My Watercolor Blog

May 5, 2019

How long does it take to make a painting?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 2:02 pm

For one painting I remember, it took many hours (over weeks) of color studies because I knew after thinking about the subject for weeks before that (and really thinking about the nature of the animal and the nature of the perceptions of that animal) – that for this, the right color and technique for applying that color would tell everything I wanted to tell. Once I applied the paint it all happened very quickly and there was no pre-sketch needed.

Sometimes I make 5 sketches and then a carefully measured pre-sketch on the final paper which can take 3 or 4 half-hour-periods of sketching and looking – to get where I want to go. If the objective is to fill a commission – that takes an entirely different focus (for me at least) where I end up thinking quite a bit about the client in relation to the subject or the technique.

It’s critical to keep growing and learning as part of painting – to keep listening. And for me so much is about drawing well – when confidence comes from that – it changes everything.

This means spending time just plain old drawing. So how much time does it take? It’s a useful question to think about. Sometimes things getting in the way can be adjusted once you see them clearly.

I leave you with well wishes and the first web-published photo of a sketch of mine, the angry birds (2008):



May 1, 2019


Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 11:48 am

The line from Prof. Bernard Chaet (Yale) p.12 of The Art of Drawing

“…become aware of personal preference [artistic styles, mediums, methods]…
learn what’s needed to fulfill that vision and discard the rest…
absorb what’s personally meaningful. In learning to draw, one must address oneself to problems that can challenge one’s image-making capacity…”
This he wrote after showing us 4 totally different drawing styles all from Matisse – it’s like saying there’s more than one way – pay attention to what is grabbing you.

March 31, 2019

Travel sketching tools

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 1:43 pm

Bring a mini-pan (5-6 pans can be crammed into a mini-altoid tin) and a waterbrush (or real brush, often you can find a glass of water to use); you may have time for a painting to dry. Most often I draw instead and use Twsbi (nibs: M and 1.1 mm) and EF pilot fountain pens (inks: sunset noodlers, walnut brown, poppy red diamine; I like waterbrush painting over water-soluble inks) or retractable mechanical pencil (Faber-Castell) in a Leuchtturm or Moleskine notebook. I use the pocket size and next size up. Since I journal and draw for many pages, and travel-paint less frequently – thinner paper works best and it’s lightest. The 12-pan mini was a gift and found on Amazon I believe.

Half-full not-upright-sitting fountain pens may leak ink into their caps on plane rides. Fill them up and store them in a plastic bag.

Using a mechanical pencil with eraser means you’ll:

  1. Attempt harder subjects
  2. Grow what you can do
  3. Not be troubled with inks and pans and water on the go
  4. Choose to be fast or slow and editing, easily shading
  5. Get a great chance to focus on contrast

Countless times I want to stay walking with my group and do a quick sketch along the way, the pencil is great for that and yet also for longer studies or puzzles like drawing a tractor or construction equipment.

I like Roz Stendahl’s advice best – practice using what you plan to take. Also carrying it, I’d add. For me a pocket-only option is critical.

March 25, 2019

Art as a break for everyone, art as valuable and available

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 4:54 pm

Art offers a compassionate break from pressures in life. Anyone can create and experience art and find relief. When folks say, I can’t draw, I think anyone who can draw supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, can definitely draw. And I wonder if our rejection of our ability, in part, comes from our contextual experience.

If we draw an apple while standing under the Sistine then we don’t even get a look. If we draw it in an average city in America, that may be the only drawing for a mile and you the only person who drew one for two miles. It’s a simple truth of circumstance.

If you grow up walking by block-long buildings covered in sculptures, you have a different experience of the value of art. Seeing thousands come from around the world to see art which took (and still takes) enormous resources to provide – provides a radically different experience than many of us in America had the great fortune of knowing.

Still, even artists abroad can feel fear about drawing in public. Liron Yanconsky offers a great little talk on how our fear can vanish. When he started painting in public, naturally, there was a lot of fear and this vanished after ~6 times. How wise of him to notice, ah there is fear AND then to kindly and carefully still make a step forward and just see. And then how joyful to find himself rewarded by experiencing the vanishing of the fear. He was also rewarded by being able to grow what he can feel free to do with art. We can ask ourselves and just get curious, am I not drawing in public only because of fear? And can we kindly work with that? Noticing it and still moving on to draw?

