Thursday, December 23, 2010

Communist Hat at Prima

A sketch of Aaron wearing a communist military hat at Prima Bistro. Aaron is the conductor of Whidbey Island Orchestra. We sketchers hope to capture them during rehearsal sometime soon. Also a few sketches from Uselss Bay Coffee. Tasty fish Tacos! Looking forward to trying the BBQ.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Painting with Compliments

Another great project to familiarize yourself with color mixing and the properties of certain colors is to create a painting with two compliments using a black and white photo as reference. In this case I painted from a B&W photo of a tea pot using Ultramarine Blue and Azo Orange. Ultramarine being on the warm side and Azo orange having some yellow in it, they created some nice warm tones. I tried to mix mostly grays and highlight with some pure color for contrast. Try it with three sets of compliments, blue/orange, purple/yellow, red/green, or any you'd like. It's fun and great watercolor practice.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Timbuktu and China City

You'd think by the title I'm a world traveler. Whidbey Island is it's own world, but maybe someday I'll venture off the rock. The Whidbey Island Sketchers did venture to Freeland for some sketching at Timbuktu Java Bar, then we headed to China City Restaurant. Here's my sketches...

Timkuktu counter with goodies. Everything is yummy!

Cruiser and a friend.

A guy at the bar.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Playing with Edges

Here's an assignment to practice edges in watercolor. Surely there are many more edge possibilities!

Using a simple object as a subject (fruit, pear, cup, vase, etc.) as reference,
paint 5 small (approximately 5"-7") paintings of each edge below.
Apply large wash areas.

Edge to edge
1) Edge to edge - Your background area/wash will barely meet your foreground/object wash. Bump up one wash to another so they barely meet and do not overlap.

Overlapping edges
2) Overlapping edges - The background wash area slightly overlaps the foreground/object wash, creating a line. This is what one refers to as a glaze. Only this is a narrow area that can be defined as a line.

Wet in wet blurry edges
3) Wet in wet, blurry, undefined edges -
Wet the entire 7" square evenly with clean water, allowing it to sit until the area has a slightly mat finish. You want the water to soak into the paper for a minute or two. Apply a color to your object/foreground with a brush loaded with color. Use lots of pigment, not much water! Using another brush, quickly apply the background while the paper is still wet. Again lots of pigment! (Watercolor dries lighter in value and intensity) Your edges between the object and background should be soft and undefined.

With line
4) Lines defining edges -
Draw your object using a pencil, brush or marker. Then apply paint.
For line in this image, I used a black Stabilo pencil. It's Water soluble. You can use anything, graphite, black or colored marker, colored pencil etc.

5) Incorporate all 4 edges above. I'm leaving that to your imaginations.

The purpose of this assignment is to explore various ways watercolor can be applied to define edges of objects. Or not define them! Consider lost edges, particularly in shadow areas in future paintings.

This project is also posted under the tab "Watercolor Projects."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Love of the Puddle

As Serafina, one of my students, said, "Painting with watercolor is learning to puddle." The quote is not exact, but her point was it's about controlling the puddle. A good observation. The wash, the bead, the qualities of each pigment and how they behave separately, layered and together, and understanding color are all aspects to be learned and applied to the puddle. And with any luck, a lot of happy accidents!

What is learning watercolor to you and why do you work with it? I would like to know your insights. 
I have much so much to learn. A puddle of a painting I did for my watercolor class...

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I wish I had as many pomegranates as satsumas. They're both good, but poms are my favorite. A little sketch before the devour...

Whidbey Island Sketchers Anniversary

The Whidbey Island Sketchers got together today to celebrate our one year anniversary. A whole year of weekly meetings sketching together. A great year of making friends and sketching camaraderie. I look forward to many more! Here's my sketch of Catherine while she painted tangerines...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Last Evening at the Edgecliff

Young Man Watching

Spent a final evening at the Edgecliff sketching with my friend, Sue. We wish Tim, the co-owner, and Stephanie, the server, and all others who work there the best in their future endeavors. We will miss them. The place was bustling with people coming in for a last meal and/or drink at the bar. Here's a few of my sketches from our time there...

Happy People

People Talking

Guy Waiting
People at the Bar

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Puddy X 4

Pud is one fine bowl of puddin'. A big, amorphous puff ball of blackish-red fur with two little ears sticking up at one end, and a twisting duster at the other. A challenge to sketch. And an opportunity for abstraction and mark making. She's a doll. The sweetest kitty....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow Days

Backyard Winter Evening

The first sketch is of the yard while it snowed last night. I sat looking out the window as the light faded.
The other two I did while waiting for Zoey to get her Thanksgiving bath at the groomers. I stopped off at Maxwelton beach to see the Olympic Mountains. The water was beautifully dark and very cold looking.

Mawelton Beach

Olympic Mountains on a snowy day.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Favorite Haunt

Stephanie, a server.
Sadly, one of our favorite sketching haunts, The Edgecliff restaurant, is closing. I'll miss the friendly people, burgers and mussels. It will be closing at the end of the month so I'll be returning for some final sketching and happy hours. Here's a few sketches...

