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.

There and Back Again!!!

We have been abroad in the land!! We are home safely now ( and that was NOT guaranteed at ALL!!) We had a BALL with DD , DSIL and our two delightful Grandboys! WHAT A TREAT!!!!

While we were there, I shopped for some new paint and paper and brushes and I had already ordered some more online and sent things to our Daughter.
The brushes, from L to R are- a W&N Chinese caligraphy brush, a Princeton rigger, a size 8 Isabey Squirrel hair wash brush and two Rosemary and Co brushes- a size 10 synthetic triangle brush and a series 40 triangle brush. All have passed muster, although we are yet to become VERY GOOD friends! 

And four new DS paint colours- L to R- Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Genuine, Rich Green Gold, Lavender and Cascade Green- DELICIOUS ALL!!
I messed with the paint and the brushes just to try them out!
L to R, colours are Cascade Green, Lavender, Rich Green Gold and the Sleeping Beauty Turquoise. I let the water spread them and each is PERFECT! The Daniel Smith paints are VERY potent! The little squiggles at he bottom are made with the wee Rigger Brush! LOVE it!
I also played with the wash brush, made a very small wash and then tried DD's plastic wrap on top...
Once dry, I could see jungle leaves near the bottom so played with that. That was fun!
Then my eldest Grandboy painted some pictures for Granddad and me. GB is 4!  One is not signed but by the style, palette and the interesting and unique techniques used, I am SURE it is by the same artist ;-)
The greeny, browny one is for Granddad as he likes trees and leaves  etc. The colourful ones are for Granny, as she loves colour and flowers. They now adorn our frig door :-)
And, whilst there, I shot Dogwood blooms!! They are a bit past prime but still lovely and I want to draw and paint them so I took a LOT of pics!! Enjoy!!!

Aren't they lovely!!! I have been shooting Hellebores in our garden this afternoon. While we were away, there was a severe ice storm ( we drove 18 hours through it !!!!! HORRIBLE and SOOO dangerous!)
A helleborus Niger in our icy, freezing garden!

Just the centre to study and to draw!

Isn't it delicious!!

We had a great time but are happy to be home safely! It is AWFULLY silent here in OUR house! All the fun and frivolity is far far away now :-(
Look at her lovely little face!

A red Hellebore Orientalis blooming its little heart out in the ice!

I hope that you have all had a good week and that you have been creative. I also hope that YOUR weather is better than ours! While we were south, we had about a day and a half at almost 90F - and then the Ice Age returned! Not to worry! The Sun shone ALL day and all night where the little fellows were! SUCH a joy! Happy creating, Friends. Take care of yourselves!

Needing my new Wash Brush!!

Hello, All!! It is WILDLY WINDY here today- gusts over 100 kph! Just had my hair done this AM . It is full of gunk so when I get out in the wind!!!! YIKES!

Anyway, continuing to work through Jean Haines' exercises. I used a branch of my own Honesty pods and my own drawing to work from and used MsHaines' method. It was very enjoyable but also a tad frustrating.
This was my initial wash . It is OK but I can see that I REALLY need my new Wash Brush so I can get a great, sloppy, more even wash. As it stands, I did this with a size 10 W&N Sable brush and a size 12 Escoda one. Just TOO hard to get NICE slop!
My new brush currently lives in TN with DD.  We are off to visit her and the Little Boys and our dear SIL next week. Cannot WAIT! We haven't seen them since last July! There are also three new Daniel Smith paint colours living there which shall also be coming home with me :-)

Continuing on with my Honesty Pods experiment-
Here's where I ended up. It is on 140 lb cold pressed paper- a 9"x12" WC block ( so NOT stellar paper) . The largest brush I used was my #12 Escoda  and the smallest, my W&N #3 Rigger. I will try the same piece again using the new brush when I get it and a NICE piece of Arches 140 lb. I am trying to decide if I might change the colours, orientation ...???
This was a very good learning experience too. If you look carefully, there is an X in the centre that is most UN-Lunaria looking. It was just caused by carelessness. I shall do better next time! The branch of seed pods I am using is curved downward gracefully but the way I painted the crisscrossing twigs makes it look like they burst in all directions from a central spot! Anyway, I DO like some aspects of this so I shall not be TOO hard on myself.

I am still a BIT reluctant to sign this . It IS my branch, my own drawing and my work BUT, it IS Jean Haines' idea. Maybe I'll sign the next one and be SURE that it is ALL MY OWN . I am VERY serious about copyright! We ALL should be!

A Different sort of Art!

Happy Easter, everyone! I did something today that I have not done for a LONG time! I made THIS....
DH LOVES Lemon Pie, as did my Darling Mum . I ALWAYS make Lemon pie for Easter. It just LOOKS right, somehow. Anyway, now I must go and clear all of the watercolour paraphernalia off the diningroom table . We have not eaten at the table for AGES- Christmas, in fact! Just DH and I , but we're doing it right tonight! Best wishes for Easter and Passover . Love you ALL!