Friday, December 31, 2010

My Top 10 of 2010

My Summer Boy 10" x 14" watercolor

What He May Become 10" x 14" watercolor

Wonder 10" x 14" watercolor

Intensity 10" x 14" watercolor

Resplendent 5" x 7" watercolor

Beautiful Girl 10" x 14" watercolor

Please? 15" x 20" watercolor

Decked Out 10" x 14" watercolor

Jack and the Skeleton 10" x 14"

Here Be Dragons 15" x 20" watercolor

My good friend Kim from Eat Drink Paint posted her top 10 paintings from 2010 on her blog yesterday which inspired me to do the same thing. I've been thinking a lot lately about where I am in my artistic journey, how far I've come and how much more I still have to learn. So I thought this would be fun to look back and see what I liked the best from my year's worth of work. Although if I have to pick a favorite I'd have to say it's 'Wonder.' That was such a fun painting to do and I love the colors there.

What do you guys think? Do you have a favorite?

I think you should all do this too. It's fun. :) And Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sketchbook Monday

graphite sketch 8"x10"

I hope everyone had a great holiday! Ours was the best, I couldn't have asked for anything better than two full days of just being at home and playing with my little family. I just wish it would have lasted longer.

But, now I'm dying to get out and go running again, to offset all the Christmas candy I've eaten. :)

This sketch is one of the studies for my portrait giveaway winner, Catie. I love her peaceful expression and the soft lighting on her face and hair. I also really like that smile she has, kind of like she has a secret about something.

I may be hit and miss around the blogosphere for the next week as I soak up all the time at home with my family.

Also, I have a large (and I mean LARGE) painting that I'm working on for a cool new exhibit that I must finish up right away! So, stay tuned for that.

It's different from what I've done before. It's a watercolor and it's a portrait, but it's on an entirely new surface for me (it's not watercolor paper).

This has got me thinking about trying new things, and also that I need to do that more.

So, here's a question for you: How often do you shake up your artistic routine? When was the last time you tried something new?

Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas

'Prince of Peace I, Joseph's embrace'
10 x 14 watercolor

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you!

I've wanted to paint the baby Jesus for a long time, but have felt so intimidated and lacking in my skills to actually attempt it until now. And still, I think it's been a very humbling experience to try and paint my Savior.

But this is my attempt and for my first try I think it captured the feeling I was going for pretty well.

I've often wondered about Joseph, Mary's husband, and his relationship with baby Jesus. What did he feel when he first saw Him or held Him? What was it like to raise Him, knowing what His future held?

Watching my own husband raise our children has been an incredible experience. To see his tenderness and love for them, his complete and total devotion and concern for them. To see his joy in their success and his sorrow in their pain. It's drawn us closer and has increased my love for him in a way that nothing else could. It's helped me appreciate the role of a father in the life of their child.

I think that Joseph had that same experience with the Christ child. But on an even grander scale. For he knew the great price that little baby would one day choose to pay. For us.

I've tried to capture here a little bit of that tenderness and love that Joseph surely felt for Him. And there's Mary's hand reaching to touch her baby, always there, always loving Him. I've titled this 'Prince of Peace-I' because it's the first in a series I want to do of my Savior, from his birth and throughout his mortal life.

I wish all of you the best now and always, whether or not you celebrate Christmas. Thank you so much for being my friends and for always encouraging me. :):):)

"The Christmas season is wonderful in many ways. It is a season of charitable acts of kindness and brotherly love. It is a season of being more reflective about our own lives and about the many blessings that are ours. It is a season of forgiving and being forgiven. It is a season to enjoy the music and lights, parties and presents. But the glitter of the season should never dim our sight and prevent us from truly seeing the Prince of Peace in His majesty." Deiter F. Uchtdorf

Monday, December 20, 2010

Jackson, and it's that time of year again. . .

'Jackson'  chocolate lab
8 x 10 watercolor

Jackson is my sister's dog. He died last year and it was heartbreaking, as it always is to lose a much loved member of your family.

She'd raised him from a teeny little pup and he grew up with her kids and was her husband's faithful hunting partner. I've painted him once before here, but wanted to do a single portrait of him as my gift to her.

So, here he is Jen. Happy Birthday. :) Love you.

Now, down to the business of Motivational Monday.

It's that time of year again.

That's right. It's time to make some GOALS. :)

You know how I feel about goals. Me and goals, we are like this *crosses fingers*. Tight.

