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Friday, May 27, 2011

liz #23 oil on Canvas panel, 11x14 , my Yard

I am experimenting with galkyd mediums, instead of walnut oil or good old turp and different brushes. It felt great to be outside painting again, 2 days of sun and everything is so green. I am working on a limited palette, trying to tame the color habit, so I began with hooker green and alizerian crimson and yellow, and white and ...and ....

Liz #22, oil on linen board , Blueberry Barrens

I used acrylic medium to glue blue linen onto a board and put a layer of clear gesso over it. The gesso is roughly textured , so my plan for a limited palette and definitive brush strokes was abandoned as I scrubbed the paints into the linen. The texture made it easy to let some linen show through. I worked from a photo, but plan to spend some time en plein air as it is always so colorful there.

Liz #21 oil pastel on canvas board, 11x14 'Driveway"

I just came back from helping my daughter move from western NY to WV after her graduation. It was like going through a seasonal time tunnel to return to rainy Maine after all that green. I set out to capture that spot of emerging spring green with the velvety new oil pastels I picked up. I thought I would try a canvas board , and a bit of medium so I could paint. Not a winning combo, too much texture and the pastels did not blend like paint.

Lorrie #19 - Beach Oddities

Beach Oddities, sea-watercolor, 6 x 9 inches
These are some things that got my attention on a recent stroll at the coast. They were painted ("sketched" in a travel book) on site in lots of wind! But it was exciting. It was a thrill to discover that the Sharpie pen that had washed ashore still could make some form of mark.

Lorrie # 18 - Butterfly Moment

Butterfly Moment, watercolor 6 x 9 inches
This picture began as an experiment in using clover leaves to imprint their own shapes on the paper. I tried to put paint on a clover leaf and press it onto the paper, but the leaf completely resisted taking any paint at all! So instead I put some clover on the paper and dabbed paint around it... then played with other textures of vegetation nearby. In the midst of this a beautiful butterfly landed briefly and took flight again before I could even begin to figure out what it looked like. No worries, we can have fantasy butterflies, right?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Kelly - Paintings 52 and 53

I did two paintings of the same bird, a Louisiana Waterthrush, in two styles. The oil pastel I painted first (right after I got home). The watercolor/colored pencil painting, I did today, a few days later.

(Oil Pastel)
As you can tell, the oil pastel is not at realistic as the watercolor. Whenever I do oil pastels, I seem to produce more representational work. When I saw this bird, it was the first day of sunshine in weeks. The red and orange came out when I started to paint because my mind was filled with heat and sun.

(Watercolor with colored pencil scribbled in here and there...)
I don't know why I added in the colored pencil. i just felt like scribbling. I like the scribbly look of pencil over watercolor sometimes. Can you tell the rains have returned? No more reds and oranges!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lorrie #17 - Snowy Plovers Hiding

Snowy Plovers hiding among beach debris, watercolor 6 x 9 inches.

I hadn't noticed these tiny shore birds as I walked right through a band of debris along the sand. But when one of them moved (chasing another and ousting it from a hiding spot), I began to notice that they were everywhere! I sat among them to paint and watched how they often booted each other out of depressions in the sand (which actually were footprints... something that people are good for, I suppose). How many plovers can you find?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Congratulations to Another Challenger!!

Please join me in congratulating Brinda Crishna on a spectacular finish to the 100 Paintings Challenge! Brinda has shared some many unique images from her "window" on the world as well as to some of the wonderful places she's visited. As the challenge drew to a close, Brinda shared her thoughts on what she's learned and gained by undertaking this challenge:

Laure Ferlita (LF): First, Brinda, wow! You've done it! You completed the challenge in just eleven months. Looking back, what did you hope to get out of the challenge when you began 11 months ago?

Brinda Crishna (BC): I think there were two main things. First, I thought that by setting a time limit and putting down a target of work to be completed, would ensure that I did paint regularly. I have a very busy schedule with work and other family commitments that I tended to put my painting on the back burner very often. The second reason was that I felt that by putting down a quantum of work, I should definitely be able to improve my painting skills. I valued looking at what other people did and the comments that people make and it has certainly helped me in my work.

LF: What was your most important "learning" from participating?

