2019 Hopkinton State Fair – Part 5

Yeah… no wrap up.

Life got in the way and my poor planning left me with no more hours yesterday. Believe me, I have a hard enough time writing something coherent when I’m fresh much less late at night after a busy day.

So, I’ve saved my last images… and the elusive wrap-up… for tomorrow.

Gotta go… Tunbridge (VT) World’s Fair is calling… gates open at 0700 and it’s Youth Showmanship in the Poultry Barn!

Arteza A5 landscape watercolor book

2019 Hopkinton State Fair – Part 1

A week ago Friday I went to New Hampshire’s Hopkinton State Fair. The blurb on their website states “a Labor Day weekend tradition for more than 100 years.”

I’ve only been going for the last 6 years and I’ve learned from my past experiences that I tend to burn out if I hang around too long. Heat and humidity seems to exacerbate any symptoms I may have but this year we were treated with beautiful weather, partly cloudy and low 70s.

Nevertheless I didn’t overstay my welcome… I only spent a little over five hours on site but there were productive. I created 14 spreads (28 pages) of ink sketches with selective watercolor washes.

I’m going to share all my work over the next few days without commentary but look for my State Fair insights and takeaways when I wrap up my final images this Friday. In the meantime please sit back and have a peek at the creatures through my eyes.

Arteza A5 landscape watercolor book

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 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 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 cafĂ© 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!


Testing Another Sketchbook

Yes, another. This is the one I’m using for June’s 30 x 30 Direct Watercolor challenge… it’s the Arteza 5.5 in. x 3.5 in. landscape watercolor sketchbook that I purchased from Amazon. $14.99 for a pack of two… I believe they’re only sold that way.

Update: I just looked and they’re $13.98 for two through Amazon… at that price you can try them without guilt!

This small size is perfect for painting on the go. And it’s quite thick at 80 pages. As comparison the popular watercolor Moleskine has 60 pages.

You can see in this view of the bottom of this book that as of this afternoon it’s just over halfway filled.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the binding stands up when the book is full.