Tag Archives | landscape


Dark Field Monotype with Watercolor and Colored Pencil – San Juan Capistrano Bell

San Juan Capistrano Bell, 4 x 6 dark field monotype with watercolor and colored pencil (sold) Getting Ready to Make a Monotype This (below) is a 4 x 6 zinc plate, with beveled edges – since I’ll be printing this on a press. After rolling a smooth, thin layer of black printmaking ink on the plate, I’ll use cotton swabs, rolled paper towel pointers, blending stomps and a rubber gloved fingertip to pull ink from the plate in a subtractive process to create an image of the San Juan Capistrano Bell Tower in Southern California. Have you made one of these yet? Ready …[Continue reading]


Watercolor: Capistrano (& a show at Flower Pepper Gallery)

Today, I’m sprinkling your eyes with images, because writing time is limited. There’s framing to do, and promotions to distribute, and labels to make, and art festival preparations to assemble & load. I’ll be in two shows this weekend: Beverly Hills Art Show, and the opening of I Wish I Had Friends Like That! at Flower Pepper Gallery (see the details below). Are you showing your work anywhere this weekend? Please share location and times in the comments. This is a larger (for me) landscape watercolor for the Beverly Hills Art Show. The first year I left my job to paint full time, …[Continue reading]


Watercolor: Prescribed Burn, Provence (& 18 Habits of Creative Brains)

Many years ago, I accompanied my step mother to France to see the village she grew up in, and visit her family. I remember speeding along N4 outside Paris and seeing smoke in the sky. Farmers were using prescribed burns to clear fields of ticks and parasitic worms, and ready them for new plants.  The contrast between lush Spring landscape and giant smoke plumes left an impression on my teenaged sense of wonder.   While visiting Provence last June, I didn’t witness any controlled burns (it may have been too late in the season) but the color & scent of the French landscape primed that teenaged memory, and …[Continue reading]


Watercolor: La Grande Rue, Venasque (& Art Festival dates)

Re-Living Travel Moments Here’s a little watercolor painted from a quick study made on a lovely afternoon sitting in a shady doorway in Venasque, France. I painted several street scenes to use as studies for larger paintings while on the trip I took in June. That’s my friend Angel, sketching on the lip of the fountain. Whereabouts I’ll be at the Thousand Oaks Arts Festival this weekend, so be sure to say hello if you’re in the area. I just posted a newsletter with the rest of my upcoming show dates, and you can see that here. (If you’d like to subscribe to the newsletter, you can do …[Continue reading]

Tin Barn Near Adalaida 6.5x6.5 Watercolor

Watercolor: Tin Barn Near Adalaida (& a video: how is paper made?)

This watercolor landscape was painted after a trip to see my step dad in Central California. I love the shape of the land up there; curvy golden hillsides, forged smooth with time, and made soft & textured with grasses and shrubs. The fleshy horizon line along parts of the California highways remind me of reclined, slumbering figures. A couple of blog readers sent notes this summer asking about the difference between my studio newsletter and subscribing to this blog, and why aren’t they one and the same? Each time new art is finished in my studio, a blog post is published here, so if I’m painting and printing a lot …[Continue reading]


Nocturnal Watercolor: Waiting for the Moon

I just finished this study for a nocturnal watercolor inspired by a solstice moonrise I watched from the chateau in France last month. A broad horizon, unencumbered by tall buildings was a perfect vantage point to watch the moon rise from the distant hills in Provence. The chateau sits on a hilltop, overlooking the valley, and it whispers details of history to you from fire scars on her 14th century stonework, and windows shaped perfectly by stonemasons to accommodate a bow and arrow taking aim at approaching intruders. Painting nocturnes is challenging, and I think painting them in watercolor is particularly tricky. Taking the pigments dark enough …[Continue reading]


Watercolor: Palatine Hill, Rome (& Painting Plein Air in Watercolor)

When you return from an excursion to a new place – like for instance, France – you get to pour over your photos and re-live the experience, or even better, make art from your photos and completely submerge in that recall. Painting, sketching and carving imagery from the photos I took in France last month lets me extend the relish of that beautiful country for longer than the time I actually spent there, and that’s just one more reason to love the gift of painting. If you’re contemplating a painting trip that includes some plein air – and you’re not sure what to expect, you might experiment at home, …[Continue reading]


