Blank Watercolor paper waiting for an image to be transferred
Watercolor Paper Waiting to start the Big Boy Painting Journey  September 2, 2019

My Big Boy Painting Journey starts with a blank piece of paper, the most fearful stage of the journey.  The idea is in my head, I even have a tiny test painting I laid out to see how it might look, but actually starting a painting is the hardest part.  All my fears of inadequacy come to the surface.  Thoughts like, “Am I good enough; is it too hard; will anyone like it; can I satisfy the viewer, etc”.  The other side is I can’t wait to see how it will look when I am done, but I know it will be a long time until it is complete.  I don’t work fast as a rule because I get a bit bogged down in details.  In this case, the Big Boy Steam Locomotive is an historical engine and there are many people that would look closely and critique my work if I get the detail wrong.  So much angst placed on one piece of paper.

Sketch of the Big Boy Steam Locomotive on Watercolor paper
Big Boy Locomotive Sketch  September 4, 2019

It is time to start.  Most of the time I would draw my image on the paper either free hand, or by using a grid to transfer the image.  In this case, because the details are so well known, I did not want to take a chance, so I did a direct transfer from the image onto the paper.  I caught most of the details that can be seen on the picture.  I have additional historic references that I may visit to highlight some thing that can’t be seen in the shadows of the photo, not sure yet.  It would be easier to let them blend in, but I suspect they would be missed.  

05 Sept 2019 progress on Big Boy painting
Big Boy 05 Sep 2019 progress report

I started to get the background and sky in the first washes.  The trees were giving me a little trouble.  I need to find the right combo of black to paint the train.  It looks like some purple will be involved.

 

Work in progress on Big Boy Train with added detail in engine
Big Boy 06 Sep 2019
Dark values added to the front of the engine
Big Boy 09 Sep 2019

I worked on finding the right combination of colors to make a black or gray that had the right degree of dark, but a little warmth also.  The combination if ultramarine deep (blue) and raw umber (a yellow brown).  I tried Prussian blue, but the gray level turned to green which wasn’t at all what I wanted to accomplish.

I removed the masking fluid that kept some of the areas white.  I am not a masking fluid fan because it leaves harsh edges, but taking it off early I have a chance to soften the edge and leave a highlighted space.

I struggled to get enough detail without too much, but it is very difficult to see the details on a black photo.  I brightened the photo a little to see the details, mostly the shading just gives an allusion of detail, steam trains have a huge amount of pipes and small mechanical stuff on them, just no way to capture all that.  I think the most important part of the train is the X4014, 

Continuing to add more dark values to the Big Boy engine
Big Boy 13 Sep 2019

I took this picture outside to show it in a more natural lighting.  The painting always looks different in natural rather than the filtered light inside.  I like the way this is evolving, but still have difficulty deciding on how much detail should bee brought out considering the train is in motion and there would be some blurring of the mechanics of the wheels.  

Continue to check back as I will add new images along the journey.

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Horizontal dandelion close up
Macro of dandelion bloom

I am working on a series of paintings I want to call “Undesirable Beauties”.  So what are they?  They are plants most people would refer to as weeds, but when you look close at them they are really quite beautiful.  I have a couple of these already completed; Creeping Charley and Queen Anne’s Lace.  The most obvious of all these beauties would be the dandelion.  I waited until they bloomed this spring to get my own macro photos and decided I like this horizontal image the best.

I consulted with my mentor on approaching this painting and he recommended that I work in more of a “designy” mode.  I am not sure that is a word, but my interpretation was to loosen up a bit, not get involved in the details and get a bit more abstract.  Basically he is tell me to get out of the box, start scratching at the boundaries of my artistic box and break free from control.

Tiny dandelion abstract study
Tiny study painting for a dandelion abstract

I really wasn’t really sure how to start this project, so I approached it by doing a tiny painting (ACEO 2.5 x 3.5 inch).  I sent it off to my mentor and published it online and low and behold people liked it.  Encouraged I moved on to the big paper (11 x 14 inch) and started to lay some paint on the paper.  You see below how I embraced the color red, so it has a dramatic start.

Dandelion Abstract WIP 1
Dandelion Abstract Start Up

I was beginning to like this bold color and added some more to definition to the flower and then I stopped.  I could tell that I was starting to add detail, trying to control the outcome and not letting the water and pigment flow to where it wanted to go.

