Here is #38 in my 100 painting project. A glorious day at the beach at Edisto Island, SC, from when we were there this past spring. I was stuck trying to think up a title for this one. Kiddo suggested "Beach Day". Perfect.
In an effort to simplify and find balance, I am going to try a different routine for a while and see how it fits. So I am moving my posting of sketches to Mondays. Here are a couple of recent sketches from my handmade summer sketchbook. Both of these were done with just watercolor, from life, no drawing first.
Kiddo has tennis lessons three mornings a week during the summer months. I sit in the car and wait. It has been unusually hot here this summer. Yet what we call "hot" up here in our mountains is not quite the same "hot" that many in the eastern US have been experiencing lately, so I won't complain too much.
I also have some really important news to share today. Our niece, Allison, is one of the top ten finalists to be the next "Face of Fox 43". She has worked very hard to be in the running. If you can, please click on this link and watch her video. Every time it's watched she gets another vote!
The why. I love this idea. The idea of pausing long enough to find simple gratitude with where we are, right now, in this moment. For quite some time I have felt the need to pay attention more. I will take hundreds of photos while traveling yet my camera often sits neglected when we are at home. I have been wanting to change that. Yes, I'll sketch, but so many moments slip by while I am doing something else. So by participating in (this moment) and posting here, I will, hopefully, be more inspired to work on this goal to gather and save those little moments. It worked for keeping a sketchbook. You all are great at motivating me. And besides, this will give you a break from all those paintings!If you're not familiar with Amanda's blog or her books, do take a moment to check them out. You will be inspired too!
This is another painting inspired by the marshes at Botany Bay on Edisto Island, South Carolina. It wasn't that long ago that I showed you a quick watercolor sketch I had done of the same scene. You might remember. I'll do that. Play with the same image in various media just to see what will happen. I could create an entire body of work just from the references I collected at Botany Bay while on our last trip to Edisto Island. Being there is like escaping into another magical world. This is #37 of my 100 painting project.
I don't really know why exactly, but I decided to try this month's challenge over at Studio Atelier. With watercolor. I haven't really worked on a watercolor painting in this way before. Watercolor sketches, yes, where I just dip my brush into paint and go at it. And few attempts with watercolor pencil, where I planned out the painting and worked in stages until completion. But not straight up watercolor. With a plan, and masking fluid, and all of that. Although here I did only use a water brush, and worked with the 9 x 12 inch watercolor sketchbook in my lap, while sitting on the sofa, over the course of a couple of evenings. This isn't the most successful painting, but it was fun to do. I may try something like this again. And maybe even sit at a table and use regular watercolor brushes. It is a good challenge to mix things up every once in a while and try something new.
This is #35 of my 100 painting project. It is a view of marshes at Edisto Island, SC, that I photographed when we were there this past May. We had visited With These Hands Gallery, which is located right on the main road to Edisto Beach, Highway 174. A delightful gallery filled with many fun and beautiful crafts and art works from local artists. As we stepped back outside this was the view directly across the roadway. I am glad that I took the time to snap a few reference photos before heading back up the road.
Sometimes I just feel like playing around with my watercolor pencils. I guess it's that combination of drawing and painting that appeals to me. I get to scribble and splash water around. And I am still working on those trees. This was a practice sketch in my watercolor sketch pad. There are parts of this sketch I am happy with and other parts where I wish I hadn't done that. So the lesson here is to be able to repeat what I like about this one the next time.
Here is painting #34 of my 100 painting project. It is a view from the marsh side of Edisto Island, South Carolina, that I found when we were staying there last fall. Although our rental cottage was on the ocean side, a short walk down a pleasant side street soon opened up to a wide expanse of marsh. I collected a lot of reference material there, as you can well imagine.
By now you are probably wondering just how am I ever going to complete 100 small paintings this year, when you have only yet seen 34 of them. I know. I have been wondering the same thing myself. Here it is July, the half way mark of the year, and I have been taking stock of my project and goals at this mid point. First of all, even though I have only posted 34 paintings to date, I am actually working on painting #50 today. The delay in posting is mostly due to allowing the paintings to dry (which I have found in this summer heat takes longer!) but also I simply haven't been posting as frequently lately.
So where does this project stand with me now? Well, don't worry, I do intend to continue making these paintings until I reach 100. I knew at the outset that it may well take me more than one year, but that was my goal to shoot for and I am still going for that, even though it's less than likely. One reason is that I intend to see this through is that I have found this project to be very worth doing. The practice of painting regularly, especially after so many years of not painting at all, has benefited me greatly. I already feel much more confident pushing paint around, even more so than ever before, way back when. Another reason is that I have plans for taking this project further, to the next level or logical step, so a sense of completion feels necessary.
Another view that I have considered, however, is that with a project such as this, the journey is really the point, more so than then outcome. This is the same perspective I take with planning my daughter's homeschool studies. Although the ultimate goal is to get from point a to point b, it really doesn't do much good to breeze through the lessons just to be able to check items off the list as "done". It's what she takes away from the lessons that counts. And what I am taking away from this 100 painting project to date is that although it isn't easy keeping this kind of commitment to myself, the rewards will be so worth while for what I will gain in knowledge of painting in the end. So thanks for following along this far. I do appreciate everyone's support and I will try to post my progress with a bit more regularity!
While summer is moving right along I seem to be lagging behind a bit. Probably because of the heat. But even with that we have been experiencing some truly gorgeous days and our usual cool nights. The season seems to have slowed my pace though. That's all right with me.
Above is a watercolor sketch in my summer sketch journal - my new journal which I forgot to show you earlier. Again, it's handmade with antique white Canson Edition paper. I used up the remaining paper from my stash, adjusting the format to 5.5 x 7 inches to get the most out of what I had left. The resulting journal is a little less rectangular than my previous 5 x 8 inch journals, and I am liking this format better. It also has more signatures. This makes it thicker with more pages to fill. Like my previous journals I included signatures in the front and back with plain copy paper for scribbling notes and calendar pages in the front. Plus a pocket in the back for business cards and a few watercolor postcards. And yep, I put the bookmark in upside-down. I don't want to talk about that. It still works fine. I'm okay with it. Really I am.
Moving right along, here is what I have been using lately for my sketching kit. The small tin I found at Cheap Joe's, which I filled with paints from the Professor's stash. I added my raw umber watercolor stick because he didn't have that color and I do like using it sometimes. When we were in Ohio last month, I found the plastic box at the super market in the school supplies aisle. For a 99 cent investment it holds a water brush, a few pencils and a couple of pens, a handi-wipe cloth and a baggie with a pencil sharpener, and either this travel tin of watercolors or my tin of watercolor sticks. I like that this set up is so compact. I find that I will sketch more often if I don't have to drag out a lot of stuff just to get started.
Like these strawberries I sketched while I was fixing dinner the other evening.
I am also devoting a lot of time this summer to reading and studying. I took advantage of a couple of special offers at North Light Books and Dover Publications recently to stock up on books. Can you tell I am still obsessed with trees?
I also neglected to mention my Print of the Month for July. Perhaps you noticed it anyway over there on the side bar. It is from an original colored pencil painting on pastel board, titled Reeds.You can see a little slide show of how I drew this piece here. Fine art prints and cards from this image are available through Imagekind.
A local walking and biking path follows a meandering, mountain river, where I found this view. This is #33 of my 100 painting project.
We have been experiencing painfully beautiful summer days here lately. Brilliant blue skies, flowers bursting with color, the scent of basil and lavender growing in our yard and garden, the birds' songs waking me in the cool morning air coming through the window...I would like to bottle these days. If I could save just one to open for a moment on some dark, cold day of winter.