Sunday, September 2, 2018

Therapy canvas and the woman

So life seems to be getting back to a place of normalcy- kind of. This has been a very rough year but things are looking up a bit. The depression is finally beginning to lift and I actually feel like doing more. I don't know about you but when I'm very depressed, working and painting is extremely hard to do. I've reached a point now where I don't have to force myself to go into the studio. I actually want to and am excited about painting again. Yay!

One of the things that helps me get out of a funk is throwing paint at a canvas that I'm not worried about- meaning I don't have to think about that piece going to a gallery or being entered in a show. It's just there for me. I have a couple of these at the moment and I call them my therapy canvases. I have one that's 48x48, quite large for me, and it's the one I use when I'm angry. It's great to throw paint and get out some aggression. That one is stashed in my studio in a not so convenient place so I haven't thrown anything at it in a while (I guess if I get pissed off enough I'll dig it out of the corner where it lives). I also have my blue canvas. That one is not as large and it hangs in my bedroom. I just take it down when I need it, add a few more layers of paint and just don't think about anything while I do it. When I feel through with it I hang it back up until the next time I need it.

Since I was feeling very blue through most of this year so far I decided to take the blue canvas down and play. Pushing paint around without an agenda can be so relaxing- just what I needed.

I don't even know how many layers of acrylic paint are on this thing. There's also tissue paper, handmade paper and glass bead texture gel. I got done playing with it and hung it back up on the bedroom wall. Later that week I was sitting in the room talking with my daughter-in-law and she stops, looks at the painting and says.... "there's a woman in that painting" or something to that effect. I don't remember her exact words. I said, what painting? She pointed at it, I looked, and suddenly there she was.

I don't know if you can see it too but now, that's all I see when I look at it. These things fascinate me. Where did she come from? Is it my subconscious or is it coincidence? Now when I look at this painting I see her profile facing to the right. I see her wearing a cape with a hood, I even see her wearing a jacket with embellishments that look like they match the cape. 

I guess I've lost one of my therapy canvases because I can't bring myself to touch this one again. I think I have to leave her alone now.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Finding Peace

I need some color, some lightness, some vibrancy. The last couple of weeks have been very hard. In fact this year has been hard. A lot has been going on in my life since 2018 began, starting with my father's death in February. Just a week after the funeral I had to begin the process of refinancing my house so I was rewarded with 2 months of banking hell. Then not long after the closing my mom ended up in the hospital because of an accident- thankfully she's ok now. And of course we have the national news..... 

In a previous post I talked about being included in the Professional Artist magazine article called Get Inspired by Darkness. In it I talked about my Silent Voices series and painting through the grief of being a mother of adoption loss. Well, because of that loss and knowing what it's like to have a child taken from me I'm having a particularly hard time with what's happening to migrant children right now. I don't know what those families have been through to get here but I do know what they're experiencing after they arrived and their children were taken away. I know the terror and grief. Hearing the audio, the cries of little ones was too much. I found myself sobbing for the babies who need to be back with their mothers. I'm doing what I can to help the cause but I also need to do something to keep myself from sliding down into despair. I've toyed with some ideas for a concept piece about the situation but it's not coming together yet.

So, now what I'm doing is painting light, color, and things that remind me of life such as the bird nests. I did the first Color Dance painting a little while ago and decided I needed to do more so recently I did #'s 2 and 3. And, I have to admit, I love fall color because it reminds me that this Florida summer heat won't last forever.  :)

Color Dance

Color Dance 2

Color Dance 3

Below is the newest nest painting. This one along with 3 others just made their way to my gallery rep in Tallahassee- Signature Art Gallery. I think this one is my favorite so far. I want to do more with that format when I get some new canvases.

In the Shadows

And here, a new one in progress. This is what I need right now- life affirming images and a process that keeps me going. Getting immersed in playing with gold leaf, squishing paint around, throwing splatters of golden yellow, these things will keep my spirits up and keep me going and sane in what seems like an insane world. 

One other thing helps this summer... playing with grandbabies and going to the beach. Ah... salt air!

If you paint, keep doing that. If you sing or play an instrument, please make more music. We need inspiration. If you have grandbabies, make a play date because we also need more smiles right now.

