If you would like to receive encouraging comments on
your artwork, leave encouraging comments for others!

Monday, January 31, 2011

What's Left of Fall- #1

What's Left of Fall (c)2011
Hello everyone at The 100 Painting Challenge! I made it here in one piece, safe and sound and thrilled. I am very excited, as you can see, to be making this commitment. Although the idea was scary
to me at first, now I've jumped in with both feet.

I'm making my debut in the challenge today with #1, What's Left of Fall, a 7x10 watercolor still life on 140lb Arches cold press paper. It began as a twenty minute work for Teri Casper's Twenty Minute Challenge and as it needed more work to consider it finished, I planned to use it as my first piece here.

I've been painting still life's of found objects, fruit, leaves, beach pebbles, shells as my motivation. These items are out for me to see during my day. When I have some time, while my new granddaughter naps, I arrange the objects and paint quickly. My aim has been fighting resistance, so painting quickly is key. Besides, when I labor over a work it's possible to ruin everything, so I stop! 

This challenge has been a major push for me to get myself painting regularly, to decide which mediums I truly want to continue using, and keep resistance at a nice, long distance away! Thank you so much for this opportunity. I welcome any comments, questions, and criticisms and look forward to our conversations!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Courage to Begin

Please join me in welcoming Dora Themelis, our new "challenger! Dora has a background rich in art and a variety of mediums. She has worked with oils, pastels, pen and ink and in recent times, watercolors.

Like all of us, Dora wants to build "good habits" into her daily round that include a consistent, daily effort at creating art. The challenge is a wonderful tool to help create those habits as there is an accountability that helps us stay on track.

Dora is also seeking to understand what it is that excites her to create, what subjects and mediums. She wrote a statement in one of her emails, "Waking in the morning to think I could have the a chance to paint again keeps my creativity alive." To which I wholeheartedly reply, "Yes, it must certainly does!"

Please visit Dora's blog by clicking on her name over in the lefthand side bar.
Again, Dora, welcome!

Friday, January 28, 2011

#24 Sorrento, Italy- Sheryl Hawkins

This watercolor was painted from photos we took while staying in Sorrento, Italy. Our hotel was overlooking the Gulf of Naples and had a view of Vesuvius from our balcony. That part of Italy is spectacular and I enjoy painting these views. The watercolor is 18 X24 and painted on 140 lb. cold press paper.

# 65 and 66: more from our day on the river

Continuing on paintings from our day out on the river! This is a quick sketch, just washes and the lines defined with a pen. This was done in my sketch book, which has a rough textured paper which made using a pen difficult. Not sure what this bird is called, but it was sitting happily on these bits of twigs and leaves, and floating on the river....It obviously had enough confidence in itself, as it didn't even stir as the ferry approached it, just waited for us to pass, hopped around a bit and then settled down again!
This next one is a view of an old Mosque, only this bit was visible from the boat, and it made a lovely picture. with all the many greens of the trees, and the top of the Mosque peeping out. We are still having winter weather in Kolkata, so although it was a clear bright day, the sun was not too hot, but bright enough to make the mosque glow and gleam.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kelly - Paintings 4 - 7

I painted this little chickadee last week after putting seed in the feeders one night around 9:00 p.m. It was so cold, and I was thinking about the little birds and how they were going to survive the long, cold night ahead. I wanted him to glow in the moonlight so I used a white fine-tipped marker on his white feathers when I was finished with the painting to give that glow.

I painted "Topiary with Red Birds" with summer heat in mind (...lots of green to counteract the gray that descends in our area midwinter). This in a new style for me. It started as a watercolor and morphed into a watery acrylic. Along the way I carved a leaf stamp in an eraser (idea from Laure's blog) and stamped it all over using acrylic paint. I then ran water over it to spread everything out. It makes me think of something I would have see as a child in the late 60s.

"Hummer Light" makes me happy--it's quick and sloppy with just a feel of the moment. It's all watercolor--no sketching and probably created in under a minute. Of all these, it's my most natural style.

Can you tell I'm missing the sun...and the green...and the flowers? This painting started with a wash background. Next...I laid in lines and impressions of flowers, finishing it with a tiny Sedge Wren in the bottom-right corner. I'm working on a very detailed watercolor painting right now, and I wanted to take a fun break from it, so I experimented with new styles. I want to do more loose paintings like these.

