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!

Day 3, 30 Paintings

20150905_022250-Clothespins-cropped, corrected PS15-resized           Just Hangin’ Around

I have finally finished my day 3 painting, after not having time to touch it for the past two days – but at least it’s done. The photo reference on Wetcanvas was interesting and fun, so I drew it. This was a part of the August Watermedia challenge but I do not know who to credit for the photo. It was fun to do and I think my lesson here is that I need more practice with flat washes when I’m painting around objects!

Day 2 – September 30 Paintings in 30 Days

20150903_014937 copy-correctedPS15-best one       Fritillaries Love Coneflowers

This painting is special to me because my Coneflowers, all the colors, were especially beautiful this year. They are in a back flower garden which is visible from our bedroom. I just loved standing there, even from inside, just watching the Fritillary Butterflies all over the blossoms! We had such a long, extremely hot and dry summer that, sadly, the Coneflowers are pretty much done blooming-and I see more honey bees on them now than butterflies. What a wonder and blessing-and artistic inspiration-it is to have numerous flower gardens and beautiful flowers all over the yard!

30 Paintings in 30 Days-September 2015

20150901_231413-On the Boardwalk-day 1-cropped,smaller to post           On the Boardwalk

I am doing the 30 day challenge again and I am finally able to get back into my blog! After the old computer’s demise, I am spending most of my time “chasing my tail” just trying to recover password info, recover my website information, recreate vital information for Spokane Watercolor Society, etc.! To say that I’m frustrated is an extreme understatement-mostly because this should never have happened since the new computer has been here for months and my computer “guru” husband never bothered to make the transfers. Then the old one suddenly doesn’t work and even the backups are no good…

Enough of that! My September 1 painting is actually from a class that I decided to attend again. The class is taught by the artist who started me off in watercolor. He is up there in years, is my mentor as well as my friend and I’ve been missing him and the class! So, instead of just dropping by his class to say hello, I decided to rejoin it for a while. It is good practice and, even though my work has changed and improved significantly in the years I’ve been away from the class, I know there is always more to learn from Jim! So, here is my September 1 painting, “On the Boardwalk.” Painting it and being in the class was a lot of fun!

Colorful Rooster Painting

IMG_20150315_230205_692-rooster-cropped,straightened,correctedPS-small to post   “Colorful Rooster”

My Sunday evening daily painting. I’m so excited that I got another one done! This was a fun project, and, like so many of my 30 Paintings in 30 Days, any type of chicken is a subject that I have not tackled before. I have contemplated trying it, but have always “chickened out” – pun intended! Maybe a more complex background next time, but I thoroughly enjoyed painting yet another new type of subject!

I was sitting here cropping the photos I took of this watercolor when I realized that I totally forgot to do my Sunday art Before Breakfast sketch! Sometimes I just get busy and distracted… Even though at least one sketch every day is my goal, I guess I just have to face that there will be days when it doesn’t happen. Besides, I did get a rooster drawn and painted!

Floral Sketchbook Practice

5 minute practice sketch of Daffodils from book reference

IMG_20150313_113321_118-daffodils-straightened,cropped,brightenedPS-small to post

Again, a pen and ink page of sketches, this time referenced from my book, “20 Ways to Draw a Tulip and 44 Other Fabulous Flowers” by Lisa Congdon ( Daffodils are one of my very favorite flowers; they bring such sunny happiness to spring! Since my own daffodils are not in bloom yet – and it’s one flower that always gives me fits when attempting to draw/paint – I thought a little no-pre-drawing practice from this book was in order! Can you see the improvement happening as I work in this manner? I sure can! So, this is today’s sketchbook practice; not painted directly from live references, but still worthwhile practice!

art Before Breakfast again!

Thursday, 3-12, quick sketch of recycling bin at curb

IMG_20150312_114527_925-bluey sketch-straightened,cropped,brightenedPS-small to post

I has been a bit of a tough week, starting out on Monday with an urgent tooth extraction. The short version is – a botched root canal a number of years ago finally led to the demise of that particular molar, no matter how well I care for my teeth. The healing is going well, but the inevitable antibiotic has me feeling poorly, staying home taking it easy.

I guess that whole process has me somewhat out of the mood for painting, but I cannot ignore my art completely. Plus there is that wonderful “art Before Breakfast” book, which I did very quickly read cover to cover. While I’m not practicing exactly as is outlined in Danny Gregory’s book, I am working at filling the small accordion sketchbook I started with something each day. The sketches are not impressive, but it is a learning experience.

In this case, that learning is from just grabbing a Micron pen and going for it with whatever grabs my attention at that time, with no pencil pre-drawing. Even when I meet with my sketch group, I start with a pencil drawing, erasing and correcting things along the way. Then, when I’m happy enough with the sketch (and if there is still time since I work slowly), I will ink it and do a watercolor wash. I have many sketches done that way that I like, but it is a crutch and I need to learn to work directly! I hope that eventually, with enough practice, I will have that skill. I will still pre-draw for my paintings with a pencil, but that might just go more quickly and be more accurate the first time! The process I am practicing now can help me to become a much better artist overall and that’s what it’s all about!


IMG_20150129_232600_375-Lindy-croppedPS-smaller to post  “Lindy”   Day 29 painting

This is my sweet calico cat, Lindy, curled up in the bathroom sink several years ago. I have always thought this photo was just fun and knew that someday, when I got really brave, I would paint it. Nowhere near perfect-that’s for sure. But don’t judge too harshly since it’s my first attempt ever at painting a cat-and sure, I had to try a calico for the first one!

Lindy was a young adult that we got from a local rescue agency, Partners for Pets, almost 10 years ago. She had been with them for quite a long time and was a quite a depressed kitty. We decided on her, partly because she deserved to finally have a home she could count on and partly because she was just so pretty. She is one of our four rescued pets-three cats and one dog. There are just always so many wonderful adult animals needing a good home!


IMG_20150130_121720_546-roses for Debbie-newest photo  “Roses for Debbie”   Day 28 painting

Yes, another floral! I had the center rose drawn for days and kept putting off painting this. I finally tackled it late Wednesday evening, adding quite a bit to the drawing, and actually finished it about 2 AM Thursday, the 29th. I was driven and simply couldn’t stop until it was completed. It’s a very special, personal painting to me, as I named it for someone I lost a long time ago whose birthday was January 29. The painting is much prettier in person – this photo simply does not do it justice. I left the background white, with the exception of the blue wash surrounding the flowers, just to keep it very soft and simple.


IMG_20150128_141725_430-beach-croppedPS-smaller to post  “North Shore Beach”   Day 27 painting

This is one from a photo I took on Oahu in 2005-my one and only trip to Hawaii. I loved it there and, given the opportunity, would live there without hesitation! I painted from this reference years ago and wanted to try it again. There are things I did better this time and things I don’t like as well. But it was fun to do-and any break in our drab winter, even just thinking about flowers and/or Hawaii, helps!