Friday, July 24, 2020


Covid 19 threw us all for a loop.  Some hunkered down and ate more; my husband and went for hikes in the fresh air to various favorite locations on Whidbey. 

Gouache has been sneaking into my watercolor sketches here and there in the form of Chinese White or my favorite Holbein Jaune Brilliante which stays moist and is a slight flesh color.

Working from some favorite photos from Whidbey island and a trip to Northern California in January & February, I was inspired to paint mini paintings.  It is a peaceful feeling to sit quietly looking at a small image and try to capture what you felt when you were taking the photo!

The minis are 2 inches to 3 inches.  A few are a bit more rectangular, up to 2.25".   They are painted on #300 lb watercolor paper and sealed on the back to prevent warping.  They can be put on an easel, refrigerator, or, framed without glass.  If you would like to purchase any please contact me.  The smallest is $25, 3inch on an easel $50 and 3 inches in a frame $75.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Sketching Sunday

Hi there,
Near M Bar C, a beautiful sunny Sunday
    It's become my habit to carry sketching gear in the car and find somewhere to pull over and make a sketch. Especially important during chilly winter months.  Imagine my surprise when I found myself doing just that on those moody cool mornings on the way home from church.  Now it has become a habit and I try to find different places all the time.  These are from 2019.
The horses at M Bar C liked my music and stayed still long enough for me to sketch their shapes

Kennedy Lagoon
From Sills road home looking down on Maxwelton beach
It was fun to sit outside and get this on one of the last days of 2019
From the car - wonder what people think when I sit overlooking their drive.
a Cul de sac in Holmes Harbor
Holmes Harbor near Nichols Bros
Westport WA pond
Holmes Harbor again and the inevitable Heron (The other half of the Nichols Bros sketch.)

Friday, December 13, 2019

Sketching Supplies

It seems like all sketchers are looking for that perfect setup, inclusive of every color we like, small enough to travel, and easy to setup on location so we don't overwhelm our host by taking up too much space. After all sketching is small compared to making art on a 1/4 or half sheet.  It is a way I use to hone my visual skills, improve my drawing and capture the color I see before it changes and to remember that place and time.

I use palettes; they are business card size (2.25x3.5') and have small metal pans that attach to a magnetic surface; moving colors into or out of the case is easy.  I have set up two of these palettes (with another waiting in the wings in case I go tropical?)  I revise these small palettes as necessary to make many beautiful colors or when we travel.

My current color setup is a variation of colors that Liz Steel and Jane Blundell have listed in their online classes.  The reason I say variation is because, just like these sketching giants,  I just can't live without Holbein, Jaune Brillant.  It acts like white with a hint of flesh color and doesn't deaden or flatten color like white.

Please leave a comment on your favorite sketch supplies and colors. 
SILVER PALETTE left top to right. Indian Yellow; QSienna; Greengold stick; olive green crayon; Indanthrone Blue; Maroon Perylene (graham); Perylene green.  Daniel Smith unless specified. Bottom row: White; Buff; Q violet; Q pink.
Top row: JauneBrillant (HBC) Naples yellow; Winsor yellow; Q gold tube;  Transparent Yellow Oxide; WN Scarlet; Perylene Crimson.
Bottom: Cerulean Blu hue; Burnt Sienna; Ultramarine (cobalt blue & sepia below); Thalo Blue and Thalo green; Permanent Rose; (DS) Sap green & Indian red (WN).

Business card with contact info on back.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Cambria CA

In June we met up with former Whidbey Islanders Sooja and Wayne to see their new digs in Walnut Creek and go hiking near San Simeon.  We stayed with the hiking group at the Cambria Pines Lodge, a beautiful piece of property near the Ocean with multiple gardens to enjoy.  In the winter this place features a Christmas event with many small cottages that sell food and gifts.  There is also a small train for kiddos to ride.  Here are a few of the sketches I managed to make.

There were many clever "birdhouses" covered with succulents.  This is the front and back of one of them.
Two of the best hikes were in Montana de Oro State Park.  These sketches were from the second hike.  We were allowed to hike private PGE trails.  They are open only on certain days and I call it an in and out hike.  While walking along the cliffs, I kept hearing music and finally identified it as an opera - don't ask which.  We decided someone on a fishing boat way out there was really enjoying the music-so did I when someone agreed that I wasn't losing my mind.
Buchon Pt, Montana de Oro State Park, CA

Friday, April 26, 2019


I recently came across a beautiful chair in our Community Park.  It was made in memory of Jesse Travis.  I never knew Jesse, just that he was killed in car-crash near our home shortly after we moved to Whidbey Island.
I think Jesse left so many people bereft of his presence because I saw this memorial in the park and his gravestone in the Langley Woodsmen cemetery.  The carved chair has a wooden book draped over the arm so I imagine Jesse was a big reader or at least loved to be read to.
Whidbey is such a caring place (my experience is of South Whidbey), most transplants here feel they've been called to contribute in some way.  My way is to record what I see and ask you to look thru my eyes at the beautiful world that surrounds us even if it is touched by sadness.
Keeping busy sketching Violas on a quiet day at Whidbey Art Gallery

Little park oasis - a memorial to one of Whidbey's lost young.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Sunday drive

Friday and Sunday sketching!  Today while driving around enjoying our beautiful but chilly views, I came upon a view of Hat Island and decided it was worthy of stopping for a bit.  I was driving on Witter Rd and don't know the name of the street but it's on the other side of the road to Comforts Winery if 
you want to try it.

