Please stop by my new Watercolor Art Exhibit
in the main lobby of 100 East Pratt Street, Baltimore MD 21202
Originals and Prints by Linda Roberts - all Custom Framed
Including 17 Original Paintings and 27 Limited Edition Prints
On display from May 2 through May 30, 2015
Here's a sneak peak!

YUPO VS. ARCHES, A Watercolor Paper Experiment

Lately I’ve been experimenting with Yupo paper. If you haven’t heard of Yupo, it is a smooth synthetic non-absorbent paper. As you can imagine it takes a bit of getting used to after painting on regular cotton watercolor paper. However the results can be very interesting… since water sits on the surface you will be surprised by the effects flowing from your paintbrush. You can even “erase” when needed which is pretty cool.  

I decided to do a couple experiments by painting subjects on both Yupo and my usual Arches watercolor paper. Here is the first set of results (each painting is an 8” x 8” square):

Sea Lion on Arches paper

Sea Lion on Arches paper

Sea Lion on Yupo paper

Sea Lion on Yupo paper

As noted the second sea lion is on Yupo paper… it was hard to control the brush strokes & indicate the fur on the non-absorbent paper. However when my son said he preferred the Yupo Sea Lion, I took another look. 

I tried a second set of paintings. The Yupo paper allowed some cool shadowing and blending, but it was still hard to get the precise effect I wanted on the woman’s face… 

Woman on Arches paper

Woman on Arches paper

Woman on Arches paper

Woman on Arches paper

The Arches paper still felt more “user friendly” to me however I began to get accustomed to the flow of the paint on the Yupo paper.
In summary, I'm intrigued with Yupo paper. I like the unique, abstract effects you can create with water and color sitting on the paper's surface. I'm definitely going to continue to experiment with it.

Have you tried Yupo paper? Which paper do you prefer for watercolor painting?

~ Linda Roberts

PS: To get the yellow patterned background seen in the second painting I painted yellow onto an old placemat and then turned it over onto the paper creating a textured-looking wall!

What is Your Favorite Medium to Paint With?

After trying a few other mediums I definitively decided that watercolors and I were meant to be! However, along the way, I experimented...

A few years ago I took a class on using acrylics from an artist named Joanne Sanborn ( She is a wonderful artist and terrific instructor. I did these acrylics while in her class…

“Shades of Summer” acrylic

“Shades of Summer” acrylic

“Everglades Vista”

“Everglades Vista”

“Begotten Beach Towel”

“Begotten Beach Towel”

I like that acrylics are water soluble and the brushes can be cleaned with water (same as with watercolors of course), but I prefer the soft edges and washes that can be achieved with watercolors. It’s the painting process that is different.  It is much easier to paint beautiful skies with billowy clouds in watercolor.  The same is true for painting snow.  I love the effects achieved in watercolor for depicting snow blowing up behind skiers blasting through knee deep powder! I could never do that in oils or acrylics! 

Do you paint with acrylics, watercolors or both?  What do you prefer about each?  

Next week I'll talk about my experimentation with oils.

Linda Roberts


Family Soles - Commission an Original!

While enjoying your Labor Day weekend consider taking a few pictures of your family’s shoes…yes, shoes! I am working on a series of commissioned paintings called Family Soles where I create original watercolor paintings from client photographs of their shoes.  Perhaps this concept is best explained with a couple photos:

"The Sammon Family Soles"

"The Sammon Family Soles"

"The Cannon Family Soles"

"The Cannon Family Soles"

By capturing your family soles in a painting you are also saving a moment in time, a moment that you may currently see on a daily basis, but that as life goes on, will eventually disappear. One of my clients even requested I update her family soles painting when a new grandchild was born. There are so many possibilities. Here are a few wonderful images recently received for just such a commission. This is all I need! 

Family Soles Photograph for painting

Commissioned Linda Roberts originals are some of the most sought after collectors pieces available in the watercolor medium. What a memorable gift for mothers, fathers, grandparents, newlyweds, new parents, or for an occasion such as Christmas, an anniversary or birthday! Click here for more information.


