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About the paintings and FAQs

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary

— Pablo Picasso

Almost every painting in this collection has a deeply personal story, chronicling our travels in the USA and abroad. We have been fortunate and are grateful to have visited many beautiful and remarkable places. Each image elicits fond memories.


Most of the mushroom paintings are from subjects found or seen at one of the many mushrooms forays I attended. I still recall the habitat in which they grew and could readily find the tree under which they fruited. They conjure up the woodsy aroma, the weather that day and the joy of my foraging companions when they stumbled upon a prize. In the early days, I divided mushrooms into three groups - edible, poisonous and I don’t care. Once introduced to painting by Sasha Viazmensky, he added to this simple list - “worth painting.” It changed the way I look at the ground and the trees, always hoping for a charismatic mushroom. A few were painted from images generously shared with permission from mushroom colleagues. These include Taylor Lockwood, Stephen Axford, Cristian Schwartz, Noah Siegel, Michael Wood, Jose Luis Sanchez Sanchez, Will Forester, Paul Vallier, Shannan Mortimer, and Antonio Contin.


Botanizing while traveling is now routine — be it the local wildflowers, or the botanical gardens and arboretums we never fail to visit. Almost all these paintings are from flowers we saw on these jaunts, except for some of the roses. These are from Jose Luis Sanchez Sanchez in Spain, who takes a special delight in his roses.


The wildlife paintings capture the animals we saw and photographed in Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Chile, Peru, Kenya and Tanzania. Birds on the other hand are a different matter. While we have seen all of these, I relied on dedicated ornithology photographers for the reference photograph. Their names are credited on the back side of the the painting. They are acknowledged for their talent and remarkable images. To them a special thanks.


The landscapes are a mixed bag. A large number are from places we visited, but some were provided by photographers who post their images to Free Reference Photographs for Artists or Pixabay. These are free of copyright and are generously provided by gifted photographers.

Their name is credited on the back side of the painting. So too are the few still-life paintings. These deserve special credit, as most of the artistic endeavor is in the imagination, the set-up, the lighting and the photograph. I merely copy those images that say something to me, hopefully giving it a unique feeling.


Many people assisted and encouraged my interest in watercolor painting. It began with Alexander (Sasha) Viazmensky when I serendipitously attended his painting workshop at Breitenbusch Hot Springs in Oregon. Kathleen McKeehan at the Gage Academy of Art in Seattle taught me the fundamentals of botanical art and Soon Warren, a remarkably gifted artist and teacher in Fort Worth, taught me to love color, and most importantly how to fix mistakes. To each I am grateful.



What paper do you use?

Arches, Fabriano and Winsor-Newton are my go-to papers, with Arches being the most commonly used. All are archival, high quality cotton based papers. Most are on 140 lb. cold press paper, while a few are on hot press paper and even a heavier weight of 300 lb. Hot press paper is frequently used by botanical artists. It is more difficult to use, but allows for much finer detail.


What paints are used?

All the paintings are done with transparent watercolors, with the very rare use of titanium white gouache. The white you see is the white of the paper. Winsor-Newton, Daniel Smith and Yarka are my predominant suppliers with a sprinkling of pigments from Holbein, Sennelier and Graham. A few, such as the cadmiums (yellows) are deemed potentially toxic in California, a state that applies that label to almost everything. For that reason we recommend that you don't’ eat the artwork. The paintings with black backgrounds were painted on white paper.


What determines the price?

Nobody knows. Pricing art has little rhyme or reason. As one can live without art, it boils down to your personal connection to the painting and its story, and how much you are willing to spend to brighten your home and day.


If critics and collectors like your work, you can charge an arm and a leg, despite not been able to draw or paint. This happens to rare, fortunate artists. (


Some artists charge by the size of painting — yes, size does matter. For reasons that no longer make any sense, oil paintings command a higher price than watercolors, unless you are W.J.M. Turner or Sargent. My philosophy is simple.  Ordinary people should enjoy more art, so I keep the prices reasonable. I consider the paper, the complexity, the amount of time spent and the esthetic quality. The last is entirely subjective. The result is that my prices are all over the map.

Size of painting

Most of us cannot readily visualize the size from written measurements. I recommend that you cut apiece of cardboard or paper with the dimensions listed. The first is the width and second is the height. If the painting is listed as unmatted, always add at least two inches all the way around for a mat and frame. Then check how it fits in with your decor and other paintings. Please note that the size of the image in the gallery may be  deceiving, so check carefully before ordering. I don't want you to be disappointed with a painting that is too big or too small.

What is the best way to frame a watercolor painting?

Choose a suitable mat color that complements the colors of the painting. You can almost never go wrong with white, ivory or shell. A simple frame is best.Spend your money on the glass or acrylic which should be UV resistant and glare free. Although today’s pigments are said to be light-fast, the painting should be protected from direct sunlight. If well cared for it should last generations.

Can I return the painting and get refunded?

Absolutely. Although every attempt is made to present the painting  as accurately as possible, everyone's computer and smart phone renders colors slightly differently. Choosing a painting from an image is a harder that seeing it in real life. Some of the backgrounds appear light grey, but are actually white. You may return the painting within 14 days for a full refund of the price (not including shipping and handling).


What is that Chinese symbol I see on some of the paintings?

This is a ‘chop’ (seal) with my initials (DRB) in both English and Chinese. It was a gift from the University of Chongqing in the late 1970s when I visited for 6 weeks as a consultant. Made of stone, the top is carved as a chicken, my birth year.  I seldom used it until I began painting. It will be on every painting with my initials signed in ink below the chop.


Do you do commissions?

Yes. I will do commissions of mushrooms and pets. I do not do landscapes or portraits. If interested please contact me and provide a reference photograph. We will discuss details. If acceptable, 50% of the agreed price is required up-front and the remainder on delivery. You will receive updates of the painting as it develops and will give final approval before shipping .

Why did I get a two-fer?

When your painting arrives you may discover a second painting on the backside. Being a frugal artist, I sometimes re-use the paper if I dislike what I painted. Fear not, as this will not interfere with the painting you bought. It will be completely stretched before shipping , so that it is flat and without cockles.

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