Rhonda Carpenter's newest paintings of flamingos shows how well she incorporates various hot colors to define the birds - see her blog here. Many, many, many moons ago, I painted this fancy flamingo as a class demo to show how to achieve the look of feathers as well as how to make the most of contrast.

Planning ahead to allow the darkest darks to be next to the lightest lights in a painting is one of the easiest ways to make a stronger focal point to draw the eye. Hard edges also get the most attention - compared to soft or lost edges, as do diagonal lines, compared to horizontal or vertical ones.

Small shapes make the eye stop and look. Strong color temperature change - warm vs. cool - is another effective tool to incorporate in the focal area. Even using pure colors next to slightly grayed ones makes the pure color get much more attention.

Any type of contrast always makes us notice and keeps our interest. It's fun to take advantage of that principle to make a painting more effective, more exciting for the viewer to look at.

"STRUTTING HER STUFF" Transparent Watercolor on 140#CP Arches 13 x 20" COLLECTED



This rose, a Queen Elizabeth Grandiflora, was painted lots of years ago as a demo for an intermediate level class I was teaching. Back then, I'd provide the drawing for everyone to trace before we began painting. Then, I'd show them where to miskit, how to glaze, when to paint wet-in-wet, etc. Most all the paintings would turn out really nice, but because of following the process of painting along with 'teacher,' the artists seldom ventured out of the nest to create their own work.

It's tough painting without guaranteed results, but working a painting from the initial start up 'idea' stage through to completion is really what it's all about. The reward of creating a painting from your own heart and head is so worth the struggle. Now that's the only way my classes operate.

The success rate may be lower, but the overall growth is MUCH stronger for each artist as they learn and discover how to unfold what they want to say with paint. Somehow, there's actually less whining now than there was when people traced and followed along in years past. Surprise!

Newer work will be posted as soon as I have an operating photoshop program. I have yet to find my Adobe program, but hopefully, it may be in the bank's lockbox.

"ONLY A ROSE" Transparent Watercolor on 140#CP Fabriano Artistico 15 x 11" COLLECTED



The computer is pretty much okay now, but there's lots to adjust - and find. Plus, I can't use Adobe Photoshop yet. Bummer.

Here's another painting created quite a few years ago of one of my favorite animals. She was quite a beauty that day at the Colorado Rocky Mountain Zoo. While painting her, I used lots of teal, turquoise, blue, red, coral, purple, and yellows, but no browns, for the fur.

I do hope to post fresh work soon, along with the paintings from the YUPO workshop last month. It's good to have a working computer again:-D

"LONG STORY" Transparent Watercolor on 140# CP Fabriano Artistico 14 x 22" COLLECTED