Wednesday, March 31, 2010


10 x 14 watercolor

     Here's my husband, looking pretty handsome in my opinion :). I really enjoyed painting this. It was a challenge because so much of his face was in shadow. I had to be careful with my shadow colors so I didn't end up with dull, muddy skin tones. And I can see a few areas where I was very, very close. Again it was a struggle to just stop! I kept seeing things I thought I could fix, things with the drawing not the paint itself. But of course that would have not helped anything, so I left it as it is. I think it's decent, there are things I could do better next time, but I'm not going to dwell on them. I'm just going to (hopefully) remember it for next time.

     I wanted to paint this because of the lighting of course. I really love it when I get to leave part of the paper white, it feels like an indulgence. Most of all I was drawn to his expression, it's very intense. He is a very kind man, an amazing father, and the best husband. But people who don't know him think he's a bit intimidating. I can't figure it out, but I think part of it has to do with this intense gaze he has. I love it. It's very focused.

     And I just heard my painting "Timeless Remedy" was accepted! I'm excited, it's always nice to get accepted, I'm a little tired of all those rejection letters piling up :) Thanks everyone for all your kind comments about that painting in particular, it really helped.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Finished! And, how do you get unstuck?

10 x 14 watercolor
  I finished this painting last night. I kept thinking I wanted to go back in and deepen the color but I decided not too. Because it looked fresh to me and I didn't want to go in and kill it. I think it captured my littlest one pretty good :) Gosh they grow so fast.
     I feel like my painting is growing more since I started blogging. I've gained a lot from this experience and I love to see everything you guys are working on. It's feeding my soul. I'm amazed at your technique and the concepts you have. It's been a lot of fun :)
     Next up for me is a portrait of my husband. I started it last night, it's coming along. I'm also looking for a new animal painting, maybe one of my dogs or a horse again. I'm excited about painting again. I love that feeling. I want to hang on to it. Sometimes I feel like I get stuck with my art, I'm not feeling inspired, and I doubt every little thing about my work. One thing that helps me is to see the work of others. That's why I love blogging so much. But what about you? Do you ever feel uninspired? And what do you do to work yourself out of your slump? Happy weekend everyone, can't wait to see what you'll create next.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Painting With Feeling

"Timeless Remedy"
10 x 14 watercolor

      My husband has been making a list of shows for me  to enter this year. Some of them are national and some are local. He called me yesterday when he was at work to tell me about one that was local he just found out about. The deadline for entries was today and this show had a theme. It was "100 years of healing. . . the evolution of healthcare in northern Utah." And I thought 'Ok, don't have anything that fits that, and don't have time to paint something for it.'  But then I thought maybe I do have time, because you know I love stress ;).
      I've been wanting to paint this image for a while. I took the photo with the intention of painting it someday. It's me holding the hand of my youngest when he was 4 days old. So obviously this painting is very dear to my heart. But what I hoped to capture here was something universal (that's why I kept my face out of it). That intense love you feel when you're around a newborn. Whether the baby is yours or not, there's a powerful feeling around them. How fierce you feel about protecting them and comforting them.  I tried to tie that idea to this theme, thinking of all the nurses who care for newborns and how they must feel being one of the first one's involved in this child's life. I remember, vaguely, seeing one nurse hold onto my youngest's hand while he was still screaming as they were putting him under the heat lamps. She could not stop smiling at him. That touched me. This was my child, but she looked at him with such tenderness. Like he was hers too.   

       I stayed up late last night painting this. I don't know if it will be accepted, but I'm glad I painted it anyway. I'm kind of proud of myself that I painted it in one night. And I like how it turned out, there are some technical things I would do differently next time, but overall I like it. And it was painted with feeling, that's the most important thing.  I'm counting all the good things that came of taking this opportunity to paint this so quickly and branding them in my brain. So when I hear if it was accepted or rejected I will remember those and consider myself accomplished regardless.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Midweek Inspiration, A Question, and Progress

untitled, watercolor 10 x 14

     Making some progress with this painting, it's not exactly where I want it to be, but it's close. And it's coming together pretty quickly and it's a lot of fun :)
      I've been thinking about this blog lately and what I want to do with it, so I thought I would ask you readers a question, or two. What do you like the most about artist blogs? What do you like to see, works in progress or more written content about the creative process and things like that. I am finding that this blog is kind of a record of my own little journey, and I'm not sure if that's of value to anyone else or not. I mean I'm going to keep blogging from my heart, which is usually why my posts are soooo long, but I'd like to know your opinion about this too. Is there something that you do or don't like to see on a blog that you feel like sharing? I'm curious about that. Comments would be much appreciated friends :)
     And here is another quote I found that I love and thought you might like too:

 "You'll do your best if you paint the things around you that connect you emotionally - your world, your children, etc. Start with the things at hand you feel most deeply about. Choose subjects or scenes that get under your skin, things that make you feel something. . . Any subject is valid provided the artist has an emotional reaction to it. You've got to feel it if you are going to paint it successfully.  Don't paint anything that doesn't interest you. You will be bored and your boredom will show in your work. You have to be excited to paint exciting things."

