Week 7 – 100 Days of Art

Weeks are going by faster, and days have become a blur. We’re almost halfway to 100 days of art, and still ideas keep flowing. Thank goodness!

Later in the week I embraced painting away from home. I packed my watercolours, determined to get more proficient with them, and headed to Nanaimo.

Day 43

The prompt was night sky. I spend many hours looking out at the dark sky, whether that be after the sun has set or before the sun rises. On a clear night we see the mountains on Vancouver Island, and as I sit drinking coffee in a morning I can watch the trajectory of planets as they go behind the mountains, the blinking lights of water hazards and sometimes the car lights as people drive up or down Mount Washington.

The middle peak is Mount Washington. The island is Texada. The blur of cloud above Texada represents the light haze I see emanating from Courtenay. The light on the higher portion of Texada is the mast, the light near the tip of Texada is for the rocks on the entrance to Blubber Bay, and the light in the middle of the passage is for Rebecca Rocks.

As for the sky, at the moment we see Jupiter on its arc across the morning sky, and it disappears behind Mt Washington. I thought I would try the Big Dipper in the top right, although things got a little more curvy than they should be. Put that down to artistic licence!

Day 44

The prompt was transportation. We have a couple of bird feeders attached to our fruit trees in the backyard. I love watching the birds and their acrobatics. Some of the most interesting are the pigeons and doves. They hold onto the feeder with their feet and then flap their wings continuously as they push up their abdomens to reach their beaks into the upper holes.

I decided to experiment. I had some used cellophane in my back pocket from a muffin eaten at a cafe that morning, and so I flattened it out. I put some runny white, black and raw umber paint down and put the cellophane on top. I tried crinkling it into almost a fan shape and hoped for the best.

A few hours later it was dry…and stuck! It was hard to peel the cellophane off, but eventually it all lifted, leaving a textured pattern beneath.

I had hoped it would be feather-like. I thought the colours would make it more like a pigeon wing, however, that takes a bit of imagination. I likely won’t try this process again, but for now, it’s a pigeon wing submitted as transportation.

Day 45

Boots! I love these boots. They are my all time favourite wellingtons (gumboots to some). I’ve had them since Christmas 2018 and they are my go-to boots for wet weather, cycling in the rain, and going out into the garden.

They’re currently a little muddy, so I included dried mud on the bottom. The soles are that lovely greenish teal. They are black, however, being rubber, they reflected the window light, which made painting them a little more complex.

Day 46

This was our first day in Nanaimo. I was left at a table in a cafe after we finished lunch. Hubby had a meeting to go to, so I got out my art magazine and started to read. I soon found out that the editors had created a new challenge to connect with readers. They posted a photograph at the back of the magazine and suggested people be inspired to create something similar. As luck would have it, this first picture was of a cup of coffee and a dessert in a cafe.

So, my subject for that day was predetermined. I took photos and then created a painting in my hotel room.

Day 47

I went for a walk around Nanaimo and came across Old Town Nanaimo. The shops were nicely painted in pastel colours and the block had an old, yet looked after, feel about it. It made a nice painting for the day, and a challenging study for perspective. I find vehicles very difficult to paint.

Day 48

In the morning I took a walk down to the harbour to look at the boats and hopefully find something interesting to paint. It was a calm day with great reflections, and soon enough I found this little yellow boat tied to a dock.

The yellow is a very cheery colour to paint with. I found the moulding of the interior of the boat difficult to get right. The reflections of sailboat masts were a little tricky too. I was glad to be able to use my pens for some of the finer line definitions.

The trip to Nanaimo had been an opportunity to try out a Viviva Sketchbook. The paper was surprisingly bumpy, however, I got used to it over the three days, and I like the size for making relatively quick sketch-like creations.

Day 49

And now for something a little different! When in Nanaimo, I picked up three art books from the second-hand Literacy bookstore. One is a tabletop Georgia O’Keeffe book, written by her, containing many of her known and previously unknown paintings. It is wonderful to read and quite inspiring.

This day’s prompt was to be influenced by an artist in history. Lucky me! I used a small rock as my foreground, because I found a few of Georgia’s rock paintings, then created a background night sky in a way that I had seen depicted in one of her New York paintings.

