Daily Doodle: Week 3

homespun by laura paint my vacation sketch shakespeare garden central park new york city nyc watercolor fence with flowers

I’m really excited to share this week’s Doodles.  There are 9 in all; the first 8 were all done in preparation for the final Doodle of the week. It’s the biggest watercolor (both in size and in detail) I’ve ever done.  In fact, the only time I’ve ever painted anything larger was this 2’x3′ acrylic on plywood painting I did for our backyard a couple years ago.

One of the problems I’ve encountered already in my Doodle project is that I’ll sit down to do a Doodle…and my mind goes blank and I can’t think of a single thing to draw.  So I started a list of things to draw or paint – some quite simple, some more involved.  As I worked on my list, it occurred to me that I have a ton of photos of pretty sites taken on vacations, so I looked through some of my scrapbooks and pulled out a small stack of photos I thought would be fun (and challenging!) to paint or draw over the next year.

The first of these to become a painting is one from our trip to New York City this past August, which you can read about here and here.  Since that trip also reigniting my interest in watercolors, it seemed fitting that my first Paint My Vacation Doodle (as I’ve decided to call the images I paint from our travels) should be from that trip.  

This picture was taken the day we rented bicycles and rode through Central Park.  For a few minutes, we abandoned the bikes in order to stroll through a tiny bit of the Shakespeare Garden (a very tiny bit – apparently it covers four acres!), and I made the Mister stop so I could take way too many pictures of it.  Those pictures proved to be helpful in my efforts this week, though!


Daily Doodle subject Shakespeare Garden NYC Central Park
Ain’t it purty?

In another area nearby, we found colorful flowers:

I loved the fence and all the wildflowers.

It was quite a lofty goal to think that I could paint this scene and make it look half good, and I knew I needed to practice painting wood, stone, shrubs, trees, and flowers to have a chance.

I started off the week by practicing some techniques using videos on YouTube to guide me.

January 18
bush shrub watercolor Daily Doodle

I enjoyed this video, from his accent to the sound of waves in the background, bringing to mind a little cottage by the sea with an ocean breeze blowing through the open windows – far from the 58-degree office I was working in!  View on Instagram.

January 19

Today, I focused on trees and also tried a flowering plant, along with some colorful shrubs.  There is something that looks like a nandina in the inspiration photo, so I tried one version of creating a reddish plant using the same basic technique as I did for yesterday’s row of bushes.  View on Instagram.

homespun by laura paint my vacation sketch shakespeare garden central park new york city nyc watercolor grove of trees
This is the Mister’s favorite of this week’s practice Doodles.
I changed things up a bit by using blue instead of orange as the background for this grove of trees, creating more of a wintry/snowy look than a sunrise/hazy look.
bush shrub watercolor Daily Doodle

I practiced trees using two different techniques: 

Layering from the bottom up, starting with light values and working toward darker values created this first tree and most of the trees in the final painting.

I practiced this paper towel technique on the second tree below and wound up using it in other areas of the final painting, mainly the stone path.


tree watercolor Daily Doodle tree watercolor Daily Doodle

I didn’t practice a particular technique here on these dark pink wildflowers – just dabbed away with a paintbrush!

wildflowers watercolor Daily Doodle
This is my second favorite of the practice Doodles…
Later that night, the Mister had some work to do on the computer, so I joined him in the office and practiced the next technique on my list: painting wood.  
wooden fence with wildflowers watercolor Daily Doodle
…And this one is my favorite!
I was really happy with the result on this one; I even like this fence better than the one in the final painting.  Practicing painting wood in this Doodle helped me on both the fence and the tree branches in the final painting.  
This Doodle is a reminder that I don’t need to squeeze as many Doodles as possible onto the same piece of paper…I’d love to put it in a little frame, but it’s right up next to the edge of the paper, which means I’ll have to trim it down really close to make it look right in a frame.  Boo.  View on Instagram.
January 20
stone path watercolor Daily Doodle
Jerry Yarnell helped me out with my stone path
…and also provided a good reminder to step back every now and then to look at the whole picture instead of getting lost in the little details.
Saving the worst for last…this one is my least favorite of all the practice Doodles I did this week.  It served its purpose well, though – I learned what did and didn’t work on these stone steps.  The perspective is all messed up on this one – it looks like a path with a wall next to it with some random wood slats thrown in, instead of a stone path leading to stone steps.  I also went a little crazy highlighting some of the stones with a dry brush – I had way too much paint on the brush and as a result, all but one or two of the highlighted stones look like they have snow on them instead of flecks of light.  The finished version turned out much better thanks to what I learned on this one, and the perspective is much closer to ideal.  View on Instagram.
January 23
homespun by laura paint my vacation sketch shakespeare garden central park new york city nyc

I remembered from the last art class I took the first semester of 9th grade that when drawing a small image onto a large piece of paper, we divided up our images into sections to make it easier draw them properly.  So I started off by dividing both my 4×6 photo and 9×12 paper into 6 sections.

homespun by laura paint my vacation sketch shakespeare garden central park new york city nyc

Then I drew the image, including the bits of branches I wanted to peek through the trees in the background.

Shakespeare Garden NYC Central Park sketch Daily Doodle
I only had about an hour to work on the first day and finished up by painting masking fluid onto the fence and tree branches so I could paint all the greenery around them first, then go back and have a fresh start on the wooden surfaces.
homespun by laura paint my vacation watercolor shakespeare garden central park new york city nyc work in progress easel desk
Calling it a day on day 2.
During the couple hours I had on the second day, I painted the majority of the background greenery and the reddish shrub.

On my final workday, I ran in a race in the ‘snow’ in the morning (we received only flurries, so it was mainly just FREEZING and WINDY with a bit of ice on the ground).  The Mister and I warmed up afterward at a new (to us) local coffee shop we discovered nearby, and then came home so I could finish my Doodle!  I put in the most time today, about 3 hours, bringing me to about 6 hours total for this Doodle.  View on Instagram.

homespun by laura paint my vacation watercolor shakespeare garden central park new york city nyc

A closer view:

homespun by laura paint my vacation watercolor shakespeare garden central park new york city nyc
Those two birds on the top right weren’t in the plan.  About an hour before I finished, a tiny fleck of brown paint splashed up onto the clouds and I had no choice but to add a bird.  Then one bird by itself would look TOTALLY random, so I had to add another.  🙁

Here’s a side-by-side view for you.

Shakespeare Garden NYC Central Park watercolor Daily Doodle

Doodle summary  

I’m behind by one (even though I made up a bunch of ground from last week and wound up ahead by one, the big Doodle this week took up all my art time on three days to complete and I didn’t catch back up).  

This week’s Doodle total: 9 

Yearly Doodle total: 22

See more Doodles here!

As always, thanks for reading!