Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Roots of Perseverance

A couple weeks ago I had time carved out to paint and I didn't feel any sort of inspiration. Knowing that I needed to keep producing and persevering, I forced myself to paint something small and simple: a radish. I decided that from then on, every time I felt uninspired I would paint a vegetable (or a root.) I call them "The Roots of Perseverance."

A couple days ago I (unfortunately) painted "The Rutabaga of Perseverance." The previous radish I titled, "The Disciplined Radish." One day I might have a whole collection of persevering vegetables :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Tribute to Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter is one of my favorite illustrators. I love her animals and natural style. One of my favorite movies is Miss Potter starring Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor.  I don't know how much her life was romanticized by Hollywood, or if she was as whimsical as portrayed, but I admire her. I read that she was first noted for her scientific drawings of fungi, which was not in the movie! I recently saw a photograph of Beatrix as a young lady walking a rabbit on a thin rope leash.... so maybe she was rather whimsical, the way I would like to picture her.

She was remembered as a shy and reserved child (I can identify with that) who drew animals and the natural world around her. With her earnings from Peter Rabbit, Beatrix bought Hill Top Farm and went on to purchase about 15 more Farms in the Lake District and hired back farmers to preserve the natural beauty and work the farms. When she died in 1943 she left 4,000 acres of land to be preserved by the National Trust.

An inspiring legacy from an inspiring artist!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Coon's Camp Out

I created this illustration to be a lesson on night light. I am still not sure if I got it quite right.... hey, that rhymes :) Painting this was really intimidating because I felt like I could easily ruin it at any moment. It required slow thought and careful light layers. The moon is so big and close that I thought it should shed lots of light on the ground, but I am not sure if that takes away from the warm glow of the fire. I could bring the green down from the horizon and fade it as it enters the foreground.... (what do you think Sara?) I usually stop prematurely because once you take a step with watercolor it is almost impossible to go back. I tend to air on the side of caution.

Overall I am really excited about the depth the color brings. I also like the way the hot coals turned out. The fire pit was the very last thing I painted and I knew it could make or break this piece.

I finished this illustration last night and today I created another lighting challenge: Rabbits in a cellar collecting veggies to make soup! I drew a light bulb hanging from the ceiling so that I know exactly where the light is coming from. Now to just make it convincing with color! I want to create the feeling of warmth :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

An Outing For Foxes

I have out grown my scanner! I am missing about an inch all the way around :( Oh well, It feels good to be working bigger after so many smaller paintings.

On Saturday Casey and I went to the tulip festival in Pella and rode our bikes all around. Then we went to Grays Lake Park in Des Moines and rode around enjoying all the blossoming trees! Not only was I inspired by our outing, but this painting is another one of Casey's imaginative ideas :) Foxes riding a tandem bike! What a wonderful idea. Flowers, trees and bicycles.... too bad we didn't see any foxes.