Shower Flowers Sketches: Dahlias, Pansies and Paper Bootie

More Shower Flowers: Pansies, ink and watercolor, 8x5"

More Shower Flowers: Pansies and Paper Bootie, ink and watercolor, 8×5″

My daughter-in-law’s mother (Why is there no name for this important family relationship: “Son’s Mother-in-law” and “Daughter-in-law’s mother” are so awkward!) decorated Brittney’s baby shower so brilliantly. She covered the tables with colorful vases filled with dahlias and a little pot of pansies at each place setting. She decorated the walls with banners hung with pages from all our favorite old Little Golden Books classics.

I took home my pansies to sketch (above) and a vase of dahlias to sketch (below) and paint (see previous post). Each place setting also included a little baby bootie (in sketch below) that she made from different decorative papers and filled with chocolate.

Shower Flowers Sketch: Dahlias, ink and watercolor 2-page spread in Moleskine 16x5"

Shower Flowers Sketch: Dahlias, ink and watercolor 2-page spread in Moleskine 16×5″

Shower Flowers

Dahlias-Shower Flowers, oil on panel, 10x8 in

Dahlias: Shower Flowers, oil on panel, 10×8 in (Click image to enlarge)

I brought these amazing dahlias home from my daughter-in-law’s baby shower and had fun painting them. (The painting is available here.) The baby shower happened just in time as our beautiful baby girl came a month early (so exciting!). Below are some of the steps in the process. I always seem to like the earliest stages of a painting best; my biggest challenge is to stop painting sooner than I usually do. I have a new system for setting an intention and goal for each painting and each painting session and documenting the results and I’ll be sharing more about that in my next post.

Random Little Moleskine Sketches

Here are some random sketches from hikes and walks with my dog, sitting in meetings, a movie shown in a library and at the dog park. These are all in my pocket Moleskine that I carry with me all the time. Hover over images to read captions or click on them to see them larger.

Found or Free: Apples and Candlestick

Found on the Street #1, Candlestick and Apples, oil painting on panel, 8x8" (<a href="">$110 at my DPW Gallery: click here</a>) (Click image to enlarge)

Found on the Street #1, Candlestick and Apples, oil painting on panel, 8×8″ (Click image to enlarge)

This is one in a series of paintings of free stuff and things found on the street during my walks in the Berkeley, California area. The little apples had fallen from a neighbor’s tree and the candlestick was in a free box on the curb. Below are photos of some steps in the work in progress of this painting (which is available to purchase from my Daily Paintworks gallery here) and a couple of cool studio tips too. Read More

Yessie at 15: Quinceañera Portrait

Yessie's Quinceanera Portrait, Watercolor, 15x20 in

Yessie All Grown Up; Quinceanera Portrait, Watercolor, 15×20 in

My next door neighbors are like family so I was delighted when they asked me to participate in Yessie’s Quinceanera, a very special and elaborate traditional celebration for Mexican girls on their 15th birthday, that marks the transition from childhood to womanhood. They asked me to paint a portrait of her to be on display at the party for 200 people where the girls dress in evening gowns and the birthday girl and her “court” go from Mass to the event hall in a limo.

To prepare for the big event Yessie went to a salon for a trial makeover and then came over for me to take photos of her all made up, with false eyelashes and all. The photos weren’t easy to paint from because of the challenging light conditions that afternoon (and because I’m not a photographer!), but were better than the little cellphone snaps they originally gave me.

Here is a painting I made of Yessie back when she was just a tot, at her baby brother’s christening.

Yessie at her brother's baptism when she was just little, watercolor

Yessie at her brother’s christening when she was just little, watercolor

I painted her brothers back then too; you can see big brother here and my favorite portrait I’ve ever done: her little brother here.

My first attempt at the painting went well until it was almost done and then I had a problem that I couldn’t fix so I started over. Here are a couple of steps from the first attempt.

If I wasn’t running out of time I’d make another attempt. I was rusty at watercolor portrait painting when I started the project. Now I feel like I’ve got the hang of it again and could do it better. But they’re happy with version two and it’s framed and ready to go. I still might give it another try even if I can’t get it done in time for the big party, just because.

Lilly Pond at Ruth Bancroft Gardens


Water Lilies at Bancroft Gardens, sepia ink and watercolor, 5x8 in

Water Lilies at Bancroft Gardens, sepia ink and watercolor, 5×8 in

It was a gorgeous day at Ruth Bancroft Gardens in Walnut Creek when my plein air group visited. I walked around looking at all the beautiful plants, sculpture exhibit (and buildings in the private area we were given access to, where the 105 year-old Mrs. Bancroft still lives). With less than an hour before our session end I finally settled on sketching at the lily pond.

I painted the old barn the last time I was there and that barn sketch is one of my favorites ever.

Here is my sketch with the scene behind it and artist Catherine Fasciato painting a lily with oil paint. I sat right between her and the sculpture, choosing shade first and subject matter second on this very hot, sunny day.


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