In My Head

Confusion…at least I wasn’t the only one. Three paintings from one reference photo.  In my head we were doing three paintings, different views, different colors, different crop, etc.  Using a reference photo of a roseate spoonbill, I drew out my three sketches for the paintings.  Ready for my Friday class!.

Not…………..  What we actually did was use the same reference photo, and change the center of interest. My head was having none of this.  When I started painting I felt discombobulated, and awkward.  By the end of class I had to wash out all but two of my brushes. A tell-tale sign I was out of my comfort zone. Two or three brushes are standard for me.

Torture.  I could not get the idea that the Roseate would not be the center of interest in two of the three paintings. Hell, it’s a pink bird. How can it not be the center of interest? In painting one I made the focus the sunset, painting two made the foliage the center of interest, and in painting three I would finally make the bird the center of interest. Hated the first one, did another sunset again. Trying to downplay the bird left the silhouette pale and lifeless in both paintings.  But if I made it darker would it compete as a center of interest? Grrrrrrrrrrr. Four tries, none of which felt right, including the painting with the Roseate as the center of interest.

When I came home I darkened the silhouettes of the paintings done in class. Made them a bit better, but still not happy with my paintings from class, I took one of the drawings I had prepared the night before and did my fifth painting for the day.  It was in my brain, so therefore I think it was in my brush. Loved this one.  A reminder how powerful are our thoughts.IMG_1257

Wondering what would have happened if I hadn’t assumed what we were doing?

Loving this class (if not the paintings produced) for the challenges presented.

“Did You Art Today?


Hat Trick

Today’s class was about painting wet and dry.  The demos were mostly florals, and while I didn’t quite conquer the negative space concept demonstrated as well as I’d hoped, I was in my glory, feeling my mentor, Dan Hines smiling over my shoulder.

Wet me some paper, let me sling some paint. Happy, happy, joy, joy.

Birds of Paradise, approximately 12′ x 10″

Loose Purple Floral approximately 9″ x 7″

The Zen of Selby Gardens, approximately 9″ x 7″.

”Did You Art Today?”

The Process

My constant straightening in the studio is never predictable and hardly ever produces the desired neat result. Sort of a dance of daring today.  

The three paintings hanging out on the mat cutter table were particularly bothersome.

Two, from my first new watercolor class, are complete failures.  Should I leave them out for inspiration or as a reminder that practice is often the key? I do want to try that method again.  Underneath those two was the rose painting. A pretty basic floral made special by the memories of the gift they were.

Did I like it enough to mat? List it for sale? Frame it? The more I held it in my hand, I felt it needed something.  So instead of straightening the studio, I pulled out my stencils and watercolor in spray bottles, making more mess.  For a brief moment I hesitated.  If I did the “stencil thing”, it could ruin it.

Never being known for my restraint, see the above before and after.

And now the studio desk is covered with sprayed watercolor,  watercolor spray bottles,  wet stencils, and the rose painting.  The other two paintings remain on the mat cutter desk.  
Progress? Setback?  Not sure….just, for me, the process of being an artist

“Did You Art Today?”

End of Polo Season

Just a little bit sad on this last day of Sarasota Polo Club’s season.  However, I have some great reference photos (once I sort them all out) that will make some fun paintings.  So don’t for one minute think you’ve seen the the last of polo from the paintbrushes at Wallace Studios.

“Did You Art Today?”


In an effort to jumpstart my painting in Florida,  I started a watercolor class with the delightful Elaine Charney.  Her first class demo was based on her six day workshop with Alvaro Castagnet.  My limited palette contained none of the suggested colors, but I managed to do two paintings, neither of which prompted a show and tell.   I do want to try the process again with a bit more thought using my own photos and doing some preliminary sketches.

In today’s class, she talked about composition. And we were free to use whatever reference photo we wanted, as long as we kept the composition principles in mind.  She came around helping to pick photos, nixed my original idea of a rather complicated painting for a more simple reproduction of a photo I had that caught her eye. An easier assignment to complete in the three hour class, I readily agreed.

These white ibis are the most prevalent birds on our little lake, and I get to observe and photograph them often. They are a bright spot against the green landscape and dark waters of the lake.

Simple and bright….definitely symbolic of this Florida lifestyle.
“Did You Art Today?’

Gifts Keep Giving

We had a lovely lunch with our friend for whom I painted the black and white kitty.  She was touched and near tears when opening her gift.  

Frankly, it was hard for me to concentrate as she had brought this gorgeous pitcher full of delicious, honking big pink roses as a housewarming gift.  My eye kept getting drawn to their size and scrumptious color.  

As you can imagine, the moment I finished cleaning up after they left, I was in my studio, playing with paint.  It feels like it’s been a bit since I’ve experienced the delight of painting wet-into wet. And it’s also been a bit since painted any flowers…double delight.

Roses have always presented a challenge to me… wanting to paint those hard edges, losing the soft. Not bad today…a bit of both.  But in my enthusiasm to sling that paint, I realize I forgot to put the pitcher handle in!  

The gift of creativity.  In this painting the roses are in a vase!

“Did You Art Today?”

Next to Last Polo Sketch

While I can’t promise there won’t be any more polo paintings until next season (I have a ton of fun reference photos that are just begging to be painted.) there will probably only be one more polo sketch next week, as next week the season closes at Sarasota Polo Club. Did you hear a little tear escape from the corner of my eye?

But, I have started a watercolor class for a few weeks, (I used a bit of what we learned in the first class in this sketch) so they’ll be some paintings coming soon…even if they’re not my favorite paintings ever.  But that’s for another blog.

Stay tuned.  Who knows what I’ll get fixated on next!

“Did You Art Today?”