Week 4 – 100 Days of Art

This week we hit the quarter-of-the-way marker! And next week it will be the one-third marker! I feel confident, now, that the 100 days will come and go and my artwork will be all the better for the experience. However, one step at a time.

Day 22

The prompt was to consider a Group of 7 artist coming to town, and thinking what scene that artist would wish to paint, and then to paint it in that style. I have always loved Lawren Harris’s landscapes, mostly of the Great Lakes area. I looked outside my own window and across Algerine Passage to Ahgykson (Harwood) Island and Vancouver Island. That would be what he would paint.

I looked at many of Harris’s paintings to see what colour palette to use. I took note of how he depicted islands and water, clouds and mountains and began.

This was a really enjoyable painting to create. Yes, it doesn’t look much like Harris’s work, however, with the plein air painting season coming up, and a lot of our locations being on ocean shores, I will try to use this technique and colour palette more often.

Day 23

Today I had chance to revisit a previous painting and paint it again from a different perspective. I chose the painting of the night sky, city skyline, with the flying spider.

Most of this painting is imaginary, however, the hand is mine on the sill of the open window.

And, to fit the theme of the previous painting being a nightmare, this one is of the person being unaware of what was about to land in the room.

Day 24

This day required another bit of research into old Masters. The prompt asked for a collaboration with an old Master – what part of the painting would you do?

A few months ago I picked up some second-hand frames and in one was a print of a painting by Pierre Auguste Renoir. It is a lovely piece depicting a young woman and a young child and I have kept it because of the beautiful work on the portraits. I researched Renoir and saw that mostly his backgrounds are very loose. They may be of meadows, fields, gardens, interior walls, all created with less care than the main focus, which invariably would be people.

So, I chose to paint a garden area just waiting for the people to arrive, and Renoir, himself!

Day 25

This day we learned about contour line drawing. Unlike contours on a map, this single line goes from item to item merging background with foreground and never leaving the page. This technique is sometimes used in life drawing.

We have a lot of items under the microwave on our kitchen counter, some of which having been there since Christmas. They made a good subject for this prompt.

Keeping the pen on the page and joining all of the items and the back wall together was difficult although fun. You can see I got in a little trouble after drawing the plug socket and needing to get to the far left side to complete the drawing.

Day 26

I worked at Artique Gallery on this day, and the four scenes below show the view from the window down toward the ocean.

The prompt was to create a Notan. A Notan is used to show light and dark, and is usually just black and white, although sometimes there maybe grey.

I grabbed a Sharpie and divided the page into four. Starting in the top left I drew what I was seeing, making simple shapes. When drawing the top right, I realized I had missed off electrical and phone wires as well as a few traffic lights, and this time there were vehicles. The Sharpie also started to run out.

Armed with a pen with plenty of ink, I moved to the lower left. By then the clouds were lifting off the ocean and Ahgykson (Harwood) Island had come into view. The final one included vehicles, which I was a little better at quickly drawing than in attempt number two.

It surprised me that by looking at the same scene and depicting it four times, I started to see more.

Day 27

A Friday again, which meant indoor painting group. Happily, the prompt this day was “anything” so armed with some bananas for a still life I headed out the door.

One of the other artists in the group offered to sit in the middle of the room so that he could be part of our work. Bringing the bananas close in the foreground and Richard in the background, I think, worked quite well. It is an odd combination, admittedly, but fun.

I used watercolour, which is not something I am skilled in, and toiled for a long time on fabric folds. I may darken the pants later, but for now, this is what was created.

Day 28

What would you teach first to a brand new artist? That was the prompt for Day 28 and I thought back to when I was first venturing down this path. Seeing shapes was a big one; even now I get bogged down into details before realizing that a tree is often an upended triangle, a house is a rectangle with a triangle on top, an avocado is a circle.

We have avocados. So, I got out my charcoal, because charcoal is such a fun material to use. It is simple, quick and messy! My light source was the overhead lamp at our dining room table, which cast a small shadow and a little glare.

The circle came first. From there I used a kneadable eraser to cut back to the actual shape of the avocado. A careful look at the shadow showed it had a double edge, with the lighter part to the extreme and the darker toward the subject. The stem showed on the shadow, yet didn’t protrude beyond the edge of the avocado. I used my finger to smooth the texture somewhat, especially for the shadow, and kept some of the paper’s texture especially on the brightest point of the avocado, because the subject had a very rough, bumpy skin. Although the darkest area is at the base of the avocado where it touches the plate, there is also a lighter area just above where the light on the plate bounces back onto the skin of the subject.

All of these prompts have made me think hard this week. I am learning, I will always be learning, and thankfully, there is always something new to learn! How would you answer some of these prompts? Let me know. Thanks for reading and be creative!

