I added an bit extra to my initial doodle.  I forgot which end of the ‘S’ figure I started on, but I was conscious of repeating those movements I usually make when I begin and abstract composition: A wiggle of my hand (thumb and forefinger) as I move my arm. Slower motions give me an ‘S’ […]

Feathery Strokes

I began today’s abstract with feathery strokes. At first it reminded me of falling leaves or feathers. The color scheme started out with vermillion (a disappointingly pale wash), quinacridone purple (on the red side), and Payne’s gray. This predominantly reddish purple collection of strokes screamed out for a blue.  I penciled in French ultramarine with a […]

Abstract Lettering

I began with purple today. It didn’t go as smoothly as the gray strokes from yesterday.  Perhaps it was the paper. I used Arches paper yesterday and Canson, today. Although they were both cold pressed, Arches paper has more of a texture than Canson does. At any rate, the purple didn’t seem to adapt properly […]

Yellow Orange Gray

I began with dry paper and a brush loaded with Payne’s gray. I laid down gray squiggles, ending with a diagonal stroke from lower left to upper right. Somehow the gray foreground suggested a yellow background. I used Indian yellow (a pigment tinted toward the orange part of the spectrum) to color in the more […]


You should have seen the first wash of this study. Very subtle contours and graded grays. The second wash was a curtain of gray drips. I decided to add color to the mass of gray, and started with a primary blue gouache. I echoed the gray drips and added a primary red . The red […]

Distracted Abstract

Background for today’s art: Mixed feelings, mainly sadness. The funeral was today. I’m usually very stoic, but surprised myself by the intensity of my emotions about the death of my niece. The kids came up from down south and one gave a heartfelt eulogy about her cousin. At the reception my niece’s sister presented a slide […]

Abstract 102316

I began with an earth-tone wash, using my transparent iron oxide pigments.  I tried ‘highlighting’ certain parts of the composition with a darker pigment. I should have used it a bit more sparingly. I used gouache to trace some of the patterns made by the interactions of the washes, and the more pronounced contours. I […]

Getting Closer

I think I broke out of my ‘S’ habit.  In previous abstract watercolors (Untitled 101916, Caldron) I seemed to always start with a backward ‘S’ shape.  I did more high frequency brush strokes in earth tones.  I carefully painted in between the indiscriminately-painted yellows.  Those reds and purples pulled the amorphous yellows together like a purse seine […]

Abstract 102216

I began with an earth-tone wash for background. I moved the pigment around with compressed air. The result reminded me of successive mountain ranges. I used a fan brush to stab in some green at the bottom, and an angled brush to poke a bit of red at the top.  The green at the bottom needed […]


I thought the mauve would be a good contrast to the earth-tone background. I used transparent, iron-based pigments.  Looking back on the past several paintings, it seems I have a tendency to lay down my colors in ‘S’-shaped strokes. I’ll have to look into that. Once again I used compressed air (and gravity) to move […]