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!

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 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 🙂