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!

Challenges

IMG_20150120_231628_705-zebra-croppedPS  “Zebra Color”   Day 17 painting

With three new paintings begun and drying – and exhaustion taking over – I left my studio last night. I drew and did the under-painting on two that I’ve had in my head almost since the beginning of the challenge. Since the two that were sitting there ready to paint didn’t appeal to me last night, I went with plan B.

This is my experiment with watercolor and a zebra “portrait.” In working on these 30 in 30 paintings, I’ve come to realize that I truly enjoy the challenge of working on animals/birds. Perhaps I was in a rut and needed to branch out with less familiar subjects. Whatever it is, I’m loving it and this painting was fun to do! I may even try another zebra in a different style before this challenge ends. So, what do you think of this one?

Inspiration

IMG_20150107_230359_160 PS-resized for posting       “Who’s There?”  Day 4 Painting

Have you ever noticed that when you’re under pressure to get artwork done, inspiration sometimes flies out the window? That is somewhat where I’ve been since January 3, when I again signed up for a 30-in-30 challenge-sponsored by the same artist as last September. I started 3 days behind!!! I have yet to catch up, but I have completed five paintings so far, have three more drawn on the Arches 140# CP paper and have a wealth of ideas floating around in my head. After I squelched the panic, I just started looking around and found all kinds of inspiration. Here is my day 4 painting. It is a Eurasian Eagle Owl, which was the week 11-29-14 subject in a Facebook group, “Paint Colorful Birds for Fun.” I rarely participate in the weekly choices; I’m quite proud of this since I have almost no experience drawing or painting animals of any kind. So, between trying to do at least some less familiar subjects and trying to fit at least one painting in each day (assuming I ever get caught up with myself), challenge is the perfect word for this! Not everything I paint will be up to what I expect from myself, but to me it’s all about practice, practice, practice! You cannot improve as an artist without devoting time to your art!