Tuesday, 25 April 2017

LYA Side Swaps 2017

When I decided to join the Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap I had no plans to do any side swaps. However, I had a couple of people request a side swap and then, out of the blue, I got a card from a blogging friend Sheila Delgado.
I have been following Sheila's blog for a while and this has always been one of my favourite images. Sheila's Blog

At any rate, I decided that I would do 5 more cards and in the last few days I have received two cards from side swaps.

 This card came all the way to Wynndel BC Canada (via Porthill, Idaho) from Louise Mammet in France. This photo does not do the card justice unfortunately because the colours and the texture are really super.

This burst of colour is from Patsy Lawrence in Murfreesboro, TN. A fascinating mixed media piece done in an altered photography book - so very cool!

It has been so much fun getting 'happy' mail and I can't wait to see what the next trip to the post office brings.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Too Much Happening!

There is just too much happening in my life right now! This time of year is often busy between art activities, yard work and my bedding plants but this year there seems to be more going on than usual.

First, I have been getting things organized for the Trade Show at the end of the week. I wanted to add some more scenes (the Foggy Building pictures) to my Watercolour Painting Parties and that meant painting some - lol. I also needed to make up some posters to use to promote the parties.

I used both Pic Monkey and Canva to make the posters and I am pretty happy with my finished products. I also decided to offer Quilling Parties although I have no idea how many people will be interested.
 And, I needed a poster that helps to explain the whole concept.
The day after the Trade Show I have to get some paintings ready for a display at Creston's Rec Centre. It is only a four day show but it should be interesting. The arts community is displaying with local children as part of the annual Focus on Youth and this year the theme is Art and Agriculture as part of the Canada 150 Celebrations.

And, the day after Focus on Youth ends, I will be attending a 2 1/2 day watercolour workshop with Canadian artist Graham Flatt - His web site

The following Friday, I will be displaying some of my work at this year's Bird Festival. I am hoping visitors to the festival will be interested in taking home some reminders of their visit as I have quite a few pieces that feature birds.
 And to top it off, I hope to start my Watercolour Painting Parties the same weekend. Am I crazy?

Saturday, 15 April 2017

LYA Postcard Swap 2017 Finale

The final pieces are in place! All the cards have been mailed and most received and it is time for the Blog Hop and the video of many of this year's cards.
I decided to join the LYA Postcard Swap rather late so I just used some of the many cards I have on hand. These are all photos of my original paintings which I glue onto cards; they are a super way for visitors to the area to take home an inexpensive reminder of their stay. Most of the pictures I chose for the swap depict the Creston Valley - or they could - lol. My cards are not postcards so I had to do some cutting and adapting.
These are the cards I received in the mail. It was a treat each time we picked them up and I enjoyed getting in touch with all of the artists and checking out their websites, Facebook or Google+ pages. You will find some of those links in previous blog posts - just click the LYA label at the bottom of this post.

I enjoyed the quotes and stories on each card and seeing so many other cards on the Facebook group page. One thing that disappointed me about the swap; only one of my cards was shared on Facebook. I received notices from the recipients of 4 of my cards and was able to check out many of their blogs and websites. Part of the fun for me was to see all the different cards that I didn't get and I guess others feel the same way - oh well!

I am going to add my link the the Blog Hop on Kat's page - LYA FINALE
and I hope you will go over and check out some of the other blogs, see the statistics and have a look at the video.

Special thanks to Kat Sloma for organizing the LYA Postcard swap for another year and to all of the people who helped out with the sorting and labelling. It has been a super experience and I imagine I will do it again next year!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

And the "Other"

Here are some of the 'other' things that I have been doing!

I decided to make a sign or 'banner' for the Trade Show at the end of April; something I can hang behind the table or on the front.
A few years ago I got a roll of some linen type fabric at a garage sale and haven't known what to use it for but it worked well for this sign. I think this should stand out! I also made some place-mats and hot pads using the same fabric and the same colours. Who knows what I will come up with for the rest of the material.

I am sharing a space at the Trade Show with another artist, Lesley McLeish. Lesley has been turning her lovely paintings into fabric and you can see her work here: Wildflower Fabrics.  Her husband will also be there with his interesting boxes and storage ideas.  I hope the show will be successful for all of  us.

