Days 9 & 10 – Getting Further Behind

I have truly been trying to get my daily paintings completed! I guess that until you’re in the middle of a challenge such as this, with all the other duties and challenges life throws at you, you just don’t realize how difficult it can be to find that painting time each day. So…………I only completed my Day 10 painting a few hours ago. I always love everything Venice and this old-world-looking window with flowers and the light/shadow play just grabbed me. The last time I attempted to do shadowing such as this, I totally messed it up and ruined the painting, but this time I like the effect I got. That’s a great feeling, because it’s proof to me that I am learning and improving!

Last Thursday I went to the Sketchers Meetup. We went to a local eatery that I had never visited before and the day was ideal for sitting outside to sketch – beautiful weather, delicious food and an angle from where I sat that wasn’t ideal. So, I decided to practice the gestural drawing/painting that I’ve been studying and practicing. It’s fine to work from a video and someone else’s photos, but there comes a time when you must try it from your own viewpoint and experiences. It’s not a completed, salable painting, but it is work that I did this month, so the first photo is my Day 9 piece-no title, just fun practice!

20160918_025056_resized-gestural-sketch-and-watercolor-sketchers-9-15-16   Day 9, Gestural Drawing/Painting Practice

20160919_110949venice-window-straightenedcroppedcorrectedms-best-watermark-72ppi   Day 10, “Venetian Shadows”

Busy, busy, busy – and inspired!

I’m running terribly behind at this point! I completed my Puffins painting and had started yet another floral, inspired by my still-beautiful garden. That’s as far as I got because suddenly the Spokane Studio Art Tour was almost upon us and there was still much to do to in preparation. Day 1 is over; we had beautiful weather and a very interested, receptive crowd come through. I visited with dozens of awesome art lovers, many of whom are obviously looking for that one little shove to try some form of art for herself/himself. I can completely relate because, many years ago, that was me! I knew I wanted to give watercolor a try, visited a local art show/sale where I talked at length with an incredible teacher/artist. I began taking his class very soon after, have not looked back and I and my life were forever changed for the better! I do hope that I was able to, in some way, inspire even just one aspiring artist, writer, poet, etc. today to just go forward and try whatever their art of choice is! There is no failure when you try something new; you learn and grow simply by doing it!

So, a very busy time, with an almost hour drive each way; basic set-up yesterday, an hour set-up this morning, getting the paintings, cards, etc. displayed, then take it all down to stash it all at our hosts’ home and start again in the morning. Yes, a LOT of work and yes, a really awesome and tiring day. As I write this, I have mini-muffins in the oven-my contribution to the refreshments for tomorrow. (Have I ever mentioned that I also love to cook?) My exhaustion is total and sleep is calling-very soon!

Since I haven’t completed any new paintings – and am now running WAY behind on 30 Paintings in 30 Days – today I will share another of the small double page paintings that I did to participate in the very first World Watercolor Month, July 2016. They are all still to be completed as a hand-crafted book, simply for myself, as soon as time allows… Again, these are NOT intended to be completed paintings, just studies and practice. On this double page, the left painting is from a friend’s photo; just as she was ready to snap the pic of her Bee Balm, a Hummingbird flew up to the one flower-what luck, but difficult to paint well! The right painting is my attempt to emulate a Coneflower painting done by artist Susan Crouch, whose work I absolutely love. I rather like the way mine turned out, similar to hers but I can clearly see my own “style” in it.

20160903_025209_resized-croppedcorrected-as-much-as-possible

30 Paintings in 30 Days-Day 6

I find that I currently have so many ideas and reference photos that I’m struggling to choose! I’ve been looking over and over at the wonderful “Puffin” photos that have been shared on Photos for Artists on Facebook, thinking that they are such interesting, almost cute-looking birds and that I could paint one. So, I went through the photos and chose one, by photographer Harry Reid, that “spoke” to me. It was fun to draw and more fun to paint. Just figuring out the background is what I almost always struggle with. I have been attempting to somewhat emulate Bev Jozwiak’s style, not without problems! I was fortunate enough to participate in her workshop last fall when she was here. I learned so much, but if you take a workshop and then don’t continue to practice those methods, you lose a lot of what you learned. Having had so little painting time, that’s what happened with me, that and the fact that I wasn’t that good at following her method to begin with, after just three days. So, I’m trying to think back to watching her work and re-learn the style that I loved so much! I can only maybe do that by trying over and over… So, here is my version of the two Puffins photo –

sentry-duty-best-corrected-cropped-ps-72ppi-watermark   Day 6, “Sentry Duty”

Day 6, 30 Paintings in 30 Days, September 2016 challenge, original watercolor by Elaine Syth, © Fine Art by Elaine

