Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Quick Study of Orchids Listening To Jazz

Day Whatever.....OK, it's 17! I'm grumpy today; thought all night about my intentions for taking on this  challenge- and this is what I've concluded:

I'm noticing that sketches are time saving and meet with higher success day after day. I also need practice sketching and practicing time management when sketching and painting quick sketches- so that may be where I go from here.

Today's painting did help lift my mood. This was a 30 minute timed study: contour drawing of a bouquet of orchids that are in my studio. The colors were what spoke to me today. Enjoy!


PS I'm leaving tomorrow for a week so if I'm not able to download from my phone onto this blog I will put  the paintings on Facebook. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Day 16- It's A Wash!

Well, this started with a wet wash anyway. It's after 10PM and I'm calling it quits on this beauty. Perhaps this can be saved, but not tonight. Boy, what does one write when it's a painting that's gone bad?  Sometimes this happens.

This was an assertive attempt at a busy scene. My plan was to lay in a wet wash of light and mid tone values. I wet both sides of the watercolor paper and started floating in color only to discover that I needed to leave for an appointment in 30 minutes (not enough time to finish the 1st wash). After a couple of more starts and stops I looked down at my paper and realized this train had jumped the tracks.

A scene like this needed undivided attention from the artist. Humbly, this is my product for Day 16.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Day 15: The Chocolate Shop

Today I was itching to get out of my studio so I packed up my plein air supplies and headed for my favorite coffee shop! The chocolate shop adjacent to my destination stopped me in my tracks. Ta Dah! I purchased my coffee, then hurried outside, placed my cup on my car and leaned against my car while I sketched. I was standing in the street so needed to finish this quickly- not everyone likes plein air painters! If you notice the lower right part of the painting, a car had pulled up while I was sketching what is ONE COOL, old tractor. I thought "Really?!?" but went ahead with what I saw in front of me.

In this sketch/painting my goal was to describe the feeling of heavy shade in front of this building. Not sure if I achieved this goal, but this was good practice. It always is. Humbling and good.

Also, some people have asked me about my supplies: This is my travel version. Everything in the bottom photo fits into the cosmetic bag (I love those free bags!) The only things that don't fit in the bag are the sketch book and a cup of coffee! ;-)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Path of Light

Day 14 and I'm almost halfway through this challenge! You may remember this scene as I did a plein air study or painting a month or so ago of the La Purisima Mission in Lompoc, California. I'd been wanting to see what I could do with this in my studio and today was the day!

My main thought with this painting is that people frequently ask me 'what I paint' when I first meet them. This painting may be the best answer: To me this painting is not about the mission itself, but the spectacular lighting that I stumbled upon and later as I was painting in this shaded hallway I also hoped to capture the coolness of the shadows on a very hot day.

Friday, September 13, 2013

My Favorite Color!

I won't say what day this is in case my mother's reading my blog (she's superstitious!). :-0

 A fun study of seeing how far I could push my watercolors.

I used Arches 300 lb paper and found it a workhorse as I wiped out color and reapplied it yet again and again. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Intermezzo- a brief entertainment between two acts of a play (American Heritage Dictionary). That melodious word was floating in my head as I painted this piece. I didn't feel like drawing much and was sparked by an old photo I'd taken in Bali of what I thought was a princess walking out of a holy place, down the steps and into the sun.
Can you tell I felt like playing with color? This was my story for today.
As a side note: Upon checking the word that came right after 'intermezzo' in the dictionary I found the word 'interminable'- which was defined as 'seeming to be without an end'. My exact thoughts today on this challenge! ;-)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Redo Of A Surreal Scene

Your not seeing a rerun- this is a Redo!  :-) In yesterday's painting I liked the composition but the background dried with blotches where my fingers had been used to blend edges! Ugly blotches! I think my painting had the measles!

This is drying normally as I used a soft brush to blend the edges of the white clouds (no more fingers!). Tomorrow I may float in a transparent layer of blue/gray over the sky area to calm down the white clouds a bit. The painting needs to be bone dry (overnight is good) to do this without muddying the colors.

When I looked up into the sky last weekend I saw a long row of whispy clouds guiding a sea gull into the distance. A sense of this surreal scene is what I am trying to describe in this painting.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


This is perhaps the best or the worst piece I've ever done - and this is exactly why I paint!  Painting on the edge...the edge of my comfort zone, the edge of discovery, the edge of disaster.

I broke many watercolor rules with this painting and I'm proud of that fact. My ideas may not have worked as I expected, but I'm a better painter for trying.

Thanks for viewing and hearing my thoughts. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Regatta II

Day 9 of 30 days! Wish I could say it's going so quickly. It probably is- I'm feeling knee deep in this challenge. One good thing this is teaching me- to finish a painting the same day I start it. My pattern is to paint, come back the next day and paint some more, never really feeling like I've finished- until I realize the painting is overworked! :-0

I'm happy with this one. I stepped back a few minutes ago, and thought "what can I do to improve this?" When I didn't have an answer after a couple of minutes I decided to stop.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Three Hour Tour.....

Oh boy, I'm gonna have fun describing this painting! Woohoo!!!

