Sunday, February 26, 2017

Normal Service Will Resume...You Know The Score

This last week has been an education in stress levels. In other words, if my hair wasn't dyed purple it would no doubt have gone completely grey. 

I'm behind on my art project, I can't afford those lovely, relaxing moments with my pad and paints. And it's very telling how much those stolen moments have meant to me. With that in mind...

I'm going to keep using these prompts. They are giving me the opportunity just to paint, not to have to think of subjects. Just paint.

This time I'm going to upload in batches, it seems to work best. And I might use pastels instead of watercolour or mixed media or possibly something else. I'll take these ideas and run with them.

Meanwhile, it's bad to the stress. I'm not quite out it yet...not quite. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Another Little Bunch of Sketches - Day 17-20

It seems to be working, uploading a few at a time. So here we are again, let's go.

Day 17 - Shells

Oops, missed the plural, so just shell then. I have dozens of shells, collected from all over Scotland, whenever I visit a beach I look out for interesting shells and sea glass. It makes for a happy day. Simple things and all.

I had difficulty in trying to make the shadows not look as though the whelk shell was coloured. I don't know that it worked so well. Again, this is another subject I'd like to come back to in more depth. Yet painting everyday has been very cathartic, even though the results are sometimes iffy at best.

Day 18 - Plants

For weeks we had beautiful violet-coloured hyacinths filling the living room with their rich, heady smell (or as youngest son put it "Wow, they stink!") The flowers are gone and the leaves are now gathering sunlight for the bulb. Yes, my disastrous gardening efforts are about to attempt to regrow hyacinths rather than chuck the bulbs in the compost.

We'll see what happens when the leaves finish their job and begin to die. Until then they are still resplendent in green.

Day 19 - Eggs

Oh dear, it looked okay but the dim February light was kinder than the camera on my phone. It didn't work as well as I thought and I didn't realise that until uploading the photograph. 

Many years ago I visited Germany just before Easter and bought a set of plastic, decorative eggs. Hence the brown string. They now sit in a dish on the hearth. 

Let's call this one a fail.

Day 20 - Bugs

Okay, see what I did here? Ho ho, clever clogs me.

In light of last week, when this bottle saw me through the night without coughing up a lung, I thought it apt.

A bit wonky but lots of fun to do and that's the point.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Play Stopped By Cold

My darling youngest son kindly passed on his nasty cold to me so this week has mostly been spent with a cough that makes me sound like a barking seal and battling against a river of snot. 


Again, updates are a few days at once. Some better than others, it's calming to paint when you know you should be working but can't because stringing more than a few words together is impossible. Under the influence of cough syrup you see.

Day Twelve - Puddles (and a new word that I sort of already knew)

If you can't read my scrawl it says "Hoppipolla (Icelandic) - Jumping into puddles"
I remembered the word from this by Sigur Ros -

Love the song and the video, why I didn't find out at the time the meaning of Hoppiloppa when, from the video, it's kind of made obvious. For what are puddles made for if not to jump in?

Day Thirteen - Rainbows

How tempting would it have been to draw a stupid looking bear or egg type creature? (Yeah, only me then.)

Painting an actual rainbow would have been interesting but would have reminded me too much of being back in primary school. Maybe throw a unicorn into the mix for luck. So I went with the idea of colours, colours in nature and, of course, that meant (to me) - 

Day Fourteen - Fire

One of my favourite places on this earth - Timanfaya means fire mountains. Apt.

Day Fifteen - Leaves

I haven't managed to kill this plant yet. 


Day Sixteen - Rocks

I might come back to this one again but rocks to me mean the Scottish seaside - rocks and beaches in equal measures to be fair.

Went far too dark in the background hills, makes it look like another piece of clothing on the line.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Seven to Eleven

I did forewarn this challenge with the disclaimer that I would mostly be doing quick watercolour sketches and not to expect much. That has come true. So here we go with the dodgy and skew-whiff -

Day Seven - Bone

Oh, see what I did here, the prompt was bone and I painted a bone china cup and saucer. (At least I think it's bone china, I wouldn't know the difference. It's from my grandmother's tea service so I've probably guessed right.) 

Day Eight - Birds

I want to keep practising on items in front of me and as the local birds never stay in the same spot for long then I decided to honour a little ornament I have.

Day Nine - Silver

Oh-oh, almost binned this, then I remembered, it is all good as no one immediately paints perfectly. And if they do, well, boo to them! It's *meant* to be a silver ring.

Yes...quite...oh dear.

Day Ten - Mammals

Just one mammal, my mammal - believe it or not (and I think you'll believe it) this is my first time sketching Happy Dog. He stayed long enough to get this done before wandering over to see why I kept staring at him.

Day Eleven - Trees

I have a few birch trees visible from my window, so I added some more. All "contemporary" like. Yeah.

Despite the somewhat dubious results, I am enjoying the 20 minutes I'm setting aside each day to paint. I'd like a little more but earning pennies is taking up nearly all my time at the moment. How lucky are those who can afford to do this all the time. I've been pushing myself too much these past few weeks and the ME/CFS faerie has granted me a stingingly sore throat and barking cough as a reward. I can't stop.

Tomorrow it's "puddles" - I've lost track of the days and the boys only had Friday off so far. It's February break, any break would be nice.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Day Five - Landscapes

(Hint: when taking photos of somewhere try to write down the location. It's always helpful.)

I think if I worked on this a little more it might actually be okay.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Day Three (sort of) and Day Four #Worldwatercolorgroup Challenge - February

First the easy one:

Day Four - Fruit

Bonus, you get to eat the subject afterwards. Not always the case, especially if you're a portrait artist. This was fun. Note to self - sketch more fruit. Then eat it.

The reason I skipped Day Three? The prompt was "fossil", now I could be a jolly japester and paint an old person but I'm trying to be polite. We do have one fossil, for the life of me, I can't remember what it's called. Sons bought it on one of their visits to Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh. It would be an interesting sketch so I may come back to this if I get the time to look for it.

With this in mind, I thought of something that would still encourage creativity. My other favourite - reading. And there's only one book that came to mind.

Remarkable Creatures

By the author of two of my favourite books (The Girl with the Pearl Earring and The Lady and the Unicorn if you're asking), this is the story of Mary Anning. An amazing woman with an intriguing life. Once again the familiar tale of a woman's scientific achievements either being accredited to men or dismissed altogether. She overcame this adversity to become one of the most renowned palaeontologists of the 1800s.

Hey, maybe instead of sketching a fossil I don't remember the name of I should do a quick sketch of Mary instead? (Dangerous as I'm not a portrait artist at all and avoid people where I can.)

Watch this space!

Thursday, February 02, 2017

A Twofer - Day One and Two of Watercolour Challenge

Day One - Sea Life

And the sharp eyed will notice the use of pastel in what is supposed to be a watercolour challenge but it's my painting so "ner"! This was a lot of fun to do. It didn't start off as a seal, I had a play around with the background without a formal plan of what would happen. I did think it would end up as a landscape of some form. But I do love seals, from watching the little harbour seals play off Newport beach in Millport to trying to distinguish them from grey seals. I'm incredibly bad at recognising the little differences. Last year I thought I spotted baby seals, turned out it was otters!

Day Two - Flowers

Following orders for this one and yes, my inability to recognise things also includes flowers so I don't know what this is. I have lovely hyacinths which have wilted somewhat, I should have maybe painted them instead so I didn't sound so daft. Am noting I went slightly (more than slightly) skew-whiff on the glass pot I used but it's meant to be a quick sketch so I'll blame that.