Saturday, 31 December 2016

Goodbye 2016

What a year this has been! There have been good things and bad things happen and much of the year is just a blur!

2016 started with Leslie Saeta's 30/30 challenge and I was very happy with most of my paintings.

February saw me giving a Quilling workshop to some of the members of the Creston Art Club.
I also tired selling my wares at a Pop-Up Mall in Creston but decided it wasn't the right venue for my art.
In April I shared a table at the Creston Trade Fair and promoted a new venture -  Watercolour Painting Parties. The response was great and I ended up doing 6 full parties, one private party and one party for two. They were so much fun I will be doing more in 2017.

Starting in May, I joined a number of Art Club members and set up a gallery in an empty store in town. We were only open on weekends and the venture was only mildly successful - good thing we didn't have to pay rent - lol

I attended our Art Club annual Paint-out where I didn't manage much of a painting - plein-air is just not my thing.

In between doing all these things I was spending time with my flowers; starting them in January, then thinning, transplanting, pruning, watering, planting them outside, then more watering and pruning. A lot of work but I love the show.

At the end of summer, the roof sort of fell in with Bob's heart attack. Things are okay now but the situation has certainly changed our eating habits and I am learning a new way of cooking with the focus on more vegetables, no salt and fewer meat dishes. We are learning to live!

In the fall I started teaching a few private students which is always a joy, especially when they are really pleased with their progress. I hope they will all come back in the new year.

When I look back I really think that the good has outweighed the bad in 2016. I did 62 paintings, about 25 handmade cards and over 20 quilled pieces. I think about 24 of my paintings sold at the various venues and a whole bunch of my photo cards sold too - not too shabby although I am glad I don't have to make my living at art - lol.

Wishing everyone a very Happy, Healthy and Successful 2017 - it is sure to be interesting!

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Celebrating the Season

Last week the Art Club I belong to had their annual Christmas Pot-luck Lunch. Every year the organizers try to come up with a different way for members to share the joy of the season. Some of the ideas we have had are; a trash to treasure gifting and small painting secret exchanges. This year a handmade card exchange was proposed.
As it wasn't stipulated that we do a card that fit the season, I decided to do something a little different; a watercolour Warbler with quilled wisteria. I did this same subject in all watercolour when I was practicing the Oriental painting method a few years ago during a 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.

There were some really wonderful cards made, most of them with a Christmas theme of course and we all had a fun time seeing what everyone got.

This is the first time in years that we have bothered to take photos at our Christmas get-together and it is nice to see all the happy faces. A number of our members go south for the winter and others work full time and are rarely able to attend so the few you see here do not reflect our numbers.

We have about 35 members but only around 15 to 20 regularly attend our weekly painting days. An art club like ours is a great way to learn new techniques, get inspiration and enjoy fellowship with like minded people; I enjoy being a part of it!.

Here is a card I just painted to wish you all...

                                           A Very Merry Christmas
                                                       and a
                                       Happy and Healthy New Year

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Teach and Learn

In the last few weeks I had requests to teach things that had me scratching my head and thinking 'how the .... do I do that!'

Near the end of November my friend, Linda, called and asked if I could teach her how to paint abstracts. Now Linda is a wonderful watercolour artist with a deft touch for landscapes and flowers in that medium and when I heard her request I was flabbergasted.  But undaunted, I said "sure I'll do what I can".
Tropical Forest

I really don't know what I am doing when I paint an abstract: I just play with my acrylic paints. Choose the colours, maybe add some mat medium, slap paint on a canvas, spray it with water, push the paint around with a palette knife and it is done! Sometimes I really like what I end up with; other times not so much.

unnamed acrylic abstract
So Linda watched while I started the Tropical Forest painting, then went to town on her own canvases. She kept grinning and saying 'This is fun!" She dropped paint, splashed paint, sprayed and twisted her canvas letting the paint drip and run. At one point she had a mess of dropped paint on the table and went to wipe it up when I stopped her. I grabbed a piece of mat board and turned it down on the paint, twisted and lifted it and ended up with the background for the unnamed painting above - waste not want not - lol.

Here are Linda's paintings - don't they look like she had fun doing them?

It is always great when Linda comes over for a day of painting but better when it makes me think and learn.

The second "how do I do that" was really my own fault. My Tuesday student, Jeannie, wanted to do a still life with fruit. We couldn't find a suitable photo online to use as a reference so I grabbed a few fruits out of the kitchen and put them on a simple plate. But just the plate and the fruit looked unfinished so I draped some fabric around them. Fabric! What was I thinking? Especially white fabric!

I showed the start of our paintings in my last blog and here are the finished pieces.
Jeanie's painting with mat

my painting
Jeannie wanted her painting finished in time for Christmas as she intends to give it as a gift. I demonstrated the technique for the shadows at the end of a class but, because we had a deadline Jeannie did the work at home. The stroke and blend method is not always easy to do, especially for a beginner, and Jeannie was not happy with her background when she arrived at class this week. I showed her how some careful lifting and scrubbing and the use of a bit of white paint could fix the fabric enough that she was satisfied. I was satisfied too - it is so nice to have such a hard working student.

I have always found that I learn something when I teach,especially when I have to figure out how to do something new.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

A Brief Respite

I feel like I have a few days of rest before the flurry of getting ready for Christmas takes over my life. The Christmas Fair is over, things are in train for next years community art displays, I don't do 'shopping' and it is too early to start baking.

So, I can catch you up on some of the things I haven't had time to write about.

First, my final Watercolour Painting Party of the year took place at the end of October.  Party goers had the chance to paint two 5 x 7 scenes which matted to 8 x 10. I think everyone was very happy with their paintings.

I didn't get photos of all the participants as two ladies were not able to finish their paintings at the party but I did manage to get photos of one lady's paintings.

I hadn't planned to do any more parties until Spring but it looks like a few ladies that came to the Wynndel Christmas Art & Craft Fair are interested in having a party in the new year - how cool is that?

I have been teaching a few private classes this fall which I enjoy doing, especially for beginners. I don't usually take the time to take photos but today I couldn't resist. I am so pleased with my student's progress on this piece!
my painting

Jeannie's painting
Paintings like this are difficult for Jeannie as she has a medical condition that causes her hands to shake. It makes painting smooth edges a real challenge but she is doing so well I just had to share this WIP. The funny thing is that I am only one step ahead of her - Still life paintings are so not my thing - lol. I will try to remember to take photos of the finished paintings so I can share those too.

I am planning on participating in January's 30 Paintings in 30 Day Challenge so I will be doing a lot more blog posts then.

I must be crazy!