National Potato Day – August 19

Happy National Potato Day – and beware! You may be keeping an eye out for those oversize zucchinis in this hot weather, but those potatoes can sneak right up on you.

Potato Day - ink drawing by Serena Fenton 8" x 8"
Potato Day – ink drawing 8″ x 8″

August 13 – National Bowling Day!

I’ve been pondering doing a series of days worth celebrating.  Here’s the first: August 13 – National Bowling Day!

August 13 - National Bowling Day! pen and ink 9"x 9" by Serena Fenton
August 13 – National Bowling Day! pen and ink 9″x 9″ by Serena Fenton

Flowers and Bees

A summer’s preoccupation in watercolor.  I am slowly coming to appreciate the massive variety in bees.  How did I not see it before??

Buzz- watercolor 8" x 8" by Serena Fenton
Buzz- watercolor 8″ x 8″


Working in the garden lets me consider what all is going on underground. This is a quick reflection on the unseen.  Acrylic on watercolor paper.

Excavation - acrylic on watercolor paper 12" x 12" by Serena Fenton
Excavation – acrylic on watercolor paper 12″ x 12″

African Violets

I have been using watercolor paper as the background for this series of acrylic paintings.  The paper has a nicely smooth texture for the paint that makes slide onto the paper.  I can then build up lots of color as a glaze layers.

African Violets -  acrylic painting by Serena Fenton 8" x 10"
African Violets – acrylic painting; 8″ x 10″



Summer in the South is an almost tropical experience.  Everything grows and grows and grows.  I used to be completely lost in the colors of the flowers, but now I find myself becoming intrigued by the patterns of the foliage. This painting experiments with both.

Hollyhocks - acrylic painting 12" x 12" by Serena Fenton
Hollyhocks – acrylic painting 12″ x 12″


Continuing experiments with acrylic paints.  I have been using matte medium, since I don’t like the sheen and plastic-feel of acrylics.  I could use Acrylic gouache, but I am not wild about the lack of intensity of the colors in most acrylic gouache – and there is the cost.  Why is acrylic gouache so darned expensive???

Threesome - acrylic painting 18" x 24" by Serena Fenton
Threesome – acrylic painting 18″ x 24″

I Spy

Cats tend to assume that they are invisible, but if you look hard, you can still find them.  This painting is in acrylics.  I am intending to do some larger works on canvas and gouache just won’t work for that, so I am staring to learn to use acrylics.  Transparency is the biggest issue.  Gouache gives lush rich color.  Acrylics seem to take many many coats (and I am reportedly using the ‘good stuff’ – Golden artist quality).  There’s a learning curve, definitely.

I Spy - acrylic painting 8"x10" by Serena Fenton
I Spy – acrylic painting 8″x10″

Dense Foliage and Wildlife

Summer in the South means that everything is green and thriving.  I grew up on the desert, dodging tumbleweeds and squinting into the glare.  The richness and color of a Southern summer just amazes me.

Southern Summer - gouache painting by Serena Fenton
Southern Summer – gouache painting by Serena Fenton

Here’s Looking at You, Kid

Bluebird fantasy landscape.  This is what happens when you watch your bird feeders for too long..  The birds are no longer worried about me.  They just watch right back.

Looking at You - gouache painting by Serena Fenton
Looking at You – gouache painting, 4″x 4″

Charleston Groundcover

In the spring, it seems that everything in Charleston, South Carolina is in bloom.  The magnolia and jasmine make the air sultry sweet.  Color is bursting our everywhere.  This painting was inspired by a tiny patch of garden that was past its prime – there’s a tulip stem, but no flower.  Yet it was a splash of color.

Groundcover - gouache painting by Serena Fenton
Groundcover – gouache painting by Serena Fenton

Floral Arrangement

This was done a couple weeks ago and was one of my first experiments in using gouache on a toned drawing paper instead of white watercolor paper.  The smoothness of the page is great for gouache.  Since this was just after Mother’s Day (and I have a sweet family), a fanciful bouquet was the perfect painting inspiration.

The Arrangement - gouache painting by Serena Fenton
The Arrangement – gouache painting by Serena Fenton


For the second year in a row, we have bluebirds nesting in a house attached to the outside of our screened deck.  They are great birds to watch, particularly the way their color changes in the sunlight.

Bluebird - gouache painting by Serena Fenton
Bluebird – gouache painting


Dandelions can be weeds or gorgeous, amazing flowers.  Your viewpoint depends mostly on how your lawn.  My lawn is so shady that even dandelions don’t stand a chance.  I’ve grown over the years to have a deep affection for them.

Gouache painting: 8″ x 8″

Dandelions - gouache painting by Serena Fenton
Dandelions – gouache painting

Kingfisher in the Rain

Well, it’s not actually raining in the painting, but it has been raining here for 5 days straight, which is odd since I am neither in Seattle nor London.  The good news is that I have gotten a lot of painting done while being stuck inside.  This is the first of a series of 8″ x 8″ paintings in gouache.

Kingfisher - gouache painting by Serena Fenton
Kingfisher – gouache painting

Tropical Fantasy

Life just gets busy.  I have been working on a new series of paintings this past month.  All of them are watercolor birds with gouache patterned backgrounds.

Tropical Fantasy - watercolor and gouache painting by Serena Fenton
Tropical Fantasy – watercolor and gouache painting

Gouache is not the easiest medium to take up.  Trying to blend gouache tends to give chalky, stiff messes.  But I am finding that I am enjoying creating bold patterened backgrounds, which are in contrast to the more realistic bid paintings.  This bird is a bit of a fantasy.  I started out with a flicker and then just went astray with hte colored feathers.

Blue Jay

The blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata) is a passerine bird in the family Corvidae, native to North America – there are lots in my yard in the winter

Blue Jay - watercolor
Blue Jay – watercolor