Warmup – Use of White

The next master watercolorist reviewed in the Tate Watercolor Manual, Lessons from the Great Masters,* was Thomas Girtin. Girtin was a contemporary of Turner, but as his life was cut short, didn’t rise to the same prominence. One of his most famous paintings is The White House of Chelsea, a perfect demonstration of the use […]

Lesson 11 – Adding Washes

I am working through the Tate Watercolour Manual, Lessons from the Great Masters by Tony Smibert and Joyce Townsend in an effort to refine my craft. I fully intend to paint like the masters when I finish the book. I’m not quite sure how long after I finish the book but I know it will come to pass […]

The Power of Art

When I lived in New York City, I looked for unusual things to photograph.  I usually didn’t have to look far. I took these two pictures inside the Museum of Modern Art, which I would visit frequently. Today I review a couple of my black and white photographs, given my recent interest in tonal values of my […]

Another Tone Exercise

Today’s warmup exercise: The next lesson in the Tate Watercolour Manual, Lessons from the Great Masters by Tony Smibert and Joyce Townsend, from which I am learning, is about rendering a scene from a photograph that has been desaturated. Desaturation is a function available in many digital photo editors. It drains the photograph of color. The only quality left […]

Yellow Flower – Final

As promised yesterday, I implemented my idea in today’s watercolor experiment of yet another attempt at painting the elusive yellow succulent flower. But first, as I promised to myself, a daily shading study: Today’s watercolor experiment: I made a couple of attempts to paint a representation of the yellow flowers on one of my succulents, neither […]

Shading Practice

After yesterday’s less-than-stellar pencil drawing of the back yard, I took some advice from John Ruskin, 19th century artist, through his book Elements of Drawing. In the first few pages of ‘Elements’ there are some basic exercises intended to instruct a beginner in uniform shading of and area, and shading from dark to light with a pen or a […]

Amateur Hour

Yesterday I bit off a bit more than I could chew. I used mixed media paper. I usually use watercolor paper. I also tried to draw/paint a complicated form AND concentrate on the dark and light areas. The composition was passable, but today I am taking a step back. Today’s experiment: I happened upon a book […]


Today’s experiment: I have many photographs of parking lots. I take them when my wife is shopping. I used to bring my sketch book. I have many sketches of parking lots. I proved yesterday that I could re-create a photograph as a watercolor composition, faithfully in many ways. Yesterday’s post was in response to the […]


Today’s watercolor experiment: I had several different ideas for today’s study.  Perhaps ‘false starts’ would be a better way to characterize the beginning of this composition. First idea: Upon close inspection of some of the ‘christmas trees’ in yesterday’s post, I was struck by the vermilion-inked razor cuts surrounded by the peacock blue that represented the tree branches. The […]

News Stand, NYC

When I lived in New York City, I would roam the streets looking for classic photographic shots.  I even tried to find the same door that Walker Evans photographed – a masterful shot – but someone must have torn it down, along with the building. One day I was walking up Lexington Avenue and saw a […]