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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kelly - Paintings 20 - 24

I've been working with a fair amount of detail and realism lately, so I checked out of that for a couple of days and went with color and feeling...

Painting 24, "Bird in Deep Night" is simple and primitive...just night colors and a sweet sleeping bird. I didn't use standard shadows...made the bird flat so he's not too real.
(Oil Pastel, 9x12 Arches Cold Pressed 140 lb Paper)

Painting 23, "Happy June Cherries" follows the same theme...color and feeling...simple and primitive. Again, no real shading...I wanted the bird flat with energy (can you tell I had just devoured TWO chocolate bars? Happy February Chocolate was coursing through my veins...).
(Oil Pastel, 9x12 Arches Cold Pressed 140 lb Paper)

Painting 22, "Golden-crowned Kinglet in Autumn" is a bright and watery watercolor, but I controlled the second wash in the background by limiting the palette to red and yellow with a heavy pigment load. This painting started as a realistic painting, but I was dead tired and the paintbrush had a life of it's own...going heavy handed after the first detailed pass and just pouring on color (I don't know why I chose red and yellow...thinking back, it might have been my brain's attempt to grab some energy to try to wake up!)
(Watercolor, 12x16 Arches Cold Pressed 140 lb Paper)

...no detail...no color. I did this in minutes with two watercolor pencils and a water brush--no under sketch, using just a bit of negative space to define his belly with a cast shadow. I was at Matty's tennis clinic and was drawing in my sketchbook when this simple little Golden-crowned Kinglet popped to mind. I'm so glad I'm not afraid to paint and sketch in public anymore--thanks to the challenge!!
(Watercolor Pencil, 5x7 Arches Cold Pressed 140 lb Paper)

...what the heck is this mess? A super fun test painting! Rick gave me a bunch of Daniel Smith Iridescent and Duochrome watercolor paints, and I wanted to see if they really were iridescent. Guess what...they are!! You can't see it in the scan, but the painting fairly glows in the light with every color reflective. Our four little turquoise hummers seemed pretty happy coming to life on the page. I did heighten the reds in the flowers with a bit of regular watercolor, but the iridescent paint underneath still shines through.
(Iridescent Watercolor, 9x12 Arches Cold Pressed 140 lb Paper)

Friday, February 25, 2011

#33 Wine Glass with Cork- Sheryl Hawkins

I am finishing up a few of the oil paintings I started earlier.  This one is painted on masonite and I am still working on reflections.  With the dark background, I was able to show reflection without painting much of the glass surface.  The smooth surface of the masonite makes painting detail especially easy.

# 76 The WC February Challenge

I did this for a monthly challenge for Wet Canvas, an artists forum! It was from a reference picture and painted in the evening. I liked it when I painted the picture, but in the morning felt the colours were not really as I had wanted them. Possibly because I painted under artificial light!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kelly - Paintings 18 & 19

I watched this little Golden-crowned Kinglet forage in a stand of dead honeysuckle branches one cold January afternoon. Such a busy little bird, she never stopped even once to pause in her search for food.

12x16 Arches Cold Pressed 140 lb Paper

To get this background, I laid in one wash at an angled stroke and let it throughly dry, the next was was a sporadic flick of the brush...after it dried, the third wash was super fun, I just took a sponge and dipped it in a big puddle of the paint and then wrung it out over the top, letting the watery mix splish and splash...after about 30 minutes I mopped up the biggest puddles and let it dry. I had masked off the branches and bird and painted them in last night.

8x15 Arches Cold Pressed 140 lb Paper

...I wanted just a wisp of a painting here...no details or fuss, just sweetness and winter. I love the little bird's upward glance and made the painting narrow and tall to emphasize the feel.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Apples and Shell Bits #4

Apples and Shell Bits (c)2011 Dora Sislian Themelis

At my blog I showed a little of how I came to this finished work. Working slowly, I tried my best not to screw this up. I worked just a little larger this time and sketched my subjects in pencil before throwing down color to begin defining the shapes and shadows.  Twenty minutes to begin to see something happening and another twenty minutes to clean it up. I'm still learning about my medium, the brush, and the paper. Like all of us, it's a process.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Lorrie #2

