Sunday, November 30, 2014

Owl in Tree

Owl in Tree
Oil on panel, 4x6
purchase here
In the midst of decking the halls for Christmas, I have stopped briefly to paint this little owl!  For the last several years, we have had an owl family that nests at the very top of one of the old trees in the pasture.  When the baby owls are young - they sound exactly like little kittens trapped at the top of that tree!  I don't know how long it took me to realize they were owls - not kittens in need of my help (which would have been impossible at 100 feet in the air)!  I love hearing the gentle sounds they make to one another during the night.  Sometimes, they stand atop the telephone poles in hunt for those pesky field mice.  At other times, I see them pluck their prey right out of the pasture - dive bombing so quickly it will make your head spin!  So today, I am capturing one in oil.  I think this may only be the second owl I have ever painted.  Once again, I am painting small at 4x6 inches, since it is another day of decorating, and time is very short on this holiday weekend.  This painting makes 701 in 701 days, and now I must return to my Christmas preparations!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl
Oil on panel, 6x4
purchase here
Today is my 700th painting in 700 days!  Wowza!  It is hard to believe that a simple challenge to me in an email turned into a life changing event!  The way I think about painting is different than it was before "daily painting".  I get up knowing that sometime during that day, I will complete a painting.  I have already looked for my best painting window, and have probably already thought of an idea or two to paint.  Like brushing my teeth and washing my face, it has become automatic.  Sure, there are some days when I don't feel like painting - as with housework, cleaning, etc - but I do it anyway.  And, the simple act is therapeutic.  I have learned to paint through family crisis, often drawing in the hospital while I waited bedside for news - and the motion consoled me as I waited.  Before "daily painting", I was only a happy painter - not wanting near the brushes when life started throwing wrenches my way.  Not anymore, I paint everyday regardless - and have learned so much through the process.  Every day is a lesson - and it is my artistic "fix" that keeps me moving forward.  Now, it is time to start getting the Christmas stuff out of the attic - and hanging the lights on the house!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Cardinal on the Cedar

Cardinal on the Cedar
Oil on panel, 6x4 - sold
Continuing on the bird theme of the last couple of days - I am painting another!  First cats, then birds, what next?  Once again, I am painting to fit my time window - small at 6x4 inches.  This is such a comfortable size to get done quickly.  This little guy was flying from feeder to cedar this afternoon - making him the subject du jour.  Tomorrow will be full - I will be getting the Christmas stuff down from the attic - and then the real fun begins!  I just hope we can get it all done over the weekend!  This cardinal makes painting number 699 in 699 days!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Autumn Blue Jay

Autumn Blue Jay
Oil on panel, 6x4
purchase here
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!  After a full day of family, food, and visiting, the house has settled down and most of our company have headed for home.  As the dishwasher runs, I come to my easel rather late tonight.  I needed my "artistic fix" - something to help me unwind from the very busy day.  Pulling the brush through the paint is soothing for me, therapy in action with every stroke.  Once I finish, I can sigh with relief.  A day well spent with family - and this - the icing on the cake!  Painting number 698 in 698 days.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Little Goldfinch

Little Goldfinch
Oil on panel, 6x4
purchase here
With so much cooking for Thanksgiving to do, I'm in a bit of a rush today.  Therefore, I am painting small - and painting this sweet little bird out the window.  The winds are blowing in a cold front, and he is looking for his feeder - which has been moved by our giant puppy!  In my hurry, I dropped this little guy on the carpet - face down - and he now wears a few dog hairs!  I will have to pick them out when the paint is a bit drier!  This painting makes 697 in 697 days - now back to the kitchen I go!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sleeping Kitten

