Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in Review

Wishing you a wonderful, healthy, happy, 2016 
filled with inspiration, joy, and love!

My thanks to all of you who have visited my blog this year and been so supportive of what I do. It means a lot that you stop to look and I especially love reading your comments. I hope to see you here in 2016!

Once again the year flew by, didn't it? I always find it fun to look through the year and see what I sketched or painted and what inspired me. Sometimes inspiration is a place, a photo or a person, sometimes it is a challenge that either I set for myself or someone else creating a challenge for artists to do along with them.

January was a busy month for me. I took part in Leslie Saeta's "30 Paintings in 30 Days." My focus was on interesting skies like in this painting. The photo was taken by my niece as we were crossing the RFK Bridge on the way to Kennedy Airport. She gave me permission to use the photo for the painting. I will be participating in "30 Paintings in 30 Days" for 2016. Come back tomorrow and see what my theme is for 2016.

January also brought us a lot of snow. Here are some people in my development trying to dig their cars out of the snow the blizzard brought us. We had about 2 feet of snow in one shot. Luckily my car was in the garage. I found an indoor spot in the clubhouse doorway to sketch my neighbors.

In February the weather kept me inside a bit, so I decided challenge myself and work indoors on surfaces that don't work too well in plein air. First I used yupo, a synthetic paper which is just like painting on plastic. You have very little control over what happens, but if you don't like it you can always wipe it off. You spend a lot of time waiting for things to dry. This one of the hollyhocks I was very happy with.

The NYC Urban Sketchers went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to sketch. Their armor room is a great place to draw. This challenged me to sketch things out of my comfort zone.

This painting was done on masa paper which gives it a sort of batik effect.

In March my sister and I took a workshop with Judy Morris at the Springmaid Watermedia Workshop in Myrtle Beach. We worked on different ways to add texture to our artwork.

One of my stained paper collages, "Abbey with Lavender" won second place in a show at the Phoenix Gallery in Bellport.

April meant working on my fake journal, "Floral Fantasy" .
Each April Roz Stendahl has us come up with a journal that is fake where we pretend to be someone else or do something we really haven't done. In my journal I helped run a flower shop. I did a post about it for every day of the month. Click on the link if you want to see the rest of that journal.

I also did a sketch of a room decorated by a young designer who was part of an exhibit at Southeby's in NYC. The sketch was purchased on the spot as a gift for the designer by a family member. Now I can claim my artwork sold at Southeby's. LOL

The flowering trees were in full bloom at the end of April so I couldn't resist painting this on location.

In May I participated in the challenge "Every Day in May" which gives you a list of things to sketch, one for each day of the month. It is a fun challenge, and my sketches for this are small.

My sister, Michelle, and I visited the Presby Iris garden in Montclair, NJ. It was so beautiful to see irises everywhere. Michelle really got into painting there.

One of my art groups, Wet Paints, has a show every May and in honor of Memorial Day they asked the artists to exhibit something that remembered or honored the veterans. I borrowed a photo of my father-in-law taken while he served in WWII and some of his medals. I arranged them into a still life and painted it for the show.

In June I took part in the annual art show at the Fire Island Lighthouse. My painting sold during the show.

Also in June a friend of mine asked artists to create painted paper cups for the opening of her Paper Cup Studio in Bellport. I had fun and painted six different cup designs.

In July I traveled to California for the wedding of my nephew, Jeff and his bride, Kelly. Each morning we would go walking along the promenade in Manhattan Beach and at some point during the day I would do a small sketch. This one was of the sloping street where our apartment rental was located.

Jeff and Kelly are a very special couple! I wish them lots of love!!

One day while I was sketching in Bellport, a man came over to watch me. He asked me if I could do a sketch of his dental office around the corner. He was really happy with the way it came too.

August had us traveling to Washington, DC for the wedding of our nephew, Gary and his wife, Julie. Love was definitely in the air!

While in the DC area we went out for the famous Maryland blue crabs which were delicious. Of course I sketched them before I ate them...I'm like that.

