prepare six dishes


Rising Mist 23.07.16 In Progress

The last section, Part IV, of Tony Smibert’s book Painting Landscapes from you Imagination, which I began working through at the beginning of the month, is titled: The Projects, of which there are three, and today I began the first – Rising Mist.

The palette. You’ll need to have all your colors ready to go,” writes Tony.
Prepare six dishes of the following colors: Yellow Ochre, Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue, Hooker’s Green, Lamp Black. The last dish will contain your gray made from Phthalo Blue and Light Red.”


The color notes are a way of planning before you begin”


to be continued…

Although I was working in my studio in Vancouver my thoughts were many thousands of miles away with the people of Kabul where so many lost their lives or were injured in yet another terrorist crime against humanity today. I may be painting and trying to bring color and joy into the world but I want you to know that my heart breaks with each and every one of these terrible events that our world is experiencing with a too unbearable regularity.

a sky with a message

Day 207iii

I painted this last July though never posted it. Realizing that the colors of the German flag are very much in evidence in the dramatic sky, this watercolor is one way for me to express to those in Germany that my thoughts are very much with them today.

WPC: Cherry On Top

cherry i

Couldn’t resist putting a cherry on top of yesterday’s
miniature landscape for the Weekly Photo Challenge today.

landscapes in miniature


“There are a number of very simple yet amazingly effective ways in which you can create effective landscapes in miniature inside your studio that will enable you to sketch and paint as if you were perched on that cliff. What’s more, if you’d like the view to offer more or less of the valley, you can shift the mountains around a bit. It’s easy, and the materials are probably beside you right now”

Tony Smibert from Chapter 11: Idea Starters, in Painting Landscapes from you Imagination


This has been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding exercises so far, and as Tony writes it was remarkably easy. It began by taking a sheet of white paper and crumpling it to create an imagined mountainous terrain complete with soaring peaks and distant valleys, which became further defined with washes of color.  

Once I was happy with my miniature landscape it became time for some creative fun. First I placed it in front of a landscape I painted for one of the earlier exercises in Tony’s book,
which you may remember in a post entitled imbued with possibilities.



Then I tried it against one of the dark ceramic tiles I often use as a
backdrop to some of my photos in the studio.



Finally, I took the landscape outside as Tony suggests and photographed it against today’s beautiful blue sky, “shifting the mountains around a bit” to create different views.

loti21vi    loti22ix

loti21viii    loti21xiii

loti21xv    loti21xiv

It’s been a great day as you can see. I very much hope yours has been too.

Worldwatercolormonth Day 21

she loves me

shelovesme i


she loves me, she loves me not…she loves me

With all the dandelions about at the moment I couldn’t resist
one final submission for this week’s Photo Challenge: Details.

shelovesme ii

Weekly Photo Challenge: Details


Palettescape  20.7.16

palette 20.7.16

The details of today’s palette demonstrate how serendipity
can so often create the best landscapes of all.

Worldwatercolormonth Day 20

encapsulating the essence

“I’ve always loved the dry landscape gardens of the Zen Temples. In these tiny gardens a small rock in a raked area of sand may represent a mighty mountain in a vast ocean,
which in its simplicity encapsulates the essence of all mountains.”

Tony Smibert in Chapter 11 of Painting Landscapes from your Imagination.


This second exercise in Chapter 11 was entitled “Using rocks to suggest mountains.” Tony describes how he developed a great affection for Japanese gardens during his travels in Japan and suggests using interesting rocks to create imagined mountainous landscapes. It just so happens that some years ago I produced four drawings of the Sino Himalayan Garden at VanDusen Botanical Gardens here in Vancouver.

Van Dusen ib    Van Dusen iib

Van Dusen iiib    Van Dusen ivc

Inspired by Tony’s exercise today I thought I would create an imagined landscape of mountains, sky and water using the drawings as a starting point.


loti19iii    loti19vi
loti19iv    loti19v

Fortunately I didn’t leave these drawings behind thirty four years ago and it has been a treat to revisit them today, thanks to Tony’s exercise.

Worldwatercolormonth Day 19

voyage of discovery

“Watercolor is a voyage of discovery and, as corny as it may sound, the most satisfactory results are often achieved by taking what comes – not only in terms of painting technique,
but also in terms of your individual creative energy”

Tony Smibert from Chapter 11: Idea Starters, in Painting Landscapes from your Imagination.


Back in the studio after a wonderful weekend with our beautiful granddaughter, Tony Smibert’s exercise today was all about creating an original landscape from random blots.  The blots were first created using crumpled plastic wrap painted with a wash of paynes gray and indigo pressed gently onto the paper.

loti18ii    loti18iii

Land forms magically appeared from the blots which were further developed with different coloured transparent washes.  Finally, “dry-brush” work created the effect of rapids flowing through the imagined valley and the rock faces darkened to provide distance and depth.

loti18iv    loti18v

Welcome to my Monday “voyage of discovery”

Worldwatercolormonth Day 18

all you need


On another day of tragedy taking place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a message from our beautiful granddaughter whose radiant smile is lifting all of our spirits this weekend.
If only love was all you needed, but it certainly is a start.