Painting Progression: Beach

Happy new year!

A year ago December, I posted a series of photographs showing the progress on a sailboat painting. I’ve got another photo progression for an oil painting I did last month. As before, the lighting and angle change a little because I worked & took the photos at different times of day. The actual size is 24″ x 36″. Please enjoy.

Underpainting and laying in sky color

Developing sky and ocean

Sky and ocean colors set; blocking in plant matter


Adding shadows on the sand + middle ground palm tree

Developing grasses and palm fronds

Finished work!

First Haiga

Haiga? What’s that?

If you know what haiku is, you’re halfway there! Haiga is the combination of one haiku and an image, traditionally an ink painting, though other media (including photography) are popular and acceptable today. The two elements of haiga are complementary; one needs the other to get the full effect. The image is not illustrative, nor is the haiku a caption. For instance, if a haiku or senryu is about children playing with autumn leaves, a good haiga will not  depict those children playing in a pile of leaves. It might depict leaves, children, an autumn bird, or trees, but not the exact subject of the haiku. However, overlap is not forbidden. A haiku about a crane calling across the marsh may be paired with a painting of a crane, for instance. Again, the two items should be complementary, but not redundant.

I submitted these to a haiga contest in mid-to-late September. Judging was in late October, so I decided to wait to post these after the contest finished. The top haiga is an example of what I called overlapping just now.


This was painted in watercolor. Though Japanese ink paintings are primarily grayscale, I love working with color, so I chose a dark blue-violet pigment that could echo the light and dark values of traditional works. I also kept the painting fairly simple—closer to a silhouette than a rendering—to echo the simplicity of the senryu.


This one is also a monochromatic watercolor haiga. Although this senryu has nothing to do with blowing bubbles, their union instantly appealed to me and demanded to be expressed. Both dreams and bubbles have beautiful, ephemeral qualities. Moreover, in earlier versions of the senryu, I had specified “summer dreams”; though “summer” no longer appears, I still wished to convey the bliss that I associated with that in this haiga. Both the image of blowing bubbles and the use of a bright blue pigment satisfied that wish. (This one is the first haiga I created.)

If you’d like a refresher on haiku, these two posts from 2014 have short sections about the elements of haiku. In the 2nd one, look for the third header (“Haiku-coo for Cocoa Puffs”): 4th (update) of July and August Advancements.

On another note, last weekend, I attended another artist alley at an anime convention. Watch your inbox for a post!

Welcome, 2016

We ended 2015 posts with a puppy; we’ll begin 2016 with the same puppy! Here’s another portrait of Coda, though admittedly the painting was finished last year. Coda’s a bit younger in this one than in the drawing–maybe 3-4 months old. Besides puppy, I was interesting in painting the floor. This piece is oil on canvas board and about 8″ x 10″. It also features the largest John Hancock I’ve ever affixed to a work of art.

As usual, click to enlarge.

Coda Blue web

Latest Nautical Painting

On some previous projects, I’ve sporadically posted images of various stages of the process. For my latest commission, a sailboat painting, I decided to take photos after most painting sessions. Enjoy these snapshots. (The lighting changes, in turn changing the photo colors, but I assure you, it is the same artwork.)

The boat is named Tommy Dundee and is painted in oils on canvas.


Underpainting + sky base color


Basic cloud shapes + water base colors


More developed sky (clouds) and water


Boat base colors (local/actual color) and shapes


Boat details (placement) indicated (rigging, equipment, etc.)

TD-07Boat details developed and refined

TD-08Water details (colors, reflections, etc.) developed

TD-09Final touch-ups and completion!

All About August

Just for fun, I reread posts from August 2014 to see some of what artistic things I did a year ago. Some highlights: finishing the Alice Moran (tugboat) painting (framed & delivered Sept. 2014), planning Pandagrams, and starting an illustration commission for Do You Have a Pebble in Your Pocket?

If you’d like to revisit those posts, too, just type a keyword such as “panda” in the search bar (top left, just under the colorful Racing Pajamas header). The results page shows several posts & pages; scroll down & click “older posts” (at the bottom of the list) to see more results.

Having looked a year back, you might wonder what new things I’m doing now. First off, I’m painting a series of shells in watercolor, and I’ll likely print a couple of them as notecards. (Previews peppered about this post.) Second, I’m celebrating that we’ve gained a blog subscriber this week–hooray! Third, I’ve been recruited to do art for a board game–fun! More on that next time.