Saturday 31 January 2015

DAY 1 - Retroactive!

I said I would do it and I will even if I have to paint and blog into the evening!

Just after I finished doing my collage for the challenge, my husband decided we should go to Cranbrook for the day. So I ended up doing my painting after dinner.

Red Sky at Night

This is just a small piece because my time was limited so it is pretty basic. I do this type of painting often to just play with colors and let the water take control for the background then add some silhouettes. 

Red Sky at Night is a 3 1/2 x 5 unframed watercolor on 140 cold press paper.

Check in tomorrow to see DAY 2 - Retroactive

Challenge Collage Jan. 2015

The Challenge is over but there was one last chore to do - create a collage of all the paintings I did during the month. This was a new endeavour for me and another learning experience. Thanks to my Challenge and Google+ friend  Sheila for her encouragement. You can see Sheila's challenge work here - Here is mine!

Challenge Collage Jan. 2015

Following the link to Picmonkey then following directions was reasonably successful although I couldn't figure out how to add text to my collage. This is not a big problem as I can add a caption here - lol

Most of the paintings done during the month have been my attempts at learning Oriental Style painting. I can see my progress and feel I have a reasonably good grasp on the technique. This style will be something I will come back to from time to time over the years.

Check out Leslie's blog to see everyone's collages - - and also Sea Dean's blog to place your final votes and to see who won when! -

Friday 30 January 2015

DAY 30 - The End!

Today is the last (official) day of the "30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge". I have a few days to catch up to make it to my 30 but for the organizers this is it! From what I gather, these things happen more than once a year but I think it will be a while before I sign up again.

I wanted to end with something to remind us that Spring is coming and we will soon see buds, blooms and birds.

Wisteria & Warbler
I found with this painting that it was almost impressionistic. The flowers and leaves are not detailed, but the plant is still identifiable. I practised the flowers quite a bit before I started the painting but I used different paper so it was hard to duplicate what I practised.

I hope you have enjoyed following along with my progress and that of the other artists. Take a last look at all the work at - and then go over and cast your vote - remember you will still need to vote tomorrow for today's paintings -

Don't forget to check in with this blog in the next few days to see my final 3 paintings of my 30 days. Better yet, add your email address and follow my blog all the time.

Thursday 29 January 2015

DAY 29 - Colorful Strokes

Today's painting is full of colorful strokes and every one is double or triple loaded!

I drew the rooster on some practice paper because I didn't want to take the chance of damaging the rice paper with erasing, then I transferred it over. I decided to make some red transfer paper so I wouldn't have a dark outline showing through the yellow.

Once again the reference was in black and grey so I had to search my files for some pictures of these colorful birds. "Cock-a-doodle-do" is a 7 x 10 watercolor on Masa rice paper.

With only today and tomorrow left, if you haven't checked out the other art being posted I hope you will today at - and then go and vote for your favorites  at - Remember that you can go back and vote on the days you missed!.

Wednesday 28 January 2015

DAY 28 - On the Home Stretch

Well, the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge is almost done! As I got started late I will finish 3 pieces on my own to make my numbers up to 30. I won't be able to post them on Leslie's blog or on Sea Dean's blog but I will still write about them here.

I painted another flower for today's piece, once again using the white paint to blend the colors.
This piece was awkward as I had trouble figuring out the way the petals turned. I had a look at some photos on-line and Magnolia petals appear to white on the inside and colored on the outside. The reference photo in the copy book was black and gray so there was some guessing going on.

"Magnolia" is a 7.5 x 7 watercolor on rice paper.

Don't forget to have a look at all of the art on Leslie's blog - and then go and vote on Sea Dean's blog -

If you are interested in buying any of my paintings from this challenge, (or any of my paintings) you can see them all - with prices - in the Challenge Album on my Facebook page - or in the Mellowood album on my Google+ page -

Tuesday 27 January 2015

DAY 27 - The East Side

Today I chose three elements that can be found on the east side of the Creston Valley.