#21, 22, 23 Seashell Trio- Sheryl Hawkins

I know we are encouraged to stay with one medium, and while I do spend much of my painting time on watercolors, I also love to use oils. I have seen other artists mixing mediums here- so I decided why waste the paintings! This last week or so, I have been working with oils and mostly from life instead of photos. I am still looking at the same aspects of the paintings as I would in watercolor- reflection, shine, detail, etc. As you may have noticed from the paintings I post, I particularly enjoy detailed subjects. I will try to continue mixing in scenes with larger views also!

oil on canvas

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

# 63 & 64: On the river Hooghly: 2 quick sketches!

We were on a ferry, a few days ago,  sailing up and down river on the Hooghly. For those of you who may not know Kolkata, its the river that flows through the city! It is one of the few tidal rivers in India, and connects with the sea at Diamond Harbour. These are a couple of quick sketches:
The Howrah Bridge as we approached it and finally sailed under it! It was difficult sketching as the perspective kept changing as we came closer to it.  The span of the river and the bridge is much wider than I have actually managed to depict it! I used some light washes but the main sketching was done with  a pen!
There is so much history on the banks of this river, to think the British first sailed up this river when they landed  in Eastern India all those hundreds of years ago, and arrived in Kolkata which was just a set of villages then....We've come a long way from there, and Kolkata is a huge bustling Metro, but the tragedy is that no one has really done much to preserve the history, and as we sailed down river we came across these old building and houses, so strategically located with a wonderful access to the river, but neglected and uncared for now... 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Part II of Elva Paulson's Interview

This is the second part of the truly inspiring interview with Elva Paulson of Elva's Field Notes fame and our most recent challenger to finish the challenge! You can read the first part here.
Laure Ferlita (LF): When we left off, we were discussing your need to coax out the inner artist and reconnect. From where I sit, it would seem you've definitely reconnected with the artist within as evidenced by all of your beautiful artwork. Where do you see your greatest growth? 
Bison by Elva Paulson
Pen, ink and watercolor
Elva Paulson (EP): Progress has come on two fronts. The first is the obvious one and relates to my original goal. You suggested each new challenger pick something to work on. I bit off a lot. I wanted to explore new papers, pens and techniques; to figure out where I wanted to go with my art now that I was painting again; and I knew I wanted to somehow connect it to nature. I still have work to do, but I feel I made real progress in all those areas. When I was painting professionally I painted on surfaces over which I had a lot of control: smooth gessoed masonite for acrylics, cold press Illustration board for tight watercolors, and very smooth Bristol for pen and ink. Not much opportunity to let the paint have a hand in what was happening during the artistic process. I’m learning to love the character of a juicy wash, what happens when ink bleeds, and the huge variety of opportunities offered by different papers. 
My most important progress comes from inside. I’m enjoying my art. Years ago it had become a job, but now it is back to why I started painting in the first place so many years ago…a desire to express my interest in, and love of, nature through art. The surprise in this journey is the progress I have made combining art and writing. I’ve filled journals for years, but they were notes and sketches for myself rather than with someone else [seeing the journals]. When I signed up for the challenge I had to sign up for a blog. I didn’t have to put anything on the blog, I just had to register. Looking back, I realize blogging has been an important part of finding my new artistic path. The blog has helped me find the voice I was looking for.
You’d think that ‘quantity’ would lead one to stray from thoughtfulness, but I felt encouraged to put thought in and try something new. It didn’t matter if it fell flat. I still might learn something in the process…and learn I did.
I also learned that sometimes it is good not to think. I found reserves within myself that don’t lend themselves to conscious thought. One might call it zen. I know I’ll mess up if my mind is worrying about dinner or the next world crisis; but sometimes, when I’m painting, I seem to just want to paint without thinking too much. Something within says ‘Stay loose and add a dab of paint here, here, and here.” It is a wonderful zone to be in.
LF:  Now that you've completed the challenge, where do you see yourself going from here? What's your next "challenge" going to be?
EP: This is the hardest question of all and one I’ve been pondering on. The easy answer is I want to continue to become a better field sketcher/painter. I want to capture on paper more of the magic that I see in nature. I want to paint from the heart…and capture the words too.
But what am I going to do with it? That is the question. I don’t see myself going the gallery route again, but it does seem there ought to be a purpose, some sort of a goal in mind. Am I going to be content to fill another 36 journals and to post pieces on my blog, or am I going to reach further and work on some of my many experiences that are potentially a whole chapter in a book and not just a blog post?  Those journals are packed with longer events:  knowing ‘Pegleg,’ a sandhill crane for over ten years; the year the Druid wolf pack alpha female was killed and other pack females adopted her litter;  "264," a female grizzly we first knew as an almost mature bear and long enough to see her third set of cubs come up with milk mustaches after nursing. 
Okay, I’ll say it. Part of me wants to write a book that is 50% words and 50% sketches and based directly on what I have watched. I’m just not sure yet if I want to set it as a goal. That is a huge amount of time to commit. Over the years, I’ve made several starts. This past year has pretty much convinced me I need to start all over again, this time with my reader in mind.   My original vision was sort of a peek into my working journal, but blogging has helped me realize they were written for me.  Too often they include either too little or too much information for a reader. Good writing needs good editing.
Through the challenge, I honed art techniques that lend themselves to such a project, and through blogging I think my ability to write has grown. I do think the combination of my sketching ability and my treasure chest of raw material (the journals) means I have something to offer.
Oregon Coast by Elva Paulson
Watercolor and ink
LF: Thank you for sharing that, Elva. I'm sure I speak for most folks reading the interview when I say I sincerely hope you continue with the goal of a book and I'll be one of the first to purchase it! Getting back to our interview, if someone was thinking of starting the challenge today but had doubts or questions, what would you, as a tenured artist, say to them?

