Draw A Bird Day (November rewind) and October recap!

*drumroll please* Here comes the long-awaited October recap of Draw A Bird day, which we last celebrated on October 8!   I hope you enjoy the artwork of the artists who joined us in October to celebrate our free-wheeling flying friends.   (If you’d like to learn more about the official Draw A Bird day holiday, visit A-Wing and A-Way here.)

We had quite a few first-time participants, listed first:

Moses at Art by Moses shared his favorite bird artwork with me and I’m sharing it with you!   😀

Michael of A Certain Line

Kathy at Backyard Bird Nerd included a poem she wrote along with just a few of her amazing bird photos

Tree at Conversations Around the Tree

Haunani at Art and Moondreams

Surabhiakascarlette at The River in Me

Carol at Carol’s Creative Papers

Susan at Susan Feniak Art

And some old favorites who’ve joined us before, in random order:

Ann at AnnChristina.com

Kirk at Dumb Sketch December has two entries here and here

Charlie at Doodlewash

Catherine at www.catherinemjohnson.com

Sharon at Monday Tuesday Wednesday

Jill at Jill’s Art Journal

Jodi at Life in Between

Kerfe at Method Two Madness

Tequihby at One Stumble at a Time

Teresa at One Good Thing

Snehal at Snehal Kank

Beverly at Art Prescription

Cynthia at Sand Salt Moon

Myriam at Myr’s Bytes

Whew!   What a list!   If I missed anyone, trust me, it’s me not you…….please let me know and I’ll be sure to include you!

Hub made a new windowsill peanut feeder, which he installed recently, and the titmice have been using our deck railing as a runway ever since! They’re trying to fatten up for winter, I guess. 🙂  So for this month, I thought I’d post a recent page from my art journal in which I’ve been drawing birds from life. Talk about a challenge! They usually only give you a few seconds before flying off with peanut in beak, lol.   I like the two on the bottom best – I had a few more seconds on these poses, as the bird decided to start eating the peanut inside the feeder.    It’s lots of fun – I encourage you to get a windowsill feeder and try it!


I also wanted to share with you a beautiful book I found recently called “The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds” by Julie Zickefoose.    If you love birds and bird artwork, you owe it to yourself to check this book out.   The author not only wrote but illustrated it, and even though I recently brought it home from the library and have not yet read it, I can tell you the writing and illustrations are both lovely.    The artwork alone is enough, really, but she has been fascinated with birds since she was young, has rehabilitated injured birds, etc. and I have a feeling this is going to be a wonderful read, filled with anecdotes from the author’s experiences.   I’m really looking forward to it!

I took a blogging break when we went on vacation in October, and I really want to thank everyone who emailed me, commented, etc. while I was away.   There is a great community of people here and it was nice to be missed!    Thank you so much for that.   I learned a few things from my break though, and the biggest surprise was how much time was freed up by not blogging!    I was spending lots more time on WP than I realized.   I’m still making art every day, and enjoying every minute of it, but I’m not feeling the need to return to blogging at this point.   I may pop in here and there, but if you don’t see me around for awhile, rest assured all is well.     Paintbrushes and pens are still flying over here…..I’ve learned I need to make art.   So, I will definitely continue!

Peace and purple paint puddles to you, and I hope you enjoy this beautiful Autumn season as much as I am!

Zenning out at the Beach

Would you like to take a little vacation? Come with me…..


Can you hear the waves gently lapping and whispering? The gulls are softly calling. The sun is spreading warmth. Aahhh……

This is why I love painting these scenes! 😀 Every painting is a mini-vacation. More fun with Neo II crayons! I hope you enjoyed this little break in your morning. Happy Weekend to you!

My Medium?

Firstly, I want to credit my blogging friend Steven at Ordinary Handsome for graciously giving me permission to paint this amazing photo. I’ve (very) loosely interpreted it, and I hope you all enjoy it. Thanks again, Steven! I also want to credit another blogging friend, Debi Riley, for her gracious words of wisdom on countless occasions. Her blog is chock full of watercolor lessons for beginners, and Debi, if you ever write an instructional book, I’ll be first in line to buy it! Thank you.

