Art Adventures

Posts tagged ‘watercolor paints’

It struck me this week that lilacs are in my top 5 list of favorite flowers.  Let’s see.  Why not list them and the memories they evoke:

1.  Peony (their smell…soft white house and the big window above them…and…ants?)

2.  Lavender (Washington…fields upon fields of purple hills…and the smell, oh man the smell!)

3.  Lilac (tearing around on my bike next to the bushes on the farm…the sunshine smell…my mom)

4.  Rose (the old-fashioned kind…my bike was my “horse” and I speed around the bushes super fast)

5.  Dahlia (my house in Portland…my little boys running around catching praying mantis and other critters)

Huh.  What does that say about me?  All these flowers are old-school flowers! Does that mean I’m an old fashioned kind of gal?  Nah.  They just smell heavenly and remind me of growing up on the farm.


Lilacs by my front door

I finally have lived in a house long enough for the lilacs that I planted to bloom!  Every house that we built, I would plant lilacs, with dreams of someday gathering them into my greedy clutches, planting my nose deep inside their purple-ness, and inhaling their memory-inducing bouquet.  Then, I’d clip them into a huge white bucket (oh, the senses!) and bring them indoors to fragrance the whole house.  Alas, we always moved before my bucket-of-lilacs dream came true.  Until now!  I have two large lilac bushes near my front door, and if the deer don’t chomp them down, they bloom like crazy.  So, in response to the Bucket of Lilacs dream, I decided I’d paint just that.


Lilacs for the painting

Yes!  I DID place blooms into my painting.  Carefully clipping each tiny bloom, I placed them in between newspaper and flattened/dried them overnight.  The next day, I used matte Medium to adhere them to the gessoed plexiglass panel.  It was so much fun, I thought I might plaster them everywhere!  But I had to use restraint.  I had only clipped a few lilacs and it was time to paint.  No time to waste!


First wash, showing general layout and real lilac petals

Okaayyy…great idea, hard to do.  Have you ever painted lilacs?  Or tried?  A bit difficult, I can tell you.  As always, I concentrate detail in a few areas near the focal point, and leave ya’ll guessing for the rest. The most difficult part of this painting was trying to get the mass of blooms to have depth and structure.


Detail showing real lilac petals


Detail showing real lilac blooms and paper texture

The colors in this painting?  Yummy.  I hope I gave the impression of lilac blooms?

Bucket O Lilacs blog

Bucket O’ Lilacs. 16×20 watercolor on Gessoed Plexiglass. $750 message me to own 🙂

Can you recall memories of lilac-filled days?  Maybe you can smell them?

Or maybe you have strong memories associated with other flowers. What are your favorites?  When you see them or smell them, what memories flood forth?  Comment…I’m interested 🙂

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Balance.  Something I strive to attain, yet hardly ever really achieve.  Someone asked me this week, “How do you do it all?  How do you take care of two teenagers, come to work every day, take care of your house and yard and still find time for your art?”  Simple answer:  I usually don’t.  I usually don’t have time for it all. Something typically gets dropped.  I prioritize and if it isn’t essential, I drop the ball.  So, for instance, the house, the yard, the laundry?  Those menial tasks get thrown to the curb and ignored.  But then every couple of weeks or so, it becomes imperative that I “do something” about the mess that has become my environment in which I live.  The balance might list too far to the side of uncleanliness.  So it was this week. The house-mess complained loudly.  I HAD to clean!  I MUST!  Argh.  The dust bunnies and their fellow friends were taking over.  And, I didn’t have my usual schedule, so was unable to prepare my thoughts, my canvas, my photos, and get on board for a great painting and great blog over the weekend. Sure, I squeezed out time to paint, but it wasn’t very satisfactory, as the menial house tasks were screaming at me.  Only two days to complete EVERYTHING.

Okay, so I’ve set you all up for the fact that my weekend painting was/is HORRIBLE this week.  I feel I dropped the ball.  Not only on my painting, but on everything.  Hence the title of this blog:  Balance.  We have to find balance in our lives when juggling so many things.  Like I said, I prioritize, but sometimes it’s not enough.  I strive for balance every day.

So my lilac painting will have to wait for another time.  I did work on it, but it needs so much more work that it is unfit to blog about.  😦

Instead, I’ll blog about my beast and its favorite colors.  Short and sweet and uncomplicated, this post.


Favorite colors: Clockwise from top right, Moonglow, Quinacridone Burnt Orange, Cerulean, Cobalt Teal Blue, all by Daniel Smith

The above colors are always quick within reach on my palette.  They play well with others, lift easily, and have granular properties.  Above, you can see each color by itself, then worked into the blob in the middle. Super cool and makes me want to paint.  A good thing on a day like today when I’m feeling blue and uninspired.

Next, I added my favorite go-to brushes in the fray:


Favorite brushes added to the paints. At top, Daniel Smith 24-1 Mop brush, #5 Sable mix Daniel Smith round, Cat’s tongue series 50, #8 Daniel Smith round, and at bottom, American Painter 1/4″ bright

I use my mop brush initially to lay in large areas of color and value. The three brushes on the right are used for detail.  They are expensive sable mixes, but hold a ton of color and water. At bottom, a super cheap bright brush for removing paint and adding detail/edges to subjects. I scrub hard with this brush and don’t care if it gets messed up.

Wait, what?  How does this happen?  The blob became a beast!


Another version of my beast

After smooshing my favorite colors together, I saw my beast again!  Add an eye, mouth, nose, and detail and voila…beastie version 2 is born.

Thus, I found a smidgen of balance this weekend.  I did finish this blob…er…blog, mopped the floors and dusted, and even managed to go mushroom (morel) hunting with the boys and my hubby.  I should be satisfied.  I should be happy.  But that stupid Lilac painting is yelling at me…

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