First in Line


This is my painting First In Line chosen for first place in the West Texas Watercolor Spring Show.  The quality of paintings  entered in this show where exceptional so I was quite surprised when notified.  An accomplished and master  painter, Jerry Yarnell,  judged the show.  His teaching can be seen on PBS.   Instruction books and DVD’s are available on his web site.  It was certainly humbling to be chosen in the winners circle.

Thank you Jerry Yarnell….


Canvas Demonstration

It has been way to long since my last posting.  Not because brushes and canvas were on stand by, electricity/water turned off or a studio melt down…well there was that one day.  The current studio scene…painting discords overflow in the trash,  stacks of maybe’s in the bin and a messy wet palette….no question someone has been working.  Will someone identify themselves because help is needed… not more supplies.   Like most artists,  ‘most’ used loosely,  it seems there is more to do in a day than hours permit.  So thought I would share a quick demonstration born out of the chaos.  Generally speaking a brush is wet everyday except when priority calls.  The demonstration below is on a 11 x 14 stretched canvas.  A quick response to a photograph in my files of many waiting to be painted.  A yellow ocher watercolor stick was my choice for drawing.

watercolor stick sketch

watercolor stick sketch

My beginning is a sketch rather than a drawing.  This gives me the freedom to change direction while laying in color…

Beginning washes

Beginning washes

Ultra Marine Blue/Raw Umber Violet/Cerulean Blue/Quinacridone Burnt Orange are the pigments used for the first washes.  My attempt is to paint the value needed for the finished piece from the first wash of pigments.   Reason being the first washes will lift from the canvas because the pigment remains on the surface.  Paper absorbs pigment so glazing is effective.

Defining the subject

Defining the subject

Halloween Orange/Andrew’s Turquoise/Naphthol Red are added to the palette to mix and mingle with the first pigments.  I enjoy seeing the pigments engage conversation with their next door neighbors.  At this point I am ready to stop and say ‘fini’ but the painting needs line.

Finished Painting

Few dark marks for windows….lines to separate or connect…a quick touch of pure pigment and it’s done….or at least it is done for me.

Hope you enjoyed the journey…thanks for participating.

Out of the Box

Painting colorful loose shapes has been my focus for many years.  A style that seems to be recognized by those who are familiar with my work.  I am a shape painter with few details.  Reviewing some old….old notes that were written years ago when taking a workshop from Christopher Shink sparked an interest in tonal values.  Most experienced painters unconsciously paint the values needed, intuitively.   I pulled out a drawer housing half sheet watercolor paintings and began applying principles from the cold notes.  Some of the paintings were worthy to be called ‘painting’….while some could use a band-aid.  What a great learning tool when those so-so paintings are put under the microscope focusing on an important principle.  Because color is so much of who I am or want to be….it was overriding value ranges.  The painting below is a quick study painted with value in mind with color reigned in…..a corner has been turned on my journey.  As much as color dominates my creativity,  my palette has been limited to about 7 colors with a few opaques.  Sacrificing  painting those wonderful  negative shapes, which excites me, using bright opaques to enhance the neutrals…….

tonal study

A New Year Beginning

Wow! Christmas celebrations began early around my place bringing responsibility here, there and everywhere.  Finishing touches on this dish, one more recipe of candy, last gift wrapped or at least I think it’s the last one feeling good about the accomplishments made just that day.  Going to parties, having parties, dressing for this, changing for that enough to wish you hadn’t bought the ticket.  After the last fork is washed it’s time to make room for all the things that made their way into your nest.  By the time it is sorted, cleaned, stored it’s time to start again.  Is this wonderful or what?

I had much planned for the start of my new year……work on some ideas that made the mind dizzy with excitement just thinking about the possibilities.   Then sinus/flu/allergy made its way through the door and liking the surrounds more than outstayed their welcome.  Returning to a horizontal position and reclaiming those once fresh possibilities has been slow going.  Hopefully this coming year I can keep up with more dialogue for those visitors to the blog.

My first painting for the new year was a fun painting…..12 x 24 on canvas.  Sketching a quick cityscape using warm and cool hues with less water and more pigment, I attempted to let the painting paint itself.  Liking color can almost be a curse because rather than paying attention to values color seems to dominate.  I totally enjoyed setting aside the time to listen to Andrea Bocelli and paint with abandonment…..enjoy and keep painting….I plan too…..Gala Evening




Paper or Canvas?

Do I have a favorite?  No! Watercolor paper or canvas each have their own identities.  Paper absorbs water and pigment with permission to glaze over dry washes…..canvas likes to be left alone.  Pigment lays on top just daring any wash to disturb the fresh painted canvas.   


