The Days Got Away from Me

Recently I’ve been trying to be a more predictable blog poster… a quote on Monday and other art on Friday. My Monday posts are all set for a few weeks but Friday’s posts are usually recent work that I schedule by Thursday to publish early the next morning.

Ah, but life gets busy. Thursday evaporated as I got in the flow with a big book binding project and Friday turned out to be more of the same.

Dinner consisted of reheatables dressed up with one of my favorite seasonal dishes… Pomegranate Olive Relish. I’m just thankful I remembered to paint the Pom before making it!

I like this method of separating the arils, but I do it without the water bath. It works!

Strathmore 500 Mixed Media Journal

When Do I Know I’m Done?

I thought I was done… scanned it and closed the book.

I was happy, at least I thought I was, yet I knew something was off. I studied it using what Roz Stendahl calls the “editing eye”. This isn’t some rash commentary from my internal critic but an honest review of technique and composition to determine what could be improved.

Although I lost the tilt of his head in comparison to the inspiration photo I could live with that. Instead I focused on how washed out my watercolors looked. Now that was something I could change.

Another layer of darker pigments for his hair and beard and a deeper orange glaze for his jacket and I was done.

Not perfect… but done.

#Arteza A4 watercolor book

To The Sea and Mr. Turner

I’ve just returned from a short overnight excursion to Mystic, CT, specifically the Mystic Seaport Museum, to see the JMW Turner watercolor exhibit.

I’m still processing all that I experienced and I have many many observations and photos to share but they’ll have to wait. Instead I’m going to share a few pages of my sketchbook to show you how much more my books contain than a few quotes, drawings and splashes of color.

I keep brochures and even full sized maps that I sew into the book as extra pages. All sorts of things too valuable to toss or to lose on my messy desk in a failed attempt to keep them safe.

All this and a drawing too!

Moving Beyond Adolescence

A few days ago my friend Bobbie Herron published “That Dang Adolescent Period” on her blog, Aloft with Inspiration. In it she describes the idiosyncrasies and unpredictability of watercolor and the importance of perseverance. Please take a minute to read it… I’ll be here when you’ve finished.

Finally I was inspired to revisit a sketchbook-painting I started… and abandoned… over a week earlier. It had hit the adolescent phase where inexplicably everything looked wrong. Not only were my proportions off but my colors looked pale and insipid.

It needed more layers… but where to begin? I was paralyzed. Instead I closed the book knowing it was unfinished.

The sketchbook sat on my desk all week mocking my indecision.

Then I read Bobbie’s post.

It took me less than an hour to add more hair to the crown improving her proportions. A few more layers of bold juicy watercolors and I called it done.

The adolescent had grown up.

A4 – Arteza Watercolor Sketchbook

#30x30DirectWatercolor2019 Part Four

Here they are… my last seven mini-paintings from The #30x30DirectWatercolor2019 challenge.

I loved this sweet bird. The coloration might not be real but sparrows really do stand with their feet in what ballet teachers call second position.

Chickens, on the other hand, don’t know ballet.

People in the park.

Salt n’ pepper shakers on the table.

Friday evening sunset.

Astilbe in bloom.

A lemon branch… not from the garden, but from the local craft store’s floral department.

Whew… it’s been quite a month!

I’ve decided I worked too hard to just give up and go back to painting with pens or pencil underlines but I’m also not prepared to keep working like this daily. Instead I’ll continue practicing direct watercolor off and on… maybe once a week or so. After all, I have many more pages to fill!

#30x30DirectWatercolor2019

#30x30DirectWatercolor2019 Part Three

June was moving fast and I was still committed to creating daily paintings in my tiny watercolor sketchbook. Oh yes, there were some days when I seriously considered grabbing my pen or pencil, even possibly giving up completely but then I thought about why challenges exist.

If it was easy it wouldn’t be a challenge!

… and so the paint only challenge rolled on.

I haven’t seen any butterflies with this coloration but I loved painting her.

It was late and I had not found my inspiration during the day so these metallic horses became my muses.

Hummingbird first and the bee balm the next day. They’re always together in my garden!

Another busy day but there’s always a subject lurking in the mirror.

Much more time for this broken seashell. This really shows how lovely the watercolor blends and granulates on this paper.

I have struggled for a long while to paint my cats. Here’s our smaller girl.

Barred Owl at VINS, Vermont Institute of Natural Science, our local raptor rehab center.

By this time I could see the finish line. I’ll post the final bunch on Monday. See you then.

#30x30DirectWatercolor2019

#30x30DirectWatercolor2019 Part Two

Now for the next batch of my small June paintings.

Bumblebee. Can you see how I attached her wings? There’s no way this fuzzy girl would be able to fly even if she were real!

And then to continue the theme I painted a Dragonfly . I always called them Dragonflies… only when I moved east did I hear them referred to as Darning Needles. ( … and I’ve been told Damselflies are a whole ‘nother thing completely!)

One of my favorite pair of earrings… but please zoom in on the lettering. See how the cobalt teal blue pushed the burnt sienna to the edges… it was pure serendipity. So cool!

Drawing an ellipse with ink is hard enough… negative painting one pushed me far out of my comfort zone.

The squirrels are always burying acorns in my garden…

and I’m always digging them out once they’ve sprouted into tiny oaks trees.

On the left… went to an artist meet-up where I chose to paint this small bouquet on our café table.

Thinking and practicing facial proportions I painted this young woman from my imagination.

Apatosaurus. Long neck… long tail. Ooooh… I love mixing greens!

We’re at the halfway mark of the challenge … much more to come!

#30x30DirectWatercolor2019