Final Week – 100 Days of Art

Well, I did it! Yesterday I completed 100 days of art along with a number of other artists, and it feels so good. I should warn you that days 7 through 9 were self portraits. Or at least, I tried to do self portraits. They’re pretty funny, looking at them now, and I don’t think I’m in there at all!

At the bottom of this post, you will also find the completion of a painting from day 66. On day 66 the prompt was to revisit an old painting and do it differently, so I did on that day. Since then I have been working away on the full-sized image and that is provided below.

Day 92

The prompt this day was pattern. Many years ago, when I lived in the Vancouver lower mainland, I took some photography courses. A few assignments involved nighttime photography. On this occasion, I went with a classmate and we walked the shoreline from Canada Place to Stanley Park. Just before getting to the park, there is a bridge and the railing has balustrades. The view through the balustrades presented the city lights shining on the water.

I found the photo and recreated it. I was surprised to see on the photo that each balustrade shape was different from the next.

Day 93

Rocks. South of town is a piece of land called Stillwater Bluffs. It is loved by the community yet owned by a logging company. There are cliffs leading up from the water that people enjoy climbing. This image is of looking in the opposite direction, the cliffs being to my back.

It was a very calm, hot day, and the rocks were warm in the sunshine. I used Promarker Pens, plus a tiny bit of coloured pencil.

Day 94

Favourite cartoon. Well, I’m not really a cartoon person, so I had to improvise. For a number of years this monkey has been hanging around the house. He is a childhood toy of my husband’s and now he hangs on paintings, furniture and, at the moment, this old lamp.

I’m happy with the glass, although the top is a little wonky. The brass base was tarnished, but I just couldn’t figure out how to show that, so I made it like new. The monkey was fun to create – I could hear him talking me through the process! 🙂

Day 95

Today’s prompt was musical symbols. I recently took up playing the Cello and so I am getting used to the bass clef. I added the treble and, a new one to me, the alto clefs.

Before that, though, I found our tiny cymbals and painted those. The clefs then had something to be focused around.

I like the repetition of circles in this picture.

Day 96

Something Soft. Our dear friend Bev gave us a bunch of pussy willows last month. They sit on our dining room table and are a reminder of the incredible art of nature. They catch the light so the edges glow for much of the day.

Figuring out how to make them fluffy was a bit of a mind bender, but then I got it. I used a bristle brush and splodged on the paint. I held the brush vertically and danced it across the paper.

Pussy willows used to be seen a lot around here and yet now they seem to be quite rare. I hope these ones in their vase last a long time.

Day 97

This was a Friday and I met with my plein air group. The weather looked a little changeable and so we headed indoors again at the Townsite mall.

This picture is created just a few metres back from the one I created the week before. I used charcoal so I captured a photograph of the finished piece while still in the mall so that it wouldn’t matter much if the image got disturbed as I cycled home. Those are my fingerprints along the top edge!

I’m happy with how the floor ended up. It is tiled and had some shine to it.

Day 98

The prompts ran out today, so I went back to my list of things I had wanted to accomplish during this challenge. One was to be able to create a self portrait. I had tried this a couple of times during the early weeks then given up.

I tried various photographs, standing in front of the bathroom mirror, sunlight shining in from the side. But, none turned out, so I turned the camera onto selfie and tried again.

I am not used to taking selfies! However, I ended up with a photo to use. In hindsight, good reference photos are essential…and I should have kept trying! Oh well, lesson learned.

This one is in soft pastel. My husband says I got my nose and eyes sort of right…but the bottom of the face is totally off 😉

Day 99

So, I got out the charcoal, tried measuring, and gave it another go. I thought I was getting somewhere.

Apparently, this one is even less like me! Gosh, self portraits are hard!

Day 100

The final day of the challenge, and I gave my self portrait one last go. I used pencil this time and again went with measurements.

And, once again, I thought I was getting somewhere. I was even excited at the end when I held it up to show my husband…and I got a “Wow!” which made me happy, until he said…”there’s something wrong about your jaw area.” Oh crikey!

I showed him the photo reference and it became clear that I had captured an image of myself that doesn’t even look on the photo like me!

What fun, though. How often do you get chance to take time working on a self portrait?

And so the Challenge of 100 Days of Art is over. It has carried me through from New Year’s Day to yesterday. The camaraderie among us artists participating has been lovely, encouraging and motivating. Seeing other people’s daily creations has been awe-inspiring.

