Thankful for…

Blog, Painting, Winsor and Newton watercolors

Its been a great week! The house is (relatively) clean, I’ve been exercising, I spent a wonderful day yesterday just with my daughter… and I finally finished painting 75 cards for a German charity!¬† I feel like I really accomplished stuff this week and it feels so good.

So I guess that’s my recipe for happiness, spending quality time with my family, exercising, painting for a cause…and yes having a clean house especially since I hate cleaning, this has to be my greatest accomplishment, week after week. ūüėȬ†I’ve also made a conscious decision to not go back to work. I was seriously thinking about it these last few weeks, and even had a job interview for a great company, but I realised that going back to work was just a reaction to my fear. Fear of the future. I started my 54th year and I was afraid that if I didn’t look for a job now, in 4 years, when the kids are gone, I’ll really be too old to find a job if I needed one. However I finally decided not to let fear decide what I really want to do,¬† which is spend these last few years just being there for my kids, before they go off to university somewhere in the world, but not here in Germany.

This may seem strange to my friends who know I haven’t been working for the last 5 years. For me though, I always had my French job to fall back on so I didn’t really have to decide anything, but letting it go made me realise I had to decide what I was going to do for the rest of my life. So even if it seems like I’m just continuing what I’ve been doing the last few years, in my head its different and I have to say I’m more at peace with myself now.

So today, I’m grateful for many things. For my husband who can’t give up his job just yet to be a blues guitarist ūüėȬ†so I can do what I want, for my kids who, even though they are teenagers, are loving, rarely moody and still agree to spend an hour or so with us each day… for my friends (physical & virtual) who support me and patiently listen to my complaints, doubts and just general ramblings, for having a creative passion that challenges me each day but brings me such joy, and for my health, even if my arthritis is telling me I’m not so young anymore I can still do TRX!!

And you, what are you thankful for today?

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Beautiful Magnolias

Addicted to Stamps and More, Cards, The Ton stamps, Winsor and Newton watercolors

I stamped these beautiful Magnolias from The Ton almost 2 months ago, to watercolour them, but never found the right time and state of mind to do them till now. Then I was preparing a card for our “Anything Goes” challenge at Addicted to Stamps and More, and I don’t know why, but knowing the theme was “Anything Goes”, I gave myself “permission” to create whatever I liked.¬† Strange isn’t it?

The ton magnolia products.jpg

I guess with all the “obligations” I have at the moment – being on design teams, painting 75 cards for a charity event, even learning new methods of painting… I run out of time to do what I really want. Don’t get me wrong, of course I enjoy doing all the above, and no one forced me to do them, nevertheless, I have an objective in doing every one of those things, a purpose, so it was nice to just paint my magnolias, because I wanted to paint them. Anyway, sorry about rambling, I’m writing this at 22h30 with meditation music in the background, after afew glasses of wine, so…

The ton magnolia cu.jpg

Back to my card. It was stamped with Altenew’s Soft Lilac and painted with Winsor and Newton watercolours, with my new favourite brush, Raphael 8408 with the extra pointy tip. I cut the water-coloured panel with Sue Wilson’s stitched rectangle die, then used My Favorite Things scallop die to cut the window for my sentiment, which comes from “So Suzy” stamp, and mounted the outer frame on foam adhesive, to give it some dimension. A little (or alot) of Spectrum Noir sparkle pens over my magnolias finished the card. I really love how it shine!

In the end, even my Magnolia card has a purpose, to incite you to join us in our Anything Goes challenge at Addicted to Stamps and More. So what do you feel like making today?

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I’m sharing this over at:

ssswchallengeSimon Says Stamp Wednesday challenge – Anything Goes

watercooler wed.jpgWatercooler Wednesday – Anything Goes

wordartWord Art Wednesday – Anything Goes

 

 

 

 

Colourful Wednesday with Stamplorations

Cards, Spectrum Noir Alcohol markers, Stamplorations, Winsor and Newton watercolors, wonderful wednesday coloring

Hi all! I’m so happy to be back again this Wednesday to share some colouring projects I’ve been doing for the Stamplorations Wonderful Wednesday Coloring post as their guest designer. As with my first post for them, I tried using three different ways to colour, even if all I want to do is colour with my watercolours!

Happy Flowers stencil

For my first project, I used Stamplorations Happy Flowers stencil and Lukas transparent embossing paste, which I mixed with yellow and orange alcohol inks, and brushed it through the stencil with a paint brush. I feel the alcohol inks give the paste more shine and transparency, compared to watercolour or distress inks.  The Thanks diecut also comes from their Cutplorations series of dies. A splatter of red paint finished my card.

Hummingbird

My second card uses the same colours but with watercolours this time, which I used to do a no-line watercolouring on Stamplorations Hummingbird stamp. I was influenced by Jean Haine’s loose watercolouring style, so I blurred the wings, to give an impression of movement. I added water around my Hummingbird and dropped in some blue paint in the background. I used the same Thanks die but this time in orange.

Be thankful

For my third card, I used my Spectrum Noir Illustrator alcohol markers to colour the bucket of apples from Stamplorations Be Thankful stamp, and also create the grass around it. I used three different greens to create depth and dimension among the grass. The sentiment from Stamplorations Words of Gratitude stamp set, was stamped with Stazon black ink on vellum and cut with a stitched oval die from Spellbinders. The whole coloured panel was then cut with the largest of the three dies from Stamplorations Crazy double running stitched rectangle nesting die set, and matted onto a red card base.