Below are paintings using watercolor canvas…students have two options…paper or explore watercolor canvas….or both….

studies 852

red pot

Luminous Glow

I had an open window several weeks ago to look back through some of my old sketch books.     Some of those early sketch books are now in the landfill.  However, several sketch books brought back a lot of early memories when I didn’t know transparent verses opaque.   Cold pencil notes from early workshops stared me in the face waiting to be read.   One particular reference was luminosity, paintings that have that warm fuzzy feeling called ‘glow.’   Surely I attended the class because the notes were definitely mine, when my handwriting was more legible.  At first it was like reading something for the first time….then memories began to come back like an old movie.  You know that feeling when the title is foreign and halfway through the movie you remember the ending and title.  Those few pages had me on my feet looking for a photo reference, grabbing a canvas, making a quick sketch, squeezing out fresh paint and trying my hand at a new experience from an old page.  Below is a painting created from a look back….hope you enjoy the view from inside an antique store….JoBeth

Antique Attic

Painting on the Run

Keeping up with life at times dries out the palette.  I remember when painting everyday was common, if just an hour.  I fall into one of two categories …getting slower with menial task or my plate is full. Whatever category or shoe that fits, I am persuaded to speed up or scrape the plate.  However a window opened to produce a couple of new images.  Don’t know about most of you reading this blog, when time is limited…….my focus, get paint on paper.  My photographs are categorized with one slot labeled maybe. These are references that almost found themselves in bed with yesterdays news. This slot isn’t opened often….you have those too….where was this?   Soooo…long story short, the two paintings below where several photos in the ‘maybe’ slot.   I seldom use one photo for a single painting…..a maybe subject from one and background/foreground of another.  These paintings are not chosen for the travel channel because they don’t have zip codes.  I want to set at the table, smell the flowers, or walk down the street even better shop. Painting what could be…..








Painting with Limited Palette

Seems I have little time to keep my blog up to date.  Not sure if it is the lack of organization or too much on my plate…probably the latter.  I paint/sketch or read, art almost everyday.  Not everything I paint is worthy for publication….most of the time it begins as a masterpiece, runs off the road then quickly is tagged as experimental.  Another word often used is ‘series’  that term is used when you can’t get it right.  The experimental or series claim makes one feel as though they didn’t waste their time and supplies.  The fat stack of those so called ‘experimentals’ seems to grow in the studio faster than the debt ceiling.  I will admit learning from my mistakes has probably been the best tool in my kit.  ‘What Not To Do’ would be a perfect title for a book but a high fever plaguing my body would have to be present for me to contemplate writing the book. The longer I paint the dont’s seem to have taken more space within the pages of my note pad than the do’s.  What to do or not….doesn’t seem to keep me from that continuous passion to paint.

The painting below is 22×30 on A’rches 140# rough paper.  A brush drawing using yellow ochre, on dry paper, a limited palette, and a #10 quill brush were the tools used to start this fun painting.  The colors mixed on the paper keeping  a close observation on the strength of values with every brush load of pigment.  When dry the dark values were added to emphasize windows, doors, figures and anything of importance…experiment…paint a series….just PAINT



Chop Shop

Demonstrations from teaching or exhibits can accumulate in my studio faster than the speed of sound.  The yellow brick road can sull quickly when answering questions and talking through a demo.  So….when the print rack becomes full…it is time to add finishing touches to complete the painting or….the chop shop.  A stack of paintings with a variety of subjects became a challenge….jumping from flowers, sidewalk cafes and city scape’s….high key to dark keeps the creativity flowing .  I actually enjoy switching gears using a variety of mat sizes to create different images from the original.  Values or colors usually need tweaking because some shapes need to reconnect.  These are a few of the crops/finishes that made for a fun day.  Must confess some demos decorated the trash and others will be turned to the back side and used for studies.  Below are the 15×22 original paintings and the crops are 16×20 or 15×11… 1/4 sheet of watercolor paper.
Although I liked the subject…the white awning cut the painting in half and detracted from the the action underneath.  This was on Arches rough 140# paper.
The 16×20 crop below was more appealing to me with a few adjustments….glazed the awning with a warm yellow ochre.
Another half sheet on Arches 140# rough paper…colorful newspaper dispensers could take center stage on their own.  I chose to add a few figures and umbrella for interest.  The painting wasn’t
trash worthy but a 16×20 mat cropped out areas that were not important.
The focus on figures and newsstand’s….the windows were darkened and colors were popped up to enhance the overall painting.
This was an oblong southwest blend on hot press paper this size occasionally
creates mat/framing/hanging issues so…decided to create
two 11×14 paintings.

Twenty demos had make overs today… cuts, color or new style…another advantage of cropping…paintings are simplified with a new perspective from the original…..

Fun Figures

Had a fun day…no pressure…..going through photographs chosing figures that appealed to me or provided a challenge started the ball rolling.  These are painted on Kilamengro paper, 11×15, a quarter sheet of watercolor paper.  The subject and figures were drawn with a brush…this gives me freedom to think related shapes and eliminate detail.  Hard and soft edges keeps the eye moving from one value to another.   Simplification of the story was major because the  figures are the most important.  I didn’t realize how many selections there were to chose from until I started looking through all my stacks of photos.  Hope you enjoy stepping into the scenes as though you were there…..there is enough mystery for you to imagine your own story……keep painting..JoBeth