Monday, August 27, 2018


I was looking forward to painting this zinnia because of all the different pink hues and especially the brown faded splotches!  I figured best to just work my way from one corner to the next especially so not to get my hands in wet paint and make smears.... But this beautiful flower made me decide to allow zinnias of different colors to start fading.  That seems to make for much more interesting painting!...

Filling in the base washes of color.  I usually only do a straight one color at a time approach on the base wash but adding a few more colors as I went helped to keep the petals separate for me.  It's so easy to "loose" your place as you go.... Some artist will mark petals on their photo with a magic marker to help keep their place when they are drawing or even painting.  

More on the base layer....

Here I start to add deeper and brighter layers on each petal.  Still usually wet on wet technique.  

At least two or three layers of paint on each petal now.  I'm loving all these different color mixes I'm using! 

My usual setup for painting in the evenings.... Sometimes I'll have several different size palettes of paint mixes going on at one time.  One of my favorite is the tiny little round palette in the center.  And the really long, rectangular one on the right side... it was an appetizer platter at Christmas time I found at Sam's (came with three different sizes).  Love the Billy Showell brushes and Anna Mason's make dry brush work easier for me!

Finished work.... I'm definitely looking forward to more "faded zinnia" painting!  But I hope to practice more on the really dark brownish black "crinkly" bits.  

Friday, June 8, 2018


This incredible and stunning plant is a CANNONBALL FLOWER.  It grows on a tree somewhere no where I know! I fell in love with the bright oranges and reds and the cool "tentacle looking" things.  

I decided to try my hand using masking fluid for the inner part.  It would free me up to paint the inbetween bits.   First layer is Lemon Yellow (D.S.) and I started adding some reds....

There are so many color mixes for the purples, reds, oranges and then darker areas  using "Jane's Gray"... 

You can see on the bottom petal where I had used masking fluid.  I actually haven't finished the "tentacle" parts and haven't taken off the masking fluid on the center part.... There is more to do but I wanted to start on another study.... This is on the tiny block of Fabriano hot press paper.  I'm still trying to figure out which paper I like best.  This one seems to suit me okay!  

Tuesday, May 1, 2018


I have been terrible lately about not updating my blog.... at least i have been doing a lot of painting.  And a whole lot of gardening!  Hydrophonic growing is addictive and soooooo different than regular growing seeds in soil.  My entire living room windows and floors are completely covered in seedlings of various stages.  And three plants grown completely in hydro growing have already bloomed!  Unreal!  This means many, many more zinnias to paint this year!!!!  A few ("Queen Red Lime" Zinnia) I am anxious to get blooming and paint!  It'll be a treat.  Enough about this, this ain't a gardening blog.... although I could do that too!!!!

I've been itching to paint the gorgeous PARROT TULIPS for a long time now but hadn't gotten up the nerve to try them until I finished the previous tulip study.  Gave me a little courage.

As usual, I painted a base layer using Lemon Yellow (D.S.)... I wanted to have some yellow to "glow" through all the other colors..

Now, I painted different mixes of greens, making sure my brushstrokes follow along the shapes of the petals.  I also added  light washes of "Jane's Gray mix" (Burnt Sienna and French Ultramarine Blue for a "botanical gray") to add shading for the underside of the "crinkles".  

Adding beautiful mixes of pinks help to show the "frilly bits"... I also began deepening the greens in places.  
I need to finish this one... but I enjoyed working on it.  The "frilly bits" and "crinkles" still are troublesome.

Thursday, March 8, 2018


It's SPRING!!! Well, kind of...  never mind we might be getting snow this weekend!  My tulips are popping up and making me so happy!  I've been nervous to try frilly tulips because of all the crinkles and folds, etc.  But I'm hoping to learn more and more with each study so here I go:

I layed washes of Lemon Yellow and then added some warm washes of an orangish mix 

Adding brighter Lemon Yellows to the right hand side and different orangish mixes....Now, I use Cerulean Blue on the outer left side petals and then start adding some green mixes...I make sure my brush strokes follow along the natural angles of the petals to maybe help with the visual texture of the "streaks" of various hues of greens and blues... (that's the idea anyway)!

  I added more yellows and reddish oranges to the inner petals.....some darker blues and more greens to the outer petals...

Here I added much deeper greens and some Quin Magenta on the outter most petal on the right hand side....  I also added some deeper details trying to focus on the "crinkles" and folds.... I'm still trying to figure that out.  
I like the much darker blues and greens.  In the photo I was painting by the stem is this dark but I know better and shouldn't have painted it that dark.  Too late at night and not thinking!  The top half petals I haven't finished with detail work but got excited to start on a Parrot Tulip!  I'll come back to this one day and finish it up....

I'll add the color mixes tonight.

Monday, February 5, 2018

ECHINACEA study....

