It feels good to know that I’ve gotten 1/3 of the challenge paintings done and I am enjoying it so much. Every part of this is just a joy, choosing a subject matter, drawing it, etc. It just feels so good to be in my studio, drawing, painting, making a mess; in other words, being creative!
“Shell of Many Colors”
(Reference photo credit and thanks to TeAnne on Wetcanvas.)
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.
This seal popping his head through the water’s surface-what a great photo. I have not tried to paint a seal before and water is always challenging to me, but that’s what this is all about – well challenging with new subject matter and to paint every day! It’s an amazing process and I’m so glad I signed up for this again!
(Photo credit to Jim Brown on Facebook’s Photos For Artists group page.)
My day 8 piece is another mini painting, a ginger cat. I love cats, a self-described “crazy cat lady”! This photo grabbed me because of the incredible eye and the concentration the “model” cat had on whatever she was watching!
(Reference photo credit to Linda Gleason Ritchie on FB group, Photos For Artists)
This was a photo that I ran across and thought it would be a great challenge-which it was. I do think it turned out better than my red dragonfly and it does look like a bee! All the tiny hairs were difficult, especially on a piece that only measures about 4.75″ X 4.75″; trying to make the wings look delicate was also interesting! What does not show up in the photo is the Winsor & Newton Irridescent Medium that I put on the wings after the watercolor dried. It was an experiment with a product that I had not tried before and I really like the look and how much it adds to the wings!
(Photo credit to coyotegal [Bee on Cowpen Daisy] on Wetcanvas)
This was a fun project! I think giraffes are incredibly beautiful creatures and very interesting looking too! So, that’s what I painted for today, fresh off the board just a bit ago.
These challenges are such a worthwhile thing for an artist to do! A few years ago, when I first ran across this 30 in 30 challenge, I signed up, having no clue what I was going to paint each day. Of course I paint flowers and some landscapes, but what else? That conundrum was the reason that I finally tried my hand at painting birds and animals! Much to my surprise, I found that I seem to do pretty well with them overall. What a wonderful learning experience and outcome from the first couple of challenges in which I participated! Now, there’s no question that I’m going to commit to the challenge, although some timing is better than other timing and I don’t always manage to complete 30 pieces-even though my goal is always to do so.
“Hello Down There, Shorty!”
(Photo credit the Ernie Griffith on FB group, Photos for Artists)
This one is something I just don’t do, but I saw a painting by an artist I admire and simply drew and attempted to paint a very small, 5.75″ x 3.75″, version, to give me practice blending on the paper and softening edges. I’ve done too little actual painting for too long and thought this was a project that would push me into doing a lot of both. With apologies to watercolor artist, Susan Crouch, here is my pratice piece, obviously with no title since it’s just emulating someone else’s art.
This one somewhat got the better of me. I’ve painted an owl (different type) before and loved the result. This one gave me a rough time, maybe partly because of using the sketchbook rather than watercolor paper. But, as always, I post what I do because it’s part of the challenge and we, as artists, all know that not everything comes out the way we want it to! That’s called learning!
I’m excited to do this challenge again-and determined to complete 30 pieces, between today and Feb. 2! I’ve already read that many choose a theme, which I’ve never done. I’m not really going with any theme this time either, except that I want things to be small, fun, with perhaps some whimsy thrown in! My first sketchbook piece is from a photo I took last month; this squirrel wanted to peak into the house, but he/she didn’t like that I had my phone in hand trying to take pics. The result is this really funny attempt to hide from me! Hand drawn, watercolor with a bit of pen & ink thrown in.
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!
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!
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 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!
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.
These next three are all so very different. Again, using the subject prompts from my Sketching Every Day FB group, the subject matter jumps from one thing to something completely different daily. It really keeps things challenging and interesting.
First, I have my day 7, with a prompt of “appliance.” I was a bit at a loss as to what to sketch, so I walked into the kitchen and stood there, struggling with a sketch of my single-serve coffee maker.
Day 8 prompt was “still life”. While I have a true appreciation for well painted still lifes, I may have mentioned before that I absolutely hate painting them. I had just made a batch of chocolate cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting (YUM), so I went “off prompt” and drew a woman enjoying a chocolate cupcake. This was a very quick sketch, but I enjoyed it and think it worked okay (for a quick piece). I especially like the black and white look with small pieces of color. I’m not sure this shows correctly, but in fact, this is all black & white, with only her lips and the cupcake having added color.
