Monday, September 30, 2013

Day 30 - Last Day of Leslie Saeta's 30 paintings in 30 days Challenge

Garden Girl
11x14 watercolor by Liana Yarckin

I know this little girl very well.  I had the pleasure of being in playgroup with her sister and mother.  We always went to the Dallas Arboretum when the weather was nice.  This little one and her sister were just nature's children.  Fascinated by everything outside, including insects.  They would pick up whatever interesting insects they found carefully and show their mother with only a child's curiousity and innocence.  Their mother would tell them about the insects if she knew what they were and if she didn't with a gentle, patient voice would point out all of the interesting things about that bug and then instruct them to put him back gently where they found him.  Now the family lives in Switzerland and this little girl is no longer a little girl.  I wonder if she still picks up bugs and runs barefoot through gardens?

Today is the last day of Leslie Saeta's 30 in 30 challenge.  Go to her blog to see all of the paintings by over 250 artists that have been posted over the last month.  The challenge has been so great for me.  I have met talented artists, many watercolorists, that I truly enjoy their work and it inspires me.  The challenge has taught me:

  • Discipline in which I was rewarded with some paintings that sing to me as well as taken me to a new artistic level and has made me see and think more with a creative artist's eye.  Because of the limited time, I was forced to make decisions and see my compositions with a critical eye.
  • JOY, sometimes when I have to stop painting to go to something like a meeting at school or pick up, I can't stop thinking of what I was working on with a longing to get back in my studio.  
  • Accomplishment, I feel satisfied after I made my post on Leslie's blog, everything for the rest of the day cannot ruffle my feathers because I had a good morning painting in solitude.
  • Bountifulness, posting on Leslie's blog has brought me new artists friends.  Posting frequently about the challenge on my facebook page created a buzz with interest, excitement and participation by my readers as well as commissions.
So a very huge thank you and blessings to Leslie for all of the above and so much more.  A thank you to all of the newcomers to my blog and facebook page for all of your kind words and encouragement.  It was a sense of community to hear from you and to see your daily posts on your blog and facebook pages.  I hope this is not good-bye.  

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Day 29 of Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

Big Tex
11x14 watercolor by Liana Yarckin

If you have been with me for more than a year, than you know how much my Yankee husband has embraced the southern event, the Texas State Fair and it is our family's tradition to always go on opening night.  Shhhh - don't tell anyone, but, it's not crowded on the first night.  We never have to wait in lines for rides, food or games and can always find plenty of tables to sit at to eat the Fair's corn dogs, corn on the cob or giant turkey legs and this year, my kids tried the fried oreos for dessert.  I have posted a photo of Big Tex in the past for my friends around the world to see.  Last year he burned down.  Right before Halloween so that was the clever costume for many adults - a burning Big Tex.  

In honor of the new Big Tex being revealed and the opening of the Texas State Fair, I wanted to paint him.  Big Tex is the icon of the State Fair.  He is on everything from Cotton Candy to the height measuring signs at the rides.  You should have seen the look on my husband's face when I told him I had to go take photos of Big Tex (on the other side of the fair grounds) before the sun went down.  Big Tex is 52' tall.  I took several photos so that I would have enough info when I got back to the studio.  After studying the photos, I zoomed into this one.  I wanted to show the height without painting the whole body because that would be just a bad composition.  I broke the rules and Big Tex is staring right off the page, but, I really wanted to get his waving hand which is Big Tex's recognizable pose, plus the cast shadows on his face for the painting.  The sun was setting so there was a nice sunset glow on him, too.  Below are some of the photos of Big Tex.  By the way, he talks, too.

OMG!  I just checked my Liana Yarckin Watercolors facebook page, you need to check out the comments from my post yesterday on how to paint Big Tex.  I had no idea that the question would get so many different opinions and ideas!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Day 26 - 30 in 30 Challenge

A Pink Spring
16x20 watercolor by Liana Yarckin

Well, now I don't want to post my paintings unless they are to the level of my last posts.  I worked on groups of people with no "fantastic" turn out.  The photo of these pink tulips had been sitting on my desk saying, "pick me, pick me."  I took the photos at the Dallas Arboretum the year my son took his first steps while we where there!  That was about 10 years ago.  