The best watercolors let the magic of the water and pigment work for you.  Over control can make for a muddy mess.  As I reflect on what is going on with the “out of the box” thinking I think maybe I am getting a little nudge from the Holy Spirit that He is in charge.  I have been given a gift, but He controls the outcome.  I need to hand this over with open hands and trust that all will work together to His glory.  Well, I am sure that is all good in theory, but my nature will surely get in the way again as it always does.  I just hope that somewhere in the process a compromise will be reached.

Stay tuned as I provide more work in process photos.  

Dandelion 06 June
Dandelion 06 June

I was hoping that I would be able to scratch myself out of the box of of artistic styles, but alas, I could not allow the paint to be totally free.  I need to see the detail in the petals to satisfy my sense of organization.  I had to know where the petals started from and where they finish and to see some subtlety.   I feel I compromised and left some of the outlying petals undefined.  In the end, I think I like it, but it is different for me and I would love to see comments on what you think

Below is the final picture.  I am not sure if I will make it available on this website.  I might just take it to shows and see if I can get a response from a general audience.  If you are interested, please send me an email.  I have title this painting “Dandelion Inferno” because of the red hot color below.  Please provide comments to let me know if I should do more of this type of painting.  Thank you

dandelion inferno
Dandelion Inferno

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Framed painting of Siberian Crane
Silas the Siberian Crane in a Frame

In November I was extended the opportunity to exhibit some of my artwork in a Reedsburg Bed and Breakfast.  I didn’t have enough available pieces to meet their entire needs, so I started coming up with ideas of what would be interesting for their guests.  One of the attractions in this area is the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, WI, so I thought it would be interesting to paint a crane.  

I checked out their website and they had some wonderful photos, but there was one that really appealed to me and that was the Siberian Crane in the drop wing threat pose.  I thought how appropriate to paint a threatened species in threat mode.  I asked permission to use that image as a reference photo and they kindly agreed.

I was a little intimidated at first because I typically paint small pictures (less than 10 inches on the longest side) and this was going to be 18 x 24 inches, which is huge from my perspective.  Facing the big, blank piece of watercolor paper started all kinds of negative thinking on my part, it took me several days to figure out how I was going to sketch out the drawing and make it look like the actual bird. 

But first things first, you have to secure the paper to a backer board because the water from the brushes causes the paper to expand and if it isn’t taped down, it will buckle and roll as it dries.  I use a green tape as you can see in the photo.  The green painters tape pulls off easily in the end, but is not that pretty to look at while I am painting.

siberiancranewatercolorinprogressI think the most significant feature on the the crane is the beak and the eye.  I set out to master that first because that was crucial.  The beak was actually pretty easy for me because there is color and I can do color pretty well, but then I had to start on the white feathers.  Painting white things in watercolor has never been easy for me.  I blocked off the outline with masking fluid, but it leaves such a hard edge that I don’t use it any more than needed.  The think with watercolor isn’t really a white paint you can use to touch up mistakes.  You get white by leaving the watercolor free from paint, so you paint around the white spaces leaving the white exposed.  I had a hard time trying to figure out how dark to make the shadows and I had to lift off color several times when I thought it was too dark.

Siberiancraneworkinprogress

Another element that I had to conquer was the ruffled feathers on the neck.  The crane in threat mode was all puffed up, I suppose so it looked tougher and bigger to other cranes.  I am not sure how tough the crane looked, but after a while, if you look at that eye you begin to know he means business.  

By this time I had spent many hours working on this painting.  I was beginning to get pretty intimate with the crane and I decided it would be easier to relate to him by giving him a name.  I gave him the name Silas.

Some of you will know Silas as Paul’s companion in the Bible.  I thought that name would be good because my Silas will also act as a missionary to bring awareness to the fact that Siberian Cranes are a critically endangered species.  I hope that I can help Silas by giving 10% of the sales to the International Crane Foundation.  I think he deserves all the help I can give him.

Siberiancranewatercolor
Silas with the tape removed

In the end, when the final brush stroke is applied, I sign the painting and it is time to remove the ugly green tape.  Silas had been a stressful journey.  I had to overcome more mental obstacles then technical but in the end, I think I captured Silas pretty well.  It is hard to explain how much joy there is in removing the green tape, seeing that pure white edge.  Slowly the tape is removed to prevent tearing and the final painting is revealed.  It is the end of a project, time for celebration.  This was a huge accomplishment for me and hope it will be a joy to it’s new owner.  If you would like to be the new owner, he is located in my shop.

