The past two months have sped by at the speed of-well something really speeding! We had a horrible wind storm in November, which caused untold damage all over the area. Personally, we only had minor damage to a couple of our trees, but we were without electricity for 8 days and then without internet, phone and TV for an additional 2 days. It was cold, dark and miserable and I literally cried when the power finally came on! I also got so far behind on everything I “had” to do that I still haven’t managed to catch up-especially with the holidays in that time frame.
I sketched a little during the “black out”, taking off my gloves until my hands were so cold I couldn’t work any longer. I missed light, I missed heat and I missed working on my art! I managed to finish 14 hand drawn and painted Christmas cards, most of which were for my third year participating in the Wetcanvas Christmas card exchange. I’m quite pleased that I got them done and sent and with the cards themselves. I will post them, scattered among the other works I want to share here. I signed up for Leslie Saeta’s 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge for January and, even though we’re only 5 days into the month, I am currently trying to catch up! I’m also participating in a Facebook group, Every Day in January, which is a sketch challenge with daily prompts. I am also behind on that, but am determined to manage them both. I need to spend time on my art! So, right now I will post my day 1 and day 2 paintings for the 30 in 30 challenge.
Day 1 – Birds of a Feather-from my own photo taken in my yard on January 1, 2016 with birds all over, while it was 5° and sunny outside.
Day 2 – Lonely Beach-done on January 4 in Jim’s class (my mentor/friend/first watercolor teacher) from his reference.
This is another painting I did in the class I’ve been attending from my first watercolor instructor. I’m enjoying the time and the other students there so very much! This was our project almost two weeks ago. In painting this, I used the same sketch as the others, but I tried to use the style I was working on in the Bev Jozwiak workshop. That includes bold colors, as is obvious here. I love the results I get and I just wish I had more time to practice and reinforce the methods I began to learn from her! As with anything else, it takes lots of practice-or you just revert to the same old style!
I cannot believe it is this far into October and I have posted nothing since the 2nd! Time really does fly-although I’m not so sure it’s always when you’re having fun… More likely, it is often when you’re just too busy to notice! My last post was the day of our First Friday Spokane Watercolor Society 2015 Juried Show opening. Since that time, I took a one-day sketch workshop from amazing Urban Sketcher, Don Colley, as well as doing much work for the juried show awards, helped with the award reception and was privileged to be in one of the two most awesome workshops I have ever taken! The workshop, taught by the fabulous Vancouver, WA artist, Bev Jozwiak, was three days of intense, but fun, learning. This is the painting I did in the workshop the first day, using as close as I could come to Bev’s style of painting and completely different from anything I have created before. I love it! Now I’m playing catch-up on all the things on which I fell behind and struggling to get into my studio to practice the wonderful things I learned in Bev’s workshop. Life really does get busy and hectic, but if I didn’t love doing all that I do, I simply wouldn’t do it! More paintings to come…
This day 5 work is a sketch I did of the Nefertiti bust (from an online search) for Every Day in September, a sketch group challenge on Facebook. That challenge has daily prompts to use – the subject was “Egyptian.” I will post this for the 30 paintings challenge too since I’m running several days behind!
I drew this with pencil in my 6×9 sketchbook, used black ink in places and colored it with Inktense pencils. I have had them for some time, but have used them very little. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to play with and learn something about using them. It was an interesting challenge, considering I have done almost no colored portraits (which in essence this is even though it’s from a statue). I didn’t quite capture the face, but I enjoyed the exercise anyway! No matter what the subject matter or what the media, I just love creating art and learning from the process!
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.
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!
I spent three hours on Friday morning/afternoon drawing for painting number 30, not to mention how long I spent on Thursday deciding on what to paint and redoing the design until I was pleased with it. Then I worked out, stopped at the grocery store, fixed and ate dinner, rested for a bit and just spent another nine hours finishing up the drawing and getting a good amount of the painting done. I finally had to face that I couldn’t finish it until Saturday-darn! But since I started three days into the challenge, I guess finishing one partial day late isn’t so bad, especially when it’s still January.
Since I have no new painting to share yet, I’ll post another of the September paintings from my first attempt at the 30 in 30 challenge. This one is my version of a Wetcanvas photo of the East Channel Lighthouse, Lake Superior on Michigan’s upper peninsula.
This is my sweet calico cat, Lindy, curled up in the bathroom sink several years ago. I have always thought this photo was just fun and knew that someday, when I got really brave, I would paint it. Nowhere near perfect-that’s for sure. But don’t judge too harshly since it’s my first attempt ever at painting a cat-and sure, I had to try a calico for the first one!
Lindy was a young adult that we got from a local rescue agency, Partners for Pets, almost 10 years ago. She had been with them for quite a long time and was a quite a depressed kitty. We decided on her, partly because she deserved to finally have a home she could count on and partly because she was just so pretty. She is one of our four rescued pets-three cats and one dog. There are just always so many wonderful adult animals needing a good home!
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.
This is one from a photo I took on Oahu in 2005-my one and only trip to Hawaii. I loved it there and, given the opportunity, would live there without hesitation! I painted from this reference years ago and wanted to try it again. There are things I did better this time and things I don’t like as well. But it was fun to do-and any break in our drab winter, even just thinking about flowers and/or Hawaii, helps!
