100 day project 2017

A little over a week ago I decided to start a 100 day project. The goal being to paint from start to finish one small painting every day for 100 days, with the intent on refining my watercolor techniques and skills. The art will be nature themed and be a collection of small, 5×7 or smaller, studies. Pieces may include anything from flowers, birds, sealife, or bugs. If it is part of nature and the environment then it is fair game. Day one began on August 12, 2017. I am optimistic that I will be able to see the project through. However I am apprehensive on staying on track during upcoming travel and show commitments.

I usually am able to devote time to my art daily, however I am often inconsistent as to what that means. I may draw, or work on a larger painting, or I may be making working on other things that I need to get done in preparation for shows. Sometimes my art related work is spent traveling to or being at an art show. What I haven't been able to do is establish a routine of daily practice. This is why the 100 day project is important to me. It is an opportunity for me to start creating good habits, and to set aside some time to practice and study in my craft.

Here is my first week of daily painting and what I learned from each.
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Inktober- Stepping Away From the Eraser

I have never been much of an inker. In fact the lack of an eraser I find a bit intimidating. Which is really kind of funny considering my preference for watercolors.

Well in honor of Inktober I have done a couple of ink drawings. Very little, if any, pencil planning was done on these. As I was challenging myself to step away from the eraser and just let art happen.

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On this wolf I used Micron pens in black and sepia, as well as a sanguine brush pen and a touch of sanguine Prismacolor pencil. But my set up was very minimal lightly sketching out the eyes, snout and tips of the ears before jumping right on the inks.

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For my merganser I did a rather quick drawing with a sharpie a last week. Using a calendar photo as a reference. This was my first inktober drawing and was where I started to test putting down the eraser.

I plan on doing at least a few more ink drawings this month to stretch my skills and comfort level. Up until now ink has been something I used sparingly in watercolors to add tiny details. Maybe in the future it will become more.

Goals – Where I wanted my art to go two and a half years ago.

Do you ever make lists, only to loose them and find them later?
Me, I write things down all the time only to forget to ever look at them again.

A few weeks ago I found something in a book. Something that had been long forgotten. But now that it has been found has shown me just how far I have come and how much further I have left to go.

Back in March 2012 I was camping alone behind my artist tent at a festival in South Florida. There are two parts to these festivals. There is the part that happens when the public is around. Then the after hours festivities which have the own special magic. I turned in early, no longer able to handle being the lone mosquito magnet at the drum circle. Retreating to my tent, I read by flashlight until the drums and chanting began to lull me to sleep. The book I had brought with me was Art Marketing 101. I must have been reading about setting goals because I made a list of artist goals for myself on an index card.

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My March 2012 goals for my art.

Fast forward to September 2014. I had long since forgotten my list, but had pulled out the book because I was needing to reference some information for a project I was working on. In it I found a pink index card dated March 2012. It was my list of artist goals which I had set for myself. That one little piece of paper told me how far I have come and how far I still have to go in my journey. Some of the goals I have met, others I am still working on, and some still I have discovered are just not quite for me. I decided to take a look at what have accomplished and what I still wish to work towards.

Publish an Art Book– I am still nowhere near ready for this. One day I will but for now I am going to move this one to my list of long term goals. This is one of those that just needs time to develop and is best not to rush.

Illustrate a Children’s Book– This one I have just recently accomplished. I found to to be a challenging experience both rewarding and frustrating at the same time. I cannot wait to see the finished product, and look forward to future opportunities to work with authors to bring their characters to life.

Have my art in at least three stores by years end– At first I took this to be consignment type arrangements. I did have my artwork placed in two stores breifly. However I found this arrangement to be complicated and have not yet found the best fit for me. It has been some time since I have placed my art in a storefront. I am going to be revisiting this but think I will take a different approach to future agreements with store owners.

Illustrate Book Covers– So far I have done a couple of book covers. The first of which never went to publication and the artwork just sits in my collection. I have however been able to make some money selling the unclaimed images. This is an area that I look forward to the opportunity to do more of in the future.

Develop my Nature Art Line– The past few years my artwork has taken a much more nature centric focus. I am very happy with the developments I have made in this realm. My decision to focus more on the nature art and realism has made me a much stronger artist.

Steven Foster Folk Festival– I have not make it up there yet, but hope to at least visit it to see if it will be a good addition to my even schedule. I have drastically increased the number of events and shows that I attend and have also expanded my range further around the state. There are even plans in the works to start including some out of state events as well.

