Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Virtual Paintout 24: Besties in Bhutan!


For this April of 2015, the Virtual Paintout gang went traveling (via Google StreetView) to the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan

Known as Land of the Thunder Dragon, it's at the eastern end of the Himalayas, bordered by India and China. 

Flag of Bhutan

And wow! It was amazing to travel so many high and sometimes narrow mountain roads. At times, we were looking DOWN at the clouds. 

I was charmed by two young schoolgirls. I came across them at a large school complex high up in the mountains. I imagined them being "BFF's", as they leaned in toward each other, whispering secrets and gathering flowers. 


Here is the original location I chose 
(can click on images to enlarge):





And the finished painting from Bhutan:


"Bhutan Best Friends"
6 x 9 sketchbook
acrylics



Happy Painting,

Retta

PS: Remember, the Virtual Paintout gang is free to join, and we go to a new location somewhere in the world each month. No pressure, just paint as you have time. Visit the Virtual Paintout blog for all the deets! 

Thursday, April 09, 2015

How To Instantly Feel VERY Encouraged!



The answer: shock yourself by winning a contest for your art!!! :-D

I am sooo excited to announce that a painting of mine won first prize in a contest. Wowzer! That's a first for me, and I could get used to it, ha ha!



The backstory: Recently I created my own website for my paintings at RettaStephenson.com  

This is in affiliation with Fine Art America,  a print-on-demand publisher of quality photographs and art prints. 

Before I chose them as my publisher, I ordered some products myself, to check out the quality. I didn't want my name going out on something I wasn't proud of, ya know?

I was impressed with the quality. The colors are true to my originals, and the finish on the papers, cards and prints is outstanding. So... I signed up.

One of the things I enjoy at FAA (Fine Art America) is the community. There are forums, discussions, groups, and.... contests!

That brings me back to my exciting news. I entered "Shoot for the Moon" in a contest called Spring Churches. There were tons of beautiful photographs and paintings entered. So imagine my joy when mine WON! 

Really, it was my friends on Facebook that supported me by taking their time to go and vote. I am truly humbled by that. I know how busy everyone is these days. So I thank you so much.

Whenever I get discouraged, and feel like a tiny drop of water in a huge ocean of art, I will look at this and remember the kindness and support given to me, and to never forget to shoot for the moon!




Happy painting,

Retta

Monday, March 30, 2015

Virtual Paintout 23: Greenland - More Than Meets the Eye!


March found the Virtual Paintout gang in Greenland! 

What a fascinating place. It was summertime when the GoogleStreet View car went to Greenland, and I was entertained by all the dogs obviously on vacation for the summer from their usual winter sled-doggie duties. 

I saw dozens of packs lounging around, catching sun or carefully eyeing the google camera as it drove by. This fellow caught my eye... with his ONE peeking eye.

He was curled up on a warm rock, and behind him in the bay was a gorgeous iceburg, half hidden under the water.

I chuckled because the dog also looked half hidden, curled up with his nose tucked into his warm tail, yet peeking out with that one alert eye. (As usual, can click on any images to enlarge)


Here's the original location of my painting:






A close up of my spotted furry friend:





And the finished painting:


"Half Hidden"
Siaqqissoq, Greenland
9 x 12 acrylic on
watercolor paper


Happy painting,

Retta

PS: I haven't mentioned it in awhile, but Virtual Paintout is open to all artists of most traditional mediums, of all skill ranges. So please feel free to check us out at the Virtual Paintout blog. It really is a blast painting all around the world. We never know where we'll end up at the first of every month til our leader, artist Bill Guffey, posts the new location. Join us!?

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Virtual Paintout 22: Touched by Hands


Bangladesh was the destination for our February Virtual Paintout. 

I found beauty there, but it was also heartbreaking. Everywhere I saw the women and girls wearing colorfully beautiful clothing, yet there was obvious poverty. The villages and parts of the cities were so sad, yet there was beauty in the countryside.

An old gentleman, squatting with his hands on his knees, caught my eye. It was his hands... old, knobby and with a story to tell... that touched me.

Here is the original location of my painting:





And here is my painting, done from my heart in response to his Hands (can image to enlarge).



"Hands"
Tongi, Bangladesh
6 x 9 sketchbook; acrylics



Happy painting,

Retta

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Going Nuts with Detail!

Finally getting around to posting the last drawing of the last week of this semester of Sketchbook Skool! Boo hoo, I'm sorry it's over. It was such a fun 6 weeks! 


Each week we were exposed to a different teacher with new methods, materials and suggestions to help us step outside our comfort zone and experiment. 

No, they were not trying to get us to paint like THEM. Rather, to be open to new ideas and approaches, to play around, and incorporate anything WE really enjoyed into our regular artwork.

For the last lesson we had an outstanding artist and author: Tommy Kane. Wow, right up my "detailed" alley! He LOVES detail, the more the better. 

After watching the teaching videos, our homework was to draw a VERY detailed drawing from within our own home. 

Here then is my uber detailed drawing, first the black and white version and then, after adding the color. What a blast this was! (can click images to enlarge).





My Computer Guardians
9 x 12 sketchbook; ink, watercolor
and colored pencil




Happy sketching,

Retta

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Drawing Animals is Fun!


Week 5 of Sketchbook Skool was about Drawing Animals. The first part was practice using toy animals (they'll hold still for you!). I used some little Schleich Toy Animals for my practice. 

I was so busy concentrating I didn't even notice til the end that Meerkat and Bunny had switched places. Oops! (can click on images to enlarge)



Toy Animals
9 x 12 sketchbook; ink, colored pencil, 
watercolor pencils, white gel pen


Next came drawing LIVE animals. Yeah, right. Easier said than done! Joey, my Mini-schnauzer girl has 2 speeds: Greased Lightening and Asleep. 

So...where's my longhair calico, Butterfly?? Aha! Asleep on my bed... perfect.





Live Animal Drawing
9 x 12 sketchbook; colored pencil, watercolor
pencil, white gouache, ink for lettering



Happy sketching,

Retta

Friday, January 30, 2015

Virtual Paintout 21: What's For Lunch??


For the first month of this new year the Virtual Paintout gang went to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Gorgeous state! Lots of historic sites and statues, rich with meaning. 

I passed by (virtually, using Google Street View) this lovely open area on Lemon Hill Drive and noticed the covered picnic area in a beautiful park-like setting. Then my imagination took over, and I thought "what if?"...

Lemon Hill Drive location:



What if folks were enjoying a peaceful picnic on a beautiful afternoon...
What if suddenly they noticed the ground vibrating, and heard loud growling sounds...
What if "something" was coming...
What if the screaming started, and everyone took off at a dead run...

And what if an uninvited Mother and child showed up at the picnic?? (can click images to enlarge)





"Uninvited Picnic Guests"
6 x 9 sketchbook

Ink, watercolors, colored 
pencils and watercolor pencil



Happy sketching,

Retta