“Cellular time!” took Best of Show! Woot!

"Cellular Time!" watercolor 22x30"
“Cellular Time!” watercolor 22×30″

I began painting this watercolor a long time ago and only just decided to finish it recently! I had fun lifting out (or painting in) lots of little patterns with a small scrubbie brush or soft toothbrush.
Can you see the DNA strands, mitochondria, golgi body, protein strands, smooth endoplasmic reticulum, plus the cog-machinery lift outs around the nucleus? My science background is peaking through my artwork!

This won the Margaret FitzWilliam Award of Excellence, judged by Elli Crocker at the Wellesley Society of Artists, Fall 2016 show.    http://www.wellesleysocietyofartists.org
The judge wrote some nice comments:
Ambitious scale, inventive imagery, virtuoso handling of the watercolor medium, sensitive play of color. The more you look, the more you see! The painting asks questions of the viewer. Layered meaning as well as superb technical facility

“Bad Hair Day”

“Bad Hair Day”, watercolor 15×22″ by Sally Meding

I painted this sunflower that I saw on a street near me because its petals were blowing all over and I was having a bad hair day myself-so I  sympathized with the flower!


I entered it in Wellesley Society of Artists Fall show and was excited to receive the “Margaret Fitzpatrick award for excellence in watercolor! The judge, Cheryl Clinton wrote the following comment “Clear color and strong composition”

I had fun representing the seeds in bright colors from red through to purple. The transparency of the petals was achieved through multiple thin glazes of color.

Jazz City Nights

JazzCityNights 72ppi
“Jazz City Nights” (after Katrina), watercolor, 22×30″ by Sally Meding

I entered “Jazz City Nights” into the Open Juried Show titled “Art inspired by music” at Rhode Island Watercolor Society.

It won first place! Yay! The juror, Bob Noreika” wrote the following comment “Unique to the “theme” of the show-wonderful rhythm and gestural flow of design!”
This painting has a lot of history!
It was painted when hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. The very small shapes represent the cars that were jammed in the city as roads were not equipped for this kind of traffic. The calla lily for peace morphing into a trumpet for the music. The painting when near completion fell out of the back of my car on the way to my art group. It was run-over by a truck just after it rained and the tire mark is part of the painting as texture!

Laying down even watercolor washes (flat, graded and variegated)


Practicing washes on good (100% cotton rag) and cheap (student pads made from wood pulp) watercolor paper will really show the difference between the watercolor papers.
1.  Tape the edges of the paper down (9″x12″ or larger) to a piece of larger mat-board or cardboard covered in contact paper (1″ blue painter’s tape will peel off easily).
2.  Using a large flat watercolor brush (1-2″) pre-wet the paper with clean water. (I use the 1.5″ “Black Velvet series” flat wash brush from Silver company through www. cheapjoes.com)
3.  Mix up a large puddle of juicy color (non-granulating pigments are easier initially) on your palette.
4.  When the shine of the water is beginning to disappear, gently drag your loaded large flat brush across the top of the paper and continue stroking down the sheet slightly overlapping the previous stroke of wet color. Load your brush for each stroke if needed. This can be done flat or on a tilted surface (at least 15 degrees).
5.  Tilt paper taped to board at various angles (incl. upright) to distribute the wash, if needed.
6.  Collect any pooling color at the bottom of the paper with a “thirsty” damp brush (or a corner of a paper towel) to prevent back-washes or blooms.

NOTE: Any secondary wash laid down subsequently (after the first is completely dry) is now referred to as a GLAZE


1.  To produce a graded wash, mix up a juicy mix of color in your palette and drag the loaded brush across the top of the dry (or moistened) paper.
2.  Dip brush 1x into clean water and remove excess on side of the container. (this will remove about 15% of the color)
3.  Stroke brush across paper directly below last band, overlapping slightly.
4.  Dip 1x again into water and remove excess water on side of container….repeat until bottom of page is reached.
Alternatively, your initial puddle of color can be diluted by adding water-in even increments (eg. 2 squirts from a water bottle), mixing thoroughly and adding to successive bands with the large flat brush OR you can start with clean water and gradually add even increments of color (eg one corner of flat brush into freshly squeezed watercolor), mixing thoroughly before adding successive strokes.
All these methods can work. Try which one is most comfortable for you.


1.  Make large puddles of similar concentration of 2 or more different colors in your palette.
2.  Load the large flat brush and stroke across the top of the paper with one color.
3.  Without rinsing the brush, pull a little color from the second puddle into the first color and mix. Load this directly below the last stroke, overlapping slightly.
4.  Repeat 3 until the change of color is complete or you reached the bottom of the page.
Alternatively, this effect can be produced by doing 2 separate graded washes, one starting from the top of the paper, drying completely, and then repeating the other color over it from the bottom of the paper up.

Subject matter painted over
a variegated wash

Variegated washes make great sunset scenes and can be painted over with darker colors to create drama. This is also known as an underwash/underpainting or toning the paper.