Working tall

For the first nine years of my painting journey, I worked almost exclusively in a 10.5″ x 14.5″ rectangle. This size is known as “quarter sheet,” since a full sheet of watercolor paper is 22″ x 30″.

A couple of years ago, an early buyer of my work mentioned seeing paintings that were wide and short – perfect sofa paintings. The idea stuck in my head, but I started playing with tall and narrow so I could focus on skies.

This is my current sky painting, depicting an early summer sunrise in the San Juan Islands. Others are in the works, so stay tuned for updates!

Test everything…

When my favorite art supply store has an in-store special for a free watercolor journal with purchase of watercolor pencils, *of course* I’m going shopping! I already had an 8″ x 5″ Pentalic Aqua Journal, and absolutely love the paper. The new journal is 5-1/4″ x 3-1/4″ – perfect for my purse. (The pencil set is also Pentalic.)

Pentalic Aqua journals in two sizes

I already had a selection of watercolor pencils in my sketch kit, but many were muted colors that didn’t give the clean mixes I wanted. So, I created quick sample squares of current and new colors, comparing the hues of each.

Of the 13 colors that made the cut, only four came from the original set! (There is also a water-soluble graphite pencil for drawing.)

While it is always tempting to grab new colors and start using them, it can quickly lead to frustration. In just 10 minutes, with 40 little squares, I was able to select a balanced palette of light/dark, warm/cool and saturated/muted. I will probably do a few more studies before I do a “serious” sketch, but I’m at least familiar with each color.

At the Peruvian Paso horse show


Each summer, the Northwest Peruvian Horse Club holds their Championship Show at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe, WA. It is always a treat to attend, as this is one of the friendliest groups of horse people you will ever meet. Everyone is happy to share the history of the breed, answer questions about the tack the horses are shown in, and pose their horses for pictures.

The Peruvian Horse was developed within Peru using a trio of foundation breeds. From the NAPHA website: The Spanish Jennet gave its even temperament and smooth ambling gait, the African Barb contributed great energy, strength and stamina while the Andalusian imparted its excellent conformation, action, proud carriage and beauty to the new breed.

Peruvian Pasos have a smooth, ground-eating gait that is appreciated for both its style and comfort. As I have seen visiting the show, the horses have friendly, engaging personalities and love interacting with “their” people and strangers alike. I can’t wait to start painting some of these beauties! The painting at the top of the page is one of my first watercolors of a Peruvian gelding ready for the show ring.

Peruvian Paso Orgullo Del Peru waiting for a cookie

Peruvian Paso Orgullo Del Peru learning tricks

Peruvian Paso Orgullo Del Peru shaking off the sand

Peruvian Paso looking for treats

Peruvian Paso ready for the show ring