We also did a tour of DC and I made sure to sketch at a few of the memorials. Here is my sketch of the Vietnam Memorial.

September always means farmsteads, produce, and outdoors. I sketched this page of little scenes at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Oakdale.

With the NYC Urban Sketchers I went to Brooklyn Heights for the first time. In addition to sketching the wonderful brownstone buildings, I sat on the promenade over the Brooklyn Queens Expressway to sketch the roadway with all the moving traffic. That was a challenge since the traffic was constantly moving!

My PALS Plein Air group was invited to a wonderful private Japanese garden in Smithtown to paint. The owner, Andrew had built the garden for his Japanese wife. It was a beautiful place to paint and we are hoping to return there in the spring.

In October my husband and I took a trip to Cape Cod for a few days. One of the locations I painted there was the Nauset Lighthouse in Eastham.

Then I visited Damariscotta, Maine just in time for their Pumpkin Festival and Regatta. Can you imagine turning a giant pumpkin into a boat (Yes, they float!) and balancing it while you paddled through a racecourse? It was a lot of fun to watch...even the crowd was fun. Look how these ladies were dressed.

Every year Bellport is decorated for Halloween. On each tree and light post there is a decorated scarecrow hanging and there is a contest to pick the winner. I always have a hard time deciding which scarecrow to sketch. This year I sketched three. Here is one called the "Pizza Man."

November had some wonderful painting and sketching opportunities.
These leaves were calling to me.

Bellport always has something going on. For Small Business Saturday the Bellport Chamber of Commerce had a soup tasting contest...a great sketching opportunity. My sketch ended up on the Bellport Chamber's blog page.

The day before Thanksgiving I went out east to Briermere Farms in Riverbed and sketched the crowd of people waiting to pick up their holiday pies. Some people came out with several bags of pies, and some people came out with cartons filled with them. I'll bet they were yummy!

December brought a new way to create art for me. I started doing digital art on my iPad Mini with a program called Artrage. It will definitely never take the place of sketching on paper, but I have been having fun exploring and seeing what I can sketching this bouquet.

We visited the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. I just had to draw a dinosaur while there. This was a challenge to do this in a very crowded room because when the sketchbook was open it was 24 inches across. I had to balance it on my lap with people walking all around me. This watercolor sketch was done without any pencil lines.

Recently we visited the Union Square Holiday Market to sketch. It was so much fun!

In December our PALS Plein Air group always has our art show and sale. During the show everyone was asked to vote for their favorite painting on the walls. I'm overjoyed to say that my painting, "Lavender Field" (the oblong painting above the medal) won the people's choice award.

In December I searched everywhere for Christmas tree lots and displays of wreaths to sketch.
I love sketching things that represent the holidays.

I hope you enjoyed this trip through my year!
Have a wonderful 2016!!!


  1. Congratulations, Joan, on a simply inspiring year! Your work ethic, stamina and work itself continues to be a model for us all.. A very Happy New Year to you, filled with sketches galore!

  2. Melanie, thanks so much for your comments. I really appreciate what you said. I hope we can get together before you're off to exotic lands. Happy New Year!

  3. I enjoyed reading about your year. Phew!

  4. Beautiful work in 2015 !!!! I look forward to 2016! Happy New Year Joan!!


  6. I enjoyed looking back at your year's wonderful accomplishments Joan. Happy New Year for 2016.

  7. Thanks so much Kate, Pat, Hilda, Lin, and Laura!!! Wishing all of you a great 2016!

  8. What a fantastic, art-filled year you've had! Thank you for sharing it all, and Happy New Year, Joan!

  9. I enjoyed seeing the highlights,also because I realize I missed a few! It is a joy to follow your work, you really inspire me!! Have a happy, creative 2016!!

  10. Art is so much fun when you share it. Thanks, Tina!

    Celia, thanks so much. I love seeing your art too. It is best when it is shared. Happy 2016!

  11. What a wonderful synopsis of your 2015 painting life. I enjoyed reading this post. Beautiful work throughout the year. Congratulations on the awards you won. They are well deserved.