Friday our group was at Blue School Arts in Clinton.  I meandered into the sunny room where Sara was working and made a sketch of a workspace and some weird thing that looks like a bunch of irons out the window.  It must be a Quonset hut??  Check out the head on the window sill!

Last week in Westport, I tried sketching boats from the car.  I decided it's not my forte!  Too many masts and hard to tell where they all come from and one of my boats looks like its falling into the water.  I like land!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Almost Spring

It is still too cold to sketch outside for any length of time so today, I gave myself permission to sketch from photos.
While walking our dog through the neighborhood, I took pictures of the cows, chickens, scenery.  Since then, I've been having a lovely time sitting around sketching from my phone.  Here are two from Al Anderson Farm in Langley, WA.

The chickens were actually scratching grasses and veggies in the corner, but the hole was getting deep, so I imagined a breakout with the third chicken keeping guard.
The Herefords are very friendly because we feed them apples in the fall, they pose so calmly - probably wondering where the apples went.

Anderson Farm is now a VRBO and can be rented by a family.  Not sure how many it sleeps, but know that it has the same feel of around the middle of the twentieth century!   Even the appliances look old but are updated replicas.  Hmm, maybe I need to ask about sketching inside the house.  It has a cozy corner in the living room that catches the afternoon sun.  Perfect for dozing or reading.

Hereford cows - morning Hay!

Butts up!  Don't break out, there are coyotes!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Winter sketching

Winter:  Brr.  I love landscape sketching and will sketch from the house or car when it is nasty and cold outside.  A couple of weeks ago during the big snows (for Seattle area), I sat inside or sketched from a photo on my phone. ( see the sunny snow sketch below.)

Other great pleasures are visiting friends home and finding a wonderful treasure like the green ceramic lamp at Diane B's home, the jewelry display at Music for the Eyes, or the still life table display from my daughters at Christmas.

Elipses get me every time!  I was looking down on this setup.

Here is another snow sketch from the bedroom window sketched from a sunny day photo.
Clover Court (photo early afternoon)

Monday, February 11, 2019

Snowed in.

After a certain age you convince yourself to be extremely cautious when outside walking on ice and snow, to not be stupid and move too quickly because you might fall...blah blah blah.  I agree we of a certain age need to be smart but not overly cautious.

One of the ways we can still sketch/paint is to bring the outdoors inside.  Here are a couple of sketches done during the overcast snow days sitting on my coffee table looking out.  I have so many more views from the bedroom & kitchen I can work on and darn it, it's snowing again, time to practice what I preach!

I can also work from photos, the light doesn't change, the cow stands still, you get the picture.  Don't stop sketching or painting!  When your outside, practice your sea legs (don't walk like a penguin unless you're on ice), use a hiking pole and have fun.

Here are three sketches finished while inside looking out and, from a photo.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Orcas Island Pottery

A few of my favorite paintings in watercolor are gracing the walls of our Co-op.  I usually don't paint on larger than a quarter sheet of watercolor paper, but the Orcas Island potter displays were worth the challenge.  The blue and brown mugs were earthy but beautiful; they looked like they would be a pleasure to hold in your hand.  The plates on the side of the log building were amazing.  The sunshiny day created dramatic shadows and the blue and pink pearl color on one of the plates was very different.
Both of these paintings are professionally framed with conservation clear glass.  I took the photos in the Gallery, so they are looking a bit crooked and show some glare from all the lights.

Pitcher and Pear is a large 16x20.  I painted this in Coupeville with my friend Stella Canfield from a still life setup. I love the composition and the color in this painting.
All three of these are available for your home at the Whidbey Art Gallery, Langley WA, or contact me here at Blogger.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Crow Season

My Gallery, The Whidbey Art Gallery, promotes a Crow Show in the month of October. so I pulled out sketches and reference photos and got to work.
My first Crow is called The Wise One.  
It is an oil painting with a hint of Madrona trees.  Some paintings just come together easily, this was one of them.  Painting it felt right.  The madrona tree inspiration came on a second pass.

Weathering the Political Storm of 2018 was also inspired.  Referring to a recent sketch of a crow with ruffled feathers, I kept thinking why is he so kerfuffled?  Decided he needed dark stormy weather and a nest to hold onto, then maybe lighter skies looking toward the future.  The inspiration for the title came from the current continuous political news.  I feel we are all holding on in the rough politics of this year.

 Finally, the Baby Crow!  He appears to be startled, like why am I here?  His feet are so big!  I had fun with this little watercolor also and another rendition painted on some kind of paper that absorbed the paint.
If you like this blog, please share with your friends or follow me at Patbrookesart on Facebook and Instagram.
Visit us in Langley WA and enjoy the Crow Show. Artwalk is this Saturday, Oct 6, from 5-7pm.


Covid 19 threw us all for a loop.  Some hunkered down and ate more; my husband and went for hikes in the fresh air to various favorite locat...