HERON for watercolor

Great Blue Heron, is one of twelve subjects in  my Watercolor Crash Course! series. Each subject is a four hour introductory watercolor workshop. We painted this on Saturday at Auburn University’s Biggin Hall.


Experiment Boldly.

This was an experiment. Not all experiments work out well, but that’s half the fun; not knowing if it will, or it won’t. The day I started this painting I realized too late that I would need some masking for the cotton in the field. I live in the country, so driving to a store wasn’t even a fleeting consideration. I rarely use masking so I had none. Boldly, and might I say, wrongly, I chose wax. Candle wax. It repels water doesn’t it? Why not? Well, first of all, it was a challenge to place the drip, and my hand seemed always in the way of the flame. Dangerous, but I finally got it done. The hardest part came when the painting was finished and I had to remove the wax. Glad it was a small painting. I was ultimately successful in removing all the wax and was satisfied enough with the painting to frame it.

Southern Barn

“If it looks right when you put it down, its wrong.”

Another watercolorist’s words, but oh so true. I smiled when I read this, remembering how frustrating I found this in my early watercolor years. The paint doesn’t always stay where I put it. I anticipate this behavior now, and even encourage it, painting wet-on-wet. The paint will continue to travel across moistened paper and to mingle with any other colors it touches along the way. It is one of the loveliest things about watercolor, that it continues to change even after I’ve stopped pushing it around with the brush. The key is knowing when to push and when to stop and watch.

Calm Yourself

    Cat Brier in Hadden Woods    When I paint a leaf I notice every  vein, every worm hole, every soft color. I would not notice these details in a glance. Observation is a meditative practice, a skill that can be learned. Enhance your life by changing the way you see the world around you.                  

When I first met watercolor, we didn’t get along at all.

MyScape #9 (sold)It was unlike other mediums I had tried; pencil, charcoal, oil, acrylic…put them down and they stay put. Not so with watercolor which continues to move long after you’ve walked away, as if it had a mind of its own. Now, I find that characteristic the one I’ve come to love the most. I’m endlessly fascinated by watercolor. My advice to newbies….relax, don’t be too bossy with watercolor, it doesn’t respond well to micro-management.