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?