Dream Sketches

Hi! I have a degree in art but I don't know how to use paint brushes, isn't that odd? I want to make painting a daily practice to learn how to use brushes so I can better express myself. I feel the best way to learn about the tools is to try different techniques without fear of how my practice will turn out. I practice writing and violin and let myself experiment know ing practice is different from publishing or performing. Now I want to free my mind and spirit to let myself learn to paint with brushes, and other tools, or course. 

DAY 1 "I don't have art materials". But I do, I just dont know how to use them!

In the image on the left below, I explored using a promo credit card on the left half of the page. On the right side I tried out a flat brush size 1/2. I just wanted to see what the tools would do. I used cheap red acrylic that left unwanted flecks but for learning about the brushes, I don't care. Later I came back to use up some blue tinted white paint on the brush.

In the image on the right, I used just the brush. As it dried I liked the way it left more and less paint in some areas of a long stroke, especially spirals. I tend to make a spiral in one direction so I tried the direction I had seen it in a recent dream.

In the bottom image, I painted over the cloud spiral I had started before this class started. First I over painted it all in sky blue again, over the original sky and cloud. While it was wet I scraped across the painting with the fake credit card and I really like the scraped off effect! Next I painted the spiral in white with a touch of the red that was still in the brush and a hint of blue. I didn't get the effect I wanted, quite. Then I scraped over it all again with the card but this time the paint was drier. I'm beginning to see more texture. This dream image is not finished, but it's good practice.

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DAY 2 "I don't know what to draw". I took the "Draw your Dreams" Skillwhare class and started recording my dreams in my journals and drawing or painting them, using symbols. The spiral cloud above is one of my dreams the night after I learned my old dog has tumors in her nose and ear. This symbol is pretty easy to understand concerning death and air and spiraling particles. 

The drum and cedar shingled wall with door, below, is another dream in which my dad grabbed a drum and prepared to disrupt a play for which the gray wall and door are the set. Actors came through the door. The large drum and wall are the symbols from this dream. 

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DAY 3 "I don't have time to paint".

Spring cleaning the tub, I needed to leave vinegar on the surfaces for short periods of time. I had already started the dream painting, below, in acrylic, painting background colors as snow melted and ground was revealed. Today I added snow and trees in time segments borrowed from stepping in and out of the bathroom. This took 2 days because I took my 93 year old aunt on a picnic and added tree bark details in prisma color when I came home. More than 2 days because I had painted the background 1 day. So far it's a 2 day painting in borrowed minutes. I can't do this method when writing, but it works for this painting. I like the trees and background. That floating dripping chunk of snow is something I can learn later.

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 COMMITMENT TO SKETCH SOMETHING DAILY FOR 30 DAYS      I didn't really pick a number from a stick, I just know I need to commit to a month (30 days) and break it into short segments. So I'm start with 5 days painting with brushes to explore and learn how I can use them better.

Day 1 Guash with #5 round, black, white, grey. I wanted to know how much or little water to use for different effects, how to use the brush for lettering, how to move the brush in different ways for effects. Next time I want to paint more loosely, get loose. And I could use a lot more water. (My scanner makes the white paper look grey, I might try a camera instead.)

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DAY 2 of 30 in my challenge to make a sketch a day, first 5 days learning brushes. I explored using #6 round brush and gouache paint with water. I'm already happier with my results that yesterday. I followed directions for gouache painting in Remonica Spiegels' class. I let myself mess around with the brush and paint and water on a page in my sketch book. Then I painted flowers in gouache and finished with prismacolor pencils. I'm already excited for tomorrow's sketch. 

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DAY 3 of 30 making a sketch a day     I painted a dark yellow cardstock with gouache paint, using more and less water and letting colors blend. My brush was medium sized flat. Ended up with a greenish background. Tried prismacolor doodle blobs, didn't like them. Drew 3 blue flowers in prismacolor, then painted over most of the blobs and left the heart doodle. I like the way the prismacolor shows through the gouache a little. 

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DAY 4 of 30     Watercolor paper 130 lb, little round brushes # 4, 2 ,1, gouache barely diluted, prismacolor. I learned that textured watercolor paper is hard to paint detail on with small brushes. #4 round is easy for making petals, and I CAN write with a paint brush. I tried # 2 & 1 for cursive. A little bookmark or I fould write a very tiny poem or letter on the backside.

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Day 5 of 30     I skipped yesterday. Today I quickly sketched in light pencil, just the eggs. Then used watercolor and # 2 and liner #1 Connoisseur brushes on a scrap of 130 lb watercolor paper. Feeling lots more confident with the better brushes. This sketch was inspired by a phrase on my fridge with poetry magnets. I've been looking at it for a long time! And the second box of eggs from our neighbors. Hens are laying again in magnificent hues!

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DAY 6 of 30     I missed 2 days while traveling so this is my 6th sketchbook practice since I made the commitment to make a sketch a day. On my travels, though, I did spend about an hour in an art supply store. I mostly stuck to my shopping list! Today I drew during the presentation at my Master Naturalists class about birds. #2 pencil in sketchbook. I might work on the pattern in the lower right of webbed feet.

