A watercolor of poppies and daisies with little purple or violet flowers in a pickle jar.

Poppies and Daisies in Pickle Jar 2019

In the spring I like to paint the wild flowers since they are so colorful and my favorite painting theme.

A picture of a watercolor in process. You can see a light grid, pencil drawing and red watercolor paint of poppies.

I started off with a grid and a light drawing, then I started putting in the poppies.

Since I’m painting from life, I put in the poppies first before they wilt.

A watercolor of red poppies, daisies and a glass jar in the process of making.

The next step I take is painting all over the paper since all the shapes and colors influence each other.

Then I start putting in other flowers, not forgetting about the equally important background which includes the glass pickle jar.

A picture of a watercolor almost finished. You can see red poppies, white daisies with a touch of purple or violet flowers in a glass pickle jar.

Here I am almost finished. Just putting in the finishing touches. Not too many.

The watercolor is almost finished here.  I paint what I see and leave a lot of the white of the paper.

A watercolor of poppies and daisies with little purple or violet flowers in a pickle jar.
Here it is finished. Poppies and Daisies in Pickle Jar 2019 Watercolor on Arches 300gsm 19×28 cm – 7.5×11 in

This year the wild flower season was brief.  Less rain, less flowers…


A line and watercolor wash over pen and ink of the Crystal Palace.

Line and Wash Watercolor of El Palacio de Cristal in the Retiro Park.

 The Crystal Palace was invented by Ricardo Velazquez Bosco, built in 1887.  It has a high dome in the center which is almost 23 meters high.  Since 1990 it has been an annex of the Reina Sofia Museum of Contemporary Art.  It is located in the Retiro Park in Madrid, Spain.

A line drawing of the Crystal Palace in the Retiro Park. You can see the palace with water in front and lots of trees.

Palacio de Cristal 2018

A line and watercolor wash over pen and ink of the Crystal Palace.

Palacio de Cristal 2018

While I was painting, lots of different tourist groups came to see this beautiful metallic building from my same view-point.  I once overheard an old man talking about this being the best spot to see the Crystal Palace so I came here to paint this line and wash watercolor.There’s nothing like painting in Madrid.


A small watercolor of the Almudena Cathedral. Blue sky with a bit of crimson. The Almudena has a huge evergreen growing in front of the gate. There are a few street lamps with the black latern from days of old. The view is from accross the street.

A small Watercolor of The Almudena Cathedral Madrid, Spain.

I like to start a watercolor with a light grid to keep my parallel lines parallel.  I start with a pencil sketch and then go on to pen and ink.

A photo of a pen and ink drawing of the Almudena Cathedral taped down to the drawing board.

Pen & Ink La Almudena Cathedral 

I tape down all of my watercolors to get the white edge of the paper.  Don’t think you need anything expensive.  I use carpenter’s tape, but it’s only there for a couple of hours.  I wouldn’t leave it there for more than a day.

A small watercolor of the Almudena taped down to a drawing board. There is a big evergreen in front of the gate. The Almudena is seen from accross the street.

A small watercolor taped down to the drawing board.

This is the white edge I’m talking about.  When the tape is taken off, you have a white border.

A small watercolor of the Almudena in my hand to see the size. You can see a thumb holding a corner of the watercolor. The watercolor is a line and wash of the Almudena Cathedral with a big evergreen in front of the main gate. You can also see some old time street gas lamps.

Small Watercolor of Almudena Cathedral June 24th 2018

Click Here is a really short video of the painting site.

Madrid is great!

Line & Wash of September Roses 2016


September Roses and Silk Scarf 2016 on Arches 300 gsm

I thought that watercolor season was over since we’re already in September, but not yet.  There are a bunch of orange roses blooming on the terrace.


Sketch with grid

Pencil on Arches 300 gsm

Pencil on Arches 300 gsm

Line &Wash

Line and Wash

September Roses with Silk Scarf 2016

September Roses with Silk Scarf 2016

Three Still Life Watercolors

Vibrant color and immediacy is what I like the most about the watercolor medium.  consistent practice is important whether inspired or not.