I have really enjoyed experimenting with so many different materials, and following prompts that have pushed me to create. And, I have finally been able to put painting as a priority in my day. I hope that continues from now on as I work hard to learn more and improve.

Today is the first day beyond the challenge. I decided to finish off a painting started on day 66.

You may recall these. The blue/purple one is a recreation of the teal one. The teal one was completed in 2018 and although I had displayed it at the gallery I had never been totally ok with it. It was the perfect one to revisit for this challenge. I got out the original, which had been painted in acrylic, and put it onto my easel. I slowly painted over it in oils, adding more background, removing the foliage and just cleaning things up. I finished it this morning. Here is Catching a Ride (2) 36″ x 12″.

I think this is a good way to finish this blog series. Thank you so very much for reading, commenting, and, in your own way, encouraging me to continue. I appreciate you all.

Week 13 – 100 Days of Art

The end is in sight! I’ve been thinking a lot about what to do when this challenge is over. The positive effects of working on my art as a priority every day since January 1st far outweigh the negative – house needs a good clean, my taxes need to be done, I have piles of paperwork sitting in various locations gathering dust. As this week carries us all to the last 9 days, the way forward will become clearer and more concrete. For now, here is what happened last week.

Day 85

We left the shores of Harrison Lake at 9 am, so my painting for the day had to be completed and uploaded quickly. I struggled again with the paper of my sketchbook, however, perhaps the weave added to the murkiness of the weather. Clouds were low, temperatures hovered around 1 degree, the lake was calm. It was remarkable, at first, to see so much sand and such a low water level. Yet, it was well used by people with metal detectors, dogs running after balls, and children playing in the pools.

Day 86

Today’s prompt was vivid darks. I do get caught up in gentle, light colours and so this one was an opportunity to go all out! The sun was shining, the umbrella wasn’t needed – so I gave it a job modelling.

Hanging it from the top of my easel, I chose a bright, complementary background and set to work with all sorts of blue-like colours for the silky fabric. The drips were added at the end from my imagination.

It was enjoyable to immerse into the bright, vivid world of colour.

Day 87

On a day of no clouds, just pure blue sky, the prompt was Atmospheric Clouds. So, I rifled through my reference photos and came across a whole group of cloud images taken last year of the skies over Malaspina Strait.

Soft pastel worked well over an Evolon paper base. I mostly used a soft cloth to smudge the colours into the paper and into each other.

Once I got going, this was quite a simple picture to produce – a little messy, however, easy to clean up afterward. I was surprised by how many different colours I used for what could just be assumed as a grey sky.

Day 88

Paint like an impressionist. This challenge is helping me gain an education in the artwork of famous painters from the past. I read up on what makes an impressionistic style and intended to work true to a list of methods. However, once I chose my reference image (a picture I had taken of the large pond in Beacon Hill Park, Victoria) all that flew out of the window!

So, the end result was a little more me than impressionistic. It’s one of the images I may go back to after the challenge is over to make the fountain in the pond look less like a goose or swan taking off and more like a spray of water droplets catching the light.

Day 89

The prompt was sunrise or sunset. As I had missed sunrise, and wanted to paint well before sunset, I, once again, relied on reference materials. This is a view looking north up Malaspina Strait from Powell River, taken from somewhere along the sea walk.

When painting from the photograph, I realized that oddly, the light coming across the water was not directly under the setting sun. The setting sun was slightly to the left, a yellow glow, mirrored in the water beneath, and yet it was the track of whitish blue light that provided the pathway across the water, joining the shoreline with the distant islands.

Day 90

Friday, a day of no prompts. Our plein air group met indoors at Townsite Mall and realized the value of such a location. Chairs and tables were scattered around, meaning we could sit in lots of different places to capture the essence of our surroundings.

I sat close to the climbing gym and looked back toward the main entrance on the upper level. There was a lot of activity. We were there from 10 am, at a time when the major bustle and hustle was around Base Camp coffee shop. However, as time pressed on toward 11, more stores opened with owners arriving and chatting casually in a friendly atmosphere.

There were a lot of people milling around and so, as one of my friends said, we became ambassadors for art. It was a tad distracting, but I think we each created something worthwhile.

