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

January 30 in 30 Challenge continued…

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 7 - Appliance-smaller-words deleted

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.

Eating a Chocolate Cupcake-MS-smaller-words deleted

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.

Day 9-in the style of Sally Bartos-smaller-words removed

My how time flies – 2

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-In the style of Toon Tieland-used Yorky's Gold Hill, Shaftesburg as part of the reference-smaller  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.

Cat's Meow-Day 5-Decorate a word-smaller  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!

Shells 'n Floats-for Day 6, shells-smaller   Day 6 – shells; I called this one “Shells and Floats”

My how time flies!

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 1-20170103_012820_resized-straightened,cropped,corrected MS-scan-smaller-no words  Day 1: Subject was “Something new” This is a quick watercolor, pen & ink of my Christmas gift.

Day 2-Copy of Day 2-Snow Globe-me shoveling on New Year's Day-cropped,corrected MS-smaller  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-Copy of Day 3-Queen of Hearts-cropped,correctedMS-smaller  Day 3: “Queen of Hearts” I chose to do a cat as the queen!

Cardinals in snow inspire me-it’s Christmas!

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!

cardinals-card-scan-2-better-smaller-to-post     Card #4, “Cardinal Contrast”

More whimsy inspired by an ornament

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!

santa-with-tree-card-scan-smaller-to-post    Card #3, “Santa with Tree”

Silly Christmas card

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.

reindeer-lights-card-scan-better-smaller-to-post    Card 2, “Reindeer Games”

Christmas is just around the corner!

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……..

img241-tree-scan-smaller-to-post    Card 1, “Sketchy Tree”

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 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

World Watercolor Month July 2016-first ever!

I mentioned my participation in the first ever World Watercolor Month, July 2016 – and that I had finally finished everything on August 31. I photographed those quickly, as two pages at once, because these will become a hand-made book. I must explain that because I have had so little painting time for quite a while now, I used these small works as practice and experimentation. It really helps to get the feel of the brush in hand again, as well as the various brands of paper, the multiple paint brands and colors, etc.! So, here are two of the thirty pages, most of which were painted using other artists examples.

On the left is one of the first paintings I did for this challenge in early July. It is a white Peony and, for the moment, I cannot remember if I took the photo or used one I found in one of the various Facebook groups to which I belong. The groups I refer to are where photographic artists post photos and member artists are free to use any photo essentially for any purpose, but you must give the photographer credit. Once I dig deeper and find the reference photo, I will do so here! The peony was a study to practice painting a white flower. The painting on the right is my attempt to follow a demo by Joanne Boon Thomas, obviously a man in the rain. It is so very different from anything I usually paint and was a fun challenge. Hopefully now, when I need to portray someone in the rain, this will help me to do so!

Under Umbrella from Joanne Boon Thomas demo; White Peony from-can't remember where I got it

 

 

 

 

Still Life – Me?

I never paint still life! It’s not that I don’t like it at all, because I have seen some incredible paintings, ones I absolutely loved. In fact, one of my friends does some of the most beautiful still life paintings I have seen. But for me to paint it…B-O-R-I-N-G! And yet, I did this one and enjoyed it immensely. The photo reference I used for this was posted by Ana Rodriguez Carrington on Photos for Artists, a Facebook group. Her photo actually inspired me to give it a try and I’m very pleased with the result. I might just try it again one of these days!

Still Life Limes-Cropped, straightened, corrected PS-96PPI-watermark   Day 28 – Still Life Limes

Closer to catching up…

I made an executive decision that four sketches I did for another challenge count as artwork done this month…so I posted those also! That helped me get closer to catching up with myself. I am pleased that I drew and completed two pieces on Wednesday, both florals. I guess when all else fails, fall back on what you know best – although I am still experimenting with styles and methods! I also used a brand of paper that I’m much less familiar with and it definitely handled differently than my usual Arches. I do have four more pieces in progress in my studio, in various states of completion. With only 4 more days in the month, I’m still in trouble!

So, here is the first one I completed on Wednesday, Fuchsia I grew and photographed last summer.

Hangin' with My Buds-cropped, straightened PS-96 PPI-watermark   Day 22 – Hangin’ With My Buds

Back to Animal Painting

When I first did Leslie Saeta’s 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge, I found that I thoroughly enjoy drawing and painting animals of all types. That was something I had pretty much avoided to that point, but when you’re painting every day, you sometimes run out of inspiration/ideas. It’s the perfect time to try out something different, which I did then, and I continue to challenge myself fairly regularly with different subjects, styles and even media. I love learning and expanding my knowledge, especially when it comes to my art!

I saw this shared photo in a Facebook group called “Photos for Artists”, where amateur and professional photographers can share their work, copyright free for artists to use. There are a couple of site rules that must be followed, most important is that you give the photographer credit for the reference you use. I want to thank Mitchell Brown for his photo, which I referenced for this painting. I thoroughly enjoyed trying out this colorful style and the moose, which I have never drawn or painted before.

 

Moose of Many Colors-cropped, straightened PS-96 PPI-watermark   Day 16 – Moose of Many Colors

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!

30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge-my Day 16 painting

20151001_001643-Venice door-less is more-cropped PS15-smaller to post     Venice Doorway-Less is More, attempts at looser painting

Here is my third attempt ever at painting in this much looser style. This is also based on something from Jean Haines “Atmospheric Watercolours” book, this one a demo. It is also based on a reference photo I used several years ago for a much more traditional painting. I’m not totally unhappy with this work, but, even though I thought I was using the same colors and in about the same mix, her shades are much softer than mine came out. But it will take consistent practice to manage this style of work! I actually think I’m going to use this reference again and make another attempt at this.

Since, as I write this, it is past midnight, the month of September is over…and I only managed 16 paintings. Given how busy the month was, I’m not really too disappointed in only doing about half, but next time I want to be sure to do one per day! I do have one more in my studio that is about half done and I will be able to post it up till midnight October 1 (and since I’ve been working on it for the last two days of September), so hopefully I will actually have 17 included. Regardless, it will most likely be my next post here, another very loose attempt, without much to guide me in this style. We’ll see how it turns out…