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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.


Dawn Breaking over Tomales Bay - 14 Watercolor: Dawn Breaking over Tomales Bay - 14" x 10"
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Early Saturday morning before dawn I left the St. Columba Episcopal Church Retreat Center in Inverness, CA, in search of photos with my Sony A5100 camera and a long zoom lens. When I took this photo along the south shore of Tomales Bay, almost to Point Reyes Station, the sun was just rising above the mountains. I love the delicacy of the trees; I hope I captured it. Exhibited in the WASH Member Show, "Awash with Color," April 7-26, 2020. In a private collection, T&S Heck. 190912. Watercolor, 14" x 10".

Bodega Headlands, Mussel Point, California - 21 Watercolor: Bodega Headlands - 21" x 8"
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In mid-March 2019, Jean and stopped by Bodega Headlands on our way home from the coast. This painting is of the Bodega Headlands looking north to Mussel Point, which forms the north end of the headlands. I love watching the breakers roll in from the Pacific. 191011. Watercolor, 21" x 8".

SunnyRocksontheEastShoreofTahoe-14x20-200410.jpg Watercolor: Sunny Tahoe Shore - 14" x 20"
In July 2013 I was taking photos of the sun-drenched granite rocks along the east shore of Lake Tahoe. I didn't have the confidence to tackle painting it then, but I tackled it in April 2020. Juried into the WASH “Go with the Flow” 2020 Open Show, August 25-Oct 25, 2020. 200403. Watercolor, 14" x 20"

BlueandWhiteIrisBed-10x14-200427.jpg Watercolor: Blue and White Iris Bed - 10" x 14"
Our irises are blooming. Jean called me to come out and view one spectacular grouping of blue and white irises that stood out against the darker oak forest behind them. Here's my interpretation, which is getting framed and going up on my wall. 200427. Watercolor and ink, 10" x 14".

FieldofPoppies-21x9-200630.jpg Watercolor: Field of Poppies - 21" x 9"

Some years in Northern California it seems that brilliant poppies are everywhere. In this painting I sought to capture the vibrancy of California Poppies growing exuberantly in the fields. The California Poppy is the State Flower of California (Eschscholzia californica). 200630. Watercolor, 21" x 9".



ZebraLove-14x20-200624.jpg Watercolor: Zebra Love - 14" x 20"
I caught a photo of these to zebras nuzzling near the shore of Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya late October 2019. There IS love among Zebras! You'll notice that none of the stripes are black, but a mix of blues, reds, and purples. Nor was the sky yellow that day, but that's why I got an Artistic License! Juried into the WASH “Go with the Flow” 2020 Open Show, August 25-Oct 25, 2020. 200403. Watercolor, 14" x 20"200624. Watercolor, 14" x 20".

RoseBush-10x14-200806.jpg Watercolor - Rose Bush - 10" x 14"

I was hankering to paint a flower, so I went to two nurseries and a public rose garden looking for good candidates. I ended up with flowers from one of Jean's rosebushes, buds just opening up, arranged via PhotoShop. I think the paper-white makes them 'pop' more than if I tried for a careful gradation of color in the lightest areas. Won Award of Merit in the juried WASH “Go with the Flow” 2020 Open Show, August 25-Oct 25, 2020. 200806. Watercolor, 10" x 14". In a private collection: J. Wilson.



DrivingWheels-14x14-201024.jpg Watercolor: Hard Driving Wheels - 14" x 14"
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What impressed me about this steam locomotive was the power of its driving wheels, which I tried to express in this watercolor. I first used a masking-pouring technique, but then needed to come back with a brush to get the values right across the painting. Awarded Honorable Mention in the Architecture and Machinery category of the WASH Painting of the Year 2020 competition. Exhibited in the in the juried "Go with the Flow" WASH Open Show, August 29-Sept 25, 2021. 201024. Watercolor, 14" x 14".



LesserFlamingosandWoodSandpiperatLakeNakuru-10x14-191203.jpg Watercolor: Lesser Flamingo and Wood Sandpiper at Lake Nakuru - 10" x 14"
I enjoyed the colors of the Flamingos at Lake Nakuru NP, Kenya, on October 31, 2019. Here are some feeding in the shallow alkaline water along the shores. The small bird is a Wood Sandpiper. Won an Award of Merit in the WASH Member Show, "Awash with Color," April 7-26, 2020. 191203. Watercolor, 10" x 14".

