Friday, June 10, 2022

A Spotlight on Nature Workshop in Seattle with Virginia Hein and Gail L. Wong

In celebration of our new book, Virginia Hein and Gail Wong will be giving a workshop focusing on some of the concepts and techniques presented in this new Urban Sketching Handbook.  Come join us for a weekend workshop July 29-31,  2022.  

Friday evening will be a meet and greet event, introducing the ideas we will be exploring over the weekend.  Saturday we will be sketching at the Seattle Chinese Garden in West Seattle.
Sunday we will be sketching at the Ballard Locks and working on visual story telling in a concertina format.  

If you are interested email Gail Wong.  See flyer for email address.

Monday, March 28, 2022



Outside cover and inside liner cover art work.   

Table of Contents

Page from the first chapter key.

Discussion on Color and location.

Just a few pages from our new book coming out at the end of May 2022.  Hopefully this will entice you to purchase the book.  We have some great information about drawing and painting nature and things to consider when sketching out doors.  

Take advantage of our Preorder Campaign which is running through March 31st, 2022.  If you preorder,  submit your confirmation number and required information you will be part of the gift give away drawing with the potential to win 1 of 10 gift packets.  

Go to   for more information and links to book dealers who are selling the books.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Accordion Style Sketchbook

These were dramatic sky paintings done both during and after taking Cynthia Armstrong's Experimental Landscape class.  I created an accordion style book using the painted watercolors as interior pages and made a hard cover using museum mat board with an abstract painting as cover art.  I used the palette colors that were left on my palette to create the cover art.  I will work up a blog post about how to do this, soon I promise.


Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Experimental Landscapes: Abstraction, Playing with Multimedia

The third week of the watercolor class through Winslow Art Center and taught by Cynthia Armstrong was about playing with multi media, watercolor, resists, using granulating mediums and ink as well as playing with different mark making tools.

Here I used a candle to create a resist and then applied water wash before adding watercolor.  The credit card is dipped in pigment and used to make marks on the page. 

Just playing with mark making using a wax candle.  The base was a wash of clear water and Brusho crystals sprinkled on the water wash.  Then watercolor applied on top with a brush as well as credit card.

Granulating medium used as a base,  then wet watercolor washes or brush strokes applied.  Stroke of the brush dipped into the granulation medium can be seen as white blooms.

Granulation medium as a base, ink, watercolor, graphite pencil,  rubber palette mark making tool.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Preorder-Sale 25% off on SpotLight on Nature until January 1/27/2022 through Barnes & Noble

Preorder sale of Spotlight On Nature ends 1/28/2022.  Unfortunately we just found out about this today.  So if you see this order now you will get a 25% discount on the book if you use the code PREORDER25.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Experimental Landscapes: Sunsets and Skies

This week we focused on dynamic skies that can be seen just at the perfect time.  So we painted from southwest sunset images.  The challenge for me was painting on a hot press paper.  If you work over it too much, the surface of the painting starts to get muddied and pilled.  So the trick is to know what you want to do and the sequence in which you want to lay down your paint.  This will allow you to get nice blending of color and keep the watercolor looking fresh.

My son had taken a beautiful photo while on a fishing trip on the Olympic Peninsula.  It was a challenge to get the variation of the sky and cloud colors so I ended up painting the scene twice.  The second version was closer to the color of the sky.  Testing out your colors and selecting a palette of colors is always a good idea if you are trying to color match.  

In the first painting the blue color of the sky was too cool although I preferred the way I handled the clouds in this version.  The second version was closer to the true color of the sky and I was more successful in creating the sense of depth with the mountains.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Coming out soon! The Urban Sketching Handbook:Spotlight on Nature


I am excited to announce that in May 2022,  The Urban Sketching Handbook: Spotlight on Nature will be coming out.  I co-wrote this book with my friend Virginia Hein.  We were collaborating from her studio in Los Angeles and my office in Seattle.  This occurred last winter during the pandemic so everything was done via Zoom meetings and using a MIRO board.  It was a fun project to work on and we had contributions from many artists around the world to illustrate their urban sketching work with a focus on how they paint nature on location. 

