Art: Daisies

In trying to master how to use masking fluid, I painted daisies. Here’s the pencil sketch:
Rough pencil sketch to mark where the daisies are.

I poured masking fluid in a small container, added a bit of water and applied it on paper using an old brush:
Pale green masking fluid that looks shiny under the light.

Once the fluid was dry, a used a wash of sap green and another of ultramarine, making sure to paint over the fluid but avoiding the center, so that areas between the petals that were not protected would be colored:
Watercolour wash in blue and green, still wet on paper.

Once dried, I peel the fluid off the petals, leaving the dots at the center untouched. The dry fluid had turned into some rubber-like gum. Unfortunately, a fair amount of paper was torn in the process:

For the shadows on the petals I used light blue, thin violet, some of my ultramarine wash. I used yellow at the center:

To the yellow I added some burnt sienna and a bit of red, I painted the stem with two shades of green, and once the paper was dry, peeled off the remaining dots of gum at the center:

Here is the result (9×14 cm), framed (15×20.5 cm), and ready to be given to Caroline as a gift:

Vieux Nice (opus 2)

I complemented Vieux Nice (opus 1) with a particular scene I had in mind.

Pencil sketch on a thick watercolor pad, having delimited the same size as the opus 1 painting:
Masking tape and pencil sketch on a large watercolor pad: street lamp and its shadow on the wall it is mounted on, clothesline and clothes, window blinds.

I mixed orange and crimson for the façade that I applied with a large synthetic brush, and wiped paint with less than more success where the lamp and some clothes needed to be white. I applied some yellow around the window:

For the window blinds I used a mix of turquoise and ultramarine:

While the light blue was drying, I worked with burnt sienna and black on the lamp, and then painted details on the blinds with ultramarine:

I used burnt sienna for the shadows, included that of the clothesline, and black for the clothes in the back and shadow of the window blinds. I added an extra layer of blue for shadows and contrast on the blinds and let that dry:

With more black I finished the shadows between the blinds, corrected the shape of the lamp and added details around it. Then I grabbed a white Posca pen and traced the clotheslines, added white to the top of the lamp, and marked the window sill. I then used white watercolor to paint the white clothes:

Having painted white the glass of the lamp, the painting was finished. Here is it, in a 40×30 cm frame, ready to be given to the same friend to whom I gave opus 1:

Hiroshige’s ‘Cherry trees at Goten-Yama’

This is Cherry Trees at Goten Hill, from the series Twelve Views of Edo, done around 1835 by Hiroshige:
Reference illustration: Various people in grassy meadows slopping down toward the sea with sailboats. There are a few pink blossom trees.

After sketching in pencil, I used a 0.05 mm and 0.2 mm (for the closest sailboats) Uni-ball pin pen to create the outline:
Rough pencil sketch on watercolour paper
Outline in black ink. My pencil, a tiny rubber and the black pen I used are visible on the table.

Then I used watercolor. Light grey for the sky, green for the grassy hill:
Light grey watercolour applied loosely in the sky, pale green in the meadows.
I added the roofs of wooden shacks right behind the hill, as I decided I wanted them. Then I continued painting, adding burnt sienna to my grey mix for the roofs, and using a wash of Prussian blue for the sea:
Blue gradient, still wet, for the water.
I darkened the sienna and grey mix to add contrast to the roofs, started to paint the figures in grey and light ochre. For the cherry blossom, I used alizarin crimson:
Wet pink watercolour in the trees.
I ended up applying too much dark sienna to the roofs, that I couldn’t fix and darkened the figures as well. More alizarin crimson for contrast in the blossoms, and I was done:
People painted in some shades of grey, more pink added to the trees for contrast.
Finally I cut it and taped it to a metallic blue card, and was ready to write the birthday card for a friend:
Finished piece now neatly cut in the shape and size of a metallic grey blue card and matching envelope.

Gizmo, new member of the family

I met Gizmo early February when we visited a friend of mine, who had had the 4 year-old labrador for a month or so. His previous owner had had to move from a house with garden to a flat, and could only keep the chihuahua. Tethered to the dog house, his tail would wag his entire body every time we came to pet him. I had an instant crush!
My friend said he was a sweet dog but he may not stay with them much longer as he had the annoying tendency to run away every time the kids would untie him. I was ready to take him with me in the trunk of my car the next day when we would go back home, but my offer rekindled interest from the household and that very evening, Gizmo was promoted from the garage to the living room, where he got to sleep next to the fireplace!
When we left the next day, having heard that they would think about my offer in the next four weeks or so, I was quite sad and had very little hope.
BUT, one late Saturday morning at the end of March, I heard from them! Gizmo, whom they had decided to keep, had run away one time too many and had been impounded. They were not going to get him back, but I could if I still wanted him.
You bet I did! The craziest day in months, possibly years, was about to begin.
I had to take my son to a birthday party after lunch, go grocery shopping, get my son back three hours after, drive a couple hours to get Gizmo, and drive a couple hours back. And my friend, who was stuck in work meetings, had to transfer paperwork to the animal shelter where Gizmo was, and ask them if they were willing to wait for me after hours.
I put my kid and my dad in my car, drove to the birthday party place so my dad would know where to go to fetch his grandson, drove my dad back home, rushed to the store where I got rudimentary dog-owner equipment, as well as dog food, and quickly finished the weekly shopping by the time I received confirmation that the paperwork had been emailed successfully to the shelter, and they would wait for me until 6pm. I got gas, and phoned my dad to confirm he was to pick up the little one, and tell him I was getting us a dog!
I drove as fast as I could and arrived at 5:58pm! Woohoo! Paperwork was in order, I paid the impounding fine, signed the release paper, and left with Gizmo. I was ecstatic. Here he is in the trunk, as we were about to leave the animal shelter in L’Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue:
Yellow labrador's head between the side of the car and the back seat

I called my dad to tell him all was going according to the plan, asked him to make dinner and not wait for me, drove another half hour, and met with my friend for drinks since her meetings were over. It was lovely to catch up again, exchange a few dog-owner tips (I had none), hang out, just the two of us, and the dog.
Yellow labrador sitting and looking up at me

Around 1am we were back home. My dad was up and met Gizmo as I unload the groceries from the car.

The next day (and weeks), he spent all his time next to me. Either at my feet, or *on* my feet :), or not far, curled up between the sofa and the coffee table.
Yellow labrador sitting in front of me. My knees are visible. The dog looks with curiosity at the side of me.
Yellow labrador curled up on the side between the coffee table and the sofa, his head propped up against the sofa.

Here are a few pictures of Gizmo and the family his first day at home:
My dad, an elderly man, bent forward and petting the dog which is snuggly curled at the foot of the sofa
In a large green meadow lined with big oak trees are a young smiling boy who threw a red ball in the air and a yellow labrador running to grab it
Me, a middle-aged white woman, on an armchair looking at a yellow labrador leaning against me thigh and looking up