Art Adventures

Posts tagged ‘fruit watercolor painting’

Blackberries. The Pacific Northwest has blackberry bushes in spades! When we lived on the western side of the Cascade range, we battled blackberry bushes in the garden and yard. My husband called it Taking Oregon Back. He would come in from round one, with the blackberry bushes having clearly won, scratches and blood all over his legs and arms, clothing torn. A glass of iced tea and back out for round 2. It took several attempts with a machete before he considered himself the winner. Our kids played in blackberry tunnels…a dangerous game, if you ask me. The best part of wild blackberry bushes? Their berries! Sorry, this post is a spring post, and berries come in late summer, but hey, I’m feeling the winter blues here! Time for some thoughts of sun and warmth. SO! A blackberry painting for you today!

Blackberry Pie 8x8 $50

Blackberry Pie 8×8 Original watercolor on gesso-covered $50

Enjoy this little painting today. Hope it adds some warmth and sunshine to your thoughts. Available for purchase!

To purchase, send me an comment. I accept PayPal and will email a PayPal invoice. Shipping extra. Prints available. Please check back often, I’m working on an Etsy site for prints and should have it up soon.

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All images and paintings on this site copyrighted by Sarah B Hanse

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Challenge…accepted. As I walked past a salsify plant, I asked myself, “Could you paint that, Sarah? How? What would it look like?” And so the challenge was made and accepted. First step, let’s take a quick photo with my IPhone and print the photo in the detective lab, do some DNA testing and see where we’re at (just kidding…too many detective shows for me).

Salsify plant for reference

Salsify plant for reference

How the heck am I going to do this?! But, since I had accepted my own challenge, there would be no going back. I call this plant a “wish” plant (maybe, as in, I wish I could paint it?). Which, if you were a tiny fly buzzing around my childhood, you would have known that we would blow on the plant and make a wish as the little poofy seed-heads floated off on the breeze. Don’t ask me why or how, but the wish was supposed to come true if all the seed heads came off during the lung-induced gale. Maybe that’s why I never got my pink mustang? You know, the car? Or…maybe it was my breath?  Oh, but I do digress.

So, as I was contemplating how on earth I would try to convey the airy-ness, the shadows and highlights, the seed heads, and still convey the wishy-wish aspect of the plant, I had a brain storm.

Ooooo! Insert SEED HEADS!! Since the plant was still somewhat intact when I began this painting, I was able to go outside and gather the little buggers. You got it…the painting has seed heads from the wish plant IN THE GESSO! I love it!


Seed heads in the gesso

I carefully chose perfect little seed heads, but when I put them into the wet gesso, they mushed together and didn’t spread out like I wanted them too. Since the little seed part was too pronounced, I plucked the seed and the stem off, and used just the “parachute” part. I also worked on  keeping the individual parachute parts spread out. If some weren’t perfect, that was fine. In fact, preferred. I let it dry.

Now, I just needed to transfer my image onto the prepared Plexiglass.Here it is:

Drawing with Seed Heads

Drawing on prepared plexiglass

Up close and personal:


Seed head detail


Seed head detail

You can see from the photos above that the seed heads retain their original color. Even after the gesso covered them completely, once it dried, the yellow tint remained true.

Then, I went to Colorado with my prepared Plexiglass. Read: Painting BONANZA!!

At home, I had used my 1.5 circular die cut press to create some circles out of paper and had placed them around the painting. Now, when I began to paint, I used Daniel Smith’s Cobalt Violet, Cobalt Teal, Quinacridone Burnt Orange to establish the circular wishy-shape plant. When I went into the upper LH corner with some of the deeper, darker color, the circular shapes reminded me of moonlight. Hence the title.

Finished. Moonlight Wishes. 11x14 Watercolor on Plexiglass

Finished. Moonlight Wishes. 11×14 Watercolor on Plexiglass $250

What do ya’ll think? I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. I was aiming for explosive poofs everywhere, and like the background color. Overall it’s pretty fun.

Want it? Let me know. And follow my blog (scroll down and click follow) and my Facebook page to keep up to date on all the happenings. Take care everyone. Feed the beast!


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My niece, fabulous swimmer that she is, gets to travel around the state for swim meets. Frequently, she finds herself and her friends competing in Newport, Oregon, on the Pacific Coast. So when I saw her recently, she had been there, in Newport, and had spent some time on the beach, in the sandy-sand. All the girls had flip flops on, which they apparently flung off in the sand to run down to the water. Someone had an artistic eye and snapped a photo of the flip flops. And I’m the lucky person to get to paint these. It was so much fun that I had to share for Thirty-Dollar Thursday this week!

Newport Beach FlipFlops smallcopyright

Newport Beach Flip Flops 8×8 Original Watercolor on Gessoed Watercolor Paper

Make sure you get this one for $30 today. If we need to ship, it’s extra. First come, first serve. Remember to follow me on Facebook and follow this blog by scrolling down and clicking follow! Why? Because you can be “In the Know”, which will make all your friends jealous. 😉  Happy Thursday, everyone!