The other day I got 2 more postcards from the Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap. I found both of these very hard to photograph effectively - one was so shiny and the other so intricate that the detail got a bit lost.
This card is from Mikki Raub a potter, painter and crafter from Colorado. Mikki sells her work through an Etsy shop - Freelance by Design so pop over and take a look!

This card was from Christine Barker whose story and works can be found at Freehand Impressions.

Christine added a super quote from Auguste Rodin on the back of her card.

"Art is contemplation. It is the pleasure of the mind which searches into nature and which there divines the spirit of which Nature herself is animated."

The LYA swap is almost over. All of the participants will get a card from the organizer, Kat Sloma, and then we are to participate in a blog hop of some kind. I just hope the blog hop is easier to do that the instructions indicated - I am not adept at computer terminology and need visuals - lol! There will also be a video featuring a number of the cards that have been circulated around the world. I am looking forward to everything!

That's it for the 'other', now it is on to the 'next'. Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!.

Friday, 7 April 2017

This, That and the Other

Instead of sketching in the evenings lately, for a change of pace I have been doing some more quilling and adding the finished pieces to cards.
Quilled Rooster Card
I find most quilling to be relaxing and often do it while watching TV. Sometimes though, I pick a subject that is a bit tougher to do and it needs more control and concentration.
Filigree Hummingbird Card
This little hummingbird and flower seemed to take forever to do as I could only do a bit at a time while I waited for the glue to dry.

I have also been spending time figuring out my display for the up-coming Trade Show at our local rec centre. I mostly want to promote my Watercolour Painting Parties and my 20th "Anniversary as an Artist" Clearance Sale but I hope to make my display inclusive of all my work - thus the figuring.

This year I will be offering some new scenes for the Painting Parties. I am going to add 'A Building in Fog' as well as the 'Vignettes' and the 'Little Guys' parties.
Little Guys selection - paint two 5 x 7 pieces

Vignettes selection - paint one 10 x 14 scene

I don't have most of the scenes for the 'Building in the Fog' series ready yet but here is a sample;
#550 - Abandoned 
These scenes will be 10 x 14 and participants also get a 16 x 20 mat and a clearbag to protect their paintings.

I do have 'other' things happening but I think this blog is long enough, so I will leave the rest for an 'other' day - lol.

I invite readers to 'follow' my blog and leave a comment - let me know how I'm doing!

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Triple Report

Things have been busy since I wrote last. I have done some work on my painting 'Poppies by the Fence', I received another postcard from the LYA swap, and I had a lesson with Jeannie.

A few of my blogging friends made suggestions to improve my 'poppies' painting. I wasn't able to implement all of them on this piece but will be doing a second version where I can make more adjustments. Meanwhile, here are photos of the original and the improved painting.
 It is amazing how differently the paintings and the photos of them look. When I compare the second photo with its painting I wonder if I need to darken the shadows even more than I have done already. I am going to put this away for a while and let it gel.

Now for the treasure in the mail! Today's LYA postcard was from Jane Martin of Roanoke, Virginia. It is a charming sketch of a gardener's bench and fits in perfectly with my bedding plants.
Jane Martin's postcard
Jane included a super quote from Picasso on the back of the card:
             "Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."

You can see more of Jane's art at Mary Jane's Studio

And behind door number three... I finally remembered to take a photo of my student's painting!!!
Jeannie's painting
This was based on one of Jeannie's photos from their trip to Hawaii. The colours are a bit more vibrant in the original. We have done very few landscapes together and nothing with such a dramatic sky so this just thrilled me when I saw it at Art Club where she continued to work on the painting. I hope her husband is pleased with it too as it was his suggestion of a subject for this week's class.

#1021 - Storm over the Island - 7 x 10 watercolour
And this is my painting of the same scene. I demonstrate each step of the painting, often going over the same area more than once to help my students understand the process better and to demonstrate that watercolour is more flexible than many think.

It has been a good week!

Monday, 27 March 2017

My first LYA Postcards

Hooray! I got two postcards today from the Liberate Your Art Postcard swap organized by Kat Sloma. It is such a cool way to 'meet' other artists and see their work.

Worcester Village - pastel
My first card was this lovely pastel by Marcia Hill of Worcester, VT. USA. My photo really doesn't do the postcard justice and the shiny surface took a bit of a beating through the post. I thought the contrast of the card and the snow looked cool. Marcia wrote a lovely sentiment on the back:
                              Art is the Voice of the Soul - Speak Up!