Mossy Oak, watercolor, 9 x 12 inches on cold-pressed paper.
There are many great old oaks dotting the hills at Henry Coe State Park, about 1-1/2 hour south of San Francisco (and inland). I had painted the moss-decorated, multi-armed trunk of this one on site during a hike a few weeks ago, and I wanted to try a new version at home. While doing so, as I painted wet into wet in the beginning, some areas looked like dead weathered wood, and though the original tree was fully healthy and alive, I thought it was an interesting look. So I left some areas without bark (or the abundant moss!) higher up the tree.
There was a lot of vegetation texture around the tree, and I just wanted impressions of the dried grasses mixed with some green new grass, dead leaves, etc.The purple hills in background were really there, and I put that in last, thinking it would balance the foreground purples. But now I'm wondering if the hills distract from the grandeur of the tree and the blue-sky day. What do you think?
Also, these oaks often have huge branches that literally rest on the ground. With this tree, the branch on the right curved down and back from my viewpoint. Can you tell this is what is happening? I tried a few things to indicate this... wondering how it looks to you.

#32 Art Supplies - Sheryl Hawkins

I have been mixing my mediums lately and splitting my painting time between watercolors and oils.  This is a small (5X7) oil on canvas.  I have been working a lot with reflective surfaces and different ways to handle them.  This time, I tried working in a little looser style (well, much looser for me) than my usual way.  I was trying to keep from painting the tiny details like I usually do, and just include those I needed.  It is easier for me to work loosely in oils than with the watercolors which always end up more detailed no matter how I start the painting.  I was trying to only post watercolors, but as long as I am learning from them- I think it is a good thing!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Kelly - Painting 17

12x16 Arches Cold Pressed 140 lb Paper

...another Hooded Warbler! This is the watercolor version of the oil pastel I posted earlier today (painting 16). I changed the position of the bill and the wing, enlarged his eye (Hooded Warblers have the largest eyes of all the Wood Warblers), and flattened out his head a bit...changed the position of the bib and filled out his chest too, but I liked the rest of the pose. I'm glad I did the oil pastel as a practice because it was fun and let me see what worked and what didn't in the posture. I used the same techniques in this painting as I did in painting 15 (the 7x10 practice painting of the Hooded Warbler). I'm glad I did that practice painting too because I learned so much from it. I used a lot more wet on wet with the leaves, and I like these leaves better than those in 15. This whole series was a great learning project.

Kelly - Painting 16

While I continue to work on another watercolor of a Hooded Warbler, I interrupted the action...for some different action. This is an oil pastel of the watercolor I'm working on now. I wanted to test out the bird's posture and do some scribbling (and oil pastels are so good for scribbling), so I quickly sketched him out on 12x16 watercolor paper for practice. If he looks vaguely familiar, I did a similar piece in the challenge last year (painting 84). This guy will work as a companion piece to that painting. (This scan is a little brighter than the original...in reality the colors look like those in painting 84.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

#30 & #31 Venice, Italy- Sheryl Hawkins

Just as I was getting excited about Spring arriving soon- we have been having terrible rainy, cloudy days!  Back to the reference photo files.  This time, I went through the Italian vacation photos- always many painting possibilities in that file.  I tried to make these a little looser than my usual, but got pulled in by all the details on the carnival masks!  The produce boat on the canal gave me another chance at people and I mostly concentrated on scale and proportion.

watercolor on 140lb cold press

Kelly - Painting 15

7x10 Arches Cold Pressed 140 lb Paper

This painting of a Hooded Warbler was a total experiment. For the first time ever, I used Miskit (Liquid Masking fluid). I outlined the leaves and the birds with the masking fluid so I could lay in a background with abandon. Wow...Miskit is cool...and it really works! It's also a design created from a memory. I didn't have a reference photo because I lost the card with the photos from that day. I was always sad about that because we spent so much time with the Hooded Warblers but I had no photos to record it. As I thought about that day, the leaves kept appearing in my head in a painterly style...so I quickly sketched it out directly on watercolor paper.

