Did a little something for “Pi” Day!

It’s been a very busy time and I have to admit that this little piece that I did today is the first thing I’ve completed since I finished the 30 in 30 challenge. Since March 14 is “Pi” day, I drew and painted a piece of cherry pie. Hey, at least it’s better than creating no art at all! Although I might have enjoyed the end result more had I just baked a cherry pie… 

In addition to this and the 30 paintings I did February into March, I’ve been having fun posting some of my work on Instagram. It’s amazing the attention some of the art gets once it’s posted and has the appropriate hashtags – and I’m loving it!

     “Pi Day Pie”

#watercolor #watercolour #watercolorpainting #watercolourpainting #art #painting #artist #fineart #drawing #food #foodart #pie #Pi day #cherry #cherrypie

What fun the 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge was!

I already said that I’m pleased and proud-and I really am. This is the first time in quite a long time that I’ve managed to do 30 pieces. There’s nothing wrong with doing fewer-it’s all good practice and a wonderful learning experience. But, as I’ve also stated earlier, I was determined this time to do all of them – mostly because I spent so much of last year painting far too little and it’s time I work at being the artist that I can be, that I want to be! If it’s in you, it’s something you need to do; it’s something I NEED to do!!!

Collage, all of my February 2018 30 in 30 challenge paintings!


Day 30 completed-pleased & proud!

Yes, it’s a day late, but I truly am pleased and proud to have completed all 30 paintings-and feeling like it’s been a real accomplishment, especially with all the factors that derailed my painting so many of those days! Now I must just keep at it and paint, paint, paint!   :D
I knew that a lighthouse, something that I haven’t painted in far too long, had to be a part of my 30-and so that’s what it had to be today!

     “Sailing Toward the Light”

(Reference photo thanks to John K Mitchell, another generous photographer on Photos For Artists.)


#art #challenge #watercolor #painting #artist #lighthouse #landscape #seascape #ocean #beach #shore #sea #waves #sailing #sailboat #inspiration #drawing



Oh-No; I haven’t posted Days 24 & 25!

Obviously, I’m now not only behind, but also out of order! Again, there have been so many demands on my time that I forgot to post these two days after I finished them-darn! My day 24 painting is also entered in the monthly challenge on Photos For Artists (on Facebook). The challenge is “waterbirds” and I wanted to participate, but hadn’t found what I wanted to paint. Then, on February 20, I was scrolling and saw that Mal Rayner had some new postings-and there was exactly what I had been looking for (an Avocet) in those new photos!

As for my day 25, is a mini-painting and it’s mostly a throw-away. I had a few minutes, didn’t really feel like painting and, while I did the best I could under those circumstances, it just didn’t turn out… I knew I wasn’t in the mood to get something done, but pressured myself to do one anyway. I will say that the real piece looks somewhat better than the scan came out. In spite of all that, I posted it-because that’s my accountability!

     Day 24-“Fishing”

(Photo credit and thanks to Mal Rayner for this awesome Avocet picture.)


#art #challenge #watercolor #painting #fineart #artist #birds #beach #ocean #shore #Avocet #inspiration #flowers

Days 26-29 done-only one more to go!

During this challenge, I seem to have had a particularly difficult time finding time to paint, with the past couple of weeks being almost impossible… So, yesterday, in just 12 hours, I drew and painted three pieces and painted a fourth without a any drawing on the paper. After that, I fell into bed in exhaustion, without posting any of them…

I also know that the 30 days is technically over, but there was no way I could do a fifth one yesterday. That is on for this morning, just as soon as I’ve finished breakfast – and decided what I want to paint today! I told myself that I was going to do all 30, and I am, even if I’ve gone over the time frame by a day! That determination to get painting done needs to stick with me from now on-and that’s rather the point of this wonderful challenge to begin with!

     Day 26-“First Flight” 

(Photo credit and thanks to Russ Bridges on Facebook group, Photos For Artists.)

     Day 27-“Santorini View”   

(Thank you to Phil Jenkins, also on Photos For Artists, for this reference photo.)

     Day 28-“Teasel Stop”

(My appreciation, again, to Russ Bridges for his Goldfinch on Teasel photo reference [European Goldfinch, looks quite different from what we’re used to seeing here].)

