Lessons from Life on Planning Watercolors

Lessons from Life on Planning Watercolors

The wealth of self-study materials for watercolor—books, video, online courses—means it’s easy and convenient to get started painting on your own. You can learn just about any watercolor technique imaginable on YouTube, for free. But, it’s difficult to learn how to...
How I Use Autodesk Sketchbook to Plan Changes to Paintings

How I Use Autodesk Sketchbook to Plan Changes to Paintings

Sketchbook Pro is a great tool for quickly planning changes to a painting in progress, and it’s free. 🙂 The full version (with no ads) is available free for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android (type “Sketchbook Pro” into the search box for your app store)....
My Cure for Winter Blues

My Cure for Winter Blues

We’re only a couple of weeks away from the winter solstice now. It’s dark when I start work in the morning. It’s dark before I end work in the afternoon. On rainy days, I need a light on in my studio just to read a book. It feels like there’s...
Mining for Gems

Mining for Gems

I do a lot of experimenting. I work in multiple drafts. As most of you know, the “duds”, demos, and experiments I don’t know what to do with go onto the Big Pile of Nope. Maybe it should be called “the Big Pile of Maybe Later”. I can...
Reserving and Recovering Light Values: Strategies to Consider

Reserving and Recovering Light Values: Strategies to Consider

Getting light color values in watercolor works a little differently than in other mediums, since watercolor is transparent. In oil paints, lighter pigments are generally some of the most opaque, which allows oil painters to begin by blocking in large, mid-value shapes...
Don’t Let Your Inner Critic Be Lazy

Don’t Let Your Inner Critic Be Lazy

I’m working on a new postcard paint-along, using these 4 photos for information and inspiration. But I’m not going to follow any of these photos very closely, so I know I’m going to hear this in the comments: “That painting doesn’t look anything like the...
Painless Planning for Watercolor, Part 1: Exploratory Drawing

Painless Planning for Watercolor, Part 1: Exploratory Drawing

This article is the fourth in a series about creating paintings with more emotion, power and personal meaning. Here are links to the first three: Is My Painting Done?Are You a “Photocopier”? There’s a Better WayThe Lazy Way to Build Painting Confidence I know that...
The Lazy Way to Build Painting Confidence

The Lazy Way to Build Painting Confidence

This article is the third in a series. The preceding articles are: Is My Painting Done? Are You a “Photocopier”? There’s a Better Way In response to the last article, a reader made a couple of excellent points about why it’s sometimes difficult...

Are You a “Photocopier”? There’s a Better Way

This article is the second in a series. To read the first article, “Is My Painting Done?”, click here. In the next few articles in this series, I’ll introduce some ideas you can use to help you plan paintings that are more expressive, powerful and...
Is My Painting Done?

Is My Painting Done?

This article is the first of a series on creating more powerful, personal and expressive paintings. When I teach watercolor classes or workshops, there is often a moment where a student comes up to me, thrusts a painting into my face and demands: Tell me what’s...