DonnerSummitCragsatDawn-10x14-200928.jpg Watercolor: Donner Summit Crags at Dawn - 10" x 14"
On the east side of Donner Summit I photographed this rugged crag just catching the morning sun. Awarded Honorable Mention in the Landscape/Seascape category of the WASH Painting of the Year 2020 competition. 200928. Watercolor, 10" x 14".

RockClimbers-14x14-20-09-20.jpg Watercolor: Rock Climbers - 14" x 14"
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In the summer of 2020, my granddaughters -- 6 and almost 4 -- discovered 'Climbing Rock' and had a wonderful time climbing, then sliding down again, scraping the moss off the rock as they went. Wonderful! Exhibited at the WASH Members Show, March 2021. 200920. Watercolor, 14" x 14". In a private collection: J. Wilson.

JewelofEmeraldBay-14x20201028.jpg Watercolor: Jewel of Emerald Bay - 14" x 20"
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Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay is gorgeous! This is a view of Emerald Bay from the north, looking south. The jewel is Fanette Island, which had a tea house built on its summit in 1928-29 about the same time as Vikingsholm was being built on the west shore of the bay. Fanette Island is the only island in all of Lake Tahoe. 201028. Watercolor. 14" x 20".

LavenderFields-14x20-201222.jpg Watercolor: Lavender Fields - 20" x 14"
My friend Ken sent me a photo of some of the lavender fields he and his wife enjoyed at Washington Lavender Farm, Port Angeles, Washington. Here's my interpretation. 201222. Watercolor, 22" x 14", in a private collection: K. Welch.

WethePeople-14x20-210130.jpg Watercolor: We the People (US Capitol and Flag) - 14" x 20"
On January 6, 2021 we nearly lost our democracy as a mob who believed a lie about a stolen election shamefully stormed the US Capitol. In the aftermath, I began to appreciate more the democracy that I've taken for granted. "We the People" is my way of honoring the oath I took many years ago to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same." 210130. Watercolor, 14" x 20".

WinstonChurchillinRAFUniform-14x10-210210.jpg Watercolor: Winston Churchill in Uniform - 14" x 10"

To commemorate my reading of Churchill: Walking with Destiny, I painted a portrait of this great and eccentric leader who encouraged and emboldened the United Kingdom to ultimately win World War II. He is wearing the uniform of a Honorary Air Commodore in the Royal Air Force. 210210, Watercolor, 14" x 10".



TahoeLupine-14x14-210309.jpg Watercolor: Tahoe Lupine Spikes - 14" x 14"

On a trip to the South Tahoe area in late June 2018, I saw these beautiful proud clusters of purple flowered spikes. California has about 70 varieties of lupine. I think this is Lupinus polyphyllus, variously known as Blue Pod Lupine or Large Leaf Lupine. I left the most sunlit areas white to bring out the sparkle of the blossoms in full sun. 210309. Watercolor. 14" x 14".



LaginatasCreekandTomalasBayatDawn-14x10-210401.jpg Wetercolor: Tomalas Bay at Laginatas Creek at Dawn - 14" x 10"
One morning just before dawn I left the retreat house in Inverness to photograph dawn rising over Tomales Bay. It was very still that morning with no breeze. As I saw this reflection in Laginatas Creek as it entered Tomales Bay at its south, I was struck by the peace of early morning beauty. I hope I was able to capture it for you. 210401. Watercolor, 14" x 10".

EasterTulips-14x14-210401.jpg Watercolor: Easter Tulips - 14" x 14"
It's Spring and Easter is just around the corner. I wanted to paint something bold and colorful -- like tulips, all erect and perfect and proud. These particular tulips are painted almost entirely with Daniel Smith Quinacridone Coral. Hallelujah! Jesus is risen! He is risen indeed! 210401. Watercolor, 14" x 14".

