I have been having so much fun playing with colour lately. With a small painting (this one is 5″ x 7″), I can be adventurous with color and let daring combinations happen, like red & turquoise and a new fun colour in my palette, Phthalo Yellow Green from Daniel Smith.
Painting from my imagination is so liberating. It almost feels like cheating to just drop in colours that please me, play with shapes and lines and dots. This 5″ x 7″ is available on my new “Watercolour Sketchbook” etsy shop. The Etsy shop will be where I list studies, sketches or colour exercises that are smaller or more affordably priced than the larger pieces on my gallery page. I’m happy to be able to present options for art collectors of all budgets. (Note: I will be closing the Etsy shop while we are on vacation for three weeks this month, so if you wish to make a purchase, please do so by March 9th).
Paintings are happening!
I’m realizing that my work goes a little bit in spurts. Working on several paintings at once means that I usually have several great beginnings, but getting from there to the completed painting can be a little bit of a slog.
So it’s been fun for me to work on these small 5″ x 7″ paintings that will be gifted to my charity fundraiser $50 donors. They have been so generous that I have quite a list of paintings to send out!
Many of the donors have requested a floral theme. So much for the “wisdom” that says artists shouldn’t paint florals! (I have actually heard this, and I think it’s ridiculous. Paint whatever you darn well want, is what I live by.)
(two lilac themed paintings)
Painting floral themes is very liberating for me because I love exploring shape and colour and flowers are very forgiving. Not every artist feels this way. I had one artist tell me “Landscapes are harder than florals” and I was in agreement, and then another artist overheard her and responded that for her it was the opposite. So we all have our own natural bent, and that’s okay.
I love growing orchids and have at least 8 different orchid plants in my home. They are easy to care for and the blooms last for ages, brightening a bleak winter’s day.
This one was just a fun exploration of colour. The flowers are pretty little posies, more design elements than based on actual blooms. Artists can do that, you know! Invent a flower? Why not?
These blossoms don’t wither, and they brighten the day. My donors are getting a $100 painting free for their donation of $50 and you can too by donating here! This opportunity ends March 8, 2015.
I turned thirty-eight on the weekend and I have to say that for the artist, aging doesn’t have to be a threatening concept. After all, for the artist, one’s art can only get better with age and experience. My paintings are the sum of my experiences in life and my skill with my chosen medium, so the passing of time is a good thing!
A few more reasons turning 38 is just fine:
- Mind-blowing fundraiser. My “Hope for Women” birthday campaign has raised over $1300 for women in Asia and with just a few days left, I think we might just triple my original goal of $500. Thank you!
- Fabulous cake. I try to make the fanciest cake I can think of for my birthday as an excuse to really indulge, and this year’s triple chocolate mousse cake was seriously over the top! So good.
- Health. This year I’ve seen a few nagging things pop up (just ask me about my bunions, I dare you!) but overall I’m so thankful to be healthy and strong. No one should ever take this for granted.
- People. The longer I live, the more amazing people I get to meet. I’ve got an incredible family (more on that later) and I love encountering new and interesting people, making friends and seeing relationships evolve and mature.
- Experiences. Getting older means more opportunities to experience new things. This year that means travel, but some years it’s just little things. Trying a new food, learning a new skill, hearing a new song or reading a special book.
- Perspective. Age and maturity have helped me to realize that 1. I can’t always trust my emotions and 2. I will survive whatever difficulty I am enduring. My children are 8, 10 and 12, and when they are going through a frustrating time, there is no convincing them that they will get through it and it’s not as big a deal as it seems. I am encouraged when I remember how past troubles have shaped me into a stronger person and I can trust God to help me with whatever is next.
- Family. For many years my parents lived on the other side of the world. I am so thankful they live nearby now and we can share so many memories.
- Family. My husband and I have been married for seventeen years and I can’t take for granted the joy of sharing life with a best friend and partner who is so worthy of my respect. I look forward to growing old with this guy. And my kids; as they get older I look forward more and more to all the experiences we will share and enjoy who they are becoming.
- My painting career. I love that I can do what I love AND view it as a career that is growing and moving ahead. It can be a frustrating, slow-moving journey, but it is always richly rewarding and exciting to imagine what lies ahead and what doors art will open to me, as it has already.
- I’m not 40 yet! Okay, this is silly, because I resolved long ago to embrace whatever age I’ve attained as a sign I’m still alive. And that’s a good thing!
Happy birthday to me!
I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying painting these little 5″ x 7″ watercolor paintings for my charity fundraiser. As you may remember, every $50 donor gets a thank you painting, and I ask them to specify floral or landscape. So far, florals have the lead!
It does take time, even to create a small painting, and I might well be painting into May as the donations continue to trickle in (campaign ends March 8, 2015), but it’s worth it to know that we are making a difference in the world. Also, these small paintings are a great way to explore and experiment and the subjects might well turn up in larger paintings that I can use in gallery shows later this year.
