About my E-books

My E-Books

Learning the Basics of Watercolor
Learning the Basics of Watercolor

Painting Flowers in Watercolor
Painting Flowers in Watercolor

Painting on Watercolor Canvas

Painting on Watercolor Canvas

Painting on Watercolor Canvas

Painting on Watercolor Canvas



Paintings and Prints of:

Acrylic Paintings



Cape Cod



Florals/Still Lifes


Greece/ Turkey


Hilton Head



Monet's Garden


Naples, FL

Niagara on the Lake

Pensacola Beach


Rural Landscapes


San Miguel MX


Sparrow Village/
South Africa

Steamboat Springs, CO



Venice, Italy

Watercolor onCanvas
All about Watercolor Paper

on R-tistx Board & Claybord®

How to Paint Crystal and Lace

Painting with Color!

Portraits in Watercolor

How to Paint Clouds

How to Paint Water Reflections

Page of Links

Alternative Surfaces/R-tist-x Board

I have found that companies are now manufacturing surfaces that enhance watercolor and accept that it is a water-based medium that has always been painted on paper. In other pages on this site, I discuss Fredrix Watercolor Canvas and its ability to allow artists to make changes which elude them on most papers. I wrote an e-book about the watercolor canvas.

My other favorite surface is Rtistx Board (pronounced "Artistix"). Believe it or not, it is PVC with an embedded granular surface that accepts watercolor and helps to create smooth glowing washes. Of course these surfaces must be sprayed with a fixative if intended to be framed without glazing. Below are some of the images that I have created on this surface. I am not sure that it is being made anymore because the man who invented it has passed away. They still have their website up, but it is not active. Though, I believe there is a phone # to call.

Clowning Around the Reef
18" x 24"
prints on paper or canvas available on FINEART AMERICA


Clowning Underwater scene 1

This is many layers of color to resemble the flowing corals of the fish tank. I must have stood for an hour just watching these fish and taking many photos so that I could place them just where I wanted them in the painting. The Rristx Board allows the colors to mingle without having to paint every stroke.

So Where are the Fish?
18" x 20"

underwater scene 2

This is my daughter-in-law on her first snorkeling trip. The water was too murky and we didn't see many fish. I had always wanted to paint a person underwater and this was my chance. The Rtistx Board allows a person to paint brilliant colors on the dried surface. I always start the paintings with a few pale but colorful washes just to tint the paper. After drying I added the blues and browns, but left the light, warm colors to be the complement to give the painting a punch.

Craighead Barn 5" x 10"


Painted without drawing, I was able to allow the paint to flow easily. Colors on the Rtistx board mingle together without effort.

Repose 12" x 16"

I noticed this lady at the 18th hole of the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island. What a peaceful feeling I experienced, and just knew that I had to paint this scene. The warm and cool washes of the sky are always applied first. The Rtistx Board must totally dry before you can add the stronger colors. And I mean "really dry!" or they will bleed into the first washes. I do believe that the granular surface holds onto the moisture as it creeps between the grains. Sometimes I have to wait until the next day to begin the serious part of the painting.

War - Triumph and Tragedy
18" x 24"

This is a painting of the War Memorial in the center of Downtown Cleveland. Each side of the memorial depicts one of the wars that our country has been a part of. It has recently been restored and the interior of the memorial is a museum dedicated to these wars. Painting it was a challenge. First was the smooth washes that I needed in the sky so as not to conflict with the textures of the monument. R-tistx Board allows the paint colors to flow together to create a glow that is uninterrupted by hard edges or noticeable changes of color. After that was dry, I drew the images loosely (since I usually paint without drawing). I needed some certain shapes for this, so drawing was important. The stonework was done with a brush without drawing. This allows me to be a bit freer with the paint.

River Road Barn
8" x 10"

This little gem won first place in a Cleveland show and sold immediately. The light was so brilliant against the shadows in the background and the ones cast by the trees that my eye was drawn to take the photo.

