March 30, 2010

prints now available throught

Oriental Poppy, original watercolour, 20 x 29"
Even though this painting is still at the framer's, you can now buy prints, which are now available on and soon at Bluefin Fine Handicrafts and Gifts in Digby NS Canada.
More print sizes to follow shortly.

Watercolour painting now on ebay

Winter Woods, 5 x 7", watercolour, January 2010

March 26, 2010

Sunrise in Cuba

Cuban Sunrise I, 7 x 10", watercolour
Cuban Sunrise II, watercolour, 7 x 10 inches
It took me a number of tries to get a satisfactory painting of this view. The first morning that I painted it was beautiful lighting but I went too light with the sand and the trees. So I went back the next morning and tried again with the result being the two paintings above.
It is feeling rather surreal to look at these paintings now, remembering how warm the water and the air was, even in the early morning. Then I look out the window at the snow that is falling here now! It was a real treat to go somewhere so warm. I am glad to have these paintings as a momento, so I can bask in the remembered heat on chilly days like today.

March 24, 2010

Evening in Cuba

Evening in Cuba I, 7 x 10", watercolour
Evening in Cuba, II, 10 x 14", watercolour
One of the things with painting out of doors is that things do not stand still. People, waves, clouds, the sun (and thus shadows); everything is always moving. But on this evening I noticed something really neat. There was this dark dramatic band of clouds overhead which made me want to start painting right away, before it disappeared. I liked the way that the line of the cloud mirrored that of the coast, and I knew that I had only moments to catch it before it passed over the sun and blocked the light. I did the best that I could to get it right and then it had moved. But it passed over quickly and when I looked to the east I saw that there was another band of clouds coming in much the same manner. In total at least 3 or 4 of these lines of clouds passed overhead, making great skies for painting. This is another scene that I cannot wait to paint again soon.
Stay tuned...

March 23, 2010

More Cuban Beach Paintings

Cloudy Cuban Morning II, 5 x 7 inches, watercolour
This is basically the same scene as the first one that I did. I repeated it to try to better capture that band of wet sand that happens where the waves wash up and then recede. This one still did not quite get the effect I wanted, so I tried again:
Cloudy Cuban Morning III, watercolour, 5 x 7"
(I am so original with my titles, eh?)
This time, I left out the wet sand to focus on some of the figures on the beach. It was a lovely beach for walking on and I could have done a lot more figure work. It is hard to paint a moving target... One of my goals for the coming year is to improve my plein air figures.

Cloudy Cuban Morning IV, 7 x 10", watercolour

I think that I had intended to add figures to this, but in the end decided that I was pleased with it as it was. I really like the lines of the beach in this one. The background trees developed as one of those happy accidents that one gets in watercolour painting. This is when something does not go at all as I had intended, but the end result is better than what I had been aiming for.

March 20, 2010

Back from Cuba

Cloudy Cuban Morning I, 5 x 7", watercolour, March 16, 2010
I am just back from a week spent in Guardalavaca, Cuba. I painted or sketched every day while I was there, which was a real treat. I even did two little paintings on a catamaran; painting on a boat, instead of painting of a boat, hee hee! ( I did some paintings of catamarans, too, though)
The painting above was done the one cloudy morning. After several days of heat and brilliant sunshine, it was a pleasure to sit out and not feel like I was a biscuit baking in the oven! I did several little sketches of the beach, this was the first one (above) and I am most pleased with it. I especially like how I managed to paint the trees in the background with just one brushstroke! (though I did go back into it in a couple of places before it dried to darken a couple of areas for depth). I think that this one is a step forward in my goal to be less fussy.
I shall be posting more Cuba paintings over the next week or so. If you want a sneak peak at them sign up for my newsletter by going to as I shall be sending out the best of them in my next newsletter, due out as soon as I can manage.

March 9, 2010

White Iris Pair, a Completed Painting

Working right along... here is a close-up view of the center of the lower blossom. I did the large shadowed area in one go, again allowing the colours to mix on the paper. I was really pleased with how it turned out.
White Iris Pair, 20 x 29", watercolour, March 2010
And here is the finished painting. Let me know what you think.

March 6, 2010

A painting in progress, Iris Floral Painting

Iris Pair, a painting in progress (30 x 22")
This is a picture taken further along on this painting of a pair of irises. One can see that I started on the top blossom, blocking in the areas of shadow. I tried to let the colours mingle and mix wet in wet on the paper. I much prefer the results that I get doing it this way. When the different pigments are combined on the paper they react to each other and to the texture of the paper. This gives a different result than if I applied each colour separately, or even if I overmixed them on the palette.
To learn more about painting wet in wet I highly recommend the book by Ewa Karpinska entitled "Wet on Wet Watercolour Painting". It is an excellent resource, covering all the aspects of handling watercolour paint in all its concentrations and variations. Well worth reading, for the beauty of the paintings alone.
One can also see here how I mount the paper for painting. After drawing my design on the paper I soak it and then lay it on this big board. The board is a piece of plywood cut to match the size of a full sheet of watercolour paper. I varnished the board prior to first use to protect the wet paper from any acids or other contaminants that might leach through from the wood. I attatch the paper while still wet. I use binder clips - and staples if the paper does not fit the board correctly. This prevents buckling of the paper when I paint on it with a lot of water. If the paper is buckled and warped when I am painting a wet wash it is very difficult to control the movement of the paint, as water will not flow up-hill up the buckles! Also, the painting will lay better in a frame when it is flat.
More to come soon I hope! Stay tuned...

March 5, 2010

Campobello Lighthouse

East Quoddy Lighthouse, 5 x 7 inches, watercolour
Here is another marine landscape, a small lighthouse painting that I have done recently. I am working with variations of composition. It is a good learning excercise which will make me a better painter. I have written about this lighthouse before, but it really is beautiful in its setting against the waters of the Bay of Fundy.
This past week has gone by so quickly. I have been working on a new large floral watercolor painting of an iris (two irises really). It is going fairly well, so I shall post it as a work in progress.
I did a full size pencil drawing on white paper and transfered it to my watercolour paper, using a large window as my light box. After I stretched and mounted the paper on a board I put a light wash on the areas that I wanted to have a tough of color. Before the paper dried completely, I painted in the background. I had to make sure that the paper was dry enough that the paint would not move more than I wanted it to, but would move enough to give some softness to certain of the edges.
Here it is at that stage: (I apologize that the photo is poor, you can click on the photo for a larger image, which may allow you to see past the blurriness) The thing about a work in progress is that sometimes by the time I realize that my photo is no good, it is too late and the painting has gone on further.

White Iris Pair, "under construction"

I am pleased with the softness of the rear petal on the lower right. It is fading away into the background, which I feel gives it more of a 3D feel. I realize now that you can also see my sleeve in the lower center margin. OOPS! Stay tuned for more as this flower painting takes shape.