This painting is special to me because my Coneflowers, all the colors, were especially beautiful this year. They are in a back flower garden which is visible from our bedroom. I just loved standing there, even from inside, just watching the Fritillary Butterflies all over the blossoms! We had such a long, extremely hot and dry summer that, sadly, the Coneflowers are pretty much done blooming-and I see more honey bees on them now than butterflies. What a wonder and blessing-and artistic inspiration-it is to have numerous flower gardens and beautiful flowers all over the yard!
Sketch 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.
5 minute practice sketch of Daffodils from book reference
Again, a pen and ink page of sketches, this time referenced from my book, “20 Ways to Draw a Tulip and 44 Other Fabulous Flowers” by Lisa Congdon (http://www.amazon.com/Ways-Tulip-Other-Fabulous-Flowers/dp/159253886X). Daffodils are one of my very favorite flowers; they bring such sunny happiness to spring! Since my own daffodils are not in bloom yet – and it’s one flower that always gives me fits when attempting to draw/paint – I thought a little no-pre-drawing practice from this book was in order! Can you see the improvement happening as I work in this manner? I sure can! So, this is today’s sketchbook practice; not painted directly from live references, but still worthwhile practice!
I’ve been absent for a couple of weeks, since I finished the 30 in 30 challenge. I can use the excuse that I’ve been up to my neck in work for SWS-which is true! However, I learned last month that I absolutely must set aside time for my own art rather than just administrative things as president of an art group. And that’s not to say that I haven’t been actively working on art, even though it’s not been at my January pace. I will admit to a bit of a lull in inspiration though. Perhaps it’s a touch of burn-out or simply the time of the year, but ideas have been a little slim lately. That is when I sit down with an art book or at the computer to work from a video. It is all practice and I am now a real believer in the whole idea of many small paintings as a way to further/improve my art.
That all being the case, I have done a number of sketches and four new paintings. First up was a new challenge for myself – painting directly with no sketching at all, just drawing with the brush and then completing the paintings. I did two small works, both of deer, in my sketchbook in that way. Then I tried it out in my Moleskine watercolor book with a simple geranium painting. I won’t say that it was all totally successful, but it was fun and educational to give it a try! As an artist – and as a human being – I know I must continue to learn and challenge myself!
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!
Yes, another floral! I had the center rose drawn for days and kept putting off painting this. I finally tackled it late Wednesday evening, adding quite a bit to the drawing, and actually finished it about 2 AM Thursday, the 29th. I was driven and simply couldn’t stop until it was completed. It’s a very special, personal painting to me, as I named it for someone I lost a long time ago whose birthday was January 29. The painting is much prettier in person – this photo simply does not do it justice. I left the background white, with the exception of the blue wash surrounding the flowers, just to keep it very soft and simple.
“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…
Sometimes challenges are challenged… I’m having computer problems in my studio tonight and cannot currently paint since I use the screen for my references. I’ve got things running to fix the problems and hopefully will be able to work on things soon. Years ago when I got my first small, used laptop computer, I stopped printing everything and started drawing and painting directly from the screen image. I really hate being stalled with my painting and yes, I could use my old method and print from the other computer and get to work. I guess the real issue right now is that I’m pretty much out of the mood after the frustration of fighting with the computer for over an hour. Just one more day to catch up on for the 30 in 30 challenge.
In the meantime, I thought I would share a couple of the (only eight) paintings I completed for this same challenge in September.
Woohoo! I completed two paintings Tuesday night and have posted both on the 30 in 30 challenge. But it’s now the 15th and I’m technically 4 days behind… Or I can simply say that I’m darn proud that I have completed 11 paintings in 13 days-glass half full, you know! And the rest of the good news is that I have seven drawn on and ready to paint!
Last night was our monthly Spokane Watercolor Society meeting. I did manage one hour in my studio during the day. I was pretty tired when I got home, but I did put in painting time, working on three separate paintings-nothing finished yet though.
As for these two paintings, I’m very happy with my Rose Bouquet above; it just has a soft, dreamy quality to it and it’s pretty much always obvious how much I love flowers. Below is my Day 10 painting, “Sunset Orca,” which is another photo from the Artists Reference Photo page on Facebook. Thank you to the photographer, Alicia Nicole Wopereis!
“Deserted” Day 2 painting “Calla Lily” Day 3 painting
I have mentioned several times that I need to catch up with the month-well, I guess I should also catch up with the paintings I have not shared here. Day two was fun, as I love anything “beachy.” I enjoyed day three too; of course I did – it’s a flower! And last for this grouping, day 5 is from a beautiful rose bud reference – I love the rose, but the background could have come out better. But sometimes when a painting is finished, it’s all too easy to see what someone else wouldn’t notice. I love coming back to something a while later and looking at it with fresh perspective. I usually find that I like it better than I originally thought I did.
It was obvious to me that I already have a bad case of “spring fever.” Winter – here – has been fairly mild and easy so far, but it’s also dark, dreary and everything is brown or gray. I have need of sunshine, green things and lots of beautiful flowers! Painting number seven – surprise – is a floral again. I love flowers-looking at them, growing them, smelling them. They make the world a much more beautiful place. I think that Bird of Paradise is a very fascinating flower, almost alien looking compared to other more typical flowers. Not that it has anything to do with spring-or even summer-where I live, but it’s a bright beautiful flower!
I am pleased that I’ve already managed almost as many paintings as I did in September. However, now I’m looking a little for more inspiration. Today all those ideas that were in my head a few days ago seem to be missing. I really should have written them down. A few years ago I started carrying a tiny notebook in my purse and made notes whenever something struck me as a great painting idea. I still do that, but often at home I think I can rely on memory… But I do now have five more drawn and ready to paint (only 1 floral for now) and I just finished, photographed and posted (on the 30 in 30 Challenge page) this painting. Still nowhere close to catching up with the month though!
Rarely at a loss for inspiration, I have no good excuse for not keeping up with my blog. I just simply get busy with daily life and often times don’t get to the fun things, even if they are more important to me. So, that being said, after way too long an absence, I’m back! I have no lack of inspiration, but sometimes a big lack of time.
Going back to 2013, I started a new sketchbook the first day I joined the Spokane Sketchers meetup that year in early June. As I’ve mentioned before regarding the group-while I cannot always make it to the meet-ups, I thoroughly enjoy being a member and networking with the other local artists. I can simply say that joining the group has been the impetus I needed to make sure my hand was busy with some form of art pretty much every day. So as for my sketchbooks, my goal became to fill three of them in that first year with the group (at 60 pages each). I did manage that, just barely, and I do love seeing the progress I made in that first year with my drawing. It certainly points out how much better we can become at something with practice-gee, they apparently were right when I was in high school band!
Unless I’m painting, I continue to sketch/draw almost every day; when I am painting, I first hand draw everything. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get to both and take care of my other responsibilities. In September 2014, I tried an online “30 paintings in 30 days” challenge. I did not think that through very well, because it quickly became obvious that it was beyond the time I could manage right then. With Spokane Watercolor Society coming off our summer break and, as the group’s president, I was almost overwhelmed with all I needed to accomplish. As the month went on, I had to set my goal lower and lower, but I did manage to finish 8 small paintings in the month. Not close to the expected 30, but definitely a high for me in a month. So, I think I’ll start by posting one of those here and, as time allows I’ll post the rest of those and maybe also back up to show some of the sketches and drawings that have filled my sketchbooks in the past year.
September 2014 painting #1 – Sunlit Orange Hibiscus