30 Paintings Challenge – Day 9

20150922_143801-Windblown-slight changes from original-with watermark-smaller to post     Windblown II

It is obvious that I’m running terribly behind on getting 30 paintings done this month, but I’m still plugging away. There have been so many things that I, as president of the local watercolor group, have had to deal with and stay on top of. I’m also still re-creating essential documents for the group that were lost with the “death” of our old computer.  I have made great progress on that, but it seems like almost every day something else comes up-something that simply hadn’t been needed or hadn’t occurred to me yet. It might sound like just an excuse, but it has taken serious amounts of my time.

This is an improved version (hopefully) of a painting I did earlier in the summer. I made some changes and I’m much more pleased with it now. Since it’s been redone, I’m sharing it here and counting it as one of my 30 paintings. I used many different techniques in the creation of this work, which made it a great learning experience as well as just fun to paint! I just love flowers and bright colors!

Day 8 of the 30 Day Painting Challenge

20150922_143643-Week 2-smaller to post     Low Bridge

This painting was also done in my re-joined watercolor class. I started with a very pale yellow wash, adding more color to the sky to give the impression of either a sunrise or sunset. It looks like a very simple work, but was great practice with the darkest darks, rocks and negative painting! What fun!

Day 7- 30 Days Challenge

20150922_175137-Week 3 touch darker-smaller to post     Fall Color

As with the September 1 painting I posted, this one was done in the class I have rejoined-the one taught by the artist who introduced me to watercolor. I originally thought I was just going to the one class, but it was such a great experience being there that I decided to attend for a while again. I am having such fun being in his class; it’s on Monday morning and starts my week off so happily! Jim sketched this work, we copied his drawing and most followed his painting also. I went quite different with my colors, since it’s almost fall, and I wanted to reflect the beautiful shades of the trees this time of the year. This is a small painting, only 11″ x 7.5″. Painting so small can be its own challenge, but it also enables most of us in his class to complete a painting in one class. It’s just pure enjoyment to spend time with the other awesome artists and my friend/mentor!

Day 6 – 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

20150916_225652-Joker-cropped, corrected PS15-cropped differently-croppedfornewsletter     The Joker

Creepy, huh? This is from an internet search, done as part of the Facebook challenge called Every Day in September. The prompt for that day was “Jack in a Box/Joker” – you can see which direction I went! This was great fun to do, from drawing that maniacal face to using only black pen and watercolor (black mixed from other colors), along with the white of the page. I really think Halloween when I look at it. In fact, I think I’m going to have a small poster made from this at Costco to hang in my front window expressly for October 31!

Day 5 of Challenge

20150909_012113-Nefertiti-cropped, corrected PS15-smaller to post      Sketch of Nefertiti 

This day 5 work is a sketch I did of the Nefertiti bust (from an online search) for Every Day in September, a sketch group challenge on Facebook. That challenge has daily prompts to use – the subject was “Egyptian.” I will post this for the 30 paintings challenge too since I’m running several days behind!

I drew this with pencil in my 6×9 sketchbook, used black ink in places and colored it with Inktense pencils. I have had them for some time, but have used them very little. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to play with and learn something about using them. It was an interesting challenge, considering I have done almost no colored portraits (which in essence this is even though it’s from a statue). I didn’t quite capture the face, but I enjoyed the exercise anyway! No matter what the subject matter or what the media, I just love creating art and learning from the process!

Day 4 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days

20150909_005713-geranium-cropped, corrected PS15-smaller to post     Geranium and Shadows

This is finally my day 4 post in the challenge. It’s not very successful, but even when that happens, I post the painting and I always learn something whether great or not-so great! The point was strong light and shadow and I did get that at least. I find this creates quite an optical illusion; even though I know the bottom is straight and level, it looks to me like the right corner comes forward and is lower…interesting how those lines affect the appearance.

Summer Sketching

Shetland Pony at Sue's sketch in July-smaller to post     Curious Shetland

I did this sketch in July when our watercolor group spent the day at a member’s family ranch in Idaho. What a beautiful, fun day that was! This Shetland Pony was overly curious about what the humans were doing on the other side of that fence. I captured this photo and couldn’t resist using this one – love the angle!

