Studio Check-In #8: Lots of Flowers

This past month I’ve finally been feeling more inspired to paint, which has been a nice change. I rearranged my studio yet again, and so far it’s working out quite well, as evidenced by the fact that I’m spending more time in it!

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m taking an art journal class online (in which we’re given different activities each month to complete in our mixed media journals). After setting up the journal and not doing anything with it for close to six months, I made a commitment to myself to work in it once a week, and that’s made a big difference. I’m still only on the activities for March, but at least I’m making progress! I’m discovering that it’s a fun, no-pressure way to make art just for the sake of it, as I don’t ever have to let anyone else see it (and in fact, I can’t share too much of the completed work publicly because the lessons are property of the teacher). I don’t love every activity, but the act of creating in itself has helped clear away the cobwebs for my own projects.

Another big inspiration has been a library book I found at work earlier this month. It’s basically a photo collection of foraged flower arrangements that were also created throughout the course of a year, and the results are surprisingly lovely. I’m using it as a reference to inspire some of my own floral bouquets:

Working with a limited cool palette.

I’m still practicing at looser, slightly more abstract compositions, which I’ve probably talked about before — when done right, I think they have a certain vibrancy and energy that a carefully-composed detailed painting doesn’t have. That’s not to say that a detailed piece can’t be vibrant and dynamic, but the energy is different. Plus these looser paintings are a good warm-up exercise and a practice in working quickly. I’ve been doing about one per day in between my more time-consuming projects.

Another limited palette — a bouquet hanging on a wooden wall or door.
The shadow cast by the pot in this one is backwards… oops.

Speaking of other projects, I drew a small set of zinnias (three of them on a little 3″ x 4″ sheet) earlier this month which I have not painted yet, but I liked them so much that I decided to draw some bigger ones all over an 11″ x 14″ page. I started painting the larger piece a couple weeks ago and usually do 2-3 flowers at a time here and there. It’s still in progress, as you can see, but I love the colors I’ve mixed for it:

Continuing with the flower theme for this month, a few days ago I started another macro-style painting of some peonies, though on a much smaller page than the lilacs I painted earlier this summer.

These are on a 7″ x 10″ block of cold-press watercolor paper.

If that wasn’t enough, I finally painted a couple of drawings that I haven’t shared here just yet, because I think they’re going to be part of a larger series, and I’d like to debut the whole thing at once. I can tell you that they will be a slightly-updated version of a pretty iconic series of illustrations, and that they’re inspired in part by the journals I started making last month. (I have no idea whether this is enough information for some of you to guess what I’m talking about or not — maybe I’ve made it completely obvious, or maybe you’ll still have no idea even after going back and looking at Studio Check-in #7; either way, I’ll share more soon!)

And lastly, breaking from the flower theme a bit, I’ve been wanting to try alcohol inks for awhile, so I finally went out last weekend and bought a few colors and some yupo paper. As I discovered AFTER I got home and watched a tutorial, I forgot to get the blending solution, which allows the ink to be spread farther before it dries. Thus, my first two attempts didn’t go as expected. It was still fun to play around and experiment in a new medium.

The paper on the right is a piece of 4″ x 6″ glossy photo paper; on the left, 5″ x 7″ yupo paper.

So, all in all, a good, productive month. I’ve taken next week off from work, so hopefully I can really dig into some of the projects I’ve started and keep this momentum going!

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