Take Larry Elmore’s Class– I have done this not once but twice. I could not be happier with how much I grew as an artist and on a personal level that first class. Not only did I gain valuable artistic skills I met some wonderful people who are now part of my art family.

Increase Licensing– I will admit I did not really look in to this much at all. In time I may revisit it but I want to grow more first.

Comic Books– I am not quite sure what I was thinking, but I don’t think that this is for me. But that is a whole other story.

Increase Level of Realism– On this I can say that I have made some really great strides. However I am no where near where I want to be. This is an area that I will continue to work at for as long as I am an artist.

My homework assignment to myself, and to you, is to make a new list of goals. Mine will be a bit more refined than that first list, and will include both short term and long term goals. As well as time frames that I would like to see things accomplished.

Thoughts on fan art

I sell my art at a several science fiction and fantasy conventions around Florida. These type of events are very fan centric and fan art is a major component of them. I have always been resistant to fan art for many reasons. I felt like it was selling out and I was not being true to my own art. I felt like I would be ripping off another artist or just repeating someone else’s idea. Mostly it for the most part didn’t interest me. I have so much of my own stuff in my head why should I redo others ideas.

Then I put some more thought into it. How can I make fan art work for me in a way that will help me grow my own art? Well what are some of my own artistic goals? One of my recent focus areas has been to improve accuracy in drawing and be able to better execute my faces and figures. Then it hit me. Rather than looking at the huge world of animated fandom (comic con had me thinking about cartooned characters), I would focus on movie and screenplay characters. Using movie stills as reference and try to be as accurate as possible. Viewing it as an opportunity to refine my skills and increase my accuracy. Emotion and facial expressions are characteristics that I want to master.

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Currently I am watching and reading Game of Thrones, so I decided to start there. I have just finished the first in the series with Cersei Lannister. I am very pleased with how she turned out. Yes there are things I am not happy with. But if I were ever truly happy would I ever finish anything.

Now who should I draw next?

WIP- Osprey drawing part 1

There are many stages to a work of art. Many of mine begin with a walk in the woods. My sweetie and I spend countless hours hunting with our cameras. Sometimes what we capture goes into the vast collection of all that we have seen, sometimes I use them drawing practice and just do quick sketches that never see the light of day, sometimes the make it into a larger work of art as an element in the background. Then every now and again I see a photo and say I must paint that!

Here is one of those instances. We caught this shot of an osprey in flight with her meal. Everything about it is so powerful I knew it would be my next painting.

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Normally I would do a pencil drawing around 8×10 or 9×12. If I were feeling really industrious maybe 11×14. Then possibly complete a painting in watercolor. From the moment I saw this I thought it needs to be done in oils, and larger than my normal size. So I busted out the big Bristol and got to setting up what will hopefully be an 18×24 inch oil painting when I am done.

I start by getting a very light sketch with blue pencil just to get my proportions and landmarks correct.

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Once I get that established I start to lay in the shadows and details.

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I don’t know how long it will take me to get the drawing completed. Tonight my drawing was halted by an orange and stripey distraction.

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Oh well maybe I will get some more completed tomorrow night.

Bringing Back the Jewelry–Flower Faerie Earrings

Years ago, I started a new leg of my artistic journey by selling my original sterling silver jewelry designs. Over time the metals market and the economy fluctuated, and my interests grew I found that my creations had gotten a bit expensive, and they also lacked the challenge that they once had. I launched a new venture and starting sharing my painting with the world. My jewelry has always been available but has just not taken center stage as it once had. Recently I have felt the desire to create accessories again. I have started making whimsical pieces out of mixed metals that are funky, feminine, and affordable. My favorite are my Flower Faerie earrings and necklaces.

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Bold colors and movement make these fun to make. Found objects, repurposed beads and other whimsical items are also making their way into some of the designs. Currently on my workstation are some tiny glass bottles filled with glitter, broken watch parts, and/or seeds found while hiking which will soon be featured in my designs.

I look forward to making more of my jewelry creations available soon. Check out my Etsy Store for my current selection of jewelry designs and other artwork.

www.etsy.com/store/rebeccanipper

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Progression of a painting – Christmas Faerie

I often take Work In Progress (WIP) photos as I paint. I do this mostly because it helps me to see how a painting is progressing and isolate things that need attention early. Viewing my work in the photo allows me to remove myself from it some what and view it through fresh eyes.

Here is a series of photos as my Christmas Faerie painting progresses. The finished painting is 8×10 inches and was painted with watercolors on Hot Press paper.

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