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!)
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”.
Last night, I managed to do two small drawings/paintings. With all the painting ideas I have swirling in my head, I went back to florals – I guess because it’s one of the things I do more easily and therefore, more quickly. It might also be, in part, because the weather is far worse than it has been so far this winter, snowy, gray and very cold, and I miss green plants and flowers! On the rose, I really enjoyed experimenting with a different technique-not perfect, but fun!
DAY 18 – “Rosey Pink”
(Photo credit and appreciation to Wendy Sinclair on FB’s Wendy’s Reference Photos for Creatives)
DAY 19 – “Poppy”
(Photo credit and thanks to Kymberlee Edwards MacKay on FB’s Photos For Artists)
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.)
Since I wanted a bit of practice, I drew that lobster magnet, which as I said, was not intended to be a part of my 30 in 30, even though it ended up to be… This is what I ended up with and it takes me back to last month’s 20-30 minute painting challenge, since I finished this in less than 30 minutes. I guess that was good practice after all! This is also another one on the Moulin Du Roy rough watercolor paper, which I quite enjoy using! I love all the things I’m learning and all of my experimentation this month; hopefully it will stick with me and make me a better artist in the long run!
Lobster on rough paper
(Reference photo from which I drew this lobster, Phil Wingate’s pile of lobsters photo on the Facebook group, Photos For Artists.)
I wanted to work in at least one bird during the 30 in 30 challenge, then I thought something more exotic than typical backyard birds. So I searched my go-to legal-to-use reference sites and found an awesome Toucan photo. That’s another one I’ve never attempted before. Hand drawn, guided by the reference photo, watercolor on Moulin Du Roy rough watercolor paper (which is something else new to me and I really enjoyed using it). The title I have given this piece is a riff on the Froot Loops bird…
I strongly recommend not only challenging yourself to something like the 30 in 30, but also to different subject matter, styles and papers. I’ve only ever tried rough paper once before and, for some silly reason, didn’t use it again. Obviously it isn’t for every subject matter, but for this it worked great!
“Just Call Me Sam”
(Thank you to Wendy Sinclair for sharing this wonderful photo!)
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.)
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.
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!
Yes, it’s day 5 of the challenge and I’m determined that before midnight tonight I will have my 5th piece done-and I don’t even know what it’s going to be! Life gets in the way of even my favorite things, which is where working on my art is. That happened today, but I don’t regret for a minute helping a friend! So, my day 4 painting was only finished an hour or so ago, while I was working on supper. The scan isn’t an exact match for the original, but I honestly had no more time to mess with the settings. So, here is my Day 4 piece from a long-ago photo of mine, and again, it took the full 3o minutes to complete.
I’m running a day behind, but I have completed my Day 3 painting. From a photo I took, I thought this would be a cinch to do quickly…but found that it took me all of the 30 minutes and I’m still not 100% pleased with it! But then again, I always seem to struggle with painting yellow flowers! I actually completed this much earlier in the day; having no time to scan and post it, I’m currently doing that while waiting for parts of my day 4 painting to dry while I get this one online.
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!
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!
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.
My intention was to post 3 every day until my 29 January pieces were posted…and time just flew by! I’m disappointed in myself, in that I have truly stepped back this month and am only working on my third piece, which I have planned (in my head) all month. I will shortly have a mixed media piece to share; it’s something I have mentioned before, something that I want to learn much more about.
But for right now, here are my days 4, 5 and 6 from the 30 in 30 Challenge.
Day 4 – challenge was “in the style of Toon Tieland” I used a picture that I used for another painting a few years ago, but you’d never know that they were from the same photo.
Day 5 – the challenge here was “word art” and rather than using one word, I turned it into a phrase. So much fun to do this!
Day 6 – shells; I called this one “Shells and Floats”
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!
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!