Ikat Watercolor

Have you noticed Ikat patterns popping up in interior decor and fashion this year? I certainly have (check out I love to see trends like this, with deep roots in history (Ikat is one of the oldest forms of textile decoration), finding popularity again today.  

Each time I've seen Ikat over the last few months I've been tempted to try painting an Ikat pattern using watercolors. Today I gave it a go!  Have you heard of Yupo paper?  It’s really fun and interesting to use (check back because I plan to write a blog about it).  Using the Yupo paper it’s possible to “lift” and rework dried paint to achieve some crazy lines and designs - perfect for an Ikat pattern. Here's what I did to create my Ikat watercolor art...

First, do not use a pencil to make preliminary design lines as it’s not possible to erase them. Instead use a small brush loaded with a color that you want to use in your design.


Next start laying in some basic colors...

Play with the outlines with water on the brush and add the darkest color last…pretty cool!

Here’s a second one with variations…

A simple beginning… choose colors you like.

Keep playing with additional colors and thickness of lines…

Remember to consider various  cropping sizes… I like these better than the initial 
size painting.  

IMG_5410 - Version 3.jpeg

THE YUPO paper’s  smooth, waterproof attributes make it a unique and popular medium among artists and watercolorists because it is so versatile. You will enjoy the paper’s feel and how it holds color beautifully. 

Try painting an ikat design. You may even want to print it on fabric and make your 
very own throw pillow using your creation! will print several types of fabric for you!

Can’t sew? Check out
for a great “no sew” tutorial on making an envelope pillow!

Have fun with this watercolor DIY!

Finding Inspiration for My Watercolor Art

Occasionally when I am out and about I am literally stopped in my tracks by a site that grabs me. As my family can attest, I carry my camera with me for these precise moments. So often the photos I take become the inspiration for an eventual watercolor painting. These are the moments I don't want to let pass by.  Here are a few images that inspire me to paint...

I love these Poppies. The “lacey” shadows add another dimension that will look wonderful in a watercolor painting!


On a recent trip to the Botanical Gardens in Naples, FL I saw this crane in a marsh.  It will be challenging, and fun, to paint him in those beautiful grasses!  He almost already looks like watercolor art!

Crane in a marsh

A few years ago I traveled to the Greek Islands.  Everywhere I turned was a breathtaking vista! This one is in Santorini.  This has to be a painting!

After daisies I think sunflowers are my favorite.  They are so happy seeking the sun! Painting this for sure!


I was walking in Aspen a few summers ago and did a quick about face when I saw this darling tricycle next to the pot of flowers.   An all-American scene if ever I saw one!

Tricycle and flower pot

What scenes or objects inspire you to your next watercolor art project?

Vino! A Wine Painting Commission

A year or so ago I was commissioned by Soho Myriad Art Consulting Services in Atlanta, GA to paint two original watercolor paintings for The Salamander Resort and Spa.  I submitted several photos that I staged at my home studio for their review.  
They selected the first two and I started the painting process at my studio/kitchen table in Florida...

Red and white wine pictures
Wine Painting Set Up

“Vino Rojo” is the finished painting now hanging in The Wine Bar at The Salamander Resort and giclees are available through my website.

“Vino Blanco” is the second painting also hanging in The Wine Bar.  Limited edition giclees are available through my website also.

Cheers to you wine lovers out there!

Watercolor Memory Lane: Jerry Ford Golf Invitational Part II

An Experience To Remember...continued

Due to the success of the 1982 painting project I was asked to create yet another painting for the 1983 event and also to host a luncheon for the wives of the golf participants.  What an honor!  Because I love daisies I had fresh daisy centerpieces and even flew in fresh crab meat for crab cakes as our lunch entree.  My print, “Mountain Daisies”, was used for the invitation and name tags.

