Introducing RIPPLE — New Art for Summer

Today I feature one of my latest works, called Ripple. My intent was to create a strong image that was bold, clean and sassy. I’ve used a very limited color pallet on this one, mostly blues, but a full tonal range from stark white to deep black. I’m happy with how it seems to move.

Notice the upper left quadrant, where the ripples and fade-aways are not predictable, but irregular. I have avoided symmetrical repetition and forced a series of illogical curves. When these designs are married to the more “coordinated” bottom curves, the juxtaposition sets up a nice tension which makes the piece more exciting.

The above full-size close-ups reveal an earthy, gritty texture to the piece which is not apparent when viewing the web-ready representations. This is not pixel-distortion, but an intended texture I worked into the art to give it body and substance.

RIPPLE sings under non-glare acrylic, a white conservation matte and a traditional black scoop frame with low-lights of gold and red. Very pretty! Click here to order this piece for your home, office, cruise line or international resort properties.


  1. Dan, I love this piece! I saw it last night, and it inspired me today to begin a piece that is a take-off on it. My original vision was in an analagous scheme of reds, oranges, and yellows (with a turquoise-ish blue and violet for contrasts). I played with a rough sketch in small scale using colored pencils. But when I got my paper stretched (watercolor), I went straight for the Gamboge! There is just something about that yellow-orange hue on the Arches Natural White paper that draws me. I brushed on some bold and flowing strokes using a draftsman’s brush while the paper was still moist from the stretching. I then used cerulean blue loosely mixed with Winsor-Newtons Iridescent Medium for my negative spaces, applied with a 1″ bright brush. I just love the effects I get from applying paints to newly stretched, fully wet paper (as opposed to painting a wash over dry paper). Each layer then naturally becomes a variation on the theme, as the paints and paper interact differently at each stage. It makes incorporating “repetition with variation” much easier—as long as I remember that variation will be inherent in this type of working and so consciously limit how much other variation I introduce. That way I can end up with a piece that has a pleasing variety to create interest and yet has enough simplicity and common elements that it is tied together in a way that is harmonious rather than chaotic.

  2. Thank you for the kind words regarding RIPPLE, Misha.

    Regarding your new painting, wet on wet was always my favorite watercolor technique, too. I hope you were pleased with the way it turned out. Feel free to include a link to your work. Everybody is curious now!

  3. Dan, I’ve been analyzing why I like this piece so much. Part of it is that in seven places you could have lost the viewer off the piece. In three cases (two on left, left side of bottom), you used a fade-out to slow/stop the eye. In three other places (two on top, right side of bottom), you used another line element to draw the eye back into the main portion of the piece. Especially pleasing to me is the pull in the upper right quadrant. The bright white line flowing as if out of the demarkation between the blues in the right-most stripe of the upper set just draws me back in, ever so slowly, to explore the entire piece all over again.

    In the final case (the right side) you varied the theme by providing faded striping in the background that reflected the feeling of the massive downcurve (rather than following out of an existing line element) and once again draw the eye back into the piece. Great job!

  4. Misha, good job on your “Golden Brushstrokes” painting; great feel. If there’s one thing I miss about working with purely traditional media it’s the real-time smack and drag of a big, wet brush. That’s pure fun!

    Thank you so much for your critique/analysis of RIPPLE. I love managing the fade-ins and fade-outs for art like this. My concern when I was working on it was that the main image didn’t have enough heft to be by itself. I added the white to pop it off the background, but (happy accident) depending on how soft or hard I made it, or on which sides I placed it, I found it also anchored the main shape. From there it was a matter of handling the spars. I wanted them touching the edges for stability, but in a way that allowed the art freedom to breathe and move.

  5. Well, your approach worked. Thank you for taking the time to play with the piece. Your level of attention to detail shows. And I appreciate that! I just love staring at your art.

    Thank you also for the positive feedback on my “Golden Brushstrokes.” You may not like it as much now that the next layer went on and some of that beauty got covered up. But time will reveal whether this piece in progress becames just another expression of my inner process & a learning piece or it ends up as something I’m proud to show off. Either way, I appreciate having the space in my art to express authentically; really, it’s the only way to go for me. I’d say I get 90+% good stuff that way, and the “rejects” are worth the extra magic I get in the bulk of the “keepers.”


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