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Tag Archives: Indiana

Kari Zeplin6

Diane Winningham

Joe Isca4

Bill Lambert5

The above paintings are from our Exploring Watercolor class. These artists learn the basics about watercolor. They learn how to create colorful darks and value differences. They learn how to recognize differences in value and that it is always better to allow the water to help them create. Basic color combinations are discussed and practiced. They learn to use a sponge, masking fluid,  a magic eraser, salt, make a rubber band brush for grasses, and how to soften an edge with their brush. They practice skies and water and trees and buildings. They take watercolor magazines home with them, each week, so they can see all the different ways artists use watercolor. This is the class that starts it all. If .ou would like to see all of their incredible work, click here.

Mary Ann Berron3

Kathy Cron4

Masa Paper Painting

Laura Nellum

Ink and Watercolor Painting

Linda Gerbers3

Joyce Racine4

Rachel Peterson3

Gouache Resist

Jennifer Hope

Tammy Enrietto

Watercolor and Collage

The above paintings were completed in a class titled Watercolor Plus. It is probably the most creative as well as the most demanding watercolor class that I teach. I pretty much teach different techniques for the use of other media in watercolor. The artists select the things they want to try. I am so pleased with the results in this class that you must visit their gallery page by clicking here. These artists worked with masa paper, gesso and watercolor, gouache resist and watercolor, many different forms of waterproof black ink and watercolor, elegant writer, citrasolv collage and watercolor and rice paper and watercolor. High praise for the work you all did!!!!

Nancy Longmate

Sue Joseph6

Janet Heffley4

The above paintings were completed in the Advanced Watercolor Class. This class is designed to be a class where artists, who have completed all the other classes, may come and work together on paintings of their own choice. They must complete at least 3 paintings in the 6 week period. I am available as a mentor as well as them helping each other. They have a sharing time at the end of each class session. If you would like to see all of their work this period click here.

Henn Laidroo




The last project we worked on in Watercolor Plus class was wax resist with watercolor. Wax in the form of crayon or a white candle has always intrigued me for the textural qualities the watercolor artist can get from it. I often pick up a crayon when I need a bit of sparkling light in a painting somewhere. Here, the crayons I used were made by Crayola. That’s right, just the ones you find on any store shelf. The wax is all in the sunflowers and their leaves and stems. Make sure you push really hard on the crayon or your paint applications may not slide off the wax. I find it best to do all my wax applications prior to painting but think that more wax can be applied in a layering effect. If you want contrast, however, strive for contrasting colors between wax and watercolor applications.

The subject for this painting is just north of me by about 13 miles on my back roads trek to my daughter’s farm. There is a farm on a cross roads that has a gigantic garden and a vegetable stand. In August they have a huge plot of sunflowers blooming right next to the road. It is a site to see!



The scene, above, is a view of a private pond north of where I live. The owners have been kind enough to allow me to take photos of and paint scenes from their property.

In class, right now, my students are creating paintings in watercolor on different surfaces or incorporating different mediums. We do something different each week. Week before last was the crayon resist. This week we painted something on a surface that we prepared with “gesso juice”. I wrote a post about how to prepare the surface of your paper here. I actually added sand to the gesso when preparing this surface. If you enlarge the above painting, you can see evidence of the sand in that large tree trunk on the left.

This surface is very FREEING. It is not as slippery as Yupo, so it is easier to apply the pigment. You also have the ability to lift color and to play around in the image. I always spray these with acrylic matte fixative when I’m done. Otherwise, a drop of water could do damage.


The above is a painting I posted almost three years ago, here. My class is going to try and re-work an old painting of their choice this week. I suggested to them that the techniques and skills they have gathered over the course of the last few years could aid them in this venture of taking something old that they are not too attached to and making it something new.

I have decided I do not like how I rendered the pond. The scene is overly peaceful to me.  I did not create a center of interest for the viewer’s eye. I also did not like the fact that the building in the background is lost with that cream color.


