Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cactus Flower Lesson 12

Oh what fun! Developing the red flower heads was lots of fun. I love how the greens and red act against each other and really make the focal point pop. The dark values in the shadow areas help to create the illusion of depth.

I used many different reds on my palette to work around the flower heads including, Burnt Sienna, Perylene Maroon, Permanent Rose, and some Quinicridone colors. I wanted to keep the yellows glowing through some areas, so I was careful not to cover them with too many glazes or with cool glazes.

I used some Burnt Sienna and VanDyke Brown in the shadow areas around the thorns. Be sure to leave the white areas wherever you can! This just adds sparkle to the piece.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cactus Flower Lesson 11

The shadows are even deeper now, as I have added another glaze of Perylene Green, mostly on the right and under the flower heads.

The dark shadow works like an arrow to carry the viewer's eye to the focal point.

I played with different applications of colors to create some textures in the warm shadow area to the left and under the flower heads. I am enjoying the shapes that are emerging from this piece!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Cactus Flower Lesson 10

Back to the Cactus Flower lesson!!!

Now it's time to add some depth and details.

Using Hookers Green I have glazed over some of the other greens, especially where I added shadow glazes previously.  I glazed this green over the parts of the leaves where the cool Cerulean Blue was applied earlier. Now the yellow greens in the sunlit areas begin to contrast more with the cool blue-greens of the other areas. Look at your photo reference carefully and you will see that none of the green areas can be painted exactly alike because the light hits each leaf differently and each leaf has a small shift in color from the others.

I have also used VanDyke Brown in a richer mixture than before and developed some details in the lower left area of the painting. This area in the reference had some woody growth, and I wanted to capture a bit of that. I also liked how it warmed up that corner of the painting.

I have worked around the painting adding small touches and glazes for depth and interest.

To see more of this lesson, please visit earlier posts.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cactus Flower Lesson 9

Today I am going back to the flower heads for a bit.

I have added Permanent Alizarin Crimson to the shadow areas of the flower heads. I worked patiently all around the flower heads, softening some edges and leaving the crisp lines at the darkest edges of the shadow shapes. Try experimenting with different reds on your palette. Some reds are cool in temperature, like Alizarin Crimson. This pigment has a hint of blue or purple and it works really well in shadow areas of red objects. Other reds like Winsor Red are more warm in temperature an have a yellow-orange cast to them. The are more appropriately used in areas where the sun or light is shining on an object.

Next, I have used Prussian Blue (very wet) in some more shadow areas. This is a very strong color and should not be used too heavily. It will deaden your painting if it is overused. I like to try to keep my glazes transparent, even when developing strong, dark values.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cactus Flower Lesson 8

Now that I have my shadows developing nicely, I want to give them another glaze of a nice dark Perylene Green.

This is a gorgeous color that looks like a pine green to me. It has a bit of warmth to it, and it glazes nicely.

Now the shadow areas really have some punch. Notice the soft edges where the cactus leaves have soft, flowing nooks and crannies. I have applied the Softened Edge Stroke to the areas where there is a clear edge and to the edges of cast shadows. If you hold it away from you, you will begin to see the illusion of depth and perspective! This also makes the flower heads really POP!

It is really important to step away from your work occasionally and get a fresh perspective. I like to take the piece and stand in front of a mirror, or set it up in a different room where I can get about 10 - 15 feet away from it. Sometimes I turn the piece upside down to get a fresh look at the composition and to see more objectively how the piece is coming together!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cactus Flower Lesson 7

To develop the shadows even further, I have used a very wet puddle of VanDyke Brown and applied it to a few areas where I want darker or more striking shadows.

One theory I like to use for shadows is that if I glaze a relative opposite of the local color, the colors will visually blend (not physically blend) to create a darker value. For instance, if I want the dark green shadows to be very dark in value, just adding green will only make the paint thicker, it won't add to the darkness of the value. By adding a relative opposite, like a red or warm brown, I can add to the value, then glaze over it with the local color (green in this case) and the green becomes what the viewer sees, but the warm tones add darkness to the value. Hope this makes sense.

