To read about the above sketch, visit my Knitterly Arts blog…and while you’re at it, follow me there as well! ;)
This one just about got away from me! Some of you may feel that it actually DID get away from me. I dunno. It does seem to be teetering on the edge of chaos. One of the things I love about watercolor is how it has a mind of its own and begs to be allowed to frolic however it will. I like the look of a painting that at first seems chaotic and you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking at. But once your eyes adjust and land on a few distinct things, the image begins to make sense. I’m not saying this one totally fits that bill, but it’s close. I like the explosion of it…the unhindered color works held together only by the little picket fence…just like in real life.
Daily I walk by this neighbor’s small garden spot that surrounds their mailbox. I’m pretty sure that’s bougainvillea there blooming in red! Gorgeous reddish pink flowers that look like paper! It is set off by this silvery looking plant with yellow spike flowers here and there. I continue to marvel at how I really do not expect to see such beauty in my own neighborhood. Not until I look for it, zoom in on small areas, photograph it, and paint it. Kind of like being a hunter. I have to peel back the layers to reveal what’s actually there.
Beauty in chaos. Yep. I like that.
I am a creature of habit. I wake up around the same time each morning. I love my morning routine of walking, journaling, reading, writing. I eat meals at approximately the same times each day. I have favorite sketchbooks I stick with. I shop for groceries at the same places. I drive the same routes to wherever I’m going. Yes, there’s comfort in familiarity. Change, for me, is often unwelcome.
Yet change nearly always brings many benefits. One huge benefit is that I’m forced to see things from a new perspective, or I simply see new things period! Circumstances beyond our control can shift our perspective in really good ways. Both surgeries have done this in my life. Most recently, when I came home from the hospital, I knew I wanted to go for little walks, no matter how short, no matter how bent over and shuffling I was. Just to move my body, get the blood flowing, and be outdoors breathing fresh air and seeing sky, trees, grass, etc. I love to walk.
Even on my walks I tend to take the same route day in and day out. This summer I began taking a different route due to not wanting to tackle hills yet. This led me to walk down into our neighborhood instead of up and out of our neighborhood. Off of one of the cul de sacs is a view I hadn’t seen in a while. Mr. Whicker, as you know, has a farm at the top of our neighborhood. Last year he purchased more land at the back of his property and this is a view from the cul de sac. He leveled the field and planted wheat or hay (whatever it is he feeds his cows). I have loved walking down to gaze on the glowing field over the fence. Vines have grown along the posts and wire fence. I do love having new views…especially for drawing and painting!
So I’m embracing change in my life. I’m enjoying new views, new perspectives, and new work as a creative person. Even my body is having to get used to a new way of working. This too will become familiar one day. But for now, so much is different. Discouragement and fear licks at my heels some days. I’m doing battle with it by knitting, drawing and painting. Yes, they are familiar things to me…but they allow me to absorb and accept the new in a celebratory way. They function as anchors, rooting me to the ground as things change daily.
I hope you are able to experience some change in your own life. Embrace it with a drawing! Celebrate it in paint! Or knit your way through it one stitch at a time.
I posted this close-up pic on Instagram and had a hunch that I would paint it and possibly add some elements of collage. I wasn’t sure though. So I started out slowly drawing the contours in pencil. So many times, I am unclear as to how I will proceed with a drawing/painting, but just beginning, making a start, almost always reveals what I want to do next.
*Note: I do not trace my photographs. I know there are artists who do this and that’s their decision. But I think tracing cuts out half the fun! I love to prop the photo on my iPad up in front of me and draw in my sketchbook looking back and forth for shape sizes and line intersections.
I decided I wanted to keep the line work evident, but to switch up the line quality. So I chose a Sharpie Fine Pen, a grease pencil, and a bic pen to give three different textures to the lines. For some reason (a hunch) I wanted to leave the lilies in pencil thinking I might collage them or something else.
