Monday, April 15, 2024


So I tried this one again and still could not paint it like the teacher! Ha ha. Oh, well, really worked it and changed it and lifted and added and put on some gouache and…calling it Sadness.  She looks very sad and pensive and pondering something deeply.  

Decided it was time to move on.  And ruined the next painting completely.  This is “okay” and it is the second version after tearing up the first effort.  I think I hit a bump there for a few days for some reason.  I know a lot of artists say just continue to paint all the time and don’t let bad days get you but I know me and if I don’t feel like painting, I may as well save the paint and paper and time.

Friday, April 12, 2024


 I was rolling right along with the 30 Faces/30 Days Lessons from Sktchy and then…I got stuck.  I did not follow the teacher’s instructor well and just went and did my own thing and thought, okay, that’s okay…but I wanted to try it her way so did it again and…well some days are diamonds and some days are stones.

So I started with the first version…not bad but nothing like the one the instructor did (which I will show at the end to show you just how different it is).

Then kept working on it and working on it and walking away and coming back and thinking, just a bit more and…well…the last one is finished and I’m calling her Mother Nature Ponders the Future because, well, why not?

And this last one is the way the teacher (Lorraine Simonds) did it, which I was supposed to be following, but could not, for the life of me, do it that way.


And Lorraine Simonds is one of my favorite Sktchy artists.  I like her style and her brushwork and she leaves enough to the imagination and I don’t.

So…I started another and knew, from the get-go, that it was also not going to be like Lorraine’s.  Why can’t I do this even remotely like this?  

Monday, April 8, 2024


 Did you see the eclipse?  Did you travel to see it or was it in your area of the US?  If you missed it in the US, another will be around in 2044.

We did not have total coverage here but about 90%.  Good enough.  I’m not that crazy about travelling and spending money and time on 3 minutes of eclipse so stayed home.


 A few more of the portraits.  Each instructor picks his/her own muse and then does it in an individual way.  Some want to do monochromatic paintings, some stress the design of light and dark, some just go in with colors.  

One of my favorite teachers is Dritan Duro.  He explains things so well and you can follow along fairly easily with him without getting lost.  

He usually picks a straight-forward portrait but an interesting face to paint.  His version is much more bold and colorful than mine but I’m not unhappy with my version.

Kyle Legaspi picks some interesting portraits to do - this time focusing on the almost monochrome and shadowed portrait.  I didn’t get it right but that’s okay.

And Ana Vivian just went totally monochromatic for this old-timey one.  She used Arches paper and I was using my Hahnemuehle paper (which kept the water in there a loooong time so I was getting impatient with it).  

These courses always teach me something and I can carry that learning on to the next thing after April (can’t believe it’s only just begun with the 30 faces/30 days!

I do not try to free hand draw these photos because it’s about the painting style and technique, not the drawing…that would just add too much stress trying to get a likeness (some of the teachers even say they trace of project the photo on their paper and don’t spend time drawing; others draw the portrait out and spend time drawing the face). 

Friday, April 5, 2024


 Started the latest 30 Days/30 Portraits challenge on and here is a few I did.  This is just 2 days.  I did the first one totally wrong - supposed to do a fine line around the drawing and then paint but my line was too thick and sepia and just didn’t work…so I did a lot of scrubbing back and reworking so it looked nothing like the teacher’s work.  The second one, I learned from my impulsive mistakes and mine is more like the teacher - but, as always, two people never paint exactly the same (especially since I don’t care what colors the teacher uses, I use my own versions).  The instructor for this painting is Liz Chaderton, and I liked her teaching style (no stress).  

The second day, the instructor was Charlotte Hamilton, and other than the fact that she kept pronouncing the pigment ochre as Okra, I was okay with her teaching.  (Do Brits pronounce ochre as okra?).  Each teacher picks their own “muse” from the Museum app associated with Sketchy (free photos to use for portrait work), and Charlotte chose an older gent I think I did in the previous 30 Days/30  Portraits.  