Vase 1a

I start with the idea of putting the exact shape and color.

 I use a grid here to keep my parallel lines parallel. I paint little pieces at a time so I can transfer the color and shape exactly as I see it.

Vase 1b

I work around the paper always going to a blank part on the paper instead of building up any one area.

I want the painting to have balance, so work on different areas going to opposite places on the paper and touching the corners as well.

Vase 1c

Since I used an a la prima technique, I stopped when the surface of the paper was covered.

I was happy with how it turned out, so I did two more water colors the same day.

Vase 2a

I started out with a diamond grid.

Even though I wanted to use the same exact technique, I didn’t.  I painted larger areas and didn’t work around the paper.  The left side is too heavy for starting off.

Vase 2b

Finished Watercolor

Since it was too heavy on the left side, I automatically tried to balance it out by making the right side heavy too. I finished quickly to start again.

Vase 3a

Started out with my favorite part.

 I focused on the flower and built around it, trying not to fill in large areas to start with.

Vase 3b

Working around the paper.

I wanted to give the same importance to every object but I got hung up on the white rose and gave it too much attention neglecting the glass work.

Vase 3c

Finished Watercolor

No matter how many times I paint this motif, there is always something new and different in each flower and reflection.

Open Air Painting in Olmeda de las Fuentes June, 2016

The Agrupaciòn Española de Acuarelistas (Spanish Watercolor Society) in Madrid went to the beautiful village called Olmeda de las Fuentes to do some open air watercolor painting.  There were more than 40 of us painting out doors in this small pueblo.


A view at the edge of town

The morning was overcast.  I walked to the top of the hill with two others, a couple, and looked for a nice shady place, ready for a hot day.

first hour


The morning was overcast, no shadows. I waited til the sun came out to paint the cast shadows on the ground.

When I got to this point in the painting, a man who lives in the village pulled up in his car…  It was obvious that I was in his parking place; the only shady place left :).

He was so nice. Before I could say anything he said that I didn’t have to move.

Olmeda de las Fuentes 2016

Hazy June Morning in Olmeda de las Fuentes 2016

 He Parked his car in the sun and asked us if it would bother us.  ‘If it would bother us?’ I mean how nice can you get.

Any way, this is how this painting called ‘Hazy June Morning in Olmeda de las Fuentes’ turned out.  We all got together for lunch.

Lunch Time

Lunch Time

 The food was delicious.

We showed each other our drawings.


Argentina with her watercolor

Argentina found a beautiful little corner to paint in the village.

Jose Maria Ysmer 2016

Jose Maria Ysmer

Jose Maria Ysmer always picks the perfect place to paint and his watercolors turn out so picturesque and painterly.

Olmeda de las Fuentes 2016

Olmeda de las Fuentes 2016

After lunch, we painted for another three hours and then returned to Madrid. It was a lot of fun, just like in April.  We all went to Trillo to paint outdoors.


Pink Blossoms in Talavera Vase March

In March the Cherry Plum and Almond trees are full of Pink and White Blossoms.  I like to paint them because they  brighten up the room and do the same in a watercolor.

Starting out with a light drawing

Starting out with a light grid and drawing.

I’m starting out with a grid here to keep my parallel lines even with the picture plane.  The grid helps me fit whatever I want wherever I want on the paper.

Marking Angles as I Paint

Marking angles as I paint

The grid controls the Talvera vase so it is not lopsided.  There are a lot of branches and blossoms to paint, so I don’t draw them one by one, I cast lines in the direction of the branches and mark some of the pink flowers that stand out the most.


Working around the picture plane

I’m working around the picture plane trying to treat everything with the same importance, background and foreground.

