I talked about plein air painting and today I want to further that discussion. When I am out painting on location I carry a small paintbox from Judson Outfitters which is set up for 6 x 8 watercolor paper. It also contains a small bungie strap which allows me to work in larger sizes and still have the paper secure. The paintbox holds all my supplies, travel brushes, extra paint tubes, clips, water container, blackwing pencils, viewer, eraser and a watercolor block. This means the only additional things I carry are my tripod, a bottle of water, sun block and my shade hat. I recently was gifted a painters stool which I am excited to use for the first time this year. This paint

Cafe Sunshine

Warmer weather is here to stay and artists are painting outside on location. This is a plein air painting from a few years ago in Cinqueterre on the coast of Italy. I sat in a cafe and painted this scene across the plaza. The weather was perfect and the waiters were happy to leave me alone. It was early afternoon and I was intrigued by the cast shadows from the laundry, tree, and umbrellas. My real subject was the warm sunshine and the effect it had on everything and I kept reminding myself of this while I was painting. It is to easy to get caught up in the individual objects and pretty colors forgetting about what attracted me in the first place. This is a small painting 6 x 8 inches a

Letter to Vincent Van Gogh

This is coming out late Sunday night instead of this afternoon because I have been loosing my mind for hours as I tried to deal with the government and their complicated programs. Without an ART ANGEL who came to my rescue I could never have finished. Now, thanks to all the people who commented on my last email with the El Chapultepec painting. Yes, the painting will be in the book that I am finishing. In these days of stress and confinement I have been daydreaming as a way to revive creativity. This brought up the idea of sending a letter to Vincent Van Gogh. How would I do it and what would I say? I decided to paint one of his favorite subjects, the sunflower, and then I painted a p

Denver Jazz

I have been working on a book of drawings and paintings of my favorite places in Denver and this is one of the paintings. El Chapultepec is the oldest jazz club in Colorado and it has an interesting and notorious history. The owner used to settle arguments with a baseball bat and it remains a popular spot for famous jazz artists to drop by and sit in with the band. Novelist and poet Jack Kerouac was a frequent patron in the 50's and the ambiance is pretty much the same today. The club is at its best in the wee hours of the morning so I decided to paint this as a night scene. The giant neon sign is a classic and it was fun lighting it up against the night sky. The empty street and the ca

My Latest Painting

I have been encouraging everyone to keep painting and creating during this lockdown and I would never ask you to do something that I am not doing so here is the painting that I started 2 weeks ago and finished yesterday March 11. Hollyhocks are a favorite subject of mine and I actually saw these during a workshop in Steamboat Springs. The size is 22 x 30 inches and I must admit it was a real challenge. GETTING STARTED WAS THE HARDEST PART (I am sure many of you can relate.) Each day starting up again was a little easier and the last few days I found myself painting right after getting out of bed, even before brushing my teeth or eating breakfast. I think this was easier because I rememb

Announcing the Winners

I would like to thank everyone who accepted the challenge and sent me their list of reasons why the large flower is the focal point and what techniques I used to make it so. The response was incredible and I read each one with great interest and anticipation. Here are some of the ones that I enjoyed the most: 1. The flower is located in the golden mean, also known as the rule of thirds, and also known as the Da Vinci Code named after its most famous advocate. 2. The two large flowers to the left of the focal point seem to be pushing it forward. 3. Most of the stems, including the biggest one, direct your eye to the dominate flower. 4. This flower, also known as the queen, is in full bloom

Win A Free Painting

During these challenging times I truly believe everyone can do something. A little something, a big something, definitely something. So here is what I am doing. I am giving you all a chance to have fun and maybe win a free painting. No strings attached and nothing for sale, not that there is anything wrong with selling something. Here is how it works: Look at this painting of sunflowers and decide which is the dominate flower. Hint, it is the biggest one. Now study the painting and look for all the techniques I used to make that flower the focal paint. Here are a few clues, size does matter, and so does location, rich colors, and directing the eye. I have identified 10 different one

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