Summer time. Quick impressions.  Skip drawing altogether and try capturing the gesture.  It can be paintng just the shadow shapes, or making quick color notes.

Try to capture the birds as they come in to your feeder.




IMG_9680Look, really look at the fir tree standing alone in the field. Try to get the color changes and the changes in values.

How about that donkey standing in the plaza? Paint it while you wait for your order.







IMG_9682Okay, so this one is a little too long between the front and the back ends — better than not trying!! (Maybe you need to go back and read the May Technique Corner)





IMG_9686a page from my notebook, looking back to where we had spent the afternoon – ten minutes; no drawing.






IMG_9687Try painting with just a puddle or gray or of diluted ink. Look for the simple shapes.

Or paint the shadow shapes. This is really fast.















IMG_9691Shadow shapes with color.  Draw with your brush and water; try to get the color and value you see. don’t go back.  Unfinished — all the time I had.

Don’t be afraid of doing people.  Start with simple, three-shape people




  • blob trunk area,
  • triangle or tapered lower area, a little base for the feet
  • dark head.  Do lots.  Waiting for that order to come?
  • Get the people walking by.
  • See if you can see them in 3 or 4 shapes.
  • Then try to paint them with some gesture or some personality.




Here is a head I did for a quick demonstration — drawn with a brush and then the shadow shapes wet blended with color.

And another that was free hand, from a photo. The subject was backlit and I was concentrating on the nuanced color changes.  Some interesting drying effects make it a good anti-smoking poster!






IMG_9692Try it.  And then try again.

Have fun. They won’t all be perfect but you will gain confidence as you keep trying– and you will get impressions and memories that you would otherwise miss.









A sandpiper by my friend and fellow artist Nancy Farrar-Coughlin. She has done many free-handed. Each has a personality. I was fortunate to receive this delightful one as a birthday card original painting.

Happy painting,

Caroline Buchanan

©2015 Caroline Buchanan