Pink Apricot Watercolor Tulips

Pink Apricot Watercolor Expressionist Tulips - 8 x 10 Fabriano 140 lb Cold Press

Pink Apricot Watercolor Expressionist Tulips – 8 x 10 Fabriano 140 lb Cold Press

Pink Apricot Watercolor Tulips.

I found a few extra moments to steal away to my art studio this past weekend.

I felt like painting some tulips – inspired by our recent trip to Phipps Conservatory‘s Spring Flower Show.

I gave this one a couple tries before I finally decided I liked this version.  I started too tight and too “literal.”  I so admire folks who paint things that look exactly like real life, but it is not my passion.   In my first go, I tried much to hard to replicate the photo.  I then loosened up a bit and created this version that more represents the beauty I felt looking at the tulips.

To me, this painting speaks Joy and Happiness and Life.

And that is what I am feeling this week as we count down the days in wedding week!

Cheers & Hugs,

Daniel Smith Watercolor Paints used:  Rhodonite Genuine, Cadmium Yellow Light, Green Gold, Perylene Green

Paper:  Fabriano Artistico 140lb Cold Press

A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods Watercolor - 8x10 Fabriano 140lb Cold Press

A Walk in the Woods Watercolor – 8×10 Fabriano 140lb Cold Press

A Walk in the Woods.

I took some time one evening this week
to splash some paint in a way that is a challenge to me – landscape.

Not allowing myself to get bogged down in the details,
and following the inspiration of Andrew Geeson once again,

I created this little painting I call
“A Walk in the Woods.”

One week from today, a very special couple –
our youngest son and our future daughter-in-law

will be taking a very important walk…
A walk down the aisle.

A walk into a new life.
A shared life.

A lifetime commitment
to each other.

I am so happy for them
and cannot wait to share in this walk with them.

Love you dearly
Nick and Liz!

Cheers & Hugs,

And Happy Earth Day!  A landscape painting is only fitting for #EarthDay!

Potted Blue Lavender in Watercolor

Potted Blue Lavender in Watercolor - 8x10" - Fabriano 140lb Cold Press

Potted Blue Lavender in Watercolor – 8×10″ – Fabriano 140lb Cold Press

Potted Blue Lavender in Watercolor.

Oh what fun I had splashing this blue – Cerulean, French Ultramarine, and a splash of Red for some violet tint.

This painting was inspired by one of my favorite watercolor artists, Andrew Geeson.  I love Andrew’s loose style and his fun Youtube tutorials.  I like to watch him do it, and then walk away and try to create it in my own way.  Mine usually look quite different, but that is the beauty of everyone’s personal style.

I love the smell of lavender!  For my soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Liz’s bridal shower, her sister made favors for everyone of lavender sugar scrub.  I use it almost every day!  She made it from coconut oil, sugar, and lavender essence.  It is so heavenly to rub between the palms and fingers of my hands and on my feet, making everything so much softer and smelling beautiful.

Lavender can also be used in gourmet cooking.  I’m excited to try a recipe one of Liz’s aunts has made for the wedding cookie table.  She made earl grey tea bread with lavender butter!  Doesn’t that sound amazing?!

So no wonder I am thinking of lavender.  I think I will look into buying a lavender plant and seeing how well it does in my little corner of the world.

In the meantime, I thoroughly enjoyed painting lavender in watercolor with a short little half hour break at life in between.

Cheers & Hugs,






Into the Woods in Watercolor

Into the Woods Watercolor 9x11" Arches 140lb Rough

Into the Woods Watercolor 9×11″ Arches 140lb Rough

Into the Woods in Watercolor.

As I dream and wait for the trees in our backyard woods to transform into their Spring and Summer beauty from their current state of brown dormant sticks (recently covered in snow yesterday!) , I found a tiny bit of time late one evening this week to spend in my art studio painting a simple “spontaneous” landscape watercolor painting.

I haven’t had much time for art lately, so it was fun to create this little scene by completely wetting down the paper first and just throwing on some Cerulean Blue, Olive Green, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna and Quinacridone Gold and then twisting and turning the paper to allow it to form a soft background.

