Monday, September 28, 2015

Watercolor Leaf

During my last trip up the canyon, I collected a few fallen leaves to bring home.  I always seem to do this, regardless of season. Of course, I always ask permission to take the leaves and I only take what has fallen.  

This particular leaf caught my eye.  It was lying alone, and I snapped this photo before picking it up. 

I loved the shape and the color, the green radiating outwards toward the dried tips.  I feel like that sometimes!  

The leaves I collected inspired me to paint, and this particular leaf was my companion throughout the process.  

I lightly traced around the leaf in a green watercolor pencil.  This is my personal trick for tracing and/or sketching out in advance; using a watercolor pencil helps blend the lines into the painting while giving me the guidelines I need for a more detailed edge.

I mixed up some Autumn colors . . . 

And a lovely leaf sprang out of my imagination.

I've been trying to paint everyday, even it's just a small thumbnail painting.  This leaf was the perfect size to complete in about an hour, some instant gratification!  

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Watercolor Wreath

In a nutshell, I'm sick and really don't want to stay in bed.  In compromise, I stay in chair - my watercolor chair.  Yes, I have a special chair!

Wanting to return to my first love of watercolor, I've been attempting to paint every day, even if I just mess around with color blending.  After a reading a few blogs last week, I was inspired to paint a few wreaths.  I came across some gorgeous color combinations, so I was inspired to try it out.

Oddly enough, I've never painted a wreath in watercolor. They seem to be everywhere! My daughter suggested a laurel leaf wreath.  That was a good challenge since I only have two greens, so I'd be bound to color mixing, something I really want to improve.

My daughter suggested the addition of SPQR painted in the center, but so far I've resisted allowing the Roman senate into my painting. I'll probably cave though, I think it's funny.  Yes, she and I have peculiar humor.

Yesterday I had another go at the wreath and painted the ubiquitous floral.  I'm pleased with results.

Oh, these are addicting to paint!  Painted on 6x6 inch watercolor paper, they are instant gratification. I plan to whip up a few more, adding a calligraphy message to the center, then dropping them into the post for my penpals.  What do you think, is this a good snail mail surprise?

Have a lovely day!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Birthday Musings and a New Palette

Oh, what a wonderful birthday I experienced!

My husband took the day off and we spent the day together, which was a gift in itself, but the day was full of such wonderful things to come (and phenomenal Indian food!).

We took a morning drive up the canyon, which is one of my all time favorite things to do regardless of the time of year.  Donuts, coffee, and my precious puppy along for the ride, it was perfect morning! The mornings are cold up there and I did need my heavy coat until the sun made an appearance. Worth it!

I love the mountains!

When my husband asked me what I would like as a gift, I immediately mentioned I would like some more art supplies.  After some funny conversation, we made a decision to get an easel, but I remained uneasy about the choice.  What would I do with an easel?  All of my art pursuits are those done on a flat surface.  Then I came across a quote in a book (The Artist's Way), a book, I might add, that made a serious appearance on my birthday, in more ways than one:

Leap, and the net will appear.  

Get the easel and you'll know what to do.

So there it is, sitting in my space where I use my watercolors.  So far, I just look at it - we're having a good time getting to know each other.  Somehow, it belongs with me.

I also received a gorgeous empty Schminke watercolor palette!  I already had many watercolors, and I truly didn't want an already full palette. Besides, this way I choose the colors I want.

When I knew I was going to have a shiny new palette to play with, I began to prepare some half pans from the tubes I already had.

Every. Single. Drop.

By the time the new palette arrived, the pans were dry and ready to tuck inside. I still have room in the palette for 12 more half pans or 6 full pans, or a mixture.  It's likely I'll go with half pans since this will be my travel palette.

And one last thought:

This birthday was stellar, it truly was.  I find it such a pleasure to grow old, a gift denied to many. I fully intend to live longer than my mother, and she would like that.  Mom died 5 days after my birthday back in 2006.  My birthday has never been tainted by the memory of her death, but rather a glorious reminder of the life she gave me, and how much she loved me and my sisters.

I love you mom, and yes, I get my mammograms.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


I got this idea into my head about a butterfly.  After two weeks of tinkering with paper, a swirly cutting blade, and a bunch of gel medium, my butterfly finally looks like a butterfly. 

I painstakingly cut out all of the little bits for the wings.  It took a long time, but it was some quality time with my thoughts.

Then, I whipped up a canvas to put her on.

I lightly traced out where I would place the wing pieces.  I was worried I wouldn't allow enough room between pieces, so I had to give myself a map to follow. 

She turned out to be much more beautiful that I ever could have imagined!  I truly had intended to write something of that nature on the canvas, something about believing in yourself, or believing somehow you are more beautiful that you could ever know.  I still have that desire, but so far, she just waits, and we speak to each other in the interim.

After gluing her wings onto the canvas, she really needed some sparkle.  I still haven't splurged on any gold leaf, so I rummaged through the drawers and came up with some gold embossing powder.  I used an embossing pen for the spaces between the wings, but I used a very tiny paint brush to hand paint the embossing liquid for the antennae. That was fun! There is something so enticing about swirling little paint brushes around.  I think I'll go do it again! 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Stumped by a Magic Tree

I pick up a lot of momentum with whatever piece I'm working on. I tend to be able to see, or at least get a sense of what is coming next. I continue like this until I start to "see" the end . . . then it abruptly stops.  I look at my canvas and there is NOTHING!  My mind and heart go completely blank.  Is this my painter's version of writer's block?  

With the following canvas I knew what I wanted to do, a desire to convey nighttime and some sort of tree. 

So far, so good, but it needed some "magic." 

Magic? Check! Whimsical fairy glitter? Check! Empty gel pen? Check! 

And then the magic stopped! This is as far as I've gotten and have been watching it for two weeks.  I know there is something more it needs, but I can't hear it!  Somehow I think the canvas is talking to me, I just need to clear space for listening. 

In the interim, I started a new canvas. Again, I love it, but the same thing has happened; I'm right at the finish line, I can feel it, but can't see it yet.  

I don't want to over-think (I'm SO good at that), but I also don't want to fall into a nasty habit of starting and not finishing.  I am hoping that letting it all out here the blog will somehow make a space inside of me for the finishing touches to appear.