Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Day 61 - Value study of model

Had another great day at Summerset drawing a new model.  Great practice-  definitely need more of it!  I took a photo of the model and would like to try a pastel portrait of him.

Something is off in this value study, will try to adjust and correct in the pastel.  One of the great things about this group of artists is the helpful critiques they provide.  Everyone contributes and it is all in the spirit of helping.   It's sometimes easier to see something off in someone else's piece than your own.



Friday, December 11, 2015

Day 59 - Value Study of Model

Linda's neighbor graciously agreed to model for us this week.  I have been away from portrait drawing so long, that I went with a charcoal value study.  She has incredible features that I did not do justice to and hope she models again and I get a chance to try to capture her look that truly is representative of her Dutch heritage.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Day 58 - Still Life in Charcoal

Finished class project.  Not my favorite - kind of a tortured mess.
Still Life

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Day 57 - Portrait of Kim Arnold

Today was a fun time at Summerset Winery for the Art and Wine Crawl.  To pass the time and add a little entertainment value for those looking at the art, Linda had arranged for a model.   ( Not sure what I was thinking, trying to capture a likeness in watercolor without doing a value study first.)  So not the best likeness, but she was a great model.  Makes me want to work more on portraits.




Monday, November 2, 2015

Day 56 - Boathouse at Easter Lake

Today was a beautiful day for the Monday Plein Air Group to paint outdoors.  70s is rare for November in Iowa.  We talked out options for next week once the temperature drops 20 degrees.
Boathouse at Easter Lake

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Day 55 - Seashell

Graphite on Arches Cover Stock paper - a drawing from my class.  Used powdered graphite to darken the background



Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Fun Event - Wine and Art Crawl November 8th




I'm excited!  I have been asked by Summerset Winery owner, Linda Mark to be one of their artists at their winery for the Wine and Art Crawl.  Info about the event is located at http://www.heartofiowawinetrail.com. This is my first time doing something like this.  Lots to do to prepare.  Hope if you live in the area, you will check it out.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Day 54 - Bridge at Easter Lake

Today the Monday Plein Air group braved the wind and went to Easter Lake.  I blame the high wind on my crooked bridge.  It really did keep blowing my paper and board over.  But not sure that is why it needs work!  So repair the bridge and add a few details, and I'll be done.
Bridge at Easter Lake

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Day 53 - Milkweed Shadow Dance

This is the third project from my drawing class.  White charcoal on black paper.


Finished this project by ramping up the white on the milkweeds and smoothing the background.




Monday, October 5, 2015

Day 52 - Fall Beginnings at Summerset Park

Today the weekly Plein Air group went back to Summerset Park.  It was a beautiful fall day.  There were two new watercolorists that joined the group an got me itching to switch to watercolors.  But I stayed with pastel and did this from a picnic table in the park.
Fall Beginnings at Summerset Park.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Day 51 - Shadow Trail

I am loving this new sanded pastel paper, Hand Book Paper Co that I found at Dick Blick.  Since Wallis is no longer available, I think this is it.   A real splurge, but worth it to work on.

Shadow Trail


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Day 50 - Stream Reflections


Quick oil study of stream by the bike path.



Stream Reflections

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Day 49 - Lilies Revisited

One of the instructors suggested for my Open Studio time I do a series of contained florals in watercolor.  Since I did not have tome to get organized for that for today, I revisited a photo that I had done unsuccessfully in a previous class.

Lilies Revisited

Monday, September 28, 2015

Day 48 - Clive Greenbelt Park Bridge and Fallen Branches

This Monday our Plein Air art group went to Clive Greenbelt Park along the bike path.  Needs some work, I think.  Another day.  Who know it would get so hot.


Clive Greenbelt Park Bridge and Fallen Branches

Day 47 - Flowers at Summerset Winery

Last Monday Plein Air group went to the winery to try to capture some of it's beauty.
Flowers at Summerset Winery

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Day 46 - Gift Box

Second project for my drawing class.  Next class I will work on sharpening this up, then hopefully being done.  Was wishing after hours into this I had picked a less complicated pattern and taken my friend Dianne's advice to start over and enlarge the box and the pattern.



Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Day 45 - Serious Art Talk

Linda, Dianne and I painted at the World Food Prize Building a couple of weeks ago.  I snapped a quick photo that I seriously rearranged for the following watercolor.
Serious Art Talk

Day 44 - Black and White Box

Study from my drawing class.  Need to clean up the smudges and straighten some lines.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Day 43 - Student Show at Art Center

Today I worked on adding a few of what Jo Myers-Walker calls "dark notes" to a couple of watercolors I plan to include in the student show.  These were early attempts so I will tell you what I have learned since taking these classes and how I would change them.
Floral Arrangement from Sarah's Garden

Multi-colored background distracts from the arrangement.  From Iain Stewart I learned the secret of the wash using the bead and inclined paper.  So for sure I would make that less blobby and more a graduated wash.