“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…
Recently I sold a painting I did a few years ago. The person found me through my Wetcanvas post of the work and loved it. It was such a thrill to read that email, just to know it had been “unearthed” there and she liked it that much! I hadn’t thought about that painting in some time and even had trouble finding where I had stored it. Seeing it again made me want to paint that scene again; it’s one of those I mentioned that were drawn and ready to paint. I liked what I did the first time and suddenly I hesitated to paint it again. I didn’t want to exactly replicate the original painting, but I did still want it similar. So, here at the top is my newer version of Split Rock Lighthouse in Minnesota. Very similar to the old one, mostly a little softer colors; just for comparison sake, below is a photo of the first one I painted.
I’ve worked and worked, on top of a Costco and grocery store shopping trip and the normal everyday chores and cooking, and still no painting is finished. I wish I could figure out how to paint decently and yet faster! I have three works in progress, one very doubtful, one more drawn and ready to paint-and only 5 more days left to the challenge. On top of that, I have only finished and posted 22 paintings. Can I get 8 done in 5 days? Doubtful, but I’m still going to do all I can to achieve that goal. Whether or not I do meet the goal, I have by far painted more in the past 23 days than I have ever before and that’s something to be proud of!
Since I have nothing completed to post, I’ll share another couple of paintings from the eight I painted in September. The first one was, in fact, the first painting I did for the September challenge-mostly because it was also the Wetcanvas September Watercolor challenge. I like the way it came out, especially since I know next to nothing about boats… The second is, if I remember right, the seventh one I painted; it was done en plein air in my back yard on a beautiful, sunny day. It was one of those days when, knowing winter wasn’t far off, you can’t resist being out enjoying the nice weather while it lasts! It is an image of one of my dying summer plants on the deck, fall color very evident.
Rather than go to my sketch group, I spent a good portion of Saturday in my studio. I did make progress, finishing two paintings and readying another two. In fact, for about an hour I was only two days behind on the 30-30 challenge-and then it was midnight and back to lagging behind by 3 again. At least I’m maintaining consistency!
The crab painting is loosely based on a photo my daughter, Kristan, took when she was in the Galapagos Islands. I have had that reference pic for a few years and have planned to use it. I’ll just say that, while that was my inspiration, I took full advantage of “artistic license” in doing this. I think it’s a fun, colorful little painting.
The one below was actually completed before the crab and I hesitated somewhat before posting it. I experimented a great deal with this and, while it didn’t turn out well, it taught me a lot! And isn’t that what this painting challenge is mostly about? It was rather out of control, so I just kept experimenting with different methods and finally had the gist of the reference so figured I didn’t need to do any more damage to it! The bottom line is that, while I’m not very pleased with this painting, it’s one of my 30 paintings and I couldn’t not use it! Consequently, I’m posting it here also.
“Worcester Cathedral” – experimental Day 21 painting
This is the painting I was working on Wednesday night when the computer began misbehaving. I had almost finished the grassy background and was debating how to approach the turtle when the problems began. I worked on it Thursday to the point of almost done, then took care of the finishing touches Friday night. I’m happy with the result and I hope you can actually see that it is underwater. It’s obvious to me, but then again, I painted it!
I found this reference photo on Wetcanvas more than a year ago and, wanting to try my hand at painting a horse, I downloaded it. With the challenge this month, I decided to finally try; I drew and had a small start to the painting and then had no idea how to proceed. So it sat in my studio where I had to see it every time I was there. I studied and studied it and finally decided two days ago that if it was ever going to happen, I had to just do it! Much to my delight, I finished this painting a few hours ago! With my very limited experience painting animals-and never a horse before-I was pleased with the horse, but what to do with the background… Then I just suddenly knew, did it and, while I’m fully aware it’s not perfect, I like it! That is such a good feeling, especially when it’s a subject that caused almost overwhelming fear after I thought I had ruined it at first!
This 30 in 30 challenge is about so much more than just painting regularly. I cannot believe how much I have been branching out on subject matter as well as figuring out how to fix something I thought was not salvageable. I am so glad I am doing this and even if I don’t quite achieve the desired 30, I will have painted more than ever before and learned so much along the way!
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.
I’ve had this reference photo for literally years and was never quite sure how to handle it. I actually drew it on watercolor paper during the September challenge-you know, the one where I only completed eight paintings… So, there is was and I decided to try another in a monochromatic style. Two things went wrong with this – First, I actually started with the wrong color (palette sitting there with two blues and I used the one I did not intend to) and once I was started I pretty much had to stick with it – and Second, the paper quality was not as good as I am used to, and that lack of top quality made smooth washes next to impossible. In spite of those things, I do like the overall look of it and think it was monochromatic was a good choice. Always a learning experience!
With three new paintings begun and drying – and exhaustion taking over – I left my studio last night. I drew and did the under-painting on two that I’ve had in my head almost since the beginning of the challenge. Since the two that were sitting there ready to paint didn’t appeal to me last night, I went with plan B.
This is my experiment with watercolor and a zebra “portrait.” In working on these 30 in 30 paintings, I’ve come to realize that I truly enjoy the challenge of working on animals/birds. Perhaps I was in a rut and needed to branch out with less familiar subjects. Whatever it is, I’m loving it and this painting was fun to do! I may even try another zebra in a different style before this challenge ends. So, what do you think of this one?