Once dry, I used a rigger brush in the same colors to add a bit of definition here and there.  The total time spent on this was less than 30 minutes, but it felt great to paint.  I was inspired by Steve Mitchell’s Spontaneous Watercolor Landscape to try this technique and hope to do it again.  This is the kind of painting I really love to do – spontaneous, somewhat abstract, and very relaxing.

Happy Weekend!  Hope you find time to do the things you love!

Cheers & Hugs,

Painting Purple Posies

Purple Crocus Spring Watercolor 10x14" 300 lb Arches Cold Press

Purple Crocus Spring Watercolor 10×14″ 300 lb Arches Cold Press

Painting Purple Posies.

Though I could never create the beauty Mother Nature does…

especially in Spring when the purple crocuses pop up and  remind us once again of the hope of life and rebirth and renewal…

I couldn’t resist painting my impression of these beauties I captured and posted yesterday.

It was good to splash some Winsor Violet and Opera Rose and Prussian Blue and Cadmium Yellow with a touch of Perylene Green.

And instead of trying to recreate them, my goal was to paint how they made me feel.

I struggle with stopping here or filling in the details to make them look more realistic.  But ultimately, my love for impressionistic painting wins, and I stopped.

Before I ever ventured into this amazing joy of painting, I would have thought this way easier than exactly duplicating or painting more realistic representations, but the urge to “fiddle” and “replicate” typically leaves me feeling less satisfied.

To restrain….

To stop “before…”

To leave a bit – even if only a teensy bit – to the imagination…

is a challenge…

But a crazy and totally fulfilling, joyful experience when it works.

Not convinced I hit it with this one, but the joy  in the journey might just be as satisfying as the ultimate goal.

Kinda like life – huh?

It’s a journey – meant to be embraced and expressed and felt – all along the way.

Once we reach the destination – then what?

Cheers  & Hugs,


A “New” Easel for My Art Studio

A “New” Easel for My Art Studio.

Yesterday, I was gifted with something very special for my new art studio.

As many of you may recall, my brother passed away two days after Christmas – just a few months ago.  He sadly took his own life.  He was a troubled man who struggled with alcoholism, but was once a bright, highly intelligent boy and handsome young man who lost his way due to the disease that took over his life.

I came to find out he went through a period where he had a passion for art and tried his hand at painting.  Though I have not seen any of the work he did, his friend generously offered his art easel to me as a small remembrance of him.

And so I placed it next to my current one hubby bought me when I decided I wanted to try my hand at painting almost two years ago.  He has been so supportive and encouraging, and even made me a room (though he will tell it much less romantically stating he was tired of my art stuff all over the house!).

How couldn’t one enjoy and feel loved spending time in a room made for me by my hubby and with so many beautiful things from so many wonderful friends and family members.

And now this special remembrance.

Finding joy in the ordinary

Cherishing the moments

Cheers & Hugs,

To see some of my artwork (as well as my daughter-in-laws beautiful rustic hand-painted signs) for sale, feel free to visit us at McKinneyX2Designs on Etsy.

March Madness Ambiguity

Earth, Light, & Wind Abstract Brusho Watercolor

Earth, Light, & Wind Abstract Brusho Watercolor

Like the ambiguity of the weather in March,
do you ever wonder why…

there is no ham in hamburger,
or no egg in eggplant?

Do you ever wonder why…

Chili is hot
and being hot is cool?

and if we say, “She sees a lot,”
does she see much or a piece of land?

Have you considered why…

when the stars come out, they are visible,
but when we turn the lights out, they are invisible?

The ambiguity of this existence
we call life.

Cheers & Hugs,

Abstract Watercolor done with Brusho Crystal Colours:  Earth, Light & Wind


The Best Things in Life

Abstract Gold Flower 8x10 Arches 140lb Hot Press

Abstract Gold Flower 8×10 Arches 140lb Hot Press

The Best Things in Life…
aren’t things.

The Best Things in Life are..

Hugs -real, authentic, tight bear hugs,

Family – and friends who are our chosen family,

Smiles – the kind where your eyes and cheeks and whole face smiles,

Laughter – from the belly that can’t be contained,

Happy memories – of cherished moments,

Love – the verb, the action, the undeniable, overwhelming choice and joy.

The Best Things in Life
aren’t things.

Cheers & Hugs,

Daniel Smith Watercolors:  Quinacridone Gold, Perylene Green