Lil white mushroom

This is my entry for the Botanical Art month long “fungus” challenge. I’m sorry to say that here in desert dry Southern California we have a hard time keeping mushrooms fresh in our fridges let alone finding any growing wild … so this painting is from a photo I took of one harvested in January or so, after a very long rainy season. I’m sorry I don’t know the name of it, but I drew it in this position hoping that maybe someone can identify it. It had a few little brown “flaps” along the white cap.

This is watercolor with a very small bit of colored pencil and gouache for the white mycelium “root” (I think it’s mycelium, not sure.) This was painted with just two colors – van dyke brown and ultramarine blue. It’s 7.5″ x 11″

Birthday lilies

I painted this interpretation of stargazers as a birthday card for a dear friend who I’ve known for more years than either one of us want to confess!
Watercolor and colored pencil on 140 #paper

Capistrano Fence

Art, floral, Landscape, Watercolor | August 19, 2006 | By

I have been posting less than usual the past few days because I’ve been trying to get out of my sketchbook and into bigger paintings. I’m hoping to to enter some in our Verdugo Hills society show and sale in the fall. Maybe I’ll be lucky and they’ll accept some for display. At any rate, this is a studio painting based on my own photo taken in Capistrano during our sketchcrawl earlier this year. I did a value study first and then just started painting it without preliminary drawing. It might have turned out differently (or better) if I had done an under-drawing first, but I tend to like to make things up as I go, solving color and value problems as I confront them. My goal here was to try to capture the quality of late afternoon light in a coastal beach community with a tropical feeling. The big tree is most likely a yucca, not a palm.

Because all monitors are different and a compressed picture isn’t as subtle as the real thing, the shadows are blue-violet but not as intense and dark as they may seem here. If the side of the house looks like a muted turquoise, then you’re probably seeing the hue right. The colors look so much better in person, though.

It’s painted on 140 # watercolor paper, and the image size is x 9.75″ x 13.5″ Matted, it would frame to 16 x 20, which is what I’ll do with it when I take it in to the show in the fall. Comments and feedback are very welcome!


Landscape, Nature, Painting, Watercolor | August 15, 2006 | By

Just a quick watercolor sketch of some eucalyptus – two of the 100 species growing in California – imported from Australia in the 1850s. Just as with palm trees, you can hardly look in any direction and not see eucalyptus trees. They are fast growers and were often used as windbreak protection for crops and livestock. Rich in volatile oils they also burn like torches in brush fires, which is why we don’t have any on our property and probably won’t plant any either. Eucalyptuses are aromatic and more than a little messy – they drop leaves, seeds, and peel bark. But their colors are lovely and the foliage comes in many shades of blue, green, gray and even a dusty red when the leaves are new.

The actual size of this study is 6.5″ x 8″ – mixed media – watercolor, brush pen and Winsor and Newton ink. I used mostly cobalt blue, payne’s gray, sap green and burnt sienna.

Road trip

Right now, my dear daughter and friend are on a road trip across the great southwest on her trek to relocate herself for two years at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business. Go wildcats! As much as I’d like to have stowed away in the back of her minivan under the featherbed and stereo, I will content myself instead with painting something of the landscape she may be seeing right about now in New Mexico. I painted this last night “alla prima” (all in one sitting) and it will probably take a few days to dry. It’s 9 x 12, oil on canvasboard. I used a limited number of colors – a cad yellow, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, thalo blue, white and a little raw sienna. Surprising how many other colors those few colors will make!

This is also my post for the “Inspire Me Thursday” open challenge. My challenge of the year has been to move beyond sketching and journaling into painting. I’ve done a lot of watercolors but this is only my 6th or 7th oil painting. My goal is to paint at least 2 oils a week – more if I can.

Here’s your 15 minutes …

Happy birthday yesterday. Were you still alive, you would have been 78. And you probably would have a blog and be demonstrating your latest works on YouTube. I’m sorry you didn’t live to see the internet; you would have loved it. No, you would have helped shape it, or at least shake it up a little.

Alas, when you spoke the line that would probably be your most memorable [ “In the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”] you didn’t take population growth into consideration. The current fame index says we’ll only be famous for about 8 minutes. And although fame would be nice, I’ll gladly yield my time to anyone who comes up with a good, cheap, alternative energy source or a cure for stupidity.
Love him or hate him, he was a complex and fascinating guy – filmmaker, publisher, artist, actor and music producer, to name but a few of his identities. Find out more about Andy in his Wikipedia entry.”

And now, gentle reader, my question to you is … If you were to be famous for fifteen minutes (or only eight minutes) what would you like to be famous for?


Well, this is a multipurpose painting.

First, it’s for Illustration Friday’s theme of “Clean” – I think I cleaned out that melon pretty well.
Secondly, it’s for Wet Canvas’s 4th “Art From Life” scavenger hunt. This item is “my breakfast.”
It’s a ‘draw a fruit’ for Everyday Matters, too. Mostly it was an excuse to have some watercolor fun.

For those regular readers, I used a very limited palette here – some chrome yellow and vermillion, yellow green and ultramarine blue.
Canson Montval watercolor sketchbook – 7 x 10 size.