I've been thinking about what I want to do in the next year with my artwork and really what I want is to take my artistic skills to another level. I want to stretch myself and do things that maybe I haven't tried before. New subjects, themes, media. Something like that.

That's the basic idea of my goals. I'm asking myself what will get me excited to create more art? What can I do that will bring me greater enjoyment as an artist? What will stretch me the most?

I want this next year to be fun and productive but, most of all I want to grow as an artist this next year more than I ever have before.

This is my challenge to you. Think of a goal for the new year and tell me what it is. I plan on 'formally' posting mine on January first, but I'm giving you a little peek about what's been on my mind so far.

Your turn. Let's hear it. You know you want to. :) 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

'Decked Out' and a confession

'Decked Out'
10" x 14" watercolor


detail from 'Decked Out'

This painting was a pure joy. It flowed together so smoothly and I got so immersed in the painting that I sometimes lost track of time or anything else that was going on around me.

I sometimes forget how rare it is for this to happen. Every painting, no matter how similar in subject matter, color, or light, is an entirely different creature.

The experience of creating art is never the same from one day to the next.

Sometimes it's a real struggle to get anything down that I'm satisfied with, other times it flows like it's not me who's creating this painting, but someone else who just happens to be using my hands and eyes, someone who's infinitely more talented and expressive than little old me.

But either way, painting feeds my soul and gives me joy, and I look forward to every day I get to sit down and create art. 

Which brings me to my confession.

For a long time I put off the idea that I had 'talent' or a 'gift.' Even writing those words down right now makes me squirm a little. I'm really uncomfortable with admitting that I have talent or that I might be 'good' at something.

But now I've realized that not acknowledging that denies that any talent I do have has come from God. That's something I believe in strongly, that God has given me whatever skills and talents I possess. And that He's also given me the desire to study and practice.

It all goes back to Him. This talent, this skill of putting paint on paper isn't mine. It's His, and He's gifted me with it. To bless the lives of my family and others. I'm still trying to figure out what exactly He wants me to do with it. But I try, every day.

So there's my confession.

I have talent. I have a gift. And it's not mine, it's a gift from God.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sketchbook and Motivational Monday

Here's the  rough sketch for my landscape.Although I think I may move the barn to the side a little bit. It kind of looks dead center when I see it like this. Oh, and the photo for this sketch is posted up on my Facebook fan page if you want to check it out.

I've got to say that I'm getting excited here. But I think I need to stop with the planning already and just paint it! So, that's what I'll be doing for the next few days. :) Wish me luck.

Now, onto Motivational Monday.

Lately I've been asked by a couple of different people how I get so much painting done. And I think it really comes down to something I learned when I first started writing.

There's so much about the act of being a writer that's comparable to the life of an artist that I find myself looking to both of those sources, successful writers and artists, for motivation when I feel lacking in that area.

Here it is.

Three big words of wisdom that changed my life.

Are you ready?

Here we go.


Butt In Chair. Of course if you stand while you paint then maybe you'll want to say Feet On Floor or something else that's a little more clever than that. ;)

It's really that simple. You want to paint? You want to be an artist? Then you have to show up for the job. There's no other way to create a body of work than to sit your butt in that chair and paint away.

Sometimes you might not feel like it, sometimes you might want to do anything other than sit down and paint, but you do it anyway. Because you WANT to be an artist more than you want to be anything else. And you know that by showing up and putting in the time you will succeed.

Tough love baby. That's the name of the game. Being an artist isn't all rainbows, glitter, and kittens, although it is that a lot of the time, and it should be that a lot of the time or else why bother?

I guess that my point is that simply by showing up, sitting your B-I-C and painting is usually all you need to start feeling the joy of painting that made you want to pick up your brushes in the first place. You can't feel that joy, that rush of creating, unless you first start. And you can't start unless you first sit your

Wash and repeat, everyday until it sticks.

Paint on friends. See you Wednesday!

Friday, December 10, 2010

New WIP, and one of my favorite painting tips

watercolor work in progress 10 x 14

First of all, can I just say how much fun reading all your comments from my last post was? Cuz it was, like BIG time. :) Thanks to each of you for the encouragement, your kindness and just generally for being all-out-fabulous Rock Stars. You are the best blogger buddies in the world.

