Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Reason to Pout and three pictures of pure AWESOMENESS

"A Reason to Pout" acrylic on gessobord, 8" x 10"
The Work of Childhood series #2

Lately I've been feeling very drawn to acrylics. I don't know why. It's not because it comes easily, because it doesn't. It's not familiar and comforting like my watercolors, or soothingly meditative like my colored pencils. It's unpredictable and challenging. Maybe that's the appeal. I love a good challenge.

I really like this painting. I like the colors in his face and I like seeing the brushstrokes. And those pouty lips. :)

But. . . I kind of feel like a traitor for liking these acrylic paintings so much. I feel like I should not enjoy painting with them as much as I do, because they're not watercolors and that's sort of what people expect from me.

But they are fun, different, new. And sometimes that's just what I need. And it's not like I'm giving up on watercolors. Not at all. It's just nice to try something else for a change you know?

Now, onto pictures of AWESOMENESS.

The other day the Utah Watercolor Society hosted a demonstration given by one of my favorite artists ever.

Can you guess who it is? (If you follow my Facebook fan page you probably already know)

That's right! Alvaro Castagnet!! Can you even believe how awesome that was? Seriously, I felt like I was meeting a rock star. I may have stuttered when I asked if I could have a picture with him. I was a little bit fangirl. . . ok, ok I was a lot bit fangirl.

It was incredible to watch him paint, he's so confident and passionate that it was infectious. It made me want to run for my brushes. And hearing him speak about painting with passion, and being bold, holding nothing back, going for major impact was so cool. 

He was funny, and warm, and just plain AWESOME. 

I wish you could have been there. :)

And then last week I got to meet one of my favorite authors of all time!

Sarah Dessen! I have loved her books for years, read all of them, own most of them, and she is a major source of inspiration for my writing. I just love her. Her book "The Truth About Forever" is coming with me if ever I get stranded on a desert island. It's one of my top five favorite books of all time. (Which is saying a lot considering my list of favorite books is about five miles long)

And she was so nice and humble and just truly genuine. I think she and I could be friends if we were neighbors. :)

And yes, once again I was a fan girl of epic proportions. I just couldn't help it. I mean this is the Dessen we're talking about! She is incredibly AWESOME!

It was so cool. :D

It's inspiring to be around creative people who want to share and help other creative people. It's just one of my favorite things in the whole world.

See you next week everybody!

Dear Alvaro,

I hope you will forgive me for posting this photo of you with your eyes closed, but I simply had to. For the sake of AWESOMENESS. I hope you understand. :)

your most devoted fan girl,

Crystal Cook



  1. You had a great week!! Your enthusiasm is contagious : ) I'm off to chek out Alvaro and Sarah!!
    Yesterday I got to hear Miriam Toews do a reading from Irma Voth. Do you know her books? Awesome too : ) Have a great day Crystal!

  2. Wow that's awesome!! Isn't it cool when you meet your heroes:) I was just in a workshop and one of the guys in the class is friends with Alvaro and has taken several workshops with him. They're even riding together to Alavaro's workshop coming up in North Carolina, how cool is that. This gentleman was telling me all about him and has almost swayed me into trying a loser style. Trying, just trying:) Anyway that is awesome, and I'm so glad you got to meet them both.

    Beautiful portrait:) Maybe you need a break and acrylics are just what you need right now.

    Carrie Waller

  3. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW you fangirl.. What awesome news and pics.. I really dont know what to write.. I just wish I was there..
    By the way you are as awesome on acrylics now.. :)

  4. Excellent job on the acrylic! Don't feel guilty about enjoying them - your enjoyment makes your pictures glow!

    Happy for you that you met people you've always admired. That's nice xx

  5. WOW ... you've had an amazing week! I am an "Alvaro" groupie as well.

  6. Love your portrait in acrylic, so happy you had such an inspiring week!

  7. Sounds like an amazing week!! You are doing great in acrylics! I love them too - more difficult than oil but I think watercolor is the most difficult & you rock in watercolor!!! Beautiful painting of the pout, too..

  8. You are amazing. Loved your Mother's Day post too.


  9. What an exciting post Crystal!!! Alvaro Castagnet is an absolutely wonderful watercolorist. I checked him out and he really has some amazing paintings! And I have to tell you..love your latest painting. I thought it was watercolor...not acrylics.