Email subscribers, be patient, only 4 more days of paintings, IF I can continue painting and having something I am pleased to share with you.  

Any newcomers, welcome.  Please visit my facebook page, Liana Yarckin Watercolors, to see an array of the different subjects I paint, including beach scenes and city scenes, too.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Day 21 in 30 in 30

Watercolor in progress

Because of Leslie Saeta's 30 paintings in 30 days challenge, a commission for this painting came about.  A friend from highschool had been seeing my daily posts on facebook and asked if I could paint her daughter.  She emailed me a bunch of darling photos, but, the one of her daughter is this red hat caught my eye.  I have never met her daughter, but looking at the photos, I could see her personality.  I am still working on this painting.  I am going to study it the next few days and add the finishing touches.  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Day 19 - 30 in 30

Wisteria Door
11x14 watercolor by Liana Yarckin

Inspired by a door to a hotel I saw in the Berkshires adjacent to Edith Wharton's home.  When you miss your turn, you never know what you may find.  I had missed the turn into the Edith Wharton parking lot, so I just took the next turn.  Since I was with my agreeable 5 year old, I just hopped out of the car to snap some quick photos of this doorway to a darling little hotel next door.  Below is the photo.  I changed the placement of the sun in my painting so I could have sunlight on it instead of it being in shadow.  It reminds me of doorways one sees in Provence.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Day 18 - 30 in 30

Aspens in Blue
11x14 watercolor by Liana Yarckin

A huge thank you to everyone who commented yesterday.  As soon as I make this post, I am going to go look at your blogs!

The mountains in this painting are inspired by the "famous" mountains in one of the beer commercials, I was told.  They are in Telluride.  I used reference photos of aspens and the mountains that I took in Telluride.  The blue skies in my photos are so vibrant with shades of blue from light cerulean to cobalt.  I may paint more aspens with the blue skies. 

More paintings at Liana Yarckin Watercolors

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Day 17 - 30 in 30 - Cafe Scene

Patio Poetry
11x14 watercolor by Liana Yarckin

Do you ever have those full circle life experiences.  Once long ago, I was here at this very restaurant with a girlfriend enjoying a lunch in Burlington, Vermont.  I thought it was the quaintest little place and despite taking a card and being there twice now, I can't recall the name.  But, I know how to get there!  Without a plan except to get to our kid's summer camp by the next morning, my husband and I were driving up to Maine.  We didn't even know where we were going to stay.  By the end of the day we were looking at our maps on our phones and it turned out that Burlington, Vermont was nearby and had places to stay.  I immediately remembered this restaurant.  I said, "I know a great place for us to eat at.  Let's go."  My very practical husband asked his Texas wife with raised eyebrows, "You do?  How?  When?  Why would you do about a place in Burlington, VT."  On memory alone, I new it was on a corner, it was French, (I ate escargot there years ago) and it had a fabulous patio, telling him where to park, we came right to it!  It was too easy to find my way back.  Miraculously, it was still there and we could be seated in 30 minutes.  The first time around, I never had any idea that I would be back at this restaurant with my husband sans kids enjoying a leisurely dinner and reminiscing about the first time I was there with a long lost friend who now lives in Canada.  Maybe she will find this story...?

Isn't that just wild when you unintentionally end up somewhere again and it's with your favorite person in the world.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Icee Heaven
11x14 watercolor by Liana Yarckin

I did the drawing for this on Saturday and painted it Sunday.  I probably put too much information in in the background, but, I wanted the business of the fun park to show that there was nothing better than this Icee at the moment.  Do you remember when you were young and the chance to get an Icee!  Only two choices in flavor then, cola or cherry.  A little more tweaking is needed in this painting.  Some more blue on the shadow side of his face.

