Mildred Mitchell and more

Hemerocallis Mildred Mitchell

I have a new Daylily in the Garden. Her name is Mildred Mitchell and she is STUNNING!! I have bored my Flickr Friends with her photos ENDLESSLY and finally decided  to try her in Watercolour.

Below,  is a VERY poor photo of Mildred, because the room was dark and I took it on my phone. In reality, it is the same as the one above but on regular paper. This is the one I used to draw my outlines... The original photo is on 8.5"x11" paper. Mildred will be twice that when she is finished- I HOPE!!!
A blurry picture of Mildred with the grid lines - Kind of like Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds??

Anyway, I have made my faint pencil outline and have a wee bit of paint on. This pic is very hard to see but if you try very hard, you'll see where I intend to go.
The paint was not FULLY dry so the paper is a WEE bit warbly. Nice and flat now.
You'll see the garish green bit in the upper right corner of the reference photo. That will NOT be in the final picture! It is slightly more than a half sheet of Winsor and Newton WC paper- 140 lb, cold press.

I have been spending a LOT of time drawing, messing with paint colours and generally getting back into my WC comfort zone. Mind you, I am SO used to working SMALL and now I am working BIG- or at least biggER that the Comfort Zone is not actually TOO close just yet. I have some trepidation about this piece as there is so much space with so little detail. I am just going to have to work REALLY hard!

However, Drawing feels great again and I keep picking up little things I find in the garden and playing with them...
I found this lovely little Amelanchier leaf on the front lawn and fell in love with it! Somehow, our trees seem to change colour quite early and this new tree is doing it too. It doesn't show too clearly, but the left side was almost all yellow, while the right side was various corals and reds with lime green veins! The other sketches are of a pink coneflower. 
So, you see, I have not been idle. I am not very good at Idle! We have very very hot, humid weather just now and I am VERY happy to remain indoors, painting and drawing. I hope you are all managing to remain cool, comfortable and SAFE. Stay hydrated and think cool thoughts. It seems not to matter where you are in the world, we are ALL HOTTT! Take care and Be Creative!

Ta DAAA!!!!!

I am finished! (I think) I have it propped on the mantle for some serious "staring time" to see if anything jumps out at me. If not, I'll sign it! On the whole, I am pretty happy. I have never done a watercolour this big- 22"x15" ( half a sheet of Winsor and Newton 140 lb NOT) and have not done w "serious " painting for - maybe 35 years!!! Anyway... here it is!

The copyright needs to be removed. That is from my photo. My "signature" is VERY small! Sorry, forgot to remove it!
I decided, in the end, on greens with some yellow as there are bits of light shining on and through some of the petals.

Then, I decided I HAD to do something to keep track of my paints! I have a LOT and wracked my brain for a way of keeping track of them and allowing me to see what a particular colour looks like when making up a palette for a new piece of work. They are only in spectrum order - red, orange, yellow, green etc but not sorted within a section. I used strips on watercolour paper, name on the back side and eventually, I will record a Munsell pigment number and other pertinent info on each colour too.

 I BELIEVE this is BRILLIANT- for me, anyway. May not work for you.
This is the weekend of the Memorial Picnic for Mum. The whole family of my Mum will be here ( DD et al arrive here on Thursday !!!!) and we are all ready to roll... and the weather sounds potentially VERY unpicnic-like!!!! Fingers crossed but my brother and his wife have a big house which they have kindly offered in case we get rained or worse- THUNDERSTORMED out! So, I am frustrated but not painting this week. I'll have two little boys to play with in a couple of days! That'll take my mind off my paintboxes! They are 4 1/2 and 21 months and FULL OF LITTLE BOY BEANS :-D

So, kind folk, Have a wonderful week yourselves and Happy creating! Back soon.

Almost done!

I have been dancing as fast as I can as I am trying to finish AT LEAST the flower itself before the little kiddos et al arrive on Thursday next :-) Cannot wait to see them . Here's where I am to date...

