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I recently tried a new paper, 140lb Khadi Rough. The two paintings, above, are my first attempts to feel the paper and explore how it took the watercolor. It is very soft. Large areas of liquid friskit will damage the surface but I have used it on small areas with no problem. The paper remains wet for a long time, so I had two paintings going at a time. While one was drying, I’d work on the other. I love the texture of the paper and the imperfections in it. There are bumps and particles that appear throughout as I paint. Once a layer dries, I can lift most colors. by scrubbing back with sponge or bristle brush. The paintings look soft and have a glow. I feel like I can complete a painting faster on this paper. The color is more vibrant from the beginning.


The next two paintings are much larger. To begin each of these paintings, I painted in gray scale with Paynes gray to establish values. I spritzed each gray scale painting with water to blur some of the edges. I then painted on top of the gray scale. In the bottom painting, I added white gouache glazes to the background and sponged where I wanted to lift some of the mist.

I am sold on this paper. I do not know if it will hold up to the abuses of gouache resist or collaging but will try both techniques on it. Arches may be the better choice for those techniques. I know I could use ink, elegant writer and gesso techniques with this paper.

Thank you to wet canvas for the photo references for the horses and cat.





I experimented, here. I liked the sky in the reference for this scene and added the horses.

I see the snow has begun to fall for our Holiday posts and this one is going to look a little funny with the snow coming down. Sorry about that. I know I can turn it off but kind of like that we get this treat once a year.



My class is working on watercolors painted on a gessoed piece of 140 lb Arches coldpress paper. We mix the gesso by using one half gesso, one quarter water and one quarter acrylic matte medium. We then use a large brush to spread this mixture onto our watercolor paper. Before the gesso dries, we  take a credit card and make marks in that wet gessoed surface. Some of us have stirred art sand into the mixture as well. The card marks and slashes, plus the sand, give an interesting textured surface to paint on, once dried. I have posted a tutorial here if you would like to follow it and try this interesting technique. You can also click on the image of the horse, above, to get a better look at the texture of the surface. I have read, recently, where you can take cut out papers and gesso them into the surface as well. I would like to experiment with that this summer.





Those of you, who follow my blog, know that I and a friend spent the summer learning to paint from a monochromatic rendering and transform it with splatter and drips and color. The explanation of how to approach these is found here and here.

I shared this process with my watercolor landscape classes this fall. The above paintings are a result of my demos and explanations for these classes. The top one is a composite of several different photo references I had taken. The horses are from one farm, not this one. The high tension wires were from yet another farm than the one I chose to sit in the distance. Tip on “how to” wires? I lightly used a graphite pencil, first. Then I painted them really carefully with a rigger and paynes gray, resting my hand on the paper and dragging the brush at a 45 degree angle as I slid my hand across the paper. I softened and blurred those wires with light rubbings of a magic eraser so they would appear to fade and return, varying the values of the wires in spots. I used liguid frisket to preserve the white of the paper on barn roofs, white buildings and the foreground horses. I had to splatter those areas following painting in the details. That painting developed, gradually, and changed with every layer I painted into it.

The concrete works piece was purely experimental on my part. I wanted to see if I could create something a little different and unique with interesting shapes.

I will continue to create paintings like this. I like all that goes into them and the fact that I’m always creating something new with each and every one.

paytonsabner    6 yr

sedonashorses  7 yr

polarbear 8 yr

The above paintings were painted by my three Granddaughters this past weekend. Yes, I have created watercolors and drawings with them since they were little. Their Mothers have also encouraged them with their art. One thing I did not do, however, was purchase less expensive paints, brushes and paper for them to use. I find many of the student grade papers and paints uninspiring, often resulting in dull colors, brush hairs falling out into paintings and paper that tears or won’t hold up to multiple glazes or layers.

All three of them begged me to be able to paint and helped me to tape their paper to the board. The oldest ran for my pile of photo references. They used to select pictures from their coloring books that were easier to draw but would have none of that this time. The 6 chose a portrait of Abner, my daughter’s dog, the 7 chose a photo of my daughters three horses and mini donkey, and the 8 chose a photo of a polar bear! I said, “Are you sure you can do these?”  The 8 said, “Yes. We can draw them by feeling the edges of the lines while we draw!”  They have all practiced drawing with a continuous line, before. I helped a little, but not a lot! Mostly just to point out an angle of a line or a bump on a horse knee or jaw. The drawing of the polar bear was totally unassisted! I cautioned them about rinsing their brushes before they went back into the palettes for their colors and that was all she wrote. They were off and painting!

Insert, here, praise for their art teachers. The conversation around the table started to revolve around what their art teachers had taught them in school. One Granddaughter stating that her teacher taught her that a painting was just lines, shapes and then add color! Another said her teacher had told her to use bright color and another talked about her teacher teaching them to use the whole page.