Silas

Queen Anne's Lace in variouse stages of development

I have always liked Queen Anne’s Lace and felt it would be fun capture it in a painting.  It is August in Wisconsin and they are abundant in the fields so it was no problem getting a close up shot with my trusty little camera.  As I processed the various photographs looking for just the right image to use as a reference photo, I decided on a close up that looks like an every expanding network.

Close up of Queen Anne's Lace and First Wash Watercolor Painting
Queen Anne’s Lace Close up and First Wash Painting

In the middle of the flower I found a dark spot that I thought was a bug or piece of debris so I did not include this spot in the transfer of the image to the watercolor paper.  I didn’t think much more about it until I started to research Queen Anne’s Lace a little more, looking for other macro images of the flower.  What I found out falls into the Extraordinary category in my opinion.

According to the information I reviewed that little dark spot in the center of the flower is a single sterile purple flower.  Botanist’s have not determined the reason for this anomaly.  Is it there to attract pollinators or ward off bad bugs?  Who knows, it is a mystery.  I have been looking at Queen Anne’s Lace for over 60 years and this is news to me.

I am inserting a link if you are interested in learning more about this little mystery:  Queen Anne’s Lace Close Up

As I  continue on my painting, I will add pictures of the progress.  Hopefully you will have had a chance to make you own close up examination and find that little purple flower.  Send in a comment when you find the flower and let’s see how many Extraordinarians we can get into action.

The Red Center Flower has been added to the Queen Anne's Lace painting in progress.
Queen Anne’s Lace 21 Aug 2018 with red center flower

I have been away from my painting for a couple of weeks getting ready for my first art show (more on that in future blog).  I added the purple center flower and started to detail the stem colors in the upper right side.  This is going to take a long time to put in all the details so I may not add a section to this blog very frequently, but I will keep you in informed.

Funny thing though, as I work on this picture I can’t seem to get the story of the Danish Queen pricking herself while making lace and leaving a drop of blood in the center of the flower.  Instead of the Danish Queen, I think of Jesus and that a single drop of His blood was all that was needed to blanket my sins so they became white as snow.  The power of the blood, that’s what the song says because just one drop give eternal life.

Watercolor close up of Queen Anne's Lace Progess 05 Sep 2018
Queen Anne’s Lace Progress 05 Sep 2018

I have been away from this painting for a little while as I worked on another painting for a special customer, but I am back at it and wondering why I chose to do something with so much detail.  Each tiny flower needs to have shading added and trying to follow the direction of the stems gets pretty confusing.  I like where this is going, but I can only focus on it for about an hour or so at a time.  I can’t say how long it will take, probably at least another week if I work steady each day, but I think the end result will be pretty intriguing.  Thanks for following along.

Oh, I have also created an Instagram account if anyone is interested you can find me at @nanakatesartcards

Close up of Queen Anne's Lace Squared off from original
Queen Anne’s Lace Closeup

After several more hours of work I have completed the painting and created the card.  Please check out the card in the link below.  I also made a canvas reproduction in a 12 x 18 in size which really looks great on the wall.  Send me a note if you might be interested in one for yourself.

Queen Anne’s Lace Close Up Card

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First Day of Week Three, 23 Jul 2018

Matthew 19:14
Matthew 19:14

 

But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

I think this is my best attempt yet and I even spelled the work correctly.  I like the soft color and the font.  I used a printed font, created an impression on the paper by pressing hard with a fine pen, lightly traced the lines with a pencil and added a thin wash of color around the letters.

I have to admit that I spend more time creating the book mark than thinking about the scripture and for that I am sorry.  I will try to meditate on the words more this week.  I have 11 grandchildren so this one may speak pretty strongly to me because I want them all to experience the kingdom of heaven.

Second Day of Week Three, 24 Jul 2018

Psalm 112:5
Psalm 112:5

It is well with the man who is gracious and lends; He will maintain his cause in judgement.

I went with a less is more approach today by wetting the surface around the letters than taking a very tiny brush and added the watercolor paint just around the edge of the letters and allowed the pigment to flow.  I think the word gracious needed a soft touch and that is why I picked the pink color. 

