Thursday, February 23, 2017

Drawing Diary for January

The idea to do a drawing diary every month came from Ravanel the author of Ravalation.  I started following her blog last August after my husband sent me her post about Playing Pokèmon GO When Chronically Ill because I have rheumatoid arthritis and we play the game too.  Her drawing diaries have become something that I look forward to (not that her other posts aren't good also!).  So since I am an artist the drawing diary has become a main idea for posts, thus you may look forward to them at least once a month.

This month is really more of a painting diary since that has been my main focus as of late.  I will share three out of my last five oil paintings, the last two are still too wet to take outside for a picture.

Back in June of 2015 a friend of mine asked if I could come up with two more paintings to go with one I had done of a flowering tree that she and her husband had commissioned.  I said I would see what I could come up with and for almost a year it was nothing because the original piece had been envisioned as a stand alone. Then an idea hit me, why not make these two smaller paintings stand alones as well.  In this way they could either be hung beside the bigger one or be hung elsewhere if need be.  She liked the idea.  Thankfully she was in no rush since I was in the middle of another painting,

This other painting I had started in April of 2016 with drawing it on the canvas, it was later titled Cocoa Spirit for reasons yet to be revealed.  I used a picture I had taken of my horse, Cocoa, the previous summer in a pose that I had wanted to capture for a very long time.  

I had every intention of having Cocoa Spirit done by the end of May. Unfortunately that didn't happen due to my health and life in general.  I was able to get the background done by then at least.  Since I was using water soluble oils I decided to dilute them and see what happens.  I blame watching Bob Ross on Netflix and since I also used his idea of, "There are no mistakes, only happy accidents,” I found my results acceptable.

It wasn't until July that I was able to get to painting his body and eye.  My next goal was to have his mane and tail done by the time my mom and step-dad visited near mid-August. This also didn’t happen since Cocoa got sick near the end of July and thus all of my time was spent going to see him.  I am glad I did since he was no longer with me after the 21st.

Finally on September 2lst I finished the painting as a way to help me through that marker of the first month without him.  I think it was then that I named the painting.  A friend of mine and I have talked about it and how it seems like my spirit knew something was going to happen even back in April because there seems to be a lot of grief in the piece.

I don't remember if it was while Cocoa Spirit was in progress or not but I started working on the tree paintings.  I began with 4" x 5” sketches after looking at pictures of trees for inspiration.  Then I took a picture of them and sent them to my friend for approval. They loved them.

They did have a preference of these trees also having flowers.  So I put a piece of tracing paper over the the tree sketches and drew little flowers.  After I was done I again sent a picture and received approval.

My next step was to grid the 4" x 5” sketches with ½” squares. Then I took the 16"x 20” Canvas and drew a grid with 2" squares.  In this way I kept the proper ratio so I could freehand copy the smaller compositions onto the larger canvases.  Who knew that those master studies for drawing classes in university would actually come in handy!

After that I did a quick color study by laying another piece of tracing paper over the previous one and original sketch. I skipped sending a picture this time and got the backgrounds done in December.  Completion happened by the end of January like I planned which made my friend and I both happy.

Here are the finished pieces.  The first one being Flowering Tree Left and the second being Flowering Tree Right.

Hopefully my last two oil paintings will be dry enough to include in a drawing diary for February in a couple of weeks.


  1. This is so awesome!! When I started my drawing diaries it was for myself, to encourage myself to draw more and experiment with different subjects and techniques. But it was also the kind of thing I felt I would love to see from other creators. And now you're giving it a try. So cool!

    Also, I had no idea you found my blog through that Pokemon Go article. I'm happy you did. Of course not because of the reason. *glares at arthritis*

    It's cool to see how much colour you can bring into your paintings with oil paint (which, as you know, I have never used). Your Cocoa is my absolute favourite. There is so much emotion in it. As you said, it is as if you knew what was going to happen. The background is as a soft curtain of rain and Cocoa looks back one more time.

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. I am hoping the drawing diaries will help encourage me to draw more too. I love the thought of sharing the work and giving some of the process behind it. :) Probably why I love yours so much!

      I am glad for finding your blog too. I've really enjoyed it!

      I use pure color in oil painting and let all of the mixing happen on the canvas. Oils used to be fun but they can be a beast as far as how much needs to be completed in one sitting and the smell. I am wanting to try watercolor and see if I can do something similar.

      Thank you, I think that is my favorite painting that I've done of him. Your description made me choke up a bit. Love it.

      You're welcome. Thank you for the inspiration. :D