Saturday, December 4, 2010

Watercolor on Canvas - Crabby

Now that the Thanksgiving festivities are completed, I can get back to a little artwork. I have taken a few diversions this week and played with beads and jewelry things, but I do have a new image to show from my painting studio.

This is "Crabby". It is a poured watercolor on canvas. The canvas was treated with a special ground to make it act like watercolor paper. Then I use the same pouring method I have been experimenting with for the past year. After the painting is completed, all masking is removed and the final touch-ups are done, I coat the painting with a clear UV coating to preserve it.
This piece is 16" by 16". The most exciting part is that the paint drips over the gallery wrapped edges and I don't have to frame it. I think the colors in this piece came out so nice.
Hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cocoa Village Shadows - New Painting!

Hot off the drawing board! This is my newest painting which will be one of the piece displayed in the ArtWorks Festival of Eau Gallie on November 20 and 21st. This was a fun piece and the colors came out quite nice. I am finally getting the hang of this pouring technique and adjusting it to my liking. I am finding that certain subjects work better than others and I have found a grouping of primary colors that work well together. There is very little brushwork on this piece; the majority of the painting was poured. It measures 23 by 32 inches framed.
You can learn more about the upcoming show at:

Hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Frond Doo - New Watercolor

Okay, another piece ready for the upcoming ArtWorks Festival in downtown Eau Gallie, the location of the Eau Gallie Arts District in Melbourne, Florida. This one is dubbed, "Frond Doo". It is a full sheet painting and framed in a nice wooden frame.

I will be displaying all of my new pieces at this upcoming show the weekend before Thanksgiving. I have some new watercolors on canvas that will be shown for the first time as well. If you are in the area I sure hope you will stop by and say hello.

If you are interested in some of my older pieces, I will be having a sale at the Art and Antiques Studio and Gallery at 1419 Highland Avenue, in the arts district, along with many of the other gallery members. There will be lots to do and see during the ArtWorks Festival. There is so much talent in this inspiring!

Life has been busy lately with some family emergencies, which are all fine now. I apologize for not writing more lately. I haven't had much time to work for the last month, but I hope to get back to work this week. Thanks so much for visiting.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New Painting - Bird Man

I've been away for a few weeks helping with some family issues in Michigan, but now I'm back! This is a piece I worked on over the summer and just framed today. I call it "Bird Man". This was a man I saw last summer feeding the birds on the beach at Indialantic, Florida. When he walked onto the boardwalk the birds immediately started to gather, so I am assuming he was a regular there. I could see his delight and patience with the birds and each bird had a personality of its own, some cranky and rushed, some slow and patient.

The colors in this piece were fun and I did a little direct painting into the darkest areas and on the birds at the end of this work.

I will be showing this piece along with many of my newer paintings at the ArtWorks of Eau Gallie art show coming up the weekend before Thanksgiving. Please stop by and say hello if you are in the area! Details are on the Upcoming Events page of my website:

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Better View

This is another poured watercolor on Arches 140 lb. paper. It is 21 inches high and 14 inches wide. I just framed it and will bring it to the gallery today as we are part of the First Friday Gallery Walk and Fall for the Arts Festival in the Eau Gallie Arts District (EGAD).

This was a fun piece. I'm learning so much by experimenting with this technique. After many paintings, I am beginning to learn which colors, subjects and methods work to achieve the results I am looking for. I'm excited to say that I will be showing some even more brave pieces soon. I am taking this technique a step further and will have some work to show for it very soon!

If you are in the Melbourne, Florida area, please stop by the gallery tonight (or anytime) and see what we have to offer. There will be a lot going on tonight as a large part of the arts community will be in the art district celebrating Fall for the Arts. There will be demonstrations, live music, dance performances, and more! Stop by and say "hello!".

