More Flowers!

If you’ve followed me at all, you know how much I love flowers-seeing them, smelling them, growing them and painting them! To me, it seems that they just bring such joy and beauty-as well as nectar for the bees! The book suggestion for day 8 was to just loosely sketch/paint some wildflowers. I used the suggestion in the book for the first one and then went off on my own, doing flowers I like and wanted to try my hand at. I also played with the background, doing something more in my own style. I love using this book as inspiration and making the sketchbook practice my own. Sometimes, when inspiration is lacking, that’s exactly the type of thing we artists need to do!

     STALKING THE WILDFLOWER

https://www.instagram.com/artist_elaine/

https://www.facebook.com/pg/fineartbyelaine/posts/

#art#artist#artisticjournaling#drawing#pratice#inspiration#challenge#colorful#flowers#floral#watercolor#sketch#sketching#painting#wildflowers

So Much Fun With This!

For day 7, the suggestion in the book (Learn to Paint in Watercolor with 50 Paintings) was a hand, with a tattooed arm, holding a bunch of poppies. I liked it, but I liked the idea of “doing my own thing” better. So I drew a few flowers held by a hand (using my own hand holding a “bouquet” of paint brushes as the model)-FUN! Not that it’s a masterpiece at all, but I do like the way it turned out and truly enjoyed doing it. They called it “Flowers With a Difference”. I don’t know if mine are anything different, so I think it needs a different title.

     FLOWERS IN HAND

#art#artist#watercolorartist#artisticjournaling#watercolor#sketch#drawing#practice#experimental#flowers#inspiration#hand#challenge#bouquet

YIKES-Almost Ruined This One!

Again, for my day 6, I used the inspiration the book offered, but with my own painting gear. This is but one of my several small palettes, two of my favorite everyday-usage brushes, one of my fountain pens and a couple of my favorite tubes of paint (both of which are colors actually in this palette). For me, the brushes are a real challenge to paint, but I guess you can tell what they are. I really like the way the tubes of paint look, kind of used, squished and realistic.

Then, as sometimes happens, I dropped my fully-loaded brush right on the almost completed sketch, but managed to mostly cover up the mess – especially since it hit on the palette part and mine always look messy and well used anyway, so the extra paint slopped there is rather fitting!

 

     YOUR PAINTING KIT

#art#artist#artisticjournaling#sketch#challenge#drawing#practice#watercolor#painting#pen#brushes#palette#paint#everydayitems#paintingkit

Jumping to Day 5 because…

My day 4 sketch/watercolor needs some serious help. It’s a large shell full of smaller shells; they all blend together too much to actually distinguish what is what. I’m thinking some line work might help and will try that…or just redo it. So, jumping ahead a day, my day 5 piece was fun and a real pain to draw! I could have used the reference in the book, but I thought this one should be made more personal-so I used my own pocket/purse items. I love the idea of using your everyday items to practice with and this one was a fairly challenging one. Keys are apparently not my forte, but you can tell what they are supposed to be and I guess that’s what matters. 🙃😜😁

     EMPTY YOUR POCKETS

#art#artist#artisticjournaling#drawing#challenge#sketch#journaling#everydayitems#watercolor#colorful#experimental#inspiration#painting#practice#cellphone#wallet#keys

Day 3 Was a Fun One

I had this site open and refreshed it, thinking that I had already posted my day 3 sketch…but it wasn’t here. Then, duh, I realized that I posted it on Facebook, but not on my blog!

For this one, I used the book’s reference because it’s such a fun piece – and because I have no mostly worn out white Keds-type sneakers and probably haven’t since I was a kid! Yes, I could use my worn looking yard shoes and probably will one of these days, but I really wanted to follow the book on this one. Of course, as with all of my artwork, I hand drew them-in fact, barely making them fit on the page. The lighting and the shading was fun to play with! Again, the inspiration is the book, Learn to Paint in Watercolor with 50 Paintings.