For me, I chose to take a rubbing of one of the old timbers as a background then drew using ink and Promarker pens. I added a few bits of coloured pencil to the image once the rack of clothing arrived.

Day 91

Layers. This one took a long time to create, or at least, I did it in stages throughout the day.

The idea of layers had me baffled to start with, but as I looked outside I found myself musing over the apple tree. We have an old apple tree that has served us very well with hundreds of pounds of fruit. Last year, as it was for many trees in the area, was a difficult year for fruit production. We did end up with one totally perfect apple, although oddly inside there were no seeds! The tree also lost a major limb, and a family of paper wasps decided the twigs made a good frame for a large nest. Together with dust that now seems to attach to the leaves each year and holes in the trunk, the apple tree needs all the love it can get.

So, I started with a bark rubbing. On top of that I added brown and gold ink drips. Once dry, I added smudges of red, and then blue. Finally, I drew an apple, coloured it green and called it done!

The blue is for the clear blue skies of summer, the red is for the tinge of red often seen on the skin of each apple, the gold is for the sunshine, the brown for the season without leaves.

With that, we reach the end of week 13. What would you create if asked to paint in an impressionistic style?

Week 12 – 100 Days of Art

This is the third to last week of the challenge. Will I miss it when it’s over? That all depends upon what I do about this new-found dedication to daily art. I’m contemplating adding a new heading on my website: “Dailies”. One huge positive to keeping a regular practice is knowing I can work on a gallery piece in oils or acrylics, and while waiting for it to dry I can bring out a teacup from the cupboard and paint a still life. Perhaps I’ll create an Etsy store and sell these “dailies” – because I will have to do something. At the moment I could wallpaper the entire basement of our house with them!

Day 78

The prompt on this day was furniture. I thought about it and decided on our toilet. It has a seat, often is thought of as a throne, and it’s very functional.

It is generally a white fixture, however, with the sun shining through the window, I was able to play a little with the colours I was seeing.

I like how it just hangs there in space on the black background. A toilet with personality 🙂

Day 79

Building in a landscape. I went back to my roots and chose a Yorkshire scene. I borrowed the image of the barn from the collage composite I did early in the challenge, then added the rolling hills from imagination.

These barns are scattered across the landscape and are made of stone. Some date back a thousand years, amazing! While a few may be unusable and dilapidated, some are used by farmers and owls. Although this barn didn’t look to have any openings in the roof area, many do and barn owls can be found perching inside.

Day 80

The prompt was spring. While it was likely the suggestion was for the season, I decided to take a different tack.

My husband has a shop full of virtually everything, all tidied away in their separate boxes or drawers, crates or on shelves. So, when I asked for a spring, I got a selection to choose from.

I like to paint metallic objects. There’s a challenge with these because of the colours and shapes reflected off the surface. With the spring on the dining room table, its reflection had bluish tones, which I might not have noticed had I not been looking carefully and painting it.

Day 81

Today we needed to add a boat to our paintings. Sometimes, when we are returning home from north of town, Rob will want to visit the boat to check on things. I sit patiently in the car watching for activity at the north harbour. (It takes me back to my time being involved with Citizens on Patrol!) On this particular evening the sun had set a long time before, yet there was still colour in the sky. I took a few photos, which came in handy for Day 81.

There is a boat in there, visible just below the ramp. And, the masts all hint at other boats, ours being the last mast on the right side of the left grouping 😉

Day 82

Pink and springlike. I have previously painted the daffodils and a double tulip that bloomed in our garden last spring, and another flower was this deep rich purple/black tulip.

The light coming through the petals brings out the red, however, in most lights this tulip was velvety black.

It, and many of its friends, will be blooming again soon.

Day 83

I worked without prompt on this one because we had travelled that day to Harrison Hot Springs for one of Rob’s conferences. As I waited for our room to be ready, I got out my art materials, scanned my phone for photos and found one or two of lupin leaves, which I had taken just a few days before. Lupin leaves are one of my favourites, especially as they seem to collect all of the moisture into a large drop in the centre of the leaves which glistens like a diamond.

I struggled with watercolours on my sketchbook paper. However, it is not really the finished object that is the point here. It is more the committing to doing something, whatever it is, that helps me learn more about my art and allows me to slow down and notice.

Day 84

I spent 30 minutes in the hot pools that morning, relishing in the warmth, outside in the 1 degree air. Steam rose, my glasses fogged, and the whole world had a beautiful glaze to it.

