Saturday, November 29, 2008

Watercolor Classes Begin This Week

My watercolor classes begin this week in Melbourne, Florida! I taught for several years in the Metro Detroit area of Michigan. Since we have moved it has taken a little time to get my classes going, but things are falling into place. Classes are still small right now. From my experience in the past I know they will grow. This is a good time to get in a class with a small number of students.
The photo here is of a past student in one of my Friday Morning Drop-In classes that I held in Michigan. We were working on a very large still life painting. Jim always did such beautiful work!
If you would like to know more about my watercolor and drawing classes you can get more information and even register online at: Hope to see you soon.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bird of Paradise Watercolor Completed

The final painting! I added another wash of Prussian Blue to the background to cool down the purple. I am happy with the piece and it is now showing at the Silken Galleria, 912 E. New Haven Avenue, Melbourne. There will be no prints of this piece. If you are interested in purchasing it, you can contact Elizabeth at Silken by calling 321-733-2788.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bird of Paradise Painting - Almost Complete

The latest installment!!! I'm almost done! I have added one final glaze on the background leaves and I also did a little "tweaking" on the values of the flower head. I'm not totally crazy about the background yet. I think it needs something subtle, it looks a little too purple. I went through the image with a fine tooth comb to see if there were any areas that looked too unfinished. That technical illustrator in me is coming out, I'm afraid. I really like my paintings to look as good close up as they do from a distance. I have added a touch of Prussian Blue to the green leaf just above the yellow flower elements to create contrast and punch the yellow just a bit more. Next installment should be the final painting! Stay tuned. To find out more about my classes and most recent work, please visit my website:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bird of Paradise Painting Progress

I decided to add a glaze of Ultramarine Violet to intensify the background. I chose the purple color to contrast with the yellow and gold of the flower focal point. I have also added another glaze to many of the green leaves. Each glaze intensifies the color without making the image muddy.
Next, I added some Alizarin Crimson to the shadow areas of the flower, including the green area at the base of the flower head. The combination of green and cool red glazes really darkens and warms the value of the shadows. Alizarin Crimson is a cool red and works great in shadow areas of both warm and cool areas.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More on the Bird of Paradise Painting in Progress

I have now added the greens to the flower base. I want to make the flower more of the focal point, so to do that I have to intensify the different values between the yellows, greens and blues of the flower with the blues and lavenders of the background.

Here, I have added yellow glazes to the flower and I have added some green glazes to the leaves. I used Quinicridone gold for the yellow wash, and Hooker's green for the greens. I also added some Quinicridone gold to some of the leaves to warm then up. This helps to separate them more from the cool background.
More to come...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Flower Painting Installment 4

Here is another installment on the progress of my Bird of Paradise painting.
I have continued to add glazes around the entire painting. Here I have begun to add more yellow and gold glazes on the actual flower. I used Quinicridone Gold, which I think is a beautiful, transparent alternative to Yellow Ochre. Yellow Ochre tends to be more opaque and, when used as a glaze, appears cloudy or dull. Quinicridone Gold is very transparent and adds a delicious glow to the yellows. This glaze was added fairly wet so that it is built up gradually. I added it to a few of the green leaves, as well, to warm those areas.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Painting in Progress: Installment 3

I am still working on the Bird of Paradise painting. I am now beginning to work with the second set of glazes. Note the second leaf from the left that comes up from the bottom edge of the picture plane. I had previously created some shading with other colors, including French Ultramarine Blue. Now I have added a glaze of Perylene Green, very wet. As different colors are glazed on top of one another, after the first layer has thoroughly dried, deep rich colors emerge!

Now, I continue to glaze colors around the entire painting. Many times I will work with only one color where it is needed around the entire painting before I move on to another color. I am also adding yellow glazes over some of the greens, and a very wet Prussian Blue over other areas to push the warm areas and cool areas.

At this stage, I want to be sure I am not totally ignoring an area of the painting that may not be as exciting or interesting to me as others. I love this stage as the glazes make the painting seem to begin to come to life!

More to come. Visit soon to see the next stage - and soon, the final piece!

More information on my website:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Painting in Progress: Bird of Paradise

Today's installment of the painting process is to show that I have added a wash on the main focal point of the flower in browns and reds. Using burnt sienna, I have also added some small areas where the leaves have died off. I often add the dead or decaying areas of plants in my paintings because, to me, that is part of the beauty of the plant. It also adds warmth to the green/cool areas.

The next stage is to begin adding more greens and blues to the leaves. I believe it's important to continually work around the painting, so that one area doesn't get over developed while another area is totally undeveloped. I am enjoying the rhythms and directional lines that are developing within this composition. I am also thinking about how to develop the greens and blues of the leaves, altering warm and cool colors, so that I can maintain the integrity of the focal point, which is the beautiful, bird-like flower.

