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23

Workshop!

Day 1: Self portrait

This is my second self portrait ever. I started an art class in college but was so discouraged because everyone else knew how to draw a face well. I dropped the class and took  a non-major drawing class when I was in grad school. I loved it, but it only covered inanimate objects. I just started watercolor about a month ago, so please bear with me! I chose to paint myself with sugar skull makeup on because it's Dia de los Muertos and I knew I couldn't paint my actual face convincingly. :)

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Day 2: Unusual plant

I guess this tree isn't unusual, per se, but it intrigues me. It's in front of a house down the street from mine, and it's soooo wide and entirely flat on one side (I was facing the flat side when I sketched it) because our electric company goes through every few years and cuts trees back from power lines to prevent outages during ice storms. It has ginormous leaves that scrape across the ground as they fall every autumn. The trunk is a dull brownish gray, and its branches are stark white. The leaves turn orangish brown in autumn, though they don't get as bright as some other more spectacular trees around here. The main trunk hangs to the left and cuts off abruptly. I wonder if lightning hit it at some point because it's obviously been damaged, making the top almost as flat as the side. My neighbor really wants to cut it down after a big limb fell on her fence last year and damaged it badly. I should note that I have no idea what kind of tree this is, but I want to find out.

This is also my first attempt at sketching on site in ink. I actually walked down the street with my sketchbook and a Micron pen in hand, stood across the street from it, and sketched. I was inspired to try because of the other courses in this series. I think I did an okay job! My main goal with this workshop is to ditch the eraser and to be more confident with my sketching, and, so far, it's already working out. :)

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Day 3: My Consumption

This one's overworked. It's also my first attempt at an apple or any sort of still life type object, so I'll say it's good enough for me. I did it wet-in-wet, but the top faded too much once it dried, so I added more color, which resulted in streaks.

I eat an apple almost every day I take lunch to work. I'm a huge fan of whole foods, and I eat very little that involves much processing, so an apple fits into my diet perfectly. And apples are tasty!

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Day 4: Found Object

I'm soooooo glad we had an extra day on this one because because I couldn't just choose one object. It's finally autumn in the southern US (well, kind of - today's high temp was 85F), and trees are dropping their leaves and seeds and such. Here's a selection from my back yard: several acorns in various states (the reddy one is hollow), a pine cone, and two pecans. This is my first attempt at any sort of still life, and I'm really happy with it. It'll be a while before I sketch and paint a pine cone again, though, because that took forever!

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Day 5: People You See

I'm not a fan of this one. My husband and I went to the Louisiana State Fair yesterday, and I took some photos with the purpose of painting them. It was early on a Sunday, so there weren't many people yet, and the carneys were just getting their games and rides going. Most didn't even pester us to play. This guy just swept up his tent as we walked by.

I think the biggest problem with this painting for me is the medium. It seems like it would work so much better in acrylics (or even gouache, which I used for the sign text) so I could use multiple layers without transparency. I'd give it another try, but I spent forever on this one, and I need a break! Hopefully I'll have better results tomorrow. :)

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Day 6: Typography

Soooo I'm not really into lettering (or maybe I just haven't gotten to that point yet?), so I used this prompt as an excuse to create my first galaxy and practice using masking fluid! I'd been meaning to do it for a while. I played around with creating a typey font, but I really wasn't good at it, so I did my best to make small letters with masking fluid. My sketchbook is A6, so that was a challenge, but I think I did a pretty good job! Of course, gouache would have been easier. I used gouache and one of my husband's old toothbrushes for the stars. 

The quote is from my favorite book series, The Dark Tower by Stephen King. Don't confuse it with the movie - I refuse to see it, but from everything I hear it was terrible. My husband is a fan of the book series. He watched the movie and said it was both absolutely horrid and had very little in common with the book. I think this quote has stuck with me more than anything I've read - says the librarian with a master's degree in English. You should read the series.

Anyway, I'm surprisingly happy with this painting. I was expecting something way worse and am basically just happy that it didn't end up muddy. Most of it is indigo (Winsor & Newton), carbazole violet (Daniel Smith), and permanent rose (Cotman), so I consider it a miracle that it didn't with that mix of brands. I had a good time with this one!

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Day 7: Elements of Your Workday

I have a super boring job. I work for a library and scan public records, add metadata, and make them available online. It needs to be done, so I don't particularly mind doing it, but it's so boring. Which is why I painted this one in shades of Payne's gray - and probably has something to do with why I like to paint so colorfully when I get home!

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Day 8: Emotions

So this isn't exactly sketching my life, as my husband sent me this photo yesterday while he waited for his breakfast at a Waffle House before going to work. He's working a few hundred miles away this week and next and staying in a hotel, so his options are limited.

While it might not be my life, it expresses my emotion perfectly: I'm incredibly impatient (which I guess means sort of anxious?) right now. I'm less than a month away from being out of school for what I hope is FOREVER (It's my second master's degree. I want to be done.), and the end of the semester can't come soon enough. I have no interest other than finishing. The end just needs to hurry so I can get on with my life (and my painting)!

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Day 9: Buildings

I painted our house! My husband and I bought it about 3 years ago, but he rented it before that and has lived here for about 18 years. It was built in 1920. We live in an old part of town, so lots of the houses are these Craftsman bungalows. It used to be white with black shutters and door, but we had it painted gray earlier this year. We always have some kind of bright decorations, but I didn't paint them here. Right now, we have pumpkins, a bright flag, and hanging plants, and soon it'll be a ginormous lit Christmas wreath that hangs just below the vent in the top center of the house. And a lit menagerie including a pig, a hippo, and this year's addition, a llama. We chose a neutral gray to show off decorations and for resale value, as we'd like to move out to the country someday.

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Day 10: Animals

Sooooo for whatever reason, I was really dreading choosing one of my pets and painting him or her (we have two dogs, one of which is 3.5 months old; three cats, one of which I found in a trashcan last year; and two fish). Instead, I decided to paint what inspired me, this little woodpecker who came to visit our back yard yesterday morning while I was sitting outside with the dogs. He landed on this light pole and sat gazing toward the sun and idly pecking the wood for a couple minutes, then flew off. The lighting at that time of morning is interesting, as the sun is still low and lights some of the branches from underneath rather than from above, turning the bottom of some limbs golden. It's still pretty early fall in the deep southern US, so we have a mix of leaf colors. In my back yard, they're mostly either still green but fading or gone completely, as in the tree at the bottom.

When I was about halfway through this, I realized that it qualifies more as a finished painting than a sketch. For the rest of  the workshop, I'll try and keep to sketches, as I'd like to learn to paint more loosely.

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Day 11: Favorite piece of clothing

I did much better with only sketching today! That's something. These are my favorite pants - except I don't really consider them pants, as they're pajama pants. I wear them in the morning when I take the dogs outside. We spend a half-hour in the back yard, so I need the flannel to keep my legs warm in Fall and Winter. They're way too big, and I have to roll them up at the waistband and the cuffs, but they're soooooo comfortable that I wish I could wear them to work. I've included my puppy, Lucy, who I probably should have painted yesterday. She's exhausted because my mom came to visit earlier. :)

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Day 12: Patterns

What I learned today: I dislike painting patterns, at least geometric ones. I thought this would be a fun, relaxing exercise, but it turned out incredibly frustrating. I know some of those triangles (especially a couple prussian blue ones) need a second coat, but I did well just finishing this thing! I think my main issue is that I'm too much of a perfectionist, and I want it to be exact when it simply won't be. It's also probably why I like painting landscapes and other natural things, too.

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