I promise that I'm working on my landscape. I may be procrastinating a little, or a lot, but that's only because I'm a little intimidated. It's a bit easier to paint emotion when you're dealing with a face or figure than when you're dealing with a tree. . . or a barn. Right?

I'm working on it, I promise. I'm going to be posting some of my sketches on Monday. Along with a new Motivational Monday post because it's been a while and I could use a good dose of motivation right about now.

I started this painting yesterday just because I love this beautiful face and the golden colors of her coat that just glowed in the sunshine. But let me tell you that the harness is making my eyes cross. It's tricky to keep all the lines straight. It's a good challenge, a lot of negative painting which is SO fun.

Turning the painting upside down to work on the harness has helped me focus on the shapes that really are there instead of the shapes I just 'think' are there. That's been one of the best tips about art that I've ever heard. Paint upside down. It really helps to get you to see what's really in front of you.

But I think my all time favorite painting tip I've ever received was when I asked an artist I admired, back when I was a wee watercolor newbie, how she got so good. Very tactful question don't you think?

She told me that she had to paint an acre of bad paintings before she got to the good ones. I love that. And I have to agree with her. I had to paint an acre of horrible paintings before I started to figure out how this watercolor game worked. I still have them too, just to remind me of how far I've come. 

Thinking about this tip makes me curious about you guys. What's the best tip you've ever received about art or anything else that's creative?

I hope you all have a great weekend! See you Monday. :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


15 x 20 watercolor

Finished! And I am really pretty happy with it. I had to change some things at the last minute that I thought would work, but really just weren't. Which then basically took the whole concept of the painting and threw it out the window. That concept being, my little boy getting caught eating my still life.

But I like the new idea here too, that he's pouting because I won't let him eat one of those apples yet.  

Ah well, such is life as an artist. Must be able to adapt to change.

But before I changed it, I showed the painting to my husband, who I can always depend on for a loving, honest opinion, and asked what he thought of one apple that I had painted with a bite taken out of it. This is how it went:

Me: "So. . . what do you think? What does it look like?" *points to the apple with what's supposed to look like a bite, but really looks like some sort of apple leprosy*

Him: *Silence*

Me: *Nervous twisting of hands*

Him: *looks at wife with a loving smile while internally debating the pros and cons of being honest with said wife*

Me: *wipes sweat off forehead*  *chews fingernails down to stubs* 

Him: *smiles gently and wraps arms around wife*  "I know what it's supposed to look like."

Me: *sigh* "Yeah, you're right. It sucks." *pulls out the scrubber and erases the offending bite/leprosy mark*

Him: *looks at wife warily, wondering just how far he put his foot in his mouth*

Me: *looks at husband and thanks God that he's hers*  "Love you."

Him: *BIG sigh of relief* "You too."

We artists and creative types need cheerleaders, we need the people we love to tell us that we're amazing, talented, and perfect in every way (what? You mean that's just me that needs that? Hmph.), but we also need to have someone who can tell us what isn't quite working.

I knew that bite mark wasn't working, but I was trying to hold onto it because of my Grand Artistic Idea, thus sacrificing the strength of the painting. So, I'm very glad my husband was there, in love and kindness, to tell me that it sort of, kind of, okay, really wasn't working. Gosh, I love that man. 

So, what about you? Do you have someone you can ask who will be honest with you in a way that won't crush your sensitive artist's soul? And when's the last time you told them how grateful you were for them?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tiny and Precious

Tiny and Precious
5 x 7 watercolor

A new baby is like the beginning of all things-wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.

Eda J. Le Shan

There's just something special about a brand new baby. Something quiet but wonderful that you feel just by being near them. Lately I find myself (lately? Okay, if lately means the last ten years, then lately it is.) inexplicably drawn to them.

And their tiny and precious little feet. 

Oh, and yesterday I went out looking for a landscape to inspire me, then I spent some time researching some of my favorite landscape artists for more inspiration.

And I'm feeling verrrry excited about this.

This could be a whole lot of fun.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WIP Wednesday and a very random thing that made me smile

more work in progress 15 x 20 watercolor

First of all thank you so much for all of your wonderful, heartfelt comments from my previous post. You guys are the best. :) Thank you.

Second, I've made some progress with this WIP. I was hoping to be finished by now, but I'm not quite there yet. It's coming along though. I like the warm colors in this piece, and that very different green apple. 

Third, sometimes you just really need something to make you smile you know?