The East Side
I decided to use color again to see if I could keep the composition limited to the three elements; the mountains, some orchards and the grain elevators. It turned out pretty subtle which the valley isn't. In the spring, the valley is blooming with flowering trees and in the summer it is vibrant with many shades of green.

"The East Side" is a 7 x 10 watercolor on Masa rice paper.

BTW - The elevators are not in use and may not last many more years: it is a shame that it is too expensive to preserve these signs of the past.

See more art at - and then go and vote at - -

Monday 26 January 2015

DAY 26 - Just the Elements

I think today's painting does a better job of depicting just a few elements of the scene I wanted to portray.

Mountains & Flats
The Creston Valley has a number of elements that are easily identifiable. To the east there are mountains, orchards and vineyards: to the west there are mountains, the wetlands and the Flats. And, almost everywhere you look there are trees; fir, larch, cedar, aspen and poplar to name a few.

'Mountains & Flats' shows the west view without the detail that one of my regular paintings would show. I think it more in keeping with the Oriental style. I just used black and gray as a reminder to keep my focus. The painting is a 7 x 8 watercolor on rice paper.

The Flats are the flood plain for the Kootenay River as it goes into Kootenay Lake. Many years ago, before the dykes and dams were built, the valley floor would be flooded every spring and people would have to come to town by boat. The Flats are now rich farm land except for the parts reserved for the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area.

Here are the links again for you to check out the other art and to vote for your favorites -  and

Sunday 25 January 2015

DAY 25 - Overwhelmed

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed right now. Between this challenge, a challenge on Facebook to share 3 paintings a day, opening a Pinterest account, starting my bedding plants AND do all the normal household things that have to be done, I wonder how I will get to everything. It took over an hour this morning just to go through my emails, and my google+ and Facebook notifications. Oh well, some things will be finished in a week!

Valley Grapes
I managed to put this piece together last night while I was getting dinner ready. It is, once again, a mixture of Oriental style and my normal style. I used a mystery paper which offers a bit more blending capabilities than rice paper but not the same control as watercolor paper. All in all an interesting experiment.

'Valley Grapes' is a 7.5 x 9 unframed watercolor based on one of my photos taken at a local vineyard.

Check out the art at - and then go and vote at -

Enjoy the art and have a great Sunday! - I am going to play with my flower sprouts!

Saturday 24 January 2015

DAY 24 - On My Own

Today I decided to take what I have learned about Oriental style painting and see if I could apply it to a local scene.

Kootenay Lake
This scene is based on one of my photos of Kootenay Lake: a place that used to be called Cummings Resort but now has a strange name that I don't remember.

I am not very happy with this painting as the style is a bit too much like my regular pieces. It doesn't have that vignette quality that I see in the Oriental style. My analysis of the landscapes in my copy books suggests that only a few elements of a scene are painted and they are not usually connected.

I have a few other photos that I will work from in the next few days but this piece will be going in the NFS file!

Remember to stop by - to see the work from the other artists in the challenge and then go to Sea Dean's blog to vote on your favourites -

If you would like to see more of my art check out my Facebook Art page at -

Join me on Google+ at -

and I have finally opened an account on Pinterest although there is not much to see yet  -

Friday 23 January 2015

DAY 23 - Using White

Most watercolor artists don't use white paint - they use the white of the paper and blend their color into the white with water. This is difficult with rice paper because the paint doesn't blend and more water just makes blooms. I was lucky to find an old tube of white paint in my drawer so I could do some of these paintings. The tube was all dried up but I just cut off the end and peeled away the casing and the paint was ready to use!

Poppy & Butterfly
Loading the brush with white then dipping the tip in Alizarin and making your stroke with a bit of a swirl reminds me of tole painting. Most of the elements in this painting used white so the colors are a bit muted and possibly less vibrant.

