Winter Reflections – Daily Painting

Winter Reflections – 10.8 x 7.8 inches – watercolor on paper

A subdued day – quiet colors under a grayed sky. Could a few drops of rain be ready to fall?

Early this morning, when there was a break in the storm, I went to Hahamongna Park to see how the Arroyo Seco river was flowing. There was certainly a volume of water, but nothing approaching dangerous. The stream was about a foot deep, I’d estimate, and about 15 feet wide at its widest. And there was snow in the mountains above. I would have liked to have painted but another storm started, so I just took photos instead.

Later today we spent some time at the Pasadena Museum of California art where a celebration is being planned to honor Milford Zornes, a celebrated watercolorist who is 100 years old – and still painting! Although Milford suffers from macular degeneration, he continues to produce remarkable works of art. We should all be so fortunate to have so many years to pursue our passion. They were hanging the Zornes show while we were there and what I saw of it looked spectacular. There were paintings from many private collections, from the 50s up to more recent times. His use of graduated washes is quite incredible and I look forward to seeing his works in more detail.


  1. Bill
    January 24, 2008

    Nice, rich and pleasant. When I looked at your watercolor, I was immediately struck by the solidity of it, especially in the mountains. We discover early on the magic of softened edges, then we find we must forgo a lot of it before we lose definition and ruin the painting with too much fuzziness. These days before I soften, often I will step back and ask, “do I need to?” Hard edges are like spice; they hit harder and can focus a viewer’s attention (along with contrasting values and intense color), as do your in this piece. Nice muted yellows and greens in the foreground too.

  2. Tami
    January 24, 2008

    This looks cold and wintery! Nice colors and composition!

  3. Laura
    January 25, 2008

    Karen, this is gorgeous! You really have a way with subtle colors. What sort of brush(es) did you use here? I’m going to Hawaii next February and would like to get some of the angular spatial effects you’ve rendered here!

  4. Karen
    January 25, 2008

    Laura, I used a 1″ flat brush with a sharp edge on this landscape. It’s very good for crisp edges and you can do just about anything with it, including painting with one of the 90 degree edges or the side of the brush for drybrush effects.

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