Arne Westerman

     I try to follow that advice, creating with passion that's the key. Who cares what anyone else thinks, you love it then paint it, write it, photograph it! It's your vision don't let anyone else dictate how or what you create. This is one area of your world you are in complete control of.  

     Happy St. Patty's too :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Portrait Started and Gallery Showing

untitled watercolor 10 x 14

     Here is the new portrait I've been working on. It's still pretty light and I've spent most of my time on his eyes so far. I just can't get too involved in a portrait if I don't have the eyes in pretty quick. I need to know I've got it. I'm thinking about leaving the background white for this one. I think it might make a nice change. We'll see, I can be pretty undecisive at this stage :)
     I wanted to paint this image because of the lighting of course, and I love that far away, focused on something else gaze he has. I usually prefer portraits that aren't head on looking at you. But sometimes that really works and makes a powerful painting. I'm excited about this one so far, I want to just get it finished right now! Have I mentioned how I'm not all that patient?
     I also forgot to mention that I have paintings in a few galleries right now, so if you're in Utah and feel like taking in some art stop by and see them :)
  • The Eccles Art Center, Ogden
  • Michael Berry Gallery, Salt Lake City
  • Sandy Watercolor Guild, Sandy
     And I got a prospectus in the mail today from the Springville Museum of Art, it's probably the most prestigious art museum in Utah (at least to me :)) and I've entered their shows twice but so far have not made it in (last time they had over 1,000 entries!). But since I'm a glutton for punishment I'm going to enter again this year, and hope that it will be my lucky year, now I've got to think of something spectacular to paint. . . This could be fun.
     So, I leave you with a few questions blogger buddies what do you think about white backgrounds? And have any great ideas for a title to this piece? I think it'd be a lot of fun to hear some suggestions :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Behind The Scenes

     I was never the kid in school who was the most talented artist. You know, the one who was just  AMAZING and everything they drew or painted was just perfect and they made it look effortless. Not me. But I so wanted to be.
     When my first son was born my husband and I decided I would not go back to work. This was a leap of faith because my husband was still in school and working full time, I was working full time too. Once I quit we would take a significant loss in our income. But it's a decision I have never looked back on. I have felt so strongly from the beginning that I needed to be home with my kids. And there's no where else I'd rather be :) Challenging yes, but joyful too.
     Once my son was sleeping through the night I found myself with a lot of free time on my hands (he was a good little sleeper). My husband had a lot of night classes and was studying and working when he wasn't in class. It was then that I decided to teach myself to be the best artist I could be. I went to every library that was nearby and checked out all the art books that I could. And then I went home and practiced every minute that my son was asleep. I wanted to be an artist so bad. More than anything. I had all these visions in my head for paintings I wanted to do and they never quite turned out how I wanted them too (I still have my own horrific first attempt at a portrait). But I didn't quit, I kept trying. And then gradually I began to see that I was making improvement. Slowly, but I was getting better.
     Now I look back on that and I'm greatful for those awful paintings. Because they taught me so much. And with each one finished I had this strong desire to get back in there and try again. I had faith in myself. I believed. I think somewhere since then I've lost that. But I'm going to try and get it back. I still don't give up, I keep pushing along. I guess in a way that's proof that I do believe in myself. Does this post make any sense at all?
    Anyway, I have a new project started. It's a portrait of my baby, I haven't quite captured him the way I want to yet, so I'm hoping this one does. I'm working out the drawing right now, I should have the first washes on it tomorrow. It's always exciting to start a new project :) I also included a few photos of my palette and the brushes I use, because I think it's interesting to get a little glimpse behind the scenes of other artists (I was really tempted to clean up my palette before I took a picture of it, but I restrained myself, this is how it looks when I'm working). The little Spongebob sticker is one my son gave to me, I have it taped to my drafting table. He stuck Spongebob's hand on Gary, so it looked like he was petting him. They were originally two seperate stickers. He was so proud of his little creation. I taped it there to remind me of a lot of things. His belief in his self, his love for me, his simple joy in making something that wasn't there before. It's funny how when we're little we want to grow up RIGHT NOW, and then when we're a grown up we try to recapture that childlike faith and optimism. I don't know how great I am at teaching my kids what they need to know, but I sure learn a lot from them. 



