Thursday, January 18, 2018

UNO'S COUSIN, PRIMO - a watercolour step by step process

Primo, in his natural colouring ...

Another of my neighbour's roosters. She had about 6 at one point. I like the pose in the 1st photo, but LOVE the colours of the second, so I combined the two ...

My drawing ...

First wet in wet washes. There are a lot of smaller areas of different colours. I am doing what I can w/w in the larger areas.  Here I am using alizarin crimson, quin. sienna, quin. burnt orange, phthalo blue and browns and blacks [quin. burnt orange, quin. violet and indanthrone].

The next few steps are a matter of intensifying the colours, usually with more of the same, and sometimes with a complement added to darken.

Colours are established overall ...

A bit of chicken-scratch spatter on the ground ...

I am adding a soft background with permanent rose [any cool quin. pink will do],  quin. burnt orange and indanthrone. I am applying it quite thinly.

These last two photos are taken at the same stage, with different lighting. I find it difficult to get a true  assessment of the colour using just the computer editing. I have posted both images so you may get a better idea of the colours and values.

available for purchase
framable size 13 x 14.5 in./ 33.5 x 38 cm.
$375.00 Cdn

Thank you so much for dropping by!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


Here he was in November ...

... and as of a few days ago. Whether the painting is "better" or "worse", I don't know - one of those unexplainable things attributable to taste.

39 x 32.5 cm. framable
$375.00 Cdn

Thank you so much for dropping by!!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


I think I did this last summer, and thought it finished. But I decided to dig it out and have a critical look.  One of my shortcomings in watercolour is not carrying the painting to completion. I remember a series of classes I took in Vancouver years ago, and the instructor's favourite phrase to me was "darker ... darker'', get those values dark! So I soaked the killdeer for a few minutes, stapled her back down, and finished her - I did some more detailing, intensifying some of the darks to bring out the feathers, and gave her  "home" - something reminiscent of her habitat. I call it "the Dance" as she reminds me  of that as she goes into her distraction display.

Dance of the Killdeer
13 x 11 in./ 34 x 29 cm. framable
Available for purchase - $285.00 Cdn

Thank you very much for your visit!

Sunday, January 7, 2018


A free hand drawing of a Toulouse goose. I decided to have him marching off in the snow, heading home.

Thin washes of phthalo blue and permanent rose ...

... then start on the feathers, using browns and greys made with quin. burnt orange, quin. violet and indanthrone.

Bill and feet are quin. sienna.

What possessed me to choose pink I don't know!

So I went over it again with indanthrone, giving it some more depth and more pronounced foot prints.

Every year I get Pat the same gift - a voucher for a nearby nursery/garden centre. She loves her garden [we can both hardly wait till Spring!] and this way we both enjoy the beauty of all the flowers. As usual, I am never ready for Christmas - had my gift certificate but no card. So I quickly made this up. WHEW

Thank you very much for your visit, and I wish you a very happy and fulfilling New Year!!!!!

Monday, December 18, 2017

I Don't Understand!!!

The above three photos were taken a few years ago. [I wanted to get some fog and mist ideas for painting.] It is looking across the back end of the field over to the regional park that is on the other side of the street. The spot was quiet and peaceful - a home for wildlife.

Then two years ago, this monstrous house was started [7 bedrooms, 7-car garage]. I have planted a line of trees along the back of the property so I don't have to see it. It really does not suit the property and the area. And my landlady asked me to add that the lights are all on all night - she sees it as she has large windows facing that direction.

It is described as being a "French chateau".

And there are more of these huge houses being built.

I have, for a long time, wanted to say something about all the crazy building that has been going on in and around Vancouver. It started in Vancouver in the mid-1980's, and the result is that the city is now a prohibitively expensive place as a place in which to live. The city and surrounding area have become a haven for speculative real estate. Now the "plague" has moved out to the Fraser Valley. The region has become, not a place for homes, but purely an investment, with most houses and condominiums selling for millions, and standing empty. Needless to say, this has driven many people into homelessness, and others to leave the Vancouver area and even the province to find places where they can find affordable homes in which to live. I have had two friends move this year to Vancouver Island to find affordable housing and liveable communities, and I am considering doing so as well. It hurts me to see what was once a naturally beautiful agricultural area turned into ugly investments.

There was a very good documentary produced this year entitled "Vancouver: No Fixed Address". It describes well the history of the real estate "feeding frenzy", and what is happening in the area now.

As to the title of the post ... I do not understand why the place is so huge. How much room do people need? Environmentally, it is a washout. Why do not more architects and builders construct homes that suit the area and environment? I think more about my queries and gripes to come ...

And if any one of you have some good ideas about what I can do about this, please write!

Thank you!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


Once upon a time, there was a rooster named Uno, who lived at my vet's small hobby farm. He was a very handsome and proud bird ...

Drawing , with a few scribbled notes

First washes - aureolin, quin. sienna and quin. burnt orange

More of the oranges, with some new gamboge to brighten the yellow. His comb is a mix of burnt orange and alizarin crimson.

Still more gamboge. The tail feathers, both brown and blue, are mixtures of burnt orange, quin. violet and indanthrone.

Starting to give the body feathers some texture with more of the same colour, or mixtures made with complementary colours.


Well, winter weather is here, and for this area it means soggy, grey, dark days. Yup ... the winter megrims have set in! So I am motivating myself to paint by working on BRIGHT. Chickens and roosters suit my needs perfectly, so expect to see more colourful birds!!!

Thank you for dropping by!

Sunday, November 26, 2017


Here's one of the baby barn swallows on his first day of flying lessons, taking a breather on the floor.  I took this while lying on my belly about 10 feet from him.

Drawing and notes on composition and format.

Getting some local color in the feathers - quin. burnt orange, phthalo blue and indanthrone.

This image belongs before the one above, but blogger wouldn't let me re-arrange them.  I started with the eyes and some of the darker feathers.

More feathering, and a thin grey wash to start the background, so I have an idea of how dark to go with the swallow.

Still more work on feathers, and some hay bits around his feet.

Almost done ...

14 x 11 in./ 36 x 28 cm. framable
$275.00 US

I love having swallows in the barn ... hearing them chatter away, watching their antics. Dad arrives first in late April, checking to see if the nest is still available. Then Mom comes along a day or two later, and the two of them discus the nest, and re-decorate. The nestlings appear a few weeks later, and stay in the nest for two weeks till the parents start encouraging them to fly. Then they all stay in the nest and nearby rafters for a few weeks. And quite often there is a second batch of babies.
I suppose I could paint something more topical and angst-y, but my heart would not be in it. The world could be a hard, cruel and demanding place, and I do see it and feel it [and have nightmares about it], but I just cannot create art based on discordant harshness.

Thank you so much for dropping by!