I actually completed this painting during the day on Saturday. It is most difficult to get into my studio when my husband is home, but I worked on it while we were going through some stored boxes in that area. I just went back and forth between the junk and my art space and actually managed to finish this. I absolutely love the photos of Hobbiton in New Zealand and I just learned that they no longer allow photography there, so they are especially precious! It was such fun drawing this, figuring out how I wanted to handle it, working on and then finally completing it! It’s just such an interesting place to me!
Our Spokane Watercolor Society Member Show continued through January 3 at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (The MAC to locals) after our 2015 Juried Show came down the end of October. I volunteered as “docent” the past two Sunday afternoons and since the show was being removed Monday morning, the 4th, and I was there until closing on the 3rd, I just brought my 7 paintings home with me then. On Tuesday I received a “Congratulations” email from the chairperson of our show about my two paintings that had sold! WHAT??!! That was the first I heard about it and I have to say that, as always, I’m just over-the-moon excited and happy about that! I really love it when someone likes my work enough to live with it in her/his home! I thought I would share the paintings that these two kind ladies purchased.
Sunset (previously Basalt Rock Cliff) French Window
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.
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!
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.
This is a painting that I began a few months ago. I liked it as far as it went, but the composition was lacking, so I set it aside for a time. I picked it up a couple of weeks ago and knew what I needed to do to make it work better. I was able to alter and finish this work in just a couple of hours, but it took months for the inspiration and motivation to be there…as often happens with art! And I finally have the confidence to share it on the challenge and here!
It is obvious that I’m running terribly behind on getting 30 paintings done this month, but I’m still plugging away. There have been so many things that I, as president of the local watercolor group, have had to deal with and stay on top of. I’m also still re-creating essential documents for the group that were lost with the “death” of our old computer. I have made great progress on that, but it seems like almost every day something else comes up-something that simply hadn’t been needed or hadn’t occurred to me yet. It might sound like just an excuse, but it has taken serious amounts of my time.
This is an improved version (hopefully) of a painting I did earlier in the summer. I made some changes and I’m much more pleased with it now. Since it’s been redone, I’m sharing it here and counting it as one of my 30 paintings. I used many different techniques in the creation of this work, which made it a great learning experience as well as just fun to paint! I just love flowers and bright colors!
This is finally my day 4 post in the challenge. It’s not very successful, but even when that happens, I post the painting and I always learn something whether great or not-so great! The point was strong light and shadow and I did get that at least. I find this creates quite an optical illusion; even though I know the bottom is straight and level, it looks to me like the right corner comes forward and is lower…interesting how those lines affect the appearance.
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!
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!
WOOHOO-I DID IT!!!!!!!! I actually finished this painting about 1 this afternoon, photographed, cropped in Photoshop and posted on the Leslie Saeta 30 Paintings in 30 Days blog right after. I then proceeded to use PicMonkey – http://www.picmonkey.com/ (at her recommendation) – to create a collage of all of my 30 paintings to also post on her blog. I am still so excited and proud of myself for this accomplishment! When I signed up, I honestly didn’t think I would manage to paint that many, but certainly did plan to try. Some I’m not so proud of, but some actually kind of amaze me, so I guess it all equals out. If you have followed my “journey”, you have seen that I used quite a wide variety of subject matter; good for practice on many different levels. It surprised me to see that I painted more animals, birds and sea life than even flowers. I have found that I really enjoy that challenge! In choosing what to paint, I ran across so many photo references that I really want to use-and soon. I currently have three ready to paint, so I should get to it!
“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.
Well over half way through January already and I just posted my day 15 painting. Obviously I’m not making progress on catching up as I had hoped to do over this long weekend. I do know that I am enjoying this “enforced” daily painting so much though!
The reference I used for this painting is from a Wetcanvas photo reference library photo posted by “Teddi” from Hawaii – the post says “This red and white hibiscus is known locally as “Candy Striper”.” I couldn’t resist this beautiful flower since I believe that hibiscus is probably my favorite flower. Or is it a daffodil…or an iris…or a rose… Yes, I think hibiscus, not only because it’s so beautiful, but also because it just looks tropical-and I LOVE tropical! I do have an awesome rose in my back yard called “Candy Stripe” too.
I love my handling of the flower and I did have a beautiful background started – and then I ruined it. I have done all I can to save it and I’m still very unhappy with it. That’s especially bad when I love the main subject! But I’m afraid to overwork it any more, so I declare this painting finished-unless at some point down the road I can think of a better solution to the background. You just never know…
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