A gray day – PERFECT for making colors!

We’re getting some much needed rain here in the Pac NW – coming down really hard and it is pretty dark outside!  But my plants are loving it and it is the perfect excuse not to be working in the yard but instead inside playing with watercolors!

And what’s not to like with all the rainbow of colors available?  To tell you the truth, I had NO IDEA about watercolor paints – I thought they all came in those hard palettes we had as kids, little cakes that you activate with a wet brush when you want to mush color around.  I had no idea about the tubes and the rare earths and supplies necessary to make paint.  I’m really excited – my step-daughter and I are going to tour the Daniel Smith factory on Saturday and at the end, we get to experiment a bit with their colors!  I have a reasonable starter set now, but after a lecture last week and the tour this week, I’m betting I’ll come home with colors that granulate (I hope to learn what that means!).

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Jacqueline Newbold gave us instructions last year in her Artful Gathering class for making a color chart using all of our colors and mixing them across to see what kinds of colors we could achieve using our palette.  I’ve expanded my palette a bit since the original set and I’m seeing new colors all the time but I thought it was really worth taking some time to see what colors I could achieve with what I have.  It’s time consuming but I think I’ll be really happy in the end that I took some time out to make this color key.

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I don’t know about you but do you notice sometimes that when you are paying attention to something, it seems to show up everywhere?  That’s what seems to be going on with me and color and in particular color wheels. I’ve been tripping around on the internet and discovered Jane Blundell (a link to her color wheels here.)  In here wheel she mixes colors across the wheel so I decided, since my paper has two sides, I would do that too.  And I swooned over the cover of this quarter’s Uppercase magazine (I’ve put a link here.)  So much so that I subscribed this year – this color issue looks AWEsome and I can’t wait to get my copy!  

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And of course I can’t seen to quite let go of my little quilting detour I seem to take now and then.  Maybe it’s the rain but I started playing with some new and old fabrics today too.  After all, I had to have something colorful to do while the paints dried!

Hope you are having a colorful day wherever you are!

 

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Serious reorganization required!

Take a class, add some new materials.  Watch a demo, add some new materials.  Talk to a friend about their art materials, add some new material.  All those material have just been floating into the art space with no general direction.  But since I’ve now added watercolor sketching and journaling and the associated tools to all my other mixed media mayhem, it was time today to try to take control!

I’m not totally disorganized – I can’t be creative if there is too much chaos – but I’ve gotten to the point that I can’t put my hands on the materials that I need when I need them and so I take too much time away from creating when I have to move into search and rescue mode.  So today was about bringing a bit more order.

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I now have some special pens particular to sketching and I needed a place for those.  I want to do some ATCs on watercolor paper and I need to have a place to store those.  I have a lot of plastic vegetable bags for providing texture in my mixed media journal pages that show up in 4 different drawers – they just need to find one home together, probably with the other household texture materials.  Stuff like that.

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I have some cool ways to store my materials – nice places to store my brushes and pencils and pens – but with so many different kinds of media I’m finding that I really need to find particular places for particular tools….not all brushes are created equal!

In part I hope the reorganization will also help me see how to dabble in multiple art disciplines at the same time.  I’m enjoying the learning and new methods for watercolor sketching and painting but I also want to keep my mixed media art going because I have a LOT of ideas running around in my head.

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In line with my mixed media, I wanted to let you know about a new place that I’ve uploaded some of my art in ways that you can make it your own!  I’ve purchased iPad skins and phone cases from Gela skins in the past – I think they are the best product out there to protect your stuff and I did not take my newest iPad around without my Gela skin.  I got a notice this weekend that they have changed their name to Nuvango and invited artists to upload art so others may buy it!  So, I uploaded a few of my favorite pieces onto the site – can’t decide yet which iPad skin I want to order, but hopefully you’ll go take a look at my page at Nuvango.  It would be GREAT if you could favorite a couple of my pieces you like.  I’d LOVE to have some of my art running around on someone else’s iPhone – how cool would that be?  And what incentive to stay organized and to keep making art!

 

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Its All Over Now

No, summer isn’t over – far from it here in the sunny Pacific Northwest.  But Summer of Color is.  Like so many other participants, I can’t believe it is gone already.  Such a quick 6 weeks!  Again, a big shout out to Kristin Van V over at Twinkle, Twinkle for bringing together this online art community once a year to play around with color in all our many mediums.  It’s been a blast, it’s been good for my art and it’s been fun to connect with so many other bloggers!

My husband and I have been going to our neighborhood farmer’s market every Wednesday afternoon this summer, in theory for the vegetables but mostly for the fruit and I’ve been so enjoying the Tomcot Apricots in particular.  This week’s color choices were a good excuse to try to capture those colors in a watercolor sketch since they are a deep golden with a swath of raspberry color.  And I had a stamp that was a perfect match.  And since I’d drawn a spoon the week before, thought I’d try a lemon yellow fork.

