Monday, January 24, 2011


I enjoy doing quick little watercolor sketches that are called vignettes. So just what is a vignette? A small colorful unfinished watercolor that is simply defined.

If you would like to try a vignette here are some guidelines:

(1) The sketch is small-postcard size (5x7).

(2) Sketch does not extend into any of the corners.

(3) The design should touch the sides at least once but need not touch all 4 sides.

(4) The composition is the cruciform. What is a Cruciform? A cruciform is created when dominate vertical and horizontal shapes intersect. Where these shapes converge it is an ideal place for establishing your center of interest. The intersection is off center both vertically and horizontally. Care should be taken not to have the intersection in the dead center of the paper. The corners are simplified creating negative space.

If you are interested in learning more about this or other sketching techniques please see my website for workshop dates and locations.

Happy Sketching!



  1. I love these vignettes . . . and they always seem to elude me. I'm too much of a niggler. How I wish you had a workshop in the midwest!

  2. Vicky, Thanks! It's not exactly the midwest but I'll be in North Carolina in October.~Brenda

  3. I noticed that already! A part of the country I would love to see, too. Just a bit far from Kansas though.

  4. Yes, that is a bit far from Boone, NC. Hopefully someday I can make it to the midwest.

  5. Love the colors, bright, clean, and sunny. Looking forward to the spring here in the east, but I can look at your paintings and enjoy the light.

  6. Yes, I am blessed to live in a warm part of the country. Do I dare tell you? It was 80 degrees today! I had to wear sunscreen when I went painting outside.

  7. NICELY done, Brenda! SO inviting! And we were just discussing the how-to in my alumni group today, so these are perfect timing...

  8. Oh, this is wonderful! Thank you for the tips! :D