Sleeping Kitten
Graphite on bristol, 6.5x10
purchase here
Yesterday,  I mentioned how I thought smooth bristol paper was not worthy of graphite - or medium I have yet found.  Today, I found myself out of bristol vellum - and I had to use the smooth finish bristol.  Well, it worked out all right.  I like the texture of the vellum, as it lends a bit of tooth and interest to the paper itself.  There is no texture to the smooth, so the strokes carry the weight of all interest.  While the vellum is my favorite still, this smooth bristol will do in a pinch.  I have used three pencils on this rendering - 8B watersoluable, mechanical, and Derwent black inktense pencil (also watersoluable).  Most of the work is done with my trusty 8B - which is super soft for those of you who don't know this.  I pull out the mechanical when I want superfine lines - like the whiskers or fine hair detail.  The mechanical pencil is harder, and therefore grayer in shade.  The black inktense pencil is a special jewel which I bring out only where I want the blackest black.  I can deepen that black with a damp brush, but this is an ink pencil, so once it is dampened, it becomes ink that can not be removed.  As with all drawing, I reserve the whites, only using a pink eraser sparingly - if at all.  Once finished, I squint to make sure the masses all make sense, and the flow of the work is harmonious.  It is so easy to get caught up in the lines and lose track of the big picture.  This kitten piece is my 696th in 696 days.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Little Captain

Little Captain
Graphite on bristol, 6x9
purchase here
I have drawn on many types of paper, but I keep returning to bristol in a vellum finish.  I don't like the smooth bristol at all - I simply will not use it for graphite, and I haven't found a medium I would use on it - yet.  The vellum texture grabs the graphite in a special, predictable way that I love.  My favorite pencils are 8B watersoluables.  I first draw in the shading and color as with normal pencils.  The paper stubs in various sizes are a "must have" for blending and giving the shading that life-like appearance.  Next, to the very darkest areas, I can pull a damp brush across - and the color gets darker.  This is the magic of the watersoluable graphites!  I apply this water very lightly, as this is not watercolor paper, and too much water will cause the paper to buckle in an unattractive way.  Once water has been added, the marks will no longer be easy to remove, if required.  So, be sure there will be no lifting before taking a brush to it.  I   My subject du jour is our youngest cat, Captain.  He gets a lot of extra attention, and is spoiled shamelessly by my daughter!  This little darling is my 695th artwork in 695 days.  It feels good to be in the graphites again :)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Charlie in Graphite

Charlie in Graphite
Graphite on bristol, 9x6
purchase here
Graphite and paper are, perhaps, my first artistic love.  I remember picking out pencils from a small cardboard box on the little child's desk at my grandma's house.  It was right beside the large antique white stove in the kitchen, looking out of one of the windows.  There was always a Big Chief pad of paper inside that desk - waiting for me to create my childish masterpieces.  Grandma loved everything I drew, from little "Snoopy" cartoons to the old barn in the side yard.  When I pick up a pencil, it is as if my mind disengages, and the drawing materializes without thought.  I love the very act of drawing, it is so personal, so intimate......like my very soul is pouring out onto the paper.  Reveling in my roots today, this is artwork number 694 in as many days.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Bridge in Autumn

Bridge in Autumn
Oil on panel, 6x6
purchase here
Some days it is just hard to focus.  I took a kinesis class Wednesday morning, and all seven classes since then have been SO much harder!  Piyo class this morning just about did me in!  With muscles so sore, I have persevered through the housework, and the countless chores of every day.  I am pretty obsessive about all things being done before I paint - since painting is a reward!  So, finally getting to my easel, I was at a loss of what to paint.  Several big projects are waiting in the wings, but I needed something smaller for my little painting window.  This is what I decided on - and it was hard to stay on task.  Perhaps tomorrow I should get back to drawing - where I don't even have to think!  Graphite truly is the best therapy - and maybe ditching the housework!  Painting number 693 in 693 days :)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Song of the Waves

Song of the Waves
Oil on panel, 14x11
purchase here
Sometimes, the feel of the brush laying paint on the panel just feels SO good.....like coming home, like having all the time in the world.  This is one of those days.  After a busy morning, I actually had several uninterrupted hours of just me and the easel.  No starting and stopping.  No appointments to rush off to.  I'm not even cooking dinner tonight.  Just a little time to get in the zone and stay there.  I may paint all night - after picking up my son from basketball practice.  Ok, so I do have one more place to be - and I had better get there.  We'll get dinner out and then back to painting I go.  Painting number 692 in 692 days.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Single Poinsettia

