Easter & Getting Back to Painting

I purchased this little pot of primroses at the beginning of February and it has bloomed non-stop since!  Such a joy to have blooms in the middle of winter that last into spring!  

Mushu and I had a lovely Easter.  My youngest son and his girlfriend and her son came for Easter dinner.  We also had a lovely surprise visit from my daughter, SIL, and grandson!  

Mushu has been a bit calmer the past few days!  Thankfully!  He's dearly loved but can be a real handful sometimes.  He liked this perch to watch me preparing Easter dinner from.  

I haven't done any oil painting in at least 6 months.  Maybe longer.  I joined a painting challenge to help be get back into it.  With all the upcoming changes, (packing, selling my home, finding a new home, and moving) I needed something to keep me from being overwhelmed.  And since painting is probably my favorite pastime - yes, even above stitching! - it made sense to make time for it. 

In this challenge, we do a small painting every day for 5 days.  We start with a 30 minute time limit and the goal is to be down to 20 minutes by the end of the week.  These aren't finished paintings, but really the rough block in.  In a sketch like this, values, color, and shapes are established.  This sketch can be used later while working on a much larger painting of the same subject matter.  The hope is that these small sketches help one work out the problems.  This is my 5"x7" painting at 20 minutes.  

Here we are at 30 minutes.  


This is the painting at 30 minutes with the reference photo.  The photo is one that I took while at one of our local areas where I like to go and walk, paint, and photograph now and then - Walden Ponds in Boulder County, Colorado.  On this evening, I was there at dusk and the light was gorgeous.  Just a beautiful, still, peaceful evening.  I hoped to capture that essence in this little sketch.  

FYI, I often take a reference photo and manipulate it to simplify it before using it as a painting reference.  I find it helps to keep me from getting bogged down in too much detail.

Since I haven't really painted in months, I'm pretty happy with how this little sketch turned out, but I also see areas for improvement.  First, it would have been better on a longer canvas instead of squashed into a smaller one.  Second; I need to not be afraid of color.  Look at those vivid turquoise blues in the distant mountains and their reflections in the water.  Also the yellow in the sky on the left side.  Third: Normally, I do a value sketch first and it can be really helpful in establishing the large shapes and their value (light and dark). I didn't do that on this one and it shows. I lost track of it and though I tried to get it back, it's hard to bring back the darks once it has been painted too light.

I may try this one again tomorrow and aim for better color and value.  If I get one I like, then I think I'm going to paint this one large.  

Every place has it's own beauty, and I know that I'll find that wherever my new home ends up being.  But it's bittersweet knowing that I'll be leaving this area that has been my home region for the better part of my life.  I want to preserve some of these scenes and take them with me.   So many memories. 



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