Bird Journal continued… Page 5, more welcome birds!

I believe that the goal of a journal is to do daily pieces – at that, I’m failing badly! This is obviously the time of year to do a “bird journal”, but it’s also the time of year when many hours each day are spent working in the very yard that welcomes these beautiful flying creatures! In fact, much of what I’m doing in the yard is planting things that help to draw in those birds… That being reality, I make notes of new/different birds in a notebook and work on the actual artwork mostly at night when the house is quiet-when I have the energy left to do so! It seems that my list of new visitors has far exceeded the time that I have available. And now, in less than 2 weeks, I’m beginning another 30 in 30 challenge-a different one this time. Check out this Marc Holmes June challenge on Facebook: #30x30DirectWatercolor2018! I’m not very experienced at “direct watercolor”, but will try… Thank heavens he’s very lose about rules and if you pre-draw and/or use some pen&ink, it’s acceptable. I know the idea is to get better at direct watercolor, but it’s also simply to get 30 pieces done in 30 days-one may have to preclude the other for me!

Now for my 5th journal piece, I’ve done “Cassin’s Finch”, both male and female since they look so different (and yes, I see that my lettering is not improving…). They are here some years and others they are not. This year, there seem to be more of them and, although the information says they “live in evergreen forests in the mountains up to about 10,000 feet elevation” they seem to be here, at least for the spring. That’s fine; they’re enjoyable to watch, whether gleaning seeds from the ground, eating insects in the trees and bushes or at the feeders. They are such an interesting pair, with the female so “bland” that she doesn’t much resemble her much showier partner!

     The Cassin’s Finch are here this year!

#challenge #journal #birds #finch #finches #cassinsfinch #artistic #journaling #experimental #artisticjournaling #lettering #drawing #art #watercolor #inspiration #gardening #practice #sketch #spring #landscape #cityscape

There’s a first time for everything…? Bird journal, page 4

Even though I knew-for years-that wild turkeys were rampant in our entire area, I had never seen any anywhere near our neighborhood. Then one day, while I was in my studio working, my dog started barking. Since she’s not much of a barker, I came upstairs to see what was going on. To my utter shock (and dismay) there were 4 wild hen turkeys in the backyard. I immediately ran outside, collected pine cone “ammunition” and used it by throwing them at the turkeys while chasing them, finally hitting one on the tail feathers. They moved faster then and, even more surprising than seeing them in my yard, was seeing them fly onto the house roof rather than just going over the fence. They then flew off from there. Yes, I probably looked and sounded crazy – I don’t care, because I don’t want them in my yard!

The rest of the story is that about a 1 1/2-2 weeks later they were back, but in my neighbor’s back yard. I did the same routine to chase them away, from within my own yard. It worked, with them going over her fence to the front yard and then away down the street. I’ve not seen them come back, but it could certainly happen at any time. I hope not-they’re not welcome birds in my yard, nor in this neighborhood, being loud, damaging, dirty and stupid!

That all being said, I have to add that they’re very huge and impressive creatures up close! Since they were, hopefully one-time, visitors to my yard, I’ve included this sketch in my journal along with the story…

     A very unwelcome group of birds in March!

 

#challenge #journal #birds #turkey #wildturkey #artistic #journaling #experimental #artisticjournaling #lettering #drawing #art #watercolor #inspiration #gardening #practice #sketch #spring #landscape

There’s a first time for everything…? Bird journal, page 3

The American Robin – a constant, and welcome, visitor most of the year. This year, they showed up here – lots of them – during the second week of March, as the weather started to warm again. Our ground is healthy with numerous earthworms and the Robins seems to be very happy in our yard. Last year there was a pair who pretty much owned the front yard; they would dive-bomb most squirrels and other birds out there, often even trying to drive me away when I was mowing, weeding, etc.! We had a bad wind storm last fall and a HUGE limb came down from our front yard shade tree (that clean-up is a whole other story)! Perhaps that was where those robins had nested, as they seem to be avoiding that tree this year. That’s fine, because it makes it a more welcome spot for other, more colorful and rare visitors this year.

     March brought the return of Robins!

#challenge #journal #birds #AmericanRobins #artistic #journaling #experimental #artisticjournaling #lettering #drawing #art #watercolor #inspiration #gardening #practice #sketch #spring #landscape

Bird Journal – something a bit different!

While this isn’t really a part of my bird journal, this February photo capture seems appropriate to this string of postings. The squirrels are always here, but this particular February photo-op capture was amazing to me. Since there is a February gap in returning birds (once winter really hit again), this little visitor fits right in. He/she was on the deck looking in the door and “hid” so cutely when I approached with my phone; this is the picture I was able to catch – and then paint for my day 1 in the 30 Paintings in 30 Days February Challenge.