Think of it this way: relative opposites on the color wheel, like red and green, when physically mixed will make a neutral, dark gray. If I glaze these colors they will still VISUALLY make a dark, more neutral color, but they will retain some of their more pure color characteristics. Try it on some scrap watercolor paper. Glaze a red, allow it to dry, then glaze a green. The green will still look green, only darker!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cactus Flower Lesson 6

Be sure that all previous applications of paint have thoroughly dried.

Next, I have used Burnt Sienna to warm some areas an add the under-painting for some of my shadows. This application of paint should be very wet. Don't brush too much over previously painted areas or you will dig up and stir up the pigment layers. Try to apply the wet paint for each layer or glaze with a very light touch, and quickly drop it in. Your brush should just push the puddles of wet paint around. It should barely even touch the paper, if at all. Using a delicate touch will preserve the previous glazes of color and each glaze will stay fresh and clean.

You can view previous posts to see the beginning of this lesson. Just click on the archives at the left of this page.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cactus Flower Lesson 5

I want to get some more of the flower heads established in this piece, since the flowers are my focal point. I have used Winsor Red and Quinicridone Magenta to develop some of these areas. Just as I described yesterday, vary your edges from crisp to soft. Soft transitions are made with water pushed into the stroke before it dries. Crisp edges are made by directly applying pigment to the dry paper and leaving it alone.

Let your photo reference be your guide. Look for crisp edges that can be painted directly, and then look for areas which would be appropriate for that Softened Edge Stroke (see previous post).

I have also added some more Permanent Sap Green and Hookers Green to areas of the plant that have not yet been developed. In the area on the right of my image I used a little wet-in-wet technique by laying in a wet wash of Sap Green, then dropping in Hookers Green where I wanted to add soft shadows.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cactus Flower Lesson 4

Today I am adding some yellows.

I have used Aureolin Yellow to begin to develop the areas in the flower heads that will become yellow-orange. Be careful where you apply colors - they should not go EVERYWHERE! Soften some edges by pulling water into the stroke. I call this my Softened Edge Stroke.

First lay down a stroke of color, very wet, yet strong with pigment. Then, clean your brush and load it with water. Just touch the tip of your brush to your paper towel to remove excess water that may drip. Pull a stroke of water from the blank area into and alongside the stroke you just applied. It is important to do this BEFORE the stroke dries. Pulling water into the stroke will push the pigment into the area that already has color. If you pull the water from the stroke out to the blank area, the stroke will just be diluted and the pigment will wash out to the blank area. The goal is to create a very soft transition from dark color to nothing (clear water).

This takes practice. Be easy on yourself and remember that it is just a piece of paper! With practice you will master the many different techniques!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cactus Flower Lesson 3

In the next application of paint I used Cerulean Blue (Peacock Blue by Holbein would also be great here!).

Keep this really wet as Cerulean Blue is a very opaque color. I searched the photo reference for areas that might have a light blue cast to them. This application is an underpainting for future glazes. I have varied the values to show the textures of the plant. Wetting some areas or working with pigment that has more water creates lighter values.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cactus Flower Lesson 2

It is time for the first big wash! I used a very wet mixture of Permanent Sap Green and Aureolin Yellow.

You can see how wet the application was by the little puddle of paint at the bottom of the wash area. I used this mixture around the painting to work in the preliminary green washes on the cactus leaves.

You can vary the mixture here and there as the photo reference and your preferences dictate. I used some Hookers Green in some areas where I wanted to indicate shadows.

If you would like to paint along, please visit my etsy online shop and click on the Online Class icon. For $5.00 you will receive the photo reference and drawing for this painting. I will suggest that you print each lesson/post. This makes it easier to paint along!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cactus Flower Lesson 1

Okay, I must apologize for those of you who have been waiting patiently for a new lesson! It has been very busy with the holidays, guests, events at the Art and Antiques Studio and preparing for new classes coming in January. No more excuses! Here is the beginning of the new lesson!

