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Tea, Milk and Honey

The paintings below are selections from a body of work created between 2010-2012. They demonstrate an approach to tinting drawings that I call Tea, Milk and Honey.

I talk at length about it in my book The Urban Sketcher – but also – in this self-printable one page download that summarizes the method in a short ‘cheat sheet’.



I should mention, this is not something I’ve invented from whole cloth – like any artist, I borrow from painters before me. Most prominently here from the early instruction of painter Joseph Zbukvic.

Though you might be hard pressed to see the influence. His work as a whole is softer, wetter, and carried out with far greater skill and subtlety than my works from this time period.

I think my small contribution in this is to simplify watercolors for the purpose of sketching quickly on location. That, and a kind of cross-pollination with classical academic drawing. The use of a sharp division between what is in the light, and what is shadow shape.

As I continue to work with watercolor I’m always thinking about new ways to paint. Keep watching the blog for updates on my progress. As always, I’ll be sharing whatever I discover.

12July02_Sketchcrawl_Centre d'histoire de Montréal

This method remains what I recommend to beginners. It’s the way I learned to move from drawing to painting with the minimum of frustration. There are as many ways to paint as there are painters, but this is what worked for me.

I think everyone is more adept at drawing that painting – most use a pen for years before we pick up a brush after all. This kind of ‘tinting’ approach lets you create paintings that leverage your drawing skills. It’s a great way to see some early success with watercolor. I hope the notes linked above, and the tips in my book will help you get started with skeching on location!


Sketch of my lunch of Grilled Sardines

24 Comments leave one →
  1. viviana toscano permalink
    March 12, 2013 6:20 PM

    incredible your work!!! i love it , where i can find more to see?

    • March 12, 2013 8:50 PM

      Thanks Viviana :) I’m always posting on the blog. You can get an automatic notification if you click the ‘email updates’ button on the upper right of the main page:
      Thanks for stopping by! ~m

  2. May 29, 2013 5:31 PM

    These are so inspiring! Fantastic painting!!

    • Swee LilChiald permalink
      July 23, 2014 2:34 PM

      He has an instructional book coming out in October!

  3. July 1, 2013 5:33 PM

    I love the style of your work, true artist :)

  4. July 2, 2013 3:24 AM

    These are brilliant! I seldom dabble with watercolours, cannot get the hang of them just yet. Your paintings are gorgeous. Glad you features on Freshly Pressed, I may not have found you otherwise!

  5. July 2, 2013 3:37 PM

    Lovely use of color and your drawing foundations are inviting to my eyes. Do you see your sketches?

    • July 2, 2013 4:49 PM

      Hi Meg – what was that about the sketches? How I see them?

      • July 2, 2013 7:48 PM

        That is why I should not be allowed to eat breakfast and type at the same time! Sell, is what I meant to ask. I did notice you have some pieces, replications, for sale on Etsy. Do you ever sell originals?

        • July 2, 2013 9:05 PM

          Ah! I see – well, as it happens most of these are either sold, or not for sale (in the case of ones done in a sketchbook) – so at the moment not really – but what I do is offer most of these as prints. I’ll point over to my Etsy shop - If you see something you like on the blog you don’t see there, or would like a different size – just mail me direct – marc.taro(at)

  6. July 7, 2013 3:58 PM

    Beautiful work! I especially love the fish on the plate. Very light and airy architechture. Wish I could attend a workshop. What part of the world do you mostly teach in? Only in Canada?

    • July 7, 2013 4:49 PM

      Well, I’m teaching in Barcelona right now! What we’ve been doing is setting up weekend workshops anywhere a local group can get a minimum of 10-15 people together to fund bringing the instructor out. The more people who are interested the more instructors we can bring. Here’s a link to the Urban Sketchers workshop page:

  7. December 2, 2013 11:12 PM

    I would like to learn more about putting together workshops in my area. I live near Sacramento California USA and have a newsletter that reaches 1,100 artists, mostly working in watercolor. I am pretty sure I could put together 10 to 15 artists for a workshop, I do it all the time for my own workshops. Please get back to me if you are interested in doing a workshop in the Sacramento area, or the colorful gold country towns nearby.

  8. May 3, 2014 11:12 AM

    Truly astounding. Artistry of this caliber is an endangered species. Which of your paintings is your personal favorite?

    • May 3, 2014 5:02 PM

      Well, without being weird to the people I traded with :) I would say I like the top one a lot. It’s really a special part of the cemetery – this huge pair of pine trees. I hope to go back and do some larger work. I didn’t truly capture the scale of it – the way they spread out mirroring the wings of the angel – makes a remarkable image.

  9. May 4, 2014 12:48 AM

    I move to a new area in 3 weeks. When I get there… you’ve inspired me to look into local colleges, sketching and water color classes. Absolutely love your work! The half finished ones are my favorite. Like the 4th one down. I’ll be back later so keep up the good work!!! Very inspiring!!!

  10. May 10, 2014 8:16 PM

    Love your work. I dabble a little in water colors and oils myself and would love to continue to see your work. :)

  11. Vinnie permalink
    December 20, 2014 4:57 PM

    Your work is amazing! Love the free flowing nature of your watercolors, and your spontaneous brush work! Looks great! Keep it rocking!

  12. December 26, 2014 1:39 PM

    Hi Marc,
    The sketches I am interested in are the cathedral with the white trees, Cortona- the pink ?church, and the trees from the Newfoundland sketches. I have no idea what an original sketch costs so you will have to let me know. I would like to frame on of these. I do not even know if you are selling them… My email is

  13. Luce permalink
    January 22, 2015 1:53 PM

    any individual prints available for purchase?

    • January 22, 2015 5:12 PM

      Hey Luce – yes, I have an etsy shop here:, and if you don’t see the one you like (or would like a larger size) I can get it to you direct. Thanks!

  14. January 26, 2015 12:57 PM

    Lovely paintings. :)

  15. February 10, 2015 3:16 PM

    I love your tips in “The Art of Urban Sketching”, and I featured it on my website. I am building this site for one publishing course. Welcome to visit !!


  1. Paintings | Citizen Sketcher | Jackie Braden's Artist Page

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