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?”


In the watercolor class I’m taking, yesterday’s lesson was on stenciling. Having done a 30 painting in 30 days challenge a few years ago, I experimented extensively with stencils and my favorite four colors.  Watered down in spray bottles, feeling a thrill when pushing that nozzle and then lifting the stencil to reveal the pattern.  Great fun and always producing unintended and interesting textures.

Comfortable in my class yesterday, and comfortable with the results.

“Did You Art Today?”

Sketching at the Pool

We’re spending the holiday weekend at Bonnet Creek Resort in the Disney area near Orlando. 

With lots of kids splashing and sliding down the water slide, I challenged myself to find something quiet to draw and paint.  

Then I had to tackle some of the people at the snack bar.

Happy July 4th everyone.
”Did You Art today?”

Cat Mojo

My painting class is not going as planned.  In my first five week session, I came home energized and excited, even if I didn’t like my paintings so much.

This session I have to keep reminding myself they are not all masterpieces.

Take my cat painting, or paintings to be more accurate. Done from a photo I took of one of the barn cats at Arrowhead Stables, I loved my sketch. 

Our first class was on putting a mat around your painting by blurring the corners with paint.  First try….muddy, too many colors, too much.  

Second try.  Too many hard edges.

When I came home from class, I tried to “fix” the first painting, only succeeding in making it worse.  Usually there is a freedom in tackling an unhappy painting.  You can try anything you want……not this time.  Think I can find a greeting card in the head on this second version of the first painting.

This week we worked on adding texture to a painting using different techniques.  I started with a Sandhill Crane that turned into a muddy mess.  Then I tackled the cat again. A bit better, but feeling my mojo is getting a bit distracted or diluted.   

What to do to get it back? Take a break, paint more, change up my palette?  Any suggestions?
“Did You Art Today?”

Double Dose of Paradise

Two more for our home.  These two will be framed and reside on either side of our bed, above the nightstand.  I found some really sweet bamboo look frames in the thrift store and will mat them in a tan mat to give the paintings a vintage feel.  But first I need a trip to Sarasota Art & Frame to pick up my framed acrylic Ibis painting and to find just the right color mat.

“Did You Art Today?”