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A Recurring Theme

It’s spring in the northern hemisphere, the time of year when I find myself watching the plants spring up and the flowers start to bloom. As the flowers come on in a rush of colors, shapes and textures, so also I am in a rush to paint them. As I drive down the road, I’m…

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Homecoming

Our boat came home this week, after being “on the hard” for the winter. We usually put it in the water earlier in the spring but this year the boat was stored behind several other boats that weren’t ready to be launched that early. We asked the yard to delay launching until we got back…

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A House By the Water

I have the amazing privilege of living a mile away from my parents. We live on a creek that empties into the Chesapeake Bay, and they live across a little peninsula on the shore of the Bay itself. Each house has its own special view of the water. This is the view out the kitchen…

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Fly Me Away

Where do you dream of going? How would you get there? Why do you want to go? There are so many stories about men wanting to fly and their attempts, failures, and successes. We read about Icarus, the boy who flew too close to the sun; about the Wright brothers and their flight at Kitty…

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Cherry Blossom Walk

The ornamental cherry trees around the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., have been in full bloom this past week. Each year I like to take a pilgrimage to the area and enjoy their beauty for a couple of hours. Here’s a slideshow showing how I developed this watercolor painting: from photo to black and white…

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Mountains and Trees

I’ve recently been following another artist who is trying out watercolor and finding it difficult. I tried to explain how he might do an initial picture and then realized that words just didn’t explain it fully. I needed a video. I haven’t done many videos, just a couple for my students when we couldn’t have…

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Gargoyle

A Gargoyle is a spout in the form of a grotesque human or animal figure projecting from a roof gutter to throw rainwater clear of a building (definition courtesy of Merriam-Webster online dictionary). This one lives on the cathedral in Ulm, Germany. I was showing my students the concept that the value of a color…

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Wetlands

Here is another picture that is the result of watercolor “playtime” or a loose warm-up before getting “to work” in my studio. I meant to scan the first layer before I started adding the second layer, but wandered into the studio, saw the painting with my idea sketched on treated acetate, and I started working,…

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Spring Flowers

Usually my watercolor lessons begin with a “play time,” using colors and brushstrokes in a lighthearted manner, enjoying the way the colors react together on the paper. This past week we used yellows in diagonal strokes, softening the edges and allowing the pigments to blend naturally. Then we added greens to the lower section, also…

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Painting Glass

My students wanted to learn how to paint a piece of glassware. We started with simple pieces since painting glass involves observing the collection of abstract shapes and values (lights and darks) that make up the whole. One has to stop thinking about painting a specific object and carefully observe all the highlights, the local…

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