I began to lay in color, bright, oozly and wazzly color…
At this point the idea of adding in collage elements was pretty strong in my mind, but I wanted painted color everywhere, even under whatever I might collage.
So I scoured magazines for oranges, and pilfered my paper stash for other decorative papers…
The collage part was so much fun! But it does take a bit of time choosing just the right papers, where they might go, cutting them into just the right shapes, deciding how much or how little to collage.
But in then end it was so worth it! This is my favorite of all the recent florals!
I love the jewel tones of watercolor juxtaposed with the bright textured papers. It’s difficult to see in a photograph, but there are shiny bits of paper that just add sparkle to the overall image. I’m definitely doing this again! And yes, I’ve done this kind of watercolor/collage before, but hadn’t in a while so it felt like discovery. You should try it too!!
**This one is in my Etsy Shop, just waiting to be “picked”.;)
Some floral arrangements are bold and dramatic looking, like the one my husband gave me for our anniversary. Others are softer looking, lighter in their values of color. This one was given to me by a dear friend and her family from Harrisonburg, VA. I wanted to capture that light and airy feel of the flowers so I chose a lighter touch when putting in color.
The wonderful thing about being an artist is that you get to decide how you depict your subject. Some artists prefer to paint exactly what they see and stick to the original subject as closely as they can. Others like to merely use the subject as a jumping off point for bolder, richer color, or even abstraction. I often like to do both! So I created another, very different version of this bouquet I’ll share with you tomorrow. It’s a bit of a process post, so be sure to come back and visit here tomorrow! Can’t wait to show you how it turned out! I think I’m on to something!
For today, may this floral painting lift your spirits and bring a spot of beauty to your life. It has been added to my Etsy Shop, in case you’d like it in your home. :)
When you’re not feeling great physically, a quick sketch is the way to go. No planning. No lines. Just attack the page with paint looking quickly between your subject and the paper. The above is an example of a quick sketch of another bouquet of flowers I received recently.
I love to make quick sketches! You can, if you want to, set a timer, for say 3 minutes or even just 1 minute. Do as much as you can within that time frame with whatever tools you want to work with…charcoal, pen, watercolor, or oil pastels. The primary value in making quick sketches is that it shuts off your analytical brain and allows your intuitive side full reign. The nearly always surprise me as to how fresh and unassuming these sketches are.
And later…when you’re feeling up to it, you can settle into a slower, more studied attempt. The key is to maintain some of that freshness and effortlessness you had in the quick sketch.
*The second painting here has been added to my Etsy Shop! ;)
**I hope today finds you able to put pen or paint to paper… quick sketches or slow studies…it will do you a world of good! I’m convinced that engaging in something artistic does indeed aid in our healing, whether it’s physical, mental or emotional.
***And I hope these bouquets bring a bright spot to your day! Thank you all for your kind words you leave on my blog or on Facebook. I so appreciate it!
I love flowers. Have I told you that? I often feel like Monet who said, ” I perhaps owe becoming a painter to flowers.” Yes, indeed. So many ways to depict them, so many mediums to choose from for the color, joy, and shapes of flowers.
In my previous post, I shared the LINE version of this particular bouquet…here’s a photograph of the actual bouquet:
As you can see, I do not attempt to put every little detail into the drawings/paintings. Some artists enjoy that. I prefer to “suggest” what’s there, to express the profusion of color and cheer.
When you choose to work without line, then you’re having to rely on shapes of color and value as well as expressive brushwork to capture the floral bouquet. I love working both ways.
***I have now added the above painting as well as the last two florals in my Etsy Shop for sale. I will add others this week as I share more floral depictions of hope and beauty. The great thing about these paintings is that they are done on 9″x12″ acid-free paper, perfect for framing in a ready-made frame. I suggest the kind with a mat built in. Matting your paintings gives breathing space between the painting and the molding. It also really sets off the image.
***I hope you find a little beauty strewn across your path today.