I know, it is nothing like an O’Keeffe. However, it was great fun to create.

That brings us to the eve of halfway through the 100-day challenge. What would you be inspired to paint if the prompt was Boots, like it was for me on day 45?

Week 6 – 100 Days of Art

Some days the prompts are obscure, other days they are only a word or two. No matter whether simple or head-scratchingly odd, they do propel me through this challenge of creating art 100 days in a row.

Day 36

Teacup was the prompt, and so that’s what I painted. We only have a couple of teacups with saucers, tonnes of mugs. It’s not that we don’t drink tea. We had a habit for years of making tea at night then watching a movie downstairs, yet now the teacups sit in the back of the cupboard.

So, it was nice to get one out with its saucer and put it on display. How tiny and cold to the touch. There’s a teapot that goes with the set. It has a pattern of leaves on it, which I am convinced are from the marijuana plant, though I am told I am mistaken 😉

Tea, anyone?

Day 37

I suggested this prompt of “egg”. I think everyone gets to draw an egg in art school. Not having been to art school, I didn’t want to miss out.

My egg was boiled for the requisite 10 minutes then smashed, just a little, to add a bit of interest.

I am partial to the use of the blue/green, however, I have been told it looks like the egg is grotesquely beyond its best before date. The cracks were fun to do, and pretty easy once I realized they were mostly white and black thin lines.

Day 38

Music can influence how and what we paint. That was the prompt, to paint to our favourite music.

Although not totally my favourite music, I chose Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album on Spotify. I wanted to try out the Zorn palette (red, black, white and ochre) to see how I could create the illusion of skin. The easiest thing to try it out with was my left hand.

If you subscribe to Spotify you will know that when your chosen music ends, something else will start to play. I had almost finished but needed to add some definition to lift the thumb away from my palm. The music changed to something distracting and I hit the black! Wrong colour, and yet, I left it. The music really had influenced my painting.

Throughout dinner, the hand looked up at me. I couldn’t look at it without feeling just a little squeamish. To me, it is more like something from a surgical illustration book.

Day 39

The prompt was Still Life. I chose one of my two most uncomfortable forms of footwear, my hiking boot.

I remember trying these boots on in the store. I felt like I was walking on the moon. It amazed me how quickly afterward that feeling changed to walking in agony. I am still searching for the right insole to add life back into each step.

I chose an angle that made the painting tricky. There was a lot of adjustment needed to get the proportions correct. I changed the laces to reflect one of my favourite blues, just to add something enjoyable to the subject matter.

Day 40

With Valentine’s Day coming up, the prompt was to create a heart. This was one of those days when I wanted to create something quickly. I poured out streaks of red, white and black, then used an artist wedge shaper and, starting in the middle, turned it around to create the heart.

The end result looked shiny and wet even when dry. I quite like it. I like the texture, making it look just a little bloody.

Perhaps this wasn’t the most romantic heart I have ever created … 😉

Day 41

It was Friday, so another indoor art day. Chance to try out those watercolours again.

This challenge is teaching me to know when to stop, and to resist going back in to fiddle. This was one of those occasions. There are legs missing from the table which is holding up the cloth, vase and flowers, lamp base and basket. I can’t help but see this as a floating magical carpet!

I had fun with painting in puddles of water, creating the background of complementary colours then working with each object.

Day 42

I often ride my e-bike, sometimes preferring it to the car. When the prompt was to create a vision of the future, I decided more cyclists wearing helmets.

Obviously, my bike is far larger than my helmet, so using artistic licence, I created the images the other way around. My helmet is not so multi-coloured; my bike does have spokes in the wheels. Sometimes it is just important to play.

And so, here we are at the end of Week 6. What would your vision of a future world look like? Are you challenging yourself with your art? Send me a comment and let me know. Till then, thanks for reading!

Week 5 – 100 Days of Art

This week has taught me that it is all right to spend only 5 or 10 minutes on a creation, if that is all I have available. I think back to day 2 and how my creation that day took about 5 hours to complete. At that time I wondered whether I would ever get beyond the first week! Now, I am more likely to grab the big flat brushes and play.

Day 29

We were without prompts on this day and so I attended the first Urban Sketching meetup arranged by qathet Art + Wares owners Karen and Evelyn, at our public library. After our group was shushed, I realized it was time to get to work.

