GUEST DOODLEWASH: The Joys of Watercolor and Watercolor Sketching with Diane Klock

Doodlewash and watercolor sketch by Diane Klock of city street

My name is Diane Klock (Follow me on my blog, Facebook and visit my website!). Thank you so much for letting me share my passion for watercolor and sketching with you. I am a city mouse/ country mouse of sorts as my husband and I split our time between New York City and Litchfield, Connecticut.

I am self-taught. I did many, if not most, of those exercises in all the art books that we all collect. I am grateful to the wonderful workshop teachers God has placed in my path throughout the last 15 years to further my painting journey and now my focus on teaching, inspiring and encouraging others on their own art journey. Those that have influenced me the most are Charles Sovek, Pat Weaver and Eric Wiegardt.

Doodlewash and watercolor sketch by Diane Klock of people on a city street

I love the transparency and feel of watercolor; the fact that it travels well. We all have to paint what we love and love what we paint. I love the energy of the city and the pops of color everywhere. I also enjoy cafes, landscapes, the shore and marinas that I find throughout our travels. We travel quite a bit now that my husband is retired so a sketchbook and small watercolor kit are a must. I paint and sketch rather quickly and try to just record my impression or sense of place.

Doodlewash and watercolor sketch by Diane Klock of street food vendors

I use a limited palette when painting in watercolor. Cobalt blue, Ultramarine blue, Permanent Rose, Aureolin, and Quinacridone burnt orange are my basic palette with candy colors used for punch (vermillion and cobalt turquoise). Using red, yellow and blue, learning to mixing your own colors is the way to go. Rather than looking for Burnt Umber make a dark brown with red, yellow and blue. You will learn to mix color, think in terms of warm and cool colors, light and dark and save money. An added bonus for plein air painters is that you carry less paint.

Doodlewash and watercolor sketch by Diane Klock of water and rocks

I use Arches 140 pound cold press bright white paper regular or rough. I often paint without drawing after doing many sketches and little practices and just go for it. I also usually use a timer for say 45 minutes to 1:15 hours for a ¼ sheet. I finally burnt out the timer on my microwave and now have a little timer I use. I find painting quickly leaves less time to noodle around. I am a direct painter and “Lay it and Leave it “is my motto.

Doodlewash and watercolor sketch by Diane Klock of crowd inside of building

I paint wet paint on dry paper and then work into it; very rarely do I wash on top of wash or glaze. I also tend to start with a mid value to dark and work backwards compared to most watercolor painters who paint light to dark.

The best advice I can share that you can start using tomorrow is: practice, practice, and practice. Make an artist date with yourself. Do lots of little practices making sure you have light, middle and dark values in your painting, put your focal point in the right place and use fresh tube paint. Most of all have fun and enjoy the painting process. The more you paint the better you will become.

Doodlewash and watercolor sketch by Diane Klock of people sledding in winter

I painted for two years with just cobalt blue, aureolin, permanent rose, an 1” angular flat brush, an 8 round and 1/8 watercolor paper. It is amazing what you can learn with limited supplies. I now have a few more colors but not many, as you can see, and do like larger round brushes and ¼ to ½ sheets of paper. Just give it a try and have fun.

Watercolor Sketching

Doodlewash and watercolor sketch by Diane Klock of people on public transport

In the last few years I have become addicted to sketching with a watercolor wash after joining Sketchbook Skool online. It is a wonderful site started by Danny Gregory and former Koosje Koene (a former Guest artist on Doodlewash), after taking a 6-week course I was hooked and now my sketchbook is attached to my hip. When you take the time to sketch your day or travels you will relax and observe things you never noticed before. You will improve your hand-eye coordination and the better you draw the better you will paint. The best part… your sketch will bring back memories of your travels years later far better than any photo can.