Til next time... check out the rest of the nest and landscape paintings at my website.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Something new and a coupon too

The last few weeks I've been focused on painting and shows so I decided to take a break and work on my Etsy shop. Sadly it's been neglected lately so it was time to get back to it and try something new. I just added a new section to the shop called Painting Project Singles. These are instant downloadable PDFs and they take you step by step through one painting.

To get the ball rolling I'm starting with projects from our book Creative Colored Pencil Workshop so if you have the book, you already have the first 2 projects. But for those who don't have the book, it's a great way to pick and choose which painting you want to do and you don't have to spend a lot to do it. I'll be doing some new projects in the future to add to the series so check in at the shop from time to time.

The first 2 projects focus on mixing colored pencil with other media. Above I'm combining them with oil pastel to paint a loose, impressionistic landscape. The project below is my froggy from Paynes Prairie. He's done with watercolor and colored pencil. I take you through each step with a full color photo and instructions. I also include a line drawing, the original source photo and materials list.

So check out the new listings and tell me what you think! Do you think it's a good idea? Do you have a particular subject you'd like to see in a step by step format like this? I'll be doing more landscapes for sure but I'm also thinking of doing some seasonal type things like pumpkins with gold leaf backgrounds for fall or maybe do one with a bird nest and eggs. You know how much I love painting those! I would love and appreciate your feedback so leave a comment if you're so inclined.

To introduce these 2 new projects I'm sharing a coupon for 50% off the Painting Project Singles that's good through May 31st.  Share with your friends and happy painting!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A short and speedy clip

I discovered the hyperlapse setting on my phone! Yay! I love watching artists in their speed painting videos so I decided to try it myself. Yesterday I set up my little blue flexible tripod with my phone in it and did a clip of me working on the next bird nest painting. This is only the second time doing this. Hopefully these little clips will get better with practice. Light can be an issue in my studio so I might have to experiment with the placement of my easel and I have to figure out a way to get closer to the canvas too.

Anyway..... here's a short clip of a work in progress. It's an 8x8 canvas that I first textured with super heavy gesso. After letting that dry overnight I painted the whole canvas red, sketched the design and then applied gold leaf. Here I'm working with acrylic. I'm not done at the end of the clip, I still have some work to do so I'll share it when it's finished.

Thanks for watching!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Be brave, be bold, go paint!

Soooooo........ I'm excited about the June/July issue of Professional Artist magazine. Thea Fiore-Bloom is this wonderful writer who thought I should be included in her article about inspiration. I finally got a copy and I couldn't be happier! If you can, pick up a copy and read the article titled Draw Inspiration from Your Dark Side. In it she talks about finding inspiration in the hard times. Sometimes going through trauma can bring you to a new place in your art if you're willing to be vulnerable. For me, it's the Silent Voices series.You can see them by clicking on the tab above. That series then led to the bird nest series. You just never know where an idea will take you.

You can see some of the nests by clicking the Nest tab above or to see even more click here to go to my website. If you can't get to a bookstore you can order a copy here.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Art, Fear and Boredom

I'm reading a book right now called Real Artists Don't Starve by Jeff Goins. I'm only 15% into it but so far it's good. This paragraph...

"Torrance believed creativity could exist in all areas of life and that anyone could be creative. The more research he did, however, the more he discovered how difficult it was to be creative in certain settings, particularly schools. He also observed how creative individuals tended to struggle in systems that forced them to comply to rules they didn't understand. "The creative kids are the ones who rail against the rules the hardest," said Bonnie Cramond, a former student of Torrance, in summary of her teacher's findings. "Creative kids have no patience with ridiculous rules. They don't see any purpose in it." Professor Torrance concluded that following the rules does not produce outstanding creative work. If you aren't willing to be a little deviant, then it's harder to be creative. Sometimes it pays to break the rules."

makes a lot of sense to me. I still rail against stupid rules. My kids always railed against stupid rules and still do. This is something that can be difficult to get across to my art students. Like society, art has certain rules. You learn these when learning the basics in art school - composition, color theory etc.... Of course you can be creative within the boundaries of the rules but once you've been living and painting by those rules for a long time you itch to break them. If not break them, then at least bend them.


This is what holds us back. It's something I work on all the time. How can I do something different, something new? I think this is where working in a series is a really good thing. I've been painting the bird nests for a while now. Folks like them, some love them enough to buy them! Yay! What happens then? Fear of doing something different and then people might not like them anymore.