We have been working with ink, lately. I recalled a recent post with a backlit tree. I lightly drew a tree trunk over the left side of this and painted it in with blues and greens and added ink with an eye dropper while the color was still wet. Then I immediately blotted the surface of the trunk with paper toweling. This created a bark-like texture. I then used a rigger and very small round to create the branches and leaves. I balanced this with some leafy ink forms on the right side of the painting. Across the bottom, I used a razor blade and rigger to fill in the grasses with india ink. I worked a section at a time and spritzed these grasses with water. That is what created the fuzzy-like forms within the grasses. After this dried, I changed the building in the background to a red barn. Now, I can see it. I remembered my class on “little people” with Don Andrews and painted small cattle in the sweet spot for a center of interest.  I think I will never stop learning.

I have posted one other re-do here.


I love working with papers made with Citrasolv.  Thank you to Carol King’s post of three years ago, found here, I was introduced to what Citrasolv, a natural cleaner and degreaser concentrate, can do to transform National Geographic photos into beautiful collage papers. My two previous posts on this are found here and here.

To prepare for any Citrasolv collaging, I prepare the papers in advance so that I have a lot of colors and patterns to choose from.  I use a glass jar and pour enough Citrasolv into it to do several National Geographics. I work in the garage ( for ventilation; the smell is so strong when working with the concentrate) to do this. I lay out two rows of newspapers on the garage floor to lay my drying papers on and get busy. I set up a TV table and cover it with newspaper. Then, working from front to back of a National Geographic magazine, I either brush, spritz or eyedropper the Citrasolv on the pages with photos. Between some of the pages, I crinkle up some saran wrap for a stained glass sort of look to some of the papers (pages under saran wrap take a little more time to work). Some of the adds don’t work so I usually skip those. Spread the solution on both pages. I have had some problems with the dry page sticking to the wet page and have lost some of those prints. Then I take a coffee break or have a sandwich or something. There is a small waiting period for the solution to do its work. I find it takes longer in the cold of winter (yes! I have toned papers in the winter!  🙂   ).  Once I see the solution has done its “thing”, I begin carefully tearing out the pages and laying them on the newspaper to dry. Drying is fast; 15-20 minutes! The pages are usually pretty easy to tear out because they are softened by the fluid. Here are some examples:

To start this project, I painted, first. I have rushed to use the papers too soon, in the past. It is almost as though the artist needs to see the values in the paint before he can decide which values and patterns in the papers to choose. I suppose, if I worked in another media, I could work on the surface of these papers and I could go back and forth with my choices.  So I painted


and painted


and painted


The whole time I worked on the above painting, I concentrated on value. I wanted to use my papers as some of the darkest darks in the piece.

I then paused and waited for the above to dry while I mixed my glue. I like using acrylic matte medium with some water mixed in. Just a little water;  I don’t want my mixture drippy wet, but also not thick. I have several old brushes I devote to the glueing process. They get pretty gummed up and I usually have to soak them in warm water before I use them, as they dry like cement.


I began by cutting little pieces of darks to color in the background under foliage behind the barn on the right. I started working in the trunks and limbs of the background trees. I always brush a thin layer of the glue on top of each paper. The papers are not acid free and I read in one of my art books that the glue on front and back will help preserve the color and protect the surface of the watercolor paper. At first, it is confusing, but, as I added more papers, the scene began to appear.


In this step, I finished the trees in the background and went back in with greens and yellows to fill in more leafy forms to help it read a little better. I added the foreground electrical pole, background foliage behind the second barn and a few branches on the foreground shrub.


The next step was one of the most difficult with this particular painting. I painted the shadow shapes on the second barn. I was careful to go back into the shadow shape and delineate each board on the side of the barn after the initial shadow wash dried. I also painted some shadows behind the shrub in front of the first barn and on the left side of the telephone pole.

midwestbarns  finished painting

To finish the painting, I extended the electrical pole down to the side of the foreground road and added the wires. I know. I know. Why the pole and wires?  I think it was because it was part of the allure for me when I chose this reference photo (thankyou to Wet Canvas) for my painting.  I thought the pole and wires added to the depth and it is so much a part of a midwest scene such as this one.

I love working in collage and especially with these papers. I think it is a wonderful exercise in values and patience. They do take time.

The Citrasolv art page can be found here. It was great to learn that some of the art supply companies are now carrying Citrasolv as one of their art mediums!