"Poppy & Butterfly is a 5.5 x 6 watercolor on rice paper, priced at $25.00. If you are interested in any of the challenge paintings contact me through the website at - or comment here.

Don't forget to check out all of the art at and then go to to vote on the paintings posted there.

I wish everyone a great weekend and hope you will check tomorrow for the next painting in the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.

Thursday 22 January 2015

DAY 22 - Daily Lessons

I learn something new everyday as I continue following the copy books for Oriental style painting. The illustration for this painting was in black & grey so I used one of my flower books to get a sense of the true color of the flower. Then I followed the instructions for applying color from that book instead of using the Oriental style I am supposed to be learning. Lesson? - one book at a time!

The double and triple loading of the brush is coming much easier as is the amount of water to use when mixing the paints. I am learning to control my hand for those fine stokes and for the touch, press and swirl technique that is used to make the leaves. "Chrysanthemums" is a 7 x 7 watercolor on rice paper.

Yesterday, a friend told me that she talked to someone at the library who is following my progress on Facebook and he commented along the lines that he could see the improvement in my Oriental paintings. It was nice to hear but I wish he would comment where I could see it!

I have been enjoying checking out the art by the other artists in this challenge and I hope you are too. Here is the link again - And, although only a fraction of the artists are entering their paintings in the voting contest, that is fun too. I hope you will go and vote (for my paintings too please) at -

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Day 21 - Working with Interruptions

I painted today's piece while I was at the Creston Art Club's weekly painting session. This presented a couple of challenges. First, the tables are old and when someone welds a brush or eraser vigorously the whole table shakes. I was interrupted by this twice and finally had to move because I was trying to paint some very fine lines. Second, I am the treasurer of the group and was interrupted by members coming to pay their dues.

Blue Heron in Fall
I also found the composition challenging. I am right handed and find it easier to paint a line from left to right and some of the lines in this piece needed to go from right to left. Of course, I just turned the paper up-side-down instead of trying something so awkward for me.

A word about rice paper - you CAN do a wash but the paper takes forever to dry which is strange because it is so thin!

Don't forget to check out the other art and artists in this challenge - just click on the picture and it will take you to their blog or website. This challenge is hosted by - After you have finished looking at all of the art, go to Sea Dean's blog and vote for your favorite painting of those posted -

Tuesday 20 January 2015

DAY 20 - Rush, Rush, Rush!

I spent most of the day helping my husband, Bob, replace the florescent lights in my studio with some LEDs. The new lights are wonderful but the chore kept me from painting until late in the day. So, with the thought in my mind that I had to get the painting done so I could write this blog before dinner I felt a little rushed.

Chickadee & Ivy
Fortunately, the subject I chose to paint was, except for the bird, pretty loose and rushing doesn't appear to have been detrimental. Chickadee & Ivy is a 6 x 7 watercolor on Masa rice paper.

Don't forget to check out the art at - and then go and vote at -

Monday 19 January 2015

Day 19 - Good Feng Shui

Today I painted some Gold Fish, a very popular subject to paint apparently. The color represents prosperity and wealth and it is also a good feng shui subject and will bring good fortune to the home.
Fat Little Fish
This is another subject I will have to practise more! The challenge is to get the right amount of water in the brush to achieve wet at the start of the stroke and dry at the end.  In this painting each fish has a different look to the tail fin and they should have been similar. Oh well, maybe good fortune will come to me even though the fish aren't perfect.

Get more of an art fix on Leslie's blog at - and then go to Sea Dean's blog to vote for your favorite pieces (mine included I hope)

Sunday 18 January 2015

DAY 18 - Squeezing it in!

My granddaughter has been visiting since yesterday so I have had to squeeze today's painting in where time allowed. I have gone back to the Oriental style  today and admit that a few days off makes a difference in the ease of using the techniques - it was harder - lol!

