Home | New | Flowers | Landscapes | Cityscapes | Portraits & Figures | Miscellaneous | Plein Air | About the Artist

New Watercolors - Ralph F. Wilson

Here are some of my more recent watercolors.

Click on the thumbnail picture or title to see a larger image. To inquire about purchasing a painting, please contact the artist.

SandyCoveBeachatFortRoss-20x14-180425.jpg Watercolor: Sandy Cove Beach at Fort Ross - 20" x 14"
Several years ago on a day-trip with my son David on my birthday, we drove up the Sonoma Coast as far as Fort Ross. Just below the historic Russian fur-trading outpost is a wonderful beach that caught my imagination. I can see myself there on the lonely beach enjoying the ocean, the sound of the breakers, the sun, and the peace of the place. 180425. Watercolor, 20" x 14".

Family--PapaMamaand19Goslings-20x13-180506.jpg Watercolor: Family - Goose, Gander, and 19 Goslings - 20" x 13"

I saw these geese at the small lake at Auburn Regional Park in late April, where half a dozen goose families sat on the grass to the side of the lake. Most couples had perhaps 5 or 6 goslings. But then a family with 19 goslings entered the water, shepherded by the goose and gander, out into the lake together. I don't think this goose laid all 19 eggs, since a typical clutch is two to eight offspring. Perhaps some goslings from other mothers imprinted on them when they hatched. But this family stirs in me feelings of danger, of vulnerability, and especially hope for each of these youngin's. They're family, with parents watching out for them, perhaps in the way God watches out for us and teaches us to swim in deep waters. This painting won an Award of Merit in the WASH Open "Go with the Flow" watercolor show at Sacramento Fine Arts, September 4-30, 2018. It was also exhibited at the Placer Arts Council's "New Beginnings" show at the Hacker Lab, Rocklin, from 26 January to 23 May, 2019. 180505. Watercolor, 20" x 13".

ManwithCigar-10x10-180606.jpg Watercolor: Man with Cigar - 10" x 10"
This is from a photo I found on the Internet. I was interested in developing a looser style in portraits. So I was careful with eyes, nose, and mouth, and hand, but looser with clothing, hat, etc. I was encouraged by the result, and tried loosneess in a later portrait of U.S. Grant. 180606. Watercolor, 10" x 10".

AngoraPeakandFallenLeafLake-9x12-180725.jpg Watercolor: Angora Peak and Lily Lake, Tahoe - 9" x 12"
I discovered Lily Lake in 2017, and couldn't wait to paint it again on my 2-day trip to Tahoe in June 2018. I sketched the painting on-site, but realized as I began to paint that the stiff wind wouldn't allow me to flow watercolors; they would dry almost instantly. So I finished it at home. Such a beautiful lake, dominated by Angora Peak above. This was painted on a Stonehenge Aqua cold press pad of 140# paper, my first time trying it out. Nice to work with! One of the 31 paintings in the 31 days of July challenge that I painted during the 2018 World Watercolor Month. Watercolor, 9" x 12".

ChocolateChipCookies-5x7-180731.jpg Watercolor: Chocolate Chip Stack (5" x 7")
I love chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven. My challenge here was to try to make this stack of cookies look as real as possible. Painted on the fairly smooth surface of 140# cold press Canson Montval postcards. I had so much fun, I can hardly wait to carry the theme of stacked food or objects further in a larger painting. 180731. Watercolor, 5" x 7".

Holy-Spirit-Window-10x14-180719.jpg Watercolor: Holy Spirit Window - 10.5" x 14.5"
When I was looking for a book cover for my recent study, Disciple's Guide to the Holy Spirit (JesusWalk Publications, 2018), I was struck by the beautiful Holy Spirit window in the sanctuary of St. Stephen's Catholic Church, Tinley Park, Illinois. It is gorgeous! But it wouldn't fit the dimensions of my cover. So I painted something inspired by the window. One of the 31 paintings in the 31 days of July challenge that I painted during the 2018 World Watercolor Month. I painted on Arches hot press paper to get a stain-glassy effect with puddling paint. Watercolor, 180719. 10.5" x 14.5".