Friday, March 5, 2010

Progress, little by little

15 x 20 watercolor

     I finished this painting last night. I have literally been working on it for about a year. It was one of those paintings that I couldn't wait to get started on. I loved the light and the way the horses heads were all together trying to reach each other. I loved the contrast between the grey horse and the two appaloosas (wow! spots!) and the dark bay horse on the right. When I started painting it I had a lot of fun, at first. Then I started comparing it to other equine art I had seen and I kept wondering, what makes this painting, the one I did special? I couldn't really answer that.
      Honestly I don't try to be so negative on these blogs of mine, but for some reason every time I type up a post, I always end up questioning myself and comparing myself to others. I know that is not fair or productive and is probably making for some very grim reading. But I think that's one question I'm trying to answer for myself on this whole creative journey of mine. Why do I paint? Why do I feel so compelled to pick up a brush almost every day and spend hours creating something that most likely will have little to no meaning to anyone but me? I was talking about frustrations with my "career" with my husband the other day, trying to figure out how to stop getting so discouraged. He said something that has been running through my head ever since. "If the reason you're painting (or writing) is to be 'successful' you're going to be disappointed a lot of the time. But if you're painting (or writing) because you love it then you should be happy a lot of the time." So, before this post reaches epic proportions I'm going to re-commit myself to paint because I love to. And only work on those things that I really want to, because they inspire the artist in me. Not because I think they will sell better, or because it's what I think a judge would like to see. I'm feeling like my posts are awfully repetitive, and I know I've written something like this at least twice before. So forgive me for being so self indulgent, but maybe sometimes you feel the same way? Maybe we could work on remembering why we want to be creative together? Because we love to, because it's a part of who we are. Regardless if we end up with the commercial success we want to have.
     Anywho, on a lighter note :) In the mail yestereday was my latest issue of the Artist's magazine! Yay! Happiness!! I love it when I get magazines in the mail. This issue is all about portraiture today. There was some inspiring work in there. Some of it literally stunned me it was so beautiful and moving. I found a new artist who is inspiring me lately, his name is Casey Baugh. He is AMAZING! And he's only 25! I looked at his paintings and just couldn't stop! They were stunning. So, if you have an interest in portraiture go check out his site, I promise you will not be disappointed. And my musical inspiration lately is 30 Seconds to Mars. The songs I keep listening to over and over while I paint are 'Kings and Queens' and 'A Beautiful Lie'. And my kids are inspiring me again, my beautiful, beautiful boys. I look at them so often you would think I would be immune to every feature on their face, but no. Yesterday again, I was captivated by my youngest (18 months old), his soft cheeks and bright blue eyes. How the shadows across his face when he looks out the window are a light, light violet. Such a lovely color that I have not yet managed to capture completely.
     Focusing on what inspires me reminds me of all the good things in my life every single day. I am way to prone to being depressed and negative to not take the time to do that. Here's to a happy weekend everyone, and let me know what inspires you!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Finished! And I give the Happy award!

"Here Be Dragons"
15 x 20 watercolor

     Finished! Just barely too. I sent my entry off (actually my husband did) about an hour ago, and now I just have to wait for that dreaded little letter in the mail. I kept thinking as I painted this (especially towards the end) that I was kind of fighting a losing battle. I know the artist jurrying this show and they've rejected me once before. But I decided to go ahead and enter anyway and just hope for the best.
     There are some things that I really like about this painting and others that I wish had turned out better. But what I've learned is that I really need to plan my painting in advance. Not when I have my brush in my hand and the paper's wet. Then it's just too late and you have to hope that whatever you do works out. I planned the face ahead but the background and the book I just kind of . . . didn't. I think I could have done a better job if I had just known what I wanted to happen there, instead of just waiting for it to fall into my head.  But I'm ready to dive into another project right away and try and pound into my head the lessons I learned from this one. :) Now an award!


     Roxy from a woman's write gave me the Happy award (I'm not sure if that's what it's called, but that's what I'm calling it)! Yay! She is amazing, so funny, a fantastic writer, and a really great friend! She reached out to me and made me feel so welcome in this bloggy world.  Now I list some things that make me happy and pass the award on to other bloggers who then pass it on to others, making so much happiness!

     Things that make me happy : books (really, didn't know that did ya?) few things make me happier than a great book to read, spending time with my family and friends, sweet baby kisses from my 18 month old, my husband (he's everything), playing games with my boys, chocolate and peanut butter, red vines, autumn, blogging, Indian food (I love chicken coconut kurma and mango lassi's YUM!), The Office, staying at home.

And here are the blogs that make me happy, who I pass this award on to, and if it wouldn't be repetitive I would give it straight back to Roxy, because her blog makes me Happy!

Please go check out these cool blogs, make some awesome friends, spread the love!
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