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.

20160903_025209_resized-croppedcorrected-as-much-as-possible

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

Catching up on my challenge postings…

My Day 7 painting was more of accidental painting than intentional, but it’s fun and colorful and an abstract that I happen to like! I know it’s an artistic style I should play around with more often, but it’s not my favorite thing and I find it somewhat difficult to do, as opposed to actually painting something tangible. But here is one, kind of a leafy thing, shown in a mat that my friend/mentor Jim gave me to use with it since it works so well…

Abstract with mat-1-11-16-96PPI   Day 7 – Abstract

More Christmas cards – Wetcanvas exchange

Before I head into my studio to work on paintings for the 30 in 30 challenge, I thought I would share a couple more of the cards… These two are similar – same cat, but somewhat different scenes. No titles for these, just fun cards to paint and share.

img048-smaller to post                                                img047-smaller to post

Challenges! (Or time demands from too many places!)

With every day comes new situations that take me away from my studio, which at times is very frustrating. I had plans yesterday to spend several hours there and found I wasn’t able to do any painting at all-darn! I am current with the Every Day in January Facebook sketch challenge, but am now 3 days behind for 30 Paintings in 30 Days! I do have three WIPs though, so possibly, with some good, uninterrupted time in my studio, I will catch up on that!

Instead of posting nothing, I will begin sharing all those Christmas cards I painted and will continue to add them, interspersed with my current work. I actually painted this first one for a friend, designed based on the Christmas sweater she wore to our Spokane Watercolor Society Christmas party. Challenging and fun to do for her!

Card for Bobbie -from her Christmas sweater-300 PPI-smaller to post   Christmas card, hand drawn/painted 2016

Back to My Watercolor Roots

Country Store-scanned-2- then cropped MS     Country Store

This is another painting I did in the class I’ve been attending from my first watercolor instructor. I’m enjoying the time and the other students there so very much! This was our project almost two weeks ago. In painting this, I used the same sketch as the others, but I tried to use the style I was working on in the Bev Jozwiak workshop. That includes bold colors, as is obvious here. I love the results I get and I just wish I had more time to practice and reinforce the methods I began to learn from her! As with anything else, it takes lots of practice-or you just revert to the same old style!

30 Paintings in 30 Days Collage

PicMonkey Collage-2 with wording-smaller to post

Well, obviously there are not 30 paintings here, but I’m quite pleased with most of the 17 I got done. As I did in January, at the recommendation of Leslie Saeta, I used PicMonkey to make the collage, using their free option. They come out nice, are simple to do and there are a surprising number of arrangements and additions you can make there. It’s always fun for me to see a body of my work in one place!

Day 8 of the 30 Day Painting Challenge

20150922_143643-Week 2-smaller to post     Low Bridge

This painting was also done in my re-joined watercolor class. I started with a very pale yellow wash, adding more color to the sky to give the impression of either a sunrise or sunset. It looks like a very simple work, but was great practice with the darkest darks, rocks and negative painting! What fun!

Day 7- 30 Days Challenge

20150922_175137-Week 3 touch darker-smaller to post     Fall Color

As with the September 1 painting I posted, this one was done in the class I have rejoined-the one taught by the artist who introduced me to watercolor. I originally thought I was just going to the one class, but it was such a great experience being there that I decided to attend for a while again. I am having such fun being in his class; it’s on Monday morning and starts my week off so happily! Jim sketched this work, we copied his drawing and most followed his painting also. I went quite different with my colors, since it’s almost fall, and I wanted to reflect the beautiful shades of the trees this time of the year. This is a small painting, only 11″ x 7.5″. Painting so small can be its own challenge, but it also enables most of us in his class to complete a painting in one class. It’s just pure enjoyment to spend time with the other awesome artists and my friend/mentor!

Pen and Ink

I have been tied up a lot lately with Spokane Watercolor Society things. I finally got into my studio for a short time tonight and did a little reference photo searching and then drawing. All around my studio, I have quite a few of my older works and one grabbed my attention while I was sitting there.

This is one of the first pen and ink works I did. I really like the exacting, slow process of doing pen and ink work. Being one of my first makes it a little special to me and I have always liked it. But there is a more important reason that it is special. My mother was particularly fond of old mills with water wheels. I did a painting of this one, which I now have since she passed three years ago. Somewhere along the way, I wanted to try my hand at the same scene in pen and ink. I’m sorry for the poor photo, but tonight I want to share that (possibly unfinished) work with you.

IMG_20150228_012227_762-waterwheel pen and ink-best-smaller to post

 

 

Artistic Musings

A little catching up-

Have I mentioned that I am very proud to now be the president-elect of Spokane Watercolor Society? I love being a part of that group and I look forward (with some trepidation) to being the “leader” for the coming year.

I have gone to my second Spokane Sketch Club “meetup,” met several more members and enjoyed myself thoroughly. I joined to network with other local artists beyond SWS, not knowing how or if the group would fit well into my life – so far, I’m very pleased that I did so. We met in the Garland District Thursday of last week, where there was a local street music fundraiser going on to benefit our local Second Harvest Food Bank. Great cause, nice entertainment and wonderful subjects for sketching all over the place. Here is a bad photo of my quick sketch of the “Milk Bottle Restaurant” from that day.

Milk Bottle sketch-IMG_20130622_023509_022 copy

Tomorrow is a meetup at Manito Park’s Nishinomiya Japanese Gardens. It is perhaps the most unique and beautiful park garden in Spokane, although to me the rose garden, lilac garden and the perennial garden in Manito Park are all equally wonderful, all in different ways and at different times of the year! Because I haven’t been to the Japanese Garden in years and I don’t know just where my pictures taken there are filed on the computer, I’m borrowing one from a Google search just to show how wonderful this garden is.

