Thursday, April 21, 2016

New Blog Announcement

I have a Big Announcement!
I am starting a new and exciting Blog that will be replacing this one. It has been fun being on Blogger but I have bigger announcements and plans to come and I have created a new place for that to happen on a regular basis. I will be posting at least one three step watercolor a week and I will also be sharing tips about painting and products that make our lives more nourishing.
I hope you will join hurry don't be shy.  
Here is the new address . You will see a place to sign up and then we can continue on this art journey together.
Here is the link .... LInk to New Jo Mackenzie Watercolors Blog

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

This to That

Painting is taking this and turning it into ...


It took me such a long time to understand that the colors I mixed were the colors that were going to be in the completed painting. I thought something magical would just make it "right" but no not at all. You have to "mix" the magic. 
This is a large peony and it can be found here at a fabulous price that will rock your world . 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

3 Roses For You

3 Roses For You 

This  painting  is called 3 Roses For You and it is replacing my Floating Swimming Pool Painting which I just had the satisfaction of ripping up. That makes 6 rips ups of that subject. I think my true heart was not where it needed to be when I painted them. But it is OK, I learned a lot from them and now I have some fresh roses to look at as I move on to other subjects. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Pride The Lab

Pride The Lab 
matted 12x12 inches 
Can be found HERE
Here are the three steps to painting Pride 


Find the lightest value shapes plug them in and connect them when you can. 

Find the darkest value shapes and do the same thing. 

Step three, put in the mid-range values and leave the lightest lights white. 
Make final adjustments and call it a day 
That's a three step watercolor 

Saturday, March 26, 2016


This is my first 22x30 inch painting. I am calling it "Big Red". 
I think it is done but I will wait and see if it holds up to the pressure of phantom shapes that can appear overnight. 
I think I am ready for peony season. 
This is indeed a "bigger boat" but it feels good and right.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Time to Start Up Again

Life is full of "false beginnings and endings". Getting the Shingles made me stop but it is now time to start up again. 
I am going to be moving slowly and conserving energy but I am determined to work in this big format. 

Learning means  trying new things especially things that make you stretch or feel uncomfortable. I hope you will join me on this path. Great things may happen.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

I am what I am !

Sometimes you have to just know who you are and accept it. This is me. Changing my books from being shelved according to subject to colorful blocks in the studio. 
This is the kind of home decorating project I can really get behind. No cost, immediate change and a way to look at space in a new way. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Shadow Shapes

Shadow Shapes 
18x22 watercolor 
I started this painting as I was coming down with Shingles. It is now a couple weeks later and I am slowly recovering. 
I have missed painting and hope to be able to poke away at work from time to time. This was a surprise I have not had something "stop my roll" for some time, but this sure did. I have a healthy respect for Shingles and will be taking things slowly for some time.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Seeing like Dogs

I think it is no secret that I love dogs. I sometimes call them "people dogs" because I can spend the day here and have full conversations with my animals. I know what their different barks mean and I know we have true affection for each other. 

I also like to watch their behavior. Any shape that shifts outside the window is a big attraction. I don't think they know my face or my features but they know my "outline or mass". 

So when I start a painting in  Step one I try think like a dog. Finding dark patterns that connect the whole into the beginning of recognizable shapes. 

What I have learned so far: 
Seeing like a dog is a learned skill 
being open and loving like a dog may be a skill to hard for a mere human being to master.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

First Small then Big

Promise Me Watercolor 7x10 inches 
matted 11x14 inches Can be found HERE
I am excited. I just ordered my first sheets of paper 22 x 30 inches. Yes! 22x30 inches. I am going to paint peonies and they are going to be bigger than anything I have ever tried before. 

Now I have to think about if I want to scale my individual blooms to a larger size or stay within the size I know well but increase the number of blooms. I am leaning toward increasing the number. So I need to make some plans for positive and negative space because the composition has to work as an abstract before I can plug the subject in. 