Tim, co-owner

People at the bar and Lisa, the new Braeburn owner, Langley.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ebey Bowl

Whidbey Island Sketchers met at Ebey Bowl, a great bowling alley in Coupevile. Here's my sketch...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sketching at Mukilteo Coffee

It was an enjoyeable day of sketching with my comrades at Mukilteo Coffee and the Edgecliff. So much fun and great conversation I hardly got anything done. But heck, everyone has been busy with work or on fabulous trips, there was much to catch up on. Got a few in. Here they are...

Lisbeth and customers at the Edgecliff.

My reflection in the window.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Drawing and Watercolor Classes

My art classes start November 6th. The learning never stops!

Fundamentals of Drawing  
10am – 1pm, Saturdays
Nov. 6 – Dec 11
Come learn the basics of drawing! Knowing the fundamentals gives artists a greater command of advanced painting media such as watercolors, oils and pastels, thus their own self expression. Through lectures, demonstrations, handouts, and in and out of class drawing studies, you'll learn the essentials such as sighting, values, composition, light and shadow, perspective, contour line, and dry media such as pencil and charcoal. We'll also study the masters of drawing such as Rembrandt, Delacroix and Leonardo. Your natural abilities and individual voice will be recognized, nurtured and encouraged to further you down the road of artistic development. 
 $190, $175 for returning students

Register at: 
Go to the 'Tools' page on my blog for the supply list.

Painting with Watercolor
2pm – 5pm, Saturdays
Nov. 6 – Dec 11
No other medium compares to the jewel-like qualities of watercolor and all it's variations in color and granulation characteristics, not to mention the absolute thrill of watching colors disperse, bloom and explode on paper! All levels are welcome in this workshop, as your natural abilities and individual artistic voice will be recognized, nurtured and encouraged. We'll study color, composition, wash techniques and pigment characteristics through exercises, discussions and demonstrations, all of which will help build your confidence with this beautiful medium. Come experience the joy and thrill of painting with watercolor! 
 $190, $175 for returning students

Register at:
Go to the 'Tools' page on my blog for the supply list.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A walk on the Beach

Took the dogs for a late afternoon walk down to Scatchet Beach. Got in a couple quick sketches. The totem, turns out, had more figures on top but was trimmed down due to rot and mounted on a concrete base. I also found out after I drew it that it's sacrilegious to make an image of a totem. Oh well. I needed a scary image for the Whidbey Island Sketchers October Sketch Challenge so I'm not going to burn it. The other 4 panel sketch is of the Headlands looking up from the beach. It's full of Maples so fairly colorful.

Langley Sketching

Spent yesterday afternoon and evening sketching in Langley. First, the puppets at Nymbol's, then Prima Bistro. Met a lot nice people as we usually do when we're out sketching. People notice us looking or the palettes in front of us. Kids really hone in. They're artists wanting to know what other artists are up to. Here's my sketches...

Nymbol's Puppets

Family Celebration

A not so good likeness of Sue.

An animated Gentleman

Monday, October 4, 2010


Six of us sketchers ventured to downtown Seattle early in the a.m. last Saturday for a class called 'Analytique.' It was canceled at the last minute so we made lemonade with our lemons. Breakfast and sketching at Pike's Place, then headed up to Capital Hill to Dick Blick for some supply shopping. Our group is a bit like herding cats! Too many distractions in busy downtown. All in all, it was a fun day and the sketchers are great to adventure with.

an·a·ly·tique–noun Architecture.

an elevation drawing of a façade, surrounded by a decorative arrangement composed of drawings of the important details and sometimes a plan or section of the façade.

Wendy at Breakfast. She got to work immediately drawing the pillars on the lower level of the market.

As we were leaving the market I spotted a guy entirely covered with silver. He was a funky robot. I call him SilverMan.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Island Recycle and the Book Bus

I joined the Whidbey Island Sketchers at Island Recycle in Freeland Wednesday. So much great junk to draw there, but this dilapidated bus called my name. It's now full of books. It made me think of hippies, Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey and who in the past owned this gem. Was it a mobile library at one time? What's it's history? Island Recycle begs a return.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Django at UBC

A splendid afternoon sitting on the UBC patio listening to great music, sketching with the sketchers and drinking delicious coffee. I call it Heaven.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Line by Line

Getting Back to the Phantom Skill by James McMullan is the first of a 12 part series on drawing by this renown illustrator and teacher. My hero when I was a student and my reason for picking up watercolors way back in the 80s. I'm looking forward to reading and applying his teachings. Hope you find some nuggets of inspiration!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Just playing around with this spread. There's a couple cats in the background. 3 total. It was done in my A4 Moleskine WC sketchbook. The paper takes watercolor strangely, forming bloppy shapes with no waterflow. The paper doesn't hold up well to paint removal either. Adds interesting marks with a certain messiness. Those peculiar characteristics I've come to both love and hate.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Beach Sketches

Here's a few odds and ends. The first image is a sketch of a lean-to structure I found down at the beach. There was another, more elaborate and impressive one behind me, that appears to be a bar with seats and everything. Even equipped with a bottle of Vodka.
In the second image I tried to capture an amazing sunset at Maxwelton Beach. Those vertical shapes are people, by the way. The third image is out of my new pocket, Japanese accordion style Moleskine, which I love. It opens up into a longer format which is less restricting, so the pocket version, approximately 3x5, is very convenient to carry.

Lean-to Bar Seats

Maxwelton Beach Sunset

Scatchet Head Beach