Painting with a limited palette is advice frequently heard in the art world. This painting was one I taught in a class nearly 15 years ago using just Raw Sienna and French Ultramarine, both from Winsor Newton.

Using a limited number of colors does help give unity to a painting. Even if a painting is well painted and the technique is flawless, without a sense of unity, the picture will lack the 'viewer's holding power.'

It's a strange thing that if a painting has unity, you don't think about it being there, but when it doesn't have it, you get that feeling that 'all-is-not-right-in-this-painting. Fortunately, a limited palette is only one of the ways to help create unity.

Most of my paintings have between eight and fourteen colors. I started out in watercolor by selecting two reds, two yellows, two blues, payne's gray, and burnt sienna and have gone through a lot of paint since then.

FYI - my favorite, can't-live-without-them colors include Hansa Yellow, Permanent Yellow Deep, Raw Sienna, Quinacridone Burnt Orange, Quin Coral, Transparent Pyrrol Orange, Perlene Red, Quin Magenta, Cobalt Violet Deep, Cobalt Blue, Indanthrone Blue, Ultramarine Turquoise, Cobalt Teal Blue, and Green Gold, with the italicized ones being my top eight. All are Daniel Smith brand watercolors, a company in Seattle, Washington, and first seven are cool colors, the last seven are warm. I'd toss in Lunar Earth, Quin Violet, Serpentine, Perylene Green, Phthalo Blue, Cerulean, and Lunar Blue if I could have twenty one, although I doubt I would ever actually use that many in one painting.

This weekend, I'll be watching sailboats on beautiful Klinger Lake in Michigan where fellow artist and friend, Lynne Kasey, is opening her beautiful lake front home for a very unique art show. It will be a great weekend, and I'm really looking forward to it.

I'll be back to the blog after the show. See you Monday.



Evening shadows on an old house captured my eye as I drove by. The textures of the peeling paint and the ripples in the old glass along with the rickety rusty downspout simply made me want to paint them.

When I took the photo, I did not know that the house was about to be demolished. It so surprised me to drive by one day and see it gone, and I was glad I'd taken the time several years ago to create it's unique beauty in a painting.

Yesterday one of the artists who's in Wednesday night's class left this world so unexpectantly. Lois O'Brien always added so much delight and fun to our class and to my life. The news of her death simply stunned me beyond words, yet I wanted to write a special tribute of sorts to her on this blog.

THANK YOU, LOIS, for being a refreshing breeze, a comical lady, for being so teachable, for loving to paint, for your gentle kindness and generosity, for your tenderness and caring, for your loyalty and trustworthiness. I loved how much you dearly cherished your grandson and new granddaughter. You were so delightful to be with, and I loved to hear you laugh.

When she had a problem in class, she'd say to me, "Come into my office." Her office location may have changed, but I can imagine her painting tonight's sunset for all to see.

"THIS OLD HOUSE" Transparent Watercolor on 140# Fabriano, 15 x 22" COLLECTED



My honey LOVES racing, both Nascar and Indy cars. A few years ago on race day we visited the garages at the Kentucky Speedway, and I wanted to paint the sense of determination and teamwork that I felt there.

Starting with one good white shape, I began painting a pale warm wash over all but the white shape. Next, I added in a few really dark shapes touching the white shape, then pulled together the dark and white shapes with more color and value. My focus was on painting the shapes and values that I saw in my reference photo and wanted to avoid painting a shirt or a car, etc.

The final placement of the black, white, and red shapes complimented by the grayed shapes of the garage walls and ceiling helps give the painting a sense of excitement and energy, which is what I'd hoped for. The blacks in the painting were made from Daniel Smith watercolor paints - Ultramarine Turquoise, Quinacridone Magenta, Quinacridone Burnt Orange, and Indanthrone Blue, mixed together fluidly on the paper for the most part. I liked connecting as many dark shapes together as I could, making no distinction between dark objects.

Seems like there's a bit of teamwork between the values, shapes and colors in the painting. I painted this about four years ago, and I still smile when I think about what a challenge it was and how much fun I had painting it.

"IT'S ALL TEAMWORK" Transparent Watercolor on 140#CP Arches, 30 x 22"



Do artists ever feel like they are producing a paint-by-number painting? It's been reported that Michelangelo actually numbered off areas on the Sistine Chapel ceiling so that his students could fill them in, paint-by-number style. And in the Smithsonian today, there are original paint-by-number 'masterpieces' to view. I've even heard that they've become somewhat of a collectors' item nowadays, too.

Paint-by-number kits were the rage when we were children growing up in the 50's. I can remember my mother painting several of them before finally painting on her own. As a child, I tried one, too, but the process was so slow that I blended the colors together instead of staying in the lines.

Several years ago, my husband's cousin asked if I'd like to have the paint-by-number picture that my husband had painted when he was about ten years old and given to his grandmother as a Christmas gift. His grandma had kept it hanging in her home since the late 50's. Now it's finally hanging in our bedroom, after receiving a much needed cleaning and varnishing.

Bob recalled painting it, mentioning that he remembered having to wait for the color to dry completely before painting in the next color. He said he was very careful to stay in the lines, too. He can still be patient like that today when I just want to hurry things up.

Unfortunately, there was a time when I made fun of paint-by-number art, but I really cherish this one, especially knowing that those ten year old hands lovingly painted it as a gift for his grandma. It even has the original frame, too.

"Leonardo's THE LAST SUPPER - PBN" Painted by Bobby Maudlin, oil on board, 31 x 14" COLLECTED