Cypress Trees in Autumn

Rarely do I finish a painting in one sitting; most are spread out over the course of several days, especially when multiple layers of paint are involved. My process starts by doing a rough sketch of my reference photo on watercolor paper. I concentrate on the main structures, sketching few details.

Rough Sketch

This painting, I began by layering on a thin, pale wash using four colors (referring to my photo), using wet on wet.

Initial Wash

Then, I added in the cypress tree trunks, first using a pale purplish-blue color for the trees in the background. On the closer trees, I used a pale brown, then built up the color using a darker brown and green. After the paint dried, I added details using a brownish-black color.

Cypress Tree Trunks

Next, I added foliage to the trees.

First Layer of Foliage

After the first layer dried, I added more paint to deepen the color, and after it dried, added limbs and more detail to the trunks.

Yet Another Layer

Last, I added reflections in the water. To be honest, I wasn’t too pleased with this last step but figured I’d better leave well enough alone. As with some other things I won’t mention, the more you mess with a watercolor painting, the worse it gets.

Finished Painting

(All images used are my own.)

©2022 July Day

Fence Sitting

The western sky bleeds red—night creeps near
Smelling of copper cognac
Pernicious crows, on the fence repose
Vermilion backdropping feathered black

Strawberry moon rises, as does fear
Claws on the rotted wood clack
On the fence repose, pernicious crows
Judging how I showed my love to Jack

Their caws and cackles grate on my ears
But not so my lucky Jack
Pernicious crows, on the fence repose
Gutted Jack on the floor at my back

I consumed his heart, that much is clear
To the fiends outside this shack
On the fence repose, pernicious crows
Planning their eye-for-an-eye attack

From the tavern, they followed us here
Me and my sweet, drunken Jack
Pernicious crows, on the fence repose
Soon, they whisper, soon, Butcher—payback

'Tween Virgo and Hydra, Corvus sneers
Blighted laugh demoniac
On the fence repose, pernicious crows
That mean, meddlesome, murderous pack

Through a cloudy, blood-smeared glass I peer
They think me a maniac
Pernicious crows, on the fence repose
Watching…waiting for my mind to crack

©2022 July Day

Image my own–rough graphite sketch, using colored pencils in the sky.

Hearts–three senryu

angry words shouted
hammers the heart like a fist
nails in animus

thin, icy strands loop
around and around a heart
cold barbed wire cuts deep

starving, hollow heart
fed on by gluttonous man
lies mute at death’s door

©2022 July Day

(The last senryu was inspired by a line from the Karen Slaughter book Pretty Girls that I recently read, and I quote: “Marriage—that’s what he called it. Though men like Paul do not marry women, they own them, they control them, they are voracious gluttons who devour every part of a woman, then clean their teeth with the bones.”)

Image by DrMedYourRasenn from Pixabay

Strawberry Moon

Strawberry Moon

blushes in crepuscular sky.

Strawberry Moon

wordlessly casts magical runes

upon starved anthropophagi.

Hunger will be galvanized by

Strawberry Moon.

©2022 July Day

My rondelet poem was written for Eugi's Weekly Prompt:

Cold, Cold Heart

“What should we do with the body?” Luna asks her twin. “We can’t just leave it here to rot.”

“Is that all you’re worried about—Mother rotting?” Fauna shot back. “You can be so cold-blooded at times.”

Luna’s blue, elliptical eyes move from the withered body on the gray boards to meet Fauna’s. “We are cold-blooded, Sister.”

“Not completely.” Fauna sniffs. “Just half.”

“Well, I didn’t see you turning away from feeding on her.”

“I was so hungry. And after I saw you taking her blood, I couldn’t stop myself. But we shouldn’t have….”

“We had to if we are to live,” Luna says. “Father hasn’t brought us anything to eat in weeks, and we’ve eaten all the rats and everything else around the house. Who knows, he may be dead.”

Fauna grabs her sister’s arm. “Don’t even think it! Surely, he will come any day now. It’s barely summer; it’s not time for him to go away for a while. How will we survive if—”

“We will do whatever we have to.” Luna pries the clawed, pale-green fingers from her arm. “Just like Father taught us.”

“I hate this!” Fauna wails.

“Hate it all you want, but do it on your own time. Right now, help me get Mother in the root cellar. Her meat will sustain us for a few weeks if we’re careful, and maybe Father will come before she’s gone.”


A month passes and Father doesn’t come, and Luna knows she and Fauna will have to leave their home to find food. She informs her sister they will leave in the morning, go out into the woods surrounding the old house, and make their own way in the world. On his last visit, Father said they would be ready soon, and soon had come, whether either she or her sister likes it.

Continue reading “Cold, Cold Heart”

Cliffs in Watercolor

This is a painting I did back in the fall. First, as I almost always do, I made a rough sketch on watercolor paper using a photograph for reference. The next day, I painted most of the picture, then finished it off on day three.

Day one: rough sketch of cliffs
Day two: the bulk of the painting
Day three: adding details

A landscape, by far, is my favorite subject to paint. Anything in the natural world, from fog-topped cliffs like these, to a small wildflower, has the power to catch my eye. When out and about, I always have my iPhone in my pocket to take a pic of whatever I find interesting. One never knows what might inspire a painting.

©️2022 July Day

Images my own.