I had a blast creating this scene from a photo reference I found in a book of landscape photo references for artists. I wish I had taken time to snap pictures of the step by step for this one for all of you. I was very intrigued with the bright springlike colors of the moss hanging on the foreground tree and was able to capture that look somewhat close to how it looked in the photo. I liked the stretch of the farm lane leading back to the dense woods in the background. The sight was so peaceful, I just had to try it. I worked in large washes as I layed in the value transitions from foreground to background. The only thing I drew was the foreground tree. All the fenceposts, background forest, and small foreground trees were drybrushed in. I frisketed the hanging portions of the moss and went to town on drybrushing the little trees with a rigger and the foreground tree with a small round. Then I removed the frisket and greened in the moss and scumbled blurs of greens and raw sienna in the tree trunk and larger support branches. I stroked some white goache along the foreground tree’s large branches and dotted it on the top bumps of moss. I drybrushed the old fence posts along the lane and splattered the whole thing with a number two round brush, loaded with white acrylic, and declared it a SNOW DAY (something my kids always looked forward to!).  Hope everyone is enjoying winter!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I began with this, a toned piece of masa paper.  You can learn how to prepare this toned paper, here.

I did a very limited drawing to define the perspective of the three pear trees and how the fence diminished into the background. I then painted my first washes of driveway and grassy area. I used several colors of greens and yellows on the grass and red, yellow blues to color the blacktop. Multiple colors applied wet-in-wet help to create a glow. The grass and blacktop would appear flat and more like a coloring book had I not used several colors.

In the next step, I painted the cerulean blue sky. Upon completing that, I noticed the driveway and grass looked washed out and re-painted both of them, darkening as I went. I also painted the first wash of shadows on the fence. I  painted the dark area of the woods behind the fence and under the trees with a combination of sage green and burnt sienna.

The next step was the most tedious part of the painting. I intended to use gesso and a sponge to blot in the white flowers these trees would eventually have and could not imagine painting in every little branch through the sponge marks of gesso, so I took the time to paint the branches from what I could see of them. I used burnt sienna, prussian blue, new gamboge and olive green for the branches and trunks of the pear trees. I used olive green and sage green for the leafy forms I added in an attempt to begin to define the values in and around the leafyparts of these trees. I also fed in light washes of prussian blue and permanent rose for the warm and cool backgrounds I saw in and out of the blossoms on these trees. In short, I was attempting to define the areas of color that would peek through the gesso, once applied.

I then took a thirsty sponge (one that has been soaked in water and squeezed to get all the drippiness out)  and dipped it lightly into gesso and blotted it on scrap paper (to take out big blobs) and began blotting in the white flowers on the trees. I was careful to select a sponge that would create the kind of texture I wanted as sponges vary.  This took some time and a great deal of patience as I had to keep dipping and blotting to prevent large blobs of gesso from being applied.

  finished painting

To complete the painting I painted in the branches of the woods in the background with a rigger and color mixtures of burnt sienna and the greens and blues I had used in the rest of the painting. I worked my brush in and around the gessoed areas to define the shadow areas of the three trees and applied white gouache to the lighter areas of the split rail fence.  The grass required another touch up of yellows and greens as it appeared washed out again after I had worked on the back ground and shadows within the trees.

This is a scene to the east of the driveway of the place where I plein air painted last summer. You can see them as you come up the long driveway I featured in this post here titled “Coming Home”.

This painting was painted on toned masa paper and is my contribution to Linda Halcomb’s End of Spring Challenge. She asked that we paint something inspired by the line “leaping greenly spirit of trees” from an e. e. cummings poem.

If you would like to see what other artists have created click here, and everyone participating will be leaving their link to their contribution in the comment section.

The above watercolor was painted on masa paper.  I had a little easier go of this one. It is very similar to Coming Home, a painting I struggled with last month.  This is taken from a photo that I had stashed away for about five years. It is a small railroad bridge and creek about six miles from my home. On a quiet winter night, I can actually hear the trains’ whistles and rumbling on this stretch. Makes me recall my youth when much was transported by train and I was always hearing those sounds, anywhere. Sounds from the past mesmerize me.