Go Bold!

My daughter, Liz, you may recall, is quite an accomplished collage artist. I’ve previously shared the iguana she drew and collaged for me, and she recently completed this parrot for her aunt, my sister Jill.

Collage Art by Elisabeth Sherwood – June 2022

If you look closely, you’ll see that she made this from pieces she cut from an old book. I cringe at the thought, but this is her art, not mine, and of course I applaud her creativity. My sister, by the way, has a fondness for birds — not real ones, but ceramic, metal, and glass. She has traveled the world over and many of the birds in her collection are souvenirs from different lands. My sister was also a stained glass artist — she no longer has the strength to do it — and she has a beautiful work that features a parrot. When Liz wanted to create something for Jill, a parrot seemed perfect.

One reason why Liz is so good at collage art, I think, is because of her love for bold colors. Although she’s my daughter, she and I have always had our differences when it comes to color. I love subtle, muted colors. I like restful blues, greens, and violets. Liz, on the other hand, wants her colors bright, in fact, the brighter, the better. Any time I began a home redecorating project she was advocating for flashy reds and vivid oranges. In fact, we sometimes literally made a game of decorating with The Sims. It was interesting to see the odd color combinations that she used. They worked. But while they were interesting and artful, they weren’t the sort of colors I’d want to live with. In my home, thanks, but I’ll stay with my softer, quieter colors.

Recently, though, I did find myself getting brighter and bolder in my art. In fact, if you look through posts I’ve done over the last few months, you’ll find much more color than ever before. Working last spring with neurographic drawing helped me “loosen up” my thoughts about color, I think, and then I began doing “Color Play” with Joy Ting. I played a lot with oil pastels, explored lots of colors, and I found it was fun to sometimes “shout out loud”.

Recently as part of a “Color Play” exercise with watercolors, I created this “floral doodle”. That’s all it is, really. Just doodles of different flowers. It’s different from anything I’ve done before, though, because of that bright, bold, brilliantly red background.

“Uncertainty” – Watercolor by Judith Kraus 9 x 12

To say that I wasn’t sure what I was doing here would be quite an understatement. In fact, I’ve titled this piece “Uncertainty” because I didn’t know where I was going with this. When I grabbed a scarlet watercolor brush and started adding the background, I truly thought I’d lost my mind! What was I doing!

But, in the end, I found this painting interesting, if only because it is so different from my usual watercolor work. I immediately photographed the piece and sent the picture to Liz. Knowing her love for bright, bold colors, I knew she would be proud of me for stepping so far out of my usual color comfort zones. And, yes, she loved it.

It was a fun piece to create. It definitely has become a point of interest in my studio simply because the colors are so eye-catching. It’s impossible to walk through the studio without noticing this little doodle.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I’ll be using all these bright colors in my future paintings, but it does mean that I’ll be willing to go a little bolder now and then. I can see that there are times and places to be bold. I’ve learned a lot recently about how powerful color can be. And I am having fun playing. Who can ask for more?




  1. The intensity of color to me seems to be a cultural construct depending on where I travel and I enjoy taking photographs of varying color intensity. Take India for example. Enjoy your vacation.


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