Small Watercolors of Flowers in Vases

I like to paint small watercolors of colorful flowers and transparent glass filled with water.

Bouquet in Crystal VAse 1994

Bouquet in Crystal Vase 1994

These small still-life paintings date back from the 90’s to  the present 2016.  

They are all post card size 5.5”x 7.5”or smaller.  I started off making this size in the mid-eighties to send as post cards.

Almond Blossom in Raku Pinch Pot

Almond Blossoms in Raku Pinch Pot

Almond Blossoms are really nice to paint.  In the spring there are a lot of these trees in Madrid.  I sent this watercolor to my Mom.  When I go to California I see it on the wall.

Pea Flowers in Purple Vase

Sweet Pea Flowers in Purple Vase

 I remember visiting someone who had sweet peas growing in their vegetable garden, I couldn’t resist taking some home to paint them. I’m going to have to get some sweet pea seeds.

Red Bottle with Ceramic Dish 1994

Red Bottle with Ceramic Dish and Irises 1999

The Red Bottle is one of my favorites. I bought it in the mid-eighties at the Salvation Army in the Gaslamp Quarter when I was living in sunny San Diego.  I’m always on the look out for beautiful glass bottles and vases.


Red Bottle, kumquats and Sugar Bowl 1998

This watercolor is wet on wet with my favorite red  bottle.


kumquats and Glass Bottle with Pinch Pot 1998

 What I like the most about glass are the reflections; especially clear glass with water in it.

Red Bottle with REd Flowers 1998

Red Bottle with Red Flowers 1998

I paint a lot; not everything turns out.  It doesn’t matter.  I like to include everything I see around my model.

Bouganville in Purple Vase 2011

Bougainvillea in Purple Vase 2011

I go to California often, almost every year.  I like to paint the flowers in my Mother’s garden.  Bougainvillea is so fun to paint.

Bouganville in Crystal Vase 2011

Bougainvillea in Crystal Vase 2011

Sometimes I paint the motif twice.  Here I changed the vase.  I like this vase; I like the fact that you can see the stems and leaves in the water.

Roses in Crystal vase 2011

Roses in Crystal Vase 2011

Here is the vase again with my Mom’s beautiful roses.


Glass Bottles on Shelf 2012

I like colored glass. They have everything I like, color, shape, transparency and reflection. 

RedRoses in Greek Vase 2015

Red Roses in Greek Vase 2015

Someone gave me this vase.  I think it’s beautiful with the vertical grooves imitating a greek column.  This one got sent off in the mail.

Red Roses in Glass Vase 2015

Red Roses in Glass Vase 2015

I like to do more than one painting to try a different view.

Poppies in May 2016

Poppies in May 2016

When the spring comes around, I go a little crazy.  I can’t stop painting.  Spring is such a bright season full of color and warmth.

Poppies, Daisies and Red Roses 2015

Poppies, Daisies and Roses 2015

You can really see the difference of the light in the spring.

Red Glass Bottle with Orange Poppies 2016

Red Glass Bottle with Orange Poppies 2016

These are California Poppies and wild flowers.  I brought the seeds from California and planted them here in Madrid. I recently sent this one to my Dad.

Small Red Bottle with Wildflowers2016

Small Red Bottle with Wild Flowers 2016

I wanted to paint my model with the reflection in the mirror and on the table.

Chartreuse Bottle with California Wild Flowers 2016 B

Chartreuse Bottle with California Wild Flowers 2016

This is the latest small watercolor.  A friend told me that the color of  this bottle is chartreuse.

 I’m glad she told me.  I had never heard of that color.  Thanks to her the title isn’t yellow bottle with wild flowers, but Chartreuse Bottle with California Wild Flowers. 🙂



Watercolor of Fountains in the Retiro Rose Garden in Madrid, Spain

The Buen Retiro in Madrid, Spain is my favorite park.  Here are a few open air watercolors from the collection of Fountains in the Retiro Park.

Dolphin Fountain 2007

The Faun Fountain in the Buen Retiro Park Rose Garden – Madrid, Spain  2007

This fountain is called the fuente del Fauno. It’s located in the Rose Garden at the Retiro Park in Madrid, Spain.

 The sculptures integrated in the fountains are fascinating!  I should have included the Faun above the dish but I usually focus on the Dolphins.

 The mythological creatures on the same fountain have opposite poles, angelic and demonic.


Rose Garden June 2009

Fuente de Amorcillo or de Cupido

 This one is called Fuente de Amorcillo or Fuente de Cupido.  Again, I didn’t paint the top and ommited cupid from my watercolor.  I was more interested in the base.  Next time, I’ll paint the whole fountain.


