Fishing for the Common Kingfisher

Common KingfisherI found a photo of a Common Kingfisher bird on my favorite photo site and knew I had to paint him. The colors of his feathers are so different from the kingfisher that lives in my area. The turquoise and coppery colors contrast so well yet, you would probably never think to put them together.

I wanted to keep this painting fairly loose to capture the movement of him rising out of the water. I used salt to create the texture on the head and wing. Lots of splattering under his body created the effect of splashing water.

This painting and many others are available for purchase at my art shop.

Until next time…keep those pencils sharp!


Line and Watercolor Wash – a.k.a. Urban Sketching

I have been painting loads of landscapes in preparation for my upcoming Watercolor Landscapes classes. In addition to the more traditional style of painting I have been playing with adding ink details. It is my take on line and watercolor wash or “urban sketching.” Click on the image below to see some of my newest pieces. Until next time…keep those pencils sharp!


P.S. Like what you see? Check out my art shop for these and more interesting artworks.

Lawrence’s Goldfinch in Pastel

Lawrence's GoldfinchIt seems that every summer I spend time rediscovering my love of pastel. This year it has been even better because of my new pastel pencils. This is a Lawrence’s Goldfinch that I did on tan pastel paper.

The entire piece took me about 1.5 hours and I used 9 pencils (2 yellow’s, orange, 3 greens (light, medium, and dark), brown, black, and white). It was a lot of fun to do and I am looking forward to my next project with them.

This sweet little guy is available to purchase from my art shop.

Until next time…keep those pencils sharp!


Tranquil Stream Landscape Painting

Tranquil StreamThis has been the summer of landscape painting. That theme is continued with today’s painting of a tranquil stream flowing past colorful trees.

I love painting these types of landscapes. It is made from splattering color onto wet paper and adding details once everything is dry. It is important when painting wet-into-wet that you don’t fiddle with the paint otherwise you create mud which can ruin a piece. I think a good way to prevent mud is to limit the number of colors used in a painting. My palette consisted of 5 colors – lemon yellow, sap green, indigo, burnt sienna, and burnt umber. I then mix these colors into secondary colors (e.g. the yellow and burnt sienna gave me the orange color I used in the trees). I also applied the colors strongly rather than painting multiple light washes. This helps keep the colors fresh and bright.

I’ll be sharing many more tips and tricks in my landscape painting class this fall. I hope you can join me; it’s going to be a lot of fun!

This painting and many more can be purchased from my art shop.

Until next time…keep those pencils sharp!


Painting Birch Trees

Painting Birch TreesI love painting birch trees; I think it’s a texture thing. Those dark scraggly patches stand out against the pale white-gray bark. Before I learnt how to paint trees I always thought it was so mysterious. How could an artist capture that kind of texture with watery paint? There are different ways of painting birch trees but the way I like gets nice results with a minimum of supplies and effort.

I begin by laying a wash of watery gray along one side of the tree. I use a damp brush to soften the edge and then I let it dry. This creates the rounded form of the tree. To make the texture I make a puddle of dark gray-brown (my favorite mix is indigo and burnt umber) then I apply it with a rigger brush held horizontal to the paper. This allows the paint to skip along the paper in an irregular pattern. The only challenge with this method is once you get started it is really fun so some restraint is necessary otherwise your trees look too striped (skinny zebras anyone?).

We will be painting and drawing trees in my upcoming fall classes. Classes begin in September, I hope you can join us.

This painting is available for sale from my Etsy shop.

Until next time…keep those pencils sharp!