Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Merry Christmas!  Finally a post again from me...sorry to have kept you waiting for so long..will try to get back to regular postings.  A quick little colorful cardinal perched on a snowy branch to lead us into winter!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

summer garden

A quick peek in one of my travel journals..this was a garden in England.  Looking back at some of my travel sketches now I wish I worked the pigments a bit harder..using more contrast and a heavier hand.  Well I'll just do that going forward..I might be posting a bit sporadically this holiday season..so please bear with me...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

white paint

I don't usually use white paint, but you can see that I did use some here on the branches of the tree.  You can also save your whites and paint around them, or use masking fluid that covers the white of the paper and you can rub it off after you are done painting.  The falling snow is also splattered white pigment done with a toothbrush.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Chickadees and Friends

Here is another card set that is available in limited quantity.  If you are interested send me an email.  Right now there is snow on the ground and I have my camera poised to capture those winter birdies for more paintings to come! 8 cards total, four designs, two cards each, $25.00 total including S/H.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New Website

My website has been undergoing a major overhaul...if you have a chance check it out and let me know what you think.  It is bright and colorful and seems to navigate well... Not having a workable website for the time I did was not much fun...you expect it to just keep churning in the background and never give you a problem!  HA!  Click the link to have a look.  www.abwatercolors.com

Thursday, November 15, 2012

cardinal card sets

I thought I'd offer my boxed notecard sets again this year pre-holiday..If you are interested in this set of colorful cards...click on the buy it now button and I'll send you your very own set.  The total including S/H is $25.00 per set. Luckily we have another cardinal flitting around our feeder, so I can take new reference pictures...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


This piece was created with just the brush and watercolors, no preliminary sketching with a pencil.  This adds to the stress...but makes you focus on the light and shadows.  We have been using a strong side light and cutting the overhead lights in the studio when we work from the model.  It makes for dramatic contrast.

Friday, November 9, 2012

going green

In my workshops we spend some time on a project titled "going green"..you complete a painting from a photograph or life of a green only still life by just using blues and yellows...in floral paintings sometimes the greens can be a bit acidic or unnatural looking...so it is good practice to mix them and not use greens straight out of the tubes without cutting them with another color a bit.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


I have been enjoying the smaller figure sessions I've been going to.  The group is a bit more casual, we chat and the poses are longer...so you can choose to either complete a painting in the time frame or work on several shorter sketches..I find I "get" the lighting, shape and lines better if I do several of the same pose.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


This is another multi floral study.  They are so much fun to do.  The planning starts with which flowers or objects to paint and how to divide the paper.  Plus the crisp white lines you expose at the end when you pull off the tape is like unwrapping a present.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

mixed media

Hope everyone is okay after Sandy the superstorm came through...Here in Northern Vermont the wind and rain were not as bad as I had expected...This portrait has some mixed media in the form of watersoluble pencils and regular colored pencils applied over the watercolor.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

divided effort

This was another demo I did in California during the workshop.  I came up with this idea during a residency where I divided the page in different formats.  It forces you to come up with unique sizes for your "mini" paintings plus I also encourage everyone to work from image to image...allowing washes to dry and to try your hand at unique pigment combos etc..It feels less daunting than tackling a "complete" half sheet painting (15"x22").

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


A vision of spring/early summer...boy I can't believe we are nearing the end of October!  Halloween is around the corner with all its candy and costumes!  Time to paint some pumpkins if the squirrels don't get to them first.  This poppy painting was a demo at a workshop and needs some more finishing touches.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Clean not neutral

Another demo from my three day workshop...Violets and Yellows plays beautifully off each other..being opposite on the color wheel and all...but they also can neutralize each other and dull out a painting quickly.  Waiting for one or the other to dry is a must for clean washes..

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Workshop recap

I just returned from teaching a 3 day floral workshop in California with 19 painters in attendance..We had a great time and jam-packed in a lot of painting.  Everyone worked super hard...above is one of my demos of a lovely cosmos bouquet one of the ladies provided from her own garden.  Thanks all!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


This is my latest rooster painting...this was a fun format.  Tall and skinny.  This piece measures 22"x7".  Before you even start painting you have choices to make..which paper, weight, surface, size and shape...then brushes to use, pigments to choose from..maybe even which pencil you want to draw with..mechanical, #2 office or the vast array of other H's and B's...choices choices..