As always, I begin with the light washes of gold, pink and blue which give a glow to the surface. By the time the shadows are laid in, the surface looks white. A dark against a light makes the light look white. But this light has colored washes in it. After all, snow is NOT white, but a combination of the colors in the spectrum.

Portland Head Light
18" x 24"

You can see the smoothly blended colors in the sky in this painting. I emphasized the warm washes as the time was approaching sunset and the sky glowed with warmth. The warm colors are allowed to dry before I introduce the cool colors so the colors will not blend into a gray color. Once the warm colors are dry, I can re-wet the surface carefully with a very soft brush and lay in the blue. By the way, the warm and cool colors of these initial washes are carried throughout the entire painting. They do NOT stop at the horizon line. Water and the landscape reflect the colors in the sky so they need to be applied first.

Coastal Colors
16" x 20"

Another sunset scene along the west coast. Sunsets are always more dramatic when there are clouds in the sky. Once again I emphasized the warm colors. The drama is accentuated with the dark cliffs along the left side of the painting. I didn't even allow much light on the sand beach. You can see the red in the clouds is repeated in the water.


Café Rousillon Step-by-Step

The nice thing about Rtistx is that it is rigid, lightweight, cuts easily into any size you prefer, and it acts like watercolor paper in many aspects. and the washes are very smooth and velvet like. It has a tooth to it that grabs the color, but the surface is very smooth, and doesn't wear the brushes out. I am very impressed with its quality.

To begin this painting, I cut a 12” x 16” board down to 12” x 12” to accommodate the square that I needed (for an existing frame that I had in stock!) (another use of my artistic license!)



•I prefer to paint without drawing, but this is a Paris scene, and I have time to do a simple drawing. When I am painting onsite, I don't usually have time to draw, but start with simple shapes with a brush to develop the painting. (This will be covered in another chapter ....titled Painting without drawing).

When I teach students, I usually do a quick sketch (without detail) as I do all the detail with a brush. Otherwise, it seems to me to be painting in a coloring book. I like the freedom to change my mind and not be bound by a detailed drawing and wondering how to rid the painting of all the pencil marks.

Because this is a rainy scene, I chose to do my three mood washes one right after the other while the pigment was wet, so that there is a nice colorful grey to the building.• My brush was a Squirrel brush made by Neef, that has a ferrule that is about 3/4” in diameter.


I did not wet the entire page first, as I wanted the highlighted umbrellas to remain as light as possible. While applying the washes I painted around the umbrellas and the white knob on the traffic pole, as they would have the brightest light on them.

I also kept the page slanted to let the paint cascade to the bottom. This creates the look of the vertical rain rather than having horizontal strokes, which don’t appear to be rain at all! As the color pools at the bottom of the slanted page, I pick up the excess with a damp brush and allow the washes to dry before continuing.

•I tell my students that “detail comes at de-tail”, but in this case, I began with the focal point so as not to lose the highlights around the subject.


Since this painting is only 12" x 12", I use a small 1/8" flat brush for drawing, and a very sharply pointed Silverado brush (synthetic) for small detail. As I begin to paint the windows above the awning, I take care in making the shadows colorful. I use as much of the local color of the building and interject pale washes of blue while the color is wet. This causes the shadows to glow instead of being a dead gray.

To finish some of the washes in the bottom  of the painting, I just grabbed my 1/2” flat (sable) and loaded it with color which I dragged in downward strokes on the sidewalk and the street…still trying to get the “wet” look.


As washes dried, I restated the shadow areas to create more contrast against the figures in the foreground, then proceeded to strengthen the values in the upper part of the building. When I felt the values were correct, I added the wrought iron detail and suggested the brickwork on the façade.

This, as watercolors on paper, went rather quickly. Of course, any detail slows you down, but I tried not to make it too accurate or photographic. There was no need. There is enough detail to tell the story.

5. Café Rousillon, Paris











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