Here's a playful little watercolor I did today on scrap paper (the other side has a landscape I wasn't satisfied with). With the exception of the beak, the whole thing was painted using an old bamboo brush, a gift from a co-worker at the pottery studio where I worked. Every now and then I go back to painting in this style for two reasons. One: It's easy for me. Since I spent so many years painting that way I don't think about it and that feels good. Two: It's relaxing. I've found it's a great way for me to loosen up and simplify my approach to the subject. Traditionally the bamboo brush should be held very lightly and be used in a fluid motion. It is a meditation and helps me focus.
In August I took two weeks off to travel across the USA with my kids, and I am so glad we had that opportunity. We covered over 4,000 miles and some people were concerned about that much time in a car with teenagers. They were great! I however, had a minor meltdown towards the end of the trip because of a bike race. After unexpected road closures and extra time in traffic, we were ready to get out and stretch our legs on a trail at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. Guess what! That was closed too! For the bike race. It was not a proud moment for me, but my kids adjusted, talked me through it, gave me chocolate, and we continued on to enjoy the nearby Cave of the Winds.
September arrived and found me working four days in the art room at at the Free To Be Unschooling conference. I had been planning a new series of hummingbirds, so when I finally had some peace and quiet to stay home and paint, this was the first one that I finished. I love this painting because its a hummingbird that visits my patio. It just tickles me to see them land and sit for awhile. I'm so happy to know that I've created a garden space that is relaxing enough for even the constantly moving hummingbirds to take a rest. I need to stop moving so much and do the same.
One night after dinner, everyone in my family took a piece of paper, their favorite markers and started drawing. It was an unplanned event, but so much fun! This is what I created that night. A girl sailing on the moon to the island of sheep. It's an idea I've had floating around in my head for awhile, and I was hoping to have a different version to share, but never finished.
For Illustration Friday's theme "ice cream". Overall I'm pretty happy with this design. I really like the way she is walking off the bottom. I wanted to keep the colors light and sweet. My kids approved the use of pink for an ice cream shop. I sort of wish I had colored the door window panels differently, with maybe a glimpse inside the shop. I made a bunch of line drawings on my ipad using Tayasui Sketches, something new I'm trying. I've been admiring some digital illustrations and wanted to play around with that. I'm still figuring out how to use it, and how it works best for me.
...another ice cream illo from earlier this year. "Scoop"
For Illustration Friday's topic of "Portrait" I thought it would be cute to have our macaw, Plato, painting our blue budgie, Rain. I definitely had fun working on this, though I kept looking to Plato to see how her colors combined and she wasn't very helpful. First she was preening and had her head tucked every time I looked over at her. Then she was playing with a toy on her cage and I still couldn't see her head. The next time I looked she was taking a nap with her face hidden. I think maybe she was being a little shy.
These are both subjects that have been on my list of things to "color" for awhile, elephants and horses. I recently found a picture of my daughter hugging a pony and that inspired the first one. After drawing the elephants, I came across a video of a baby elephant being rescued from a well. It was very touching to see the little one running to his mother and I enjoyed that happy feeling as I finished painting.
One, two, three, jump! It's been record setting hot in Phoenix and we are all trying not to melt. Jumping into a pool is good, clean fun and it works! This illustration is inspired by my own kids, neighbors and relatives. So many creative games have been invented in the backyard pool and this celebrates those memories.
To see an "extra friend" that was created in the pool go here:
This week I remembered seeing pictures of people skating in frozen canals somewhere in northern Europe. I searched images for different countries but couldn't find what I was looking for. As usual I sketched a bunch of ideas from things I did see of Hindeloopen, Netherlands, and eventually worked out this idea of two skaters near a bridge. Besides being a picturesque location, it was also fun to say as I drew: Hindeloopen. Try it.
I knew I wanted the colors to be very light and feel like the aurora borealis in pink, gold, blue and violet. When consulting with my daughter as to which of the drawings she most wanted to see painted, she chose the bridge and said to be sure to include a horse. I was sort of leaning towards a windmill myself, but I like the way this turned out.
For ice skating illustrations from last year try these: