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Welcome to

This is your place to learn, share and be inspired. Join Jody as she reveals her secret techniques in watercolor. You can reach your goal of becoming an artist by following Jody in her simple step by step approach to painting.

Holiday Greetings and Painting the Christmas Angel.

Dear Friends,

The Holidays have many wonderful memories for all of us!
The time with Family, the Traditions, the Music, the FOOD…Wow. No wonder we love the Season.
Today I reach out with Gratitude for all the years of your support and wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving and Christmas!
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Now for Art Class; Painting a Christmas Angel.

When painting watercolors I always begin with the lightest shades.

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 I start with a pallet of light aqua, blue and lavender for the snow, moon, lion and lamb.

After the light blues I will paint the golds of the angels’ wings and Halo.

I use Raw Sienna and Naples yellow for the look of gold. The shadows are created with golds opposite color, purple.
The grainy look in the purples are created with Winsor Newton Cobalt Purple.
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 Each shape is painted separately and allowed to dry.

I used salt crystals to add texture to the halo, moon, and the snow.

Darker blues and teals are mixed to create the colors of dusk. Salt is added to the sky for more texture.

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Experiment with salt in your own work. After I finish a wash I add chunky white sea salt and allow it to dry completely. 
Then I brush off the remaining crystals.
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Now I can begin to paint the darkest colors. 

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I use a fine #1 liner brush and white titanium paint for the hair detail.

Red is the last color I add. Painting from light to dark keeps edges crisp. 

If you paint the red first and then try and do a light color next to the red it will bleed into the damp paper creating a pink fuzzy edge.

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A brocade pattern is patiently painted on the dark blue with my liner brush and white titanium watercolor.

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Final brush strokes add the last details…and the Christmas image is complete.
May I present for 2015’s annual Holiday image… “The Herald of Peace.”
I wish all of you Happy Holidays and a very Prosperous and FUN 2016!
Love, Jody
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The Explosive Fire of Horses!…New Show November 5,6 and 7.

Dear Friends and Painters,
The Fall Bergsma Warehouse Show is the 5-7th of November…I hope to see some of your there.
Now for Art Class!
What do you Love? Children, Boats, Flowers?
Painting things that you love is always the best place to start.
For me it has always been horses.
This last week we had a new horse arrive at the ranch and it sparked an energized equine conversation.
This kind of fire in horses is one of the reasons I love them as subject matter.
Art Class; Draw What you love.
The first step in your project is a good drawing.
The more you like your sketch the more satisfaction you will get from the painting process!
I use lots of photos for inspiration and accuracy and now it is easier than ever with the access we have to the internet.
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When you draw ask yourself.
“Does my composition have action? Balance, open space? Have I considered where the contrast will be.
Remember, light against dark and dark against light.
Transfer the sketch to your watercolor paper (dont sketch right on the paper if you need to erase like I do)…erasing ruins the fine texture of watercolor paper. I transfer my drawings on a light table. You can even use a window to retrace your sketch onto your W.C. paper.
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Choosing a color pallet; 
I create allot of premixed color on my mixing surface (I use ceramic paint holders and a sheet of glass for mixing my colors).
I wanted to have a colorful background so I started there. Clear water down first, then splashes of orange blue and brown.
Notice the use of splattering. Try it dry on wet or wet on wet. 
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I create drawings that can be separated into simple shapes and carefully lay each section of color into each shape.
If you are impatient about paint drying you can use a hair dryer to speed things up!
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Each of the sections painted separately finally make the image of horse…can you see them?
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Paint darks last. I premixed up the dark paint and painted each section to create a black horse.
I often use blue blacks or brown blacks…never black from the tube.
For the final touches I splattered a bit more paint…this time wet on dry to give the feeling of flying hooves.
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The horses made friends as they got to know each other. They created fuel for this painting.
Real life has millions of moments of inspiration. Let them be the focus of your day and them maybe paint one.
Wishing you a fine Autumn!
Love Jody
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Labor Day 25% Off Everything Online…Plus New Otter and Sketches.

Dear Friends,

 Our playful days of June-August are fading. I hope all of you had a great Summer!
Labor Day brings us to a new chapter in the year it is a fantastic time to consider painting.
For those of you that prefer instead to just appreciate Art…
Bergsma is having a 25% off EVERYTHING on the website 5 DAY SALE till Tuesday the 8th.
Just write “Labor Day 25” in the comments box at check-out and we will apply your discount
when we ship! (If you live close by did you know you can pick up your
order at the warehouse?)
New Drawings are being created (scroll to the end) and you are welcome to print them out
for your own coloring or craft projects.
Art Class; Otter Happiness.
Lets talk about painting gray. How do you make it interesting?
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 I usually mix up my grays from a combinations of blues and browns.
Using black to create gray can be flat. Instead use a mix and let the viewers eye 
create the gray,
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 Can you see the blue, brown, teal and pink in the gray?
I think that is interesting.

 I will use brighter versions of the tones in the fur and sea anemone to make the

Native Otter symbol.

“Repetition with Variation” creates harmony between your colors and binds the
composition together.
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 This otter loves his Anemone!;)

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 Once all the base colors are in place it is time to add the stains and shadows.

The splattered paint on the rocks creates texture. 

I cut out a piece of paper in the otter shape and laid that down first in order to not

get the splatters on him.

I am using a piece of paper towel to smudge and blot even more texture on the rocks.
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Finally all the details are complete and we have a new Native Otter.

I thing we will call him Otter Happiness or Spirit Brother…

What do you think?
Here are some new sketches too…you are welcome to print them out.
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The Wind of Spirit.
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 Citizens of Spirit and Sky.
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 Friends are the best part of life.
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I will pint these horses black on a splattered gold background for sun…bronze highlights.
Title to come.
Best to all of you Dear Friends, and until we meet again, be well and maybe try something new
that will make you happy!
Love, Jody




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The Bears and Moose of Alaska!

Dear Friends…

I hope all of you are enjoying our early summer and that some of the sights will inspire you to take out your paints!

 Painting subjects and colors that match the season is always a good choice. Your art will have more inspiration.
Creating a themed drawing is your first task. I often turn to the internet for references if the subject is too difficult to photograph. 
The FLOWERS can come from your garden!
Grizzly bear cub in forest, Katmai National Park, Alaska.
 Art Class…
First find your references. I use books and the internet.
I am careful to not copy other’s photos exactly. They are used for inspiration and detail only.
Arranging the characters in your art is a bit like making a  shelf display in your home. Draw a quick sketch of each piece separately and move them around till it feels right and then begin your sketch. Fill in the background with vague shapes…remember, you want your subject to take center stage. Everything else is just the adjectives.
Bears…and flowers.

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Once you have all of your ingredients  you can finish your drawing.
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 Art Tip #1; Paint your lightest colors first.
The choice of where to begin is always made for you. The lightest color in this piece will be the white in the lupine. 
I created a sky blue and violet palette for the flowers along with the palest greens.
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Red and violet are the opposite color to green so they are used to create the shadows and hue interest.
Can you see the purple in the lime?
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Use the same colors in your tray as you move from shape to shape.
The colors will blend naturally.
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For the bears use orange gold and blue.
This is more interesting than just browns…the opposite colors create vibrancy.
For more information on opposite colors and their importance visit my Video… (link)
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It take patience to fill all of the the colors in separately. 
Always add contrasting colors into each shape for movement.
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Once all the colors are in place you can add the shadows.
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Use translucent colors like a mix of thalo green with a little alizarin crimson 
and  push the wash in the darkest area with purple. Use both colors thinly.
Art Tip #2;  Value does all of the work but color gets the credit.
This means that opposite colors juxtaposed are not as important as changing values.
Light against Dark and Dark against Light. 
Place your most contrasting and your brightest colors at your focal point.
This is why the “eyes” always draw the viewer in. It is usually your strongest point of value change.
Finally I add the details of the fur with my #1 liner brush and some tinted white titanium watercolor.
The illusion of bear and cub are almost complete.
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 My friends at Alaska Wildlife Center (Link) Sent me many photos of young wildlife in Alaskan flowers as a request.

I was honored to help raise awareness of these beautiful animals through the creation of a painting.
They also requested a young moose in the Lupine…My favorite childhood flower. What was yours?
May we all enjoy a long and blessed life.
 Love, Jody
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Happy Spring Flowers and Using Opposite Colors!

