Friday, May 28, 2010


     Thanks so much everyone for your comments and those great questions you asked me! I would honestly love to know the same about each of you :) Here goes:

Suzanne Berry asked: "How old were you when you realized you had a gift and how did it make you feel?"

my answer: I honestly have never felt that I have a gift. I do believe that we are children of God and that he gives us talents and expects us to use them to bless the lives of others and our own life, but I have always had a hard time with the idea that I have a gift. I think it's because I have chronic low self-esteem :P, and there are so many truly gifted artists out there that leave me 'breathless with envy' that just do absolutely amazing work. And this is not just me trying to be humble, I really feel this way.

       But I also feel that I have talent (in my mind talent and gifts are two different things), and I think I am realizing it more and more as I practice and study through the years. It makes me feel very grateful, humble and joyful that something that brings me so much happiness and fulfilment makes other people smile.

Michelle Teacress asked: Is there any one person who taught you what you know or did you discover things by trial and error?

my answer: Most of what I've learned has come through trial and error. I did have a high school art teacher, Mr. Crowther, who taught me how to make completely flat, perfect watercolor washes, using his technique of 'carrying the bead'. That lesson was invaluable, I swear we practiced it every stinking day for two years! Love ya Mr. Crowther! :)

      But I've learned the most through studying paintings that I really love, reading a lot of books about art technique, and then practice, practice, practice.

Jane Minter asked: What will be the title of your first book?

my answer: Thanks Jane for asking this question because I have seriously been stumped for a title! You got me thinking about how I would answer it and I had an idea! The book I'm writing right now (a young adult novel) is going to be called "Incinerate." Heeee! I'm excited.

Meera asked: How much planning do you do before you start a painting?

my answer:  Hmmm. . . That depends on how complicated the subject is :) For a basic portrait, just head and shoulders, probably thirty minutes or so. Most of that time is spent figuring out how I want the composition to look through sketches. Color choice is more intuitive for me, kind of a seat of my pants kind of thing, so I don't spend too much time planning that.

she also asked: How much time do you set aside as studio time every day?

my answer: I kind of just take whatever I can get :) With three kids and a husband and who knows what else comes up every day, I have to be flexible. Some days I don't get more than thirty minutes, others I have a couple of hours, and I get even more if I feel like staying up really late. But I do try to paint every day, except for Sundays, those are off days, unless I'm painting a gift for someone.

Kim asked: "Which artists are currently your favorites? The ones that make you sigh with wonder and inspire you? You know. . . if you got to browse in a book shop and purchase a few good coffee table art books who would they be of?

my answer: Oh jeez, it's hard to narrow it down! Right now the artists that are my favorites are Arne Westerman, Lesley Harrison, Dawn Emerson, Burton Silverman, Steve Hanks, Ali Cavanaugh, and Robert Barrett. And I have always been seriously in love with the work of Edgar Degas and Vermeer. :)

Nureeya asked: Were you educated at a university about art or did you learn to paint by yourself?

my answer: By myself :)

Carrie asked: Do you have a favorite painting that you have painted?

my answer: I think this is one of my favorites, it was the first portrait I painted when I thought "That's it, I've found how I want to paint." And the funny thing is that I had it in an art exhibit after I painted it and marked it for sale (because I was so sure no one would actually buy it!) and it sold! I was so sad! I actually asked the gallery owner if I had to sell it *blushing* they looked at me a little funny and said  'yes.' :) I seriously almost started crying.

"Just Right" watercolor
'Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.' Wyatt Earp

Carrie also asked: Do you have a favorite artist that you draw inspiration from?

my answer: Right now the number one artist that is inspiring me is Ali Cavanaugh. She's amazing!

And the winner for most creative question (he, he) is Sandra! Here's her question:

You are dressed for a very, very important function - it's the launch of your new book.  As well as photographers, many other very important people will be there so it's important to make a good impression.  You are wearing a stunning and very expensive cocktail dress with very classy accessories, and even if you say so yourself, you look simply fabulous! Just as you are about to climb in your taxi, your small child hands you a necklace to wear which he has made especially for you. It's made of giant sized dried pasta tubes, foil milk bottle tops and popcorn, all threaded on to a piece of fluorescent string! You know that your child will see the photographs in the magazine of you at the launch, so what do you do? Do you wear the necklace or not?

my answer: Absolutely and without any doubt, yes. I would rather look like a fool to the world than a failure to my child. Great question Sandra!