Mountain Daisies

Mountain Daisies

Betty Ford was invited to be our guest speaker.  I was a nervous wreck anticipating having to introduce Mrs. Ford.  I’m just fine talking one-on-one, but a microphone and podium terrify me.  Somehow I made it through the introduction and she graciously, and briefly spoke a few words.  But to my dismay, she said ”I’m sure you didn’t come today to hear me speak, now may I reintroduce Linda to you.”  I was horrified!  With not a word prepared I stumbled through, not certain how long I actually spoke, but did in fact, get back to my seat with much relief!  My mother and sister Jan accompanied me to the luncheon for moral support and by the end of the luncheon the two Bettys, my mother and Mrs. Ford, were good buddies!  

Me sitting with Mrs. Ford

Me sitting with Mrs. Ford

Earlier that morning my husband asked me to inquire of Mrs. Ford if it might be possible to get one of the prints of the tournament signed to him as a birthday gift.  I hoped she might agree and would take the print home for Mr. Ford to sign, but to my amazement she said “Sure! Just stop by the house this afternoon and I’m sure he will be glad to!”  We ventured to Beaver Creek to their lovely home and after clearing security the guard walked us to the front door and we rang the bell.  To our utter amazement who should answer the door?  Bob Hope!  He smiled warmly and said ”Come on in.  We’ve been waiting for you!”   Mr. & Mrs. Ford and Delores Hope were coming down the stairs and greeted us as if we were friends and all four of them signed happy birthday wishes to my husband.  Bob Hope had mentioned having to leave within a short time  so I said “thank you so much, we don’t want to take up any more of your time, especially if you have a plane to catch.”  He smiled, patted my hand and said “Don’t worry honey… when it’s your plane… they wait for you!”  So we bid our gratitude and farewell and in stunned silence returned to our car.  The print (and the story!) are cherished keepsakes ’til this day!   

Bob Hope

Bob Hope

Watercolor Memory Lane: Jerry Ford Golf Invitational Part I

An Experience to Remember...

In early 1982 the promoters of The Jerry Ford Golf Invitational contacted me to inquire if I was interested in creating a commemorative watercolor painting of the golf tournament.  They insisted, because I was known for my numerous paintings and prints of Colorado, that I was the certain nominee to create the painting.  One problem…  all, and I do mean all of my paintings were snow scenes and I didn’t even own a tube of green paint!  With trepidation I agreed to do the painting and immediately purchased a few tubes of various greens with which to experiment.  I always use Winsor & Newton watercolor tubes and I settled on Sap Green*  and Hooker’s green** for the golf course greens (I sometimes use Winsor Green mixed with a little Brown Madder to create an evergreen color.  I never seem to use any color straight out of the tube, always altering it a little, or a lot, to create a warmer or cooler color.)

Jerry Ford

Jerry Ford

I painted a nice watercolor for the 1982 Tournament and it was reproduced in a limited edition.  Twenty five (I think) of the prints were hand signed by numerous celebrities and golf participants.  It was so much fun sitting with these famous people and asking them to sign the prints!  My son Kevin recalls Clint Eastwood even challenged him to a fun game of Pack Man after signing the prints!  The original and celebrity signed prints were all auctioned off with the proceeds going to charity.

Jerry Ford Golf Invitational Watercolor by Linda Roberts

Jerry Ford Golf Invitational Watercolor by Linda Roberts

What an amazing experience. However, there is more...stay tuned  for Part II!

How to Paint the American Flag with Watercolors

I have always loved the challenge of painting the American Flag.  The majestic colors, the stars and stripes, and the fluid movement of our flag as it blows in the wind are beautiful.  If you are interested in painting the American Flag, or any other flag, using watercolors, perhaps this tutorial gained from many years of experience, including trial and error, will help!

With almost every painting I do I start with a fairly detailed sketch...

American flag sketch

Here is my drawing of an American flag waving in the breeze.

American flag close up

After squaring up the four sides of the image I’m going to paint, I tape the edges with masking tape...

American flag taped to paint

...and thoroughly wet the the paper to remove some sizing on the paper (I prefer 300# Arches).

Watercolor - Wet the paper

I frequently us a masking fluid on paintings where I want to protect the “white” of the paper. The first step is to thoroughly rub the brush over a bar of soap to prevent the fluid from ruining it!