Day 9 subject was “in the style of Sally Bartos.” I was unaware of this artist (and most others that end up in these monthly sketch lists); it’s wonderful to look up and become familiar with artists that I’ve never heard of. In this one, I cannot take any credit for the composition; this is my attempt at replicating in watercolor a painting that she did in acrylic, one that I particularly liked.
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: Subject was “Something new” This is a quick watercolor, pen & ink of my Christmas gift.
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: “Queen of Hearts” I chose to do a cat as the queen!
Here are the rest of my 2017 Christmas cards. They were such fun to draw and complete, especially the whimsical ones! I also loved working with mixed media on these as opposed to strictly using only watercolor. Each of the recipients seemed to really enjoy her card and I know I certainly appreciate the incredible cards I received – from all over the U.S. and even the world!
: “Santa Dog” This is modeled after my “bad hair day” little rescued dog, Izzy (definitely her sweet face), although she is somewhat smaller than the dog in this appears-and she will not keep a hat on her head for even a second. I love her so much that she simply had to be the “model” for this, my favorite card this year!
: “Lavendar Angel” Another folk-art type angel, inspired by the mixed media Meetup that I attended last year for a few months. Just sweet and fun!
: “Nutcracker Ballerina” This piece didn’t turn out as I wanted, mostly her face. I posted it on my Facebook monthly sketch group, never intending to use the card. I got such encouragement from my fellow artists on there that I did send this card too. I wish I had done a better job on her face, but as with all sketching-type work, practice helps one to improve!
: “Pastel Bells” was inspired by a piece a friend did in our watercolor class. He used traditional Christmasy colors and the pieces look nothing alike, but when I was lacking in inspiration, his idea got me going to draw something similar and put my own spin on it!
: “Christmas Cat Ornament” Being a “crazy cat lady”, the inspiration for this came out of my mind-I simply had to include at least one cat card! This was just pure (or purr) fun to do and I love the whimsical look of it!
: “Merry Christmas Bells” This piece was inspired by the “ornament” prompt on my FB daily sketch group. I wanted to try bells and once I got them done, I just couldn’t resist turning this into a card by adding the hand lettering! I think that simply came from making so many cards this year – apparently I just couldn’t stop!
Time simply slips by and suddenly the holidays are over, it’s a new year and I’m on to the 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge again! I did complete all of the Christmas cards and the exchange was great as always! In checking here, I realize that I have only shared 4 of the 16 cards I made. So, in order to display those and move on the the other pieces I’m doing, I’ll share several in 2 parts.
: My idea to put Santa in the wreath-like circle that was used for Looney Tunes-what fun to do! “Merry Christmas Folks!” – I added the letters on the computer later to post on Facebook for Christmas.
: My “Peace Angel” – just an idea I had from a similar ornament on a post in a folk-art type style.
: Zentangle ornaments. I had not done any Zentangle in a long time, so this was an enjoyable challenge for me. I added that colorful ribbon as I love a pop of color when doing B&W!
: “Nutcracker and Friend” I wanted to do a Nutcracker/Wooden Soldier, drew him and had him almost completed when I realized that he looked awfully lonely on the page all alone. I then added his cute little mouse friend.
: “Stuck Santa” One of my favorites this year, I loved the idea of Santa’s belly getting him in trouble along the way. I drew and started this in the watercolor class that I sometimes attend, on a day when we were “on our own” for projects. After the drawing was completed, I used liquid masking for the stars and, once that was dry, did the pen & ink work and then painted all but the night sky. That black was mixed and done in one very thick wash.
Less whimsy, slightly more realism – so a bit of a change of pace. I actually used a YouTube video for inspiration on this one, but ended up turning it off, drawing it similarly and painting it in my own way. I’m not saying that the help didn’t make a difference, just that it inspired me and then I moved on to my own style. I really enjoyed the challenge of drawing and painting these gorgeous birds; I messed up the background by adding the salt about a minute too soon. I can’t really say, “lesson learned” though, because I already know when I should do it, but just pushed it a little. But in the end, I think I made it work and do really like my result – I hope the recipient in the Christmas card exchange does too!
Just where do I get my inspiration for these paintings? Really mostly from my head and then, if I need a little guidance, I look for something similar that I might use to help, admitting that I don’t draw strictly out of my head very well…
Santa just must be included in my Christmas card designs-and you’ll see a few! This one, as stated above, was inspired by a tree ornament-and yes, I have many Santas on my tree every year! Just small, cute and so much fun to draw and paint!
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.
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……..