So here you go. I’ve spent most of the day feeling EXHAUSTED and generally terrible, so I just did this. Cooking and eating a super tasty dinner made me feel better about things and is probably why I rallied enough to produce something today. There will be a lovely flock of birds once the background dries, which means tomorrow. I see now that the little hill would have been a good excuse to pull out the ink. I don’t have a black on my palette, so it’s mainly Payne’s gray with a little sap green and cad yellow in it. Plain ol’ black ink would have been just as good if not better. So it goes. There’s also white gouache up in there, which is kind of exciting. I’m following a tutorial by Maria Raczynska, the same artist who designed my last painting. I really love her stuff, but most of it is too complicated. This one is advertised as for beginners, so I figured I could handle it, but hers is AMAZING. If you’re into art and videos, you should probably subscribe to her channel. Here’s the whole painting as it stands:
Because I was so tired of all my paintings looking yellow in photos, I arranged myself a new work area, *ahem* borrowing one of Palmer’s photo lights and sticking it into an IKEA floor lamp to shine on my work. So far, it seems to make a huge difference in painting and in the pictures I take of said painting.
In other news, there was a big storm early this morning that involved lots of wind (which I somehow slept through) and a huge tree limb fell down into our yard and the neighbor’s. Luckily, it didn’t do any damage (this time), so I retrieved the limb so Palmer can cut it up for firewood next weekend. I’m not sure that’ll be necessary, though, because the Stick Patrol was workin’ hard today.
Here’s another one way above my level, though I didn’t do as well as I did with the power lines. I’m trying to learn to paint good detailed clouds because there’s a photo I took in Grand Isle a couple of years ago that I really want to paint. This one could be worse, so that’s something. It’s 5×7 on Arches, and it’s based on this YouTube demonstration by Maria Raczynska. She actually knows what she’s doing (I’m pretty sure she’s an actual professional watercolorist), so of course hers is amazing. But this is probably the best cloud I’ve painted. And look at the white spatter! It’s not terrible! It’s also my first attempt at using gouache, which is pretty much opaque watercolor.
This one is as done as it’s going to be. Here’s the whole thing:
The main issue is the paint colors I used. The demonstration was with a warm purple and the yellow shade of phthalo blue, neither of which I have, so I used a cool purple and the green shade of phthalo blue. That, and I mine is a bit overworked compared to hers and too dark. But I learned some things!
In other news, I learned a new skill today. You see, I have a peanut butter issue. I like the freshly ground stuff that’s only peanuts from the grinders at Kroger and Whole Foods. I refuse to buy it at Whole Foods because they want SEVEN DOLLARS for a pound of peanut butter. That’s entirely ridiculous, so I always get it at Kroger for a more reasonable $3 a pound. Except Kroger’s grinder is currently broken. My solution was simple: I bought a pound of peanuts from Whole Foods (for $3.50!), dumped them in my food processor, and made my own damned peanut butter. It took roughly three minutes.
I guess it’s like the time Whole Foods didn’t have my favorite kind of bread in stock, so I made my own. Except this doesn’t take three hours. That’ll show ’em!
In Puppy News, Penny and Lucy posed this morning, and Lucy made her first stuffed dog toy kill. Poor Mr. Snek. She heartlessly pulled out his squeaker and squeaked it in triumph until I extracted it from her mighty jaws before she could try to swallow it (which, at this point, she couldn’t do if she tried). Good times.
I’m not feeling very confident about this one. Tomorrow I’ll finish it with power lines. I’ll also touch up the trees some. The main point with this one was to learn how to paint pine trees like we have in Louisiana. That didn’t exactly happen, but I think I might have made progress? I really just need to sit down and practice them. Here’s the whole painting so far:
I guess the tree on the far right is the best one? Of course, that’s the one I did first. I need to play with them more. Here’s the demonstration I’m attempting to follow. See those trees? They’re perfect.
I didn’t like the clouds until I put the super dark purple trees in front of them. Now I think they’re pretty nice. We’ll see what I think after I add the power lines.
I’m currently covered in (big) dog, so I’ll try posting from my phone. We’ll see how this goes. Here’s a sunset background that I hopefully won’t mess up when I finish tomorrow. There is always time. Here’s the not-cut-off whole version:
I’m trying not to be skeptical.
In other artsy news, I finally went through my drawer of watercolor tubes and made little swatches. They’ll eventually have holes in the tops and be bound with a binder clip, but I couldn’t find a plain hole punch for the life of me.
There’s no significant puppy news today, but here’s a cute picture I took this morning:
Sooooo turns out I shouldn’t have been so skeptical. This watercolor turned out beautifully. My only issue is what to me looks like too much busyness near the bottom left. Even with that, though, I think it’s good enough to frame. Here it is in all its glory:
It’s from a tutorial by Ekaterina Smirnova, one of my favorite watercolor instructors on YouTube (and the reason I joined Skillshare). I’m soooo happy with this painting, especially since I was so skeptical at the beginning.
In Things I Want To Paint News (there are lots), here’s the sun hitting a tree (elm?) from the far side as I see it every morning. I’m determined to do this justice sometime in the near future:
A fun note: I subscribed to Foot Cardigan a few months ago. This month, I got pizza socks! I’m pretty sure that’s a thing I Totally Needed. Last month, it was an eye chart. $12 well spent.