You can follow along with this lesson each day, and if you like, you can visit my etsy shop and purchase ($5) the drawing and reference photo. I will email the references to you and then you can paint along!

First of all, the drawing must be traced onto the watercolor paper. I like to use a Chunky Graphite Stick from I scrub a healthy amount of graphite on the back of my drawing, wipe it a little with paper toweling, and then tape one edge of the drawing to my watercolor paper. Trace from the right side of the drawing. Don't press hard or you will leave indentations on your paper and the pigments will puddle into these grooves and cause unsightly marks.

Now, tape your watercolor paper onto a foam core board or gator board that is at least an inch or two larger all the way around. I like to use two-inch Scotch masking tape that is beige. The wide tape allows for good coverage both on the paper (at least one-half inch of tape should cover the edges of your paper) and on the board. Good taping will result in a nice, finished painting that dry very flat. The taped edge also provides a nice gripping area when working with large wet washes.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Teaching Watercolor at the Melbourne Square Mall

Last week I volunteered to teach seniors a little bit about watercolor painting at the Melbourne Square Mall. As a member of the Art and Antique Studio and Fine Art Gallery, I volunteer here and there to give demonstrations and mini workshops. Once a month the mall holds a Seniors Day and provides bingo, health screenings, informational booths about local services, and little art and craft workshops.

I brought in small 5 x 7 inch watercolor pages and some little palettes and brushes. I also brought in a small sailboat photo reference and a little drawing that they could transfer. It took about an hour for each session. I showed them how to transfer the drawing to the paper and how to apply washes to the sky and boat. Each participant took home a little painting. It was a lot of fun! I will be doing this again in February, but we will be painting a small rose, since it will be just before Valentine's Day.

For more information about my ongoing watercolor classes click here to visit my website. Classes begin in January!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Preparing a Thumbnail Sketch

Successful watercolor painting takes planning. Even the most impatient painter should take the time to plan by doing a thumbnail sketch. These quick, scribbly-looking, small sketches take only a few minutes and can save lots of grief later on when the painting is in progress! Much of your composition and value decisions can be finalized by developing a few little thumbnails. Working through your thumbnail sketching process will help you to see things that you might not see until later in the painting process, when it is too late to correct it. So, how do you begin?

First think about what view of your subject you want to portray. Do you want a close up view? A traditional view with a horizon line just above or just below the center point? Do you want to show only part of the image or do you want lots of “background” around the object? Try several quick little sketches to see what might please your eye.
Next decide if you want to paint your subject in a horizontal or vertical format. You may do a quick, scribbly sketch to see what might look nicer. Or, you can simply draw a vertical, horizontal, or square quadrangle around your image area.

Remember to use your viewfinder (a small piece of card stock with a rectangle cut from the center) to help you decide and isolate the objects that appeal to you.

Once you have a very simple line sketch of your layout or composition, check it by using the 3/4 Rule. Draw two vertical lines and two horizontal lines equidistant in the image area. Your focal point, or point of interest should not fall exactly in the middle of the picture plane, but should rest near one of the points where the lines intersect.

Then, start working in values. You can use your value chart and actually number the areas one through six, or just use your pencil to scrub in the darker values.

A Value Chart is a simple set of squares painted with pigment that ranges from dark to white. I make one that is about 3 by 10 inches with six equal squares in a row. I first paint the number 6 square with the darkest mixture of French Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna that I can make, and keep it transparent. Then I add water and continue to paint each square lighter than the previous one, leaving the number 1 square white. After this dries, I punch a small hole in the center of each square. This is a great measuring guide for values.

Classes will begin again in January. Check out my website for more details:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Inspiring Scenery

Just another inspiring scene from Melbourne, Florida! This is another painting from my miniature series. Since we go to the beach a lot, I have decided to study the motion of the water. I am trying to capture it in small sketches. As the waves bump into the shore you can usually see right through them!