Thanks for stopping by and do pop over to the Stamplorations blog to see the other amazing colouring projects the other guest designers have created just for your viewing pleasure! I do hope you enjoyed the three different ways I coloured my cards and that you’ll be inspired to do the same. What is your favourite way of colouring?

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I’m sharing the flower card over at:

Happy Flowers stencil shine

the flower challengeThe Flower Challenge – Add sparkle. Can you see it shine?

Cas on fridayCAS on Friday – Fall/Autumn card

DiesRUsDies R Us – Anything Fall related

back to basicsBack to Basics  & BeyondРStencils or Masks

And the Hummingbird card over at:

stamping sensationStamping Sensations – Shades of Autumn

2crafty critter2 crafty critter crazies challenge – Anything goes with animals

lemon shortbreadLemon Shortbread challenge – Anything Goes

The apple harvest card with:

House mouse.jpgHouse Mouse & Friend Monday challenge – I chose the Anything Goes with Autumn/Fall colours

work it wednesdaySimon Says Stamp Work it Wednesday October – Give Thanks

dare2beartzy.jpgDare to be Artzy – Fall

 

 

Inspired by Jean Haines

Art lessons, Painting, Winsor and Newton watercolors

The other day at my local art store, I discovered that they now offered art books in English, & when I was excitedly perusing through their books, I was drawn to Jean Haine’s book called “Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour”. When I opened it, I yelled (in my head)”Eureka”! This is how I want to paint!

Since I started painting a year ago, I have been looking for a style of painting, and a teacher, that would allow me to express myself, in a loose abstract way. (Sorry I never took formal art courses so I don’t really know the terms…) Until now, every time I tried to let go, I was filled with panic & frustration during the painting process and hated what I did right after! But something in her book, the way she writes about flowers, the painting process & the environment we need to achieve this, unlocked something in me and allowed me to finally letting go. Now every painting I do is done in peace and pleasure… and I actually like the finished product too!

Sunflowers a la jean haines

Sunflowers à la Jean Haines Рmy first exercise from her book

One thing I do now, that is suggested in her book, is to practise all the little steps that lead up to the final painting & to actually do a rough painting of my final subject too. Some of you might say “Duh.. that’s obvious” but obviously not to me as I’m also the type of person that hates creating the same thing more than once. But now, before each painting, I practise for about 30 minutes, to understand how my paint will react to the movement & composition I’m trying out, and that really helps me. Another thing I’m doing is painting on good watercolour paper! I have a few blocks I bought or was given but I never felt good enough to use them. But I guess I’ll never be good enough until I believe I am, so using good watercolour paper is a start to that affirmation!

Flowers in a Vase a la jean haines

Flowers in a Vase à la Jean Haines

For the moment I’m just doing the exercises in her book and largely “copying” her works. However, by the end of the book, I hope to find my own unique style that will differentiate mine from hers. In the meantime, I am so enjoying the whole learning process, and I look forward to receiving her other books & her online courses, which I requested for my birthday…tomorrow!

Rose a la jean haines

Roses à la Jean Haines. Indanthrone Blue Lukas watercolours, DaVinci Mastro, Arches 100% cotton cold pressed

Thanks so much for dropping by and I do appreciate you taking the time to leave me such nice comments. Have a great creative weekend!

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Learning to paint…everything!

Art lessons, Winsor and Newton watercolors

I have had the wonderful chance of attending art classes in Madrid during our family visit here and I am learning so much. After 6 months of learning from books and YouTube videos, I felt so privileged to be able to paint under the guidance of professionals. I had 2 teachers who taught me in 2 very different ways so I was very lucky.¬† One was a young painter/teacher¬†Clara Varela who taught me the techniques I really needed to understand in shading and blending with watercolours. In my first class with her, I told her I would eventually like to be a food painter since I’m such a foodie, and she said, “so paint food.” and I replied “eh…ok”. I was actually putting this off until I could paint well enough but I guess¬† had to start somewhere, and no better time then with a teacher.

turnip signed.jpgI chose a turnip as I love the colours of the leaves, but I didn’t realise it was going to be so difficult to paint all the folds and my highlights look like tiny worms…but overall its not bad for my first attempt and I love the turnip root!

1st outdoor painting

We had an outdoor class with her and I learnt so much in this lesson but essentially learning to compose my image on paper and adding shading instead of contours. This also taught me to paint the big picture and not concentrate too much on details, although I still added too much. It was so enjoyable to paint outdoors in a park in Madrid and to find a little respite from the 35C heat here!

leaf study a3.jpg

At the same time I was taking classes with Justin Williams at¬†DeCinti Villal√≥n Academy of Painting & he taught me how to mix my colours smoothly & tried to get me to go with the flow, something which terrifies me! Because this is what happens when I do…

Ines abstract.jpg

I tried to paint my daughter in an abstract way but as usual I put too much colour and went overboard… but I had fun and I will try to redo it again. I did learn so much from him about drawing according to proportion as this is my first portrait drawing/painting too.

I’ve had many “firsts” this week, also filling an A3 size paper as until now my largest paintings have been on A4, and painted different subjects and styles so do I know what I prefer? I’m not sure yet but I do know I still love the idea of painting botanicals and colourful abstract art and I’m happiest when painting details with a small brush but I still want to learn to let go & create large washes in different colours.

At the same time I’m learning to paint with oils, water soluble oils that don’t smell and wash off with water and its so much more forgivable than watercolours…but that’s for another post!

¬†Thanks for stopping by & I’d love to know your thoughts on my painting experiments.

Have a great day!

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*All the painting were done with Winsor & Newton watercolours and Raphael or DaVinci Maestro brushes.