Saturday, January 31, 2015

Challenge Finale

"The Dogs of January"
30, or so, Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

Well, I may not have finished 30 complete paintings (I think I did 27, not all of which made the final cut...) but I certainly learned a lot about watercolor and started a good painting (nearly) everyday routine.  I hope to continue painting nearly everyday, though I am anxious to start different subjects, and eventually get back to acrylic.

Here is what I worked on yesterday...

I can't wait to get back to working from life, maybe more portraits, and I'm really liking ink washes right now.  So stay tuned to see what's next...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Day 29

4" x 6"

I'm realizing that if I want the colors to be bold in the final product, I need to start that way.  After I get everything where and how I want it, I don't like risking losing it in order to add color/depth/darks.  Oh, watercolor, I think I may need a break from you...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Day 28

"Finley, Sit."
4" x 6"

Small and quick here, just playing aroung with different ways to start.  This one was initially a wash of pthalo blue for the darks, which became covered by the ivory black in the darkest darks and visible in the highlighted black.  Overall, I think it's still knid of flat.  I need to branch out into a broader use of color...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Day 27

4" x 6"

Another quick sketch, trying to balance the light/dark pattern.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Day 26

4" x 6"

This is a work in progress, but definately my stopping point for today.  I trying to work on "poetry vs. report" with my paintings and I think when I'm tired I veer towards just reporting what's there.  So now I sleep...

Day 25

9" x 12"

I like the beginnings of color happening in this one, and the application, but then it went astray... 
So, as I settle in for the big blizzard, I am starting some new paintings.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Painting 22 on Day 23...

7.5" x 7.5"

Having been sick the past couple days, I am behind a day.  I actually painted one of my favorite paintings so far during the worst of it, but then I took yesterday off to recover...  So, here is my 22nd painting, painted on the 23rd.  

I painted tonight while I listened to a few podcast by Antrese Woods, The All told, I listen to 3 today, Carol Marine, Susan Abbott, and Richard Scott.  What I took away from this was the common thread that, you don't have to, nor should you, share every single thing you paint.  Because quite frankly, you are going to paint a lot of duds in comparison to the sucesses, and that's okay.   Sharing/posting everything you do creates an undue stress that everything you do be "sharable".  This makes a lot of sense to me as I try and produce 30 "sharable" paintings in 30 unrealistic days.  However, I also don't have any ego, so I have shown everything I've done, duds and all.  If I were further along in my career, I might care, but this 30 day challenge has just been for me to prove to myself that I can make a commitment to my art, to explore watercolor further, and to practice, practice, practice.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Day 21

"Close-up Clover"
6" x 6"

This is my dog, Clover, a golden retriever.  The reference photo for this was not great, just a fuzzy close-up from my phone.  But sometimes that is the best thing to work from, because you are seeing those big shapes first, and you don't get caught up in the smaller details. I used only three colors, ivory black, yellow orche, and cadmium red light. I like how this turned out but seeing on the screen I now see little things I could tweek.  How do you know when to stop on a painting?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Day 20

9" x 12"
walnut ink wash

I stole this picture from my nephew's Facebook post about his two dogs, reunited after a week apart.  I don't know if you can see the joy on the little white terrier's face but MacKenzie is thrilled to be back with her big great dane pal, Syndey!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Day 18 - Walnut ink

9" x 12"
walnut ink

Today I decided to play around with my walnut ink and do an ink wash drawing/painting.  I get hung up on color sometime and thought it would be good to just worry about value for a bit. 

 This was done with walnut ink that I got in Cambridge about 20 years ago.  Still as good as ever!  I love the color of this as it goes on (wet) and so it seems a bit flat when it dries, but still a rich brown.

(wet ink)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Day 17 - Boomer

9" x 12"

This is my friends Mark's new dog, Boomer.  He is just a pup but I think I've made him look older somehow...

Friday, January 16, 2015

Day 16

6" x 6"

This one is another reference photo.  I just couldn't resist that face!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Day 15

4" x 4"

Halfway through 30 days!

Day 14 - Sleepy Beagle

"Sleepy Beagle"
9" x 12"

This the larger version of the sketch from yesterday.  I still feel like I could go back into this one, and I might, but not today.  I found this reference photo on the,  a free reference photo site.  Very handy!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Day 13

"beagle sketch"
3" x 4"
watercolor & watercolor pencil

I painted a lot again today, and still didn't "finish" a painting.  I ruined one painting, maybe beyond saving.  Sketched out a new painting, and took several passes at a promising one whose background I just can't figure out how to deal with...  In the end, the only thing I liked well enough was this tiny sketch of a bigger painting.  Again, I'm liking the freshness and getting frustrated when I overwork things.  I guess everyday can't be a productive day, but the process leading up to those days is important.  

