Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Photo of the Day and Watercolor Class

Good morning!

It is the last day of August and is expected to be in the 90s. Something is wrong with that. I am so looking forward to cooler temps and no mosquitoes. I am trying to remember to carry a camera with me everywhere I go so I can document the changes that are inevitable this time of year.

Today's photo is of my favorite rose in the early morning dew. I hope you like it and that you are not bored out of your mind with my photos.

I also have a picture of a very different rose. It is a hot house rose that my sister received from her co-workers on her last day at her summer job. She works at Star Line in St. Ignace in the summer and they really appreciate her. I thought this rose was quite beautiful, if a little too perfect.

I went to my first watercolor class in Jackson last evening. I was a little apprehensive and when I first arrived I was a bit overwhelmed. The setting is the main floor of an old two-story house. There is partially finished artwork everywhere you look and frames leaning against the walls in almost every square foot of the place. The sink was full of empty soda cans, the tables were unsteady and the chairs had some of the seat stuffing sticking out.

However, the people were extremely pleasant and friendly. There was one other watercolorist and four oil painters. They all had way more talent experience than I, but they welcomed me warmly and I got to work. The instructor was very helpful and appeared to be quite knowledgeable in both mediums.

All in all it was a good experience. There is not a class on Labor Day, but I intend to return the following Monday. I only wish the class was in the afternoon instead of the evening.

Here is what I worked on last evening:

The colors aren't exactly as they appear to the eye, but it will have to do.

I had another exciting mail day yesterday. I was the winner of Jenn's giveaway over at Just Add Water Silly and the goodies are here. Yippee! Here is what I won:

I am hoping to do more sketching today and maybe attempt a watercolor on my own. I know for sure I will be walking the treadmill, going to the library,  and watching the Tigers. Who knows what I will have to show you tomorrow.

Thank you so much for visiting!


Monday, August 30, 2010

Photo of the Day, EDM #18, Sketching and Mail Art

I love the "hum" of the tree toads in the evening, but have never seen one up close up. One year we had one living in a wren house, but all I ever saw was the very front edge of it's face. Yesterday, the hubster called me out on the deck to see this little guy. Isn't he the cutest?

The brown "tail" behind him is a dried leaf.

I am finally getting back into the sketchbook that I originally dedicated to the EDM challenges. I actually wrote each of the challenges in order in it. Here is my attempt at #18 "view from a window".

This was drawn using a black Staedtler Triplus fineliner.

I also tried to sketch my great niece whose photo I posted last week. I think it looks a bit like her, but I really need to practice more.

I also wanted to show you the beautiful card I received in the mail from my online arty friend, Alex. It is absolutely beautiful. If you don't know Alex, you should definitely pay him a visit and add him to your list of favorite blogs.

I so love getting art in the mail. I also have an online friend in Las Vegas who sent me a lovely package of watercolor magazines of which she had duplicates. She doesn't have a blog or I would give you a link to it. I truly have some wonderful friends here.

I have a busy day today and can't wait to get started. I need to have a bit of breakfast, get on the treadmill, shower, grocery shop, check out the Zumba class at Sarah Vaughn's School of Dance, and I have my first three hour watercolor class in Jackson tonight. I am anxious in a good way, but quite nervous because of my lack of knowledge and/or skill in watercolor. Of course, why else would I pay for lessons??

I can't wait to tell you all about it tomorrow!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Photo of the Day and More

 Today's photo is of the Mackinac Bridge. It connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan and spans the straits where Lakes Michigan and Huron meet. I grew up in St. Ignace on the north side of the bridge and The Mighty Mac, as it is frequently called, is synonymous with home.

I also have a photo of a bird that I have never seen at my house, but I see from time to time at my Mom's. It is, I believe, an Evening Grosbeak.

It is good to be back home, even though I had a good visit up north and saw (and hugged) siblings Mary, Kathy, Molly, Mike, Jane, and Susie (the birthday girl). I also got a couple of hugs from Molly's granddaughter. Isn't she a beauty?

I didn't get much art time because I was busy visiting, watching the Tigers, playing Yahtzee and Cribbage, chauffeuring, cooking - you know how it is when you visit family.

I did make a quick sketch of the old house where my Mom lived as a young girl and hope to make some kind of watercolor painting of it.

It isn't much, but it gives me the information I need to paint from.