EP: Do it! Make time for it. Shake off any feeling that each piece has to have quality. You’ll learn more if you dare to experiment. Here is a great place to nudge you to do it. I know a lot of experienced artists, myself included, who get good at what they are doing and forget to explore. These little paintings don’t need to take a lot of time. Jump in and try some new techniques, new materials, and new subject matter. 

You’ll also benefit from seeing what other artists are doing. I learned a lot just watching their growth…and their bravery…and I made some new friends.

LF: Any last thoughts or words you'd like to add on anything we did not cover?

EP: Yes. Thank you, Laure, for hosting the 100 Paintings Challenge. I’m not sure where I would be right now if I hadn’t joined the challenge. I do know I’m enjoying my art more and have grown as a result of joining the challenge. 

Once again, Elva, thank you for sharing this wonderful story with us as well as what you've learned. I wish you all the best in your future challenges, wherever they may take you, and I look forward to reading more on your blog!

Monday, January 24, 2011

#20 Fork with Strawberry - Sheryl Hawkins

I wanted to paint this fork and put the strawberry on the end so it wasn't just a fork painting. I painted it for my mom since all that remains of her beautiful set of sterling (thanks to a burglar) is one or two cocktail forks. Now, she will have a watercolor to help remember her silver, and it helped me get in some more practice with the shiny metal surfaces!

Watercolor on 140lb cold pressed paper

Friday, January 21, 2011

An Interview with Elva Paulson - Part 1

Once again we have another successful challenge champion! Please join me in congratulating Elva Paulson on finishing 100 paintings in well under a year! Elva's journey is as inspiring as her art and she's been gracious enough to share it with us. It has been a long and twisting road, and yet, it is evident that art remained firmly entrenched in Elva's heart as a way to share nature and her beloved Yellowstone!
Foggy Woods
by Elva Paulson
Laure Ferlita: Congratulations, Elva! Wow! You're finishing up with time to spare. Thanks for taking the time to discuss your journey! I'm not sure that many people know your background and that you've painted for a long while now. Would you share a bit with us about your journey "before" you came to the challenge?

Elva Paulson:  Yes, I've been an artist for a long time.  It has been a windy path. I took one art course in college which almost made me hide all art materials forever.  My husband didn't even know I liked to paint when we got married. Other than a three year correspondence course through Famous Artist School and a few workshops, I'm largely self taught. If learning by looking into a bunch of books and studying other artists' work can be called "self taught." We can learn so much from each other.

After our twins were born I began to take my art seriously. Some illustrating for free and some painting for the local art festival gradually morphed into a career. It was also a wonderful job in that it moved gracefully with my husband's U. S. Forest Service transfers. By the time he retired (early), I had illustrated four books, had a little notecard and bookmark business, and was selling most of my paintings through galleries.

