Thursday, January 31, 2013

I'm Addicted!

Trying some negative painting and just pushing around then color. No drawing here, just a light yellow primerose in front of me. I know, I brought home another one! :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Well I made it. Thirty straight days of a painting a day! I want to thank you all who read these blogs and took this journey with me. While these small paintings and writings may not seem like much, they have been a huge deal for me.  I learned a lot, which I will be sharing over the next few days in future posts.  But today I'd like to start with the biggest thing I learned.  I learned I can find at least an hour in any day to paint!

 An hour a day, I figured, to paint a small painting. No sweat!  But to find an hour to an hour and a half in your busy day is not easy I found.  That's a total of seven to ten and a half hours a week. But I find I paint in spurts.  I paint feverishly for days or weeks in a row and knock out some nice stuff.  Or, I go months without picking up a brush.  I learned I'm not very routined or disciplined.

Now I may paint every day sometimes. And I may paint for three hours in a day sometimes. And let's even say I (in a good week) paint two days for three hours. I realized I don't usually devote seven hours a week in total on average to my painting.  And I know why. I have a lot going on. But it's an hour a day people! Didn't seem like much when I started, but I soon realized it adds up!

They say it takes thirty days to build a habit or routine into your life. I have to tell you I'm a little addicted! While I proved I can carve out even an hour a day to paint, I also learned I don't want to finish a painting every single day! Its a lot of pressure!  But I set another goal. To paint daily, at least an hour, and blog every few days (so I don't wear you out). I should then have at least two or three smaller or one large painting a week I'm willing to share. That's still a big challenge!

Below is a 16 x 20 finished painting from the sketch "Arm in Arm".  I had to work on this in my spare time and am lucky to finish it for today's post!  This painting will go in my upcoming show.  I loved the sketch and the way the sketch felt. The larger piece has a different feel.  I like them both for different reasons.  And I felt the bigger one is worth framing for the show!  

So thank you for riding the wave with me!  I really enjoyed your emails and "likes" on Facebook.  The feedback was fantastic.  So many of you said you'd miss the "daily's".  So while they wont be daily, I am going to do my best to paint in a more regular way.  That way you should see, hopefully two to three paintings a week!  And stay tuned for more of what these thirty little paintings have taught me!

Looking forward to the next painting!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Day Twenty Nine

Almost across the finish line! Of course, I had a very busy day and just as I was sitting down at 5 p.m. To start my late daily painting, the phone rings! It's my youngest and he's run out of gas. So, off I go to rescue my kid, who was very thankful and feeling very happy all it interrupted was the daily painting! Plus, I got to see a fantastic sunset and listen to some great music. Sometimes the interruptions are the best part of the day!

Returning home, I made dinner and settled down to paint, finally, about 7 p.m.! This painting is from a sketch In another sketchbook I drew down in Florida several years ago, that I never got to paint. Well, there was way, way too much detail for such a small painting. Maybe too much for a larger one! But that's what the sketchbook is for, to figure that out before your into a larger painting and you ruin a big sheet of expensive paper! I now know a lot I would do and not do in a larger painting.

Anyway, I was too rushed to produce much of anything I'm proud of. But it is a daily painting. Tomorrow I will wrap this up with some final thoughts and the last of 30 daily paintings!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Day Twenty Eight

Here are some lilacs from a photo. A Facebook friend asked for some and I had to hunt down a decent photo. Flowers that are clumps or masses are hard to do. You don't want to paint each individual flower-you'd be there for months! So you paint them as a whole and look at the value changes which give them their distinct shape. This is in my sketchbook, so it's small, 4x7 or so.
I will say, it's warm enough to rain and melt the snow today and I can smell the thawing earth when I go out! Painting lilacs gives me a taste for spring! Oh, how I wish! Two more paintings! What will they be?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Day Twenty Seven

When all else fails, go back to what you love. I love to paint the portrait. Here is a very quick warm up I did before "getting serious" . And guess what? I went on to paint a rose and a grapefruit. Neither will make this blog, but the warm up sketch will! I think it's the lack of pressure and expectation in these small studies. Now, if I could just translate that to the larger, more "serious" stuff! Lol! Three more paintings to go! Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Day Twenty Six

Snow, snow and more snow! I like it, yes I do! And I keep wanting to paint it, but I'm always too busy when its actually snowing! Lets hope I can get out tomorrow!? But in the meantime, my photos are full of flowers! And since I am so very, very late even thinking about a painting today, flowers are what we get.
I buy one of these every year. Fuchsia's remind me of a ball gown! Bold in color, delicate and full of ruffled petals. I need to do a painting with more detail and care. But for now, a sketch with feeling.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Day Twenty Five

Art can, and should, be personal. Often, the story behind the painting sells it. As it was snowing outdoors I was looking for inspiration this morning. A trip to the grocer netted zilch. If I'm not excited about the subject, it seems to show in the painting. So back to the photos, looking for something that speaks to me.

