Sketching Consistently

In addition to painting in a semi-abstract way, I also enjoy drawing. I think my drawing skills have grown a lot in the last couple years, but I still have so much room for improvement. So, to that end, I plan on trying to do 4 sketches a week in my sketchbook.

Last Sunday, while recuperating from a biopsy of my spine (yes – it was a painful as it sounds), I spent hours reading Alison Fennell aka The Pottering Artist’s blog: https://eastwitching.com/

I remember one of the posts talked about having a regular sketching habit and Alison described printing out 7 photos at a time and attaching them to the left side of her sketchbook so she could look at them while sketching on the right side. I thought that sounded like an awesome idea, so that’s what I’m planning on doing.

I dug through my photos from 2014 and picked four that I thought were interesting. I think I will sketch with charcoal pencils, though may change my mind and use graphite. I’m not certain about that yet.

Do you have a regular sketching habit? If so, how did you start? How do you keep yourself on task even when “life” gets in the way?

DaVinci watercolor paints

Have any of you tried DaVinci watercolor paints? I have purchased some watercolors in the past (Denise’s 24 earth friendly set and a couple individual tubes.) I have enjoyed them all. So, when I saw DaVinci was offering up to 60% off around Thanksgiving, I decided to splurge and purchase more.

I picked up the Mother green 11 color palette and a tube of thioindigo. What beautiful colors! I am loving thioindigo – it’s absolutely gorgeous. I made a very messy swatch, so I think I’ll refine it and update with a pic.

I also purchased a slew of fluid acrylic paints but I’ll share those another day.

So, do you have a favorite color by DaVinci? Let me know, so I can add to my wish list for the next sale 🙂

Custom Christmas ornaments

I was so pleased when a friend of mine, who has purchased several pieces of my art, asked me to create her custom Christmas ornaments to give to her family. I jumped at the chance… And then I sat and didn’t do anything.

I had originally wanted to gelli print them, because I love the look you get from transferring the shape of the actual item (in this case, holly.) But, I couldn’t find holly of a size that would fit the size of the wooden discs.

After a bunch of “hemming and hawing,” I decided to just paint the holly and add some berries. In a short couple of hours the ornaments were all done, complete with a custom message to her family on the back.

I’m pleased with how they turned out and she is too, which is what matters most.

Reviving ye olde blog… :)

How has it been since June that I last blogged?! Well, I’m starting this resolution before the new year so, hopefully, it will be easier to maintain.

I have grown so much since we last chatted. I have been learning so much from Amanda Evanston’s Insider’s Studio group in the last several months. Though I don’t do all of the classes, despite them being totally awesome, I have learned so much and my confidence as an artist has burgeoned. If you want to paint with fun color and reckless abandon, consider checking out joining her subscription group when admission opens again in February.

I also have been supporting two other artists via Patreon: Karen Margulis and Alison Fennell. In case you are not familiar with Patreon, let me tell you a little bit about the platform. It is a way for people to provide financial support to artists… to be a patron of theirs. In exchange for paying a small amount each month (the amount depends on the different tiers that the artists come up with) you have access to content that is developed by the artists for their patrons.

The first artist I am a patron of is Karen Margulis. I have been expanding my soft pastel (and general art) knowledge by watching and reading her content. I don’t know how she is so prolific with her blog posts and patreon posts, but I have come to rely on having an interesting read and/or video almost daily. Not everything is new content, but she curates her extensive blog for blog posts relevant to the current topic we are studying.

The second artist I support on Patreon is Alison Fennell, The Pottering Artist. Alison is a watercolor artist from Wales and is relatively new to Patreon. She creates detailed printable documents to make it easy for beginners to be able to paint along with her very thoughtful tutorials. Initially we focused on a different country each month, but recently we have moved on to different festivals.

I truly get a lot of value, for a small monthly outlay, by participating in these monthly subscriptions. I very seldom actually do the tutorials that I watch, but I have gleaned a lot of skills and techniques that I am using to create my own art and develop my own style.

Oh, I forgot that I am a subscriber of the Critique Club with Lindsay Weirich from The Frugal Crafter. As a subscriber, I have access to two really long, real-time tutorials each month and I can submit my own creations for a critique by her. I have had my art critiqued once or twice a month and I value having a seasoned artist take a critical eye to the painting and provide constructive criticism.

I have painted a ton since I last posted, but have taken a little pause currently. If you know me personally, you know that I have a rare, aggressive form of breast cancer. I have been stable for 3 years, but it looks like the cancer may have come back in my spine. I have had a slew of tests and, most recently, a biopsy of my spine to confirm what is going on. It was very painful, and I am still in pain, but I am determined to rest now so I can heal and get back to creating my beautiful, unique art.

I’ll leave you with this image of one of my recent paintings. I have been called to created angels for months now, and they keep evolving, but this one is one of my favorites. Her name is Hadassah.