But life took a difficult turn. A year after his 1994 retirement my husband became seriously disabled. All too soon he was walking with two canes. For nearly 15 years my priority was keeping life running smoothly for the two of us. Fortunately, he was still comfortable driving. We spent a great deal of time exploring by car, photographing nature, and I kept filling one journal after another with words and sketches, but there was no time for painting. My one big project was illustrating Birds of Oregon: A General Reference with approximately 100 line drawings and a full color cover, published in 2003. The cover was the only full-fledged painting I completed in over ten years.

To be honest, I didn't miss the gallery painting as much as I thought I would. Too often, I felt I had to keep the market in mind; and often I never got to meet the person who bought my work. I was ready for a change but never thought I'd quit.

By 2007 we were grinding to a slow stop. I questioned whether I'd ever see my beloved Yellowstone again and Dale was wilting before my eyes. Then he was diagnosed as diabetic. What a blessing!!!  That may seem like a very strange comment, but that is the day life took another turn. He ate properly, lost 80# and found a doctor who thought new hips would help some of his problems. In 2009, Dale got two new hips, six months apart. Pretty soon he could walk a half mile, then walk without canes for half a mile. and get his own coffee, wash dishes, find a missing book, etc. He got better and better and is still getting better. He still uses canes for fast exercise, but he can do it. He can walk for a full hour, carry his own camera, and disappear over the rise and into the woods. It is wonderful!
by Elva Paulson
LF: Some folks reading this interview might find it odd that a tenured artist decided to take on the 100 Paintings Challenge. What prompted you to tackle it? What did you hope to gain?

EP: After Dale began to get better, I had time for art again. I was in need of rediscovering myself and kicking a lot of rust out of my veins. It is hard to reach a certain level of expertise and then start over several steps back of where I had been, and I really didn’t know where I wanted to go. I was looking for a new path. I was amazed one night to find artists posting on www.flicker.com. Through Flickr, I discovered Teri Casper, and through Teri I discovered the 100 Paintings Challenge. 
At first, I brushed the challenge aside – quantity over quality. Ha! 
But a little voice kept niggling at me. Here was a chance to jump in with no one judging the results. It was wonderful motivation to quit worrying about just what I should paint and to get started! In the past, it has been a fault of mine to try to make sure every painting is a success, and yet I know that practice, experimenting, exploring are all part of becoming a good artist. 
I figured the artist was still within me, but it was going to take some nurturing to bring it out. Here was a goal where every step was progress towards the end goal—finding myself and growth as an artist.....

Please be sure to come back by for the second part of the interview with Elva!

# 62 The Flower Seller

Since its winter here in Kolkata, and flower season,  little makeshift stalls of flowers appear! This is one outside my weekly market, and made such a wonderful picture with the brightly coloured gladioli, and marigold garlands, off set with tube roses and ladies lace! I tried to paint it at the spot, but a crowd gathered ever so quickly, and I haven't got the confidence to paint while people look on! So I took a picture. I like some bits of this picture, like the brightness of the sun on the flowers in contrast to the shade of the stall it self. I still feel I should have done it more wet, so that the background colours melted in better. I don't like the hard lines that are around the tops of the flowers! I should have used some masking fluid, I think. Its a good practice picture though!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

# 61 Castle

I did this from a reference for the monthly water colour challenge in Wet Canvas...a wonderful space for artists. The picture was quite detailed and we are encouraged to use it only as a reference and paint it in whichever way we want.  I decided to do it as a sketch! I used the pen to give it definition. I am really enjoying the pen work too!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

# 19 Mason Jar with Tootsie Pops - Sheryl Hawkins

I painted this as a follow up to my Tootsie Pop watercolor. I have a jar of Tootsie Pops in my studio- mostly for a quick sugar fix while painting, but also a colorful painting subject! It was fun to paint since I am always working on my skills in the area of reflections and shiny surfaces. Of course, I am continually working on improving my painting skills in many areas, but lately the reflective surfaces are at the top of my list.

Watercolor on 140lb rough surface paper

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kelly - Painting 3

8.5x10 Arches Cold Pressed 140 lb Watercolor Paper

My scanner seems to be running a little hot because this male Northern Cardinal looks like he could light the night. The original painting is vibrant, but not quite as saturated at the scanned image of it! I need a new scanner...any recommendations?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

# 60 2 stones and a leaf

Another leaf collected during my walk with wonderful purple and mauve tones! Its amazing the colours that nature throws up! The stones are from my collection of stones....I thought the bluey grey added to the composition. I also used the pen again, and felt it helped complete the picture!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Kelly - Painting 2

Watercolor heightened by pastel
9x12 Arches Cold Pressed 140 lb Watercolor Paper

This male Belted Kingfisher lives on the patch of the Little Miami River I walk often. Every time I'm there, he screams his maniacal call up and down the river. After all these years I've only been able to get two decent photos of him. This painting started its life as the watercolor below. It just seemed too tame for our kingfisher's personality, so I crazied it up a bit. I thought I should include the original watercolor too, because some will prefer it. In our house, Matty LOVES the colorful pastel, but Rick prefers the original watercolor. (I prefer the pastel too...)