I guess I need to look up the word lend in this verse, because I thought the Bible or Proverbs says to stay away from lending.  But maybe this just means give stuff away without the expectation of a return like, interest.  Let me know if you have any insights on this, Thank you.

Third Day Week Three, 25 Jul 2018

Psalm 119:60
Psalm 119:60

I hastened and did not delay to keep Your commandments.

Hasten is an interesting term, I don’t know that it is used much but it shows action and I liked it for this scripture.  The word in the scripture was hastened, past tense, but using hasten is present tense and I think it is a good reminder that now is the time to follow the commandments.

Fourth Day Week Three, 26 Jul 2018

Hebrews 11:1
Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

This was an interesting font, quite tight together and fine, I outlined it with wet onto dry paper, dried it and then wet the paper and added the orange.  I like the end result.

Fifth and Final Day Week Three, 27 Jul 2018

Hebrews 12:1
Hebrews 12:1

 

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

This little project has been quite interesting.  It allowed me to concentrate on a very small element of watercolor and play with different fonts.  It reaffirms that watercolor has a mind of its own and it is fun to watch it flow.

Here are all the words key words, that is an interesting list also:

Confident, Complete, Kingdom

Power, Gospel, Gracious

Word, Uprightness, Hasten

Confess, Uphold, Faith

Light, Endurance

Thank you for following my progress.  Maybe I will do something like this again in the future.

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First Day of Week Two, 16 Jul 2018

Scripture book mark from Colossians 2: 9-10, Complete Key Word
Colossians 2: 9-10

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.

I think I am getting better, I used the printed letters, pressed through to leave and indent on the watercolor paper and then added a little pencil on the line to be more visible.  I wet the paper and added just a little paint and let it spread.  Looks pretty good, a little spill over into the letter which is part of the nature of watercolor.

 

Day Two of Week Two, 17 Jul 2018

Scripture Book Mark with Key Word Gospel from Romans 1:16
Romans 1:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believs, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

I tried something new  today, I used masking fluid to block out the letters.  This was going pretty well until I moved it and spread the fluid before it was dry.  I was able to fix it pretty well.  With masking fluid you can wet the entire paper without trying to keep the lines straight, but this takes a lot longer.  I also did a second experiment using rubbing alcohol drops to make dots.  That was fun, but probably isn’t a look that I would repeat on the book marks.

Day Three of Week Two, 18 Jul 2018

Watercolor Book Mark from Psalm 119:7 with Key Word Uprightness
Psalm 119:7

I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart, When I learn Your righteous judgments.

Today I decided to paint the background and then paint the word using a rigor brush.  This is a lot easier and the effect isn’t too bad.  I see that my uprightness is slowly slanting down, not what I would have desired for this word. This is positive painting where leaving the other was negative painting.  I think the negative painting is a bit more interesting?

Day Four of Week Two, 19 Jul 2018

Book Mark Isaiah 41:10
Isaiah 41:10

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I am beginning to understand how much a commitment it takes to do an artist series.  I made the bookmark on 19 Jul 2018, but failed to post it so I could take my mom to a movie.  I went free hand again with this one and tried to add shadows for a 3 D effect.  It is a bold for my taste, but this is an important word and I thought it needed to stand out more.

Day Five of Week Two, 20 Jul 2018

Book Mark 1 John 1:7
1 John 1:7

but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

I used my own hand writing again and put a light green wash on, then painted with purple.  I am not sure why I can’t get a nice even flow of color to spread away from the writing.  i will work on that next week.  I think my preference is free hand writing, with negative painting (leaving the letters white) and surrounding with a light wash.  I will work on that next week.

Wow, I didn’t notice until I posted this blog that I spelled Light wrong.  I am not going to fix it because this is just part of the challenge, but it might have something to do with a lazy, rainy morning.

Week Three will start on 23 Jul 2018 and that will be the last week of my challenge.  I am learning a lot and I hope you enjoy the scripture.

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For I am Confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

I belong to a group called The Abundant Artist Association and each month they put out a new challenge for their members.  The July Challenge is to create an art series for a period of time and share the series with collectors.  I have accepted this challenge and I will be posting my daily progress on this blog until the end of July and maybe beyond.

