Watercolour Wannabe


Slim Paley Photo

..Painter’s palette plates at Fishes Eddy NYC.

I had such lofty plans for doing some painting this summer.

I was saving,


and saving this post until I could add just one finished painting of my own.


.I’m not going to suggest it would have been anything like this

.John Singer Sargent was in Greece.

I was in Greece too!

One of us was a bit more productive.

though I did take my watercolours to Paris

and I certainly visited Laduree…

This is not my painting. (via Pinterest)


 even just a little bird like this would have been something

But alas, my painting muse flew the coop

 I did find a few pretty images of paint boxes in my travels both on land and the internet 🙂

.and colours blending in a water coloury fashion

. I could certainly paint this, couldn’t I?

Perhaps I simply spent too much time on my ‘gadgets’

.ah-D’ya think???!

.Let’s all take a collective moment to be thankful that Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso et al didn’t have an iPad.

.These sweet little slippers from Anthropology whispered;

“You never painted this summer! For shame, for shame”

. “Christopher Clutches” filled with watery colour goodness mocked me too


.Watercolours in every permutation floated through my days,

a spectral  reminder of broken promises to myself.

Black Crow




Down the runway

…and back to the table again

John Singer Sargent


.Images abounded to chide me;

PAINT! PAINT! What’s the matter with you? PAINT!!

Tamara Comolli Collection

Well, actually, this image was more like “Buy me! Buy me! What’s the matter with you?? Buy me!”


.Slim Paley photo

My little box of travel watercolours (Winsor & Newton)

and one very tightly painted pear from my class. I had to cut it out from the page because my shadowing was so bad.

Did I mention I’m a Virgo?? Albeit one that doesn’t feel the need to clean her paintbox or cut her pear particularly well?!)


LOOK at this!

I could say this is why I don’t even try.

Paola Navone china


He kills me.


Wallpapers available at BLACK CROW STUDIOS

.If one were really, really brave, you could forgo the wallpaper altogether, soak the wall and just go at it with your own paints.

,Issey Miyake feeling it

.Who would think baking a cake would ever start looking like the easiest option?!.

Slim Paley photo

Fishes Eddy NY


I’m visiting friends in Santa Fe, New Mexico soon.

My travel paints will be going into my luggage.

Taking bets??!


How about you? Have you been artistic this summer? 

I hope so!



  1. Slim, l love this post,and Sargent is brilliant. Looking at his work makes me want to cry, it is so beautiful.

  2. So Beautiful! Watercolor inspirations indeed! I’m an oil painter but intrigued by the watercolor process here. I love your pictures of watercolor paints showing the messy process that is creativity. Look out Singer Sergeant, here comes Slim!

  3. What an inspired post!! Thank you for the Sargent pieces! How does he leave those tiny little bright white spots on the fountain cupids? Amazing. But don’t let him intimidate you…your Pear is brilliant!

  4. Slim, your posts are such an inspiration! I started painting again this summer (great Virgos think alike? 🙂 and I promise you that once you pick up that brush, you will be wondering why you didn’t do it sooner ! My bets are *totally* on you, and I can’t wait to see the produit fini !

  5. Oh, why is it so hard to just sit down and do such things? My paints haven’t seen the summer sun for years. But summer isn’t over yet, and the paints still work in the fall. From the looks of that gorgeous pear and the beautiful shades of green you’ve blended on your paint box I think an autumnal work of art may be in your future.

  6. I visited Fishes Eddy last week while in New York on your recommendation – it was so much fun! I only had a few minutes to browse, but there were so many things I wanted to buy.

    I love the little bird – being able to paint that would be a huge accomplishment for me. I took a watercolor class many years ago and was not very good – but maybe I need to give it another try!

    Thank you for a lovely post.

  7. Slim,
    I have always wished I could paint, alas, I’m too rigid. Even in high school my commercial art teacher would say, “relax, Karen”. I’m afraid I just don’t have what it takes to paint. With your examples I think I’ll just settle for buying a Sargent print and be done. I hear New Mexico has been inspiring artists for years…go for it.

  8. I love art, any kind, any subject! Since I am 70 years old, I remember ironing!!!! The thought of starting to iron is painful. Once I start, I do my best thinking and viola, I’m done! The same with art, once you begin, if only to look at an art book, make a sketch, cut out research pics, doodling, mixing colors, etc. you are lost in the realm of art. I can and do spend hours on whatever I am working on and come away feeling so fulfilled…..the moral….just begin!!!