     SNEAKERS

#art #artist #artisticjournaling #challenge #drawing #practice #shoes #sneakers #sketch #watercolor #watercolorpainting

Another Day, Another Sketch

Okay, so I haven’t been managing to get one done each day… But I have done 5 now and am enjoying the inspiration supplied by the book. Last night’s piece…oh, but that’s for another day! This one was directly from the idea in the book, as I really have no house plants. It’s not that I don’t want them, but this house is dark, dark, dark and house plants don’t take kindly to that! So I used the book’s image, hand-drawing it, of course. Great art? Of course not! But doing something artistic most days, even in a sketchbook, sure does help to keep those skills sharpened!

     SUCCULENT       (Inspiration from book, “Learn to Paint Watercolor with 50 Paintings”)

#watercolor #sketch #sketching #art #art #practice #succulent #plants #challenge #colorful #drawing #artist #artisticjournaling

 

Wake Me Up!!!

In other words, it’s been far too long since I’ve posted any of my work here. Since I’ve been sidetracked by well, life, I guess, I’ve not been doing any actual paintings. That means that my skills are “rusty” and that I need to get my hand and mind back in practicing small things, both drawing and painting them! My friend, Don, suggested a book entitled “Learn to Paint Watercolor with 50 Paintings”. It’s a fun book, filled with inspiration to learn or just to get you going again-that’s how I’m using it. Here is the first piece using that book as inspiration and encouragement. Hopefully they look good enough to eat! 😋

     DONUT DELIGHTS

#watercolor #sketch #inspiration #donuts #yummy #food #painting #practice

Bird Journal continued… Page 5, more welcome birds!

I believe that the goal of a journal is to do daily pieces – at that, I’m failing badly! This is obviously the time of year to do a “bird journal”, but it’s also the time of year when many hours each day are spent working in the very yard that welcomes these beautiful flying creatures! In fact, much of what I’m doing in the yard is planting things that help to draw in those birds… That being reality, I make notes of new/different birds in a notebook and work on the actual artwork mostly at night when the house is quiet-when I have the energy left to do so! It seems that my list of new visitors has far exceeded the time that I have available. And now, in less than 2 weeks, I’m beginning another 30 in 30 challenge-a different one this time. Check out this Marc Holmes June challenge on Facebook: #30x30DirectWatercolor2018! I’m not very experienced at “direct watercolor”, but will try… Thank heavens he’s very lose about rules and if you pre-draw and/or use some pen&ink, it’s acceptable. I know the idea is to get better at direct watercolor, but it’s also simply to get 30 pieces done in 30 days-one may have to preclude the other for me!

Now for my 5th journal piece, I’ve done “Cassin’s Finch”, both male and female since they look so different (and yes, I see that my lettering is not improving…). They are here some years and others they are not. This year, there seem to be more of them and, although the information says they “live in evergreen forests in the mountains up to about 10,000 feet elevation” they seem to be here, at least for the spring. That’s fine; they’re enjoyable to watch, whether gleaning seeds from the ground, eating insects in the trees and bushes or at the feeders. They are such an interesting pair, with the female so “bland” that she doesn’t much resemble her much showier partner!

     The Cassin’s Finch are here this year!

#challenge #journal #birds #finch #finches #cassinsfinch #artistic #journaling #experimental #artisticjournaling #lettering #drawing #art #watercolor #inspiration #gardening #practice #sketch #spring #landscape #cityscape

There’s a first time for everything…? Bird journal, page 4

Even though I knew-for years-that wild turkeys were rampant in our entire area, I had never seen any anywhere near our neighborhood. Then one day, while I was in my studio working, my dog started barking. Since she’s not much of a barker, I came upstairs to see what was going on. To my utter shock (and dismay) there were 4 wild hen turkeys in the backyard. I immediately ran outside, collected pine cone “ammunition” and used it by throwing them at the turkeys while chasing them, finally hitting one on the tail feathers. They moved faster then and, even more surprising than seeing them in my yard, was seeing them fly onto the house roof rather than just going over the fence. They then flew off from there. Yes, I probably looked and sounded crazy – I don’t care, because I don’t want them in my yard!