Blue-PurpleIrisCluster-20x14-210427.jpg Watercolor: Dancing in the Fields - 20" x 14"
April 2021 was a great month for iris blossoms at our house. One of the most beautiful is a blue-purple iris that grows in abundance around our lawn. I tried to get the color correct with Daniel Smith Cobalt Blue Violet, charged here and there with Cobalt Blue. I love the colors! The background was achieved with Quin Burnt Orange and Indanthrone Blue, couple with lots of salt to make interesting patterns. These irises seem to dance in the sun! Watercolor. Won the coveted Nancy Haley Award in the juried "Go with the Flow" WASH Open Show, August 29-Sept 25, 2021. 210427. 20" x 14".

PoppiesamongtheLupines-20x14-210513.jpg Watercolor: Poppies among the Lupine - 20" x 14"
Spring of 2021 has been a great year for lupine -- large patches of it with here and there the color of a California Poppy. I've been fascinated by the kind of visual rhythm set up in my brain when I am viewing a mass of lupine. All the blues and whites vibrate. That's what I was trying to capture here with a meticulous, petal by petal approach. I hope this reminds you of Spring all over again. Exhibited in the in the juried "Go with the Flow" WASH Open Show, August 29-Sept 25, 2021. 210513. Watercolor, 20" x 14"

PurpleWhiteIrisonOrangeSquare-10x10-210523.jpg Watercolor: Purple-White Iris on Orange Square
I was looking for a new way to feature an iris "portrait." The square made a huge difference, with orange being the complement of purple. I wish I hadn't included the Quin Gold background, but -- O well! I do like the looseness of this iris. I'll try to pursue that. 210523. Watercolor, 10" x 10".

PinkRoseonBlueBkg-14x14-210523.jpg Watercolor: Pink Rose on Blue Background - 14" x 14"
I was inspired by this very pink rose to do a pink and blue interpretation. 210523. Watercolor, 14" x 14".

PacificTreeFrog-14x10-210703.jpg Watercolor: Pacific Tree Frog - 14" x 10"

I've been painting a series of animals that appear on the walls of my granddaughters' rooms in Auburn. This Pacific Tree Frog (Pseudacris regilla) abounds in our area. This is from a photo I found searching. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210703. Watercolor, 14" x 10".



AfricanDasiesinSunlight-10x14-210704.jpg Watercolor: African Daisies in Sunlight - 10" x 14"
I was in Steve Clark's backyard in Carmichael on a sunny day in May for a watercolor critique group. I couldn't keep my eyes from these beautiful African Daisies ("Pink Sugar" cultivar) brilliant in the sun against the shade of the porch. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210704. Watercolor, 10" x 14".

WalkingtheDogonJacksonvilleBeach-10x7-210705.jpg Watercolor: Walking the Dog on Jacksonville Beach - 10" x 7"
Back in April 2008 I captured a photo of this couple walking their dog on Jacksonville Beach very late in the day. Here I'm trying to use shadow shapes to define the images rather than much line work. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210705. Watercolor, 10" x 7".

WiresEverywhere-7x10-210709.jpg Watercolor: Wires Everywhere - 7" x 10"
In 2015 I was struck by the wonderful shapes on the pole above me -- a transformer to step down the high voltage to household voltage, and wires everywhere! I had to paint it. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210709. Watercolor, 7" x 10"

FlyingtheFlaginVermont-8x8-210708.jpg Watercolor: Flying the Flag in Vermont - 8" x 8"
On our trip to Vermont in September 2018 we saw a number of traditional houses. This one caught my eye, especially the proud American flag flying over the porch. Long may she wave! Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210708. Watercolor. 8" x 8".

CuteDollinRedDress-210707-10x14.jpg Watercolor: Cute Doll in Red Dress - 10" x 14"
This is a wind-up music box doll that Jean has had. I think she's cute! So there! :-) Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210707. Watercolor, 10" x 14".

TodleronJacksonvilleBeach-7x10-210710.jpg Watercolor: Toddler on Jacksonville Beach - 7" x 10"
When I visited Jacksonville Beach, Florida, in April 2008, I saw this toddler playing on the beach near here mother. Cute. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210710. Watercolor, 7" x 10".