Single Poinsettia
Mixed media, 9x6
purchase here
With a few fancy lace type rice papers, I am using the technique from our program yesterday.  The fancy papers add detail and texture to the painting.  I am using 140lb cold pressed paper for the substrate, which is thinner and shifts more than my 300 lb favorite.  It is strange to be painting on actual watercolor paper, instead of the super thin rice papers I have been using of late.  While fun to play with something new, I have other work to get back to.  This is painting number 691 in as many days.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Gourds and Pumpkins


Gourds and Pumpkins
Watercolor batik on masa, 8x5
purchase here
Another day spent basking in the glory of the harvest!  I just love painting the rich colors of fall - and there is so much variety in the squash and gourds!  I have followed the same techniques as in the Harvest Basket, as I painted through the steps of these two at the same time.  When working on watercolor batiks, I almost always work on two, three or four at a time.  The main reason is that I like to start and finish with no down time.  In watercolor, I have to wait for the paint to dry between layers, so I simply move to the next painting instead of wasting my time just waiting.  I feel like I am unlocking the secrets of the masa paper with each painting I finish - the smallest little changes in method yield different results.  Experimenting really helps keep all things fresh - no chance if slipping into hum-drum when mixing it up daily!  Painting number 690 in as many days.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Party Poinsettias

Party Poinsettias
Mixed media - watercolor, textured rice paper applique, 9x6
purchase here
I am experimenting again!  As an artist, I think it is invaluable to be involved in as many local art leagues as possible.  In today's meeting at Tri-County Art League, we had a program on applying textured rice paper to a floral watercolor painting.  I painted this in the morning before my work-out, so it would be dry before going to the meeting.  I then chose a few kinds of textured rice papers to tear little pieces off of.  I set them onto my painting, where I thought they would look best.  These little pieces are then applied with thinned down Elmer's school glue and an old paint brush.  This is a bit messy, as rice paper tends to get starchy when wet.  Only apply glue lightly to the back side of the rice paper, so the front side will still accept watercolor.  It will not, if the glue is too heavy.  When the glue dries, this paper can also be painted.  These special rice papers are super thin and delicate - available at cheapjoes.com.  Our local art stores no longer carry it.  This extra layer adds so much depth to the painting, and these can be layered as well.  I just can't wait to play with these papers!  So much can be learned from fellow artists - just one more reason to be involved in local leagues!  Painting number 689 in 689 days :)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Autumn at Neuschwanstein

Autumn at Neuschwanstein
Oil on panel, 9x12
purchase here
Today, I had a large block of time with which I could have painted non-stop.  So, what did I do with this time?  Housework!  I went through drawers, bagged clothes, dusted and washed down three shelves, and cleaned the yard before coming to my easel.  Crazy.  So, now, I am painting from a fairy tale today, a different view of the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany.  My son and his wife just returned with so many beautiful photos - and I am really enjoying them!  I painted this castle from a side view a couple of days ago.  This end of the castle was just a very small note on the right side of that painting.  Picturesque in it's detail and elegance, it has been a challenge to paint!  Wouldn't it be fabulous to live a day in this castle - wandering from room to room, turret to turret, exploring every inch?  With my love of historic buildings, castles rate right there at the top on my "must see" list!  This is set so high on the bluff, it makes one wonder how many people have fallen right off through the centuries.  The leaves were just donning their autumn shades, soon to give way to the cold days to come.  And we are supposed to go down to 8 degrees tonight - yuk!  This painting makes 688 in 688 days.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Deep Sea Sailing