Weeping Willow
This copy is just a small part of the instruction piece but I felt I really didn't have time for a larger piece. 'Weeping Willow' is a 4.5 x 8 watercolor on rice paper.

All of the paintings I have done for this challenge are for sale and you can find the prices in the Challenge 2015 album on my personal Facebook page - Contact me here or message me on FB.

For those who are following along don't forget and for more of the art in the challenge.

This is why my time was limited today!

When my granddaughter visits we often come up with something to create together and this weekend was no exception. We tie-dyed some clothing and fabric and here is a photo of some of the results - Jasmine is very happy with our efforts!

I think they look a bit like PJ's but then I am not 12 years old. There is another t-shirt and some fabric that will be turned into pillows next time  she visits.

There is almost always something happening when you are an artist so one is never bored and life is full of color and creativity!

Saturday 17 January 2015

DAY 17 - Leftovers? Garbage?

During my first workshop with local artist Win Dinn (check out her blog here - I discovered that leftovers and garbage are really just supplies for more mixed media art.
Buttons and Butterflies
When I finished painting "Tulips" the other day, I had way too much paint left over. So, I took some leftover mat board and started applying some of the paint, blotting runs and overages with paper towel. I left the mat to dry and the paper towel in a loose bail on my table. Last night, I had a look at the painted mat thinking I would use it for a background for a new painting but it didn't 'speak' to me.

However, the paper towel (once I opened it up) really caught my fancy and I immediately stuck it on an 8 x 10 canvas using gloss medium and wrapping it around the edges for a finished look. Then I started cutting up the mat board using moon shapes - I have way too many of these so I see another project in the future.

Once my canvas was dry I began to add some of the moon shapes, some leftover buttons and some of my crocheted butterflies and, voilĂ  a finished painting!

For more art check out and then go and vote at -

Friday 16 January 2015

DAY 16 - Getting Ahead

As I plan to go to Cranbrook today, I painted today's picture yesterday. I decided to play with color again; this time acrylics.

I started with some liquid acrylics and just dribbled them on an 8 x 10 x 1.5 gallery wrap canvas. I let them run and blend adding a few spritz of water until I liked what I had and then I left it to dry. I kept looking at the canvas wondering what to do with it - mixed media? abstract? What?

I decided white flowers would look good on the somewhat vegetation looking background so I had a look through my file of flower pictures and chose these white tulips. Painting green leaves on a greenish background is a challenge all by itself but I think they turned out okay and I think the flowers pop well.

Check out Leslie's blog to see more of the art - and Sea Dean's blog to vote -

Thursday 15 January 2015

Day 15 - Half-way there!

It is so strange! Yesterday I really enjoyed painting and was very happy with the finished product. I had a good night's sleep and should have been raring to go today. BUT, I had to force myself to sit down and paint. I chose my subject, got the paper and paints ready, and then just sat there. I got up and went into the kitchen looking for something that had to be done, cursed, went back to the studio and started painting.
Waterfall & Pine Trees

I tried to use the various strokes suggested in "Chinese Landscape Painting for Beginners" - bent-ribbon veins, axe-cut veins, moss dots, bone strokes to name a few. In some cases using the proper stroke was very difficult because my hand wanted to paint in my normal style and I had to keep correcting myself. I used color again instead of black and gray and am reasonably happy with today's painting but it was an effort.

Check out the art submitted to the challenge at - and then go and vote at Remember, you can vote for 3 paintings and you can go back and vote on the days you might have missed too.

Wednesday 14 January 2015

DAY 14 - Using Color

I have been using "A Copybook for Japanese Ink-Painting" in learning the techniques for Oriental style painting. All of the reference photos are, of course, in black and white but today I decided to use color for my study.
Going Fishing
 I also used an unknown type of paper just to experiment. It was something I got at a garage sale and I like the way it turned out! The paper allowed a little bit of blending and I find the color more interesting than the black and white. I think I will try this combination again. I also like the vignette feel of this painting - it leaves a little bit to the imagination.

