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.

20160903_025209_resized-croppedcorrected-as-much-as-possible

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

30 PAINTINGS IN 30 DAYS AGAIN-I’M EXCITED!

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

Oops…

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

 

Half Way Through…

Yes, half way through, but with only a week left in January, that’s not so good… But I’m doing the best I can and I will finish just as many paintings as possible! While they’re not all terrific, all artists know that practice is  a good thing. From practice comes more knowledge in handling your media of choice and you are always learning something in the process!

This is actually a drawing/painting that I started during the summer. Then various situations kept me out of my studio, this work got somewhat buried and frankly, I had forgotten about it. When I started this challenge, I spent some time organizing in the studio and ran across this partially finished work. I have put it off for most of January and figured it was time, for good or bad, to finish it! I actually like the way this turned out- hope you do too!

20160124_030857-cropped, straightened, brightened PS-96 PPI-watermark   Day 15 – Swallowtail

Day 13 Painting Completed

Look at me, doing something involving rocks two days in a row… I decided to revisit a painting that I did recently and then sold, using a somewhat different approach. I liked the one I titled “Sunset”, colors and all; this time I tried for a brighter, sunrise look with the same basic subject. Subtle differences, but really obvious at the same time. It was really a spur of the moment decision to do this painting again and I cannot decide which of the two I prefer. I’m still running so badly behind on the challenge, having posted my Day 13 painting in the Day 21 list!

Sunrise on Basalt Cliff-best-96PPI-watermark   Day 13 – Sunrise on Basalt Cliff

More Progress – Another Landscape

This painting is another inspired by one that Jim’s class did on a day when I was unable to be there. I should explain that while in class, you can work on your own thing, use Jim’s example, painting it as he did or you can take his example and “do your own thing” with it. After so many years of painting, the latter is what I do, but also using Jim’s expertise as well as my own experience as my guidance. There is always more to learn, which is the advantage to dropping into classes sometimes. The other advantages with this class are the camaraderie and fun with the great people there-and always time to learn more from my mentor!

In addition to painting florals, which is probably my favorite subject, I very much enjoy working on landscapes covering of all sorts of subjects. Rocks are often my nemesis, so it’s always a good thing to practice them, whether simple rocks or rock cliffs; the more you work on them, the more you understand and can mentally picture their shapes and angles.

Rock Cliffs-cropped, brightened PS-96PPI-watermark   Day 12 – Light and Shadow

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

Landscape Painting

My Day 10 painting is based on a reference photo that I have had for years-and never had the nerve to attempt the painting! This is such an amazing, inspirational location! I decided I was finally ready to try it and worked on it for most of the month (to this point). Very challenging and colorful, but I can see the light, shadows, the heaviness of the rocks and extreme complexity when I stand back to look at it. I hope you can too!

Antelope Canyon Arizona-96PPI-with watermark   Day 10 – Antelope Canyon

30 Paintings in 30 Days-Class Inspiration

This painting was a project done in class. I enjoyed this, as I love pretty much anything “beachy”! It’s funny how a project can look horrible until the finishing touches are in and suddenly it all seems to come together. That’s how this painting went and in the end, I am happy with it, colors and all. Enjoy!

Beach Grass-Jim's class 1-11-16-cropped, corrected MS-96PPI-watermark   Day 8 – Beach Grass

 

Catching up on my challenge postings…

My Day 7 painting was more of accidental painting than intentional, but it’s fun and colorful and an abstract that I happen to like! I know it’s an artistic style I should play around with more often, but it’s not my favorite thing and I find it somewhat difficult to do, as opposed to actually painting something tangible. But here is one, kind of a leafy thing, shown in a mat that my friend/mentor Jim gave me to use with it since it works so well…

Abstract with mat-1-11-16-96PPI   Day 7 – Abstract

30 Paintings in 30 days-my day 3 floral

Heart of Gold-cropped, scan corrected MS-Day 3 for 30 in 30; day 4 for EDiJanuary-72 PPI to post   Heart of Gold – Day 3

As is obvious, I love flowers, so I guess it follows that I love painting florals! Hibiscus is one of my very favorite flowers. Not only are they delicate, beautiful and come in all kinds of color and shape combinations, but they also remind me so much of tropical places – another thing I love! This particular one is partly based on my own reference photo and partly artistic license, as I don’t think this coloring exists in nature (white with a golden center). Then, when all was finished except the stamens, I stood back and wondered how to make the flower stand out from the white-of-the-paper background, while keeping it simple. I was taught this light blue surrounding wash many years ago by a very talented local watercolor instructor and I sometimes fall back on it still. I think it works and, since I have the same blue in the leaves, that part works for me too.