Fuente del Faunito, Rose Garden in the Retiro Park – Madrid, Spain 2005

There are only two fountains with figures in the Rose Garden, so I paint the same figures over and over again.  I just love to paint them.

The Rose Garden 2010

Fuente del Faunito in the Rose Garden at the Buen Retiro Park in Madrid, Spain 2010

Here is the Faun Fountain at the Rose Garden again; a frontal view.

The Rose Garden June 2015

Fuente del Cupido in the Rose Garden at the Buen Retiro Park in Madrid Spain 2015

This is a view of The Cupid Fountain from an angle.  Painting outdoors is a great experience; those of you who do open air painting know this and those who haven’t done it yet must put it on the bucket list.

Open Air Painting

Open Air Painting at the Rose Garden in El Buen Retiro in Madrid, Spain

I like to get a picture of the painting in process with the model; it’s fun to see them together.

Open Air Painting in Alameda

Last summer I was in Alameda.  I did some open air painting by the shoreline. I was painting near the Elsie B. Roemer Bird Sanctuary.  Here are the watercolors I did while I was there.

The Bay Area 2015

Elsie B. Roemer Bird Sanctuary

Alameda Shoreline 2015

Bird Sanctuary

I really liked this tree.  Here I’m sitting in the shade of the tree across the street from the sanctuary.

Alameda Lagoon 2015

Lagoon in Alameda

There are Lagoons all over Alameda, so I couldn’t go home without painting one or two.

Lagoon in Alameda 2015

Another Lagoon

Alameda is a beautiful place to visit.


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.


My Favorite Bottles

My Favorite Bottles is the first watercolor I painted of this series with the same name.

with model

This is a large piece of paper, so I taped it to the table.

This series was about painting the bottles in different places in the house.

In process

The paper is very wet.

The technique I used here was wet on wet.

My Favorite Bottle 2014

My Favorite Bottle 2014

I no longer have  this painting.

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 on Table

This is a watercolor from the series ‘My Favorite Bottles’. Here are a some painting stages.

Paper with Model

Paper with Model

I’m using Arches 300 GMS watercolor paper.  The model is on the table in back to the right.

Starting with the area I like the most.

Starting with the area I like the most.

I wet the paper first.  I didn’t start with a drawing, so I start on my favorite part and build up around the first object I put on the paper.

Still putting everything where it belongs

Still putting everything where it belongs

At this point, I’m still placing everything on the paper, trying to imagine how it will look at the end.

Developing the background and foreground

Developing the background and foreground

After I know where the bottles belong on the format, I continue with a la prima and try to get the shapes and colors in one shot.

Glass Bottles on Table 2014

Glass Bottles on Table 2014

The painting is finished. I try not to go back into the painting once the surface of the paper is covered.

Glass Bottles on Table 2014 (framed)

Glass Bottles on Table 2014 (framed)

I no longer have this painting.  I like the way they framed it with a 3-4 inch mat around the picture, giving it plenty of room between the painted area and the frame.

Glass Bottles on Table 2014, framed and on the wall

Glass Bottles on Table 2014, framed and on the wall

The frame goes well with the furniture and curtain and the colorful bottles add an accent of color to the living room.  I love to see my painting in this home.


My Grandmother

I’ve always liked to paint my Grandmother.  She is one of the few people who sits still for a few hours regardless of how the painting turns out.

Maria de Laguno 1982

Maria de Laguno 1982

This is one of the first sanguine pencil drawings I did of her in 1982 in her living room in Madrid.

Maria de Laguno 1982

Maria de Laguno 1982

I took my watercolors with me everywhere I went to capture a moment.  Here we were sitting at a terrace having a coffee after visiting the Prado Museum.

Grandma's Studio 1983

Grandma’s Studio 1983

She had a beautiful, luminous studio in the city center; it was great to be there with her and all of her students.  Here, she was touching up a student’s painting.

Maria de Laguno 1983

Maria de Laguno 1983

I love to hear stories she tells about her life.  She used to talk a lot about her grandmother’s life too.  It was fascinating to hear about how things were so far in the past.

Maria de Laguno 1984

Maria de Laguno 1992

She has the most amazing personality and I wanted to capture it. This watercolor is from 1992 when I visited her 10 years later in the month of June.

Maria de Laguno 2015

Maria de Laguno 2015

As I was looking through my watercolors I noticed that 35 years had gone by between the first drawing and this watercolor from 2015.  This is the day before she moved from Spain to Brazil.  She is 97 years old in this watercolor.  My Grandmother still lives in Brazil and is 98 years old now.  She is a great Artist.  I wish there were a record of all the paintings she has painted.






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.