  9. I have been artistic this summer! Thanks for asking! I’ve been repurposing. Like I took a clear plastic throw away container and pasted tissue paper on it with some Mod Podge. I found a ribbon full of glitter and threw it on, and tied the ribbon around it. You MUST watch CRAFT WARS on TLC hosted by Tori Spelling. You will get oodles of inspiration.

  10. Thanks for the inspirational post on watercolors!
    I am feeling the same way as my brushes have been packed up in their little bamboo roll all summer. Sargent really was a master watercolorist, wasn’t he? Seeing some of his paintings and your post has gotten me inspired to close my book and do some dabbling! (I have the same little travel WC set. Isn’t it great for traveling? If only I would just open it up!) I am up in the Adirondacks at a lake now, and am going to have to get my greens and blues out.
    Thanks, as always, for your posts. I hope you can get inspired in New Mexico!

  11. Love this post! I am wanting artwork like Sargeant’s in my home, but where do you find a canvas version of it rather than “prints” (without, of course buying the real thing!). Are there good online sources for art? Would love to see your paintings, Slim 🙂

  12. I haven’t done a watercolor in eons, as I work mostly in oils. The is such a lightness and freshness about a watercolor painting! My featured artist/painter does work in watercolor.

    Art by Karena
    2012 Artist Series featuring Harrison Howard

  13. Does painting a wall count at all…? I think not, but I did finally find a lovely but elusive color.
    Thanks for another wonderful post!

  14. Oh slim! only you could make a post about not painting so fabulous! I LOVE Sargeant. Love. And I used to love painting in the summer. Now I wait for the beginning of school to begin again. I started in the beginning of the year, and hours later we unexpectedly lost my grandmother. I haven’t since. But the itch is coming back. It’s coming. This post may just push me over the edge and onto my palette.

  15. No, no artistic endeavours here this winter, I thought about drawing for a few minutes after looking at All Things Ruffnarian blog, (do you know it? , great for art lovers).

    That painting of horizontal colours whose do you know? as for those wallpapers stunning

    A Virgo eh? …..that pear is really good and is well cut out !

  16. Wonderful Post! This was enjoyed……. every bit. Early summer I started in a class for watercolor. After many years of not participating, it all came back to me why I stopped trying to paint in watercolor…IT IS HARD TO DO AND ONE MUST BE BRAVE. No doubt you will be painting to delight yourself and us… your followers. I am still dreaming of that Hamburger in Ojai that you featured early this summer. In my NW city, upon dining, I am looking for THAT perfect burger! Your blog is my favorite!!!!! Bobbie

  17. S.P. – I wager a cocktail, NO TWO! That your paint box only sees the light of day when you take it out of the suitcase looking for shoes.

    Unless, your friends also paint. To which, I happily pay for drinks. 🙂

    You’ll get inspiration at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum!


  18. Takes me back to that iconic Cadburys Flake advert……wait a minute…….was that you S.P. in your modelling days? No, on second thoughts, you are way too young 🙂

  19. up to my neck in painting!!! Have never tried watercolor because I just don’t think I could do it! It’s a pretty hard medium to start out with. I always say to aspiring artists “If you feel there is a painter somewhere inside, GO FOR IT!!!! You never know what will come out of that brain” I started 3 years ago at age 49 and have sold over 250 paintings!!! Do it Slimey!!!! you can! xoxo

  20. Watercoloring is the most fun when you have no ideas in mind and “go with the flow” (pardon the pun!) The best works I have done in this medium were the unplanned ones–letting the paint dictate the end results! You are so artistic that you will just have to get over the “artist block” (like writer’s block?) by plunging in and doing nothing but playing. Good luck and have a great trip…..maybe all your traveling needs to get out to settle in for the cold months of painting?

  21. Slim, please don’t underestimate your creative two dimensional talents. While your strength may not be paint on canvas, your beautifully catalogued oeuvre of posts on nature, people, architecture and of the exotic flow together no less beautifully than a painting.