I have decided to combine morning Bible study with watercolor by finding the key word in a daily scripture supplied to me from Biblegateway.com.  I will write the scripture on the back and paint around the key word on the front.

Here was my sample from Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  My key word was confident.

My First official day of the Book Mark Series

Wednesday, 11 July 2018 from Jeremiah 32:17.

Power Book Mark
Power Book Mark
Book Mark Jeremiah 32:16
Book Mark with Jeremiah 32:16i

I am not all that happy with the outcome of the Power Book Mark.  I guess that is why you do a series, some are going to be great and some not so great.  I tried to fix a poor color and I made it worse by muddying the color.  I also think the letters should have all been caps because the word POWER should be bold.  I intend to put the scripture reference on the front, because it would be a lot easier to remember.    I can also tell that what may have been a real simple project may turn out to be a skill builder.

If you would like to receive one of these markers, let me know, I will send them free of charge, but first come first served.

12 July 2018 Mathew 4:4

Scripture Book Mark WORD
Mathew 4:4 Key Word is WORD

I need to continue to work on my lettering.  I may have to resort to printing letters and transferring them to the bookmark.   Rather than laminate,  I put the painting in a bookmark case, looks nice that way too.  I am not so sure I like the lime sherbet colors, but it is summer so that may be the influence here.

13 July 2018 Philippians 2:9-11

Watercolor Book Mark with Key Word Confess from Philippians 2:9-11
Philippians 2:9-11

I tried something new today, I printed out the word and then used a fine pointed pen to trace the word.  The tracing left an indent in the watercolor paper so I didn’t have to use a pencil mark.  I didn’t realize it was a 300 lb paper until I started to paint, this paper soaks up the pigment rather than letting it flow so it is a more solid paint, something else to fix.

I am going to end this weeks book mark and start another one for next week.  I thought this was going to be a quick and easy project, but no, I still have a lot to learn.

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Bee Balm in Prairie

The inspiration for my watercolor paintings has generally come from things I see or ideas that have come into my head.  Once and a while I have been asked to come up with a card for a special occasion such as a birthday or wedding and I have struggled with that because the person requesting has an expectation on the outcome that I may not be able to satisfy.  So, when several people approached me about creating a card that could be used as a Sympathy card, I wasn’t very eager to take on that challenge.

I truly admire those greeting card writers that can come up with just the right words that can sooth and comfort, that is truly a gift.  I struggle with knowing what to say to people that have suffered the loss of someone they love. 

I have been told my family lacks the “tact gene”, so whenever I go to visitations, I fear I will say something terrible that will ban me from entry to all funeral homes.  More likely than not, the family comforts me more than I do them.  There is song that talks about that very thing called “Faith Like That” by Gordon Mote.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnNLsf1UcWE

Watercolor painting of a fallen tree and stump with light streaming into woods.
Fallen Tree 5 March 2018

In spite of my “tact” deficiencies, I decided to try and discover an image that would honor the person who has passed and comfort the family.  I thought about a fallen tree and how the tree’s legacy continues on long after it has fallen by enriching the soil, providing protection for animals and opening light into the forest floor for new growth.  You can see part of the painting in this image.  But it just wasn’t working for me.  So, I am on a new path and hopefully it will be better.

Bee Balm or Monarda initial watercolor washes
Bee Balm initial washes 13 Mar 20

I do my best work with flowers and looked for flowers associated with sympathy.  I came up with Balm of which the Bee Balm is included.  Bee Balm or Monarda or Bergamot can be a wild flower and found in prairies.  Well it just so happened that my son’s family planted a prairie on their farmette and I had taken some pictures of the Bee Balm.  So I have proceeded with this safer approach and hopefully the “Prairie Story” I hope to write will meet the needs of my fellow Extraordinarians.

I think I am very close to completing the painting, but the message will need some work.  If anyone has any words of wisdom for me, please feel free to leave a comment or send me a direct email, I am very open for advice.

