Newborn Family Portrait

This painting was a shower gift to a very dear friend. Working on it was pure joy. Dad’s sweater and shirt collar are not in proper perspective. Even though the fingers are too long, I do love the hands. Babies skin tones are too dirty, but I like the faces of Mom and dad.

Portraits require a lot of layering and mixing wet on the paper. My favorite pigments for skin tone are Azo Yellow Medium, Perylene Maroon, Quinacradone Rose, Cobalt Blue and Winsor Violet (for shadows).

This painting is done on Arches 140 lb, hot pressed paper. This was my first time using hot pressed for a portrait and I really loved it. It was much easier to keep the skin velvety and touchable.

The technique used in the background is a fun one that I learned from Ingrid E. Albrecht AWS, NWS WHS. You’ll need a Soft Rubber Brayer and some smooth paper towel. Apply your pigment to the area being painted. Let it dry a little while you wad up some paper towel. Squeeze it tight so you get lots of hard wrinkles and texture in the paper, then open it up. While your pigment is still damp, place the paper towel on top and then roll the rubber brayer over it, applying a lot of pressure. You will achieve a texture similar to using plastic wrap, but softer and more subtle.

Two photos were combined to get the composition right for this painting. The portrait photo had the baby looking down with her face was not visible. I wanted her looking up as her mommy. So, another photo of the child was used to sketch her in.

A portrait coupon or gift certificate is a wonderful gift to give as a baby shower gift. And then, if you are feeling really generous, you could include a gift certificate for framing 🙂

You can purchase a gift certificate from my Etsy shop:


Corn Maze

8D8B0476-09A1-491C-9E36-5037F16C3AE5Corn Maze

14” x 14” watercolor on Arches 140 lb. cold pressed.

The fourth of my five children. The third of my four daughters. This painting describes her well. She swims apart from the Shoal, creative and enigmatic.



This portrait Is of my youngest daughter Hannah and her rescued pup, Victor. It’s definitely a “Who Rescued Who” situation.

Hannah sent me a photo and asked if I could paint it fo her  I did my best. Working on this, I was reminded of how much I love working on portraits  it’s a very personal experience .


Happy . . . Ever After


Happy . . . Ever After

Watercolor 14 x 14 on Arches 300 lb. rough. I have no idea who took the photo that this painting was done from but, credit to whoever it was 🙂

Two years ago in April, my son Daniel sent out an email to family and friends inviting us to a camp west of Kalamazoo for a  birthday party / proposal to His girlfriend Jennifer Jennings on June 13. The surprise was on us as we all waited, sipping our pre-party wine in the large camp pavilion, that was set with tables and chairs, drinks and snacks. The dining hall was decorated and set up with a feast catered by ChinnChinn.  Dan and His 8-Year-old son, Henry, were bringing Jenny into the camp site in a white, horse-drawn carriage; but it was taking forever.

Finally we heard the clip clop of the horse’s hooves coming down the lane toward the pavilion. Everyone got quiet and tried to hide behind the pavilion wall.  Henry was in the back seat of the carriage while Dan sat in the front holding an umbrella over Jenny to hide her from view. As they approached the pavilion Dan started laughing and yelled “come on you guys, do you really think I could have organized all this on my own?” Then Jenny popped out from behind the umbrella in her wedding dress and they yelled “SURPRISE! You’re all invited to our wedding. Please join us down by the lake for our exchange of vows.” Toph Theisen and his family had flown in, Toph (friend from birth)  to preform the wedding ceremony. As Jenny was walking down the aisle she asked Toph’s four-year-old daughter if she would be her flower girl. Jazz was thrilled as Jenny pulled a tutu out of a basket for her to put on with her Super Girl T-shirt and she scattered petals as she followed Jenny down the aisle beaming from ear to ear. The crowd was abuzz with surprise and delight. No one knew.

This painting is the Happy couple exiting to shouts of “you dawg” and “congratulation. ”

It was a day to remember.

KIA Classes

I fell into a little bit of a painting slump, feeling uninspired. So, I thought it might help to get myself into a couple of watercolor class and I signed up for an intermediate watercolor class with Don Marek and a Plein Air watercolor painting class with Susan Badger. It’s been fun and interesting. Both teachers are talented, inspiring and encouraging. I’m learning.

Here are some of the things we’ve worked on.

Week One – Parkview Hills Bridge

Parkview Hills

Week Two – Misty Milham Park

Misty Milham Park

Week Three – Cabin in the Woods

Barn in the Woods

Week Four – City Scape – Canal Street New York City

Canal Street New York

I enjoyed working on this city scape. It’s bad but I learned a lot and think I would like to do more, better 🙂

I miss painting portraits. But, this is good. I’m trying to loosen up and am learning to do value studies. I’ve always done them in color.



My daughter, Miriam, has “encouraged” me to paint botanicals. She’s a lover of flowers and plants and gardening and things of beauty. Several months ago I found a book on painting botanicals in watercolor by .Eleanor B. Wunderlich

It’s a beautiful, instructive book. Here are a couple of illustrations I did from the book. I obviously have a long way to go, but I LOVE working on these.

Red Raspberries

Red Raspberries





Suki died a couple of months ago and her owner commissioned me to paint her portrait as a Christmas gift to her son. Due to all the darks, I found her difficult to paint. But once I started on her face, I really started falling in love with her, looking into those eyes.  Rest In Peace Miss Suki. You were/are very loved.

Watercolor on Arches 140 pound cold pressed paper – 19.5 x 13.5


The Frog Stalker – Process

I’m hoping that maybe posting this sketch will give the courage to overcome the intimidation factor so it doesn’t sit here for weeks while I “think” about painting it. 😁


And so it has begun. So much going on here, but I’m going to try to keep it simple and loose until I get to the figure. The grasses and leaves that I want to keep sunlit are masked out with frisket. The figure is also masked just to keep it clean while I work on the background.

The painting is being done on 140lb. Arches cold pressed paper, not quite a half sheet, 13.5 x 16.5 with lightfast colors from Winsor & Newton, M. Graham, and Daniel Smith. This photo image looks very gray. It’s actually more green, so hopefully the next photo will be better.

Steps 3 and 4 more of the pond grasses go in and the masking comes off. Once the grasses that were masked go in, it will be time to start on the figure.


Just a few more details on the background grasses and pond and I’ll be ready to start on the figure.


And the figure has begun!!


And we’re almost done. A little more detail on the face and hair, refine the shadows and I think I will be able to step away.


And . . . it is complete. I tried something new on the flesh tones, that I learned about on a Susan Winton video.  She uses new gamboge as an underwash, followed by scarlet lake or quinacradone red. Scarlet Lake is a fugitive pigment so I tried Holbein’s Gamboge Nova followed by Daniel Smith’s Naphthol Red. I really liked the effect. I’m not 100% happy with the facial features and may try a couple of things. But, not wanted to ruin it, I will go very easy and it may just stay as is.

Yes, I went back in. Mary Whyte said on her Mastering Watercolor Portraiture DVD that you are done with a painting when there is nothing that you can possibly do to make it better. I had to try to improve what I did not like about his face.


I am happier with it.