The skies here in Florida are always beautiful, too. I love how the clouds seem to hang onto the horizon line!

This little piece fit into a 4 by 6 inch frame! What fun.

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Long Time - No See!

So sorry I haven't written in awhile! I have been really busy preparing for the Artworks of Eau Gallie show, that happened this past weekend. What a great time we had! There are so many amazingly talented people in this area it just blows me away! I feel so privileged to be a part of the show. You can see more photos of the show and see the list of award winners at:

At left is a miniature painting I just created last week for part of my new miniature series. It is framed in gold and measures (with frame) 6 x 8 inches.

For those of you who are just coming back to Florida from the cold north, classes will resume in January. You can see a brief schedule on my website.

I do have a workshop coming up:
Beginner’s Watercolor Workshop
Saturday, December 12, 2009
From 9 AM – 3:30 PM
At Art & Antiques Studio & Fine Art Gallery
1419 Highland Ave., Eau Gallie Arts District (EGAD) - Across the street from Ralph’s Art Supply
$65.00 – bring a lunch.

This workshop is for those who are new to watercolor. We will set up our palettes together, discuss tools and materials, learn the basic washes and brush strokes, and practice together each step of the way.
In the afternoon, we will practice techniques taught in the morning session, and create a small painting together. Students will develop a a better understanding of the exciting medium of watercolor.

Art supply list on Debbie’s website:
Pre-registration and payment is required to hold your spot.
Space is limited, so register online or print registration form from website and mail to Debbie.
This would make a great gift for someone who would like to get started in watercolor!

I will be adding a new Blog Lesson just after Thanksgiving. Hope you have a great holiday!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Student's Work of Koi Fish

October has been a crazy-busy time for me, so I haven't posted as much as I wanted to, but I felt this was something nice to share.

Mike is one of my winter students. He brought this painting in, which he has worked on in his spare time, so that the class could see it. I thought it was such a nice piece I wanted to share it with you!

Great job, Mike!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Candy Dish Lesson 13

Ta Da!!! The finished piece. I am craving chocolate... I'm glad it is almost time for those little trick-or-treaters to visit my house. I may munch on some candy, too!

If you would like to order the reference photo and drawing for this lesson, please visit my etsy online store and click on the Online Class icon. Let me know which lesson you would like. Thanks for visiting.

To learn more about my classes and artwork, please visit my website:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Candy Dish Lesson 12

The remainder of work on this piece is just to refine the details in the candy dish, continue with various glazes of wet, transparent colors on the candies and to lift and soften areas that need either lighter values or softer edges.

I used a number six round Silver Black Velvet brush ( for the detail areas. I used the colors from the candies and shadows to pull this together. I kept a close eye on the reference photo to indicate where the details were necessary - if they aren't necessary don't put them in!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Candy Dish Lesson 11

It is time to remove the masking that was applied at the beginning of this project. I like to use a rubber cement pickup. You can purchase these at any art supply store and also at They work great! You can really scrub this tool over your paper to pick up every last bit of masking without worrying about damaging your paper. If the edges of this tool get black and crumbly in appearance, simply use a scissors or razor knife to scrape down to a clean edge.
Now that the masking is off you will see the sparkling white of the paper. I chose to soften some of these areas using a number 4 Fritch Scrubber brush. This is a small, stiff-bristled brush that I dip into clean water and gently brush over the edges of the masked areas. Then I quickly press the area with a paper towel to lift the moisture and scrubbed pigment. Be frugal, don't over-do this technique or you will loose your whites. The direction of the scrubbing motion will determine how the lifting looks, so be conscientious about the direction you push and pull the brush. Use your photo reference as a guide for where to lift and soften. One thing to note, this DOES chop up the paper somewhat, so only do this in areas where you do not plan to add any more color!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Candy Dish Lesson 10

Today I wanted to paint the chocolate-coated candy. In my painting there is only one! I used Burnt Sienna as an underglaze, then I used VanDyke Brown to glaze over that to create more of a chocolate color and some of the deeper shadows. French Ultramarine Blue was used for the deeper shadows in this candy - but each color was applied after the other glazes had dried.

