Saturday, January 23, 2010

Practice, Practice, Practice

That is what top artists will say to you if you want to improve your skills in painting. "A painting a day" is another..... Basically, you need to just paint, paint, paint, even if it's just playing with 'colour mixes', 'shadows', trying tonal values, sketching etc. But we all know that..... don't we? It's not the only way we learn, but it's the best way...... Remember, It's a journey of growth, so enjoy it!

How many of us actually do paint daily?... I'm blushing here, as I fall into the 'non-daily' painters camp! Life just seems to get in the way sometimes and I forget that painting is or should be part of my daily therapy. And boy, do I need therapy! However I do feel terribly guilty if,  by the end of the day I haven't picked up a brush or pencil. 2010however does look promising as I find myself with more time on my hands and less daily interruptions.

I have a few commitments this early this year with 2 wonderful workshops coming up so I really need to practice and get my brushes flowing. The first workshop is with Hazel Soan, who will be visiting South Africa soon - Hazel is an internationally renowned artist and is the author of seven books on painting in watercolours. The other 2 exciting workshops I'll attend are in the UK with renowned artist Jean Haines. Jean has been my mentor and inspiration for a number of years now, she has a unique loose style of painting which I admire and is in the process of having her first book published.I have had the fortune of meeting Ms Haines last year at a workshop she ran on 'Watercolours with Life' and although, exhausting, enjoyed my self immensely.

Here are a few sketches I was practicing using Hazel Soan's 'African African Watercolours'.

Sketches from Hazel's book...using my moleskin.

And one using my own photo... minus preliminary sketch.

This painting was from a photo I took at the Rhino and Lion Park last year. 
This ewe was actually feeding.....hence her looking away from the camera,
  I left the young Springbok out of the painting....

I plan to do flowers next.....(Jean style). I have hundreds and hundreds of photos of flower studies.....
so best I get cracking......

Have a lovely weekend all... till next time.....

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Phoebe the Allens Hummingbird

This is Phoebe the little hummingbird. I to have jumped on the bandwagon to sketch her.
Two Blogger friends, Maree and Vickie have also painted sketches of her sitting on her eggs.

Sketched from a live video-cam link set up next to a house near a rosebush in a yard in Orange County California. It was quite easy sketching her as she ignores the camera lens on her and I had the opportunity to really study her. One can see her from different angles and get to see her markings quite well as she turns around to settle in the opposite direction.

This little hummingbird is sitting on two eggs at the moment and are expected to hatch any day now. So follow this link if you are keen to get a good sighting of Phoebe and the hatching of her eggs. The eggs were laid on the 2nd & 4th of Jan and are incubated for about 17 days. Apparently this is her 5th clutch laid in the same yard.  It's so exciting watching the live feed of this busy little lady who flits in and out of her nest and wriggles around re-arranging her eggs. I must admit, I do get carried away with watching her... it's addictive.

We do not have hummingbirds here in South Africa, but they are similar to our Sugarbirds and Sunbirds.

Till later.......