Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Just back from a great trip to Virginia

    Here's some photos from my trip to Virginia over the weekend. Beautiful weather, just a little on the hot side.
Colonial Williamsburg, Shenandoah National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Jamestown Historic Site & Newport News.
    Now I have to look through all my pictures & figure out what I want to paint. I took over 200 pictures.


Monday, July 20, 2015

My latest painting - based on my trip to South Dakota last year.

Badlands of South Dakota
14 x 10
Medium - Gouache and watercolor
$400.00 matted & framed (20x16 frame size)
Available at

Such a wonderful place to visit.  Badlands National Park  is a national park in southwestern South Dakota. It contains sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires blended with the largest undisturbed mixed grass prairies. It is also home of Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial and many more areas of interest, including Custer State Park.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

It's about having fun.

After reading the article "The Pace Race" by Kim Carlton  
( and also talking to Facebook friend Ralph Parker. I have decided to take my time doing what I like to do. Paint. Instead of trying to complete many paintings so I have a lot of art to show, I decided that I should continue at my slower pace and really enjoy what I am doing. And not make myself crazy over the quantity of paintings I am doing but instead about the quality of art I am producing. As Ralph said "Life is getting shorter." I want to continue to grow my ability to paint which would be compromised if I tried to paint faster. As Simon & Garfunkel sang (59th Street Bridge song)"Slow down, you move too fast. You got to make the morning last. Just kicking down the cobble stones. Looking for fun and feelin' groovy." I need to remember that my painting is about having fun. Thanks Kim & Ralph for setting me straight. Well I guess it's time I get back to my day job.
Here's a painting I did a little while ago, where I took my time and had lots of fun.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Coming soon

Got a trip coming up to Jamestown, Yorktown as well as stopping in Williamsburg. Hope to get lots of research for my more paintings, such as this painting from the R. Charlton's Coffeehouse in Williamsburg featuring Nicole Justice.

Medium - oil
16 x 20 - Sold

Looking forward to this trip so I can combine my love of Colonial History with my passion of painting, whether it be watercolor, gouache acrylic or oils. I just can't get enough of it.

All my work is for sale, I am also available for commission work.

Check out my website:

Monday, July 13, 2015

Almost done - Badlands of South Dakota

Almost done
Badlands of South Dakota
14 x 10
Medium - Gouache and watercolor

Not sure what it needs to make the foreground more prominent?

Monday, July 6, 2015

Latest piece on my easel

On my easel
Black Hills of South Dakota
14 x10
Medium - gouache and watercolor

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Article from Donna Zagotta on Gouache (Opaque Watercolor) - it's a great read. Couildn't have said it better

Opaque Watercolor

Blog The Mission Inn  19x21
D. Zagotta, The Mission Inn
You can’t learn techniques and then try to be a painter. Techniques are a result. Jackson Pollock
I’ve had a number of requests from readers to write about opaque watercolor, so here goes! 
10 years ago I found myself at a crossroads with my art. I was a traditional watercolorist and no longer satisfied with my work. I longed for a more creative approach, a more creative image, and a style all my own. I also wanted to be able to paint in a spontaneous, improvisational manner - to be able to respond to and work with whatever happens to present itself in my painting. So, long story short – no longer willing to settle for paintings that didn’t satisfy me, I embarked on a journey to find my authentic self and a way of working that would help me achieve my goals. Because transparent watercolor doesn’t easily allow for corrections, painting out, painting over, changing my mind, or the kind of trial and error approach I was looking for, I knew that I was going to have to change my medium or at the very least alter my approach to watercolor. 
That period of struggle, uncertainty, and experimentation led to the unconventional approach to watercolor that I use today. In my technique I combine watercolor with white gouache and apply the paint in heavy layers using very little water. Because both watercolor and white gouache are water-soluble mediums, I can layer and “melt” wet colors together on the painting to create a third color that cannot be gotten any other way.  If you would like to try opaque watercolor, here are some ideas.
The similarities and differences between transparent and opaque watercolor:
- Keep in mind that opaque watercolor looks very different from transparent watercolor. Opaque watercolor has a matte, velvet-like quality and looks much like a gouache painting.
- With transparent watercolor, colors are lightened with water, whereas with opaque watercolor, colors are lightened with white gouache. 
- Darks in opaque watercolor are produced the same way as with transparent watercolor; by painting heavily with dark-valued watercolors, adding only as much water as is necessary to move the paint around.
- With transparent watercolor, saved white paper is used for the painting’s whites. With opaque watercolor, paint is used for the painting’s whites. 
- Just as it is with transparent watercolor, in opaque watercolor the artist must be in total control of the water-pigment ratio in his brush, on his painting, and on the palette. In both transparent and opaque watercolor, too much water if often the enemy as it can easily lead to mud. 
Here are some technical tips for painting in opaque watercolor:
- Techniques: There are no “right” or “wrong” techniques. With opaque watercolor you can use transparent watercolor techniques, oil painting techniques, pastel techniques, and any other technique you can think of. You can paint thinly, or you can build up your painting with a lot of surface texture, expressive brushwork, and even impasto - the possibilities are endless and limited only by your imagination.
- Brushes: Sable brushes don’t work well with opaque painting because they hold too much water. With opaque watercolor you cannot rely on washes to fill in large shapes – you must paint them in with brushstrokes of color. Larger, “stiff-ish” brushes allow more paint to be put down. Experiment with “stiff-ish” medium and large sized rounds and flats to find the brushes that work best for you. 
- Paint: White Gouache (I use Winsor Newton’s Permanent White Designer’s Gouache) and your favorite watercolors. Keep in mind that although watercolor is a transparent medium, not every color is equally transparent. For example, the cadmium colors, Yellow Ochre, and Indian Red are highly opaque - therefore these pigments naturally have a lot of body and covering power, so I have them on my palette. On the other hand, Cobalt Blue, Rose Madder Genuine, and Aureolin Yellow are highly transparent and without much covering power, so I avoid them. There are also semi-opaque, semi-transparent, staining, and sedimentary watercolors. Each tube of watercolor has a specific characteristic and in order to work effectively with the medium of watercolor, whether you work in a transparent or opaque manner, you must know the characteristics of each pigment you choose to place on your palette.
- Palette: You’ll need a palette with deep wells. And fill those wells! You need to have a lot of pigment available to you on your palette. You will be scooping  up pigment and laying it down in individual brushstrokes. Again, with opaque watercolor you cannot rely on watery washes to fill in large shapes, and you cannot “stretch” the paint that you mix on your palette with water. 
-Paper:  You can use any type of paper, smooth or textured. I like a relatively smooth surface because I want my brushstrokes to show. I have also seen successful results in my workshops that were done on cold press and even 300 # rough paper. Experiment to find the kind of surface that works best for you.  
- Experiment! With opaque watercolor there are no limits. You can paint light colors over dark colors, you can change your mind or change the painting’s direction in process, you can try any and all ideas that occur to you right on the painting, and you can make any and all corrections confidently and without fear of losing your painting. If worse comes to worse and the painting completely goes south, you can wipe if all off, dry it, and start all over again.  How liberating!