Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spring is here!


 
          Snow Baby



It's spring!  Yes it is! Yes it is!  You have to believe!  I believe, I believe.  

Well, it doesn't take much to believe in the inevitable.  Spring will always come.  I take great comfort in the seasons and thier ever changing rhythms.  Always changing yet constant.  Constant change.  Yup, that's life.  Don't get comfortable, you won't be there long! 

 If you've read this blog at all you will see the themes in nature inspire much of my work and life.  I see so many metaphors between life, art and nature.  Life has seasons too.  So as in nature, I find myself in a "spring" of sorts.  I see my life changing from a rather bleak winter season to a slightly less harsh spring season--which can only lead to a summer season! I'm seeing small hints of color in the drab landscape.  Most of all, I see promise.  

February began with the painting a day challenge.  I didn't even try one last year.  It would have just been too much.  But I felt "springy-er" this year!  I chose February instead of January because my son was married in January and it was too busy.  But what a lovely way to start the new year!  And I had a mini spring for a week, since the wedding was in Phoenix!  Nothing but sunshine, warmth and celebration!  I was not looking forward to going home to Ohio in February.  So I figured February would be a good time to do the challenge and its two days shorter. Plus, I'm just not a fan of February.  By February im sick of winter and spring is a ways off.  It's usually pretty snowy and cold and gloomy. Im just over it. So let's give February a new look with a painting every day. 

A painting a day is just not easy.  And I got some nasty upper respiratory thing that really laid me low and I missed a few days painting.  But here's the thing--I got back to it not because I'd lose face or to prove something (although there's that!) but because I missed it!  I looked forward to painting every day!  And that hasn't happened in a long while. I found joy in sketching and watching the paint move with the water. I looked with new eyes for inspiration without desperation.  That's new too.  There's pressure to preform and to do it well when others are watching.  I let that go.  Well, as much as anyone can.  I really just enjoyed the process. 

Side note:  my version after February was over: "gosh that was fun!"  Tom, my husbands version is quite different. His version is of my running around saying "I can't find time to paint today" or " I'm just not inspired". To be fair, that was true at first.  Until I got sick and couldn't hold my head up!  Being sick always reminds me what a gift being well and able is!  Refocuses my view!  Whew! 

Doing anything for 28 days develops a habit.  I've had worse habits!  A friend sent me a TED talk about doing something for 30 days and I've added the links here: http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_cutts_try_something_new_for_30_days?language=en
It's so true.  And how do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time!  

Now that I'm back to painting, I figure I'll get back to blogging.  Neither will be regular or have the drive they did before, but like I said, spring has just begun!  These days I'm taking it as it comes.  

Let me also say that the response from everyone was awesome. I appreciated all the kind comments and support.  I hope it inspires you to feed your creative side.  If you want to jump start it--take small bites for 30 days!  

Paint on! 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Day 22-28

Hello and welcome to the last week of the 28 day challenge.  This was a challenge for sure.  Each painting took at least 45 minutes.  I'm not sure why, except people would be seeing it and I was more careful than I would be if it was just for me.  My sketchbooks are for experimenting, working out problems with future painting and just for fun.  They are not as detailed or finished.  I rarely take that kind of time with my sketches, saving the careful painting for paintings I may show. Maybe next time I can let go a little more and show you the goofy, wonky sketches. 

That said, I enjoyed the challenge of doing more detailed sketches.  This time around I found I was better able to focus on finding inspiration.  I chose subjects based on what moved me that day and tried not to worry about whether it would be interesting to you or easy to paint and vowed to post it even if it bombed.  The only time I didnt was when I painted my son in law and he looked like someone beat him up!  That was a pride issue on my part and I didn't want to embarrass him! 

So lets talk about the last weeks sketches -- Day 22--


I bought some inspiration at the grocery store this week.  As I said before, I like to work from life.  These sunflowers screamed at me from across the produce section and I knew i had to paint them.  (I must have gotten them very fresh because these puppies are still perfect a week later!) I felt like this was really tight and I've worked hard to paint with a loser look, so it was interesting that all these paintings are all so tight.  Oh well.  Going forward I kept a focus on working a little looser. 

