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

Day 17 - Seagulls on the Beach


Used graduated wash to suggest sand and water.  Define sea gulls with simplified forms.
Seagulls on the Beach, watercolor

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Day 16 - Rocky Stream and Pool at Dubuque Arboretum

Day 16 - August 16, 2015


Rocky Stream and Pool at Dubuque Arboretum, watercolor

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Day 15 - Sunflowers and Shadows



Sunflowers by the corner of our house.

Sunflowers and Shadows, watercolor

Friday, August 14, 2015

Day 14 - Saylorville Marina



Another unsuccessful attempt at the marina.  Two takes on the same subject, neither one works.  It's challenging to try to capture the collection of boats by reducing them to light and dark shapes.  So a good exercise, disappointing result.    I think the pastel works better than the watercolor.   A slight change in perspective and color and value changes help there.

Ways to improve the watercolor:
- Lighten up the colors.  I went way too bright and dark.
- I think for the boats in the distance I should just glaze some  blue purplish shapes and lose any detail there.  I think that would help create depth.
- Simplify the scene.

  I found this book by Malcolm Beattie, "Simplifying Complex Scenes in Watercolor."  It has some simplification exercises to do that I am going to work through to help me in this area.  This was an area John Preston talked to me about during his workshop - too much unnecessary detail.

Saylorville Marina, Watercolor

Saylorville Marina,  pastel 


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Day 13 - Spring Bouquet in Corner



A  dear friend, Carolyn sent me this beautiful spring bouquet.

Spring Bouquet in Corner, watercolor

Day 12 - White Rocks and Walking Bridge, Gray's Lake

Day 12 - August 12, 2015

Local Plein Air group went to Gray's Lake this week.

Monday afternoon, the local Plein Air group went to Gray's Lake.  Started this pastel there and finished it up today in wonderful air conditioning.  It is so much more fun to paint with other artists.  Besides seeing their take on a subject and learning from that, the group discussion on what improvements might enhance each work is really educational.    A tennis player I used to work with said the only way to improve is to "play up"- play better players to improve.  I'm hoping the same is true for hanging with better artist!


White Rocks and Walking Bridge, Gray's Lake, pastel

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Day 11 - Flowers and Fruit on Kitchen Table

Day 11 - August 11, 2015
In this watercolor, I tried to mix the edges, some sharp, some getting lost into the next object of the same value.

Flowers and Fruit on Kitchen Table, watercolor


Monday, August 10, 2015

Day 10 - Brook at Dubuque Arboretum


Finished a pastel from a workshop I took in June.  There was a cooler green shrub in foreground and a brighter green mid-plane catching more sun.  I think different color choices might have helped create more depth.
Brook at Dubuque Arboretum, pastel 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Day 9 - Barrels and Flowers at Summerset Winery

Several years ago I snapped a photo of the flowers and wine barrels at Summerset Winery, in Indianola.  They have the most beautiful flowers and setting.  They are very artist friendly as well, having hosted art workshops and one of the owners, Linda Mark has a number of paintings on display for sale at the winery.

My first attempt at this subject in watercolor was really stiff and muddy.  Sadly this second is a little too loose and not enough value  and edge variation.  Maybe the third time will be the charm?



Barrels and Flowers at Summerset Winery, Watercolor

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Day 8 - Tomatoes on Towel



This time of year living in Iowa ain't so bad.   What with sweet corn and fresh tomatoes, it's easy to forget we are heading toward fall, then winter.  Our neighbor keeps us in fresh tomatoes.  Jim said yesterday, I keep seeing your paintings in the fridge.  (I think he meant the subject matter, not the paintings, although I can be absent-minded!).
They say write what you know, I guess maybe it's paint what you eat?

  Tomatoes on Towel, Watercolor

Friday, August 7, 2015

Day 7 - Saylorville Marina

Day 7 - August 7,  2015

Yesterday Jim (my husband) and I drove out to the Saylorville Marina to check it out for our local Plein Air group that recently started up on Mondays.  We snapped a few pictures, decided it was a cooler weather option as there is no great shade for the artists and went to the Green Briar for a great lunch.  This is my not so successful pastel from one of the snapshots.  (I want to keep trying on this subject matter until I get one I like - maybe after I complete this challenge).
Saylorville Marina

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Day 6 - Peppers on Towel


OK, today I tried my first Daily Painting in oil.  It may be my last.  For those of you who have used oil based paints to prime or paint buildings, you can relate to my frustration.  It does not dry quickly.  So you can reach a point of no return, where you have to leave it and come back days later for corrections and detail.

That's what makes these art events called "paint outs" so amazing.  The artists go to different spots in the area and do a painting in oil onsite in a few hours.  If you want to see what I mean about amazing, you can check out the blog I follow of John Preston called Learning to See.  He has won several of these events and is posting work he from an event going on now.  So check it out.  If you like his work, I think he is still at the Olsen-Larsen in West Des Moines.
Peppers on Towel, oil

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Day 5b - Flowers in Creamer

Day 5b - August 5, 2015

Setting up a blog ended up being a humbling experience.  I mean I spent 30 years in a technical sales job-so was expecting it would be a 10 minute job, not an all day exploration.  My favorite part of the day, was when my dear friend, Kim McCool told me I should include a photo with each post.  I didn't have the heart to tell her I thought I had!  I guess cutting and pasting is not a valid option.  So thanks to those who have been putting up with my missteps.
Flowers in Creamer

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Day 5 - Flowers in Blue Vase


OK so I am posting this one early as I got on a roll today.  Watercolor I completed  of a photo I had from a still life from a class I took this spring.
Flowers in Blue Vase

Day 4 - Rose Garden at Des Moines Art Center




Rose Garden at Des Moines Art Center

Day 3 - Waterworks Park

Day 3 - August 3,2015

Waterworks park.  Not great composition or values.  Arrg.  Oh well.  Always tomorrow!
Waterworks Park

Day 1 - Mississippi Bridge


I took a great workshop this summer from an artist from Fairfield, IA, John Preston. In his workshop, he recommended the book Daily Painting, by Carol Marine. I thought I would give daily painting a try for a full month. So I plan to post a work that I either completed in. Day this month or did in an entirety that day. I have also challenged a friend to join me for this month.

Somewhat cheating as I finished a pastel drawing I had started the last day of my workshop in Dubuque.  It was covered with rain sprinkles so had to rework most of it.

Mississippi Bridge

Day 2 - Raining in Greenwood Park


Raining in Greenwood Park