Tag Archives | watercolor

a greyhound lounging asleep on a big arm chair

Gift Ideas for Watercolor Artists

Greyhound Lounger, watercolor (sold) What Gifts do Watercolor Artists Wish For? How do you know what to gift to a watercolor artist? Do beginner painters prefer different art supplies and art-themed gifts compared to more seasoned watercolor artists? (I don’t think so.) We artists love a slow inspection of every single aisle in an art supply store. Just the same as a quilter gets inspired by the latest prints in a fabric shop, or a stitcher swoons at the display of this season’s newest colors of embroidery floss. But if you’re not an artist, how do you get gift ideas for watercolor artists? …[Continue reading]

a painter displaying his oil painting in an arcade at the San Juan Capistrano Mission

How to Add Two Hours of Art to Every Week

Chesley at Capistrano 8 x 10 Watercolor on paper (sold) How to Make More Art This (above) is my friend Ron, seated, exhibiting and selling his paintings at a California Art Club exhibit held at the San Juan Capistrano Mission a long time ago. Ron was a creative executive at the Walt Disney Company at the time. Even with a demanding job, and a family, he still made time to create paintings for himself. Do you wish you had more time to make art? I suspect everyone who enjoys creativity wishes there was more room for it in each week. A rough sketch …[Continue reading]


5 Great Tools for Beginner Watercolor Artists, and Some Tips

Study for Winter Retreat 14.5 x 10.5 Watercolor on Arches Cold Press paper (sold) Tools for Beginner Watercolor Artists Beginner watercolor artists need encouragement, tips and effective tools to stay with this lovely medium. Have you ever heard someone say “I tried watercolors once, and I’m terrible, so I gave up.”? Don’t be that person. Stick with it. Watercolors need to be courted for a little while before they’ll hold hands with you. Be patient, and curious about painting with watercolors. Ask lots of questions, and spend time playing with your brushes, paper and pigments without trying to paint a specific thing. It …[Continue reading]


How to Use Sight Size Drawing for Accuracy – and a Watercolor Portrait

Lull 10×7 Watercolor on Plate Finish Bristol The Trifecta: Grid Method, Sight Size Drawing and Watercolor Glazing Artists have developed many tips and tricks to improve accuracy and results in art-making. For drawing a light scaffolding of shapes and angles under watercolors, I find the grid method and sight-size drawing both beneficial. In painting – I love the gossamer affect and shape-control you get with watercolor glazing. If you’re unfamiliar with these methods, let’s talk about them a little with this watercolor portrait (above) as an example. Using Sight-Size and the Grid Method together: The reference photo and the drawing are the same …[Continue reading]


5 Tips to Get Past the Ugly Stage in Watercolor Painting

Cottage Kitchen 18.25 x 12.25 Watercolor on paper (Sold) Getting Past Ugly in Your Art Making art often stalls in the Ugly Tunnel. 🚙 On your pilgrimage to a finished watercolor, there’s a crossing in the journey where the pigments, composition and overall look of your work in process can get ugly. It’s important that you avoid stopping there. 🗺 It would be easy to walk away from the art at this stage, because none of it looks encouraging. This is especially true if you’re not sure how to paint through the discouraging scenery. Nevertheless, keep hiking. We wish each stage of a …[Continue reading]


Tips for Drawing and Painting the Figure in Watercolor

Summer Sunday 6 x 7.5 Watercolor on BFK Rives paper (Sold) Painting the Figure I’ll just come right out and say it: People are discouragingly hard to draw and paint. You can sketch a landscape or a still life with room for error; if your trees lean, or your bowl rim burps, it’s not a big deal. But if you paint the figure, and one eye is higher, or the hands are too small, brace yourself for unease, and maybe some comments and corrections. We unconsciously incorporate elements of our own likeness in every figurative portrait, because we can’t help but draw and …[Continue reading]


How to Save a Failed Watercolor with Pastel – Ferris Wheel Spin

Spin 21 x 14 Pastel over Watercolor on paper (Sold) Pastel Over Watercolor The painting above started as a watercolor. I knew it was overcooked at the three-quarters finished point – so I tossed it in a flat file to dry, with plans to feed it to the shredder. A few weeks later, I spotted the forgotten watercolor, and wondered if it might be a candidate for one of those “anything goes” art supply experiments with pastel over the watercolor. (Do you do those too? This painting was another example of pastel over watercolor.) Goofing off with pastels over an expired watercolor can …[Continue reading]