A Watercolor Travelogue, Of Sorts

…a mixed bag of plein air paintings, paintings from photos I took, and one from a photo I didn’t.

This is my next batch of watercolors from 2021-22. And here is the tale of each of these, left to right, top to bottom:

  1. The first two are from Bosque Park in Socorro, NM, from March 2022. These came out a little rough because I didn’t pack the full set of paints and couldn’t find a good place to sit. The imperfections are part of the memory, though – one look at the painting brings back the smell of the air and the loose dirt I sat on. And other memories like:
    – how I got rusty at travel over the pandemic, so the whole trip was a bumbling adventure! On the flight there, I had to go through security twice because I left my credit card in the kiosk.
    – how I didn’t check the scale on my map and ended up taking an unplanned 10-mile walk. I was very sore the next day.
    – The two coyotes I saw darting over some charred wood. The sun was setting and I was on mile 7 or so. Things were getting eerie! I’ve always found deserts a little spooky. Something about the vast spaces and the quality of the light.
  2. The next three are from a photo I took of Lake Elkhorn in Columbia, MD in 2019. I was there for work.
    I arrived at my slightly-rickety hotel late at night, and in the morning I saw that it was right on the lake! So definitely worth the rickety-ness.
    Lots of bird chatter accompanied my walks around the lake.
    I’ve made numerous paintings from the same photo because I like it so much – it tastes like cool autumn mist and squelching mud.
    Here, I made three back-to-back because I was working on my technique for the reflections in the lake. The third one is where I felt like I finally got it right. (But the others have parts I like, too.)
  3. The next painting (row four, column one) is from a photograph my sister took in the Himalayas. Used as a painting reference with her permission! She’s a way better photographer than I.
  4. The last three are from volunteer/camping trips in the Angeles forest area with an organization called Habitat Works*, working on various habitat restoration projects. Always fun to add a quest to a camping trip! Pulling up weeds or removing old barbed wire makes me feel useful.

And with that, I am finally up to date on uploading my artwork! So I’d better get painting again, huh.

*not sponsored.

I did it! I YouTubed.

Part 2 of my 10 day challenge of drawing ‘houseplants’ (a category I interpret loosely).

I set myself a challenge to draw a houseplant every day for 10 days! And to make a video to go with it. I’m relieved that I made it through!

Now, I’ve drawn every plant in my house (if you count the drawings I’d already done when I started the challenge), plus a few from outside the house. I feel like I’ve thoroughly scratched the drawing itch, for once.

Usually, no amount of drawing, or any activity, feels like enough; I’m always craving more. To do it ‘properly’.

I guess I found out what it takes to ‘do it properly’, because I’m finally ready to move on to writing and research. (I’ll still draw if I feel like it, of course.)

Here are my videos for days 5 to 10:

Day 6 – Garlic and talking about trying the ‘impossible’.
Day 7 – Unknown backyard flower and talking about circling back to projects
Day 8 – Second succulent and talking about avoiding perfectionism
Day 9 – Broccoli and choosing aa project difficulty setting
Day 10 – Ivy and talking about finding the edge of my comfort zone

I enjoyed this so much that I definitely want to do another 10 days of drawing, sometime.

And that’s all! I’m planning to make a wrap-up video reflecting on the 10 days. I won’t say when that’s coming out, or I’d have to stick to it.

Line Drawings of Plants and Fruit

…and experimenting with combining drawings and stories.

From top to bottom, left to right, here are some stories I wrote to go with each of these pictures:

  1. The Day Begins and Creatures Emerge
  2. A plucky sprout with one wrinkly, damp-looking leaf twists its way up among several drooping leaves in various states of aging.
  3. Hanging Out with a Succulent
  4. GPS and Surprise Strawberries
  5. Soaking Up the Orchid

Drawing Plants for 10 Days in a Row!

…and dipping my toe into making videos.

And now, for something completely different! I recorded myself making vector drawings of plants and sharing some thoughts. I plan to do this for 10 days in a row, and I’m currently five days in.

It’s working as a crash course in basic video editing and a fun source of routine. I enjoy setting up these little projects for myself, especially if they have a clear endpoint. (But I can only keep those up for a short time, hence the 10 days).

And watching the timelapse of a drawing, even when I just drew it, is strangely satisfying, like a recap – “Yep, that’s what just happened!” I wish I had a similar recap for all my projects, but I’m actually terrible about remembering to take photos…

Anyway, here’s my tentative foray into video (part 1):

Day 1 – Onion and explaining the 10-day challenge.

Day 2 – Succulent and thoughts on having multiple interests.

Day 3 – Spiky Succulent and thoughts about working styles.

Day 4 – Pomegranates, and project updates.

Day 5 – Citrus, and thoughts about the benefits of reusing art.

So that’s the halfway mark! Five more plants to go. I’m having to venture outside the kitchen and patio for subjects now, so the quest escalates.

A Multi-Project Update for Q2 2022

I last made a multi-project update post here, and I’d like to start doing one every quarter. They help me stay focused(ish) and might help you make sense of my scattered updates.

Here are my projects this quarter.

• Research quest: I have a new lineup to read, as well as a couple of posts to write from last time around. I’ve defined the project here.
I’ve made a little progress, and yet I’m feeling strangely confident about getting through it. Expect some more updates on my reading soon!

• YA fantasy novel: I’ve been sharing updates here. My goal for this quarter is to finish the ‘long draft’, which is what I call the draft that has everything I want to put in, and can then start cutting down.

Currently, I have all the scenes I want, though a few are in outline form.

So my next task is to flesh out the newest scenes and paste the material hanging out in various note-taking apps and my (transcribed) voice memos into the main draft.

My second goal is to finish sharing my novel’s (real-world) backstory, which I started here.

• Art & Painting
I don’t usually have any goals to speak of related to art, since I prefer to just draw or paint when I feel like it. But this time, I have two goals:

1. To upload my recent watercolors and vector art into galleries in my Painting category.
2. To make vector drawings of all the plants (and fruit and vegetables) in my house.
I’ve also been using my art in blog posts and other media. So I want to continue to do that.

Okay! There’s a lot going on. Let’s see how I do!