First You Take a Rainbow Monkey Sweater…

Poppy in her Monkey Sweater, Feb. 2014, watercolour on paper (3)Poppy in her Monkey Sweater, Feb. 2014, watercolour on paper (4)

So I’m back! I am going to start doing my weekly posts again because otherwise I do absolutely nothing, as I have discovered. It may not always be watercolour so I think I will just call them weekly posts instead of Watercolour Wednesdays. And to start I’m cheating a little because I did this one a few months ago and wasn’t happy with it, but I need to just get back into doing posts and Wednesday keeps coming around and I have nothing new so I am just going to start posting. Though I don’t know why I feel it always needs to be something new–it’s my blog so in theory I can do whatever my heart desires…

Anyway, I liked the looseness of the watercolour but I got hung up on the fact that it doesn’t look like my daughter. I had wanted to do some portraits of my daughter but it is too difficult to get her to sit for me so I used a photo for it. I don’t like working from photos, I find it harder to “capture” the person or whatever it is I am painting, so I might need to practise this. BUT THEN just for fun I included a couple cropped versions of the painting, because I always love looking at close-ups of paintings, and I liked the crops far better than the original. I just want to do a giant watercolour of that first crop of her ponytail and sweater! I also find this interesting because I just cleaned and reorganized my studio again and in my studio purge I had torn up some ugly watercolour paintings to throw out, and then noticed that some of the torn bits were actually really nice little watercolours in and of themselves, so that is what my studio bulletin board is filled with now–cropped pieces of discarded watercolours. And also I just had my aunt asking about an old watercolour on my blog–which was a bit of an experiment for me trying to do a large-scale abstract watercolour (it was 30 inches by 40 inches) and keep that watercolour style brushwork. And I actually didn’t put together that there was a connection in these things until I started writing this post, but there it is–I want to zoom in on these smaller parts of the watercolours and work with them for a bit–make them bigger and explore the mark-making. It all seems so clear to me now. All of this is leading somewhere, although I haven’t actually done anything… yet. And just like that I am super excited about art again. It sure took me long enough…

Poppy in her Monkey Sweater, Feb. 2014, watercolour on paper

Large Reflection Watercolour, Feb. 2013, watercolour on paper 30 x 40

“I’m not fat like you are Mommy.” Hmmm…I think she means “big”.

It’s back to painting from life this week. My four-year old and I spent the day in the yard with the kiddie pool and ice teas. We were both doing some painting and she agreed to sit for me to paint her. She is getting really good at sitting for me–she held this pose for what seemed like a very long time although it was probably only about ten minutes. It was still a long time for a four-year old and just long enough for me to get it all down without overworking it.

She informed me a couple of times during the process that I had “painted her too fat” and that she was not fat like I was. Until today I had thought that her recent focus on being fat came from the Three Billy Goats Gruff book we’ve been reading where the goats just want to get to the greener grass so they can “eat and eat and eat, and get fat”, but now I’m not so sure… Though for the record, she was right and my proportions were a bit off (you can see where I thinned her waist down a bit on the right side). As for the rest of it, I think I’m going to just take it as her meaning that I am bigger than her ;)

(I’m still doing Watercolour Wednesdays and this is my Watercolour Wednesday post, but I’ve decided to drop the “Watercolour Wednesday” from the post titles; it was starting to get a bit monotonous after doing a full year of them… Instead I’ve added a Watercolour Wednesday Category on the blog that I’ll be adding them to.)

Watercolour Wednesday — Keeping your pre-schooler busy for ONE hour.

This is a study I did of my daughter painting. It was great because it kept her entertained for a full hour, and also painting her has gotten much easier since she is now getting really good at holding a pose for me. (The photo is actually after she was done her paintings–she was just posing for me at this point).

Though as still as she was she never kept her hands in the same position (perhaps too much to ask of a 4-year-old?), so the hands are the only part I’m really not happy with.

There are older and fouler things than wearing orange and black (in the deep places of the world). Bad posture, for one…

All I think of when I look at this painting is a time when I was in junior high school and I wore a pair of orange and black camouflage tights to church. A church member told me that orange and black together were Satanic and I wasn’t to wear them again. And me being the super anxious and timid person that I was, I did not wear the tights again; I didn’t even keep them. I’m still a super anxious and timid person, but I can tell I’m getting old because I’m starting to care less about what people think. Just a bit. It sometimes feels like I’m becoming a very hard person, but the difference probably isn’t even noticeable. I mean look how happy I am! In Satan’s colours no less! The only thing glaringly bad in this painting is my posture. Though in my defense I was sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the mirror to paint this one. Not a good idea in retrospect. It took me five nights to do the painting and it gave me an aching back.

So anyway, this is my new self-portrait. Evil Dayna. Mwhahaha! Enjoy!

“What a poignant sight she is.”

My heart is a kicking horse,

She nearly breaks my ribs

Those strong, tawny legs struggling

What a poignant sight she is.

– Melanie Hudson

One of those 1000 journals (or 100 journals) was dropped down the book chute at work. The 1000 Journals was a project that was started in the States where blank journals were just passed around and people put whatever they wanted in them and many similar projects have been done since then. My co-worker Melanie convinced me to draw something in it if she wrote something as well. I’m not sure if this is a journal that someone forgot to return because I think that all the journal projects are over but I thought I would do it anyway. It could also just be someone starting their own roaming journal up for fun, who knows.

So anyway, this is our collaborative effort done during our lunch break. I drew a sketch of her—although she is prettier than this (as my self-conscious sub-title dictates)—and she put in the poem. I think the poem is what makes it.

Carp: Symbol of Success in Life

So this is actually for a friend who wanted a portrait of H.P.Lovecraft to promote his game Strange Aeons (link)—a tabletop miniatures game set in around the 1920’s in a Lovecraft-type world. I’ll have to see what he thinks of this one. I had been putting it off and putting it off and last night I decided I was just going to make myself work on it. I had a preliminary sketch done already, but I just wasn’t excited about it. So I got set up and put my i-pod on shuffle and the song that came up was “In Silence”(link) by a post-hardcore band Thursday (off of a split EP that they did with the Japanese hardcore band Envy). When I get a song that puts me “in the zone” I just set it on repeat and listen to one song over and over while I work. Last night that was the song and three hours later I was almost completely finished the drawing. While I was working I was thinking about what to do with the background (not really wanting to stick Cthulhu over his shoulder) and I started thinking about the band Envy and then about Japan and then about the tsunami and then about the sheer destructive and chaotic power of water which made me think of this wave pattern from a Japanese kimono that I had on an old postcard. The title for the pattern is “Carp: Symbol of Success in Life” and it is attributed to Yaichiro Ichida (1843-1906). I couldn’t find the image online so here is my old worn postcard.

Though now that I’ve done the drawing and I have the waves in the background, I am thinking that it might need to be in colour. And bright colour! Lots of teal waves (not brown). In black and white the waves look a bit like blankets or yarn. So this might end up being a study for a painting, we shall see.

Penguins don’t wear pants.

I finally got my daughter to sit still long enough to paint her by sitting her in front of the T.V. It worked out very well while watching The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends, but then she asked for Pingu. When Pingu started to run around his house banging a pot on his head, she decided to follow suit. And of course penguins don’t wear pants so that was the end of the painting session.

But it is a nice little study and very loosely painted. I think I will just have to be content with it as a study. However, I was pleasantly surprised that when I would ask her to sit a certain way she would actually do it and she would return to the same position if she moved. That gives me high hopes for future painting sessions.