Two-Minute Tuesday Night Sketching at Cathy’s, Part I

Cathy's Bonsai, ink & watercolor

Cathy's Bonsai, ink & watercolor

Tuesday night we met at Cathy’s house instead of a public place where moving every two minutes with a timer ringing would be a nuisance. We started on her deck to the sound of burbling water and birds singing and lovely sights all around and warmed up with an untimed sketch. Drawing this little bonsai on the table in front of me was just what I needed to unwind from the crazy day. The sun went down and it was nearly dark when I painted it.

Then we went inside and started the timed two-minute sketches.

Orchid, 2 minute sketch, ink & watercolor

Orchid, 2 minute ink sketch (watercolor added later)

Cathy’s Berkeley Craftsman style home is a serene oasis decorated with simplicity and a Japanese zen style. Open space and emptiness balances still-life displays of special objects, art and her wonderful collections.  She set the timer for two minutes and said “Go” and we moved through the house, our eyes and pens devouring tender new morsels around every corner every two minutes.

I added the watercolor at home later for these two sketches.

Cathy's Calla Display, ink & watercolor

6 minute sketch: Cathy's Calla Display, ink & watercolor

After each set of 6 two-minutes sketches we met back at the dining room table to look at each other’s sketches. When I saw Sonia’s calla lily and apples sketch I realized I’d missed that corner. I liked that display so much I chose to ignore the two-minute bells and spent six  minutes enjoying drawing this one.

I’ll post the rest of the sketches after I add color to them. I am soooo lucky to have such great, dedicated sketching buddies!

Orchids in Green Bottle & Mental Spam

Orchids in Green Bottle
Oil on panel, 14×11″ (larger)

I love painting glass and was happy with the way this bottle turned out. I tried to use the same free and fun approach I take to painting glass in watercolor and it actually worked this time. I wish the flowers were as easy.

It’s easier to show off the beauty and delicate nature of flowers in watercolor than in oil paint, especially white flowers. In watercolor you don’t use white paint, but rather leave the brilliant white of the paper for white areas.

White oil paint can look blueish, cold, chalky and dull so in oil painting you have to create the illusion of warm glowing light by placing either dark or subdued, neutral, or grayed colors beside the white so in comparison it looks bright.  It also helps to add a little yellow or orange to white paint to warm it. I tried doing all of the above in this painting, but still struggled with the white flowers, scraping and repainting several times.

I read an inspiring and funny post on singer Christine Kane’s blog called “What Spam Can Teach You About Inner Peace.” It’s really worth reading if you have one of those annoying inner critics who says mean things about you or your artwork. While you’re there, check out another post of hers that is helpful for artists and/or self employed people, “How to Get Off the Hamster Wheel.”

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