YAY-my Day 5 painting, actually completed on February 5th!

This was a fun project! I think giraffes are incredibly beautiful creatures and very interesting looking too! So, that’s what I painted for today, fresh off the board just a bit ago.

These challenges are such a worthwhile thing for an artist to do! A few years ago, when I first ran across this 30 in 30 challenge, I signed up, having no clue what I was going to paint each day. Of course I paint flowers and some landscapes, but what else? That conundrum was the reason that I finally tried my hand at painting birds and animals! Much to my surprise, I found that I seem to do pretty well with them overall. What a wonderful learning experience and outcome from the first couple of challenges in which I participated! Now, there’s no question that I’m going to commit to the challenge, although some timing is better than other timing and I don’t always manage to complete 30 pieces-even though my goal is always to do so.

     “Hello Down There, Shorty!”

(Photo credit the Ernie Griffith on FB group, Photos for Artists)

My Day 4, a practice exercise

This one is something I just don’t do, but I saw a painting by an artist I admire and simply drew and attempted to paint a very small, 5.75″ x 3.75″, version, to give me practice blending on the paper and softening edges. I’ve done too little actual painting for too long and thought this was a project that would push me into doing a lot of both. With apologies to watercolor artist, Susan Crouch, here is my pratice piece, obviously with no title since it’s just emulating someone else’s art.

Day 3 – a day late!

My Day 3 sketch is a day late in two ways… I’m posting it on the 4th and it was meant to be my piece for the 2nd, which was Groundhog Day! The sketch was in my book, but I didn’t get to it until last night. So, here’s a silly rendition of a “tribute” to that silly day!

     What Shadow?

Day 2 – a real challenge

This one somewhat got the better of me. I’ve painted an owl (different type) before and loved the result. This one gave me a rough time, maybe partly because of using the sketchbook rather than watercolor paper. But, as always, I post what I do because it’s part of the challenge and we, as artists, all know that not everything comes out the way we want it to! That’s called learning!

     “Barn Owl”


YAY-Day 1 of this year’s Leslie Byrd Saeta 30 Paintings in 30 Days, February challenge!

I’m excited to do this challenge again-and determined to complete 30 pieces, between today and Feb. 2! I’ve already read that many choose a theme, which I’ve never done. I’m not really going with any theme this time either, except that I want things to be small, fun, with perhaps some whimsy thrown in! My first sketchbook piece is from a photo I took last month; this squirrel wanted to peak into the house, but he/she didn’t like that I had my phone in hand trying to take pics. The result is this really funny attempt to hide from me! Hand drawn, watercolor with a bit of pen & ink thrown in.

     “Peek-a-Boo!          Original cropped photo

And…Day 5 of the 5-Day Challenge!

I not only finished the challenge, but I completed this painting about 11:30 PM on the 5th day! Yes, I kept it simple – and fun! This one took 22 minutes or less and I would like to say that I learned a lot from this “speed” challenge, but I’m not sure about that aspect. What I know this challenge reinforced to me is what I’ve known for years and years-sketching, painting, just doing something artistic every day really makes a difference!

     “Emperor Penguin in the Snow”

Day 4 of 20-30 minute painting challenge

Yes, it’s day 5 of the challenge and I’m determined that before midnight tonight I will have my 5th piece done-and I don’t even know what it’s going to be! Life gets in the way of even my favorite things, which is where working on my art is. That happened today, but I don’t regret for a minute helping a friend! So, my day 4 painting was only finished an hour or so ago, while I was working on supper. The scan isn’t an exact match for the original, but I honestly had no more time to mess with the settings. So, here is my Day 4 piece from a long-ago photo of mine, and again, it took the full 3o minutes to complete.

     “Tropical Hibiscus”

Day 3 – 20-30 minute paintings, 5-day challenge

I’m running a day behind, but I have completed my Day 3 painting. From a photo I took, I thought this would be a cinch to do quickly…but found that it took me all of the 30 minutes and I’m still not 100% pleased with it! But then again, I always seem to struggle with painting yellow flowers! I actually completed this much earlier in the day; having no time to scan and post it, I’m currently doing that while waiting for parts of my day 4 painting to dry while I get this one online.