Thanks again everyone for the great questions it was so fun! I hope you all have a great long weekend!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Progress, and you get to ask me this time

"My boy, in summer"
10 x 14 watercolor

     I finished the portrait of my boy, and when I looked at the two photographs (the one I posted last time and the new one) I couldn't see much of a difference in them. But in real life I could :) So here is just a close up view that I kind of liked. I didn't end up adding that much to it, I decided it was better left fresh. I just glazed some rose on the cheeks and some yellow under the chin.

     I am making some progress with my horse painting too. I think I can finish this one up tonight and then it's on to a new project that I'm pretty excited to start :) I have the drawing all finished, I just need to get the paper stretched before I can start. I love starting new projects :)

     This week's Wendesday question is going to be a little different. I thought it would be fun to turn it around and let you ask me a question this time. It can be about art or not, anything you want to know (of course I'm assuming that someone will have a question :P), and then on Friday I'll post the answer.


Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Almost finished!

      I am so close to being finished with this painting. I just see a few things I need to fix and strengthen. Overall, I think it's going well. It's been fun to paint, that's the most important thing right? I like the background, but for some reason the photograph here makes it kind of hard to see. Since I painted this for a demo I'm going to go ahead and describe how I got to this point, from the previous post.

      I continued to layer colors over the skin tones, mainly using permanent rose, raw sienna, burnt sienna and a very, very small amount of my purpley-gray shadow color. That has been one of the hardest things for me to learn, don't paint the shadows as deep as you see them in the photograph. I always think it looks better if you don't make it really dark (it took me several paintings to understand this, finally!), and I like to do the majority of my modeling with the yellows, reds and oranges. They will build up form more than you think they will. At least that's what I was thinking :)

      While the face was drying, I would then go in to the hair and also sharpen up the eyes and mouth a bit. The hair is finished at this point, well. . . maybe. I might go back in and soften it up a little. I try to stop before I really overdo it, but jeez it's hard sometimes! But I can see that I definitely need to darken the cast shadow under his ear. And I'm thinking I might use some more rose on his cheeks and under his chin. All of this will be done quickly, get in and get out, no wishy washy brush work. That's the goal anyway, sometimes my brush just can't help itself :)

      Now, I am planning on having a contest here for all you wonderful, supportive, awesome people who follow along on this journey with me. You guys are great and it never fails to make me smile when I open up my email and see a comment from one of you. It really means a lot to me and I thank you for taking the time to be so kind and helpful :):):) I'm going to be attempting to repay that kindness, and so there is a poll on the sidebar of my blog that has a list of what kind of a prize you guys would like the most. Unfortunately there can only be one winner :( But I may be doing something like this on and off throughout the year. So stay tuned for that. And know that you are loved here! Also, this is going to be an interactive contest, so comments and input are welcome and appreciated! More details to come. Thanks everyone :) 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Another work in progress

      Another work in progress. I'm going to finish both of these I promise :) Last night I went and did a demo for a local art group, and it went really well. I was of course, so nervous, and positive I would make a huge mistake. But I didn't, it was a lot of fun, and I'm really glad I had the chance to do it. It was pretty cool to be around people who were interested in what I do, to me it's just so ordinary. It's just how I paint, I don't think it's anything that someone else couldn't do a whole lot better. I've just spent a lot of time learning from a bunch of paintings I really messed up on :)

      This is what I did for the demo, a portrait of my middle child. It's still pretty rough, but this is how far I got last night, in about two hours. I told the group I would post the finished work on my blog so they could have a chance to see it, so I thought I'd start with a post of where it is right now. I'm at the stage where I'm still really excited about painting it and I can't wait to jump back in.

      Now, my good friends, we are back to our Wednesday question! And just as a side note, my feelings won't be hurt if you choose not to answer, honest :) No pressure, this is just fun socializing between bloggers. Here it is :
"When faced with rejection of your work, how do you bounce back to believe in yourself and your abilities again?"

      I think about this a lot. Because it happens to me a lot. Just a couple weeks ago, I received three rejection notices for art competitions I had entered within three days. That's one 'we regret to inform you. . . ' a day! Ouch. I try not to take it personally, because I know that jurors are under a lot of pressure to pick a balanced show from a variety of artists. And there are usually so many more pieces than they can hang, and there's a time limit. The list goes on and on. But still, ouch. I guess something that helps me, is to just remember that I paint because I love to, and that it's ok that not everyone likes what I do. Also I try to get started right away painting something else, something that excites me, that helps me feel better. And cookie dough, lots of cookie dough. And then running, lots of running to burn off all that cookie dough :)

      Now it's your turn, what do you do?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Work in progress

      Here's the latest painting I'm working on. Just a simple horse portrait, but the lighting was so beautiful. This grey horse was full of violets, blues, oranges and rose colors. I loved her, and the way she was leaning over the fence with the wind blowing against her. I wondered what she was looking for? It seemed like there was something over the fence she really wanted to see, but I couldn't see what it was.