Also, I want to mention The Painting Experience Podcast where the notion of process vs. product is discussed. The idea is that focus on process leaves room for exploring, letting the art be an extension of what is real in that moment for you (a listening of sorts). And the growth potential and learning potential in process-focused art is different than frozen food formula forcing out a particular outcome. Art as a kind of manufacturing vs as a kind of way of being with life. Not to forget, these two experiences exist together on a spectrum, not only one without the other, etc. Noticing that we can steer the boat in one direction or another, right?

Kindly and compassionately noticing what you are experiencing right now can be so empowering! Hooray for the many great gifts of Mindfulness practice/teachings – a great tool to add to any tool chest.


March 14, 2019

How to use a large roll of watercolor paper

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 11:56 pm

Ready 4 heavy weights (4 heavy books are fine).

Unroll the large watercolor paper roll onto a measured space, that you could cut the paper on (one that can be nicked with the utility knife). If you have a long work table ~41″ wide and your paper roll is 51″ wide, you can easily use this table.

Unroll it (if it came in a box, take it out of the box first then unroll it; don’t try unrolling it from the box, you will regret this, the paper will bend -oiy trust me).

Weight it flat on all four corners.

Measure and mark the size sheets you want.

Note which side you will be painting on (that’s the inside side of the roll).

Spray with water, the area you plan to cut.

Let it dry.

When it no longer wants to roll back up, it’s ready.

Cut with utility knife.

Sometimes you can store large paper in large flat boxes that came, for example from buying large flat sheets of paper, mat-board, or drawing boards online. You can also buy archival storage boxes and bags.

December 18, 2018

Thank you SenshiStock

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 8:42 pm

I want to give a huge thank you to the folks behind the SenshiStock image database for providing images of women that are intelligent and don’t degrade us. The other two popular databases (QuickPoses and Line of Action) seriously need to remove the images of women disfigured by breast implant surgery and acting in ways that make any woman’s self-esteem start to slip away and certainly degrade any male’s idea of women. 

Using the SenshiStock images I can practice drawing and keep my self-esteem in-tact – who knew? I bought their excellent book too. What draw a woman reading a book? Huh? Do they do that? Way to go folks – I’m so proud of you!


Thank you Proko

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 8:39 pm

Huge thank you to Proko for kindly and thoroughly delivering a system of how-to draw the figure. It works like Latin – using the system of conjugations you can translate virtually any image into a drawing. Methods that first feel like: whittle your pencil into a twig like a perfect maniac, then hold your pencil upside down while standing on your head and clapping and it should all come out alright – trust him. It’s agonizing to start over holding the pencil, to take his kind and thoughtful method re: making a mistake? Don’t just sit there – look into it, redo the drawing, get your horizontal and vertical finder lines out on the page (but they are uglying my drawing…whimper…) and then seeing oh yes I see the elbow and chin aren’t lining up right, etc. It’s a humiliating process and I see why the only ones left drawing are the ones who for some reason can’t stop. Wasn’t it Michelangelo who said it wouldn’t be so beautiful if you knew all the work that went into it.


November 23, 2018


Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 3:36 pm

I plan on maintaining a simple small online portfolio. You can just google Instagram, my name and “artist” and find me there:

Figure drawing from imagination is very freeing and my characters are making me laugh – its tricky to not polish the work, just focusing instead on volume, variation in points of view & actions, foreshortening, using the core teaching ideas, and always drawing building blocks – this is an empowering technique.

Using Wunderlist I’m clicking away at all the sub tasks, staying focused and planning. It’s also great to have the list of what you’ve accomplished to look at when you feel overwhelmed.

