The Learning Continues...

(first published December 26, 2008, edited 9/1/2017)

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In Dec, 2002, our good friends 'kidnapped' us and insisted we join them on a trip to Cape Town, South Africa. They figured if we were on the other side of the world, the 1 year anniversary of the fire and loss of Sarah would pass a little under our radar...because of the time zones we didn't even know what day it was there.

 My first photo in capeTown with my new digital camera!

My first photo in capeTown with my new digital camera!

I insisted on having my very own digital camera...Randy kept wanting to take photos for me, but I wanted to learn how to do my own source photos for painting. Had only dabbled with painting for a few months...knew nothing about that OR cameras!

SO, when I got this beautiful flower ALL BY ME, it has always brought a smile to my face...I was so excited when the colors and focus were there. Of course, composition wasn't great, but I'm just sayin'!

Determined then, as now, to become as good an artist as I can be...I spent HOURS looking for watercolor en plein air gear. In November 2002 there was not much available. Finally found a Winsor-Newton mini-kit with pans of w/c paint and a bitty brush. Of course, it did not make it in I made my own. The pigments in that kit are still as fresh as the day I put them in! Went to Hobby Lobby and bought empty paint pots, the ones on a plastic strips with a locking cap. Filled each one with pigment. Added a small tupperware bowl, reusable paper towel, sponge, pencil, eraser, and brushes.

Now, (OF COURSE), my gear is much more brass watercolor palette, ala Charles Reid, was custom made and has my initials on the outside cut out of brass and soldered on. The interior is enamelled. Do I paint better? No. But LOOKING like a real artist is half the battle.

Here is an on location study I did.

Watercolors are so difficult to photograph. the paper always ends up looking dirty.

 CapeTown Flower, Watercolor, ©Axully, V.N.Ross. Collected 

CapeTown Flower, Watercolor, ©Axully, V.N.Ross. Collected 

I did a larger version a year or so after the trip, when I had been learning more about how to do this new 'hobby' of mine.

This is the result...and has been collected.



In 2005 or so, I started dabbling in pastels. Love at first sight! Not as problematic as watercolors, but you still have to frame under glass...and worry about pastel particles showing on the glass.


 CapeTown Flower, Pastel, 12x15". Axully, V.N.Ross

CapeTown Flower, Pastel, 12x15". Axully, V.N.Ross

Guess I'll never get tired of painting this flower. Maybe some day I'll get tired of it. Maybe not. It was my first photo. It is interesting to see how it looks from watercolor to pastel, and now in oil.

The pastel painting disappeared in the move, and I couldn't believe I didn't have a photo of it before it was framed! So after extensive search of my computer and all archives, I gave up on that and decided to find the painting.This photo is obviously taken with a reflection from the glass.

THAT caused another series of events yesterday. I'm a bit obsessive/compulsive and when I get something on my mind, I dream about it. Josh and I had packed all the framed paintings in my gallery carefully in boxes. There were a few big ones that wouldn't fit our they were hand carried and moved to the new house. The ones I moved are carefully stacked in my garage...out of harms way until we get our hanging system installed.

The ones Josh and I packed were in boxes stacked 3 and 4 high in the future studio (the floored attic just off the family room upstairs. It was 70 degrees yesterday, so I thought it a good day to see if I could find the painting AND empty a few boxes. NOPE, no painting. Went through the ones in my garage twice, Nope.

Finally resigned myself to the fact that the last paintings to leave the old house were the first things in the big garage...and a trailer load of stuff 'n junk piled all around them. Today I found a way to make a path to that stack of paintings AND Voilå! There is was, and I could finish this blog entry.

Thought I was kidding, didn't you? 

 Capetown Flower, Oil 8x10", ©Axully, V.N.Ross

Capetown Flower, Oil 8x10", ©Axully, V.N.Ross

Since I've become enamored with oil, guess what I just had to try...YOU GUESSED IT! My Cape Town flower...

Whew. This blog took a bunch of effort. I'm now off to work on my portrait challenge from Different Strokes from Different Folks. Erika Nelson talked me into joining this merry band of artists. I'm looking forward to it.