A Sign?

A friend posted a lovely photo of a blue jay feather lying on the sidewalk, asking if it was a sign.  It looked so peaceful, I asked her if I could paint it and send the painting along if she wanted it.  She happily agreed, and after two attempts this morning it dawned on me that I had never painted a feather before.  Lots of birds, but not a single feather.

Struggled a bit to get the amount of soft and hard edges I wanted.  It took a few tries, but I finally got one I like (the top one). Got me to thinking about all the things I still haven’t painted.  Guess it’s a sign, I need to keep looking and painting.

“Did You Art Today?”

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Painting without drawing #3


“Bayfront Park Sarasota” 14″ x 11″

The dolphin fountain in Bayfront Park frames one of the prettiest views of Sarasota Bay and the high rise luxury residences in Sarasota.  The park itself draws an interesting mix of families, boaters, dog walkers tourists and homeless.  Complete with a marina, restaurants, a tiki bar, kiddie splash park and a lovely paved walk around the bay, you can always count on some interesting encounters.

Choosing to take this picture of a very happy family enjoying what Bayfront Park has to offer, I wanted to keep the painting light and bright…again, my interpretation of the day, not just the photo.
‘Did You Art Today?”

Painting Without Drawing – #2

From photo, to sketch, to painting.

So while I didn’t do any sketching on this painting, I had done this sketch previously, and worked from the sketch to do the watercolor.

This is the son of a friend who performs regularly at JDubs, a local brew pub.  We enjoy going to see him play and often meet up with his Mom and other members of his family.  I gave the original sketch to his Mom.  Next time we saw her, she said he was so excited, he had taken it and posted it on his Facebook page.  She wasn’t sure she would ever see it again, so I’ll pass this painting along to her so maybe she gets to keep it this time.

The drawing itself was done while attending a local, long, drawn out planning board session at which time they were deciding if a construction recycling plant would be a good idea to put next to the wonderful natural area called The Celery Fields.   Trying to keep myself out of trouble, I had taken a sketchbook and did three or four sketches while listening to testimony and the developers defense of his grand plan.  

Remembering why I took the picture, I reflected on how I probably wouldn’t have gone to this particular brewery (not a big beer drinker) had it not been for the connection, and yet the atmosphere is fun and laid back.  Stepping out of the routine can always produce some fun memories if you let it. Just like stepping outside of the box when creating can produce unexpected results.

“Did You Art Today?”

Another Quartet

Of paintings in class on Monday.



Our assignment again brought a little stretch to my practice of art.  We were painting without drawing.  I had taken some reference photos of statues and plants to work from, but when our teacher started a painting with people, I knew I’d have to give it a go.  People are not so easy for me.  One year, my New Year’s goal was to work on drawing and painting people.  That didn’t happen, so I thought this was a sign to give it a go again.

While not quite as fearless as my instructor, I scanned through my phone for reference pictures to use.  Again, taking a moment to remember the scene and what made me what to photograph it.  On this day we were having lunch at a new to us restaurant called The Sandbar….overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, everyone relaxed and enjoying their meal in the paradise that is Sarasota.
Above is the painting and reference photo used.  All four paintings sparked an adventurous feel, and I enjoyed painting them immensely.  This is my last class for a bit, as we have a lot of travel plans in the Fall.  I will miss it, but plan on dedicating an afternoon a week to continue my education.

“Did You Art Today?”

Fourth and Last ´╗┐Painting



From my class on Monday.  Rushed this one a bit, but I thought I would give you an example of how I translate  a photo into a painting.   My reason for photographing this arrangement was that I loved the unusual shape of the glass vase and the light and airy arrangement of the flowers. Certainly not an accurate rendition, but more my interpretation of what I see and feel. 

“Did You Art Today?’

