Embrace Your Art Challenge - February 2016

Embrace Your Art Challenge - February 2016 - student project

Thanks, Ria, for encouraging and pushing us to make our art. My constraint is to paint only with watercolor - no pencil or ink sketches or outlning. I hope to loosen up and let the watercolors do their magic. Looking forward to the fun of it, hits and misses, and learning from both.

02.01.16 ROOT

The first thing that came into my head was carrots - root vegetables. These were the first seeds I planted, grew and ate, at age four (thanks to my mom). Planting new seeds here with this project - hope to harvest some improved skills and confidence along with having fun. "Carrots"

02.02.16 PLACE

My favorite place in the world - Yosemite. From my Instagram photo. "Half Dome"

02.03.16 MUSIC

The happiest music I can imagine is Pharrell Williams' "Happy" - I'm calling this one "Room without a Roof" :-)

02.04.16 LIGHT

Light is everything in art - so hard to capture. Here's my attempt. "Orange"

02.05.16 SHADOW

I tried to depict a little plaster bust I have of a reader (a copy of one that was in my great grandma's house!) using only shadow. My constraint of no sketching or outlining, using only watercolor, made this extra challenging, but it was a good learning experience. "Reader"

02.06.16 COMFORT

When I feel stressed or down and the weather's not too bad, I like to go take a walk in nature. We are lucky to live near the American River, and there's a lovely bike path that never fails to bring me up. "American River Parkway"


I went to a wonderful exhibit called Looking East at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, and took a picture of a gorgeous kimono in one of the galleries. My intent was to incorporate information I learned from the exhibit about how artists in Europe and America incorporated elements of Japanese art into their paintings, prints and decorative arts in the mid- to late-1800s. For example, many Japanese artists placed a subject in the foreground of a painting that made the viewer feel he was in the scene. I was not able to portray this as I would have liked, but, again, there's the learning experience. :-) "Kimono"

02.08.16 MEMORIES

My dad and mom  started taking my brother and me on backpack trips in the high Sierras (some on the Pacific Crest Trail where Cheryl Strayed's "Wild" takes place) when we were five and four years old. These adventures, which lasted through early high school years, definitely provided foundational memories for us all. I remember not liking to wear itchy wool socks with my hiking boots, but now the thought of them only makes me smile and recall the incredible natural sights and fun times we had as a family. "Wool Socks"

02.09.16 TEXTURE

I've always loved the feel of walking on grass in my bare feet!

02.10.16 TIME

Moon phases - they're mystical, and they seem to have more to do with how I feel than "sun time." This was another (sub-optimal!) experiment using a technique I just learned: watercolor over paper covered with two coats of gesso thinned to the consistency of milk - you get whites (or whatever color gesso you used) by subtracting the paint. Here I used a quarter wrapped in a damp paper towel to mark the circles, then used a wet brush to take away the color, trying to make some crater-y looks.

Here's a little 6x6" blooming quince painting I did in the workshop where Floy Zittin taught the technique:


I saw this wonderful article about a woman who painted 363 tiny artworks on her used (dried) teabags! I took that as a sign to look for something different to paint on, and (not too creatively) I chose my used coffee filter. The 3D effect of a collage also gives it a little more "perspective" than a plain old sketchbook page.

02.12.16 SPACE

This prompt made me think of wide open spaces. "Road through Monument Valley"



Who opened my heart? My new little grandson, Noah. Believe me, this quick sketch does not do him justice! :-)

02.14.16 GIFT

The gift I can give myself is art - making and enjoying.

02.15.16 BALANCE

Infusing my practice with gentleness and discipline looks like this to me: a little messy mix of "Water and Fire."

02.16.16 DEPTH

One of my biggest watercolor challenges has been to "go dark" - get the most intense depth in my pigment and apply it evenly. Here is yet another attempt.

02.17.16 NURTURE

Growing your art practice is like gardening - there's no such thing as instant gratification.

02.18.16 PAST

After working for 47 years, I took a big leap and retired last March. I am so grateful to trade the pressure of a paycheck for time to do whatever I choose, including participating in this daily challenge!

02.19.16 THEME

I've always been, and hope to always be "Curious."

02.20.16 PRECIOUS

My husband of 38 years is the person most precious to me. I'll continue to work on a better likeness... :-) (Tombow marker and wet brush)

02.21.16 DREAM

Daydreaming as a child - lying on my back in the grass and looking for shapes in the clouds.

02.22.16 FEAR

Not being good enough...but I'll keep practicing!! ;-)


02.23.16 STRUCTURE

I'd be much happier if all my supplies were more organized. My goal is to make it happen.

02.24.16 DETAIL

Didn't capture much of the detail, but the exercise sure made me appreciate it.

02.25.16 SAFE

A supportive environment, which I'm very lucky to have, makes me feel safe.

02.26.16 MAGIC

Love to see all of the different ways people interpret and execute the prompts! It is magic!

02.27.16 GROW

This workshop has helped me grow in skills and confidence - thank you, Sharon!

02.28.16 BLISS

It's a new day - sunrise.

02.29.16 LEAP

Ready to take the next big steps on my art journey.

It's been really fun cranking out these ideas and seeing how everyone else has had so many different ideas and roads to arrive at this same place. Hope to see you all around!

Aspiring artist - working on it!