What I have learned so far. 
The subject can not save a painting no matter how compelling. The underlying NOTAN pattern will not be denied.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Town Meeting

Town Meeting 
14x20 inches 
Can be found HERE
The first Tuesday in March is town meeting day here in Vermont. It is day to vote on local matters, to have a communal meal and see how everybody is holding up since a year ago. 
If you think about it there are certain things that all animals and humans have in common. We tend to herd and share and lean on each other. 

Monday, February 29, 2016

New Introductory Offer

There is a new introductory offer on all peony paintings sized 7.9x7.9 inches. This size is being fazed out and replaced with larger works. When the current inventory runs out they will no longer be available. so there is a special price on these items.
You can find them  here
There are also a variety of well priced prints in various sizes and these come printed on paper, canvas or metal. They can be purchased both framed and unframed. They can be found at Fine Art America HERE

It is peony time. ( is it ever not peony time?)

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Grow Like a Peony

There is a new introductory offer on all peony paintings sized 7.9x7.9 inches. These are sold matted with a beautiful gift presentation that is 12x12 inches . This is a size that will be fazed out and replaced with larger works. When the current inventory runs out they will no longer be available. So there is a special price on these items. 
There are also floral prints available at Fine Art America


These come in a variety of sizes and can be printed on canvas, paper or metal. They can be purchased both framed and unframed. I call that one stop decorating. Just in time for Spring and those Mother's Day events that will be happening. The only difference is these flowers will last forever and Mom will know they came from you every time she looks at it.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Custom Pet Portraits = Happy People

Here are two custom pet portraits that were done for the same client. I think they look great together and I appreciate the framing choices made by the owner. They honor the custom nature of this kind of product. 
It is highly personal
It is one of a kind 
It is made with paint , paper, a brush and the collaboration of two minds working toward the same goal. I think that is where the magic comes in. 
Both of us are thrilled and happy with the results and don't the pet friends look happy too? 
If you want to have custom pet portrait done for Mother's Day or Father's Day now is the time to take action. 
Here is the link to the Pet Friend Commission page on my website Pet Friends

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Value Relationships

Bike Girl 
7x10 inches 
Matted 11x14 inches 
This is an exploration of value relationships. Below you can see the test dabs I used to compare the mid-tones to my dark masses. 

In my three step method the first step is to mass the dark areas. That is somewhat easy. It is finding the mid-tones that is the tricky part. It is also important as a watercolor artist to combine several midtones to cover those mid-tone areas. If I only used one color the value would be correct but it would look like a "paint by number" painting. Remember those? 

This painting can be found HERE

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

3 Steps To A Rose

Rose watercolor 
7.9 x 7.9 inches

Three steps to a rose.  

Step one...mass the darkest value shapes . connect those patterns. If it "reads rose" you are on to something good. 

Step two...find the mid-tone value shapes. Squint your eyes to find them. Leave the lightest spots of white alone. Use large strokes and keep it simple. Don't apply any paint that is darker than what you used in step one. Make test dabs and squint, squint , squint. 

Step 3....find the neutral shapes and use light washes to unify forms. This is just about final adjustments and not over doing it at this point. 

My book is a frustration buster that reviews these steps for watercolor success. You can find my book here or at that other big book seller who's name begins with an "a".

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Swimming Pools and Floating

large Swimming Pool 
24x18 inches 

Sometimes I want to float along in life. I don't want to figure things out or study my next steps or plans. I want to let things take me and hand all power over to the elements . I dream of cake, swimming and floating. I don't know how they are connected but they are a place of joy and celebration and that is all I have to know right now. 

I should have called this the endless pool. Have you ever seen those advertised? It is a pool that has a current in it . It is basically a swimming treadmill. If I ever win the lottery I would purchase an endless pool and swim everyday. It would keep my core strong and my body would be weightless.
Dream on...

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Let Cake Show You The Way

Handy Tools 

This week the challenge at the Daily Paintworks is to paint these handy tools. I love to enter the challenges and enjoyed painting this . It is the opposite of flower petals so it stretched me and that is what I need a challenge to do. 