...I decided to scan the watercolor just after I started to jazz it up. You can see the beginnings of the orange pastel. I also added white acrylic to the sky, to give the paper more tooth for the pastel.

#18 Tootsie Pop - Sheryl Hawkins

This watercolor started out as a 20 minute challenge, but I got involved with the fun wrapper details and kept going a little longer. Sometimes, it is just fun to paint simple things instead of a complicated and more involved still life- and it is a good way for me to get warmed up when I cannot decide what to paint.

Watercolor -140 lb cold pressed paper 9X12

# 59 Pinks!

Look at the colours of these leaves! Saw them shining in the sun so had to jump in and do a 20 min challenge! There is something really thrilling about finishing a quick sketch in 20 mins! I now have my sketch book and some paints with me all the time! There are no dark shadow areas in this picture, as the sun was shining directly on them, that bits were almost white! I am also trying to catch lights in my pictures!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cormorant Colony #100

Double-crested cormorants nest in busy colonies. They eventually kill the trees they are nesting in and have to move to a new site. Painted on Strathmore Imperial 140# hot press.

I have had mixed feelings these past few days as I get closer and closer to #100. A big part of me hates to see my part in the challenge end. I have learned a lot, fallen in love with painting all over again, made new friends, and plan to keep on exploring. More comments will come eventually in an upcoming interview with Laure.

THANK YOU, Laure, for hosting this challenge!

#17 "Jar Hunt" - Sheryl Hawkins

This watercolor was fun to paint for many reasons. I love painting glass and my mom and I spend hours in antique shops looking for old mason jars- so this painting is full of fun memories for me. These old jars are perfect for practicing painting glass with all the imperfections and bubbles in them- and the beautiful shades of greens and blues they come in.

watercolor on arches cold pressed paper

# 58 again!

I took took the suggestions that Roy, Elva and Kelly had made to improve my picture no 58 of leaves, and this is the result! I have added more detail to the middle section and the picture certainly looks more whole and not in 2 bits. I have also darkened some bits to give more shadow where there was shadow! Thanks for looking and commenting. I think the picture certainly looks better done now!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Killdeer Chick #99

Baby killdeer are born running and about as cute as a baby can get. This one is painted on Strathmore's Gemini 140# cold press.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Kelly - Painting 1

...time to start over!

9x12, Watercolor
Arches Cold Pressed 140 Lb Paper

My first painting of the challenge is a watercolor of a Screech Owl I painted over many sessions. I really enjoyed taking my time and adding detail. It's the most detail I've ever put in a painting. I worked layer after layer to slowly build up the color and depth.

#16 Rooster and Roses Cookie Jar- Sheryl Hawkins

This watercolor is one that I have been wanting to paint for a long time and just kept forgetting, and painting other things. This cookie jar was a wedding gift of my mom's and was on our counter in the kitchen while we were growing up. I don't know what it is about the cookie jar that I like so much- maybe the colorful design, or the childhood memories. It was part of a set of dishes produced in the mid 1950's called Rooster and Roses. I had a great time painting it, and when I finished the cookie jar itself- I was stuck on what to do next with the white background. I ended up using a dark background like I often do in my still life paintings- they really help set off the main subject, especially when it is light in color.

watercolor on arches cold pressed paper

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sea Lions and Cormorants #98

Sketched/ painted on location in my Aquabee sketchbook with ink and watercolor. For once it wasn't windy on the coast so I could take my time with a field sketch. For more about the day be sure and go to my blog ( just click on my name on the left side of this blog).

An Interview With Kelly Riccetti

Besides being a very talented artist, Kelly Riccetti is also a fantastic photographer with a passion for birds! I'm convinced she has some magic spell she casts over them! Kelly has recently finished the 100 Paintings Challenge and we took some time to discuss the challenge and what she's learned over the last year about herself, about painting and where she's going next....