Melinda's Toy Collection
Too much a colored-in drawing.  More variation in value and some lost edges would make this more interesting.  Once again the background is competing too much for attention.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Day 42 - World Food Prize Hall of Laureates

Today a few friends went out, and Dianne and I decided to practice our new discipline of working in our sketch books.

Doing this has been suggested by every instructor I have taken workshops and classes from in the past.  Many even provided sketchbooks to aid in developing the discipling of drawing daily, and doing quick sketches.  I think the aha moment for me was in Iain Stewart's workshop.  I saw a work start out as a sketchbook pencil sketch, get turned into a quick watercolor sketchbook study, then get transferred into a final work on high grade watercolor paper.  

Watching Iain go through that process, understanding how it started him on a path deciding what to include, what to omit, what edges would be hard, which ones soft.    He held his final work up to his pencil sketch and you could see he made very few changes in the final work.  He truly was a man with a plan, before he ever picked up his brush.

So not there yet, but here are a couple of quick sketches I did in my new, Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook.   If you tape corners down to binding, it really does hold up to watercolors.  He recommended that like your Amex - "never leave home without it".


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Day 41 - La Poste Building in Perry

The last day of the workshop we all tried a study of the La Post building where the workshop was held.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Day 40 - Bridge in Alabama

Today's effort was more challenging.  Architectural and complex.


Day 39 - Iowa Farm Scene

Taking a great workshop in Perry sponsored by the Iowa Watercolor Society with Iain Stewart.
Day 1 Project was an Iowa Farm Scene.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Day 38 - Pagoda in Skyline

Monday Plein Air group decided to go out on Labor Day, even though it is a holiday.  We met up at the Botanical Center, which was closed.  But there was still lots of subject matter, but little shade.
Pagoda in Syline

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Day 37 - Plein Air Watercolors with Friends

Beautiful, but once again a very warm day on the Indianola Bike Trail.  Practicing with watercolors as I am going to be taking a workshop with Iain Stewart this week through the Iowa Watercolor Society.  I took a bold step and joined (IWS) a few months ago.  
Bridge Shadows

Bridge Over Stream

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Day 36 - Mississippi Bridge


Unfortunately, my bridge has a few structural problems.   I'll try to fix those another day.  I gotta feed and walk my dog and make dinner.  Actually, it will probably be another week as I am switching to watercolors next week.
Mississippi River

Day 35 - Shallots and Garlic

Quick study I started at my friend Dianne's house some time ago and finished today.
Shallots and Garlic

Day 34 -Art Center Rose Garden

I rewarded myself for meeting my goal of daily painting with some new Terry Ludwig darks which was on sale.  I had started this painting this summer, during an art center class and was not overly thrilled with it.

I like it better with darker darks.   Still not in love with the composition, but may include this in the student show this fall.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Day 33 - Fast Water at Waterworks Park

Hot day for the Monday Plein Air group, but we found shade and a breeze and that helped a lot.
In the group critique, one of the other artists took exception with my blue and "poop-colored" water.  (Quoting).  There are art principles of design and color theory that are very helpful, and personal preferences, (which is good and why a collection of artists looking at the same scene will represent it so differently.). I thought about her comments, not sure it doesn't fall in the preference category, and decided I don't really mind it.  So for now, it stays the same.  What I think is lacking is more value variation.  So may be lightening some of the lights.


Fast Water at Waterworks Park


Monday, August 31, 2015

Day 32 -Bike Trail by Banner Range II

I actually did two paintings on the bike trail by banner range.  So I am a day ahead of schedule.  Someone asked my if I was going to continue daily painting when August ends.

If so, I am modifying it to 6 days a week at most - we all deserve a sabbath!

Bike Trail by Banner Range II

Day 31 - On Bike Trail by Banner Range

The final day of my August Challenge of a Painting a Day!

I am happy (as it takes the pressure off) and sad (because it takes the pressure off!) to see the month coming to an end.

So as I reflect on this month of painting each day, what have I learned?

- If I do want my art to improve, like anything else, it's going to take time and effort.  It's a fine line, to be disciplined, without turning art into work and losing the enjoyment of it.

- Having some immediate feedback and suggestions from friends and other artists not only helps me improve, but spurs me on.   Once I get started, even when I think I'm not in the mood, I get into it.

- Working quickly, as Carol Marine said in her book,  really does keep me from being over-invested in something that isn't really working, makes me willing to take risks, yet reduced the frustration factor....there is always tomorrow so no big deal how this one turns out.   If I learned something, it was a good day.

- Other artists are generous of their time, their expertise, and are a big help in learning what is and isn't working each day.

- My family and friends are great encouragers!  I would love to hear which one each of you liked best.  You don't even have to say why, but can if you are so inclined.