I found a photo of a lunch we had (yeah, Tom and I like our food so much we take pictures!) while in port in Greece. These prawns were gigantic and it was all you can eat! There we sat, next to the water and colorful Greek fishing boats, sun shining, skies blue, water beautiful--gorging ourselves on prawns and the rest of our meal. Truly a memory I will never forget.

And that might make it personal enough. But more than that, it was a trip my Dad took his kids on after my mom passed away. We are moving my dad in our home in the next few weeks, and I can't help but think about how many things and places I've seen thanks to my dad! Not only am I a military brat and he dragged us all over the world, but after he retired-he never lost that wander lust and continued to travel with my mom for years, until she couldn't anymore.

So this painting is a sort of tribute to the places I've seen and the memories I will always have of distant places and far off shores I might never have traveled on my own. This represents that adventuresome spirit and the man who took me there!

Thanks dad! I might just have the bug now...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Day Twenty Four

Well, classes have started up again as well as some other business that I need to get squared away. I'm afraid the next six paintings may be a bit of a sad finish! But finish I shall!

Another playful sketch. I've found that I've lost a bunch of photos and haven't the time to look for them. You know how it is when you want to paint something, but darn, where did that photo go?? So back we go to the everyday. This could have been a really cute painting if I had taken some more time with it. Oh well, another day, another painting!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Day Twenty Three

Well, the sketchbook's getting a workout! 3x4 study, let's call it "Red Beret and Denim Jacket". Another day, another very small painting-- but hey, no one said what size! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Day Twenty Two

I've never done an Amaryllis to my satisfaction! So this morning I was reluctant to paint the one gloriously blooming by my window. This is just a quick sketch, wet in wet. No masterpiece today but its better than my past attempts. So I must quit and start my day. Happy creating!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Day Twenty One

Today I don't have time for much else but this quick sketch of my dog Max. Max is a character! A very sweet loving dog who never tires of affection. And when I say never, I mean it! Lol, he's a lover!
Not show quality, the sketch or dog, but fun and quick. Another day, another small painting!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Day Twenty

This 30 paintings in 30 days has pushed me in two ways. First it has made me (obviously) paint daily, instead of when the mood strikes. I usually do laundry first and paint last. And if I don't feel it, I wont paint it. Well, like love, feeling like it is not what has carried me through so far!

The second thing I've done is revisit the photograph. Going through reference photos has been a wealth of inspiration! While I always feel painting from something that's right in front of you is preferable, we don't always have that luxury! And what do we do with all those photos we took? Well, I've been using them these days!

Below is a sketch from a photo I took this fall when we went apple picking. I can feel the sun on my back and hear the bee's buzzing past my ears. And I can taste the tart warm apples picked right off the tree!

Another day, another. Painting!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Day Nineteen

I did not struggle with inspiration--who can resist tulips? Picked some up today at the store. They are so graceful and have such wonderful lines. The leaves have so many greens and soft blue greens. One of my favorite flowers to paint. But I just couldn't produce a decent tulip. Here is the least horrible one! Perhaps when I'm feeling less puny I will try these favorites again.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Day Eighteen

People are always one of the most interesting and intriguing subject matter. I especially enjoy candid moments. This is when a camera can be an artists friend to capture a brief moment in time that can be used as inspiration for a painting. This small sketch will become (hopefully) a bigger painting. But I really like the sketch! I'll call it - Arm in Arm.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Day Seventeen

Catching a cold is a real motivation killer! But I forced myself into the studio and looked for inspiration and something small. Dreary days call for sunny flowers. The golds and oranges of the California poppy were just the ticket. This is a playful painting, done quickly without to much attention to detail is all I really have the energy for anyway. I slopped on paint, let it run and drip, allowing the watercolor to do its thing. How we paint is as important to the feel of a painting as is what we paint.