30 Paintings in 30 Days-Day 5

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed Tuesday morning and, as always happens, I ran across all kinds of wonderful photos from the group, Photos for Artists. As is very obvious, I love flowers-seeing them, smelling them, growing them and painting them! Sunflowers especially appeal to me, whether tall and regal or short and smaller – in part because they are just such happy-looking flowers, but also they produce seeds that both birds and people just love to eat! They, to me, kind of epitomize summer! So, rolling my mouse past those wonderful photos, I saw two by perhaps my favorite photographer (John Frost) in the group. One was a whole field of sunflowers, the other a closer shot of a few of them. What inspiration! So I grabbed my paper, water, a few brushes, my palette and a few extra colors of yellow paint and, without any drawing, I started painting. I NEVER just paint without first drawing (except occasionally when I’m out plein air painting)! It actually went fairly well and was fun to do – and, maybe because I really love sunflowers-and summer-I really like this happy little painting!

20160906_160329-cropped,straightenedPS-color,exposurecorrectedMS-72PPI-watermark   Day 5 – “Sunny Flowers”

Day 5, 30 Paintings in 30 Days, September 2016 challenge, original watercolor by Elaine Syth, © Fine Art by Elaine

30 Paintings in 30 Days-Day 4

I completed my Day 4 painting and completely painted my Day 5 piece on Tuesday, September 6; obviously running behind, but not badly behind at this point!

This rooster fought me every step of the way and I almost gave up at several points. I finished him and, even though it’s certainly not my best painting, I’m proud of doing so! With every success or failure, I learn so much and that learning process seriously comes from practice, practice and practice! I don’t believe that I have ever heard artist Stan Miller speak without making sure people know that he has spent at least 40 years, painting at least 8 hours a day! That’s dedication of the type that most of us simply cannot give, what with all other demands in our life. But we still can give our art more effort and time, with minor tweaks in our lives.

The photo reference here came from Karen Broemmelsick, another of the incredibly generous photo artists on Facebook’s group, Photos for Artists.

20160906_160250-cropped,straightenedPS-color,exposureMS72PPI-watermark   Day 4 – “Puffed Up”

Day 4, 30 Paintings in 30 Days, September 2016 challenge, original watercolor by Elaine Syth, © Fine Art by Elaine

30 Paintings in 30 Days, September 2016 challenge

I gave another “scary” subject a try, which went fairly well; I also made my attempt at doing a Bev Jozwiak-style background. Obviously, I haven’t practiced this a lot since her amazing workshop last fall. Regardless, it was fun to try. The rest of the story is that when I was about 3/4 done with this Mandarin Duck, the light in my studio went out! Because my studio is completely underground, that’s a big deal! Thank you to my husband who took care of that yesterday! Even though it wasn’t just the bulbs, as it turned out, it wasn’t a huge problem. At least the fixture didn’t have to be replaced, just worked on… I’m back “in the light” now!

The photo inspiration here was taken by photo artist, John Frost, shared on a Facebook site where artists are free to use the references. This colorful, amazing creature equally inspired and frightened me; I really didn’t know if I could manage to do it justice. I do love using this month-long challenge to not only paint every day, but also to dare myself to try new subjects and different styles! Besides the Mandarin Duck photo, I was also inspired by a workshop I took last year, presented by Bev Jozwiak. The workshop was amazing, as is Bev; her style was contrary to many things I had learned over the years never to do-and more fun than I think I have ever had painting! I can’t say that I remember everything I learned, nor can I say that I have practiced those skills enough. What I can say is that I am still very inspired by her incredible work! So here is my meager attempt to paint a beautiful bird and use something from her workshop!

Just Ducky 2-corrected, cropped PS-300PPI-best-watermark-smaller to post  Day 3 – “Just Ducky”

Day 3, 30 Paintings in 30 Days, September 2016 challenge, original watercolor by Elaine Syth, © Fine Art by Elaine

30 Paintings in 30 Days-Day 2

Yes, as usual, I am running behind on my days! I actually finished this one shortly after I posted the World Watercolor Month post; am just now getting this online.

This has been a wonderful year for tomatoes where I live. Those gorgeous red orbs were irresistible to me-and are surprisingly difficult to paint! So here is my attempt to create in 2D some of this year’s bounty”’

Home Grown-straightenedPS-300PPI-cropped,colorcorrectedMS-smaller to post-watermark   Day 2, “Home Grown”

Day 2, 30 Paintings in 30 Days, September 2016 challenge, original watercolor by Elaine Syth, © Fine Art by Elaine

30 PAINTINGS IN 30 DAYS AGAIN-I’M EXCITED!

Well, I see by looking at my own blog that it was the end of February when I last posted-oh my! What can I say except that life gets in the way…

I have been painting a LOT lately, much of it being practice after having painted far too little for the past 3 1/2 years! During that time, I was president of Spokane Watercolor Society, which I loved doing-and for the past year, I was both president and vice-president, which was a little much! August 31 was my official last day as an officer in the group. I will still participate – a lot; but for now, I’m concentrating on painting, sketching, drawing and painting more and what a joy it is!

