My friend and I decided to do an “art a day” month beginning in October in order to be more diligent about practicing/making art. Turns out that the month of October is also “Inktober”. We didn’t follow the Inktober prompts but it was really neat to see what other artists did on a daily basis and being a part of that mini community was also a great motivator. Since I’m just starting out with watercolors, I had a lot of new styles and techniques to practice. Below are a few pieces I did in October showing the different subjects, styles, and techniques I tried out.
Trying to paint the most iconic view in Boulder requires practice and a lot of it. With that said, I’m pretty happy with how things are coming along.
Once I get back into the artisan fair rotation and begin to focus on my business more, I hope to offer my watercolors (mountains, flatirons, skylines, etc) as cards for sale.
People are really into engagement photos and capturing the moment the proposal happens. Typically in Colorado, that’s done in a beautiful place. By random chance, a friend’s friends got engaged at Dream Lake the same day I completed a 4×5 painting of that location. My friend immediately contacted me about buying it as a gift for them. This sparked a little idea of doing engagement paintings (at least as gifts for friends). A few days later that same friend contacted me about commissioning a painting of her engagement as a gift for her fiance. It was then I started to think that this could be a really cool market to dip my toes into: Engagement Paintings.
Colorado is full of so many picturesque spots that having an original painting of where you got engaged or tied the knot is a cool really unique way to memorialize it.
The painting I ended up doing was surprisingly way harder than I had originally anticipated, but I’m (and more importantly “the client” is) pretty happy with the finished product.
Acrylics have always been my strong suit. However, my style requires a lot of time and patience and recently I’ve had little of both. So in order to make me feel productive and challenge myself, I’ve picked up watercolors. Turns out, nice quality liquid watercolors are WAY more fun to use than the little crayola disk watercolors we got as elementary students.
I’m excited to see the progress I’ve made in such a small amount of time and how drastically different my watercolor technique is compared to my acrylics.
I also realized that making cards with watercolors is way more fun than trying to buy one from the store.
I’ve realized the best way to get out of an artist’s block is to think small. So I bought a bunch of little canvases, gathered up photos and ideas from recent trips, and then poured myself a bunch of coffee. So expect a bunch more little paintings.
My mom special requested a small painting of Portland headlight (one of the best pictures I took while in Maine last October) so I used one of my mini 4×4 canvases and happily obliged. Once again, quick small paintings helping me out of my painting slumps.
I have enjoyed painting for myself, for friends, and for family, but since I was a little kid I wanted to be an artist. That career choice was beat out of me at an early age. But recently I have started to think that maybe “being an artist” could be more than just a hobby. Maybe, if I am lucky enough, my work could be seen somewhere other than my apartment and be seen by someone other than my friends.
Moral of today’s story: I’ve decided to buckle down and focus on building up the business side of my art. I did not get an MBA so this part does not come naturally to me. Honestly, this is the part I REALLY struggle with and is the reason painting has only been a hobby up until now. Luckily, my boyfriend and my equally-artistic best friend have been extremely supportive (and at times, I think, delusional) of my new plan. Without these two’s encouragement (and the support of other amazing people I know in CO), I doubt I’d be heading down this scary path.
I may not be moving at lightning speed, but I have been making a few steps in the right direction:
I have new business cards, I’ve applied to an arts & craft show in Denver, I’ve emailed a couple galleries and coffee shops, and I’ve gotten my hands on a high quality camera. As of today, I’ve ordered a few sample giclee prints and canvass wraps. If I’m happy with the quality of reproduction, I’ll start having prints available for sale of each of my pieces both online and (fingers crossed) at shows.
I may not be there yet, but I am so much closer than I was yesterday.
Since the painting “Four Brothers” never made it to the intended party (a certain son decided to keep it rather than give it to his mother), I decided it’d be a good exercise to try painting this piece again.
This time around, I focused on creating more contrast between the shadows and highlights the folds of the clothing. It was definitely a fun piece up until I had to do the faces. But perhaps if I keep forcing myself to work on painting faces, I’ll get better at them.
With our new “grown up” home, I’ve really been motivated to paint new pieces to hang in our kitchen and the breakfast nook. One Saturday morning I walked to the Michaels and picked up 6 little 4×4 inch stretched canvasses. (buy one get one free. yippee!).
When I’m not out in the mountains, I love to make big breakfasts on the weekends (which usually consist of breakfast burritos or omelettes). So I took the ingredients we tend to use the most and highlighted each one singularly on its own canvass. I’m particularly proud of the mushroom in this series because it best captures the brush strokes and movement I was going for.
These were so much fun to do that I think if I can keep finding these little canvasses for cheap, I’ll branch out into a bunch of different foods/kitchen objects.
I’ve been wanting to work on being loser/more liberal with my brush strokes and color usage and less focused on details/realism. One morning I instagramed my avocados. Turns out, the light and simplicity of the photo served as a good source of inspiration for trying out this different style. I was determined to be more free and have obvious brush strokes, really working at not blending the colors too much. I wanted to really focus on the movement of each stroke and colors rather than what avocados look like realistically.
I wanted to surprise one of my best friends with a little gift because 1. she’s amazing and 2. she just got engaged. This piece managed to come together so quickly and easily thanks to multiple factors hitting at once: Work was cancelled due to a major snow dumping, my friend got engaged to a great guy with an adorable dog, and I had a new bag of coffee beans hand-delivered from Seattle. So after scrolling through both her and her now-fiance’s instagram accounts, I found a photo that would play to my strengths; using black and white to create depth, highlights & shadows, and folds.
I’m quite proud of this painting that amazingly only took me a day to complete (granted, it was a long day with only breaks for more coffee and some food), so I do wish I had gotten better photos of it before shipping it to D.C.