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?

Make a Splash 11-15

I have a feeling that I’m addicted to challenges, at the moment not only am I doing my personal 365 day challenge and the Cass Art Make a Splash challenge but also the popular Every Day in May.  Maybe it’s because the crossover of making art everyday makes it easy to sign up to anything that helps keep it up, and being prolific is the best way to improvement.  I’m not sure exactly what the etiquette for EDIM is but I decided to do birds for Every Day in May.

Just realised that Every Day in May is a very specific set of challenges each day (draw something hot, draw a tree…) so I’m actually NOT doing that.  One less thing to think about!

2015-04-29 22.22.54 #11 Mistle Thrush.  Very disappointingly overworked! 2015-05-01 21.19.56 #12 Redstart.  Again I think I overworked this with the details a little, it’s a fine line between keeping something simple and then going overboard.  The white inking is a lot of fun so it’s hard to show restraint sometimes. 2015-05-01 21.45.13 #13 Robin.  Much much happier with this one, I love how simple it is and I started using colours for design a bit more, so it’s less accurate than my birds in the past but maybe more charming? 2015-05-02 22.38.50 #14 Turtle Dove.  While I really enjoyed painting this again I think the final details look overworked, so this is obviously something I need to keep in mind when I’m working on a piece. 2015-05-03 21.42.30 #15 Grey Wagtails.  This I am really rather proud of, it has just the feel I was looking for.  A simple design with very clean colours.  I sacrificed accuracy in colour (these are more blue than grey) but think they still come across well. So only 35 more to go, I feel like I need a bit of a push to get some more done this week before we go on holiday(!) but I think I might just make it.

Cassart Make a Splash Challenge 1-4

The last couple of days I have been attempting to catch up with the Cass Art “Make a Splash” watercolour challenge to make 50 paintings by May 30.  That means nearly 2 paintings a day for a month for me.  I feel a little insane attempting it but the benefit is that I’m finally diving into paintings with ideas I’ve had swimming in my head.

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I’m attempting more of an illustrative feel for these than my usual sketches.  Learning to simplify and still make an image come across is so hard without pen for me, but I’m finding it a lot of fun trying.  Simplifying this landscape is one of my top challenges, I want to get a little more depth into this.

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So inspired by the spring leaves emerging on the trees lately.  I love these vivid greens (much more vivid than real life obviously), and playing with tree shapes.

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All the birds around here have been gathering materials for nests.  This is my first attempt at a piece that tells a story.

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Birds again (surprise surprise).  I love the elegance of barn owls, though making the chick cute was a challenge!  I actually liked the finished product enough to make it into a simple Mother’s Day card with some hand lettering.

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This wasn’t an official entry in the challenge, but the weather has been so fine today that I couldn’t help going out and sketching some of the beautiful spring trees I see from our garden.  It’s always good to practice since I”m sure I’ll be doing lots more trees in the next month!

Do you have any personal challenges coming up for May?