Here I am underglazing some of the details in the green leaves. These underglazes will work together with future glazes to build rich colors and to create beautiful, interesting textures in the final piece. I have used viridian green, Hooker's green and a very watered-down Prussian blue for these glazes.
More to come soon!

For more information on my work, please visit my website:, where you can see my latest paintings, class information and more.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bird of Paradise Painting Progress 1

Okay, here are the first few photos of my Bird of Paradise painting in progress. The initial photo shows the drawing which was transferred onto the Arches 300 lb watercolor paper with graphite. I added the first wash of Aurolean yellow, a touch of New Gamboge, and a tiny bit of Cadmium Orange. I also began a small wash on the leaf with some Cerulean blue, very wet.

The second photo shows a bit more wash on the leaves. I have added the yellows (mentioned above) on the lighter areas and more Cerulean blue on the bluish leaves. As I study my reference photos (always use your own photos!!!!!!!), I noticed lots of variations of blues, greens, yellows, gold and brown on the leaves. In order to make the painting look as real as possible, I use glazes of various colors to achieve the delicate and varied colors I want to produce.

The third photos shows the beginning of my background. I used a very wet wash of my favorite, French Ultramarine Blue and Ultramarine Violet. I am hoping these colors will produce a nice underglaze which will contrast with the warmer colors of the flower and the leaves.

Stop back by soon to see more progress. I will try to update soon!

You can view another painting in progress on my website at:

Teaching Watercolor in Melbourne, FL

The photo at right shows three of my students from Michigan. You can see they were painting from the same reference photo, but each piece reflects their style, personality and palette choices! It is so much fun to see the individuality come out in my student's work!
I am now forming classes in my new hometown of Melbourne, Florida and I have a Beginner's Watercolor Workshop planned for November 22. The workshop is on Saturday from 9 a.m to 3 p.m. We will set up our palette, discuss quality materials, learn the four basic washes, practice essential brushwork and put together a small painting. If you are interested in my classes, workshops or would like to view my other work, please visit my website. You can now register for my classes and workshops online at: - Below the schedule of classes you can click on the link for online registration.
Currently, in my personal work I am working on a painting of a Bird of Paradise flower. I have been taking progress photos of the piece. Keep watching to see some of the progress in the next few posts.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Violets with Dew Drops Watercolor

I absolutely love to paint flowers! This was a demonstration piece for one of my watercolor classes. The reference photo was from a flower in my garden early in the morning.
The secret to water droplets is to treat them like little balls or clumps and paint the shadow shapes. They reflect more than they are transparent, so some of the surrounding colors will be reflected in the high lights and shadow areas. The lavenders and purples were built up using glazes of French Ultramarine Blue, Quinicridone Magenta and Perylene Maroon. I had to soften the pigments with water at the edges of the petals as the color came to the center of the flower.
Violets have such character! It is almost as if they have faces.
If you would like to see more of my work, or learn about my classes in Melbourne, Florida, please visit my website:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day From Watercolor Works

My father was in the navy. My brother was in the navy. My son was a marine. Thanks to all those who have served our country. Freedom comes at a cost. The price you have paid is appreciated!
Thank you!

Red Geranium In Watercolor

I love flowers! Here in Florida the annual plants are coming out and blossoming everywhere. This little piece is a study I did in one of my past Friday morning classes. We started by using graphite to transfer a little drawing that I did onto some Arches 140 lb. watercolor paper - 10 x 14 inches. Then we began light washes of pinks, reds and greens to develop the petals and leaves. Each layer, or glaze, must be allowed to dry before applying the next if you want to develop crisp lines. Other areas were worked a little wet-in-wet. Pigment is added to a damp or wet area so that the edges of the colors soften and float into one another. The brown in the leaves was created by adding some burst sienna after the greens were completely dry. I let my brush dance over the area with a wet pigment, then dabbed at the moist areas here and there with a damp brush to lift and soften in a few places.
I really enjoy the play and interaction between the very soft bristle brushes and the pigments. This was a very fun study to work on. I think my students enjoyed it as well.
For more information on my artwork and classes, visit my website at:

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sharing a Student's Work

This is Adeline, one of my past students. This is her rendition of a piece we worked on in class. I thought it was really lovely. She did such a great job of adding to the reference her own personality by adding more leaves and buds and softening the edges! She had a nice balance of lights and darks and there is movement created in the piece due to her linework and placement of leaves and focal point.
Great job Adeline!!!