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!


My Days 21 and 22 paintings-completed!

I spent a lot of time in my studio over the past 16 hours. In that time I finished my day 21 painting, “Spring Gold”, drew two more pieces (one about half painted) and needed to do something more quickly to try to catch up. I thought butterfly, started painting without a drawing and ended up with another iris, to which I added a imaginary butterfly. So, loose and quick, here also is my Day 22, “Iris & Butterfly”.

     “Spring Gold”

     “Iris & Butterfly”

#art #30in30challege #watercolor #floral #flowers #iris #butterfly #spring #painting #experimental

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”


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

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 12-oops, forgot to post it last night!

I wanted to work in at least one bird during the 30 in 30 challenge, then I thought something more exotic than typical backyard birds. So I searched my go-to legal-to-use reference sites and found an awesome Toucan photo. That’s another one I’ve never attempted before. Hand drawn, guided by the reference photo, watercolor on Moulin Du Roy rough watercolor paper (which is something else new to me and I really enjoyed using it). The title I have given this piece is a riff on the Froot Loops bird…

I strongly recommend not only challenging yourself to something like the 30 in 30, but also to different subject matter, styles and papers. I’ve only ever tried rough paper once before and, for some silly reason, didn’t use it again. Obviously it isn’t for every subject matter, but for this it worked great!

     “Just Call Me Sam”

(Thank you to Wendy Sinclair for sharing this wonderful photo!)

#watercolor #painting #art #exoticbirds #challenge #toucan #colorful #experimentalart #roughpaper

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)

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)

More of the sketches/paintings done for the January challenge

Everything in this group is completely different from the previous posts. Sometimes I look at the daily prompt and am just blank as to what to do. It truly can be a challenge to figure out something fun and interesting-with perhaps a bit of whimsy or quirkiness to either make it more interesting or perhaps to challenge myself more. The first one was to be a “positive poster.” I did this in a very short amount of time -and that shows- choosing words that I try to live by each and every day.

Day 10-Positive Poster-smaller

Day 11, prompt “vintage.” I had absolutely no idea what to do, so I Googled vintage and replicated, in pen & ink with watercolor washes, this chic and stylish lady from days gone by. I do love the way she turned out. No, I didn’t come up with the idea, but any and all practice is worthwhile!

Day 11 - Vintage-smaller

This last posted painting did not come out too well. Day 12 was “Western” and again, I was rather blank. Then I thought about going to the Grand Canyon a number of years ago, it inspired me and it’s in the west… So, I started with a nice pencil sketch and decided to work very loosely. When I actually look at this page in my sketchbook, I do see the Grand Canyon in a loose style, but I’m not sure that comes across so well in this somewhat incorrectly-colored scan.

Grand Canyon impressionistic-using for Day 12 Western-smaller

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

My how time flies!

In just seeing that my last post was one of my Christmas card posts, and over a month ago, it makes me ashamed of myself for not keeping my blog current! Time just flies by, with shoveling snow, seeing friends, maintaining the watercolor group’s website and Facebook page… Well, you all probably know exactly what I mean!

All that being said, I have been busy in my studio also! I joined in Leslie Saeta’s January 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge again this year. I cannot say that I got actually paintings (as opposed to just sketches) done, but I did manage 29 sketches over the 30 days. I ended up using, in large part, the challenge prompts for the FB group, Sketching Every Day, so there are some interestingly odd works! Regardless of format, doing the work every day helps immensely with my art! So, here are the first three pieces that I did last month.

Day 1-20170103_012820_resized-straightened,cropped,corrected MS-scan-smaller-no words  Day 1: Subject was “Something new” This is a quick watercolor, pen & ink of my Christmas gift.

Day 2-Copy of Day 2-Snow Globe-me shoveling on New Year's Day-cropped,corrected MS-smaller  Day 2: Subject was “Snow globe” This was actually from a selfie of me out shoveling a couple of new feet of snow!

Day 3-Copy of Day 3-Queen of Hearts-cropped,correctedMS-smaller  Day 3: “Queen of Hearts” I chose to do a cat as the queen!

Christmas is just around the corner!

Time sure flies by-and suddenly the end of the year is only barely over 4 weeks away! I have been busily working in my studio for the past couple of months, not doing anything special, but just keeping busy with sketching. I have even spent time straightening up my space, which made it much more pleasant to be in there!

I did get a message on Wetcanvas a few weeks ago from the admin of the annual Christmas card exchange, inviting me to participate again this year. I was so pleased to hear from her; I really didn’t want to miss out! So, I’ve been working on those cards every day, trying to get a couple done each day (which doesn’t always happen). I started out with quite a number of sketches to flesh out some ideas, then worked at turning some of them into card paintings. For a couple of days, I was in a slump with no new ideas or enthusiasm. Fortunately that didn’t last long because we have more signed up for this event than have in the last few years. I now have 14 of the necessary 15 completed and must assemble the cards and start getting them sent. Along the way, I decided which of the paintings to use for my family/friend card, ordered and picked them up. I should have been sharing these pieces all along as I worked, but was so busy that I guess the thought didn’t occur to me. So, here is my first painting. I first did the background wet in wet, then used a “snow” marker for the tree and snow and a Sharpie oil marker pen for the stars. It has been fun working with some mixed media rather than strictly just watercolor – there were no limitations or rules for these!

I have also signed up for the Leslie Saeta 30 Paintings in 30 Days January challege and I know that will be upon us very soon. I need to start thinking of ideas for that too-just as soon as all the Christmas cards are sent, my shopping is done, etc……..

img241-tree-scan-smaller-to-post    Card 1, “Sketchy Tree”

Days 9 & 10 – Getting Further Behind

I have truly been trying to get my daily paintings completed! I guess that until you’re in the middle of a challenge such as this, with all the other duties and challenges life throws at you, you just don’t realize how difficult it can be to find that painting time each day. So…………I only completed my Day 10 painting a few hours ago. I always love everything Venice and this old-world-looking window with flowers and the light/shadow play just grabbed me. The last time I attempted to do shadowing such as this, I totally messed it up and ruined the painting, but this time I like the effect I got. That’s a great feeling, because it’s proof to me that I am learning and improving!

Last Thursday I went to the Sketchers Meetup. We went to a local eatery that I had never visited before and the day was ideal for sitting outside to sketch – beautiful weather, delicious food and an angle from where I sat that wasn’t ideal. So, I decided to practice the gestural drawing/painting that I’ve been studying and practicing. It’s fine to work from a video and someone else’s photos, but there comes a time when you must try it from your own viewpoint and experiences. It’s not a completed, salable painting, but it is work that I did this month, so the first photo is my Day 9 piece-no title, just fun practice!

20160918_025056_resized-gestural-sketch-and-watercolor-sketchers-9-15-16   Day 9, Gestural Drawing/Painting Practice

20160919_110949venice-window-straightenedcroppedcorrectedms-best-watermark-72ppi   Day 10, “Venetian Shadows”

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 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-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