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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Elva #100!!!

Blackbuck fawn on Aquabee paper

Canada Goose on Aquarius II paper

Great Egret on Aquabee

I did it!  For the second time I've finished The Challenge.  I'm so glad it did it.  Picking up a paint brush has become part of my life -- in a very different way than for my first 30 years of painting.  I started out always doing 'finished work.'  I seldom gave myself the freedom to experiment.  Laure Ferlita (creator of the 100 Paintings Challenge) opened my eyes to a whole new way of approaching art ... jump in, do it, be comfortable making mistakes, learn from the mistakes ... and have fun along the way.  It has been so liberating.

In the past, if I had an idea and didn't know how to handle it, I seldom tried.  I stayed in the safe zone.  Now it is fun to give it a try ... some work, some don't.  

This time around in the challenge I make a point of using different papers.  I wasn't as conscientious about that as I would have liked.  I still have papers on the shelf to try.  But I did convince myself that paper is an important part of the process.  That doesn't mean one has to have a dozen types on the shelf, but it does mean some results are very dependent on the type of paper used.  

I paint a lot in sketchbooks since I paint a lot in the field.  I used to be satisfied with the paper in hardbound 8 1/2 x 11 blank books ... but the paper just isn't as good as it was 30 years ago.  I've tried several brands.  So recently I've switched to lugging around two books .... my trusty hard bound 8 1/2 x 11 journal for words and sketches ... just a little paint; plus either a Stillman and Birn Beta spiral bound book or a Bee Papers Aquabee Super Deluxe spiral bound book.  The paper is very similar except you The Stillman and Birn is heavier, lies flatter so you can easily use both sides, and I can rewet it more times.  But it is also quite a bit more expensive.  I have Teri Casper (100 Painting Challenge alumnus) to thank for introducing me to the Stillman and Birn.  

I wish Strathmore would put their Aquarius II paper into a sketchbook.  It is one of my favorites.  Takes both ink and watercolor well, is lightweight and yet lies flat.  I'm seriously considering making my own watercolor pad or sketchbook with it.  Loose sheets of paper always seem to end up on the floor of the car, but if it make my own watercolor pad, the paper would have some protection.  

I hate to see the Challenge coming to an end.  I thank you, Laure, for opening my eyes.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Elva's #98 and 99

I call this the 'Sexy Lady Moon.'  It is as if she wears a beret that almost covers one eye.  Saturday night I lay in my sleeping bag and watched the moon, and tried to burn the scene into my mind.  We were camping at Lava Beds National Monument.  Then, in the morning, I sat on a rock and drew the branch and distant trees from almost the same spot.  Added paint while I made coffee.

Another pelican painting inspired from the day I got to sketch pelicans on the coast and then photograph them.  Here a young Herrmann's gull is trying to steal the pelican's fish. ... painted in my Stillman and Birn sketch book.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Elva # 96 and 97

A brown pelican swoops up, taking aim before it dives after a fish.  Watercolor  in my Stillman and Birn Beta sketchbook.  

This fire scene is inspired by a memory and a very old journal sketch.  I painted on Arches hot press 140#.  Watercolor.

For more about this wildfire and a more recent one, go to my blog:  www.elvafieldnotes.blogspot.com