Posted in watercolor

Letting Go…in Art and in Life!

Hello creative friends!

Today I thought I would post a few of my latest watercolor creations. I wanted to try out some new materials and just have some fun, but what to paint???

Enter “Mo” my studio gnome…

Mo the Gnome

Mo is a daily inspiration to me.

I love his unkept salt and pepper beard and the perfect roundness of his nose.

Though his drab-colored clothing is practical and basic, and his shoes are different sizes and a bit wonky looking, his stocking cap speaks volumes about his whimsical nature.

In short, I can’t help but chuckle when I see him there waiting on my studio desk.

But what does Mo have to do with letting go???

Well, seeing Mo reminds me not to take myself so seriously—to let go of what others think of me and much of what I think about myself.

And since I’m a pretty serious person, I need this reminder on almost a daily basis!

Artistically speaking, being able to let go gives me permission to play and experiment.

In short, it gives me permission to ask, “What if….?” while I’m creating.

That playful attitude helps the artist in me to try new techniques, mediums, supplies, and application methods, which in turn encourages my overall artistic growth.

Even if I don’t end up liking what I create, it’s time well spent to help me know not to head in that particular direction!

Mo reimagined

Without the ability to let go, we lose the chance to grab onto something new or different.

So why is it sometimes so hard to let go in life and in our artistic process?

Fear can be a huge driver in much of this, at least for me.

Unfortunately, fear can come from any direction and take many forms: fear of failure, fear of loss, fear of criticism, fear of losing control, fear of comparison, etc.

How do we combat fear?

By faith in practice and by practicing our faith!

Gnome practice….

You don’t have to be an artist for long (or a human being, for that matter) to know that you will create lots of stinkers and make lots of mistakes.

But you can learn to let go of the failure and keep moving forward, and gradually you learn not to make the same mistakes.

Hummingbird Watercolor on paper Copyright R. Sorrells, 2021

I will leave you with a quote by one of my favorite artists of today, John MacDonald.

“Creativity and learning flourish when we’re on our edge, out of our comfort zone and out of our spheres of knowledge. We can only learn when we’re in the unknown. But the unknown is often terrifying…. When we’re filled with the joy of playing, there’s no room for fear. It is in the state of play that we learn the truth about fear and discover that we can live with it and manage it. And as we become more accustomed to playing fearlessly, we can relax, open up, and begin working fearlessly.”

John MacDonald, Artist

So begin a practice of letting go my friends.

Show yourself and others grace.

‘Till next time,

~R

Posted in sketchbook

Sketching Fun!

Hello all!

The fireworks have finally died down around our neighborhood and our new puppy is starting to relax again after all of the festivity, noise, and hubbub.

Well, except for yesterday afternoon when she attended her first puppy class, but that’s another story… 😉

Over the holiday weekend I took some time to do some relaxing sketching using photos from this website:
Line of Action. 

If you have never used this site, you should try it! It is full of reference photos of various subject matter—from figures to animals, hands and feet to landscape scenes, facial expressions, and more. 

And it’s FREE!!!

What’s more, it allows you to set the parameters for each sketching session. For example, if you want to train yourself to sketch quickly while being timed, you can set each photo to change after say just 30 seconds or 1 minute.

Or if you’re not worried about sketching quickly, you can set the clock to 10 minutes. 

Personally, I like to get in the line drawing in a preselected amount of time, then pause the photo countdown timer so I can take my time adding in values with whatever media I wish before moving on to the next photo.

The site allows you to choose your subject matter and parameters without a subscription, but more options are offered to members should you choose to become one.

Anyway, here are a few of the sketches I made. 

Materials used:

  • Strathmore Toned Gray sketch books (9×12 and 5.5 x 8.5)
  • Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pen – black
  • Pentel brush pen – black
  • Signo Uni-ball Broad white pigment pen
  • References from line-of-action.com.

 

 

 

Sketching is a wonderful artist discipline that can help you improve your work no matter what kind of artist you are.

Why? 

Because when you sketch what you are really doing is practicing SEEING! 

And all artists need to really SEE to create!

So get sketching if you don’t already do so. It’s great for your artistic brain!

Let me know what you do to practice seeing. I’d love to hear from you!

Till next time,

Stay creative 🙂

~R

Posted in sketchbook

The Other Side of My Easel: Whimsy Sisters (part three)

Hello Friends! 

It is wet and blustery here in the Hoosier state—a great day to stay indoors doing something for my creative side.
I hope that you have had some time to get creative too!

As promised, today I bring you the third and final installment of the Whimsy Sisters. If you missed the last two posts, click here to go back to part 1 and get caught up. 

Drawing these girls has been very freeing and fun….freeing because they could be anything I wanted them to be, and fun because, well, they could be anything I wanted them to be! 🙂

Seriously, you never know what will come out of your imagination when you give yourself permission to PLAY
And that was the whole point…

So let me introduce you to the third of our trio:  Lucinda

 

Lucinda

What is there to say about Lucinda?

Well, to start with, she’s somewhat homely, unlike her other two sisters. She doesn’t wear the nicest clothes or have a fashionable hair-do. She doesn’t attract others with a sunny disposition or sparkling charisma. 
But she is practical and friendly. 

Lucinda is, in fact, the glue that holds everything together in her family of three.
For example, she is the one who makes sure that the meals are made, the cat gets let outside, and the plants are watered. She is the one people can count on.