Dear Friends…

  “Orange is the Happiest color…Red is close.”~ Frank Sinatra
After the bleak Winter months…The flowers of Spring are a welcome sight.
As a painter who gathers inspiration from nature it is my joy to break out the full color pallett!
In this Blog let me walk you through some painting tips to help get you started mixing colors that are bright yet balanced.
Art Tip #1, When painting saturated color remember to use opposites on the color wheel for balance.
Red and Green are opposites. To make shadows in your reds use green…and to make more realistic greens add reds and orange.

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 For a great effect in this background I have added salt crystals to the wash, just as it was drying,

 to create sparkeling patterns in the wash.

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Paint your lightest flowers first so your painted edges stay crisp and your washes will not run.

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When painting red…use yellows and oranges for the hight-lights…and a dark burgundy for the shadows.

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I used more salt washes in some of the tulips to create “Repitition with Variation.”

My Greens are my Darkest colors…so they are painted last.
Once all of the colors are blocked in…It is time to begin the shadows and details.
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I use stain watercolors in shades of purple and dark teal for the shadows.
Using stain paint allows the color underneath to still show through the new thin top color.
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Casting shadows (try and imagine  a single light sourse from the upper left) will make your image more 3 dimensional. 
This technique will lead the eye of the observer into the image by suggestion and the fact that western culture reads from left to right.
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After the shadows are complete it is time to add the last details.
For this I use opaque “Titanium White” watercolor…Zinc white is too transparent for this technique.
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The fine hairs are painted with a mixture of the color of the fur with the white and applied with a fine liner brush. 
I like a 0 or a 1 liner for detail,
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My conclusion about painting flowers is that the bright colors will make you feel happy…and that is what art is all about for me.
Next time you pick up your paint brush try treating yourself to a new boquet and take out your favotite bright colors!
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Best wishes for Happy Painting, :)
Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. -Earl Nightingale
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Unicorns…Fact or Fiction? And How to Paint Them!

Dear Friends,

Welcome to another ART CLASS.

First let’s talk about Unicorns and some things you may not know…


The Unicorns is the most recognized mythical creature.
Did you know that Unicorns exists in Legends in many cultures.
 In the Orient the Unicorn was called Kiren. It was a peaceful creature attributed with bringing good luck.


In the Bible the Re’em was often translated as “Unicorn”.
It was described by the Greek Historian Ctesais as horse like
with intense blue eyes and a long horn in the middle of its forehead.


In European folklore, the unicorn is often depicted as a white horse-like or goat-like animal
with a long horn and cloven hooves. In the Middle Ages, it was commonly
described as an “extremely wild woodland creature”; A supreme symbol of purity and grace.


Today they have a proud place on the Coat of Arms
of many European Royal Families as well as a firm foothold in the hearts of believers everywhere!

So to bring these creatures to life it is good to start by drawing!

There are allot of great images and descriptions online to give you inspiration.

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You need pre-mixed pale colors to complete the Unicorns. Mix the colors ahead of time for consistency.


In my technique I paint separate shapes to create the illusion of the subject. Each area is colored with the same shades of paint which makes them appear to blend.


I was once told by a master…” The eyes are the place where the observer enters the painting”.

 There is nothing more important than how you paint the eyes! Notice the shadow under the eye lid.


I use salt to create crystals of interest in the back ground.

Let your watercolor wash dry slightly and then sprinkle salt…Magic, Try it!


Details are added with a fine liner brush…

Note how a simple area is painted with different colors that blend while wet to create flow.


Finally I add fine lines with White Titanium Watercolor with a long liner brush to give the feeling of the mane.

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The Finished Painting is just as I hoped…a window into the world of beauty and belief.


May your  imagination run free!

Wishing you a magical and meaningful Holiday Season,
Love, Jody



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Creating Big Foot…How do You Paint a Legend?


Dear Friends and Associates,

The ultimate artistic challenge was thrown down this last year by several of my clients and friends.
“Can Jody Bergsma paint a Big-Foot?

(If you have an idea for a title…please leave it in the comments box below… Winner gets a print!)

This was quite a dilemma for me as like all mysteries there are no models really, just ideas, legends and stories.

Two request were truly unique. One coming from some prestigious members of the  BFRO
(Big Foot Research Organization) and our local Native Americans.