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

snail mail

I thought I'd post two more examples of my card sets in the wake of Hallmark closing one of it's plants...emailed invites and announcements are taking over from handwritten cards and notes..I still love to write cards and letters to friends and family the old fashioned way...by hand (not typed) and sent with a stamp :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Page 13

I just received my copies of the Artistic Touch 5...and my painting "Blonde Ambition" is on page 13!  A great compilation of various artists, subjects and techniques.  I am very excited to be a part of this publication.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


It doesn't look like this yet...but in a couple months..brrrr.  Sending a thank you to all who comment on my blog or send me emails..I can't respond to all individually, but wanted to acknowledge you all here..Thanks!  Birches are a challenge on the Daily Painters Challenge website this week..I should really jump into the mix there.  Such a fun and varied group of painters.  Check out the link.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

figuring it out

I went to two figure sessions this past week..one was small and in a private studio and the other was the regular class with 18 plus in attendance!  Very different outcomes from both days...I also just found out that my painting was juried through the second stage of the Shanghai Zhujiajiao International Watercolour Biennial Exhibition!  See previous post...Yippee...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

jump start

This is what I call a rooster start..not a complete painting, but the beginnings of one.  I recently started to look through my reference photos of feathered friends again and found some new inspiration..always good to revisit your library of potential paintings..you never know if the next time you look at a picture it'll jump start creativity!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Website issues

My website is having a meltdown...any of you have a recommendation for easy do-it-yourself sites?  Or if you have an opinion about not doing it yourself...please leave me a comment or email me with some feedback.. it is unfortunate and a hassle, but I guess I'm ready for an update...if you do check out my site..some of the pages are broken and don't show any info..just FYI...thanks.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sunflowers and peppers

Here is yet another demo from a class from a few weeks ago.  I loved the peppers and don't usually paint them, so it was good for me to have them as a subject.  I love sunflowers and capturing those yellow spiky petals...I darkened the background and chose to lean in a purple direction to play off those yellows. (22"x15")

Friday, September 14, 2012

lilies and fruit

Here is another demo piece from a workshop last week.  Keeping the colors clean is hard work, especially when you have yellows next to violets and pinks next to greens...they tend to "neutralize" each other when they touch...having said that...I do encourage pigments to mix on the paper so shapes connect, especially blossoms with stems and leaves so they don't look detached.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Negative Peony spaces

This was another demo from earlier this summer during a workshop on painting peonies...I really like to paint the negative spaces to highlight blossoms, stems and leaves..you can really see that here in the bottom left.  It is the hardest thing to wrap your brain around..we always want to paint what's there (the positive shape) and not the negative...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Profile outlook"

I continue my figure and portrait quest...I just signed up to partake in a smaller group to paint the figure.  I hope we'll have more control over poses and length of poses...should be interesting.  We will meet 5 times over the next two months.  I hope to do some more finished work during these sessions.  This piece was done from a photograph...exploring pigments and unique color placement.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Spot the difference

Here is the same post from a few weeks ago...can you tell what I've changed?  He's called "by the Barn" and will be in a group show at Shelburne Farms for their annual Art in the Coach Barn event..this year it's an invitational retrospective show to celebrate their 25th.  Artists who exhibited over the last 25 year are invited to participate..should be a good one!.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Pure yellows

This is a square painting (11"x11") that I did as a demo for one of my workshops this summer.  The yellows of the sunflower are so hard to keep clean...but it is a question of patience..let the color dry completely before introducing the browns/red/purples for fear of contamination and neutralizing (read muddying!) the nice yellows.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I'm back...

Hello everyone!  I'm baaaaaack!  Don't know exactly where I went, but no nevermind that...here I am and ready to post again.  Sometimes a little break is warranted.  Hope your summers have been great..Here is a peony piece from earlier this year..little pink belladonna...Rich Opera pigment with Cerulean Blue and dark greens.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Shades of summer

I find my posts are still sporadic...maybe it's my summer schedule that is getting in the way...I'm sorry, anyway, this young lady has her summer shades on..I love painting dark hair in shades of blue and purple..it beats the straight forward sepia or van dyke brown shades...always experimenting and trying to push my palette...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Moving my pencil

