Watercolor Sketch-1

Brian Bailey © 2015

Watercolor Sketch-2

Brian Bailey © 2015

I’ve been working on some watercolor sketches lately.  I’m starting with a pen and ink drawing and adding a limited amount of watercolor.  It’s an interesting exercise to go through each drawing and decide which areas to paint and what to leave alone.  Pretty happy with the results and hope to incorporate some of the sketch qualities into more finished paintings.  Thanks for looking!


My Return

Watercolor Painting, Over North Beach

Brian Bailey, Over North Beach, Watercolor, 7″ x 5″, © 2015

It has been a couple of weeks since my last update.  In the past two weeks I have traveled to visit family and moved to a new apartment where my studio space is much bigger.  It takes a bit of time to settle in but I’m very excited to have a much bigger space in the same neighborhood.  In the mix of everything, I’ve still managed to do a bit of drawing and painting.  I’ve been experimenting with using washes more loosely and letting go of details outside of a confined space.  Always a work in progress, but I’m feeling good about how things are moving.

Also, the opening reception last Friday at the Collector Art Shop in Berkeley, CA went very well with several paintings selling prior to the reception and a great turnout.  Hopefully, there will be more shows to report on in the future and my current works will be up until June 28th.


I was updating everyday for quite a while but I’ve decided that I need a few days between posts to get caught up with changes and new ideas. I’m reading The Art Spirit by Robert Henri in bits and pieces along with looking through blogs and listening to podcasts to keep refreshing the well of ideas and inspiration for new works. I still draw and paint each day and walk outside, looking for new perspectives.  I was in a cafe this morning, looking and drawing over a cup of coffee.  The things that I notice are sometimes striking and pull my thoughts in a new direction and sometimes everything feels like a mystery.  The faces of people eating breakfast or reading through emails are happy faces or blank faces or the faces of waiting or remembering.  Each day, I’m looking and trying to see clearly. Sometimes all the lines in all the faces come together and make a picture. Other times, each face is a tangent. I’ll be updating whenever there is more to report, probably once a week for a while, and I thank you for your support.

Watercolor Sketch

Brian Bailey © 2015

A Man on the Corner

Watercolor Painting, A Corner on Haight

Brian Bailey, A Corner on Haight, 10″ x 8″, © 2015

I noticed a man on the corner, just outside the shadows of Haight Street. Like many others, his large backpack was laying on the sidewalk behind him. I’ve wanted to incorporate more people into my paintings for a while and have been doing lots of gesture drawings to help make this happen.  Shadows still catch my eye every time I walk around the city and are always working their way into my paintings.

I’m still putting my work on Etsy at ArtFromBrian and appreciate the recent boost from visitors coming over from this blog.  Thank you for taking the time to check out my store.  And please check back to see what’s new!


Watercolor Painting, Overcast

Brian Bailey, Overcast, Watercolor, 8″ x 10″, © 2015

I started another painting outside today and finished it this evening.  It was a colder day and I used a lot of ultramarine blue and burnt umber to reflect the “greyness.”

Knowing When to Stop

Watercolor Painting, A Minute Outside

Brian Bailey, A Minute Outside, Watercolor, 4″ x 4″, © 2015

When pulling together the shapes and lines that make up a composition it can be challenging to determine how much information is enough.  Some of my favorite drawings and paintings exhibit a very economical approach to line, saying just enough to let the viewer see what the artist sees.  In recent weeks, I’ve been doing many gesture drawings, as I’ve mentioned before, and I’m trying to let my paintings be, somewhat, more gestural.  I started my painting today outside with lots of light and finished it at home by bumping up the shadows and contrast.  I’m really trying to stop myself from overworking each painting and I’m pretty happy with how this one looks.  If you have the time, let me know what you think.

Order and Balance

Watercolor Painting, The Corner on Cole

Brian Bailey, The Corner on Cole, Watercolor, 4″ x 4″, © 2015

It seems that when I look upon a building, landscape, or any other thing I see and want record with a drawing or painting, I am feeling some relation to the order and balance of it.  It comes to life in the process of reordering the elements on paper and trying regain the memory of the thing, even as it’s right in front of me.  The process and the memory of that moment when all that was in front of me was in perfect order, combine and have personal meaning.  The crucial part in drawing and painting seems to be in the beginning.  If the objects are out of alignment from the start, the rest of the work can feel like a chase for something just out of reach.  Some works become truly special and others are abandoned.  I like the process of keeping this blog as a journal of each day’s small success or failure.  I don’t hold back works and some are better than others but it feels good to see them all together.

The Orange Van

Watercolor Painting, The Orange Van

Brian Bailey, The Orange Van, Watercolor, 4″ x 4″, © 2015

On my ventures out to sketch, I’ve probably walked by this van a hundred times and never without briefly looking over to admire it.  The lines of the body, the windows, and the utility of its design capture my imagination for a moment and become one more piece of my life in San Francisco, where Volkswagen vans still abound.  My walks around the city, not only looking for subjects to sketch or paint, are spent forming a relationship with life right here and now.  I’m recording the small things that are special and meaningful.  I feel a great devotion to things, whether it’s a van or a shadow cast over the rooftop of a house that I otherwise have no connection to.  The places and things that I pass by on my way through life leave fingerprints on my mind and memories.  Maybe that’s why drawing and painting have become so important to me.  Each drawing represents a tiny fraction of how I look at the world.

A Car and Shadows

Parked Outside, Watercolor Painting

Brian Bailey, Parked Outside, Watercolor, 4″ x 4″, © 2015

While on a walk, I noticed an old car that looked right at home in front of a yellow house that might be around the same age.  I believe it was a Volvo and I was walking through the Richmond district of San Francisco where the houses are a bit newer than the Victorian style homes scattered around the city. It’s still intriguing to me how a slight change in lighting can dramatically change the appearance of a house or, really, anything.

It was my goal to make a blog post with a new watercolor painting every weekday for the rest of April.  I’d have to look back to find the exact day that I started, but I made it and now I’m diving into May.  I’m going to keep up with the postings and paintings for another month.   It’s been very rewarding and I truly appreciate all of the likes and comments from readers.

A quick reminder, all of the paintings from this blog are for sale in my Etsy store, ArtFromBrian.  If you have any questions about buying a painting, feel free to contact me here or through Etsy.  Thanks again!

Painting Outside

One Yellow Car and Shadow, Watercolor Painting

Brian Bailey, One Yellow Car and Shadow, Watercolor, 4″ x 4″, © 2015

I’m posting a little later than usual today because it was so nice outside.  I had a great walk and sat down to do a little painting outdoors.  I’ve been trying to maintain loose lines in my work and doing lots of gesture drawings. It can seem a little unnatural to trust my instincts at first, but feels great once I get comfortable.  In the end, I decided to exaggerate the shadows and create contrast with the sky and foreground. Thank you for the nice comments I’ve been getting lately.  Your encouragement and insights are greatly appreciated.