On a side note, I have hair color in my hair right now.  I have a meeting at school today which is going to take a big chunk of my painting time today!  I am loving the pressure of getting a painting posted by 10:00 a.m. every morning, that's about when Leslie's post goes up my time.  What am I going to do when this challenge is over.  With the challenge, I am posting with 250+ artists.  Each day I have an opportunity to show to all of these artists and all of the visitors going to Leslie's page, plus all of the people that have tuned in on facebook.  When I see people around town, they ask what am I going to paint next and I have received several commissions, too!  The buzz of this challenge is great.  In addition, to the social aspect, I have learned so much about my painting style and techniques, which I hope improvement is showing, I am more organized about my days and time, I have been challenging myself artistically ( I "fix" the photos I have to make a better composition and painting), I am in a groove of thinking artistically, even last night I had dreams of abstract watercolor images, that's a first, but, most importantly, I am jazzed and fulfilled everyday because of painting everyday!

Thank you to all of your comments, I am enjoying each of your blogs and facebook pages.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Day 15 of 30 in 30 - Beach Scene

Sunset Cove
11x14 watercolor by Liana Yarckin

I saw this beach house in Kennebunkport, Maine.  I saw it in the middle of the day, but, imagined how peaceful it would be to sit on the deck at sunset alone or with friends.

Other news, I will be hanging a show at the Contemporary Theatre of Dallas today.  Unfortunately, I am trying to rush out the door to the grocery store now instead of painting.  I do appreciate all of the encouraging comments and thoughts!  I have found a bunch of new artist friends from this challenge and spent most of yesterday looking at their work on facebook and their blogs.  What a great little community!  Thank you, Leslie.  To see all 250+ artists that are participating in this challenge visit Leslie's blog.

Browse through my beach photo album on Liana Yarckin Watercolors.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Day 13, 30 in 30

Morning Hike with the Aspens

11x14 watercolor by Liana Yarckin

I had a request to do aspen trees.  I used some reference photos from Colorado and Utah.  I love hiking in the aspens and being completely surrounded by the trees on the little windy trails.  I think my friends and husband are in disbelief with the kind of reference photos I take along the way.

I had a request to do aspen trees.  I used some reference photos from Colorado and Utah.  I love hiking in the aspens and being completely surrounded by the trees on the little windy trails.  I think my friends and husband are in disbelief with the kind of reference photos I take along the way.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Day 12 - 30 in 30 Challenge - Flowers

The Royals of the Garden
11x14 watercolor by Liana Yarckin

Okay, I am losing track on which day it is in Leslie Saeta's 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.  Email subscribers, please be patient.  I got an unscriber message yesterday :(.  I guess too many emails.  I can suspend the emails so that you don't get an update everyday or I was also intending on posting to my website instead, but, I am running out of time in the day and posting here is faster.  I have thoroughly enjoyed discovering other artists from the posts on Leslie's page and from the artists that have commented here and on my facebook page.  I also love having this deadline of getting a painting done to show to allllllllll of the viewers that are going on Leslie's page as well as my facebook and local friends.  It is fun to show up somewhere and someone says, "I LOVE your painting for today!" or when I received a call today, "I know you have to go because you are painting in that challenge."

This painting is more on the purple side in real life.  I did not brighten it on the computer, but the yellows and magentas are more intense on screen than in reality.  Photos of these tulips taken at the Dallas Arboretum have been sitting on my desk so they must have entered my subconscious because when I woke today, I thought of them.  I am pleased with this painting, but, still in love with yesterday's painting.  I feel guilty letting another painting be the first painting when one visits my blog.  

Say hi to me on facebook:  Liana Yarckin Watercolors

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Day 10 - A winner!

16x20 watercolor by Liana Yarckin

Well, I guess if you paint 10 days in a row, you might get a keeper.  This one sings to me.  I am probably biased because it is my son playing football on the beach.  Any mom is so happy to see her child (tweener) with joy on his face.  I see some tweaking that I need to do.  I painted wet into wet, no masking was used.  I am not opposed to masking, but, the preparation, time and attention to detail that masking requires is not really my personality type.  Portrait artists, any tips on improving this one, I am all ears.  Overall, I am happy with it and thanks to Leslie Saeta's 30 in 30 Challenge, I finally painted this.

