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!
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!
5 minute practice sketch of Daffodils from book reference
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 (http://www.amazon.com/Ways-Tulip-Other-Fabulous-Flowers/dp/159253886X). 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!
Thursday, 3-12, quick sketch of recycling bin at curb
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!
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!
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.
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!
“Elephant Portrait” Day 24 painting “Rose Study” Day 25 painting
Oh my gosh, I have not been so encouraged for over a week! I was able to finish and post these two paintings Tuesday-and cook a delicious dinner that took all day to make! But there’s more… I also have three works in progress-one almost finished, another over half done and a third barely begun; I also have two more drawn and, assuming I can complete them all, that will make a total of 30! Only three more days to accomplish this and I fully plan to do so!
As for these two paintings-do I love them? Not so much. But, I thought they were both complete lost causes. I know both are badly overworked-but even the fact that I was able to save them enough to use them pleases me a lot! I learned a whole lot in the process and that is never a bad thing. But for right now, I am exhausted and it’s time to get out of my studio and get some rest. More to come…
Recently I sold a painting I did a few years ago. The person found me through my Wetcanvas post of the work and loved it. It was such a thrill to read that email, just to know it had been “unearthed” there and she liked it that much! I hadn’t thought about that painting in some time and even had trouble finding where I had stored it. Seeing it again made me want to paint that scene again; it’s one of those I mentioned that were drawn and ready to paint. I liked what I did the first time and suddenly I hesitated to paint it again. I didn’t want to exactly replicate the original painting, but I did still want it similar. So, here at the top is my newer version of Split Rock Lighthouse in Minnesota. Very similar to the old one, mostly a little softer colors; just for comparison sake, below is a photo of the first one I painted.
I’ve worked and worked, on top of a Costco and grocery store shopping trip and the normal everyday chores and cooking, and still no painting is finished. I wish I could figure out how to paint decently and yet faster! I have three works in progress, one very doubtful, one more drawn and ready to paint-and only 5 more days left to the challenge. On top of that, I have only finished and posted 22 paintings. Can I get 8 done in 5 days? Doubtful, but I’m still going to do all I can to achieve that goal. Whether or not I do meet the goal, I have by far painted more in the past 23 days than I have ever before and that’s something to be proud of!
Since I have nothing completed to post, I’ll share another couple of paintings from the eight I painted in September. The first one was, in fact, the first painting I did for the September challenge-mostly because it was also the Wetcanvas September Watercolor challenge. I like the way it came out, especially since I know next to nothing about boats… The second is, if I remember right, the seventh one I painted; it was done en plein air in my back yard on a beautiful, sunny day. It was one of those days when, knowing winter wasn’t far off, you can’t resist being out enjoying the nice weather while it lasts! It is an image of one of my dying summer plants on the deck, fall color very evident.
Rather than go to my sketch group, I spent a good portion of Saturday in my studio. I did make progress, finishing two paintings and readying another two. In fact, for about an hour I was only two days behind on the 30-30 challenge-and then it was midnight and back to lagging behind by 3 again. At least I’m maintaining consistency!
The crab painting is loosely based on a photo my daughter, Kristan, took when she was in the Galapagos Islands. I have had that reference pic for a few years and have planned to use it. I’ll just say that, while that was my inspiration, I took full advantage of “artistic license” in doing this. I think it’s a fun, colorful little painting.
The one below was actually completed before the crab and I hesitated somewhat before posting it. I experimented a great deal with this and, while it didn’t turn out well, it taught me a lot! And isn’t that what this painting challenge is mostly about? It was rather out of control, so I just kept experimenting with different methods and finally had the gist of the reference so figured I didn’t need to do any more damage to it! The bottom line is that, while I’m not very pleased with this painting, it’s one of my 30 paintings and I couldn’t not use it! Consequently, I’m posting it here also.
“Worcester Cathedral” – experimental Day 21 painting
This is the painting I was working on Wednesday night when the computer began misbehaving. I had almost finished the grassy background and was debating how to approach the turtle when the problems began. I worked on it Thursday to the point of almost done, then took care of the finishing touches Friday night. I’m happy with the result and I hope you can actually see that it is underwater. It’s obvious to me, but then again, I painted it!
