I did complete the seven day art challenge, even if I didn’t post everything here. In all, I have six flamingo paintings and one beach sunrise painting, all in watercolor. This is the flamingo painting I like best of the six, although others have said they prefer another from the series … but that is probably why we are all individual people!
A pink flamingo feeds in rippled blue-green water along the shore, with its feathers and the water ripples catching the early morning sun light. This is a twelve by nine inch watercolor painting on watercolor paper.
Update: I entered this painting into two art contests. The first was the inaugural art competition in the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans’ Healthcare System Creative Arts Festival (say that one fast) and it took first place in the watercolor division, though it did not place at the national level. We veterans tend to be quite the talented bunch. The second time was in March 2022, when I entered in my local county fair. The judge bumped it up to the professional category, and awarded me a red ribbon (which had a prize of $2.00!). Considering the Best in Show went to someone in the youth category, and that will look great on a college application, I have no regrets.
I should probably note I am working on repainting this on a 16×20 inch stretched canvas. I have the layout done, and a thin layer of acrylic as the base because charcoal and graphite tend to rub off canvas. Watch for a further post on this piece, which will be a one-of-a-kind since my scanner can only fit 11×17 inches, so there will be no prints of it.
A new art challenge has begun! This is a short seven days, with the theme of “liquid,” which to my mind cries out to be done all in watercolor for the medium. I have my seven reference photos picked out, cropped, and gridded … and all seven involve one or more flamingoes, which are wading shore birds so it was merely a matter of making sure they aren’t on dry land. I have been wanting to paint a flamingo for almost two years now, and have done sketches to get a feel for the bird’s lines. Now, it is time to paint some.
First up is a young bird, molting from the grey-purple chick down to the vibrant pink feathers of the adult flamingo. The wings change over before the head and neck, just like chickens. The brilliant rose pink is a perfect contrast to the blue-green I used for the water, with the distant shoreline a blurry combination of yellow ochre for sand, brown in the shadows, and three shades of green.
Flamingoes usually don’t come this far north, nor this far inland, in Florida, but down in the southern part of the peninsula they are believed to be starting to come back and be a part of the wildlife again. Personally, I love the thought of the American flamingo regaining its Florida native status.
We are now in the second half of the year, which means it is time for those of us in the gift-making sector to turn our focus to the year-end winter holidays like Christmas. I will certainly be doing Florida-themed paintings very soon, but I thought I should spotlight the watercolor paintings I did at the end of 2020.
The first, which set the tone and fired my imagination, was this cheerful and festive-looking snowman. I had a very enjoyable time painting this, with the merry red scarf and hat, the black buttons, and the blue and purple shadows, with the swirling green in the background to make the reds pop. Just pulling this painting out again to scan and upload has brightened my mood today! I often use the word “whimsical” to describe this one. While it has a different look compared to most of my other artwork, I still love it. Sometimes, it is just fun to experiment with different styles to keep myself from feeling too “stuck in a rut.”
Continuing with my love of roses, here is a small square watercolor painting I simply call Pink Rose. While I painted the flower itself in a very realistic style, I went completely abstract for the blue-green background, just making the outline along the petals radiate towards the edges of the paper. My husband commented that this stylization of the background is often used in comics, which I had not known previously. Of course, at this moment, neither of us can come up with the name for this effect.
Shadow layer in blue
I actually started out using just a normal photo as my reference to get the shapes and particularly the shadows right. Once I had it sketched out, I had to decide what kind of background I wanted to give it. Since I already painted the shadows in blue I figured a light wash with a bit of green would be perfect.
I’m not really sold on this small of a painting. Along with the issues of finding a frame in this size, it just feels so small. Maybe it’s because I spent an entire semester working on an 18 by 24 inch sketch pad, or maybe I just feel an urge to work larger. Either way, I will likely not be tearing through this small watercolor block just because it really does feel tiny to me.