When her other two sisters have a problem, they go to Lucinda. You see, she is a good listener and a steady friend.

Did I mention that she carries an umbrella and a little bucket around with her? The bucket is for collecting her tears which she uses to water the flowers, and the umbrella is for, well, you never know when it’s going to rain!

See? Practical.

Here is the start of Lucinda:

Line sketch of Lucinda

Initial watercolor washes

Lucinda’s palette

 

And finally, here is Lucinda with her two sisters, Penney and Maggie, after I added a fun background of dots using the leftover colors on my palette.

Whimsy Sisters

I hope you have enjoyed this series. I have enjoyed sharing it with you!

Until next time,

~Rhonda

Posted in sketchbook

The Other Side of My Easel: Whimsy Sisters (part 2)

Hello Friends! I hope this day finds you well and living your creative dreams!

Today I would like to continue sharing my series of sketchbook Whimsies…those make-believe characters that take form in my mind and live on the pages of my sketchbook.

In my last post I introduced you to Penney, the youngest of the three Whimsy Sisters.

As you may recall, Penney is sweet and modest, bringing sunshine wherever she goes, befriending animals and people alike.

Her older sister, Maggie, is quite a different character:

maggie

 

“Free-spirited” describes Maggie’s true nature. Preferring dramatic entrances and exits, she can be counted on to sport a wardrobe resplendant with halloween costumes from past years. She doesn’t take anything or anyone (including herself) too seriously, and she never takes time to comb her hair. To some, Maggie might seem aloof, insensitive, or full-of-herself, but in reality, she is simply lost in her own little world of make-believe and is too enthralled to notice anyone else noticing!

Here is a peek at Maggie’s creation:

Sketch

Initial watercolor washes

Color palette and secondary washes

Detailing

 Well, that’s it for today. I hope you are enjoying this peek into my sketchbook!

Until next time,

Stay creative! 🙂

~Rhonda

Posted in sketchbook

The Other Side of My Easel: Whimsy Sisters (part 1)

Hello again Creative Friends!

Today I would like to introduce the first in a series of illustrations I call Whimsies.

Whimsies are my take on quirky, make-believe folks that come to life in my mind and live in the pages of my sketchbook! 🙂

Whimsies are a lot of fun to conceive of, draw, and paint because I am limited only by my imagination—there basically is no wrong way to draw a Whimsy!

So without further ado…

Let me introduce “Penney”—one of the three “Whimsy Sisters.”

“penney”

Penney is a sweet girl. One of three girls in the family, she doesn’t like fighting or arguing with her two older, rather bossy, sisters. Instead she much prefers things to be civilized and beautiful. Birds and animals are her friends. She has by far the most beauteous heart and countenance of the three, though she would never say that about herself, and she brings sunshine wherever she goes.

Let’s take a peek at how I created Penney: 

Pencil drawing and initial watercolor wash

Secondary washes and color palette

Added shadowing and detail

I hope you enjoyed meeting Penney!
I plan to introduce her sisters in upcoming posts.

Until then, make time for your imagination.

Have fun!

~Rhonda 

Posted in sketchbook

The Other Side of My Easel: Sketchbook Whimsy!

Hello, my creative friends!

Let me ask you a serious question. 

DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF AN ARTIST???

Think about the question for a minute. You may be wondering where this is going, but let me ask you a few more questions:

  • Do you tend to lose track of time when you are in the creative process? (I call that being “in the zone”.)
  • Do you find yourself wishing for, craving, even needing time spent in some creative activity?
  • Do you feel better (more balanced or centered) after you have gotten to spend time in your creative process?
  • Do you feel unfulfilled, anxious, or restless when you don’t get enough time or opportunity to create? 
  • Do you miss the time you could have spent creating when other priorities in life arise?

I think that if you answered “yes” to any of the above, you, my friend, are an artist. 🙂

But what does any of this have to do with this blog?

Well, let me tell those of you who don’t personally know me that I absolutely adore and am committed to the pastel medium. For me, its immediacy, vibrancy, and tactile nature make it my number one choice when I want to get seriously creative.

But one can’t be (or shouldn’t be, I believe) serious ALL the time. As I grow in my ability to express myself with my art, I can more clearly see the need to incorporate some serious PLAY-TIME (sorry, I couldn’t resist…) into my artistic life! 

So today, I am throwing caution to the wind and opening up my sketchbook to share with you some of my latest play-time creations. 

First up: A Nesting Composition of Colorful Butterflies

Nested Butterflies — watercolor and graphite

I LOVE doing nested compositions. It’s an easy way to practice and experiment with shapes, colors, and layout using a single subject. No two are ever the same! Pop the finished piece onto a colorful piece of scrapbook paper and attach it in your sketchbook, or adorn the top of a blank greeting card and send it off to a lucky person!
They can read it and then frame it!

Next up: A Nesting Composition of Mason Jars

Nested Mason Jars — watercolor and graphite

I plan to do more nesting compositions….balloons, teapots, and toadstools are on my play list! 

Here’s one more pic showing my shortcut to drawing mason jars….

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I plan to share more of my sketchbook creations in the near future, so stay tuned!

Before I go, I would like to mention the book The Art of Creative Watercolor—Inspiration & Techniques for Imaginative Drawing and Painting by Danielle Donaldson. This book is AWESOME!! It’s where I got the idea for nesting compositions. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who is looking to foster a more playful creative process. Check it out!

Till next time,

Stay Creative!!

~Rhonda