Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Viola (Watercolor)


In the last few weeks I have painted a few botanicals (plants and flowers). When I shared them, with the “caveat” that they are not my “favorite” to paint, several people suggested that I may have “missed my calling,” so I’ve been thinking about painting more botanicals. I gravitate to the little animals (birds and furry creatures) because of my love or them, but I do LIKE flowers as well, so why not paint more of them. Actually, botanicals are easier to paint than animals and birds.

My mother was a lover of flowers and was quite knowledgeable about them. She knew the names of most flowers, and even as recently as a few years ago, I would send her a picture of a flower for her to identify. (She passed away in 2013.)

Violas in a basket on our Patio here in Ridgefield, Washington

We have some violas on our patio. I had thought they were pansies, but as I was reading about pansies and violas when preparing to paint this piece, I learned some things.

Pansies look and act a lot like violas but they have a much larger flower, and larger leaves as well. Another difference between the two fall favorites is that pansies usually only have a few flowers at a time whereas violas have a smaller flower but more blooms.

Also, Pansies were actually derived from violas, so technically all pansies are violas but not all violas are pansies. Violas are often called Johnny jump-ups in the US, as they tend to self-seed and can spread throughout your garden on their own.

Fun Fact: If the flower has four petals pointing upward and only one pointing downward – you’re looking at a Pansy. If the flower has two petals pointing upward and three petals pointing downward – you’ve got a Viola.

Since I’m interested more in botanicals than I thought I would be, I am doing some tutorials with Anna Mason, whose signature style is detail and realism, and she paints mostly botanicals. I think I will enjoy the change from the loose, wet-on-wet style that so many artists seem to be using now. 

#watercolorviolas #violasarenotpansies #annamasonartschool #hotpressedpaper #WinsorandNewtonwatercolortubepaints #realisticstyle 

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Creative Outlets

So, I have realized that as I continue to practice my watercolor painting, I should cease trying to find a single “style” that is mine. I realized this as I recently observed that the artists that I “follow,” and take lessons from, those whose tutorials I attempt, do not themselves have a single “style.” Perhaps I try different styles to discover what I most enjoy, while for them, it’s likely an attempt to prevent boredom!

These two pieces were painted by following lessons from the same artist, and I feel they are actually quite different, and yet I enjoyed both.

It has been a couple of weeks since I painted anything, because I have been catching up with scrapbooking. I now have a pattern of doing two months at a time, so I did Jan-Feb, and then Mar-April, and I just finished May-June. It’s an exercise in self-discipline for me to keep up with this, and I was analyzing that fact as I worked the last few days.

When I started scrapbooking in 2003, it was my very first inkling of perhaps, maybe, a bit of creativity lurking somewhere way beneath the surface in my mind/heart. I had never thought of myself as being the least creative, honestly, and even the bulletin boards in my elementary school classrooms were often the result of my students’ work.

But when I was introduced to scrapbooking, which I “took to” like a duck to water, I saw it as mainly something I LOVED because it combined two of my favorite things in the world: photographs and life stories. Still hidden beneath the obvious was what I now recognize as a love of creating a “layout” — dare I say, an “artistic representation” using those photographs and stories. Seriously? Who knew!

At that time, the trend in scrapbooking was to create very elaborate layouts. Many of the trend-setters in those days would even use one tiny photograph and then embellish the page(s) in a ridiculously ornate fashion. Even then, I rejected that style, because did I mention, PHOTOS and STORIES. Still, that hobby did provide what I now see as a creative outlet.

I “progressed” in my artistic endeavors to doing “mixed media art journaling,” beginning around 2012, and I hung out there for a period of years, designing journal pages and wooden blocks with acrylic paint, fabric, patterned card stock, pages from old books and music, twine, brads, metal embellishments, stamp ink, lettering, and so many supplies that I needed a large room and lots of shelves just to store so many things to choose from when creating a page.

I recently came across a picture of one of those creations. It was fun.

Meanwhile, I continued with the scrapbooking with elaborate layouts, usually placing 5-8 photos on most 2-page layouts. This is a sample page (one side of a 2-page layout).

I usually completed 2-3 large (12x12) scrapbooks per year. So now I have more than 50 albums.

While I continued with the scrapbooking and the mixed media art journaling, I added Bible Journaling. I have four Bibles that contain that work. Example:

So, here I am. It became too cumbersome to maintain an inventory of supplies for mixed media and elaborate scrapbook layouts. Once I began my watercolor journey (ca 2019), with the simplicity of supplies and the challenge of creative output, I discontinued mixed media at such a prolific level, and I backed down on the complicated scrapbook layouts as well. 

Now, I still do some Bible journaling (mainly with watercolor), and I still scrapbook, but I focus on the simplicity of photos and stories. The scrapbooks have become more a record for posterity and not a creative outlet at all anymore, actually.

That was an overview of my “creativity journey,” with a sample from each of the main areas (I didn’t even touch on the tag-making era—or the Smash journal era—all while I was doing the aforementioned projects). If you’re crazy enough to want to see my “creations,” my Pinterest is @bkford. Profile

Now I’m focusing on maintaining the Scrapbooks (life records) and improving on watercolor painting.

Along with the increase in cooking/baking I’ve been doing recently, I stay pretty busy.

And that’s a good thing.

#watercolor #mixedmediaartjournals #Biblejournaling #scrapbooks #CreativeMemories #photos #lifestories #creativeendeavors