Bird Journal continued… Page 5, more welcome birds!

I believe that the goal of a journal is to do daily pieces – at that, I’m failing badly! This is obviously the time of year to do a “bird journal”, but it’s also the time of year when many hours each day are spent working in the very yard that welcomes these beautiful flying creatures! In fact, much of what I’m doing in the yard is planting things that help to draw in those birds… That being reality, I make notes of new/different birds in a notebook and work on the actual artwork mostly at night when the house is quiet-when I have the energy left to do so! It seems that my list of new visitors has far exceeded the time that I have available. And now, in less than 2 weeks, I’m beginning another 30 in 30 challenge-a different one this time. Check out this Marc Holmes June challenge on Facebook: #30x30DirectWatercolor2018! I’m not very experienced at “direct watercolor”, but will try… Thank heavens he’s very lose about rules and if you pre-draw and/or use some pen&ink, it’s acceptable. I know the idea is to get better at direct watercolor, but it’s also simply to get 30 pieces done in 30 days-one may have to preclude the other for me!

Now for my 5th journal piece, I’ve done “Cassin’s Finch”, both male and female since they look so different (and yes, I see that my lettering is not improving…). They are here some years and others they are not. This year, there seem to be more of them and, although the information says they “live in evergreen forests in the mountains up to about 10,000 feet elevation” they seem to be here, at least for the spring. That’s fine; they’re enjoyable to watch, whether gleaning seeds from the ground, eating insects in the trees and bushes or at the feeders. They are such an interesting pair, with the female so “bland” that she doesn’t much resemble her much showier partner!

     The Cassin’s Finch are here this year!

#challenge #journal #birds #finch #finches #cassinsfinch #artistic #journaling #experimental #artisticjournaling #lettering #drawing #art #watercolor #inspiration #gardening #practice #sketch #spring #landscape #cityscape

There’s a first time for everything…? Bird journal, page 4

Even though I knew-for years-that wild turkeys were rampant in our entire area, I had never seen any anywhere near our neighborhood. Then one day, while I was in my studio working, my dog started barking. Since she’s not much of a barker, I came upstairs to see what was going on. To my utter shock (and dismay) there were 4 wild hen turkeys in the backyard. I immediately ran outside, collected pine cone “ammunition” and used it by throwing them at the turkeys while chasing them, finally hitting one on the tail feathers. They moved faster then and, even more surprising than seeing them in my yard, was seeing them fly onto the house roof rather than just going over the fence. They then flew off from there. Yes, I probably looked and sounded crazy – I don’t care, because I don’t want them in my yard!

The rest of the story is that about a 1 1/2-2 weeks later they were back, but in my neighbor’s back yard. I did the same routine to chase them away, from within my own yard. It worked, with them going over her fence to the front yard and then away down the street. I’ve not seen them come back, but it could certainly happen at any time. I hope not-they’re not welcome birds in my yard, nor in this neighborhood, being loud, damaging, dirty and stupid!

That all being said, I have to add that they’re very huge and impressive creatures up close! Since they were, hopefully one-time, visitors to my yard, I’ve included this sketch in my journal along with the story…

     A very unwelcome group of birds in March!

 

#challenge #journal #birds #turkey #wildturkey #artistic #journaling #experimental #artisticjournaling #lettering #drawing #art #watercolor #inspiration #gardening #practice #sketch #spring #landscape

There’s a first time for everything…? Bird journal, page 3

The American Robin – a constant, and welcome, visitor most of the year. This year, they showed up here – lots of them – during the second week of March, as the weather started to warm again. Our ground is healthy with numerous earthworms and the Robins seems to be very happy in our yard. Last year there was a pair who pretty much owned the front yard; they would dive-bomb most squirrels and other birds out there, often even trying to drive me away when I was mowing, weeding, etc.! We had a bad wind storm last fall and a HUGE limb came down from our front yard shade tree (that clean-up is a whole other story)! Perhaps that was where those robins had nested, as they seem to be avoiding that tree this year. That’s fine, because it makes it a more welcome spot for other, more colorful and rare visitors this year.

     March brought the return of Robins!

#challenge #journal #birds #AmericanRobins #artistic #journaling #experimental #artisticjournaling #lettering #drawing #art #watercolor #inspiration #gardening #practice #sketch #spring #landscape

Bird Journal – something a bit different!

