Pasadena spring

A watercolor sketch of a local streetcorner, influenced in part by a recent demo I saw by Joseph Stoddard, who is, himself, a student of Charles Reid. I think I’m going to be leaving the Niji waterbrushes behind for plein-air sketching, or else I’ll be using a lot more water for juicier washes.


  1. melissa w
    April 8, 2006

    I like this loose style. It’s so lush. Glad you were inspired.

  2. Lisa
    April 8, 2006

    I especially like the lovely shapes — the blue of the sky loosely painted around the trees, and the curve of the street, for example. The whole painting sparkles.

  3. TeriC
    April 8, 2006

    This is really loose for you. I like it.

  4. Linda
    April 8, 2006

    I love this — very “juicy” indeed! I have a little fold-up water bucket thingie that I got from jerry’s that is great for painting on the go. I just pour a little of my water from my drinking bottle into it and I’m off. The niji brushes are great, but it is difficult to control the flow!

  5. Lin
    April 8, 2006

    OH !!! I Really like this, Karen!!!!!! Great scene and vivid color!

  6. Sioux
    April 8, 2006

    It’s beautiful, Karen. Love the color! Beautiful

    I enjoy those waterbrushes a lot!

  7. kamuelacarol
    April 8, 2006

    I’m not a fan of “loose”, but I really like this. The shadow work is wonderful, and the entire piece works wonderfully for me.
    So maybe I’m becoming a loose fan?

  8. Karen
    April 8, 2006

    Thanks, everyone … Kamuela, you know, I am not really a big fan of loose myself, either! But I really do like the Reid’s and Stoddard’s way of working with intense color in such a liquidy free way. I usually shy away from loose, but lately I’ve been thinking that if I don’t try something I’ll never know if I like painting that way or not. So the experimenting goes on …

    Sometimes I think that trying out different styles is like trying on different clothes. You put it on, see if it feels comfortable or not and then decide if you want to take it home or just put it back on the rack. Or if it’s really bad, just leave it in the dressing room and pretend like it never happened.

  9. Robin N
    April 8, 2006

    Such fun to see you experimenting. Some paintings demand loose, and some require a tighter rein. I also enjoy Stoddard’s work, but my Raffael steals my heart.

  10. Nancy
    April 9, 2006

    Juicy is a good word – beautiful. I have this problem with Niji brushes myself – they’re fine for very small areas, but I have yet to be able to lay down loose washes with them. In fact I’m overly addicted to my No. 10 sable — probably the two together would really do the trick.

  11. Lydia Velarde
    April 9, 2006

    Oh, I found the comment box! I LOVE the new challenge. Thanks, Lydia

  12. endment
    April 9, 2006

    Sounds like you had fun – Am I mistaken – is that what it is all about?

  13. kiri
    April 9, 2006

    i love painting this like fresh and loose. wonderful

  14. Karen
    April 10, 2006

    Robin, I quite agree with you about Raffael … his mastery and control are just stunning. I wonder how many weeks he works on a painting. Such patience.

    Nancy, I saw that Stoddard has a travel brush he carries with him which is bigger than a Niji. He uses a little cup of water as part of the WN kit rather than a waterbrush.

    Endment, yes, fun is exactly what it’s all about. If it wasn’t, I don’t think I’d stick with it.

    Thanks Kiri and Lydia

  15. donab
    April 11, 2006

    I’m often frustrated by the niji brush and my inability to get enough water out of it, and have been stubborn about it. How can so many artists singing its praises be wrong? Perhaps just wrong for me and time to let it go. I love this loose style and hope you continue to explore it!

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