The 100 Day Project – Watercolour Sunsets
It's been a while since I posted my last round-up of paintings for The 100 Day Project. That's because I actually took a whole month off!
I am very pleased to be back to it though and have thoroughly enjoyed painting each evening. The sunny summer evenings are just perfect for painting!
This week I picked up where I left off at the start of May with Sunsets as the theme. I will also reveal next week's theme today.
Why The Absence?
May was ME Awareness Month and within a few days of bed-activism I was no longer able to maintain the amount of exertion required to raise awareness and paint daily. I ended up spending most of that month in my bed in the dark.
I am happy to finally be coming out the other side of that flare and am back to daily painting. I'm also trying to draw every morning, but I am going to allow myself the freedom to not do it some days, taking the pressure off. Today is one of those days - woke up really late and in a lot of pain. Unsure why. So no drawing this morning. I have enough on my plate and that's okay.
I found that I often bite off more than I can chew and put a lot of pressure on myself to stick to the plan, but I know that that is not the best way to go about things. I need to be kind to myself and adjust the plan as necessary. It was what I did as a teacher too - the plan is a guide, but you have to adjust your lesson according to your students and how they are handling the work on the day. Why could I not offer myself the same flexibility?
This week's theme has been so much fun! I loved the bright colours and contrasting silhouettes. The reflections and water gave me much to practice and learn from and there were many firsts for me this time! Click on pictures to zoom.
My first sunset was a typical orange sky with a lake scene. I jumped right in and tried to paint water. I love the trees in the foreground and the grass, so I tried to replicate this in the next painting too.
You can see I had prepared both backgrounds in advance so that they would have time to dry properly before painting over them. The items I painted in the foreground were things I had already painted in previous weeks. The little islands with pine trees were from my Night Skies week and the trees were an adaptation from my Leaves week.
The next 2 backgrounds I painted were not my favourite and I was worried about how I would make them work. But I found a place on each one where I could see a horizon, so I decided to go with water again.
This time I painted many things for the first time:
- The wave details in the water
- Flying birds
- Palm tree
Considering these were my first attempts at painting these items, I am super happy with how they turned out. I initially was very disappointed with the Cityscape as the reflections were just not working. I re-painted them a few times and was about to give up when my sister walked in and said something that changed my mind. She said "Wow!", like I had painted something amazing.
It's incredible what a small compliment like that can do. I decided not to bin it and post it instead. It's actually growing on me now. We really are our own worst critics, aren't we?
My sister often tells me to "wait till it dries" or "wait till tomorrow" because she knows that I am usually less critical of my work later on.
The following 2 days I went really bright with the sunset skies! I love the colours and these are possibly my favourites from this week.
I was more intentional about the colour mixing for the backgrounds, really thinking about where the horizon would be and where the colours would reflect.
In the first one, I went back to the seaside for palm trees and islands with something other than pine trees and I again added wave details to the water and birds. In the end there was much empty space in the water and I felt uncomfortable leaving it that way - I seem to have the need to fill empty spaces - might be something I need to work on.
I decided to have a go at painting a little boat - another first. I think it came out quite well. I do scroll through Instagram to find photos as references when I paint something for the first time, so this is not completely from my head. I just look for each element and look at it carefully before I paint it.
In the second painting I decided to do mountains which I had already painted in the Night Skies week. I really enjoy painting mountains - creating the shadows and crevices. It's a long process though and I do tend to stay at the desk too long when painting them.
Again, once I was done, there was a lot of open space in the middle, so I went and added the 3 foreground trees.
My sister thinks it was better without them. And I'm not overly excited about their placement either, but I didn't want to cover the mountains and for some reason I thought smaller trees wouldn't be right.
I seemed to have an idea in my head and smaller trees just put that all out of perspective for me, so huge trees, right in the middle it was!
As usual, I am happier with it today than I was yesterday - I almost cried yesterday, really thought I had spoilt it, but now it's one of my favourites.
Supplies Needed For This Sunset Project
- Gouache or watercolours
- Paintbrushes (I used N.1 round for details & this mop brush for my background washes)
- Watercolour paper
- Artist's tape & washi tape (I use washi first then secure with the artist tape - washi is less harsh on my paper when ripping it off, but artist tape best holds the paper down when it tries to warp)
New Theme For Next Week
So since we are at the end of the week, it is time for a new theme. I initially did each theme for 10 days, so I would have 10 themes for the 100 days, but I've already missed a month so I'm just going to carry on with this theme thing indefinitely, but have decided to change it up a bit. And really I don't have to complete one picture a day, I just want to paint something, anything, each day. So now I'm doing each theme for 7 days - one a week.
The New Theme Is:
I'm quite excited about this. After the dark and bright colours of my sunsets with the contrast of the black silhouettes, these pastels will be a fun change!
Oh, you might be wondering where the seventh painting is since this week I have managed one a day, it's incomplete. I Have the background done, but since I'm not doing too well today, I cannot sit at the desk any more. I'm currently lying down on my back with the curtains blocking out the gorgeous sunny day while writing this last paragraph.
I've only been back here on my bed, lying down for a few minutes and already I'm feeling better. This doesn't mean I can get up and do more now, it means I'm finally doing the right amount for today's issues. My body is happy with this, although I'm still shaking. So I'm going to get off the computer and do some deep breathing meditations and let my body rest properly for a few hours and postpone my bath for another day. Haha...
- Do you struggle with meeting deadlines or accepting your limitations?
- Have you managed to stick to The 100 Day Project so far?
- Which of these sunsets is your favourite?