A Small Scale ~ Doorway to Whimsical Watercolors

A Liberating Format

whimsical watercolors
Porta Toscana, 7 x 5, watercolor on Arches

A small format could be perceived as restrictive. For someone who is accustomed to swinging a big brush, a 5 x 7 inch canvas sounds confining. Yet painting these watercolors had the opposite effect.

Whimsical Watercolors

Experimenting with subjects and ideas that are outside my normal range, I am delighted to find whimsy and light in these two paintings. It raises the question of whether or how I might capture that same spirit in oil paint, or on a larger scale?

Of course I don’t have an answer. The question is all that is needed. It is in itself a source of inspiration to explore the heart further.

whimsical watercolors
Villa Flore, 7 x 5, watercolor on Arches

Cortona ~ A Jewel in Tuscany

Today I painted this the way I wanted to see it! My springboard of inspiration was a photo I took in Cortona. The photo was dark and uninteresting. What interested me was the possibility of light slicing into the dark shadows between the buildings.

So the painting began with a question. Can I use purples to light up the shadows and let warm sunlight wash in between the cracks?

Cortona, watercolor, 8 x 12

I began with the silhouettes of the dark roof tops, then the shadowed sides of the small buildings in between. A jig-saw puzzle of shapes, I changed their shapes a bit to accommodate my canvas.

Yes, it’s ok to do that, it’s called artistic license. Writers call it editing. Whatever it’s called, interpretation is the responsibility of the artist.

I don’t know how we got lost in thinking we have to tell the truth in art. There is no truth but in one’s heart. What is true for one, is not for another.

Honoring what’s in the heart at any given moment, allowing it to flow like water, in any color emotion is felt. That is art which gives life.

Daily Paintings

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Emotional Painting ~ Dinner with Friends

Dinner with Friends Inspires Emotional Painting

The warmth and generosity of our Italian hosts is seeping into my palette like fermented Chianti grapes. Full bodied and richly colored, watercolor paint never looked like this from my formerly timid brush.

A traditional Tuscan dinner with guests from Canada and Scotland last night fermented us in the true spirit of Tuscan life. Pheasant Stew with Olives, handmade Florentine Ravioli with Butter Sage, local herbs and sausage antipasti served with gusto and laughter. Can you feel it in the painting? A delicious and colorful evening with new found friends. Gratzi!


Tuscany retreat
Villa Rossa, watercolor, 5 x 7