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Okay, so it’s true I have a ways to go.  Perspective and proper dimensions still elude me just a bit, but today I’ll sign up for a class over at Artful Gathering to help me with sketching…hopefully I can show you all improvement next year when we meet again for Summer of Color!

Thanks so much to all my new visitors – I hope to keep up with many of your blogs and your artistic ventures this year!

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Too soon, it’s all over. But I’ve learned a bit

I can’t believe it – already we are on week 6, the final week, of Summer of Color!  The colors are sumptuous, tangerine, raspberry with a hint of yellow and my piece is started.  Well, okay, started, completed and rejected and a new piece begun.

 

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This has been a great 6 weeks for me.  I’ve been more artistic and more active in my art in part due to all the energy of so many artists and the interesting prompts from Kristin over on Twinkle, Twinkle.  I’ve used colors that I love, like the combination above, and colors that I don’t use often, like last week’s red, blue and light blue or week 3′s Purple, Gray and a hint of white.  But in all of them, I’ve ultimately liked the results.

As I do every year, I learned a LOT, not just about my own art, but also about what other folks are creating.  And I found a few more blogs to follow that will take time every day but also instill in me the energy to create each day.  Thanks, All!

I often evaluate what I’m doing with my own art and which directions I’d like to pursue this time of year.  Some of it I attribute to what I see done by all these many talented people who participate and some of it is because there are a few on-line classes that take place in the Summer.  I will sign up for more watercolor classes, I think, because I want to go beyond pears.  I like the looks that can be achieved, mostly by others, but at times even I am producing things I like in watercolor.

I also discovered that I missed using my portraits in my mixed media.  I do like nature and use it a lot in what I produce, but I missed having my women come out and make their voices heard.  So I pulled out the pencils again, learned that Copic marker on hardboard mixed media is easier to manage than acrylic paint and know that I need to draw a few more faces since many of my ladies are tired of being used all the time!

I also continue on that journey to find my voice – why do I do what I do and how am I different from other folks?  I’m working to be more inventive and let me be me.  I’ll let you know how that goes!

I’ll have one more post this week with my final piece for Summer of Color.  Can’t believe it’s final, but I’m also hoping that I’ve learned how to keep motivated and how to keep interested in tackling new things.

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Red, Blue and light blue redux

So – I couldn’t sleep last night, thinking that maybe my piece wasn’t done.  I love how folks do some mixed media with watercolor and I had this idea….that luckily I remembered  this morning once I got up.

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NOW it’s done!  And it was a lot more fun than I thought it might be….and I like that I went JUST a bit more creative for the final.  This is a new watercolor journal I’m using into which I’m trying to do some sketching in a way that might be useful in doing a travel journal.  I don’t still trust myself that I can follow through since I’ve traveled with a number of journals that are pretty pristine when they arrive back home.  I love the looks of watercolor travel journals that folks do that also include a bit of ephemera….so I’m trying to just capture some summer thoughts and sights.  The first page is the rocks I painted a few Fridays ago…I’m feeling a bit proud that I have two pages completed!  It’s almost a habit!

I am also working on some mixed media, trying to get a few of those ideas that have been calling to me out on canvas and out of my head…and into my Etsy site.  I finished this one this week and it is now up in my site.  Can you see the trend?  Yes, I’m also working on drawing more portraits since this one is getting pretty tired of showing up EVERYwhere!

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Can’t believe next week will be the final week of Summer of Color – can’t believe 6 weeks has gone by that fast!  I look forward to the final prompt that Kristin provides for us.

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Lets Cheer for the Red, Blue….and light blue

Okay, it doesn’t really have a ring to it but this week’s Summer of Color choices felt kind of patriotic – Red, Blue and a dash of light blue.  Not exactly patriotic but many of us from many countries have flags that include red, white and blue.  I didn’t really want to create anything flag-like even though that’s the first thing my mind thought of.  And it was clear that even I could not go so far as to make a pear in these colors – teal and coral, yep, that could work, but these colors would not.  So I pulled out some materials in the color schemes and prepared a foundation for a journal page in my usual way and set it out to dry.

But last night, when I couldn’t sleep, I thought maybe I could use watercolors – just not use my usual fruit.  We have a farmer’s market in our neighborhood every Wednesday evening and they have been bringing in beautiful raspberries and blueberries and as I was lying awake I had the confidence to think that I could try other fruits in the color selection.

Oh that I could have brought that early morning confidence to the art table tonight.  My sketching is REALLY a work in progress and in the end I never COULD get the slope of the raspberry right so I decided to just bring out the paints and try a combination of painting and sketching to get it right.  Not exactly what I was hoping for, but also not as bad as it started out….again, trying to just work it out, be positive about the results and move on.  Luckily for me I was not somewhere where I needed to get the sketch down fast or lose the subject.  And with these, I got to eat my subjects in the end, so all good!