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Convolution - Newest Painting

This is one of my newest "poured" paintings which I call "Convolution". This is a fun, but challenging technique based on Jean Grasdorf's pouring technique. I don't actually pour, but I apply the paint to a very wet surface. I am finding that certain subjects lend themselves better to this technique than others. I just smile when I remove my masking and see the final result of colors blending into subtle mixtures!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Daughter and Me

My daughter and I are working on a collaborative art project, remembering the years I was a single mom and she was a little girl. The project is dubbed "94 North Shore", which is the address of the house I owned in those days. You can view our conversations, sketches, and process as we blog together.
As artists, we have much in common, but the memories we have of our lives over 17 years ago are very different. We are learning so much about each other and enjoying the process of creating a body of work together.
Click here to view our project blog:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pine Lake Cottage Completed

Ah, the finished painting! I had such a great time creating this piece! Ironically, I camped at this lake as a child. As I was painting it I was reminded of how tall the trees in Michigan can grow. They produce a cool, dappled shade on the lawn and reflect in the waves of the water. I can remember the cool summer breezes off the lake, and the smell of the fresh air! I really hope this painting captured my emotions.

I have a small booklet on my etsy shop about How to Paint Trees. I have clear descriptions of how to apply watercolor in glazes to create the illusion of foliage. The booklet covers several different types of trees and includes palm trees, which I added when I moved to sunny Florida!

Click here for my etsy shop.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cottage Painting Progress

I'm nearly done! Just a few more details and I'll be able to sign it, mat it and deliver it to my client.
This piece is feeling very good. I'm happy with the "sparkle" it seems to have and I've been able to keep the scene looking sunny. I want to add more glazes to the water to add some depth and texture. The water should be darker than what it is reflecting, so I have lots of room to glaze and play. Painting the sun spattering onto the lower parts of the trees was lots of fun.

I'll try to post the finished piece soon.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Progress on a Commissioned Painting

I'm making progress on the cottage painting. My foundational washes are all in and I have begun to add the texture and values to the trees.

The reference photos were wonderful and sunny, so I am able to incorporate a lot of color which will add warmth and interest to this big landscape painting.

I'm totally enjoying this painting as I am working in my comfort zone. It's like curling up with my favorite blanket and book on a cool afternoon.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Commissioned Cottage Painting

Recently I received a request to create a painting of a little cottage in Michigan. Since I have been experimenting with new techniques most of the summer, going back to my old method of painting holds a certain comfort for me. I am enjoying the tried and true techniques which have given me such nice results for so many years.

I am using photos from the client as references. She took wonderful photos, which really helps in creating a painting of a place that I am unable to visit in person. She took views from several angles and lots of detail photos so that I understand what each of the garden objects look like. The photos were also taken in bright sunlight which shows the nice shadows and helps to define the depth and dimensions of the subject.

Here I have lightly sketched the subject directly onto my watercolor paper. This should be a very fun piece to produce!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Students Painting of Palm Tree

Palm Tree by Barbara Simpson, Melbourne.

Barbara is one of my students and she sent this picture to me. She has been working on this piece at home. Thanks Barbara for sharing this photo!

I really like the angle of the view into the tree and the colors of the berries are varied and bright compared to the cool background. The movement of the palm fronds and the branches that hold the berries is nice also. Nice job, Barbara!

I love getting photos from my students on the projects they are working on outside of class. It is wonderful to see the growth in technical handling and the fact that each person's own visual voice comes out in a unique way as they learn to control the medium. I can teach and motivate, but the students have to do the work to get to a place where they can truly express themselves!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Quietly, sadly, remembering the tragedy that happened nine years ago in New York, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Straw Hat in Watercolor

This is another "poured" piece that I recently completed. I'm still experimenting with this technique and finding that certain subjects lend themselves better than others.

