All the Little Details – Part 1

I finally finished my latest watercolor painting! I began painting this piece back in December of last year. It is entitled Autumn Welcome and is based on a photograph my daughter took last September, in the Stockade area of Schenectady, NY. It was a sunny day and the neighboring trees created beautiful abstract patterns along the historic homes. I took photographs of my piece as I went along, as a journal of my work.

To begin the painting, I sketched a simple outline of the building. This painting is a large one (17” by 20.5”). This sketch and the transfer to watercolor paper took several days.



I then painted in some of the large blocks of color. Giant pieces of white paper can be intimidating when you begin!


From this point on, I worked one section at a time, beginning with the focal point of the red door. I painted the windows first with the reflected trees in the windows’ warped glass and the autumn spray.


Next I painted several layers, to create the warm red door and its shadows.


To be continued…

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2020 Pruyn House Art Show

The 2020 Pruyn House Juried Art Show is now open. My watercolor painting, Magnolias, is on display along with 45 other local artists. The show will be on display through the end of March. The historic Pruyn House is located at 207 Old Niskayuna Road, Latham, NY and open Monday through Friday, 9 am – 4:30 pm for the duration of the show.



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North East Watercolor Society Show

The North East Watercolor Society’s Annual Juried Show is now open. I have two paintings, End of the Road and Emerald Oasis, that were juried into the show. The exhibit is be on display from now until March 13th at Orange Hall Gallery, 115 South Street, Middletown, NY.

End of the Road

End of the Road

Emerald Oasis

Emerald Oasis

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Colonie Art League Show

The Colonie Art League held its opening for their 2019 Members Art Show yesterday. My painting Canton Bazaar was awarded an honorable mention in the Judges’ Circle. Over 80 works of art are on display in this show, along with a small works exhibit containing many pieces for sale.

The show is being held at the William Sanford Library, until December 29th. Hours are Monday – Thursday 9 am – 8 pm, Friday 9 am – 6 pm, Saturday 9 am – 5 pm, and Sunday 1-5 pm. Come see some of the amazing local talent in the Capital Region!

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Windows on the World

I just completed another watercolor painting entitled Windows on the World. This painting is based on a photograph of garage doors in the historic Stockade, in downtown Schenectady, NY. The antique glass of the windows made marvelous, warped reflections of the neighborhood. Each window is its own mini abstract painting.

Windows on the World low res

Windows on the World

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Saratoga Arts Members’ Show

My watercolor painting Magnolia will be on display at The Arts Center, in Saratoga Springs, beginning today. The shows runs through January 6th, and the gallery is open 9 am – 5 pm, Monday through Friday, and 11 am – 5 pm on Saturday. The Arts Center will be open late for First Night. on December 31st, as well.



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New Painting – Part 2

The next step for my painting was to add all the intricate details on the building, shadows, awnings, and give the building some texture. Although the original building was brick, I decided to make it stucco. There were actually two sources of light for this painting. The sun was rising to the right, which lit up the corner of the building and the edge of the lamp post. Plus there was a second source of reflected light from the other side, which lit up the front of the building and created shadows from the trim and awnings.


Now that the background was completed, I turned my attention to the objects in the foreground. First, I painted in the hanging lanterns and porch railings.


Following this step, I painted in a light wash on the lamp post. This is a perfect example of why you should paint light first with watercolors. It is extremely difficult to “erase” paint. Seeing the lamp post in blocks of color made me realize I made an error in the lamp dimensions. I was able to correct the angle and fix my drawing problem before there was too much paint on it.


Next, I worked on the street sign. I used a #00 brush to carefully and slowly paint in the letters. Throughout the painting I used only 4 brushes: a 2” wash brush for the sky, a #8 Round for large areas and to mix paint, and my #1 and #00 Round brushes for all the details.


After the Sacramento sign, I painted several layers on the lamp post to complete the painting. A few tweaks here and there and I was done. Here is the final painting, which I am calling Sacramento Street.

Sacramento Street

Sacramento Street

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New Painting – Part 1

After learning so much from painting Canton Bazaar last spring, I decided to do another painting from our trip to Chinatown, in San Francisco. Here is the original photo. The photo was taken at the corner of Sacramento Street and Grant Avenue. The building in the photo housed the famous Kan’s Restaurant, which opened in the 1930s, although sadly closed in 2014.


The first thing I did was to sketch out a drawing and crop the photo. The angle looking upward to the lamppost is what attracted me to the scene, so I needed to accentuate the feeling of looking upwards. I then transferred my sketch and masked out the divide between the sky and building.


Next, I attempted to apply a nice and clean, gradated wash to the sky… and failed. Creating a smooth wash over a large area might seem like the easiest thing to do with watercolors, but it’s not. My result was a streaky mess. I painted it again and again trying different techniques and layers. Here you can see my first disastrous attempts.


Finally I redrew the entire sketch, masked it, and painted a couple layers of wash for the sky. It was not perfect and I ended up using a crosshatching technique to get an even wash, but I was happy enough with it to continue with the painting.


I removed the masking and painted in the objects farthest away from the foreground, meaning the recessed windows.


I concentrated on the windows for a while, building up several layers of paint until they were nearly finished.


I then proceeded to paint in the building color and major architectural details. The building has two washes, the first being a base color of gold and the second using various colors to show the wear and tear on the building,


To be continued…

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Art Show Opening

I had a sneak peak at the 43rd Annual International Open Exhibition of Watercolors at the Gallery of the Kent Art Association today, as I dropped off my painting, Canton Bazaar, for the show. There are some amazing watercolor paintings in this show, which features artists from across the globe. I’m thrilled to have been accepted into this juried show.

The opening of the show is this Sunday, October 20th from 2-4 pm. The show will run until November 3rd and is open 1-5 pm daily. The gallery is located at 21 South Main Street, Kent, CT. Kent is a beautiful town with a large art community and thriving downtown area. The autumn foliage is at peak this week and yet another reason to visit!

phone final.jpg

Canton Bazaar

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I have hundreds of reference photos, from years of collecting images that “I might paint one day.” I used one such image for a watercolor painting I just completed, entitled Magnolia. This painting is based on photos I took of the Magnolia trees in Washington DC about 6 years ago, when we took the kids there for spring break.

Magnolia is a small square painting, measuring eight inches long. It took a few rough starts before I figured out how I wanted to do the background. I loved the complicated branches in the photos, but I wanted the background to be a little fuzzy and blurry, so that the forefront flowers stood out. It was a lot of trial and error to get the effect I wanted. The pink of the Magnolia petals were also a challenge, since I don’t use white paint. I used a combination of Rose Madder, Alizarin Crimson, Cerulean Blue, and Phthalo Blue to create about 7 different pink variations. Then I painted many transparent layers to build up to the desired color.



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