30 in 30, 2016: As Complete as it Can Be

30 in 30 Collage

Two years ago when Barbara Davis suggested I take on Leslie Saeta’s 30 in 30 challenge, I was scared to death! The idea of painting and posting every day was terrifying. I painted the tiniest paintings possible: 2″ x 3″ or maybe even smaller. The work was, well, that of a beginner at best.

This time I ended up painting a very large piece (for me) composed of 15 sections that were about 9″ x 11″ each, and I am still working on it even as I write. I also created some other random pieces, likely as a means of “shaking off” the intensity of the large one.

Then I traveled in the last week of the challenge. During that time I kind-of lost my painting groove, but I did not lose my painting EYE! Here are some views that lit my eye while in Las Vegas. What a place!

Red Rock CollageLANDSCAPES


Plants in Vegas CollagePLANTS, Wild and Tame

Interior Architecture CollageARCHITECTURAL Details

Pinball CollagePINBALL of Old and New

Neon CollageNEON in Vegas history

Up in the Air

3030.2016.22bYesterday I was traveling all day and actually had to “paint” in the airplane. I thought I’d try out the app called Paper 53. It is a lovely app, with a huge variety of brushes and colors and options I am sure I did not exploit to their max. I just drew this little turtle from my head, and have no idea why I opted for a turtle as subject. Perhaps because my first swoop on the screen was the arc that roughly forms his back.

Turtle in AirportThe irony is that as soon as I got off the plane, this is the first piece of art I encountered in the airport. Can you guess where I am?

Long Ago and Far Away

Twenty four years ago, a first-time mother sat with an adorable nine-year-old girl who drew a menagerie of animals and other things that might belong on a farm. They used cheap construction paper and a ball point pen. Later, scissors and glue figured into the arrangement. The collaborative piece was framed and it hung in our home, in the same place, for all these years.

While considering the sources for my recent tree of life painting, my  eye lit upon the farm construction and I noted some similarities. One big difference, though, was the color. The old construction paper was faded, and some of the animals were hard to discover in places that had lost their contrast.

Fantastic Farm acrylic on paper, c. 15" x 12", 20/30in30
Fantastic Farm
acrylic on paper, c. 15″ x 12″, 20/30in30

I decided it might be fun to put some of that old color back into the piece. Here it is, before and after, reminding me of how fun it was to nurture the creative spirit of that little girl, now a first-time mother herself.

A Bouquet

One Dozen Posies Acrylic on styrofoam and board 9" x 8"
One Dozen Posies
Acrylic on styrofoam and board
9″ x 8″

After two weeks fretting over the puzzle of a tree of life of my own device, I just had to take a break. The “flowers” here are the bottoms of an egg carton I used to mix colors for the big composite painting. It’s just elementary, I know, but I needed to give myself permission to be frivolous.

A Departure into Theory

Yesterday I spent the day with the very-generous Sharon Gates and three other plein air painters in a one-day workshop. Sharon took us through various refresher concepts and exercises, and encouraged us at every turn. While we did mix colors and outline mass shapes from photographs, we also began to paint value-scale monochrome landscapes.

Landscape Study Oil on Board, 8" x 10" 17/30in30
Landscape Study
Oil on Board, 8″ x 10″

Here is mine at the point I left Sharon’s studio. I couldn’t stand leaving unused colors on my palette so I “threw” them out there for better or for worse. I’ll go back into it tomorrow.

Free Spirits in Process

Free Spirits (in process) acrylic on tar paper, c. 44" x 34", 16/30in30
Free Spirits (in process)
acrylic on tar paper, c. 44″ x 34″, 16/30in30

Here it is, still in process. There are several things I plan to change, so I may post the complete version before the month is over. But here you get the main idea.

I am reminded of a Mexican tree of life, and it surprises me because I never set out to make this painting. It basically grew into itself! It is all too new for me to feel settled altogether, especially knowing there are changes to be made.

A Swim

Free Spirits acrylic on tar paper, c. 9" x 11", 15/30in30, Q10
Free Spirits
acrylic on tar paper, c. 9″ x 11″, 15/30in30, Q10

Here is the final piece of the puzzle. Of course by now I have assembled it all together and am trying to make sense of it all. The process has been really fun, and the result is something I could not have imagined from the beginning.

The back looks like this. Here I'm just tacking it with low-stick painter's tape. Later I'll have to figure out how to frame, mount, or finish it more thoroughly.
The back looks like this. Here I’m just tacking it with low-stick painter’s tape. Later I’ll have to figure out how to frame, mount, or finish it more thoroughly.

For the rest of the day I will be finishing the overall piece by painting in some things and painting out others. However the “30 paintings in 30 days” challenge marches on, so I will have to begin another series. It it weren’t so fun, I’d say it is exhausting!

Tweetie Legs

Free Spirits acrylic on tar paper, c. 9" x 11", 11/30in30, Q6
Free Spirits
acrylic on tar paper, c. 9″ x 11″, 11/30in30, Q6

Well, you might be able to tell that these are the legs and the bottom part of the body from yesterday’s bird. The feet looked like spokes in wheels, so I made them even more toy-like, as one might find in a pram or a bicycle.

We are closing in on the end of this series: 4 more quadrants, and then there will be the effort to tie them all together, hopefully making some sense of it all. Colors abound!