Landscape Marin County Outdoors/Landscape Painting Places Sketchbook Pages Watercolor

Painting Pt. Bonita Part I: Watercolor

Point Bonita, watercolor, 7x5" in journal
Point Bonita #1, watercolor, 7x5" in journal

When I got frustrated with painting from life last month, I took a break and experimented in working from the same photo in different media. First I did the sketch above in my journal from the photo below which I took at Point Bonita in the Marin Headlands last year.

Point Bonita photo cropped to 9x12"
Point Bonita photo cropped to 9x12"

I took the photo during a very cold and windy plein air paint out where I did a plein air sketch (posted here) and planned to eventually paint the scene in the studio. As you can see, I did what I call “imaginating” (a combination of imagining and exaggerating the colors I see in a photo or a scene) instead of rendering the photo as is.

Point Bonita, Watercolor, 12x9"
Point Bonita #2, Watercolor, 12x9"

After I did the little journal painting at the top of this post (which I like very much), I tried it again  4 times bigger on a 12×9″ Arches watercolor block (above). It was fun to get back to painting in watercolor on something other than a small journal page. I didn’t use any masking on either of these, just painted around areas I wanted to stay white.

I enjoyed working larger on a watercolor block–I could work at a slant, mix juicy washes, and not have to worry about trying to keep the pages flat and the journal open. I’m falling in love with watercolor painting all over again.

Stay tuned for the oil and oil pastel versions tomorrow.

10 replies on “Painting Pt. Bonita Part I: Watercolor”

I liked the sketch quite a bit and then scrolled down to the larger piece. Wow! I like that one a lot too and it has a totally different feel to it.

It is funny but I am starting to work in gouache a little more. I had forgotten how different water based media really is even from acrylics.

Looking forward to the next versions of the piece.


It’s a lovely photo to work from – a great composition. I like the watercolour #2 best but they are all interesting. Bonita – an interesting name. We have a famous pirate story near Geelong – Bonita Bonita or maybe Bonito – who stashed away a treasure in the Queenscliff area but no-one has been able to find it yet. Many syndicates and hopeful miners have tried and tried.


Hi Wendy. That’s a great pirate story. Bonita is Spanish and means pretty. Bonito…isn’t that a kind of tuna? Neither seem a good name for a pirate! I wish more of my photos turned out well enough to work from but I’m not such a great photographer unfortunately. Jana


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