Painting a Textured Flower Center

"Three Brothers" Watercolor painting by Colleen Reynolds

“Three Brothers” watercolor 5″x7″

I completed this little sunflower painting some time ago, as I was preparing for a workshop on painting flowers and landscapes. I confess I like the small study better than the larger version. There is just something about sunflowers that give a lift to my spirits. And when the painting comes out as cute as this little darling, my spirits do soar.

I have excerpted the part of the painting where I paint the centers of the sunflowers. The whole painting took just over 45 minutes. I have the  complete video available on my Patreon channel, where paying subscribers will have access to both this 3-minute WHAT video, as well as the full-length video. My expected official launch of the Patreon Channel will be June 15th. I still need to populate  the channel with lots and lots of videos, both public and private, before I can call it “official.”

Supplies questions answered before you ask for this video.
Paper: 140 lb hot press watercolor paper, sized to 5.5″ x 7.5″
Paint: Pyrrol Red, Ultramarine Light, New Gamboge
Brush: #14 Round by Lowe-Cornell (replaced by Kingart 9020 Series #14)

Let’s watch the short clip, shall we?

Dot & Pull Method – Color an Ink Drawing

“Geraniums” Sketch and wash, micron pen and watercolor

How fun is it to draw? I sometimes truly just enjoy a drawing session. If I really want to challenge myself, I do it in ink. This makes me think carefully about angles, proportion, and the relationships between shapes and elements.

I had convinced my gardener husband to buy some geranium starts to populate our potted flowers. Since it took a little convincing, I thought I’d better preserve the flowers for prosperity. I first sketched with a black ink micron pen en plein air, adding a zentangle pattern called Florz to the background. A few days later I decided to add paint. This back in the studio under lights and camera. Luck for you, right?  I do not have video of the plein air drawing, just the painting part.

The original painting sold to an artist friend in Utah. Thank you, my friend. You know who you are.

For this 3-minute video demonstration, I am showing the “dot & pull” method for adding color to an ink drawing.

I have excerpted parts of painting the red blossoms and the foliage below. The whole painting took about 20 minutes. I hope to have the complete video available at the launch of my Patreon channel, where paying subscribers will have access to all these 3-minute WHAT series videos, as well as a bunch of other full-length videos. The channel is built, but the populating of the channel still needs to happen. Stay tuned for the expected “launch date” of June 15th.

Supplies questions answered before you ask for this video.

Paper: Sketch paper, 140 lb watercolor paper in a spiral sketchbook by Canson. I can’t remember the size at the moment. I have two sketchbooks from the same maker, and I don’t actually remember which one I used at the time.

Paint: Quinacridone Rose, Pyrrol Red, Cobalt Blue Violet, Cascade Green, and New Gamboge all by Daniel Smith; plus some opaque Lavender by Holbein.

Brushes: #14 Lowe-Cornell 9020 Series Round.

Let’s watch how it all happened. The video will premier on Youtube on April 11th @ 7am PDT.

Painting a Stormy Sky – Watercolor How-to Art Tip (WHAT?)

If you want to improve your watercolor painting, I’m told, paint a sky a day. I believe I heard this from watercolor painter, Iain Stewart. Maybe it was Thomas Schaller? Maybe both?

High Country, Watercolor 11″x7″

I just finished a workshop on creating distance in landscapes. I painted a lot of different skies in preparation. My painting, High Country, acted as one of those practice paintings.

In this video I have excerpted and edited the sky section from the raw video of the completed painting. I finished the sky in about 8 minutes. The whole painting took just under an hour. The secret to a good sky is to LEAVE IT ALONE! Easier said than done, right? The less you touch a sky, the better. This is almost always the case. I may have touched this one a little too much, but I did manage to leave it alone for the last 52 minutes of painting.

Supplies questions answered before you ask.

High Country in frame

Paper: I painted on 1/8th sheet of 140 lb watercolor cold press. It may have been Arches brand, or it may have been Saunders Waterford. I’m not sure. The painting is on show at the Nevada Artists Association gallery in Carson City right now, so I will have to wait to check for sure.

Paint: Ultramarine Light by Holbein, and Daniel Smith pigments: Cascade Green, Cobalt Blue Teal (just a wee bit), Raw Sienna Light, Indanthrone Blue, Transparent Pyrrol Orange, and Pyrrol Scarlet.

Brushes:1 1/2″ flat brush, a #18 KingArt 9020 Series Round, a Quiller 1″ flat, and a #0 Liner (for my signature)

Tabletop easel: Easelite by Gary Collins

Let’s watch how it all happened. The video will premier on Youtube on April 5th @ 9am PDT (new time). Happy Easter for those of you who celebrate.

Resist, Wet or Dry? – Watercolor How-to Art Tip (WHAT?)

I am going to create a series of short posts on painting in watercolor. My goal is to post something at least once a week. I hope you will join me as I learn and experiment in watercolor.

The tips will be sometimes basic, sometimes investigative, sometimes just for fun. I hope to keep the tips short and informative. They may have accompanying video, as in this post, but may also be just text and images.

Without further ado then, let’s dive in to today’s topic; working with watercolor resist. “Resist” refers to a method of preserving the white of the paper before paint application.

In this test, I have used two methods, wax resist crayon and masking fluid. My wax resist is a clear wax resist crayon, Susan Scheewe or Dick Blick brand. My crayons came in a 4-pack, but there are many options out there (especially around Easter-Egg-painting-season). My masking fluid brand of choice is Pebeo Drawing Gum. I like this fluid because of its mid-tone gray and “inky” consistency.

For this “test,” I am applying the wax resist and masking fluid both on dry and wet paper. Check out the video below to see the results of the test.

