Bluffs over Durango

Durango sits in a valley, created by the Animas River. So there are magnificent views of the mountains from almost every point in town. This particular view is part of my morning commute into town. I love how the shadows show off the definition of the ridges – but it has to be the right time of day. In the afternoon, everything is flooded by sunlight and is flattened out.

For this morning’s sketch, I sat in the park just a few feet further upstream from the rafting sketches.

An Afternoon at the Animas River

Further down the Animas River from the bridge is a series of rapids that rafters and kayakers love to play in. I took an afternoon break and enjoyed a late lunch before sketching the beginning of the rapids. These are easily accessible from one of the many parks in town.

Trying to get better with my watercolors, so I experimented with adding some color to the sketch.

Of course, since I didn’t have to leave just yet, I didn’t. While sitting a few different rafts came down. I thought they’d be a fun challenge to capture in sketch.

Which Witch?

I’ve been having fun playing with my watercolors, and decided to try a new type of project. While I have a comfortable grasp on drawing portraits, I haven’t spent much time adding color to them.

While my sis-n-law was visiting and trying on a hat that I crocheted, I snapped a quick photo of her. Currently in the middle of re-reading the Harry Potter books, it occurred to me that the image would make a great illustration of a witch.

I quickly sketched her out and added some color to the sketch. Definitely not my best drawing, but as a proof-of-concept for a new-ish style and the addition of color, it worked fairly well.

After years of practice capturing every detail and trying to draw realistic images, I am trying to develop a looser, sketchy style. I love the zig-zags in the hat and the wrinkles in the bottom right corner of the shirts, so I’m making progress.

A fun experiment, one well worth repeating.

Playing with Paint

Most of my time is spent sketching or drawing. I don’t consider myself a painter, but I certainly like the idea! The idea of having the whole world of colors to play with is intoxicating.

Here are a few paintings that I’ve created over the past couple of years. Each of them are painted on 8×10″ cold-rolled watercolor paper with acrylic paints. All but the abstract boxes and landscapes are subjects or concepts that I’ve been repeating (exploring in depth) throughout much of my artistic life.

(Click on the title for more details about each of the paintings/series.)

Each of these is painted on 8×10″ cold-rolled watercolor paper with acrylic paints.

Hear, See, Speak no Evil

While enjoying a cabin in the California mountains, I decided to monkey around with some paints. The Hear/See/Speak concept is a concept that continues to capture my attention (like the triptych featuring Ashley). This was a fun painting to work on and was a good way to ease back into acrylics, since I hadn’t used them in some time prior to this.

The colors don’t look right in the image – it’s an emerald green background and a yellowish-brown fur and face.

Hear, See, Speak no Evil  is painted on 8×10″ cold-rolled watercolor paper with acrylics. It was completed in 2015.

Abstract Boxes

There is some abstract art that really captures my attention, that intrigues me and draws me in. Most of it, however, I just don’t understand. Maybe that’s the analytic side of my brain coming out, or a lack in my artistic education, or… -shrugs- Whatever the reason, I generally prefer representational art, and that is definitely what I make most often.

In an attempt to further my understanding, sometimes I try my hand(s) at making abstract work. Abstract Boxes is such a piece, playing with the golden ratio and a variety of colors.

It is painted on 8×10″ cold-rolled watercolor paper with acrylics.

Flying Birds

This is yet another of the recurring images that I draw, a series of (generally 3) stylized birds flying up from the left. Their tails, like ghosts, Chinese dragons, or visual after-images, show the paths they’ve traveled to arrive.

For a long time I’ve thought that this might make an interesting letterhead, or a water-marked set of stationery, though I haven’t pursued that concept yet.

Flying birds in color, with an experimental background and a version of my usual corner-framing. It’s painted on 8×10″ cold-rolled watercolor paper with acrylics.

Sunset Trees

I suppose they could be Sunrise Trees, if you prefer that time of day!

Another of the subjects that I draw regularly are trees, specifically in front of sunset. Here are a few paintings in that vein from a bit of colorful playtime.

The first two combine a few recurring subjects – the borders (specifically the corners), the trees in front of the sun, and that specific way of drawing a sun with the lined “rays” radiating out from them. Of course, I normally do all of these things in a drawing – so this is the colored version of that concept. Additionally, the rounded branches was a new style that I was playing with.

In the above I was playing with texture, using angular hatched lines to fill in the background. And while both of these are acrylic paintings, below I was experimenting with the medium, pursuing a looser, more watercolor-like feel. Along with that looseness I also varied the borders – not sure which I like more, but the varying widths certainly give drastically different feelings to the paintings!Finally, this unique tree was painted at the same time as the orange-skied cityscape and was yet another experiment. I find the delicate, bare branches of trees beautiful and fascinating as they are silhouetted by the sky – and that’s generally how I portray them. Adding leaves is relatively rare, and these stylized, swirls of foliage was an experiment in color and style.

Each of these is painted on 8×10″ cold-rolled watercolor paper with acrylic paints.


There are a few subjects or themes that I find myself returning to over and over. When I’m bored and supposed to be listening I doodle box stacks or swirls. Nothing coming to mind? I’ll make sunset-silhouetted trees. Have a bit of color or a blank paper coffee cup? Cityscapes it is!

I’ve thought about spending a bit of focus drawing real cityscapes that I’ve encountered. Until then, however, here are a few playful paintings, done where I was primarily just having fun with my paint supplies. I do love the contrasting colors and different size/shapes of the buildings and windows!

These two blue-skies were painted simultaneously, side-by-side. So they could function as a diptych (a two-part painting) or equally well as individual works.

Each of these is painted on 8×10″ cold-rolled watercolor paper with acrylic paints.