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Thanks again, Kristin Van V, for putting together some great colors, and for helping me stretch my artistic skills a bit more!

 

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Happy birthday, Frida Kahlo!

I just learned that today is (would be?) Frida’s birthday.  If I would have been paying attention, I could have come up with a better, more well-researched, tribute.  I did not want the day to go by unnoticed, however,  and since many of my sketches have been attempts to re-create her portraits, I thought I’d just share a few here.

A sketch I made back in 2012.

Frida drawing

A journal page I made using the sketch, including her “banner style” that she included in so many of her paintings – love them!

Frida banner

From the same sketch, my Summer of Color 2012 entry for Strawberry Lemonade – had such fun making her native style blouse and using the echinacea stamp I’d carved.

Summer of color 4thThe same sketch, ALMOST turned into a stamp (it still needs a bit of clean up work!)

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An early sketch done with pan pastels, using a You Tube video posted by Pam Carriker.

Frida for JournalI have a couple more pastels I tried and some attempts at 3/4 face looks that did not turn out well.  Her self portraits were so well defined and clean so make them easy studies for someone trying to work on portraits.

I still have a way to go – my eyes need work and the perspectives still give me a bit of grief.  But Frida went through so much more to create her art I’d be a true wimp if I did not keep it up and work through it!

This trip through my books and my attempt a couple of days ago at portrait making remind me that with practice I might get better, so now I’m energized yet again to continue a daily practice of putting pencil to paper!

Thanks, Frida, for your work and your work ethic!  Know we’re still thinking of you!  Frida dec11

 

 

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SOC Week Four – Pink and Green!

So I’m back to my old tricks, waiting until the last minute to complete my Summer of Color entry!  No real reason – I like the color combination of Pink, Apple Green with a splash of dark green – but it took a while to land on what I was going to make.  And as with all things, I take a very circuitious route to ANY point, it seems!

In my post a day ago, you saw that I’m back to sketching portraits again.  It all started when I wanted to include a sketch in my art journal entry this week and I realized that I don’t have a lot of faces to choose from which in itself isn’t bad.  They are my art journals, I can do what I want.  But I’d like to have a few more options to use when I get in the mood to make one of my “girl” pages.

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For this week, I ended up using this face that I’ve used before in art journal entries – in fact, I used her for Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream Summer of Color two years ago!  But I like making these pages, I remembered, and thinking about them has lead me back to drawing portraits again which is always good.   It’s funny, now that I’m trying to concur new drawing habits, drawing the faces seems really easy…

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The other good news about the pink journal page?  It finishes my first art journal book!  I started this art journal years ago, and of course have many pages completed in many books, but this was the first heavy watercolor mixed media Strathmore book that started me on my bit of a journey and it feels good to have it complete.

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Possibly Sisters?

I’ve been evaluating my art lately, assessing what I like to do, what pieces seem to come together the fastest and what things are giving me trouble.  Drawing faces was something I got comfortable with a year or so ago but I’m hesitant to try my hand at them since I’m so out of practice.  I’ve been spending time painting watercolor pears, which I love, but I found I missed “the girls.”

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So here she is, my newest sketch.  I admit that I pulled out Pam Carriker’s videos to help but I also drew a face map free hand, without tracing, so felt good about that!  I’m not sure how sketching faces again will help me with watercolor sketching but I’ve been wanting to add more people to my art work and I have such a limited supply of already drawn faces!

The funny thing was that she turned out to look a LOT like a sketch I drew back in 2011 so I got the giggles about maybe I can only draw faces that look alike?  I’m not sure – I find I continue to struggle with eyes a bit and hair still defies me – but they are clearly sisters!  Maybe I’ll find a happy medium someday between drawing sisters and drawing Frida – who knows?  For now, I’m happy to have completed my week with a new sketch!

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I’m adding a link here to Dion Dior’s Friday sketches page – that’s the place that has helped  light a little fire under me to sketch more, no matter the subject.  It’s all about practice and the artists who participate over there have been helpful, whether they know it or not!  So take a look – some great weekly sketching going on there.

To all of you in the U.S. – Happy 4th of July!

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Something old, something blue…

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No, that’s not the weekly color for Summer of Color – those colors are actually pink, apple green and dark green and I’m working on it…..but I couldn’t pass these sweet peas up this evening at our farmer’s market!  The “old”  is one of the few very things I have from my family – it is a sugar bowl that came across the country in a covered wagon and was passed down to me by my Mom.  I love vintage but most of my vintage originated in somebody else’s family, not my own, so this is pretty special.  This old stoneware jar has just a hint of a purple stripe about a third of the way down – there was just so much harmony when I put the flowers in that I had to snap a photo and share it with you here.  So sorry that we haven’t figured out a way to share fragrance over the internet yet – they are heavenly!

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