Winter berries

Wil Freeborn’s lesson 10 involved strawberries and sight sizing (drawing an object actual size). I look forward to drawing some fresh local berries this summer. 


Lessons learned: don’t be afraid to be bold with the shadow on the first stroke (in this lesson, the berry shadows were painted first); I find it easier to scrub out the highlights, but this will only work if the paint is non-staining. I like how the pencil line helps define the inside edge of the pan.

In search of Spring 

More snow fell outside, but these tulips helped to keep the promise of spring alive.


Lesson learned: dark yellow (the shadow side of a yellow flower) is hard to convey without creating a muddy look. I want to learn… a book on botanical watercolour did not include any yellow flowers, so I need to research this.

Imitation as flattery 

I have been looking for the type of plant Wil Freeborn sketched in lesson 2 of his book, but without success. So I decided just to do a sketch that copies how example in the book. Figures, today I was at my local favourite coffee/lunch spot and the centrepiece was one of these plants. I’ll have to go back and sketch it.

But, the point of this exercise was actually choosing a background. So here is my attempt and the actual book.


Lessons learned: I prefer textured watercolour paper to the paper in this sketchbook; I now have a sense of how professional quality paint differs from “student” quality. I find it easier to lift the colour to create small highlights.

Old pears

Had fun with this. I love pear shapes. I do find them tricky to paint, but I’m happy with this attempt.


Lessons learned: it pays to go slow, let the paper dry and test the colour before making a stroke on the paper. And, yes, good paper makes a big difference. The is Fluid cold press, 140 lb. block.