Check out the art submitted for today at - and then go and vote for your favorites at -

Tuesday 13 January 2015

DAY 13 - Practise, Practise, Practise

One advantage to trying to learn Oriental Brush painting is that you are allowed - nay, expected - to copy. It saves having to think of what to paint but sets a very high bar to reach and that takes a lot of practising!

Swallow & Plum Blossoms
Today's exercise was the Eurasian Tree Swallow and Plum Blossoms. I worked from "How to Draw and Paint Watercolors" in the section titled "Watercolor on Rice Paper by Lucy Wang". The basic strokes are demonstrated and I spent quite a while practising before I began my final attempt. It is interesting that the flowers don't look like much until the black is added.

Pop over to to see the work of the other artists in this challenge and then go to to vote on the paintings on display there.

Monday 12 January 2015

DAY 12 - A Play Day

Although I have been enjoying learning the Oriental Brush style of painting, it is a serious endeavour and I decided last night that I needed to play a bit.

A Valentine

I started with some bursts of colour with Alcohol Inks on a varnished 6 x 6 canvas. Then I looked through my stash of 'stuff' to find some things to add. I had no plan; I just picked things that I thought went with the background. First the transfer of some music from Dolly Parton's "I will always love you" and then every thing else just fell into place. The ribbon and the lace are only partly attached adding a flirty, swaying feel to the art. The red tones, the gold, the lace and the song made me think this would be a perfect gift for Valentine's Day.

If you need more art to brighten your day check out Leslie's blog to see many of the paintings from the artists participating in this 30 paintings in 30 days challenge - Also, please go to Sea Dean's blog and vote for your favourite -

Tomorrow I will probably go back to the more subtle painting style of the Orient but I have enjoyed this colourful play time.

Sunday 11 January 2015

DAY 11 - Two for the Price of One!

Today I did two paintings of the same thing. It is sometimes difficult when you are copying to judge size correctly and something that looks good at the start may not look as good at the finish.

White Cherry Blossoms
I began this piece with the blossoms. They certainly looked large enough but when I went to paint in the stamens I didn't have any room. So, I painted the picture again!

Cherry Blossoms with Blue
Bigger and better, and for variety I added some blue in the background. I had fun playing with the trunk of the tree but I think the shape is a little strange. However, I have seen some pretty strange looking fruit trees here in the valley because of the way they prune so maybe it is okay.

There are a number of artists in this challenge and their daily paintings can be found  at so I hope you will check them out - click on the photos to see larger photos of your favourites. Also, go to Sea Dean's blog at to vote and get the chance to win a prize!

Saturday 10 January 2015

DAY 10 - If at First You Don't Succeed...

Try, try again! That was one of my mother's favourite sayings and it certainly applies with this painting.
Heavy Snow
I find it extremely difficult to do washes on rice paper! Load up the brush with lots of pale bluey-gray, touch the paper and, suck, it is all absorbed before you can even move the brush. It doesn't move, won't blend and doesn't look at all like the reference photo. Grrr!

Using lots of wet paint also tends to make the paper warp so I thought I would give it a light touch with the iron. Everything that had been painted flattened but the whites all wrinkled. Another grrr!

This is definitely a scene that I will have to try again - and again and again probably - but that is all part of learning something new.

Don't forget to have a look at the other paintings submitted for this 30 day challenge - and go and vote for your favourites at -

Friday 9 January 2015

DAY 9 - Not a Painting!

Our internet was down this morning, then we went over the mountain to visit a friend in Nelson so I am a little late getting this out.
Orange and Green Jar
My painting today is not a regular painting but a recycled glass jar painted with alcohol inks and decorated with painted metal leaves.

I bought myself some alcohol inks before Christmas and have been playing with them a bit. The colors are vibrant and very strong and will take some getting used to. I am not really keen on using them on glass but I like the way they behave on the metal. The metal is just cut up pop cans and I paint on the inside: the leaves are bendable but I am afraid the photo really doesn't do the whole thing justice.