Also, because I haven’t painted anything this week, I’m also including a photo of a view from my bedroom window that I took 3 days ago. It is of just a small part of the amazing perennial/rose garden I have in my yard. I will add that the reason I haven’t painted anything this week is that I’ve been busy working in my yard – it takes a lot of work to keep up with the weeding and plant care – and “playing” with friends! Not very disciplined, huh?!

Manito Park Japanese Garden from city-data.com posted by bellemask in a blog there              backyard taken 6-18-13-1014332_4931935016337_104553087_n

Japanese Garden, city-data.com post by                          6-18-13 in my back yard

bellemask in a discussion thread

 

Artistic Musings

Wednesday was such a fun and wonderful day. I had lunch with two great friends; one of them is here visiting her daughter and I haven’t seen her in about a year-great fun! Then later, Spokane Watercolor Society’s June meeting consisted of a visit to Kay O’Rourke’s studio and then a pizza party at a local Italian restaurant, Ferrantes. Great information, great fellowship and great pizza! What more could a day hold? When I got home, I checked my email and found a message from Wetcanvas about a comment on one of my posts – from 2008! How that painting post was “unearthed” this long later, I will never know, but the comment bumped it back up and I have gotten numerous nice comments since. It is great to have people seeing that particular painting again and especially nice having them like and appreciate it. I took the photos on a trip to the Washington coast, primarily for my daughter’s wedding. We then made our way to Mt. Saint Helens and eventually down the Oregon coast for a bit. But the sunset view of Mt. Rainier that one evening was spectacular and something I will always remember. Previously, I had only seen glimpses of the mountain driving down the freeway through Seattle. No matter what the view or when you see it, it is simply an incredible sight. So, today I am sharing that painting, “Mt. Rainier Sunset,” here and a link to the Wetcanvas post – just because…

Mt Rainier-my pic-rotated,resized2-SOLDhttp://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=473394

Artistic Musings

Isn’t the internet great? Just to name a few things, you can find information on almost anything you search for, watch video tutorials of all kinds, find old friends or others with like interests, easily keep in touch with almost anyone and join online art groups of all kinds! When I start a search, I’m looking for one specific thing, but often I see something that leads me somewhere else. I did that early last week. I read an article regarding the “Clandestine Cake Club” which began in the UK and has spread to many other countries. As I understand it, it started as a type of “underground” group of people who love to bake (and eat) cakes; they meet monthly in a pub or somewhere else, each bringing a homemade cake. It intrigued me – I LOVE cake and baking! Hmmm-I wondered if there are any such groups in Washington state, and maybe even near me… So, I “Googled” it and, while I didn’t find any such group locally (darn!), what I did find was almost as interesting. It was a listing for “Meetup” which is basically all types of groups formed for all types of interests-and something I was totally unaware of. I found there seems to be quite a Meetup movement here and I just had to look into it further. There were quite a lot of rather oddball-seeming groups, but also a few groups that caught my attention, including a photography group (not just for professionals) and one called “Stitch ‘n Bitch” for hand-crafters. But, not wanting to join more groups than I have time for, I chose the one that seemed perfect for me – the one art related, Spokane Sketch Club – and joined. At this point, I must mention that, in my opinion, one of the greatest things about the Spokane area is our abundance of beautiful public parks. The first meeting was Saturday at the one that I feel is the best of them all-Manito Park. I went and met up with two other members in the Duncan Gardens (a very formal garden in the park) – Don (the founder of the group) and his friend Kenny. It was a small turnout, or maybe others were there and didn’t find us, but a beautiful day in a beautiful setting. We visited and sketched from the back of that garden. Of course I didn’t create a great work of art-or even one I like very much. But the whole point is meeting more local fellow artists, learning and sharing with other members and simply drawing more. In my case, practice may not make perfect, but it most certainly does make improvement, which is what I am always after-improving my eye for perspective and composition, my drawing ability, my techniques, my art in general! I am a watercolor artist, but in order to paint in watercolor, I must be able to compose and draw the picture first. Only time will tell, but I am intrigued by this group I joined and look forward to more “meetups” and to meeting more members. Maybe the best thing about it is that it will force me to get out in my own community and appreciate all of the artistic opportunities right here in my “own backyard!” So, whether or not you join a group, get out there with your sketching materials, paints or your camera and enjoy what your city has to offer!

Artistic Musings

I’ve been away from my blog for almost three weeks now. I have missed it, but sometimes life just gets in the way, in good ways and bad. I’m throwing this out because it’s a subject that can affect any/all of us as artists. Without going into details, I have recently had a major loss in my life. My art is my calm, my solace, my escape-it’s good for my soul. But, as much as I have tried to paint lately, I have been unsuccessful in turning out anything I felt was acceptable. It’s been very frustrating and is adding to my struggle with acceptance and healing. Apparently the pain of loss is getting in the way of the very thing that usually helps me to cope with the ups and downs of everyday life and perhaps only time will help. I’m not giving up – I am an artist! So please don’t give up on me.

On a lighter, happier note, I have also been very busy with the Spokane Watercolor Society elections (I’m now the president-elect) and our only fundraiser for the year. And the happiest event-a short visit from my daughter and 3-year-old grandson who live on the other side of the country. I miss them all the time and I cherish any time I am able to spend with them!

IMG_0494-threegenerationscropped,fixed-resized       IMG_20130517_152918_017cropped,corrected-mytableatfundraiser

       Three generations                         My table of work at SWS fundraiser