Year in Review

I have spent some time this month reviewing 2016 and preparing for 2017. So, I thought I would share a quick overview of 2016 accomplishments:


I “assisted” my talented sister-in-law with a photo shoot for a magazine. Actually, one of her images became the cover of the magazine. I put assisted in quotes because I really just showed up for the party and watched her do her magic. I am so grateful for the opportunity. Did I say she is talented? Yes. Well, you can see some of her work here:


I donated a framed version of this image to the Taste of Salado fundraiser for the Public Arts League of Salado.

New Season Fog, Digital Photography, Copyright © 2015

I am happy to announce that I did not have to do the “walk of shame” with the work under my arm at the end of the event. Thank you to the generous supporter who bid on my work, as well as supporting the Arts in Central Texas.


I had the opportunity to visit friends in Las Cruces, New Mexico and my gracious hostess, Peggy, introduced me to some of the wonderful galleries in Las Cruces. It was such a fun visit with wonderful hosts. I love New Mexico.


I think I already posted about participating in the 15-Minute A Day Creative Challenge in April. But, since this is a recap, here is a peek at the first thing I created, in 15 minutes (or more) per day. This old car did take several 15 minute blocks of time. And, while it isn’t what I consider finished or gallery-worthy, it represents my commitment to a daily creative endeavor.

Watercolor, Copyright © 2016 SuZan Alexander


I am shamed to report that there were not a lot of artistic endeavors worth sharing in May – unless painting the Master Bedroom counts. I did, however, continue with my daily/weekly/monthly goal for post-processing images.


In June, I hosted my first give-away. I worked on a Watercolor Batik that I offered to my Newsletter “Tribe”. The beauty of watercolor batik is that each final work is unique. You may use the same paint, same paint colors, the same process, but each one takes on their own unique look.

Watercolor Batik, Copyright
© 2016 SuZan Alexander


I made a trip to Palo Duro Canyon and the Cadillac Ranch in July and I can’t wait to return.

Digital Photography, Copyright
© 2016 SuZan Alexander


August was SERIOUS. I met with a CPA, as well as the Comptroller to set-up bookkeeping for the Studio so I could start offering my image for sale online.


This isn’t art related, but, in September, I cut my hair so I could fulfill my wish of contributing my hair to make wigs for cancer patients and celebrate my own survivor status.


The Texas Professional Photographers Association (TPPA) held an event in San Marcos that I was happy to get a chance to attend. What a great event and even better group of photographers. I can not wait to attend next year.


I participated in Flood the Streets with Art and left five images around Salado for shoppers to find.


I am happy to report that I FINALLY completed organizing and post-processing images with a few days of 2016 to spare. Now, I can start 2017 “fresh”.

If you made it this far, thanks! Just so I do not write another long post like this one, I plan to be more consistent with my blog and social media posts in 2017. I even have a plan that I am very excited about and I look forward to sharing it with you.  Tomorrow is the second month of the 2017 party, so… Let’s get going!

Happy Year of the Rooster

Happy New Year! Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year. Since 2017 is the year of the Rooster, I thought I would share a warm-up painting exercise of a rooster I painted years ago.

Oil on Panel, Copyright © 2009 SuZan Alexander

Okay, I KNOW this is not a rooster, but I am throwing it in as a “poultry bonus” just because I have a feeling it is going to be a great year. Well, that and she has been staring me down in the studio for a few years now.

Watercolor, Copyright
© 2012 SuZan Alexander


Creative Challenge Update

I thought I would post an image of my progress this week. I am slowly buy surely working on the watercolor painting of the old, rusty truck I started last week.

I hope you have had a productive and creative week!

15 Minute Challenge :Week 2 Watercolor, SuZan Alexander, Copyright 2016

15 Minute Challenge :Week 2
Watercolor, SuZan Alexander, Copyright 2016

Creativity Challenge Update

Last week I posted about the 15 Minutes-a-Day Creativity Challenge. This was my first, full week with the Challenge. So, you ask, how was my first full week in the “Creative Sandbox”? Pretty good. I think I missed one day this week. But, while I missed one day, I spent well over 15 minutes painting each of the other days of the Challenge, so, I figure it all evens out in the end.

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I started with a large watercolor painting of an old rusty vehicle which has a lot of texture. I wish I had started with something a little less challenging that would reflect more progress because I’m an instant gratification kind of gal that way. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of patience and generally work pretty slow, but I really want these 15 minutes I carve out of my day to be fun, quick, little exercises in the future. My thinking is that these exercises have the potential of becoming great opportunities for experimenting and learning. And, learning is always a winner in my book. I also see them as opportunities to experiment and add techniques to my proverbial tool belt. Like I said, win all the way around. I am so glad I found Melissa Dinwiddie’s Challenge. I hope you too will find 15 minutes each day to do something creative.

