Capturing the liveliness of a living creature always challenges and excites me. In this painting, I took photos of a client's frisky dogs then created the painting later, relying on my photo references.

To help anchor the painting and give it unity, I employed John Salminen's 'good white shape' process. As Salminen explains, the process gives 'bones' to the painting and holds it together, even though it's not visible in the finished painting.

"SANDY AND FRIEND" on Arches 140# CP 21 x 16" SOLD



Once, a gallery owner kindly told me to stick with one recognizable style in order to further my art career. His advice was sound, but ... There are just too many excellent ways to express feelings when painting, too many wonderful, awesome, beautiful things to paint, and not enough lifetime left to paint it all. So I continue to paint what I want to paint in whatever 'style' I want to paint it in. Diversity is a lot more fun than sticking to a specific formula for me. And the Art Career? I figure Success is measured in more than one way.

The technique shown in this painting is called "Dry Brush." Andrew Wyeth is the master of dry brush, and Joseph Boehler uses it superbly, too. I seldom paint this way, but once I'm into the painting, I hate for it to end. The paint was applied with almost no moisture added and built up by crosshatching to develop depth of value, color, and texture. Because there's no water to spread the paint around, it takes many, many, many hours to complete a painting like this. The richness and depth can't be achieved any other way.
"WELL KEPT SECRETS" on Bristol Board 10 x 14"



A batik-look can be achieved several ways without using wax on the paper. This painting was done on Masa paper, a type of rice paper.

Painting on Masa paper with transparent watercolor is easy to do. First, I squished and wrinkled the Masa into a snowball sized shape and placed it in clean water. After soaking it a minute or two, I removed it from the water and very carefully spread it out, laying it out flat on a clean white surface. When it's wet, Masa tears easily, but when it does tear, it can be patched back together later when it's glued it down.

While the Masa was still fairly wet, I splashed light valued, warm temperature watercolors over the page, taking care not to brush the paper more than once in any one spot. After adding a few cool colors for balance, I let the paper dry.

After sketching the building, etc., on the dried Masa paper, I painted in the darker values to define the subject matter. Much of the original 'first wash' colors still show in this painting where the values are medium and light. White acrylic ink was used to highlight the flowers and a few other spots.

The only problem with painting on Masa is that it 'balls up' like a bad sweater if you paint on an area too much. Otherwise, it's very, very easy to get great results using this technique. It's a good surface for beginners to try. The crinkly look resulting from the wadded up Masa paper certainly lends a special texture to this old Italian villa. To see a master's work on Masa paper, check out Cheng Khee Chee's work - awesome!

When the Masa was dry, I used methyl-cellulose wall paper paste and glued it down to a sheet of Arches 140# paper, smoothing and flatten out any wrinkles. Some artists like to leave some wrinkles.

In a couple of weeks, many artists in my classes will have the privilege of learning another more sophisticated 'batik-look' technique from Nicholas Simmons, one of the major names in contempory watercolor. He'll be here teaching in the studio for a week, and we can't wait! Just last week, he received the TOP AWARD at the National Watercolor Society's annual show. Way to go, Nick! He does a great job explaining his process on Wet Canvas (see side bar.) My friend, Rhonda Carpenter, 'introduced' me to Wet Canvas and Nick's awesome paintings. Thanks, Rhonda.

I never did title the villa painting. Titles are just hard to do sometimes. Finished size is 16 x 22" approx. Here's another painting I did on Masa paper with the batik look, done in the same way.

A final note - no rice paper is made of rice! Go figure???

"A RIDE TO WORK" on Masa 19 x 14"



Although painted with transparent watercolor, this painting included the use of wax and rice paper. The batiking process has been around for many centuries, and using batik to create a painting can be tedious but full of surprises. Once it was finished, I 'glued' it to a REALLY large sheet of Arches 140#, using methy- cellulose wall paper paste. I've also painted this same subject using the taping technique with nice results. Both paintings have been sold, but I do have prints of this one for sale.
"TIMES PAST" Transparent Watercolor and Sumi Ink on Kinwashi 36 x 24" SOLD



Sometimes I see a face and must paint it. This woman seemed to have both self assurance and mystery. We were in a cafe in Maine having breakfast when she walked in. Later, while I was painting her from my photos, I liked making up stories about who she really is....hmmmm, I'll never know, but maybe the painting will make you want to know her.

"JUST THINKING' on Arches 140#CP 18 x 14"



Several years ago, I tried gouache, aka opaque watercolors, combined with transparent watercolors. FUN! At one time I thought the only way to go was transparent watercolor, but so many new avenues opened up when I became more flexible. Now, whatever it takes to make good art is what I'll pursue. I liked the playfulness of this painting, and it felt like play when I painted it, too.
"DEEP BLUE SEA" on Arches 140#CP 29 x 20" SOLD