World Watercolor Month: Final Week + 2

Time flies when there is fun to be had, and July has done just that.

Under a darkening sky that seems to want to paint the yard in its own version of watercolor, Charlie’s challenge of painting a watercolor a day to celebrate the First Annual World Watercolor Month comes to a close.

Of  course that doesn’t mean painting and creating daily comes to a halt, maybe just not on 11″ x 15″ sheets of watercolor paper. A return to the sketchbook for a daily routine while a more slower pace with anything larger in size seems to be in order.

It has been a delightful month, and I am both inspired and left in awe of those around the world as well as in our blogging community who came together to share their love of watercolors on a daily basis.  My souvenir from this wonderful adventure is a neat pile of 31 quarter sheets holding painting ideas, experiments, and many things I want to  improve upon. The last group to be added to July’s works are from this past week and 2 days. Influenced by passing storms, and playing with fanciful notions, these final sketches in watercolor will remind me of options on approach with backgrounds and maybe a couple of thematic ideas.

The rain is falling, creating little puddles of reflected color in the yard. It makes me think of the puddles of paint in my palette that need to be cleaned up and the brushes waiting to be rinsed and put aside to dry, …until the next adventure in watercolor.

World Watercolor Month: Week One

Like any new adventure, the first step on a journey is usually made with confidence and determination, and if you are me, the next few steps might be less graceful with a mixture of pirouettes and stumbles. No matter, where water is involved any landings will be light and refreshing, or so I keep telling myself.

I also keep telling myself to “Let go, loosen up, and have fun,” this month’s self-motivating mantra for the duration of the 31 day challenge.

Doing studies, nothing serious, seems to be an easy generalized direction to start off with, and it is fun to see things evolve, to experiment and sometimes just goof off.  Day #2 is a classic example of a painting going sideways very quickly, but it became a good opportunity to doodle and play with inks. So far so good, the first week of the World Watercolor Month has been relaxing and educational.

The days tumble one into the other, a few moments here and there, a swish of the brush, and water carries dreams of colors across doorways made of paper for a month long journey of fun and exploration.

The journey so far:

 

National Peace Rose Day

Peace Rose

Peace Rose

Continuing with Charlie’s invitation to find a day to doodle from National Calendar Days, today, (April 29th), is National Peace Rose Day.

War was on the horizon when French horticulturist Frances Meilland developed a hybrid tea rose with petals light yellow to cream-colored and edged with crimson pink.

Wanting to protect the new rose, cuttings were sent away to friends in Italy, Turkey, Germany and the United States.  One story has it that the cuttings sent to the United States made it out on the last flight just ahead of the German invasion of France.

The rose cuttings thrived, and because the war prevented communications between the growers, different names were given to the new rose. In Italy, it was called Gioia, meaning Joy, while Germany named the rose Gloria Dei, for glory to God.  In France, it was called “Madame A. Meilland” in honor of the breeder’s mother, and is the official cultivar name for the rose.

As the Second World War finally came to a close in Europe, the trade name “Peace” was publicly announced on April 29, 1945, the name it was given in the United States, Sweden and Norway.  Later that year delegates at the inaugural meeting of the United Nations were each given a Peace rose with note that read:

“We hope the Peace rose will influence men’s thoughts for everlasting world peace.”

Wishing for more trees (today, the last Friday in April, is also National Arbor Day), more roses, and of course more peace.

Ahead of the storm

Hope blossomed in foreign lands

Roses sweet as peace

 

Leading Lost Hearts Home

Shisa Companions

Shisa Companions

Started in 2014 and observed every April 23rd, today is National Lost Dog Awareness.

As described at National Calendar Days (continuing with Charlie’s invitation):

“This day was created not only to bring awareness to the dogs that go missing but to also celebrate the reunions.  Through networks of shelters, veterinaries, social media and other media sources, many lost canines are reunited with their loved ones. National Lost Dog Awareness Day is an opportunity to learn more about prevention and networking.”

Positive thoughts and prayers for the lost that they find their way home, for the searching that they find their friends, and for the many in between who help reconnect hearts.

If prayers were bells

All the world would hear ringing

Leading lost hearts home

 

National Pet Day

National Pet Day

National Pet Day

Joining Charlie’s invitation to celebrate a National or International Day with a doodlewash and because it is hard to resist the idea of celebrating National Pet Day, (April 11th), here is a morning doodle. Peace and happiness to all companions great and small and the people who love and care for them.

Friends through the seasons

Faithful in good times and bad

Sharing lives and hearts

Sketchbook meditation

things on a table

Morning mayhem

When setting out on a journey, first things first, which direction to go in?  Because I usually have more than one project started, which direction becomes a daily question. The things I do, painting, writing, sewing, and gardening, are solitary pursuits, and unless I have company, am involved in a collaborative work, or facing a deadline, the choice of direction can sometimes be hard to make. To save time I like to plan the next day’s schedule before I go to bed, figure out the priorities, so that when I get started, I can run on automatic, at least for a short time, while waiting for my brain to wake up and catch up. That is the theory anyway. But sometimes there is just too much going on in my head to settle down and follow the previous night’s plan, too many “must” things demanding attention, too many “fun” things wanting to be done. So how do I decide? This is where my sketchbook comes in handy.

As far back as I can remember, growing up, pencil and paper were my ‘go to’ items, they helped me remember good times, offered escape in bad times, and afforded me a place in my mind that was quiet enough to let me focus and sort out whatever needed to be mulled over. Through the years, doodles, sketches, and creative marks, all helped to funnel the mental mayhem into something more manageable. But eventually my sketchbook went from every day use to only when ‘needed’, such as working out a problem composition, or as an emergency stand-in for a missing journal.

Recently, I have gone back to my old friend the sketchbook on a daily basis, the first thing in the morning and sometimes the last thing at night. It is not easy to rebuild an old habit, but it is very beneficial. To help the process, and keep it simple, I set aside time every morning and choose a subject matter per month. Nothing too complex but something of interest, for example, last month my subject was trees.

Support

Simple sketch

So every morning, while waiting for my tea or coffee to brew or with cup already in hand, I drew trees in pen and ink, uncomplicated, 30 minutes, and usually with enough time left on the clock to add some color if desired. After time is up I usually find that the exercise has helped to quiet the morning mayhem, to put my mind into a sort of meditative state making it easier to sort things out and settle on a direction for the day whether previously planned or not. Because the sketching is only for me, concern over presentation becomes a non-issue, and there is enough flexibility built in so that when life sometimes throws a monkey wrench, there is no stress if I miss a morning or two. Later when I make the time to ‘catch-up’ on any missing days, which is purely optional, my inner voice of accountability feels satisfied and whatever stresses I have collected from the day are dissolved in my 30 minutes, (up to an hour), of sketchbook meditation. More importantly though, the built in forgiveness allows this exercise to remain enjoyable and it does not take on the mantle of chore. A month’s worth of simple sketches in addition to those done outside the morning exercise adds up to a nice feeling of personal satisfaction and accomplishment.

An additional benefit to the morning sketching, I have noticed, is the emergence of themes, without conscious effort or design. By month’s end of just drawing trees, I had found inspiration for a new series of paintings which I am eager to get started on. Just more places I can explore on my creative travels.