I Can’t Believe It!

I can’t believe I have actually completed another

30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge….

but I really did!

Final graphic for 30 in 30 for blog 9-30-14

Many thanks to my “art mentor”, Leslie Byrd Saeta. The 30-in-30 challenges are her idea. She challenges me on to do the almost impossible. Leslie is my “best friend I’ve never met!” She lives in California,  paints with palette knives only and is the age of our children. Regardless, she inspires me with her beautiful artwork, contagious, can-do attitude….and hard work.

What an adventure it has been! This is my third 30-in-30 challenge and when I finished the first two I promised myself…”Never again!” But this time was different; I switched mediums, from all acrylics to all watercolors with some ink and/or pencil sketching techniques. It was refreshing. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to draw. Sure, an artist can draw with a brush, but I draw best with an ink pen, graphite or charcoal pencil.

Prior to beginning the 30-in-30 challenge, I spent some extra time this past summer “practicing” watercolors and thereby produced 15 paintings….(which I did not post as part of the challenge…to be completely fair.) Watercolor was my medium of choice a few years back, but I switched to acrylics because I longed for rich, vivid colors. Maybe by now I’ve learned a little about painting rich, vivid colors in watercolors as well.

One more thing; I painted all the above mentioned paintings with only one brush….just one….and I’ve had it for years. It has a pretty blue handle and was sitting in the little brushes jar waiting for its chance to shine.

One brush & cheap watercolors

A couple of years ago I gave all my watercolors to our eldest Grandson, Stephen, (an incredibly talented artist). Now I needed some watercolors and ordered this little pan of 24 watercolors thinking this would just be a temporary medium choice! It cost only about $30 on Amazon. Oh yes, I had to run to the art supply store for two additional colors to supplement my palette.  The photo shows the amount of watercolors  remaining after creating 45 paintings. Wow! I thought sure I would use them all up in a short time. Not so.

Now the real challenge is carrying on with my ever-present question rattling around in my head….”Which medium do I like best?” I still don’t know.

Ever onward,

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 Visit my website, http://www.artbyadelebower.com

At Kemah, Texas

30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

Day 24

24-At Kemah, Texas

“At Kemah, Texas”

10″ x 8″ Original watercolor and ink painting on watercolor paper.


I love Kemah, Texas; all the rides, the restaurants, the palm trees, Galveston Bay, the gaudy lights, the music, the Boardwalk,  happy people on boats heading out for a day of fun on the Bay, the fragrant Oleander trees, the sounds of laughter and a few screams coming from the roller coaster, the coffee shop, the picturesque stores….all of it.

But I have fond memories of the Kemah that was…before all that; the quiet little town, the cattails along the shore, the shabby bait shops, the old boats mixed in with the occasional new and flashy ones, a restaurant perched on rickety posts right on the edge of the Bay…all of it.

My father was an artist and we often took sketching/photo trips to collect references for his paintings and Kemah was a favorite spot.

I’m lucky to remember and love those days and thoroughly enjoy the Kemah of today…at the same time…all of it.

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30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

Day 23



12″ x 9″ Original watercolor and ink painting on watercolor paper.



According to my old “Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary” the first use of the word random is:

“Random adj.- lacking a definite plan, purpose, or pattern.

While staring at the sheet of bright white, BLANK watercolor paper, I lacked a definite plan and therefore I had no pattern in mind.  But I had a purpose; I needed another painting for the Day 23 slot. I randomly selected my unusual flower/stick arrangement (one planned randomly) in our den as my subject and randomly selected the colors.

But out of all the randomness I found the inevitable title, Random.

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Laguna Sunset

30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

Day 22

22-Laguna Sunset

“Laguna Sunset”

8″ x 10″ Original watercolor on watercolor paper.


Hooray! I need to paint only eight more paintings to complete this project. This is my third 30 in 30 challenge and true to the others, the last week is the most difficult. I’m tempted to post “old” paintings I’ve done, but I want to stay honest to the exercise….an original painting each day. However, I did bend the rules a little; I painted two in one day including “Laguna Sunset” so I could watch the Houston Texans football game yesterday afternoon. Considering the outcome of that game, I’m not sure I’ll do that next week.

I’ve always been interested in sunsets and how they create dark silhouettes of objects in the middle or foreground of a scene. Our daughter and her family spent their spring break this year in southern California and sent photos.

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Fragrant Beauty

30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

Day 21

21-Fragrant Beauty

“Fragrant Beauty”

10″ x 8″ Original watercolor on watercolor paper.


Creamy white blossoms, shiny, dark blue-green leaves…..and an exotic fragrance. What more could you want from a flower? Gardenias have it all. I enjoy all this beauty right in my front flower bed and take many photos to paint.

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Cooling His Heels

30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

Day 20

20-Cooling His Heels

“Cooling His Heels”

10″ x 8″ Original watercolor on watercolor paper.


During our day-trip to Galveston Island one day last June we spent some time strolling around Moody Gardens. Apparently this handsome guy had the same idea. We spotted him cooling his heels in a small part of the lake by the parking lot. I wonder how far he had come? Was this his day-trip? Does he have heels?