I committed the view to memory so that I could translate it onto the sketchbook when I got back to the room. I found the steam difficult to portray. Eventually, I decided this was as good as it was going to get!

There comes a time with every painting when I have to lay down the tools and walk away. Done. There are some from this challenge where I am tempted to go back and alter things or add things, but so far I haven’t. With spring now here, what will you be painting?

Week 11 – 100 Days of Art

Time is flying by. The weather is warming, the birds are singing, and I (and a few others) are still painting day after day after day. It’s enjoyable and it’s a challenge. I’m trying new techniques and learning what does and doesn’t work so that I can carry that, or not, into my gallery artwork. It’s a fast-track education, and the paintings are piling up. What on earth will I do with them all?

Day 71

Once again, the prompt was Abstract. Urgh! Abstracts are really not my thing, however, I do hold fast to the belief that every painting, no matter how realistically rendered, is abstract if looked at very closely.

For this one, I used some white tissue paper and fixed it onto painting paper using good old glue. I smushed it around a bit to make crinkles then left it to dry.

Then I got the inks out. I let them dribble along the crinkles and spread, adding one colour at a time, building up some kind of sense. I could imagine a field of poppies under a blue sky.

Then, I got out the white fluid acrylic and splashed it on and called it done! Next… 😉

Day 72

Favourite view. When we head out for a short break in the sailboat we usually go north. This is the view we get for about three hours or more as we journey from Powell River toward Lund. After that, we’re into those islands.

I can also see this view from our living room window. It’s an ever-changing view as it shows us the weather coming our way from the north west.

On Day 72 it was a pretty dynamic sky, with sunshine, clouds, rain and wind. I used the analogous colour scheme I had learned about last week and sat at the window for an indoor plein air.

Day 73

I learn a lot from watching other artists on YouTube. I find the “watching paint dry” videos inspiring and motivating. One artist is Christina Kent. Today’s prompt was to paint like somebody who inspires us on the Internet, so I chose Christina as she has a very definite style and is building her art business within the San Francisco area.

Christina uses flat brushes, and mostly paints in an up/down, side-to-side fashion. Her strokes are very deliberate and slow. I cut up an apple, placed it onto our blue plastic chopping board, created a background of burnt sienna and set to work.

The colours are not typical of what I would use for an apple, yet, they seem to work. It was difficult to slow down my brushwork and work only in certain directions. However, I rather like the finished picture. The apples went into our smoothie the following day!

Day 74

On this day the prompt was words of wisdom. For a number of years, a phrase has been in my head whenever I am a little unsure about how a painting will turn out: “just keep going.” And so I do, and it always works…well, nearly.

The phrase likely originated with Ursula Medley, with whom I used to paint many years ago. And, I have passed along this phrase to other artists, knowing how much it has helped me.

This was the day I noticed the first bloom to have opened on one of our fruit trees. It is the apricot, I think, along the south side of our house. I concentrated on the focal point and then, unlike the phrase, left the background branches just roughed in. It’s a beautiful sign of spring arriving any day now.

Day 75

What poem inspires us? Well, I am not really one for poems, however, I am one for sayings and one saying has been going around in my head for a long time: “We’re all just walking each other home,” by Ram Dass.

I got my husband to help me with this one. We tried various ways of holding hands and taking a hand-selfie. This was what we came up with, which I translated onto paper using soft pastels.

I tried and tried to get his hand so that his thumb looked right and the two fingers showing didn’t look chopped off at the knuckle! I don’t think this was successful, however, I used the Zorn palette again (red, black, white, yellow ochre) and like the skin tones I can create using it.

Day 76

A prompt-free Friday. Luckily, the weather was nice and our plein air group ventured out for the first time this year. We met at the estuary of McGuffie/McFall creek at Willingdon beach.

The estuary was visited by a flock of crows, all eager to get their morning baths in the fresh churning water, then oystercatchers and after that a few Canada geese. The mountains on Vancouver Island were visible all morning.

I find soft pastels a challenge to create a landscape (much easier for skin), however, they were easy to pack onto my bicycle and it will be a few weeks yet before I head out with acrylics as it was only about 6 or 7 degrees.

