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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Crater Lake Moonrise # 73

Last week we were on the rim of Crater Lake (Crater Lake National Park) for both the moonrise and sunset. Because it was a couple of days before the full moon, the moon rose before sunset. Looking to the east, towards the moon, the sky was clear -- very different from my last post (#72) which was of the sunset about half an hour later. The moon looked nearly round. I used a little artistic liscense and made it really round.

For this painting I scribbled a black and white sketch in my journal and wrote down some color notes. I painted it after I got home.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Kelly - Paintings #52 - #56

Painting 52

I loved painting this painting. Usually I rely on a reference photo, but this one appeared in my head and poured out of my paintbrush. I could hear the whoosh of the wings as he flew past, and saw the shadow pass over the pumpkin.

Painting 53

..again...no ref photo. Quite a big thing for me. The slow-drying acrylics I'm using are so freeing. I squeeze out the paint, start playing, and images come to life. I'm really enjoying the 100 Painting Challenge. Being under the pressure to create 100 paintings in a year causes me to paint just for the sake of painting. I used to paint for a purpose (a card, a present--a reason), but with the challenge, there is no reason. You simply create all the time. The challenge continues to help me grow. Because of the challenge, I found out I love painting ravens and all the darkness that surrounds them.

Painting 54

Painting 55

Painting 56

The scrapings in the previous painting inspired this one. Originally it was supposed to have the feel of a wood block carving image, but it soon turned into the feel of a carved pumpkin. I painted the background orange/red/yellow and let it dry over night....then painted over it with black the next morning....grabbed a plastic spoon and started "carving" out the image. I decided to go primitive because it's creepier, and one-shot carving with a spoon doesn't allow detail. After it dried, I painted over the moon with orange again...then went back in and re-carved over the previous carving. That helped brighten up the moon... This was a lot of fun, but very messy!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Layers of Mountains #72

This didn't turn out as well as I hoped. When I read Laure Ferlita's blog tonight(www.paintedthoughtsblog.blogspot.com) I felt I was in good company .... making mud.

I experienced this lovely scene about a week ago. We stood on the rim of Crater Lake at sunset. Wildfire season is over, but the valleys are still filled with smoke ... this time from controlled burns and burning slash piles. The setting sun and the smoke in the air made for an fabulous series of mountain tops disappearing off into the distance.

I think I could capture what I saw with careful layers of acrylic. My watercolors didn't capture the purity of the scene.

Chickadee in My Yard # 71

I was delighted to be invited by Cathy Johnson to join her "Sketching in Nature" Blog a few days ago. Art for this is done on location or from an actual object. We've been drenched in day after day of rain, so I resorted to drawing from my rocking chair and watching the chickadees in my front yard.

Drawn with Pelikan pen and watercolor from life.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kelly - Paintings 48 - 51

...continuing with impressionistic birds. (I guess I should mention I'm limiting my challenge to bird paintings, but I bet you already figured that out! :-)

Painting #48 - Goldfinch on Sunflower

Painting #49 - Goldfinch on Sunflower 2

Painting #50 - Goldfinch on Sunflower 3

Painting #51 - Goldfinch Almost on Sunflower

Kelly - Paintings 42 - 47

This group consists of stylized birds. My brother, Bill, and my son, Matty, are both cartoonists, and they can create the coolest iconic images, Rick can too, but realism always seems to flow out of my paintbrush and capturing a stylized image is hard for me, but this time, I tried to boil things down to symbols and let loose. It was fun! ...but at the end, they are not really stylized!

Painting #42 - Green Air Currents, Energy or Love Flowing Around Little Red Bird

Painting #43 - Red Air Currents, Energy or Love Flowing Around Little Green Bird

Painting #44 - Bird lit by the Light of the Silvery Moon in October

Painting #45 - The berries are right behind you, Little Bird!

Painting #46 - Savannah Sparrow in a Blaze of Autumn Color

Painting #47 - Three Halloween Pumpkins and Three Little Black Birds in Pointy Witch Hats - for my nieces

Kelly - Paintings 38 - 41

I had to drop out of the challenge during the summer, but I was able to start painting again in late September, and now it's time to start posting again too. I have a lot of catching up to do, so I'm going to combine a lot of my paintings into small groups. This first group was inspired by my son, and they are all impressionistic. My son challenged me to paint in a different style and create something new and interesting, so these were experiments. It also was the first time I had ever used acrylics. I started with Golden's "Golden Open Acrylics," which I really liked. They are creamy and smooth and almost oil-like with a slower drying time.