Day 23--


My dad fell asleep on the couch and the cat crawled up on him and fell asleep in the sun.  There was a lot of detail that I didn't have time for, like the cat and hands.  But I was pleased with how the face came out with the play of colors and the sun on his forehead. I also felt that this was a lose painting and I like that. I call it "Cat Nap".

Day 24--



Again from the grocery store the other day, I bought some beets.  I love to paint the colors in beets.  There are rusts, and purples and deep burgundy reds. And lets face it, who can resist the shape of leaves?  Its hard not to get carried away with all the details in the leaves, but I thought I kept them lose while keeping the detail on the beets.   I especially love the tap roots. 

Day 25--


This little sketch I did straight with a pen from a photo. I usually have to restate the lines I screw up and it ends up looking very messy, especially with architecture. This came out pretty well and I didn't restate much.  Its really small in comparison to the others, I think its maybe 4x5. 

Day 26 --


I had something else in mind for the day, but these were singing in the sun on my kitchen table where I've been painting for these weeks.  They are in a box, and I hated the box I painted, so I took it over to the sink and just washed it off!  Then I liked it just that way so I framed it with line and called it a day!  

Day 27--

Well, I don't a have day 28.  I KNEW I missed one!  Ok, I owe ya one!  But here is the last one, day 27. I have some pussy willows in a jar and like all the other things that are from nature I paint, I was thinking about why Im drawn to it.  I like the hard bark contrasted with the soft puffs and wondered if I could convey that feeling.  I loved the curves of the branches.  This painting was very meditative.  Something about the colors and the line.  The contrast of dark color and hard edges with light color and soft fussy edges.  I kept it to three branches because I wanted it simple.  I think this was one of my favorites from the 27 days.  

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the sketches.  Try it yourself.  Its addicting!  





Monday, February 23, 2015

Day 14 - 21

Its been ten days since my last post and I'm sorry I didn't get to it Friday, but Ive been lucky to paint the paintings so blogging was secondary.  I even had to skip a few days and ask for grace, due to an upper respiratory infection that sent me to urgent care with a fever.  Even after the z-pack, its still taken this long for me to get my energy back.  So I am two day's behind on my paintings, which I plan to catch up in this, the final week.

This had been good for me to get the juices flowing again and to become reacquainted with my passion.  I must admit, when I opened my long neglected pallet, there was mold on two of the paints and the rest were dry as bone.  I've never had them mold before, but I have an airtight palette to keep the paints moist in between use.  I've just never gone long enough for them to MOLD!

And I've learned a few things: 1) Do not paint something that does not inspire you.  It will show in the work  2) I love to paint the figure and portrait above almost all else  3) I love architecture too and 3) a regular habit of painting keeps you motivated.  This has motivated me to continue to keep my sketchbook handy and I am going to try to work in a few paintings a week at least.

And now, on to the sketches:
These are numbered by the order, not the day anymore!

 Day 14

I did peruse my photos on Friday before the week and pulled out some inspiration.  This was a great little church in Spain I've been meaning to sketch. As I've said, I've been fortunate to have a father with wanderlust who has taken his family all over the world.  I wouldn't have ever seen and done what I have had he not made it possible.  Anyway, this was one of the many photos of churches I want to sketch.  While I would prefer to sketch on site, sometimes a photo works too!  This is quick, sloppy and wonky, but I like it!  Thanks dad!

day 15

Another photo I took years ago.  As you can see, its a beach photo.  Its been so darn cold, I felt like it might warm me up.  It didn't!  I loved how the sun hit the figures, but all I had was a grainy black and white on copy paper from another attempt.  This one is better.  

Day 16 

A  friend emailed me a picture of her daughter in this chair.  I loved the angle and the foreshortening.  I love that the leg is larger and the head is small as it recedes.  I love the yellow chair.  And I finally did sand in a way I liked.  Also a beach scene.  I somehow feel colder!  But I love the painting. 

