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.
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 was just plain fun to do-as well as very frustrating! Rocks are a subject I often struggle with, as I did last week when I did this painting. Again, rather than follow Jim’s style, I used bolder and/or darker colors in the style to which I aspire (from the workshop), along with scraping for the rocks. I like the results I got, but my instructor didn’t. Regardless of anyone’s opinion, it’s all practice and that’s a good thing! I think I’ll frame it and hang it in my studio!
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…
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.
Venice Doorway-Less is More, attempts at looser painting
Here is my third attempt ever at painting in this much looser style. This is also based on something from Jean Haines “Atmospheric Watercolours” book, this one a demo. It is also based on a reference photo I used several years ago for a much more traditional painting. I’m not totally unhappy with this work, but, even though I thought I was using the same colors and in about the same mix, her shades are much softer than mine came out. But it will take consistent practice to manage this style of work! I actually think I’m going to use this reference again and make another attempt at this.
Since, as I write this, it is past midnight, the month of September is over…and I only managed 16 paintings. Given how busy the month was, I’m not really too disappointed in only doing about half, but next time I want to be sure to do one per day! I do have one more in my studio that is about half done and I will be able to post it up till midnight October 1 (and since I’ve been working on it for the last two days of September), so hopefully I will actually have 17 included. Regardless, it will most likely be my next post here, another very loose attempt, without much to guide me in this style. We’ll see how it turns out…
Class day again and here is my painting from that. The dark, threatening sky, done in two steps, was a fun challenge! In my sky, I see a tornado starting and heading toward that peaceful farmland scene. Watercolor being watercolor, and especially when painting wet in wet, it does pretty much what it wants; I controlled it somewhat by slanting the board the paper was on, but it’s still watercolor! I really debated on a title for this one-maybe something like “Mayhem Coming” or something about calm and mayhem… I finally just went simple, but to me it really feels like a very serene place with a major weather threat heading in. Fun to paint and, as I’ve mentioned, fun to be in Jim’s class again!
The major thing I’m working on in class is to become comfortable again with flat brushes. I used to use them, but have since become more comfortable with a large round brush in my hand. I had forgotten just how much can be accomplished with the flat brush though and it’s great to re-learn that!
Bald Eagle Portrait Original photo by Heather Ward
Several days ago, I mentioned my eagle painting in progress. Well, I finally decided it was finished. This was definitely a challenge to do-and I love tackling things that are challenging, fun and different from my normal florals or landscapes. When I did the owl painting during the January 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge, it was the first time I had ever tried a close-up bird and so much enjoyed not only the work, but also the outcome. This is something I need to do more often-and practice, practice, practice!
After three days of being a WIP, I finally finished this painting Friday afternoon! I actually was working back and forth on two different paintings-the other, a Bald Eagle, is nearing completion. This is another reference from my friend, mentor, teacher, Jim, done there before I rejoined his class. I just brought home the reference to paint here. I’ll take the finished work to the next class to share with him and the other students-curious to see what he’ll say about it. It was an interesting project, very different from the type of scene I would usually choose. But in order to continue to learn, you have to step out of your comfort zone at least sometimes! It’s all good, as long as you’re creating something!
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!
Well, it’s the 24th and I just posted my days 10 and 11 to the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challege site. I don’t think I’m going to make it to 30 this time… I will continue to work at it and get as much done as possible, but I’m simply not a fast painter!
This work is from a reference photo taken and shared (copyright free) by Mac Dixon on a Facebook group I joined called “Photos for Artists.” I find the southwest, and especially adobe, so beautiful and interesting to paint, so I very much enjoyed drawing and painting this one. When/if we’re ever able to recover the thousands of photos lost on the “dead” computer, I’ll have many photo references of my own from that area of the U.S., but currently I’m rather lacking in my own reference materials. Sites such as that one on Facebook are wonderful in a case like this!
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 painting was also done in my re-joined watercolor class. I started with a very pale yellow wash, adding more color to the sky to give the impression of either a sunrise or sunset. It looks like a very simple work, but was great practice with the darkest darks, rocks and negative painting! What fun!
As with the September 1 painting I posted, this one was done in the class I have rejoined-the one taught by the artist who introduced me to watercolor. I originally thought I was just going to the one class, but it was such a great experience being there that I decided to attend for a while again. I am having such fun being in his class; it’s on Monday morning and starts my week off so happily! Jim sketched this work, we copied his drawing and most followed his painting also. I went quite different with my colors, since it’s almost fall, and I wanted to reflect the beautiful shades of the trees this time of the year. This is a small painting, only 11″ x 7.5″. Painting so small can be its own challenge, but it also enables most of us in his class to complete a painting in one class. It’s just pure enjoyment to spend time with the other awesome artists and my friend/mentor!
Creepy, huh? This is from an internet search, done as part of the Facebook challenge called Every Day in September. The prompt for that day was “Jack in a Box/Joker” – you can see which direction I went! This was great fun to do, from drawing that maniacal face to using only black pen and watercolor (black mixed from other colors), along with the white of the page. I really think Halloween when I look at it. In fact, I think I’m going to have a small poster made from this at Costco to hang in my front window expressly for October 31!
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!
My Sunday evening daily painting. I’m so excited that I got another one done! This was a fun project, and, like so many of my 30 Paintings in 30 Days, any type of chicken is a subject that I have not tackled before. I have contemplated trying it, but have always “chickened out” – pun intended! Maybe a more complex background next time, but I thoroughly enjoyed painting yet another new type of subject!
I was sitting here cropping the photos I took of this watercolor when I realized that I totally forgot to do my Sunday art Before Breakfast sketch! Sometimes I just get busy and distracted… Even though at least one sketch every day is my goal, I guess I just have to face that there will be days when it doesn’t happen. Besides, I did get a rooster drawn and painted!
3-14-15, dubbed Pi Day. What I really wanted was a real pie – lemon meringue, cherry, French Silk, any of those would do! But in the interest of not gaining 5 pounds, I opted for first sketching a cherry pie this morning in my art Before Breakfast sketchbook and then drawing and painting a lemon meringue pie this evening. Surely not as tasty, but calorie free without a doubt, this was a fun small project to do.
I am currently reading Daily Painting by Carol Marine. I got it not realizing that it appears to be mostly geared to oil painters, so at first I was a little disappointed. Once I started reading, however, I realized there was no reason for disappointment. Even though the author is an oil painter, she makes sure that most of the book is geared to any media. The point is that small frequent painting teaches you so much more than only doing the occasional large work. This constant practice also enhances your larger works when you do paint big. I had already realized just how much I learned from each painting when I participated in the January 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge. My plan was to continue, if not at quite that rate, then still painting frequently. I found out that it’s all too easy to set it aside in favor of all the other daily things that crop up, so I wanted/needed the reminder-which is exactly what that book is and will continue to be for me.
That was the long version of why I came to my studio this evening, drew and completed a small painting. It is something I need to try to do every day!
One of my recent no-drawing painting attempts… This is from a photo taken in Glacier National Park a couple of years ago and was not taken with a telephoto lens, just a cell phone. Obviously the deer there are quite used to people being nearby.
What I like about this is the looseness. Even though it’s not very good, going without an initial drawing at all definitely loosened up my usually overly tight, photo-realism type painting. Being able to paint looser is something I strive for. That is not to say that I will paint this way all the time, but more practice in this manner may be a very good thing!