It won't be long before I have these cheery flowers blooming in the garden and I can paint them outdoors in the warm sun! Until then, we paint the memory from a photo!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Day Sixteen

Well, I've been sidelined by some nasty bug. This is a very weak attempt at some art. Hopefully, tomorrow I will have something better to show you. I'm remembering that the point is just to get it done, not make 30 masterpieces!
And as usual, I felt better (not much!) for having my art fix! As Scarlet reminds us: " tomorrow is another day! " Until tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Day Fifteen--midpoint

So here i am at the midpoint of the 30 day challenge. I've had so many tell me they will miss it! So I've decided to do one a week. But until then, fifteen more!! paint on!

This is for John, my brother in law, who asked for a "a tree, preferably a group of small pines." Lol. While this may not be exactly to order, I've been meaning to paint an evergreen laden with snow ever since we had that last snow fall. What I REALLY wanted was to get out and Plein air while it was on the ground! I guess this will have to do.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Day Fourteen

Today was life drawing. I have totally lost my Charles Reid workshop mojo! So sad...below is a painting I struggled with for three hours! I photographed the drawing--so much potential! My flesh tones are overworked and muddy. But next week is another chance to practice. (If I don't get discouraged and take my oils!)

Tomorrow marks the halfway point. I really didn't think I'd hang in here this long! I must say, the encouragement I've received from your emails and Facebook likes and posts has been what keeps me at it! Thank you! And who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Paint on!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Day Thirteen

Another day, another painting! Today it was really hard to find the time. Taking the sketchbook with me and always having the handy cell phone camera, I was able to find my inspiration in the parking lot while waiting to be seated for a late lunch.I drew it and made color and lighting notes to finished when we got home. Just finishing up at 8:15. While its been a little bit of a pain, I seem to be able to eek out a painting everyday. Which begs the question, why don't I paint in a more routine way going forward? Good question, eh?
This sketch is a vignette. Vignette's are informal paintings where the four corners are left unfinished. This view set itself up perfectly for it! It might even make a nice bigger painting!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Day Twelve...

Today I cleaned out my studio. What a job! I threw out so many so-so paintings. (Along with A LOT of other stuff!) It felt good. Get rid of the stuff in our lives that's just so-so and keep what is excellent! I did find a few paintings that I either have an emotional attachment to or felt in some way could still be redeemed. So below is one I felt might be worth the rework. I'm still not a fan, but It's an improvement. I wish I would have taken a before photo, but I didn't. Anyway, here is day twelve!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Day Eleven

I'm having a show with a few of my artist friends in March. I need some fresh work to show and it must all be for sale. Every time I paint a good painting its like birthing a child. (Note to self: paint more and they won't all be so precious!) So when they come out well and I like them, I want to keep them! But I digress...

So I'm in the studio working on a larger one today, that if I don't screw it up or over work-I think I will like! That's a good thing, but I will not finish in time to post it and I don't want to rush this one. The dilemma becomes "what can I finish and post when I need the time to paint for the show?"

I took my lunch break and walked out back with the dogs. Last week we were under a foot of snow! This week it's almost 60 today and the snow is a flood next to my garden. But the ground is soft and I wiggle a few mulched carrots from the thawed earth of the winter garden. Ah, again, inspiration from the overlooked everyday! Paint on people!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day Ten!

primrose-a perennial favorite!
Every year the grocery stores bring the cheery primrose in around January or February.  The have many colors, red being a favorite a favorite of mine.  Every year I say " no primrose this year.  I've painted them plenty and I have so many already, so no, no primrose."  (You can plant them in the yard in the spring and they will come back each year). And as you can see, I never win against their simple charm and bright spirit!  "Ok, just one more!"  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Day Nine

Small 4x6 for a card for my cousin's husband who is in the hospital with Leukemia. Hope the brilliant red of the cardinal brightens his day. Please say a prayer for George. Matt. 6:25-34

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Day Eight

Pink Tights
Here is a value sketch for a larger painting I want to do.  I did this again with just three colors, a red, blue and yellow.  One thing about small sketches is they help me to see without too much detail.  Small sketches help me to decide what's important and clarify value patterns   I see some problem areas in this sketch.  For one, the window leads the eye straight out of the painting!!  And that's the value of the small sketch!!

But, too much thinking for today!  (I've been busy with my non-art life!)  Another thing I'm learning: don't wait until the end of the day when you are spent to try and be creative!!
Until tomorrow!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Day Seven

First, thank you for so many kind comments! I am enjoying this but finding inspiration is the hard part. Always inspiring to me are people. After attending another Charles Reid workshop in Nov., he told me I needed to paint the human form as often as possible to keep the skills up.  I've been away from it for a while, but made it a point to heed his warning. Use it or lose it, as they say. (after this 30 days I will write about the workshop--many of you are waiting I know!)