5 x 7
“Flying Free” watercolor, 5 x 7″ Arches 140#

I think my July watercolor experiment was a success. I feel like I’m finally starting to find my style and my footing in the medium.   Loose and almost semi-abstract(?) is, I believe, where I fit, and how I’d like to interpret nature in my work.

My question to my artist friends out there is this: How do you know when you’ve found your medium? I’ve always felt that watercolor was mine, because I fell in love with it right away, but does one’s medium always come naturally and easily? If so, then I should keep looking, I guess lol. 🙂

I wish you and yours a joyful and peaceful weekend of buzzing around, or not…..as suits you best.   Peace.

Lesson Learned

0731 close

Well, lots of lessons, from my July-make-a-watercolor-painting-every-day experiment:

  1. Don’t be tied too much to a particular end result.
  2. Sit down to paint with expectation and wonder.
  3. Pray for happy accidents.   They are almost always better than whatever you planned (as in this case).
  4. Sitting down to paint when tired/stressed will not usually bring about a painting I’ll be happy with later.
  5. Before you throw in the towel, run the painting under the kitchen faucet (as in this case).
  6. Your mood will flow into and through the painting, along with the water.   This may be true in every medium, but most definitely (for me, at least) in watercolor.
  7. Enjoy and have fun with it.   And it will have fun with you!

That’s pretty much all I have to say about that.   Happy Friday, and I hope YOU dance this weekend!

High Time

0727 full
11 x 15″ (1/4 sheet), Arches 140# CP

I guess it’s high time I posted the painting I alluded to in this post from last week. I spent a few hours last week on this, and then added the trees and rocks and a few details yesterday, and for the moment, I think best to give this one a rest.

sky and far treeline detail
Detail: sky and far treeline

This was my first 11 x 15″ painting. The paper seemed humongous when I first sat down to work with it. I worked very closely with a tutorial by Grant Fuller that’s available on Artist’s Network TV. All in all, I’m not sure I’m ready to work this large, but it was a good learning experience.

Detail:  reflecting sand
Detail: reflecting sand

I’m pretty happy with the sky and parts of the glowing wet sand in the foreground, and I’m slowly learning how to add in a bit of forest (rocks are a bigger challenge for me).   I may go back and add more variation in the foliage.  The breaking waves are a whole different story, and unquestionably the most difficult part of the painting for me.   I learned from the experience that I need to do the softening off step MUCH faster. I think when I practice breaking waves next time out, I won’t try and do a scene at all. I’ll just work exclusively on the waves until I feel I have a better handle on them.

Detail:  part of the trees/rocks
Detail: part of the trees/rocks

As always, suggestions for improvement would be humbly received and greatly appreciated!    Thank you so much for your comments and visits.    I am bound to follow this watercolor train, wherever it may lead!   Happy Monday, and let’s dance anyway, huh?   Peace.


Oh, I’m having fun flooding my paper with water and then setting off fireworks with color.   This painting was inspired by tutorials from Birgit O’Connor.    I’m very happy that many artists have paved the way before me, and are happy to share their techniques and inspiration.    As have many of you reading this right now!   I want to thank all of you so kindly for your advice and feedback as I continue sailing forward.

7 x 5″ Arches 140 lb. cold-pressed

I think I could work on skies all day, and never get tired of it.   I’ll probably never get the chance to find that out, but a little time at the end of the day will do for now.  🙂

Colors (all M. Graham):  Viridian, Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna.   This one was fun; I really enjoyed it!    Did it turn out like I thought?   Heck no, but I am learning to love what the medium gives me.   It’s hard to go wrong with that attitude.   Took awhile to get there, but it was worth the journey!