Echinaceas are such interesting flowers.... I never realized how many varieties there are until the past couple of years,  The most common one is a purple but then there is also pink, orange, red and even "double" varieties that are soooo pretty! I've kept seeds from all the many ones I grew last year and hope to have them come up all over the garden!  Everywhere would be just fine with  me!
I'm blocking in the warmer and cooler long shapes.  Enlarging the photo of the petal helps me to see shapes of colors instead of "crinkles" or "folds" that seem to scare me off....

The color mixes turned out okay but I still haven't gotten the jest of making the valleys and folds in each petal.  I know what I want to do but when I put brush to paper my passionate and desperate thoughts don't translate.....

On an interesting note,... I enjoy seeing other artist's growth in how they progress with their paintings.  Looking back last night I found the study of an Echinacea I painted about a year and half ago.  I had loved the colors of the one on top.... but I can see a difference in details of the newest one.   I remember Anna Mason (online teacher) mentioned that if you  keep looking and painting one day you'll really begin to "see" more.... more details, more colors, just the flower more in all it's beauty to recreate!   It's truly amazing the feeling when I realized I she is right!


Salvias are lovely, intricate blossomed flowers  and some are even perennial in my garden! Bees and hummingbirds really enjoy the tiny little openings of each bloom.  At this point in my studies I decided I need to stop just painting and going with the flow and just hoping I might pick up on something new.... which has been working okay!  But now is the time to focus on certain aspects of a flower or certain techniques.  Like "crinkles" and "folds".... I wanted to show the "circles" on the bracts (I think they are called).... Why not try some masking fluid? So that's technically a "new" "technique".....

I can't for the life of me remember the name of this salvia but I brought it inside to overwinter in my sunroom (along with several hundreds of other plants....)  All was going well until last month's extreme cold and all the plants in the room FROZE TO DEATH and my heart cried out in such sorrow.... many plants were so important to me. Some I got from my Grannie's garden after she passed.   Beautiful, blooming geraniums, mandivillia , fuchsias and passion flowers, etc..... gone.  I'm still sick over it.

(very yellow bulb I have now switched out.... made for terrible photos and probably not very accurate color mixing... hem, that might explain a few things!)  I have such a time with wanting to draw in every little shape and line that makes up for the different areas of lighter and darker parts.  Does everyone else also do this or do you "wing it" or "eyeball" where the different areas change color?  Am I making any sense?  Probably not!

Got rid of that yellow light bulb!  I just love this darker purple mix with the little dots I had saved by using masking fluid.  Permanent Rose with Indanthrene Blue and then "Ruby Red" with Ultramarine Blue (both by RedWoood Willow).... gorgeous deep colors!  I'm not completely satisfied with how this turned out.... And I'm thinking the "crinkles" and "indentions" would look more accurate if I choose color mixes that are closer together instead of such extreme differences in tone (is that even the correct word)?  The Copic marker theory in choosing the colors for a "painting" really makes sense...


I found some beautiful flowers at Walmart (probably gearing up for Valentine's Day) which included this very pretty carnation.  I fell in love with the stripey red marks..... I kept the bouquet on my table where I paint.  From where I sat I could see the undersides of the blooms and I just thought they were really interesting.  This is also the time I decided to work more on color charts....

The first page of "green" mixes which helped me decide on the colors for the underside of the carnation...
The stripey red parts were interesting to paint.  It took a little bit to find the perfect colors for that part....and I ended up just using "Ruby Red" by RedWood Willow.  Its a beautiful darker red.
  *I see now how "yellowish" one of the bulbs in my lamps are..... what a difference between the photos!

Add caption

I feel I could probably make the stem a brighter green...

Thursday, January 18, 2018

A frustrating study on purples for an IRIS....

Never have I yet to have had such a time with a study as I did with this little purple iris! The main problem was trying to find the perfect bluish/purple (and especially to show the light shining through the top petal).... The search for the perfect purple led me on mission that involved color theory books, asking the experts on FaceBook Botanical groups and a lot of mixing and playing with colors...

Deciding I needed to figure out which blues of mine are "warm" and which are "cool",.... I did a color chart so I'll know for the future.  This will be very helpful in mixing purples because I learned the only way to get the really bright brilliant purples I was needing is to mix reds and purples that are close together on the color wheel (perfect example is Ultramarine Blue and Quinacridone Magenta makes the prettiest brightest purples)...
(WARMER blues on the left and COOLER blues on the right)
WARM BLUES: Winsor Blue Red Shade (W+N), Cobalt Blue (Daniel Smith), Cobalt Blue Deep (W+N), Prussian Blue (W+N), French Ultramarine Blue (W+N), Ultramarine Blue (D.S.), Ultramarine Blue Deep (MaimeriBlu), Ultramarine Blue Light (M.B.) and Ultramarine Blue (QOR)
COOL BLUES: Cobalt Turquoise (W+N), Cerulean Blue (M.B.), Cerulean Blue Chromium (D.S.), Cerulean Blue (W+N), small swatch of Cerulean Blue (QOR)  I got after I already started this chart but I wanted to show the cerulean blues all together for comparison, Windsor Blue Green Shade (W+N), Idanthrene Blue (W+N), Manganese Blue Hue (W+N),  Manganese Blue (Holbein), Primary Blue Cyan (M.B.), Phthalo Blue Green Shade (QOR) small swatch for comparison again,  Phthalo Blue Green Shade (D.S.), Ultramarine Blue Green Shade (W+N), Cerulean Blue (QOR), Phthalo Blue Green Shade (QOR), and Cobalt Teal (QOR) which might be more green but I thought it looked blue to me.