     Day 29-March Snowflakes Dancing”

No photo credit, no drawing-this from my mind to my hand and on the paper…

#art #challenge #watercolor #painting #artist #fineart #colorful #birds #landscape #snow #winter #weeds #view #arch #European #buildings       


Finally, Day 23 completed

As all artists know, things don’t always go as planned-and sometimes our time is simply not our own. That has been the case for over a week now and I’ve been fitting in painting whenever I can-and finding myself falling further and further behind… So, last night,while a larger painting’s background was drying, I found this reference, drew it (fairly small) and began with the first wash on the petals. This morning, while some of the details on the larger painting were drying, I finished this Hibiscus-a flower any of my followers know is one of my absolute favorites!

     “Hibiscus Shadow Play”  

(Photo reference, my thanks to matingara, from the Wetcanvas reference image library. This is a native Australian Hibiscus-and a beauty!)

#watercolor #art #painting #floral #30in30challenge #flowers #hibiscus #shadows #colorful #artist

Day 16 – finished!

This one was fun and very, very frustrating! I’ve been loving painting on the rough paper surface, but maybe not so much on this one. The bird went fairly well, but the rocks it’s standing on simply didn’t work very well. In fact, I had to wash off that part the best I could and correct what I was able to. It does look better than it did…but then the scan isn’t great either. But that’s what this challenge is about – practicing, trying new things, finding out what works and what doesn’t, fixing what you can; it’s ALL a great learning experience! I know I’ve mentioned how very valuable this process is!

     “I’m Talking Here!”

(Reference photo credit and my appreciation to Dennis Flynn on Photos For Artists, a Facebook group.)

#Puffin #bird #painting #challenge #watercolor #rocks #landscape #experimentation #art #colorful

Day 10 – It was time for a flower!

Usually, along about this time of the year, I’m fed up with looking at gray skies and brown everything else! This year is quite unusual and warm, with even some partially sunny days, and there are a few things growing, but it still hasn’t made me stop yearning for beautiful flowers… So, last night when I finally got time to start a painting, I “grabbed” a rose photo that I took some time ago, drew it and painted it. I was in the mood for soft coloring rather than bright, as is obvious from this piece.

     “Soft Pink”

#flowers #floral #watercolor #30paintingsin30days #challenge #art #painting #rose

Day 8 is finally done!

My day 8 piece is another mini painting, a ginger cat. I love cats, a self-described “crazy cat lady”! This photo grabbed me because of the incredible eye and the concentration the “model” cat had on whatever she was watching!


(Reference photo credit to Linda Gleason Ritchie on FB group, Photos For Artists)

Day 7 – another insect…

This was a photo that I ran across and thought it would be a great challenge-which it was. I do think it turned out better than my red dragonfly and it does look like a bee! All the tiny hairs were difficult, especially on a piece that only measures about 4.75″ X 4.75″; trying to make the wings look delicate was also interesting! What does not show up in the photo is the Winsor & Newton Irridescent Medium that I put on the wings after the watercolor dried. It was an experiment with a product that I had not tried before and I really like the look and how much it adds to the wings!


(Photo credit to coyotegal [Bee on Cowpen Daisy] on Wetcanvas)

YAY-my Day 5 painting, actually completed on February 5th!

This was a fun project! I think giraffes are incredibly beautiful creatures and very interesting looking too! So, that’s what I painted for today, fresh off the board just a bit ago.

These challenges are such a worthwhile thing for an artist to do! A few years ago, when I first ran across this 30 in 30 challenge, I signed up, having no clue what I was going to paint each day. Of course I paint flowers and some landscapes, but what else? That conundrum was the reason that I finally tried my hand at painting birds and animals! Much to my surprise, I found that I seem to do pretty well with them overall. What a wonderful learning experience and outcome from the first couple of challenges in which I participated! Now, there’s no question that I’m going to commit to the challenge, although some timing is better than other timing and I don’t always manage to complete 30 pieces-even though my goal is always to do so.

     “Hello Down There, Shorty!”

(Photo credit the Ernie Griffith on FB group, Photos for Artists)

Day 2 – a real challenge

This one somewhat got the better of me. I’ve painted an owl (different type) before and loved the result. This one gave me a rough time, maybe partly because of using the sketchbook rather than watercolor paper. But, as always, I post what I do because it’s part of the challenge and we, as artists, all know that not everything comes out the way we want it to! That’s called learning!