I’m obviously running behind on the 30 in 30 challenge… I do plan to catch up, but thought it would be fun to share a few of my summer sketches in the meantime. I participated in Every Day in May, Every Day in June and Every Day in July on Facebook, at least keeping up on my sketching and having a lot of fun doing so!

Day 3, 30 Paintings

20150905_022250-Clothespins-cropped, corrected PS15-resized           Just Hangin’ Around

I have finally finished my day 3 painting, after not having time to touch it for the past two days – but at least it’s done. The photo reference on Wetcanvas was interesting and fun, so I drew it. This was a part of the August Watermedia challenge but I do not know who to credit for the photo. It was fun to do and I think my lesson here is that I need more practice with flat washes when I’m painting around objects!

Day 2 – September 30 Paintings in 30 Days

20150903_014937 copy-correctedPS15-best one       Fritillaries Love Coneflowers

This painting is special to me because my Coneflowers, all the colors, were especially beautiful this year. They are in a back flower garden which is visible from our bedroom. I just loved standing there, even from inside, just watching the Fritillary Butterflies all over the blossoms! We had such a long, extremely hot and dry summer that, sadly, the Coneflowers are pretty much done blooming-and I see more honey bees on them now than butterflies. What a wonder and blessing-and artistic inspiration-it is to have numerous flower gardens and beautiful flowers all over the yard!

30 Paintings in 30 Days-September 2015

20150901_231413-On the Boardwalk-day 1-cropped,smaller to post           On the Boardwalk

I am doing the 30 day challenge again and I am finally able to get back into my blog! After the old computer’s demise, I am spending most of my time “chasing my tail” just trying to recover password info, recover my website information, recreate vital information for Spokane Watercolor Society, etc.! To say that I’m frustrated is an extreme understatement-mostly because this should never have happened since the new computer has been here for months and my computer “guru” husband never bothered to make the transfers. Then the old one suddenly doesn’t work and even the backups are no good…

Enough of that! My September 1 painting is actually from a class that I decided to attend again. The class is taught by the artist who started me off in watercolor. He is up there in years, is my mentor as well as my friend and I’ve been missing him and the class! So, instead of just dropping by his class to say hello, I decided to rejoin it for a while. It is good practice and, even though my work has changed and improved significantly in the years I’ve been away from the class, I know there is always more to learn from Jim! So, here is my September 1 painting, “On the Boardwalk.” Painting it and being in the class was a lot of fun!

More daily sketches

 

sketch collage-3-20-15Sketch collage of five most recent sketches and the one of me recovering from a tooth extraction, after I added watercolor. 

 

Since I painted and posted the rooster, I haven’t been just doing nothing! I continue to work daily in my art Before Breakfast sketchbook and I want to share the info on that. I have begun adding light watercolor washes to those sketches, which in my opinion improves them greatly. The sketchbook I’m using accepts those just fine and I very much like using it-a Pentalic Dream Catcher accordion-fold artist journal that I found at our local art store. It was a new item for them, being promoted with a sale price, so I got one each of the “draw” and the “watercolor” versions. I haven’t tried the “watercolor” one yet, but the “draw” version has beautifully smooth paper and works great with the pen & ink and light washes.

I am also in the midst of three paintings in my studio; one is going great, one has been set aside for now in favor of other more interesting subjects and the other is complete but I am not happy with the background. I’m thinking about what I want to do to correct that. If nothing else, the lesson that I do better when I paint the background first is more firmly planted in my mind. I was not taught in that manner when I did take classes, but I know that works for many wonderful watercolor artists and it seems to for me also.

Colorful Rooster Painting

IMG_20150315_230205_692-rooster-cropped,straightened,correctedPS-small to post   “Colorful Rooster”

My Sunday evening daily painting. I’m so excited that I got another one done! This was a fun project, and, like so many of my 30 Paintings in 30 Days, any type of chicken is a subject that I have not tackled before. I have contemplated trying it, but have always “chickened out” – pun intended! Maybe a more complex background next time, but I thoroughly enjoyed painting yet another new type of subject!

I was sitting here cropping the photos I took of this watercolor when I realized that I totally forgot to do my Sunday art Before Breakfast sketch! Sometimes I just get busy and distracted… Even though at least one sketch every day is my goal, I guess I just have to face that there will be days when it doesn’t happen. Besides, I did get a rooster drawn and painted!