The peony ALMOST finished! A few more bits on the petals on the right side, then the BACKGROUND!!!!

I have NO real solid idea of what to do for the background. The photo was shot with a black board behind it but I do NOT want black. I MIGHT make a nice dark ....... ( fill in the blank colour) and do that or a couple of colours with a bit of the magenta sneaking in just to echo the bloom colours. Unless YOU have any suggestions, you'll just have to wait for my decision ;-)

Not even finished THIS one and I am already looking at THIS!!!! It is hemerocallis Mildred Mitchell. The colours are FABULOUS!! So is/are the detail(s).

Lovely, eh!! I bought two a couple of days ago and planted them at the back.

I really have High Hopes for these two plants. I have quite a nice little daylily collection. Hostas too!
OK, 'nuff for now. I am deaded and need to rest up before the family arrives. I think we MIGHT be busy!! BTW, Mildred has a stunning BLUEish bloom over the petals that doesn't show up here. That'll be fun to try to paint!!

Making slow progress

My loyalties are , currently, divided! On 21 July, we are having a Memorial Picnic for Mum and the WHOLE family is assembling in town for the event. This means that DD et al will be HERE WITH US so some organization / REorganization is required. As well, I am working on THE PEONY!!!

Cannot show you the picnic plans except that THIS is the venue...
A River runs through it... The Twelve Mile Creek, to be exact! USED to be great trout fishing!

The tables and lawn of "Our Site" -LOADS of room for the six Grandkiddos to run

The door of the "Limestone School" where generations of Bells, Robertsons etc went to school. My Granny and Mum and all their siblings, cousins etc attended classes here. This is the focal point of the park.
Now then, YOU ALL are charged with the responsibility of praying for a DRY DAY PLEASE! Thanks and Bless you all. If you were related to me, you could come!

AND... Here is the Peony so far.

LOTS of work still to do but so far, so good (sort of!) There ARE parts I would do very differently now but it is all a learning experience,  I want to find SOME time to work on it between now and the 21.
I hope you are all well, happy and managing to stay cool and safe in this awful heat! We have a cooler morning today so I am off to don grubby clothes and mow the front lawn! Take care everyone!

The end and the beginning

Well, one thing finishes... and I start another.

Finally finished the little painting of one of my favourite succulents. It was REALLY fun mixing all those greys- blue ones, green ones even some yellowish ones

Here's the plant. I love the powder blue "bloom" on the leaves.It was tough to capture but I am RELATIVELY pleased

This is a VERY coarse closeup crop of the centre! I really love it and may  just do  a blowup semi abstract. Stay tuned!!
And, the New Beginning, I hear you cry!!  Well, It is also a macro of a peony centre- I must be CRAZY to try this, having been away from painting for so long but I am going to have a go! This MAY be the last you see of this project.

Here is my starting photo- Catherine Fonteyn Peony
I printed the photo on an 8.5"x 11" paper and gridded it off in one inch squares. Then, on my wc paper, a piece of 140 lb Winsor and Newton NOT, I made a Two Inch Grid ( ie- the picture will be twice as large in the end)

I have drawn the picture as best I can and I photographed it. It is a horrid picture as I had to darken my pencil lines in LR so you could see them. In reality, they are quite faint.

Here it is. Does it make ANY sense to you?? 
I have finished the drawing but as I begin adding colour, I see bits I have missed or want to change a bit. What a job!!!

VERY faint first washes started. It is looking quite yellowish because I shot in under artificial light, in the evening and with my PHONE!! You, perhaps, get the idea!
It is very hard to tell at this stage how well this will turn out but I'll keep working slowly and try to post as I go along!!

Anyway, Our 52 Anniversary today (DH FORGOT! Thought it was tomorrow!) and HAPPY CANADA DAY, EH, EVERYONE! 

Been quiet- but busy!!