I had to think about it and finally after talking to Tina Schwindt  of “Bay to Baker” Gift Store  , in Fairhaven, whose Native Grandmother had stories to tell …I saw this image.
Everything of value comes from the spark of inspiration and I had been waiting for one to happen.

Did you know that the Northwest has more Big Foot sightings than anywhere else in the world?
“The Tall Men of the Forest” have a long lineage of stories in all of the local Native tribes.
I have been told some myself, and they are chilling.

Art…Starts with the idea and sketch.
I begin with small quick sketches that then develop to a final.
It is then transferred to watercolor paper.

(The eraser is my friend…but only on the sketch…erasers ruin watercolor paper.)

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 The first washes set the color palette.

Mixing golds ,browns and forest greens will create a NW stage.
The rays of light in the forest are simply created by painting a thinner wash of color in the rays.

The under-washes set of the feeling of fur and color balance.
 The blue-greens of the forest are used in the shadows of the subjects.
I use fine #1 liner brushes for the details.
Each area is painted separately to create definition.
There is allot of detail in a piece like this…Patience is required!

The layering of color brings animals to life.
The Raven cries out…”“Listen to the howl of the wolves, the sigh of the stars, the whisper of the wind…
and the song in your heart.”~Jenetah Walker Taylor
May I present…Big Foot…A Northwest Legend.

  Wishing you the impossible…

  And dreams come true!

  Love, Jody


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Secrets of Wolves, Why Our Souls Love Them and…How to Paint them.

      Dear Friends,

What is our fascination with wolves?
Is it perhaps some primal memory of the first domesticated animal to help with our survival in the wild?
There are many legends of the cooperation and friendship between wolves and humans…
but in western literature there is also the wolf portrayed as villain and deceiver.
More recently, as the wolf was hunted nearly to extinction,
they have become a symbol of our sustainable ecology and our need to help preserve balance.

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There has never been a preservation cry as loud as the one that rose to stop the eradication of this noble creature. And now with the reintroduction of them to Yellowstone National Park, there is documented proof about the role they play in saving our rivers and the wildlife that depends on them.

“How Wolves Change Rivers”…A short 4 minute documentary!  Click HERE.

Secrets of Painting Wolves…

My goal is to share some simple steps to insure your success when you try and paint a wolf.
Step 1: Mixing the right colors.
Gray comes in many shades and you need several of them to make the fur.
Mix dark and light, warm gray, blue gray and  some beige to get started.

Create paintable sections in your drawing to help define the high and low lights in the coat.
Use both shades of gray in each wash for variety, place in the colors only after you cover the area to be painted with clear water.
This keeps the white of the paper showing through as highlights.

Paint each area separately, allowing the adjoining areas to dry so the colors do not run together.


Note how the warm and cool grays are dancing together to create the illusion of fur?


Once the pale colors of the fur are created you can paint the darker back ground.


This is just the basic layers of the fur…To complete your wolves it takes many transparent layers of watercolor in grays and browns, and finally a fine brush for fur tips and whiskers to complete the illusion…but it is all started with the under-wash. the spiky quality of the fur is born in the bottom layer. This makes the final product possible!

For more information please refer to my “How to Paint a Wolf” video on You Tube.
Click HERE.


Is there anything more important than keeping our own dreams alive?
…our dreams of freedom, authenticity and integrity?

To do so…
“Listen to the howl of the wolves, the sigh of the stars, the whisper of the wind…
and the song in your heart.”~Jenetah Walker Taylor


Wishing you a strong spirit and a never ending well of inspiration,
Blessings, Jody

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When Summer Ends…Dont Forget Our Hummingbird Friends!

 Dear Friends and Painters,

Fall is upon us…These rainy days are the time to take out your paints

and ignite your inner summer!

In this lesson we will talk about Hummingbirds.

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First lets  research and create a good drawing. You are welcome to use any  sketches

of mine or create your own from the many good photo’s online!

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Next… spend some time preparing your palette and mix allot of beautiful colors.


This shade of Quinacridone Magenta (or Violet) is an important ingredient

to create vivid bright color.


Purples, violets and several shades of green are needed to create the bright throats

and the purple flowers that Hummingbirds love.

After the palette…the background needs to be prepared.