UnfoldingRose-8x8-180731.jpg Watercolor: Unfolding Rose - 8" x 8"
I painted this same rose in April 2016, but here's another try, this time using a white background. I think I'll do another in the series as well. One of the 31 paintings in the 31 days of July challenge that I painted during the 2018 World Watercolor Month. 180731. Watercolor, 8" x 8".

WharfonFallenLeafLake-14x10-180718.jpg Watercolor: Wharf on Fallen Leaf Lake - 14" x 10"
From a photo taken on Fallen Leaf Lake on my Tahoe painting trip in 2017. An empty wharf jutting out into a still lake seems to say summer relaxation and peace. One of the 31 paintings in the 31 days of July challenge that I painted during the 2018 World Watercolor Month. 180718. Watercolor, 14" x 10".

BowingtheBluegrassCelloTukiWalker-10x10180807.jpg Watercolor: Bowing the Bluegrass Cello - 10" x 10'"
This is from a photo taken during the 2018 Father's Day California Bluegrass Festival at Vern's Stage. The cellist is Aeire Tucker, playing with the Crying Uncle Bluegrass Band, with other mid-teen musicians. I was particular interested in the cellist's hand and the angles created by the bow and strings. One of the challenges was foreshortening the forearm. Fun! One of the 31 paintings in the 31 days of July challenge that I painted during the 2018 World Watercolor Month. 180715. Watercolor, 10" x 10".

GlenAlpineCreek-14x10-180710.jpg Watercolor: Glenn Alpine Creek - 14" x 10"
Glenn Alpine Creek feeds Lily Lake, and then rushes down the mountain into Fallen Leaf Lake, near the entrance to Stanford Sierra Camp. This is from a photo taken on my 2017 Tahoe painting trip. I tried to capture the energy and joy of the water as it tumbles over rocks. As Bob Ross might say, "It's a happy little creek." One of the 31 paintings in the 31 days of July challenge that I painted during the 2018 World Watercolor Month. 180710. Watercolor, 14" x 10".

HarrowingofHellLincolnCathedral18092510x9.5.jpg Watercolor: The Harrowing of Hell (Frieze from Lincoln Cathedral), 10" x 9.5"

My monocolor watercolor rendition of one panel of a medieval Romanesque frieze (c. 1140 AD) on the West Front of Lincoln Cathedral in Lincolnshire, England. It depicts Christ with John the Baptist, pulling people out of jaws of Hell. Sometimes this scene is called "The Harrowing of Hell." (To "harrow" means "to pillage or plunder.") Below the feet of Christ and John is Satan, bound hand and foot.

Monocolor, made up of sedimentary pigments: ultramarine blue, cerulean blue, viridian, and burnt umber. 180925. Watercolor, 9.5" x 10".

PalisadesofLakeChamplain-18091911.5x8.5.jpg Watercolor: The Palisades of Lake Champlain - 11.5" x 8.5"
In early September 2018, Jean and I spent a wonderful week at the Basin Harbor Club and Resort near Vergennes, Vermont, on the banks of Lake Champlain. This was part of a reunion of Girl Scouts that had attended one of the national encampments called Roundups. When Jean was 16 she was one of 10,000 girls encamped at Button Bay State Park, just a mile or two south of us. From our "honeymoon cottage" right at lake's edge we could see a rock formation on the New York side known as the Palisades, depicted here. Watercolor, 11.5" x 8.5".

DutchGirlCelticFair-14x10-181025.jpg Watercolor: Dutch Girl, Expressive Hands - 10" x 14"
On 29 Sep 2018, at the KMVR Celtic Fair in Grass Valley, CA, the young girl pictured was part of an encampment behind the stage where children were being entertained. I was fascinated by the hand gesture. I changed the colors of her clothing, making her look like a Dutch girl, rather than a Celt. I also opted for a blue and pink color scheme, emphasizing Cobalt Blue and Winsor Newton Scarlet Lake, a wonderful color new to me. I followed the approach suggested by Michael Holter, whose workshop I attended a week or two later. Painted on Arches 300 lb. hot press paper. Exhibited in the "Awash with Color" WASH Member's Show at Sacramento Fine Arts Center, April 2-20, 2019. 181025. Watercolor, 10" x 14".