     “Yellow Iris”

Day 2 of 5-Day Challenge

The second day went far better than the first. Perhaps it was my conversation with my dear friend, Jeanne, where we laughed over our day one pieces and struggles! This is the same friend who got me involved in this challenge… Whatever it was, I chose more wisely with my photo reference from years ago in Hawaii, I planned better and I didn’t panic! So, here is my day 2 small watercolor, completed in 21-22 minutes!

“Oahu North Shore”

Day1-Challenge on FB-5 days, 20-30 minute paintings

A friend asked me if I was doing this challenge and I had to ask her what challenge! She sent me the link and, of course,  was game to try it and signed up! It’s a huge challenge for me, because I paint very, very slowly. Now here I am setting a timer and limiting myself to a maximum of 30 minutes. On Day 1, I decided to attempt very quickly, with much “negative painting”, a close-up of a tree I see through one of our windows; I took the photo on January 11, when we got about 7″ of new snow. Hopefully as the days go on, I’ll improve at loose and fast – because I really struggled today!

Snow Covered Fir     “Snow-Covered Fir”

More of the sketches/paintings done for the January challenge

Everything in this group is completely different from the previous posts. Sometimes I look at the daily prompt and am just blank as to what to do. It truly can be a challenge to figure out something fun and interesting-with perhaps a bit of whimsy or quirkiness to either make it more interesting or perhaps to challenge myself more. The first one was to be a “positive poster.” I did this in a very short amount of time -and that shows- choosing words that I try to live by each and every day.

Day 10-Positive Poster-smaller

Day 11, prompt “vintage.” I had absolutely no idea what to do, so I Googled vintage and replicated, in pen & ink with watercolor washes, this chic and stylish lady from days gone by. I do love the way she turned out. No, I didn’t come up with the idea, but any and all practice is worthwhile!

Day 11 - Vintage-smaller

This last posted painting did not come out too well. Day 12 was “Western” and again, I was rather blank. Then I thought about going to the Grand Canyon a number of years ago, it inspired me and it’s in the west… So, I started with a nice pencil sketch and decided to work very loosely. When I actually look at this page in my sketchbook, I do see the Grand Canyon in a loose style, but I’m not sure that comes across so well in this somewhat incorrectly-colored scan.

Grand Canyon impressionistic-using for Day 12 Western-smaller

January 30 in 30 Challenge continued…

These next three are all so very different. Again, using the subject prompts from my Sketching Every Day FB group, the subject matter jumps from one thing to something completely different daily. It really keeps things challenging and interesting.

First, I have my day 7, with a prompt of “appliance.” I was a bit at a loss as to what to sketch, so I walked into the kitchen and stood there, struggling with a sketch of my single-serve coffee maker.

Day 7 - Appliance-smaller-words deleted

Day 8 prompt was “still life”. While I have a true appreciation for well painted still lifes, I may have mentioned before that I absolutely hate painting them. I had just made a batch of chocolate cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting (YUM), so I went “off prompt” and drew a woman enjoying a chocolate cupcake. This was a very quick sketch, but I enjoyed it and think it worked okay (for a quick piece). I especially like the black and white look with small pieces of color. I’m not sure this shows correctly, but in fact, this is all black & white, with only her lips and the cupcake having added color.

Eating a Chocolate Cupcake-MS-smaller-words deleted

Day 9 subject was “in the style of Sally Bartos.” I was unaware of this artist (and most others that end up in these monthly sketch lists); it’s wonderful to look up and become familiar with artists that I’ve never heard of. In this one, I cannot take any credit for the composition; this is my attempt at replicating in watercolor a painting that she did in acrylic, one that I particularly liked.

Day 9-in the style of Sally Bartos-smaller-words removed

My how time flies – 2

My intention was to post 3 every day until my 29 January pieces were posted…and time just flew by! I’m disappointed in myself, in that I have truly stepped back this month and am only working on my third piece, which I have planned (in my head) all month. I will shortly have a mixed media piece to share; it’s something I have mentioned before, something that I want to learn much more about.

But for right now, here are my days 4, 5 and 6 from the 30 in 30 Challenge.

Day 4-In the style of Toon Tieland-used Yorky's Gold Hill, Shaftesburg as part of the reference-smaller  Day 4 – challenge was “in the style of Toon Tieland” I used a picture that I  used for another painting a few years ago, but you’d never know that they were from the same photo.

