Embrace Your Art Challenge: Southwestern Desert Theme (and my Sketchbook Magic 2) | Skillshare Projects

Felicia Escalante

Art Lover



Embrace Your Art Challenge: Southwestern Desert Theme (and my Sketchbook Magic 2)

I was born and raised in the cactus country of Arizona. I love all things southwestern and desert like. So as my challenge I want to create a bunch of images related to this to hang around my new home. So ready for an interesting challenge to incorporate the prompts into my theme.

DAY 1: ROOT. Here's a quick mini watercolor sketch of cactus with his roots!


DAY 2: PLACE. Continuing in my southwestern desert theme, the cacti and Tucson, Az sunset. Most if not all my art was created/inspired there.



Close up.

DAY 3: MUSIC. Recently a Kari Jobs "We Are" song was stuck in my head when I moved into my new home and I couldn't get it out of my head. I don't even think I had heard the song for awhile to. The words really struck me when I moved in because my new home seemed like MY personal city and I was in the process of making it represent Me. Plus I have so many open windows now that I love and let all the natural light in so it made me want to let the light shine in. In my southwestern desert theme here is the song lyrics...


DAY 4: LIGHT. Sunsets! I feel like light gives the world color and life. Without light we would only see darkness and miss out on sunsets like these ones that famous in Arizona. We get these bright orange sunsets against our mountains and desert cacti. This sight is always an inspiration and beautiful to see. These sunsets wouldn't be possible without the light of the sun. Light brings joy and happiness like this


DAY 5: SHADOW. This one was a little hard for me. I didn't have inspiration for this one for awhile. Finally an idea hit me but when I went to translate it to paper it didn't quite look like it did in my head. I like this one but I think I will try to express my vision again later.


I think it needs more black but it didn't want to loose some shapes. I think I liked the pencil sketch better but she's long gone. 

My thoughts on shadow: Without shadows there would be no shape. It outlines form. It gives dimension but it also hides the fine details until the light wants to reveal them. You won't know what is smooth or what it prickly in the shadows until you get there.

DAY 6: COMFORT.  Well my idea for this was easy enough however I couldn't see it fitting into my theme very well. Since I have been doing a lot of desert cacti and since I do have a lot of desert plants I keep next to my door. I thought that my plants would help tie this painting to my theme.


This is what comfort looks like to me. My home with my cozy cats. It truly is a blessing to have such comfort.

Today I am trying to watercolor paint without sketching it out in pencil first. I always have to things draw out before I paint because I am to chicken to wing it. So I'm trying to be more free flowing and spontaneous. It was nice.


So I tried to create a an interesting composition. I didn't get to coloring this one because it took so long drawing it out. I was trying really hard to NOT screw this one up as I have a tendency to get overly excited about something I love that I end up rushing and ruining stuff. I will get to painting soon. But this design was inspired by an old sketch I did of a wolf and by new ideas from recent sketches. Plus I wanted to make something that I could hang in my living room that fit the feel of my current decor style.

Everyone keeps saying " make art your like" so this is the stuff I like to see. I admire looking at this type of art and I love being in the mist of this style .

I found an old sketch I did 4 years ago while going through one of my portfolios for a cool piece of art to fill a picture frame for the bare walls of my new place. And I found this sketch, I remembered how much I like it and thought I could spruce it up and make it better. So here it is.


Now for my day 7 composition I took this idea and added elements of some sketches I have done this year to make a more graphic design that I can watercolor fairly simply. But also something I can hang on my wall to make every :)


close up


Well I has eager to start the Embrace Your Art Challenge that I upload this project right away without realizing that I had started my Sketchbook Magic 2 class but never posted my practice warm up sketches. 



I pulled BIRDS from my magic cup. So illustrated a bunch of little birdies :)


Then trace one of the on watercolor paper to try and paint with my chosen medium, which is watercolor. I was doing watercolor for the sketchbook 1 challenge and thought I still needed to work on watercolor. so I am continuing that.


INVITING THE MUSE PRACTICE #2 Reconnect what you love to draw. I love animals. All kinds of animals. But these 3 are some of my favorites koi fish, foxes, and cats. Any type of cats. This cat specifically is my black cat Bear. I will color them later


Embrace Your Art DAY 8: MEMORY

For today’s sketch, capture a memory that has shaped you, parts of our personality/identity. I will paint this later.