Day 17

Also from a photo (obviously) of trumpet vine.  I love the graceful curve of the vine and the shapes of the flowers and buds.  I love the shape of the leaves, but didn't have time to include them.  Another day another painting!

Day 18

A simple pen and watercolor of some summer zinnias.  Are you seeing a theme here? ( summer-warm weather) Ha!  I'm not a fan of this but some days if you make art at all, even bad art, its still a good day!

Day 19 & 20

From a photo.  I started this before and never got in there to finish since its so detailed.  I lost interest.  I have to admit, I dont like the left page at all.  Its how it looks in the photo, but I find the green and white overhangs and the rock building much more interesting.  It was also raining so there are no shadows and light.  I counted this as two days since it took much longer and spans two pages.  

Day 21

And my last offering.  I feed the birds all year.  Among my favorites are the Junco's.  I love thier dark tops and white undersides.  They also feed on the ground, so I snapped shots against the snow.  Simple and fun. 

So, that completes 21 days.  Going to try to do 28 for all of February.  I went the the grocery and have some inspritation I can work from!  Stay tuned!  









Thursday, February 12, 2015

Days 6-13

Day 6


So I write the dates on the pages as I go and I notice I went out of order.  This is day six, which I've already explained so let's do day four, which I completely missed!  


Day four was a group of pears.  I love to draw and paint pairs.  They have such great forms and color.  These are not my favorite example, and I went back in with a pen because I wasn't crazy about them.  I don't think it helped.  Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't.  But I did a painting and I lived to paint another day.  See, failing won't kill you!  

So, let's try day 7.  


I think the hardest thing about this is finding inspiration.  If I'm not inspired, chances are the painting will fall flat. Two years ago, I prepared a weeks worth of inspiration on a Sunday and knew I had something to work with.  This time I haven't had time to do that and I've been scrambling.  Going thru photos takes time but I did stumble across this photo of my dads dog "Whiskers".  She is his best friend and I wanted to do a painting of her for his birthday this month, so this was a perfect subject for a small study.  This, I was happy with.  The key was to quit while I was ahead! 

Day 8


More from photos shot by Lake Michigan two summers ago.  I like to take shots of people to work on my fast drawing skills.  I include the drawing above because I liked it better before I added paint.  The background needs to worked out in this and I was in a hurry.  In the photo there are stairs and lots going on.  I need to think about how to simplify and still keep it interesting.  The blue water and sand add nothing here.  And that we will revisit later, because I like the gesture of the ladies resting.

Day 9


Some days I spend the day hunting for subjects.  As I went about my day, I kept hoping something would present itself as it often does. It was probably 5 pm when I finally grabbed a couple of pine cones in sheer desperation!  As I started I thought to myself that I might have picked something a little less complicated!  But once the zen state of concentration sets in and that love of drawing shapes- I can go on for hours!  I really love organic shapes and nature always inspires.  Making sure to keep it simple and find shapes and values I loved how it turned out!

Day 10


Spurred on by the success of the pine cones, I decided to try s portrait.  I was watching TV and paused a show with a subject I liked. Aside from her forehead being too short (you wouldn't notice if you didn't see the subject) and how much I overworked it, I liked it.  Enough to post it and not embarrass myself!  

Day 11


It's was my anniversary and we had a very long appointment that day, so I was behind the eight ball once again.  So when will I learn?  Hopefully I will find time to gather my inspiration this weekend.  This scrambling is killing me! Ha!  So here are my winter salt and pepper shakers.  Might make a good christmas card next year if I get a better photo. 

Day 12


My daughter brought some beautiful tulips over for our 35th wedding anniversary.  Tulips look easy.  I paint them every year and curse repeatedly.  They are a simple form, but for some reason they give me fits.  I went back in later in the day and punched up the color because it was really pale. I liked it well enough to post them.  Another thing I'm finding is that my pallet has been dried out and the paint is watered down from trying to reconstitute it.  At this stage of the game I need to empty my pallet and get some juicy wet color back on it!  If your paintings are wishy washy, use fresh undiluted paint!