Greetings ALL! I have been working in the garden a LOT and painting in the in between times. I have just discovered Winsor and Newton Watercolour paper and I am IN LOVE!! Much whiter than Arches and soo nice to work on!

The Little Red Iris is all done now. I don't THINK I showed it to you fini earlier??
The one thing I REALLY don't like about the Iris is the paper! FAR too coarse textured. It was done on Fabriano 140 lb! Never again, except perhaps for a large landscape.

The Crabapples are finished now. If I posted them earlier- please forgive! This was on Arches 140 lb., my OLD fave!
I have worked VERY hard on the next one. It is from a Macro photo I shot into the centre of a very colourful Zinnia a couple of summers ago. Zinnias are pretty brash for my garden but I DO like them, as do the butterflies!! I have JUST finished this and am fairly happy. This is the first one on WN watercolour paper. It is GORGEOUS to work on. I need a couple more sheets to play with.

This lies PERFECTLY flat and had GALLONS of water on it- masking fluid, scrubbing- impervious to all. I REALLY love this paper and the colour REALLY show true as the whiteness is reflected through the transparent paint!

And now, I'm working on a small drawing of one of my succulents. It is on an 8"x8" Fluid Watercolour Cold Press block pad and It is only OK to work on. I used a bit of masking fluid and it lifted the paper!!!! Hmm. Anyway, just laying in highlights and deepest shadows. Also the little rosey edges of the leaves.

JUST started on this succulent- Many Shades of Grey!!
I am also working on a larger piece- which you may, or may not EVER see!!! It is a half sheet of WN paper and is another macro - this time, the centre of a pale peony!!! I might show you the photo so you see why the painting may never see the light of day! Wish me luck :-)

And so, Kind folks, off I go to  continue edging the back flower beds now that the sun is down a little. Happy creating! 

Plugging away happily!!

I have "finished" my Apple Blossoms- but for a few touchups after I stare at it for a while. I have been playing about with it for a couple of  weeks off and on.
As always- very happy with some bits. NOT so happy about others! 
This still needs a bit of work and to me, it is CRYING OUT for a gently washy bit of background- just to make it jump off the page a bit. Trouble is--- I am a devout CHICKEN! Stay tuned. I HOPE it will come.

And I have been playing- DRAWING in my big new watercolour Journal , prepping for some more new pieces. (I hesitate to call them "pieces at this stage as it sounds a tad pretentious, but what else can I call them?) Here are some samples. I have been drawing a LOT!!!
This is another apple blossom one with some studies of the spent blossoms underneath. I SHOULD be seeing some of the BILLIONS of wee apples developing for the fall by now. Better pick a bit and work on that too.

And this is a twig of the deep pink crabapple blossom at peak. I REALLY want to do this one. MAY use some graphite paper to transfer my drawing to WC paper. I have never used it before. Worth a try!Does anyone have any experience of using Graphite paper???

And at the bottom of the same page- a straight down macro of one of my succulents which I HOPE will be a great exercise in GREYS!! How many Shades? Stay tooned! 

And a pageful of allsorts. The little "watercolour " at the top is a copy from an exercise in separating foreground from background petals. It is kind of wonky as I could not see the drawing well enough to make a decent copy. Never mind. I learned a lot. I THINK it is by an artist called Jane Freeman. She does GORGEOUS work! SOO much detail!
And last, but not least, I JUST started work on a little dwarf Red Iris. They are long gone from the garden now with this awful, early heat. Here is my reference photo, taken a week or so ago.
I edited it as a high key photo because, as glorious as the original colour is, as a wee watercolour, it would lose its delicate details. I hope I can capture it.
Here is my drawing and the start of the colour- waiting to dry!
It will get there but there is a L O N G way to go. Oh, what fun though!!!
OK, Dear Friends, stay tuned but don't hold your collective breath. DH is NOT in shape to do a lot of heavy lifting just at the moment, so I am being the jobbing gardener, Chief cook and bottle washer. Painting gets squeezed between! My idea of ABSOLUTE Luxury- would be a WHOLE day to paint, uninterrupted! Guess I'd need Staff for that to happen ;-)

I hope you and yours are all well and thriving and enjoying the heat! Please take care and keep on Creating! HUGS!


