Thursday, September 29, 2011


Finally done right in time for class tomorrow! I might have fiddled with it a little longer than I should've. I think knowing I was bringing it to show tomorrow as the final product made me keep coming back to it. It ended a little more realistic, and less painterly than I would've liked. Funny story about it though, as I was working on the background, my oldest daughter came over and looked at the photograph and asked if I was going to paint the dead flower too. I hadn't even noticed one, but there it was on the right totally out of focus. I'd only been staring at the photo for weeks! Ha! I didn't plan on adding it, but when I got there I couldn't help it. It was actually an interesting little thing and plus I wanted to show her I had.
And here's my younger daughter's masterpiece from when I helped out at her preschool. Look at all those adorable feet! That caterpillar is really going somewhere. Eric Carle would be impressed, don't you think? I just wish I'd had larger googly eyes. Though they were a hit.

Monday, September 26, 2011

So close!

It's too late to write much, but it looks like it may actually be possible to finish it. About an hour ago I had my doubts. I kept painting stubbornly despite the fact that my eyes could hardly stay open because I just had to get to the point where I got at least some background in. I just couldn't be beat by a little zinnia no matter how many petals it shows off. Oh and my guest painting lesson at the preschool was great. We painted like Eric Carle. Tomorrow we'll cut out our "very hungry caterpillars". For kicks, I think we'll add googly eyes. Preschoolers appreciate those kind of things. But for now, I'll go close my eyes for reals now, where I'm not in danger of falling off of my painting chair.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

First class victory dance

So I had my first class and despite a serious case of nerves right beforehand, it went really well! It was a lot of fun. There's one other watercolor artist that teaches at the center, that I think all of them had taken classes from before, and apparently my methods and style are drastically different from hers so it was really interesting for them. They were really sweet and built my confidence a little that I did have something to offer. I need to go ahead and finish this painting ASAP (but the flower on the right is not easy! It would be nice if it didn't have a million and one petals! What crazy person thought it would be a good idea to paint it anyway??? I can hardly keep track of where I am with all those petals crowding in and confusing me!) because I asked them to finish theirs, so it would be pretty lame if I wasn't done. It worked really well having this one halfway through the process, and then starting a fresh one of the same image for my demo-ing. I'll go ahead and finish the first though because the demo one isn't as far along and I have to hurry. I'd like to start the next one that we'll work on this week, but I also have to go teach art at my daughter's preschool, and I have a ridiculous amount of pears that will be ripening in the next couple of days for me to can. And let's be honest, that takes a bit of time. I haven't fully decided though what we'll do this next week, not to mention the other two times. I'd like to show how to use my methods in different situations, although all being florals since that is the name of the course. So I'm thinking one week we'll zoom out a bit and have a bunch of tulips or poppies or something with the sun lighting them up from behind. I love that. A lily would be nice too since that requires larger more confident strokes. And what else ... Or perhaps the last week I give time to finish all that we've started. Hmm.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Continuing the zinnias

So I decided to go ahead and finish this painting and start over with a fresh demo in class. Basically I just need to keep painting.  Half the reason I didn't paint last night was because I wasn't sure what to work on since I was waiting on this one. Lame, huh? I got a way late start so I didn't get as much done as I should've but I did some. Still looking for more depth. My eyes have a hard time focusing on the petals for long though. They start to blur a little. Kinda like how when I did a pointillism painting I started seeing dots everywhere. Not sure if it's the colors or that there's so many of them, or what. But regardless, my husband did the dishes, which is wonderful.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Coming into Focus

 I finally got back to painting! I've let a vacation, school starting, lots of canning, and who knows what else get in the way the last couple of weeks, but I took advantage of a Saturday and dusted off the brushes. This was thanks to my wonderful husband taking the kids, in particular my baby who doesn't let me out of sight or reach much, and entertaining them out of the house for a chunk of the day. So in anticipation of the "Florals in Watercolor" class that I'll be teaching starting this week, I got to work on some incredibly vibrant zinnias. Their explosions of color is just candy to my eyes. I love it. So I started with two large wet-into-wet areas (which means making an area completely wet, and then putting wet paint into it).
I was hoping this would give me an exciting base where the watercolor could just do what watercolors do best without me having to work hard for the results :) Kinda cheating. Kinda awesome. Then I went back in and worked at creating depth by adding layers of colors (mostly around and behind the petals - making them pop by adding contrast behind them, leaving the lighter areas alone), best seen in the bottom of the left flower, and by taking color out (done by using a wet brush that usually had no paint in it or maybe just some yellow, and kind of brushing it out), best seen in the top of the flower at right. Fun to use two different methods to achieve the same result. And I love how in both cases, the flower slowly emerges from the original color as if it was always there and is just now coming into focus. I'm considering leaving these about half done so I can demonstrate these two techniques in class. That or I guess I could complete it and then start over showing more or less how I got it there. Hmmm ... obviously I'm still figuring out how I'm going to teach. I'm excited though. This is fun! And thinking about it has made me think about what I do and why. I'm not a very methodical painter, and have always felt like I just kinda do what feels right, experimenting and figuring it out as I go. And while that is true (read I don't really know what I'm doing), I am realizing as I paint thinking about this class and imagining what I will say as I demo, that there are specific things I do for specific reasons. Who knew? This may help me more than anyone in my class!