Back at it; 30 Paintings in 30 Days January Challenge!

The past two months have sped by at the speed of-well something really speeding! We had a horrible wind storm in November, which caused untold damage all over the area. Personally, we only had minor damage to a couple of our trees, but we were without electricity for 8 days and then without internet, phone and TV for an additional 2 days. It was cold, dark and miserable and I literally cried when the power finally came on! I also got so far behind on everything I “had” to do that I still haven’t managed to catch up-especially with the holidays in that time frame.

I sketched a little during the “black out”, taking off my gloves until my hands were so cold I couldn’t work any longer. I missed light, I missed heat and I missed working on my art! I managed to finish 14 hand drawn and painted Christmas cards, most of which were for my third year participating in the Wetcanvas Christmas card exchange. I’m quite pleased that I got them done and sent and with the cards themselves. I will post them, scattered among the other works I want to share here. I signed up for Leslie Saeta’s 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge for January and, even though we’re only 5 days into the month, I am currently trying to catch up! I’m also participating in a Facebook group, Every Day in January, which is a sketch challenge with daily prompts. I am also behind on that, but am determined to manage them both. I need to spend time on my art! So, right now I will post my day 1 and day 2 paintings for the 30 in 30 challenge.

 

Birds of a Feather-day 1-72PPI to post   Day 1 – Birds of a Feather-from my own photo taken in my yard on January 1, 2016 with birds all over, while it was 5° and sunny outside.

Lonely Beach-done in Jim's class 1-4-16-scanned, croppedMS-72 PPI to post   Day 2 – Lonely Beach-done on January 4 in Jim’s class (my mentor/friend/first watercolor teacher) from his reference.

How Time Flies…

20151010_213240-leaves-wordshop-with bent watermark-smaller to post     Falling Leaves

I cannot believe it is this far into October and I have posted nothing since the 2nd! Time really does fly-although I’m not so sure it’s always when you’re having fun… More likely, it is often when you’re just too busy to notice! My last post was the day of our First Friday Spokane Watercolor Society 2015 Juried Show opening. Since that time, I took a one-day sketch workshop from amazing Urban Sketcher, Don Colley, as well as doing much work for the juried show awards, helped with the award reception and was privileged to be in one of the two most awesome workshops I have ever taken! The workshop, taught by the fabulous Vancouver, WA artist, Bev Jozwiak, was three days of intense, but fun, learning. This is the painting I did in the workshop the first day, using as close as I could come to Bev’s style of painting and completely different from anything I have created before. I love it! Now I’m playing catch-up on all the things on which I fell behind and struggling to get into my studio to practice the wonderful things I learned in Bev’s workshop. Life really does get busy and hectic, but if I didn’t love doing all that I do, I simply wouldn’t do it! More paintings to come…

30 Paintings in 30 Days Collage

PicMonkey Collage-2 with wording-smaller to post

Well, obviously there are not 30 paintings here, but I’m quite pleased with most of the 17 I got done. As I did in January, at the recommendation of Leslie Saeta, I used PicMonkey to make the collage, using their free option. They come out nice, are simple to do and there are a surprising number of arrangements and additions you can make there. It’s always fun for me to see a body of my work in one place!

My 17th Painting – 30 Paintings in 30 Days

20151001_235029-roses-cropped PS15-with watermark-smaller to post  Roses II-Less is More, attempts at looser painting

I can hardly believe it – I actually managed to finish my 17th painting! It was a work in progress for the past two days, I even went to the Spokane Sketchers Meetup Thursday and still I completed, photographed, cropped and got it posted with 3 minutes to spare! I am pleased that at least I got more than half done.

As for the rose painting, I had no reference and no guidance; still I think I did a decent job with the looser style on this. In addition, I had fun with it and feel like I learned a lot in the process.