Monday, August 31, 2020



After the reflection zebra were blocked in, it was time to mix the water color.

Usually I have the color in my mind before I started mixing. Here, I didn't. I wanted a moonlit muddy water. Surprisingly, the mix came quickly. Two blues (ultramarine blue, phthalocyanine blue lake), yellow ochre, paynes gray (to tone it down,) and a little titanium white.

Friday, August 28, 2020


I wanted a feeling of moonlit muddy water so the reflections needed to be soft and a bit warm. Using larger brushes than I used for the upper zebra, the stripes have less contrast with bluer and lighter dark stripes and "dirty" blue darker light stripes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020


As an alla prima painter, I am not used to waiting for paint to dry. I mix directly from my paint tubes and go for it. 

However, there are some pieces which require patience and a different approach. For instance, the brilliance of the pinks on the throat of a calliope hummingbird is a good example. If you paint those feathers titanium white and once dry glaze over them with brilliant rosy reds, the pink will be striking. That iridescence is almost impossible to achieve directly from the tube.

This painting is another example. I will be glazing the two foreground left zebra and am starting differently on the painting's middle zebra and the one on its right. I would like the "white" of these two zebra to have the strongest moonlit hue. Their whites are painted using just Titanium White. Once that is dry, I will glaze over the white of the zebra with a blue-green color.

I can see the finished color in my mind, but I will have to be patient to get it.


I am tempted to adjust the color of the grass but will wait until the rest of the painting is done to see what kind (or if) a color shift is needed.                       Patience.

Saturday, August 22, 2020


These colors may seem a bit bizarre at first. I am pushing the envelope so when I rein in the color it will be more dramatic than I would have started painting.

Not quite getting the hue I want in the two most foreground zebra so I have really lightened their coats in preparation for a glaze once the paint has dried. My Michael Harding Phthalocyanine Blue Lake paint will be perfect in a Liquin glaze to energize the color.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

On my easel

After a number of smaller paintings, it is time for an ambitious larger one. Of course, half or even a quarter of the way through, I will wonder what I was thinking with all these zebra! 

My first step was to think "nighttime." Here is the beginning.

Kind of dull so far, but next up........COLOR!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

                    Water's Edge                                                           Original Oil         9" X 12"                 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Alla prima

I really like my alla prima painting technique for rendering water. There is something about working wet-on-wet which translates well into making something look wet.
I like to mix several colors on my palette in preparation. This enables me to easily grab the color when needed. Using my flat angled brushes, I'll lay in lines of color gently blending the edges.
Once a section looks wet, I'll move to the next section.

In painting water, I like to have a large block of time. Working with the paint while it is fresh and juicy helps with seamless blending.

For the bird's reflection, I painted some muted, some bright colors and gently blended them in to the surrounding water colors. Note: I paid particular attention to how the water was interacting with the reflection so I have a variety of soft edges.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020


My favorite element to incorporate in my wildlife paintings is water. There are so many different moods one can paint and the colors run the gamut of the rainbow.
This piece is set on the eastern barrier beaches of Martha's Vineyard though it could be anywhere that Ruddy Turnstones frequent during the summer months.

I am trying something new (for me) with the treatment of the background wave. In creating a soft out-of-focus look, I hope to further draw attention to the bird.