I am tutoring a student in Algebra at 10 this morning and hope to grab a bite to eat and then get on the treadmill before she gets here. It is funny how I miss the routine when I am away. I think I need to run some errands later today, but hope to do some watercolor later.

I was supposed to start a watercolor class on Monday evening, but had to be out of town, so will go for the first one next Monday. I can't wait and will tell you all about it afterward.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Photo of the Day, Guest Artists, and a Sketch WIP

Today is my youngest sister's birthday. I think she is 43. I sometimes have a hard time with ages in the family, but always remember birthdays. I know for most people remembering that kind of information is quite simple and they are probably wondering what is wrong with me, but I have a legitimate excuse. You see I am the 8th of the 14 children in my family and the birthday girl is the 14th. I was away trying out my wings while she was still too little to talk properly and the older siblings were married and living away when I was still in early elementary school.

Today's photo is of a volunteer in my front yard. We did not plant any sunflowers this year, but I am happy to see them anyway, even in places where you least expect them.

I had a couple of guest artists over this weekend and am pleased to showcase their art here:

This is Miss 7. She is a natural artist. This painting was made with Copic markers and depicts the garden Papa planted in her back yard. From the left she has string beans, sunflower, tomatoes and potatoes. 

This is Miss Almost 3. She, too, is a natural artist. She did not share with me what the subject of her painting was and I suspect she was doing some kind of color chart. Although I think I see a butterfly on that paper.

I have a sketch in progress for you. I am not happy with it yet - the head is too flat and the mouth is a disaster. 

It is supposed to be Miss 7 and amazingly enough her first cousin knew who it was right away when I showed it to her. I would like to fine tune it a bit and then paint it with watercolors.

I am leaving for the UP later this morning and will be without internet access. I will take a sketchbook and maybe work on the Drawing Lab or EDM challenges. Of course, there is the chance that I will be playing so much Yahtzee and Cribbage and watching the Tigers that I won't have a chance to draw at all.

At any rate I will be back some time Wednesday and will try to catch up with you then. I am planning to take my camera and get some good photos to share and to use as subjects for my next watercolor attempts.

I will miss you while I am gone, but look forward to catching up when I return. One of the most enriching activities for me is reading my email and checking the links to view all your wonderful art and of course reading the blogs to which I subscribe. I am always amazed by all the fabulous, warm and sharing artists there are out there all around the world and feel very lucky to "know" you all.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Photo of the Day, Drawing Lab, Blind Contour and Another WC WIP

Yesterday morning I was having serious problems with my internet connection, but have since worked on the phone with to get it resolved. The good news is that while I was waiting for it to resolve itself, I got outside with the camera and got some fresh photos. The bad news is that while I was out shooting, the mosquitoes were having a feast on my blood.

Today's photo is of one of my favorite flowers, the Cleome. She is even prettier earlier in the year. The only thing about her is that those long wispy attachments are quite prickly.

While I was watching the Roddick/Soderling tennis match last evening I spent some time doing assignments in the Drawing Lab book. I was having so much fun, I was planning to do more, but the next two were about getting outside and drawing what you see. In the first place, it was dark out and in the second place, I don't have enough blood to spend that amount of time out of doors this time of year with the mosquitoes queuing up to get their turn. But I did really love these two, especially the bug one.
This one suggested watercolor, but I used colored pencils and Neocolor II wax crayons.

I used my Staedtler  Triplus fineliners to add color to this one.

Since it is Friday and I've been meaning to continue practicing blind contours, I have this little drawing for you.

Sorry for the blurry picture.

And finally, I've attempted another watercolor landscape and I don't hate it. It has several problems, but overall I think I can see improvement over the last one I tried.

I'm not all that good at a graded wash yet, but I think my sky is better in this one than in the last.

I like the overall color, but wish the open hillside was a bit further to the left. It is pretty close to the center, which I was trying to avoid.

My birds are a little large, but I am calling them sandhill cranes and they are huge.

My animals are not so great, but I think you can tell they are animals. I intended for them to be cattle, but I think at a glance maybe they are sheep.

My fence isn't very good, but I think it's addition added something to the picture.

I'd sure appreciate some critique of this one, and suggestions for improvement are always welcome.

