Friday, February 22, 2013

"Study of a Pinecone" - A Nature and Still Life Painting

"Study of a Pinecone"     5" x 7"     Acrylic and Canvas Panel

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I believe it was about 3 and a half years ago since I found one of my personally favorite and most influential artists and bloggers, Suzanne Berry. Her blogging style and art have made a huge impact on my own art and focus, as well as how I view the art world, and I've just really enjoyed reading about her life over the last few years. I loved that her blog wasn't' just this list of paintings she's done, but it was a sneak peak into her life as an artist, how she works in her studio and the joys and hardships she's gone through over the years - both artistically and personally. It's a great read with beautiful paintings  - what more could you want?!   =)

So her friend, Diana Moses Botkin actually came up with a monthly challenge between her and a select group of friends (oh how I wish I could be a part of that group!!!) that challenge each other with a new idea each month (they get to each pick on rotation - so cool!) that they only have a short time to create. Some of the challenges are ridiculously hard based on the amount of skills and creativity required to complete them in the time allotted, and some are quite a bit easier, but the challenge for January of 2011 was perfect for me. All you had to do was paint anything starting with the letters "pi," and so I decided to do it on my own with them just for the fun of it (Well... Really, I just all on my own after they posted what their challenge for that month had been. Lol!).

Sharman Owings came up with the idea, and to see all the actual posts from the Moses Botkin Challenge for that month on Suzanne's blog go ahead and click here. It was a simple challenge in one way, but in another it was hard narrowing down what to do. Either way, it was extremely fun considering all the possibilities you could come up with, and how varied the results would be when all was said and done.

So what'd I pick? Well, if you haven't figured it out quite yet my "pi" word was pinecones. I picked pinecones, because for one, they're scattered all over my home as decorations (especially now that both Levi and Owen see them as toys, and have been since they first saw them, which makes them even more scattered) and secondly, I just plain like pinecones  - they remind me of the forest and mountains, and the beauty of the wilderness. So I decided to try a quick, painterly sketch and gave myself the added quest of having to complete it in no more than 30 minutes, from start to finish, including getting your paints out and everything. It was crazy! That's one sure-fire way to make sure that every stroke matters!

I had a blast with that challenge and love seeing what they come up with each month. Maybe someday if I get the courage up I can even ask them if I can join their group, but until then I'll continue painting from the sidelines and just admiring all that they do. =)

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