    I have also started to look at two other "handy tools". They are business blogs for people who create specialty cakes. One is the Business of baking by Michelle Green and the other is Cakefu. 
They are full of great marketing and pricing information. I see so many similarities between cake decorating and watercolor painting. 

Here are the links The biz of baking
And  cakefu

Monday, February 15, 2016

Large peony Painting

A large peony painting step 1

This painting is 18x24 inches. When framed it is a formidable size. To paint large takes a bit more planning. Mixing enough pigment so that the brush never gets thirsty and meanwhile the paper soaks up all moisture like a sponge.
     One tip is to always mix up more paint then you think you will need. When painting a wash it is impossible to get the formula to match if you don't mix enough to cover an area the first time.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Sky Challenges

This week the challenge at the Daily Paintworks is to paint a skyscape. I think this best illustrates how it is important to make a landscape about either the land or the sky. If they are treated equally the composition suffers. 
This was my first entry. I just finished entry number 2. This one is from a photograph by El's Manning friend and muse to many artists. 

This painting can be found HERE

Friday, February 5, 2016

Summer Feet is SOLD

Summer Feet is sold and going to its forever home in Southern California. Happy journey.

Monday, February 1, 2016

In Focus

In Focus 
7.9x7.9 inches 
Matted 12x12 inches 
I wanted to try to see if I could make the foreground in focus and the background slightly vague and shape fluid. I think it worked out. This painting can be found here

Yesterday was the free painting giveaway day.
Congratulations. The painting is on its way!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Summer Feet

Summer Feet 
7.9x7.9 inches 
matted 12x12 inches 

Today the pet friend of the day is happy on the porch swing with her human friend. I call this one Summer Feet and it can be found

Friday, January 29, 2016

On The Prowl

On The Prowl 
7x10 inches 
This one is all about shapes and forms. It is a three step watercolor but done by adding the mid-tones last. I had to establish the patterns first. 
I am always drawn to saturated color and pattern and this one has both. 

The next free painting giveaway day is coming up. I will announce the winner here and on my Facebook Fan page Jan 31st. Good luck ! 
If you are receiving this post you are already signed up and entered.
This painting can be found here

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Escape the Snow Challenge Try Number 2

Escape The Snow Challenge Number 2 
7x10 inches 

This is my second try at the escape the snow challenge going on at the Daily Paintworks this week. I knew I got the values right on my first attempt but the colors were wrong. I did not get the greens I was looking for. This time I did . 

Hey Guess what...the colors on your palette better be right because those are the ones going on the painting. 
Can I get a "Duh" on that sudden realization?

Monday, January 25, 2016

White Delight

White Delight 
matted 12x12 inches 
Nothing is more fun for me than painting peony shapes. I have two to share today. 

My tip of the day is not a watercolor one. It is instead about dental work. I just found about something called a bite block. If you have to have extensive work done ask for one of these and it sure does help with easing your jaw muscle. 

I will be having some work done and I am as prepared as I can be. I wish I could get a "brain block" !

Saturday, January 23, 2016

No Specials!

7.9x7.9 inches
 matted 12x12 inches 
Can be found here

Yesterday was a day of high drama here. I felt so glad to have a pet friend to center me today. It made me realize how much I love the regular dull days. No surprises no specials! 
 That is my new tag line 

No specials!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Pet Friend of the Day

matted 12x12 inches 
Trout is the Jo Mackenzie watercolor pet friend of the day. The next drawing for a free painting is January 31st. Here is how to  enter
It is free and it is fun! You only have to enter once and each month you have a chance to win. If you want your pet painted send me a photograph and soon you will see your "little darling" here. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

How To Build a Fire!

10x7 inches 
This can be found here


Step One. 

Step Two 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

For Missy

For Missy 
matted 12x12 inches 
This painting can be found HERE
It felt good to be back to painting pet friends today. This picture was given to me by Missy Sawyer. I love to paint interactions between people and animals. This is also going to fit the Daily Paintworks challenge of the week. They are asking for submissions that include snow in them. Well I say "done and done".