What drew you to watercolors? When I wasn’t sure which media I wanted to pursue, I started noticing how time and again I was drawn to the watercolors in any exhibit. By comparison, the oils left me cold.  The luminosity of watercolor captured me.  Watercolor are luminous or can glow because the lights of the painting come through the colors from the white paper. The colors glow like stain glass windows.

In the last post, we only scratched the surface of working with the white of the paper in watercolor. Do do this you need to plan the shapes or paths of your values ahead of time.

  Let’s explore some more techniques for learning to see the shapes of the lights, the mid-tones and the darks with which you design you paintings.

In coming across one of my student’s works in an unexpected setting, I was delighted to see she had incorporated a number of ideas I consider essential for a good watercolor.

This started me  wondering which are the techniques I really expect students of mine to use. Or which are the ones when not used disappoint me?And I could see that, yes, there are certain hallmarks I consider important.

In the next few Technique Corners I am going to outline them.

Not particularly in order of importance we will start with Keep the Color Moving.


An intriguing idea came to me while reading Gish Jen’s The Girl at the Baggage Claim. Jen attempts to shed some light on the differences, which often lead to misunderstandings, between Eastern (Asian) culture and Western (Europe/America). Her goal was to come to a synthesis between the two.

I would like to share with you how this past weekend some of my students developed their own synthesis of  focus with background.


As summer winds down, many see their days beginning to free up and want to return to more watercolor painting.  Often the where to start and what am I going to do questions cause you to keep putting it off.

Instead, see if you can choose a simple subject and do a small sketch-painting to get you back to painting — each day or most days.

Victorian Gentleman Awaits Interested Party….. We aren’t buying this one but it is based on a house that is about 7 blocks from the one on which we’ve made an offer.
Update: It is never over until the fat lady sings… Mother’s Day found an email with a document attached that terminated our contract with our buyer. We are back on the market. And the house in Anacortes went to the […]