The Reason I Paint


“Flutter Free”     15″ x 11″  Strathmore Aquarelle paper, Daniel Smith Paints

The third painting from Monday’s class.  Did I mention I forgot my pencil case?  One of my fellow students generously leant me a pencil, but when I tried to erase on the first painting, it left a nasty smudge.  So no drawing after the first painting.  But that’s o.k.  Next week’s class is painting without drawing, so I think I’ve got this.

In order to vary things even more on this third painting,  I pulled out my trusty travel bag of paints, grabbed two colors I hardly ever use, Cadmium Orange and New Gamboge. Cad Orange isn’t the most transparent of colors, which I’m sure is why I had a hard time removing the cap!

Using a reference photo I took on Edisto Island when these pretties were just fluttering around everywhere we went, I started in happily splashing water then paint.  Not quite sure what was happening at first, trusting it would work out and eventually we ended up here. A little salt, a little scraping, a few details, and I stopped.

Whenever I start a painting, I try to answer the question….why this subject or photo? I feel it sets the tone for my painting, affects my color choice, composition, even the size of the paper I use. In this case, I loved the color of the butterflies, the memory of the fluttering wings on a lovely vacation day. Admittedly, I often start a painting with little regard to anything besides the music that is playing in my studio.

Happy, playful, reminiscent of the day the photo was taken, I am happy with this painting.  It conveys the reason I paint.  Not to paint an accurate rendition of what my camera recorded, but to convey the feelings evoked that made me want to paint them in the first place.

Do you know the reason you paint?

“Did You Art Today?”

Pretty in Pale

“A Whisper of Roses” 14 1/2″ x 11″, Fabriano paper

Those of you who follow along on this amazing adventure of mine, know I am not a fan of wishy washy paintings.  They don’t often show up on my paper.  My style, nature and personality are all out there with bright color  – fresh paint is the key…thank you Dan Hines.  Big, bold brush strokes with my “butter” brush loaded with pigment ensures a mingling on the paper and dramatic contrast when you leave even just a little bit of the white of the paper.

So what’s with this painting that looks like mostly white paper?

Some of the examples our instructor included in Monday’s class were from other artists, many of whom painted delicately with a light touch.  As I had just finished the bright and bold African Violets which I posted yesterday, I figured I’d try something different on painting number 2.

Not my usual, but not without it’s appeal.  Personally, to me, it feels like roses.  No sure how since there’s so little definition.

What’s your verdict?

“Did You Art Today?”

Two Comfortable

Soft Violets, 16″ x 12″, Arches 140 lb. paper, Daniel Smith paints.

My class again this week was mostly in my comfort zone.  So much that I painted four paintings in the span of a 3 hour class.  Was really trying to see if I could do five….but it didn’t happen.
We wet certain areas of the paper (with no regard to placement) and then started right in painting flowers.  This was my first painting.  Will post the others over the next few days.  

The soft and hard edges emerged of their own will.  A big fan of wetting both the back and front of my paper, then taking off the excess from the front, I know I’ve got soft edges from the get go.  Not knowing where these little vixens would show up, added a bit of excitement and forced me to concentrate on where I wanted those soft edges.  Sometimes the spray bottle came in handy.

Next week will be my last class for a bit.  Our travel plans this fall preclude another six week session with this teacher who stretches my skills, sometimes making me question my creativity.  One of her favorite phrases is, “it’s only paper”…..probably the reason I enjoy her teaching style so much.  So while I’ll miss the structure of painting at least once a week, I know I’ll carry these lessons forward, even if they don’t always show up in my paintings.

“Did You Art Today?”

Emergency Art Kit


My husband’s and my car both have Emergency Art Kits in them.  They consist of a repurposed Omaha Steak box that contains a small sketchbook, a mechanical pencil and Fabre Castel eraser.  Preferring  kneaded erasers, I’ve learned the hard way that they can make a mess after sitting in the Florida heat in the car.

Today’s concert at Selby Gardens is the perfect example of how handy they can be.  Sitting under the banyan tree listening to live music, I’m reminded how you can “art” anywhere if you’ve got some simple supplies.

“Did You Art Today?”