Sunday, September 29, 2013

September Challenge #30

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Oh frabjous day! Calooh! Callay! This the last day of the challenge and painting #30. Whew!

Well, for all my whining and fussing, I really did have fun with this challenge. I've learned a lot. While I'm glad to be done with the daily pressure of producing a finished painting, I'll continue to make a concerted effort to be at the easel every day. Not only does the practice help with improving skill, I believe strongly in the meditative benefits of painting. Isn't it wonderful that something which brings such pleasure can also be good for one's mental and spiritual health?

I've also enjoyed visiting the blogs of other challengers, and so appreciate the kind comments left on my blog. All in all, a fabulous experience.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

September Challenge #29

One day left! Because my little grandsons are spending the weekend with us, this was painted very quickly, very early this morning. It needs more work, but for the purposes of the challenge, I'm calling it done for now.

Friday, September 27, 2013

September Challenge #28


This is "Autumn Harvest," It's painting #28, so there are only two more to go...hooray! I had so much fun painting this one. It just seemed to flow. The pressure of having to produce one painting every evening has taught me to be more frugal with my brushstrokes. I've been told that paintings come together more easily when there is less fiddling. I need to keep that in mind - fixing and re-fixing is a hard habit to break, though.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

September Challenge #27

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We're heading into the home stretch. This is #27 - only three left to do. This is another painting of mums. I love autumn flowers - painting them is almost a meditative process.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

September Challenge #26

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I'm crazy about sunflowers -they're just so cheery!

I asked my husband what he thought this painting should be called.  He suggested "Solar Eclipse." I thought that was a great name for a painting of sunflowers. They do look like little solar eclipses.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September Challenge #25

This is the same oak leaf I painted for Challenge #6. The leaf has been sitting in my studio, turning brown. I thought it would be interesting to try it again using the fracturing technique.

Only 5 days left in the 30 day challenge. I've learned a lot during this time. I've adopted the painting technique created by Julie Ford Oliver, and I'm beginning to be more adventurous with color and brushstrokes. Still not where I want to be, but I feel that I've made a little bit of progress this month. Composition is a weak area for me, and I can see that weak composition results in a weak painting.

During this challenge, I have used a slow-dry medium that Mark Carder recommends. Mark is a realist painter and has an interesting theory about color. It's worthwhile to watch his videos. If you click on his name, it will take you to his site. He also gives a recipe for his medium. It makes oil paint behave like soft butter and it stays open for several days. I love the stuff.

The down side is that paintings take more time to dry. I have an embarrassing situation right now -  one of my paintings sold and I can't ship it yet because it's still wet...a very amateur mistake. At any rate, I'm going to hold off posting to Daily Paintworks until I'm sure the paint is dry enough to ship.

The big lesson for me is that it's not realistic for me to paint every day while I'm working at an outside job. Practice is so important, but for me it has to be balanced with my other responsibilities. I like the discipline that comes with painting, so will probably try to paint on weekends and 2-3 times during the week.  I'll be retiring next June, and then I can devote more time to painting.

I'm eager to hear what other artists have discovered during the month. Hopefully, Leslie will offer a "lessons learned" session in October.

Monday, September 23, 2013

September Challenge #24

My husband found this hand-painted rose coffee mug in a little gift shop in Salem. He bought it for me, thinking I might like to paint it. It's a cute little thing, but I was a tad apprehensive about using it in a painting. It combines the two elements that strike mortal fear and terror in my heart - ellipses and roses! Yikes! Nevertheless, it was a kind thing for him to do, so tonight I got a grip and painted the thing.

I added the doughnuts to go with the coffee cup...and since it would have been a shame to throw them out, my husband and I ate them after I finished the painting. I suppose it's time to find some healthier food choices as painting subjects.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

September Challenge #23

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I was able to complete a second painting today. That will give me a bit of a breather this week as long as I stay current and paint every evening. By being one ahead, I can post in the morning.

I painted a key lime tart this afternoon. Key lime pie is my husband's favorite dessert, but we're both trying to watch our diet, so we rarely have it. Today we went to lunch at a local bakery and these tarts were in the display case. We justified buying the tart because it seemed like a perfect subject to paint.

I spent the afternoon painting it, and then we split it for dessert! It was delicious!

September Challenge #22


This is a bouquet I brought home from our local market.  After the challenge is over, I'd like to attempt to do a larger floral painting. I think I would need to spend some time on it; I couldn't finish a larger painting in one day. Today is the day I'm going to try to catch up with the challenge. If I can do one more painting this evening, I'll feel better about going into next week.

I wonder how other folks are doing with the challenge. The paintings on Leslie Saeta's blog have been amazing. There are a lot of wonderful artists out there.