Bee Balm or Monarda watercolor Painting in process
Bee Balm or Monarda Prairie Flower in Process
Bee Balm or Monarda watercolor Painting
Bee Balm final painting

This is a picture of the finished painting.  It took a little longer than i thought, I took a little time off for myself and get away for awhile.  The painting is easier than the writing and I am praying that I will have inspiration that will help me find the right words.  I hope you will pray along with me as well. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnNLsf1UcWE

Dave and I celebrated our 20th Anniversary on the 31st of December.  It seemed like a milestone for two people on their second marriage, so we had a bit of a celebration.  My bridal bouquet was made up of Star

Gazer Lilies, so I ordered my centerpiece to include these lilies and supporting flowers.  It was beautiful and I thought it would be a great subject for my next painting.

It is difficult to find lighting that would be dramatic enough to capture all the colors, but one late afternoon, the sun was coming in from the west window and streamed over my work table giving a brief moment of light that was so dramatic it looked perfect.  So I started what I think I will be calling “Celebration Bouquet”. 

 

I cropped the picture so I could make a painting the would be vertical on the card.  It also reduced the number of flowers I had to paint, because this is looking pretty complicated.  I used a masking fluid to keep some of the areas white for later, so they look kind of blue like in this picture.

I am trying a new method of adding color, slowly building with light washes so progress is a bit slower, but I hope to have a more intense color when I am done, it just takes a little more patience.

Today, Jan 24, 2018, I included some darker background on the bottom so I could get a better idea of where my edges were going to be and worked on the dark purple carnation.  I am having difficultly getting definition of the petals in the carnation, but they are kind of in the background so they will probably not be the center of attention. 

 

I will continue to add to this blog until I finish the piece.  I hope to have this in a card format by February, maybe late Feb.   I think it will be great card for any kind of happy occasion.

Jan 31, 2018 update.  As you can see, even with a weeks worth of painting, I usually work on the pictures at least four days a week for about two hours.  You have to let the paper dry in between additions of color, but you can work in different sections as it dries.  That is why some areas look finished and some are just starting. I made the picture a bit larger so you can see it better.

 

Star Gazer 06 Feb 2018

06 Feb 2018 update

I have been working on the carnation in the upper right side, I have never painted a carnation.  I wasn’t sure how to approach it at first and did a little research.  It needs more work but I think I have the foundation in place.  It is tough at this point because I have invested a lot of time, so there is a fear of messing it up with some weird accidental stroke of the brush.  There are ways to repair watercolor, but they are never as good as fresh paint, so maybe you would pray that I can keep going without too many mistakes.  Thanks for staying tuned in.

14 Feb 2018 update

This is the last update I will be posting.  I am almost done, but I don’t want to give away the finished picture until it is in card form.  Thank you for watching the progress, It has taken a lot longer than I thought, but I think it is pretty dramatic.  Now all I have to do is  come up with a message, but that requires a few prayers and some outside help.

Celebration Bouquet

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August Work in Progress

In June I attended a birthday party for my grandchildren at a farm outside of town that had a menagerie of animals that the

Peony and Thistle Source Photo

children could play with.  It was an older farm that wasn’t being actively managed and some the garden areas had been neglected.  Near one of the outbuildings was a grouping of peonies that were competing with the bull thistles.  My step-daughter and I immediately  knew this was a special opportunity to show the “beauty and beast” of life.

I started to paint this picture in July, but I am not very skilled at painting white flowers.  Trying to get the soft shading on the petals and still have the flower appear white was hard and I ruined the first attempt.  I guess that will be called the practice painting.  So I regrouped and I made the picture a little more defined, trying to show the thistle pricks more clearly and came up with a better layout.

Pricks and Petals First Washes

The first wash of the new painting started out pretty well and I was liking the detail.

I have added more intensity to the thistle at the this time, but now I have to move to the peony and frankly I have been a little hesitant.  I have a certain fear factor of messing up a good thing.  I haven’t touched the painting in couple of weeks and told myself I had other stuff that is more pressing, but that is just fear.

Watercolor of a peonia
Pricks and Petals Aug 2017

But that is what Pricks and Petals is about, fear is a form of pain that stops you from moving forward and enjoying the beauty of life.  What I need to do now is let go of control, give this project to God with open hands and trust on the Lord because He is the one that has given me the gift of creativity and He is the one that opened my eyes to this wonderful message, so He is the one that will help me accomplish my goal if it is His will.  In fact, I think today will be the day I will start again, praying continuously that it will turn out to be a blessing to me and to you.

Stay tuned, I hope to have this card available in the card shop by the end of September, I think it will be well worth waiting for.

Pricks and Petals Card

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