Painting #38 - Winter Robin

Painting #39 - Northern Cardinal in Evening Snow

Painting #40 - Goldfinch in the Grass

Painting #41 - Autumn Chickadee

Welcome to Kelly!

I am pleased to share with you that Kelly, from Red and the Peanut blog, has rejoined the challenge! Kelly is a wonderful artist and photographer. I think she has a special gift for luring birds down out of the trees and into the open so she can take photos of them!

Please join me in welcoming Kelly!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Old Snag # 70

I started this on location, but then got involved with what all the little birds were doing so I finished it at home. Sometimes I'm torn as to whether I should paint or write in my journal. My journals are full of a lot of both.

The old snag stands near a pool of water made by a leaky faucet in a very dry campground -- a magnet for the birds.

Pigma pen and watercolor.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

# 43 Autumn leaf

Another picture done in 20 mins! The leaves are changing colour and I picked this one up during a walk! The challenge really was to get the folded over bits and the shadow under it. I think I got that, but do feel if I had spent more time over it, I possibly would have got better depth in the leaf itself! Will try again!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tiger thoughts!

This is for my sister's 50th birthday and the picture has been composed from a series of pictures I found on the net. My sister being an activist for animal causes....I thought it was appropriate!  Painting this picture has been a HUGE learning experience! I am not sure I really enjoyed painting the picture, I think painting animals doesn't really turn me on too much....it took a lot of time, and I am still not sure I like the competed picture. I wonder, does one paint any and every subject because as an artist one should be able to, or should one stick to things that catch ones interest, and in my case that would be landscapes and trees and views from things happening around me. I have painted a lot of still life as Habib, my art guide has insisted that it is the best way to learn when one starts to paint. The other thing is that I like painting 'wet' water colours and not have to put in minute details, I work quickly and like to finish my work in just a couple of sittings, if not a single one....I think animals and people require a lot more detail!
Its the first time I have done a picture on a full sheet! It was difficult to do such a big picture using water colour!
Would appreciate comments on the picture itself, as well as my musings!!

#41 Highlights!

I noticed the sunlight making this little brass pot of mine glow...and with the stones beside it it made a pretty picture. So I have painted it for the 20 minute challenge! I possibly would have spent more time on getting the 3 D effect on the stones and a better background had I had more time!

Great Egret #69

The hill behind the egret was in shadow. Late afternoon sun was backlighting the egret. I was struck by the beautiful blues the white egret took on, and the thin trim of yellow. My every present journal was in my lap so I tried to capture the impression. Maybe I'll do a more careful painting of it too.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

An Interview With A Companion

In just 9 months, Teri Casper of Painted Daisies, has completed the 100 Paintings Challenge! I recently spoke with Teri about the challenge, how she felt about it in retrospect, and what she learned from undertaking such a huge task:

LF: Teri, let me first say congratulations!! Awesome job! And you did it in only 9 months?! That's serious dedication to your art and improving your skills. I'm sure a lot of folks might wonder why someone would undertake this type of challenge. What did you hope to get out of it when you started?

TC: Thank YOU, Laure, for making this challenge available. Quite honestly, I didn't know what to expect, but the thought of doing 100 paintings was an intriguing challenge and I thought it may help me improve. I try to sketch and paint everyday so I committed myself to doing this.

LF: Saying you didn't know what to expect leads me to ask what did you learn, what was your most important "learning?"

TC: By far the most important thing I learned was the value of "value." My focus and commitment became stronger with each painting in wanting to do better but it wasn't until some comments about the change in my paintings that made me realize it was the stronger values I was achieving.

LF: Obviously, this type of challenge takes a lot of commitment....what were your challenges with the 100 Painting Challenge? And on the other side of that, how did you overcome those challenges? What helped you to stay with the challenge?

