A trip to northern Indiana lead us to plenty of rural Amish areas. A sunny day with some deep shadows of great shapes resulted in a lot of picture taking time.

I love to connect shapes in a painting that really are separate, and it was easy to do here with all the darks. No actual black was used because I wanted to capture what I felt was the 'color' of the area. Various colors were charged together to establish the strong darks that read as black. This painting is about nine years old, but I still enjoy looking at it because of all the contrasts and colors.

Any color that looks really dark in your palette wells can be used in combination with others to make a good dark. The trick is to let the water in the paint do the work of mixing, (rather than mixing it all in the palette) and let little gravity do the blending. As soon as the brush starts stirring things up, it can get real ugly. Make the paint very, very dark but use enough water to allow the paint to flow into other wet paint on the paper. Enjoy the spontaneity of it all. It's like magic.

"AMISH WHEELS" Transparent Watercolor on 140# CP Arches 21 x 14"



The photographer at my niece's wedding several years ago was a painting ready to paint. I love contrast in paintings, and his wedding attire, his salt and pepper hair and beard, and his camera equipment provided all the dynamics needed to make up a portrait that I wanted to paint. The sun even co-operated that afternoon, providing more contrast by casting some nice soft shadows and creating some good highlights for the painting.

To make the blacks in the painting lively, I used Daniel Smith brand watercolors of Ultramarine Turquoise, Quinacridone Magenta, Indanthrone Blue, and Quinacridone Brunt Orange .... but no black paint. By making four separate puddles of very dark pigment, I could pop in the dark areas, allowing the colors to charge into each other and blend on their own. The luminous 'black' colors stayed transparent even though they were very strong darks. No glazing was done in the dark areas here, just one shot in with the darks mingling together.

I snapped a lot of film that weekend of the wedding in beautiful Buck County, PA. What a great area to visit - and have a wedding!

"SAY CHEESE" Transparent Watercolor on 140# CP Fabriano Artistico 11x 16"



This painting was created using fluid acrylics on hot pressed paper which was initially glazed with two coats of gloss medium. I applied colors, building up layers of many colors and, after letting them dry, wiped them partially off with rubbing alcohol to reveal some pretty cool textures. More paint, more rubbing, and more removing continued, and a small amount of rice paper was collaged in a couple of areas.

It's a great process that tells you when you're done... but not in a very loud voice. It was so much fun as I discovered the hidden textures of the painting while lifting off areas with the rubbing alcohol.

In this abstract, the temperature dominance is cool, and it was done about a year before I went overseas, when I then intuitively switched to creating mostly warm temperature paintings. Caran D'ache crayons embellished parts of the painting, too. I spent many hours painting this, then partially removing areas, repainting again and again, and each time I look at it, I remember the joy I felt as I discovered new areas of texture and beauty.

I loved the process, which seems to be more and more important to me lately. The message I want to convey somehow is directing the process choice, and I'm just along for the ride. I love the journey!

"JOURNEY" Fluid Acrylics on Hot Pressed 140# Arches 22 x 30" COLLECTED



Just like the previous post, this painting is from my archives of the last 20 years of painting with watercolor. And, this painting leans strongly toward the blues and turquoise end of the color wheel.
For more than 17 years I painted by using cool dominance as the usual temperature of my paintings. Of course, warms were in the painting, most often near the focal area to add interest and change. Even though I'd had read that warm toned paintings sold better than cool temperature ones did, that didn't stop my inner instincts from using the temperature I liked the best, usually with teal or turquoise as the main ingredient.
Then I traveled overseas to Europe for the first time, with a short stop in northern Italy. From that point on, it seems that my instincts have been telling me to paint 'warm' temperature pictures most of the time. Could it be that a life changing experience or journey can also result in an artist preference responding occurrence? Surely... if that's even a sentence that makes sense???
"SHOW OFF" Transparent Watercolor on 140#CP Arches, 15 x 11" COLLECTED



Here's another painting from the archives, only this one's even older. This was created using my tape elimination technique - placing bits of torn or cut masking tape where I do not want the paint to go, then painting over the whole page with various colors all the same value with watercolors. I repeat this 'tape pieces/one value of many colors per layer' process until I have six or seven layers of tape and paint and values on the paper.

Peeling all those tiny bits of tape off is tedious, but the surprises of texture and color combinations make the tape removal seem like a treasure hunt. I haven't done a tape picture for a while. I think it's time to get one started. I like how it resembles batik a little, where the paint creeps under the tape, making some awesome edges and textures. I need to try this on YUPO. What a great assignment.

"STONE WALLED" Transparent Watercolor on Crescent Watercolor Board, about 12 x 21" COLLECTED