This month I was challenged by one of my art groups to paint “A prayer for rain” for Australia and the horrific wildfires and drought that have affected the animals (and people) there.
I went about painting two small watercolors that represented the Australian wildfires to me. Then, coincidentally, my birthday was a few days later and I saw that I could run a birthday donations for a charity drive. I would never normally do one of those drives, nor would I ask people for money (or anything, really) but after having painted the animal art I felt it was worth a try. It also helped that Facebook does not take any money out of the donations and that the recipient I chose was already overwhelmed and fighting to save the native animals of Australia and that is the zoo that Steve Irwin created, the Australia zoo’s Wildlife Warriors.
My birthday was on January 27th 2020 and I would really appreciate it if you can, to donate twenty dollars or more. If not, maybe help in another way, like share the info so others may donate, or even create your own artwork and post it on my page. Also, you could follow my facebook page and maybe help in the future. I have another animal group I want to help sometime later in the year. But, for now, the donation drive is located on my facebook art page, which you can find here:Link
Thanks for reading my blog and hopefully helping out if you can.
This week’s blog is about Moths, Moonflowers and my latest artwork that I just finished called “Sunshine and Lilacs” (yeah, I’m terrible at naming my work) but feel free to help me with ideas for a better one. Anyway, I painted this one for that bit of Spring feeling that I noticed lately, with the days getting slightly longer and the appearance of Robins outside. Very soon my Lilac bush will bloom, along with all of the daffodils and the really pretty Spring fruit trees that will blossom in our neighborhoods. This new watercolor features a purple lilac bush hanging in the sun with a little hummingbird hawk moth hovering below the blossoms collecting nectar.
Painted on Arches cold press paper, the original is about 8X12 inches. I used Daniel Smith paints, mainly Undersea and Hookers green for the background and a wide variety of purples made from Ultramarine Blue and Alizarin Crimson and a bit of Dioxazine purple. Finally, some White Gauche for the sun spots to represent the dazzling sun shining through the bushes. Which brings me to the main subject of this artwork, the moth. This moth and it’s weird baseball bat shaped antenna, was the hardest part to make look right. They have hairy and fluffy fur and are so cute that they actually look like little fuzzy stuffed animals or something! These adorable bugs are Hummingbird Hawk Moths and they are found in jungle climates of North Africa. However, it’s the simple hummingbird moth that is the one found near where I live in North America, but I’ve yet to see one.
Same thing with the Moon or Luna Moth. Apparently they are only found near where I live in North America, but the reason I’ve not seen one is that they’re only alive for about a week in moth form. The rest of the time they are caterpillars. The painting I did last year “Moon Life” (Above) has two Luna moths shown in moonlight while perched on moon flowers which I have been growing on my porch for the past two summers.
Along with moon flowers, I also grow purple Iris, Calla Lily, Dahlias, Grapes, vegetables and big Green Bottle Gourds. We use the gourds in my group children’s art classes to make birdhouses. To see these lessons with step by step info, go to my website and follow the link to my “teaching children’s art” website. I would also recommend Moon flowers for moms to plant with their children because they are really cool flowers that only bloom at night, and they smell beautiful too. Aside from being great subjects for paintings, they are also very easy to grow and they really do open at sunset. You can take the big seeds from their pods and help your children plant them in spring where they’ll grow quickly. They can be planted in pots or anywhere where you can train them up a stake, trellis or porch railing. ~ A word of caution; the Moon flower is a relative of the Night Shade plant, as are tomato and tobacco leaves and are considered poisonous, so no pets or babies within eating distance of them! Although, my dog never even noticed mine. Luckily they quickly grow very high!
In addition to flowers, I love painting beautiful moths, and even more so now that I did a little research and found that they can’t bite or sting you. They don’t even have mouths, they only turn into moths to breed and then they die, which is kinda sad but special in a way. The Chinese, Spanish, Malaysian Moon Moth, and the Madagascar Comet Moon moth are even more beautiful and GIANT versions of this moth! I’m currently painting a few of those moth varieties now in progress. I also like butterflies too, but lately I’m kind of fixated on moths, which is strange since I’m really creeped out by most bugs, especially ones with long legs like grasshoppers and praying mantises. “EEW EEY ICK”
There are some even cooler looking moths that get bigger than your hand and they screech too, which is kinda creepy, like the Death’s Head Hawk Moth, (above) which I painted last year and have sold several T-shirts with this design on them. Guys like this design a lot and I could see it as a really cool tattoo. I still create tattoos for clients and family members, but I much prefer to paint now. This painting (above) was done with watercolor pencils (PrismaColors) as well as White Nights watercolor paints, which I still occasionally use along with my Daniel Smith brand. I also have some Qor, Windsor & Newton tubes and a few others that I like as well in my palette.
This beautiful painting of a moonflower bloom (Left) was painted by the famous and important painter Georgia O’Keeffe, who created huge paintings of South Western America’s flowers that really show her love of nature and talent as an artist. I’ve always loved her work having done a paper on her and her husband, famous photographer Alfred Stieglitz when I was in college. So I’ll finish this blog with a quote from her.
“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.” ~ Georgia O’Keeffe
To see my newest artworks/upcoming projects, please follow my blog or visit my website http://www.everiris.com where you can also find all my links or contact me… or just say hi!
Recently I have been experimenting with how to paint water with watercolors. Oceans, ponds, fish tanks and snow. I’ve found that painting water using watercolor paints is like catching water in your hands. tricky! I have painted water with other mediums in the past, oils and acrylics, but I am exclusively working with watercolors using a variety of techniques and hopefully working toward a purely wet in wet technique.
Anyone who paints with watercolors knows that it’s harder to paint this way and very hard to do it in one sitting. Not that I did paint all of the artworks here in one shot. No, I came back and layered the details in a few stages, but I am still striving to complete my watercolors in less and less layers and put down what I’m trying to paint in one or two wet and watery sessions. Why am I doing this to myself? Several reasons; to challenge myself, to improve my skills and to change my detail centered habits into a looser style that feels freer.
Recently, I have gradually stopped using mixed media like watercolor pencils and ink, aside from a bit of white gauche (which in my opinion is really opaque watercolor) because I’ve found that I just love the look of highly transparent and brightly pigmented washes better than opaque and overly detailed paintings.
I still like to paint with detailed and varied methods, but I wanted to challenging myself and try to just wash and splash and de-construct a subject down to a simple clear and beautiful thing. Then push it even farther to a feeling or moment that inspires a feeling or a movement. At least for now. I reserve the right to change my mind and style (as I sometimes do) when I get bored, but this is where I’m going for now.
The watercolors below gradually got simpler as I went and my final version was a one sitting wet in wet wash that I really love.
I know it isn’t most people’s favorite (or so I’ve found from feedback) I still think it has the most energy, and pure feeling that I was looking for at last. You can see the progression from the detailed and timely Koi painting at the top of the page, to the painting below that was a one painting session of pure joy.
Hope you like all of my painting water with water experiments and I’ll have more to come that I’m working on right now. Thanks for viewing my Blog and to see all of my work or to buy prints, you can go to my website at http://www.everiris.com for more info