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

Christmas card catch-up post – part 2

Here are the rest of my 2017 Christmas cards. They were such fun to draw and complete, especially the whimsical ones! I also loved working with mixed media on these as opposed to strictly using only watercolor. Each of the recipients seemed to really enjoy her card and I know I certainly appreciate the incredible cards I received – from all over the U.S. and even the world!

img251-furry-santa-dog-card-scan-smaller-to-post img249-angel-card-scan-smaller-to-post img254-sugerplum-fairy-smaller-to-post img255-bells-card-scan-smaller-to-post-2 img256-christmas-cat-on-ornament-smaller-to-post img264-jingle-bells-card-scen-actually-done-for-sed-dec-16-day-5-ornament-prompt-but-turned-into-a-card-smaller

  1. : “Santa Dog” This is modeled after my “bad hair day” little rescued dog, Izzy (definitely her sweet face), although she is somewhat smaller than the dog in this appears-and she will not keep a hat on her head for even a second. I love her so much that she simply had to be the “model” for this, my favorite card this year!
  2. : “Lavendar Angel” Another folk-art type angel, inspired by the mixed media Meetup that I attended last year for a few months. Just sweet and fun!
  3. : “Nutcracker Ballerina” This piece didn’t turn out as I wanted, mostly her face. I posted it on my Facebook monthly sketch group, never intending to use the card. I got such encouragement from my fellow artists on there that I did send this card too. I wish I had done a better job on her face, but as with all sketching-type work, practice helps one to improve!
  4. : “Pastel Bells” was inspired by a piece a friend did in our watercolor class. He used traditional Christmasy colors and the pieces look nothing alike, but when I was lacking in inspiration, his idea got me going to draw something similar and put my own spin on it!
  5. : “Christmas Cat Ornament” Being a “crazy cat lady”, the inspiration for this came out of my mind-I simply had to include at least one cat card! This was just pure (or purr) fun to do and I love the whimsical look of it!
  6. : “Merry Christmas Bells” This piece was inspired by the “ornament” prompt on my FB daily sketch group. I wanted to try bells and once I got them done, I just couldn’t resist turning this into a card by adding the hand lettering! I think that simply came from making so many cards this year – apparently I just couldn’t stop!

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”

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

Best Subject Ever!

We have a sweet, rescued dog that I named Izzy, who has been with us for over 9 years now. She probably rescued us far more than we rescued her! She is a mixed breed “mutt” that is the light of my life, so sweet-natured that I truly believe that she is the gentlest soul I have ever known. She also has a perennial “bad hair day” thing going, which makes even sketching her a challenge. I have only done that twice, with decent results, and I knew that I had to attempt to paint a portrait someday. That day came in late January and, even though this painting isn’t perfect, I’m so glad I tried and that I now have this painting of my sweetie! The reference was mostly a photo that I took on Christmas Day, 2015; after we opened gifts, I stuck the red bow on her and grabbed my camera. But, in doing the painting, I spent a lot of time studying her, especially her eyes, to get as close as possible. I must add that painting her portrait was a huge challenge!

Izzy-photo-cropped, straightened, corrected PS-96PPI   Day 29 – Izzy

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

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

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

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

More Christmas cards – Wetcanvas exchange

Before I head into my studio to work on paintings for the 30 in 30 challenge, I thought I would share a couple more of the cards… These two are similar – same cat, but somewhat different scenes. No titles for these, just fun cards to paint and share.

img048-smaller to post                                                img047-smaller to post

Back to My Watercolor Roots

Country Store-scanned-2- then cropped MS     Country Store

This is another painting I did in the class I’ve been attending from my first watercolor instructor. I’m enjoying the time and the other students there so very much! This was our project almost two weeks ago. In painting this, I used the same sketch as the others, but I tried to use the style I was working on in the Bev Jozwiak workshop. That includes bold colors, as is obvious here. I love the results I get and I just wish I had more time to practice and reinforce the methods I began to learn from her! As with anything else, it takes lots of practice-or you just revert to the same old style!

Day 13 Painting

20150929_005855-bald eagle-cropped PS15-with watermark-smaller to post Bald Eagle Portrait     11229372_10204981545391539_4367768305458494959_n-Heather Ward photographer-saved smaller to post in comments     Original photo by Heather Ward

Several days ago, I mentioned my eagle painting in progress. Well, I finally decided it was finished. This was definitely a challenge to do-and I love tackling things that are challenging, fun and different from my normal florals or landscapes. When I did the owl painting during the January 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge, it was the first time I had ever tried a close-up bird and so much enjoyed not only the work, but also the outcome. This is something I need to do more often-and practice, practice, practice!

 

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!

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.

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!

Challenges

I still can’t quite get over that I finished 30 paintings in 30 days (actually in 28 days because of starting a little late)! I completed the collage of my work, then proceeded to add a border with text around it in one of my photo programs. That wasn’t my idea-it was available on the PicMonkey site, but my computer is too old and has inadequate memory to be able to handle that part of the collage procedure. Below are two versions; one with all 30 paintings and the other with the ones of which I am most proud-twenty of them. What a journey it was! Would I do it again? YES! Especially if I find myself slacking off and not devoting time to my art!

 

Collage-all challenge paintings with border redone2-smaller to post

 

Collage-best paintings with border redone2-smaller to post

 

Challenges

IMG_20150127_133401_385-elephant-croppedPS-smaller to post        IMG_20150127_215725_353-roseyuck-croppedPS-smaller to post

“Elephant Portrait”   Day 24 painting                          “Rose Study”   Day 25 painting

Oh my gosh, I have not been so encouraged for over a week! I was able to finish and post these two paintings Tuesday-and cook a delicious dinner that took all day to make! But there’s more… I also have three works in progress-one almost finished, another over half done and a third barely begun; I also have two more drawn and, assuming I can complete them all, that will make a total of 30! Only three more days to accomplish this and I fully plan to do so!

As for these two paintings-do I love them? Not so much. But, I thought they were both complete lost causes. I know both are badly overworked-but even the fact that I was able to save them enough to use them pleases me a lot! I learned a whole lot in the process and that is never a bad thing. But for right now, I am exhausted and it’s time to get out of my studio and get some rest. More to come…

 

Challenges

IMG_20150122_231441_193-horse-croppedPS-smaller to post   “Spirited”   Day 19 painting

I found this reference photo on Wetcanvas more than a year ago and, wanting to try my hand at painting a horse, I downloaded it. With the challenge this month, I decided to finally try; I drew and had a small start to the painting and then had no idea how to proceed. So it sat in my studio where I had to see it every time I was there. I studied and studied it and finally decided two days ago that if it was ever going to happen, I had to just do it! Much to my delight, I finished this painting a few hours ago! With my very limited experience painting animals-and never a horse before-I was pleased with the horse, but what to do with the background… Then I just suddenly knew, did it and, while I’m fully aware it’s not perfect, I like it! That is such a good feeling, especially when it’s a subject that caused almost overwhelming fear after I thought I had ruined it at first!

This 30 in 30 challenge is about so much more than just painting regularly. I cannot believe how much I have been branching out on subject matter as well as figuring out how to fix something I thought was not salvageable. I am so glad I am doing this and even if I don’t quite achieve the desired 30, I will have painted more than ever before and learned so much along the way!