     February-no new birds, but this amusing visitor…

#challenge #journal #squirrel #animal #birds #artistic #journaling #experimental #artisticjournaling #lettering #drawing #art #watercolor #inspiration #gardening #practice #sketch #spring #landscape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a first time for everything…? Page 2

Continuing with my first bird journaling attempt, here is my other early January backyard visitor. Perhaps neither the Nuthatches nor the Chickadees ever left, but not a lot of time is spent bird-watching in the winter around here. The days are cold, short, dark and dreary…and the birds are few. This year though, January and early February were real exceptions to our usual weather, with temperature highs in the 40s and sometimes even into the lower 50s! That being the case, it was quite a treat to look out and see these two types of birds in residence – which is largely what prompted this journal experiment! 🐥😍🐿

(Unfortunately, you can clearly see the ugly crinkling of this cheap paper in my journal scans…)

     Welcome January visitors continued…

#challenge #journal #birds #artistic #journaling #experimental #artisticjournaling #lettering #drawing #art #watercolor #inspiration #gardening #practice #sketch #spring #landscape

There’s a first time for everything…? 1st journal page

While I’ve filled dozens of sketchbooks of all shapes and sizes , I’ve never before actually tackled doing a journal. It truly is intended to be a DAILY journal, but I’ve definitely fallen down in that category already. I am, however, keeping notes to go with my pages, so that when I get around to them I still have the story to go with the sketch. I ran across a “bird journal” idea and instantly recognized that it was a perfect fit for me! Yes, I have the closest I can come to a suburban bird santuary in my backyard-and absolutely love seeing them as they show up in the spring, keeping track of what and when! I’m not technically a bird watcher and am not that versed on all of the varieties and species, but they, along with my dozens of types of perennial plants, do bring such life and joy to my yard! Just sitting in my favorite spot watching and listening is wonderful!

Those things said, I’ll begin sharing my journal pages. Unfortunately, the journal I chose to use has horrible paper and I’m not very good at lettering. The lettering issue is one thing I hope to improve on as the work on my journal progresses; the paper issue is what it is (and if I can do eyes on printer paper, I should be able to make use of the poor paper in this journal – and choose more wisely next time)!

     January visitors – so much fun to see!

#challenge #journal #birds #artistic #journaling #experimental #artisticjournaling #lettering #drawing #art #watercolor #inspiration #gardening #practice #sketch #spring #landscape

What fun the 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge was!

I already said that I’m pleased and proud-and I really am. This is the first time in quite a long time that I’ve managed to do 30 pieces. There’s nothing wrong with doing fewer-it’s all good practice and a wonderful learning experience. But, as I’ve also stated earlier, I was determined this time to do all of them – mostly because I spent so much of last year painting far too little and it’s time I work at being the artist that I can be, that I want to be! If it’s in you, it’s something you need to do; it’s something I NEED to do!!!

Collage, all of my February 2018 30 in 30 challenge paintings!

 

Day 30 completed-pleased & proud!

Yes, it’s a day late, but I truly am pleased and proud to have completed all 30 paintings-and feeling like it’s been a real accomplishment, especially with all the factors that derailed my painting so many of those days! Now I must just keep at it and paint, paint, paint!   :D
I knew that a lighthouse, something that I haven’t painted in far too long, had to be a part of my 30-and so that’s what it had to be today!

     “Sailing Toward the Light”

(Reference photo thanks to John K Mitchell, another generous photographer on Photos For Artists.)

 

#art #challenge #watercolor #painting #artist #lighthouse #landscape #seascape #ocean #beach #shore #sea #waves #sailing #sailboat #inspiration #drawing

 

 

Oh-No; I haven’t posted Days 24 & 25!

Obviously, I’m now not only behind, but also out of order! Again, there have been so many demands on my time that I forgot to post these two days after I finished them-darn! My day 24 painting is also entered in the monthly challenge on Photos For Artists (on Facebook). The challenge is “waterbirds” and I wanted to participate, but hadn’t found what I wanted to paint. Then, on February 20, I was scrolling and saw that Mal Rayner had some new postings-and there was exactly what I had been looking for (an Avocet) in those new photos!

As for my day 25, is a mini-painting and it’s mostly a throw-away. I had a few minutes, didn’t really feel like painting and, while I did the best I could under those circumstances, it just didn’t turn out… I knew I wasn’t in the mood to get something done, but pressured myself to do one anyway. I will say that the real piece looks somewhat better than the scan came out. In spite of all that, I posted it-because that’s my accountability!