If you’ve donated to my “Hope for Women” fundraiser, you might well see one of these paintings in your mailbox in a few weeks’ time! And even if you can’t donate, you can still enter to win by visiting this post and filling out the rafflecopter entry form at the bottom of the page.
It has become a tradition that every year around my birthday (I’m turning 38 at the end of the month), I hold a fundraising campaign for charity. This year I’m giving to Gospel for Asia’s “Hope for Women” program, and if you join me, you could win a painting! A donation of as little as $5 gets you an entry in the draw for the beautiful “Muncho Sentinels” painting shown above. The painting is valued at $700 and it’s unframed, so I can ship it to the winning donor anywhere in the world.
The first five donors of $20 receive a free watercolour calendar, plus 4 entries in the draw, and $50 donors will receive a 5″x7″ painting painted just for them (valued at $100), plus ten entries in the draw. I’m excited about being able to give back this way and can’t wait to see this campaign grow. Won’t you consider visiting the fundraising site to check out the details? Even if you can’t give, you can share the campaign on social media and help spread the word.
Visit the link above to give and thank you!
One of my favourite local trees would have to be the birch. Our acreage in northern British Columbia is home to many birches, though they don’t all survive to adulthood as woodpeckers tend to drill them full of holes after they reach a certain age. I love the young birches for their coppery bark and the mature trees for the curls of bark peeling from the trunk and their feathery branches.
This winter I couldn’t get past the beauty of the sunset reflected on tree trunks and this painting was the result:
11.5″ x 11.5″ (29 x 29cm)
available for purchase
I only wish my camera did the colours in this painting justice. The subtleties of watercolor are lost in photos. As with most of my paintings, it takes a little time before I know for sure a painting is “done”; a fellow watercolorist tells me he has been known to unframe paintings that are years-old to make changes and corrections, but I haven’t had that happen…yet. I think every painting deserves closure at some point!
As a painting subject, flowers are wonderful! They are so full of colour, organic shape and very forgiving (after all, if a flower isn’t turning out the shape you see, you can always say it’s wilted a little, or been chewed by bugs!), and I think they lend themselves perfectly to loose, expressive painting.
This is the reason I chose florals for my first BIG online course, “Color-Drenched Florals in Watercolor.” Building that course was a lot more work than I had anticipated, as it seemed like every time I videotaped a new demonstration, I would think of a better way to teach the material, and have to film it a second time!
Launching the course was a little frightening, too. There’s always the question of whether or not the material is as good as I think it is, and whether or not anyone will actually want to purchase the class. I really wasn’t certain I had the marketing knowhow to reach customers and keep good momentum for the long term. It was exciting to see the course numbers climb, as over 260 students have enrolled to date, and even more fun to read and participate in the lively discussions on the Student Gallery page, as students shared their work and their thoughts on the course assignments.
As of January 31, 2015, the 50% off code for this course will expire, and while the course will still be available, I want to remind everyone that the $49 deal will last just a few days more. There is more than $99 worth of value in this course and it’s so much fun to create with fluid watercolor and enjoy the beauty and color of the natural world. I encourage you to sign up before the deal goes away, and invite your friends. Thank you as always for being part of my watercolor-loving community!
I’m starting to add paintings to my 2015 folder and it’s fun to see the direction I’m taking in my work. I was looking through my paintings from 2014 and was inspired by the trees I painted over the year. I have a little crush on birch trees, especially the young birches with their coppery bark slashed with black, dark branches tracing spiderwebs in the sky. So while I’m not excluding any subject matter that inspires me, I am thinking that trees are going to be my focus this year. I don’t think it will be boring!
Here are a few of my favourite tree paintings & sketches from 2014:
And here are two studies from 2015. The first is the reason I love cross country skiing; every Saturday in winter we are on the trails and they are so beautiful!
And this is a view from the end of our driveway, looking west toward town.
Here’s to trees in 2015!
NOTE**The offer code has expired, however you can join and save 50% off the retail price of $99 using this link: http://watercolors.usefedora.com/course/landscapes/?couponCode=halfoff2015
For the last two months I’ve been working on building my new online course, “Composing the Landscape in Watercolor”. Putting a course together is a lot of work! I have to figure out what to teach, and then put together coherent video with sensible explanations. Which means I also have to actually know what I’m doing, and how to verbalize a process that is usually very internal. It was worth it though, as I believe my new course is the best one yet, full of content (over 3 hours of video) and with four complete painting demonstrations, including the two paintings shown below.
I have priced the course at $99USD, however I have a bit of an earlybird discount for those who want to join right away. Until January 18th, you can get the course for $39, using this link.
Please also be aware that my Florals course coupon code, providing that course for just $49, will be discontinued at the end of January, so if you have been planning on enrolling in that course, now is the time to do it!
As always I am so excited by this new step, and so thankful that I get to live this wonderful watercolour adventure. Thanks for joining me on it – watercolor people are THE best kind of people!