Day 77

Paint a mood, they said. Well, I had to look that one up! Apparently, you can bring mood into a painting through use of colour, tone, sharp or rounded edges, subject matter, light and dark. When researching, I saw a painting by Caravaggio (the tooth extractor, or something else lovely like that!) and decided on a similar colour palette.

We have a jar full of dried flowers, which I have often pondered how to paint. Today was my opportunity. A select few made it into the painting, and I really like the colour scheme. Naples yellow, black, white, violet and gold.

I’m not sure I really captured “mood”, however, they are dead flowers…so perhaps a little macabre.

And so, here we are at the end of Week 11. Which artist, who regularly posts to the Internet, inspires you, and why?

Week 10 – 100 Days of Art

We’re into double figures in weeks and I can see the end in sight. This week we hit 70 days, which means that there are only 30 remaining – all downhill from here, right?

Day 64

I know I have said this before in these posts, however, I am really enjoying how this challenge allows for experimentation with different ways of putting down colour. The prompt today was a holiday memory.

Our holidays are often spent sailing and anchoring in beautiful serene locations. This image is from one of those, in the Smuggler Cove area, Lower Sunshine Coast, and is typical of the scenery we see up and down the coast. A rocky shoreline with smooth, lichen- and moss-covered rocks forming the hillside, arbutus trees in the foreground, evergreens towering behind. Missing from the picture is the ever-present kingfisher.

I played with much more vibrant colours than usual, and reduced detail to give hints rather than the full picture, leaving it to the viewer to join the dots and see the image.

Day 65

The prompt today was “expressivism” later changed to “expressionism” however, by then I had looked up the meaning of expressivism and thrown something together. I had been busy all day, with a meditation that lasted all afternoon, and so my head was in the clouds.

When I read a definition of expressivisim I realized it was a meshing of mental state and art.

Out came the pastels and I mapped onto paper what I thought could be happening with my aura: indigo emanating from the top of my head for higher thought, and green coming up the sides from my heart chakra. It’s all about love 🙂

Day 66

Revisiting an old painting. For a while now I have been thinking of revisiting a painting I created in 2018 and doing it differently, so this prompt allowed me to give it a go.

The top one is what I created on Day 66, the lower one is the original. The painting is called Catching a Ride, and was a scene we encountered when sailing in the Broughton Archipelago at an intersection of channels. A tree had recently fallen and was floating with a number of seal passengers.

The one part I have always liked about this older painting is the foreground water. What I will do is use oil over the original acrylic, to keep the overall image but make it more appropriate for hanging on the gallery wall than it currently is.

Day 67

The prompt was circles and squares. I thought I would try a sketch of a head and face. In researching how to get proportions right, I had seen that some create a circle within a cube and go from there. I tried that various times, a whole page full of tries, but came up with nothing.

And then I saw a nose, and knew I had the perfect photograph to work from. I had a photo of my husband, pulling a silly face while I took a picture of him next to a giant of a sunflower (next photo) in our garden. His nose skin was stretched over the bone and cartilage and there were at least four circles easily visible.

I added a grid of squares to get the proportions somewhat realistic and set to work in pencil. Looking at a nose for such a long time makes me realize how strange noses really are!

Day 68

The colour orange was our prompt on this day. It was also a very sunny day and so I chose to work on a sunflower, the same one that had been in the photo used for the nose above.

I used as many variants of orange as I could before having to go into the green spectrum. I looked closely at the seeds in the head of the sunflower and saw an overlapping spiral pattern. It reminded me of the spirograph I used to play with as a child. The original is far more in depth than what I created here, yet, with this painting you can see the pattern that forms. It’s worth looking closely at sunflowers 🙂

Day 69

Today was a prompt-free day so I decided upon some still life. The bananas were a little beyond their best before date, though they make a lovely smoothie, and as one friend said on seeing the picture, great for banana bread. The avocados were starting to soften. The dish is a Southcott heirloom, I think, and really did look that wobbly along the edge from the direction I viewed it.

In retrospect, the avocados and the colour of the dining room table are too close. I would lighten the table somewhat to add contrast.

Day 70

I spent the day at the recreation complex for Seedy Saturday. I had an hour or so off duty from looking after our land conservancy table, and sat in the main foyer. There was a lot of activity and colour.

I had my pens and paper and set to trying to capture people as they interacted with table displays and the people hosting. I found people don’t stand still long, which was fairly irritating until I just let myself go and scribbled!