I also used French Ultramarine Blue and some of the other, previously used colors, to develop the shadow areas around the candies that are in the dish. Be sure to check your photo reference to capture the value, shape and color scheme of each of these little shadow areas. This is a good time to correct some of the candy shapes if they are not quite perfect!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Candy Dish Lesson 9

Okay! Now it's time to dress up the table a little. First, I used a one-inch flat brush with very soft bristles. I loaded it with clean water and gently pulled a puddle of water over the entire table, including the areas of shadow under the dish painted earlier. The only things I left untouched with water were the actual dish, and the candies both in the dish and on the table.

(Special thanks to Anna, one of my students, for shooting these pictures for me!)

It is extremely important not to put pressure on the brush - use a VERY LIGHT TOUCH!!! The brush should basically just push the water around, not really even touch the paper. The less you can stroke the less wash-out or heavy bleeding of pigments you will have.

If you used very thick, heavy pigments for your shadow areas it will lift a lot. You will notice that lots of color flows into the water. All I can say is that this is a good lesson to keep your pigment applications thin, transparent and use lots of water with each glaze!

Now that the table is covered with a generous amount of water, you should see a shine to it. Some areas may still have measurable puddles. Gently tip your board to be sure the water is absorbing evenly into the paper. While it is still shiny, apply small amounts of French Ultramarine Blue and Permanent Alizarin Crimson by dripping it into the wetted areas. Put your brush down and tip the board to create soft areas of slightly blended color.

Notice that I have added some Winsor Red to the red candies. Use any of the bright, warm reds on your palette for the candy glaze. I have also deepened the yellows with a glaze of New Gamboge and a little Quinicridone Gold.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Candy Dish Lesson 8

Here I have glazed the blue candies with a light, wet wash of French Ultramarine Blue to intensify the color!

Things are starting to take shape!

If you would like to paint along with this blog lesson, let me know. To receive an email with the pdf file of the photo reference and drawing for this painting, simply visit my etsy online shop and pay the $5.00 fee and I will send the references to you. Many people like to print off the daily lessons, then paint the project from those sheets.

More to come soon on this lesson. Thanks so much for visiting. I love to hear your comments!

Candy Dish Lesson 7

Time to paint the shadows of the green candies. Again, working with the theory of relative opposites on your palette, look at a color wheel, and see which color on your palette might work as a nice, transparent opposite for the green candies.

I chose Permanent Alizarin Crimson, since it is already a color I am using in this painting, it will keep the look "cohesive". Using the same technique from the previous two days, I painted the shadows of the green candies with the red under-painting. Look for areas where a crisp edge is appropriate and where you may need to soften an edge with a clean, damp brush. Be sure that your shadow areas make sense with the direction of your light source. This will not only make your painting look dimensional, but it will make it look believable! Allow to dry, then glaze each of these candies with Permanent Sap Green. Be sure to keep the glaze wet, transparent and don't over-brush!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Candy Dish Lesson 6

Using the same technique as yesterday, I am painting the shadows for the "Yellow" candies. Because I don't want the candies to turn strange colors, I am glazing the yellow candy shadows with a bit of Burnt Sienna. I am again trying to pay attention to the crisp and soft edges, wetting the edges where I don't want crisp lines. If you would like a more dramatic effect, use a mixture of French Ultramarine Blue and Permanent Alizarin Crimson, very wet, to make a light purple color for the shadows of the yellow candies. Allow these painted shadow areas to dry.