Week 3 – 100 Days of Art

Week 3 is over. I’m starting to feel like a full-time artist so maybe this practice will help move me into that next stage of my work…as long as I leave space for yoga, meditation and music!

I have watched countless artists explain their craft in videos and workshops. Often they speak of maintaining physical and spiritual health while courting the paintbrush. There are some who only put brush to canvas and make a stroke as they breathe out. Others who hit the gym and build up muscle. Others who run marathons, and some who put on crazy music before starting to paint, dancing around the studio to loosen up and be focused.

For more than a year I have developed a daily practice of yoga, mostly thanks to Yoga with Adriene and now yoga with Travis Eliot, both on YouTube. In June I added a daily meditation practice, then in October I rented a cello and started to teach myself this dignified instrument. These three additions to each day bring me focus and intention with my artwork.

Not that you can see that in these daily attempts!! However, they are fun. They are far from my usual work that hangs in Artique gallery; instead they are practice runs, drills, creative adventures that, just like yoga and music and meditation, will add a certain something to my paintings. So, here’s this week’s creations:

Day 15 _ Self Portrait

I had already tried my hand at self portraits in week 1, and to be honest, I was the one who suggested this prompt. So, I created a self portrait that doesn’t look like me, but it was an interesting process. One of the other artists participating in the 100-day challenge said she had created a self portrait in a class where the instructor said to draw what the other hand is feeling. Use one hand to hold the pencil on the paper, close your eyes, then feel the contours of your face with the other hand and draw.

I think this practice has some merit. I think the mouth, chin and end of the nose seem roughly to be in the right places, whereas the ear hanging off the eye on what you see as the left side is waaaay out of place! I may try this again. I did learn that pencil doesn’t show up well on the camera and I had to retrace my line with a black crayon to be able to show you what I have done. Pen is probably a good idea, too.

Day 16 _ Movement

In September we visited Whistler for a few days. Fitzsimmons Creek flows rapidly down the centre between Upper and Lower Village. I spent a long time looking at this river, which has the beautiful whitened turquoise of water from a glacial source. I took many photos and this image is a zoomed in tiny portion of the river cascading over some rocks.

I used a tonne of white paint here, but before I got to that, I had to paint in the rocks. I’m not sure I’ve really created the veil-like quality of the original but it was fun to do!

Day 17 _ Repetition

It was sitting right in front of me on the table. A pencil. Instead of using it for drawing with, I drew it, repeatedly.

I realized that from my perspective the size of the pencil when at 12 o’clock was much shorter than when at 6 o’clock. The lighting was different, too, depending on where the pencil was.

I’m glad I chose to only draw the pencil four times, however, this was a good practice and nice to keep the paintbrush away from the canvas.

Day 18 _ Floral

I worked at Artique Art Gallery on Day 18 and so had to stray from the usual 10 x 10″ size. Back on Day 3 I submitted a painting of a double tulip that had bloomed in our garden last spring. Alongside that tulip were daffodils that bloomed for a good three weeks or more. These are those daffodils. There were also some black/purple tulips and I am sure I will paint or draw those before the 100 days are up.

I was thinking about composition as I drew these daffodils. I started with the central one then the one on the right. The one on the lower left was a bit of an afterthought because I do think many (but not all) things are better in threes.

Day 19 _ Collage

I come from the north of England. Each year mum sends a calendar of the Yorkshire Dales. The 2022 edition was sitting in my work area for a few days and it wasn’t long before I got out the scissors.

A calendar of 12 images doesn’t give much material for making a collage. I used six of those images to give you a sense of the Dales in different seasons. (I credit The Dalesman 2022 Yorkshire Dales calendar for the original images.)

Day 20 _ Mosaic

Last year I created a charcoal drawing of my husband. He didn’t like it. Admittedly, the mouth and chin were a little off. As I considered what to do for the prompt I went downstairs to the pile of old paintings and drawings never destined to be hung on the wall. We all have them, these piles of evidence of learning and growing.

The portrait caught my eye and I realized it would be easy to cut up. So, out came the scissors again, and my husband took on a different look.

I like it. I like the eye just above centre, like a third eye looking at the viewer. I like the ear directly below it and the eyes off to each side. It’s certainly an alternative way of looking at my beloved 🙂

Day 21 _ Dream or Memory

Have you ever been chased out of a dream by the arrival of an arachnid? Well, I have, several times. So, rather than Dream, I chose Nightmare.

It was fun to make up a night sky, with just a little cloud, and a few stars, and a city-scape of rooftops. Not so much fun was creating the cobweb and the inhabitant of the cobweb taking a flight down to the buildings. Even less fun was creating all of the other eight-legged freakies having a night out on the town!

And, if you think the flying spider looks like a swimming turtle…I know, you’re right, it does. But, it isn’t.

And so, another week is over. Coming up in Week 4 I explore the Group of 7 artists, catch up with one Master Painter a little older, and give contour drawing a whirl.

I hope you are enjoying this journey and feeling motivated to pick up that paintbrush, pen or crayon and start creating. To follow the challenge in real time, head over to the 100dayartchallenge2023 Facebook Group and see what everyone else has been up to. Thanks for reading 🙂

Week 2 – 100 Days of Art

Week 2 has come and gone in a bit of a daze. Art has finally become a full-time endeavour for me. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s a crazy kick in the backside that has forced me to bring art to the top of my priority list.

Now, I cannot say that these creations for the challenge are my best – far, far, far from it. Some were almost embarrassing to post to the 100dayartchallenge2023 Facebook group and my Instagram (@viridianearth) account. However, I know that this challenge is allowing me to stretch and play, have fun with trying new things, and add (or not) new tools to my box for future, more careful, study.

The people who are participating and/or commenting are generous with feedback. For me, I just want to encourage everyone to express themselves through art (including music, theatre, dance, etc). Art builds culture and community, on the small and large scale, and so even the following meagre submissions are working to bring people together and remind us that we are human and that we can always learn from and assist one another.

This week I stuck to the prompts. The prompts are voluntary; we can use them or ignore them. I found the prompts kept me focussed on the challenge and then allowed me to continue my regular art practice as I have three paintings on the go that hopefully will be of a quality to sell.

Day 8
The prompt was waves. I had created a painting a few years ago called Living on the Edge and at the top of that painting was a patch of dark, rolling ocean. I have always liked that part of the painting best and so when I saw “waves” come up as the prompt I decided to get out the phthalo blue (a very strong colour, rarely used on my palette) and start playing.

Day 9
Abstract. I am self-taught with my art. I learn things as I need to know them or come across them or am attracted by them. Abstract has often been something that has left me befuddled, confused, wondering what I am looking at. It’s not something I have really brought into my practice, although, I do believe that every piece of a painting is abstract when looked at closely enough.
So, this prompt affected me overnight. What is abstract? In the morning I checked Google and I followed Wikipedia’s advice: “Abstract art uses visual language of shape, form, colour and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world.”
I created shape, form, colour and line and called it a day! Phew, done!

Day 10
I like to think I did a bit better with this one. The prompt was Texture, and while it took me all day to come to a decision upon what to do, the actual creation of this took about 3 minutes total!
I have watched as a couple of my art friends have created tree bark rubbings during some of our plein air sessions. On Day 10 I looked outside and made a plan. I found some fairly thin scrapbook paper and a black oil pastel and headed into the garden. What you see here are four rubbings on top of each other. I started with the deck at my feet, happily discovering that the rubbing brought up lovely grains in the wood. Then, I went to the apple tree and a marker for a grave that commemorates Cedar, a lovely big fluffy cat. And then the apple tree bark. Finally, I went to the wire fence and included that on the right half of the page. Done! I’ll definitely do this again.

Day 11
The prompt was Shape. I chose lemons and placed them in a triangular formation. I liked their reflections upon the polished surface of our dining room table. The lemons are pretty old, getting a little hard and rigid, but still smell great.
I enjoyed this challenge as it forced me to look at lights and darks, form and shape, while also being loose and swift with the brush strokes to encourage a 3-dimensional form.

Day 12
Blue was the prompt and so I chose to create an imaginary landscape that allowed me to work with atmospheric perspective to send the distant hills into the background and bring the foreground to the front.
Everything here is blue, with the addition of some white and the tiniest amount of burnt umber. I used ultramarine and cobalt blue.
It was fun to make something up. I felt almost childlike in this creation, yet with the understanding I have gained from pursuing art over the past number of years. The result is simple.

Day 13
January 13th was a Friday and it was also the first day back for our indoor painting group. The prompt was to do something unconventional with composition. So, I looked at all of the still life objects in front of me at the studio of one of our local artists, and decided to turn my canvas around as I painted each object.
This makes a bit of a wheel composition. The only items that remained in their places were the lemon and avocado in the centre. Everything else got a shift 90 degrees to the right.
I like this almost topsy turvy composition. I’m not sure I would ever use it again, however, it was a lot of fun and a bit of a mind-bender to do.

Day 14
Today’s prompt was a chance to use tools I wouldn’t normally use. So, I grabbed a cloth, large palette knife, and two rubber scrapers and got to work. It was quite obvious to me that I had to stop when I did. Perhaps I should have stopped one step before… The more I scraped the paint the browner it became and I didn’t want to lose the individual colours too much.
This was one of those embarrassing pieces to post, however, a friend suggested it looked like a raven, and I like that. I hadn’t seen that possibility before, but now I do. I also like the three talons or claws visible along the lower right edge.

