Food and Flowers

I cannot say enough how thankful I am for all your messages and comments.  As someone who doesn’t have any real life sketching friends an online support network can heal and inspire.  I feel so happy with my decision to come back and am excited to share and connect again.

With that, here are a few sketches from the last week or so.  Going back to my favourite subjects: food and flowers!

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I sometimes feel I get a dependent on sketching “things” since I find sketching a landscape or cityscape daunting.  So many details to get lost in.  I challenged myself by drawing the view from our deck of our new hammock in a particularly wild part of the garden.  Hoping to get more confident with these sorts of scenes in the upcoming months.

Make a Splash 21-28

The last week my family have been away on holiday, our first in a very long time.  We had a lovely time and I am pleased to say I even managed to keep up painting for my Make a Splash challenge.

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#21 Lily Pad and Tadpoles.  Don’t feel this one was as successful as i wanted, the white got a bit heavy again.

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#22 Luggage. Trying a lighter more subdued palette.

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#23 Calendula

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#24 Rooster.  We stayed on a farm so there were plenty of these beauties to inspire me.

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#25 Clematis

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#26 Peacock Feather.  There was a peacock on the farm and his feathers were simply amazing (also they are extremely noisy birds)

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#27 Flower Doodle.  I happened to pop into an art shop and picked up a few new colours which ended up looking pretty good together, this was my little test to try them.

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# 28 Blackberry Flowers

I wish I had gotten more done while I was away, 50 paintings still seems like a stretch for this month.  But keeping up a habit when your schedule is disturbed is a challenge in itself.

I hope you all had a great week and I look forward to catching up with all your work.

Make a Splash 18-20

Hot on the heels of some pieces I really liked of course are ones that I don’t think are nearly so good, but they all count towards the 50 paintings.

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#18 Red Clover.  This was an experiment in making a dark background.  I actually like the effect but just need to refine the edges so I get a crisper image.  It’s a bit nervewracking because you need to work fairly quickly with watercolour but painting around all those details is painstaking work.

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#19 Moth and Honeysuckle.  Simple image I did late at night when I was feeling rather tired.

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#20 Morning Coffee.  Oh man, do you ever have one of those pieces where you have a good idea but fail on the execution?  Yeah, that.  I ended up cropping a huge part of this painting out because the perspective of the croissant was really weird and somehow I managed to smear a huge part of the cafetiere.  The saucer is a weird dark colour too and I couldn’t decide whether or not to do shadows.  I could go on and on, but the plus side is I still like the idea and wish I really had teacups with Russian dolls.

Still going to push through the pain and get some more done.  Have you ever had a real painting disaster?  If you had I’m hoping you didn’t have to post it for the sake of a challenge.

Make a Splash 16 & 17 Florals

So I had to make an edit to my last post about Every Day in May, apparently I’m not doing that at all since it’s a very specific set of challenges.  Which is fine, at the moment I feel very full doing my Make a Splash challenge paintings.  Of course realising that I didn’t need to do birds everyday was equally liberating because I got a sudden urge to do florals again.

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#16 Peonies.  I love the composition on this and how it turned out.  I am keeping up with the more illustrative approach that I used for my Wagtails and I love the effect.  My husband even commented how it reminds him of stained glass.  It is rare for me to genuinely like a piece of my own work so I am gifting this to my mother for Mothers’ Day, hope she likes it!

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#17 Icelandic Poppies.  Maybe the composition isn’t as strong on this one but oh those deep rich colours have been something I’ve been chasing for a long time.  Much happier with the detail on this too, I used a very tiny brush for the hairs and a script liner for the veins on the petals.

Every month of my art challenge so far I feel like I’ve been a different sort of artist enamoured with a different style and medium.  And that is part of the fun really.  Some days I just want to pick up a pen and go do some urban sketching, or life drawing but this watercolour challenge has forced me to focus in a way I haven’t done before.  The last 3 pieces have all been full A4 sized paintings, finished paintings.  It’s a goal I wasn’t sure I’d even achieve by the end of this year.  5 months in I’m finally starting to enjoy my own work and see where I want to be going as an artist.

Have you had an artistic epiphany?  A moment where you felt like it was all starting to click?

Dandelion Three Ways

Today I had a bit of time to do some sketching in a playing field while my children were at the playground.  Of course this time of year it is filled with dandelions, they might be a menace but I still find them charming.

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Here is the spread of dandelions I did in different ways.  As I gain confidence with this art thing I like to play around with the style of a single subject.