Deep Sea Sailing
Oil on panel, 14x11
I have only just begun to research these beautiful vessels.  These tall ships are striking on any body of water - and the reflections rippling off the surface are magical.  The long, lean lines of this ship are gorgeous, and the mystery of the sea is timeless.  Learning the sails and lines are very much like learning the architecture of a building.  I simply start with the largest mass, in this case the body of the ship, and then moved to the masts.  I started at the front with the first line, then the first sail, second, and so forth in a methodical way.  This was an adventure to paint - and I can't wait to paint the next!  Painting number 687 in 687 days.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle
Oil on panel, 12x9
Bavaria, Germany - sold
What better muse for a painting than a romantic castle?  My son and his wife just returned from Germany, and I finished this painting today from his photos.  Who knew Germany was so beautiful?  This stunning castle is in Bavaria, and Disney's Sleeping Beauty castle was inspired by this one.  Perhaps that is why I chose to paint it first - Sleeping Beauty is my all time favorite Disney classic from my childhood!  There is such an aura of romance in this landscape - it has been a joy to capture it in oils.  I am already looking forward to the next one!  Painting number 686 in 686 days.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Dance of the Pumpkins

Dance of the Pumpkins
Watercolor batik on rice paper, 8x5
purchase here
We have a 2 - 4 inch snow predicted tomorrow!  The first one of the season - and it should be in the 50's this time of year!  When the cold air moves in, I want to get to the warm studio to paint.  It will take me just a bit to acclimate to the new cold and take my gear outside again.  I am just not a cold weather girl - I'll take the 100 degree heat any day over the freezing cold!  It has taken me all day to get to the easel.  Feeling the need for a little whimsey, this painting is loosely painted from a street scene still life in Fairfield, Illinois.  Painting number 685 in 685 days, and I hope I will be able to paint all day tomorrow while it snows!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Turning Leaves

Turning Leaves
Oil on panel, 14x11
Fairfield Paint Out - purchase here
The leaves were just turning when I was in Fairfield for the annual paint out.  The Leo French Park was such a popular place for the locals and artists alike.  I painted this one in the rain - seeking the shelter of a dense, but small tree to set my easel under.  Some plein air days are cold and wet, and this was such a day.  Those days only prove to make me more thankful for the warm and wonderful ones!  This painting makes 684 in as many days.  Looking forward to those little gifts of sunshine in the cooler days ahead!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Harvest Basket

Harvest Basket
Watercolor batik on masa, 5x8
purchase here
Thinking of Thanksgiving today, and painting the fruits of harvest.  I handled this painting just a little bit different than I have the others.  After sketching in india ink, painting all bounty and basket with watercolor, I went back in for a second layer of color.  This additional step really adds to the depth. Waxing those areas to resist the next layer of paint, I then watercolored the background and foreground - dropping in paint to spread and mingle in the very wet layer.  Since I am painting on masa paper, I lay a sheet of wax paper under my painting.  The wet paint seeps through the masa, and is absorbed again by the masa as it dries.  Next, I wax the remaining unwaxed parts, let dry, then wad up "carefully" into a ball.  The house is a little warmer today, so I should have popped it into the freezer first.  The wax cracked pretty well, just not as well as yesterday.  I then floated that violet raw umber - Daniel Smith's - into the creases.  Allowing to dry slightly, I then ironed it off between layers of newspaper.  Wanting a little more definition in those creases, I dry brushed on some additional paint only to the tops of those creases, with the side of my brush.  I like the result!  Every painting is another lesson learned - and this one is the 683rd painting in a row :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tall Ship at Sunset

Tall Ship at Sunset
Watercolor batik on masa, 5x8
purchase here
Today I have discovered something new about this masa paper.  I started the same way, with a sketch in india ink, followed by painting the ship and sails in watercolor.  I next brushed hot wax on only these painted parts plus some highlights in the water.  Adding the remaining color to the sky and water, I brushed hot wax over the whole piece.  After carefully crumpling the painting into a ball, and brushing off any wax that crack off, I found the wax cracked and popped off better.  This masa paper has been resistant to the flow of paint until now, as if the wax was just not coming off well enough in the cracks.  The difference?  With our "arctic blast" moving in, it is colder in the house than before.  Thus, the wax reacts so much better!  The watercolor flowed into the cracks more efficiently and spread in a webbing type of motion with little effort.  I have had to work to get this effect before now.  Even at my parent's house in Ohio, I noticed how poorly the wax was behaving - in one instance, it hardly worked at all!  Well, they keep their house considerably warmer than mine ever is.  So, on those days when the temperature is up, I will try popping my painting into the fridge or freezer, to help that wax do it's work.  So rewarding to learn something valuable while painting!  Painting number 682 in 682 days.

