Friday, August 9, 2019


Quite a bit of work was needed to finish this one. I darkened the shadowed area of the rocks along with the water - both in the foreground foamy bit and in the sea beyond. I also worked on the distant cliff a little and finished with washes to the landscape above. I largely fudged this area as I didn't want to include the houses. After that was dry, it was a case of slowly going over each section of the painting, touching up here and there and adding a few final details. This watercolor was painted on Arches paper, size is 22" x 15".

Wednesday, July 17, 2019


Starting on the background above the cliffs, I put down a number of washes keeping it light and slightly diffuse. I also added a few washes of cobalt blue plus cerulean for the sea. This was darkened and grayed a bit for the foreground shadow. I then laid on a number of different colors to the rocks trying to capture their unique tones. The shadowed area was mostly completed in sepia. There was a lot of back and forth trying to find a balance between the sunlit section and the shadowed part. Next I'll do more fine-tuning then let the painting sit for awhile to see if it needs any more work.

Monday, July 15, 2019


After doing the smaller oil study shown in the last post, I decided to do a larger painting of the same scene looking down from Sagres Fort. The composition here is slightly different from the earlier study as I wanted to move in slightly to feature more of the rocks. After lightly drawing in the composition using an HB pencil, I started in the background area with grayish washes to indicate the shadows on the distant rock faces. I also lightly washed in the sand at the base of the rocks. Moving closer in, the foreground rocks got a pale reddish-brown wash all over then when that was dry, I started adding in the shadows using sepia. It all looks a bit rough at the moment as I am still establishing some of the base tones, but most of this will be covered up with further layers of watercolor.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019


This view down across the sea is from inside the fort at Sagres. I liked the way the shadow of the cliff face cut across the rocks and sea. The distant beach and landscape fading into the distance was also an important element in the composition. This small study was done in preparation for a larger watercolor painting that will follow shortly.
View From Sagres Fort, oil on canvas, 7" x 5".

Thursday, July 4, 2019


Near to where we were staying was the Ria Formosa wildlife sanctuary full of walking trails, beautiful vistas, birds and the sea. We squeezed in as many visits as possible being so easily accessible. I did quite a few paintings from the area, this small study is on the Western edge of the reserve where we saw so many White Storks. Weather was perfect on all the days we went - blue skies and incredible sunsets. Could live there quite happily!
Path through the Reserve, oil on canvas, 5" x 7".

Friday, June 28, 2019


We loved Portugal so much the first time we visited that we had to go back a second time. Staying in the same resort at Quinta de Lago on the Algarve, we happily re-visited some of the places we had been the year before and also discovered many new ones. This view is at Sagres on the extreme Western tip of Portugal looking down the coast away from the fort - I loved this view across the bay to the headland beyond! The coastline was spectacular all along the Algarve with many cliffs, wonderful rock formations and white sandy beaches. Weather was great, warm with only a few days of light rain. I did a number of paintings and sketches over the two weeks we visited along with collecting heaps of references.
View from Sagres, oil on canvas, 5" x 7".

Tuesday, June 18, 2019


I recently found a Black Snake over in the reserve, it was sunning itself on the rocks of a broken down wall that were once outbuildings next to the old white farmhouse. Only the foundations remain now but this is a favored place of mine to visit where I can usually sit quietly for awhile and observe the comings and goings of wildlife. Since this snake was quite tame, I was able to do a few pencil studies in my sketchbook along with some photos. I did the watercolor study shown here when I got back in the studio. Black Snakes can range from tame to aggressive, some I have been able to gently stroke - others react violently to any touching and attempt to bite. We once had a particularly tame individual that lived under our front porch, I named him Ding Dong - for reasons I won't go into here. He lived happily for awhile probably feeding on mice etc - he once tried for one of my goldfish in the pond but I was having none of that! Then one day he strayed and was caught up by the community mowing machine and that was the end of him. RIP Ding Dong.