November 10, 2018

Alphonso Dunn

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 1:58 pm

Funny my last post was re: numbers. I just counted I’ve drawn ~250 figures in the past two weeks inspired by Alphonso Dunn – master drawer and master teacher. His teaching via YouTube is extremely dense ( I have to pause, draw, think, rewind, rewind again, and again). It’s also led to countless hours of practice. Well I simply can’t put to words how extremely grateful I am to him for teaching me things I really wanted to learn about and that really don’t seem teachable via books alone. His teaching makes sense of the core ideas I’ve seen and mostly bypassed for decades in how-to draw books. His teaching content and his voice / focus as well mean I’m going to get the sketchbook in front of me – it goes in between me and the video and immediately afterwards another hour or more go into practice. So lucky for me (being an early bird) I can get up very early before work and often get a little bit done after work. If you really want to learn how to draw well and draw any form from imagination with accurate proportions, etc. go to his channel.

May we draw with wisdom, courage, and compassion.

June 4, 2018


Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 12:53 am

To get a sense for myself I counted I’ve painted well over ~250 animal paintings (stopped counting after only looking thru 3 art journals -there are 56 filled art journals). Likely there are well over 350. Well that with working full time, (for some years working full time plus grad school) etc for ~20 years. Really I’ve mostly drawn animals, as the years have passed painting is more and more handy. I’ve sold 37 and 5 more are going to my second show.

June 3, 2018

Hunched over

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 11:02 am

Do you ever feel hunched over like this?? It’s what attracted me to this dear heron. Hello heron. BTW someone asked – this and the two previous posts are all 8×11. To get the feather “hairs” I pinched the tip of a round while painting with it – it’s a great trick – and dip that in two or three pans of color without washing in between.


June 2, 2018

Recent inks

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 7:30 pm

Recent watercolors

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 1:56 pm

May 15, 2018

It’s fishy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 5:03 pm

My largest commissioned piece is…well I want to say completed now, although I will have the chance to confirm I feel it’s done over another 2 weeks (you know, walk away from a piece come back…what do you think now? [repeat]).

My dear daughter was a grand help with this one and I wanted to share what we learned. Multiple times I have tried “stretching” paper by soaking it then taping it down to a board for it to dry flat. That process is dubious enough with a small piece of paper and fortunately for me is almost never required for my silhouettes.

This wetting process proved critical to get right with this piece since I was using a HUGH-MONGO roll of paper. First we learned flip the roll so it rolls out flat straight from the roll, next at least two people are needed to help roll it out and hold it down so it doesn’t crease in the process of cutting to size and placing it onto a huge board (which you hold it onto when hosing it down before taping it). After you do your best to tape it flat, soaking wet, you get to watch it warp right before your eyes. Walk away. Come back the next day…is it flat? it was flat. dear god what a weird process.

I think the biggest takeaway for me is – ask someone to be with you when you have a big fishy task (many folks you’ll see can stick with you even when Big Doubt comes flying out of your mouth). You know we can help each other out so much and really without much effort. I’ve asked for someone to come down to the art room when I am stuck on a color study, framing issue, or anatomy question, and its so helpful.

Well I’ll post a photo of the piece when I decide it’s finished (before I get it in the frame). Hint: it’s a fish.

Thank you for reading the blog; I was recently joyfully astonished to see my humble simple blog listed beside the great works for the art community accomplished by Roz, Danny Gregory, Citizen Sketcher, etc. I thought oh I’m on the map! wild, all of us must put our best foot forward then right? we’re here now – let’s do it! Whatever it is you do – let’s do it! If you are fan – ok than do it, it’s much appreciated! lol! I know everyone has a great skill and creative way, it is sometimes only a matter of looking towards it.

May 6, 2018

next art exhibit

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 6:06 pm

5 of my paintings (WI birds) will be in WIMR/UW-Madison Hospital, thank you for everyone involved, it is re: The Mandelbaum & Albert Family Vision Gallery of the McPherson Eye Research Institute an exhibition of artworks by artists who work at the UW-Madison. More information about the gallery can be found on its web site:  The show is scheduled to run from June 22 (the day of the opening) to the end of August.

December 26, 2017

I’m now selling on Fine Art America

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 4:37 pm

Whew finally had a moment to set up an online store front where you can buy prints, etc. of my paintings and photographs of animals. I took ~400 photographs of farm animals for a series / show of 17 paintings. Some of these photos and others will be there.

The site gets best-of reviews for years now and they will frame and size however you prefer. Here is the site:

November 26, 2017

art book I wrote

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 6:05 pm
I just wrote a book: watercolor painting animals: a mindfulness practice, the paper copy will be available in a few days via amazon. Actually I think it’s really pretty good and even folks who don’t paint will either enjoy it or even be inspired to start doing something creative.