Yesterday I went out on a 60 foot yacht! It was for a fundraiser for Visiting Nurse & Hospice in Santa Barbara. Some generous people who owned yachts offered to take people out to watch a sailboat regatta in the harbor. Well, I won't bore you with details but it was the 1st time I'd ever been on a sailboat- and a yacht? Wow!
I don't usually worry about 'what to wear' but DID call the CEO and asked her what people wore to this event. She left a message on my answering machine that simply said "Casual yacht attire". OMG. I laughed! What does an Iowa girl know about yacht clothing?!? Well, I DID watch PLENTY of episodes of Gilligan's Island growing up so I had a tough decision.....did I want to be Ginger (Hell yes!), Lovey, or the MaryAnn character......OK, so I dressed liked Lovey! Well, almost. White capris, flip flops with rhinestones and a colorful, flowing top I got on the 80% off sale rack of Younkers last spring! It was perfect!

Oh, my painting? I almost forgot! ;-) This was fun to paint. Not too hard. I probably should have stopped with the small details about 20 minutes sooner, but I was having fun placing a spot of color here and another spot there.

One last note: I couldn't stop humming the theme from Gilligans Island while I painted this! Thanks for listening to my story!


Saturday, September 7, 2013

No Title Necessary

Day 7. The best part about this watercolor is the fact that I feel good about keeping up my commitment of a painting a day. I remind myself that golfers practice putting, and playing games. Not for the final score, but to keep improving their game.

Sometimes it's better to quit correcting mistakes in a painting and toss the darn thing. Starting over takes less time that trying to problem solve. This is one of those times.

This cellphone photo was taken today by my friend Lynda. I enjoyed the composition, but it was a bit blurry and I'm not sure where the dolphins eyes were located. The dolphin in front was my major struggle. Heck, he looks more like an anteater at this point than a mammal! :-0

Friday, September 6, 2013

Today's Spirit

This afternoon I painted & listened to a borrowed CD of poetry readings by David Whyte (thanks Bev). Beautiful, surreal thoughts that carried me through this painting. After a couple of days drawing and painting horses I wanted to just paint- no planning, just jump into 'the zone' with color. My subject was day lilies from this week's farmers market. Blind contour drawing is a fun way to sketch/draw quickly but not worry about crooked lines or shapes. I think the imperfect lines make for a better drawing anyway!

I also wanted to make back runs and let the pigment mingle so I layed the paper flat and used excess water to keep this loose.

If you don't understand this painting, I totally respect and understand. However, this painting is exactly where I was today inside my heart & head. I'm content with it.

Thanks for viewing my art.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Freedom Riders

Day 5 and I had fun! This group was also from Return To Freedom Sanctuary in Lompoc. Our guide gathered them, then threw her hat in the air and they took off running in circles. I bet I snapped 50 photos in 2 minutes! After cropping, and more cropping I was very happy with this composition. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Horse of a Different Color

Recently I visited these wild horses in Lompoc, California.  This guy impressed me with his age, wisdom and history that he seemed to carry in his gate. He was a horse of a different color. I truly stood there and felt his power and presence as I shot this photo.

I hope to have captured a part of his spirit.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Looking Up At Low Tide

Today's painting is more about experimenting and showing up. I didn't get home until after 5 and found my energy and imagination at low tide. I looked through a few art books, some sketches, more art books, but nothing. I went to my pile of unfinished or 'not quite perfect' paintings and started thumbing through them. Wait a minute! There's one that grabbed me. It was a large painting of random sunflowers. Hmmmm. I measured different parts of the painting, then got out my scissors and cut off a chunk of it. At this point I was energized. 

An hour later I had copied a small hummingbird onto Asian paper, collaged this into the sunflowers. Collaged other rice papers around for a hint of foliage, then grabbed some hand made paper, cut it up and collaged on some obnoxious leaves. OK, so this won't make the art history books but it was fun. That's my lessons today- just have fun. I'd almost forgot.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Day 2- Hold On!

Happy to finish day 2's painting! This was more complicated than yesterdays.  I'll try this again, in another style or in different colors. Maybe experiment with various backgrounds  (the mountains & terrain around our valley)?

I've been asked to paint this certain fellow in another scene, but when I saw this old photo it was too good to be true. The composition was perfect! The background wasn't so hot (old cars and trucks that would be confusing so I left them out). I'm not sure who the young man is in this photo, but I felt this painting could tell a great story.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

September's Flight

I love September! It reminds me of a new start- probably a remnant from many years past (new school years starting with fresh books, teachers, and new hopes). This September I'm taking on a 30 day challenge by artist Leslie Sateta (her link will be below).Why? To get myself back into my studio. Life tends to get in the way of art, other priorities constantly pull me away from what I love. 

My goal is  to paint each day, complete the painting- whether it's a study or finished piece. No rules- I can paint in any medium, just so I get back to enjoying the process. What am I going to paint? No rules, right? :-)

Today's piece was done on my back deck, watercolor study of a friend. 

It's not too late for you to join so clink on the link to Leslie's challenge.  http://lesliesaeta.blogspot.com/2013/08/getting-ready-for-30-paintings-in-30.html