My friend Janettmarie teaches at Wine and Canvas here in Indianapolis. She also teaches Cookies and Canvas, which is the same thing, only it's for kids. All the kids get a full painting set up (easel, canvas, acrylic paint, brushes, apron) plus a bag of cookies. The instructor leads them step by step through the making of a masterpiece.
Janett graciously allowed Alyssa and I to observe. Everyone had fun. I snapped some pics. When we came home, I painted from one of my photos. This little girl was very focused. It was just her connecting with her work. She was not hung up on exact replication of the instructors example. She was enjoying the colors dancing with each other on the canvas. She was putting paint down in a beautiful, abstract way, and she was at peace with it. She was using her "artistic license", which Janettmarie told the children was totally okay.
Adults use the wine to help them relax with their painting and not worry about perfection. Kids don't need that, as everything they put down is pure, unique, expressive perfection.
"Child Painting" 5" x 5" Watercolor and ink
I, like a typical adult, fussed over this one, trying to make it precise. I'm trying to fuss less. Guess I need some wine.
I am experimenting with a pan set of Pelikan Gouache. Gouache is a watercolor only it is opaque, not transparent like watercolors are. This kind of paint really shows it's attributes when applied to colored papers. I have used tan paper for this one.
Pelikan is the economy line, and the colors were a bit muddy. I did what I could with it, but I look forward to trying a better brand sometime soon, as it was exciting to use. The white really lights up on toned paper.
Inspired by the book "Artist's Journal Workshop" by Cathy Johnson, I purchased a Strathmore Mixed Media sketchbook. My intention is to start sketching and journaling. Then I jumped on this 30 paintings in 30 days bandwagon. I usually set so many goals at the same time that I drive myself crazy.
Friday, after a full day of errands and chores, I sat down in desperate attempt to get a painting done before bedtime. I set up this little still life at the kitchen table. I used a watercolor set that I had purchased years ago and never touched, and my new sketchbook.
When you complete a painting every day but only spend a few hours on it, you learn how to work more efficiently and not overwork the piece. That's the point of this kind of painting practice. In the process, you will crank out some turkeys. But sometimes you nail it. I think I nailed it this time. I think it's worth a frame.
The Good Life 9" x 7" Watercolor
About the sock monkey:
I helped take care of a little guy in the NICU. He was there for a long time and went through some tough stuff. His parents, and we nurses who took care of him, would entertain him with his little Ty sock monkey. We watched this baby and his family go through a long hell ride and many painful surgeries. Having a baby in the NICU is stress beyond belief. About every other day, these parents were pelted with terrible news. Many marriages start to crumble under such stress, but this remarkable couple held each other close and supported each other during those 7 long months. Eventually the bad news thinned out. Every day, these parents poured happy, smiling love onto their baby boy, and worked with him as advised by the physical therapist. Over time, this little guy triumphed. He has hit milestones unlike any doctor would have predicted. And he became a happy, smiling, sociable boy, despite everything. When he was discharged, his parents gave us nurses each a sock monkey like the one he had, along with a sweet thank you note. I always intended to paint this little monkey, because I treasure it.
His new best friend is the family dog. His life is good.
I posted this image on facebook, and immediately his mom sent me a message saying it made her cry.
She wants it.
She deserves it.
I'm a day late on the 30 painting-a-day challenge...but here is my first one.
Painting 1 of 30 6' x 8', oil on board
When Jeff came home from work, he started laughing because I had my plein-air painting equipment set up in the kitchen, painting the view out our bay window. I told him that I am still waiting for him to build that plexiglass, heated structure so I could paint outdoors and still stay warm. ;)
Could I possibly do this? We'll find out. I saw this challenge on my friend Janettmarie's blog, and I got inspired. It starts today, but I just signed up tonight.
"If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you???" I guess I will have to answer in the affirmative.
With my nursing job, and the 12-hour shifts, this will prove extra challenging. I'll be pretty proud of myself if I get 18 done, which is how many days I am not at work during the month of January. Oh but...I do have to spend one day at the Indianapolis Home Show...and my husband's birthday is in January...and there is that day I go to the optometrist to get my pupils dilated (makes for bad paintings). So...15 is my goal...if I get 15 done, I will be pretty darn proud of myself. If I paint 2 a day on those days, I would slay the challenge.
What's the prize if I slay the challenge? Feeling REALLY darn proud of myself. And maybe a couple bucks if I sell one.
If you would like to read more about this challenge issued by Leslie Saeta, her blog link is right HERE.
FYI: The practice of doing a small painting a day, then posting them on a blog and selling online, was started 2004 by an artist named Duane Keiser, He was so successful that other artists joined him in this effort. Some of those artists became very skilled very quickly, and are enjoying great success. Since then, many such challenges have been introduced in the internet environment, and it's a popular modern-day practice for artists who want to improve their work quickly. There are a few online galleries who feature nothing but daily painters. You can read a more in-depth article (2006) from USA Today HERE.