- Nothing really bad happens when you clean less, paint more.
On Bike Trail by Banner Range

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Day 30 - Dubuque Arboretum Path

I tried to improve a study I did from my time in Dubuque.  The original, (that I did in the workshop) had a horizontal orientation.  I thought it would be more interesting if I structured it vertically.  I had been living with it for a couple of months trying to figure if I could do anything to improve it.  So today was kind of cheating, as this was already started.  (Not sure my improvements today, were really improvements.😀)

Dubuque Arboretum Path

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Day 29 - Clive Greenbelt Bridge



Jim snapped a photo on the Clive Greenbelt for me.  Unfortunately, I didn't do the light reflections justice and would like to try this subject again in watercolor or oil to get the details of the bridge and light patterns down.  The pattern of the light was lovely in the photo, a bit clumsy in the pastel.

I did have fun pushing the colors and light a bit (too much) to the extreme.

Clive Greenbelt Bridge



Friday, August 28, 2015

Day 28 - Still Life at Mary's

When I first started studying oil painting,(I think it's been two years now) my friend, Dianne and I did a series of still life paintings at Mary Muller's studio.  So we have a collection of still life paintings of the same subject.  I was in the mood to do a quick oil today, so I pulled out a photo of one of the first still life settings we did.

I still don't get how John Preston and Carol Marine can complete an oil painting in a day.  This is the point I could get to then had to stop and let dry a bit .  So it's not completely done, just resting.

I can see the influence of my watercolor exercises/study in that the colors are purer and the strokes are a little more free than my early attempt at this subject.


Still Life at Mary's II


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Day 27 - Deer in Shadows by Trail

Another take on my deer friends.  Used more realistic colors this time.  I tried not to do it, but once again my center of interest is dead center!  That's why all this practice is a good idea.

Deer in Shadows By Trail

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Day 26 - Deer in Shadows by Stream

In this I started the shadows with cool colors and instead of adding the greens as I had planned, I decided to leave it more blue and aqua.  I had one instructor say that if you get the right value, you can use any color, so I was kind of testing that idea a bit.  Of course as I look at it, I did the one thing that is a no-no composition-wise and plopped the deer dead center.
Deer in Shadows by Stream

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Day 25 - Summerset Park

I had previously done this scene and it was very flat and once again the darks had disappeared!  (They have a habit of doing that-it's a problem I'm working on.  This take (believe it or not) is an improvement over my first try.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Day 24 - View from Boat Ramp at Summerset Park


Today the Monday Plein Air group from Des Moines met up at Somerset Park.  It was one of the best days we have met, great temperature, no bugs.  You can start to see a hint of fall in the greens.


View from Boat Ramp at Summerset Park, pastel

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Day 23 - Iris in Classroom

I took a photo of this iris in a watercolor class at the art center.
Iris in Classroom, oil

Friday, August 21, 2015

Day 21 - West Des Moines Barn

I have not been very invested in art the last few days.  A friend of mine came to visit, so it's been  quick posts and a lot of laughter!  Kim, besides being my friend,  is also my blog consultant.  Oh the things we do for friends!   If you want to get a feel for our time together, check out Kim's blog, as she wrote about one of our adventures today.

A quick, non-art story about Kim.   For those of you from the Des Moines area who are familiar with the Thai restaurant, Cool Basil, Kim asked them what their hottest rating was for their dishes, which is the rating of 6, which she ordered and enjoyed without a reaction.  Impressive!  For the rest of you, I like spicy food and I think 3 is too spicy.

So if you have tried to follow by mail and get notified when I post something,  I believe that function is now working.  It should link you to Feed Burner when you click it, to verify you are a person by entering characters and then it will send you an email that it is working.

Today is a quick study from a photo of a barn near our house in winter.  Yes, it's coming......but not for awhile.
West Des Moines Barn


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Day 20 - Flowers on Patio



When I first started painting with watercolors after taking a couple of classes at the Des Moines art center, I told an accomplished watercolor artist I wanted to be able to paint a watercolor I was proud of.  He told me I needed to paint 100 pictures, then I would start to get there.

This month should start me on that path.

Flowers on Patio, watercolor

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Day 19 - Dubuque Boat


When I was at the workshop in Dubuque, one of the potential drawing places was at a boat ramp and picnic area along the Mississippi.  This is from a photo I took when we were checking out the site locations on day.  I tried to simplify and edit out unnecessary details.

Dubuque Boats, pastel

Monday, August 17, 2015

Day 18 - Swan Parents Guarding Sleeping Cygnets, Walking Bridge at Waterworks Park


The objective of this simplification exercise was to capture the scene with least amount of detail - using background and simple shapes to define birds, in the book it was chickens.  The swans on the pond in the cemetery by where I live has babies this summer and my summer walking buddy, Cindy snapped a couple of quick photos that I used for reference to complete this exercise.
Swan Parents Guarding Sleeping Cygnets 

Monday afternoon the local Plein air group was at Waterworks Park.  This is a quick watercolor I had to finish at home because it started to sprinkle.
Walking Bridge at Waterworks Park, watercolor