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

30 Paintings in 30 days-my day 3 floral

Heart of Gold-cropped, scan corrected MS-Day 3 for 30 in 30; day 4 for EDiJanuary-72 PPI to post   Heart of Gold – Day 3

As is obvious, I love flowers, so I guess it follows that I love painting florals! Hibiscus is one of my very favorite flowers. Not only are they delicate, beautiful and come in all kinds of color and shape combinations, but they also remind me so much of tropical places – another thing I love! This particular one is partly based on my own reference photo and partly artistic license, as I don’t think this coloring exists in nature (white with a golden center). Then, when all was finished except the stamens, I stood back and wondered how to make the flower stand out from the white-of-the-paper background, while keeping it simple. I was taught this light blue surrounding wash many years ago by a very talented local watercolor instructor and I sometimes fall back on it still. I think it works and, since I have the same blue in the leaves, that part works for me too.

Back at it; 30 Paintings in 30 Days January Challenge!

The past two months have sped by at the speed of-well something really speeding! We had a horrible wind storm in November, which caused untold damage all over the area. Personally, we only had minor damage to a couple of our trees, but we were without electricity for 8 days and then without internet, phone and TV for an additional 2 days. It was cold, dark and miserable and I literally cried when the power finally came on! I also got so far behind on everything I “had” to do that I still haven’t managed to catch up-especially with the holidays in that time frame.

I sketched a little during the “black out”, taking off my gloves until my hands were so cold I couldn’t work any longer. I missed light, I missed heat and I missed working on my art! I managed to finish 14 hand drawn and painted Christmas cards, most of which were for my third year participating in the Wetcanvas Christmas card exchange. I’m quite pleased that I got them done and sent and with the cards themselves. I will post them, scattered among the other works I want to share here. I signed up for Leslie Saeta’s 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge for January and, even though we’re only 5 days into the month, I am currently trying to catch up! I’m also participating in a Facebook group, Every Day in January, which is a sketch challenge with daily prompts. I am also behind on that, but am determined to manage them both. I need to spend time on my art! So, right now I will post my day 1 and day 2 paintings for the 30 in 30 challenge.

 

Birds of a Feather-day 1-72PPI to post   Day 1 – Birds of a Feather-from my own photo taken in my yard on January 1, 2016 with birds all over, while it was 5° and sunny outside.

Lonely Beach-done in Jim's class 1-4-16-scanned, croppedMS-72 PPI to post   Day 2 – Lonely Beach-done on January 4 in Jim’s class (my mentor/friend/first watercolor teacher) from his reference.

Another class-based painting

Basalt Cliff-scanned then cropped MS     Basalt Rock Cliff

This was just plain fun to do-as well as very frustrating! Rocks are a subject I often struggle with, as I did last week when I did this painting. Again, rather than follow Jim’s style, I used bolder and/or darker colors in the style to which I aspire (from the workshop), along with scraping for the rocks. I like the results I got, but my instructor didn’t. Regardless of anyone’s opinion, it’s all practice and that’s a good thing! I think I’ll frame it and hang it in my studio!

How Time Flies…

20151010_213240-leaves-wordshop-with bent watermark-smaller to post     Falling Leaves

I cannot believe it is this far into October and I have posted nothing since the 2nd! Time really does fly-although I’m not so sure it’s always when you’re having fun… More likely, it is often when you’re just too busy to notice! My last post was the day of our First Friday Spokane Watercolor Society 2015 Juried Show opening. Since that time, I took a one-day sketch workshop from amazing Urban Sketcher, Don Colley, as well as doing much work for the juried show awards, helped with the award reception and was privileged to be in one of the two most awesome workshops I have ever taken! The workshop, taught by the fabulous Vancouver, WA artist, Bev Jozwiak, was three days of intense, but fun, learning. This is the painting I did in the workshop the first day, using as close as I could come to Bev’s style of painting and completely different from anything I have created before. I love it! Now I’m playing catch-up on all the things on which I fell behind and struggling to get into my studio to practice the wonderful things I learned in Bev’s workshop. Life really does get busy and hectic, but if I didn’t love doing all that I do, I simply wouldn’t do it! More paintings to come…

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!

My 17th Painting – 30 Paintings in 30 Days

20151001_235029-roses-cropped PS15-with watermark-smaller to post  Roses II-Less is More, attempts at looser painting

I can hardly believe it – I actually managed to finish my 17th painting! It was a work in progress for the past two days, I even went to the Spokane Sketchers Meetup Thursday and still I completed, photographed, cropped and got it posted with 3 minutes to spare! I am pleased that at least I got more than half done.

