Monday, October 2, 2017

Inspiration: Challenge Yourself!

Aspen Yellow: Day 2--Yellow
I honestly do not know why, but I seem to be energized when there is a good challenge going. Just scroll through all of my blog posts, and you will see that theme with the cards and art alike. For the month of October, I am following a challenge on Instagram hosted by Aaria Baid @surelysimpleblog and @surelysimplechallenge. The first week of October is color week, and today's post includes the first three days.

Bell pepper: Day 1-Red/Orange
What I like about this challenge is each week has a different theme. Shapes are on tap for week two, florals for week three, and nature finalizes the challenge. This should be just the ticket to rejuvenate any artist by stepping out of the normal routine to explore colors and themes in a different way.

Did Someone Order Pink? Day 3
I think Day 3 is my favorite so far. I didn't think about the colors or the shapes, I just started with flowers and practiced dropping in a deeper or lighter value of the same color. I learned more about an all-over pattern from this exercise than any of the other times when that was my goal.

If you're on Instagram, why not play along? Please leave a comment below if you have any questions, and I'll get back to you asap! Until next time, paint...or create...your heart out!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Fruit & Floral Wreath Card

Color Throwdown #461: Fruit & Floral Wreath Card
Happy Sunday, everyone! Today I am playing along with the Color Throwdown #461 challenge. This week's colors are green, yellow, orange, and purple. I just love the combination, and since I've been practicing wreaths lately, I decided to paint mine instead of stamping it. I know this really is a stamping challenge, so I used Papertrey's Graceful Gardens II for the sentiment in the center. I'll be honest, when I first worked on this wreath, I tossed it aside. What I love most about watercolor is, if you will walk away and let it dry, it usually looks completely different! I'm planning to send this off in the mail to Lasting Hearts Card Drive when I make a few more to go with it.

There's still time to play along!! Thanks for stopping by!

Just for Me!

"Today will be fabulous, darling!"
After painting a few pictures for family, I decided it was time I painted something just for me. I'm still working on gaining balance with the florals in wreaths, and it appears to be getting a little better. Since I was pretty pleased with the way this one turned out, I wondered what sentiment would go well with the wreath? Why not something to help me make every day awesome? I found another wreath on Instagram with this sweet saying, and I couldn't resist. So there it is...a reminder that every day and its outcome are truly within our control.

Hope today is fabulous for you, too!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Analyzing Art in Order to Improve

Roses...all over practice
Welcome everyone! I thought I would take a moment to post pictures of a few projects I've been working on. To date, I have had three commissions! That is so exciting for me as I never ever imagined that anyone would want a painting from me!! So, who was interested??? Well...drum roll husband, my sister, and my dear daughter-in-law!! Hey, if your own family doesn't like your work, then....maybe a new hobby is in order!!!

For the journal piece above, I was working on filling a space with a single subject. I feel this practice helps me with sizing, placement, and fill. And it did, until I tried to 'organize' the roses for the painting below.

Pay attention to the circles!
Yes, I thought I was so clever using a yogurt cup to create the circles for my roses in this painting. Until I noticed....that I had six roses all perfectly aligned in two rows. In the math world we call that an array, and it is a lovely thing if you are going for a rectangle. In the art world, neat rows may have their place, but not when you are trying to imitate the randomness of nature. That's why I love the crop feature on my camera. Problem solved!

All About the Staging
Another area I've been trying to improve upon is staging my artwork for Instagram. This is one of my favorite photos and totally impromptu. Turns out, I actually did a few things right with this photo. The wood background gives the feel of a boardwalk along the ocean and the shells add another layer to create the mood of deep waters. I probably should have tried again with the wash, but as always, I decide to do these things when I am running out of time to get ready for work. Ha! Nothing's more important than art, am I right?

Wreath for my dear daughter-in-law
And finally, the painting above is my latest commission for my daughter-in-law. She loves this scripture and wanted me to paint a wreath of leaves. Lately, I have been experimenting with various textures and layers. Another thing I realized with my wreaths is that I needed to work on planned repetition and balance. I believe I have improved somewhat with the latter since there are repeated leaf styles, florals and even a balance of complementary colors in the wreath above. 

In the end, stepping back and taking an honest view of my work and progress is helping me know where to go next. Thanks for stopping by, and I would love to have your feedback! Please leave a comment below if you have any advice or questions! Until next time, paint your heart out!!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

WCW #21: The Benefits of Watercolor Study

My study of the inspiration piece.
Welcome to Watercolor Wednesday [aka Thursday] everyone! I apologize up front for this lengthy post. But it helps me, once I learn something, to turn it around and process through all of the layers of my learning. If you want to sprint through this post, I suggest you scroll to the bottom as I have some categories of interest there. If you like marathons, read on!