Yes, of course you do.

That's why when I saw this:

I just knew I had to share it with any fellow sugar junkies out there.

You're welcome. :)

And last of all, I started a Facebook Fan page for my art and would be honored if you wanted to come and 'like' me. The widget is on the side of my blog.

Thanks everyone!

Until Friday.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Perspective (revisited)

First Touch
5 x 7 watercolor

Most of you who follow my blog know that I write as well as paint, and yesterday I finally did something that I've been dreaming about doing my whole life. I finished my novel. I've started about twenty and I have one other novel that's nearly finished, but this one is the first fully completed book that I've ever written.

I was ecstatic. I felt completely triumphant that I set a goal and then saw it through to the end. It was a good feeling.

And then, about an hour later, I received a phone call telling me that a friend of mine had been killed in a car accident.

Suddenly, things like novel writing and art making seemed of such little importance.

I looked around my house, still in shock that she was actually gone, and saw my family all safe and healthy in my home within arms reach of a hug, or kiss, or a whispered 'I love you.'

And I gained some perspective. A new realization that life is precious and we have no guarantees that the people we love will be around for us to tell them, or show them how we feel one more time.

It's so easy to go through life thinking it will never change, that the people we love will always be around. 

But that isn't true, things always change.

Since last night, I've been hugging my family closer to me, trying to imprint in my brain everything I never want to forget about them, trying to live without regrets. Letting them know that they are my life, showing them that I am so thankful that they are mine, and that they are still here.

Timeless Remedy
10 x 14 watercolor

"We often take for granted the very people who most deserve our gratitude. Let us not wait until it is too late for us to express that gratitude. . . The loss of loved ones almost inevitably brings some regrets to our hearts. Let's minimize such feelings as much as humanly possible by frequently expressing our love and gratitude to them. We never know how soon it will be too late."

Thomas S. Monson

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sketchbook Friday

tiger study
graphite on bristol 8 x 10

I know, it's not a landscape. But I needed to sketch something and this guy taking a swim looked like the perfect subject to me. I've got some thinking and planning to do with my landscape still.

I kept things looser with this drawing. I wanted to be quick and expressive with my pencil marks. Overall I'm pleased with it, although getting those stripes placed correctly was a bit tricky.

Here's something I've learned about drawing that I wished I'd done more of when I first started. Make your marks boldly and confidently. It doesn't matter if you're a little bit off with the placement, chances are that it will 'read' with more power and impact if you don't go lightly.

Happy weekend everyone. :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

WIP Wednesday and Small Things To Be Thankful for

watercolor work in progress
15 x 20

Remember a few posts ago when I told the story of my two year old who ate my still life set up? Well this is what I've decided to paint instead of plain old apples. There's a story here which hopefully will be more apparent when this painting's finished. You'll have to wait and see. :)

And my 'what to paint next' poll is over and do you see what I have to paint now? A landscape. This should be interesting. I've never felt particularly drawn to landscapes and since I'm a bit of a detail type person this will be a challenge for me. I'm trying to think of what kind of landscape it should be. Probably something with snow, because it's winter here in Utah.

Now, on to Small Things To Be Thankful For:

1. My kids are out of school for Thanksgiving break and thus today I will not be a taxi driver all day long. This makes me happy as I have recently discovered that a very large portion of my day is spent in my car ferrying kids to and fro all their different activities. I love my car and all, but we need a little bit of a break.

2. My husband is not making his famous creme brulee for Thanksgiving this year. This of course was initially on my list of Things To Cry About (remember how I'm a bit of a list junkie?), but I've decided to look on the bright side. So, no sinfully, seductive, delicious creme brulee but also no 5,000+ calorie desert. My skinny jeans say thank you.

3. There are people out there (ahem. . . that would be you reading this :) who like what I paint and are kind enough to take the time to tell me so. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. :)

4. We had a severe snow storm (so the weather people say) last night and now my kids are out building The World's Best Snow Fort. Complete with stairs, a second floor, and turrets I believe. At least that's what the blueprint they made said.

5. My husband telling me I'm beautiful. I never get tired of hearing that. All you husband's out there, consider this information I've just given you your secret weapon.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!

Your turn. What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Daily Bread

'Daily Bread'
15 x 20 watercolor - finished!