My second card is a mystery! I do not know who this postcard is from as there was only an email address (which I hope I read correctly as Bob and I disagreed on some of the letters in the address). No name, no web page, no way to be sure that my email got to her/him okay.  There was also a charming sentiment -

                       May your eyes find BEAUTY wherever they look!

I hope whoever sent this will see my post and get in touch so I can find out who they are.

When I got my cards I realized that I went overboard when I wrote on the back of my own postcards but as it is my first year I am sure people will understand. Next time I will try to come up with some interesting sayings.

I am looking forward to getting the rest of my cards for this years swap and will definitely be participating again.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Commission and Sketches

Earlier this year a friend commissioned me to do a painting of poppies as a gift for her niece. The only instructions I received were about the size  - 7 x 10, and the colour - she wanted a salmon pink for the flowers. So I have been playing around with ideas for composition and searching the internet for good references for the flowers. I have done two pieces and am not sure that I like either of them.

#1014 - Peachy Poppy -  - 7 x 10 watercolour
#1020 - Poppies by the Fence - 7 x 10 watercolour
I have one more drawing ready to paint but I don't feel that I have found the right reference photo yet. Fortunately, I have a lot of time to play with this as the commission isn't due until the end of summer.

Meanwhile, I have continued my promise to myself to do more sketching.
a few sketches from TV and my reference file

Some of the items on top of one of my cupboards

a vase decorated with some metal leaves
It is obvious that I need to work on cylindrical objects but I am reasonably pleased with my progress - getting better every day!

I hope you will let me know what you think of the poppy paintings as any suggestions will be appreciated.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Friday, 24 March 2017

Just One Step Ahead

It is not often that a student asks to learn something that I don't know how to do but Jeannie surprised me by wanting to try an abstract. Thankfully there is the internet with hundreds of photos to for viewing and learning.
#1017 - Blended Blooms - 5 x 7 watercolour
Not being sure what Jeannie was interested in, I did 'Blended Blooms' as a trial. I liked it but, when she came for her lesson, Jeannie felt that she wanted a more abstract look and less impressionism.
#1015 - Bold Burst - 5 x 7 watercolour
'Bold Burst' started as a demonstration of applying colour somewhat randomly. I finished this after the class by adding more colour and water and letting things flow together.
#1016 - Blended - 5 x 7 watercolour
'Blended' is the painting we did together and, of course, I forgot to take a photo of Jeannie's painting. Jeannie liked her painting in landscape format but I prefer portrait format for mine. It was fun doing this piece so I used the idea for a birthday card I made for a friend.
Card #87 - Birthday Balloons
For the lesson with Jeannie I was just one step ahead so I was happy to get back on track with this week's class with Heather and do something I was more familiar with - skies and mountains!

We used one of my older paintings as a guide for our first piece.
#967 - Clouds on the Mountain #2 - 5 x 16 watercolour
Heather wanted to learn how to achieve the tonal perspective needed for the mountains and she liked the clouds over the mountains. When I mentioned taking photos of her work she was reluctant so I didn't push. We left the foreground for homework because I wanted Heather to try a more dramatic sky.
#1019 - Sunset Storm - 5 x 7 watercolour
We stared out doing a bright sunset but ended up with a 'Sunset Storm'. Many beginners are afraid of using too much colour and I wanted to show her that adding the dark clouds over the sunset could make a more effective painting.

I hope to show my students that painting can be fun! I want them to loosen up and play a bit more; to let the brush dance over the paper and just see what happens. It will come with more practice and confidence and then they will have the skills to paint different styles, from abstract to realistic. Here's hoping!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Thinking Summer

I know! It is only the first day of Spring so why am I thinking Summer? I spent yesterday afternoon using my new ArtFoamies to print some new Hot Weather Scarves and that made me think of warm summer days.
stamped fabric strips
close up of new designs   
I started making Hot Weather Scarves in 2015 using some of my own stamps and some from ArtFoamies. They are hand made, hand stamped cotton 'bags' with gel beads that expand when soaked and provide hours of cooling comfort. Most of the scarves I make now are only 1 1/4" wide so they are more tie than scarf. These 'Cool Ties' are perfect for gardening, hiking or just hanging around in the sun. I also make 'Cool Bags' which are little gel bags that fit under a cap or hat to help keep your head cool.
one of my original designs
Last fall my daughter suggested that I should make some shorter scarves - or 'Cool Ties' - with more masculine designs and colours; something that would appeal to men working in the fields and forests. With the help of the internet, I designed some patterns and went to my friend Emmie at Emmie's Art Foamies
and asked her to make me some stamps. This is what she has made so far;
Tools, Trucks and Chainsaws
 Emmie is still working on more of my patterns and I hope I get them in time to make more Cool Ties for the coming summer.

