I haven’t done these online art challenges. I’ve seen quite a few of them over the years and frankly I shake my head when I see people have postedsomething they’ve scribbled off stating they were too tired and that’s all they could manage.
Really I should give them credit. THEY were at least trying to do it where I was not. They just lost steam and well, were hanging on.
I am in a group now where a challenge was issued to paint, draw, or sketch everyday for 30 days. We do not have to complete a painting, just work on it.
Generally I do paint every day, but there are times I take a day off, when life gets in the way, or if I need to take care of studio business or marketing.So this IS a stretch because not only do we have to paint or draw, but we have to take a photo and post it to our Facebook group each day. And when I finish a piece, the next day I have to think, “what am I going to do today?”
I am enjoying the challenge—even when I end up posting late at night. The group is very encouraging and I’m certainly getting a lot done. Here is a piece I finished on day 21, “Garlic $1″, oil, 6×8”.
She came in as the younger, smaller cat in the house, but soon took over as the one in charge. The back of the couch is the highest point in the room that is comfortable. She can see the whole room, the other cat, me, and the backyard out the window across the room. She has great color, sort of black and brown, some rust and white, a pink nose and “odd socks” as I call them, meaning each paw is different.
Quite a demanding little kitty, she yells at me when she wants something, but if I whisper at her, she will whisper back. She is a great model and I could paint her all day long. Now that the springtime sun is making its way into our home, and sunbeam naps are on the schedule, a new painting is inevitable.
When we are quiet, when we observe, when we are still, we let it in. We let in nature, as it will begin to trust us. We let in beauty as we see more. We let in peace as we connect with the heartbeat of the universe.
Or, like this little kitty, well, he is trying to let in his next meal I suppose.
It’s a big enough job patrolling the garden, but when a dozen artists invade the place and I have to check out each one with all those shoes, and bags, and sticks in the ground, it’s a wonder I get to all my usual checkpoints. Good thing I have bench, with its raised vantage point and luxury sunbeams, to take a well deserved rest.
“Bluebird” is a song credited to Paul and Linda McCartney that was originally released on the Wings’ album Band on the Run.
These cute little guys don’t visit my yard. My sister is lucky. They even nest in her yard from time to time.
They’ve been used as symbols in songs by Paul McCartney, by David Bowie, by the Moody Blues, and Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow”. I remember a childhood rhyme that was something…”Bluebird, bluebird, in and out the window…”
One of the biggest challenges for plein air painters (painting outdoors) is the vastness of what we are looking at. Trying to get the huge outdoors and fit it on our teeny, tiny, little canvas can stop an artist in our tracks so to speak.
All the advice, tips, and rules I hear from experienced painters seem to leave me when I am out there enjoying the wonders of nature. “Paint what you love.” “Look for the big shapes.” “See the darks and lights.”
Ever since I saw my first Monet painting I wanted to paint water lilies. We were at a beautiful garden with a pond with the most perfect water lilies you can imagine. I was so excited.
By the end of my painting session I was so disappointed. I had wanted to paint water lilies. Here is a sketch of what I did. I went home and scraped it off.
Luckily I took lots of photos and when I enlarged the photo and painted in my studio, I actually painted water lilies.
I was listening to a podcast by the Savvy Painter, Antrese Wood, where she interviews successful artists (http://www.savvypainter.com), and the artist was saying he works on 40 to 50 canvases at a time.
Well my studio isn’t big enough to do that, but I’ve been working on one piece at a time. Working small and in oil, wet on wet, it generally requires finishing a painting in one session.
Lately though, some of the techniques I want to use haven’t been working and it would seem the paint needs to dry before I apply the next layer. So working on more than one piece would be beneficial.
Also, a fellow artist point out to me that if you are having a problem with a painting and getting frustrated, setting it aside and working on another can 1) build your confidence back up, and 2) going back to the first painting later you may see the problem in a new light and it has solved itself.
Indeed it seems to be working. I started this tulip painting, and then started a beach scene. Came back and finished the tulips and started 2 more beach scenes. Solving problems in one saves time with the next and letting areas dry for a certain texture is working well. I like it.
“Field of Tulips”, 8×10″ oil, available at http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/560288
After I took that e-Course in the winter I wanted to make sure I embedded the lessons in my memory, and since the subject matter we painted was basically florals, I painted several more flower still lifes. I’m quite happy with the results.
Then the weather got nice and plein air painting started (painting outdoors) and I was back out in the landscape. I’m always rusty at first and this year was no different. But going out each week helps and I’m getting better.
In the meantime, back in the studio I remembered some photos I took of a house nearby that has it’s whole front yard filled with tulips! Maybe this would be my happy medium. This could be a nice transition between flowers and the landscape. It was very fun to paint.
I am a fair weather painter. I admire those who bundle up in the winter and brave the cold and snow, but for me, the sun and wind and bugs are challenge enough.
I learned to paint “in the open air” while living in California. When I moved back to Michigan I was honestly surprised to find artists painting en plein air.Ha! So we go out together (safer) after being cooped up in our studios all winter to be enthralled, overwhelmed, and challenged by nature.
The first week I came home and immediately wiped off all the paint. The second week was not too bad—won’t win any prizes; probably won’t sell; but is worth studying to see what I learned for next time.
Third week went better. We were serenaded by birds and frogs; there was a creek and a nice breeze. I was happier with the result. Loose, painterly, almost abstract. Available at http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/557386
This week the group opted to paint in the local town. Just when I was getting back into the landscape (after my flower series) we have buildings! Another learning experience; not a keeper. And so it goes…
People think it’s great that an artist gets to paint all day, and it is. But every day I have to find something to paint. For years I painted landscapes. A couple of years ago I ventured into the still life.
Successful artists tell you to “paint what you love”, “paint what you are passionate about”.
I love a dynamic sky, flowers, and birds. I hadn’t really painted flowers or birds until this last year or two. The online class I just completed (see previous blogs) was all flowers and it was great. Eager to continue with flowers I looked into my photo reference files (we are just coming out of winter here in Michigan). My spring flowers are just beginning to peek out of the dirt, but it will be a few weeks before I have anything to paint from my garden.
I started with an Iris, then a garden scene on a 6×6″ panel—maybe too small for such a large subject.
I saw some paintings by Cezanne of some apples and got inspired. I bought some apples and set up a still life with a white pitcher on a sunny day and painted this 10×8″ oil.
Using what I learned in class I noticed old habits trying to resurface and I kept thinking of shortcuts that might be easier. I only have to step back and look to see those sabotaging thoughts aren’t working. Stepping back from the work is one of the most important parts of painting…