"Our task is to become our best selves. One of God's greatest gifts to us is the joy of trying again, for no failure ever need be final."  - Thomas S. Monson

This painting was a combination of joy and frustration. Joy because it was a portrait of a good friend, and there was some STUNNING light at work here. Frustration because it was a portrait of a good friend and I wanted it to be the best I could paint. I tend to stress myself out about that, needlessly I guess, but so be it. And really are we ever satisfied with the current painting on our easel? Probably not. But that's what makes us strive right?

I can say that I'm happy with where this painting is now, although I think I may be revisiting this theme again. Only because I have learned so much from this painting that next time I'll know what I would like to do differently.

I thought I'd talk a little bit about my process for anyone who was interested. If you have any questions you'd like to ask feel free.

work in progress - stage two

work in progress stage one 

 Stage one: The beginning washes are used to establish facial proportions and lay the foundation for the rest of the painting. I like to start my paintings by using the lightest value of a color in the darkest areas. I paint the darkest areas first, but with the lightest possible value. This makes what I like to call a road map. It makes for a much more enjoyable painting experience if you know right at the beginning that you have an accurate 'road map' to follow. At this point I'm painting more by feel than anything else, color selection is largely based on warm and cool areas, not too much consideration is given to the actual shade. 

Stage two: Now the fun begins. Once I know the painting is accurate I start to use more vibrant colors, focusing mostly on yellows and pinks. I'm careful with each layer of color, only laying it down and letting it blend. I don't go back in and guide it anywhere, I lay it down and then I leave it alone. This lets me build up color and form gradually and gives me a fresh look without as much of a risk of overworking it.

Stage three: Finish work. From here on out I'm much more conscious of how this painting looks as a whole. Does it flow? Is there an obvious center of interest? Where do I need stronger values or softer edges? This stage usually takes the longest amount of time because I step back so frequently to look at it and see what needs to be improved. More time looking, less time painting.

And I see that in my poll for what I should paint next the landscape and the faery girl are neck and neck! I just knew you guys would make me do a landscape. Jeez, why'd I have to put that up there? ;)

And, Kim I believe I will do an architectural something or other, you have intrigued me. :) Great suggestion.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sketchbook Tuesday

Yellow Lab sketch
graphite on bristol

I'm starting to feel a little restless with my artwork again. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I have too many halfway finished projects. Maybe I just need a change of pace, some new subject matter, different color combos, different medium.

So, I'm asking for your help. On the side of my blog there is a poll asking which subject you'd like to see me paint or draw next. Go ahead and vote and tell me what you'd like to see, it's all up to you. Or at least, those four or five choices are.

Of course, if you'd like to see something different, feel free to leave your suggestion in the comments. I'd love to hear it! Thanks guys. :)

And here's a great little quote that lifts me up on those days when I'm just feeling blah.

"To grow as an artist, to go past your present limits, you have to take chances that aren't always productive. But with every chance you take, you learn something whether you succeed or fail. If you play it safe you learn nothing but fear of the unknown."

Arne Westerman (Grand master awesome in the awesome artist club. And yes, I did just invent that club. Pretty sweet huh?)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Left Behind

"Left Behind"
5 x 7 watercolor

I'm the youngest in my family and I seriously hero worshipped my older sister. Wherever she went, I wanted to go too. I felt like I deserved to go, I mean why wouldn't she want her cute and never annoying little sister around her ALL. THE. TIME?

I still don't get it.

She was pretty good about letting me come with her almost all the time. Except for those times when she had dates or dances. Then I had to stay home. :( Come on, you didn't want your little sister to go on your dates with you either?  That's just shocking.

I imagine I looked a little like this horse when I had to stay home. Except for a fence, it would have been my face pressed to the window.

I watched this horse get left behind for some reason (maybe she was sick, or not strong enough to go on long mountain treks with the others) all summer long. And every time she would wait at the fence, leaning into it and craning her neck to try and get a glimpse of her friends.

It was really touching to see her devotion and it reaffirmed to me that in some ways we're not all that different from animals. We all just want to be with the people (or in this case, horses) we love.

On a little bit lighter note, a few days ago I heard from a blog reader, Jake, who thought he had a better idea for the title of a recent piece I posted.

I'm always open to suggestions and honestly, I kind of titled this painting in a moment of desperation. I was in an EXTREME hurry and called it the first thing that came to mind.

But I think I like Jake's title better. So, I'm rechristening "Radiance" to. . .

"A Rather Blustery Day"

Thanks for the great title Jake!