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Recital Excitement

30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

Day 19

19-Recital Excitement

“Recital Excitement”

10″ x 8″ Original watercolor on watercolor paper.


Dance recitals have been a part of our lives since our daughter was six years old and we attended her first one. We were so proud of her. She was and still is a talented dancer. Now she and her husband own their own ballet school and we continue to attend recitals, this time it’s their recitals. We love them. We have beamed with pride as both our granddaughters danced in those recitals.

When our daughter first began her dancing career, attending her recitals was not at the top of the list for fun things to do for her two big brothers.

Sisters-ballet recitalThey suffered through several years of recitals until the inevitable day arrived when they noticed all the pretty girls on stage. “Hey, Mom, when is the next recital?”

Our daughter once asked me if it was her idea to begin dance training or mine. I couldn’t remember; I think she and I were both born loving ballet.

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30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

Day 18



8″ x 10″ Original watercolor on watercolor paper.



I painted this same scene in acrylics on panel last year and enjoyed doing it. Painting it in watercolor was also enjoyable, but very different. Switching mediums has been a helpful exercise for me; the same goes for  drawing with pencil or charcoal regularly.

As I mentioned in my blog before, watercolor painting begins with light colors while acrylics or oils begin with the darkest tones. Watercolors dry lighter, acrylics and oils stay about the same intensity. I like intensity; color is my number one reason to select a subject to paint, as I said in my blog yesterday. Therefore, intensity of color has been my biggest challenge when using watercolors. But, I’m learning and having a lot of fun.

Ever onward……. to Day 19,

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Breakfast Color

30 Paintings in 30 Days

Day 17

17-Breakfasst Color

“Breakfast Color”

10″ x 8″ Original watercolor on watercolor paper.



Often people ask me how I decide what to paint. I had to give that question some thought and finally came up with a few elements that catch my eye:

  1. Color: I’m a push-over for color, the brighter and more vivid the better, and is the #1 reason I select a subject to paint.  An artist can’t paint only flowers, fruit or beach umbrellas every time, but it would be fun. I guess that explains my love for abstract art which seems to rely heavily on color without struggling with an identifiable subject or story.
  2. Line: Let’s see….how do I explain this element? Often a photo or an actual scene will display a strong line of direction, not precisely composition, just a beautiful line. (That’s not a good explanation!!)
  3. Story: Scenes depicted in photos or real life that tell a compelling story attract my attention. Fine art does not have to tell a story, but in my opinion it is helpful. I remember a comment my oil painting professor in college once said during a critique. He was speaking to a fellow student artist, who had just complained about the professor’s critique. Bad idea! The professor angrily told the student that a painting should not require an explanation or a story, but must stand on its own. I’ll always remember that comment, but I still like story. The student then tried to get sympathy by telling the professor that he had stayed up until 2 AM painting it, to have it ready for the critique. Another bad idea! The professor said, “No one cares, or should care, how long you worked on a painting. No one!” And I’ll now add, no one should care how fast you can create a painting or drawing, either. The painting or drawing stands on its own.
  4.  People/faces:  There is more information in a human face or form than any other subject I can think of. I’m  amazed how one subtle brush or pencil stroke can entirely change the mood or character of the person. Paintings/drawings of people usually do not require a story or much color, for that matter.
  5. Composition:  I add this element only to say why it is not generally a consideration in selecting a subject. I create my own composition as I go; that’s why I like painting/drawing better than photography. I can make it look like I wish it looked and dream on!
  6. Marketability: Early in my painting life, “painting for the market”, as they say, was of great importance. Not anymore. I’ve sold enough art through the years to learn that I can not predict why people buy which art.

Once in a while I get brave and ignore all the above and try something new and difficult. It soon turns into too much work, so I usually struggle to complete it, or discard it.

I could go on, but these are the highlights concerning my selections. And to think that I was worried about what in the world I would blog about three peaches and a honeydew melon.

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Sleepy Time Boy

30 Paintings inn 30 Days Challenge

Day 16

16-Sleepy Time boy

“Sleepy Time Boy”

8″ x 10″ Original watercolor painting on watercolor paper.


Cats make me tired. Actually, they make me want to take a nap. No matter where they select for their (8 hour) nap, they look comfortable….even the kitchen floor. David says it’s because cats don’t have shoulders. I loved that line and wrote a funny cat book with that title, but do not have a publisher, yet. I used it in my second children’s book, “Emmie’s First Journal”, on page 59.

My Day 16 painting is of Thomas “Tomboy” Bower. He is two years old and Abby Cat’s worst enemy and best friend forever. We try to call him Thomas, thinking it will give him some dignity. His nick-name, Tomboy, suits him much better but it’s worth a try. Tomboy has significantly changed things  in our family; I didn’t realize Abby Cat was perfect until we got Tomboy. When my 30 in 30 Challenge is complete, I’ll get back to blogging about “Life With Them”…meaning Abby Cat and Tomboy.

“Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function.”

__Garrison Keillor

That’s a funny quote, and one of my favorites, but I don’t entirely agree. The function of a cat is to be the object of love and admiration, and our endless training in patience.

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