Tag Archives: painting

Quick update: Watercolor Portrait of Otto

Welcome to the new year! I still can’t believe it’s already 2017. I just turned 29 (almost 30!) and it feels unreal. I feel very old.

My husband and I traveled to Morocco right after Christmas, and so I’ve been off the grid for almost 13 days. And last fall, I really focused on school and only had time for a few freelance projects. This semester will probably be busier, since it is my penultimate semester (I rarely get to use that word, so I felt obligated to use it here). I only have 3 classes to complete before I receive my MBA in Management!

Anyway, I do have one little project to share: a watercolor portrait I painted for my dad, for Christmas. It’s one of his favorite subjects.


This is Otto the Old English Bulldog. My dad loves his dog, and I knew a painting of him would be well received. I painted Otto first, but then couldn’t really decide on a background. I knew it would be kind of expected to have him in the yard or in the house, but I thought it would be hilarious to have him set as if he were a king in a royal portrait (with rich fabrics, tapestries, jewels, or intricate architecture). So, with little time to spare, I did some research and quickly painted a portrait background fit for a king.


I have to admit, this was very hasty. I’m not very proud of the background, but since I had so little time, I had to make it work (thank you Tim Gunn!). My dad treats his dog like a king, so my family and friends immediately recognized and laughed at the context. Some people have said I could keep painting dog portraits because there is definitely an audience for this type of work, but honestly, I do not see that many dog portraits in my future!

I have a huge website redesign currently in the works, so I’ll be working on that as my (cough) New Year’s Resolution. Normally I avoid resolutions because I don’t like saddling myself with obligations, but I really need to buckle down and clean up my website. My web design skills are rusty and I desperately need to add some new work… speaking of which, I’m happy to say that I will have several new wedding clients this year, so look out for some new work!

Stay warm,


Costa Rica Watercolor Painting

Hello! I have a new painting to share with you. It was a gift for my husband’s birthday this weekend, and now that he has unwrapped it, I can share it with you!


I chose a viewpoint from a restaurant we visited on the road. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant (or even where we were, exactly) but the restaurant had a huge, wooden porch with this view surrounding it. I usually prefer to sketch lightly in pencil first, but I didn’t think this would work well for this painting. Pencil tends to bleed into light watercolor washes, and it can ruin the color work. So I took a risk and lightly painted the outline in light green, because I needed to have some basic idea of where all of the foliage would go. The view was panoramic, and the horizontal orientation of the painting was not exactly the right dimensions for the picture, so I had to change some elements.


I started adding in more details from right to left. It was especially difficult painting in the high contrasts of light and dark. Dark shadows in watercolor tend to look muddy, and it’s never easy for me to figure out the right balance for them.


For all of the intense labor I put into the landscape, I was so exhausted by the time I got to the sky, that I painted it as loosely as possible. The irony of course, is that I think the sky looks the best! I always find that the less I “care” about how I’m painting, the better it turns out. It is not easy to kick back and just paint “carelessly,” because there is a certain level of unconscious focus that needs to occur. I can’t explain it, and people have various names for it, like “in the zone,” “meditation,” “in flow,” etc. I prefer to say “unconscious focus.”


Now that I’m looking at it, I see how compressed the landscape looks. It’s more exaggerated than I thought it would be, but that is not necessarily bad. It has a lusciousness to it, I suppose, even though now I’m looking at all of the flaws. It’s always difficult for me to say “it’s done!” but this one is done!


Australia Watercolors

Hi all. I’m resurrecting a project from my past – some watercolor paintings inspired by my honeymoon in Australia. I finished one, but not quite the other. You can probably guess which on is incomplete!


This is a painting of the farmland of Malanda. It was one of our favorite spots. Completely beautiful and idyllic, with rolling hills, lush greenery, and plenty of cows.


Yes, this is the incomplete one! This was a riverbed in Queensland, on a hiking trail we visited. It had a particularly blue-green color to the water, and the rocks with smooth and white with deep gray shadows. It was quite secluded, except for the flies.

I may or may not finish the second painting…I’m busy working on a birthday watercolor for someone special’s birthday!


All About Apples!

Hello friends! For some reason, apples have become a favorite subject of mine. I had a few work projects that involved apple illustrations, and I had some ideas for fabric prints with painted apples. I have a few different versions I have been working on, and all are very different from one another.


One of my projects involved drawing a woodcut-style apple for a logo. I was inspired by 17th century German woodcuts.


Another iteration from this project involved a different version of this apple.


And for my personal project, I wanted to design a fabric print of 4 different apple varieties. I have a Golden Delicious, a Pink Lady, a Granny Smith, and a Fuji. My personal favorite for eating is a Granny Smith.


I hope to have time to clean up these paintings and design a print. I’d love to have aprons, oven mitts, potholders, or tablecloths with this design!