As for the rose painting, I had no reference and no guidance; still I think I did a decent job with the looser style on this. In addition, I had fun with it and feel like I learned a lot in the process.

30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge-my Day 16 painting

20151001_001643-Venice door-less is more-cropped PS15-smaller to post     Venice Doorway-Less is More, attempts at looser painting

Here is my third attempt ever at painting in this much looser style. This is also based on something from Jean Haines “Atmospheric Watercolours” book, this one a demo. It is also based on a reference photo I used several years ago for a much more traditional painting. I’m not totally unhappy with this work, but, even though I thought I was using the same colors and in about the same mix, her shades are much softer than mine came out. But it will take consistent practice to manage this style of work! I actually think I’m going to use this reference again and make another attempt at this.

Since, as I write this, it is past midnight, the month of September is over…and I only managed 16 paintings. Given how busy the month was, I’m not really too disappointed in only doing about half, but next time I want to be sure to do one per day! I do have one more in my studio that is about half done and I will be able to post it up till midnight October 1 (and since I’ve been working on it for the last two days of September), so hopefully I will actually have 17 included. Regardless, it will most likely be my next post here, another very loose attempt, without much to guide me in this style. We’ll see how it turns out…

My Day 15-30 Paintings Challenge

20151001_001302-Cat-less is more-cropped PS15-more repair MS-smaller to post     Cat-Less is More, attempts at looser painting

This attempt is based on an example in Jean Haines “Atmospheric Watercolours” book. Hers obviously was a lot more successful than mine, but I had to try! I know how to and love painting in detail, but I need to expand my styles to encompass the much looser, suggestive paintings too. I am determined to practice and learn! Practice and experimentation are what it is going to take and I plan to spend a lot of time on that. In the meantime, here is only my 2nd attempt at that type of method/style. More to come…

30 Paintings in 30 Days-my Day 14 post

20150929_004521-approaching storm-cropped PS15-smaller to post     Approaching Storm

Class day again and here is my painting from that. The dark, threatening sky, done in two steps, was a fun challenge! In my sky, I see a tornado starting and heading toward that peaceful farmland scene. Watercolor being watercolor, and especially when painting wet in wet, it does pretty much what it wants; I controlled it somewhat by slanting the board the paper was on, but it’s still watercolor! I really debated on a title for this one-maybe something like “Mayhem Coming” or something about calm and mayhem… I finally just went simple, but to me it really feels like a very serene place with a major weather threat heading in. Fun to paint and, as I’ve mentioned, fun to be in Jim’s class again!

The major thing I’m working on in class is to become comfortable again with flat brushes. I used to use them, but have since become more comfortable with a large round brush in my hand. I had forgotten just how much can be accomplished with the flat brush though and it’s great to re-learn that!

Day 13 Painting

20150929_005855-bald eagle-cropped PS15-with watermark-smaller to post Bald Eagle Portrait     11229372_10204981545391539_4367768305458494959_n-Heather Ward photographer-saved smaller to post in comments     Original photo by Heather Ward

Several days ago, I mentioned my eagle painting in progress. Well, I finally decided it was finished. This was definitely a challenge to do-and I love tackling things that are challenging, fun and different from my normal florals or landscapes. When I did the owl painting during the January 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge, it was the first time I had ever tried a close-up bird and so much enjoyed not only the work, but also the outcome. This is something I need to do more often-and practice, practice, practice!

 

Day 12 Painting

20150925_151751-boat-cropped PS15-smaller to post     Old Red Boat

After three days of being a WIP, I finally finished this painting Friday afternoon! I actually was working back and forth on two different paintings-the other, a Bald Eagle, is nearing completion. This is another reference from my friend, mentor, teacher, Jim, done there before I rejoined his class. I just brought home the reference to paint here. I’ll take the finished work to the next class to share with him and the other students-curious to see what he’ll say about it. It was an interesting project, very different from the type of scene I would usually choose. But in order to continue to learn, you have to step out of your comfort zone at least sometimes! It’s all good, as long as you’re creating something!

Challenge – Day 11 Painting

20150924_001042-roses-cropped PS15-smaller to post     Roses

This is a painting that I began a few months ago. I liked it as far as it went, but the composition was lacking, so I set it aside for a time. I picked it up a couple of weeks ago and knew what I needed to do to make it work better. I was able to alter and finish this work in just a couple of hours, but it took months for the inspiration and motivation to be there…as often happens with art! And I finally have the confidence to share it on the challenge and here!