I liked the solitary feeling of this woman on the beach with the group of other people in the distance. The colors are happy except for the blues around the lonely woman. Her hat, and perhaps her thoughts are the only cheerful, sunny items around her. Perhaps she went to the beach for some solitude.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ginger's Painting

Ginger has been a student with me for about a year now. She pulled out this beautiful painting the other day to show the class. It is one she did on her own, using various references and employing several techniques. What a beautiful piece! Thanks for sharing Ginger!

Classes begin again in September at the studio in Melbourne, Florida. If you are interested in classes, please visit my website:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

First Friday Gallery Walk

Last night was our monthly First Friday Gallery Walk in the Eau Gallie Arts District (EGAD). We had a nice turnout. During part of the evening I demonstrated some of my new painting techniques. The gallery featured three special shows. First, our Second Annual Miniature show, which was excellent. The quality of the work this year was amazing. Awards were handed out and everyone who visited really enjoyed the work.
Second, our ongoing monthly Art of Eights Project was also showing. The 8 x 8 inch canvases are displayed in the gallery for one month, then on our website for three months. Each piece reflects the artist's personality and all are well-executed.
Third, the front room of the gallery features several paintings by some of our gallery members who have won awards. Our award-winning pieces are showing throughout the month.
Visit our gallery website to learn more. If you would like to participate in the Art of Eights Project, we welcome you! The application fee includes the canvas, which we provide. We do not take a commission if the piece sells, and so it is a wonderful way for artists of any caliber to earn exposure.
Learn more at our website:

Friday, August 6, 2010

Miniature Painting of Ocean

This is a miniature painting, 4 x 6 inches, framed, that sold recently. I will be posting several of these on my etsy site soon. They are so much fun to paint and it's interesting to see what you can create on such a small surface. The frame is 4x6, so the painting is even smaller!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Featured in Etsy Treasury

One of my prints has been featured in an Etsy Online Treasury! The treasury is called "The comfort of a cup of tea". The print is called "Garden Teapots".

Classes are starting up soon. If you are local and would like to learn more about my classes and workshops please visit my website:

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Graded Wash in Watercolor

I have just uploaded another tidbit of a lesson from my Beginner's Watercolor Workshop DVD. Visit the link below to learn how to create a graded wash.

Sometimes watercolor has a mind of its own, but when you learn what the medium can do it makes it much more fun to experiment with. The graded wash is an application of watercolor pigment on paper which goes from a dark value to a light value (or the opposite). If the wash is not applied correctly you will develop streaks, brush marks and/or blooms. Once you master the four basic washes, you can manipulate them a little better to create the looks you desire in your paintings.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Coconut Jewels

I'm still experimenting with my pouring/dumping technique. This is the latest piece, called "Coconut Jewels". It is 20 x 28 inches and is now framed in a 26 x 32 inch gold, metal frame. You can see this piece at the Art and Antique Studio. If you are interested in purchasing any of my work please email me and I'll post the item on my etsy shop for you.
Thanks for visiting. I love hearing from you!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Palm Tree Completed

Ah! The final piece. Let me introduce you to "Palm Splash!" I hope you enjoyed sharing in the process of this painting. I hope to be adding more soon!

If you are interested in my classes please visit my website:

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July - Independence Day - to all Americans wherever you may be. Let's celebrate our freedoms and pray that we may keep them!

Hope you are able to enjoy family, picnics, sunshine and lots of joy!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Palm Tree Wet In Wet Technique Final Steps

I have studied this painting and decided to add some glazes of color to certain areas. I used New Gamboge, very wet, to glaze some of the palm fronds that needed to be warmed up. I used Pthalo Blue and Winsor Blue to glaze some areas that needed to be cooled and/or darkened in value.

I have to step back often so that I don't overwork the piece. Sometimes I turn it upside down and step back to look at it. This gives me a fresh perspective and I can judge color, value and shapes much more objectively.

Once these final touch-ups are complete I can remove the painting from the board, sign it, and get it matted and framed!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Palm Tree Wet In Wet Technique Remove Masking

Now it's time to remove the masking that has been applied in stages throughout this painting. I use a tool called a Masking Fluid Pick Up. Most art supply stores should carry them. They can cleanly lift your dried masking and will keep the paper from being touched too much. Erasers tend to leave marks, so don't use them.