I still consider this week’s watercolor painting a work in progress, but since we’re all friends here, I’ve included my progress so far:

Days 1-6:

15 Minute Challenge Days 1-3 Watercolor, SuZan Alexander

15 Minute Challenge Days 1-3
Watercolor, SuZan Alexander

15 Minute Challenge Days 4-6 Watercolor, SuZan Alexander

15 Minute Challenge Days 4-6
Watercolor, SuZan Alexander


15 Minute Challenge Day 7 Watercolor, SuZan Alexander

15 Minute Challenge Day 7
Watercolor, SuZan Alexander

Now, it’s your turn. Did you work on something creative this week? If so, let me know what you did.

Have a great weekend. I hope you make some time to create.

From My Sketchbook: Watercolor Project 9

Project Nine from Step-By-Step Guide to Painting Realistic Water Colors by Dawn McLeod Heim is Autumn Leaves. My plan was to get this one posted for Thanksgiving, but I kept thinking I could turn it around and the deadline came and went. I was completely deceived by this one. The first time I looked through the book I remember thinking it was strange that the easier one is left for the latter part. Boy, was I wrong. I didn’t have all the recommended palette (and have a self imposed, I will NOT buy another tube of watercolor paint to satisfy another workshop/lesson; UNLESS, I feel it’s absolutely necessary). I “substituted” early and often; and it showed from beginning ’til end. My exercise lacks the depth the example showed. I’m blaming it on the lacking palette. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. 🙂 Lesson learned. Just one more lesson in this book and then I’m off to tackle something else. I’m thinking … a little oil painting practice so I’ll be ready for those fields of bluebonnets in the spring.

Project 9: Autumn Leaves, Watercolor, © 2012 SuZan Alexander

From My Sketchbook: Watercolor Project 8

Project 8: Strawberries and Lace, Watercolor, © 2012 SuZan Alexander

Project 8 from Step-By-Step Guide to Painting Realistic Water Colors by Dawn McLeod Heim is Strawberries and Lace. I know you should never say never, but I HOPE I never revisit this little exercise again. This exercise was all about the strong morning light, painting intricate reflective objects, and making the strawberries look like ripe, juicy strawberries. If I were grading, I’d give myself a very strong, solid D-. It looks very “amateurish” to me and couple that with the fact that I barely got this finished in time to post… I do, however, like the cast shadow from the basket. It is very unlike the example, but I think it’s the only redeeming passage of this bad boy. I could go back and make some areas stronger, but this one isn’t going anywhere, so, why prolong the frustration any further. I hope that feeling frustrated means you are growing and learning because this one held a few of those moments for me. I’m glad I committed to posting these lessons to hold myself accountable, because I’m pretty sure this is where I would have put the book back on the shelf if left to my own devises.

From My Sketchbook: Watercolor Project 7

Project 7: Teacup with Golden Spoon, Watercolor, © 2012 SuZan Alexander

Lesson 7 from Step-By-Step Guide to Painting Realistic Water Colors by Dawn McLeod Heim is Teacup with Golden Spoon. It is a lesson on reflective surfaces and how to create a mother-of-peal effect on the cup. I am still messing with that spoon to make it look more three dimensional. Oh well, time to move on to Lesson 8, so tune in next week. (My fingers are crossed for a finished Lesson by Thursday because I only have about one-forth painted so far.)

From My Sketchbook: Watercolor Project 6

Project 6: Vegetables on a Cutwork Cloth, Watercolor, © 2012 SuZan Alexander

Project Six from Step-By-Step Guide to Painting Realistic Water Colors by Dawn McLeod Heim is Vegetables on a Cutwork Cloth. I liked the looks of this project just looking through this book and couldn’t wait to paint it. (In fact, I jumped ahead and did it out of order.) The focus of the lesson is to paint the different textured surfaces of the vegetables. I pushed my comfort zone by working really large. This is a full sheet of 300# watercolor paper. I’ve never used 300# paper and I don’t generally use a full sheet. I learned that I don’t really have the room to accommodate full sheet watercolor paper; well, I could if I took over another room in the house, but I’m less likely to do that on a regular basis. I also learned that I didn’t have the experience of applying even washes in large areas since I usually work smaller. Again, I thought the turnip would be difficult, but I liked it from the first pigment. The other two companions that look “so easy” were deceiving and made me struggle, mainly due to such large wash areas. I might try this one again, only (wait for it) SMALLER. I’m beginning to sound like Goldilocks in Goldilocks and the Three Bears fame. My new mission is to find the right painting size. But until then, I may be cropping out just the turnip I’m so smitten with.