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Day 7 of 30     I feel like this is Day 8. Wise to commit to 30 days of sketches, or 30 sketches. I have been skipping some days. Today I used prisma color pencils. At times I felt tire of it, done, ready to quit, then I had surges of energy to color more. I'm definitely out of practice with colored pencils and sketchbook paper is definitely not the best surface. Still I got a little review on blending colors and using perspective. I might like to work on this scene on better paper. 

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Day 8 of 30     Aspen tree trunk, stream, berserk flowers, maybe a rock causing ripples. Black prismacolor pencil on the back of a forestery handout. I wanted to see what I could or would do if I had no eraser and no sharpener. Tried some contouring and shading. 

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DAY 9 of 30     Trees and rocks. Black prisma color on xerox paper. I started drawing the evergreen tree, added a skirt to it like a subalpine fir to explore how to draw branches jutting toward me (foreshortening?), explored a windblown coastal tree look, tried out some rocks or a big broken boulder. I liked just letting my hands create and not thinking too much about it while I listened to a speaker. My left brain listened to his science while my right brain created images and listened to the cadence and notes of his voice. I see now how my humanities students really might be attending to me while they doodle, maybe . . . I'm seeing different style according to which media I use. Color work seems more whimsical, maybe childlike, while monotone seems more serious, a different mood. 

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DAY 10 of 30     I worked on a gouache picture, trying to get a soft edge between background hues. It's not finished with more layers and details, just exploring the paper, a gift of blank cards on which to make art, and the medium. Looks out of focus, sorry.

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Day 11 of 30     A solo tulip in prisma color pencils. I feel really comfortable with this medium, love the way I can blend hues. I think this one took about 10 minutes. Tulips grow straight up and I think they are more attractive when they bend over. Maybe I will add more bending ones. Maybe I will paint one in gouache and another one in watercolor and see the differences.

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DAY 12 of 30     I drew this image with #2 pencil on Canson 140 cold pressed watercolor paper. I'm going to paint it in Ron Mulvey's class. I spent about 10 minutes on it following his demo. Pencil doesn't erase so well on this paper. I'm getting more comfortable drawing landscape and water. I think I should sketch landscapes every day for 10 min. to develop my style.

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DAY 13 of 30   this is not really in my sketchbook, but I worked a long time on it with concentration so it's what I did for art today. I started my 2nd lesson in watercolor painting. I felt the fear of "not good enough" at the point I realized I did not like the central violet mountain. I stopped, walked away, let it dry over night. 

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DAY 14 of 30     I finished the watercolor painting lesson (below). I'm liking this media. I took a landscape painting class for acrylics last winter, live in a class with the instructor and peers. I was disappointed, not in the media, but the teacher. Now I'm much happier painting and drawing landscape. I want to get to the point where I can use my imagination, maybe illustrate some of my stories and poems. So I think I will sketch more landscapes from real references and my imagination. I also want to paint the tulip I made earlier in watercolor and gouache. 

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DAY 15 of 30      Rapid drawings from inspiration reference for a creature with personality.  Some based on boulders in shoreline, some from cats in foliage. I was practicing drawing fast just to get ideas down, not getting fussy with details. 

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DAY 16 of 30     Local lake serpent "Sharlie" reference from a colored image on a book jacket. I took more time with this, reviwing scale and contouring. 

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DAY 17 & 18 of 30     Brook trout referenced from a painting in a brewery. I drew it while waiting for a friend and began coloring with prismacolor. Next day in a fishery class I colored more while listening and watching a presentation about - fish. I jotted some notes in margins. I see I will have to scratch off dark paint to make the yellow spots show up. I made it boxy like the King salmon in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, they call them suitcases.

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DAY 19 & 20     I commented on another blogger's post that I liked her photograph of cherry blossoms and I'd like to see if I can paint them in watercolor. She challenged me to do it. I sketched it one day and began painting the next. It's a work in progress. I want to see how light I can keep the pink but show different values for it and how I can get the hues I want with transparent watercolor paints. Using primary colors. 

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DAY 21 of 30     A photograph! I haven't been using my camera much since I started watercolor painting and this sketch-a-day project. But a photo a day is another way of making a mark, right? Photography is my most comfortable and profitable medium. I sell my photos and maybe someday I will sell drawings and paintings, too. Anyway, photographing compositions is a way to preserve them and bring them to the studio for drawing or painting reference, like the blossoms inspiring the watercolor above. I usually carry my camera almost everywhere with me, I don't have one in my phone even. Recently I decided to leave it at home and observe more to commit to memory. Yesterday I hunted morel mushrooms and, finding none, at times I enjoyed the experience so much I forgot why I was in the forest. I came home with watercress and glacier lily blossoms to lively up my salad. Here is a photo I made of them using my macro lens. It's a study in values in all those fresh greens.

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DAY 22 of 30     I finished the blossoms watercolor today. I realize I'm not using a real live paper sketchbook for this journey as much as I could. My goal is to make something or progress on an art project every day and so keeping track in this on-line sketchbook and in a folder on my computer are advancing me toward my goal. I'm in charge of that, right? I'm not feeling like this is quite finished but it's my 3rd completed watercolor painting and I feel finishing is important; this is good enough for a learning experience. I learned a lot doing a little every day on this for several days. 

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