Tag Archives: abstract watercolor

“3 of 3”



Inspired by all the fall colors, and the fact that we are getting ready to take a vacation to Northern California, I decided to paint another watercolor….in fall colors!

For some reason the watercolors I was sick of working with many years ago, seem to be what brings me joy today.  The mixing  of paint; watercolors, acrylic and even ink seem to be calming to me at a time when everyone is agitated about politics.  Boy, will I be glad when the election is over, the ads will be off the TV, and we can get back to talking about the  small stuff.

One of the reasons I stopped working in watercolors was the  length of drying time.  My creative self  started demanding instant gratification, and working on a painting that somehow was finished in a day or two was more than enticing.  Each piece was so different, as is the acrylic,  the time spent on just one petal or leaf seemed like forever, time spent on an acrylic petal, or leaf was oh so quick.  The fact that a watercolor has to be treated differently to hang it in a room, is surly a downside, but hey I’m up for a challenge.  Why not seal it, and mount it to a canvas.  It’s been done before, and it will be done again!

I’m an experimental artist, so let’s experiment!

Les and I are headed to Lake Tahoe later this week, and I expect to come home so revitalized, refreshed and once again grounded.  The air and trees always inspire me, and I don’t expect this time to be any different.  Nature is so amazing…..

Temperatures up North have dropped, from what we are use to  that is.  It’s cold up there and I expect we pansys are going to feel like it’s freezing.  We feel like it’s freezing when it get to the 60’s here.  We will moan, and groan, and rush from one place to another.  We aren’t going up there to gamble, just to be refreshed, and have a change of pace.  To regain an appreciation for all that we don’t have in Southern California.

There will be no hunkering down to keep warm at the expense of adventure!

Our plan is to visit some friends while up there, and let them tease us about how light weight we are for thinking it’s cold.  After all, they’re use to it, and I’m sure it won’t be as cold as it will be later in the winter.  They’ll have every right to tease us!   It will be a treat to have people we know to share dinner with, and maybe even a fire in the fireplace!

I’m hoping to do a little sketching… so my sketch book, and  pens are ready to go.  We are both looking forward to our little adventure before the holidays.

Happy Halloween everyone…..

Let Go & Fly Free…..


Recently I’ve found on YouTube a video I hadn’t expected.  It turned out to be abstract by watercolor videos by Millie Gift Smith.  Now you’re probably saying…..big deal!  But before I realized she was using watercolor, I thought she was starting with a few strokes of w/c to get a few lights into her work, and adding acrylic…paint, and ink later.  After watching several of her demos, I realized that primarily everything is on 140# Arches Watercolor paper.

Since I painted with watercolor for years, and all my early lessons were from w/c teachers, I was fascinated at Millie’s abstract style with only paper and w/c.   I’ve struggled for years to loosen up, and let everything go.  Watercolors to me became to slow, to dry, to perfect, and too much care had to be taken not to blend the wrong colors.  All my teachers were Purists, and so that’s what I learned to do.   I wouldn’t dare cross over the purest line!  Those early teachings are what I struggle to overcome today  each time I pick up a brush!

Since I’m pretty much a nonconformist, I could only take “the rules of WaterColor for so long!”  Longer than even I could imagine, but I kept hanging in there, trying to find new ways of speeding up the drying time on a painting that was too large to put into the clothes dryer on a shelf.  Eventually I got to the point where experimentation brought me to acrylics and oils, but mostly acrylics.  I love to push the boundaries, try new ideas, use  untraditional items in my creativity process.

I bring Millie’s Series II to you because all the time I was watching, my mind kept going to Acrylic Inks.  They are transparent,  dry faster than w/c and since fun is the name of the game, that’s my next thing to work on and try.  Actually since I have boxes of w/c paints, I sometimes mix the pure pigment with a medium to use them up.  That works also!

I hope you too will find some interesting new things to try by watching Millie, and maybe your muse will visit with even more ways to twist and turn your creative energy.   Good luck, and let me know how this artist has pushed you into creating something new and fresh.  Something maybe you hadn’t thought of, or haven’t had the courage to try.  Just remember….it’s all good…the worst that can happen, is you Gesso over all of it and start fresh.

I have never believed in mistakes, and have always thought them instead to be learning experiences.  I also don’t believe in throwing away what I consider my bad art!  To an artist, we all question our own work, that’s healthy, and another opportunity to learn more.  Having a few people in a group to critique one another is also a huge advantage.  Sometimes the most obvious fixes to one of my pieces is someone on our critique group who is  an artist who works in a different medium.  She had a really good eye for color, and balance even though she doesn’t paint.

What one would call a mistake, I would consider an opportunity to  be more creative!

Thursday Time Out For Art

Summer Abstract

Summer Abstract

This little watercolor painting is something I was inspired to paint when I visited an old  friend.  She had picked some roses, and a few other things, dropped them on the top of her BBQ, and proceeded to do something else.  Once I noticed them, I couldn’t help but paint them.  They spoke to me for some strange reason.

Not long ago, I decided to  fill in some of the empty spaces with doodles.  First it was doodles with a fine point pen, then it was decided to use a paint pen.

Some of the most fun I have is doing something without pressure, and simply mindless!  This is one of those times.

Inspiration for creativity is provided by Zebra Designs & Destinations.