Cat's Meow-Day 5-Decorate a word-smaller  Day 5 – the challenge here was “word art” and rather than using one word, I turned it into a phrase. So much fun to do this!

Shells 'n Floats-for Day 6, shells-smaller   Day 6 – shells; I called this one “Shells and Floats”

My how time flies!

In just seeing that my last post was one of my Christmas card posts, and over a month ago, it makes me ashamed of myself for not keeping my blog current! Time just flies by, with shoveling snow, seeing friends, maintaining the watercolor group’s website and Facebook page… Well, you all probably know exactly what I mean!

All that being said, I have been busy in my studio also! I joined in Leslie Saeta’s January 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge again this year. I cannot say that I got actually paintings (as opposed to just sketches) done, but I did manage 29 sketches over the 30 days. I ended up using, in large part, the challenge prompts for the FB group, Sketching Every Day, so there are some interestingly odd works! Regardless of format, doing the work every day helps immensely with my art! So, here are the first three pieces that I did last month.

Day 1-20170103_012820_resized-straightened,cropped,corrected MS-scan-smaller-no words  Day 1: Subject was “Something new” This is a quick watercolor, pen & ink of my Christmas gift.

Day 2-Copy of Day 2-Snow Globe-me shoveling on New Year's Day-cropped,corrected MS-smaller  Day 2: Subject was “Snow globe” This was actually from a selfie of me out shoveling a couple of new feet of snow!

Day 3-Copy of Day 3-Queen of Hearts-cropped,correctedMS-smaller  Day 3: “Queen of Hearts” I chose to do a cat as the queen!

Silly Christmas card

Actually, I think this was my first card painting… I was in a Thursday afternoon class and had repeatedly done the same color lesson, so decided to go “on my own” and begin my card paintings. I drew this directly on my watercolor paper, inked it and painted it, with the light cord the only thing left to do. I did at home, using a Sharpie oil paint marker. I like doing pretty Christmas cards, but I love doing silly, whimsical ones; needless to say, that’s the style of the majority of the 14 I have completed.

reindeer-lights-card-scan-better-smaller-to-post    Card 2, “Reindeer Games”

Christmas is just around the corner!

Time sure flies by-and suddenly the end of the year is only barely over 4 weeks away! I have been busily working in my studio for the past couple of months, not doing anything special, but just keeping busy with sketching. I have even spent time straightening up my space, which made it much more pleasant to be in there!

I did get a message on Wetcanvas a few weeks ago from the admin of the annual Christmas card exchange, inviting me to participate again this year. I was so pleased to hear from her; I really didn’t want to miss out! So, I’ve been working on those cards every day, trying to get a couple done each day (which doesn’t always happen). I started out with quite a number of sketches to flesh out some ideas, then worked at turning some of them into card paintings. For a couple of days, I was in a slump with no new ideas or enthusiasm. Fortunately that didn’t last long because we have more signed up for this event than have in the last few years. I now have 14 of the necessary 15 completed and must assemble the cards and start getting them sent. Along the way, I decided which of the paintings to use for my family/friend card, ordered and picked them up. I should have been sharing these pieces all along as I worked, but was so busy that I guess the thought didn’t occur to me. So, here is my first painting. I first did the background wet in wet, then used a “snow” marker for the tree and snow and a Sharpie oil marker pen for the stars. It has been fun working with some mixed media rather than strictly just watercolor – there were no limitations or rules for these!

I have also signed up for the Leslie Saeta 30 Paintings in 30 Days January challege and I know that will be upon us very soon. I need to start thinking of ideas for that too-just as soon as all the Christmas cards are sent, my shopping is done, etc……..

img241-tree-scan-smaller-to-post    Card 1, “Sketchy Tree”

Days 9 & 10 – Getting Further Behind

I have truly been trying to get my daily paintings completed! I guess that until you’re in the middle of a challenge such as this, with all the other duties and challenges life throws at you, you just don’t realize how difficult it can be to find that painting time each day. So…………I only completed my Day 10 painting a few hours ago. I always love everything Venice and this old-world-looking window with flowers and the light/shadow play just grabbed me. The last time I attempted to do shadowing such as this, I totally messed it up and ruined the painting, but this time I like the effect I got. That’s a great feeling, because it’s proof to me that I am learning and improving!

