Tag Archives: watercolor

Along the Cart Path

Along the Cart Path 5.5 x 17 inches Watercolor on paper ©2017 Lucinda Howe

Along the Cart Path
5.5 x 17 inches
Watercolor in journal
©2017 Lucinda Howe

After doing some yard cleanup and mulching this week, I was inspired to relax on the deck and paint the view of the perennial garden and golf course in the back.  It’s nice to have a green background that I don’t have to maintain.  

Posted in Garden, Plein Air

Spring in My Garden

Spring in My Garden 5.5x17 inches Watercolor and ink on paper ©2017 Lucinda Howe

Spring in My Garden
5.5×17 inches
Watercolor and ink on paper
©2017 Lucinda Howe

Last Saturday, the plein air group painted in my garden and had lunch at my house.  I didn’t paint because I couldn’t focus on cooking and painting at the same time.  Today was a calmer day and the weather was beautiful, so I perched on my concrete bench and painted this scene in my watercolor book. 

I don’t have many flowers blooming yet, but there was dappled light and shadow on the ground and many variations of green in the foliage.  I used diverse brush strokes and ink accents to add texture the painting. 


Posted in Garden, Plein Air

April in Winnsboro

April in Winnsboro 5.5 x 17 inches Watercolor on paper ©2017 Lucinda Howe

April in Winnsboro
5.5 x 17 inches
Watercolor on paper
©2017 Lucinda Howe

This week in South Carolina the weather is beautiful.  It’s prime time for gardening and plein air painting.  Today I had the opportunity to have lunch and paint with Barbara Yongue, Melinda Smith, and Alice Marcel at a beautiful home and garden in Winnsboro.  What a treat! This small piece was painted across two pages in my watercolor journal. 

Posted in Plein Air Also tagged |

Spring Fever

Weeds 11x8.5 inches Graphite and watercolor on yardstick ©2017 Lucinda Howe NFS

11×8.5 inches
Graphite and watercolor on yardstick
©2017 Lucinda Howe

In the spring of the year, I find my attention divided among many creative pursuits.

The warm weather that makes me want to paint outdoors also tempts me to work in my garden, paint in the studio with the windows open, sew a spring dress, and cook spring vegetables. This year, taking Clemson’s Master Gardener course even further distracts me. On a day when I could be painting, I’m studying weed identification.

I decided it was OK that my interests overlap and started drawing weeds. I find that by carefully observing and drawing the weeds, I’m more likely to remember the identifying characteristics. Also, any drawing from life that I do improves my drawing skills in general.  

Do you find yourself wanting to try many different things in the spring? How do you combine several of your interests into a project?

Posted in Garden

6 Tips to Improve Your Plein Air Painting Experience

Popcorn's Ready 5.5 x 17 inches Watercolor on Strathmore Watercolor boo ©2017 Lucinda Howe Not for Sale

Popcorn’s Ready
5.5 x 17 inches
Watercolor on Strathmore Watercolor book
©2017 Lucinda Howe
Not for Sale

If you haven’t painted outdoors (“en plein air”), you might be hesitant to meet up with a group of painters and get started. I encourage you to join in the fun.

On Saturday morning, I joined the About Face group at Soda City market in Columbia, South Carolina. I was running late, so I had only an hour to work before critique and lunch. The market was busy, so I knew I couldn’t capture a lot of detail. I decided to work small in a watercolor book. I sat on the low wall at Boyd Plaza near the Kettle Corn tent. The man rang the bell every time the popcorn was ready. Although you see only the painting, I remember the ringing of the bell, the smell of the popcorn, and the movement of the people, dogs, and strollers. For me, the best part of painting in a busy environment like Soda City is the memories of the sensations I experienced while painting.

If you would like to try outdoor painting, here are 6 tips to get you started….