     Day 24-“Fishing”

(Photo credit and thanks to Mal Rayner for this awesome Avocet picture.)

     “Pansy”

#art #challenge #watercolor #painting #fineart #artist #birds #beach #ocean #shore #Avocet #inspiration #flowers

Days 26-29 done-only one more to go!

During this challenge, I seem to have had a particularly difficult time finding time to paint, with the past couple of weeks being almost impossible… So, yesterday, in just 12 hours, I drew and painted three pieces and painted a fourth without a any drawing on the paper. After that, I fell into bed in exhaustion, without posting any of them…

I also know that the 30 days is technically over, but there was no way I could do a fifth one yesterday. That is on for this morning, just as soon as I’ve finished breakfast – and decided what I want to paint today! I told myself that I was going to do all 30, and I am, even if I’ve gone over the time frame by a day! That determination to get painting done needs to stick with me from now on-and that’s rather the point of this wonderful challenge to begin with!

     Day 26-“First Flight” 

(Photo credit and thanks to Russ Bridges on Facebook group, Photos For Artists.)

     Day 27-“Santorini View”   

(Thank you to Phil Jenkins, also on Photos For Artists, for this reference photo.)

     Day 28-“Teasel Stop”

(My appreciation, again, to Russ Bridges for his Goldfinch on Teasel photo reference [European Goldfinch, looks quite different from what we’re used to seeing here].)

     Day 29-March Snowflakes Dancing”

No photo credit, no drawing-this from my mind to my hand and on the paper…

#art #challenge #watercolor #painting #artist #fineart #colorful #birds #landscape #snow #winter #weeds #view #arch #European #buildings       

 

Finally, Day 23 completed

As all artists know, things don’t always go as planned-and sometimes our time is simply not our own. That has been the case for over a week now and I’ve been fitting in painting whenever I can-and finding myself falling further and further behind… So, last night,while a larger painting’s background was drying, I found this reference, drew it (fairly small) and began with the first wash on the petals. This morning, while some of the details on the larger painting were drying, I finished this Hibiscus-a flower any of my followers know is one of my absolute favorites!

     “Hibiscus Shadow Play”  

(Photo reference, my thanks to matingara, from the Wetcanvas reference image library. This is a native Australian Hibiscus-and a beauty!)

#watercolor #art #painting #floral #30in30challenge #flowers #hibiscus #shadows #colorful #artist

My Days 21 and 22 paintings-completed!

I spent a lot of time in my studio over the past 16 hours. In that time I finished my day 21 painting, “Spring Gold”, drew two more pieces (one about half painted) and needed to do something more quickly to try to catch up. I thought butterfly, started painting without a drawing and ended up with another iris, to which I added a imaginary butterfly. So, loose and quick, here also is my Day 22, “Iris & Butterfly”.

     “Spring Gold”

     “Iris & Butterfly”

#art #30in30challege #watercolor #floral #flowers #iris #butterfly #spring #painting #experimental

Day 20-done!

What fun this one was! If you have to have winter and snow, you might as well get photos and use them. I took the photo reference for this is one out my back door last Saturday, after the snow had stopped falling. I really like my “condo” type birdhouse out there and it looked particularly pretty with the new snow on the roof. As always, all hand drawn and then painted.

     “Waiting for Spring”

#art #challenge #30in30challenge #painting #watercolor #birdhouse #birds #winter #snow #landscape #backyard #garden

Day 16 – finished!

This one was fun and very, very frustrating! I’ve been loving painting on the rough paper surface, but maybe not so much on this one. The bird went fairly well, but the rocks it’s standing on simply didn’t work very well. In fact, I had to wash off that part the best I could and correct what I was able to. It does look better than it did…but then the scan isn’t great either. But that’s what this challenge is about – practicing, trying new things, finding out what works and what doesn’t, fixing what you can; it’s ALL a great learning experience! I know I’ve mentioned how very valuable this process is!

     “I’m Talking Here!”

(Reference photo credit and my appreciation to Dennis Flynn on Photos For Artists, a Facebook group.)

#Puffin #bird #painting #challenge #watercolor #rocks #landscape #experimentation #art #colorful

Day 10 – It was time for a flower!

Usually, along about this time of the year, I’m fed up with looking at gray skies and brown everything else! This year is quite unusual and warm, with even some partially sunny days, and there are a few things growing, but it still hasn’t made me stop yearning for beautiful flowers… So, last night when I finally got time to start a painting, I “grabbed” a rose photo that I took some time ago, drew it and painted it. I was in the mood for soft coloring rather than bright, as is obvious from this piece.

     “Soft Pink”

#flowers #floral #watercolor #30paintingsin30days #challenge #art #painting #rose

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?

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 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