Once you get an edge up, you can grasp it with your fingers and gently, slowly pull the masking fluid up from the paper. Take your time. If you pull too quickly you may tear the paper and all of your hard work will be ruined.

Now all of the masking is removed. If you would like to soften some of the crisp edges left you can wet the paper with clean water and a soft two-inch brush. Avoid over brushing as this will lift a lot of pigment and make your painting look "washed out".

At this stage you can really see the beautiful blending of the colors and you can study and decide which areas may need small repairs. You may need to lift a little here and there, and you may need to add more color to other areas.

Final repairs next...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Palm Tree Wet In Wet Technique Almost Done

The wash is completed and now it is time to evaluate whether I need another wash or if I am ready to remove the masking fluid and see what kind of magic has happened!

I believe the values are dark enough so it's time to move on. The painting must dry completely before I remove the masking.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Palm Tree Wet In Wet Technique

The masking has dried and here I am applying another wash. First I wet the paper with clean water. It's important to allow the water to soak in a little. This helps the pigments to flow nicely yet stay close to where you want them. I use three primary colors for the most part - blue, red, yellow.

When I apply the colors I just drop them into the areas where they would seem most appropriate. I don't brush them into each other, but lay them next to each other instead. Then I tip the paper to allow the colors to flow and blend.

When you work wet-in-wet, remember that you can apply the colors quite a bit more dark than you think. Because the paper is already diluted, the colors will dry quite a bit lighter than they appear when they are applied. Experimenting with this helps.

More to come soon...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Palm Tree Wet In Wet Technique

I have applied another wash. After this dries I will add more masking to save the next level of values! Lots of work, lots of patience, lots of results!!!

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To learn more about my classes visit my website:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Palm Tree Wet In Wet Technique

After the first wash dries completely - what I call "bone dry", I then mask the next light values to save. Here you can see the masking. It's okay to use masking tape, or frisket film, but I find that they leave funny edges when the masking is removed, so I stick with brushing on the masking fluid.
So the first masking was to save the absolute whites of the paper. This masking application is to save the value 2 areas. I use a value chart from one to six, one being white and six being black. Each number represents a paint application. So, each stage of the painting is masked to save the next layer of color and value.

Monday, June 21, 2010

First Mask and Wash on Palm

The first thing I did was to apply masking fluid to the absolute whites that I wanted to save. After the masking was completely dry I wet the paper gently with clear water and a 2 inch soft brush. I apply a lot of water so that it puddles on the paper. Then I tip the board back and forth to keep the liquid flowing in all directions so that the paper absorbs the water evenly.

Once the water has soaked into the paper, has lost most of the "puddle" and simply looks shiny, I add the three primary colors. I don't blend them with my brush, I simply drop then onto areas of the paper, tipping the board, allowing gravity and the wetness of the paper and pigments to softly blend the edges. I want to keep this relatively light as these colors will represent the second lightest values in my painting. They will also act as underpainting for the next few washes. This will dry quite a bit lighter than it looks when applied.

Now this has to dry completely - bone dry - before I can work on it again.
More to come....

Slowly But Surely...watercolor...

Slowly but surely I will get this posted.

Because I am using a very wet technique for this painting, and I will be using many layers of wet, blended colors, I don't have to worry about the graphite on my paper. Here I have penciled in lightly, with a number two drawing pencil, the darkest values of my painting. As I add the wet colors the pencil lines will lift and lighten. I don't want to lose my value pattern, so I add the darkest as they will be the last to be added in. If I were using a direct painting method I would be much more careful about the pencil marks. Even with this method, though, I don't want to press hard with the pencil. That would leave impressions on the paper that would cause the pigment to sink in, leaving unsightly marks.
More to come...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Palm Tree Wet In Wet Technique

Okay, I finally have a few progress photos of the palm tree to show you. You can see my sketch book on the right, my reference photo at the top, my masking fluid on the top right, and a small pencil. At this point I have created a drawing in my sketchbook. I then trace the loose sketch create a value study in only three or four values. I do this with a set of black and gray markers. I use the white of the paper to indicate the lightest values.