The rest of the story is that about a 1 1/2-2 weeks later they were back, but in my neighbor’s back yard. I did the same routine to chase them away, from within my own yard. It worked, with them going over her fence to the front yard and then away down the street. I’ve not seen them come back, but it could certainly happen at any time. I hope not-they’re not welcome birds in my yard, nor in this neighborhood, being loud, damaging, dirty and stupid!

That all being said, I have to add that they’re very huge and impressive creatures up close! Since they were, hopefully one-time, visitors to my yard, I’ve included this sketch in my journal along with the story…

     A very unwelcome group of birds in March!

 

#challenge #journal #birds #turkey #wildturkey #artistic #journaling #experimental #artisticjournaling #lettering #drawing #art #watercolor #inspiration #gardening #practice #sketch #spring #landscape

There’s a first time for everything…? Bird journal, page 3

The American Robin – a constant, and welcome, visitor most of the year. This year, they showed up here – lots of them – during the second week of March, as the weather started to warm again. Our ground is healthy with numerous earthworms and the Robins seems to be very happy in our yard. Last year there was a pair who pretty much owned the front yard; they would dive-bomb most squirrels and other birds out there, often even trying to drive me away when I was mowing, weeding, etc.! We had a bad wind storm last fall and a HUGE limb came down from our front yard shade tree (that clean-up is a whole other story)! Perhaps that was where those robins had nested, as they seem to be avoiding that tree this year. That’s fine, because it makes it a more welcome spot for other, more colorful and rare visitors this year.

     March brought the return of Robins!

#challenge #journal #birds #AmericanRobins #artistic #journaling #experimental #artisticjournaling #lettering #drawing #art #watercolor #inspiration #gardening #practice #sketch #spring #landscape

Bird Journal – something a bit different!

While this isn’t really a part of my bird journal, this February photo capture seems appropriate to this string of postings. The squirrels are always here, but this particular February photo-op capture was amazing to me. Since there is a February gap in returning birds (once winter really hit again), this little visitor fits right in. He/she was on the deck looking in the door and “hid” so cutely when I approached with my phone; this is the picture I was able to catch – and then paint for my day 1 in the 30 Paintings in 30 Days February Challenge.

     February-no new birds, but this amusing visitor…

#challenge #journal #squirrel #animal #birds #artistic #journaling #experimental #artisticjournaling #lettering #drawing #art #watercolor #inspiration #gardening #practice #sketch #spring #landscape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a first time for everything…? Page 2

Continuing with my first bird journaling attempt, here is my other early January backyard visitor. Perhaps neither the Nuthatches nor the Chickadees ever left, but not a lot of time is spent bird-watching in the winter around here. The days are cold, short, dark and dreary…and the birds are few. This year though, January and early February were real exceptions to our usual weather, with temperature highs in the 40s and sometimes even into the lower 50s! That being the case, it was quite a treat to look out and see these two types of birds in residence – which is largely what prompted this journal experiment! 🐥😍🐿

(Unfortunately, you can clearly see the ugly crinkling of this cheap paper in my journal scans…)

     Welcome January visitors continued…

#challenge #journal #birds #artistic #journaling #experimental #artisticjournaling #lettering #drawing #art #watercolor #inspiration #gardening #practice #sketch #spring #landscape

There’s a first time for everything…? 1st journal page

While I’ve filled dozens of sketchbooks of all shapes and sizes , I’ve never before actually tackled doing a journal. It truly is intended to be a DAILY journal, but I’ve definitely fallen down in that category already. I am, however, keeping notes to go with my pages, so that when I get around to them I still have the story to go with the sketch. I ran across a “bird journal” idea and instantly recognized that it was a perfect fit for me! Yes, I have the closest I can come to a suburban bird santuary in my backyard-and absolutely love seeing them as they show up in the spring, keeping track of what and when! I’m not technically a bird watcher and am not that versed on all of the varieties and species, but they, along with my dozens of types of perennial plants, do bring such life and joy to my yard! Just sitting in my favorite spot watching and listening is wonderful!