This will be my figure image for my monthly sidebar figure study.  I took the summer off from going to the weekly sessions, but will pick them up again in the fall.  It is a nice routine to get in to and it certainly helps keep the brushes and pencils moving across the paper.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Happy summer everyone!  The bright white and sharp shadows indicate a sunny day for this street vendor.  I didn't have a chance to taste what he was cooking...but the veggies looked fresh and yummy.  Just wrapped up teaching four classes at the Holbein Annual Art Event...We had fun..I'll post my demos soon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

By the Barn

I am hoping to get back to some regular posting soon!  Thanks for your posting patience everyone!  I am teaching a rooster painting class later this week for the Holbein Art Event here in Northern Vermont..that should be fun.  I ended up tweaking this guy's background a bit by scrubbing out a fence..you can see the start of it top right..I'll try to take a picture of the "new" version soon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Warm Glow"

This is very exciting news!  My painting "Warm Glow" 22"x15" has made it through the first stage of judging for The Shanghai Zhujiajiao International Watercolour Biennial Exhibition.  I sent my painting via USPS Express International Mail and will await the results of the second stage of judging!  Wish me luck...

Thursday, July 12, 2012


This waiter looks like he'd rather be anywhere but where he is at this time!  I enjoyed painting (and inventing) the abstracted background, where there is reflected imagery and real walls and glass.  White is hard to paint, but white has shadows and reflected light so there is always some color, somewhere...

Friday, July 6, 2012

Market lady

Hello everyone...I've missed my regular schedule of posting this week...so I'll continue along that line for a bit and sporadically post these next several weeks...Check back to see what's new and I'll try to pick up a more   regular schedule soon..This lady is keeping watch over her fruits and veggies...visit your local farmer's markets!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Red, white and blue

How's this for a July image!  Well it is Red, White and Blue!  Happy Fourth everyone!

Friday, June 29, 2012

"Letter Sweater"

One more figure study for my latest post...I have to say I love the purple hues vs. the golden background.. Complementary pigment play.  All in all a fun painting to do...The neutrals in her sweater were done by mixing Cad. Red, Cerulean and Raw Sienna...a nice triadic gray.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Parrot Pirate

A street performer photographed during a trip last year...his house must be loud with the chatter of five birds.. maybe he has more at home and gives some of his "workers" the day off.  I never did see him perform his act...only walking around town, maybe going to the next "stage" up the street.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Demo painting

I'm back from my New Hampshire workshop and this is one of my demo paintings. We had a great time with HOT weather..it was the first heat of the summer...above 90 degrees!  But we painted outside in the shade which worked out well, plus there was a slight breeze across the Connecticut River.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Book work

This painting will be published in a book to be released later this year.  It is called the Artistic Touch by Chris Unwin...she has published 4 other Artistic Touch books previously.  Should be interesting to be a part of a group of other artists describing their styles and techniques. ("Blonde Ambition")

Friday, June 15, 2012

Stamens and Stems

This is the other popping peony piece created at this year's workshop, buds ready to open, blossoms exploding like fireworks.  I missed posting yesterday because I was delivering paintings to Manchester.  The Southern Vermont Arts Center is hosting a show titled "Stamens and Stems: Nature's Tryst".  It is a themed show of floral interpretations.  I was invited to participate and the show opens next Saturday June 23, 2-4 p.m.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Workshop pictures

Here are some images of my peony workshop last week.  This was the day we got to spend outside.  The middle picture has the beginnings of my painting that is the first picture of this post.  I just realized that I surpassed 800 posts!  Yikes.  Some sprinkles surprised us, but all in all the sun was the clear winner on this day!  (as were the lucky painters..us! who got to be outside!)

Friday, June 8, 2012

peony recap

This is a quick recap of my peony painting workshop earlier this week...I'll post the paintings I did next week (this is an example from a previous year)  We were rained out last Saturday, but had a nice inside classroom  to work in and lots of pictures and live bouquets to work from...Tuesday's class was dry, sunny, cool, some sprinkles, but able to paint in the gardens...Thanks to all who traveled a distance to attend and also thanks to those who live close by!  Reminder...I will be teaching a 2 1/2 day workshop in New Hampshire in 10 days..check my sidebar for workshop info and links.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Here's a quick post of the same pose a few different ways...I continue to explore the figure and have learned so much in terms of proportion, perspective, size, shape and relationships; between those things and so much more.