While this isn’t really a part of my bird journal, this February photo capture seems appropriate to this string of postings. The squirrels are always here, but this particular February photo-op capture was amazing to me. Since there is a February gap in returning birds (once winter really hit again), this little visitor fits right in. He/she was on the deck looking in the door and “hid” so cutely when I approached with my phone; this is the picture I was able to catch – and then paint for my day 1 in the 30 Paintings in 30 Days February Challenge.

     February-no new birds, but this amusing visitor…

#challenge #journal #squirrel #animal #birds #artistic #journaling #experimental #artisticjournaling #lettering #drawing #art #watercolor #inspiration #gardening #practice #sketch #spring #landscape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a first time for everything…? Page 2

Continuing with my first bird journaling attempt, here is my other early January backyard visitor. Perhaps neither the Nuthatches nor the Chickadees ever left, but not a lot of time is spent bird-watching in the winter around here. The days are cold, short, dark and dreary…and the birds are few. This year though, January and early February were real exceptions to our usual weather, with temperature highs in the 40s and sometimes even into the lower 50s! That being the case, it was quite a treat to look out and see these two types of birds in residence – which is largely what prompted this journal experiment! 🐥😍🐿

(Unfortunately, you can clearly see the ugly crinkling of this cheap paper in my journal scans…)

     Welcome January visitors continued…

#challenge #journal #birds #artistic #journaling #experimental #artisticjournaling #lettering #drawing #art #watercolor #inspiration #gardening #practice #sketch #spring #landscape

There’s a first time for everything…? 1st journal page

While I’ve filled dozens of sketchbooks of all shapes and sizes , I’ve never before actually tackled doing a journal. It truly is intended to be a DAILY journal, but I’ve definitely fallen down in that category already. I am, however, keeping notes to go with my pages, so that when I get around to them I still have the story to go with the sketch. I ran across a “bird journal” idea and instantly recognized that it was a perfect fit for me! Yes, I have the closest I can come to a suburban bird santuary in my backyard-and absolutely love seeing them as they show up in the spring, keeping track of what and when! I’m not technically a bird watcher and am not that versed on all of the varieties and species, but they, along with my dozens of types of perennial plants, do bring such life and joy to my yard! Just sitting in my favorite spot watching and listening is wonderful!

Those things said, I’ll begin sharing my journal pages. Unfortunately, the journal I chose to use has horrible paper and I’m not very good at lettering. The lettering issue is one thing I hope to improve on as the work on my journal progresses; the paper issue is what it is (and if I can do eyes on printer paper, I should be able to make use of the poor paper in this journal – and choose more wisely next time)!

     January visitors – so much fun to see!

#challenge #journal #birds #artistic #journaling #experimental #artisticjournaling #lettering #drawing #art #watercolor #inspiration #gardening #practice #sketch #spring #landscape

How Time Flies…

Once the weather started improving, outside clean-up seems to have been my narrow focus. It’s not that I haven’t been doing anything artistic; it’s more that I have spent my limited time on small daily projects. For the month of April, I took on the Sea Lemon Eye Doodle Challenge (#sealemon – thank you for this unique challenge). It started with a printable file with the number, the name of animal and a small circle guide. I divided it into two sheets, which prints it a bit larger (1/2″ circles) giving more room to work. Watercolor on regular printer paper is an interesting challenge in itself! In addition to watercolor, I used whatever I needed to achieve my goal – including waterproof ink, white gouache and occasionally a white charcoal pencil. For the references, I simply searched for images since this is strictly a practice exercise, except for images 1, 2, 8 and 13 (my life “models”). If “the eyes are the windows to the soul”, then this practice is invaluable! It was also fun and interesting-and a real challenge in every sense of the word (artistically)! I mean, how often have you looked at the eye of a llama or a chameleon-I mean really looked at?! But, even if just in photos, that’s necessary to attempt to replicate an authentic-looking eye!

(One more thing-if you notice that “one of these things is not like the others” (day 8), it’s because I simply cannot look at a snake-not even in a picture-long enough to try to replicate any part of it!) 😝


Sealemon Eye Doodle April Challenge-collage, my completed eyes

 

#art #challenge #eyes #animals #birds #people #insects #sketch #drawing #experimental #watercolor #painting #pen and ink #cat #dog #practice #sealemon

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

 

 

Day 20-done!

What fun this one was! If you have to have winter and snow, you might as well get photos and use them. I took the photo reference for this is one out my back door last Saturday, after the snow had stopped falling. I really like my “condo” type birdhouse out there and it looked particularly pretty with the new snow on the roof. As always, all hand drawn and then painted.