I am sorry I have been so slack posting lately but here I go again, if a tad late!

I TRIED to psyche myself up to put a background in but decided to take the "chicken's way" out and just leave it white!
I SHALL still fool around with the magnolia branches themselves, just to sharpen them up a bit but basically, this is IT for this little pic!

I forget if I showed you this one?? I don't mind the bloom - mostly- but I do NOT like the background!!!( so you are apt NEVER to see it!)

And here is the most recent "finished" one!! It is a pink hellebore from our garden. Still needing a bit of touchup but I am calling it pretty much fini!

Parts of this hellebore make me fairly happy . I started with the background and kind of lost it in a few spots- you can see the blurp of Rich Green Gold in the lower two petals but I am not too worried about that. I DID try some negative painting but only semi successfully. I DO like the stamens and nectaries but they need a bit of work in a couple of spots. I am also quite pleased with the "translucency" of the back lit bloom. Some of the shadows are fairly successful too.

I have been drawing a lot- some, almost every day and things are finally looking up. No examples here but I'll maybe shoot a few pics so you can see. DH is NOT able to garden or to help me much out there just now so our garden work falls to ME! I have worked VERY hard all week- raking, weeding, seeding, pruning and generally tidying up. BIG JOB for one little old woman! I LOVE it , but I really missed my paints. We are expecting rain tomorrow so I HOPE to get back at it!

Just a quick catchup from our house and garden. I hope you all enjoy a safe, happy Victoria Day weekend. I'll spend a BIT of time digging out my sandals and thinking of getting some new WHITE trousers for the summer! The ones I HAVE been wearing are so thin from over wear that they border on indecent! Mighty cool on a hot day though!!!! Cheerio for now!!

Magnolia blooms

As far as I got before supper
 Heart's DELIGHT!!! I got a WHOLE afternoon of painting! It felt soooo good to concentrate. I started off with a photo I took at least ONE year ago- maybe two.
I have drawn in the three main blooms and have begun the painting . I'll decide later how many more I want and what to do with the background. I like the deep soft grey green AND the yellow! That's our neighbour's Forsythia. Stay "tooned"!

I began with a single bloom , got it to a place where I felt reasonably happy and then started the middle one.
First bloom- the far left end. Stopped and then moved on to the middle one...
I see now a small error I made in my drawing. I'll correct it - I HOPE and will say my prayers that it will be repairable because, to THIS point, I am fairly pleased.

Painting on every other petal- non adjacent ones so the paint doesn't run when neighbouring petals are both wet together. 
I kept working and am trying to decide how many more blooms I'll do, what I should do with the background and whether I could add two more blooms but loosely, allowing their colour to bleed out into the surrounding paper??? Here is where I am to date...
Guess I will try at least to correct my goof tonight. I am pretty weary so I MAY not do anything else tonight. I'll post this much for now and hope you enjoy this so far.
Cheerio for now!

Heavy Handed- but MAYBE on the right track!!

A maths teacher I had LONG ago used to say, "Practice saves milking time"! I have forgotten the maths ( mercifully) but never that saying! SOOO true... and I NEED to keep practising! I feel like I AM making SOME progress, but I never seem to have the nice chunk of time I need to REALLY work at it and to concentrate. Anyway, enough with the excuses...
I shot this photo last spring and will do more very soon, with a view to having a good reference photo or two to work on. This one is not good but I tried it anyway!
 I watched a really nice little video on You Tube by Ross Barbera painting magnolia. Learned and REMEMBERED a LOT of things I have known and forgotten. Anyway, inspired, I set out to paint this bloom!!! ( remember, please, I have NOT done this for a LONG time!!!)
I was fairly pleased with my initial sketch and with the beginning washes.