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Birds, Bees, Buds and Other Beauties – An Exhibit

My PowerPoint Embed scheme did not work for viewers without a Microsoft OneDrive account, apparently. So I have updated this slideshow as a YouTube video.

My personal show at the Western Nevada College is about to end, so I thought a blog post would be a good place to “preserve the evidence”

Thanks for looking. Be sure to turn on the volume as it makes the show that much more interesting.


Tree Swallows

“Tree Swallows”

“Tree Swallows” drawing

Painting #12  of 15 for my Big Bird March (extending in to April) Challenge.  These lovely tree swallows landed on a fence just for me. The females are brownish gray, the fellas are shimmery black, but both have white bellies. Aren’t they adorable? They are overlooking the Empire Ranch Golf Course in Carson City, Nevada.

The painting is 7.5″x11″ on Arches 140lb cold press. I used Phthalo blue, Pyrrol Red and New Gamboge all by Daniel Smith. I have video. This may turn into an online class.

I drew up a value study beforehand, the same size as the eventual painting. I then traced up a contour drawing to my watercolor paper.

The painting is for sale, for either $99 (no mat), or $150 (with mat with black core). Select your “variant” at checkout on my Sellfy site. Click the Buy now button below.

Curious Finch

“Curious Finch”

I may be back online with this bloggin’ thing?

Where were we? Oh yes, painting birds for the Big Bird March challenge, that went in to April because of the covid-19 worldwide catastrophe.

This is painting #11 (15 was the goal), “Curious Finch” is 11″x7.5″ on Arches 140 lb cold press watercolor paper, painted wet-in-wet. I magically collaged (in my mind) several photos of one little finch who varied his pose for me on a fence for a whole 30 seconds (maybe more)? The early morning light just made his little yellow belly glow. At least I think he is a male? The little birds move so fast. When they are out of the sun, they are somewhat green-ish in tone. Click on images for a larger view in new browser tabs.

I really cannot remember what pigments I used for sure. I think three different yellows, Hansa Yellow Light & Medium (cool & warmer), plus New Gamboge (warm). I probably used Ultramarine Light by Holbein mixed with Pyrrol Scarlet and Transparent Pyrrol Orange (Daniel Smith) to make the brown tones? But I may have used Phthalo Blue instead of Ultramarine. I will check the video clip. Maybe I will post a Youtube preview of the video soon too?

In other news, after much time, money, and fussing…it appears my MacBook laptop and blog are operational again. I am still working on getting the upgrade to the failed video capture device working (No audio! Why? Why? Why?). I also still need to sort out which streaming application and virtual meeting platform I will use to deliver my online watercolor classes for June and beyond.

AND so I can GO LIVE on my Facebook business page for the next Virtual Wine Walk, scheduled for Saturday, June 6th, 1-4pm. Save the date/time!

Zentangle Mandalas

With all this computer fiddling, I have had no time to paint. I do have lots of projects waiting in the wings of my mind; more birds (I have become quite the birdwatcher) and farm animals. It is a good thing my friend Dee has been inspiring me to Zentangle. So soothing… and a little bit of painting too. You can see some mandala tiles I have tangled and painted.

“Curious Finch” is for sale, with mat $150 or without $99. Specify which “variant” you prefer during checkout on my Sellfy product site. Click the green Buy now button for a longer description. 


Baby Ducks

Painting #10 of my Big Bird March (continuing in to April) Challenge, “Baby Ducks.”

This painting is based on some photos I took in my Utah days at Fairmont park in Salt Lake City. Momma had a lot more children, but I focused on just these three. The painting is on Arches 140lb cold press, 7.5″x11″ (or 1/8 of a full sheet). Click on images to see a larger view in a new browser tab.

I drew the value study while communing with my kitties the night before. I like to do the drawing the same size as the painting, so I can trace up my drawing outlines to the watercolor paper. I feel I do better on the painting when I have done a drawing beforehand. It helps me to know my subject when I’m in the middle of flowing paper.

This time, I painted while hanging with my Little on Google Hangouts, so it may be a “little” incomplete. Mainly I need to retrieve a highlight in Momma’s eye, so she doesn’t look blind.

Stay tuned for a video preview and other updates. I am typing this now to to test my blog software capabilities, which has been acting “fussy” – grrr.

Two Americas

Two Americas

Painting number nine in my Big Bird march (but continuing in April) challenge. This is my “Two Americas” painting, collaged from a selection of photos I took back in my Utah days at both Eagle Bay and the Tracy Aviary. The eagles in my source photo both had broken wings. I tried to minimize the visual damage to their wings, and I put them in a natural setting rather than the cage in an aviary.

This is painted on 140lb Arches cold press sized to 7.5″x11″, or one eighth of a full sheet of watercolor paper. Click on the image to see a larger view in a new browser tab.

I think the imagery is a visual commentary on the state of the not-so-united-state of America at the moment. I will let the title speak for itself, and you can interpret it your own way.

As with my previous post, rather than give you a long, written explanation of the painting process, I will include an accelerated video of selected clips in the painting process.

I used just five pigments throughout the painting, listed here in order of their appearance in the video. Manganese Blue Hue by Daniel Smith, Ultramarine Light by Holbein, Quinacridone Rose, Raw Sienna Light, and Transparent Pyrrol Orange; the last three colors also by Daniel Smith.

Enjoy the video of the painting process. There are few words, just moving pictures. Moving pictures should be worth lots of words, right?

The painting is for sale via my Sellfy Shop You can pay what you want! I just ask that you pay the cost for me to ship it to you. Click on the green Buy Now button below for more details.