Watercolor Landscaping



I have really grown to have great respect for landscape, seascape, naturescape, and plein air watercolor artists!  I find these scenes very challenging, but often get the itch to try.

Most attempts have been less than stellar, but I keep trying.

One of my favorite watercolor artist bloggers, Debi Riley, recently shared a simple monochromatic landscape that was so striking in a blog post she called, “Start Easy (and don’t poke the bear).  I had to give it a try.

I mainly used Raw Sienna in various tones using the simple design Debi created.  I couldn’t resist adding a bit of Burnt Sienna and Quinacridone Gold and having it resemble Autumn (with some falling leaves made from my unavoidable “Jodi splatters,” but this was a great step  in building landscape confidence.

Doing this one gave me the confidence to give landscape another try.

This time I followed the style and tutelage of Terry Harrison, an amazing watercolor artist from the UK I recently discovered through the ArtistNetwork.tv site.

Country Lane Late Summer Landscape Watercolor 11x14 Artistico

Country Lane Late Summer Landscape Watercolor 11×14 Artistico

I had fun painting the rolling hills and trying a different way with trees using more of a stippling effect.  I really didn’t have the right  brush and subbed a scrubber instead – not quite the effect I wanted, but confidence-building nonetheless.  I am fascinated with what a difference adding shadows makes too.

I may not be a pro at this yet, but I am up for the challenge, and I am going to keep on landscaping!  Watercolor that is.  I’ll leave the tree pruning, mulching, and grass-cutting to hubby.  As long as I provide a cold iced tea every once in a while, there are cookies in the freezer, and I bake a pie now and then, I think I can get away with it…

Happy Landscaping – whichever kind you prefer!

Cheers & Hugs,



A Valentine Landscape

Landscape marty valentine 2016

Landscapes in watercolor painting are a new challenge for me!

To date, my largest watercolors have been 5 x 7, and I’ve dabbled in trying to recreate the amazing abstract landscape art of Debi Riley in small card-sized pieces, but I really wanted to surprise hubby with an original landscape piece from me for Valentine’s Day this year.

No pressure!!  Right?!

Sheesh!  I had no idea what a challenge it was going to be!

Every evening after he went to bed for about a week, I tried again and again and again.  I started by watching some great tutorials by Shari Blaukopf on Craftsy.  She does gorgeous landscape sketches in pen, ink and watercolor.  I’m not the best at sketching….   Yet!   But I did learn a few pointers from Sheri about plein art and sketching.  The best thing I learned, however, was about some brushes she recommended that made such a difference in my painting!  The Raphael Squirrel Mop and Escoda Versatil are my first experience with professional brushes.  Oh the way the mop holds and spreads water and the precision point of the Escoda!  Up until now, I struggled with cheaper brushes not holding water enough to carry across a larger piece of paper or the flexibility of a large brush with a point to do large washes as well as small details. Shari also has a blog called The Sketchbook where she posts art every day from her hometown in Montreal.

I also watched some Youtube videos, and tried some landscapes from various artists there.  I especially enjoy watching Alan Owen, an artist from the UK with over 70 years of painting under his belt who shares so generously of his talent.

This was my best attempt (in 11″ x 14″), and though it is extremely far from what I intended, he loved it!  Phew!  I guess that is why they say love is blind.  Actually it is why love is so sweet.  He thinks it ranks up with some beautiful art he took me to see at a local exhibit in Cranberry.  I know it isn’t.  I know exactly what I’ve done wrong and want to improve.  I know what it took to produce some of the masterpieces we saw at that exhibit.  But to his sweet eyes, he saw art, he saw beauty, and I love him for it.

Maybe next year I can replace it with a better one, but this year, my Valentine said “This is just what I would like our backyard to look like!”  And if we squint really, really, REALLY hard, we can imagine that our little stream and woods do!  (wink wink!)

Cheers & Hugs,

Swooning over Watercolor

watercolor card trees inspired by debi riley

One of my favorite, most inspiration watercolor artists is a sweet lady that lives on the entire other side of the world from me in Mars.

Debi Riley lives all the way in Perth, Australia, but because of a  chance connection through WordPress and the World Wide Web, I have the joy of following her lovely work and SWOONING daily.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she may come to the U.S. some day to visit relatives and find a way to Mars to meet and spend some time showing me how she makes such beautiful magic with paint and paper…  I will cook and bake for her and serve lots of wine if only she will show me how to make such swoonable art as she does!

Debi makes it look so effortless, yet when I attempt to do the same…. ARGH!  No swooning!

I keep reading, though, and I keep trying to absorb, and I keep laying paint on paper.

This little landscape card, came after two frustrating attempts to do a full-sized painting and not liking what happened.  Then I realized I didn’t pay attention to cool colors for background and warm for foreground.  After a while, do these types of things become natural?  I just want to be loose and free and “do it” without thinking…..  but it seems there really is a lot of discipline – even in (if not especially in) abstract art, which ends up looking so effortless.

If you would like to see some truly beautiful art, please be sure to check out Debi Riley’s blog here.  Debi is an award-winning creative arts instructor with over 15 years experience who works  in watercolor, acrylic, oils, pastels, charcoal, mixed media, and photography.  She also has a beautiful Pinterest page here.

In the meantime, I’m going to keep trying, and I appreciate you humoring me by allowing me to share.

Happy Tuesday!  Happy Groundhog Day!  Happy day to do what makes you happy… at life in between.

Cheers & Hugs,