I wish all of you a most creative, enjoyable, relaxing and peaceful weekend ahead.   May paint puddles prevail!

Unquenchable (reprise)

Yes. Still unquenchable, this watercolor gig I’ve got going on….

Maine: Pine, Rocks and Sea (3/100) 5 1/4 x 4 1/4″

Maine, from my experience, is one of the most beautiful states in the US. This is a slice of the Maine coast: bit of mountain, pine trees, rocks, gorgeous sea and sky….in short, heaven. I’ve not done it justice in this painting, but I believe justice may eventually prevail (perhaps after 100 or so more paintings?) Time will tell.  They call it Vacationland for a reason, I suppose.   😀

Colors:  cerulean, cobalt blue, ultramarine, bit of indigo, cad yellow, burnt sienna, rose madder, bit of sap green.    Once I run through all of the pre-torn small pieces of paper, I do plan to move up a bit to something larger.   Should (?) make painting a bit easier.

Happy Tuesday, and I hope you are either in Vacationland, or carrying a beautiful scene in your heart today. Peace.

Seascape Sketch

For today’s painting, I had planned on following a tutorial and doing a larger seascape, but ran outta time (as frequently happens). So I grabbed a library book from my shelf and skimmed through it for ideas. “Work Small, Learn Big: Sketching with Pen & Watercolor”, edited by Jennifer King was recommended by Jesse VanWagner, and I wanna thank you, Jesse, because this is a terrific book!

0712 1

I spotted this little painting on page 16 (no colors or explanation attached), and it caught my eye, so I set to work. I think the key for me with watercolor, as with so many artistic pursuits, is speed. Work fast. Don’t dawdle; don’t fuss. Get the ink in quick, lay the color down, and then work to the next area, and hopefully if I move fast enough, the colors blend as I go, without too many hard edges.   This one is about 5 x 5 1/2″:

 0712 2

I am pleased with the way this one turned out, considering it only took about 1/2 hour, including sketching time with a (03 nib) Micron pen (and that’s about all the time I could spare).   I like the sky, and I was happy with how the colors (burnt sienna, raw sienna, raw umber, cerulean, ultramarine, rose madder, bit of winsor orange to gray the blue) played together. I need to compose paintings of my own, but this was a good exercise. By studying (and copying) the work of experienced artists, hopefully I’m learning to do just that.   Painting every day is paying off for me.  I’m feeling more confident and looking forward to what comes next!

Happy July Sunday! Take some time to rest and rejuvenate today. Give yourself some blissful peace!

Next try…

Another little mountain painting.    I do enjoy feeling transported to a vacation spot by simply picking up a paintbrush.   It’s a very cool way to fly.


Yesterday’s painting was nice, and I enjoyed making it, but I thought this time out, I would make a few changes to try and improve it. I’m working on skies, so I decided to make the sky a larger part of the painting, and rather than use the tube purple (Cotman Dioxazine) that I used in that painting, I thought I might get more color unity by mixing a purple with the color I used in my sky (which was all cerulean).

It went a bit pear-shaped, because in order to get the hue I wanted, it turned out that I needed more ultramarine and hardly any cerulean. I did mix each of the purples in today’s painting, adding more pigment and less water as I came forward….but they look almost exactly like the tube paint version I used yesterday…..probably should have used cerulean to get that color unity, hehe.   I think the purple would have been much cooler, and bluer, but it probably would have gone better with the sky.

I’m finding the July “paint a watercolor every day” project to be interesting, and definitely a learning experience! It helps to reinforce what I’m learning when I go back and try again tomorrow. Which is what I will do….tomorrow. I actually prefer yesterday’s to this one, but I may give this concept another try tomorrow, this time with a more dramatic sky, and see what takes place.   Or I may try something completely different, such as a bird, since Draw A Bird Day fast approaches on Wednesday!

Until then, enjoy your week, and thanks as always for your visits and comments/suggestions for improvement.   They are all greatly appreciated!   Peace.