Watercolor Painting Animals: A Mindfulness Practice (Drawing, Sketching, Painting) (Volume 1)
by S. Elizabeth Way

August 30, 2017

a break, a look around

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 1:55 pm

secretary birdChrome

August 12, 2017


Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 12:02 pm

Realizing exploding pingos could quickly change our warming situation*…I wondered is ignorance bliss? Then I’m realizing as I gain awareness there are moments of astonishment at how beautiful the stunning nature of this blue sky moment is. It becomes more clear – the miracle of this peaceful and exquisite moment right now. Thich Nhat Hanh’s peaceful speaking makes sense. You can listen to him on youtube. Knowing how precious and rare this amazing moment is, it becomes so embraceable. When we pretend that enough water or food or whatever will protect us from our vulnerability we forget our existence. Cultivating compassion and peace seems worthwhile then. We have a civic responcibility to put social values, to put environmental values into the economy; market fundamentalism – just let the free market do it’s thing, will not solve this. That requires government. (Yale, James Gustave Speth, 2004). IMO the physicists will be gaining us some more time on the planet by being the brains behind geoengineering(which we’ll suddenly be allowed to talk about and which will suddenly be receiving tons of research money). It’s not the ideal way but I bet it’s what we’ll have. If you put a ton of sulfur into the air (like a volcano does) you will cool the planet and it can be done cheaply. Also you can biodigest oil and coal instead of burning it to process it.


Wikipedia: methane clathrate
…Methane hydrates were discovered in Russia in the 1960s, and studies for extracting gas from it emerged at the beginning of the 21st century.[4]…

The sudden release of large amounts of natural gas from methane clathrate deposits has been hypothesized as a cause of past and possibly future climate changes. Events possibly linked in this way are the Permian-Triassic extinction event and the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.

Climate scientists like James E. Hansen predict that methane clathrates in the permafrost regions will be released because of global warming, unleashing powerful feedback forces which may cause runaway climate change that cannot be halted.[citation needed]

Research carried out in 2008 in the Siberian Arctic found millions of tonnes of methane being released[41][42][43][44][45] with concentrations in some regions reaching up to 100 times above normal.[46]

In their Correspondence in the September 2013 Nature Geoscience journal, Vonk and Gustafsson cautioned that the most probable mechanism to strengthen global warming is large-scale thawing of Arctic permafrost which will release methane clathrate into the atmosphere.[47] While performing research in July in plumes in the East Siberian Arctic Ocean, Gustafsson and Vonk were surprised by the high concentration of methane.[48]

In 2014 based on their research on the northern United States Atlantic marine continental margins from Cape Hatteras to Georges Bank, a group of scientists from the US Geological Survey, the Department of Geosciences, Mississippi State University, Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University and Earth Resources Technology, claimed there was widespread leakage of methane.[49][50]

Scientists from the Center for Arctic Gas Hydrate (CAGE), Environment and Climate at the Arctic University of Norway, published a study in June 2017, describing over a hundred ocean sediment craters, some 3,000 meters wide and up to 300 meters deep, formed due to explosive eruptions, attributed to destabilizing methane hydrates, following ice-sheet retreat during the last glacial period, around 12,000 years ago, a few centuries after the Bølling-Allerød warming. These areas around the Barents Sea, still seep methane today, and still existing bulges with methane reservoirs could eventually have the same fate.[51]

*Wikipedia: Clathrate gun hypothesis
Research carried out in 2008 in the Siberian Arctic has shown millions of tons of methane being released, apparently through perforations in the seabed permafrost,[20] with concentrations in some regions reaching up to 100 times normal levels.[22][23] The excess methane has been detected in localized hotspots in the outfall of the Lena River and the border between the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea. Some melting may be the result of geological heating, but more thawing is believed to be due to the greatly increased volumes of meltwater being discharged from the Siberian rivers flowing north.[24] Current methane release has previously been estimated at 0.5 Mt per year.[25] Shakhova et al. (2008) estimate that not less than 1,400 Gt of carbon is presently locked up as methane and methane hydrates under the Arctic submarine permafrost, and 5–10% of that area is subject to puncturing by open taliks. They conclude that “release of up to 50 Gt of predicted amount of hydrate storage [is] highly possible for abrupt release at any time”. That would increase the methane content of the planet’s atmosphere by a factor of twelve,[26][27] equivalent in greenhouse effect to a doubling in the current level of CO2.

