journey’s end

vandusenscape iv

landscape from the immagination 31.7.16

So here we are at the end of July, the last day of World Watercolor Month, and the end of my journey through Tony Smibert’s Painting Landscapes from your Imagination. As a finale I thought I would revisit one of the images you may remember from my post, “encapsulating the essence,” a drawing of the Sino Himalayan Garden at VanDusen Botanical Gardens here in Vancouver.

Van Dusen ivc

I made a monochrome print on Arches watercolor paper (11″ x 15″); took this to the studio;
mixed my bowls of color and let the washes do their work.

vandusen      vandusenscape ii

Worldwatercolormonth Day 31

vandusenscape iii

I wonder what August will bring…

a mini retrospective

“A studio is not only a place, it’s a state of mind” Tony Smibert

On July 1st I set out to work my way through Tony Smibert’s Painting Landscapes from your Imagination, and as those of you who followed my progress know, yesterday I completed the project that I had set myself. July was also World Watercolor Month thanks to Charlie O’Shields, so this was the perfect fit.

It’s always fun to look back sometimes so I thought today I would give myself a little
mini retrospective for the month of July.

My thanks to Charlie and to all of you who joined me on the journey, and of course a big shout out and thank you to the great Australian artist Tony Smibert whose books are a source of such great inspiration to so many.

Tony dedicated his book to his two children, so I would like to dedicate my “retrospective” to my beautiful granddaughter who is really the greatest inspiration of all.

“become an original”


landscape from the imagination  29.7.17

Having worked my way through Tony Smibert’s Painting Landscapes from your Imagination throughout this past month here is the final paragraph of the book, which will explain the origin of today’s painting, my “original” variation on the book’s last exercise.

“I hope this book has encouraged you. There’s room in the watercolour world for you to take any technical and aesthetic direction you choose. So become an original! Work with the medium in your own way. Adapt, absorb, modify and utilize my suggestions or anyone else’s in any way that works for you!

Great final words in an inspiring book from which I have learnt so much.
Thank you Tony.

simple is best 2


Evening Light II 28.7.16

Back to the drawing board today with a second visit to the third and final exercise
in Tony Smibert’s book Painting Landscapes from your Imagination.


Worldwatercolormonth Day 28

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.

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.