Friday, March 27, 2015


                                   "Hendrick's Head Summer"
                                                                       15" X 22"

Most watercolorists will tell you that you begin with the lights, proceed to the midtones and then punch it up with the darks.  Goodness knows that's the way I was taught and how I've painted through the years.

However, some watercolorists begin with the darks, among them Ted Kautzky.  I've always resisted this idea because when I first tried it, the darks would bleed when a midtone was placed on top of it.
Also, certain color combinations would create muddy  darks.  It always resulted in an ugly mess.

Now that I understand a lot more about the amount of water, brush pressure and color combinations, I've once again tried the darks-first method with a little more success than my first attempts at this sequence.

Here's an example of this approach.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


                                 "The Bay Lady"    15" X 22"

I placed the Friendship sloop Bay Lady on the third, but needed something else on the other side of the teeter-totter, so I placed the distant  three sails near the shoreline to balance the large boat in the foreground.  The sailboats at shore's edge also helped break up a straight line to avoid what Edgar Whitney called "monotony en route."

Consider balancing one large shape with several smaller shapes on the other side of the page.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wet-Into-Wet, Gradation, and dry brush.....

                              Hendrick's Head Lighthouse    "22 X 30"

I'm so happy to announce my 6th summer workshop in Boothbay Harbor, Maine    July 20 - 24th. 
Contact me at    or call me:  314-968-5567.     This is a beautiful area with loads of subject matter.   Check out this painting of one of our painting sites. 

Lessons change every summer.  I still encourage beginners as well as seasoned painters to come enjoy the Boothbay Region, and to try out new techniques and especially to figure out how to begin a new painting. 

This is Hendrick's Head Lighthouse.  I've painted it at least a hundred times, but never tire of the challenge of different ways to approach the subject.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Workshop Opportunity

                                                                  " Cornwall Beach "
                                                       15" X 22"

     I am happy to announce a two day spring workshop to be held at the Missouri Artists on Main Street in historic St. Charles. 

     Dates:  Thursday, May 7th and Saturday, May 9th.
     Time:  9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
     Tuition:  $150
     Subjects:  Landscapes in Three Steps
                     1. Wet-Into-Wet
                     2. Gradation (of color and values)
                     3. Drybrush and line


Contact Jean McMullen at        636-724-1260     or

There is a limit of 10 students for this fact-packed workshop.  Make your reservation soon.  Last fall's workshop filled up quickly!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Star on Each Plane

Sometimes it's a good idea to de-emphasize the foreground or background by painting wet-into-wet to keep the edges soft.  But in some landscapes, I like to look past something interesting in the foreground to something interesting in the mid-ground and the far distance.

In this painting, I looked through the trees at a serene lake scene.  In the foreground I placed a focal point of a birch tree on the left.  Knowing that a flat lake would hold little interest, I added some sailboats in the middle ground.  And finally, a low hanging cloud and its cast shadow on the distant mountains provided a point of interest even farther back.

In this way I supply a pathway through the scene. 

Watch this space for a workshop announcement soon!