July 30, 2017


Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 6:26 pm

The book, The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable by Amitav Ghosh inspired this first post in the series to include art.

Amitav brilliantly starts off with getting our minds to come around to seeing the familiar in our situation. That familiarity lays in the nature of our being caught off guard by something unthinkable, implausible for us in our everyday lives. We all know this feeling of being caught this way. This is not new.

Amitav asks why is global warming a subject missing from the arts, movies, music, novels? Why when it is so important? And answers it’s not believable and when it does show up it can even be shuffled into science fiction.

As a painter, I get it, there are certainly photos that are so odd that if I paint this subject, it won’t come off at all, it won’t look real, where in the photo (in non-fiction) we have the proof we need for it to be believable to us. Like a scooter stuck in a tree from a tornado, this subject’s best artistic media is in photography.

He gives examples of things catching us off guard: The flash flooding of a river seems to creep right out of the every day, sweeping everyone off guard. A tornado comes out of nowhere in North Delhi where the news reporters don’t even a have a word for it, the tornado is so unheard of there. And “…the air too can come alive with sudden and deadly violence – as it did in the Congo 1988, when a great cloud of carbon dioxide burst forth from Lake Nyos and rolled into the surrounding villages, killing 1700 people and an untold number of animals.” (p.6)

And then we’re ready for the tigers of the Subdarbans, where, “…in the 19th century tens of thousands were killed by tigers. Suffice it to say that in some villages every household has lost a member to a tiger; everyone has a story to tell…The tiger is watching you; you are aware of its gaze, as you always are, but you do not see it; you do not lock eyes with it until it launches its charge, and at that moment a shock courses through you and you are immobilized, frozen…’that tiger is the demon and I’m to be his feast’…” (p.38-39)

So what occurred to me is the possibility of shifting our gaze to instead of wastefully blaming and attacking humanity (which is only pushing us down into inaction) we face the main issue: the accumulation of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere…there is the tiger! Tiger tiger burning bright in the forest of the night what immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmatry? (Blake)

Action item: bring the topic into your creative mediums


July 19, 2017

Corals research for painting

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 2:54 am

Below are all cited quotes (all as viewed this evening on the web) I collected for research for the 1st painting in series 2: Compassionate Awareness of Global warming and animal extinction 

Corals are in fact animals. The branch or mound that we often call “a coral” is actually made up of thousands of tiny animals called polyps. A coral polyp is an invertebrate that can be no bigger than a pinhead to up to a foot in diameter.

Coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems. They teem with life, with perhaps one quarter of all ocean species depending on reefs for food and shelter. This is a remarkable statistic when you consider that reefs cover just a tiny fraction (less than one percent) of the earth’s surface and less than two percent of the ocean bottom. Because they are so diverse, coral reefs are often called the rainforests of the sea…Corals have multiple reproductive strategies – they can be male or female or both, and can reproduce either asexually or sexually…individual coral polyps within a reef are typically very small—usually less than half an inch (or ~1.5 cm) in diameter…
the algae found in their tissues need light for photosynthesis and they prefer water temperatures between 70-85°F (22-29°C)…High water temperatures cause corals to lose the microscopic algae [ zooxanthellae ] that produce the food corals need—a condition known as coral bleaching.
Orange-spotted filefish (Oxymonacanthus longirostris). The filefish dwells in coral reef habitats, on which it is totally dependent, and which themselves are declining in part due to climate change. In addition, the orange-spotted filefish is highly sensitive to warm water: The animal went extinct in Japan during an episode of warmer ocean temperatures in 1988.
Orange spotted filefish absorb and use chemicals in the Acropora coral they eat to take on its smell, which cloaks them from natural predators like cod. In addition to this trait, not observed among other vertebrates, they also use visual camouflage.[5] Wikipedia:
Oxymonacanthus longirostris (Harlequin Filefish)
Status: Vulnerable A3c ver 3.1
Pop. trend: decreasing
(The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-1. <>. Downloaded on 19 July 2017.)
A first step towards sponges conservation in the Mediterranean
03 July 2017
More than 300 experts attended the 10th World Sponge Conference held in the National University of Ireland, Galway from June 25th-30th to discuss the main areas in which sponge biology is developing at present, as well as traditional research categories.
Not overfishing and not polluting; go vegan and stop eating fish (and their toxins) for your health and to stop supporting an industry of killing.
“Fish play important roles on coral reefs, particularly the fish that eat seaweeds and keep them from smothering corals, which grow more slowly than the seaweeds. Fish also eat the predators of corals, such as crown of thorns starfish.”
Educating and documenting is an action that is happening.
Notes from the documentary Chasing Coral: in about 25 years the oceans would be too warm for corals to live. 29% (in one year, 2016) of the Great Barrier reef was bleached (some of that may still come back to life, as I understand it); this reef spans an area that would go all along the entire east coast of the US.
And I read somewhere these started growing 20,000 years ago (Smithsonian,