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I always love pen and ink, something about the bold line of the pen always seems to feel right to me.  I also get to splash on the colour very loosely this way.

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This was done directly to watercolour, no pencil or anything underneath.  I tried to use the strokes and values to indicate the shadows and petals.  While I like it, it seems to lack a bit of impact for me.

The final one (seen in my original shot of the spread) is where I used a darker watercolour outline in a similar way to my penwork.  I was looking for a more graphic look without the pen.  I did end up muddying it up a little, but maybe I’m getting somewhere with that idea.  I was using a waterbrush so the marks ended up pretty thick.  I also did some very loose watercolour dandelions but they just don’t read like the flower to me.

In the end I’m still not sure which one I like best, pen and ink or the one with watercoloured outlines?  I’ll keep experimenting.  Do you have a particular “style” that you tend to stick to?  Or do you like to play around?

Back to Pencil

It’s been a while since I’ve sketched with a pencil, I did some very early in my daily art project but then started inking over my drawings with pen and then progressed straight to pen drawings.  I love the boldness of pen but decided to do some more pencil drawings to see how I felt about it.

tulips

A few tulips in my garden have just started to open and it was fun sketching them in pencil.  I started out with very light lines making the basic shapes and then went progressively darker.  I forgot how nice it is to have softer shadows.

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In the evening I did this one of some spoons my husband carved a few years ago.  The pencil works better for the texture of the wood than pen.  The only things I didn’t enjoy was smudging the graphite with my hand.  I worry that these probably won’t last long-term in the sketchbook.

Do you use pencils for sketching?  Or are you devoted to ink?

Easter Weekend

I want to thank you to you all for your kind comments and good wishes when I was poorly last week, having your support helped such a lot to get back onto my feet this Easter weekend.  I can only hope you had as wonderful time as us, the weather was absolutely perfect: sunny and hot enough to make you think it was May or June.  I spent virtually every minute possible in the garden soaking it up, and even managed to squeeze in some sketching time too.  Here are some that I did over the weekend.

2015-04-07 07.09.17A little painting of two of my favourite visitors to the bird feeder, coal tit and blue tit.

2015-04-05 13.53.43Did some pages in my garden journal documenting what I saw in bloom or coming into leaf.  Forsythia has the most vivid yellow flowers on red stems.

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Taking this shot with the shield bug on the paper was not easy, he kept crawling away before I snapped this.

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A really super quick (10 minute) sketch of our local church in my moleskine.  I keep it in the bag that I take everywhere with me in case I get a moment or two to sketch.  I was with the children so it had to be fast!

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Something is rather mesmerising about drawing popcorn.  Maybe it’s all those nooks and crannies?  Fun to eat too.

Hope you all had a happy Easter wherever you are in the world and had a chance to do some art too (or take a break if you needed it).

Dreaming of Summer Flowers

This weekend has been all about flowers and gardening, on saturday our little village had its Spring Flower Show.  That sounds a lot grander than it was, which was essentially a few stems of daffodils and other spring flowers scattered around an incredibly crowded village hall.  I was particularly taken by the delicate long petals of the magnolias.

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I did the sketch while I was there, and wanted to do more but I was being jostled by traffic and didn’t have a place to sit.

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Some of the buds of the silver willows have started to open.  Don’t you just love those fuzzy flowers?

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I was flipping through one of my gardening books when I came across some photos of beautiful opium poppies.  They seem like such a long way away now, but I enjoy dreaming of these summer flowers.

2015-03-29 23.18.03And of course I couldn’t resist adding a bit of colour to them.

My plan this year is to fill my garden beds with lots of flowers for cutting (and plenty for bees and butterflies too).  I don’t often buy flowers from the shop but find so much satisfaction going around the garden cutting my own.  I am only a beginner but I hope I can get at least a few things growing this year.

Daffodils Three Ways

Nothing says spring to me like daffodils and I’m so lucky to be surrounded by hundreds in our garden.  Flowers always are an inspiration to me, their colours, shapes and scents are simply intoxicating.

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Here’s me trying to break one down to its simplest form in straight up watercolour.

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And a more intricate line drawing of some in a bunch my little children picked for me.

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And the same with a bit of colour added.  The last one is my favourite.  I pulled out my set of Ph. Martins Liquid Watercolours, they add instant punch to a painting.  I lost a few highlights here and there so I added some with white acrylic ink.  It took on a slight yellow tint but I think it looks fitting here.  The white ones were difficult to do, shadows in white or yellow are always challenging for me.

Do flowers, or nature, inspire you too?  Hope you are all starting to see first signs of spring wherever you are.