I found this reference photo on Wetcanvas more than a year ago and, wanting to try my hand at painting a horse, I downloaded it. With the challenge this month, I decided to finally try; I drew and had a small start to the painting and then had no idea how to proceed. So it sat in my studio where I had to see it every time I was there. I studied and studied it and finally decided two days ago that if it was ever going to happen, I had to just do it! Much to my delight, I finished this painting a few hours ago! With my very limited experience painting animals-and never a horse before-I was pleased with the horse, but what to do with the background… Then I just suddenly knew, did it and, while I’m fully aware it’s not perfect, I like it! That is such a good feeling, especially when it’s a subject that caused almost overwhelming fear after I thought I had ruined it at first!
This 30 in 30 challenge is about so much more than just painting regularly. I cannot believe how much I have been branching out on subject matter as well as figuring out how to fix something I thought was not salvageable. I am so glad I am doing this and even if I don’t quite achieve the desired 30, I will have painted more than ever before and learned so much along the way!
Sometimes challenges are challenged… I’m having computer problems in my studio tonight and cannot currently paint since I use the screen for my references. I’ve got things running to fix the problems and hopefully will be able to work on things soon. Years ago when I got my first small, used laptop computer, I stopped printing everything and started drawing and painting directly from the screen image. I really hate being stalled with my painting and yes, I could use my old method and print from the other computer and get to work. I guess the real issue right now is that I’m pretty much out of the mood after the frustration of fighting with the computer for over an hour. Just one more day to catch up on for the 30 in 30 challenge.
In the meantime, I thought I would share a couple of the (only eight) paintings I completed for this same challenge in September.
I’ve had this reference photo for literally years and was never quite sure how to handle it. I actually drew it on watercolor paper during the September challenge-you know, the one where I only completed eight paintings… So, there is was and I decided to try another in a monochromatic style. Two things went wrong with this – First, I actually started with the wrong color (palette sitting there with two blues and I used the one I did not intend to) and once I was started I pretty much had to stick with it – and Second, the paper quality was not as good as I am used to, and that lack of top quality made smooth washes next to impossible. In spite of those things, I do like the overall look of it and think it was monochromatic was a good choice. Always a learning experience!
With three new paintings begun and drying – and exhaustion taking over – I left my studio last night. I drew and did the under-painting on two that I’ve had in my head almost since the beginning of the challenge. Since the two that were sitting there ready to paint didn’t appeal to me last night, I went with plan B.
This is my experiment with watercolor and a zebra “portrait.” In working on these 30 in 30 paintings, I’ve come to realize that I truly enjoy the challenge of working on animals/birds. Perhaps I was in a rut and needed to branch out with less familiar subjects. Whatever it is, I’m loving it and this painting was fun to do! I may even try another zebra in a different style before this challenge ends. So, what do you think of this one?
I did not manage to get any painting done on Monday at all. Some days are just like that no matter how hard you try to get into your studio! I am there now, after midnight so technically Tuesday. Rather than post nothing, I thought I would share the painting I did for my printed 2014 Christmas cards. I have always liked snow globes and my older daughter, Ginni, particularly used to just love them. So, this year was a snow globe painting to honor her and just because it was a fun subject to do.
I participated in the Wetcanvas Christmas card exchange again this year, a really wonderful project. There were 13 of us this time and you get cards from all over. This one had several European artists participating, a couple from Canada and the rest of us in the U.S. In 2013, I simply sent my printed card to all who were a part of the exchange. This Christmas I hand drew and painted eight other cards before I had to complete my card to print for friends/family. Those printed ones made up the difference, sent to the rest of the participants. As space allows, I may share more of those other card paintings, but here is my main painting and the one I’m most proud of.
To update this post-midnight painting session – I drew two new ones and have three new paintings started. Nothing completed, but progress nevertheless…
Oops, I forgot to publish this last night, so here’s that post…
I did it – I got one more painting finished before Sunday ended! In doing so, I also completed another painting to post for the Facebook group, “Paint Colorful Birds for Fun” weekly challenge. As with the owl, it’s a fun thing to do and yet another way to get inspiration for the 30 in 30 challenge. I must spend some drawing time now for the challenge since I’ve used almost everything I had ready to paint. So many ideas, but what will be next???
“Mission Dolores” in San Francisco Day 14 painting
I am so pleased that I have completed one painting yesterday and two today. If, by some miracle, I could finish the one that’s almost done before today ends, I’ll only be 2 behind-oops, when today ends, it will be the 19th and I will still be trailing by three… Darn – I thought I was making progress!
This one is from a photo I took when we were in San Francisco in 2010 and I have meant to paint it since then. I love the light and shadow; it seemed an obvious choice to make it a monochromatic painting. Drawing it was more than a little challenge, with all the posts and those angles and steps. It’s so nice to not only finish a project, but be truly happy with it too!