July 17, 2017

Compassionate awareness of global warming and animal extinction series

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 10:13 pm

Cultivating a compassionate awareness is work towards action. We are not to be lulled into inaction by a sense of hopelessness, facing the powerful greed interests. While the republican “leaders” of the US have no honor and no conscience and plenty of greed, it is not healthy for the rest of us. And we must find our way towards taking action. As Noam Chomsky says there is no shortage of actions we can take. My action seems to be attempting to cultivate a healthy way to face this dangerous situation for humanity and our animal friends. Since many people tend to enjoy my paintings, I’m hoping to contribute that skill towards global warming awareness by doing a series of paintings and posts here.

There are many choices of what to paint and I encourage anyone who likes to paint to join in! Turn it into a book. Ideally I’ll be eventually whittling this material to-be into a second art book. The bulk of the first one is complete and it’s on how to paint animals.

So I’ll focus on non-human animals except  to hope for us and always encourage us that we can be moved to action from a place of hope rather than condemning us all as a terrible species – we are a species – and global warming is huge problem to solve, that we did not see coming when we built the first car or ate our first hamburger (you can thrive as a vegan by the way). Also, we are only just now getting a clearer picture of what’s happening.

“The scientific consensus in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report is that

“There is medium confidence that approximately 20-30% of species assessed so far are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average warming exceed 1.5-2.5 °C (relative to 1980-1999). As global average temperature increase exceeds about 3.5 °C, model projections suggest significant extinctions (40-70% of species assessed) around the globe.

In one study published in Nature in 2004, between 15 and 37% of 1103 endemic or near-endemic known plant and animal species will be “committed to extinction” by 2050.[1] More properly, changes in habitat by 2050 will put them outside the survival range for the inhabitants, thus committing the species to extinction.” Wikipedia

June 12, 2017

Behind the painting

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 2:54 am

It might be interesting to know what goes on behind the painting. For me there were years of drawing, and there are still years of drawing (in fact I continue to read more drawing than painting books; I was a drafter for years in engineering and still love the puzzlework of drawing), also there were years of paint studies: studying the layers (glazing) -how one color layered below another will look (paint one color let it dry paint the next color on top of that color, etc) and see what happens; the molecular structure dictates the results. With practice you learn at least some of the patterns and gain predictability. I’m indebted to many authors on these problems.

Then there’s the practice of coming to know what your favorite live mixes are (which stain, which rush to mix and bleed together, how their color dry will be different than wet, the impact of their transparency vs obliqueness) blending them on the page you know what they will produce you can act with spontaneity in the middle of a piece. I almost never mix on the palette. The nature of pigments’ actions together are invited, they’re welcome because then their innate life/beauty participated.

The more familiarity you have with your brushes you’ll know what strokes you can get out of which brushes and how much water it takes and how much to ring out when, when it will go dry.
For these studies I use cheaper paper and on both canson and moleskin I see chemical treatments of papers varie within a single book from one page to the next – or a splash of treatment can change an area on the page.

