I had the pleasure of painting on the farm of a childhood friend in Eudora, Kansas today! What fun! My daughter was able to go paint with me, as she is still home on siding break. Spirit, Hustler and Adelaide were at first aloof, but soon warmed up to me and got close enough for me to really paint them. This was so much fun, and my first real experience to paint them. The dark, overcast day was a perfect backdrop, saturating all color. I pulled out my viridian green for the first time today - a sure sign of sorting! I have a feeling these beauties will be immortalized in paint many times! Painting number 1543 in 1543 days :)
Friday, March 31, 2017
Thursday, March 30, 2017
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Finding a scene where there are plenty of cars is harder than you might think - especially if you live in the country! I tried several local grocery stores, but the view just didn't strike me as "painting worthy". The Country Club Plaza, however is a mecca for this subject matter, and the backdrop is always amazing. I have started hiding a tiny plein air artist (me) in these pen and ink street scenes! I may be talking to people, or maybe I'm alone, but I'm always standing in front of a painting on my easel, with my hat on!! There are 24 cars and 50 people in this drawing......can you find me? Drawing number 1540 in 1540 days :)
Monday, March 27, 2017
Dark, rainy days are the perfect backdrop for spring flowering trees! The redbuds almost glow in such a landscape! I added permanent rose to my limited palette today, solely for the redbuds. I think the color is more true, with a touch of ultramarine, to the actual bloom color. Alizarin alone is not the right shade, although I have used it when no other color was available. Spring is definitely the time to pull out my regular palette. I didn't even miss it most of fall and winter, but now the color is calling! It's going to be a little tricky to get all that color on my tiny Altoids palette! Painting number 1539 in 1539 days :)
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Saturday, March 25, 2017
I find I'm wanting to draw constantly! Michaela is home for spring break, and we picked up some sweet drawing supplies! I LOVE drawing journals from India! The quality is superior in all materials. I can't wait to start them!!! But for these study works, I am using my original sketchbooks (which I once bought because they were so cool). Just like every other media, once I really dive into what I'm doing, I zero in on the tools I really love. This smooth paper is well suited for this kind of drawing. I'm using a medium sepia Pitt pen, only because the fine and superfine are running low on ink! It actually works well as long as I use a light touch. These cars are still a little forced, but the lines are getting a little easier. I love how this challenge makes child's play out of hurdles! Drawing number 1537 in 1537 days :)
Friday, March 24, 2017
Painting cars in the landscape has always been a challenge. I tend to avoid them, or better yet, ignore them completely. So, they are my self imposed challenge of the week. 100 cars in one week. I begin by drawing them, because the media is less forgiving than paint. I need to be held to the line! Even though this is focused study, I want it to be strong compositionally, not just 100 cars lined up hood to bumper. What better place than the Country Club Plaza for an amazing backdrop for all the mundane cars? I look at the shapes that make up each car individually, and draw just that shape. I start with front of car, then the angles of hood and wheel, next the roof, finally the back, treating it like I would a figure. All figures are angles, get the angles right and the figure is right. It's a struggle, but I'm hoping it will be a breeze by 100! Drawing number 1536 in 1536 days :)
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
I love the unpredictability of watercolor batik on rice paper. Every stroke moves and mingles at will. For this painting, I've used masa paper, which is a heavier rice paper. It has a slick side and a lightly textual side - and that is the one you want to paint on. I start with my Pitt pen by drawing out the composition. Pitt pens are India ink, so they won't run when paint is applied. All light values were painted first, then hot wax was applied over these areas with a natural bristle brush. The rest of the color is added, then waxed, then all is crumpled up. Into these cracks in the wax more watercolor is applied, I used sepia. All wax is then ironed off between layers of brown paper, or newspaper. Voila! That completes the process! Painting number 1533 in 1533 days.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Monday, March 20, 2017
On this first day of spring, the temperature soared to 87 as I arrived at a friend's house for a little plein air after painting class! Her land is wooded with many oaks, and there was little shade to be had. It was surprising to stand in the woods, in full sun! After checking the lake, we decided to venture to the creek. The bend of the creek was perfect - and the high banks, a bonus! Looking towards the west was fine at 4:00, but I was painting into the sun by the time I finished. Even with my wide brimmed hat, my eyes were burning as I packed it up. It was so peaceful down by the water, and pretty cushy with her husband playing "cabana boy" and delivering cold drinks as we worked! If only every day could be so sweet..... Painting number 1531 in 1531 days.
Sunday, March 19, 2017
With each day, the forsythia blooms open even more! Their spring glory is so fleeting, that I feel duty bound to capture them while I can! I love their sunny yellow cheerfulness - and am already planning on new places to plant the new babes. The dogs have gotten quite used to me painting in the pasture, and are my constant companions. I added a new color to my palette today - raw umber. I rarely use it, but have lately thought how perfect it would be for the dried grasses in the pasture. I like it! I'll see how much I use it before deciding if it is a keeper or not. Painting number 1530 in 1530 days, and what a gorgeous day it is!
