50 Easy Watercolor Ideas

Well actually only 11 so far. I will be adding to these including video in the next couple of months.

11. Onions and Garlic

10. Fruit Watercolor Still Life

9. Watercolor Heron

8. Watercolor Sunrise Landscape

7. Watercolor Horse

6. Watercolor Beach

Michele Clamp Studio Wall

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5. Watercolor House

4. Watercolor Fire Hydrant

Vermont farm watercolor landscape by Michele Clamp

Online Zoom Classes

I run online zoom courses regularly for both beginners and more advanced students. Please check out my workshop page.

3. Watercolor Shoes

2. Watercolor Cat

1. Watercolor Cupcake

Owl Watercolor Demo Video

Interested in Learning to Paint in Watercolor?

I have many real-time videos you can paint along to. Please check out my youtube channel or see the selection here.

Vermont farm watercolor landscape by Michele Clamp

Online Zoom Classes

I run online zoom courses regularly for both beginners and more advanced students. Please check out my workshop page.

Michele Clamp Studio Wall

Want to Hear More?

I produce tutorials and videos regularly. If you’d like to be notified of new content and classes please signup for my mailing list.

Dog Watercolor Painting – Spaniel

This is a demo dog watercolor painting of the wonderful spaniel Leo. I’m working with someone who wants to do a series of 3 paintings of Leo and this is the first. It’s great fun and I’m especially pleased with that bow tie.

Dog Paintings are Rare for me

I don’t do a lot of dog paintings. If I owned a dog I would probably do more but I don’t. This means I’m pretty reliant on other people’s reference photos. Of course I could paint dogs from life but I’m not sure I’m quick enough for that kind of thing. I leave that to the pros like James Gurney who, if you don’t already know about him, does a lot of fabulous work of all kinds.

Pet Photos can Vary in Quality

So if I’m reliant on other people’s photos that is usually a problem unless they’ve got a really good eye. You need really good lighting and a good pose to make a decent painting. And a lot of phone snaps (and I include myself in this) aren’t taken in great conditions. A lot of photos of pets are taken from above by a person standing. The lens distortion results in the poor dog’s nose looking 5 times as big as it is in real life which can be quite disconcerting. This is so common that some painters make a whole series of these paintings. They can be quite striking but it’s not for me. My advice if you’re going to do a pet portrait is to try and take some photos yourself. They don’t have to be fantastic but you’ll have more control over the viewpoint, lighting and angle and that can make all the difference.

But Leo Looks Wonderful Here

But the photo for this dog watercolor painting was wonderful. Leo belongs to a student of mine and she wanted to paint him in all his finery. As luck would have it he has wonderful fur to paint. I dread painting a black dog in low light. No form! No shadows! This photo was great and he has a combination of black and white fur which is always a good combination. In fact one of my favorite dog watercolor paintings of mine is this basset hound. It has the same pattern of fur and some decent lighting.

While I’m Here…

Michele Clamp Studio Wall

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I produce tutorials and videos regularly. If you’d like to be notified of new content and classes please signup for my mailing list.

Basset Hound Watercolor Painting – Yay!

I don’t paint a lot of dogs. Dogs are tricky and I’ve shied away from them. But yesterday I was feeling in the mood for something different and a picture of a basset hound took my fancy.

I started him yesterday. Here’s the end of day 1.


Now this may not look like much but I was actually really happy at this stage. I’d managed to both get the white fur the right value and the shiny parts of the ears the right value. Once that was done the rest of it pretty much painted itself.

Swallowtail Butterfly Watercolor

I still haven’t moved over to the new palette as I’m trying to use up all the paint in the old one (amazing how long it lasts).    I’m left with a lot of orange, red and pthalo blue so colorful butterflies came to mind.

 It was good fun to use some bright colors for a change and he came out fairly loose.  Pretty happy I think.

I did a quick sketch in the small 5×7 sketchbook :

swallowtail butterfly watercolor sketch
swallowtail butterfly watercolor sketchswallowtail butterfly watercolor in progress

This actually came out cleaner which is often the way.   Easier on a smaller scale though.

For completeness here is it part way through when the initial orange washes went on :

swallowtail butterfly watercolor first washes
swallowtail butterfly watercolor first washes

Dolphins Sketch and Painting

A commission came in a couple of weeks ago for a painting of dolphins.   Now I haven’t painted dolphins before and I knew as soon as heard the request that I wanted to have them jumping and lots of water splashing around.   My next thought was – yeah and splashing water is really hard.

But I was excited to try this and spent a fair while looking at pictures of dolphins and water and made some sketches of how to group them

Sketches of dolphins Michele Clamp
Sketches of dolphins Michele Clamp

I knew as soon as I’d done the sketch that capturing the dolphin character wasn’t going to cause too much trouble.  They’re such lovely shapes and are a pleasure to draw.   The water however….

But in the end the water came out well.   I wanted to contrast the loose splashiness of the sea with the smooth lines of the dolphins and I think that comes across well in the finished painting.

Very happy with this.   


(Original now sold)