Doodlewash and watercolor sketch by Diane Klock of street vendors

I usually use a Canson Montval Field watercolor sketchbook, an ultra fine Sharpie marker, a small watercolor set of my usual colors, a water brush and 1 small round travel brush. I sketch quickly just trying to get a sense of place and impression of my day, where I am. Then I put a wash of color over it, many times, not until I get home. When using a sketchbook, it is fine to use dry paint and a water brush or small travel brush. You don’t need fresh paint like you do when doing a watercolor painting.

Doodlewash and watercolor sketch by Diane Klock of 2014 New York City Marathon

I hope I have encouraged you to try some new things. I have been seriously painting about 15 years and know life gets in the way, so have your gear all set up and ready to go. I have a plein air kit ready and an easel set up in the corner of my apartment and, of course, my sketchbook near my purse. Have fun, enjoy the process and if I can help you in any way please just email me via my web site.

Charlie, a huge thank you for letting me share my love of watercolor and watercolor sketching with your Doodlewash readers.

“Keep your brush wet and your sketchbook by your side.”

Diane Klock
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Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you'd like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
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26 Comments
  1. dianegklock 1 year ago

    Just opened my computer to see your post thismorning , thank you so much for letting me share my passion for watercolor with your readers.

  2. Sharon Mann 1 year ago

    Thank you Diane for sharing your insights and magical watercolor. We are all kindred spirits. Thank you Charlie.

  3. Carol 1 year ago

    Your delightful sketches are so fun and lively! I agree that a limited palette is best and I mix most colors. I’ve just started doing some sketches out in public and am so painfully slow, but I hope to be like you one day – just go for it! 🙂

    • dianegklock 1 year ago

      Way to go Carol, Thanks for your kind words . It takes some courage getting outdoors with others watching , you will definitely get faster the more you do it and your confidence will grow over time. Enjoy every minute.

  4. Carol 1 year ago

    You’re welcome, and thanks for the encouragement, Diane. I know it all comes with lots of practice!

  5. Susan Feniak 1 year ago

    Thank you for you encouraging words Diane! You make me feel like I can just go for it and have fun. Since I am all ready having fun I feel like I can now more then ever. I really enjoyed seeing your art. Thank you Charlie for sharing Diane’s work.

  6. Linda Murray 1 year ago

    Thank you Diane, for sharing your passion of painting. I found it very encouraging and helpful. It was like you were speaking directly to me! Maybe this is the push I need. And thank you Charlie for your awesome website 😄

    • dianegklock 1 year ago

      Thanks Linda, I look forward to seeing your sketches and paintings .

  7. itsmyhusbandandme 1 year ago

    These are beautiful.

  8. memadtwo 1 year ago

    You’ve really captured the city, Diane! Always in motion. (K)

    • dianegklock 1 year ago

      Thanks , it is always moving and changing , you are so right. Guess that is why I love it !

      • Maureen Garcia 1 year ago

        I like the fresh, spontaneous look of your watercolor sketches! They are full of energy!

  9. M. L. Kappa 1 year ago

    Very inspiring post, Diane, and your work is lovely! Thanks for sharing

  10. artandmoondreams 1 year ago

    Thank you Charlie and Diane, great feature post. Gorgeous paintings, love the energy. Great ideas and inspiration here, just brilliant.

    • dianegklock 1 year ago

      Thank you so much , so glad you enjoyed it and received some new ideas to try out .

  11. Teri C 1 year ago

    Thank you for sharing your love of painting.

  12. dianegklock 1 year ago

    I was more than happy to share and grateful to Charlie for asking .

  13. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 1 year ago

    Diane, I love your spontaneity and the fresh look of your art. It makes me feel like I’m there in the city with all the activity happening around me. What joy you express in your art and your attitude.
    Thanks, Charlie, for bringing us Diane.

  14. dianegklock 1 year ago

    Thank you so much Sharon , an encouraging way to start my day.

  15. anniedrawsthings 1 year ago

    These are amazingly vivid snapshots of city life. Gorgeous! Thanks Diane and Charlie for sharing!

  16. Thanks so much for this inspiring post. I really love the vivid colors and brushstrokes in your art. I am glad there is a lot more to discover on your blog! 🙂

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