Never too Old to Learn

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During the middle of the pandemic, back in 2020, I was stuck at home like everyone else. Oddly enough, I didn’t mind too much. Being an introvert, home is my happy place and as long as I had a way to keep busy I was okay. I turned to the thing that has eased my anxiety and cluttered mind since I was a child: ART.

Wet on wet technique, great for making reflections in the water

Drawing had been a passion all my life but adulting, things like raising my children and paying the bills, had pushed this aside for many years. By 2020, my children were out of college and they, along with my husband and myself were hanging out, working from home, so I decided to jump start my creative side. This came in the form of a medium I had always wanted to try but found rather daunting: watercolor.

Portrait for a friend. Learned a lot about mixing watercolor paint with pencil and about shadows and reflections.
Learning to paint more loose.

Bless the internet and, particularly, YouTube because there were endless sources for finding the ins and outs of this beautiful art form. As a teenager and college student, I had learned about painting in acrylics and oils. Some of the ideas there did carry over but others (like the ability to “fix” a mistake by simply painting over it) did not. Needless to say, there were some frustrating moments and lots of disastrous paintings that became lots of scrap paper! Eventually, I began to get comfortable with my results. I was amazed at how much there was to learn just about this one medium. Things I needed to think about and all the exciting techniques that resulted in such different looks and styles. I still struggle with things both related to and not related to watercolor itself like finding a good composition, or the correct balance of lights and darks. I also need to learn when to stop, something very important in this medium because overworking a watercolor painting is just the worst! I’ve come to a point where I’m happy with a good percentage of the finished paintings but, even two years later, I am still finding many new adventures and new skills that I can practice.

The first painting I sold. It was fun to experiment with the pops of color.

After several months of creating and experimenting, the art work began to pile up and I was inspired to open a shop on Etsy in order to sell some of the finished pieces. So far it’s been a modest success. I will never get rich, but I’ve been able to share some pieces and create many commissioned one of a kind watercolors that have, hopefully, brought joy to the people who own them.

Playing with shadows experimenting with water

That said, I know, even as I approach my 60th year, a fact that still sends my head spinning some days, that, no matter how old I am, there is still SO much more I can learn. Possibly, that holds true for life in general, wherever or whenever you find your passion.

CuriousKatStudio

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Summer Bucket List, The Epilogue 

This was my first week back to work so that means that summer break is officially over. It is time to tally things up and see how The Summer Bucket List stands. Here are the totals…

  1. Take one day trip per week (beach, park, museum, etc) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (out of 10)
  2. Drive over a bridge. (c)
  3. Volunteer for a cause (c)⭐️
  4. Travel somewhere by train.
  5. Take a train into the city (c)
  6. Create one art project per week.⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️(out of ten)
  7. Visit at least 2 museums⭐️⭐️
  8. Paint the living room and the upstairs bathroom⭐️
  9. Go camping
  10. Go canoeing or kayaking⭐️
  11. Reconnect with 2 friends with whom I’ve lost touch (c)⭐️⭐️
  12. Go zip-lining (c)
  13. repair the kitchen floor (it seems to be coming apart)⭐️
  14. Have a picnic somewhere next to the water⭐️⭐️
  15. Finish the trim in the kitchen and upstairs hall (I have completion issues)
  16. Try one new food per week.⭐️ (out of 10😕)
  17. Maintain my newly planted herb garden and use the herbs often (c)
  18. Try drying some of the herbs for future use (c)
  19. Reorganize the upstairs closet
  20. Go to a drive-in movie (we actually still have one in the area)
  21. Finish organizing our family photos.⭐️
  22. Visit a local winery and enjoy a wine tasting.⭐️⭐️
  23. Listen to some live music, preferably outdoors⭐️
  24. Go dancing with my hubby⭐️
  25. Have a “Lord of the Rings”/”Hobbit” marathon

Okay, so I out of 25 items I managed better than 50%. I’ll take it! You know why? Because this whole “Summer Bucket List” experiment was very enlightening. I learned a few things about myself and having a goal kept me focused even when there was no comfortable routine to keep me grounded.

Here is what I learned…

  • Next year there will be no bucket list items having to do with food (#16,17,18). Except for baked goods, food and cooking are really not my thing. I love to eat out but not so I can try new foods. I just hate to cook!
  • I should work on the more expensive items (#4,12,15) at the very beginning of the summer before I start worrying about money. Cost anxiety won out over my desire to cross things off the list.
  • Don’t put things on the list that require someone else’s cooperation (#19) I couldn’t get Miss Dee to part with any of the stuff cluttering up that closet so it was impossible to organize it.
  • Painting and drawing are much more fun than housework and since it was on the list, I still felt like I was being productive!

As for the some of the other items like “zip lining”, “train travel” and “LOTR marathons” there’s no rule that saying  I can’t do those things anyway. Maybe I should make another list? Hmmm..?

How about you? Did you accomplish a lot this summer? Did you feel productive?

Getting Arty

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Item number six on my Summer Bucket List was to complete one new piece of art per week. I haven’t quite managed one a week but I’m pretty close.  At least I’ve kept my hand in and I’ve enjoyed learning some new techniques. Mostly I’ve been working with watercolor paint and pencils which are a new medium for me. But I have really enjoyed some of watercolors that other bloggers like Jodi at Life In Between has posted so I thought I would give them a try. These are a few of the results.

The first one is a pencil drawing I did from an old photo of Miss Dee. After completing it I went back with a wet brush and blended the water to give it a more reflective look. I am happy with how it came out except that I wish I had made the colors darker. The whole image seems a little washed out…

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This one is just pencil but I’m thinking I should go back and blend the water like I did I the picture above. What do you think?

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These two are images taken from postcards that Kate over at Sincerely Kate  was kind enough to send to me. They were both done with watercolor paint first then I used pencil and ink pen to strengthen some of the lines. I was inspired by my pal Jill Kuhn while working on the tulips at the bottom.  She created some beautiful poppies by using paint first then tracing around the shapes with pen in order to define the flowers. My flowers are smaller but I tried to use the same technique. Thanks for the idea Jill!

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It is really a lot of fun stretching my boundaries art wise. I had always worked in pencil or acrylic paint and the sameness had made art a little boring. Now I find that I am being inspired by all the cool stuff I see on other people’s blogs. It feels more like an adventure!