I participated, on Facebook, in the first official World Watercolor Month (July 2016). The only problem is that it took me two months to complete 30 paintings, completed on Aug. 31! I will photograph my work and share here when I can. I cut my watercolor paper into 15″ x 7.5″ pieces, folded each in half and then used a 7 1/2″ square for each painting, with the idea that I would assemble the pages into a book when the paintings were completed. I still plan to do so – soon! Some of the work turned out very well, some…well, not so much! That’s okay though, because I learned something from each piece I did!

So now, here it is September and this challenge has begun. I love challenging myself to do this and, obviously, signed up for it again. The biggest problem I have is time, because I am preparing for an art show, Spokane Studio Art Tour, which takes place on Sept. 10-11. Although I go to this event almost every year (this is year 13), this is my first time participating in this wonderful, local show. I hope we have lots of visitors, great weather and that many people like my work!

My first painting was begun before September, but completed after midnight on the 1st. It’s the most awesome story, one that really touched my heart. Briefly, a friend and I were plein air painting at a beautiful, popular local park. We talked to many people that evening, but the most fun and memorable was a young couple who were quite interested in our work. Since I had forgotten my art tour flyers, I told them about it and, for more info that they could contact me on our group’s FB page. He did, asking if I could paint Hydrangea (his girlfriend’s favorite flower), with the idea of getting a print for her upcoming birthday. As much as I love flowers, I have always steered clear of even trying that one. I can grow them, but I just didn’t think I could paint them. But with their off again, on again story and his desire to give her something really special, I decided to try. So, I pulled up several photos from my own garden, did a little research, played with an attempt starting with no drawing, then started drawing! It took me almost a week – and a lot of nerves over whether I could really do this – but I finished the painting posted below. And yes, I did get the matted print to him for her birthday and he seemed very pleased with it; I hope she will be too! Personally, I’m excited to conquer yet another subject that scared the heck out of me!

 

Hydrangea completed, 300PPI, ready to print-small to post-watermark added   “Am I Blue?”

Day 1, 30 Paintings in 30 Days, September 2016 challenge, original watercolor by Elaine Syth, © Fine Art by Elaine

Just love those flowers!

This is painting number two, completed on Friday. It was the work in progress when the day began, set aside because of problems I needed to leave alone for a while. As I’ve said many times, I love flowers; seeing them, growing them, smelling them – they just make the world sunnier and more beautiful! Of course, one of the first signs of spring are the Crocus and by the time they show up, it’s such a joy after the long, gray, snowy, cold winters we have. So, anticipating those early, happy flowers, I drew and painted some from a photo I took last spring.

Waiting for Spring-cropped, straightened, corrected PS-96PPI-watermark   Day 26 – Waiting for Spring

My son’s birthday

This painting, the third done on Friday, was inspired by my son, Craig, whose birthday is today! One of his passions is bicycle riding, to and from work (weather allowing), for exercise and to challenge himself by training and riding “Century” (100 miles) rides a few times each year. To honor his special day, I created my interpretation of the sport-it even has him in a shirt that I have seen him wear for riding. After losing all my photos when the old computer died (so no longer having any photos of him riding), for reference I used a wonderful photo generously shared by Carol Kibble on Photos for Artists. A loosely done piece for sure, but it shows all it needs to show!

Bicycle Race-scan-cropped PS-96PPI-watermark   Day 27 – Bicycle Race

Another day closer to February!

January is about to give way to February, but I am making great progress. I had one painting started when Friday began and ended up finishing that and drawing/painting two more before the day was over! That may be a record for me… So now, instead of up to 10 days behind (as I have been at least once along the way), I have one painting partially completed, which only leaves two more works to do. Barring anything major, I know I can do it – although it may actually be the 31st by the time I finish. Then will come the collage of all the month’s work. While it can be a lot of work to put together in a pleasing way, I do love seeing it all in one place!

All that being said, here is the first of my three completed Friday paintings. The photo credit goes to Jim Brown, who shared it in the Facebook group, Photos for Artists. I love sunsets, but painting them can be quite a challenge-one that I make myself try!

Day's End-cropped, straightened, corrected PS-96 PPI-watermark   Day 25 – Day’s End

More Progress – Another Landscape

This painting is another inspired by one that Jim’s class did on a day when I was unable to be there. I should explain that while in class, you can work on your own thing, use Jim’s example, painting it as he did or you can take his example and “do your own thing” with it. After so many years of painting, the latter is what I do, but also using Jim’s expertise as well as my own experience as my guidance. There is always more to learn, which is the advantage to dropping into classes sometimes. The other advantages with this class are the camaraderie and fun with the great people there-and always time to learn more from my mentor!