Not for Sale

Commissions click here or visit me on facebook to see other portraits.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Day 9 of Leslie Saeta's 30 in 30 Challenge

Christmas at Mom's
11x14 watercolor by Liana Yarckin

This painting was inspired from several old photos of Christmas' past at my parents' house.  I refer to Mom in the title because these are all of her things that she brought to our Christmas celebrations.  Making sugar cookies with us, her favorite holiday deer with a wreath around his neck, deep red poinsettias.  I put her bell and icicle ornaments on the tree, too.  She always made and still tries are hardest to make Christmas magical.

Florals, Beach Scenes and More Still Lifes on Facebook at:
Liana Yarckin Watercolors

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Day 8 of Leslie Saeta's 30 in 30 Challenge

Autumn in Blue
16x20 watercolor by Liana Yarckin

After the last two days of subject matter too complex to tackle in a day, I decided to paint these gourds. The grocery store had bags of them and I thought perfect for one of the 30 in 30 paintings.  My favorite blue glass bowl came to mind when thinking of the composition of this painting.  I painted the objects from life outside with the sun as my light source for strong shadows.  

More bright florals and still lifes on my facebook page:

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Day 7 of 30 in 30 Challenge

Cotton Candy II
11x14 watercolor by Liana Yarckin

Today is Day 7 in Leslie Saeta's 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.  I want to use this challenge as a way to practice and force myself to paint my favorite subjects, but, I am always saving for when I get better.  I am drawn to interactions between people and crowds of people.  That's why I started the cafe series, to paint the lovely umbrellas and capture everyone having time together.  I, myself can sit all day under an umbrella with friends enjoying each other's company.  When I see others doing the same as I am walking by, I want to capture that moment.  So I have a stack of photos of people at cafes, beaches, walking on the streets and when I get brave enough, I snap pics of interactions like the one above.  Look how happy the lady is to give the boy his cotton candy.  

So my painting is not that great.  At least to me.  But, it is a huge improvement from yesterday's painting.  There are a lot of things I like about it, but, I don't like the colors of the darks.  For those of you that are familiar with my work, you know that I have a light, high key color palette that is consistent in my paintings.  Yesterday's painting was a similar seen, but, horizontal and 3 additional people in the painting.  It came out soooooooo horrible, I did not post it.  I was brave enough to show it to a friend who was commenting on a piece of art somewhere else.  Our conversation started that he thought I was a "happy artist".  He said, "your paintings are happy.  If anyone asks you what kind of artist you are, tell them that you are a happy artist."  We discussed how I had been thinking of this very topic.  I don't feel as though I have paintings with "deep" meaning.  Certainly, not dark or disturbing.  Anyhow, he made some helpful suggestions on Day 6's disaster, but, what I came aways with more, is that my paintings do have a deep meaning.  They have a message of embrace the beauty of each other, enjoy our times together.  The flowers, seashells and beach scenes are appreciate the beauty around us when we are so lucky to come across beauty vs. tragedy.  The beach scenes and gardens I like to paint are about serenity and peacefulness.  I paint the subjects I paint because I enjoy the feelings of happiness, connecting with others, tranquility, joy when watching children.  

Back to the challenge, so I post my not so great painting as a documentation of the process of me trying to get to the place I want to be artistically with the most challenging subject matter for me.  I will keep working on this subject until I feel so happy to share it with you.  I completely appreciate any suggestions from you on how to make painting people/figures.  I know I should use this challenge to showcase my best work, but, I really need the pressure of this challenge to work on a subject that is difficult for me.  I won't get better at painting this subject unless I paint, paint and paint again.  

I think I am painting pumpkins and gourds for tomorrow.  Something I can handle more easily.