I've gotta get ready for the day. I am still in my pjs and haven't had breakfast yet. I'm either going to run errands with a friend I haven't seen in a long time and then going to spend the rest of the day and evening with the little girls, or I am just going to spend the day with the little girls. In either case, I'd better get my act together.

I won't be able to watch the Molly Murrah free WC class through Creative Live today, but next week's is supposed to be about having fun and putting it all together and I think I will be able to watch that one. I will tell you about it the Monday after.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Photo of the Day, Drawing Lab and A New Watercolor

I love how lush everything is this time of year, but I can already see a change in the "feel" of the light. It is starting to look Fall-ish. There is a particular spot behind the house which includes steps down to the creek that is surrounded by ferns that catches my eye each time I walk by it. I don't know that it qualifies as a great picture, but I really like it and hope you do, too.

I didn't get as much playing time in my art room as I thought I was going to get yesterday. In the first place, it was a mess (I'll bet you can understand that), so I spent about an hour getting it back together. I do have a little bit of art to share with you.

These are the paint blobs from the other day. This was fun!

This lab is called Scribbly Drawings

These are One-Eyed Monsters

I have the girls tomorrow and there are a couple of Labs that are meant to be done with a child. I can't wait to try them out. And I am sure Miss 7 1/2 would love to make some one-eyed monsters.

This one is a watercolor I did yesterday. I wet my paper and then added bits of blue and let it dry. I then painted in the wispy background plants. After that I added the large tree and finally used a sea sponge to add some "leaves".

While I like it so far, I think it needs more. Here is what I think I need to do:
- add some roughness to the trunk of the large tree
- put a bit of deeper blue in the sky
- add more seeds onto the small wispy plants

I'm not sure how to achieve the adding roughness to the tree trunk of the large tree. I am thinking adding a bit of darker color here and there; or maybe roughing it up with my fingernail; or maybe dry brushing along it.

I'd sure appreciate some input as to what you think it needs - or even if you think it needs to be turned over and tried again (I hope not! because I really think it is not too bad so far).

I've been on the phone for more than an hour with because of connectivity problems this morning. I started this post at 7:30 and am just finishing. I spent some of the down time outside with my camera getting some new pix and some of the time sweeping the entrance and kitchen, so I guess maybe it wasn't all that bad.

I have a math tutee coming at 10 and then would like to walk the treadmill, call DMV about enhanced drivers' licenses, and then work on some watercolor ideas.

Tomorrow I have the girls and am hoping to have a great day. That means that I will have to watch Molly Murrah in fits and starts from home, but I'm hoping to see something helpful.

That's all I have for now. Thanks so much for visiting.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Photo of the Day, Drawing in Life, and more WC Attempts

First of all let me say I loved all the comments on the frog's teeth. I love it when a photo can generate such conversation. Today's photo is of a very young hummingbird on what I think might be his visit to our hummingbird feeder:

Isn't he a little fatty?

Yesterday I spent much of the day with a dear friend in Ann Arbor sketching outdoors and at Borders Book Store. I don't know that my sketching has improved at all, but I didn't feel quite so awkward while trying to sketch my surroundings. Here is what I saw and drew:

I started with a pencil, but found I was using the eraser too much so switched to pen.

Last weekend, I tried to make a WC of a early morning scene that I captured in a photo, but really messed it up and then overworked it all to pieces. It has been sitting on my work table for days waiting for me to decide what I was to do with it. I decided to take a leaf from Cheap Joe Miller's book and get a small mat and try to find some part of the awful painting that might not be all that bad in isolation.

So here is the painting in all it's awfulness:

And here are two isolated parts (both from the same portion of the original, but in different orientations):

Today I am hoping to make a small watercolor that I will like much better and I will share it with you tomorrow.

But first I will finish my second mug of coffee, eat a banana and hit the treadmill. Then the rest of the day is mine to do as I please. I do hear some hollering from the dust in the living room and the crumbs on the kitchen floor, but will try to block them out until I get some art done.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Photo of the Day, Molly Murrah's WC Class, and Sketches

I have what I think is a very interesting photo for you today. It is one that explains to me why some children are afraid of frogs. I particularly like frogs and spend lots of time with the little girls in the backyard along the creek spotting them. I don't think I've ever seen teeth before, though.

Doesn't he/she look a bit menacing?? I told the girls I thought it was a parent with babies nearby.

