Tag Archives: plein air

2014 colorado plein air arts fest

These five watercolor paintings were accepted into this year’s Colorado Plein Air Arts Fest juried show. I painted them this summer/fall in the front range foot hills near Golden CO. Each painting was completed 100% in the field.

“Churches Ranch” 8″ x 12″
"Through the Hog-Back" 9 1/2" x 13 1/2"
“Through the Hog-Back” 9 1/2″ x 13 1/2″
"Mesa Norte" 7 1/4" x 12 1/2"
“Mesa Norte” 7 1/4″ x 12 1/2″
"Front Range Foothills" 10 1/2" x 14"
“Front Range Foothills” 10 1/2″ x 14″
"The Fort" 7 1/4" x 10 1/2"
“The Fort” 7 1/4″ x 10 1/2″

The show will run from Nov. 18th through Dec. at the Denver Public Library in the 7th floor Vida Ellison Gallery.


plein air watercolor toolbox



This is the small plastic box I use to hold the tools and materials for plain air watercolor painting. It’s 4.75″x6.75″x1.25″ and fits conveniently in a small messanger bag that holds the watercolor paper blocks and paint pallet.


The box holds: (top row, left to right) drafting pen for applying resist;  graphite pencils for initial drawing; assorted brushes, rounds in # 1, 3, and 5, and flats in 1/4″ and 1/2″; watercolor pencils for adding detail and texture; (bottom row, left to right) clamps for holding pallet to support; pencil sharpener; erasures; and white gouache.


watercolor palette

wc pallette

This is one of the palettes I use for plain air painting. The colors shown are all Daniel Smith Extra Fine. The round plastic water cup in the upper left of the image is attached to the metal palette with velcro. I don’t usually clean the mixing wells after finishing a painting in the field since the leftover colors make wonderful grays for the next go around. This image is of the palette after finishing the previously posted “Bristlecone Border”

more botanical lanscapes

bristlecone-border-1This is the graphite drawing of the Bristlecone Border at the Denver Botanic Gardens done on Canson Montval watercolor block, 9″ x 12″, cold press. The dark gray areas are the Pebeo drawing gum resist applied to save the lights.


A “ghost wash” is applied over the resist and graphite, with warm tones in the foreground fading to cooler tones in the background.


The main dark and light tones are now established –


and the resist is rubbed off revealing the saved lights.


The final details are added with the small blossoms in the foreground done with white gouache and watercolor.