Saturday, March 18, 2017
Tonight finds me finishing up my 100 cows for my self proclaimed "cow week"! I love this concentrated study! The watercolor painted cows seemed to roll off the brush, but the first 20 inked cows were more of a struggle. So, of course I returned to the ink to finish them up! They were easier tonight from the very first one. There is something to that cell memory theory! The lines flowed more easily, and the forms came more naturally, which is all I'm after in these studies. One good idea leads to another, and this study had led me to think of another rather unnatural subject for me - cars! I started with a few on the sunset paint a few days ago, and I will continue in that theme during the upcoming week. One by one, I am going to face those challenges - and show them who is boss! Painting number 1529 in 1529 days :)
Friday, March 17, 2017
I found this creek a month ago while out on a run, and I've been looking for an opportunity to paint it! I met Diane and Sandy there, and we hiked into the woods. Finding the perfect spot, I set up my easel at the edge of an embankment, with a bird's eye view of the winding creek. For the second day in a row, I recorded some of the plein air experience on Facebook live. Ten minutes from afar, to soak in the surroundings, and again at the final minutes of finish work. You can check my Facebook page to view. It was such a beautiful spring day to spend en plein air, truly a gift. Now it's time for a little r&r with the family! Painting number 1528 in 1528 days.
Thursday, March 16, 2017
It was sheer joy to spend an hour in the pasture putting paint to panel this afternoon! Warm and a little windy, I set up my camera to record a video of this painting. First thing I learned - I should have had my phone fully charged! When it blew to the ground from a tripod behind me - I realized it was completely dead! I haven't looked yet to see if there in anything to salvage, perhaps how I start a painting? Oh well - I was far too involved in the process before me, to think about anything else! I planted this forsythia years ago by the barn, and each year it grows more lovely. What a joy it is to paint again each spring! I've also planted it by an old gate, and at the back corner of the house - I hope to get those paintings done before these beauties fade. Painting number 1527 in 1527 days.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
I had already passed a herd of cattle on the way to pick up some plexiglass, intending to return and paint them on the spot. Then, I saw this fabulous old truck parked at the side of the historic home which is now Woodson Antiques and Interiors. With the late light - the whole landscape seemed luminous beneath the dense clouds. I had to paint it! There was a steady stream of traffic crossing between the scene and I, but it did not distract me. Tucked back in the parking lot, I worked unnoticed. The painting just fell off the brush, and I needed this creative outlet today! After two days of intense housework - I needed therapy! I felt so much better after painting - I could actually enjoy dinner out with the family! It was so nice to have Michaela and Cooper join us for the night! Painting number 1526 in 1526 days :)
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
As I have proclaimed this my week of 100 cows (!), I have returned to my sketchbook with pen in hand. The last 50 cows were painted in watercolor without drawing, and they became very easy by the 50th. I never thought drawing them would be harder! I'm just not yet familiar enough with their forms, to draw them with ease. In fact, if I'm not careful, I slip right into drawing horses!! I think I'd better draw the remaining 30, too - just so I can really get a handle on them! This piece makes 1525 in 1525 days :)
Monday, March 13, 2017
Today, I am experimenting! I want to achieve that "staring into the sunset" feel for this painting, and I'm using a rather unusual subject for me - a street scene from town! When I'm in Belton for a sunset, the best open sky view is from the Kohl's parking lot. I first underpaint the sky with a cad yellow ball (sun) that gradates out to a cool sienna/alizarin shade at the edges. I place my sun off center for best composition. I do all of this in acrylic. When dry, I start negatively painting everything by placing in the actual sky color in oil. In this case I have a Naples yellow/ochre mix. I scrape back to the wires, but all else is shaped by the sky color. I want to add "100 cars" to my monthly goal, so I start here with 4! I add taillights to the cars, and - voila - I think it is finished! I might just go out and paint the windmill in the same way! Painting number 1524 in 1524 days :)
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Last week's challenge of painting 100 people in one week was eye opening. What better way to concentrate on a specific set of skills? My figure and gesture work has become more fluid and natural - in just one 100 renderings! With this in mind - I am approaching cattle with the same focus. I love them, but have so little experience drawing or painting them that I have to consciously think about their forms as I paint them. I want them to be fluid, falling off the brush without effort! I'm watercolor sketching these, without drawing them first, allowing the colors to mingle. I'm using up a watercolor block that I don't care for, after all, the focus is the form. I really only like 300lb paper, and this is a 140lb cotton rag (artistico). The texture is too smooth for me, I prefer the rough. After about 30 of these babies, they started rolling off the brush more smoothly. I'm already more comfortable with their form. Yay! I see more of these personal "focus" challenges in my future! Painting number 1523 in 1523 days. Perhaps my next focus will be cars in a parking lot! :)
Saturday, March 11, 2017
I had to deliver my son's wallet to him at robotics, just when the snow was really coming down. This was the perfect opportunity to paint snow! Grabbing my easel from the trunk - I started painting this historic church on Main Street in the car! The flakes were so large and heavy, I couldn't keep them off panel or palette! I have to admit, it was pretty cushy sitting on my heated seat, drinking my hot chocolate Chai tea, with my pocket easel in my lap......a girl could get used to this! As fast as I work, I still could see the light blanket of snow melting before my eyes! The street went wet, reflecting the colors of the church, before it lost it's sheen entirely. In one short hour, most of the snow was already a memory. Thank goodness I was here for this exact hour, to capture this illusive beauty! So glad my son forgot his wallet! Painting number 1522 In 1522 days :)