Friday, December 26, 2014

New Beginnings

With next week being the beginning of a new year, I've decided to step out of my comfort zone and do some paintings of things I wouldn't normally do - using techniques that I haven't used before. The way we learn and grow is by stepping outside the box and reaching for new heights.

As a beginning artist (I'm a 1-year old), I have so much to learn, but I find I get stuck in a rut just painting the same things over and over again and while I see improvement, I am bored. There are only so many flowers I can paint in a year. What really gives me energy and stamina to keep on going is to paint those things I've had an adventure around - so travel, doing something fun, and painting from my own photos is what gives me energy. When I know the story about what I'm painting I just can't seem to get enough. Where I'd really like to go next is painting dancers. My husband and I do ballroom dancing - it's wonderful! I've never done "people" before so this will be interesting and you'll see my first attempt below.

So this week, being Christmas week I did a few quick paintings. One is of Waddesdon Manor near London. The other I did using masking fluid to create a woodsy scene. For both of these I was experimenting with Twinkling H2Os, luminescent water color paint from ColourArte ( I'm always wanting to learn more about shadow and light so that is what these two paintings are all about. Bringing pieces of the painting forward and leaving the rest in the background. Making shadows and creating light. Oh, so many painters out there make it look so easy to do but it's the one thing I struggle with the most.

I also did not want to paint the building a horrible limestone color. I like for my paintings to reflect emotion, so I went with the colors to make it feel happy but regal - it was a happy time to visit the manor and the woods also make me happy. So that's why all the color!

The third painting is my first "dancers" painting. I think it turned out pretty good - It was difficult to control the Twinks from a flesh color perspective. I will need to figure out how best to paint flesh in the future - could be I need to use normal watercolor paints - although I really like the sparkle effect on the female dancer's tights! I also now see that the painting was not entirely flat on the scanner so there are some shadows in the upper right and right side.

Thanks for stopping by! Please leave me a comment - thanks so much.

Posting to Paint Party Friday, Friday Sketches and Art Journal Every Day (see the links on the right). Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Winter Holiday

Three out of the last four winter holidays, we've spent in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It's such a delightful place; the residential area south of the Rio Cuale is teeming with ex-pats from Canada and the USA. Even though I speak Spanish fluently, my husband does not - but no worries! Someone speaks English within a ten-foot radius at all times.

The first year we visited PV, we spent half of everyday doing something fun and exiciting: swimming with the dolphins, jet skiing, parasailing, visiting the beaches on the southern end of Banderas Bay, and zip-lining through the jungle. The second visit encompassed walking the entire beachfront (along the Malecon) and inland in the downtown areas. It was hard climbing the hill to see Liz Taylor and Richard Burton's past homes and the famous pink bridge connecting the two. A visit to Mismaloya showed us where they made their famous movie (and thus putting PV on the resort map), Night of the Iguana.

This visit however, we chose to only hike and shop locally, spend time reading by the pool (between my husband and myself we finished 9 books!), painting and relaxing, which we so sorely needed. It was a fantastic reprieve from building our next home, working 65-hour weeks, and commuting. We always rent a condo from - where Eileen Key is the ultimate property manager and entrepreneur. Eileen will make anyone's visit to PV a dream come true.

So here are some of my works from Mexico! Enjoy. Thanks for stopping by.

I love the old, traditional style of architecture. Here is a home, just 3 blocks off the Malecon, with shuttered windows keeping out the heat and lovely balconies to sit and gaze at the ocean.

The condo we stayed in is also of traditional Mexican architecture. Each room is divided by these folding glass doors -  and these are the ones leading out onto the balcony/patio from the kitchen. 

Here is a plant, growing by the pool but not sure what these are called. I've been researching and just can't find any information on them. They have a 2" stalk that is just covered in spiny needles. The plant stands about 8" tall and the flower heads remind me of hydrangeas in how they form balls, but that is the only likeness they have. 4-5 small heads in the stamen area, surrounded by golden pigment. Bright pink and red petals. The day after I painted this, the iguanas were eating it. Two days later, the plant had no blossoms at all.

This water color pencil was inspired by the Puerto Vallarta Playa de los Muertos (Beach of the Dead) and el Dia de los Muertos (November 1st or All Saint's Day). It was just a fun, quick pencil sketch of a skull. Seeing skeletons and skulls at this time of year in PV is very common.

And, lastly here is a water wheel that I just completed this morning.

Happy Holidays to you all! I'm taking next week off, so Happy New Year, too!

This blog is linked to Friday Sketches and Paint Party Friday (see links to the right).