LF: Looking back over the last 12 months, what have you learned from completing 100 paintings?

KR: That quantity is sometimes more important than quality, and every painting you paint doesn't have to be a masterpiece. You have to make room for experimentation and mistakes, and you have to leave perfectionism behind. It is so freeing to just paint...not to paint for a reason. Before the challenge, every painting I did had a "reason." It was either a card for a friend or a gift. I rarely just painted to practice. It's so obvious...practicing is the only way you can get better and break through barriers, but it wasn't obvious to me!! Now it is...

The other thing I learned from the challenge was courage...courage to show inferior pieces to other people. Basically...you learn to quiet the ego so you can learn and grow.
© Kelly Riccetti
Poppies Meadowlark, Acrylic

LF: Painting 100 paintings in a year is truly a challenge—what made you decide to undertake the challenge? What did you expect or hope to achieve?

KR: I limited my 100 paintings to birds because I wanted to be able to paint them better. I'm always out photographing them and writing about them, but I wasn't able to draw or paint them quickly in the field. Since I had been away from painting for so long (almost 30 years), I needed to immerse myself in painting their physical form, their postures...their movements. I hoped to leave the challenge with the ability to accurately capture a bird's personality quickly. 

I've gained a lot of ground, and I'm so happy with the progress I've made. If I had not joined the challenge, I wouldn't
be as far along as I am, but I have so far to go, so I'm going to do the challenge again. Another 100 paintings in 2011. My goal is to do 100 paintings a year for five years. 500 paintings should get me back on track in the art world. The other day I told my mom I wasted so many years not painting--not letting all those paintings I could see in my head out. She
said, "Don't look at it that way. Just remember the past has led you to where you are now, and you're where you're supposed to be. Now don't stop painting!" My advice to any artist is take the challenge! It's the best thing you can you. Freedom to paint for painting's sake instead of for a reason will take you to the next level and let you live your art.

LF: Staying with a year long commitment, along with having an active family and work life is bound to cause some stress and occasional friction. How did you overcome obstacles and the stressors that might have easily derailed you? Any particular strategies you found helpful to keep you engaged with the challenge?

KR: Hahaha! This one makes me laugh. I'm pretty lucky. My husband and son are so easy going that nothing really bothers them, but I know one time they got a little irritated with me when I got a little behind in the challenge and had to work really hard to catch up. It was when I first started using acrylics, and I took over the kitchen with my paints and brushes and other art supplies. I spread newspapers everywhere because I didn't have an easel and needed a surface to paint on. Since I'm not very good at putting things away when I'm really busy, we went about a week without being able to eat in the kitchen (or do much of anything in there except open the fridge and microwave). I finally got a utility bucket to hold all the paints and supplies...and I also bought a handy little table-top easel so I don't have to spread newspaper all over the place. The sad part about the kitchen thing was I actually have an art room. I remember Rick saying, "Why aren't you using your art room?" I replied, "Ummm...there's more "life" down here so it's easier to paint, and...I can't move up there because it's a mess." (I'm sooooooo lucky I'm not dead.) From that I learned to set mini-goals and milestones--and stick
to the plan! 
© Kelly Riccetti

LF: What do you see as the biggest difference in the paintings/work you did at the beginning vs. the paintings/work of the
last few paintings?

KR: ...speed and freedom. My last painting is the largest I've ever painted at 18x24, yet I painted it in two sessions in just hours. The bird is convincing and I didn't even draw him on the canvas. I just "sketched" him in using raw sienna and a smallish paintbrush. At the beginning of the challenge it took me a long time to create a bird. It was almost a painstaking process to get the proportions correct. Now they come almost naturally. I'm glad you asked this question because I hadn't paid attention to how much easier it was to render my birds now!

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

KR: ...without a doubt, do it! Don't think twice, just jump right in. A year from now you will be so glad you did it.
© Kelly Riccetti
Fishing Egret (Kelly's first attempt
at painting in public!)

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

KR: Don't be afraid to take on the 100 Painting Challenge. Doing it will wake the artist inside you up and will keep you from burying your talents in they everyday "busy-ness" of life. It will help you believe in yourself as
an artist... 

LF: Thank you, Kelly!

