IMG_9986Now that your studio or work area is clean, do you need a project to get you going?  How about creating a matrix of your colors?

Not sure what a matrix is?  Here is an afghan created by one of my students as a gift for me (on a bed for sleeping out on the deck under the summer stars).

It is a matrix. Try making one of your paints. Start with a band of each of your colors (20 hole palette) one inch wide across a half sheet – on the long dimension of the half sheet (22 inches). Label each.


Freehand, 10-minute painting of Madrona Point, Orcas No drawing, 1-inch flat brush

What do you mean, you can’t? Sure you can.  It doesn’t have to be perfect. But it is quick, immediate, and the more you do the more confidence you with have.

IMG_9334Every once in a while I find I need to get students to re-focus. What leads you to success in much of your life is often a handicap in becoming an artist. Trying harder, “getting it right” is often the way to not getting it at all.  Take a deep breath or better, three long slow breaths, and let’s set some new priorities.


I was all set to write a Technique Corner Post on “Do You Know Your Basics” when yesterday I discovered I had written exactky that on 2/12. See: (You do know how to fine old posts in Index of Titles, don’t you?)

Yesterday I also found myself floating pigment onto an almost finished painting.  Since I have had frequent questions about what I meant when I said to “float” a color onto the painting, I thought I would try to show you in this post. It is much easier to show you in person.


During my classes, remarks that I make almost as asides are frequently greeted with oh’s and ah’s and “That explains it.” I thought I would take this end of the year opportunity to mention a few. Possibly you have had problems with these and haven’t known the cause… or how to save the painting after its happened.


Walk to the Far Horizon

Is your painting a WATERCOLOR first or is it subject driven?  Do you feel it isn’t as loose as you would like but don’t know quite what to do?  First read Painting Looser I: Lost and Found Edges,  posted here July, 2014.

Another way of having a looser – and hopefully more pleasing – painting is to exploit the qualities that are unique to watercolor.


One of the best ways to show off a light shape is to take the adjacent shapes down into the darks. If you haven’t learned how to fill those darks with color you have probably been unhappy with your (ugly) darks.