I've had a couple of requests to share a bit of what I learned in last Friday's Creative Techs free online WC class with Molly Murrah. Here is what I learned:

- her favorite WC paper is Arches 140# cold press
- she prefers to paint on the smoother side (I've always used the rougher side)
- she showed a beautiful portrait she did years ago of her son on something called Aquaboard and said it is a dream to paint on      
- she also likes to sometimes paint over a thin layer of acrylic gel medium
- she talked about brush care (basic) and did a few washes, both flat and graded
- she brushed across several different kinds and weights of paper, including Yupo to show how the color looked on each one.

I have a question about what side of the paper you paint on - rough or smooth?

I intended to get some painting done yesterday, but between visiting my grandgirls, going to the dentist and grocery shopping at two different locations, I only got a few sketches of ideas done. I could have painted in the evening, but the Tigers were playing the Yankees and I really got caught up in the game. And the Tigers won - go Tigers!!

Here are some of the ideas I am thinking of trying in watercolor:

I actually drew the blues with a fountain pen. I've been playing a bit with them lately - actually since I got the Rhodia Webnotebook and they write like a dream. I had a couple of Shaeffers that I had gotten on sale long ago and really like them. I now also have a Lamy Safari and a dip pen with some chocolate colored ink. I would like to teach myself to make better lettering and am practicing to that end. I'll share as I go.

I am going to Ann Arbor with an art friend today and hope to get some "live" sketching done. I am hoping I won't feel so strange and intimidated this time. This will be the second time we do this. I will share my efforts with you tomorrow.

For now, I need some coffee and then I'd like to spend some time reading the many (sometimes it seems like too many) blogs to which I subscribe before getting a wee bite for breakfast and getting ready to go.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Photo of the Day, Paint Blobs, WC, and A Winner

Do you believe August is more than half over? I cannot believe how the summer is flying by, but am really looking forward to cooler temps and less humidity.

Today's photo is of one of my favorite birds, the red bellied woodpecker. His belly is not red, his head is, but I didn't get to name him, so we are stuck with the strange name.

I've been working on The Drawing Lab using Carla Sonheim's wonderful book and am currently in Unit 5. One of the labs is to make 10 paint blobs on separate pieces of paper with acrylic paint and let them dry. Once they are dry see what you see in them and use a pen or marker to complete the picture.

Just at a glance, I think I see a head and a foot in there.

I've not been making any "art" with my watercolors, but I have been doing a bit of practicing with my brushes and trying out different strokes and the like. I actually like the practice piece that developed.

Oh, and of course, the Rhodia Webnotebook giveaway - I went to the random number generator and asked for the following:

And this is what I was given:

I don't have my comments numbered, so first I counted backward from the 72nd one until I got to the 60th; and then because I just needed to make sure, I counted down from the top to the 60th one and here is the winner:

I think it is interesting you thought you were comment number 58; there must have been a couple of commenters entering at the same time as you. At any rate, I've sent you an email to give you the good news.

Thank you to all of you who have entered and I hope you have luck in one of the other Rhodia giveaways that are ongoing.

I have an appointment to get my teeth cleaned this afternoon and am planning to do a bit of grocery shopping afterward. Meanwhile, this morning I need to walk the treadmill and shower and maybe even find time for some art. I was thrilled to find for the second Monday morning in a row that my weight is officially in the 150s. It is actually 159.6, which is just barely in the 150s, but I am definitely moving in the right direction and am feeling great!

Hope you are all having a wonderful day and I sincerely want to thank you for taking the time to visit and leave comments.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Photo of the Day and Playing with WC

Good morning,

It is Friday the 13th and I think it is going to be a wonderful day, don't you?

Here is today's photo:

I don't think one photo is enough today. Here is another:

Don't you just love nature?

I also have a picture of yesterday's lunch accompanied by a couple of roses the hubster cut for me:

I don't know why I didn't remove the napkin before snapping this!

I also played with watercolors after lunch and I mean played. I held the brush quite far back on the handle and just played. I'm not sure this counts as watercolor art, but I am quite pleased with it. I don't exactly love it, but I am pleased enough with how it turned out.

I slept in today and have a busy day planned. The hubster is taking me out to lunch and then I am going to my daughter's house (she will be at work) to watch a watercolor workshop with Molly Murrah. If I try to watch it with at home my hughesnet connection, it is very slow and I usually go over my bandwidth allowance which kicks me off for 24 hours.

