Jane James provided the photo to the left for a July paint challenge for one of the Yahoo online groups called Watercolor Workshop. I decided to try this one on YUPO to see what I could come up with.

The results posted to the right were very predictable and indicative of how I paint when given an assignment. Although I submitted this first attempt to the group, I knew I wanted to pursue the subject more.
I adjusted the same painting several times before I felt I was getting anywhere. The third post here shows some progress, a bit more contemporary but still not what I had envisioned.
Susan Roper from the group helped me out with a critique part way through which I much appreciated. After simplifying the background areas some, I called it quits - see the last painting posted here.
It's great to work on YUPO with watercolor because adjustments are fairly easy and fun to do. George James calls it deconstruction and reconstruction of a painting.
The finished painting's stored in a drawer now, and I doubt I'll do any more to it. It was fun taking on the group challenge, but I think I paint better when I'm challenging myself.
"PARTY CRASHERS" Transparent Watercolor on Heavy Weight YUPO 20 x 26"



We were allowed only five colors for our final workshop painting .... but I goofed and used six. Instructor Carol Carter's assignment to us was to paint something we really like while incorporating the wet in wet approach she'd been teaching us, using pure colors, on a half sheet of paper.

The colors are all Daniel Smith watercolors, which I love. SeveraI years ago, I made a gradual switch from mostly Winsor Newton paints to Daniel Smith paints, trying some Holbien, Maimeri Blu, Da VInci, American Journey, and Schmincke brands along the way. There are a couple of colors I prefer from other brands but seldom use those colors anymore.

Phthalo Blue and Quinacridone Burnt Orange make up the background with some Permenant Yellow Deep and Cobalt Violet Deep added for halos. Quinacridone Magenta and Transparent Pyrrol Orange along with the Phthalo and Permanent Yellow Deep created the colors on the paint tubes. It's kind of a goofy painting - giant paint tubes - but it's what I love.

Earlier that morning I was uncertain about what to paint. While sitting in church, I grabbed a pen and drew a quick sketch of three paint tubes, scribbling a circle around them. My brother saw me writing and thought I was taking notes. The message was about creativity, and we even watched an artist paint during part of the celebration.

"MY MAIN SQUEEZE" Transparent Watercolor on 300#CP Arches 15 x 22"



Another exercise from our Carol Carter Workshop. The three days Carol was here were filled with COLOR, vibrant, exciting, unexpected color!

Day two really threw me. Carol stated that we'd be creating space and form with color, not value. Aah oh. My favorite phrase is that color gets all the credit and value does all the work. Now we were going to prove this wrong.

We were to paint three things, one with a blue base, one red, one yellow. Using the remaining two colors, we were to define the shapes giving them form.

These little chickadees look like they've been dipped in inks. I do love the one on the right.

The colors I used on the background and birds were Daniel Smith watercolors - Phthalo Blue, Hansa Yellow, and Quinacridone Magenta. That's a switch from the day before when I used only two colors - Ultramarine Turquoise and Quinacridone Burnt Orange by Daniel Smith.

Every shape was really wet before the paint was brushed on. The yellow halos were added in the wet background before the birds were painted.

When I finished, I realized that color may look like it's doing the work of defining the shapes, but at least in this little painting, it is still value that is the true work horse. Of course, color gets ALL the credit.

"SCUTTLEBUTT" Transparent Watercolor on 140#CP Arches 15 x 10" COLLECTED



This is my second painting of Day One from our Carol Carter workshop. She said to paint what we love (so true always,) and I seem to lean toward nature a lot.

These three trees were supposed to have shadows filtering toward the viewer, but just before I was ready to put the shadows in, I noticed that the unpainted shadow areas looked like white skirts on female trees. I don't know what music they're dancing to, but they seem to have lost their heads. These paintings are great exercises to teach us how to let the water and paint do the work.

"STRUTTING OUR STUFF" transparent Watercolor on 140CP Arches 14 x 11"



This past three days were spent submerged in a wet-in-wet process of painting with transparent watercolors. Carol Carter flew in from St. Louis to teach 12 of us how she creates her dynamite paintings that are so full of color and movement. She did a great job, and we learned some very valuable things to help us on our art journey.

Check out Rhonda's blog, http://rhcarpenter.blogspot.com/ where she has detailed what Carol explained. Over the next couple of days, I'll post my attempts at painting using Carol's directions.

The first painting was to be done with only two colors, one warm and one cool, and each shape was wet before we applied the paint. I felt my painting was a little hard on the eyes, yet the idea is to use pure, pure pigment. No muted colors allowed! I was challenged. Here's the first day's work.

"BILLOWS" Transparent Watercolor on 140#CP Arches 15 x 11"