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Think unplugged. Quiet. Peace. Unscheduled days. Time to paint. Colorado.


View from Art Studio

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? I spent the first week in July this year in Colorado, near where I grew up. It was a place of rejuvenation and feeding my beast. No Wi-Fi! Being unplugged, I spent a good amount of time walking, painting, and reading. The views were open and unhindered by other homes. I could see the San Juan Range to the South, and Grand Mesa to the North. In between lay the area in which I grew up. These were my stomping grounds! My parent’s place is amazingly quiet. At night, all I could hear was the occasional cricket. Maybe a coyote or two. Seriously! Nothing. The silence whooshes in the ears like a pulse. I LOVE it. I crave it every year.


Painting in the Colorado Studio

I usually take some painting projects when I go, and this year was no exception. I had prepared many drawings on plexiglass and paper, which, along with photos, provided hours of work in the lazy, hot afternoons.


My painting desk inside the Art Studio in Colorado

This was no luxury retreat. We are talking bare-bones, back-to-the-basics stuff here. In fact, as hot as it was in the studio in the afternoon, I perched the door open to establish a (hot) cross breeze every day. I did not, however, invite the lizard in to run across my feet. Eeek! I love lizards, but COME ON! No running across the flip-flop feet!! I guess he wanted to take a peek at the paintings and offer up a critique? How ’bout a glass of iced tea, Mr. Lizard?

Anyway, as you can see in the studio photo, I worked hard at a few small paintings and a couple of 11×14 paintings on plexiglass. When I took a break, driving around the country inspired me to take photos of…mailboxes! Future painting alert! Do you realize how utterly beautiful rural mailboxes are? Seriously, they are amazing and poetic in all their rural-ness. When I lived here, I didn’t appreciate the simple beauty that surrounded me.



Artistic Retreat Studio

My mom and I also took a drive down to a friend/neighbor who owns Mattics Orchards. They were generous enough to allow me to walk their orchards (a guided tour by their two young sons, who ended up shoving each other into the sprinklers) and take photos of pears, apples, crab apples, and apricots, as well as some zucchini, cabbage, and peppers. I am SO EXCITED to begin some amazing paintings from all the photos taken during my retreat. Such inspiring, nostalgic photos. Check my blog again soon (or better yet, follow me!) to see my Colorado work.



Bananas are the name of the game today! Cut them up, freeze them, then use them in a frozen smoothie with other berries and almond milk with a touch of cinnamon. My son LOVES these banana smoothies! So, to honor his favorite smoothie, I offer up an original painting of bananas for thirty dollars, today only. This painting is normally $50 retail, so grab it quickly!

Bananas, 8x8 original watercolor on gessoed watercolor paper

Chiquita Bananas, 8×8 original watercolor on gessoed watercolor paper

Let me know if you want this little banana cluster, Chiquita Bananas, an 8×8 image size, matted with foam core backing to slip into a 12×12 frame.

Follow me on Facebook! Follow this blog(scroll down and click follow)! Check out my store! And be on the lookout for new work from my Colorado Artistic Retreat, coming soon right here on this blog. I have GREAT paintings coming up both in my mind (ha!!) from all the nostalgic photos I took and in process. Have a great Thursday, everyone!


We had just gone to Costco (love it/hate it) and bought one of those HUGE bags of limes for our weekend graduation party (No one can drink a Mexican beer without a slice of lime, right? It’s just not allowed), when I realized just what I really had in my hot little hands. That’s right. A painting opportunity! When we got home, the afternoon sun streamed through the juniper trees into my backyard and I realized that I just couldn’t pass up an chance to paint these beautiful orbs of green. My husband wondered what in the world I was doing as I carried out a wooden cutting board, my camera, a knife, Grandma’s bowl, and the bag of limes to the backyard. Though I think, by now, he pretty much gets that I have weird behavior. NEVER QUESTION AN ARTIST. Ok? We just have stuff going on and it may not make sense at the time, but maybe, eventually, it will become evident what we are doing. Well…I said MAYBE…

Anyway, I snapped off some photos of the limes:


Photo reference for lime painting. Taken in my back yard.

Next, I drew it out on a piece of watercolor paper that I had gessoed. Blue painter’s tape held the paper securely to GatorBoard to keep it from moving around and keep the edges down while I painted. Once the paper has been gessoed, it does not shrink, bubble or curl up like regular watercolor paper, so there is no need to soak and stretch the paper as is traditionally done. Here’s the drawing:


Drawing of Slice of Summer

As you might be able to see, I removed one of the limes from the background to keep visual confusion at a minimum. I also elevated the horizon line to the top third of the painting. This provided a contrast to the green of the lines and made the limes “pop”. Here is the finished painting:

Slice of Summer copyright

Finished. A Slice of Summer. 8×8 unframed on gessoed watercolor paper. $30 today only.

