Direct Watercolor Challenge, Days 4 to 6

I continued with Day 4 and 5 without using pencil just a thin brush to layout the basic shapes. In Day 6, I went back to the pencil. The pencil provides a quick warm up before laying in the colors.

Day 6 is my favorite of all three here. It reminded me of the qualities of watercolors that I love. The transparency, the glazing, the free flowing of paint. And just letting go.

Day 4 Coffee Cup 30x30DW
Day 4 Coffee Cup, 7 x 7 inches, watercolor by Marlene Lee
Day 5_Fountain_30x30DW
Day 5, Fountain, 7 x 7 inches watercolor by Marlene Lee
Day 6_Tomatoes_30x30DW
Day 6, Tomatoes, 7 x 7 inches watercolor by Marlene Lee

The 30 Day Challenge

I’m excited to say that I’m participating in the 30×30 Direct Watercolor 2018 Challenge. What I’m understanding about doing direct watercolor is to paint with pure watercolor. I cheated. I started out with a gestural pencil sketch and then add watercolor in a free forming fashion. The originator of the challenge is Marc Taro Holmes and his blog post explains more on the process.

Day 1_Pears_30x30DW
Day 1 Pears, 7 x 7 inches, watercolor and pencil by Marlene Lee
Day 2_Strawberries_30x30DW
Day 2 Strawberries, 7 x 7 inches, watercolor and pencil by Marlene Lee
Day 3_Blueberries_30x30DW
Day 3 Blueberries, 7 x 7 inches, watercolor and pencil by Marlene Lee

My materials: Stillman&Birn Delta series, watercolor and pencil, brush – Isabey pocketbrush. 

My set up is using the early morning light.


Pence Gallery Garden Tour

The annual Pence Gallery Garden Tour happened on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. This year private residential gardens were opened up throughout Davis. I was assigned to a small backyard garden but it was packed with native Californian plants and hidden spaces and planters with vegetables.

One of these pieces or maybe both will appear in the Garden Tour Exhibit at the Pence Gallery during June. The opening reception will be June 8th.

050618_Fountain Garden 2
Garden Fountain, pen and watercolor, 9 x 12 inches, 6 May 2018
050618_Gail's Garden Collage 2
A Collage of Gail’s Garden, pen and watercolor, 9 x 6 inches, 6 May 2018

Watercolor Palette

I’m enlarging my watercolor palette. I had been using a Winsor&Newton Cotman Watercolor Sketcher Pocket Box. Quite portable, it holds only 12 colors but I had used it for all my urbansketching over 5 years. ( I had it for over 25 years.) Now I’m ready to expand.

My new palette is a metal palette with a bit more room for mixing colors and holds more colors. It’s a Meeden from Amazon. Also purchased from Amazon are half-pans. I can put 17 half-pans possibly squeezed in 19.

I based my color choices on the warm/cool color palette. I’m aiming for more professional grades, mostly Daniel Smith and Winsor&Newton.

Scan 1.jpeg
Watercolor sketch of Meeden watercolor palette with colors by Marlene Lee


So the list goes as follows:

Primary colors –

  • For yellows – Daniel Smith Hansa Yellow and Utrecht Cadmium Yellow Medium
  • For reds – American Journey Permanent Rose and Blick Alizarin Crimson
  • For blues – Daniel Smith Cerulean Blue and Daniel Smith Ultramarine Blue

Secondary colors –

  • Daniel Smith Quinacridone Violet
  • Daniel Smith Sap Green
  • Daniel Smith Viridian
  • Winsor&Newton Cadmium Orange

I call these earth colors –

  • Winsor&Newton Burnt Sienna
  • Winsor&Newton Burnt Umber
  • Blick Yellow Ochre

And American Journey Payne Grey

I’m searching for a deeper purple than the violet. For the reds, I’m not completely happy with the permanent rose, still need a warmer red. Any suggestions?

Sketching at the Davis Farmers’ Market

Sketching at the local farmers’ market is drawing subject overload. A sketcher’s dream. So our local sketch group, Let’s Draw Davis, met there headed up by Pete Scully, a locally and maybe internationally known urbansketcher. (He also had published sketching books in which some of my sketches are in.)

I’ve been trying to get more quick sketch people in.  I love sketching people performing, all dressed up or just behaving in a normal fashion. The arm of the band singer and the head of the nursing mother is a bit off but quick sketching is about capturing the gesture – no concern about getting the proportions right.

Check out my Flickr page for more sketches. Enjoy!

081617_Band Singer
Band Singer, 5 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches in a Moleskine pocket size watercolor sketchbook, marker and watercolor
Nursing, 5 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches in a Moleskine pocket size watercolor sketchbook, marker and watercolor