Ink, pad and brush + a spot in the shade = the perfect afternoon.
I worked on this series while living down by the Jersey shore one winter. The focus here was on abstract shapes, line and movement. When I look these over, I still like (and use in my current work), the bold shapes and repetitive lines. Also, I'm drawn towards the pieces with a limited color palette - 2, 3 or at most 4 colors. Over the years I've limited my palette even more, and find that one single color (along with the negative space it creates) has the most impact.
Size: about 5"x7"
Date: mid to late 90's
Drawing and painting from nature is one of my favorite things to do. I get so wrapped up in observing the details of the object, that the usual static in my head completely subsides. It's my personal form of meditation.
These nature studies are from different times in my life. I painted the first (above) with india ink on rice paper while taking an art class at the Brooklyn Botanic gardens. The second is india ink as well, and the third a seedpod drawn with charcoal. Seaweed from a Cape Cod summer, india ink, and lastly, a budding branch in watercolor.
This is the first post in my new series, "A Look Back". In this series, I take 'a look back' at an artwork or series of artworks I made in the past. I include a brief backstory, and attempt to isolate what I like (if anything) about the piece / pieces. Whatever it is I like about the work I consider 'my takeaway', these are the elements I'd like to incorporate into and move forward with in my current work.
After getting married, my husband Bob and I backpacked through Asia for 8 and a half months. Back then, before kids, we'd sit and enjoy a beautiful place for hours, him with his little travel guitar and me with my sketchbook. Today I'm taking a look back at some watercolor landscapes I made at that time.
I almost always bring my watercolors with me when I travel. It's a great way for me to relax and enjoy the new environment. Each of these paintings were made outdoors from observation. They most likely took about an hour to complete. Today, if I'm traveling, it's rare that I have an hour to paint without interruption (that's motherhood!) so it's been a while since I've attempted to paint the landscape. With the changing light, it's something I prefer to finish in one sitting so I'm not returning to a subject thats gone and changed on me.
My favorite thing about this series is the peaceful feeling that they give me when I look at them. Is it the actual image that does this for me? (Soothing blues and greens and natural subject matter), or am I sensing the serenity I felt while painting them? Not sure, but in either case...
Here's my takeaway: If my aim is to create peace-inducing artworks, these paintings contain a palette I can refer back to. Also, watercolor landscapes are a great way to relax, but stylistically, there's nothing here that I'd necessarily choose to fold back into my current work.
I'm going to hang onto these paintings. Once I get around to framing them, I'd like to hang them in our bedroom. They'll help create the relaxing atmosphere I'm going for in that space, and remind my husband and I of our amazing journey through Asia.
Medium: watercolor, pencil
Size: approximately 8" x 10"
A couple weeks ago I walked past the offices of the Hackensack Riverkeeper, a great organization that helps restore, protect and preserve the Hackensack River and it's watershed. It also educates the public through eco-cruises, bird-walks and presentations, and offers plenty of opportunities for volunteers to pitch in their time and resources. I had taken my family on one of their eco-cruises several years back and really enjoyed it, so when I saw their street sign, I took a couple minutes to step inside and check it out.
The people working there were super friendly, and I loved all the nature posters they had hanging around the walls and cubicles. I was inspired by their mission, and since the idea of volunteering my services had been bouncing around my head since... forever, I did just that. "I'm an illustrator, and if there's ever anything I can do to help you out, just let me know", I said, and as fate would have it, they happen to have a rain barrel in need of some art. It had been donated by the BCUA for the Riverkeeper's annual fundraising event as an auction item, and the thought was that a little paint job might boost the bids.
I took the rain barrel home and immediately began researching the process of painting a plastic surface which would ultimately live outdoors. As I perused multiple sites to figure out how to do this and compiled a list of all the supplies I would need, I was surprised I hadn't come across a sight that had all of this info conveniently presented in one blog post. I wanted a quick instructional video to give me an overview of the process, as well as a .pdf download of the supply list, and a written set of instructions that I could bring into my workspace. Since it didn't exist, I decided to put it together for all the future rain barrel painters of the world. Rain barrel painters - unite!
So here it is... my first instructional video and accompanying .pdf download. Although far from perfect, I hope it helps!
I welcome all feedback, so please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section of my YouTube channel, Art & Nature Time. If you like it, please leave a thumbs up! Also, I'd love to see your end results, so when you've finished your rain barrel, please send me some photos. Here are some pictures of mine...