Blue Moose

Watercolor painting of a blue moose

image reference


Searching for a painting subject and wanting to keep things closer to home, I went to the Rare  Species Guide at the Minnesota DNR. The moose is the only four-footed animal listed.

I happened upon this lovely quote which partly explains why painting is so good for my well-being.

The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.

Henry Miller


2/12 – I am two painting sessions in at this point and still struggling a bit with layout. It took three tries to get going because I felt I didn’t have things right with basic moose head and antlers. Yesterday, I began work by watering down the antler area and removing most of the marks there. (They don’t really go away, they just fade.) By the end of the session, I started to have hope, but I think the antlers are still too small. I don’t know what the watering will do to the paper’s ability to absorb the paint.

Today, I went to YouTube and found this video.

six minutes in, she advises viewers to take this oath:

I promise to be kind to myself.

I promise not to compare my work.

I promise to have fun.

What a great way to start a painting session!

Immediately breaking my oath, I wish I could spend one 45 minute session and have a finished painting! However, her comments about having difficulty getting the moose to look like a moose were comforting. Since she is teaching, she’s already painted the painting and is doing it again to demonstrate.

2/25 – two more sessions and I finished. Looking back on my earlier notes, I’m surprised that (a) I never mentioned that I decided to paint the moose blue, and (b) I was in so much turmoil.

The removal and repainting doesn’t seem to have done too much damage.

  • it bugs me that the eyes seem to be two different sizes. (It’s always the eyes that bug me, probably it’s because they are the windows do list soul.
  • I wish the shading on the nose didn’t end so abruptly. Ditto the marks on the chest.
  • I meant the background to be woodsy (though the reference photo shows grass.) Instead, I think it is over painted and doesn’t show much depth.
  • I’m happy about: the brushstrokes being visible. It suggests a new style. It still communicates volume, but doesn’t pretend to be anything but a painting.
  • I like the color choices.


  • I want to try the same technique of starting with loose brushstrokes next time, but stop earlier so it’s less overworked.
  • I am so happy to be a creator! It is an important part of my mental health and overall well-being. Painting natural subjects doubles the power and pleasure of it.

Posted on

February 26, 2023

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