I seem to be setting a number of goals for myself this winter (learn Oriental brush painting, Anime and Alcohol Inks): now all I need is time!

Don't forget to check out the collection of art at and go to to vote for your favourite piece of art from those shared there. Remember, voters and artist could win a prize.

Thursday 8 January 2015

DAY 8 - Harder than it Looks

I believe one of the tenets of Oriental Brush Painting is that the student learns by copying a master's work. So, I looked through my books and found a subject that I thought I could copy with reasonable ease. Ha! The joke was on me.

Bird in the Grasses
 It took me over an hour to figure out which directions my strokes needed to go for this little bird. Then another hour or so just practising until I was happy with my technique.

Bird in the Grasses is an 8 x 11 watercolor on thin rice paper, floating mounted on an 11 x 14 mat.

Be sure to check out the paintings by other artists in the challenge at and also check out and vote for your 3 favourites at

Wednesday 7 January 2015

DAY 7 - A Change of Pace

One of the neat things about this challenge is finding new blogs to follow and being able to learn from other artists' posts.

Country Mail Boxes

One of the blogs I checked out yesterday talked about watercolor paper canvases. I could kick myself for not remembering the name of the artist but I am sure I will find her as I am following her of Google+. At any rate, her blog led me to another blog - - and I found out more about watercolor paper canvases. So, of course, I had to try it!

My painting for day 7 is 'Country Mail Boxes', a 5 x 7 watercolor on a gallery wrap paper canvas. Once it is varnished it will be available for sale. This was an interesting experiment and I am sure I will try it again but tomorrow it will be back to working on Oriental style art.

I hope everyone will take time to check out the paintings in this challenge at -  and also go to this blog - - where you can vote on your favourite pieces.

Tuesday 6 January 2015

Day 6 - Experimenting!

Bamboo in White 5 x 7 acrylic
One of my goals this year is to work on Oriental style brush work. I do not plan to attempt working with inks in the traditional manner but I am going to play with other media.

Bamboo in White is acrylic on watercolor paper. The background was done sometime last year and has been hanging around waiting for inspiration to strike. Today was the day! I used white gesso thinned with water and tried the 3 load approach with thin, medium and thick paint. It took a fair bit of work and some adjustment to the method but I am reasonably happy with the results. Hmm, I wonder if I should call it "Ghost Bamboo".

To see the paintings of many of the other participants of the challenge go to - and I hope you will also go to this blog to vote on 3 of your favorites. You can vote for 3 paintings each day and there will be prizes awarded to voters and to artists.

Monday 5 January 2015

Day 5 but only my 2nd

I was painting first thing this morning but I had to go shovel snow before I was finished. It was the first major snow this year with about 12 inches and still coming down.
snow in the courtyard
The world is very monotone today so I should have painted color to brighten things up but I had another picture in mind. Here is my painting for day 5.
House Plant
I wanted to try Oriental style brush work with a regular subject. I find it really hard to paint without resting my hand or arm on the table but that is the way it is done! 'House Plant' is watercolor on 4.5 x 4.5 piece of very thin rice paper and is mounted on a 7 x 9 mat.

Check out all the paintings for day 5 at, then go to to vote on the paintings posted there. Voters and artists have a chance to win a prize so vote as much as you can!

Sunday 4 January 2015

Day 4 of a 30 day Challenge

Oriental Tiger LIly
I decided to try a painting challenge this year. 30 paintings in 30 days! I am late getting started but I figure I need an excuse to get me going after the holiday season.

If you would like to see some of the many paintings submitted to this challenge check out -

Here is my painting for Day 4 - Oriental Tiger Lily  is a 5 x 7 watercolor on crinkled Masa Rice paper mounted on a 8 x 10 mat.

Now I have to figure out how to share it to Leslie's blog.