Odd thing: at one point I must have counted five women with their hair arranged in knots (or buns as we would say in England).

So that brings us to the end of week 10. As the weather warms we have more opportunity to witness crowds. Would you sit with pen and paper and try to capture people as they mill by? Give it a go and see what happens. You might be surprised 🙂

Week 9 – 100 Days of Art

I’m watching and listening to birds on the feeder outside at the moment. Spring seems to be in the air – where did winter go? This challenge has played with my sense of timing as there are no days off, just constant thinking, exploring, creating while fitting the rest of my life around it. So, although I eagerly anticipate Day 100, I wonder what will happen on Day 101?

Day 57

It was a very busy day and I only got to putting paint on paper when the sun had gone down. So, as the prompt was “the view outside” my options were a little limited.

As it’s not just me in the house, I couldn’t turn off all the lights in our living area. The only place of complete darkness was our bedroom. So, I got my exercise (and a few bruises when bumping into furniture I swear wasn’t there before!). I walked through the darkened room to the window, looked out, and tried to commit what I saw to memory. Then, I hurried out to my desk in the dining room to paint with soft pastel.

This took many trips back and forth and the end result is a bit of a childlike impression of a house. However, it does capture some of the glow of interior light, and that hugely annoying new BC Hydro lamp! Life in the big city of Westview 🙂

Day 58

Pen and ink was the prompt; I took it literally. I have a few bottles of coloured ink, and I regularly use pens for drawing. So, I combined the two.

I purchased the ink more than a year ago and have hardly explored it. Since then I have become a little more familiar with watercolour. I used the techniques learned in watercolour to work with the ink.

My husband offered one eye for the process. I always feel like it is magic when that element of light, the whitest part of the creation, is put into place. All of a sudden the eye ball looks like an eye ball, and the eye looks alive.

Day 59

Analogous colours. Today I learned what analogous colours are. Here’s a chance for me to share what I learned. They are the colours next to each other on the colour wheel. To create an analogous colour palette you use 2 to 5 of those colours.

This tissue box was in the kitchen. I liked how the tissue was folded and standing upright from the top. The box itself was very jazzy. Altogether, though, I could use violet, blue, blue-green, plus some black and white, to make the creation.

My favourite part of this is the tissue. I think the violet worked well for marking the folds, shadows and light. I also purposely created a hard edge of the table and nothing beyond, playing with the 10″ x 10″ composition space.

Day 60

Create glassware or a household object. So, I chose my glasses…which meant I spent an hour or so in the blinkered short-sighted world. I looked up and all was a blur, I looked down and all was in focus.

There are coatings on the lenses of my glasses and they translate reflected light into vivid green and purple. The glasses were on top of our shiny dining room table and thus created a nice mirror image.

The one thing I would do differently here, if I were to do it again, would be to paint in the table first. I spent a long time painting around the glasses, and the table didn’t end up as a smooth surface.

Day 61

Admittedly, this one is a little crazy. The prompt was to dance to music while painting. Hmmm. The mess would take days to clean up. Instead, when I listen to music it is my fingers that do the dancing. So, I decided to do some finger painting.

This took a little research. I looked online and quickly found there is a pretty good market for finger paintings. Iris Scott, one artist I saw, sells her work for $36,000 US or more! Worth a look.

I put on music by Whitney Houston, and poured out puddles of Tri-art liquid acrylic paint. Then, I dipped my finger tips into the colour and danced them over the paper.

To me, this looks like a cloud of moon jellies that have learned to colour themselves. Someone else said it reminded her of salmon eggs. I think I will do this again at some point 🙂

Day 62

Some days it is hard to come up with a subject to paint when there isn’t a prompt. This was one of those days. However, I finally found a vase that had been collecting dust on a shelf. Its glaze contains a myriad of different colours. I put it together with a napkin on the table and went to work.

This challenge is letting me explore new techniques. I have on days and off days with fabric folds (the tissue on Day 59 was an on day). This was an off day although I enjoyed the swirls and play of light and dark. The vase itself received the treatment of careful yet deliberate daubs of paint. These are the colours of the vase, but not in such a subtle way that the actual vase looks.

I decided to place the vase so that some of the handle is missing, playing with composition and letting the viewer’s eye fill in the rest.

