Monday, March 21, 2011


So after my 28 Flowers in 28 Days Challenge, here is what I've learned....

1.  Painting negative shapes can really bring a painting to life.
2.  The best greens come from mixing colors.  (Although I love Sap Green)

3.  Clean water is key and it helps to have a sink nearby (I don't).
4.  A spray bottle is handy for wetting your paints and paper.
5.  It helps to have multiple surface areas to rotate paintings your working on.

6.  A space heater comes in handy for not only staying warm, but for a quick dry also.
7.  Always have a plan before you paint.

8.  "Uglies" (i.e. bad paintings) are inevitable and necessary to appreciate the "beauties".
9.  Step away from your painting frequently to critique it.
10. Paintings photograph best on an overcast day outside.
11. Jack Johnson is wonderful music to listen to while painting.
12. Dog noses smear dry paintings.

I had someone ask me if I would do this answer was yes, I would, but not for another year.  But now I think this challenge makes me want to paint as much as I can because I've grown as a watercolor artist and have learned so much by painting daily. 

Those who follow my blog may have noticed I haven't posted anything in a month.  My focus turned to my son's school yearbook which I am the advisor for and today is my deadline.  After today, I'll be continuing work on a piece which is meant to be kept secret.  I'll post it once it's been given to the recipient.

So thanks again to all who followed my challenge and supported me through your wonderful comments and critiques.  A special thank you to those who purchased one or more of my paintings from this challenge.  And a extra special thank you to Maria Reichert at Maria's Watercolor for prompting me to take on a 28 days painting challenge in February!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"The End"

5" x 7" Original Watercolor
2011© Gretchen Bjornson

Here it is!!  My final painting of the "28 flowers in 28 days" challenge.  It took me awhile to decide on my final flower, but after seeing this image in the Wet Canvas reference library (which by the way are copyright free and free to use) I knew this would be the one.  Poppies are so papery and light and I absolutely loved the colors.  The oranges were brilliant!  I'm pleased to have this as my painting #28.

I have to admit, once I finished, I gave out a huge sigh of just felt good to wrap up the challenge.  The last week was particularly tough.  Painting every day isn't easy.  It's even more difficult when you set high expectations for yourself.  I think I did that toward the end and it resulted in a few "not so beautiful" pieces.  It seemed the less I forced the painting, the better the piece.  This quote sums it up for me.....

"Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better." ~André Gide

I do have some final thoughts I've compiled about my experience and will share them in a later post.  Thanks to all of you who have stuck with me and provided warm and supportive comments.  Many more thanks to all the newest followers who found my blog through this challenge. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


4" x 5.25" Original Watercolor
2011© Gretchen Bjornson

Painting # 27 features a pink Hibiscus flower.  One could go into such great detail with this flower and I even found myself slipping into that mode.  All the veins in the petals of these flowers are very defined.  You can see where I began to detail the veins in the petal closest.  I had to stop and step back .  I found my nose was getting closer and closer to the paper.  I was able to keep it fairly loose and watery, but might need some darks under one of the petals where it appears more muddy.

Reaching the end of the challenge, #28 is ready to post, but I'll give it another day and try to post it later tonight....


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