Monday, March 26, 2012

Watercolor 101 | Paint

watercolor paint
Welcome to watercolor 101! Today is all about watercolor paint
Watercolor is an aqueous medium which means the paint is 
water based and activated by water.
Contrary to what you may think, 
it is fairly easy to work with and very easy to clean up. 
I recommend that you buy the best that you can when 
selecting any of your materialsHaving great materials 
to start with makes all the difference in the world.

watercolor paint II
I like to use tube watercolor paint. 
I buy the smallest tubes because the binder, gum arabic, 
will separate with age. The paint will cake up 
and be impossible to extrude if it's really old,
so I prefer to squeeze as much as I can into the wells 
of my palette where it will be used up. 
A bit of rudimentary advice: squeeze and roll the paint 
from the bottom of the tube. 
If you've gone to the trouble of buying really good paint, 
you won't want to waste a drop. 

watercolor paint III
There are so many great brands of paint to choose from. 
I use good old fashioned Winsor & Newton artist grade 
watercolor paint. My metallic colors are Winsor & Newton 
artist grade gouache, an opaque watercolor. 
Artist grade paints contain a full pigment load and 
therefore produce a rich, brilliant color. 
There is usually a greater palette of colors 
to choose from as well.

pike palette
Which colors to buy? 
My palette is an evolution of color and changes all the time. 
Choose colors that you like to work with and 
remember you can mix and blend many more colors 
and soften or intensify them with more or less water. 
Listed below are some colors I often work with: 
deep yellow, yellow ochre, brown ochre, burnt sienna, 
sepia, burnt umber, cadmium red, alizarin crimson, 
neutral tint, payne's gray, mars black, chinese white, 
olive green, hooker's green, sap green, cerulean blue, 
phthalo turquoise, prussian blue, silver and gold gouache.

pike palette II
My palette is a John Pike palette. 
I've had it for over twenty years and it has served me well. 
It has large paint wells with a slightly beveled edge 
which helps to keep the paint contained. It also features a large mixing area which is perfect for blending colors and creating washes. It comes with a storage lid that also serves a secondary palette. Every once in a while I soak my palette in water and 
thoroughly clean out the wells of old paint.
 For day to day care, I simply wipe the mixing area clean 
with a damp rag,add a big drop of water to each paint well 
to soften the paint and I'm ready to work.

pike palette III
Here are a few places to shop for watercolor supplies:
Do you have any questions about watercolor paints and palettes? 
I really encourage you to experiment and see what works for you! 
Next week 101 is all about brushes.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bird Watching

A little bird watching for your viewing pleasure.
Three new paintings in my shop tonight.
Thank you all for your questions about watercolor painting.
I will try my best to answer your questions,
Starting on Monday!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


cowboy at the water bowl
cowboy and his litter mates
cowboy tuckered out
It was inevitable. Visit a litter of puppies too many times and you wind up wanting one. 
Besides, Birdie would love a friend to romp with!
We're calling this little fellow Cowboy since he looks like a little cow and his mama's from the wild west. 
He's still very young and won't be able to come home for another four or five weeks. 
Isn't he darling? I tried hard to resist. I really did.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Ask Me

I'm often asked about my watercolors, the materials I use and how to use them.
I'm thinking of starting a little Watercolor 101 series here in my drawing room.
Here are some ideas: paint, paper, palette, brushes, how-to techniques,
where to buy art supplies, care - best practices, framing and display.
Whether you are an artist, collector, just having fun or simply curious,
is there something that you would like to know? Ask me.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spring Forward

Spring forward my friends! Don't forget to reset your clocks.
Daylight savings begins tomorrow!

Sunday, March 4, 2012


great horned owl specimen
It has been entirely too long since my last post. Will you forgive my tardiness?
Between travel and moving my studio things have been a tad chaotic for the last few weeks.
I'm finally settled and all put back together again. Everything is organized and put away. 
I will have pictures of my new studio space soon.
Meanwhile, here's a picture of my Great Horned Owl specimen. 
He's finally finished and quite pleased with himself.