Here is the link to information about the book.

Currently the book can be pre-ordered on line through many bookstores and retailers. You can enter in a gift give away if you pre-order by March 31, 2022.  There will be 10 packages given away.   Each gift will include a packet of note cards with watercolor images of my work.  And one large print from Virginia's watercolor works.  

To be considered for the gift give away, fill out the following form with  your preorder confirmation number showing purchase from any retailer.  

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Experimental Landscape Class: Snow Scenes


For the last two weeks I have been taking a painting class from Winslow Art Center.  It is an online class given by Cynthia Armstrong.  We are using a wet into wet technique and using cut credit cards as well as brushes to make marks.  Here are two homework assignments done on that first week.

The second week we were to learn how to populate the foreground elements.  So here I show before and after images of two that I have done.

This first image was done the first week of class in class.  The trees added were done in a second pass.  I use the credit card, brush and tooth brush as tools.  

The second set added foreground using a credit card, spray bottle and small brush:

Monday, January 17, 2022

First Urban Sketch for 2022!

 This is my first urbansketch for the year.  Although I have been painting, I haven't really sketched in a while.    This was done on Sunday with the Seattle Urban Sketchers.  It was done while on a zoom meeting with about 20 or more Seattle Sketchers and some people sketching from out of town.  Sketchers who had moved away from Seattle or were out of town.  

Now that I am retired from UW and finished my final term as Urban Sketchers Treasurer, I will start posting work on this blog again since I have more time to dedicate to it.  Hopefully some people will see it, the blog has be dormant for a while.  

Happy Sketching 2022!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

New Line to Color Workshop June 14-16, 2019 in Orange County, CA

We are back this year with  a Line to Color Workshop in Orange County, CA.  Come join us for a great weekend at San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Beach.  Frank Ching and I taught a workshop in 2015.  It was a wonderful time especially getting away from the cold Seattle weather to sunny California.
For further information on this workshop click here.
Contact Gail for registration forms,

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Moving towards Abstraction

My initial inclination is to paint what I see and I tend toward literal representation.  So my first pass at this image was the painting above, trying to match the color and imagery of the scene in the photo.  I wasn't able to push the hills back with the color.  They kept popping forward.  So I laid down a  light glaze over the hills to mute it.  While doing that I lost the lightness of the hills.

The second time I painted the scene, I tried to simplify the forms and abstract the shapes, but kept close with color.

This third pass, I held on to basic abstract, shape and value but gave up on literal color.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

More Wet into Wet Technique in Watercolor

This week was more practicing Wet into Wet into Wet technique both in homework and in class.
The night scene below was a painting done in Tom Hoffman's Tuesday's class.  The painting started with the light colors applied on a very wet sheet of watercolor paper. I mean really wet.  Holding it under the faucet and wetting both sides of the sheet wet. At this point you get soft edges where colors merge and mix into each other when you apply the paint.

Midtone values and colors were applied over the light colors while everything was still wet.  You can tell the paper starts to get a little drier.  The paint in the brush is still drier  than the wet paper. You are using the wetness of the paper as your water source.  Doing that you will avoid blooms.

Finally the darks were put on as the last layer.  It was a challenge getting the right consistency and viscosity of paint.  You have to get enough pigment in your mix to cover and get it dark enough that it won't dry light.  You also need enough fluidity in the paint that you don't lift off the lower layer of paint while painting on the final layer.  Areas in this painting where you see the brush strokes are areas where I was pulling off paint while I was applying paint.