I saw this fellow in July of 2010 at Shawnee State Park. It was early in the day, and it had just rained...the sky was dark and it was hot...and super humid--and he was so vibrant in the dark shadows of the understory. Now I have a visual of that day in addition to a memory!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Painting #4 Mouse Love - Claire

Thinking of Valentine's Day reminded me of a cute Messenger of Love that my parents used through the years to deliver their messages of love to each other. We never had real mice at my home growing up, but through the years there were many mice on cards and notes, and little mice figurines in the house. Since Dad passed away in 2001, I've taken over for him and I periodically find a special mouse to give my mom. She has even given me a few. I'm quite fond of the "Charming Tails" figurines that often feature mice, and I decided that one would be a good model for my page. The only problem was that I couldn't remember which Valentine Mice that Mom has... (and I didn't have any pictures of her mice). So, I searched the internet for a Charming Tails mouse to use as a model for my sketch. This Cheese guy looked so cute that not only did I sketch and paint him.... but I also ordered one to give Mom for Valentine's Day. Just a little surprise.... I had for her this year.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kelly - Painting 14

This is the same Black-bellid Plover that appears in painting 11. Wondering where his "black belly" is? He's in his non-breeding plumage here, so he's pretty much gray, light brown and white. I saw him last March on Longboat Key, Florida. He will slowly darken up as his breeding plumage comes in and he heads north for his breeding grounds.

I enjoyed painting the shadows on this bird...his round little belly and feathers were fun! Lately I've been completing a separate pencil sketch for my watercolors. I'm glad I did a graphite pencil study first. The studies are really helping me get to know the bird better and help me solve problems before I put paint to paper.

#27, #28, #29- Sheryl Hawkins

Now that we have seen the sun for a few days, it is making me look forward to summer and what better way than to paint summery feeling watercolors!

All three of these watercolors are painted from reference photos of places on Long Island.  Long Island is a beautiful place to live, and there are many painting subjects.  I enjoyed painting the reflections of the boats and the top painting was just fun.  The people I added to the bottom one added a level of difficulty for me since painting people isn't in my comfort zone.  I tried to keep them loose this time until I get more comfortable with them and not as afraid to get into more detail.  I would love to stop letting people painting freak me out since they really can add life to a painting!

Watercolor on 140 lb cold press with  rough surface 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Howdy! -- Lorrie #1

Hi everyone and thank you for the warm welcome! I'm glad to officially be part of the group, and have been following your works for the last week with eagerness to praise! I look forward to sharing, learning, and growing together.
If you are interested, I've put a couple of introductory posts at my new blog, Lorrie of the West Watercolor Studio (please pardon my ongoing construction of that site…. I’m learning step by step.) I see some of you have become Followers already, which is so kind of you!
By way of short intro:  I’m a biologist, writer, and watercolorist who has recently relocated back to the west coast after some 30 years in the northeastern U.S. I am giddy with delight and inspired to paint in these western lands as I reconnect with the native habitats, creatures, vistas, aromas, mild winters, and the Pacific Ocean ecosystem.
I’ve found that although I greatly admire representational paintings, I’m not inclined (usually) to make them. The precision and attention to detail it takes is similar to the focus required by the freelance writing and editing work that I sometimes do, and I don‘t want to concentrate so hard all the time! So as an artist, I roam between realism and impressionism.
With the Challenge, I intend to experiment with approaches and subjects, and to define a direction in my art that reflects who I am on a deep level.
I finished this painting on the day I was officially welcomed, so it's going to be #1. It's from a photo (which I don't do very often). I learned, among other things, that eyes make such a huge difference... the size and angle of the pupil, and the shape of the eye, can make a critter look anywhere from terrified to angry to cross-eyed to sad to gentle! I scrubbed these out a few times before I was happy enough.
Happy painting everyone!

Shell Apple Pebble - #3

Shell Apple Pebble (c)2011 Dora Sislian Themelis
8x10 Watercolor Arches 140lb cold press paper
Frustrated over spending too much time on this latest watercolor painting caused me to leave it aside for the time being. Anyone with any thoughts, please comment. I had plenty of time to leisurely paint on the day I started this piece, but it quickly went downhill, in my opinion.

Having spent plenty of time examining the beach items and leaves, I decided to add the apple for color and a different shape to play with. I did not stick to 20 minutes of painting time and leave it at that. No. I went over time and over board, later finding the need to lift out color where I needed highlights.

Telling myself it's the process not the outcome makes me feel a little better, but not by a whole lot. Next painting I do needs to stop before I do too much and want to poke out my eye!