I am so pleased to have this place to share and such wonderful readers who take the time to leave me comments and suggestions.

And, by the way, if you haven't already left a comment on this past Monday's post to get a chance to win a new Rhodia Webnotebook, do so now. I will be choosing the winner using a random number some time early Monday morning. Good luck to you all!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Photo of the Day and a Watercolor Flower

Today's photo is of a yellow ladyslipper that I transplanted from the UP to my own backyard. They are a protected plant which means you cannot pick them, but this one was in the right of way and would have been mowed down by the county. And, technically, I didn't pick it; I simply moved it.

I tried something yesterday that I thought would be easier than the landscape with barns that was my first attempt, but am not sure I have managed to do any better with it.

This is an imaginary flower; I didn't model it after anything I know. I tried to make the background a mixture that would mix more on the paper than on my palette, but it didn't turn out quite like I wanted it to. Overall, it seemed a bit flat, so I added the black ink afterward. I find it very hard to show depth and "shadow" with shades of yellow.

Ideas? Suggestions?

I am tutoring today and need to get on the treadmill again. After that I need to spend some time working on the next Unit in the Drawing Lab. I also have a book from the library called, "The Natural Way to Draw" by Kimon Nicolaides and I want to try some of the exercises in it, especially the contour drawing. The first assignment in the book is 3 hours of contour drawing. I am not sure I can spend 3 hours, but I'd really like to try his method.

It rained most of the day yesterday and was very humid and I think it I am expecting more of the same today. I am tired of a closed up house with the air on and am anxious for cooler temps. When I complain about the heat and humidity, the hubster reminds me that it won't be long and I will be complaining about the cold; and he is so right.
Gotta go and get my first mug of coffee and do a bit of art before my tutee arrives. See you,


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Photo of the Day and Addition to Watercolor WIP

Today's photo is a favorite of mine where for once a butterfly actually stayed still while I took its picture. In most cases, by the time I really get the settings as I want them and get focused, they flit off. I sometimes think they should be called butterflits, not butterflies.

I have made some additions to the watercolor I am working on and have learned quite a bit from all your wonderful comments. I don't have the Magic Eraser, so will have to try it another time, but I did use a wet brush to remove some of the green from the trees. Unfortunately, the area where the trees meet the sky is very messy, but this is not for framing, it is for learning.

I used a sea sponge to add a bit of color to the trees and used a rigger to add a bit of tree trunk and branches. I tried to dry brush a bit of dark brown onto the barn, but parts of it were too globby (I don't think I removed enough paint from the dry brush.), so I added a little bit of water which rather defeats the purpose.

I think perhaps this was rather a difficult task I set myself as a first try, but am happy to have learned as much as I have, much of which I can thank you for. I do really appreciate all the input I get here.

I am planning to try another watercolor today, but something smaller (the barn is 10 x 8). I'll share it with you tomorrow.

A reminder about the Rhodia Webnotebook giveaway (see Monday's post); if you haven't left a comment yet, you have until I get up next Monday morning and choose a winner. It is a great journal and I've been writing in mine with a fountain pen and loving it. The paper is so smooth and the fountain pen glides along beautifully. Your comment needs to be left on that post, not this one.

For now, I need another mug of coffee, a bit of breakfast and then onto the treadmill. After that the rest of the day is mine to do as I please. I hear my watercolors calling!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Photo of the Day, Drawing Lab, and Watercolor WIP

Today's photo is of some leaves on the rose bush in the side garden. While I think they are beautiful, they surely look fallish, don't you think?

I am working from the Drawing Lab by Carla Sonheim through the Yahoo group Artists of the Round Table and have one of the units to share with you. This is a really fun book that gets me to loosen up and just have fun.

Sorry about the quality of the photo, but I think you can see how fun this is!

I have been trying to add color to the trees on my watercolor WIP, but am having great difficulty, so I have several questions:

If I want to make the tree line recede so that it appears to be much further back from the barns, do I make them a much darker color?

If I want to keep the trees at the same relative distance as they look now, can I use gouache to add some yellows and reddish orange?

Any other help you can think of?

If you haven't seen the previous post where I review a Rhodia webnotebook and have a giveaway, be sure to check it out and register to win!!