CarmelMission10x10181018.jpg Watercolor: Carmel Mission, 10" x 10"
Here's a view of Carmel Mission from the courtyard in front of the doors. Certainly one of the most beautiful of the California Missions, Carmel was founded by Father Junipero Serra in 1770, this building being completed in 1797. Father Serra is buried here. 181018. Watercolor, 10" x 10".

PalaceofFineArtsSF18111520x14.jpg Watercolor: Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco - 20x14
In January 2014, Jean and I stopped by the beautiful Palace of Fine Arts in a trip to the city. It built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition and rebuilt in 1965. It has a gorgeous reflecting pool, to which I added a couple of swans that were swimming in another section. (They didn't mind.) I tried to make a photo taken on a dull day bright and full of color. But the colors seems to clash a bit. 181115. Watercolor, 20" x 14".

FishCartsMontereyWharf-10x14-180318.jpg Watercolor: Fish Carts, Monterey Wharf, 14" x 10"

For our 50th anniversary, Jean and I visited Pacific Grove and nearby Monterey, California. At the end of Wharf #2 are perhaps 30 fish carts, used during the week to transfer fish from the local fleet to the processing shed on the wharf. I was fascinated by the repetitive patterns of the sunlit portions, the rusty wheel rims, and the variety of cart handles. Won Best of Show and the Winsor & Newton Painting Award in the "Awash with Color" WASH Members Show at Sacramento Fine Arts Center, April 3-22, 2018, jurored by Jeannie Vodden. 180322. Watercolor, 14" x 10"

ColorfulGiraffe-7x13-181201.jpg Watercolor: Colorful Giraffe - 7" x 13"
While painting Giraffes with Mt. Kilimanjaro in the distance, I wondered what it might look like to have different colors in the characteristic spots that camouflage them. Here's what I came up with. 181201. Watercolor, 7" x 13".

GiraffesatMountTanzanaia-20x14-181201.jpg Watercolor: Giraffes at Mount Kilimanjaro - 20" x 14"

What interested me originally was the Umbrella Thorn Acacia trees seen in the distance. I saw some of their acacia cousins in Kenya, and consider this tree the iconic tree shape of the savannas of Africa. My resource materials combined a couple of photos. Pictured is a family of the Masai Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) which populates central and southern Kenya as well as Tanzania. Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa at 19,452 ft., looms in the distance. It is an extinct volcano. 181201. Watercolor, 20" x 14".

CelticCrossStainedGlass-10x14-181216.jpg Watercolor: Celtic Cross in Stained Glass - 10" x 14"
In January 2016 I painted a similar Celtic cross with a stain-glassy feel, which I use on my business cards. But that format is tall and thin, not useful for many applications. So I painted a similar cross in a 10" x 14" format, using hot press Arches paper to get the paint-puddling effect of the smooth surface. Since then I have used this as a logo on my Joyful Heart Newsletter, as well as for a plastic nametag. I love the powerful color effect! 181216. Watercolor, 10" x 14".

TetonsintheSnow-14.x10-181216.jpg Watercolor: Tetons in the Snow - 14" x 10"
This was an experiment in painting a snow scene on blue tinted Bockingford watercolor paper. By contrast, the lit snow is supposed to look white. Oh, well. 181216. Watercolor, 14" x 10".

TeddyDogsandaCow-14x10-181216jpg.jpg Watercolor: Teddy, Dogs, and a Cow - 14" x 10"
This was a still life on fabric. I used a red plaid blanket, but changed the colors to blue-green which is less jarring than red. The teddy bear and dog are Connie's favorite hug toys when she comes in my study. 181216 Watercolor, 14" x 10".