Those things said, I’ll begin sharing my journal pages. Unfortunately, the journal I chose to use has horrible paper and I’m not very good at lettering. The lettering issue is one thing I hope to improve on as the work on my journal progresses; the paper issue is what it is (and if I can do eyes on printer paper, I should be able to make use of the poor paper in this journal – and choose more wisely next time)!

     January visitors – so much fun to see!

#challenge #journal #birds #artistic #journaling #experimental #artisticjournaling #lettering #drawing #art #watercolor #inspiration #gardening #practice #sketch #spring #landscape

How Time Flies…

Once the weather started improving, outside clean-up seems to have been my narrow focus. It’s not that I haven’t been doing anything artistic; it’s more that I have spent my limited time on small daily projects. For the month of April, I took on the Sea Lemon Eye Doodle Challenge (#sealemon – thank you for this unique challenge). It started with a printable file with the number, the name of animal and a small circle guide. I divided it into two sheets, which prints it a bit larger (1/2″ circles) giving more room to work. Watercolor on regular printer paper is an interesting challenge in itself! In addition to watercolor, I used whatever I needed to achieve my goal – including waterproof ink, white gouache and occasionally a white charcoal pencil. For the references, I simply searched for images since this is strictly a practice exercise, except for images 1, 2, 8 and 13 (my life “models”). If “the eyes are the windows to the soul”, then this practice is invaluable! It was also fun and interesting-and a real challenge in every sense of the word (artistically)! I mean, how often have you looked at the eye of a llama or a chameleon-I mean really looked at?! But, even if just in photos, that’s necessary to attempt to replicate an authentic-looking eye!

(One more thing-if you notice that “one of these things is not like the others” (day 8), it’s because I simply cannot look at a snake-not even in a picture-long enough to try to replicate any part of it!) 😝


Sealemon Eye Doodle April Challenge-collage, my completed eyes

 

#art #challenge #eyes #animals #birds #people #insects #sketch #drawing #experimental #watercolor #painting #pen and ink #cat #dog #practice #sealemon

The best laid plans…Or, my Day 13 piece

The best laid plans…rarely work out! I thought I would have plenty of time to sketch and paint yesterday, but that wasn’t the case. Between housework, shoveling the 7-8″ of new snow that fell and making Valentine’s Day dinner for us, including a lemon cheesecake with lemon curd on top (must sketch that)-and being on the phone with my son for his birthday-there was no time. After dinner, I could hardly keep my eyes open, so rather than working on art late last night, I slept! Two or three days ago, I did a sketchbook sketch of a lobster magnet I have on my fridge. It was not intended to be completed and posted as part of the 30 in 30 challenge; it was just sketch practice. I painted and inked it this morning, making it my late Day 13 painting. You do what you have to do…

     Lobster magnet sketch, watercolor with pen & Ink

My how time flies!

In just seeing that my last post was one of my Christmas card posts, and over a month ago, it makes me ashamed of myself for not keeping my blog current! Time just flies by, with shoveling snow, seeing friends, maintaining the watercolor group’s website and Facebook page… Well, you all probably know exactly what I mean!

All that being said, I have been busy in my studio also! I joined in Leslie Saeta’s January 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge again this year. I cannot say that I got actually paintings (as opposed to just sketches) done, but I did manage 29 sketches over the 30 days. I ended up using, in large part, the challenge prompts for the FB group, Sketching Every Day, so there are some interestingly odd works! Regardless of format, doing the work every day helps immensely with my art! So, here are the first three pieces that I did last month.

Day 1-20170103_012820_resized-straightened,cropped,corrected MS-scan-smaller-no words  Day 1: Subject was “Something new” This is a quick watercolor, pen & ink of my Christmas gift.

Day 2-Copy of Day 2-Snow Globe-me shoveling on New Year's Day-cropped,corrected MS-smaller  Day 2: Subject was “Snow globe” This was actually from a selfie of me out shoveling a couple of new feet of snow!

Day 3-Copy of Day 3-Queen of Hearts-cropped,correctedMS-smaller  Day 3: “Queen of Hearts” I chose to do a cat as the queen!