Monday, April 1, 2024


 I signed up for a 30 Days/30 Portraits (all in watercolor) again with  They offer great courses and this will continue all week with different instructors.  Looking forward to it because the last time I did this - back in October 2022, I learned a lot about watercolor portraits and I know I’ll learn more this time.  So the madness continues in a different way through April! Ha ha

Until then, here is a little ginkgo study.  Does anyone know why botanical artists never put shadows under their work?  I put shadows here and then realized that they do not…they try to make the painting as realistic as possible but never put shadows under it.

The second painting is a comparison of the same subject on Arches hotpress paper 140# - the left side is watercolor and right side is gouache.  I did this once before to compare and liked both sides equally.  This time I think I have a preference, but only because the background I muddied up behind the watercolor made the flower look green!  Isn’t  that interesting?  

Friday, March 29, 2024


 I had forgotten so many sketches I’d done…and then pulled out my favorites.  Here is another and the painting that was inspired from it.

Monday, March 25, 2024


 After watching another video on gouache portraits, did this one.  

The model came from a photo on the Museum App that the Sktchy folks use all the time.  Interesting face.  Then added the bird alongside with the back becoming his shoulder.  (The teacher put a crane going through his head and in the upper right but I did not like that at all).  The bird is from a photo from Sweetie.  

So - first step is the watercolor underpainting.

Then the gouache over the underpainting (did not add to the great white heron except to bring back the highlights with white gouache).  I liked the man but didn’t think the heron popped enough so added a background.  

Friday, March 22, 2024


From a life drawing open session long long ago…Just a sketch done in about 1 1/2 hours, I think, with conte crayons.

And what came from the sketch…in my mind, a bit of fun with the hair…and then…

Wednesday, March 20, 2024


 Just a few more done while watching online lessons.

This handsome doggie started with a watercolor underpainting and I liked it more - went too dark on this and too warm.  I might try it again more blue and grey and softer colors.  

The watercolor underpainting - should have left it here but still learning about gouache and how it works.  

I like this, but it’s just a section of the face so…hope I have learned more about facial structure and shapes from all the watercolor portraits I did back when.  This was done in a freebie quick lesson from Artefacto online.  

One thing in gouache’s favor = you can go over and reshape and darken parts without it looking overworked because that’s what you do with gouache.  I haven’t learned to go in with thick paint yet and probably wouldn’t like that technique, anyway.  

Wednesday, March 13, 2024


 It seems like every spring I’m in the mood for something new and turn to printing with acrylics or painting with gouache.  I have 2 books on how to learn and use gouache but haven’t really delved into it enough to know what I’m doing.  So take a few online short courses from Sktchy or Domestika every now and then.  And got a good 40% off on this lesson by a girl in Spain doing gouache portraits (also animals).  

She is not the greatest teacher and I thought I’d missed an introductory video but, no, she doesn’t talk about the colors she uses, the paper she paints on, or the type of brushes (but I learned that in other lessons so no big deal unless you’re an absolute beginner).  So I watched her paint swatches of color on the portrait she did and then did my own, using my colors.  

Her painting is light and candy-colored and mine…isn’t! Ha ha

But I don’t hate it.  Not finished yet - need to darken the left side of his face so it’s more shadowed (esp. the eye) and move on.  Next is a lion, which I won’t do because I don’t like it very much with all the colors…but I will do the 3rd one she is offering = a dog.  For some reason, I think dogs are ok in lots of colors but lions deserve more respect!

So what have I learned?  A lighter first layer is best and you can still use all the colors you want.  Shape the figure with the 3nd and 3rd layers and look for those darkest darks, lightest lights, and hard and soft edges.  Whew!  Plus, gouache dries differently…I think, if I remember right, dark colors dry lighter and light colors dry darker so…hard to keep that in mind while doing everything else, but I might be figuring some things out.  