In addition to painting florals, which is probably my favorite subject, I very much enjoy working on landscapes covering of all sorts of subjects. Rocks are often my nemesis, so it’s always a good thing to practice them, whether simple rocks or rock cliffs; the more you work on them, the more you understand and can mentally picture their shapes and angles.

Rock Cliffs-cropped, brightened PS-96PPI-watermark   Day 12 – Light and Shadow

Making Progress

I have spent hours and hours in my studio over the past two days and I’m happy to say that things are coming along. I completed two paintings about 3 hours ago and then got a great start on another. I have one in progress that I’m a little stumped on, so it’s sitting there waiting for further inspiration! It was such an usually beautiful, sunny day Wednesday and I spent most of my time where I wasn’t seeing that sunshine at all. But when I need to be in my studio, I need to be in my studio…

So, the first painting I completed is just pure cuteness and fun! This idea is from class, but it’s not a class I attended. As I understand it, the bear is based on one that Jim’s lovely, sweet wife, Sue, made and then the class recreated it in 2D. When I saw the example of it, I couldn’t resist, especially since I saw it just days after my new granddaughter was born! So here is my version of Sue’s handmade teddy bear.

Teddy Bear, cropped, brightened PS-96 PPI-watermark   Day 11 – Sweet Teddy

Landscape Painting

My Day 10 painting is based on a reference photo that I have had for years-and never had the nerve to attempt the painting! This is such an amazing, inspirational location! I decided I was finally ready to try it and worked on it for most of the month (to this point). Very challenging and colorful, but I can see the light, shadows, the heaviness of the rocks and extreme complexity when I stand back to look at it. I hope you can too!

Antelope Canyon Arizona-96PPI-with watermark   Day 10 – Antelope Canyon

30 Paintings in 30 Days-Class Inspiration

This painting was a project done in class. I enjoyed this, as I love pretty much anything “beachy”! It’s funny how a project can look horrible until the finishing touches are in and suddenly it all seems to come together. That’s how this painting went and in the end, I am happy with it, colors and all. Enjoy!

Beach Grass-Jim's class 1-11-16-cropped, corrected MS-96PPI-watermark   Day 8 – Beach Grass

 

More 30 in 30 Paintings completed!

Admittedly, I am running terribly behind, but I have completed 6 more pieces and have 3 works in progress in my studio-and many more in my head. The biggest hindrance was last week’s Spokane Watercolor Society meeting. I literally spent 19 hours over three days getting ready for, at and following up from the meeting. That, and everything else I have to catch up on, makes it difficult to get into the studio! Doing my best…

Also, as a follow up, during the first week of January, I met with the two wonderful ladies who bought those paintings and had a chance to talk with them. Each was so happy with her painting and was also such a delight to meet and visit with! I really liked having the opportunity to meet each of them rather than just selling the works!

The two I am posting this time are silly little works that were for birthdays in Jim’s class-and yes, I did use them for the 30 in 30 challenge! Each gift had to cost no more than $1.00 and start with first initial of the the recipient’s name-or can be a regift, etc. Once I drew and painted these, I dug through my extra mat board and found an appropriate piece for each. After cutting each 2″ larger overall, I used gel medium to attach to the front of the board. It worked well. Then, after class, we went to lunch together and had a great time as well as a delicious lunch! There were some very clever, inventive gifts given and we laughed a lot!

Silly Giraffe-Gloria's BD-Jim's class-1-11-16-72PPI          Cymbal Monkey-for Mary BD-Jim's class-1-11-16-72PPI

Day 5-Silly Giraffe for  Gloria                                                             Day 6-Monkey with Cymbals for Mary

Fabulous, exiting news!

Our Spokane Watercolor Society Member Show continued through January 3 at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (The MAC to locals) after our 2015 Juried Show came down the end of October. I volunteered as “docent” the past two Sunday afternoons and since the show was being removed Monday morning, the 4th, and I was there until closing on the 3rd, I just brought my 7 paintings home with me then. On Tuesday I received a “Congratulations” email from the chairperson of our show about my two paintings that had sold! WHAT??!! That was the first I heard about it and I have to say that, as always, I’m just over-the-moon excited and happy about that! I really love it when someone likes my work enough to live with it in her/his home! I thought I would share the paintings that these two kind ladies purchased.

Basalt Cliff-scanned then cropped MS-72 PPI            20160105_125204-cropped PS-72 PPI

                  Sunset (previously Basalt Rock Cliff)                                                                French Window

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.

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!