Hadassah

Monoprint Love :)

I have been having such a good time making monoprints with branches, weeds, and flowers – I’ve done this before with my gelli plate, but recently I have been doing it with a sheet of aluminum foil. What have I done differently? I have been using chaos layers or a surface with paint of some sort on it and then doing the monoprint on that surface. After the paint dries, I go in with Posca pens (acrylic paint markers) or soft pastels and add line work. It’s so much fun!

I will be delivering my first round of monoprint art to a local shop to be for sale. The second round will be taken to the shop once my mat boards arrive. Fingers crossed that they sell! I’d love to start paying myself back for all the art supplies that I have been purchasing.

This is one of my favorite monoprints from this first round!

Painting Peonies

I am a member of the Amanda Evanston Insider’s Studio group on Facebook and one of the weekly lessons was on painting peonies in a loose, semi-abstract fashion. I have yet to complete those peonies in acrylics, but… I painted loose, semi-abstract peonies in soft pastels! I love it.

I shared this painting online and a friend of mine loved it, so I am sending it to her, but I am not done with peonies yet. I have plans to paint at least one more in soft pastels and I also will be painting a few in acrylics with soft pastel accents. Can you tell I love soft pastels?! They are just so luminous and I think they give so much dimension to the paintings.

For my acrylic attempts I am going to use a stretched canvas instead of watercolor paper. Here’s my starting point. I’m so excited to get started.

Stay tuned for updates – hopefully I’ll be able to complete something this week! {I have a lot of “in process” paintings happening right now}

Thank you for checking out my blog today 🙂

Completed Pet Portrait in Watercolor

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I painted my cousin’s dog, Amadeus, with a mixture of watercolors: Renesans watercolors (available in the US from on Etsy) and Xanadu Art Studio handmade watercolors. I think the colors I chose give the pup a bit of a mystical quality, and I love it. I will be building up my collection of completed pet portraits and using the digital image to make greeting card collections. Stay tuned for more!

I’ll also be updating my Etsy shop soon to include the chaos Irises that I painted a little while ago. So be sure to favorite my shop so you can keep up with art for sale!

 

Chaos Painting

I have been creating, even if I haven’t been posting!

I am almost done creating four or five miniature little golden book photo album/journals – these will have all cardstock weight patterned paper interspersed with the full pages from the original book.  The front and back of each page of cardstock have a mat for a photo to be glued onto it. I think they are cute and can’t wait to finish them and so I can post them in my Etsy shop.

I have been painting with watercolor, occasionally, but I really need to budget the time to actually work on the semi-abstract watercolor landscape class I am registered for online. I have done most of the sections that are theory and reading but haven’t actually done any of the tasks. Instead, I have been working on reductive painting with acrylics after completing a couple of online classes that I purchased from Amanda Freund. I really love her bright colors and slightly abstracted flower paintings. I am using up all the watercolor paper that I have, but don’t love, by making chaos layers with either watercolors or acrylic paints, though I think I’m going to use some of my acrylic inks for my next round of chaos layers. Amanda has generously been providing occasional live classes on Instagram during this quarantine period (plus she had loads of short tutorials in her stories on Instagram.)

I am still learning, and I am loving that I am getting looser with my style, but I have made some gorgeous iris paintings right now that I love. I think I might list those in my Etsy shop too because although I love them I do not need to have 7 paintings of irises on my walls – especially since I keep making more.

The first Instagram live lesson was painting cats – I made three and think they are pretty cool.

The second lesson was a wildflower meadow landscape – I made about seven of these paintings. I feel compelled to use purple paints a lot, probably because I know my son loves purple, and so about 4 of the 7 are purple wildflowers. My son has claimed two of the paintings for his room, but I think that 3 of the remaining 5 are pretty awesome, so I might put those in my Etsy shop too.

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The third lesson is on the hydrangea flower. A section of one of her online courses teaches how to paint hydrangea, but I still am not loving my results yet, so I look forward to another lesson on that flower. I have watched the video and taken notes – the next step is to paint it!

 

 

 

Altered Book Journals (and more)!

It’s March and there have been further developments with journal making. I have started making “junk journals” or altered book journals that are filled with an assortment of papers. It’s so much fun to tea stain (preferably with hibiscus leaves to give a beautiful pink and purple hue) and dye the pages with bombay india inks.

I approached a local shop owner who was looking for local artisans and I approached her about my journals. She loved them and now you can find several on the shelves of her shop. I delivered 13 journals and 4 have sold at the time of this blog post.

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I’ve also made some Little Golden Book junk journals that I think are sweet and I started an Etsy shop today! Hopefully, others will find the journals inspiring. I have some miniature Little Golden Books that I think would be so cute as memory keeping books – they are the perfect size to paste photos in from special events. I’m in the process of making a few of those to list in the shop too.

I’ve also been painting with watercolors, acrylics, soft pastels, and gelli plate. So much fun. I painted watercolor portraits of my sister in law’s two pups for her Christmas gifts and she loved them. I was pleased to see that she has already hung them on her walls 🙂

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I think I will be doing some paintings of our pups (and maybe some random cute animals off of a copyright-free website) to practice my animal portraiture. I would love to be able to take commissions for pet portraits, especially given how well the portraits I painted were received.

Stay tuned to lots more activity!