Watercolor masking fluid

I pour some masking fluid in the cap and using a small (soaped) brush, carefully block out the area I want to protect.

Watercolor masking fluid

Using cerulean blue mixed with a little cobalt blue, I mix two puddles of color.
The one on the right as a little more water and more cerulean (for the lower sky).

Watercolor cerulean blue & cobalt blue

I always use a little scrap paper to test the color I have blended.

Watercolor - test your color

I have painted the sky around (and over!) the masked in flag shapes.

Watercolor masking fluid

After the sky is thoroughly dry I use a rubber cement pickup to remove the masking fluid.

Watercolor masking fluid pick up

Quite often there maybe a some residual blue color you’ve used around the masked area…. 

Watercolor technique, use an old brush’s bristles that you have cut down to about 1/8” to “scrub out” the unwanted color…(a great way to “correct” and remove unwanted, small areas of paint!).

Watercolor erase technique

Since this flag is just part of the painting (and not a closeup) it’s not necessary to paint
each of the 50 stars, but to merely indicate them. The first step is to paint the part of
the flag that is in shadow.  I use a light mixture of Winsor blue plus a touch of brown
madder to create a soft blue (same color I use to indicate snow shadows).

Watercolor American Flag Colors

Next I paint the “royal blue” color using cobalt blue mixed with some Winsor blue.

American Flag Blue

Now it’s time for the red stripes.  Cadmium Red is a little “too red” so I mix it with some
Alizaron Crimson and maybe a little Brown Madder (but not much).  The goal to to mix 
a deep red (not too warm or “orangey”).

American Flag Watercolor Red

Cardinal rule… know your complementary colors! Whenever you want to make a color 
appear darker (in shadow, etc.) use a dab of it’s complement color! In this case I added
just a touch of Sap Green (Winsor Green would do, but be careful it’s a potent color and
more on the vibrant, cool side, so a little goes a long way!)  I used this darker color on
the stripes that are in shadow. This step really helps give the flag definition.

Watercolor American Flag

The rest of the painting will be finished soon, but here is the finished flag.  Viewed from this distance the small white “specks” in the blue rectangle give the appearance of stars. Looks like a flag waving in the breeze.  Just what I hoped to achieve!

Watercolor American Flag

Please share the flags you paint!

Linda Roberts

PS: Go on a treasure hunt this Flag Day Saturday! Find any print or poster that includes a flag and receive 50% of that piece at

Laying Out Your Watercolor Palette

If you are a beginner with watercolor painting, or even if you're not ( ! ), you may want to lay out your palette with a sheet of watercolor paper under it, paint a blob of each color on the paper, and then write the color name next to each (the images below help illustrate what I mean).  

It’s important to be consistent with the colors you use in order to give your painting a cohesive look.  If you mix a color you like it’s important to realize how you did it so you can do it again!  Knowing your colors is so very important!

Keep a color wheel handy.  I’v painted over 1,000 (at least!) original watercolors and I refer to it often!!!  Please let me know if you have any questions and I would be happy to help.


Watercolor Palette Layout 1
Watercolor Palette Layout 2
Watercolor Palette Layout 3
Watercolor Palette Layout 4
Watercolor Palette Layout 5

Watercolor Décor 2014

The brilliant 2013 trend of integrating watercolor into your home décor charges on through 2014.  The style continues to evolve bringing new colors and subject matter for those of us who love adding watercolor artistry to our rooms.

West Elm uses rich colors along with a feather/bird motif in these beautiful watercolor pillows.

Pillows by West Elm

Pillows by West Elm

Look at this eco-friendly abstract wallpaper found on The design is peaceful yet interesting and could turn an ordinary room into a unique gem.

Wallpaper found on ESKAYEL.COM

Wallpaper found on ESKAYEL.COM

Anyone think of watercolor when they look at this picture?  I do and what an easy way to make a colorful statement.  If you aren’t ready to paint your beautiful wood stairs but love the look, try this on concrete or on the weathered back deck stairs using outdoor paint.