Here are a couple more links where you will find more of Emmie's Art Foamies.
ArtFoamies on Facebook  and ArtFoamies on Etsy.  I hope you will check them out and share with your friends

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Value Workshop part 2

We started the second class on Light with critiques of the still-life paintings that everyone did since the first class. I am happy to say that my painting "More than a Picnic" (see my blog 'Value Workshop') did not receive any negative comments and no suggestions for improvement were offered. I guess I got an A+ - lol.

I actually submitted two pieces for the critiques.
#1018 - Still-life with Oranges - 5 x 7 watercolour
my drawing of Still-life with Oranges

I did this piece mostly as a test for myself. My friends at Art Club were teasing me about my first painting for the workshop because I printed the photo and just transferred the image onto my watercolour paper before painting. I figured it was a class on value not drawing, so why not? But, Wednesday evening I decided I would do a drawing of the still-life from one of the photos on my computer. I was happy with the way it turned out so I painted it and submitted it for critique too. Everyone liked this piece as well and offered no suggestions for changes.

The remainder of the class was about Light and Mood and the instructor shared lots of photos as examples. It was very interesting and the notes will prove useful for future paintings. The instructor tried to show different moods on the still-life set-up by using coloured film over a spot light but the daylight in the room was too bright and the effects were limited.

We finished the class by starting work on another still-life with the new display. I took lots of photos but I also did a sketch.
drawing of still-life #2
 I do my sketches on newsprint in pencil then go over them with a pen. I really don't do enough drawing so working in pencil first is an indication of my lack of confidence. I plan to do a drawing every evening while watching TV to hone my skills and build that confidence. Being able to pause the TV is such a benefit. Here is a sketch I did from a commercial.
Deer sketch - about 6 x 8
This probably only took about 5 minutes to sketch, then another five to add the pen and some extra shading.

I think that the impetus to start sketching is one very special bonus of the  workshop I attended. I may not do many more still-life paintings but I will definitely do more sketching.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Value Workshop

Yesterday I attended a workshop on Value hosted by the Creston Art Club. Every year the club puts on a number of workshops instructed by club members or by other local artists. This workshop was given by a wonderful pastel artist, Carol Schloss - Carol's web page.

Partly because there was so much information to absorb and partly because we had homework, the workshop was split in two and the second half will be held next Friday. Here is my homework.
#1013 - More than a Picnic - 7  x 10 watercolour
'More than a Picnic' is my rendition of the very large still life set-up that was arranged for the class. I made a few changes, switching oranges to apples and adding the drapery in the background. It will be interesting to hear what kind of critique this piece gets next week.

Although I already knew a lot of the information given at the workshop yesterday, some of it was new and the reminder of the usefulness of red plastic film was the best part. For those who do not know, looking at your art through red plastic film turns the piece almost black and white. This makes it easy to check your values which is an important part of a painting.

One aspect of the class yesterday was very disappointing for me. Each participant brought in a painting they were not happy with for critique and suggestions for improvement. When my turn came, the response was unenlightening. Everyone, instructor included, said my painting was lovely even though I thought is was blah!
#426 - Windmills and Water - 7 x 10 watercolour with pen & ink
I wasn't happy with their lack of suggestions and prodded them to offer something. The changes I made are quite subtle but I think they make a difference.
#426a - adjusted painting
Of course, the changes are more evident in person but I am happier with the corrected painting.

In my last blog I shared some photos of the Creston Valley and today, just for fun, I want to share a picture of the same scene. - I will add the other day's photo for comparison.

I always think of Brigadoon when we have fogs like this - lol. The world has disappeared and you can imagine entering a different world when the fog lifts. Isn't imagination grand!

Thanks for stopping by  and please leave a comment.