Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Santuario Mariano Churchyard, Ecuador

I'm currently taking an excellent online Craftsy class with Montreal artist Shari Blaukopf entitled "Sketching the City in Pen, Ink & Watercolor."  I can't recommend it too highly for those interested in urban sketching. And, no, I am not connected with Shari or Craftsy other than as a student. She breaks down various aspects of sketching in the city and hones in on what to include, or not, which I am finding invaluable for my virtual paintings via Google streetview. I'm hoping to brave the weather and get out for real life sketching in the near future and I think what I'm learning in this class will be my ticket. When I lived in Hawaii, I painted on location at least once a week but I was more interested in landscapes, seascapes, and florals than urban sketching. I wish I had had access to Shari's classes way back when!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Galapagos Tortoises

These guys were fascinating to paint, with their bird like beaks, scaly legs, claws, shells that looked carved, and snaky heads.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Galapagos Island Seal

This was my fifth attempt at this seal. Previous efforts resulted in brown seals on brown rocks, ugh. Not fun to paint and not fun to see. The bold brush pen line work demanded bold color. I could have gone even more bold, and will on the next one.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Thursday, October 22, 2015


Egrets are one of my favorite birds, but this is the first time I have sketched one.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Montezuma Oropendola

My paintings have felt a little tight and stodgy lately so I busted loose with this one. I feel much better.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Outrigger, Beached

We travel to the Philippines for this month's virtual paintout via Google street view. This outrigger was beached with a number of other boats, most with palm fronds thrown over them. I'm very familiar with the sharp, brittle feel of palms like this, having had royal palms at each corner of my back yard that required debris removal on a frequent basis. Good to see them being put to use after they have fallen from the tree.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Waikiki Gabled House

Here's an old friend, painted en plein air 15 or so years ago. Another old friend, Mark Norseth, posted a painting of a house very similar to this one on his Facebook page today that reminded me of this painting, hanging out in my closet. I thought it was the same house but on closer inspection, it is not. It does have a similar vibe to it, I think. I'm glad for the reminder to get this one out of the closet and in to a frame. It brings back good memories.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My Little Chickadee

When I was a new watercolorist, and for many years, I was wild about color, the brighter the better. In the last few years, I've noticed the more subtle grays and tones are more pleasing to my eye. I've also been drawn to texture and granulating effects for awhile. So when I came across liquid pencil, I was intrigued. The set I have contains red, yellow, blue, sepia, and several grays. This is my first time using them and I wasn't disappointed. So. Much. Fun! The scan hasn't recorded all of the painting but hopefully you'll get an idea of what this medium can do.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Amazing Grace

My precious Mom, Grace, passed away three weeks ago today.  She truly was an amazing person--smart, funny, creative, and so loving to friends, family and strangers alike. She was tiny, at 4'10" or so but she was as mighty as she could be. This is a painting I did of her many years ago, before her hair turned silver. She loved finding shells and other interesting stuff on the beach and was always the first to spot treasures, perhaps because she was closer to the ground than the rest of us. I miss her so much.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


The sun streaming over the mountain, making the water below the National Museum of Bhutan sparkle, was dazzling. I just wish I had painted this on watercolor paper rather than in my sketchbook.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Signs of Spring

It's incredible how fast baby hummingbirds grow. I painted them two days ago and checked on them today and they are fluffy with feathers, have no more down and are bright eyed and active. You can watch them via live webcam here.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Bella's Babies

Bella is an Allen's Hummingbird in LaVerne, California, whose nest is being webcammed and live streamed at http://explore.org/live-cams/player/bella-hummingbird-nest for all to see. If I have my facts straight, the new mother of the clutch being streamed right now is Bella's daughter Rosie from last year. I cast the live stream to my television so I can keep an eye on her as her two tiny eggs were due to hatch any day. Late this afternoon, I looked up and saw a tiny crack appear in the lower egg. My tv screen isn't as clear as my computer screen so I ran to my computer to watch. Before much longer I saw a couple of tiny eyes peering out at the world. Just then, the momma came back so I worked on a sketch from a screenshot I had taken. As the afternoon waned, Rosie would occasionally leave the nest, and when she did I watched and sketched the nest. Before I could do much more, it became completely dark. Now I have to wait until morning to see the new arrival. Can't wait! I hope to sketch the babies a much as possible in the days to come. In three short weeks, they will be ready to fledge. By the way, to give you an idea of size, the nest is about half the size of a golf ball! Imagine how tiny these eggs are!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bird on a Berg

We're off to Greenland for this month's virtual paintout. Lots of icebergs floating around there, including this one with a bird coasting along on it for a sunset cruise. The painting was too large, at 10x13", to scan so I snapped the photo with my iPad which led to a loss of color and detail. oh well, you get the picture, no pun intended. I painted this with M. Graham gouache, which was fantastic to use. It has no white in it so it behaves exactly like watercolor, but is bolder and more easily controlled.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Hummingbird in Flight

I'm taking a really fun online class on painting birds in ink and watercolor from Val Webb. This lesson was on birds in motion. (The photo reference was from Paint my Photo, Gloria Ester.) If you look very closely, maybe you can see all the different ways the ink was applied, i.e., scumbling, scraping, fountain pen, sponged ink, and pointed skewer dipped in ink.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Bangladesh Marketplace

This month the virtual paintout is in Bangladesh.Very exciting! I haven't had a chance to look it over too much, but from what little I have seen, there are a ton of colorful sights to paint. I could do a series just on the beautiful "sarees or shalwar kameeses" traditionally worn by the women. If I can find the time, it should be a fun painting month.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

So This Rooster Goes Into a Bar....

Found this vintage looking painted iron rooster happily crowing on a bar in Philadelphia for this month's virtual paintout in that city. I'm getting a little burned out on drawing/painting street scenes so am looking for more intimate scenes for quick sketches.