Monday, November 10, 2014

High Noon Sunflowers

High Noon Sunflowers
Ink, watercolor, wax on rice paper, 10x8
If you zoom in on this super thin rice paper - it has little strings embedded all through it!  Interesting to paint on, this paper was given to me by an artist friend to try.  I love experimenting with new supplies, so this was a treat!  So thin is this paper, that the pigment has a hard time absorbing - easily seen in the sky.  To create those clouds, all I did was lightly and quickly tap the wet, blue surface with a paper towel.  The flow of the paint through the cracked wax was also different than the other rice papers.  When it leaked through, it really spread - as you can see by the brown areas.  Could be a cool effect on certain paintings, like waves on an ocean, where the irregularities would improve the depth.  Hmmmm, so many ideas, so little time!  Painting number 681 in as many days.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Autumn's Bounty

Autumn Bounty
Watercolor batik on rice paper, 8x5
purchase here
This has been a day where I just couldn't seem to focus.  My second day home from Ohio had me catching up on chores, and all those other loose ends I needed to work on.  I started painting countless times, only to get up and take care of something else.  Finally, I am finished with this watercolor batik of a still life on the main street in Fairfield.  There were several wonderful displays outside of the shops - and this is only one of three that I intend to paint! I am finding a preference for the super thin rice paper.  I have just two pieces left, and then a whole roll of masa - and I think I'll have to go get some more of the thin paper!  It is harder to paint on, but there is something about that translucency that I really love!  The masa is thicker, still a rice paper, but it paints more like a watercolor paper.  So, if you love controlling your paint - masa is probably the right choice for you.  If part of you likes throwing caution to the wind - then the super thin rice paper may be the perfect fit!  This painting makes the 680 in as many days - wow - I am nearing 700 paintings :)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Autumn in Elmore

Autumn in Elmore
Watercolor batik on masa, 8x5
Elmore, Ohio - purchase here
Okay, now this is exciting!!  I have included my first car in a street scene (that I can remember)!  I know, it sounds silly, but painting cars is scary in a landscape!  I always shy away from them, and now I am making a concentrated effort to paint them in.  It is one of those areas I want to work on.  I first sketched this one out on the masa with india ink.  It is important to paint on the rough side of masa, not the slick side.  The slick side is just too resistant to the paint.  It will work, but with more effort.  This scene is at the top of Rice Street, right by the old bank, turning left at the light.  It is fun to be painting this place which has been my parent's home these last 26 years.  Painting number 679 in as many days :)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Race Day

Race Day
Watercolor batik on rice paper, 7x5
Perry Yacht Club - purchase here
On this painting, I wondered what would happen of I left some droplets of the watercolor on top of the wax before ironing it between the brown paper.  This is what happens - more paint leaking through and spreading, as the wax is being melted into the brown paper.  Less distinct lines, creating a different, looser effect.  This could be cool on a serious portrait, or a painting that I might want to bump up the drama on.  Too much?  It might be, but my mind is already working on how to best use this technique on another painting.  Painting number 678 in as many days.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Path in Autumn

Path in Autumn
Oil on panel, 6x6
purchase here
Today, I am concentrating on the warms and cools of the autumn landscape.  The golds are at their peak, and the reds are just beginning in my neck of the woods.    I am painting with intent - marking the lights and darks, and then working towards the middle.  Painting in oil - I have applied the paint rather heavy in areas.  I am using a more traditional palette, as I normally do with my oils.  With all of my recent watercolor work, I am now wondering what would happen of I used my bolder watercolor palette for my oil painting?  How would the clearer colors look in this landscape - could I even achieve them with the addition of white?  Hmmmm - definitely  food for thought.  I think I'll give this a try just to see what happens!  Painting number 677 in 677 days :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Looking Down Rice Street