This is what catapults us into doing something else. The first time I painted a nest I was so excited! Each one I paint still excites me but after a while it gets like - meh - I've done this the same way before. When you've painted the same subject dozens of times, that's when the itch starts. You start to look for a different way to express that subject. That's when you look at things from a different angle- try different lighting, different background, close up view, long view.

That's when it's time to push.

How do you do that? One of the things I started doing is daily paintings. Every day that I'm in the studio I start the day with a little 4x4 or 4x6 painting. It can be anything. Today will be #20. I'm not just doing bird nests, I'm doing anything I feel like that morning. So far it's been a mix of landscapes and nests because those are my main 2 subjects anyway. I'm painting scenes that I've done before but making them a little bit different from the way I did them the first time.

I might push color, trying a different palette or exaggerate the color of a landscape. I might try a different shape or angle on a nest, I might do a new subject like the feathers and see where that goes....

So today my thoughts are - let boredom be a catalyst. And when you get bored don't let fear keep you from bending a few rules, push through. Who knows where it'll lead. And what I know about myself is, I need to push harder.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The gallery, the Etsy shop and a nest update

It's Monday morning and I'm sitting here with my coffee, listening to the birds and thinking about the week ahead. Today is art class. I'll probably just have 3 people in the studio today since a few folks are traveling. The rest of the week will be spent in my home studio working on several paintings. I usually have more than one going at a time- keeps my energy up that way.

Another thing that boosts the painting energy is visiting my gallery rep. Last week I delivered 10 new landscapes to the Signature Art Gallery in Tallahassee. They've been selling my work for a couple of years now and I'd never been there! Shame on me. So, since I had a couple of larger canvases for them this time I thought it would be good to deliver instead of shipping. I'm so glad I did. It was a beautiful day. Yellow flowers (friends from the area will know what kind they are) were blooming all along I75 with the occassional purple ones thrown in here and there- very pretty- you know those complimentary colors work so well together. 😄

Finding the gallery was very easy and what a nice place! I met Mary, the owner, and we had a lovely time visiting. Walking around, looking at the other art there, I realized I wanted just about everything in the place. Every piece in the gallery was beautiful! I truly felt honored to have my work hanging there with so many wonderful artist's work. I could've stayed all day just studying the brush work and techniques in all the other works. 

One of the larger pieces I delivered.

The 2 floating walls where my work is currently hanging. They've made room for a few of the new pieces.

So my gallery is updated and now my Etsy shop is too.

Once upon a time I was doing Friday Painting Parties. I did them for about 3 years but due to a change in the studio space I stopped doing them. I had a number of workshop demo pieces left from those parties and I got tired of tripping over the box of canvases so I added them to the shop at a special price. This week, through Mother's Day, you can get one of these paintings at a bigger discount with the coupon code MOMLOVE20 for 20% off. It really is a great deal so check it out if you're so inclined. There's a mix of subjects and techniques - take a look at the Etsy mini shop on the sidebar to see more examples.

This was one of my faves to do. It's from a photo I took on the gulf coast.

We did a gold leaf sky on this one. What a mess in a workshop! We then used palette knife to paint the rest.

This one came from a series I did called Woodland. They're all sold now, this is the last.

Nest update!

So remember the nest in my mailbox? The babies grew up and fledged but sadly, at least one of them was lost to a predator - the kitty. I happened to be home when the little ones took off and suddenly I saw the cat hunkered down over something small while momma bird was screeching and flying circles overhead. Sad. All I can do is hope the others survived. 

Once I was sure no one was coming back to the mailbox nest I cut a piece of cardboard to fit the width of the box so I could slide it underneath and then carefully pull the nest out. It took some work but I finally got it out without losing much of their construction. Once I got it out I found an egg inside that hadn't hatched. Unfortunately, I broke it when I took it out to show my granddaughter but I kept the largest pieces and put them back in. Now I have a new nest to add to my growing collection. See, this is why I have to move that box of canvases I was tripping over. Seriously..... go to the Etsy shop!

From the front

Side view- you can see how much taller it is in the back.

And of course, I've added to the collection of nest paintings. In memory of the little one lost to the kitty I painted 2 Babies this past weekend from a photo I took of them in the mailbox.

2 Babies

Well, that's the update for now...... I have lots of paintings floating around in my head so I'm anxious to get back to the studio and get busy. 

Wishing you peace and creativity.