09/23/13 Update: So delighted to report that this painting was one of the paintings selected to be a Daily Paintworks Facebook Pick of the Day. This just made my day!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

September Challenge #21


Day 21 of the 30 day challenge. It was nice to have some time to paint today without feeling so stressed about the time. I did take the morning to do some housekeeping tasks that have been sitting undone for the past week...and, I created a new shadow box using PVC pipe based on Carol Marine's tutorial. I had been using a big cardboard box that finally came crashing down last evening as I was cleaning up after painting. It was a precarious contraption and I should have expected the inevitable.

At any rate, I have a new shadow box now, and I like it! Not so sure about this painting, though. Need to step away from it for awhile.

Friday, September 20, 2013

September Challenge #20

Wow! It's day 20 of the September Challenge. Only 10 more days to go. This is a small painting - 5"x5", and I was able to finish it by 7:30 this evening. My husband looked up the name of this squash - it's called "Festival", and is a type of acorn this is another painting of acorn squash with acorns.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

September Challenge #19

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Well, it's another late evening for me.  This is the last hurrah for these flowers, and frankly, good riddance - I'm sick of painting them.  The squashes are "decorative gourds" from the market. I didn't know acorn squash was a gourd...I'll have to look up that definition. The pumpkin is quite a small one, but it was difficult to paint. Anyhoo, since I was painting way into the evening, I thought I'd call this one "Autumn Evening." Not very original, but it's all I got!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

September Challenge #18

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I finished this by 9:00 p.m. this evening. Moving a bit faster, but getting tired of painting every evening. It's hard for me to see this painting. You folks who are painters know what I mean...sometimes you stare at something for so long that it's almost impossible to judge what you're seeing. I'll look at this tomorrow - maybe I'll be able to see more clearly in the morning.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September Challenge #17

I'm really pushing the time limit on these paintings this week.  I'm trying to concentrate on the painting, but feeling a bit rushed. Hurry up, weekend - I need more time to paint!

These yellow flowers are a type of mum. I attempted to paint them once before without much success. They're about to fade so I thought I'd give them another shot before they are thrown away. It's good to to see the squash and gourds in the market. Soon there will be pumpkins!

My husband picked up the little acorns on a lunch time stroll at work because I'd been complaining that there were no uneaten acorns in our yard. The neighborhood squirrels have been chomping them all!

Monday, September 16, 2013

September Challenge #16


Whew! I'm still in the challenge (although nobody's counting but me). This is the chocolate sunflower that gave me such fits last night. It gave me fits tonight, too, but at least I finished it. I need to get one extra painting done to take the pressure off of having to get the paintings posted the same evening they're painted. Maybe I'll paint two on Saturday.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September Challenge #15


We're midway through the 30 Day Challenge. Having the goal of creating 30 paintings in 30 days has really helped spur me to practice regularly. Bit by bit, I'm finding ways to incorporate painting into my everyday life.

I'm continuing on with fracturing. Perhaps this new technique is also helping me practice because I am having the best time with it. I start the painting with a general idea of what I want to accomplish, then the painting seems to paint itself. What a wonderful feeling!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

September Challenge #14


These hibiscus are among the few remaining summer flowers in the garden. It's a time of transition and the mums and zinneas are just beginning to put on their autumn show.

I'm continuing to practice the fracturing technique that was created by Julie Ford Oliver. I'm trying to paint more loosely and add an element of abstraction to my paintings. It feels a little like jumping into a lake. Fun and exhilerating, but a bit scary.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

September Challenge #13

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Are there scents or fragrances that pull you back in time to when you were young? This perfume does that to me. It's called "Youth Dew," and it was the fragrance of choice for me and many of my friends in California's Central Valley back in the 1960s. It seemed so sophisticated and wonderful at the time.

I hadn't thought of this perfume for years. This summer we visited family in Nebraska and my sweet sister-in-law was wearing Youth Dew during that visit. It evoked such strong, pleasant memories that I immediately bought a bottle when we returned home. I've been wearing it ever since.

It's funny how a little thing that gives pleasure, like a certain perfume, can be forgotten for years, yet upon rediscovery bring such joy.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September Challenge #12

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Hooray! I finished my painting before midnight! I'm posting it this evening and will add it to the 30 Day Challenge tomorrow morning. Last evening's painting was really difficult, but this seemed to go pretty smoothly. When a painting starts going south, there is probably a point when it's better to give up and start over.

Anyway, this was fun to paint. I'm a fracture convert!

September Challenge #11

Just a quick post. I'm running late this morning, so will wait to comment until this evening.