TC: One of the very first paintings I did was, in my mind, so bad that I promised myself the rest would be my best effort. That became my personal challenge and commitment. I'm happy I did do that "bad one." You told us not to judge, but I did when it came to this painting and it made me WANT to improve.

What helped me to stay with the challenge was the positive reenforcement from others' comments. It made me realize I was on the right track when others noticed a change. Curiously, when I thought I had done a wonderful painting, most comments were ho-hum and when I thought the painting was not so great, comments were raving. That made me stop and look closer at what I did. What also helped was knowing I made the commitment and I wasn't about to say I couldn't do it! But that's just me.

I rarely looked at the number of paintings, but once I got to 75, I realized the end was in sight, and I became more determined than ever. There were definitely times that I lost my muse, but she always came back.

LF: I've definitely seen a lot of change in your work with much stronger values. Any other key learnings?

TC: Thank you. I learned a lot about myself and my art! One difficult thing I learned was not to be critical of my work but to look at how I could improve it. I also learned to step away and let the painting dry between areas and this is something that I am usually VERY impatient with. I am getting more housework done now, LOL!!

I am painting better skies, something I really hadn't even thought about. I realized I have eclectic tastes in subjects and always want to try something new or interesting. I love landscapes, but after trying several, I finally realized that I love a macro and/or detail look more. I haven't given up on landscapes though. I realize how much better of a job I did on something that really interested me. I learned the importance of a good background. Plein aire painting spoiled me, and now, I want to do it all the time. Being in the "plein aire" really seems to produce a better painting. I studied other artist's books and tried some of their techniques. That kept me inspired. I saved a few paintings by trying different things. There will be some bad ones but I learned not to be discouraged by them but rather to learn from them.

LF: Have you put up the paintings in one room and evaluated them together? If so, what do you see? What strikes you the most about the work you did at the beginning vs. the work of the last few paintings?

TC: Some of my paintings are in Arizona and some are here in Wisconsin, so I looked at my set on Flickr. I definitely see improvement and I also see where I could have improved. Interestingly, I see painting that were of high interest for me that seemed to be better. The most important thing I see is improvement!!

LF: Now that the challenge has been met, where will you go from here? What's your next challenge going to be?

TC: One thing I am definitely going to do is work on my landscapes. I am not just going to say I can't do them because I know I can if I take the time and study what I am doing. Being out in the landscape means a lot. I plan to do more journaling of my everyday life because that's where I see interesting things.

LF: Teri, what advice would you give to anyone who was thinking about starting the challenge today?

TC: JUST DO IT!!! Keep the paintings coming and keep trying even if you don't like some results, you will be amazed what continued practice can do for your skills.

LF: Any last thoughts you'd like to add?
TC: Thank you for providing this challenge. I would encourage people to do the challenge because you can only benefit from the commitment and improve your art. There will be times when you think you can't do it or nothing is going the way you planned, but in the end, you will learn. And learn. And learn. I know I am repeating myself, but I want to emphasize the importance of this commitment.

Please join me in congratulating Teri for not only completing the challenge but for completing it in 9 months! You can also see a slide show over on Teri's blog of all 100 paintings!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

PAINTING #100 - "Autumn Osprey Nest"

It was serendipity that made us turn down a dirt road in hopes of finding something interesting and when I saw this osprey nest I knew I had found it.  I took several photos and looking at them later I discovered a few had autumn trees/leaves in them.  I knew I was meant to paint this one.

Osprey frequently make a nest on the top of the electrical structures and they are so distinctive with their large twiggy nest.  I'm not sure if the electric companies do this on purpose for the birds or not, but since they are all near the lake, the osprey use them a lot.

I used masking for the autumn leaves and a razor to highlight the twigs in the empty nest.  This was a very fun and satisfying painting.

I want to thank Laure for making this challenge available to us struggling artists.  It has been an awesome challenge and a personal commitment to improving my art.
I am so happy I did this as I can see how I have improved and how I can improve even more.

Thanks to everyone for their support.

Edited: I just noticed that if you click on my name in the label it will bring up all my paintings or you can click here for the gallery on Flickr.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Painting #99 times three

I really wanted this 99th painting to be special but the first one failed, so I tried again and that failed, so I tried again and that also failed.
So I am posting the three failures.  I don't give up easy.  lol

I took a photo of a small steam we passed by and tried to loosely paint those wonderful autumn colors and reflections.  I cropped the heck out of it and here it is.