Day 10 Challenge Painting

20150924_000501-adobe-cropped PS15-smaller to post-color adjusted to closer to original     Santa Fe Adobe     12028696_10204883527831855_5222888192233419483_o-Mac Dixon photo shared by Abirami Uma     Original photo

Well, it’s the 24th and I just posted my days 10 and 11 to the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challege site. I don’t think I’m going to make it to 30 this time… I will continue to work at it and get as much done as possible, but I’m simply not a fast painter!

This work is from a reference photo taken and shared (copyright free) by Mac Dixon on a Facebook group I joined called “Photos for Artists.” I find the southwest, and especially adobe, so beautiful and interesting to paint, so I very much enjoyed drawing and painting this one. When/if we’re ever able to recover the thousands of photos lost on the “dead” computer, I’ll have many photo references of my own from that area of the U.S., but currently I’m rather lacking in my own reference materials. Sites such as that one on Facebook are wonderful in a case like this!

30 Paintings Challenge – Day 9

20150922_143801-Windblown-slight changes from original-with watermark-smaller to post     Windblown II

It is obvious that I’m running terribly behind on getting 30 paintings done this month, but I’m still plugging away. There have been so many things that I, as president of the local watercolor group, have had to deal with and stay on top of. I’m also still re-creating essential documents for the group that were lost with the “death” of our old computer.  I have made great progress on that, but it seems like almost every day something else comes up-something that simply hadn’t been needed or hadn’t occurred to me yet. It might sound like just an excuse, but it has taken serious amounts of my time.

This is an improved version (hopefully) of a painting I did earlier in the summer. I made some changes and I’m much more pleased with it now. Since it’s been redone, I’m sharing it here and counting it as one of my 30 paintings. I used many different techniques in the creation of this work, which made it a great learning experience as well as just fun to paint! I just love flowers and bright colors!

Day 6 – 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

20150916_225652-Joker-cropped, corrected PS15-cropped differently-croppedfornewsletter     The Joker

Creepy, huh? This is from an internet search, done as part of the Facebook challenge called Every Day in September. The prompt for that day was “Jack in a Box/Joker” – you can see which direction I went! This was great fun to do, from drawing that maniacal face to using only black pen and watercolor (black mixed from other colors), along with the white of the page. I really think Halloween when I look at it. In fact, I think I’m going to have a small poster made from this at Costco to hang in my front window expressly for October 31!

Day 5 of Challenge

20150909_012113-Nefertiti-cropped, corrected PS15-smaller to post      Sketch of Nefertiti 

This day 5 work is a sketch I did of the Nefertiti bust (from an online search) for Every Day in September, a sketch group challenge on Facebook. That challenge has daily prompts to use – the subject was “Egyptian.” I will post this for the 30 paintings challenge too since I’m running several days behind!

I drew this with pencil in my 6×9 sketchbook, used black ink in places and colored it with Inktense pencils. I have had them for some time, but have used them very little. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to play with and learn something about using them. It was an interesting challenge, considering I have done almost no colored portraits (which in essence this is even though it’s from a statue). I didn’t quite capture the face, but I enjoyed the exercise anyway! No matter what the subject matter or what the media, I just love creating art and learning from the process!

Day 4 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days

20150909_005713-geranium-cropped, corrected PS15-smaller to post     Geranium and Shadows

This is finally my day 4 post in the challenge. It’s not very successful, but even when that happens, I post the painting and I always learn something whether great or not-so great! The point was strong light and shadow and I did get that at least. I find this creates quite an optical illusion; even though I know the bottom is straight and level, it looks to me like the right corner comes forward and is lower…interesting how those lines affect the appearance.

Summer Sketching

Shetland Pony at Sue's sketch in July-smaller to post     Curious Shetland

I did this sketch in July when our watercolor group spent the day at a member’s family ranch in Idaho. What a beautiful, fun day that was! This Shetland Pony was overly curious about what the humans were doing on the other side of that fence. I captured this photo and couldn’t resist using this one – love the angle!

I’m obviously running behind on the 30 in 30 challenge… I do plan to catch up, but thought it would be fun to share a few of my summer sketches in the meantime. I participated in Every Day in May, Every Day in June and Every Day in July on Facebook, at least keeping up on my sketching and having a lot of fun doing so!