Update: This painting just gave me fits.  I was still working on it at 2:00 a.m. this morning. (That's why I overslept!)

I think there were two reasons for the struggle. The first problem that presented itself was my old nemesis, composition. I thought this arrangement looked ok, but once I got it on canvas, I wasn't happy with it - I need to do more work on composition. The other struggle was with the yellow color...maybe too acid. I use a simple five color palette and can mix most colors with it, but the mixed yellow for this painting wasn't what I was looking for.

I'm just whipped from not sleeping last night, so this evening's painting is going to be something simple...although that's no guarantee that I'll get it finished at a reasonable hour.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

September Challenge #10

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These are zinneas and bluebeard from our garden. I'm continuing to use Julie Ford Oliver's fracturing technique, and I'm enjoying the process. It took me a long time to paint this, but I'm happy with the way it turned out.

Monday, September 9, 2013

September Challenge #9

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These flowers were from our garden in mid-summer. I painted them from a sketch I had done in July. I usually don't do sketches, but I found it to be so helpful in working out the composition. I plan to do preparatory drawing from now on.  Another example of how a little preparation saves time in the long run.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

September Challenge #8

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Today is the first day of week #2 in Leslie Saeta's 30 day challenge. So far, so good. Painting in the evening after work wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be, although I confess, there are some little jobs around the house that didn't get done.

I'm continuing to use the fracturing technique that was created by Julie Ford Oliver. I find this style to be quite liberating. I still have a lot to learn, but I think it's an enjoyable way to paint.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

September Challenge #7

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For day #7, I wanted to try a different painting style. One of my very favorite artists, Julie Ford Oliver, uses an interesting technique that she has developed, called "fracturing." Her paintings are to die for. They are so full of color and movement. Every piece she creates is pure poetry.

Julie created some instructional videos on fracturing. This week, I viewed them and decided to try the fracturing technique during the 30 day challenge. I have to tell you, I just had a ball painting these cupcakes. I'm going to keep practicing until I can become proficient at this technique. Fracturing adds a whole new level of fun to painting!

Friday, September 6, 2013

September Challenge #6

This oak leaf was lying in dappled sunlight when I picked it up from our driveway a few days ago.  This morning we're getting a much-needed rain, but I'm hoping the rainy season will hold off for a few more weeks. Autumns are so colorful until the rain washes away the leaves.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

September Challenge #5

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September Challenge #5. This is an heirloom tomato. My co-worker gave me tomatoes from her garden, and they have been absolutely delicious. It's near the end of the season, so I probably won't be painting any more tomatoes this month!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September Challenge #4

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Here's painting #4. Another oak leaf, this time with a Red Bartlett pear.  Local fruit, grapes, melons, pears, etc, have been especially good this year. Maybe it's because we had an unusually warm summer - I'm not sure. It's beginning to cool down now, and I'm looking forward to a crisp, clear autumn.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September Challenge #3

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Day #3 of the 30 day challenge. This is the first work week in September. I'm up for painting tonight and that's a good sign. I think if I can make it through this first week, the following weeks should be fine.

As you can see, I'm looking around the house for stuff to paint.  The scattered oak leaves in the garden remind me of autumn, so I picked up some of them and plan to include a few oak leaves in my paintings.

Monday, September 2, 2013

September Challenge #2

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Today is day 2 of  Leslie Saeta's 30 day painting challenge. I enjoyed visiting Leslie's site to see what others are doing. There are about 325 participants, and there is some wonderful work being exhibited.

This challenge actually presents two challenges for me. The first is creating a discipline to paint every single day. Even if I don't produce a painting every day, I want to get into the habit of being at my easel on a daily basis. My second, and greater challenge, is the challenge of finding a painting subject. For some, this comes naturally...they are able to see many possibilities around them. Not so easy for me, so my challenge is to be open to new ideas for painting topics. I suspect the discipline of painting every day will help.

At any rate, this painting is my entry for day 2. The colors in the heirloom tomato and in the oak leaf herald the end of summer and autumn's onset - my favorite time of year.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

September Challenge #1

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Today is the first day of  Leslie Saeta's  September Challenge. The challenge is to paint 30 paintings in 30 days.  I'm going to try to stick with it as much as I can. There are no rules; if you miss a day, it's ok - the idea is to get into the habit of painting often. 

I love the idea. Painting is such a pleasure, but it's often difficult to find the time.  Usually it takes a commitment of several hours. If I want to paint often, I think I should organize my studio so that I can paint in short segments of time - maybe an hour before work and an hour or two after I get home. 

I'd like to paint more, but my time is constrained because of my job. I'm sure looking forward to retirement next June!