Tag Archives: grey

Watercolor Painting: Mums Still Life

Mums, 2017, Watercolor on Paper, 12 x 16

Mums, 2017, Watercolor on Paper, 12 x 16

I learned recently that chrysanthemums are considered one of the ‘Four Gentlemen’ of Chinese Art.

Neat! So I need to starting painting some bamboo, plum blossoms, and orchids.

I really like the colors in this painting, especially the golden-browns against the bright pink.

Matisse the orange kitty likes smelling mums!

Watercolor painting: Pink dahlia in blue vase

Pink dahlia in blue vase, 2017, watercolor, 12×16

So my efforts to show my work earlier this year went bust. One time was at an art walk in Forest Grove when the store owner  didn’t show up. But I found this amazing flower vendor at the farmers market down the street. I was able to get these wonderful dahlias very affordably!


Ninebark and other fall foliage- mixed media

I love the dark foliage on the copper beech tree but I don’t have a source nearby. I planted the bronze colored ninebark because it was drought tolerant and had the dark foliage that I desired.

Here is a mixed media (watercolor, gouache, ink) painting I did of  a still life I created using the ninebark leaves.

Ninebark still life

Here’s another painting inspired by the trees at the Sunnyside Medical Campus. The leaves are much more brilliantly vivid in real life, I guess I still got the greys of winter on my mind.


I’m still obsessed with creating greys and muted maroons and I like how the complimentary colors meet to create these interesting, iridescent stains.


Exploring Color with botanical watercolors

I have mentioned before on this blog how I am always looking for great shades of grey. I have found one from a mix of transparent maroon and an emerald green.


In this painting of silhouetted quince leaves I played around mixing the grey on the palette and allowing the colors to mix directly on the paper. What do you think would be a good background color to complement them? The green turns this crazy bright teal color. It’s a little too psychedelic for me, but I really enjoy the shades of grays that are produced when blended with the maroon.


I tried this same color scheme in my painting of an ornamental plum tree branch, using a background of coral colored paint because coral and grey go well together. Again this is also feeling a little too garish. I think if I can get just the right amount of understated greys , it will look really nicely against a coral colored background.

What was interesting while I was painting this were the muted shades of maroon and green on top of the more tangerine colored background…together they started to make this brown color…too much of it and the painting would look muddy but just enough of it helps offset some of the bright saturated colors used elsewhere. It’s kind of like cooking (not that I can cook) where you seek to have just the right balance of acid…too much and the dish is bitter/sour…too little and the dish is too salty/sweet…with the right amount you achieve a superb balance of flavors. That’s what I’m going for this balance…I haven’t hit it yet but hopefully with the same colors I can get it in my next painting!



Experimenting with Gouache

I am searching for great greys and blacks in water based paint. I love how darks look in oil paint. But I haven’t found a really great way to do a dark background in watercolor. I’m trying this slate gray using gouache.


Gouache is an opaque water based paint that has a wonderful chalky texture. You can dilute it so it’s like a watercolor or apply it thick like toothpaste. The sweet spot is a chalky soup but as always I tend to use too much water.  I love the soft matte texture that you get, and the colors man. I’m like a kid in the candy store and I want every single color that they make.  One trick about gouache- it’s not permanent like india ink or acrylic— you can always reactivate the previous dried layer. It’s fun or frustrating, depending on your goal.

I love patterns but I normally don’t paint them because of the effort involved in drawing them. Patterns tend to be stylized, so they aren’t the curves or shapes you would find in nature but very precise geometric shapes. IMO they’re boring to draw and you have to have the type of personality to painstakingly want to paint each line and curve exactly.

I was inspired by this blue rug, the perfect shade of blue, I still haven’t mixed it exactly yet. And I love all the antique rugs that are popping up on my Instagram feed. There’s something about the texture and the age of these old rugs that I love (the patina, can I use that to describe rugs?) and wanted to try to emulate using gouache.

Kat + Maouche

Of course a part of me is like, I’m spending all this time to paint something to look like a rug, when I could spend that time to do something like learn to weave a rug and then I’d have an awesome rug, instead of this piece of paper. I am never practical.

Well I went too far with this, I should’ve stopped earlier. But I wanted to try to see how gouache would look with a pure watercolor area and the transition doesn’t feel right. Also the colors are way way way too garish for me. I think that Kehinde Wiley exhibit somehow made its way into this painting.