Pi (π) Day Pie Painting

IMG_20150314_221143_355-cropped,straightened,correctedPS-small to post-this one

3-14-15, dubbed Pi Day. What I really wanted was a real pie – lemon meringue, cherry, French Silk, any of those would do! But in the interest of not gaining 5 pounds, I opted for first sketching a cherry pie this morning in my art Before Breakfast sketchbook and then drawing and painting a lemon meringue pie this evening. Surely not as tasty, but calorie free without a doubt, this was a fun small project to do.

I am currently reading Daily Painting by Carol Marine. I got it not realizing that it appears to be mostly geared to oil painters, so at first I was a little disappointed. Once I started reading, however, I realized there was no reason for disappointment. Even though the author is an oil painter, she makes sure that most of the book is geared to any media. The point is that small frequent painting teaches you so much more than only doing the occasional large work. This constant practice also enhances your larger works when you do paint big. I had already realized just how much I learned from each painting when I participated in the January 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge. My plan was to continue, if not at quite that rate, then still painting frequently. I found out that it’s all too easy to set it aside in favor of all the other daily things that crop up, so I wanted/needed the reminder-which is exactly what that book is and will continue to be for me.

That was the long version of why I came to my studio this evening, drew and completed a small painting. It is something I need to try to do every day!

Floral Sketchbook Practice

5 minute practice sketch of Daffodils from book reference

IMG_20150313_113321_118-daffodils-straightened,cropped,brightenedPS-small to post

Again, a pen and ink page of sketches, this time referenced from my book, “20 Ways to Draw a Tulip and 44 Other Fabulous Flowers” by Lisa Congdon (http://www.amazon.com/Ways-Tulip-Other-Fabulous-Flowers/dp/159253886X). Daffodils are one of my very favorite flowers; they bring such sunny happiness to spring! Since my own daffodils are not in bloom yet – and it’s one flower that always gives me fits when attempting to draw/paint – I thought a little no-pre-drawing practice from this book was in order! Can you see the improvement happening as I work in this manner? I sure can! So, this is today’s sketchbook practice; not painted directly from live references, but still worthwhile practice!

art Before Breakfast again!

Thursday, 3-12, quick sketch of recycling bin at curb

IMG_20150312_114527_925-bluey sketch-straightened,cropped,brightenedPS-small to post

I has been a bit of a tough week, starting out on Monday with an urgent tooth extraction. The short version is – a botched root canal a number of years ago finally led to the demise of that particular molar, no matter how well I care for my teeth. The healing is going well, but the inevitable antibiotic has me feeling poorly, staying home taking it easy.

I guess that whole process has me somewhat out of the mood for painting, but I cannot ignore my art completely. Plus there is that wonderful “art Before Breakfast” book, which I did very quickly read cover to cover. While I’m not practicing exactly as is outlined in Danny Gregory’s book, I am working at filling the small accordion sketchbook I started with something each day. The sketches are not impressive, but it is a learning experience.

In this case, that learning is from just grabbing a Micron pen and going for it with whatever grabs my attention at that time, with no pencil pre-drawing. Even when I meet with my sketch group, I start with a pencil drawing, erasing and correcting things along the way. Then, when I’m happy enough with the sketch (and if there is still time since I work slowly), I will ink it and do a watercolor wash. I have many sketches done that way that I like, but it is a crutch and I need to learn to work directly! I hope that eventually, with enough practice, I will have that skill. I will still pre-draw for my paintings with a pencil, but that might just go more quickly and be more accurate the first time! The process I am practicing now can help me to become a much better artist overall and that’s what it’s all about!