This is advice from FaceBook by LEE ANGOLD: "Which colors to mix depends on the vibrancy you are looking to achieve.  Think of colours as a spectrum, and to mix vibrant colours mix those closer together, or further apart if you want muted versions.  So for example to mix a vibrant violet color, you would want to mix a blue that is bright and very close to a violet (such as Ultramarine) with a red/magenta that is very close to a violet (such as Quinacridone Magenta).  To mix a very muted greyed out violet, mix a very greenish blue (such as Cobalt Turquoise) with a very orangey red (such as Cadmium Red Light or Winsor Red).  If you mix a violet-ish red with a very greenish blue, you will get a slightly muted but more cool-toned violet...etc".

...and talking about purples, Jane Blundell (highly, highly recommend every watercolor artist to browse her site) here is some purple swatches she's painted.

Many on the Botanical Artists FaceBook group recommend Michael Cox's book Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green.  I have it and a few other books on color.  This one is wonderful but I only glanced through it.  It'll take some concentration on my part to really get the grasp of this book.

Iris study
I was asked what my color mixes are so here we go, hopefully it's not too confusing!
From top to bottom: Transparent Yellow (W+N) + Winsor Blue Red Shade,  then add that along with Cerulean Blue (D.S.) + Ultramarine Blue (D.S.) in mix two, third from top I just added even more Ultramarine Blue (D.S.) to make the mix darker,  fourth mix is mix number two and I add Ultramarine Violet, fifth mix is a totally separate mix and is Cerulean Blue (D.S.) + Ultramarine Blue Green Shade (I learned the green shade is not as granulating as the regular Ultramarine Blue!) and the last mix is a tad of Quinacridone Opera (Holbein) added
From top to bottom the color mixes are: Winsor Blue Red Shade + Quinacridone Opera (Holbein), 2nd mix is just with more Opera, third mix adds Indigo (Maimeri Blu), fourth mix is Transparent Yellow (W+N) + Cerulean Blue (Daniel Smith) and the last mix is the Transparent Yellow/Cerulean mix with some of the purple mix already on the palette added to "dull" the green down some

Saturday, January 13, 2018


Well, I'm truly aggravated right now!  For two evenings I've been trying to find the perfect purple/blue for an iris I want to do a study on as it opens up!  It's made me realize I need to do more color charts!  I'm write more about this after while but in searching for help on mixing purples I found this great blog.  Lots of information and seems like a cool person!


She had a wonderful tutorial on how to do your own color chart (there are a gazzilion YouTube videos on how to but I like hers and she has a link to download a color chart to get you started...)

And I'll be back......

Friday, January 5, 2018


 This DAHLIA is a beauty!  Drawing all the many petals becomes very zen like.... I think of nothing else other than where each line meets the next and the complete focus it takes to not get lost amongst all those petals!  It's a joy!  And then comes the figuring out the color mixes part... which can take as long as the drawing part of the process.  It's also one of the parts where I tend to learn the most.... and usually when I ask for advice from the experts in Botanical groups on facebook!  Thank goodness everyone is so willing to help....
 This is the last study for 2017.... I felt the year ended on a wonderful note..... I've learned such a great deal this year and have grown with each study.  I hope to continue learning.... and growing..... and enjoying this life!


"Touch-me-not" (Goes to seed and seedlings come up very easily!)
Impatients or "Touch-me-nots" are a garden favorite and one my Granny always had growing.  I remember she asking us not to touch the flowers or better yet the "seedpods".  Of course as soon as she'd turn away we'd sneak a little finger touch on one of the pods and they would 'EXPLODE"!  Seeds going everywhere (anywhere but in her seed packets to save for next year)!   I think payback happened this year as I tried to very carefully collect my own seeds from this HIMILAYAN IMPATIENT that I bought from Annie's Annuals.  I had never heard of it before but was really impressed with it.  It grew up as tall as I am and stunning purple blossoms all over it.  I'm looking forward to painting it as soon as I get the NERVE!  Collecting the seeds was a challenge as they flew all over the deck and down the cracks! 
Himalayan Impatient (hopefully {fingerfs crossed} will reseed easily)

(My first study on the Stonehenge hotpress watercolor paper).... I'm in love very much!

(Loving the way this paper works.  It "lifts" off color very easily.  I've not tried drybrush work yet so I'm scared!)
A big thing happened with this study..... it's the first study I painted on Stonehenge hotpress paper. Like I mentioned on the Columbine post.... I am in love with this paper! 


I was looking forward to painting this zinnia because of all the different pink hues and especially the brown faded splotches!  I figured...