Tag Archives: in the garden

How To Recycle a Boring Watercolor Painting

Sometimes I suffer from myopia. I see the details and miss the big picture. That can happen with painting sometimes. That is how I painted a boring painting the other day.

I have a friend with a gorgeous English cottage style garden. She even has a white picket fence. I have been obsessed with it lately. Her morning glories are tangled all over the fence and it looks so beautiful. Every time I visit her I take as many photos as I can to pad my folder with reference photos.

That fence though, it has been on my mind a lot lately. I had to paint it. So I got out the watercolors, sketched out my design and dived in with the paint. I didn’t spend much time thinking about composition. I just wanted to paint!

How To Recycle A Boring Watercolor Painting
Morning Glory Fence

Unfortunately I ended up with this kind of blah looking painting. Maybe I could add a few more flower blossoms to fix it up. I’m not sure. I probably won’t ever get around to it because the urge is gone.

I live by the saying “waste not want not” so I’ll find some other ways to get some mileage out of this painting. I thought you might like to know what I do with my mediocre paintings so I made a list.

How to recycle a boring watercolor painting:

1. Us it as a background to style a photo for another work of art you have created. I used the leaves to photograph this alcohol ink necklace I created to make a fun photo for Etsy.

Alcohol ink pendant by Lillian Connelly
Alcohol ink pendant

2. Scan part of it in and print it to create your own scrapbook paper or paper for mixed media collage. With a photo program you can even change the colors.

3. Cut the actual original up and use it in a mixed media collage. Don’t be afraid to tear it, cut it, shred it, and then glue it down to make a nice mixed media background.

4. Use the original as a background for a mixed media piece. You could take this painting and start gluing paper right on top of it (or draw right over it) and turn it into something completely different.

5. Use it to test out paint colors or paint combinations. After mixing paint I sometimes like to test it on the paper I am using to see if the color is what I intended it to be. With all of the white space in this one it would be easy to do that. Or I could test out which colors go well with the green I used. After doing that for a while you can start all over again with number one up above!

Sometimes it is also a good idea to just put the painting a way for a while. You might feel better about it later when you see it with fresh eyes. I am pretty sure that is not going to be the case with this one. The flower blossoms are practically off the page and those big, white, slightly crooked fence posts are not making my heart skip a beat. I’m pretty sure this one is on it’s way to the recycling pile.

I’ll let you know how it all turns out…or more specifically what it all turns into.


What I Learned By Not Painting 30 Paintings In 30 Days

Last January when I accepted the challenge to paint 30 paintings in 30 days I completed the challenge with more than 30 paintings finished. This time around I did not manage to finish all 30 paintings in 30 days, but I did gain some valuable insights into the painting process.

Daisy By The River
Daisy By The River 9×12 alcohol ink on yupo paper. Day 30!

What I learned by not painting 30 paintings in 30 days:

1. The world did not end because I painted less than 30 paintings. Nobody even noticed or cared or mentioned it. Cheating never felt so easy.

2. I still have the start of a nice collection even though I only have 17 pieces.

3. Sometimes it is OK to let things go. There are moments in challenges like these where I stop enjoying them. Mostly because I feel like I am trying to meet a deadline and not always creating my best work. By letting go of the “must” part of completing the challenge I was able to paint better paintings.

4. Life gets in the way and life informs art, so let life get in the way once in a while! We took a trip right in the middle of the challenge and I was sick so no painting, but when I came back and got better I painted my absolute favorite painting from the challenge. I painted Tiny-Small as a fairy!

5. September is an insane month for a challenge. There is just too many new things happening to get into a good routine.

Lillian Connelly 17 paintings
17 paintings


6. I kind of enjoy painting small paintings. It’s fun. I like having paintings that fit right into my scanner.

7. I find adding a paypal button so people can buy things right from my website to be an annoying extra step, but it is not as time consuming as adding things to Etsy. The next time I do a challenge like this it might be helpful to get someone to help me add the paintings to my store each day. So far, I have added exactly zero of these paintings to my Etsy shop. I need to get on that ASAP, but I know I will put it off for a few weeks!

8. If you want to meet the other artists participating in the challenge you have to visit their websites. This time around I didn’t have the time to visit and leave comments on as many paintings as I did last time. As a result I didn’t get to meet as many new people as I did last time. Bummer! Next time I do the challenge I want to make more time for commenting because I really enjoy getting to know the artists in the challenge.

9. It is not necessary to link to the homepage of the challenge on Leslie Saeta’s blog. I linked every post last time and only a few this time. The results were the same, but this time around it was much less work. Next time I might consider adding a link to another artist for each post. That might be more interesting as far as getting you, the reader, more involved.

10. Even though I only finished 17 paintings I still feel like I accomplished something. I don’t have that rush of just completing a marathon, but I do feel pretty satisfied with what I did create and not as worn out as I did at the end of the January challenge.

This could mean that the age old adage “Less is more.” might actually be true.

Thank you for following me on my challenge!



Bouquet From The Garden

I decided to try painting a flower bouquet in a glass vase. I haven’t painted glass in a while and thought it might be an interesting challenge. I definitely could use more practice.

I’ve really been embracing the resist style of painting for the last two paintings. It’s becoming my “style” so to speak. I use a lot of masking fluid to keep the whites white. I use a big, beat up, bristles going all over the place paint brush to apply the masking fluid. I like the messy energy those lines create.

Bouquet From The garden
This 11 x 15 painting was inspired by a photograph taken by Mary Weir.

With this painting I went all out with the resist. I really enjoy peeling the masking fluid off to see what was underneath. It’s always a surprise. I guess I like surprises, at least the kind that don’t make your heart stop. Sometimes when I peel the masking fluid off I am disappointed, but usually I am pleasantly surprised. The painting often looks so different than I imagined it would once the masking fluid is gone. Sometimes that is a good thing and sometimes it is not.

This painting feels more subdued than my other paintings. The color isn’t quite so saturated. I painted it using a large, round watercolor brush. I didn’t want to be fussy with details so I put the smaller brushes away. I’m not too sure I like the bland color. On the other hand, the more subtle color has some advantages too. It’s just not me. Maybe that’s what I am trying to say.

I used the ink to define the shapes a little more after I removed the masking fluid. I think it adds another layer of movement to the flowers. When I look at this painting I imagine the wind was just blowing in through the window.

This is day 24 of the 30 in 30 painting challenge.