Image found on REALSIMPLE.COM

Image found on REALSIMPLE.COM

This one of a kind blanket was found on It is hand dyed and made of 100% cotton. The dyes seep through the fibers creating a watercolor effect and making the fabric look velvety soft.



If you come across a unique watercolor décor element I’d enjoy seeing it…happy decorating!


Anatomy of a Painting….

As I have said many times, I am very intrigued by that stark white piece of watercolor paper, knowing I can transform it into something unique and of my own creation.  I love the process and relish the final step of painting my signature. 

I am currently working on a ski painting commission so it is the perfect opportunity to share some of the watercolor techniques I use when painting snow scenes.
In the beginning… 

a piece of 300# d’Arches watercolor paper (this image will be 15 x 22”).

I gather and review my reference photos…

and make a fairly complete sketch the size of the final painting.

Because this painting has been commissioned I emailed a photo of the sketch to my customer for his review, and after a few changes were made (he wanted the 2 smaller boys to be “skiing more aggressively!”) I did the sketch on the watercolor paper.  

Because I never use white paint (unless it’s to show snow falling in a snowstorm) I protect the white of the paper by using a masking fluid. Prior to doing so I always brush water over the entire paper to remove the sizing and wait until the paper is completely dry. Then I dab my brush on a bar of soap (makes it much easier to clean later), dip it into the art masking liquid (Winsor & Newton brand) and paint the areas that I want to protect so that they appear white (snow on trees, fine detail, etc.). 

After the masking liquid is dry I begin painting.  I prefer Winsor & Newton tube paints and my favorite colors for snow are Winsor Blue (red shade) mixed with a little brown madder.  I couldn’t paint a snow scene without these two colors!  Colorado skies are usually Cerulean blue with a little Cobalt blue.

Using a rubber cement pick-up I lift off the masking liquid and now have the wonderful white of the paper.  

I can then paint light colors next to dark ones and add the soft blue shading of the snow and other details.

My favorite part of any painting is the detail work.  It was so fun painting the three young boys (good skiers according to their proud Dad!) and Grandpa.  The challenge was trying to indicate the distance perspective of Grandma and the little guy waving in the background!

Last steps were adding the final touches, painting my signature and removing the masking tape.

My customer has decided he wants prints and notecards made for other members in the family so now the painting is being scanned and then I will ship to him.  The painting is going to be a surprise gift to his in-laws. I hope they all will be pleased.

-Here are a few other ski paintings I’ve done over the years… 


Last Minute Christmas Gifts, A Different Kind of Gift Basket

Do you have a few gifts left to buy?  Have you run out of ideas?  Sometimes creativity begins to run low as the holidays get closer and there are other things (family visiting, meals to cook) to keep you busy.  I have a little advice that might go a long way in the “last minute gift” category. 

That advice is to make your own non-traditional gift basket and fill it with tools or utensils.  Even people who seem to have everything enjoy receiving new instruments for their trade!  And, you don’t necessarily need to use a basket…try a bin, a box or a crate.  You can make anything look nice with some colored tissue or shredded paper and a big bow!

Here are some ideas to get your wheels turning…as you browse, imagine each set arranged nicely in a container of your choosing!  I’ve included some options for packaging at the bottom.

Buy some kitchen utensils for your friend who loves to cook.

What woman doesn’t need new makeup brushes?  Enough said!  Add a mirror, some gloss, powder or special skin products to take this idea further.

Do you know anyone who makes their own jewelry?  Good tools are precious to these people.  You could also include a magnifying glass or special light!

Gardening tools…it’s great to have a good set of these, even in the winter!

We all need hand tools at some point for a household project so it’s hard to go wrong giving these.  If someone already has tools, write in their card that this is an extra set for their office, car or kitchen!

I will end with my favorite… painting supplies.  Whether someone paints or has an inkling to try, there is something special about receiving new paints and brushes. Include a nice pad of paper and they will be ready to begin!

Here are a few container ideas.  Get creative!  It doesn’t have to be something expensive.


When someone has a hobby, they will always love receiving the accompanying tools!  And, if someone hasn’t found their inspiration, perhaps you can help them find it!