Paint around the white blossoms without penciling them in for looseness

The white blossoms

When painting the white blossoms, I  leave the white of the paper.  What I do is paint around them leaving a blank silhouette.  This is called respecting the white of the paper.

Building up and Looking for Detail

Building up and Looking for Detail

I work around the paper emphasising some details.  I try to be careful not to make any area heavier than other areas.

Looking for Contrast

Looking for Contrast

When I’m pretty sure everything is where it belongs, I start in with a la prima, putting in the dark contrasting color in one shot in order to bring out the light.

This is the point where it can gain or lose

Finishing up

I’m finishing up here.  This is the moment when it can gain or lose.  It’s the point of no return.  I try not to get to that point, but it really is hard to decide when to stop.

Pink Blossoms in Talavera Vase March 2015

Pink Blossoms in Talavera Vase March 2015

I painted just a little bit more and stopped.  I don’t have this watercolor anymore.  Next year I hope to make another one in the spring.


Glass Bottles in the Rain 2015

This watercolor belongs to the series of My Favorite Bottles.

Here are a few steps in the painting and a tip for watercolor painters at the end about sending watercolors through the post.  

Paper and Model 2015

It was raining outside, but there was a lot of light, so I thought it would be a nice opportunity to paint my favorite bottles in the Rain.

A Painting Stage of Glass Bottles in the Rain 2015

I don’t always start with a drawing or a grid, sometimes I want to get straight into painting like in this case. I mark the top and bottom and let everything else fall into place.

Detail of Glass Bottles in the Rain 2015

Here is a detail in the stage of building up.

Glass Bottles in the Rain with a Mat 2015

I started matting my watercolors to have them ready for sending through the post for shows or a sale. When matted, they are protected from bending.

There is something that I’ve learned about sending watercolors through the post and would like to share with other painters.

Recently I’ve sent some large watercolors in the post, so I had to protect them with sturdy cartons to ensure they didn’t get damaged.  I realised that I could mat them myself for a bit more and send them through the post protected with a professional finished presentation.

I have a blog which explains how to mat a watercolor; the finishing touch is to cover it with a plexiglass. I’ve also learned that before you mat, the watercolor should be flattened by spraying the back with water, rubbing it down and putting it between two pieces of matting board with weight on top (books).   Let it dry over night.

I’d love to hear your comments and questions.  If you have better advice, I’d like to hear that too; one never stops learning.

Bottles in a Corner 2015

This painting is from a series called My Favorite Bottles.

I started this series in 2015.  I painted the bottles in a different place in the house everyday.

The purpose of this blog is to remember the steps in making the painting.

Wetting Watercolor Paper with Brush 2015

Wetting Watercolor Paper with Brush 2015

Starting a Watercolor 2015

Marking the placement of glass bottles on the format.

Watercolor in Process 2015

Putting in the color and contrast; trying for an a la prima.

Bottles in a Corner 2015

I love painting colorful glass bottles.


A painting of Spanish wild flowers in an exhibition at La Casa del Reloj del Matadero in Madrid, Spain

Spanish wild flowers are so colorful, ideal in watercolor.

In this post, I’m going to show a few steps in the making of a painting which was presented and accepted in The  Salòn de Primavera 2016 of Madrid, Spain.


I started with my favorite part and visualised the finished composition in my mind without a preliminary drawing.

Spanish Wild Flowers

Here, I continued by using the first flower as a measurement for the rest of the painting.

The watercolor making process

I continued  building around the first flower while observing shapes, colors, linear directions and placement in the picture plane carefully. In watercolor, you only have one shot.

Red Poppies in Blue Vase

This is the finished watercolor, called Spanish Wild Flowers in Blue Vase 2015

Casa del Reloj Madrid, Spain

The exhibition was held in the Casa del Reloj at the Matadero in the Arganzuela district of Madrid, Spain

Salón de Primavera 2016

Here is my painting exhibited in the Salón de Primavera 2016 in La Lonja Sala of Casa del Reloj in Madrid, Spain.