BC: Possibly the singular most important thing I have learnt is that not every piece of work has to be perfect. I have also got a better understanding of my individual likes and dislikes while painting. The more I paint, the more I have begun to understand my own style. I have realized that I don’t like doing tiny detailed paintings, but work that captures general, but accurate impressions. I love painting landscapes. I like to finish my bit of painting at one go. I work quickly and I guess this goes with my nature as well! I like a small palette!

LF: This type of challenge takes a lot of commitment. What were some of the challenges you've faced with the 100 Painting Challenge?

BC: I think time was really a factor. I have a job that takes up a lot of my energy (I run a charity that works with deaf kids and their families in some of the poorest and most remote parts of India which means I travel a lot). I also have a lot of personal family commitments. Finding unfettered time was a HUGE challenge.

The other was a more personal attitudinal one. I found it difficult to give time to experimenting and to actually practice painting…different techniques, ideas, things that other artists suggest.

I am an impatient sort of person….need to get things done quickly, but well. I will never compromise on quality! Comes from having run a full house and brought up 4 lively kids, house pets, a very energy consuming job and supporting my husband in his!! So this has certainly affected the way I paint as well. Quickly, but it needs to be good! The challenge was to actually slow down a little, as some bits of work certainly benefit with detail and thought. My painting of the Tiger Nest Monastery given below certainly proved that.
Tiger Nest Monastery by Brinda Crishna
© All Rights Reserved 
LF: Yes, I remember thinking "Wow!" when you posted this piece—it's gorgeous! How did you over come those challenges? What helped you stay with it?

BC: There have been times when I have actually had to force myself to stop doing something else, and take time off to finish a bit of painting. I realized that I would have to consider this painting time a priority, so I have allocated a little time 3-4 days a week which is ‘my painting time’. My husband knows it, the kids don’t call at that time and I switch off my phones! It has worked amazingly well.

I am definitely practicing a lot more now, spending time in looking at techniques and not being so afraid to experiment.

I think I haven’t really overcome the third one yet….not sure I ever will, but am definitely being more patient and giving time to put in details!

I have stayed with this challenge because I have seen the tangible improvement in my work. I have kept a record of my first challenge picture to my last, and I can see the improvements! People’s comments and encouragement was such a sure way of spurring me on as well. I made friends with like minded people.

Have to also give credit to my family, who were delighted that I was taking on this challenge, and were ever so encouraging with ‘Mom…how many to go’ and so on!
I know that incorporated what you've learned from the 20 Minute Challenge into your painting style and it has helped you in many ways—can you tell us how and what difference it made?

BC: What I have learnt and continue to learn with the TMC is to focus on what is most important in any picture one wants to paint, be it the image itself, or the colours or the lights and so on. I look at what I want to paint for a while focusing on the details, and then work quickly completing the work in 20 mins. When I first started painting, I would want to put every thing into the picture, for example if a plant had 6 leaves, I would want to put that in, but I soon realized that it wasn’t necessary, and my personal style seemed to be more with impressions. My TMC picture of these glads proves that!
20 minute sketch of gladiolas by Brinda Crishna
© All Rights Reserved
LF: Now that you've completed the challenge, what will be next? What will be your next challenge? 

BC: I will probably join this challenge again….not immediately but in a while. I want to try and work with water colour portraits in the future so this will definitely be a good way forward. Immediately though I want to get some pictures ready for a first exhibition…..maybe use it as a way to raise funds for my charity!

LF: I look forward to your return to the challenge! What advice would you give to anyone who was thinking about starting the challenge today?

BC: Go for it! Just paint and post! Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone and try something different. Its an amazing learning experience and so liberating. Any challenge certainly requires self discipline…and that is a trait that adds value to an artist!

LF: Any last thoughts you'd like to share?

BC: Just a big thanks to you and everyone else who has contributed to my learning. I cannot express enough how important it is to take a few minutes to comment on another’s picture. Most of us artists work on our own, often in isolation, being able to share is a huge incentive to continue painting.

Brinda, thank you for sharing your thoughts and beautiful work with us for the last year! I look forward to seeing you return to the challenge. Meanwhile for anyone who would like to visit Brinda, please visit her blog here. Again, please join me on congratulating Brinda on a job well done!

