Posting a Painting a Day For Ten Days Challenge

I don’t usually post stuff from my art blog on Facebook, but I have been nominated to post a painting a day for 10 days on Facebook by Deanna Fogstrom, one of my studiomates. You can find her work at:

I’ve decided to post my early COVID work when the lockdown made me listless and uninspired.

  1. At one point, in early May, I decided I had to start somewhere. My first attempt, painting some purple Calla Lilies from a photo, currently makes me cringe. It seems I had forgotten how to paint watercolour, and I liked my photos of the lilies way better.Watercolour painting in a drawing sketchbook of deep-purple Calla lilies
  2. Next I tried painting some yellow Calla Lilies from a photo. This turned out better although I still liked the photo I was working from better. The drawing paper I was working on is really too thin to work with watercolour but not painting in a background seems to help. Watercolour painting of yellow Calla Lilies
  3. Members of the Maranta or Prayer Plant family Marantacea often have colourful variegated foliage. I saw a whole bunch of different varieties of these plants down at the Botanical Garden in Puerto Vallarta and have a many photos to work from. At this point in my COVID work I decided that part of my problem was that I was working on ‘drawing’ paper which doesn’t take watercolour very well – it buckles badly when wet, and the paint doesn’t ‘lay down’ properly. Watercolour painting Maranta or Prayer Plant family Marantacea
  4. Deciding to try proper watercolour paper, I delved into my sketchbook that I had taken to Mexico with me last winter, and found a pencil drawing of a Screw Pine outside the hotel patio. Adding watercolour to it was a dream – the paper was way better to work on. And because the drawing was from life instead of a photo I liked it better too. I especially liked that the drawing was spread over two pages of the sketchbook – it made me think that in the future I might do a two-panel painting. Screw Pine with its aerial roots and toothed yellow-striped leaves on two pages of watercolour paper sketch book, opened to 17" x 5 1/2
  5. Having experienced the joy of using real watercolour paper on painting #4 I got out my watercolour block. These blocks are glued at the edges so they don’t buckle when wet paint is added. However, my block had a half-finished painting on the top sheet, and I had to finish that before I could get to a clean sheet underneath. This old painting was of a Flame Tulip/Fire Dancer. This represents my older (better) work, when I was combining flowers and dancers. Hopefully I’ll get back to painting like this in the future. Watercolour painting of Flame Tulip / Fire Dancer. 16" x 12".
  6. With my watercolour block open to a brand new top sheet I started working on an Iris painting, again from a photo as I still wasn’t going out much. Working from photos isn’t that great for me; mostly I tend to like the photo better. I did four paintings of Irises and in every one I feel I was trying too hard to be realistic – they’re all a bit too much like less-than-perfect botanical illustrations. Watercolour painting of Flag Irises by a pond. 16" x 12".
  7. In late May I picked a short route through the small park outside my door, where there were only Canada Geese and no joggers huffing out plague around. I was inspired for the first time in a long time – the yellow irises in the duck pond had all these snaky reflections and contrast between dark and light. It was glorious! And I used my travel sketchbook again, this time for a long vertical painting. watercolour in my sketchbook of the contrast of the light yellow irises against dark green pond and dark reflections against light sky reflection
  8. The province started opening up in June and the cases of coronavirus in BC had dropped below 10 a day. I actually went out and did a little sketching, first these waterlilies that were blooming in the nearby Lagoons. This is the travel sketch book again, two pages waterlilies in the Lagoons in my long sketchbook
  9. By July the cases of COVID in the province started to increase, but I had been released into the world and it was hard to put the genie back in the bottle. Yuccas were coming out in full bloom and this happened. Watercolour painting in my sketchbook of a yucca that has grown tall enough to turn itself into a tree.
  10. A watercolour of a zucchini squash in bloom, going back to my old sketch book. Now that I had worked out how to paint with watercolour again I took a chance and did this on less appropriate paper. I skipped putting in a watercolour background which seems critical with this thinner paper to stop excessive buckling and I’m pleased with the result.Watercolour painting of a yellow zucchini squash

For more of these paintings see Gallery of Plant and People Paintings.


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