Friday, January 31, 2014

The Leslie Saeta January 2014 Challenge is Done

I didn't have time to really get to know the website Picmonkey (who thinks of these names!?) when I made to collage below the other day.  I went back to experimented (played) and found it is a lot of fun!                    

It is so hard to believe that it is time to say au revoir to January!  Yesterday was the end of  Leslie Saeta’s 2014 January 30 paintings in 30 day challenge.  I’m proud that even being gone for a week I finished 24 paintings.   
At the beginning of the year a group of artist friends decided we’d each write a list of art endeavors we hope to accomplish in 2014 and share them when we met.   My list consisted of 20 things I plan to try to do and the challenge was one them.  I also promised myself I'd practice still life painting so those are two things I can already check off and the year is young.
What I learned about myself in this experience:
  • It isn’t a bad thing to paint just for the experience and practice. 
  • I need to let myself play (practice) more.
  • It was liberating not to worry about every painting being good enough to sell.  
  • When I spent too much time figuring out what to paint I procrastinated.
  • If I ever do another daily challenge I will plan ahead what to paint. 
  • It would be a good idea to pick one subject or just a couple and really get to know that subject.
  • I can paint faster!!
  • I enjoyed the challenge, but it was more stressful than I thought it would be.
  • Daily painting does become a habit (I was shocked I felt bad (well just a little) about not painting everyday on our cruise)
  • I now have an inventory of small works
  • I’m not a daily painter.  I now know I need a second day to go back to a painting.  Not to tweak, but my mind needs that break so I see the painting with fresh eyes.   
Thank you to Leslie and everyone who has given me so much encouragement this month and to all the wonderful artists who participated in the challenge.  

Thursday, January 30, 2014

# 24 - Loved His Hat

January 2014 Leslie Saeta's 30 paintings in 30 days challenge

Loved His Hat  6x6" oil

I saw this Swiss gentleman on a recent trip.  He looked so distinguished I took a photo.  There is just something about an older gentleman wearing a dress hat and a suit.   

I don't normally paint people.  I took a workshop from Karin Jurick in late 2013.  After the workshop many in the class did a weekly challenge painting a 4x4" 'mug shot' of a class member. If you haven't seen them, Karin actually paints from criminal mug shots.   That challenge gave me a more confidence to tackle painting faces.  It helps that I don't try to paint a portrait, but shoot for a resemblance, which takes the pressure off.  In fact, I think this gentleman might be pleased I've made him look about 20 years younger! 

The most interesting thing I learned doing this painting was I could actually do a small "portrait" in one sitting (using a photo). I also learned using a 6x6" canvas is so much easier than on a 4x4" painting.   Hats off to all you miniaturists. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

#23 - Fire Truck

January 2014 Leslie Saeta's painting challenge

Fire Truck
 6x6" oil

Turn the knob on the top and it takes off.   

I can't believe I woke up at 6:00am and started painting!  Who knew how hard it would be to paint an oddly shaped wooden toy.   The wheels made me crazy.  I finally had to make myself put the brush down.  You'd think I was trying to paint a masterpiece with all the "just one more stroke" I did!  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

#22 - Dad's Car

January 2014 Leslie Saeta's 30 paintings in 30 days challenge

Dad's Car
6x6" oil

I was looking for something to paint and found a wooden car my Dad made.  He and a friend have been making a 1000 of these great little cars for kids every Christmas for a number of years.  This painting is a tribute to all their wonderful work.  

Painting a plain wooden object was very interesting.  The challenge is how do you make a single color look dimensional?  

Monday, January 27, 2014

#21 - April Showers

January 2014 Leslie Saeta's 30 paintings in 30 days challenge

April Showers
6x6" acrylic
As I left the National Art Gallery in DC last spring and waited for the light to change I thought all the people in front of me hurrying through the rain with their umbrellas and raincoats might be fun to paint.  