Day 63

I think this is my favourite creation so far in this challenge. The prompt was to use the other hand. So, being right-handed, I chose to create a painting of my right hand using my left hand.

I went back to the Zorn palette of white, black, yellow ochre and red and used soft pastels. The paper is Evolon with a grey gesso on top. It created a nice surface to receive the pastel, and the shape was just right for my hand and wrist.

I found it remarkable how easy this was to do. I had thought I’d need to really try hard to make any mark that was in the right place using my left hand. However, somehow most of it worked. Yes, my skin looks a little on the baggy side around the knuckles at the base of my fingers. I forgot to add the veins on the top of my hand, so, unlike the previous painting of my hand (in that case, the left one) where I was told it looked much older than my hand actually is, I think this one balances it out by looking younger. What do you think?

If you had to paint using your other hand, what would you do? Give it a go!

Week 8 – 100 Days of Art

We have met and exceeded the halfway point in this challenge. Week 8 brought day 50 and beyond. There is still a long way to go, many pieces to be created, however, we are on the downhill return. Should be simple, right?

I am not alone in this challenge. There are many artists participating, some of us posting daily to 100dayartchallenge2023 on Facebook, some to our Instagram pages. This blog, as you know, captures only my journey. Take a look at that Facebook page, if you like, and then come back.

Day 50

The official halfway point in this challenge. Today, the prompt was Celebration. I chose to take a closeup look at three leaves that had fallen from our poinsettia plant. Two were crispy and wisened, the other a fresh fall. With more time, this would look different, but for today’s challenge, it was a beautiful time of slow painting.

Day 51

The prompt was Monochrome. Where I sit at my desk, I look out onto our backyard. Right in front of me is our apple tree. Of course, at this time of year, it is bare of leaves, and stands naked and proud with many watershoots asking to be pruned. We hang a bird feeder from a lower branch and this provides endless entertainment for our winged friends as well as ourselves as observers of their antics.

This depiction provides a bark rubbing of the tree in the background with charcoal and pencil for the main picture.

Day 52

Today allowed me time to reflect on a memory from our spring journey into the Chilcotin area of British Columbia. There was still snow on the ground in May. On one detour from the highway we came across a pine tree that had fallen and was in various stages of decay. Its crown of branches was closest to the road and I took many photographs of cones and needles changing colour beautifully.

Here is one of the cones, face on, close up. The prompt today was “closeup”.

I listened to a podcast about improving one’s art business, and so each suggestion, for me, is captured within each “branch” of this cone.

Day 53

Today the prompt was to be inspired by a wild animal. I had to work at the gallery. There are four painted pebbles on my display and so I took them, turned them over and used Promarker pens to depict their shapes and how the shadows and light fell on their cool bodies. (The relevance to wild animal works if you think of the water causing the smoothness of the rocks to be an untamed, wild animal.)

The jumble of rocks to the right were imaginary, and created using a continuous contour line – something I had learned earlier in this challenge.

Day 54

The prompt was to try material not usually used. Luckily for me, I had visited our local art store the day before and bought a starter pack of gouache. I had been watching a number of artists on video using this medium and thought I should give it a try.

This picture is the view from Buccaneer Bay, Thormanby Islands, looking west toward Vancouver Island.

Painting the person sitting in the foreground was an afterthought, the last thing I did before calling it a day. I think it adds to the mood of the painting.

Day 55

Another day at the gallery. This morning I had come across an artist’s work in graphite and charcoal of paper wasp nests. We have a paper wasp nest that has been attached to our roof over our deck for the past two years. It has amazed me in its construction, more so now as the layers are being blown away and the tiny cavities are in full view. I had often wondered how to capture the structure as a piece of art, and now I knew it was possible.

I took a few photographs before leaving for work, and spent the afternoon happily playing with graphite to try and depict one tiny area of nature’s art.

Day 56

The weather changed and became very cold, and then the snow began. I laughed when I read the prompt for the day: “Weather”.

I gave my new gouache set another go and happily played depicting the view outside. I laid out newspaper for the final part – the creation of snow. Using a very loaded and wet paintbrush, I splattered droplets all over the painting, more and more, not realizing quite how far these droplets were flying.

By the end of the painting, I looked around and realized there was a lot of cleaning up to do before the paint dried!

And so, this brings us to the end of the first week of the second half of the challenge. If you were to depict a snowy day using art materials, how would you do so?

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!