     “Waiting for Spring”

#art #challenge #30in30challenge #painting #watercolor #birdhouse #birds #winter #snow #landscape #backyard #garden

Catching up-duel post for my Days 18 and 19!

Last night, I managed to do two small drawings/paintings. With all the painting ideas I have swirling in my head, I went back to florals – I guess because it’s one of the things I do more easily and therefore, more quickly. It might also be, in part, because the weather is far worse than it has been so far this winter, snowy, gray and very cold, and I miss green plants and flowers! On the rose, I really enjoyed experimenting with a different technique-not perfect, but fun!

     DAY 18 – “Rosey Pink”     

(Photo credit and appreciation to Wendy Sinclair on FB’s Wendy’s Reference Photos for Creatives)

     DAY 19 – “Poppy”     

(Photo credit and thanks to Kymberlee Edwards MacKay on FB’s Photos For Artists)

#art #challenge #florals #rose #poppy #watercolor #painting #inspiration #garden #flowers #drawing

Falling behind…

A three-day weekend, husband home not feeling well… That’s all it took to fall behind terribly on my daily painting. I actually did get a sketch done for my Day 17, just not posted.

I had made a lemon cheesecake, and lemon curd to top it, for the Valentine’s Day dinner that I cooked for us at home. I couldn’t resist trying to do it as one of my daily pieces. I found that it was a lot easier to think about than to actually do! Having already figured out my colors, I picked up my sketchbook and easily drew a piece of cheesecake. Then came the painting, which wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. The end result was supposed to make someone want a piece of cheesecake; I’m not sure I accomplished that.

     “Lemon Cheesecake”

 

My Day 15 finished-one of my favorite foods…

Since I wanted a bit of practice, I drew that lobster magnet, which as I said, was not intended to be a part of my 30 in 30, even though it ended up to be… This is what I ended up with and it takes me back to last month’s 20-30 minute painting challenge, since I finished this in less than 30 minutes. I guess that was good practice after all! This is also another one on the Moulin Du Roy rough watercolor paper, which I quite enjoy using! I love all the things I’m learning and all of my experimentation this month; hopefully it will stick with me and make me a better artist in the long run!

     Lobster on rough paper

(Reference photo from which I drew this lobster, Phil Wingate’s pile of lobsters photo on the Facebook group, Photos For Artists.)

#challenge #painting #watercolor #art #food #lobster #ocean #drawing #experimental #practice #shore #experimental

Day 11-WOW, starting the second third of the challenge!

It feels good to know that I’ve gotten 1/3 of the challenge paintings done and I am enjoying it so much. Every part of this is just a joy, choosing a subject matter, drawing it, etc. It just feels so good to be in my studio, drawing, painting, making a mess; in other words, being creative!

     “Shell of Many Colors”

(Reference photo credit and thanks to TeAnne on Wetcanvas.)

#shells #ocean #beach #watercolor  #30paintingsin30days #challenge #art #painting #challenge

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!

     “Focus”

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

Day 6 already-1/5 of the way through this challenge!

This one was far more difficult than I thought it would be-and then more difficult still to get a good scan of it. What can I say – dragonflies fascinate me with their oh-so-delicate wings that look like they shouldn’t hold up their bodies. So I attempted to paint a red dragonfly and make those wings look transluscent and delicate; I’m not sure it worked very well!

     “Tightrope Walker”

(Photo credit for Red dragonfly to “yabby” 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 3 – a day late!

My Day 3 sketch is a day late in two ways… I’m posting it on the 4th and it was meant to be my piece for the 2nd, which was Groundhog Day! The sketch was in my book, but I didn’t get to it until last night. So, here’s a silly rendition of a “tribute” to that silly day!

     What Shadow?

YAY-Day 1 of this year’s Leslie Byrd Saeta 30 Paintings in 30 Days, February challenge!

I’m excited to do this challenge again-and determined to complete 30 pieces, between today and Feb. 2! I’ve already read that many choose a theme, which I’ve never done. I’m not really going with any theme this time either, except that I want things to be small, fun, with perhaps some whimsy thrown in! My first sketchbook piece is from a photo I took last month; this squirrel wanted to peak into the house, but he/she didn’t like that I had my phone in hand trying to take pics. The result is this really funny attempt to hide from me! Hand drawn, watercolor with a bit of pen & ink thrown in.

     “Peek-a-Boo!          Original cropped photo