How to make a Collagraph

What is a Collagraph? A collagraph is a type of printmaking, traditionally made from a collaged plate. If you’ve wondered how to make a collagraph – especially from mat board – I hope this is helpful. Shapes and textures are layered on a base plate (usually metal or plexiglass) and sealed with a gloss varnish.  After the assemblage dries, the surface is inked, and wiped, which leaves plenty of pigment embedded in the textural elements, and caught against the curbs of layered shapes on the collage. When pressed against paper – usually on a press, but also rubbed with a baren or spoon …[Continue reading]


Watercolor: Woodlands (& an Exhibit at True North Gallery)

I’m thrilled to share that I’ve got a foxy watercolor in this lovely exhibit – Outfoxed, at True North Gallery in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, opening this weekend, April 30th. I’ll be on the opposite side of the country at the San Diego Artwalk this Saturday and Sunday, so I’ll miss the opening, but if you’re on the east coast, and near South Hamilton, stop by and enjoy this beautifully curated show. You can read more about it on the gallery web site here. If you’re interested in women artists of the Renaissance, and you have 20 minutes, watch this PBS presentation on the re-discovery & restoration of …[Continue reading]


Pastel: Spin (fixing failed watercolors with pastel)

This art began it’s life as a watercolor. When I was almost finished, I knew it was overcooked. You know what I mean right? That moment when all your shimmering, artsy hope and sparkly excitement for What-Could-Be goes dark? Yeah, that one.   I tossed the unfinished waif on a shelf, and there it sat, shivering & waiting to be shredded. Later, I was testing pastels over a small, expired watercolor to try to resuscitate it, and I remembered this sad ferris wheel watercolor. I wondered like a wizard over a cauldron if I tossed in some arbitrary color, and maybe a pinch of crazy mark-making, could I save this larger watercolor?  I …[Continue reading]


Watercolor: Blue Eucalyptus

Thanks for all the nice emails and social media tweets & comments on the last post about making little art, and painting Artist Trading Cards. That trend, combined with the Painting a Day movement – which emerged at the same time – was like a double current of sanctions to work in small format to my heart’s content. Now, 10 years later, I feel a medium-to-large work surge approaching. [insert eyebrow wag & hand rubbing here] Interiors and still life, with coastal influences are brewing…. My new little studio should be ready to Making Something (arms-up & a big whahoo!) next week. The towers of boxes are gone, and piles of …[Continue reading]


Watercolor painting – Orange Storefront

About ten years ago, I went on a plein air painting excursion in Old Town Newhall, a historic western town not far from where I live in California. My artist pals and I scoped out paint-worthy architecture and cityscape scenes, and set up easels along sidewalks, under the shade of awnings, with our paints, cameras and water bottles. Some of my friends wrestled those plein air sessions into a regular activity, honing their skills with habitual, all-weather, outdoor painting adventures.  A few of the hardiest souls stuck with it long enough to get very, very good at chasing sunlight while bracing an easel against the wind, or rendering verdant greens along …[Continue reading]


Monotype: San Juan Capistrano Bell (& my Takach etching press)

I was introduced to monotype printmaking when I took a summer class offered by master printmaker James Lorigan at College of the Canyons in Valencia, CA in 2005. Having only made woodcuts prior to this, I loved the method right away for it’s painterly results.  The moment I rolled dark ink on a plate, wiped the light areas away from the wet ink, and pulled a print, I was hooked.  Then, I discovered that I could alter the resulting monotype with other media! Cartwheels & dancing! I took Jim’s class in consecutive semesters until I maxed out my welcome in the college database. (You …[Continue reading]


Trace Monotype & Watercolor: Capistrano Mission Bell

This is a trace monotype of the San Juan Capistrano bell tower, from a photo taken inside the mission courtyard. The ink lines from the trace monotype are about the same value as pencil graphite, but they have a dotted quality to them from the tooth in the printmaking paper (Arches Cover), and I like the way they look around and underneath the watercolor pigments. See you in the next post! Belinda