Photo to Painting Archive: Sky of the Day Summer 2022

Watercolor late-night sunset with a cloud and silhouettes of trees and buildings.

Lately, I’ve been doing a “photo to painting” post just about each month, showcasing paintings I did recently and the photo inspiration (which may or may not be old or bad photos). Going through my old photos, I found a run of photos from 2022 that were used as inspiration for my “Sky of the Day” photos in summer 2022. While I posted those in various contexts (e.g. my year 2022 retrospective), I’m not sure I ever posted the references.

As always, you are cordially invited to paint any of my photos that you wish. See the curated highlights on my Unsplash.

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Accepting Drying Shift

Drying shift is the tendency of watercolor paints to become lighter and less vibrant as they dry. This is a bane of my existence, increasing the difficulty of painting with enough value range. You can paint something out that looks high-contrast but have it all dry pale and weak-looking. Why does this happen, and what … Read more

Seven Confusing Things About Paint Names

There are certain conventions or tricks to the ways paints are named that I found confusing, especially when I was starting out. Here are some key points about paint names. Confusing Thing #1: Paint names aren’t standardized. You can get lulled into a false sense of security because some paints look very similar, are made … Read more

My complete minimalist watercolor supply collection

As you read this, I’m en route on my cross-continent, international move from Boston to Vancouver. Rather than paying thousands for a moving truck and storage for months (while we live in a furnished sublet), my partner and I elected to sell or give away nearly everything we own, keeping only what fits in a few suitcases. So, I had to make massive cuts to my art supplies. Below, I’ll share everything I kept – that is to say, as of now, every art supply I own in the world. What made the cut??

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What’s in my palette? (May 2024)

You might be unsurprised to note that I have had some last-minute changes of heart about my palette since last time. Partially this is general regrets after overzealously cutting good colors last time, and partially it’s a result of philosophical thoughts after taking a color class with Katie Woodward! Since I’ve run out of time to dither before my move, and have actually given away the colors from the cut pile now, this is going to have to be the “final final final” version… at least I scope out my next art store situation.

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Artist Palette Profiles: Katie Woodward

Katie Woodward (@ramblingsketcher) is a New York City watercolor artist who authored Understanding Light in the Urban Sketchers Handbook series. She also does one of my favorite Instagram video series, Random Palette Mondays, where she draws three random colors (one from a “red” bag, one from a “yellow” bag, and one from a “blue” bag, but interpreted loosely) and paints a pre-selected scene from the resulting triad. It’s a great series because she shows how a wide variety of triads can be used to create unexpected results.

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I’m getting out of the gouache game

I like gouache and I’m glad I tried it. If I weren’t currently attempting to fit all my possessions into a few suitcases I’d probably keep my gouache supplies – at least for awhile longer. Ultimately, though, I think I’d still be on the path to switching back to watercolor-only at some point. In raising the bar for what I’ll keep, I realized that watercolor makes the grade for me, and gouache does not.

Here’s why.

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Monthly Retrospective: April 2024

April was a busy month for me as I gear up for my move! Plein Airpril I attempted a plein air theme month but didn’t do it as much as I had planned. My first three weeks of plein air sketches can be found in my weekly reports (week 1, week 2, week 3). After … Read more