This value study will help me to determine where to mask areas before color is added.

These preparatory steps take some time, but the extra time is worth it with the beautiful end results that I can achieve!

Once I have these steps completed I enlarge the value study and use graphite to trace it onto my full sheet of watercolor paper.

Because I will be painting very wet, I use two inch masking tape to secure my paper to a foam core board. This will help to keep it relatively flat while painting and it will pull it flat again as it dries.

More to come soon on this painting...

Friday, May 28, 2010

New Beginnings

Probably every artist in Florida has painted a palm tree, so I am taking on the challenge yet again. This is a recent drawing I worked on for a painting I have in mind. I plan to use the wet-in-wet technique that I have been employing lately. I thoroughly enjoyed drawing this one. Once drawn, as show, I trace the image outlines, and then scrub in three or four different values from black to white to plan out the applications of paint. More to come on this one....

To see more of my artwork, please visit my website:
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Advanced Student Painting of Pineapple House

Mike Brothers is one of my advanced students. He recently painted this piece of a local bed and breakfast called The Pineapple House. The house is just around the corner from our gallery and teaching studio.
Mike used a wet-in-wet wash for the initial underpainting on this piece. Then he worked in the details. The wet wash makes the light on the building glow like early morning sunlight!
Great job, Mike!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Come Sit a Spell

Come Sit a Spell...This is a little scene that I stumbled upon in Cocoa Village, Florida. I absolutely loved the pink chairs and it seemed the perfect subject for my new explorations in watercolor technique. I am still playing with a wet-in-wet glazing technique and having a blast! This is definitely a happy painting!!!

With my exploring, I haven't been working on blog lessons as diligently, and I apologize to those of you who like to follow along. I will try to pull some lessons together soon and post them. Let me know if you prefer the lessons or just keeping up with news and images of my current work.

If you are in the Melbourne, Florida area, please look me up. I am a member of the Art and Antique Studio Gallery in the Eau Gallie Arts District (EGAD). Our address is 1419 Highland Ave., Melbourne, Florida. If you visit our website you can see more of my work, our class schedule and information on the featured artist for this month! Hope you can visit us soon. Art and Antique Studio Link.

If you would like more specific information on my classes please visit my personal website. Classes begin again in late May. Click here for class information.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Student's Work of Hibiscus Flowers

Classes are still happening for the spring and summer here in sunny Florida. We have adjusted to the new studio and are enjoying the space, the light, the flowers in the courtyard and all of the new projects to explore!

Jean, one of my students, has been working hard in class and at home on many projects. Here are two hibiscus flowers she recently painted.

New classes are starting in May. If you are interested in my classes, please check out my website:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Palm Trees Wet in Wet in Watercolor

"Three Palms" is another new piece that I just finished last week. It is 23 x 30 inches and is painted wet in wet with layers of masking to create the details. I am exploring some new thing in my paintings and I like the direction things are going so far. I still have some kinks to work out in my methods before I share the techniques.

I will be in Vero Beach, Florida this Saturday for the Hibiscus Festival in the park downtown. Please stop by and see me if you are in the area. You will be able to see my new pieces up-close and personal.

Thanks so much for visiting.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A recent painting - Moses in the sink

It's been a while since I posted. I have to admit I have been very busy preparing for an upcoming show, The Hibiscus Festival, in Vero Beach, on April 17th.