LilyLakeandAngoraPeak-14x20-210711.jpg Watercolor: Lily Lake and Angora Peak - 14" x 20"
One of my favorite spots in the Tahoe region is Lily Lake, above Fallen Leaf Lake. In this painting you can see Angora Peak rising behind it at 8088 ft. I began this painting in late-May, but just finished it, so it counts as part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210711. Watercolor, 14" x 20", 300 lb. cold press paper.

7-SpotLadyBirdBeetle-210712.jpg Watercolor: Seven-Spot Lady Bird Beetle - 14" x 10"

My oldest granddaughter is interested in all things animal -- including insects. Here's a Seven-spot Ladybird (or Ladybug, Coccinella septempunctata, the most common ladybird in Europe, and expanding in the American eastern seaboard. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210712. Watercolor, 14" x 10".



NeverOneQuiteAlike-10x7-210716.jpg Watercolor: Never One Quite Alike - 10" x 7"
As Jean and I were walking in Auburn one afternoon I saw this row of distinctive mailboxes and knew I had to paint them. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210716. Watercolor, 10" x 7".

ReadytoStrike-14x10-210716.jpg Watercolor: Ready to Strike (Boa Constrictor) - 14" x 10"

When I asked my granddaughter what kind of animal I should paint for her, she responded: Boa Constrictor (Boa constrictor). So I looked for a dramatic photo from which to paint -- not having my own pet boa -- and found a particular menacing one. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210716. Watercolor, 14" x 10".



BluePitcher-10x10-210715.jpg Watercolor: Blue Pitcher - 10" x 10"
I saw a striking pose of a model posing with a yellow pitcher on Croquis Cafe. But my wife likes blue, and I decided to invent some context. So where is this walled garden in my mind? 210716. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. Watercolor, 10" x 10".

OldDelftStation-8x8-210718.jpg Watercolor: Old Delft Station - 8" x 8"
In September 2014 I spent an enjoyable day in Delft, Netherlands, arriving at this wonderful old railroad station that was in the process of a huge glassy addition. This is a quick pen and ink sketch from a photograph on 100 lb. Canson Bristol with a Lamy fountain pen and a fine nib. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210724. Watercolor and ink, 8" x 8".

HolySpiritFlame-2894x3429x300.jpg Watercolor: Holy Spirit Flame Logo - 10" x 12"

I designed and painted this Holy Spirit flame for use as a logo in my e-mail Bible study The Early Church: Acts 1-12 (JesusWalk Publications, 2021). I used a Sharpie permanent marker (fine and regular points) to outline the panes of "stained glass." Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210723. Watercolor and ink, 10" x 12".



GeraniumsattheChineseHerbalMedicineShop-10x10-210719.jpg Watercolor: Geraniums at the Herbal Medicine Shop - 10" x 10"
In August 2013 I spent part of a day in the old town of Locke, California on the delta, built in 1915 by Chinese immigrants. This is from a photo I took of some pots on the front porch of a Chinese Herbal Medicine Shop on Main Street. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210719. Watercolor and ink, 10" x 10".

SittingagainstaCedarTree-7x10-210720.jpg Watercolor: Resting against a Cedar Tree - 7" x 10"
In June 2017 I was at the California Bluegrass Festival at the Nevada City Fairgrounds. I saw this gentlemen resting against an Incense Cedar tree and liked the angles and pose. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210720. Watercolor, 7" x 10".

MorningMistoverHiddenValleyLake-7x10-210721.jpg Watercolor: Morning Mist over Hidden Valley Lake - 7" x 10"
In January 2018, our church's quarterly men's group met for an early breakfast in the clubhouse at Hidden Valley, a development in Granite Bay, CA just off Auburn-Folsom Road. One morning about 8 am I was fascinated by the mist in the background and the almost perfect reflections of this swim slide raft in a completely still lake. 210721. Watercolor, 7" x 10".

RedColumbine-8x8-210721.jpg Watercolor: Red Columbine at Lily Lake - 8" x 8"

In June 2018 I spent part of a day around Lily Lake, above Fall Leaf Lake in the south Tahoe area. Beside the trail I found this beautiful Red Columbine (Aquilegia formosa). below the columbine is the grain head of a local grass. This painting brings back memories of that peaceful day. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210721. Watercolor, 8" x 8".