I let this all dry really well before starting the washes on the big fore petal.
Once again, so far, so good- or at least decent!!!
For one thing, I started my bloom too close to the right edge of my paper- 140 lb, cold pressed in a WC block by Fluid 100-6"x8".

Anyway, ever onward and upward...
Decided where my shadows were going to be and sketched them in. Painted in the bud sheath (FAR too green and FAR too dark , but what can ya do???) I also painted in a little leaf bud and the gnarly little stem. 
Finally, I added the shadows on the petals. I believe that another time, I need to lighten up and go easy on the heavy layers and intense paint values.
See what I mean!! Getting VERY heavy and overworked. I REALLY need to work on this again. This is NOT Poster Paint!! It is gorgeous Daniel Smith and Winsor and Newton Watercolour- DELICIOUSLY transparent and translucent!

And, at last, WHAT to do with the background? At the moment, that is the hardest thing for me! I just watched a wonderful video by an Englishwoman, Ann Mortimer , painting sunny Dog Roses! SUCH a delicate light touch! I LOVE her background in that painting! I know I CAN do that. I have done it many times before but it will take this old dog some time to relearn the old tricks. No new tricks right now! This doggy is almost TOO old for those! She ain't givin' up though, I promise you THAT!! So... The great reveal -hahaha!
Things I DO like- The sunshiny-ness of the Rich Green Gold by Daniel Smith. The way I was able to lift some leafy shapes out with my clean damp brush. Things I am NOT as fond of- The overly granulating Green Apatite , also by DS. It is a FABULOUS colour and paint but as this is such a tiny picture, that much heavy texture may be too much. I am also frustrated with my edges. Gotta get my act together and clean THOSE up as I go. Shaky hands are NOT beneficial!!
I recently tried Hot Press paper. NOT sure I really like it but I am pretty sure that for such an elegant , smooth subject as a glorious magnolia bloom, there MAY be a place for Hot press. I will just have to try it again and see.

So, you see, I am working at it and enjoying it tremendously. I feel more confident painting in this more "trad" style just now till I get the hang of paint, paper, water and brush again. I will keep trying to get loose but I need to brush up my Shakespeare, as it were- clean up my drawing, brush handling etcetcetc!!!Oh, what fun it is to paint . Bear with me please . I HOPE eventually to please YOU and ME both!! Happy creating!

Messing about!!!

I am learning by Experimenting and Messing About! I have been playing with colour, brushes, brushstrokes, water. I have NOT accomplished a great deal except that I HAVE learned a fair bit and recalled a fair bit from years ago. When DH first got his radial arm saw, he said he was making sawdust! That is the stage I am at. I am making Watercolour Sawdust! Lots of "Bin pictures"!

Part of one side of a biggish piece of Arches 140 lb paper upon which I have been trying out colours, brushes, brushstrokes, little sketches etc.

More of the tryouts on the same side of the same paper. 
And the back side of the same piece pf paper.
Believe it or not, I HAVE actually learned and RE-learned some things doing this "doodling"!!

I am still working through some of Ms Haines' exercises. They are fun but, of course unsigned as they are not original. The "signatures" you see on the pictures are just my photo copyright.
An attempt at some VERY abstract and colourful lambs. So interesting to see how the SHAPE rather than detail or colour says "lambs"!
And kind of a heavy handed attempt at HALF a butterfly! Like Eric, the Half A Bee, this is Half a Butterfly- perhaps ALSO named Eric! ( any more Monty Python fans out there???)

One VERY important thing I am learning is that VERY loose, although GORGEOUS, is not really me!! I am a detail Girl and am TRYING to escape from the tedium and predictability of absolute photographic detail. I am pretty sure I will still be identifiable as ME when I really get back into full swing with my paints and brushes! In the meantime, I am going to "You Tube" school most mornings, practising LOTS, reading and observing and generally , REALLY enjoying myself!! I hope YOU are too.