Found item sketches

Found item sketches

faded barrel cactus blossom

Shell under the dirt with a plant growing right through it

Shell under the dirt with a plant growing right through it

Later that morning I was pulling up spent plants and unearthed this shell I’d laid on top of the earth a couple of years ago. it had, either on its own or with canine help, migrated to under the earth and a plant had grown right through it. so I sketched it, dirt and all.

Apples and shell

Did some sketching and painting yesterday and today. Here are some shots.





Sketching shells

So this is how my art day went yesterday (with the exception of starting to knit fingerless mitts).   I thought, ok, I’ll paint a shell.  Got out one from my nature box to sketch and it was WAY harder than i thought it would be. I got lost in the ribs of the shell, the perspective, differentiating the actual colors of the shell from the shadows created by the side lighting, etc.  I was going to give up.  But then I thought, no keep trying.  start again, it WILL get easier.  And in time, it did!!

Shell sketch 1

So this is sketch one…it’s a bit taller and rounder than the shell is in real life, but I thought it was decent.


Then I tried it again and you can see, I think, that this one is a looser better sketch. More vibrant.

I thought, Ok, you’re done.  Don’t press your luck.  Sketching is as important as painting, more so, to fully understand the subject before being able to paint it.


Then I had another stiff talking to and told myself, it’s ONLY paper and pigment.  What harm can it do?

So this is the in progress painting it’s on Aquarius II 80 lb paper, on a pad, 15×22 so it’s much larger than the 6″ sketchbook the sketches were in.

Even if it goes nowhere other than this stage (but it will), I LOVE the wet in wet deep color blending of the triangular shape at the peak of the shell.  Just watching that move and richly settle into the paper was glorious.

The blue of the shadows is not as vibrant as the photo.  Same palette:  ultramarine, alizaron crimson, winsor lemon.  I had purchased paper awhile ago, various kinds and weights, and so I’m starting to learn what I like and don’t like.  I”m definitely leaning toward Arches cold pressed.

Watercolor gifts

From WC2010-2011

I’ve been busy the last week painting, and while I know these aren’t perfect (and I’ve gotten wonderful constructive criticism from the members of the Watercolor Workshop yahoo group, I didn’t have time to implement them all before giving this to my sweet Mother in law for her birthday yesterday. It’s called North of Taos and it’s done from a photo of wonderful gardens in La Cueva, New Mexico When I gave it to her, I couldn’t remember the name of this lovely place we visited when the kids were much littler. You may see more work inspired from my photos of that garden, it is a lovely restful place.

During the weekend, I was awake early and the house was quiet, so I set up a still life and sketched and painted it. It too seemed frameable, so it became another gift for Jean. here it is

From WC2010-2011

I used masking fluid for the first time, and it was really sticky and gooey out of the bottle and remained that way, so I’m thinking it might be too old. The last time I really painted was probably five years ago, and I’ve never had the time to seriously learn it, so perhaps it’s time for a new bottle of masking fluid??!!

The thing that thrills me about all of this, is that I can feel that I’m learning how to control the water, how to judge what will happen to a damp or wet area if I touch it with paint. I’m also learning how to work with juicy colors and a limited palette. The starfish piece was done with DS raw sienna and cerulean blue, Da Vinci quin burnt orange, and WN Thioindigo Violet.

So really, the best gift is the gift I’m giving myself, following my heart and making time to learn and practice what I’ve always wanted to do: paint with watercolor.

More Watercolor Play

From WC

I’m starting to be a little happier with my watercolor studies; just wish I could carve out more time to practice! This is a study of a starfish and shells.

From WC

Another shell with the real life model.

From WC

I have a collection of pottery and I’d love to paint them. Here’s another attempt.