Last Thursday I went to the Sketchers Meetup. We went to a local eatery that I had never visited before and the day was ideal for sitting outside to sketch – beautiful weather, delicious food and an angle from where I sat that wasn’t ideal. So, I decided to practice the gestural drawing/painting that I’ve been studying and practicing. It’s fine to work from a video and someone else’s photos, but there comes a time when you must try it from your own viewpoint and experiences. It’s not a completed, salable painting, but it is work that I did this month, so the first photo is my Day 9 piece-no title, just fun practice!

20160918_025056_resized-gestural-sketch-and-watercolor-sketchers-9-15-16   Day 9, Gestural Drawing/Painting Practice

20160919_110949venice-window-straightenedcroppedcorrectedms-best-watermark-72ppi   Day 10, “Venetian Shadows”

Busy, busy, busy – and inspired!

I’m running terribly behind at this point! I completed my Puffins painting and had started yet another floral, inspired by my still-beautiful garden. That’s as far as I got because suddenly the Spokane Studio Art Tour was almost upon us and there was still much to do to in preparation. Day 1 is over; we had beautiful weather and a very interested, receptive crowd come through. I visited with dozens of awesome art lovers, many of whom are obviously looking for that one little shove to try some form of art for herself/himself. I can completely relate because, many years ago, that was me! I knew I wanted to give watercolor a try, visited a local art show/sale where I talked at length with an incredible teacher/artist. I began taking his class very soon after, have not looked back and I and my life were forever changed for the better! I do hope that I was able to, in some way, inspire even just one aspiring artist, writer, poet, etc. today to just go forward and try whatever their art of choice is! There is no failure when you try something new; you learn and grow simply by doing it!

So, a very busy time, with an almost hour drive each way; basic set-up yesterday, an hour set-up this morning, getting the paintings, cards, etc. displayed, then take it all down to stash it all at our hosts’ home and start again in the morning. Yes, a LOT of work and yes, a really awesome and tiring day. As I write this, I have mini-muffins in the oven-my contribution to the refreshments for tomorrow. (Have I ever mentioned that I also love to cook?) My exhaustion is total and sleep is calling-very soon!

Since I haven’t completed any new paintings – and am now running WAY behind on 30 Paintings in 30 Days – today I will share another of the small double page paintings that I did to participate in the very first World Watercolor Month, July 2016. They are all still to be completed as a hand-crafted book, simply for myself, as soon as time allows… Again, these are NOT intended to be completed paintings, just studies and practice. On this double page, the left painting is from a friend’s photo; just as she was ready to snap the pic of her Bee Balm, a Hummingbird flew up to the one flower-what luck, but difficult to paint well! The right painting is my attempt to emulate a Coneflower painting done by artist Susan Crouch, whose work I absolutely love. I rather like the way mine turned out, similar to hers but I can clearly see my own “style” in it.


Still Life – Me?

I never paint still life! It’s not that I don’t like it at all, because I have seen some incredible paintings, ones I absolutely loved. In fact, one of my friends does some of the most beautiful still life paintings I have seen. But for me to paint it…B-O-R-I-N-G! And yet, I did this one and enjoyed it immensely. The photo reference I used for this was posted by Ana Rodriguez Carrington on Photos for Artists, a Facebook group. Her photo actually inspired me to give it a try and I’m very pleased with the result. I might just try it again one of these days!

Still Life Limes-Cropped, straightened, corrected PS-96PPI-watermark   Day 28 – Still Life Limes

Another Experimental Challenge Painting

This one was an interesting challenge. I had heard about and seen the “stone” paper, which I guess is meant more for acrylics and even alcohol inks. But I did see a demo using it with watercolor, so I simply had to try it. It reminded me somewhat of Yupo, but I think it’s a little more “controllable.” I didn’t feel the colors were as true as they are on watercolor paper, but that may have been primarily caused by their tendency to blend a LOT on the “paper.” It was also very difficult to get darks as dark as I wanted them. Regardless, it was fun to try and I will be experimenting more with it.

Nebula II-96PPI-with watermark   Day 9 – Nebula II