After the shadows are dry, apply a nice, bright, wet glaze of Aureolin Yellow. Cover the shadow areas and the entire yellow candy. If you like, you can drop in a little New Gamboge here and there with a wet-in-wet technique.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Candy Dish Lesson 4

Today I want to begin working on the sparkling colors in the glass candy dish. I will be using the same colors that I used previously: French Ultramarine Blue, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Winsor Red, and New Gamboge. Because the colors will be a bit diluted as I work, I want to begin with strong, wet pigments. Stir up some of these colors in the corners of your paint wells and have them ready to go. Pay close attention to the values shown in the reference photo so that you can get them right the first time. With this method I don't want to have to go back and paint another glaze of color if I can prevent it.

Lay some blue in the center of the large, round, glass shapes at the lower edge of the bowl. Quickly rinse your brush and load it with another color. Touch the edges of the blue here and there with this color. Rinse and clean your brush between each area so that you don't contaminate your brush and pull colors into areas where they don't belong. Continue on with adding the other colors, wet into wet, touching just the edges of the wet pigments. Allow them to soften and blend on their own. Avoid brushing, as this will make muddy, fussy-looking color applications.

Candy Dish Lesson 5

Today I will begin painting the candy-coated peanuts. Yum! As the colors are layered onto these little morsels, they will come to life!!!
First, it is important to understand that if I want to achieve nice dark shadow areas I will have to use relative opposites of colors as underglazes in the shadow areas. Painting a layer of the near-opposite of a color will create a deeper shade of the local color and give the impression of a very dark shadow, and thus provide the illusion of dimension! The relative opposite of the blue in my candy might be Burnt Sienna, so that is what I will use for the shadows in the blue candy. I have decided to change a few of the colors of the candy, to balance things better, so if you do the same, make a mark on your reference photo to help keep things straight.
I am using a coffee-stain of Burnt Sienna to create transparent areas of color where the shadow shapes are. Pay attention to crisp and soft edges. The crisp edges will be painted on the dry paper and left alone. The soft edges will be touched gently with a clean, damp brush. The touching with clean water will soften the edges and make the objects look more dimensional. Allow the Burnt Sienna to dry.
Now use a blue or turquoise color from your palette to glaze over the dried "blue" candies. Paint over the entire candy piece, including the shadow area. Keep this glaze very transparent and wet. Allow this to dry thoroughly.
I have gone back to my shadow colors and used the "charging" technique previously used for the shadow areas to develop the under-parts of the candy dish. Notice the application of paint around and under the candy.

Candy Dish Lesson 3

Moving to the next shadow area on this painting, we will use the same "charging" technique that we used yesterday, except that the last application will just be water. This time we will work from the bottom edge of the shadow toward the bowl. Turn your paper upside down if that is easier to maneuver with your brush. Again work from the blue (French Ultramarine Blue) to reds (Permanent Alizarin Crimson and Winsor Red) to yellow (New Gamboge), then use clean water and pull the water INTO the pigment. If you pull the pigment INTO the water, you will just keep pulling out the pigment, diluting it and creating a harsh line. If you push water INTO the pigment, you will have a clean transition from white paper to clean color. Allow this to dry.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Candy Dish Lesson 2

Normally I layer colors, but today I am going to "charge" wet colors into one another. I want these colors to be strong enough that I won't have to add any layers of pigment later, but I want them to be wet enough that they will blend together and be transparent. I have used French Ultramarine Blue in the areas where the strongest shadow is, Permanent Alizarine Crimson, Winsor Red, and New Gamboge for the other colors. Before I begin, I want to be sure my pigments are very wet, and well-mixed, so they are ready to dip into for the process of "charging".

To begin, I dip into the French Ultramarine Blue with a number 10 round brush. I can't emphasize enough the importance of WET pigment. I lay a small path of pigment (not more that a 2-inch length) and quickly clean the brush and dip into the next color. I lay the next color next to the blue, just barely touching the colors so that the blue runs into the next color and softly blends. Continue this process until  an area is filled in. Pay attention to the values and shadow shapes so that your areas make sense. Be bold and use strong, wet pigments. Allow this to dry.
Notice in these photos, even though I have already applied the pigments, they are still shiny and wet. If you work wet, the colors will blend much more easily without having to fuss over them with your brush!

