Sparrow Series in Progress

I am starting another sparrow painting for my series of these lovely birds. I just adore watching them at the feeder.

As with all my paintings, I start with a very detailed drawing. In order to achieve the degree of realism that I strive for, the accuracy of the drawing is essential.  I lightly draw my image onto my watercolor paper using a 0.5 drafting pencil. I then decide if I want a background. In this painting I laid down a light wash of winsor green yellow shade, and then let it dry. I may go back and darken it a bit at the end.

Next, with all birds and other wildlife, I begin the painting by the working the eye first. I do this because if I wait and paint everything else and then the eye doesn’t look right, I have ruined my painting. If the eye is right from the start, I usually am ok through the rest of the painting. Any other mistakes can (usually) be fixed.

This is the start of another watercolor. I am hoping the end result is to my liking! Thanks for reading!

May you have ease of being in all you do today!

Maggie

Finding my way as an artist.

What makes someone an artist? I used to have an idea in my head that in order to be a “real” artist one had to have gone to art school, enter and win shows, make the covers of artist magazines and most importantly, sell their work.

Well, I didn’t go to art school but I have entered two shows and won in one of them. At that show, the honor of winning left me thinking, “now I can say I am an artist”.  Then came a larger show at which I didn’t place. Did that mean I was mistaken? Was it a fluke? Was I not really an artist after all? And then there is the selling issue. Yes, I have sold paintings… to friends. I have even shipped sold art across the country..again friends. So, is my art not “good enough” for the general public?

And then comes the question do I really even need to sell my art?  It is not my primary source of income and thank goodness for that or I would really  be in trouble.

I paint because my heart leads me to my brushes and paper. I paint because I love seeing the subject come alive under my brushstrokes. I paint because I lose time and become one with my most authentic, creative self and just flow with it. I paint because it is one of the places in my world that I feel truly at peace in my mind. Can I really put a price tag on that kind of experience? Would selling a painting make any difference in my artistic process? I don’t think so.

Maybe what makes me an artist is the joy I get from painting. Maybe that is enough. Maybe art, for me, is simply the process, and my reward for painting is the joy. Who could ask for more than that?

Thanks for reading and may you find joy in your moments today.

Maggie

2020 ~ A New Decade

 

Today is the last day of December 2019. As I turn my sites to 2020 I am excited and honored to be starting my new years art journey with a solo exhibit at the Spencer Public Library from January 6th through February.  The exhibit is titled, Creatures Among Us, Watercolor Wildlife and consists of 12 of my favorite pieces from 2019. I never thought I would call myself an artist, never mind be exhibiting my work. I am so thankful to The Massasoit Art Guild who has made this possible. The Guild is a wonderful organization that supports and encourages its members to grow as artists and show their work.  As an artist, the support and friendships I’ve developed there has been vital to my personal growth and level of confidence. I would encourage anyone who is interested in art or photography to join the Guild and/or an Art Guild in your own local community. Support local Art Guilds supporting local artists.

Thanks for Reading and may you find ease of being in this New Year!

 

Maggie

Sparrow Love

I am so excited to be entering my second art show this week. My painting Sparrow Love will be among hundreds of amazing paintings of all genres at ArtsWorcester The One Show on Dec 6th through the month. I have no expectations of this show except to enjoy being among my good friends Susan, Bob and Jen as we all enter our pieces.

So thankful for being able to paint and show my work.

Thanks for stopping by. May you have ease of being in all you do today.

Maggie

 

First Art Show ~ Best In Show

 I had the first exhibition of my work at the Massasoit Art Guilds 16th Annual Show this last weekend Oct 19th & 20th. To my great surprise and joy I won Best In Show for my painting Sparrow Love. I also received a Memorial Award for my painting Blue Eyes. It was such a wonderful experience and gave my confidence in my work a boost. We all have occasional self doubt and I have an abundance of it at times.  This award certainly reinforces my identity as an artist. I am thankful the to Guild for the opportunity to show my work and and the support and encouragement from the other guild members.  It was so great to have my sister Sue with me on Saturday when the awards were given out and the support of my family and friends throughout the weekend. What a wonderful experience!

The Pursuit for Perfection

I just finished this painting “raccoon in a tree hollow” and I  became very frustrated during the process. I wanted so badly for this painting to be “perfect”. I love the photograph and have seen it done by other artists with great success.

I was initially off to a great start with the raccoon, but soon realized that the bark was just too complicated for me to paint with the drawing I did. It just wasn’t detailed enough for this painting. I tried to redo the bark over and over, lifting paint, putting washes down, lifting and repeat.  I was confused by where the shadows should be and lost my light source.  I ended up with a mess of overworked paper and muddy colors. I felt so frustrated and defeated. Any creative endeavor has the potential to make us feel this way, especially when we invest so much time, energy, money and most of all, heart and soul.