I love the background purples. By spraying water into semi-wet watercolor and dabbing it off, amazing texture can result, which is exactly what happened here. The limes are fresh and bursting with citrus-y color. Enjoy the Thirty-Dollar Thursday, everyone! Message me if you want the lime painting for $30 today. These sell for $50 in my online store. First come, first serve! They have been selling like Hot Cakes every Thursday, so if you want it, jump on it right away.

Visit and “Like” me on my FB page for more info and upcoming events. I’ll be having a studio sale this summer. Make sure you follow me and like me here (scroll down to the bottom of the page and “follow”, which means you get an email only when I post), and on FB to be “in the know”. LOTS of paintings will be on SUPER-SALE. I haven’t pinned the dates down yet, so stay connected and stay tuned! Thanks everyone for your support! Feed the Beast, people!


If I had to do it all over again, I would have done it differently. What, you ask? No, not my first boyfriend, though that experience probably would benefit from some improvement if I could re-write it! Wait…do I even remember it correctly?!

I do digress…If I had to do it all over again, I would have thrown out the pear. The offending fruit squished and exploded slime all over when I reached for it. Now, to clarify, I LOVE pears. But exploding pears? Not so much. And my freshly mopped floor? Not so clean anymore. So this painting reminds me of my volcanic pear incident. As I’m painting it, though, I’m thinking smell and taste, and all this I love. But I wouldn’t have grabbed the super-ripe pear, had I known. This painting, however, has been a bit of a bear…er…pear problem. How to make fruit colorful when in a shadow? It’s tough. Here’s the process: My photo reference is from Portland Saturday Market (LOVE this place). It seemed out of season for the spring(?), but a few pears were there in all their glory. Sunlight sang through and spotlit a group in front of the rest. Detail, below, of their container:


Detail area of pears in cardboard box

The painting has been a struggle. Mostly because of the shadow areas in the back. I want to spotlight the foremost pears by “killing” the back pears. A recessive wash seems to deaden the whole area. Also, in the handle area of the box, pears poke through visually. Maybe a little too much?

Pears mid-way through

Pears mid-way through

Kind of cool, this photo above. Galleries and exhibition foundations remind artists to crop and clean up our photos. This one is out on my patio and shows pavers, chairs, table, and hence, the scale of my painting. I’m keeping the crop out! BAN THE CROP. Just kidding. Only for now. Okay, after re-working, here is the final photo of my painting. I have a critique-group meeting this week, in which I’ll present the painting and probably result in a change…a bit…but for now, here’s the finished piece. 🙂

Pearz. 22x30. Watercolor on plexiglass.

Sunshine in a Box. 22×30. Watercolor on plexiglass.

So here’s to you, you pears! Ban the squishy pears (which these weren’t) and ban the crop(ha!). It’s been fun. I love the cut-open pear and the brightness of all the pears in the sunshine(hence the title). In person, those front pears SING in the painting. And, of course, I love the container. I’m a big container-person. This one, this cardboard container with fake wood painting is wonderful. As for the reason I’d do it over? Never grab an over-ripe pears with freshly-mopped floors.

Follow me on Facebook for FANTASTIC OFFERS! 🙂 And check out my store for prices and print sales. Take care, everyone, and have a wonderful week!

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Someone asked me this week if I would ever consider painting lemons.  Why, yes! As a matter of fact, I would! After a quick trip to Safeway to recruit my lemon models (I had them sign a contract), they were ready for their photo session.  I played Madonna’s Vogue to get them in the mood.  A big sheet of white foam core, grandma’s old wooden bowl, and an Iphone provided all the necessary tools.  In my back yard, the afternoon sun came in at the perfect angle to create gorgeous lemon light through the lemon slices. After a bunch of photos from different angles and set-ups, this photo worked best because of the connections in the lemon shadows.  Since I had planned on doing a small 8×8 Thirty-dollar post, I chose just the three lemons, without the bowl in the background.  I’ll come back to this photo for a large painting later.

Reference photo for Lemons in Summer painting

Reference photo for Lemons in Summer painting

By the way, here is my favorite lemon bars recipe. Sinful, but delicious. Or, you could skip the dessert and go for the Lemon Drop Martini!

Lemons in Summer. 8x8 gessoed watercolor paper.

Lemons in Summer. 8×8 gessoed watercolor paper. Matted with white mat to fit into a 12×12 frame.

Here it is!  Your Thirty-Dollar Thursday painting! Own it for just $30 (not including shipping). Message me to let me know you want it.  First come, first serve.

My fellow blogger from Geek Gardens purchased a thirty-dollar painting a couple of weeks ago.  Here’s what he had to say:

“As the proud new owner of the Orange Chair (which came beautifully shipped and matted today!) I can honestly say that the pictures do not do the paintings justice. Beautiful color and amazing texture and on top of it all, it is frame ready! At this price I may have to break my art rule “the frame should not be more expensive than the art!” A great problem to have.”  Check out his great blog about succulents!

Follow me on Facebook to get more announcements about upcoming events and sales. Also, I now have a store! Order paintings or prints at Please share, follow, comment and/or like, to give me a boost and help keep this beast of mine fed.  Feed the beast!  Now…back to the martini 😉

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