Friday, May 20, 2011

# 100 Grinning!

100 it is and the challenge is over!!!! Its been an amazing experience for me, so much learning and such a feeling of achievement at having done 100 pictures, a little sad also that its finally over! Its the first time I have painted a portrait and it seems a fitting picture to finish this challenge with and contemplate the next.....water colour portraits maybe!!!!!!
I was looking through a magazine and came across a picture of this little African girl and was touched with her smile. It reminded me of the grand daughter of the lady I stayed with in Jamaica during one of my work trips so many years ago. She was always grinning, in and out of my room and fascinated that my hair was straight!!!! So I decided to paint the picture.   I wasn't thinking too much as I painted, just kept the feeling alive. I see how crucial memories are to the success of a painting. if you don't get a strong feeling for the subject, the painting will possibly never come alive, no matter how skilled you are as a painter! Certainly a lesson learnt while working on the 100 paintings.....So a BIG Thanks!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Kelly - Paintings 50 and 51

(Watercolor, 9x12)

(Watercolor 7x9)

Northern Parulas are one of my favorite spring warblers. I found this guy singing along a local river. The field sketches I did quickly without regard for accuracy or detail...I just wanted to capture the "feel" of the bird. I used a limited palette and a water brush with no pencil sketches.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

#12 Kristin, more ducks

14 x 11", acrylic on arches 300 lb
(c) 2011, klink

My friend took a stunning photograph of these two mallards, so I asked her if I could do a painting from it, and this is what ensued. Doing the water ripples with acrylic was fun because I could work both the darks and lights.

Lorrie #16 - Pacific Shore

Pacific Shore, watercolor, 7 x 10 inches
Painting the ocean is eternally tempting.... and I can guarantee you'll be seeing lots more ocean-theme posts before I reach the 100-paintings mark!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Kelly - Paintings 47, 48 and 49

(Oil Pastel, 10x7)

(Oil Pastel, 10x8)

(Oil Pastel, 10x8)

...last night on an evening's walk in the woods, Rick and I spotted this male Scarlet Tanager. His flaming color was electric against the green leaves of a Buckeye tree. I photographed him, but a high ISO produced fuzzy photos. That's okay...fuzzy photos make good photo references and inspire paintings!

#11 Kristin, robins in the yard

5 x 8.5" mixed media sketchbook page
(c) 2011, klink

I did this little robin quickly this morning. It is fun to watch the birds hopping around the yard. I haven't painted many birds, but hope to get better at it. The robins remind me of little men in grey suits with white spectacles.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Kelly - Paintings 45 and 46

(Watercolor, 9x10)
A watery sketch done in minutes of a spring wren in the rain...

(Watercolor heightened with colored pencil, 10x7)
...can you tell? This is the same butterfly that appears in my previous post, painting 44 (from an extra photo from Laure Ferlita's Imaginary Trip to the Garden journaling class). He's impressionistic too...but not as much!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Kelly - Painting 44

(Oil pastel, 9x12)

Today we had a taste of summer's heat before a cold front swept through leaving wet pavement and cooler temps in its wake...but sunshine and the butterflies of summer can't be far behind. I'm taking Laure Ferlita's watercolor journaling class, An Imaginary Trip to the Garden, and today's subject was butterflies. After painting the class assignment, I took an extra butterfly image and used it (and today's heat) to inspire "Yellow Butterfly on Geranium."

Lorrie #15 - Kittens

Kittens!  watercolor 5 x 7 inches
Can't get enough of kittens! One of them added pawprints here after walking across my paints (some visible as dark spots at center, top).

Lorrie #14 - Fiesta Kitten

Fiesta Kitten, watercolor 3 x 5 inches
I began several times to paint this kitten and finally she fell asleep long enough that I could finish something to capture her sweetness. She is one of two foster kittens currently living with me. They are curious about everything, including the paints and water for dipping the brush, which they wanted to taste. No, kittens!! No licking the paint!! (They also just trotted across the keyboard and erased this entire text; thank heavens for "undo"!)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

#99 The painted door

This is from a reference picture I took during my Himalayan trek! An old carved door in one of the villages we passed. Its an art that is dying out now!