Floral Sketchbook Practice

5 minute practice sketch of Daffodils from book reference

IMG_20150313_113321_118-daffodils-straightened,cropped,brightenedPS-small to post

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!

art Before Breakfast again!

Thursday, 3-12, quick sketch of recycling bin at curb

IMG_20150312_114527_925-bluey sketch-straightened,cropped,brightenedPS-small to post

I has been a bit of a tough week, starting out on Monday with an urgent tooth extraction. The short version is – a botched root canal a number of years ago finally led to the demise of that particular molar, no matter how well I care for my teeth. The healing is going well, but the inevitable antibiotic has me feeling poorly, staying home taking it easy.

I guess that whole process has me somewhat out of the mood for painting, but I cannot ignore my art completely. Plus there is that wonderful “art Before Breakfast” book, which I did very quickly read cover to cover. While I’m not practicing exactly as is outlined in Danny Gregory’s book, I am working at filling the small accordion sketchbook I started with something each day. The sketches are not impressive, but it is a learning experience.

In this case, that learning is from just grabbing a Micron pen and going for it with whatever grabs my attention at that time, with no pencil pre-drawing. Even when I meet with my sketch group, I start with a pencil drawing, erasing and correcting things along the way. Then, when I’m happy enough with the sketch (and if there is still time since I work slowly), I will ink it and do a watercolor wash. I have many sketches done that way that I like, but it is a crutch and I need to learn to work directly! I hope that eventually, with enough practice, I will have that skill. I will still pre-draw for my paintings with a pencil, but that might just go more quickly and be more accurate the first time! The process I am practicing now can help me to become a much better artist overall and that’s what it’s all about!

More art Before Breakfast scribbles

IMG_20150308_035718_230-coffee scribble-cropped,brightenedMS  Another really bad 2-3 minute sketch, this time really, really early morning and long before breakfast. Daylight Savings Time just took effect and, as is my habit, I’m still up. Since Sunday mornings are less conducive to art time than other mornings, I decided to do a quick one before I go to sleep and share it. I probably shouldn’t share any of these, because it truly makes it look like I am completely unable to draw at all. It is true that I don’t work well and quickly at the same time, but the fact is that I make a habit of hand drawing my work prior to painting. I don’t paint quickly either and, when put on the spot to do so, I pretty much freeze up and accomplish nothing! So, in addition to just making art (with a very small a) of some kind, perhaps these exercises will eventually help me to learn to work faster and still produce quality work.

art Before Breakfast

I recently received a wonderful book by Danny Gregory called art Before Breakfast. The a in the title is not capitalized. This premise is described as such: “art with a big ‘A’ is for museums, galleries, critics and collectors while art with a small ‘a’ is for the rest of us.” I like that train of thought, since so much of the art that many of us make, even though we strive for perfection, simply is not perfect and/or museum quality. That’s absolutely not to say that it isn’t beautiful! In some ways, the book seems geared to busy people who have never even thought of trying any form of art, with the author pointing out some of the mental and physical advantages of it. But to me the book also speaks to all artists of any medium in that the purpose is that you make time for art every day!

Being a person who tends to flit from one project to another and another, sometimes finishing nothing, I have been making myself finish one book – if I’m reading it cover to cover rather than just using it for a quick reference – before I can start another. So, I finally was able to start reading art Before Breakfast Thursday night (I read before going to sleep). Which meant that Friday morning, I grabbed a pen and did two very quick, sloppy sketches before breakfast! These sketches were each under 5 minutes, including digging through my very limited markers to add some color. I’m a little embarrassed to show them, but I will anyway because starting my day that way made me feel great and added to the desire to make sure I spent some time in my studio. I find that most any type of doodle, scribble or sketch can loosen up my hand and focus my attention on art. So, here are those two sincerely bad sketches from Friday morning; the left one is the “title page” in a small accordion fold sketchbook and the second (photo rotated to make it upright) is, believe it or not, the bowl of grapes that I ate for breakfast. Now I just have to stick with it every day!

IMG_20150306_102708_537-opening page                IMG_20150306_102708_537-first sketch