And, finally, in all-important Puppy News, potty training is coming along surprisingly well. We’ve only had one accident in the house today, and that was when I was in the shower. I should note that I’m Helicopter Mummy, but still, she’s learning to paw at the baby gate toward the back yard, so we’re making serious progress. She also only wakes me up once per night, around 2am, for a potty break. Lucy is a pretty excellent puppy.
Soooo this painting is working out better than I thought it would. There is, of course, still time to ruin it, but I certainly have more hope than I did yesterday. Here’s another link to the tutorial. And here’s the whole painting, which gets cut off in the featured photo. I’ll probably finish it tomorrow, for better or for worse.
Fall finally arrived in Louisiana with a cold front yesterday afternoon. Instead of our usual nineties, the high temperature was somewhere in the seventies. Here’s a selfie I took wearing my first sweater of the season:
Fall is my favorite season. I guess that goes for Winter here, too, especially since last winter was essentially a long Fall. I think we got one hard freeze? I hope we have more of a Winter this year. Anyway, it was not only Fall but a super beautiful day, so Penny and I celebrated by going to Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. I’m pretty sure it has the closest hiking trails to my house. I’m also a huge fan of Walter B. Jacobs Memorial Nature Park, but it’s a bit of a trek to get there. We only hiked a little over a mile, or so, but it felt so good to be outside now that there’s less crushing heat and humidity.
We even saw an armadillo!
Here’s an even more impressive photo: Lucy is growing so fast! I’m pretty sure she’ll be as big as our house soon!
Oh so much skepticism. This is a work-in-progress from another YouTube tutorial, but I have roughly zero confidence that I’m going to like it once it’s done. There’s lots of details to add, though, so we’ll see. I’m not ready to toss it yet.
Since the featured image gets cropped, here it is in all its glory:
In Puppy News, I took Lucy to meet my grandmother in Minden today.
Lucy kissed Nunpoo, Nunpoo kissed Lucy. A good time was had by all. My uncle David pulled up as we were leaving, so he got to meet her too. Hopefully she’ll remember him next time she sees him – Penny is terrified of him.
Meanwhile, Palmer took Penny to Petsmart for a toy and to the dog park for the first time since well before we got Lucy. She had a good time and returned home for what might possibly have been the most thorough bath she’s ever gotten before Lucy and I got home. We’ll resume her usual daycare schedule this week. I’m sure she’ll enjoy spending some time with adult dogs every week.
It’s winter somewhere, right? It definitely isn’t in Louisiana, but it looks like we’ll get Fall tomorrow. That’s something.
This one’s from an Angela Fehr tutorial on YouTube. I’m really interested in learning to paint snow because I have a trip to South Dakota planned for early January (YAY!). I’ll be taking my watercolors up there, and I’d like to try my hand at some plein air in the cold – or at least through the windows at my dad’s house on the side of a mountain. In the middle of a national forest. Yep. It’s been too long since I’ve made it up there.
And this Arches business? It’s only one of the best watercolor papers you can buy. It’s also crazy expensive. Michaels, though, came through with a 60% off coupon, and I finally got a pack of this paper. The texture is different than the Canson I usually use, and it’s just better. The only issue is that it lifts terribly, which is bad when you’re painting a lifty painting (as in you want to paint a big part of the paper, then dab up parts of it with a paper towel, leaving near-white). This, of course, is a lifty painting: I attempted to lift the trees from the background, but it left lots of color. Good to know. Otherwise, I love this paper.
In Puppy News, we’ve started potty training Lucy in earnest. The puppy pads are gone. Palmer put up a bell by the baby gate to the kitchen that, in theory, she should ring when she needs to go out. We’ve been setting Alexa timers for every 30 minutes to remind us to take her out. The problem is that she can, but doesn’t really need to, pee every five minutes if she’s playing, which means that we’re still cleaning up a lot of pee. Hopefully she’ll realize pretty quickly that she needs to hold it for a few minutes. I know she can because she can go a whole night in her kennel without peeing. That’s a lot longer than five minutes.
Since Fall is apparently coming tomorrow, Penny and I celebrated with some Hose Time in the back yard while Lucy napped inside.
Bring on the cooler weather! PLEASE!
Yay! It’s done! And it’s reasonable. I can’t hold a candle to the magnificent sky in the demonstration, but I’ll call mine Not Too Shabby – especially with those tiny power lines.
In Puppy News, we had an adventure yesterday. Lucy got her mouth around about half a bowl of big dog food before Palmer got it away from her. She didn’t eat all of her breakfast (which is super weird for her). I didn’t realize she’d had so much until I came home from work to a puppy with a belly the size of a basketball! She would’ve ended up at the vet if she hadn’t almost immediately started…evacuating it…when I got home. Yurk! She’s fine and her tummy is back to normal today.
In even more interesting Puppy News, Penny and Lucy had a pretty epic Friday Rasslin’ Battle:
I’m trying to replicate this AMAAAAZING watercolor sky demonstration and failing. I’m not calling it a complete fail (there’s time!), but there’s no way I’m going to get the result I want. That’s mainly because the guy painting in the video is a professional and I’ve painted on roughly 15 bits of paper.
In Puppy News, Lucy apparently ate at least half a bowl of Penny’s Blue Wilderness Big Dog Food. It expands in liquid, so her stomach got all distended. She’s still emptying its contents (gross!), but it’s back to normal size. No permanent harm was done. We’ll have to be extra sure Penny’s food is up before Lucy gets near it in the mornings. Yay, puppy!