I sat in the children’s area, an area I wouldn’t normally venture into, and looked around. The biggest item was a tree trunk with fake branches and fronds coming off it. After that, were the stacks of shelves and books. Then I noticed the ceiling with its timber criss-crossed design and large metal HVAC tubes. Between one aisle of books there were tables, chairs and people.

This was a tricky lesson in architectural perspective. Many lines heading down, some heading up, my eye level/vanishing point being somewhere around the shoulders of that phantom of a person I included. I used my grey-scale Promarkers and settled into a two-hour quiet study. I could have added the colourful bookends, if I had colours with me. However, I think that would have taken away from the stark peacefulness grey can provide, fitting for a library.

Day 30

I facilitated a meeting on this particular evening and got home around 9 pm. I hadn’t managed the day’s art beforehand, and so I wondered, as I ate a late dinner, what would happen if I skipped a day? But, I couldn’t do it!

I looked at the prompt. It was something about how my favourite artist from the past might paint something here in town. Well, I can’t say I am a fan of Mark Rothko’s work, however, recently, I was thinking of his simple creations because of a friend’s journal post. Suddenly I had it. I would mesh Rothko’s style with home-made paints (because my friend makes and uses his own paints) to create a sunset, something our area is famous for.

Out came the turmeric for the upper yellow, the cayenne pepper for the lower brown and I then did dip into the naphthol red for the stripe across the middle. Five minutes later, done!

Day 31

The prompt was Yellow. I scoured the house for something yellow. I almost used my gloves, but then I spied the small plastic shiny vase we have on a top shelf.

This was one of those “get out the big brushes” times. I like the reflections cast upon the shiny dark surface of the dining room table. It’s currently my surface of choice for these paintings partly for that reason.

If I took more time and went back I would change how the inside of the vase looks at the top. I think I went quite wrong there with the shape and the colour, however, it is what it is and I tried to keep within the red – yellow – brown spectrum.

Once the whitest yellow was added the whole painting took on a shiny look.

Day 32

On this day we were to look back at the previous 31 days and see what we have learned. So, I went back to that dreadful attempt at abstract, using the square, circle, triangle and line, and re-did it with more understanding of the visible spectrum, and by dropping colour into puddles of water.

I know, it looks like pizza flying through the sky on a yellow balloon. It isn’t, however, it could be 🙂

Day 33

Gosh, this was quite the exercise, which I made difficult for myself. The prompt was to create a colour grid, so I decided to use all of my TriArt liquid acrylics together with my Opus Essentials fluid acrylics, 11 in all. I had thought that I’d be able to mix the colours within the squares, but each square dried so fast that I started to find myself using more and more paint. I just couldn’t do it!

So, I get the concept, and the practice was good, but the performance lacked the end result. I will do this again at some point with a far more forgiving surface than gessoed paper.

Day 34

It was Friday again and back to the art studio at our academy of music. Jim brought in his banjo, Joyce brought apples, a blanket and dried flowers. The rest of the items were found around the studio.

I had great fun with this one. I used watercolours and dropped the colours into water puddles and watched as they grew, bloomed and ran. I really like how the base of the stand turned out, as it did have some light reflecting off its metal surface. The blanket, on the other hand, had me flummoxed and I just could not capture its folds and design.

I missed some essential bits off the banjo, apparently, which make it a banjo and not just a circle (such as the metal on the rim). Too late! Done 🙂

Day 35

To finish week 5, the prompt was to practice something you had wanted to practice during the challenge. I had made a list, just before the challenge began, of things to do and the prompts have taken me away from that list. One item on the list is to get better at painting skin – not as a tattoo artist – on canvas. I have heard that the Zorn palette is a good way to capture caucasian skin tones and so I started to play around with those four colours.

The palette uses black, red, white and yellow ochre. Essentially, I made a muddy mess, but from this I can see how these colours can create some lovely tones. I will start to use this during the challenge and see what happens.

So, there you have week 5. If you had to paint using yellow as your main colour, what would you paint? Some of the others in the challenge were quite creative, and you can see what they did if you go to the Facebook group 100dayartchallenge2023. And, do you have suggestions for more colour combinations to capture skin?

Thanks for reading!