My father shaped me by teaching me to draw. He would draw half or part of a horse then hand it to me and tell me to finish the drawing the same way he started it ☺ When we lived on a ranch in Tucson my dad wore a big hat to block the sun. Once I saw a picture they took of my dad sitting like this with his hat. I remembered the picture because it was awesome. 


DAY 9: TEXTURE. Well there is so much texture in a desert theme so I thought of the most extreme textures. Soft and sharp and thus decided a cactus with it's flower


Instead of using my regular sketchbook paper I had this scrap of watercolor paper I thought would make a good bookmark size so I decided to make one.

As I was painting I noticed something. Not only does this cactus and flower have a soft VS sharp surface. But if you look at them closely flowers have a lot of sharp lines within them and behind the spikes of the cactus the surface of the cactus is quite smooth to the touch. It's interesting to me. 

EMBRACE YOUR ART DAY 10: TIME. Time fly's by way to fast. Time is probably the one thing that everyone wants the most. More time. I always feels like there is so much to need and not enough time.

For my rendition of time in a southwestern theme. I have always loved these skulls. If I could I would have tons all over the house. I tried making one with paper machete one but it didn't turn out so well. I found this awesome wall clock of a longhorn skull that I really want to get. Maybe one day :)


DAY 11: PERSPECTIVE I tried to think of my theme more abstractly by just using color and not by defined lines.



I thought about "How is “space” different than “place?" And tried to connect it to my theme. I thought of how patterns in southwestern design has a since of space between all the shapes and colors. I noticed a lot of shapes similar to this one.


I just tried to paint the space within the pattern.

Embrace Your Art Day 13: Open. This makes me think of an open flower. Flowers are an expression of love. People give the ones they love flowers. Makes me think of open hearts expressing their love.



My gift to myself is something I have been looking forward to get. It is to get a new desk to work on. I have been waiting so long for some more space.






DAY 17: NURTURE. I love plants and I like to nurture my plants. They need sunshine to be happy and healthy so the sun nurtures plants. At least that is the conclusion an nurturing. 


Embrace Your Art Day 18: Past. Couldn't figure out what I wanted to paint. I decided to pull a prompt from my magic bowl. The word I pulled out was Circles. So I painted circles. I liked my color scheme from a past paintings and the chili peppers I painted earlier so decided to combine them.



For my theme I noticed I do a lot of animals and plants. So I decided to combine a few animals and plants I had sketched in previous days and paint them. I still need to do some fine tuning and details but here is what I came up with for theme.



DAY 20: PRECIOUS. My faith in Jesus is beyond price, something I hold dear to my heart. Also my husband who I keep close to my heart. Love with all my soul. That I care for and cherish every day until the end of time. ❤ Our wedding day photo. I had a southwestern themed wedding. Also I cherish my 4 kittens but I wanted to paint this special moment because it is the most precious moment in my life thus far.


Day 21: DREAM. I have this dream, a picture in my head. Of a nursery. A cute little room for my future baby with a crib and a mobile hanging above it. Something I have dreamt of having for a long time.


Embrace Your Art - Day 22: Fear. My fear is that I have wasted so much time not doing the art I have wanted to do and that I won't get that time back and have lost all the time to do something great.



Day 23: STRUCTURE. If I didn't follow a daily routine of sketchbooking I would not be in a habit of making art. So many days pass without inspiration of creating something, participating in a sketch a day challenge brings more structure to my creative thoughts and helps me generate ideas for other projects!


 Day 24: Detail. I thought I would point out some details I notice. These towers you can see all over look like giant drums to me. I always imagine Donkey Kong on this tower playing the drums and I wanted to share this with the world.


Day 25 : Safe. Well safe to me looks like tones of green and blue. Green and blue tons always seem to calm me and keep be peaceful. That's why they are my favorite colors.


Day 26: MAGIC. I guess I think of parts of light when it comes to magic. Added a striped back ground to continue working towards creating a more southwestern theme. Trying to make it more fun and and colorful like how everyone has been doing.


Day 27: BLISS. Bliss to me is love. Love for my friends, family and my sweet littles cats. Working with another southwestern style patter for the background.


Day 28: GROW. I thought of a giant tree and how over time it grows just like how we are growing every day we create art. 


Day 29: Leap. Inspired by the quote and this not being the end of the road.



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