Sheltered Cove

I finally finished my watercolor painting, Sheltered Cove. I began this painting back in May, but with my kids home from school and space at a premium, I got very little painting done the last several months. In a year of many changes, my family also recently moved to a home on the outskirts of the beautiful Adirondack Mountains. Our new home also includes a studio space for me. After many years painting at the kitchen table, I have a space of my own to create my artwork. I’m so grateful and excited for this opportunity. My first order of business was to finish this painting. It was based on a photograph I took from a trip down the Raquette River. After using Windsor and Newton masking fluid for years, I tried a new product called Incredible White Mask Liquid Frisket, to preserve some whites during the painting. It worked terrific and I would totally recommend it. Here’s a sample of the grasses where I used the product.

Frisket applied and initial washes
Frisket removed after final painting on surrounding area

I also used the frisket on the grasses at the foreground of the painting. Here is the finished painting Sheltered Cove.

Sheltered Cove

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2020 Summer Art Shows

The Colonie Art League is having their summer show online this year. My painting, Golden Pool, is among the 72 local artists that have works in the show. Click on the individual images to view the true dimensions of each piece. The show can be seen online at

In other news, I just dropped off my painting, Canton Bazaar, at the View, in Old Forge, NY. The 2020 Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors will be on display August 8th – September 27. For any capital region residents, the View is a wonderful art center comprising three different galleries, and a great day trip into the Adirondack Mountains. Kudos to the View for holding this amazing show. I’ve had many shows canceled and/or postponed this year, as have most artists. There is no substitute for viewing this amazing watercolor show in person!


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Enchanted Wood – Part 2

To continue with my painting’s progress…

I built up the foliage and started on the pine needles, which was the part I was most excited about painting.


The pine needles required 6-8 layers of different colored paint and markings. The following examples show how the marks in the background are tiny dots and as it comes forward, the brush marks change to dashes. This makes it look more like pine needles. I began with light tones making the colors darker with each new layer.

Example 1 (3-4 layers)


Example 2 (3-4 additional layers)


Another 2-3 layers and the path was complete. It took me several hours just to paint the pine needles.


I removed the last of the resist off the foliage and the final tree. The resist on the tree had been there for many days at this point and needed to be removed very carefully. Normally I try to remove it within 2-3 days, but I wasn’t able to do that with this painting.


Next, I painted in the foliage highlights and blended the foliage into the path.

pic13 a

Lastly, the remaining tree is painted. I went over the entire painting, adding cool shadows and warm brightening highlights. Here is my finished painting, entitled Enchanted Wood.

pic14 a

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Enchanted Wood – Part 1

My latest watercolor painting is based on a photograph I took last summer, while canoe camping on the Raquette River, in the Adirondack Mountains. I was drawn to the scene by the strong shadows, created by the early morning sun, on the tall, narrow trees and the path of pine needles.

In the next two blogs, I explain some of the thought process and steps behind the making of this multi-layered watercolor painting.

As with all my watercolor paintings, I sketched the scene onto transparent paper and then transferred it to 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper. Unlike paintings with architecture or objects with precise details, natural scenes don’t need to be as exact. I used resist to paint in the dominant trees because I wanted to preserve the white for highlights from the sun.


This painting is a perfect example of working back to front. I began with the background, painting in a wash for the sky and remote tree line. The sun is hitting the trees so they are light colored and pale, recessed far in the background. These trees have three layers of green dots created with a #00 paintbrush. I took an eraser brush and scrubbed out areas making it even softer. Most of these background trees will eventually be covered up with foreground branches and leaves.


At this point, I carefully studied the photograph and made my plan of attack. I broke the mid-ground into 5 different layers. Using much darker paint, I painted in the farthest layer of trees.


I rubbed the resist off the next layer of trees, and continued painting.


Again, I removed another layer of resist and painted more trees. I also added some resist to the foreground to save some white highlights for the bushes, as I continued to work forward.


At this point, the painting is starting to come together. The background is mostly painted in and I started working on the mid-ground. Before I painted the next four trees, I worked on the foliage. The large tree to the right will come last, as it is closest to the viewer. I also added some resist for plants among the pine needles and painted in a light wash for the path.


On each of these sections, I painted in a wash first with a #6 Round brush, then used my #1 and #00 round brushes to add tiny details for the branches, leaves and mid-ground foliage. Each section had about 3-6 layers of paint. With the painting of the four center trees finished, the mid-ground was now complete and I began working on the foreground


To be continued…

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Golden Pool

My latest watercolor painting is entitled Golden Pool. This piece is based on a photo I took last fall during a wonderful trip to the Shawangunk Mountains (a.k.a. The Gunks). The weather was bright and sunny, and the fall foliage was spectacular! This spot was at the top of a waterfall. The clear stream had pooled in several places creating transparent views of the rocks and leaves under the water. The reflection of the trees surrounding this spot created a golden tint on the pool.

Golden Pool

Golden Pool

In other news, I’m excitied to announce that my painting, Canton Bazaar, has been accepted into the 2020 Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors! This is an amazing art show that will be on display at The View, in Old Forge, NY, and I’m honored to be a part of it again this summer.

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Expressions 2020 Show

I’m very pleased to announce that my painting Windows on the World has been juried and accepted into the Expressions 2020 Art Show at the Shirt Factory Gallery, in Glens Falls, NY. Unfortunately, due to the current circumstances, the show has been postponed until October. I will have more information to share as we get closer to October.

Windows on the World low res

Windows on the World

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All the Little Details – Part 3

Now for the final touches on my painting. Some artists would be aghast by my next decision to paint every brick… But in keeping with my intention to highlight all the details of this wonderful old building, I choose to depict the bricks accurately. The bricks are laid out in the Dutch style, and have smoothed corners due to their age and possible repointing at one time in its history. First, I drew in the bricks and painted around the edges, preserving the whites. I then went back in with a wet brush and softened all the edges of every brick.


The last step was a bit nerve wracking. I painted in all the shadows with one thin coat of paint. Since the beginning of the painting, I kept with a red, yellow and blue color scheme. So the choice of a blue grey for the white walls was deliberate. The tricky part was to paint quickly enough so I wouldn’t have dried paint seams, but carefully to control where the paint went. Once I began painting the shadows, I couldn’t stop until it was completed.

Finally, I painted in the light sconces. I tweaked and touched up several small areas over the entire painting and I was finished! Here is the final painting, Autumn Welcome.

Autumn Welcome

Autumn Welcome

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All the Little Details – Part 2

Following the competition of the door, I painted the door cornis and window sills. I also rewet the stairs and removed as much color as I could, since I was unhappy with the original colors. I then repainted the stairs and surrounding stone.


I started painting in the shadows and leaves on the stairs and darkened the stone work.


The railing was next and took several coats to build up the black tones. I created the black color using my standard mix of Burnt Sienna and Prussian Blue.


The windows were the next step and I took a long time considering how to best create the thin blinds and the reflected trees. I was worried about using resist because you can’t always create a perfectly straight line with it. In the end, I negative painted long strips of the reflected color using my #00 brush, and stayed away from the blinds saving the white of the paper. It was a slow process, but I was very pleased with the result.


After completing the windows, I added all the trim work around the windows and door, paying close attention to the shadows.


To be continued…

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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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