Tip: WET on WET WASHES work best if the background is really wet before you begin.

That is why I use a squirt bottle to soak the paper. I spread the abundant water …

carefully around the subject in the fore-ground with a flat brush.

Then add your premixed paint as you wish.
 This technique  let’s  the paint run and blend freely and helps you create fresh fun washes.
Painting the wings and other details requires coloring each section separately till dry.



The intense shade of Quinacridone Magenta is the secret to creating

brilliant transparent purple washes.


Playing with bright color is great therapy on gray days.

Color effects our moods and our energy for the better.

For more art inspiration visit my short video on painting hummingbirds and wet washes!

Cut and paste for You Tube….

Wishing you and Eternal Summer!
Love Jody


‘In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me,

an invincible summer.

                                                          And that makes me happy. “~Albert Camus



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Finding and Painting Frogs…Tip-Toe through the Tulips with Me. Signing!

Hello Friends and Associates,

Today we will talk about little green friends…
But First a short Bergsma Announcement.
I will be signing in Bellevue Washington 11:00-3:30 Saturday the 10th of May at…
Exclusively Art, Factoria Mall #B-2 . Come see THE NEW ART!
The Second Edition ARTBOOK is coming with all new drawings.
Now for Frogs!
If you listen at night they have started to sing a joyful chorus welcoming the warmer weather.
Frogs have been a favorite of mine since youth and finding one is still a cause for slippery delight.

These little green singers have become a symbol of our troubled world eco systems so finding many varieties in the N.W. makes me hopeful and excited.

Here are some tips on how to paint a frog and how to find one.;)

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Go to any pond and slowly walk the edge…they will hop right in front of you.

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Then get him to pose for you, or if that is just a bit to slimy…find some good online frog photos to work from!
You are also welcome to copy the Drawing from the New Artbook and transfer any details to your own watercolor paper. (See the end of the blog)


Art Tip…
Draw your frog large enough to really see the details while you work.
Separate the shapes into interesting and easy to paint sections.


To obtain correct color and texture ;) … A live model is best!
You will see how un-green frogs can be.
The tummy is a pale beige-grey with yellow and pink hints. The feet are often golden beige.


Adding a little Burnt Sienna and pink to the toes bring warmth and character.


Keep your washes crisp by letting each section dry before you paint next to it.


Paint your darks last…that way the edges will stay sharp.

Now for a walk through the tulip fields.
First I painted all of the greens and grey blues… not really knowing what I would do for the tulip colors.
I posted this unfinished work on FACEBOOK and asked my friends for advice. The majority wanted reds and purples.
What would you have done?

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I mixed several colors on my pallet and looked up tulip photos for inspiration.
Art Tip…Get the Paint out!

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The parrot tulip is Stunning and offers allot of color variety in one flower. I like that!



Oh no…I put my painting on the floor and turned my back for just a moment to clean my water…

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I now know how the cat hair has been getting on my work!

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When you watercolor, lint and pet hair can be very frustrating when they get mixed up in the wash.
Warning…Do not wear black wool or cashmere while watercoloring! Do not let pets sit on your painting! lol
Lint and hair are easily removed with a lint roller but watch the roller edge.
If the roll is low and the edge cuts into the paper you can mark your paper.

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While painting the tulips just use your best judgement for where to place the colors.
It is a challenge to get saturated watercolor reds. By it’s nature watercolor likes to be pastel.
Keep lots of premixed color on your pallet and as the wash is drying keep adding pigment to the still damp surface.
That is how I get smooth saturated color.

The Heron is placed to help the viewer move into the scene and guide the eye to the mountain.

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The Tulip Fields are just starting to bloom in Oregon and Washington.
You can visit the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm outside Portland…
Address: 33814 S Meridian Rd, Woodburn, OR 97071

Or in Skagit Valley you have many sites to choose from. This one is very nice.
15867 Beaver Marsh Rd.  Mount Vernon, WA 98273

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Wishing all of my friends a very happy Tip-toe through the Tulips kind of day…
Be Froggy; Be Hoppy!

28You are welcome to use this new drawing to paint YOUR frog!

I have a How to Paint a Frog Video on You Tube…Check it out ..

Type in Youtube Search, “How to Paint Using Watercolor Techniques by Jody Bergsma, Frogs”

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