Monthly Archives: February 2017

Woodpeckers in Watercolor

Downy Woodpecker - Woodpeckers in WatercolorThis past weekend was warm and that brought many birds to my backyard. Among them were both Hairy and Downy woodpeckers, Tufted titmice, American robins, Black-capped Chickadees, Blue jays, Song sparrows, and Juncos. I thought it would be fun to paint a few woodpeckers since you have to admire a bird that can bang its head on a hard tree then fly away unaffected.

The first woodpecker is the Downy. A good way to tell the difference between a Downy and a Hairy is the beak. The Downy’s beak is much smaller. I used indigo blue and burnt sienna for background with just a touch of burnt umber on the bottom to create the ground. The black feathers were created using the same colors in a stronger mix. A touch of white gouache was added at the end to strengthen the highlights.

Woodpecker - Woodpeckers in WatercolorThe second woodpecker is called the Lesser-spotted and is not native to the US. My palette consisted of sap green, yellow ochre, indigo blue, burnt umber, and alizarin crimson. I painted this fellow in a similar method to the one above using the wet into wet technique for the background. I created the mossy texture at the bottom with a 1″ chip brush. Barely dampen the bristles of the chip brush then dip them into your paint and dab the pigment onto the paper. If the bristles are splayed and wonky it works even better.

With just a few basic supplies you can paint your own woodpeckers. I hope you try this and please share your work. Until next time…Cheers!


P.S. Both of these paintings are available in my shop.

Pink Wildflowers in Watercolor

Pink Wildflowers

One of the aspects of watercolor I love is using the paint to create loose interpretations of a subject. This is the type of painting I find most challenging. It requires a certain willingness to let the water do the work.

In this study of pink wildflowers I masked off the flower heads before wetting the paper and adding splotches of permanent rose, gamboge, and sap green. I wanted to create the appearance of a field of wildflowers without having to paint every flower. While the paper was still damp I added a little indigo to some of the sap green to darken it a bit. When the background was dry I splattered the same colors and then misted them to spread the color. After removing the masking fluid I added a couple of layers of permanent rose mixed with a touch of indigo to define the flower heads. Stems and leaf shapes were added with sap green. I wanted a bit more white in the painting so I added grass-like stalks and splatters with white ink.

I am quite pleased with the results. It has just the right mix of detail and looseness that I was hoping for.

Why not try your own wildflower painting and let me know how it goes. Cheers!


Painting Trees in Watercolor

Mountain Landscape - Painting TreesThis week we will be painting trees in our watercolor class. I think the most important thing to remember when painting trees in any medium is that if they are part of a larger landscape there will not be a lot of detail in the branches or leaves. The farther you are from the tree the less detail you will see. The focus is on the overall shape.

I like to use either a round or flat brush. A round brush is great for painting trees like maples, birches, or any type of deciduous tree. For evergreens and palm trees I prefer a flat brush. I always begin by painting the lightest color first, followed by 2 additional layers of color that increase in darkness. I don’t put each color in the exact same place because I want the trees to look like they have depth. It is important to leave white space so the sky can be seen through the greenery.

If you would like to try painting trees on your own I have a downloadable PDF that you can use as reference. I’ll be explaining how I made each of these trees in class and all participants will receive a copy of the handout. Please share links to your tree paintings in the comments section below or email them to me, I’d love to see what you create.



Puppy Love in Watercolor

Puppy LoveI’ve been trying to incorporate more hand lettering into my art so this Valentine’s Day seemed the perfect opportunity to experiment. This was inspired by the designs that would have been found on the cards school kids would give to each other. The recipient of this card was my hubby and he loved it!

Hope your day was sweet…Cheers!


Black-footed Ferret in Watercolor

Black-footed Ferret - Endangered
This is the second post in my newest painting series. Our subject for today is the Black-footed Ferret. There are approximately 295 of these animals living in 4 locations of the US and they are considered endangered. Loss of habitat and disease have contributed to their decline. Learn more about these animals by visiting the IUCN Red List. Until next time, I hope this cute little guy brightens your day.