#s 9 and 10 Kristin, animals from conservation center

young Musk Ox
two Kodiak Bear cubs

7 x 11" , gouache and pen on illustration board
(c) 2011, klink

I took the photo references I used for these paintings the same sunny day as the moose painting I did last week. Again it was fun to paint animals that I got to observe from life for a while. When I go back next time I hope to have more time to sketch from life, and then work from photos and sketches.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lorrie #13 - Red Tree

Red Tree - watercolor, 6 x 9 inches

Playing with colors.... I did this a few weeks ago and Liz's most recent posting, with her vivid-colored self-portrait, inspired me to post this next.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Liz Cutler #20 Self portrait Adjusted)

Another 9x12 watercolor, this time I did a minimal sketch with fewer layers of color.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

# 98 Gul Mohar again

I cant stop wanting to paint the gul mohar. The trees are in full bloom all over the city! This was a low hanging branch I saw during our walk this morning.

#8 Kristin, Red fungus (?)

8 x 11" sketchbook page (gouache, graphite, etc.)
(c) 2011, klink

More signs of the slow in coming Alaska spring in my sketchbook. I keep finding this mysterious red fungus as the snow melts. The lower right corner of this page is a little blank, but that is what I had time for...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Liz #16, 17, 18, and #19 Watercolor self portraits 12 x 12




#16 At our last drawing class Phil Frey had us divide our small mirrors into quarters, and my self portrait was humanly proportioned. I went home, marked my mirror and used watercolors. I am working on defining shapes of color instead of layering many, many brushstrokes as in the one above. I am adjusting to not using white.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

#7 Kristin, Spring moose in the Chugach

11 x 14" acrylic
(c) 2011, klink

I had fun painting this one. I painted from photos I took at a conservation center on a beautiful spring day. It was wonderful to work from references that I spent a while looking at and observing. I know the ducks are a little larger than life, but I couldn't help it.

Kelly - Painting 43

(Oil pastel, 9x12)

...the third (and last) in the trillium series, Trillium flexipes. The blossom on this plant is interesting because the petals curve back over the sepals. To show this, I painted the flower from behind.

Two More Watercolors

#17 Lone Shell (c)2011 Dora Sislian Themelis
#16 Apple is Butting In (c)2011 Dora Sislian Themelis

I am posting #16 and #17 to the challenge. I'm also having a challenge with Blogger today. Did they change it? Things seem different and my paintings came up switched around. Anyway, I found some time in this busy week and these are the results of my painting. #16 is the last time I am painting an apple for a while! #17 was a twenty minute painting of that shell. May be the last time I paint that too.

# 97 The house in the mountains

I cant believe I'm on picture number 97!
This is from a reference picture I took during our trek into the Himalayas. I loved the lights and shadows that were cast in the early morning light and the amazing greens.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lorrie #12 - Mr. Piglet

Mr. Piglet, watercolor 6 x 9 inches
I have been doing some paintings of farm animals lately (described in a previous post), and especially enjoy piglets as a subject (who knew?!?) It may sound silly, but it felt truly heartwarming to create a wide field on a hillside for this little guy to enjoy.

# 96 Yellow tree!

These trees are in full bloom all over the place in Kolkata. It sheds its flowers a lot so there is a carpet of flowers under it! The sky was beginning to get dark as a nor'wester storm was obviously building up slowly. I was driving to office and just saw the tree, the yellow flowers were almost shining they were so bright! So I did a quick 20 min challenge!

Kelly - Painting 42

(Oil pastel, 9x12)

...the second in the trillium series, Trillium sessile.
I'm knew to using Sennelier oil pastels. Does anyone know how long it takes them to dry?

#6 Kristin, Willow Flowers

11 x 8.5" gouache on Canson paper
(c) 2011, klink

Another page from the sketchbook. It is hard to avoid this time of year when everything is changing. I had so much fun looking closely at these willow flowers, they are all similar and different. The nice bright green and crimson were fun to work with.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Kelly - Painting 41

(Oil pastel, 9x12)

...our woods are filled will trilliums right now, and I love photographing them, but I thought it was time to paint one. Here is a quick and energetic rendering of Trillium grandiflorum.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

#5 Kristin, Shells

5 x 8.5", mixed media on canson paper
(c) 2011, klink

Here is another quick one from the sketchbook. I was tired of watching the snow melt from under the trees so decided to paint a handful of shells from the window sill. I used gouache and water-soluble pen to quickly build up the values.