This is the view out our front window which faces east.  Early in the morning the sun peeks through the evergreens and I had to try painting it but, another cropped view.

I really love the sky and the morning sunrise but again, I had to crop out the bad parts.

I had a cropping good time.
Tomorrow I will post my last painting.  I promise there is only one.  I can't believe it will be my last.  This challenge has been awesome and I am so happy I made the commitment.

Chickaree # 68

I painted this cute little guy for my blog. I caught a quick glimpse of him with his bright red amanita mushroon ... not quick enough for a photo. But artists are fortunate. They can recreate memories.

Ink and watercolor.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Painting #1 - Evening in Paris

I am so excited to begin this challenge! This first painting is from one of the many photos taken on a trip to Paris. Rue St. Dominique is the wonderful street where we stayed. I have never painted a night scene, so tried it yesterday, and plan to try more of them. My night photos were too dark for any detail, so I used a day time photo I took (and combined details from several photos) and changed my palette to try to get a night effect. I also tried to keep it light enough to keep in some of the details. This is my first night painting, so I thought it was a good place to start my 100 paintings challenge.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Shaggy Mane Mushroom in Color #67

For the quick field sketch of this mushroom be sure to see the previous post, "Shaggy Mane Mushroom #66." After skeching this on location in black and white, I came home and painted a more careful one with watercolors. The little bit of red on the strawberry leaves that are just turning color really threw the painting off until I just let a little of a similar red bleed into the ground over at the left. Sometimes it is important to look at what a painting needs, not only at what we saw if we are painting something from life.

AND.... WELCOME to our newest member, Sheryl!

Shaggy Mane Mushroom #66

A quick sketch of a shaggy mane mushroon, one of my favorite mushrooms. I liked the contrast of the delicate grass stems and the shaggy solidness of the fungi. Often shaggy manes grow the exposed shoulder of dirt roads, but here it was so pretty I just had to sketch it. ..... and came home inspired to paint it. See the next post.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Another New Challenger!

Good day! I am excited to share with you that Sheryl Hawkins has taken on the 100 Painting Challenge!

To learn more about Sheryl, please visit her at her blog, Mermaid's Palette (isn't that an intriguing name?!). Sheryl  joins us from California and has some beautiful watercolors on her blog.

Welcome, Sheryl!

#40 Shadows!

Again in the hotel room in Dhaka....my room keys and the glass behind caught my eyes. It was evening so the room lights cast shadows...... and here is the result!

# 39 Rickshaw

I have been in Bangladesh on work. Looking out of my window I saw this cycle rickshaw parked outside my hotel window. Bangladesh is well known for its really brightly coloured cycle rickshaws! It was so bright and colourful, I decided to do a quick 20 min challenge! Loved doing it too! I am convinced the 20 min challenge is helping me improve my painting skills, it keeps me focused, and I can concentrate on whats really important, and most important I stop before I ruin a picture by too much fussing!!!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Painting #98 - "Red Elderberry"

Our neighbor came over to show us this 'plant' that he found in a state park and wondered if I knew the name of it.  I created such a fuss over how neat it looked with those dried berries he gave it to me.
I googled it and found out it was called "Red Elderberry" and this was in the dried stage.
So I painted it.
And it was so fun to do.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Painting #97 - Autumn Wild Grapes - edited

I found this sprig of autumn grapes and liked the combination of the colored leaves with the grapes, so I brought it home to paint.
I like it but I am even more happy the way the background turned out.

I am editing this because I accidentally deleted it.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Winchester Bay #65

I sketched this on location, photographed it and made notes to myself. I think the notes were actually more helpful than the photograph. My goal was to capture the light just catching a few of the trees on the right and the little island with two gulls. I'm trying to learn to push my color a little.

Please feel free to critique.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Painting #96 - Wild Mushroom

We had a few weeks of rainy weather and the wild mushrooms exploded.  I found this one (and many more) under our pine trees so I picked it and painted it in a botanical style.  Very fun and satisfying painting.