  • Supplies- Pack your kit with easel, paints, supports, brushes, tools, bug spray and sunscreen. When I started plein air painting, I would go out in my back yard and paint, and I always forgot something.   I’d go back into the house to get the paper towels, then I’d go back for the bug spray, then the kneaded eraser, until I finally had everything I needed. Then I made a checklist to be sure I had the essentials when I ventured out with a group.
  • Scouting – When you arrive at the site, scout around. Look at the angle of the sun, take photos, think about composition before you select your spot.
  • Shade – It’s important to be in the shade for the sake of your skin. Also, your canvas should be in the shade or the painting will be too dark when you take it inside.
  • Small Supports – Sketchbooks, small panels and canvases require minimal paint and can be completed in a couple of hours. It’s more satisfying to complete most of the piece on site than to just get started before time to quit. Painting small also forces you to narrow your focus and simplify your composition. Save the large canvases until you have more experience.
  • Senses – Outdoor painting is not just about what you see. Observe the smells, tastes, sounds, and feelings that surround you as you paint.
  • Sharing – Be sure to share your drawing or painting with others. You’ll learn from group critique, but you will also be able to share your unique view of the experience with others. I’m always amazed at how all the artists have different perspectives on similar subject matter. Isn’t that what visual communication is all about?

As we move into spring, there will be more opportunities to paint with plein air groups and to pack your art supplies for vacation travels. If you would like more information about painting with a group around Columbia, SC, contact me. If you don’t paint here, paint somewhere!

Posted in Plein Air Also tagged |

Purple Iris

Purple Iris
Watercolor on Claybord Textured
©2013 Lucinda Howe


It’s iris time in South Carolina.  Although the weather has been unusually cool and rainy the last couple of weeks, the flowers aren’t deterred from their normal bloom sequence.

I’ve been busy doing gardening and household tasks over the weekend, so I thought I would share an iris painting from my watercolor period.


Posted in Garden Also tagged |

Square Foot Gardening

Square Foot Garden
8×6″ Journal Page
Watercolor and graphite
©2013 Lucinda Howe

I’ve been a fan of Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Gardening method for 30 years.  It makes sense to plant just what you need and eliminate thinning, plowing, and weeding.  Now he has a new edition of his book called the All New Square Foot Gardening. Since I’m going back to basics in the garden, I decided to review his method and start a new vegetable garden.

I cleaned out two 4×4’ sections of my neglected herb garden in the back (south side) of the house and used some old bricks to outline the square.  My husband mixed up two batches of Mel’s mix and filled each square to 6” deep.  We added a grid  because Mel says if it doesn’t have the grid, it’s not a square foot garden.  The grid separates it into 16 1×1’ squares.  By dealing with only one square at a time, it’s easy to learn correct spacing of plants and to add compost and water as needed.

4×4′ square edged with bricks
trellis and netting on north side
landscape cloth over existing soil

Rich mixing vermiculite, peat moss, and 5 kinds of compost for the planting mix

6 inches of planting mix with grid ready for planting


Once we had the bed prepared, we planted red and green lettuce, spinach, napa cabbage and some burgundy pansies.  Because of the time change, I had time to make a quick watercolor drawing of the new baby plants when I got home from work this afternoon.

Rich is planting lettuce and cool season vegetable plants four to each 1×1′ square

Plants are watered in and ready to grow. Carrots, swiss chard, and kale seeds are in the back row.


Posted in Garden Also tagged |

What to Pack?

Small Watercolor kit for travel

It’s almost time to pack art supplies for the summer travel season.  Where are you going this summer?  Where is your favorite place to paint? What sort of kit do you pack?

I’m excited to be traveling to the Provence area of France with a group of artists.  At first I thought I’d pack clothes in one suitcase and painting supplies in another.   I imagined I’d walk to locations near the villa, spend the day painting en plein air come back with several completed pieces.   Ha!  What a silly fantasy!  The others in the group are interested in tourist activities.  Then we started talking about having to schlep luggage from plane to train to tiny car and realized we should take only one carryon each.  So I’ve been trying to skinny my kit down to a minimum.

I remembered a journaling workshop taught by Margaret Hoybach who suggested carrying a watercolor book and a small watercolor kit.   The idea is to make a quick, simple drawing to capture an image along with color notes.  Add color and details at the next stop.   Try to get as much as possible before someone yells “back on the bus!”.

So I’ve collected the small kit you see here.  It has a book with watercolor paper, watercolor paint box, small bushes, pencils, kneaded eraser, water, white gouache, wax crayon, brown ink pen, black markers, Kleenex or paper towels, pencil sharpener, sea sponge, plastic bag, water bottle, spray bottle., camera, viewfinder, and glue stick.  Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be testing it to see how much more I can leave at home and still call my self an artist.  I think I can do without the glue stick.  How much weight will that save?

Do you have any advice for me?  What is the minimum you need to do art on the road?

Posted in Plein Air, Uncategorized Also tagged , , , |