I'll see you guys later, have a great next couple of days!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Of horses, haircuts, penguins and lemurs

8 x 10 watercolor

A very early equine portrait, I think this was actually one of my first. But I still really like parts of this painting, especially the colors. They're very clean and true and I remember really striving for that. Isn't it fun (usually) to look back at your early works and see that it wasn't as bad as you thought it was?

Which brings me to Motivational Monday: 

I caved. *


I put it off long enough.

One too many kind-hearted, good-intentioned, but-rather-misguided grandmotherly types told me how darling my little girl is.

That's right, LITTLE GIRL.

So, you see that clearly I had no other choice. *hangs head*

And so. . . I present to you. . . Samson's almost demise

There may have been some dissension in the ranks. A haircut was seriously going to cramp his style.

However, I don't think it's entirely because of the haircut. It may have something to do with those creepy little penguins on that smock.

See? No more penguins, no more tears.

Apparently the loss of his hair has not completely affected his charm (unlike poor Samson). He was still able to score that awesome sucker.  

Motivational Monday Tip Of The Day: It won't be as bad as you think it will be. Send in that prospectus for that major art competition, talk to the gallery owner about hosting your show, be brave, go forth and conquer! Huzzah!

And if you fail this time, try again. A few tears never hurt anybody.

Penguins on the other hand. . .  Well, I have no guarantees with penguins.

Cute and cuddly boys, cute and cuddly.

Lemurs, however, are entirely trustworthy.

 But that's a post for another day. 

*The post in which I finally cut my two year olds hair, to my utter dismay.

Friday, November 5, 2010


pastel on toned paper 11 x 14

I did this piece today just for you. So I hope you like it. :)

I had nothing to post since I'm working on two large paintings that have a lot of detail and they are taking me FOR-E-VER. And I'm still trying to get the colored pencil piece from this post finished and it's slow going too.

But it's good. I don't mean to say that slow is bad. It's therapeutic and meditative and all that. Except for impatient people like me. I have to tell myself every time I put brush to paper "DON'T rush this!" 

That has been one of the most important things for me to learn with the way I like to paint. I don't have to paint fast. There's no hurry. I like to have glowing color and accurate facial features. And for me to do that I have to take my time. It's fine. I've come to grips with this reality. Mostly. :)

I had a few questions from the previous post that I did not get to answer (life is hectic! But what else is new?) I read all of your comments and they really mean a lot to me. Thanks for taking the time to tell me what you think! You guys rock in an all out glorious way.

These are the questions that I can remember. If I forgot yours ask me again okay? I'm having a blonde day.

Where've you been? Here! I promise. Just busy. I'm glad you guys missed me though. And I mean that in a good way. Also in addition to my painting, mommy, wife, and church jobs I've decided to do NaNoWriMo.

What the heck is NaNoWriMo you ask? It's National Novel Writing Month. The idea is you write an entire novel, start to finish, 50,000 words (which ends up being a book about the size of 'The Great Gatsby') in 30 days.

Yes, I agree with you.

I am crazy.

But, it's a lot of fun and I'm totally in love with my story so far. There's a little widget on the side of my blog that shows my progress to the 50,000 word deadline. You can cheer me on if you want! I love cheerleaders!

Do you prefer bristol to regular cartridge paper? Yes, I do. Most of the time. Bristol is very smooth and is great for drawings with lots of detail. I really love it for colored pencil pieces. But it's not so great for work where you want texture and lots of nice line work. At least in my opinion. So when I use charcoal or pastel I don't use bristol. I like a paper that has some tooth or a really great sanded surface.

And, last but not least, tonight is the opening reception for the Carriage House Gallery Holiday Invitational Exhibit. It runs from tonight until December 30. And there are two artist receptions. One is tonight from 6 - 9 and the other one is December 3 from 6 - 9.

If you feel like taking in some art in Ogden stop by and see me! It'll be fun.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sketchbook Wednesday

graphite on bristol

     My sketchbook posts are mostly just for practice and my own enjoyment. The photo references I use sometimes come from magazines and books for no other reason than I was drawn to that particular image. This sketch comes from the cover of a horse magazine I got when I was about twelve. Yes I have kept it for seventeen years.  At least the cover, I ripped it off and stuck it in a folder to use as a reference one day. And today is that day.

