Cherry Reflections – Daily Painting

“Cherry Reflections” – 8 x 10 oil on canvas –

Here’s a detail of the painting. Actual size of this cherry is about 1 3/4″ across. Click to enlarge.

Illo Friday – Citrus

“Twin Oranges” – 6 x 8 – oil on canvas panel, mounted on hardboard – SOLD

These small oranges were spotted at the Old Mill in San Marino, home of the California Art Club.

I loved the way they were shining in the sun, so reminiscent, to me, of the California I remember from my childhood when the northern end of the San Fernando Valley was still filled with orange groves, not strip malls.

This is my entry for this week’s Illustration Friday theme – “Citrus”

Communicating Pairs – Illustration Friday

“Communicating Pairs” 9″ x 7 3/4″
Watercolor and mixed media on board

$150 + shipping …
Purchase from the artist

For Illustration Friday on the theme of “Communication.”

Illo Friday “Clear” – Wild Stream


“Wild Stream”
7.5″ x 11″ Watercolor on 140# paper

Clean, clear, water – what a precious resource. Can anything match it for clarity and freshness?

I did this painting today just for fun for some water practice, using a very limited palette of two blues, a red and a yellow. That’s about it. Oh, and a little gouache white for some ripples here and there. The Angeles Crest forest above La Canada is just full of places like this.

I don’t think there’s any way to paint wild water in a quiet, contemplative way. For me, it’s necessary to be a little bit excited about the subject matter and to paint quickly and almost impulsively, even though that usually means making a lot of mistakes. The vitality of the water flow is communicated by the energy of the brushstrokes.

(My watermark and blogaddress is not in the painting – only in the scan.)

Fields of Gold

11″ x 11″ Mixed media, watercolor and pastel. Unframed.


Well, I have finally decided to take the plunge and list something on eBay. Thanks to all the friends who have written me and given me the push to make it happen.

Prompted in part by the recent Illustration Friday theme of Farm, which I missed last week … and prompted also by the Ebay Art Squared (Art2) September theme of “Illustrate a song” – I decided upon one of my favorites, Sting’s “Fields of Gold.” I can scarcely think of another contemporary ballad that speaks to me so well about the cycles of life and love and enduring devotion. When the theme, the song and the concept came together, it just felt right. The Art Squared group theme features artwork that is in a square format, from very small up to 14″ x 14″.

Enjoy the lyrics again – or for the first time – here.

This mixed media painting comes partly from the imagination and partly from my reference files. After doing a smaller sketch on Stonehenge paper, I painted this directly on 140# watercolor paper, using several large brushes both rounds and flats. When those underlayers were finished and completely dry, I still found that it needed a little something extra. But I didn’t want to risk muddiness with glazing, so I reached for my pastels instead, adding more color to the clouds, the barley fields and foreground trees. Sometimes you just have to improvise.


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.

Illo Friday – Robot

Robots don’t work all the time, you know. Sometimes they go for walks in the woods with their kids. And pick berries and stuff. So, if you’re camping and you see glowing red eyes in the bushes … just remember, it might not be bobcats …

Spotted Nubian – Illo Friday

Click to enlarge

I got busy this week and missed the chance to do something for Illustration Friday. So here’s something done earlier this year that wasn’t used for any previous project …

If you’re a regular reader, you know that I very seldom do any graphite drawing. I don’t have any negative feelings about it. In fact, I love the beautiful halftones that some of my artist friends like Detlef and Felicity so skillfully achieve. For some reason, perhaps negative experiences drawing with a pencil when I was a child, I just don’t gravitate to it. So today, as part of my ongoing animal series I decided to do something radical and to draw this spotted Nubian goat in graphite instead of ink or paint. The paper was not particuarly smooth or fine, much to my regret. I used 2B, 6B and 8B pencils, a kneaded eraser and a tortillon here and there.

(Edited to add: The paper size was 8 1/2 x 11 – for some idea of scale. K.)

In reality the goat is colored burnt sienna, deep burnt umber, black and white. Maybe I’ll try her in watercolor next. After I finish cleaning my refrigerator, that is.

A nest in the west – Illo Friday Spring

For more current spring paintings from my journals … click here .

Last springtime, a finch family came looking for nesting quarters and decided that the eaves were not nearly as hospitable as one of my hanging Boston ferns. I saw the frantic search for twigs and grasses, the constant flying to and fro of the parents and before long I had a good idea that there were little ones on the way. One day when both parents were out looking for food I hurriedly took the basket down for a look (camera at the ready.) I took a picture that was the inspiration for this painting and quickly put the hanging nursery back where I found it. (There would be no drawing or painting from life for this one.) Eventually two sisters and a brother hatched, fledged, and grew to lead successful independent lives of their own. When I see finches returning in the spring I always wonder if they’re members of the same family.

Arty bits: Painted in gouache in a Moleskine sketchbook

Meet the Beetles – Illo Friday

These beetles are all from the Milwaukee Public Museum collection, which I had the pleasure of seeing last year. I like all kinds of nature topics, even somewhat creepy ones. The designs of nature have inspired artists from the beginning of man’s history; no wonder they still continue to fascinate. Can’t you just see a tapestry fashioned after the back of that blue beetle, or a gossamer gown mimicing those transparent amber wings? I’m not so sure about the horizontal stripes on that little one down in the corner. Vertical would have been much more slenderizing.

And now the burning question … who really is the “fifth” beetle?