I know art is subjective. I know art isn’t about perfection but the process of creating. Art is the joy of painting, practicing and improving my skills. I know I learn from these “unsuccessful” paintings and that is good. But…..the pursuit for perfection lingers in the back of my mind.  “THIS is going to be my best painting ever”, I say to myself at the start of a new painting project. I “know” this isn’t the best thing to say to myself, but I desperately want to achieve the level of painting I have set as a standard for myself.  I want to be there “now” and that is the inherit frustration of the pursuit for perfection. It feels bad. And I love painting so much that I don’t want it to feel bad. Ever.

So, I am going to try and just enjoy the process and rid myself of this self imposed standard. I am going to paint and try to find something beautiful in every painting and along the way, I will improve.

Practice makes…. no not perfect, but better.

Wishing you ease of being in all you do today. Thanks for reading!

Maggie

 

The Foxes of Provincetown

I just finished the third of a series of paintings on foxes. The Red Fox is a common site in Massachusetts but especially visible in the small community of Provincetown. During a visit to my brother who lives there I was surprised to see them regularly around his house. They appear to have no fear of humans and raise their young in burrows made in close proximity to people. I was fascinated by the ease in which these beautiful wild animals live among the people. Deciding to paint them was an easy choice.

These last two paintings  were based on photographs taken by Elizabeth Brooke, a Provincetown/Cape Cod wildlife photographer as well as a wildlife officer and advocate for the foxes of the outer Cape.  She was gracious enough to let me use her beautiful photos and I am very thankful.  Watching them come to life on my paper was a joyous experience.

For more about the foxes in Massachusettes visit https://www.mass.gov/service-details/learn-about-foxes

and https://ptownie.com/provincetown-fox-takes-at-what-2019/

Baby FoxProvincetown Fox

May you have ease of being in all you do today!

Maggie

Finished Sparrow

I began this painting of this sweet asian sparrow two days ago. I used a photograph by Aschi, a talented wildlife photographer in Switzerland who generously makes his photos available to artists to use as references.  I wouldn’t be painting these details without the use of photographs like his.

In my previous post I detailed my beginning process. The next phase entailed laying down the light, dark and mid-tones of the colors on the sparrows wings and the branches. This took many hours of going back and seeing what needed to be darker to bring lighter areas into balance. I used Winsor and Newton watercolors and made mixes from burnt sienna, paynes gray, raw umber, scarlet lake and lamp black.

 

I say my sparrow painting is finished, but I will let him sit on my easel and over the next day or so I will probably do a touch up here and there.  Even after feeling a painting is finished, my eyes find tiny details that still need a little touch up. I guess a painting is never really finished until it is signed and in a frame. I am not ready for that yet.

Thank you for reading. I hope you find ease of being in all you do today.

Maggie

Sparrow Series in Progress

I am starting another sparrow painting for my series of these lovely birds. I just adore watching them at the feeder.

As with all my paintings, I start with a very detailed drawing. In order to achieve the degree of realism that I strive for, the accuracy of the drawing is essential.  I lightly draw my image onto my watercolor paper using a 0.5 drafting pencil. I then decide if I want a background. In this painting I laid down a light wash of winsor green yellow shade, and then let it dry. I may go back and darken it a bit at the end.

Next, with all birds and other wildlife, I begin the painting by the working the eye first. I do this because if I wait and paint everything else and then the eye doesn’t look right, I have ruined my painting. If the eye is right from the start, I usually am ok through the rest of the painting. Any other mistakes can (usually) be fixed.

This is the start of another watercolor. I am hoping the end result is to my liking! Thanks for reading!

May you have ease of being in all you do today!

Maggie

 

Massasoit Art Guild Annual Show

My first official show will be The Massasoit Art Guild 16th Annual Show and Art Sale on Sat & Sun, Oct 19th & 20th 10:00 to 4:00 at Spencer Memorial Town Hall, 157 Main St Spencer MA.

https://www.massasoitartguild.com

I will be entering 4 pieces and I am so excited to be taking this step with my watercolors. If you’re free, plan to add it to your fall activities list and come by and see the show!

May you have ease of being in all you do today!

Maggie

In the Studio

Hello and welcome to this first post on my website. I thought I would start by showing you my studio space which is small but works well for me. Since my process of painting is more of a detailed style of watercolor, or wet on dry paper,  I keep everything I need on my small drafting table. I use a larger table if I am working wet on wet, for instance doing a background wash for a painting, due the amount of water and paint that can get splashed around. I will get into more detail about my painting process and the techniques I use in another post. I also plan on posting a step by step method/instruction with photos, so you can see one of my paintings from start to finish. Check back for more content.

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read. I welcome any comments and would love to hear from you.

May you have ease of being in whatever you do today!

Maggie