Dogwoods my next print pattern design?

Dogwood flowers in my sketchbook Just like I knew it would, working every day in my sketchbook has really opened me up creatively. That and working beyond the beach theme. It’s been 12 consecutive days!

This week the dogwoods right outside our windows have been calling to me! I’m thinking about using my dogwood illustrations to create a repeating pattern. I’ve been designing a pattern a month this year. See my other designs here.



Goodbye Spring!

This Spring I’ve been inspired by so many beautiful flowers! Here are 15 of the flower paintings I’ve created:

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Spring Flowers in Washington, D.C.

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the time when our garden comes back to life. When I can find beautiful flowers to paint in my own backyard. Last week we took the kids to Washington, D.C. We were lucky enough to catch the Cherry Blossoms in bloom. We took in many of the sites – monuments and museums. We toured the Capitol building and the Library of Congress, which is beautiful inside. It’s like the Sistine Chapel!

Me in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. 
meussupremecourt libraryofcongress
The inside of the Library of Congress.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was a quick visit to the U.S. Botanic Garden. The flowers were beautiful! I couldn’t believe the colors and patterns orchids come in. There is even a cool exhibit on roots. I was so happy to get back home and back to painting! If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’ve already started painting some of these beautiful flowers.

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Watercolor: Building up the Layers

When I first started working in watercolor I was intimidated by paintings with highlights and shadows. I thought I couldn’t possibly paint several layers. I hoped I could paint one layer and make it good enough. As I got comfortable with watercolor, I realized it’s all about building up the layers of paint. You start out in the ugly stages and as you add, and add, you [hopefully] turn the ugly duckling into a beautiful swan. I liked that you built it up, because mistakes could be covered or fixed. Each brushstroke wasn’t make or break. It’s a process.

This is what I was thinking about when I painted this sunflower this morning. How the ugly stage was awfully ugly! And how each layer of watercolor I added made the painting better. Originally I planned to add ink to the flower when I was done painting. As I got closer to finishing, I liked it the way it was. My daughter agreed.



It may be shades of white and brown in my garden but inside there is color! The Burpee (seed, plant, and flower) catalog arrived. I couldn’t be happier using every color in my palette to play in my sketchbook. There is something very freeing, for me, when I work in my sketchbook. The pressure is off! And my new sketchbook is a heavier weight paper, so it’s better for painting with watercolor.

I’m especially proud of my Zinnia. 🙂



Watercolor Montauk Daisies – Lifting Color

I took the reference photo for this painting in our yard. I really worked this painting! I kept going back in and adding color. Good thing I’m using watercolor paper these days!

Finally I remembered to tape my paper to a board (a palette did the trick) to keep the paper smooth and prevent the paint from pooling. I made sure to add paint to the “white” petals, because they aren’t truly white. Then, I added the base color of the background.
md1st md2ndl

When that was mostly dry I painted in some details. BTW in the end, I preferred this painting upside down from the way I painted it. So the painting is flipped from here out.

I added some outlines and details in ink. But felt the empty area needed to be darker. I had to add color several times to get it dark enough. Then, I thought it looked weird. Like the Montauk daisies were floating. Even my nine year old son said, “Maybe you need to add some leaves in there.” I drew some leaves in ink and then lifted the dark color where the leaves were. I added a little bit of green to those new leaves. I like the result and how those leaves are subtle. [See final painting in the first photo.]

If you have never “lifted” watercolor paint before, it is easy. Using a wet brush, you touch the area you want to lift the paint from. Wipe the brush on a paper towel (you’ll see the color come off onto it) and rewet the brush and repeat until you’ve achieved your desired effect. 🙂

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Watercolor Rose of Sharon Flower

I’ve been working on this watercolor flower – a Rose of Sharon, I believe – since last week. I was walking by it, after my run, and took a bunch of photos. It’s funny how you notice things when you are walking or running, that you wouldn’t notice when driving by. It was a “stop and smell the roses” moment. That’s one of things I like about running. It’s a time to think and notice the things around you.

I’m happy with how the flower came out. Especially when I reviewed the stages the painting went through:
roseofsharon1 roseofsharon2 roseofsharon3

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The Cottage out back

I’ve been wanting to paint this watercolor for a while. The “cottage” looks so pretty with the flowers starting to bloom. I often imagine turning it into an art studio. In reality it is the garage – lol – and it is filled with bikes, the lawnmower, gardening supplies, beach chairs, sleds, and all our other stuff! Not to mention scary jumping crickets.

Some of my steps:
First I drew with ink.
Then I added in the color:


Fun and loose in the garden

Today, I decided to sit outside and do a loose, fun watercolor. I didn’t overthink it. I tried hard not to overwork it and I’m happy with the results! It feels good to have some success after two weeks of torment! The week before last, I struggled with beach girl’s face. Then, last week I took a step back and tried to figure out watercolor faces. She is still a work in progress.

Today’s steps:
garden1 garden2 garden5


Practicing painting pansies and other things…

Throughout the day I kept being pulled back to “practicing painting pansies” (say that 10x fast). My intention was to dedicate the day to acrylics – why was it so hard to do that?

I started with a quick warm up sketch. Then, I started playing with the pansies in watercolor. I kept finding excuses not to start with the acrylics – breakfast, more coffee, stripping the sheets off the beds – lol! Finally I forced myself into my studio and started painting.

First I started adding branches to my “sunrise trees” painting. (Inspired by my other tree painting.)

Then I pulled out my “jellyfish”! It has been awhile. I’m not sure I’ll ever finish this one, but I like what I’ve added to it.

Why was it so hard to get into the “acrylic groove?” Watercolors are easy to pull out and work on (and easy to put away). Acrylics require more setup and clean up. Is it that? Or is it that I’m not that inspired by the ones I’m working on? Or maybe I’m more confident with the watercolor? And somewhat intimidated by the acrylics? Whatever it is, I plan on pushing through.