Monday, March 17, 2014


Here is another San Francisco painting, this one was given to me courtesy of my sister. She captured such an amazing image of an albatross with the most beautiful golden sunlight on it. It looks so large and proud, enjoying the morning sunrise.

8x8 oil palette knife painting

detail shows true color of water
knife strokes

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Boat a Day

Like all of the watercolors I've been doing, this was drawn with a fine black permanent pen before it was painted. I have been pushing myself to draw this way and I feel as though my confidence with drawing is improving. Oddly enough, it forces me to be loose instead of erasing five times to get that perfect line. It is what it is!

5x7 Pen & Watercolor

Monday, March 10, 2014

Black Swallowtail 2

I painted this photo in January using watercolors here, and wanted to see if I could accomplish any of the same things with oils and my palette knives. Not sure I could. In the photo there is more variation in the green behind the butterfly and flower. I did some underpainting, and let it peek through a bit. When I try to get a few different greens going, no matter how close they are, it starts to look like sponge painting--that is not the look I'm into. Instead I kept the background thin and layered the paint more thickly in the flower and butterfly.

6x8 Oil Palette Knife Painting

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Watercolor Elephant

It's hard to believe that I waited as long as I did to paint an elephant with my watercolors. This one was done in my moleskine journal. I love the soft easiness of it. The chickadee was also done in my journal.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Island Living

After a few weeks of not painting with oils or my palette knife, I decided I needed to see what was happening. I knew it had to be an image that I felt passionately about, so water was a must. And maybe the warmth this photo illuminated appealed to me too since we've had literally weeks of below zero weather this winter.

I also felt the need to work on my big easel instead of a smaller one or flat as I sometimes find myself doing when I want to get that detail in. This panel never left the easel until it was finished--no turning, no laying it flat, just going for loose here. Still not sure how I feel about the process after weeks of playing with those watercolors. Quite quite different. What a total contrast between the two processes.

Could be that my expectations for myself are higher with the oils/knife. With watercolors, I know in my mind that I'm just playing. It's just for me. No one has to see it. It's never intended to be a finished product. Also, oils take much more time to paint--I feel like if I'm going to take that time away from my family, then I want it to be worthwhile.

So when does it become worthwhile? For me it's if I love the painting or the process, if it speaks to me, if I feel growth or proud of myself for trying something new. There's a story this painting creates for me--could be escape into warmth!

12x16 Oil Palette Knife Painting

Close-up detail of the thick and creamy ocean layered with blues.
Some of the grand beach houses tucked into the trees.