And they didn’t get bored! Thank you to all those Moms and Art Teachers out there who recognize the value of creativity for our children.  They may never make a living creating art, but they are learning skills that will stick with them a lifetime about exploring, creating and making choices. Plus! They will have one more thing they can enjoy doing in their free time!






It has been so long since I’ve posted. I don’t know where the time has gone. I did start my 2014-2015 art classes, so perhaps I am just a bit slower this year.

The above is a repeat attempt on a pony team I first painted here. I wanted to paint it in color. Thank you to wet canvas for the photo reference.


by Nancy Longmate

by Nancy Longmate



The above two paintings are Nancy’s and my third attempt with splatter painting.

We are adding more color even though we begin these with a monochromatic study in payne’s gray. I think I’d like to try one in sepia some time, too. Carol King has been helping us with this via emails since she took the workshop with Tim Saternow. She has also sent me links to his article in “American Artist Watercolor” (Winter 2012) and several other links of artists who use similar techniques. I think a watercolor artist can probably adapt this technique to how he or she likes to work. The splatter and drips ( if you tilt your board) add something spontaneous and fun to work with. The value study sets the tone.

I promised to post my steps on this post, so here are the steps to the Herschell Carousel. Thank you Wet Canvas for the reference image!



First, I do a detailed drawing and use liquid frisket to save any little white areas.



I, then, paint a value study of the reference in Payne’s gray. This could be done in neutral tint or sepia, also. I would think the color you would use for this phase would have to be considered a dark color in order to get strong value changes. Tim stated, in his article, that he applies his pigment in thick impasto in the darkest areas. I’ll have to try that sometime. I have not applied it that thick, as yet.



Next, splatter with clear water. I use a two inch flat and load it with water. With the painting laying on the floor, I stand above it and drip the water over it copiously. On this one, I tinted the water a bit with Payne”s gray and also tilted the board to get some drips on this phase. I let that dry completely.



Then I chose a warm and a cool color and splattered the entire painting with these two colors. Some artists pour the color over the painting and tilt the board to get a drip effect. After this, my darks had washed out some and I repainted many of them. I chose the colors Halloween Orange and Phthalocyanine Blue for my splatter colors. I wanted more color due to the subject material.


Then I began adding color. I decided to put more color into this painting than my previous two. I thought the subject called for it. I had also taken time to view quite a few paintings by artists using this technique and saw that some of theirs had more color in them and that Tim had made mention that he allows the subject material and what is happening on the paper to guide him in how much color to use.  I also removed all frisket from the painting during this phase.



I finished by lightly coloring the background items, darkening the background blacks and re- painting the darks in the foreground horse. With this painting, I splattered more blue and orange at the very end.


The above painting is one I have done for a friend of mine. This is her half Halflinger mare, Lilly Mae.  I used frisket for the white strands of mane and whiskers and highlights on the eye and the hardware and stitches on the bridle.  After painting strands of mane in for hours!, I had to do some lifting with a sponge to blend some of the lighter colors. Her mane is lighter than her body, but not white.  I worked extra hard on sculpting her face and capturing the veins and the jawline to lead the viewer’s eye to Lilly’s huge soft dark eye. That took several layers of very light washes.  After removing the frisket from the metal hardware of the bridle, I went back in and shaded areas of it. I used Harvest Gold, Raw Sienna, Halloween Orange, Copper Kettle, Burnt Umber, Sepia, Prussian Blue and Blue Stone to create this portrait.

Thankyou to those of you that have enquired as to my whereabouts. I have been fine, but the Holidays and all the shoveling and blowing of snow that I’ve done has kept me away from painting and blogging. I will try to be more present!


The above painting is my Granddaughter with her “PINK” hat, which she loves, and her horse, Duchess, who she also loves!

About halfway through this painting, I started chuckling when I remembered my sister, then 4, and I, then 6, riding our rocking horses in the family room while singing along to this at the end of the show.  🙂


The above painting ended up as  total experiment in painting more monochromatically  and including some white paint. Ohmy! There are parts of it I like and other parts I can’t stand.  I was totally inspired by an artist featured in the Watercolor Artist Magazine this month by the name of Anni Crouter.

Unfortunately, the article only gives a summary of how she uses the medium so off I go exploring. I was not brave enough to black out the background for fear I’d lose the whole image, so opted for dribbling white and sepia through it. I think I needed to use more colors to achieve the deep browns and blacks in these ponies. I did like that I had to concentrate on shape and form and the twist and turns of the leather on them.  I even enjoyed frisketing the buckles and bits and other hardware on the bridles and harnesses.

Anni Coulter works on that new Arches Oil paper called Huile. I ordered some of that but have not tried it as yet. Will let you know what I think of it when I do.

One of these days, I’m going to get brave enough to black out a background and just leave hints of the shape.  I thank Watercolor Artist Magazine for the subtle pushes it offers to try something new.

Thank you to Wet Canvas for the image of the pony team.

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