     The appeal for me here is the horse's face. It's beautiful and I like beautiful things. :) I love the delicate curves in her jaw and her big dark eyes. And maybe part of the appeal comes from the fact that horses were a huge part of my life when I was twelve and I'm feeling a little bit nostalgic about this photo, and the memories it triggers for me of all the hours I spent pouring over every single bit of horse related knowledge I could find.

     *sigh* Life was a lot more simple back then.

     But now I'm curious about the rest of you. What was your childhood passion? And do you use that in any of your art today?

     Books and horses. Those were mine. Put them together and I was in heaven. For real. :)

     See you guys later. I hope you're all having a fantastic day and staying out of your kids Halloween candy stash. I am proud to say that this year I have. But only because I bought my own stash the day before Halloween. Mwahaha!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


10 x 14 watercolor

A few months ago I watched my youngest son (above, at about eighteen months old) playing with his stuffed Elmo and Winnie the Pooh in a gorgeous shaft of sunlight streaming in through his bedroom window. 

So, of course I ran to grab my camera. As soon as he spotted me watching him he stopped playing and came to sit by me, bringing Elmo for me to play with (there's no way he was letting anyone, not even Mom, play with his Pooh bear).

I tried to get him to play by himself again, just for a minute, so I could get some pictures to paint from. And he did, but most of the photos came out looking forced. Like some mother was obviously trying to pose her cute kid. :)

Strange huh?

But there was one moment when I caught him sitting in the shadows watching me when I was adjusting my camera. His eyes full of curiosity, innocence and wonder. And I just happened to be quick enough to catch him with this expression.

I'm very happy with how this painting turned out. :)

Some days as a stay at home mom seem to be filled with nothing but endless chores and routine tasks. Some days are hard. But there are also days that are filled with incredible sweetness and beauty.

That's when I remember that far too soon there will be a day when I'm not asked to play Elmo and Winnie the Pooh. There will be a day when I'm not the center of one little boy's world. That's when I try to remember that today is not that day, so I can savor it while I can.

Monday, October 25, 2010

More work in progress and Motivational Monday

watercolor work in progress 15 x 20

The other day I was telling my husband that I didn't think this painting was going where I wanted it to and that I was thinking of starting over. Watercolor's tough in that if you want it to look really spectacular you need to get it right the first time, and I wasn't feeling it was 'right' in some areas.

Anyway, being the amazing and supportive husband that he is, he said, "You always do that (meaning, I don't feel satisfied with a painting and so I start over. . . It's true, I do that. It makes for a lot of paper wasting). Why don't you just work on a different area and then see what you think?"

So I did. And I like it more now. It's coming together. Sometimes I think I just forget that most paintings go through an awkward adolescent phase. They're just not that cute anymore and really, sometimes kind of annoying.

No offense adolescents, I was awkward and annoying once too. Okay. . . so I still am. :) But, I digress.

Moving on to my Motivational Tip Of The Day: Just keep working, it will get better. It might hurt a little (or a lot) and it might not always be fun, but it will get better.

For example:


P 90 X!

Last week I started doing this P90X workout. My husband has been doing it for a while and he challenged me to try it. I think he was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to do it. Or maybe he just thought it would be funny to see me limp around the house for the next five days. (And yes, he did indeed get to see that)

 I said of course I can do one measly hour of exercise. I mean pu-leaze, I ran a half marathon this year don't you know?! I can do this. No sweat. Bring it on.

Yeah. . . 

So, I did it. And the full hour too, but it was HARD! Like crazy hard. And just so you know, I'm not a wimp when it comes to working out, the more challenging the better for me. I love it. I know, that probably makes me a little neurotic. But, that's me.

My point is, that this workout was not like what I'd previously been doing (which was just running) at all. Not even close. And I'll admit that I was seriously feeling very wimpy when it came time to do about fifty different varieties of pushups, and I could barely make it through 10. Nevermind that the girl on the DVD is a little, tiny thing and whips out 30 (!!!) millitary style push ups right next to the men! Holy cow she was awesome.

It was painful (in a good way:) and it was kind of discouraging at times, but I know that I'll never be able to do 30 millitary style pushups unless I start out doing 10 girly ones now. I have to go through the pain and discouragement now to get to the good part later.

Endure. Persevere. Nevah, nevah, nevah give up.

It all pays off in the end.

So, you tell me. When was the last time you did something that was really hard, but paid big rewards in the end? Art related or not. :)

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