Look at me, doing something involving rocks two days in a row… I decided to revisit a painting that I did recently and then sold, using a somewhat different approach. I liked the one I titled “Sunset”, colors and all; this time I tried for a brighter, sunrise look with the same basic subject. Subtle differences, but really obvious at the same time. It was really a spur of the moment decision to do this painting again and I cannot decide which of the two I prefer. I’m still running so badly behind on the challenge, having posted my Day 13 painting in the Day 21 list!
I have spent hours and hours in my studio over the past two days and I’m happy to say that things are coming along. I completed two paintings about 3 hours ago and then got a great start on another. I have one in progress that I’m a little stumped on, so it’s sitting there waiting for further inspiration! It was such an usually beautiful, sunny day Wednesday and I spent most of my time where I wasn’t seeing that sunshine at all. But when I need to be in my studio, I need to be in my studio…
So, the first painting I completed is just pure cuteness and fun! This idea is from class, but it’s not a class I attended. As I understand it, the bear is based on one that Jim’s lovely, sweet wife, Sue, made and then the class recreated it in 2D. When I saw the example of it, I couldn’t resist, especially since I saw it just days after my new granddaughter was born! So here is my version of Sue’s handmade teddy bear.
My Day 10 painting is based on a reference photo that I have had for years-and never had the nerve to attempt the painting! This is such an amazing, inspirational location! I decided I was finally ready to try it and worked on it for most of the month (to this point). Very challenging and colorful, but I can see the light, shadows, the heaviness of the rocks and extreme complexity when I stand back to look at it. I hope you can too!
This one was an interesting challenge. I had heard about and seen the “stone” paper, which I guess is meant more for acrylics and even alcohol inks. But I did see a demo using it with watercolor, so I simply had to try it. It reminded me somewhat of Yupo, but I think it’s a little more “controllable.” I didn’t feel the colors were as true as they are on watercolor paper, but that may have been primarily caused by their tendency to blend a LOT on the “paper.” It was also very difficult to get darks as dark as I wanted them. Regardless, it was fun to try and I will be experimenting more with it.
Admittedly, I am running terribly behind, but I have completed 6 more pieces and have 3 works in progress in my studio-and many more in my head. The biggest hindrance was last week’s Spokane Watercolor Society meeting. I literally spent 19 hours over three days getting ready for, at and following up from the meeting. That, and everything else I have to catch up on, makes it difficult to get into the studio! Doing my best…
Also, as a follow up, during the first week of January, I met with the two wonderful ladies who bought those paintings and had a chance to talk with them. Each was so happy with her painting and was also such a delight to meet and visit with! I really liked having the opportunity to meet each of them rather than just selling the works!
The two I am posting this time are silly little works that were for birthdays in Jim’s class-and yes, I did use them for the 30 in 30 challenge! Each gift had to cost no more than $1.00 and start with first initial of the the recipient’s name-or can be a regift, etc. Once I drew and painted these, I dug through my extra mat board and found an appropriate piece for each. After cutting each 2″ larger overall, I used gel medium to attach to the front of the board. It worked well. Then, after class, we went to lunch together and had a great time as well as a delicious lunch! There were some very clever, inventive gifts given and we laughed a lot!
Day 5-Silly Giraffe for Gloria Day 6-Monkey with Cymbals for Mary
Before I head into my studio to work on paintings for the 30 in 30 challenge, I thought I would share a couple more of the cards… These two are similar – same cat, but somewhat different scenes. No titles for these, just fun cards to paint and share.
The past two days have been really awesome, in that I met and talked with the two ladies who bought those paintings-Karen and I even had coffee together and found that we have much in common, even including knowing some of the same local people. I love to meet and get to know new people and it really honors me that they both liked one of my paintings enough to want that painting in their homes!
I finally finished and posted my Day 4 painting last night-and it’s the 8th… I have so many ideas, two more WIP projects and just not enough time to get it all done! This was partially done in the class I have been attending when I can, taught by my mentor/friend and first watercolor instructor, Jim. But I couldn’t seem to get into the class that day, seriously struggling with this, and consequently I didn’t get much done. Then when I was ready, I finished it in a fairly short time. Sometimes you just have to set something aside, study it and think about it for a while and then you can often finish it with little difficulty, which is why I like to have several paintings in the works at a time! I like this one, but I don’t think the title I have tentatively given it does it justice.
I think that one of the paintings in process is finished, but I need to study it and think about it a little more. So for now, I’ll post another of the Christmas cards I made. They were all such fun to do and to send to other artists in the Wetcanvas Christmas card exchange.
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
With every day comes new situations that take me away from my studio, which at times is very frustrating. I had plans yesterday to spend several hours there and found I wasn’t able to do any painting at all-darn! I am current with the Every Day in January Facebook sketch challenge, but am now 3 days behind for 30 Paintings in 30 Days! I do have three WIPs though, so possibly, with some good, uninterrupted time in my studio, I will catch up on that!
Instead of posting nothing, I will begin sharing all those Christmas cards I painted and will continue to add them, interspersed with my current work. I actually painted this first one for a friend, designed based on the Christmas sweater she wore to our Spokane Watercolor Society Christmas party. Challenging and fun to do for her!
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!