Looking Down Rice Street
Watercolor batik on masa, 8x5
Elmore, Ohio - purchase here
I am working on street scenes again today in Elmore, Ohio.  This charming town of 1200 people is little changed in the last 100 years.  Filled with many historic homes, including the antebellum home of my parents, it is full of nostalgia.  Rice Street is the main street in town, and this view leads us right into downtown Elmore.  I am painting this using the batik method, although I am starting to long for a more traditional approach.  I did bring some regular watercolor paper - in the 140 lb variety, as I had no real intention of using it while I'm here.  Not my favorite weight, but maybe it will be okay.  Painting number 676 in as many days :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dad's Shed

Dad's Shed
Watercolor batik on rice paper, 8x5
purchase here
The stunning color of the fall foliage hit me as soon as I walked out the back door at my parent's house.  Early morning light illuminated the trees splendidly!  How I wished I could set up and paint on the spot, being hospital bound, this was not the time.  I sketched this while my mother slept and my dad "rested" in a rather uncomfortable chair.  Laying in the first layers of color discreetly (from the vinyl couch in the room) - I took this back home to wax and paint again.  What a therapeutic way to spend the long hours waiting by mom's bed.  Painting number 675 in as many days.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Autumn Barns

Autumn Barns
Watercolor batik on masa, 8x5
Elmore, Ohio - purchase here
This farm is heading north out of Elmore, Ohio on highway 51.  We pass this farm every time we go to any of the hospitals.  In the past three years, I have driven by here many times when dad was hospitalized, and now, with my mom.  This farm is ever changing - with the light changes of each day to the various seasons.  My first time to paint it, I am capturing this landscape in it's autumn glory.  Once again using the watercolor batik method, I have first painted the scene in watercolor on masa paper.  Brushing hot wax over the finished painting, I then crumple the painting up in a tight ball - no kidding!  Flattening it out, I then float the brown/plum color into all creases and cracks and allow it to dry.  I then iron it between brown paper (or in this case, old newspapers) until no more wax bleeds into the paper.  What remains is this landscape painting with an antiqued appearance.  This landscape is painting number 674 in 674 days :)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Autumn Gold

Autumn Gold
Watercolor batik on masa, 5x8
Elmore, Ohio - purchase here
As I walked out of my parents back door, this glorious golden tree was there to greet me!  The yellows are really popping up here in northern Ohio - and the autumn landscape is amazing!  I snapped pics all the way to the hospital this morning while the sun was shining brightly.  Once again, I am using the watercolor batik method.  I have not actually painted in the hospital before, but I knew that watercolors would be the safe and clean alternative.  Those who know me, know that I am a clean painter - and my work area was tiny so as not to be noticed!  I first sketched out my composition with an india ink pen while looking at my reference on my phone - all in my lap.  Laying my skinny watercolor palette between me and the end of the couch on a paper towel, I dipped my brush into a little pill cup for my water and then into the paint of choice.  So compact, it was the perfect set up for "hospital" painting!  Arriving home later, I was then able to wax, crinkle, and then paint again.  Ironing that wax off, I then topped off with a little more watercolor and was done!  Working at four at a time, I needed that extra time in between for drying. Those other two are now dry, so I had better move on to ironing them.  Painting number 673 in as many days :)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Autumn on the River Road

Autumn in the River Road
Watercolor batik on masa, 8x5
Elmore, Ohio - purchase here
As I walked out to get the mail at my parent's house, this beautiful scene lay before me.  Slipping the mail into the car and grabbing my phone, I stepped back into the street to get the photo for reference.  The golds were stunning in the backdrop of greens.  I have been wanting to work on street scenes - so this is my chance!  I am going to sketch and paint these every day while I am in Ohio - where I can get many different paintings from my parent's lawn!  I have sketched this one in india ink, painted in watercolor on masa, & brushed hot wax over the surface.  Crumbling up, this surface was more resistant to the wax coming off.  I don't know why, perhaps the wax was thinner than on my previous paintings.  As a result, the batik effect is lighter here.  The actual painting of the scene was fun!  I think I am going to like painting the street scenes!  Painting number 672 in 672 days :)