When I began my journey into all of the aspects of watercolor, literally in March 2017, I did not expect to uncover such a vast array of techniques needed in order to produce one, coherent painting in the medium of watercolor! What endless possibilities of colors, degrees of value and transparency, and ways to add depth and texture to each and every painting! The painting I'm displaying above is merely an exercise intended to establish a toolkit from which to draw. The painting below is my inspiration which is a surface design for material. As I look at the layers, it seems that this piece used acrylic or gouache to produce stunning results. No matter the medium or skill level, I have discovered one technique to help me in my quest to achieve desired results, and that is to create a study or thumbnails of this piece.

Print & Pattern Blog
Inspiration Pattern from Print & Pattern Blog: Frolic by Sara York
Yes, fellow artists, conducting a study will help in so many ways. The following photos will uncover some of the steps I took. And below that are a few ways a study can help improve your art. But first, the reason I embarked on this journey. I have been frustrated viewing other artists fluid ability to layer and create compositions that look...well...composed. How do they do that? Well, one answer may be...they studied!

While this example isn't optimum, a study is quick, fluid, and experimental...
not perfect!!
Yes, friends, I do think my personal struggle isn't only from lack of water, pigment, and brush control. It's more likely due to the fact that I don't take time to uncover the layers of my exemplar piece. 

Study on the left...painting on the right!
  1. I masked off sections, randomly, with the intention to focus on one aspect of the pattern.
  2. In the upper left corner, I studied the layering of florals and spray of black marks.
  3. In the middle left, I studied the smaller florals and red marks.
  4. Bottom left and center, I focused on single elements.
  5. The right panel is my interpretation of the piece.
Knowing that it wouldn't be possible to layer salmon over Alizaron Crimson, I mixed Cad. Red with Copic Opaque White. I also mixed Hooker's Green and Payne's Gray to create an opaque green and gray. I also added some of my own favorite leaves and berries to make my composition unique to me. 


This is my first organized study, and I am a believer. Below are a few of the things I learned from this initial study:
  • Composition
  • Noticed elements I didn't notice at first glance.
  • Isolate elements
  • Isolate values
  • Practice strokes
  • Practice layering

Since  I'm a self-taught artist, I'm putting all of these lessons together as I learn them. One of my favorite watercolor teachers is Steve Mitchell, and I viewed his tutorial on The Power of Thumbnails and How to Use Them. I adapted his tutorial to focus on what I needed to improve my compositions. 

I hope this post has been helpful. Please leave a comment below! Until next time, paint your heart out!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Stamp-A-Faire 2017: Anniversary Challenge Take 2

Stamp-A-Faire 1st Anniversary Challenge: Paper
Hello, everyone! I hope your week is going well. I'm slowly but surely going through a few of the 2017 Stamp-A-Faire challenges at Nichole Heady's Blog, Capture the Moment and Papertrey Ink. My card above is inspired by Lauren Bassen's beautiful ombre card. Her card uses the first year anniversary theme which is paper. For her technique, she actually sewed her petals to the card, and I would have done the same, but I'm allergic to sewing machines! Now I'm off again to try new techniques! Thanks for stopping by!

Laura Bassen for Papertrey Ink
Card Recipe:
Scrap papers
PTI Quatrefoil Coverplate
Graceful Gardens sentiment
Ripe Avocado

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Papertrey's Stamp-A-Faire 2017: Take Ten

Take Ten Challenge
Good Sunday evening to you, everyone! I hope you had a great weekend. However, if you are a Texan who was enduring Harvey this weekend, please know my thoughts and prayers have been with you...

I'm excited to participate in Papertrey's Stamp-A-Faire 2017. This is my second Stamp-A-Faire, and I'll be honest...I'm a day late and a dollar short. The challenges began Friday evening, but I was busy watching John Wayne. Then Saturday I wanted to finish a novel. Then today...well, you get the idea. The good news is we all have until 7:00 a.m.,Thursday, August 31st to participate, and I plan to make as many cards as I can.

9 inspiration
Pattern by Vikki Chu
The card above was inspired by  Vikki Chu's overall design. I used leaves and flowers from Gathered Garden and the sentiment from Swoosh Set to create this card. The colors of inks are shown below in the early stages of making this card.

My design and stamp colors: Saffron Spice, Green Parakeet, Spring Moss,
Bright Buttercup and Summer Sunrise
This card was a dream to make. Actually, I was able to replenish my stock of Birthday cards with this super simple card. I now have four Birthday cards to use in a pinch!

Don't forget...there is still plenty of time to play along! There are challenges for every card-maker's skillset and desires! Thanks for stopping by!!