This practice is not glamorous and the results of repeated strokes and mixing colors for hours and hours on many many papers do not produce glamorous things; they can produce references that you can use but other than that it’s not spectacular.

June 10, 2017

Brush stroke studies

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 3:23 pm

June 7, 2017

Palette – example

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 11:46 am

Now after more color studies, a few more colors are removed and I have an even clearer view of what I’m mixing. I want to add, IMO

heavy metal palettes are over rated (they also stain; pthalo’s will stain them):


June 5, 2017

Palette – example

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 4:57 pm

Here the same palette from the previous post is changed so the pans point to colors I intend to mix:


June 4, 2017


Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 4:40 pm

My main palette had become a total mess and this morning was clean up time (removing spills and some pans). I use double sided tape to gently pin down pans so I can rearrange them quickly.

Shown here, specialized blues: turq.; pthalo blue green; cobalt; purple-blue.


The greens are all next to the blues: sap, gr. gold, pthalo yellow green, pthalo. gr. yellow.

The yellow-most ones next to the yellow orange group: Quin yellow, new gamboge, scarlet lake, quin gold .

Next are 2 pinks, opera (in a whole pan) and quin. rose and its favorite friend for mixing: ultramarine blue.

Lastly pyrol red, raw umber, naptha. maroon.

Each pan is labeled with permanent pen ideally readable from wherever it’s currently sitting.


June 3, 2017

Princeton Snap Brush better than Black Velvet and Neptune quill replaces squirrel brushes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 2:56 pm

I spent ~4 hours this morning and ~1 hour last evening practicing various brush strokes (filling 16 pages of 9×12), switching methodically between the famed Black Velvet round* and the Princeton Snap*.

15 years ago I started painting with kolinsky’s (as all the books then said to do until the more recent evidence of animal rights abuses has begun to shut down their industry, rightly so) and when they wore out in a few years I got a few more and tried out I tried squirrel, rat tail, and many others, enjoying them all I still kept trying various synthetics hoping something would come along so I could abandon using animal products all together. Well at last my friends I think that day has come.

Not only did the Princeton snap perform each kind of stroke much more quickly, there was a perfect ton of water! Genius. Not sure how Princeton did it, but they did it. Snaps to a brilliant tight elegant eensy point – so meticulously and consistently – I was SO happy! You can hold this point and continue the brush line well after pressing into the page for a thick line and back out to a thin line. It just enables you. And they’re not expensive.

The wood on the Snap is pretty to see exposing the grain as they have on the handles. I like the length of these handles better too. HOWEVER, why guys can we not make a handle like the Arches**?? why? Why are they all so thick and the ferrules so shiny – bling!?? Like a shiny truck. Is it so thick for a man’s hand?? Can’t we do something here?? The wood on the Black velvet is a more solid feel, still it is not the same good feel of the wood of the Arches which truly is magnificent. The black velvet acts a bit like a squirrel hair but you can tell they added synthetics which give a little more spring than a regular all squirrel brush. As with squirrel you can drown the page in a wonderful blurry slop which can be so freeing and fun. The thing is you can do that with the snap also, it just won’t go as limp, so there is a little something there, but not much.

As for the squirrel replacement – I believe Princeton has solved this puzzle as well! Enter the Neptune. You can languish all day in a blend of brilliant color combinations, slushing them together and letting their magic begin. Leave it, let it live there on the page, and then, after it dries, see the results. It is a great way of painting, one I think Jean Haines teaches best. I honestly can not tell this is not squirrel.

Anyway enjoy your brushes!

*Princeton Snap Brushes 12 white talon round and size 10

Silver Brush 3000S-12 Black Velvet Short Handle Blend Squirrel and Risslon Brush, Round, Size 12 and size 8

**Arches Pure Kolinsky Red Sable Brushes – Pointed Round – Size 10

May 28, 2017

A few paintings

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 12:07 am

I had a moment to post a few I painted. Enjoy

May 12, 2017


Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 2:37 am

I discover there is some way in which folks who buy art actually make it – I’ve never been pushed so hard and far as when I’m accepting commissions. Which are the most difficult to do because we can feel a weight. I can’t sit and twiddle my thumbs with this weight!

two commissions just completed – it’s hard work and I look forward to getting back to my other art projects:


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