And last Day 13-- as in Friday the 13th.


As I posted yesterday's painting on facebook I noticed a friends post with some pictures of her daughter dancing.  I was amazed at the shots she got.  This one is Isabella mid air--and I was hooked!  What a challenge, especially on a small format.  There are some issues, but overall, I'm loving it!  Thank you for being a muse Isabella!  

And that's this weeks offerings.  There were a couple of times I thought, "eh, no one will miss it if I don't get to it today" and you might not.  But it's been good for me to make time again for some creativity.  And I've learned something. You've heard someone say "I'm just not feeling it"? Well it's so true.  I need to be inspired.  Don't we all?  

Have a great week










Saturday, February 7, 2015

I will fix it!

To those of you subscribed to my blogs by email, I'm not sure why we keep getting their promo each time I post a blog.  Please bear with me as I contact them and try to correct this issue. 
I'm sorry for the inconvenience. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Days 2-5




First, let me state that it is not leap year.  Therefore I will not be doing 29 paintings.  Oh, what's one more you say?  One too many for me right now!  Is that why I picked February to do this, because it has two/three fewer days? Naw, I was just really busy in January.  Turns out I'm quite busy in February as well! But I'm committed (or should be) and will do my best to make it through.  

So I don't bombard people's inboxes, I've chosen to only send out only one email a week featuring that weeks paintings.  Should you be breathlessly anticipating each day's offering, you may see it daily on my facebook page-- Michelle Morris Art. 

Day two-
I like doing quick sketches of subjects I may want to paint bigger at a later date.  This is where I work out color and composition issues.  These sketches are rough, a little like shorthand.  But it's here I get a feel for the finished work and can play around with ideas without committing.  Sometimes working quick helps me keep from overthinking things, which always leads me to create a stuffy overworked painting. I often like the sketch better than the finished product for that very reason.  My goal is to achieve a balance between the loose spontaneity of the sketch and the well planned carefully executed painting. I see things I like in this one, and things I will change. And that's exactly their purpose!  Quick studies are a valuable tool in my toolbox! Since this is 28 different paintings I won't revisit this one until later. 


Day 3
Two things I remembered while painting this: 1) paperwhites are delicate and beautiful 2) they give me a headache! Since I have a short memory for bad stuff (which is good!) I forget the headache part and buy them every year!  I put them in the garage to relieve my head where there been blooming since early January.  So I brought them in for this little sketch. 
I enjoy painting white flowers, since there is so much you can do with them.  White is never really all white and there are endless colors that exists in the subtle shadows of form. I'd also forgotten how much I love Cerulean blue.  I love it's grainy texture and how it moves with the water. And, of course, I love the color. 
Day three:check! 


Day four 

I started out trying a small portrait study of my son in law.  Handsome guy.  When I was done it looked like he had been beaten in the face--I'm out of practice!!  That would never do!  So I threw together a quick study of some delphiniums from my many, many, did I mention many?- flower photos.  It'll have to do! Day four- check! 


Day five
Today was another very busy day.  I need to go through and make an inspiration list!  Anyway, I did this from an old photo.  It may be a future painting.  I thought I'd like the red shirt, but since this was a color study, I may do another with a blue shirt and black pants just to see what I think.  The lighting is the star, so I don't want bold color to overtake it.  But I do like this, so we'll think on it.  Again, that's the beauty of small studies.  They help me see the finished product. 


Thanks for reading!  See you next week!  

Sunday, February 1, 2015

February Fun

Part of who I am is encourager.  I like to encourage people. Especially to encourage people to do art.  These last two years, I've been on the receiving end of the encouragement.  I've had so much support and encouragement to get back to making art.  While I'm not able to do what I was doing before, I'm motivated to try to do a sketch every day this month.  No promises.  The world has not ended since I quit painting.  But I do miss it. It's fun! 
So here is the first of 29, I hope.