# 75 Apples

Gosh! I cant believe I've reached 75 pictures already!!! 
I bought these wonderful red apples the other day and put a few on a pottery plate and it made a lovely picture. I decided to paint it for a 20 min. challenge! I didn't have time to finish the background, so sort of left it a bit vague. I enjoy the 20 min. challenge as it helps me focus on whats important and essential in a picture and this often results in a good picture. It also suits my style as I seem to want to paint quickly, and like impressions more than detail! The paper was also a good one, 300gsm, and so i was able to paint a wet picture, without the paper buckling!

Painting #3 Happy Valentine's Day - Claire

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Kelly - Paintings 12 and 13

The idea for these paintings came to me while I was taking Laure Ferlita's mini eClass: Valentine Cards. Our assignment was painting roses, and after I finished with my class roses, "Chiggy Tugging on a Rose Petal" popped into my head. I love the simplicity of the first little chickadee. I hope you all have a wonderful St. Valentine's Day.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Introducing Our Newest Challenger!

Please join me in welcoming Lorrie Klosterman! Lorrie joins us from sunny California, where she works in watercolors. Like all of us, Lorrie is working at that age-old concept of partnering with watercolor rather than controlling it or being out of control. She also struggles with a harsh self-critic that can cause her to discourage herself (sound familiar to anyone? Sure does to me!).

As a biologist, Lorrie has a strong affinity for nature. She volunteers her time as a naturalist at a park about an hour south of San Francisco.

Welcome, Lorrie!

# 71, 72, 73, 74 a day outside Kolkata

We visited a friend at his weekend place a couple of hours drive outside Kolkata....His place is on the banks of the river, full of trees, quiet and peaceful. I did a few sketches! There were fishing boats on the river, and we  were really lucky to see river dolphins, a very rare sight!

Our friend also had a great vegetable patch!  I had not taken a picture for reference, but had done a simple sketch, and the rest is from retrospective memory! I am beginning to realise with a strong feeling of joy, that if something moves me enough, if I concentrate and focus on it, it stays in my memory and can be painted later!  This was a quick picture, but I really like it, the purple turnips, a variety of spinach and cabbage and the yellows of the mustard flower! The brick coloured outhouse and wall at the back made a great rustic picture!
A quick close up of a purple turnip for my 20 min. challenge!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Kelly - Painting 11

12x16 Arches Cold Pressed 140 lb Paper

A Black-bellied Plover foraging on the beach. I warmed up the colors in this bird also...in reality he's a little more gray. I love watching shorebirds digging around in the sand. I saw this guy last spring in Florida. I hope to make it back to Florida this spring!! I really had fun with this one...stylizing the feathers on his back and adding in the sand.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

#25 & #26 Paris - Sheryl Hawkins

These watercolors are painted from reference photos I took on a trip to Paris a few years ago.  Sometimes, I like to go back through photos I have had for a while and take a fresh look at them.  I have been painting with oils for the last few weeks and they are, for the most part, dark still life paintings.  I love to do them, but it is also nice to get back to the light feel of watercolors!  These were fun to paint and I was happy to get into all the colors.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Broken Shell #2

Broken Shell (c)2011 8x10 Watercolor
Keeping to the commitment to paint 100 paintings was daunting. However, if I hadn't found out that I could start and finish a work in twenty minutes I would have been in deep trouble! Twenty minutes works!

Being prepared helps, too. Having still life items and art supplies available seems to be key. I can go to my stash of items, rearrange them in a way that pleases me and go at it. I am trying to keep the water down while using these watercolors so I can finish in the time I have allotted for painting.

I think I'm getting the hang of it.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Kelly - Painting 10

12x16 Arches Cold Pressed 140 lb Paper

I found this sweet little Sedge Wren hiding in the tall grasses of a local park in August of 2009. I was able to get a few photos of him, but they were poor (they worked just fine as a photo reference, though), so I decided to bring him to life with watercolor. During this summer and early fall, I watched for him every time I was in the meadow, but he never returned. He's a bit of a rarity in our area, so who knows if I'll ever see him there again.

Painting #2 Valentine Memory - Claire

Valentine's Day is fast approaching .....  here is a special Valentine memory from my husband in the past.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

# 70 Lights and darks

I was out on my usual evening walk....It was dusk and the sky was a pale pinkish blue with a little yellow. I looked up to see this wonderful tree silhouetted against the sky, the branches almost black and the pale evening sky enhancing the darkness of the branches, the few leaves that were on it pale grey shadows. It was so striking, that I have been wanting to recreate the picture....Artistic licence in my picture as I visulised what it would look like in an open air setting....somewhere it was not surrounded by buildings! This is the first time I have actually painted a picture from my mind and the feeling to recreate something I saw! This is the result!