I am also pleased to tell you that we'll all get a chance to look over Kelly's shoulder as she goes for her next 100 painting in 2011! Please visit Kelly's blog to see some of her awesome photography.
© Kelly Riccetti
Raven, Acrylic

# 58 Please critique!

These are the clump of leaves that inspired me on my walk the other day! Its a bush I believe, but most of the leaves have fallen off. I am getting a lot more confident in being able to be take risks with colour and technique. I am using a wet on wet style a lot more now, and being able to mix colours on the paper itself, which is really exciting as one sees the colour mingle creating its own form. I find I now prefer to do the background first and have been painting  it in this way, and then doing the main subject.
I would like your comments on this picture, please....Thanks in advance!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

# 57 More Leaves

Another picture that came out of my photographs of the leaves I took during my walk! I really  love the contrast of colours, the bright leaves against a carpet of dry ones! So many of the trees are bare now, so to suddenly come across this bright spot of colour, was a treat!

# 56 A Leaf!

I was out walking at the horticulture gardens and came across a bush of these wonderfully coloured leaves, The surroundings were covered in fallen dead leaves, and this one bush  stood out. So I painted this one leaf as a quick sketch, and took a whole lot of photographs for using later! I used the pen again....and feel it has 'finished' the picture for me! I also used a totally non textured paper and felt the painting suited it. Normally I like using textured papers....but this seems to have worked well for this picture!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Please Join Me...

....in welcoming our latest challenger, Jennie McKenzie! Jennie hails from down under and has decided it's time to pick up her brushes once again. Her blog link is over on the lefthand side. I do hope you'll visit her.

Welcome, Jennie!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

# 55 Brass hanging lamp

I have some wonderful old hanging brass lamps. This one hangs in the doorway which leads out to a space where I have many potted plants, mostly greens! I liked the fact that the lamp was in the shade and the bright sunlight shone on some of the leaves in the background. It was a quick painting, the whole thing took me about an hour....For Christmas my daughter Nafisa gave me two special pens to use with Indian ink so I thought that I would use them with this painting! The more I use ink the more I like the effect! 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

#15 "Miner's Hat Restaurant" -Sheryl Hawkins

When I was growing up, we used to go to see my grandparents in Kellogg, Idaho almost every year. This little roadside restaurant- The Miner's Hat- was at the exit we took off of the highway. We thought it was the coolest thing, a giant hard hat with an equally giant miner's lamp. The restaurant closed, and it became a real estate office, but retained its unique shape.
I painted this watercolor from a vintage photo from about 1955. I love old photos and postcards, and definitely enjoyed painting this. It brought back a lot of childhood memories.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Short-tailed weasel #97

A weasel hunts through a pile of rubble.

Ink and watercolor on Winsor & Newton 140# hot Press ..... a way nicer hot press than the other two I tried. I had poor luck going back over a wash on the other two, but here the paint was much better at staying put. .... of course it meant the paint doesn't lift out as easily as on the other paper. ... a great paper for combining ink and watercolor washes.

# 54 Bamboo Scaffolding

There is building coming up just behind our flat. I watched with fascination as the work men put up this scaffolding with really long bamboos! It was really a work of art and they seemed to put it up with such ease! The bamboos are tied together with a rough rope possibly made of coconut fiber and is obviously really strong, since they go all the way up to the top of the 4 floor tall building and the work men walk along it with total ease! I loved the colours and the knots made a great picture!
The paper is a slightly textured one, not sure about the weight, just a thickish paper I picked up locally,so the impression of the concrete wall at the back came through quite well!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

# 53 New Year Flowers!

I am extremely pleased with this picture as I completed it in 20 mins...for the 20 Min. Challenge, and it has come out the way it should! The vase is a favourite...a cut glass one which I got at my wedding many many years ago, and to bring the New Year in this year I filled it with bright pink gladioli! I find the 20 min challenge has helped me hugely in developing and improving my painting skills. I have learnt to focus on what are the essential bits in a picture, concentrate on that and not spend too much time on unnecessary detail. It suits my style as well, and possibly my personality too.....as I like an impressionist kind of picture, painted quite wet,  and don't seem to have the patience to spend time on too much close detail!!!!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Hermit Thrush # 96

I had time to paint a field study today. This hermit thrush is fluffed against the cold and was busy foraging for extra calories this morning. Normally I just catch fleeting glimpses in the woods, or hear their lovely spring singing. Two were in the area and took turns cooperating for me.

Ink and watercolor. Painted in my Aquabee sketchbook (93# paper).