And so, there you have it: week 2 in the bag! How would you work with those prompts? Do you think having prompts is a good idea for a challenge like this? And, are there prompts you think we might be interested in following? We have 85 days to go, so there is room for many ideas!

I hope this is motivating you to pick up a pen, pencil, paint brush or toothbrush (!) and start creating. Thanks for reading.

Week 1 – 100 Days of Art

Oh goodness me! An artist friend, Bente Hansen, suggested I participate in a painting a day for 100 days, starting January 1, 2023. So, I said yes. Which brings me to this post. Here is a review of week one, with 93 more days to go!

I had a little practice in June with a 30-day painting activity for the month. I thought it would be difficult to come up with ideas, and yet each day something new came to mind. I am hoping the same for this 100-day venture. We added a further challenge to ourselves by committing to a 10×10″ size, known to be difficult for composition.

There are quite a number of us doing this challenge, and some of us post each day to a FB group 100dayartchallenge2023. I also post on my Instagram page #viridianearth and use the hash tag #100dayartchallenge2023. So, check out these various places and support those who are engaging in this creative endeavour.

I chose charcoal to depict one of my favourite things to do on the sailboat: lie back and look up at the clouds. We were in Ladysmith, BC harbour, securely attached to the dock, and a vicious storm was arriving.

The hardest thing with this first picture was creating the 10×10″ frame out of board. Scissors were not the tool to use. However, I just needed it to temporarily frame the photo so I could take a picture and post it.

Still with charcoal, I sat down to create this painting of the view from Shelter Point campsite on Texada Island looking across to Vancouver Island. I bit off a bit too much for a day’s work and clocked more than 6 hours on this, vowing to make life easier on myself from now on.

Oddly, this one was fairly quick at 3 hours. I had set the timer for 2 and was just finishing up the petals, but knew I needed to do something with the background. It is of a double tulip which bloomed in our garden last spring. I dug up the bulb and planted it again this fall, and look forward to it coming up again. I used oils for this one and it is still drying! Evolon paper is a joy to use for florals as it provides almost a velvety surface upon which to paint.

I had to work a shift at Artique art gallery, so I took along my Winsor & Newton Promarkers and paper. I had to forgo the 10×10 theme for this one.

The potter at the gallery, Dee Light of Earth Inspirations Pottery, had recently put a number of tiny pottery houses on her display and so I chose to paint one as I waited for customers to come in.

So, this gets a little worrying. Before starting the challenge, I made a few notes on things I wanted to accomplish over the 100 days – stuff I hadn’t done before, or needed to practice. A self-portrait was one of these.

A few weeks ago a friend had set up studio lights in their living room and a few of us posed for B&W photos. They turned out really well. I chose one where I was looking stupidly stern, zeroed in on my face and decided to give a self portrait a go.

This was in charcoal. I thought it was going pretty well until I realized I should have used measurements. This does not look like me. And, I put the card across the other side of my face because, really, what I created looked like a zombie! So, something went wrong.

I posted it anyway because I figured that it’s good to show that people have off days, and truly I did want to try and learn how to do a self portrait. As a learning point, this was pretty good…I could only get better!

This time, I got out the Tri-Art fluid acrylics and pulled out a reference on how to create a portrait. I drew the circle, the cube, the rhomboid, the lines. I thought I had it all down.

As I worked away, I got pretty excited. This is it, I thought. The mouth gave me a few difficulties, but with the finishing touch being the pearl (not real) earrings, I thought I was done.

Then, I stood up and looked again. OMG! Look at those eyes! One huge, one small. But, I posted it anyway and called it a day. I will get this right…it will just take a while, and what the heck, I have 90+ days in which to perfect the self portrait!

Day 7
The last painting of the first week. I needed a break and I needed to add colour. The prompt (we have a list of prompts which we can choose whether to use or not) was “line”. We had recently brought in the Christmas lights which had been outside on our hedge during the holidays. They were plugged in and beside the fire to dry out.

I moved them over to the dining room table and got out the Tri-Art acrylics again. What better than a line of Christmas lights?

This was a quick painting to do. I spent perhaps an hour and posted.

And so, we’re at the end of week 1. I am learning something…I am realizing that most of these 7 days I have worked all day on painting. I have other paintings on the go, ones that I hope to sell and that need a lot of work. These are falling by the wayside at the moment and I hope to work out how to accommodate this 100-day challenge within my art practice without losing touch with my gallery work.

Have you engaged in a multi-day creating activity? How have you fitted it into your daily life? If you wish to join us, you could start from today and do 100 from now…you might enjoy it 🙂