Painting – Sophie’s Auntie

Sophie’s Auntie – Copyright 2018 K A Drissel

Last year, while enjoying Seven Mile Beach in Negril, Jamaica, we bought fruit from a beautiful island woman. This lady wore her basket of fruit like a crown and was dressed as if she was going to church. In a word, she was regal. We didn’t ask her name, but when the next vendor came by, selling necklaces made out of bead and shell, she told us the fruit vendor was her ‘Auntie.’ This time I remembered to ask a name, the necklace vendor said, “My name is Sophie.” So, the title of the painting was ordained before I even put brush to paper, “Sophie’s Auntie.”

At 24 x 24 inches, the painting is larger than I usually attempt in my watercolor painting. It is painted on Arches 300 lb Cold Press paper with Winsor & Newton watercolors. My palette had a mother color, this is a shade that I mix in varying degrees into all the other colors. The mother color in this palette was Burnt Umber. Additional colors were Winsor Blue Red Shade, Winsor Blue Green Shade, Quinacridone Magenta, Winsor Yellow, Olive Green, Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna. I also used my Derwent Inktense Pencils to create the flecks of color in the sand. The tip can be found here: Creating Texture with Colored Pencils. I hope you like “Sophie’s Auntie.” I relived the beautiful sunny day while I painted her and felt like I was on vacation again.

Painting – WetCanvas November Painting Challenges

It’s been awhile since I’ve included a painting challenge in a blog post. These two challenges are posted on the WetCanvas Website. If you love art of any type, take a look at the many forums on this site.


The first challenge I might attempt is in the Watercolor Studio. The reference photograph, posted by Yorky, is of Baddesly Clinton Manor, in Warwickshire, UK. This challenge is limited to the medium of watercolor. If you have a set of watercolors gathering dust, break them out and attempt this challenge. Follow along, or comment in the forum. The Wetcanvas website is free. Register to post art or comment in the threads. When you finish your painting, post it in the forum for others to see. There is not a set date for posting or a deadline for this challenge.

Lily by Stalksthedawn
Lily by Stalksthedawn

The second challenge is offered through the Floral/Botanicals forum on Wetcanvas. This month’s WetCanvas Plant Parade/November 2015 Challenge is the beautiful Lily. There are many reference photographs included, or you can use a reference of your own. All art mediums are permitted. This challenge has a posting/reveal date of November 25th.

Hopefully, I will get my brushes busy and be able to show a step-by-step example of how I attempt these challenges.

Painting – Aquabord and November Plant Parade


I recently took part in the WetCanvas Plant Parade for November. The category was rainbows and I chose the rosebud reference photograph to watercolor.

large rosebud

I used a piece of 5×7 Aquabord for this painting.  I love Aquabord’s sturdy, non-warping background. I also am impressed by Aquabord’s easy release of watercolor. I “lift” paint quite a bit when I watercolor, and the Aquabord lets the paint loosen and lift like a dream. Unfortunately, this same asset can quickly become a nightmare. I never use Aquabord without a struggle to get my washes smooth. Often when I lift the paint, more is removed than necessary.

I enjoyed creating the background for this watercolor. The Aquabord stayed very wet and allowed the watercolors to blend beautifully. The same wet into wet blending also caused a bit of a problem…the paint ran over the outer edges of the rosebud.


No worries about losing edges when painting with Aquabord. A stiff brush, a little water, and I wiped and dabbed the watercolor off the rosebuds petals and stem.


One day, I hope to use Aquabord for a large watercolor, but right now I’m content to learn on smaller versions of this interesting watercolor board.


The best news of all about Aquabord is that it does not need to framed under glass. A light spray of clear matte acrylic and your painting can be hung without the glare of glass to distort its shape and colors.

Painting – Rocks on Tioga Road/WetCanvas Challenge

I finally finished my attempt at the WetCanvas Watercolor Studio Challenge for April. You can find the finished work of all the participants in the challenge at: WetCanvas April Challenge

Rocks on Tioga Road near Tenaya Lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California.

Winsor and Newton Watercolors: Prussian Blue, Burnt Sienna, New Gamboge, Winsor Yellow, Quinacridone Gold & Neutral Tint/Arches Cold Press Watercolor Block 140 lb  Size: 12 x 16

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Painting – Hibiscus/WetCanvas February Challenge

hibiscus wet canvas february 2013

I had a great time taking part in the WetCanvas February Watercolor Challenge. I love watercolor flowers and enjoyed painting my rendition of the reference photograph. Thanks to Yorky for the photograph and the opportunity. Take a look here at the challenge: WetCanvas February Challenge. There is still plenty of time to break out the watercolors and take part. A link to the WetCanvas website is at the top right hand corner of this blog. Happy Painting!

WetCanvas February Challenge – Hibiscus

8 x 10

Winsor and Newton Watercolors

Arches 300 lb Cold Press Paper

Painting – Amish Man and Son

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In January I took part in the WetCanvas Watercolor Challenge January 2013. I live only an hour and a half away from Lancaster, and have often visited this lovely area. I was really pleased with the way this small painting turned out.

5 x7

Winsor & Newton Paints (Winsor Blue, Quinacridone Magenta, Permanent Rose, Hooker’s Green, Cobalt Blue, Burnt Sienna and Naples Yellow)

Arches 300 lb Cold Press Paper

You can see the work of the other participants here: Wet Canvas January 2013 Watercolor Challenge.

My work was posted on page nine of the thread.

Why not try the February challenge? The WetCanvas Forums are free. Find the link to WetCanvas in the top right hand corner of this page. You can also go directly to the Challenge through this link: Wet Canvas February 2013 Watercolor Challenge. It’s as easy as signing up and beginning to paint.

You can find my step-by-step progress below.

amish man

Original reference photograph posted by Yorky

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Watercolor Tip: Black out of the tube is usually flat and lifeless. Mix up your own blacks and deep tones by combining contrasting colors.

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I mixed Hooker’s Green, Quinacridone Magenta, and Winsor Blue, and even a bit of yellow. You can pick out the different hues of colors blending together in the thinner areas of paint, notice the deep tone they create when mixed together.

Paintings and Projects – Big Huge Labs Color Generator

This amazing photograph was taken by my nephew. What a great eye he has for color and composition. I hope to paint this one day. When I do I will use the newest tool I have found to come up with the proper colors to use in my artwork. Big Huge Labs Color Generator is a free site well worth joining. Creating a free account allows you to download photographs, push their easy to read “create” button, and immediately see a detailed color chart with html symbols included too. This is an invaluable tool for painters and crafters alike. Listed below are the names and html symbols for all the colors in the photograph above. What I couldn’t show is the color chart that was also included. Take a look. I’m sure you will enjoy experimenting with your own photographs.

These are the html colors Big Huge Labs gave me for the photograph above: #351b32 plum, #63825f axolotl, #8b8c9b amethyst smoke, #493145 loulou, #2c1229 blackcurrant, #3e6525 green house, #a0a8a8 hit grey, #91a595 pewter, #9dab9e robins egg blue, #506933 green leaf, #c8d2c5 sea mist, #627c58 axolotl, #625776 comet, #c2d0be paris white, #5e7c34 dingley

This is also a perfect site to use to compare the colors of an online purchase with what you already have in your house or closet.

Click here to visit the Big Huge Labs Color Generator.