With spring finally here and birds everywhere, another Wetcanvas challenge grabbed my attention earlier this month. This time it’s the called the “Fur, Feathers and Scales Challenge”. The reference for this painting came from the March challenge (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1309497) and I did not paint it in time to post it there, as this one closes at the end of each month. Since I’m not very familiar with painting birds of any kind and I think Bluebirds (this one is an Eastern Bluebird) are really gorgeous, I wanted to paint it for the experience. This painting is 1/8 watercolor sheet-about 7”x 10”; it’s a very simple rendition of the reference, not well composed but practice nevertheless. Even though I don’t totally love the painting, I’m posting it because I want to encourage everyone to try new things in their art-subject matter, methods, media, whatever; it all expands our knowledge and stretches us as artists! Get out the paints and brushes and just do it!
I just had to do it again-paint another picture in the tiny format (3″x 4″) – and it’s another floral. And again I had a fun time with it. I finally have a better feel for drawing and painting that small; to me if feels very different from even a watercolor quarter-sheet, which isn’t a very large painting. The inspiration for this iris painting came from an iris picture I took in my yard two or three years ago. I have used it for a number of sketches, tried it with watercolor pencils and now I have painted a tiny watercolor version of it. Pretty much the only thing somewhat true to the photo is the flower shapes, but it has been great inspiration. I’m sure it is very obvious what joy and beauty I find in flowers and in painting them!
Last October I was privileged to have my very first one-woman show at Robert’s Mansion, a local Bed & Breakfast in a very historic part of our city. I actually had admired that beautiful old mansion for years and had taken several photos in 2011. After my show, I wanted to do some sort of artwork with those pictures, but watercolor didn’t fit exactly what I had in mind. Having very little experience with pen and ink and being ready for a challenge, I drew the mansion and then did my first fully pen and ink painting. Perfect? No! But I’m very proud of this artwork and am proud to share it here. I enjoyed using the media and techniques so much and, even though it’s a very time consuming media, I look forward to delving into pen & ink again soon! I think the results can be stunning.
I was drawn back to the trading card mini painting size like I did a couple of weeks ago. I had a somewhat easier time getting the drawing to fit the format, maybe because it’s not the first one this time. This viola is from the April Plant Parade challenge on Wetcanvas: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1312900. There are several reference photos to choose from, but since I have grown this particular flower I was inspired to give it a try. In this challenge, you have most of the month to paint and then the pictures are posted on the 25th or after-so here’s the preview. Like with the other one, it was a fun challenge to paint this size!
I can’t believe a week has gone by – a very busy week – since I last posted. I have hardly been in my studio in that time, but I do have something helpful to post.
I’m changing subjects a bit today to share something simple that I put together a few weeks ago. This comes more under the subject of a useful and inexpensive project worth sharing. Although I would love to take credit for coming up with the idea, I cannot. I saw this in a YouTube video made by an artist whose style I love, Susan Crouch. The address for that video is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3LExb9l73k. She has other inexpensive materials ideas in that video too. What this consists of is a sheet of foamcore board, duct tape (I used white) and that rubbery shelf paper (also white-I found mine at Target) and takes just minutes to put together. Using white will not distract your eye or color vision if any part of this prop shows while you’re painting. It’s nothing fancy, but it works like a charm as a prop for your watercolor painting board when you want to paint on a slant, is lightweight and easy to use and store! I had nothing to use other than a stack of books and I hate using those because I don’t want to slop water and/or paint on them, plus they tend to be slippery. This seemed like the perfect solution without spending a lot on a commercially-made prop. I love mine!
I contacted Susan Crouch to check on exactly what she used to make hers and she very nicely got right back to me-thank you, Susan! The idea came from a Cheng Khee Chee workshop she attended at Cheap Joe’s in Boone, NC. She used 3/16″ foamcore board and said that she has found it really isn’t necessary to use the rubbery shelf paper on it. I did use it on mine and like that it makes it pretty much completely non-slip, so when I make another, I may continue to use it.
As membership chairman, I made these to give to the newest members of Spokane Watercolor Society. They seemed to be a hit; I hope they love using theirs as much as I do mine!