  10. Lucky you! Alvaro is absolutely amazing. I'll come back later and watch the demo but I have already seen quite a lot him on YouTube I think it was. He's one of these painters that makes it look easy and you know darn well it certainly isn't. Love your painting - I remember when my son and daughter were like this, what a wonderful time :)

  11. Just keep following your heart Crystal!

    I give you permission to be a fan girl; I'm guilty of it too! I remember the first time I met artist Bob Burridge; I said to my hubby, "Oh my gosh, there he is!" I had my picture taken with him, painted with him for five days AND he rode in my car. I told ya I'm guilty of being a fan girl!

  12. Crystal...ok whats more fab..you got to see Alvaro paint...awesome, i kno, or this portrait? I dont care what media you use (and you know i am partial to watercolor) just keep up the fantastic work!

  13. I love your painting of the pout,it is just wonderful.

  14. Gorgeous painting! It's ok to love two things! I enjoyed your post. You made me smile with your enthusiasm.

  15. Wow! Great job with the acrylics.

  16. Your little pouty is absolutely adorable!!! The colors in the shadows are awesome. and the blue of the eye plays off the shirt really well! You shouldn't feel like a traitor for switching mediums --think of it like giving TLC to your different children- like taking them on special play dates one at a time :) --because I love seeing how you work so well in all different mediums! Just keep on creating!

    And thank you for introducing me to a wonderful artist Alvaro Casagnet! Loved his work. One of these days I will check out Sarah Dessen's books -- I am adding her to my list of authors :) Its wonderful you got to meet both of them!!!

  17. Your acrylic portrait is lovely, Crystal......and, look at you enjoying yourself like that....almost good enough to be illegal....:)

  18. Crystal , your enthusiasm is just so contagious..it must really have been something to meet two of your biggest "idols" !!
    I can totally follow your feeling of being a bit treacherous about the acrylic painting, I feel exactly that way when I sketch before painting ( with watercolor ), because normally I never do an initial sketch. No need to say ..your painting is gorgeous!!

  19. Are his eyes closed? They look like little slits - almost closed. ;)

    You're doing well with the acrylics!

  20. Une semaine remplie de bonnes et merveilleuses choses pour vous... J'aime votre publication.
    Votre travail à l'acrylique est remarquable.
    Je ne travaille jamais à l'acrylique, seulement à l'huile où je me sens bien. Je peins lentement, de ce fait l'huile me convient mieux.
    Je vous fais de gros bisous.

  21. This is one of my favorites of your work. Everything just sings to me.

  22. wow, crystal, you have been a very busy fangirl! what an exciting post! i'm so envious. what a great week. and i love this painting! don't feel like you've been steppin' out behind WC's back. i love to see you work in ANY medium!

  23. I chuckled when I read this post. I can feel your excitement through my PC! It's wonderful that you have met these people and that you had such a nice time :0)
    Hmm... But why feel guilty about picking up Acrylics for a change? Isn't that what art is all about? Trying out new things - exploring - variety... You have this WONDERFUL gift that few people have to such a degree and you surely owe it to your self to explore your gift to its FULL!
    We all know that you can't possibly get any better at watercolour and that it's the medium you are most comfortable with... But don't be afraid to play with other mediums, subjects, surfaces... We all love variety and they say that it is the spice of life :0)

  24. Gosh - With all of my babbling I forgot to comment on the actual painting - Which is as beautiful - astounding - as always! :0)

  25. That's some awesome stuff Crystal! And your acrylic painting is beautiful. Don't feel bad for cheating on your watercolors....I think it's great to play around with other techniques and mediums as it broadens our awareness and appreciation for all kinds of art! Kudos to you!

  26. Wow! You are so lucky to meet Mr. Castagnet and also your favourite author Sarah Dessen. I bet you could have asked for nothing more. More so because you are alreeady as good with acrylics as you are with your watercolours. This is a lovely painting.

  27. Awesome time you are having Crystal. Acrylic. Have tried it a few times and keep asking Why? Then try again.
    You handled it so very well.

  28. Where you describe feeling like a traitor for liking acrylics just because others expect you to use watercolors, I say good for you. Good to give yourself the space and mindset to explore beyond the boundaries of what other people expect... one never know what you'll find!

  29. Wow you have been keeping busy!
    The painting above is wonderful..I didn't suspect it was acrylic!You are doing great, Crystal.Keep it up :)

  30. Hi there :) Thanks for stopping by my blog and your kind comments. Your work is amazing.

  31. Crystal, your paintings are wonderful. I've just signed up to follow your blog. Thanks for stopping by my blog.


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment they really do mean so much to me! Because not all bloggers have their email enabled so I can reply directly through email I will try to reply here in the comments. If I don't please forgive me, life must have been hectic that day! :)) Huzzah!!

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