simple is best


Evening Light 27.7.16

“Here’s an opportunity to apply some of the most traditional watercolour techniques
to painting a valley landscape suffused with warm evening light.”

This is Tony Smibert’s introduction to the third and final Project of Part IV in his
Painting Landscapes from your Imagination.


 loti27iii   loti27iv


I decided to stop at this point even though the exercise had a number of further components to it. I liked the lightness of the painting, which reminds me of the wonderful vistas we experienced a couple of years ago in the Land of Enchantment that is New Mexico. I also was thinking of Tony’s words later on in his introduction:

“I think I could (maybe should) have stopped a number of times when the painting was working well…
because I do believe that simple is best.”

Stay tuned as I’ll finish Tony’s exercise, and his book, with another painting tomorrow and keep this one as it is, i.e. sometimes the best advice is to quit while you’re ahead.

we happy few

Discover Challenge: Shared Journeys.

“For this week’s challenge, tell a story that shows the value of company.”

I think these pictures speak for themselves. I am always happy to have the opportunity to revisit our six day trek to Machu Pichu three years ago with Mountain Lodges of Peru in the company of a great group of individuals who came together for the first time and parted as the closest of friends, having shared in the adventure of a lifetime.

“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers”…and sisters:-)

Machu Picchu

carrying all before: part 2


Riding the Wind 26.7.16 Final

I would like to dedicate today’s painting to the memory of Father Jacques Hamel
cruelly murdered today as he performed morning mass at his church,
St Etienne-du-Rouvray in Normandy, France.

Mohammed Karabila, the president of Normandy’s Regional Council of the Muslim Faith, who worked with Father Hamel on an interfaith committee, described him as “a man of peace” who “dedicated his life to his ideas and religion”.

Father Hamel’s spirit is now riding the wind, a wind which we will all feel wherever we may be.

carrying all before


Riding the Wind 25.7.16 In progress.

“I associate the fall with a slightly hazy atmosphere, light breezes with a hint of warmth and the promise of colder days ahead. The wind seems to carry all before it, one minute the leaves from a nearby tree, and next a swooping gull; while up above, a thin layer of clouds is blown away in streams of white.
I love it.”

Tony Smibert in the introduction to the second project of Part IV of Painting Landscapes from your Imagination: Riding the Wind.



to be continued…

Worldwatercolormonth Day 25

prepare six dishes: part 2


Rising Mist 24.7.16 Final

Project One of Tony Smibert’s Painting Landscapes from the Imagination completed today.




“Finish off with a razor blade” writes Tony.  “Here and there the grass can be enlivened by scratching back a few blades of grass. It’s finished!”

On to Project 2 tomorrow.

Worldwatercolormonth Day 24

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