Here is one of my latest works. I have been experimenting with a new method using lots of masking layers and glazing very wet layers of paint with wet-in-wet applications. I am having lots of fun, and learning a lot! This is Moses, one of my daughter's cats. His name is so appropriate! He loves the water. I painted him with much more gold/warm colors than he is in real life, but I wanted the warmth and yellow tones to compliment the blues and purples in the tile, wall and sink. I am working on a few more paintings using this technique and I will try to post them soon!

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, March 8, 2010

One Painting Becomes Two

It never ceases to amaze me how many problems need to be solved as I work on a painting. These pieces were originally one large painting that I had hurried to prepare for a demonstration piece. I worked on it long after the demonstration and really struggled with the composition - from lack of planning!!!

I talked with a couple of artist friends and they made several great suggestions, one of which was to make two smaller pieces from the larger one.

I used some mat corners to play with various cropping options and this was the result. The image with three pelicans is called "Chuck, Zack and Mack" and the painting with two pelicans
 is called, "Dick and Jack".

I'll be adding these to my etsy shop soon!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Award from Splash Show 2010

This past weekend was the Brevard Watercolor Society's annual Splash Watercolor Show. I was the recipient of a Merit Award from the show. What an honor to be among the award winners of such a wonderful show! There is an incredible amount of talent in this community and it's such a treat to see all of the paintings.
This painting is titled Lunch Line.
You can see more about the show at several online sites:

Thanks to all of my students who came to watch me demonstrating both Saturday and Sunday!

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Silver and Cherries in Watercolor

This is a piece I recently painted with my Level Two watercolor students. It was a challenging and fun piece. I hope to put it on the blog as a lesson very soon!

I have a new six week series of classes beginning tomorrow. Can't wait to see everyone and begin the next adventure in watercolor!!!

This piece is for sale. Feel free to email me if you are interested. There is more work at my etsy shop (left column) and on my website:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Student Still Life

My Tuesday morning class recently painted a still life of a pepper and tomatoes. They first painted it using a mixture of two colors to create a monochromatic scene. Then they painted a second piece using color.

This is Jackie's monochromatic piece. She did a beautiful job!
Here is a closer view of her piece. Great job, Jackie!

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

Friday, January 29, 2010

Barbara's Painting

My intermediate class just finished a still life painting of a silver tea pot with a glass bowl of cherries. This is Barbara and her finished piece. This is special because Barbara actually polished the silver piece for me that we used as the reference for this painting. Great job on your painting, Barbara! And thanks so much for making the silver look like new!!!

More classes are beginning in February. You can visit my website to see the list, register and view the supplies list.

We have been working hard to get our new teaching studio ready and so I haven't had a lot of time to work on lessons for this blog. I have been taking progress photos of some pieces we've been working on in class, so I hope to have some new lessons up soon. Stay tuned! Thanks for visiting.

You can see pictures of the new studio by visiting our Art and Antiques Studio Facebook page. The teaching studio is called Courtyard Studio, but we are affiliated with the Art and Antiques Studio and Gallery next door. Visit our Facebook Page and become a FAN!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Morning Glories by my Students

This photo shows the wonderful Morning Glories that my Level One students painted recently. I think they did a great job!!!

They are learning how to work with their water to pigment ratio and how to control soft and crisp edges in watercolor. It is fun to build the illusion of three dimensional shapes with varying edges and values.
New classes are starting up in February in both watercolor and drawing. You can visit my website to learn more:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Indiatlantic Art Festival

My husband, Ken, and I participated in the Indiatlantic Art Festival this past weekend. Saturday was chilly and Sunday was windy, but we had a wonderful time!

We talked with lots of people about watercolor painting, upcoming classes and I worked on two paintings during the show.

Here you can see the Coconuts painting I was working on during the show on Saturday and early Sunday morning.

Below are just a few guests looking at the artwork I had on display in the booth.

New classes are starting up in February, and I have a Beginner's Watercolor Workshop on Saturday January 30th. Please visit my website for more details and registration options.

Watercolor Works by Debbie Johnson - Website