  22. One of your best postings!
    If you will be in Santa Fe, check out Ten Thousand Waves. It is a Japanese-style
    spa and you can rent time in amazing outdoor private pools. We were just there
    last weekend for the Santa Fe Opera “The Pearl Fishers”. At Ten Thousand Waves
    we enjoyed the private outdoor area “The Waterfall” and it was absolutely divine. You
    would find a lot of ideas for watercolor paintings there.

  23. oh, goodness! I live with a watercolorist…showed your post to hubby and he immediately named the fountain painting as he reaches for his book of Sargent’s works….I believe you will be taken to a new level of competence once you attend a professional workshop…I traveled with hubby to Spain for Alvaro Castagnet’s and it was fascinating for me to watch the process and very helpful for the brave painters…hubby has been to several other master painter workshops and came away from each one with a new skill/insight…. what a wonderful reason for yet another trip!

  24. I completely agree with Kendall (love your paintings Kendall) – go for it! I just did a sculpture for the first time and I am so proud of myself. You will definitely be inspired in Santa Fe! Have fun and paint!

  25. John Singer Sargeant is my favorite artist! I would give anything to be able to paint water colors. Fun post!

  26. As a painter…I can honestly say that this post…ROCKS! Doing a great show this weekend! Been painting for months…missed the whole summer…
    You are a natural, Slim! You’d be a great painter but you might have to give up…reading, traveling, shopping, eating and I’m just thinking…blogging.
    I LOVE it but it does take much undivided attention…Your post lightened the load! Perfect timing!

  27. It’s all so attractive and summery. Quite makes me long for Christmas when I can wheel out all my pastel clobber.

    Have you seen the ads all round London for the para Olympics ” Thanks for the warm Up”! Love it! x

  28. Hopefully a nice vacation to Santa Fe will rehabilitate your inspiration! See if walking down Canyon Road and browsing all the galleries helps any. We find it pretty inspiring! Enjoy your visit, and don’t be a stranger!

  29. Officially in LOVE with that wallpaper, I love the purple variation on their site.

    I almost hate to say this, but I thought for sure this post would lead up to a finished watercolor after all….

    My favorite part was the slippers that say “for shame!”

  30. Oh, you betcha I painted…got my own little tray of colors (walmart .99 cents 🙂 and painted pictures of mommy and daddy and brother and dog with my grandson! oh, yeah, and spiderman, space aliens…

  31. Clean up that paint box, get yourself a portable easel, and while in Santa Fe, get up early to a quiet place by yourself AND PAINT! ANd even if that paint brush won’t move, you will have your trusty Leica to capture the colors and moods of an incredible landscape. People are pretty amazing too.

  32. Good morning Slim! Now you’ve got my Watercolors calling me! Beautiful and inspiring post. I’ve never been to Greece or Paris, however, I’ve grown up going to Santa Fe & these days a hike up & down Canyon Road followed by dinner at Geronimo or The Pink Adobe puts me in an “Enchanted” state of mind. Take your paints! The light & altitude will have you appreciating even the slightest bend & color variation of an adobe wall. Uggh, envious, my mom’s there AND it’s Opera Season!
    My sincere apologies for turning into a corny travel guide.
    Have fun!

  33. Slim, Sargent is truly a master! This is certainly a colorful post! If you were serious about painting you should contact one of the artist you admire from a gallery in Sante Fe for a workshop. If you’d like to feature another watercolorist on your blog sometime, let me know, maybe for an exchange for online instruction? Aloha Raliegh

  34. Thank you for sharing the wonderful pictures and paintings, reminding me how much I love watercolors and why I too need to get my paints out. If Santa Fe doesn’t do it?…. The Sargent paintings are a new precious discovery!! I love your travel paints too!

  35. Thank for this paintbox post. Watercolor truly is on trend! Be sure to take a paint box with you in your checked luggage when you travel and visit the manufacturer’s website to print info letting the folks at the airport who snoop in your baggage know that this product is not toxic and flammable – unless they are solid paints – really!

    I love Sargent. Everywhere I travel, I search out Sargent paintings at the local museums. One guard even let me climb a ladder so I could actually see the portrait at eye level!

  36. a friend from s.b. introduced me to your delightful blog.
    funny..i try to paint watercolors like sargent, too…with hilarious results.
    and i live in s.v…and i go out and paint our beauty if you ever want to come with.


  37. Your pear painting is good. Read Austin Kleon’s book Steal Like an Artist and just paint the way you paint.

Would love to hear from you!