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!


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

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

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

Day 14 – Day 13 not yet completed

My husband, Ron, got me a dozen beautiful roses for Valentine’s day-brought them home on Monday actually. So, how could I not paint one? Posting out of order (because my day 13 isn’t completed yet, but this one is), here is my day 14 (the best scan I could get), drawn from one of the live roses. I just had to post it on Valentine’s Day!

     “Valentine Rose”

#Valentine #redrose #floral #flower #gift #watercolor #painting #art #flowers #gardening

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 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)

My Day 4, a practice exercise

This one is something I just don’t do, but I saw a painting by an artist I admire and simply drew and attempted to paint a very small, 5.75″ x 3.75″, version, to give me practice blending on the paper and softening edges. I’ve done too little actual painting for too long and thought this was a project that would push me into doing a lot of both. With apologies to watercolor artist, Susan Crouch, here is my pratice piece, obviously with no title since it’s just emulating someone else’s art.

Day 4 of 20-30 minute painting challenge

Yes, it’s day 5 of the challenge and I’m determined that before midnight tonight I will have my 5th piece done-and I don’t even know what it’s going to be! Life gets in the way of even my favorite things, which is where working on my art is. That happened today, but I don’t regret for a minute helping a friend! So, my day 4 painting was only finished an hour or so ago, while I was working on supper. The scan isn’t an exact match for the original, but I honestly had no more time to mess with the settings. So, here is my Day 4 piece from a long-ago photo of mine, and again, it took the full 3o minutes to complete.

     “Tropical Hibiscus”

Day 3 – 20-30 minute paintings, 5-day challenge

I’m running a day behind, but I have completed my Day 3 painting. From a photo I took, I thought this would be a cinch to do quickly…but found that it took me all of the 30 minutes and I’m still not 100% pleased with it! But then again, I always seem to struggle with painting yellow flowers! I actually completed this much earlier in the day; having no time to scan and post it, I’m currently doing that while waiting for parts of my day 4 painting to dry while I get this one online.

     “Yellow Iris”

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”

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

World Watercolor Month July 2016-first ever!

I mentioned my participation in the first ever World Watercolor Month, July 2016 – and that I had finally finished everything on August 31. I photographed those quickly, as two pages at once, because these will become a hand-made book. I must explain that because I have had so little painting time for quite a while now, I used these small works as practice and experimentation. It really helps to get the feel of the brush in hand again, as well as the various brands of paper, the multiple paint brands and colors, etc.! So, here are two of the thirty pages, most of which were painted using other artists examples.

On the left is one of the first paintings I did for this challenge in early July. It is a white Peony and, for the moment, I cannot remember if I took the photo or used one I found in one of the various Facebook groups to which I belong. The groups I refer to are where photographic artists post photos and member artists are free to use any photo essentially for any purpose, but you must give the photographer credit. Once I dig deeper and find the reference photo, I will do so here! The peony was a study to practice painting a white flower. The painting on the right is my attempt to follow a demo by Joanne Boon Thomas, obviously a man in the rain. It is so very different from anything I usually paint and was a fun challenge. Hopefully now, when I need to portray someone in the rain, this will help me to do so!

Under Umbrella from Joanne Boon Thomas demo; White Peony from-can't remember where I got it






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

Just love those flowers!

This is painting number two, completed on Friday. It was the work in progress when the day began, set aside because of problems I needed to leave alone for a while. As I’ve said many times, I love flowers; seeing them, growing them, smelling them – they just make the world sunnier and more beautiful! Of course, one of the first signs of spring are the Crocus and by the time they show up, it’s such a joy after the long, gray, snowy, cold winters we have. So, anticipating those early, happy flowers, I drew and painted some from a photo I took last spring.

Waiting for Spring-cropped, straightened, corrected PS-96PPI-watermark   Day 26 – Waiting for Spring

Tulips that didn’t like me…

I painted this one right after I painted the Fuchsia, but with less success. It actually was quite good at one point, but I did what I know I should never do-I kept picking at it until it was far less successful! But, as I’ve said many times-it’s always a lesson learned, whether good or bad-and the practice is essential!

Sunny Tulips-cropped, corrected PS-96 PPI-watermark   Day 23 – Sunny Tulips

Closer to catching up…

I made an executive decision that four sketches I did for another challenge count as artwork done this month…so I posted those also! That helped me get closer to catching up with myself. I am pleased that I drew and completed two pieces on Wednesday, both florals. I guess when all else fails, fall back on what you know best – although I am still experimenting with styles and methods! I also used a brand of paper that I’m much less familiar with and it definitely handled differently than my usual Arches. I do have four more pieces in progress in my studio, in various states of completion. With only 4 more days in the month, I’m still in trouble!

So, here is the first one I completed on Wednesday, Fuchsia I grew and photographed last summer.

Hangin' with My Buds-cropped, straightened PS-96 PPI-watermark   Day 22 – Hangin’ With My Buds

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