So today I began a new life drawing class downtown.  I met some nice people (hello Shirly!) and had 3 hours of uninterupted time to paint. After only a few weeks (OK, months!) away from painting people I was rusty.  And then add the pressure of needing a painting to share for my 30 day challenge!  While it's not great, I felt I could post it without a lot of shame!  whew!  Here is Steve. Skin tones are muddy, but next week I get another chance!

So, Day Seven.  Check!  I find myself really searching throughout each day for new things to paint.  Being mindful of your surroundings and in tune with what inspires you is much of the creative process.  I also dont have time to commit to the perfect painting, which is in it's own right an excercise worth doing! In a way it's pressure to paint daily.  But in another way its freeing.  Not only do I not have time to paint a masterpiece-tomorrow is another painting and another chance to get it right!! 

Thanks for reading, commenting and coming back for more!  You make it worth the effort!  Now go do something creative! 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Day Six

Day six. I had no inspiration! That's a problem for an artist! One idea I use to push past this is to look at the everyday with new eyes. Look for things you pass by without noticing. I look for colors and interesting shapes. I also tend to find organic things interesting and always find things from "life" much more inspirational than subjects from a photo. Yes, even this dead sunflower in real time is more inspiring to me than a photo of a beautiful flower. (Yes, I do use photos)
I also find using a limited palette helps by limiting choices and forcing creative use of paints and mixtures. A limited palette also gives a painting color harmony automatically. This painting was done with Alizarian Crimson, raw sienna and ultramarine blue. Before I overworked the center, I had some beautiful color mixes going! Knowing when to stop, that's the thing!
Tomorrows post will be later in the day, since I have life drawing from 1-3pm. Hopefully, I will have something I am not to ashamed of!
Until tomorrow!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Day Five

It's a painting a day for 30 days. No one said a good painting a day! Some days are not going to produce a good painting. Thing is, the more you paint, the odds go up that you will get a good one!
Day Five. Check!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Day Four

Snowbirds 5x8 watercolor
Today, the Grackles showed up again to hog the suet and drive away all the other "prettier" less aggressive birds.  Watching them doing acrobatics while fighting at the feeder and then landing on the snow to feast, I decided they had a beauty of their own.  I enjoyed the sun on the birds and the shadows in the snow.  That's when I decided the common Grackle would be my muse today!  I decided yesterday to initiate the  sketchbook my husband had given me for Christmas.  First sketch of the new year in the new sketchbook!  Another day done!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Day Three

I really enjoy Christmas. I love receiving and creating cards and I love decorating the house in new and creative ways, entertaining and making special foods.  I think one thing that makes Christmas so special is that its only once a year!  Many things - cards from far away friends, family and friends we make it a point to see at the holidays - these things we only do and see once a year, are special then.

Today is going to be a busy day so I thought I would get my painting done right away first thing.  These snowmen were all gifts and come out to play every Christmas.  I set them up as a still life for my class and had such fun painting them I wanted to revisit them before packing them away for another year!  I see these snowmen only once a year for a few weeks, making them special and even more charming!  So before I pack them away for good, I thought I'd have some fun with them.  A continuous line drawing adds a playful quality to the painting.   ( no, this is not a departure from my "regular" work, but line drawing is a warm up exercise as well as something I play with to have fun and use often in my sketch book) 

So away they go for another year, just like real snowmen when they melt!  Until next year! Happy painting!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bubble Bath, 4x6 Watercolor and Ink on paper
Please forgive if you receive more than one email for yesterdays post.  I believe I have that rectified, but if it continues, let me know.  Well, if at first you don't succeed, draw, draw again!  (and you will not be seeing that one!)  It's still not great, but the idea is there.  Hard to get any good facial features on a teeny tiny head.  It probably would have taken less time, believe it or not, done larger.  But I needed a 4x6 and today's is done! 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

30 day challenge

A student gave me a lovely
Cyclamin for Christmas-
This will go on the
Thank you note

Ok, so I hate all those New Years resolutions.  So when my friend and fellow artist Ruth Ann Sturgill  posted a 30 day challenge on Facebook (30 days, 30 paintings, any size, any medium) I thought " why not, what have I got to lose?"  It's only 30 days, right? Who knows if I will make the whole 30 days or if the challenge will just stress me out, but join me and Ruth Ann while we post and encourage one another!  It's a new year!  Paint it!