EasternPaintedTurtle-181220-14x10.jpg Watercolor: Western Painted Turtle - 14" x 10"

I got interested in turtles when reading a book on turtles to Evangeline a couple of weeks before Christmas. The Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta) is the most widespread native turtle in North America. Of the four subspecies, the Western Painted Turtle (C. p. bellili) is the most colorful, with a bright yellow and red pattern on its bottom shell or plastron. Its upper shell or carapace, on the other hand, is pretty dull. The Western Painted Turtle occurs primarily from Kansas and Missouri north to southern Canada, west of the Mississippi, and across Montana and Idaho into Washington and Oregon.

This painting depicts the turtle, a cold-blooded animal, emerging from a lake to bask in the sun to warm its body for several hours before foraging. It may repeat this behavior two or three more times in the day. 181220. Watercolor, 14" x 10".

apostle-paul-190102-10x13.jpg Watercolor: Apostle Paul - Passionate Discipleship - 10" x 13"
I'm currently working on an e-mail Bible study entitled, "Apostle Paul -- Passionate Discipleship." This painting is for the cover of the book version, plus the study and website logo in a smaller version. For a model I began with a photo of Sacramento pastor Steve Curran. Then gave him a beard, made him bald (thanks, Ralph!), and roughed up his face a bit. Paul had been beaten many times and once stoned and left for dead. 190102. Watercolor, 10" x 13".

PoinsettiaintheSun-14x10-190109.jpg Watercolor: Poinsettia in the Sun - 14" x 10"
On New Year's Day at 9 am, the Christmas Poinsettia in my mother-in-law's living room window was aglow with light, with the beautiful leaves back-lit. I couldn't help but try to paint it. I'm using a stained glass window motif, to see how that might work with this subject. The brilliant red-orange I used was W&N Scarlet Lake, along with reds Quinacridone Red, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, and some Daniel Smith Bordeaux. 190109. Watercolor and ink, 14" x 10".

CelticFestivalQueenwithRose-10x14-190117.jpg Watercolor: Celtic Festival Queen with Rose - 10" x 14"
At the 2018 KVMR Celtic Festival at the Grass Valley Fairgrounds, there were various period encampments. Here we see a queen (I think she was Mary, Queen of Scots), preparing to bestow a rose on a favored courier. Painted on Arches 300 lb. hot press paper. 190117. Watercolor, 10" x 14".

SurfingintheRainSantaCruz-9x14-190228.jpg Watercolor: Surfing in the Rain, Santa Cruz - 14" x 9"
On Saturday in early March, 2018, it was raining, but the surfers off Light House Point in Santa Cruz, California, weren't daunted. This painting is from a photo I was able to take while my buddy George Gandre held an umbrella over the telephone lens. 190228. 14" x 9".

FiddleFestival-14x14-190321.jpg Watercolor: Musical Hands - 14" x 14"
I was interested in the hands and angles of violin player Jack Kinney of "The Blue Js" band at the 2018 Father's Day Bluegrass Festival at the Grass Valley Fairgrounds. The irony was the band was dressed up in suits and vests playing bluegrass. I guess that's just great. The fine lines of the violin strings and pinstripe suit were masked two ways -- by diluting masking fluid and applying with a calligraphy tip, and by using the thin side of a small palette knife. Both methods worked well. Exhibited in the "Awash with Color" WASH Member's Show at Sacramento Fine Arts Center, April 2-20, 2019. Painted on Arches 140 lb. hot press paper. 190321. Watercolor, 14" x 14".

LastRaysofSunset-14x10-190321.jpg Watercolor: Last Rays of Sunset - 14" x 10"
A fun exercise in spectacular skies. I wet the 140# Arches Cold Press on both sides, which kept it wet for nearly two hours. Then in about 20 minutes, lay down colors and let it blend on its own. 190321. Watercolor, 14" x 10"

CherryBlossoms-10x14-190320.jpg Watercolor: Cherry Blossoms - 10" x 14"
Spring is springing and I couldn't resist finding a cherry blossom photo and painting it. 190321. 10" x 14".

Ralph F. Wilson Watercolors
P.O. Box 565, Loomis, California 95650
phone (916) 652-4659
E-mail Ralph