Visit my facebook page, Liana Yarckin Watercolors, to see my large portfolio of happy paintings.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Day 5 of Leslie Saeta's 30 in 30 Challenge

Happy Poppies
16x29 watercolor by Liana Yarckin

Wow, this challenge is getting tough.  Only because I am neglecting all of the other things I need to do like take a shower for starters!  I see a few areas I am going to tweak a little.  The uh, oh's, always scream out at me on the screen.

More poppies and flowers on my facebook page.

To my email subscribers, I am sorry if you don't like getting an email everyday.  It will be over in 25 days, but, don't worry, I am not sure if I am going to be able to keep up anyway.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Watercolor in the Berkshires

Watercolor Studies 
by Liana Yarckin

Irena Roman with students' work

Norman Rockwell Studio

Charming courtyard of a house at the NR Museum site

It has been a whirlwind of summer!  There are so many things that have happened that I have not had a chance to blog about.

Love the Internet.  One day when I was perusing in the blogger world, clicking and clicking away from one blog to another's, discovering artists and gorgeous work new to me, I found a "flyer" for an Irena Roman workshop.  The three paintings on the flyer grabbed my attention and it took me a while before I could turn my attention to the text on the flyer because the images were just so gorgeous.  Without making the story too long, it was coincidental that the workshop was in Stockbridge, Massachusetts one week before I was scheduled to be in Massachusetts for a family visit.  After changing flights, finding a place to stay AND a day camp for my 5 year old in the area, it was set that I could be so lucky to participate in this workshop.  I had no idea that I was also going to discover the charming Berkshires.

The week turned out to be a fantastic adventure for my son and I.  It worked out perfectly that there was an art camp just 6 minutes away for my son from the Norman Rockwell Museum where Irena Roman's workshop was.  We each spent the day learning and creating.  After our classes, I would pick up my son and we would drive through the gentle mountains on roads lined with tall pine trees and charming New England style homes with the loveliest gardens.  We escaped the triple digit temperatures of Texas and thoroughly enjoyed walking around in charming small towns and dining al fresco in need of a sweatshirt.  Lenox and Great Barrington were my favorite.

Both my son and I made friends with locals in our classes who were completely welcoming and helpful.  To show how small the area is, we would run into our new friends at the local art shop and even at the Zucchini Festival that we just happen to fall upon.

Irena is a wonderful and thorough teacher.  I learned so much in Irena's class.  I think I am closer to getting my darks dark.  Now I just have to figure out how to apply the techniques I learned to my subjects that I like to paint.  Hopefully, I will have some work that I am happy to post soon.  

To see more pics of the Berkshires and the work I did in the workshop, see my Berkshire photo album.

oh, p.s. is anyone participating in Leslie Saeta's 30 paintings in 30 days challenge?  I signed up.  Hopefully, I will be able to keep up.

It's time for the State Fair!

State Fair Favorite
11x14 watercolor by Liana Yarckin

It's day 4 of Leslie Saeta's 30 in 30 challenge.  Since the Texas State Fair is just around the corner, I thought I would paint some of my favorite things about the State Fair.  You all know, my husband is a huge fan of the State Fair.  I think he gets more excited about it than our kids.  I thought the candy apples would be a simpler subject to paint, but I keep finding details in the shiny candy shell.

More paintings on facebook:
Liana Yarckin Watercolors

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

30 in 30 - Day 3

Sun Touched Poppies
16x20 Watercolor by Liana Yarckin

You know I love painting flowers.  These poppies came out different to poppies in the past.  The first time I do a dark background using the techniques I learned in Irena Roman's workshop.

A big thank you to Leslie Saeta for having this wonderful challenge!

Monday, September 2, 2013

30 Days, 30 Paintings Challenge by Leslie Saeta

Newport Style
by Liana Yarckin

It's day 2 in Leslie Saeta's 30 in 30 challenge and I am already behind.  This will be a challenge for me because the way I like to paint in watercolor is a lot of glazing and layering which requires a lot of time.    The second reason that it is going to be a challenge is because I have been looking at all of the great work the other artists have submitted.