     “Barn Owl”


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!

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.


30 Paintings in 30 Days-Day 5

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed Tuesday morning and, as always happens, I ran across all kinds of wonderful photos from the group, Photos for Artists. As is very obvious, I love flowers-seeing them, smelling them, growing them and painting them! Sunflowers especially appeal to me, whether tall and regal or short and smaller – in part because they are just such happy-looking flowers, but also they produce seeds that both birds and people just love to eat! They, to me, kind of epitomize summer! So, rolling my mouse past those wonderful photos, I saw two by perhaps my favorite photographer (John Frost) in the group. One was a whole field of sunflowers, the other a closer shot of a few of them. What inspiration! So I grabbed my paper, water, a few brushes, my palette and a few extra colors of yellow paint and, without any drawing, I started painting. I NEVER just paint without first drawing (except occasionally when I’m out plein air painting)! It actually went fairly well and was fun to do – and, maybe because I really love sunflowers-and summer-I really like this happy little painting!

20160906_160329-cropped,straightenedPS-color,exposurecorrectedMS-72PPI-watermark   Day 5 – “Sunny Flowers”

Day 5, 30 Paintings in 30 Days, September 2016 challenge, original watercolor by Elaine Syth, © Fine Art by Elaine


Well, I see by looking at my own blog that it was the end of February when I last posted-oh my! What can I say except that life gets in the way…

I have been painting a LOT lately, much of it being practice after having painted far too little for the past 3 1/2 years! During that time, I was president of Spokane Watercolor Society, which I loved doing-and for the past year, I was both president and vice-president, which was a little much! August 31 was my official last day as an officer in the group. I will still participate – a lot; but for now, I’m concentrating on painting, sketching, drawing and painting more and what a joy it is!

I participated, on Facebook, in the first official World Watercolor Month (July 2016). The only problem is that it took me two months to complete 30 paintings, completed on Aug. 31! I will photograph my work and share here when I can. I cut my watercolor paper into 15″ x 7.5″ pieces, folded each in half and then used a 7 1/2″ square for each painting, with the idea that I would assemble the pages into a book when the paintings were completed. I still plan to do so – soon! Some of the work turned out very well, some…well, not so much! That’s okay though, because I learned something from each piece I did!

So now, here it is September and this challenge has begun. I love challenging myself to do this and, obviously, signed up for it again. The biggest problem I have is time, because I am preparing for an art show, Spokane Studio Art Tour, which takes place on Sept. 10-11. Although I go to this event almost every year (this is year 13), this is my first time participating in this wonderful, local show. I hope we have lots of visitors, great weather and that many people like my work!

My first painting was begun before September, but completed after midnight on the 1st. It’s the most awesome story, one that really touched my heart. Briefly, a friend and I were plein air painting at a beautiful, popular local park. We talked to many people that evening, but the most fun and memorable was a young couple who were quite interested in our work. Since I had forgotten my art tour flyers, I told them about it and, for more info that they could contact me on our group’s FB page. He did, asking if I could paint Hydrangea (his girlfriend’s favorite flower), with the idea of getting a print for her upcoming birthday. As much as I love flowers, I have always steered clear of even trying that one. I can grow them, but I just didn’t think I could paint them. But with their off again, on again story and his desire to give her something really special, I decided to try. So, I pulled up several photos from my own garden, did a little research, played with an attempt starting with no drawing, then started drawing! It took me almost a week – and a lot of nerves over whether I could really do this – but I finished the painting posted below. And yes, I did get the matted print to him for her birthday and he seemed very pleased with it; I hope she will be too! Personally, I’m excited to conquer yet another subject that scared the heck out of me!


Hydrangea completed, 300PPI, ready to print-small to post-watermark added   “Am I Blue?”

Day 1, 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

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


I just noticed that I missed posting one of my “days” paintings. I’m not sure how that happened, but here it is. This was a class project on the 18th; mine looks quite different from the example set forth. In spite of the fact that it’s not my usual style or favorite type of subject, it’s good to try something different and I ended up enjoying it. Plus I always put my own spin on it anyway…

Old Mill Pond-cropped, straightened PS-96 PPI-watermark   Day 21 – Old Mill Pond