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Watercolor Homework Practicing Wet on Wet Technique

The following watercolors were done from photos on Tom Hoffman's Watercolor Homework blog.
For each of the paintings I started with the sky by wetting the area of the sky with clear water then painting cobalt blue on the wetted page.  Then that was left to dry.  The bottom half was done one of  two ways.  For one painting I just applied a wet base color.  It was the lightest color I was going to use in that area.  The other paintings I actually started the same way I did the sky, with clear water then painting over with my yellows and greens.  The key to avoid blooms is to not re-dip into water.  Be sure that the brush and pigment is drier than the page you are painting on.  Using this technique the water on the paper is the water supply that you use. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Dealing with Greens in Landscape Watercolor Painting

Today in Tuesday's watercolor class we tried an exercise to create a variety of greens using a limited palette.  The base colors we used were Nickel Azo Yellow, Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber. 
Using varying amounts of blue, yellow and Burnt Umber you can see the wide range of greens you can create that harmoniously work together.

Sky Studies Watercolor Homework

Watercolor homework paintings for  Tom Hoffman's Tuesday class.
The point of the exercise is to see how forgiving painting the sky can be looking for simple shapes and values.  The first painting was done on a very wet paper.  The second had an initial clear wash but it ended up drying on me so you can see hard edges to the clouds. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

First Painting of the En Plein Aire Season

Yesterday was a beautiful day in Seattle.   So this was our first chance at painting outdoors for this season.  It was 74 degrees which is very temperate for this time of year.   In Tom's class we were looking for a simple scene and trying to capture the quality of light and long shadows.  I learned something extra.  How to paint in cars using negative painting as well as  finding the shadows and shade side of the car.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Study on Soft Edges in Watercolor

I am taking a watercolor class this spring with Tom Hoffman.  Yesterday we studied how far you can go with soft edges in paintings.  Here is a watercolor done from a photograph of Hawaii.  

The intention of this study was to do a painting all in soft edges to find out what places may need hard edges or if any hard edges are needed at all!  I worked in clear water on both sides of the paper before I started to apply paint strokes with a broad brush.  

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Seattle 10x10 Exhibit through the month of May


Works from Instructors of the Seattle 10x10 program are being exhibited at the Center for Architecture and Design for the month of May.  First Thursday opening tonight from 5-8 pm.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Seattle USk 10x10 Urban Sketching Course and First Free Lecture

Get out your sketching gear!  Whether you want to start learning how to sketch or have been a long time sketcher, we have the classes for you!

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Urban Sketchers we are glad to announce the first year long USk program ever!  This is happening in different parts of the world this year! We are bringing a program to you right here in Seattle.

Please join us!  Check  for information about the class offerings happening internationally.  If you are traveling this year, consider taking a class with one of our sister programs in another country.  This is a great way to meet sketchers around the world as well as learn from some great teachers.

Check here for our program in Seattle and come join us for a free lecture at Daniel Smith Seattle January 28, 2017 11:00 am-1:30 pm.  Meet  and learn with local sketchers.  This is a great way to get into sketching if you are interested but need some help.  Tell your friends about this. All levels are welcome!

I will be teaching  a class titled "Sweeping Views:  Approaches to Panoramic Sketching" June 3, 2017 at Gas Works Park from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.
We will talk about how to set up a panoramic view to get everything you want in the sketch,  how to use watercolor and line to create distance in your sketches, how to simplify a complex scene and maybe even how to do curved perspectives.  Check our program information for how to register. There are limited spaces available.  We encourage you to check out all the classes!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Reducing Your Sketching Gear

Getting ready for the  Urban Sketchers Symposium in Manchester,  my goal is to try to travel light and reduce the amount of sketching gear I take.  Everything I need for sketching now fits in my purse.

I purchased the Pocket Art Toolkit by Expeditionary .
The business card holder sized palettes fit in the kit. I have 28 colors in the wells and 3 pocket palettes.  It takes some getting use to working with  the smaller sized palette but I think I can get use to it.  All my travel brushes fit in a side pocket under the pens.  I added velcro strips to secure the side pocket and keep the brushes from coming out.

Today was the test day.  The pocket palettes surprisingly carry quite a bit of paint.  I will have to add more to it as the paint sinks into the palette leaving room in each well for more paint as it dries.

I am always nervous trying out something new like this.  It sometimes throws me off using a new palette.  With my old larger palette I know exactly where each color is.

Georgetown Garden Walk Garden No. 40 2016