ScarletGiliaSkyrocket-10x10-210725.jpg Watercolor: Scarlet Gilia ('Skyrocket') - 10" x 10"

In June 2018 I spent part of a day around Lily Lake, above Fall Leaf Lake in the south Tahoe area. Beside the trail I found this beautiful Scarlet Gilia ("Skyrocket"; Ipomopsis aggregata), also known as Scarlet Trumpet. So beautiful! So dramatic! So colorful! Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210725. Watercolor, 10" x 10".



NieuweKerkSteeple-7x10-210724.jpg Watercolor: Nieuwe Kerk Steeple, Delft, Holland - 7" x 10"
When I visited Delft, Holland in September 2014, I saw two high steeples. One was from Oude Kerk ("Old Church"), built in 1246, with the tower 75 years later. The other was Nieuwe Kerk ("New Church"), whose tower was built 1396-1496. My painting shows how the Nieuwe Kerk spire towers over the city 357 ft. in height. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210724. Awarded second place in August 2021 WASH Painting of the Month. Watercolor and ink, 7" x 10"

BobHoffman-BluegrassGuitar-7x10-210731.jpg Watercolor: Bob Hoffman, Bluegrass Guitar - 7" x 10"
I was looking for interesting faces to paint at the June 2018 California Bluegrass Festival at the Nevada County Fair Grounds. One of these was Bob Hoffman, guitarist for the band Festival Speed. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210731. Watercolor, 7" x 10".

CamoHatYellowBandana-8x8-210730.jpg Watercolor: Camo Hat, Yellow Bandana - 8" x 8"
I found this interesting face in Luthrier's Building at the June 2017 California Bluegrass Festival at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. His smile is contagious. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210730. Watercolor, 8" x 8".

PointPinosLighthousePacificGroveCA-10x10-210730.jpg Watercolor: Point Pinos Lighthouse, Pacific Grove, CA - 10" x 10"
One of the beautiful lighthouses on the California coast is the Point Pinos Lighthouse at Pacific Grove, where Monterey Bay meets the Pacific. The lighthouse was originally lit in 1855, and is the oldest operating lighthouse on the west coast of the United States -- even the lens is original. It is operated by US Coast Guard personnel. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210729. Watercolor and ink, 10" x 10".

Newly-OpenedPinkRose-10x7-210727.jpg Watercolor: Newly Opened Pink Rose - 10" x 7"
In June I spotted this rose on one of Jean's rosebushes just opening up. I worked faster on this rose, giving it a whole wash of Quin Coral, then doing graded washes from each of the deep crevices. It worked quite well with little touch-up needed. I also experimented with using a sharp point to signify veins in the leaves. That technique requires catching it a just the right degree of moistness. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210727. Watercolor, 10" x 7".

FlyingButtressesatLincolnCathedral-14x20-210727.jpg Watercolor: Flying Buttresses at Lincoln Cathedral - 14" x 20"
Lincoln Cathedral is perhaps the most important medieval building in England. During our trip to Lincolnshire in August 2009 I was particularly interested in the flying buttresses. In this view, you're looking past the Chapter House (which is supported by the large flying buttresses you see) toward King Richard's Door that enters into the choir of the cathedral. You can also see some flying buttresses supporting the windows near the top of the cathedral. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210728. Watercolor, 14" x 20".

TheDeansEye-14x20-210823.jpg Watercolor: The Dean's Eye, Lincoln Cathedral - 14" x 20"
"The Dean's Eye" is the beautiful rose window in the north transept at Lincoln Cathedral, Lincoln, England. My painting looks up from the Cloisters to the north face of the cross-shaped cathedral. The challenge is to move the eye to a center of interest, since there are so many places you can get lost in this amazing building. You can't see the stained glass from the outside of a normal cathedral, but my cathedral is magic! 210823. Ink and watercolor, 14" x 20".

KatiePetersenBluegrassFiddler-10x10-210821.jpg Watercolor: Katie Peterson, Bluegrass Fiddle Player - 10" x 10"

Katie Peterson is a lead vocalist and an accomplished fiddle player with the family bluegrass band The Petersens. They play regularly in Branson, Missouri, and have posted many music videos on their YouTube channel. I especially enjoy Katie's smile that lights up her whole face. 210820. Watercolor, 10" x 10".





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