"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working."
Pablo Picasso

Monday, January 12, 2015

Day 12

"husky ball" sketch
4" x 4"

Today was a prolific painting day... I started five different paintings today... but didn't finish any of them!  My thought was to start a few to get myself ahead for the end of the week when I am busier, but I got a little carried away experimenting.  I think it was a good day overall, I just don't have much to show for it!  Here is a look at (almost) everything I'm working on.

Stay tuned for the finished work...

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Day 11

6" x 6"

This was done from the same reference photo of a yellow lab as yesterday's painting.  I tried to rework the composition and the drawing.  I'm still not loving either 100% and I sort of like yesterday's color a little better, but...I'm learning!  

Here is a collage of my process on this one, and as I look at it I kind of wish I quit while I was ahead.  I like the colors coming through in step 3 better than the final and it reminds me to slow down and leave things alone.  Don't overwork!  This reminds me of an exercise that I need to try, painting with limited strokes, like 20.

Day 10

6" x 9"

Just a super quick study to warm up.  I need to work out the composition and drawing, not to mention the execution.  So far, the only thing I like is the color scheme...

Friday, January 9, 2015

Day 9 - Finley, again

"Finley, again"
7" x 7"

The good thing about this 30 in 30 challenge is that it is making me try things over, and over.  I've painted my friend Colleen's border collie mix Finley a few times before but I'm not sure if I've captured her, so I keep trying.  I also just love her ears, one up, one down. 

Day 8 - Brewster

4" x 4"

This is Brewster.  He is named after his family's favorite place to vacation, Brewster, Massachusetts on Cape Cod.

I fell behind a day but I did two paintings today, so now I'm all caught up!  I'm finding I like my quick, casually sketched out paintings much better than the ones I labor over drawing out.  I don't know if its because then I am less invested and more apt to relax and take risks, or that the drawings end up having more personality and freshness so its easier to keep it fresh... Or if I know I'm behind schedule I am more likely to be more efficient and not overwork things!  Most likely it's a combination or all three.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Day 7 - Cooper

6" x 6"

This is a quicky with a limited palette, of my friend Alex's dog, Cooper.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Day 6 - Finley

7" x 7"

I wasn't sure if I was done with this one or not, I just knew it was time for bed!  I'm happy to be keeping up with a painting a day so far and I think knowing when to stop is helpful.  I can always go back into it tomorrow if I think it needs it.  I'm liking this limited palette, a modified Zorn, just ivory black, yellow ochre, and cadmium red light. 

Finley is a border collie mix and she has the cutest floppy left ear.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Day 5

6" x 6"

This was a fun one to work on.  He's quite comical, almost cartoonish! 
 Here is a look at the progression... 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Day 4

"warmin' up"
4" x 6"

I'm just warmin' up, playing around with watercolors to figure out where I want to go.  This is from a photo of my dog Clover, warnin' up in the sun.  I've painted from it before and so I thought it would be fun to play around with it.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


4" x 4.75"

Here is day 3 of my Thiry in Thirty Challenge.

second day, second try

I thought I'd take another go at this reference photo because I love it so much.  This is actually just a tiny study, and I am going to try again, larger...

"everyday is like sunday, study"
4" x 4"

I did this small one to try out a limited pallette of just ultramarine blue and light red, but I end up adding raw sienna and phtalo blue too.  Looking at this now I even want to go back into this one a little...

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

For me the new year always brings so much promise, so much potential, so many opportunities to start something new.  Today I started a new sketchbook, that I hope to draw in every day of 2015.  I call it my coffee sketchbook because I will spend the time it takes me to drink my morning coffee sketching here...
day one

I've been reading about getting organized and focused and what it comes down to is committing a certain time each day to what it is you want to accomplish.  I drink coffee every morning, and usually read the paper or make a list of to-dos.  If I spend that same time sketching, warming up for a painting or just mindlessly doodling, I'll still have drawn something that day, even if I don't accomplish anything else.

The something else that I'd like to accomplish is painting everyday, and with any luck, selling my work, or at least exhibiting more.  To that end, I've signed up for Leslie Saeta's Thirty Pintings in Thirty Days Challenge.  Here is my first submission:

"everyday is like sunday"

This is a painting of a friend's photo of her dog, that looks a lot like my dog, and I just couldn't resist.  I rushed into it too quickly and didn't get the drawing quite right so I think day 2 will be a redo of this very same picture...