More art Before Breakfast scribbles

IMG_20150308_035718_230-coffee scribble-cropped,brightenedMS  Another really bad 2-3 minute sketch, this time really, really early morning and long before breakfast. Daylight Savings Time just took effect and, as is my habit, I’m still up. Since Sunday mornings are less conducive to art time than other mornings, I decided to do a quick one before I go to sleep and share it. I probably shouldn’t share any of these, because it truly makes it look like I am completely unable to draw at all. It is true that I don’t work well and quickly at the same time, but the fact is that I make a habit of hand drawing my work prior to painting. I don’t paint quickly either and, when put on the spot to do so, I pretty much freeze up and accomplish nothing! So, in addition to just making art (with a very small a) of some kind, perhaps these exercises will eventually help me to learn to work faster and still produce quality work.

art Before Breakfast

I recently received a wonderful book by Danny Gregory called art Before Breakfast. The a in the title is not capitalized. This premise is described as such: “art with a big ‘A’ is for museums, galleries, critics and collectors while art with a small ‘a’ is for the rest of us.” I like that train of thought, since so much of the art that many of us make, even though we strive for perfection, simply is not perfect and/or museum quality. That’s absolutely not to say that it isn’t beautiful! In some ways, the book seems geared to busy people who have never even thought of trying any form of art, with the author pointing out some of the mental and physical advantages of it. But to me the book also speaks to all artists of any medium in that the purpose is that you make time for art every day!

Being a person who tends to flit from one project to another and another, sometimes finishing nothing, I have been making myself finish one book – if I’m reading it cover to cover rather than just using it for a quick reference – before I can start another. So, I finally was able to start reading art Before Breakfast Thursday night (I read before going to sleep). Which meant that Friday morning, I grabbed a pen and did two very quick, sloppy sketches before breakfast! These sketches were each under 5 minutes, including digging through my very limited markers to add some color. I’m a little embarrassed to show them, but I will anyway because starting my day that way made me feel great and added to the desire to make sure I spent some time in my studio. I find that most any type of doodle, scribble or sketch can loosen up my hand and focus my attention on art. So, here are those two sincerely bad sketches from Friday morning; the left one is the “title page” in a small accordion fold sketchbook and the second (photo rotated to make it upright) is, believe it or not, the bowl of grapes that I ate for breakfast. Now I just have to stick with it every day!

IMG_20150306_102708_537-opening page                IMG_20150306_102708_537-first sketch

Pen and Ink

I have been tied up a lot lately with Spokane Watercolor Society things. I finally got into my studio for a short time tonight and did a little reference photo searching and then drawing. All around my studio, I have quite a few of my older works and one grabbed my attention while I was sitting there.

This is one of the first pen and ink works I did. I really like the exacting, slow process of doing pen and ink work. Being one of my first makes it a little special to me and I have always liked it. But there is a more important reason that it is special. My mother was particularly fond of old mills with water wheels. I did a painting of this one, which I now have since she passed three years ago. Somewhere along the way, I wanted to try my hand at the same scene in pen and ink. I’m sorry for the poor photo, but tonight I want to share that (possibly unfinished) work with you.

IMG_20150228_012227_762-waterwheel pen and ink-best-smaller to post

 

 

Loose painting of a deer

IMG_20150216_021413_294-deer-to post-smaller to post copy

 

One of my recent no-drawing painting attempts… This is from a photo taken in Glacier National Park a couple of years ago and was not taken with a telephoto lens, just a cell phone. Obviously the deer there are quite used to people being nearby.

What I like about this is the looseness. Even though it’s not very good, going without an initial drawing at all definitely loosened up my usually overly tight, photo-realism type painting. Being able to paint looser is something I strive for. That is not to say that I will paint this way all the time, but more practice in this manner may be a very good thing!

Sandpipers on the beach

 

 

original watercolor “Wait for Me!”IMG_20150216_021215_106-cropped,correctedPS-smaller to post

I always seem to be inspired by the ocean and, for that matter, most bodies of water. Perhaps growing up so near a lake has something to do with that. This was a fun painting to do, with some experiments along the way. It is based on the numerous photos I took a decade ago while on the Florida Gulf Coast. I loved watching the Sandpipers on the beach!

I am currently stressing over planning and executing a painting or paintings to enter in our Spokane Watercolor Society 2015 Open Juried Show, coming up this fall. Because of that and several other issues, I am still not managing a painting a day. I am doing something toward my art every day though – digging through years worth of photos for reference ideas, compositions, pre-drawing, sketches, etc. My smaller works might not be impressive enough for some, but after my “painting marathon” in January, for me it seems to be a better way to improve and to simply feel like I am accomplishing something. But you can’t submit anything of that size as a juried show entry… I just have to make time in my schedule for the larger works too.