Friday, February 4, 2011

# 69 The last of the winter leaves

On my walk last evening I picked up these leaves, obviously the last of the winter leaves, as most of the trees have bare branches or tiny green leaves sprouting! I put them in my little brass lamp and they made a pretty picture! I am trying to paint one picture everyday....which is quite a challenge as there are so many other commitments. Have started a new blog as well....just to encourage me and help me along!! Heres the link in case you want to look at it....http://onewatercolouraday.blogspot.com/

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Kelly - Painting 9

12x16 Arches Cold Pressed 140 lb Paper

A saw this juvenile Tri-colored Heron last June. He still had a lot of his baby feathers, but not for long. I loved his downy "hair" blowing in the breeze... I painted this guy over several days...adding layer after layer to achieve the rich color.

# 67 and 68: More river views!

A few more quick sketches from our day on the river! This is an outhouse of the Botanical gardens, which runs along the river. After seeing so many broken down buildings, it was wonderful to see this outhouse which had obviously been recently painted!
I loved this view of the barge and the buoy in the fore ground. I wanted to capture perspective and I think I have managed that. I am really enjoying using a pen to enhance my painting....Its seems such a great way to complete a picture especially when one is trying to do a quick sketch!

Claire returning to the Challenge - Painting #1

Hi, I'm Claire.  I started the challenge in January 2010 and managed to post 31 paintings during the year, but life overwhelmed me about mid-year 2010 with family responsibilities so I backed out for awhile. It is now a new year and things have settled down so it feels like the right time to rejoin the Challenge for 2011. Being a new year I've decided to restart my painting counter at 1. 

What really speaks to my heart about painting is working in a journal (maybe about 5x7 or 5x8 size) and mixing images with casual text. I want to record small events (or even exciting things) in my life and I really enjoy capturing family memories. Many of my favorite pages are related in one way or another to my family.  I've even designed a series of beer labels for my oldest son in my sketchbook - and have an open order for 4 more! So 'what' I paint can really vary.

This painting is from November 2010. I chose this painting to post for my re-entry to this blog because it is one of my more recent personal pieces - not done for a class or for anyone else -- just for myself. The text describes part of my day and my reflections on the time change last fall. I literally just sat down at the kitchen table and started sketching/painting and writing about my day and what I saw before me. It was sort of a magical or zen like state (not at all my normal frame of mind). I hope to do more of this type of journaling in 2011 and hit my #100 before the end of the year. 
<<< Goal #1:  more painting/journaling. >>>

The past few years I've adopted a focus word for the year and I've found it to be very interesting. My focus phrase for 2011 is 'Color my world' (and you can read more about it here). 
<<< Goal #2: put more color in my life - play with more colors in my paintings. >>>

One area that I would like to focus on for 2011 in painting is people. Yes.... they intimidate me - it is hard to do them. I'd like to explore them both from sketching and then painting as well as paint only (oh that sounds scary!).
<<< Goal #3:  put more people into my paintings/pages. >>>

A "treat goal" in 2011 is to do some travel sketching. Many times in the past I've taken a trip with art supplies in tow.... but returned home without sketching even a page. I have an upcoming trip to Denmark and Ireland and I am determined to do some sketching in my journal. 
<<< Goal #4: 
as Nike says ... "Just do it!!" >>> 

A bonus for the year ... is that I'm super excited to see what you will all be painting!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Kelly - Painting 8

12x16 Arches Cold Pressed 140 lb Paper
I saw this male cardinal at our local park. It was very cold and evening was starting to close in. He had puffed his feathers up for warmth and was strikingly beautiful against the dark winter sky. He is the same bird that shows up in painting three, but I painted him in a much looser style (and at a different angle...and I added in the branches...).

Re-Introducing A Former Challenger - Claire McFeely!

I am delighted to announce that Claire McFeely has rejoined the challenge! Claire had started the challenge last year, but life interfered for a while. She and her art are back on track and she's ready to go again!

I think you may recognize some of Claire's work as she has a highly recognizable style. Her journal pages and beautiful writing are the kind of work we all aspire too!

So once again, please join me in welcoming Claire back to the challenge!

You can also visit Claire's blog by clicking on her name over in the left side bar.