Candy Dish Lesson

The first stage of this painting was to create a drawing from a photo I took of some candy in a dish on a very sunny day. I set up the still life on our lanai while it could be washed in the crisp morning sunlight.
Next, I scrubbed the back of the drawing with a Chunky Graphite Stick (can be purchased at It's important to scrub hard and deposit a lot of graphite on the paper, so when the drawing is traced onto the watercolor paper, almost no pressure is required. This will prevent indentations in your paper from pressing too hard. These depressions can collect pigment and create ugly marks and lines in your painting.
I tape the drawing along one edge to create a sort of hinge. Now I can trace the image onto my watercolor paper, and lift the drawing occasionally to view my progress. Again, when tracing, use a light touch!!!
Remove your drawing and fold it in half. You may want to use it again sometime!
If you would like to join us in painting this piece, for $5.00 you can order the printable reference files from my etsy shop:

Even though the drawing is on the watercolor paper now, there is still another step before paint is applied to this piece. I wanted to mask the areas of absolute white (the paper will be my white), which I need to save. If I mask these areas, they will be preserved and I don't have to be quite as careful when laying down the wet washes.
To mask, I use a small container that holds a bar of soap and some water. You can use dish soap also, but I like the bar of soap because it is a little thicker. My second small container holds a tiny bit of masking, just enough for the current project. This protects my fragile masking fluid in its larger container. Masking dries out quickly, so I like to keep my larger container closed, except for pouring a small amount into my little container that I work from.

I use a small, cheap brush. Don't ever mix masking fluid or its water, with your watercolor paints or brushes. Any masking that gets into your water tub can eventually get into your good brushes and ruin them forever.
I saturate the brush with the soapy mixture by brushing into the very wet, thick bar of gooey soap. Then, I dip into the masking and apply a small amount at a time. Again, dip into the soapy mixture, pick up a little more masking and apply. The soap keeps your brush from getting saturated with masking fluid. The brush will stay soft and workable for a long time. The last thing I do is scrub the brush in the soapy mixture one last time. I don't wash out the brush, I just leave the soapy mixture in it. My masking brushes last a long time!
Allow the masking to air dry. If you dry it with a hair dryer, the heat can make the masking sink into the paper and it will be more difficult to remove.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Studio Clearance Sale on my Website!

I have run out of room in my storage area!!!
I just wanted to let you all know that I am clearing out my studio and I am having a huge sale on my etsy website. If you are interested in an incredible deal on limited edition giclee prints of my artwork, now is the time to get them!

They would make the perfect holiday gift and you will still have time to have them framed if you like!!!

Please visit my etsy site for more details.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday Morning Water and Sky Workshop

Nancy Sadowski of Riverview Studios in Melbourne invited me to teach a four week workshop on how to paint water and clouds. I had to take a quick photo of the group this past Tuesday. What a nice job everyone did!!! Lots of work, lots of laughs and so much fun producing these nice paintings of a boat in water.

You can learn more about my local classes by visiting my website:

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Side Lined By My Quilt

I have not meant to ignore my blog lessons, but I have to admit that I have been side-tracked by a long-running project. By long-running, I mean since 2001!!! I started this quilt back then, and have worked on it off and on for many years. Recently, seeing how close I was to completing it, I picked it up and worked hard to complete it.
This quilt is a Double Wedding Ring quilt, completely hand pieced, hand appliqued, and hand-top-quilted. I can't begin to tell you how many hours have been poured into it!

I completed it recently, and thought I would share the photos. So, I do more than just paint with watercolor. When I am quilting it is hard to put it down, so the painting gets set aside for a short time. I continue to teach, so I am still painting nearly every day, but when I have a quilt project, well...the evenings get away from me.

I will try to post another watercolor lesson soon!
Thanks for visiting.