ART TIP - Draw using a Proportional Divider or Caliper

When I mentioned using a caliper when I was having trouble with proportions in an earlier post a couple of art friends asked me about it.  I used a caliper years ago in architectural & drafting classes.  I pull them out once in a while when I'm drawing, but they have sharp metal tips so I was always worried about putting a hole in a canvas.  Artist friend Deena Hunkler-Sanks took a class that used an Accurasee Proportional Divider made from plastic.  It helps artists by helping with scale.  You align the subject matter you are drawing or painting in the small end of the divider and use the larger end on your drawing surface to get the correct proportion. Artist friend Maria Bennett Hock order one and what a lovely surprise when she gave me one too.  It is a very nifty tool, but initially I wasn't using it correctly.  I've learned you have to remember to hold your arm out straight EVERY time.  Deena was kind enough to send out the video (below) on of how to use it and I thought I would share it with you.  

Youtube: Bjorn demonstrates how to draw using the Accurasee Proportional Divider  (FYI - A number of the online art stores carry Accurasee Dividers)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

# 20 - Thai Again

January 2014 Leslie Saeta's 30 paintings in 30 days challenge

Thai Again 
5x7" Acrylic

I will be playing catchup for the 30 in 30 challenge.  You haven't seen me posting for the past week because we were celebrating our anniversary on a 7-day cruise from Baltimore to the Bahamas.  I knew I was going away for a week in January when the challenge started and almost used it as an excuse to bow out this year.  Then I decided to heed Leslie's comments that this challenge was about painting and not about numbers.  Feeling a bit guilty about leaving in the middle of the 30/30, I decided I'd paint on the cruise.  I've never watercolored so I lugged acrylic paints along knowing oils and water (cruises) don't mix.  Did I mention I have the large tubes of acrylic paint (i.e. they weigh a lot) because I never take them out of the studio.  Still, it all seemed like a good idea until I actually tried painting onboard.  My intensions were good, but here are my reasons I 'finished' two paintings instead of seven.   (Thai Again is one of those two) 

  1. I didn't take into consideration two of the 7 days are packing/unpacking plus all the time it takes to board, disembark and drive to and from. 
  2. Lights on ships are dim.  Maybe it's not a bad thing you can't see what you are painting, but not good when trying to see the still life. Those paintings were pitiful!
  3. I never considered taking photographs with me and was lucky to find two old ones tucked in my sketchbook because that's what I ended up painting.
  4. It is very hard to paint when a ship is rocking, but it will loosen you up.  
  5. If you are leaving from Baltimore in January it is too cold and windy to paint out on the deck for better light...and once you are in warm weather painting isn't the first thing you want to do! :-)
It is nice to be home but I'm already missing the warm weather and someone else doing all the cooking. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

#19 - Vespa

It amazing how once you get in the habit it feels funny not to post.  Since I can't paint today, I decided Leslie Saeta makes the rules for her 30-day challenge and posted a previously done painting she had never posted before it must be ok.  :-)

I did this painting before the holidays. I loved the white Vespa scooter against the bright green wall I saw on our trip in Italy.  You just don't see lime green walls everywhere. 

8x10" oil

Saturday, January 18, 2014

#18 - Don't Make a Scene

January 2014 Leslie Saeta's 30 paintings in 30 days challenge

Don't Make a Scene 
5x7" Acrylic

Once again my hat is off to all the daily painters out there.  It is a very humbling experience.  There have been a couple of days that if I hadn’t felt I had to post a painting I would have set that day’s painting aside and it would never have seen the light of day.   Today was one of those days.  I find it interesting that one day a painting almost paints itself and sometimes I struggle like I've never painted before.  

Today I had a full day so decided to try acrylics hoping that would be a little quicker.  I know my head wasn't in it.  It didn't help those darn acrylics like to dry darker than when applied!

I helped hang a large show today from a 12" ceiling using fishing line.  Only a few of us weren't afraid of heights!  I lost count of how many times I climbed the ladder. It takes a village to hang a show that's for sure.   
I won’t be able to paint or post for the next few days but I will finish 30 daily paintings.