      And just a quick shout out to my new followers! Hello! Welcome! So glad you are here! I'll be stopping by to visit your blog soon :) Also if you are following me and I haven't been to see your blog yet, will you leave me a comment so I can find you. I'd love to see what you're up to :)

      Have a great Monday everyone!

What I'm listening to: 'I'm Still Here' by John Rzeznik

Friday, May 7, 2010

FInished portrait, and I've been tagged

"Joy, unrestrained"
10 x 14 watercolor

     Here it is, all finished. I kind of liked it. Although I always look back on a painting and think I could have done so many things better, or at least differently. But, overall I'm happy with it. And it was just so fun to paint. It really went pretty quickly, which always reminds me of something I read in an art book. This woman who paints portraits was asked how long her portraits took. She said something like the good ones don't take too much time, but the bad ones take FOREVER! I would have to agree with that, for the most part :) Now, I'm wondering what to paint next. . . I have a few ideas, and some drawings started. We'll see :)

     Instead of a question this week I'm going to do this five question/five answer game that my good friend Michelle Teacress, tagged me with. Here goes!

Where were you five years ago?
1. staying at home with my boys, just two of them at the time. Our youngest was just a few months old, so I was short on sleep but long on love :)
2.  My husband had just graduated from college WOO HOO!!!!
3.  We were living in a little basement apartment getting ready to buy our first home.
4.  I was on a total health food kick and was constantly looking for new, healthy recipes that my family would actually eat.
5. I was FINALLY understanding how watercolor worked, and had just completed two portraits that I thought I could actually let other people see.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
1. A signature member of the American Watercolor Society, or at least closer to that than I am now :)
2. Still a stay at home mom
3. Completed not just one, but two marathons (Park City is on my list of must runs!)
4. For those of you that don't know, I'm also a writer, and I would dearly love to be published one day. just to have someone hold my book in their hands. So maybe in five years I'll be published, but maybe I won't. But I will be that much closer to the goal.
5. More confident, and happy with who I am.

What is/was on your to do list today?
1. A bunch of boring housework :(
2. go to the reception for two of my art exhibits
3. play with my kids
4. write something that I feel good about
5. try to shorten the time on my sketches. See how accurate I can get in the shortest amount of time.

What five snacks do you enjoy?
1. Kazoozles (fruit punchy licorice candy, yummy!)
2. Reese's peanut butter cups
3. chocolate chip cookie dough
4. apples with peanut butter
5. red vines

What five things would you do if you were a billionair? (of course I would donate to lots of worthy charities, especially animal rescue, children's hospital and my church. These answers are after all that is done, purely selfish things :)
1. Buy my mom a new house
2. Buy us a larger, newer house with land for a horse
3. hire a maid
4. go on a family vacation to Disneyland. And a trip with just my husband to Fiji.
5. Buy all the books I wanted ( I would have the most awesome library ever!)

     Fun huh? Now, in the true spirit of all good things bloggy, I tag the following people. Who then post the same Q and A on their blog, linking back to me and then tagging more people. If you want, don't feel like you have to. But come on, it's fun :)

Kim from eat, drink, paint
Sujit Sudhi
Kim from under the umbrella
Catie and Stefanie from Run on (yes both of you)
Sandra from Sandraws
Susan Liles
Carrie from Carrie's Creations
Michelle Smith
Carol Blackburn

     I can't wait to read them guys! Also, if your name's not on this list but you would love to do this then consider yourself tagged. Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

work in progress

     Here's the current portrait I'm working on. Last night I worked on the eyes a little more, and also the skin tones. I'm trying to really convey that sun kissed look. I love the look of light on his skin, it's rosy and golden and just gorgeous. Sometimes I think I pick a subject to paint mostly for the light, I'm kind of addicted to full sun. :) I'm just about finished with the skin tones, just a few more light layers, and then will move into the hair and touching up the facial features. I usually prefer to paint subjects without big open grins, but this is my boy and look at that face! Also he doesn't have teeth in this picture yet, so that's just cute. I hate painting teeth. :)

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