Monday, March 11, 2024


 Another painting done from inspiration in my sketchbook.  Years ago, I took an open life drawing class (not structured lessons but a teacher there to help you and answer questions about your drawing as you went along…where I learned to sight measure for a figure drawing).  So I have several large sketchbooks of things done in the class.  Taking those out, I picked out a few to inspire me to do future paintings…here is the 2nd one.

The sketches and then one of the sketches changed to eliminate the legs and flatten the face (I mean, mermaids wouldn’t have large noses because they don’t breathe like we do, right?)

 Then, the painting.  I liked the way the Lunar Blue (Daniel Smith) created the interesting texture in the tail and hair. 

Friday, March 8, 2024


 Over on my Facebook account, I started doing little things and calling them March Madness.  Just the painting or sketch without descriptions.  This is one of those, on YUPO and letting the paint flow.  

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, March 6, 2024


 Another sketch I did a while back…I have a large sketchbook full of drawings done in a Life Drawing Class and other odds and ends of sketches done while watching TV.  

So the sketch is there, I trace it and then begin painting but I had to real plan for this other than making large and small sections of color.  And when you don’t really plan, you often get things you don’t want…

And you sometimes get happy surprises…like the fact that the sections/blocks of color at the lower left made me think of a colorful dress she was wearing…

Not quite done but…where do I go from here?

Sorry but the paper is very buckled so can’t get a straight-on shot, especially when it’s still wet in areas.  (Is the bright red at the left side too distracting?  What colors should I make the white arch…or, should I paint white in another area and leave that arch there - the white of the paper?)

Did add white (acrylic) and I think it’s done…

Monday, March 4, 2024



Just a little black crow looking at his reflection in the water.

I’m trying to work on something every day in March and calling it March Madness (cannot do the 100-day challenge thing…too intense).

Sunday, March 3, 2024


Just working on some things using the granulating colors and trying to get some good texture.  Looks like my horizon line is skewed…just needs cropped differently.  The first painting is when I really worked with the granulating colors and water drops to get the textures, then I darken it a bit while still adding water drops to make the colors separate.  Tilting the paper helps the pigment and water move and separate.  Fun (small painting, only 1/4 sheet). 


Friday, March 1, 2024


 Yes, you can.  I totally ruined the first one and even took a set of POSCA Pens to it…ugh.   (The mess is not shown here.)

So I started over…after revising the sketch again (the sketch was done in a live drawing class many years ago so the model did have legs).  

Just a little tweaking…

Wednesday, February 28, 2024


 Somehow I signed up for a newsletter - I am always doing this and then find I don’t spend time to read them so unsub from them later on.  But this one was interesting and I read it.  It’s by the artist, Dan Scott, and he was talking about the painting, The Umbrella, by Marie Bashkirtseff.  Her painting was in oils and it was gorgeous - the skintones against the darks were luscious and pale.  So, in the newsletter, Dan talked about hard and soft edges, darks and lights, and how Marie lived a very short but prolific life.  

And I just had to try myself with watercolor but…

I started with Daniel Smith Lunar Black which is a VERY granulating color…could not get the deep, rich darks I wanted (first painting in watercolor).

So I tried again, using a mix of Lunar Black and Indanthrone Blue to get the “blacks” in it.  

Of course, this looks nothing like the painting by Marie, but I kind of like it.

Monday, February 26, 2024


 An artist who has videos on YouTube shared how she does shadows on her nature paintings and I liked it a lot.  Her name = Kelly Hoernig.  You should check her out.  She does a lot with sketchbooks and nature.

Here is my version on her lesson.  She uses Daniel Smith German Greenish Raw Umber added to Daniel Smith Lavender.  I used Holbein Lavender (which I had) and then tried out the Umber with Verditer Blue.  Both the Lavender and the Blue are opaque colors and I liked both mixes.

I added the little bit of driftwood at the bottom for my own…the single acorn and the bud was from her lesson.

Friday, February 23, 2024


 Still playing with granulating colors, but not for landscapes - you can use granulating colors for everything!