Friday, July 30, 2010

Not quite finished yet, but getting there!

watercolor work in progress

     I worked on this painting last night, hoping to finish it, but it was not to be. I had to keep waiting for it to dry, mostly the background. I know you can use a hair dryer, but I don't really like to, mostly because I wanted the background to have random watercolor effects.

     His face is pretty much finished. I may go back in one more time with some yellows and pinks, very lightly. And then I need to finish his hair, hand and book. I like where it's at so far. I swear I learn this lesson every time but I have to say it again, stop while you're ahead. The paintings that I am the least satisfied with are the ones that I've worked to death. There is a fine line with watercolor, and especially the skin tones in portraits, between finished and glowing and tired and overworked. I still need to remind myself of this sometimes. So maybe I'll leave his face where it's at. :)

     While I wait for the washes to dry on the painting, this is what I've been working on.

colored pencil portrait

      It's a portrait of my youngest from a photo my sister (an awesome photographer, her blog is ) took last year right before he turned one. I'm having so much fun with this and I hope it turns out the way I want it to.

     Well, I'm off for the day friends, hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Time Management for Creative Types

       First I think I must note three things: 1. This post is going to be LONG (you've been warned) 2. It also may contain a list of very mundane and sometimes dangerous things in my every day life (again with the warning) 3. I will reward your reading of this epic post with a variety of pretty photos :) Now, let's proceed.

      At least once a week someone says something like this to me, "Cool paintings. It must be nice to have so much free time." Or this, "If I just had the time I could paint too, but I'm soooo busy."

      Typically I think I'm pretty tolerant of people, but when I hear comments like this I get a little irritated. Because (prepare yourself for a shocking revelation about me) I don't have much free time. Can you relate? I thought so.

       My life is busy. I have a husband and three small kids, a house, a yard, and two dogs.

     There's volunteer work for church, volunteer work at my kids school, laundry, soccer games, homework, cub scouts, play groups, dishes, making dinner, grocery shopping, finding lost toys, swimming lessons, yard work, laundry, giving the dogs a bath, mopping the floor, kissing ow-ies, reading stories, changing diapers, getting play doh out of the carpet and marker off the walls, laundry, camping trips, in laws, scrubbing toilets, making snacks, teaching Sunday school, giving hugs, always cleaning something but never actually feeling like the house is clean, playing board games, playing tag, playing secret agents, laundry, tying shoes, teaching the alphabet, helping my kids get along, cleaning up after the dogs, watching my two year old like a hawk to keep him safe, cleaning up after the two year old, making cookies, defusing temper tantrums, laundry. . . You get the idea.

     I need a nap.

     *insert first pretty photo here*

     I've worked full time in the past, and I've gone to college while working and I've never once felt such a demand on my time as when I became a mother. But I wouldn't change where I am in my life for anything, my husband and kids are my life. And so, I gladly accept the fact that I will never have enough time to do all the things that I want to do. I live a busy life, but it's a very full and happy one.

       Now with that being said, I must also say this: There is always time. You just need to know how to find it.

       But, you say, there is no time. I'm afraid, my friends, that I must disagree. If you want to do something badly enough you make the time. But how do you find it?

      First I think you need to know where your priorities are. For me it's family and church and then art and writing. Second you need to make a schedule.

      You know how people say that if you want to start a budget you begin with keeping track of how you're spending your money? I think that it's a great idea to do the same thing with your time. Start out by writing down everything you have to do in a day, like go to work, or make dinner, then look at whatever time you have left over and figure out what you're doing then.

      Be honest with yourself. No one likes to realize that they're wasting time, but until you know how you're really spending your time, you can't do anything to change it. I'm betting that somewhere in your day you can get rid of something that's sucking your time away.

      Okay, so you've made a schedule and you've figured out where your time is going. What next? You have to decide if you would rather pursue your dreams in that little chunk of time you found or keep doing what you've been doing (like watching TV, or polishing every surface in your kitchen before you go to bed).

      You'll probably have to give something up. But as long as it's not your family time, then I think you should go for it. Because really, will it matter to you, five years from now, that you watched the latest CSI? That you held the record for cleanest microwave in the neighborhood? Um, no, it won't. What will matter to you is that you spent that time doing what you loved and making your dream a reality.

      Maybe you could wake up a little earlier or stay up later, maybe you bring a sketchbook with you to work and use it on your lunch break, maybe you keep a notebook in the car so you can write down your ideas, or make a quick sketch when you're waiting to pick your kids up from school, maybe you keep a painting out where you can sneak a few minutes here and there to work on it when your kids are occupied for a little while without you, maybe you have a friend who lives close by that you could swap babysitting with once a week. You watch her kids for an hour or two while she does whatever, and she watches yours for an hour or two so you can paint.

     Or maybe you just pencil the time in on your calendar and do it. I've done all of those things before and I know that when you use the little bit of time that you have, it's easier to see where you can find a little bit more.

*brief intermission for another pretty photo*

      It's like exercise, when you first start out, you hate it. But if you give it ten minutes or so, you're so glad you started and you don't want to quit. It's all about momentum. That's why I think it's so important to keep painting even when you don't feel like it, you've got to keep that momentum going. You know, the more you sit around, the more that you want to just sit around. The more that you paint, the more you want to, and the more you let yourself make time for it.

       I know it's hard. Trust me, I know. But you won't be sorry that you did it.

      Now, there's one last thing before I go.

      Let the people in your life, who love you, know how important this is to you. Let them know that you'd like their help and support. They probably already know this and are very supportive of you and your dreams. But maybe they don't, so let them know. When you love someone don't you want to help them do what they want to do more than anything? That's how they feel about you too.

      I wouldn't be painting or writing if it weren't for my husband. He knew from the very beginning (probably even before I did) how important this is to me, and he actively looks for ways to help me with my dreams. I couldn't do any of it without him.

      His words of encouragement and praise mean more to me than anyone else's ever could. He believes in me, he loves me and he wants me to be happy, and he knows that painting and writing make me happy. I still wonder sometimes how I got so lucky to have him, but I'm amazingly glad that I do.

my family, photo by Jenny Maritnez photography

     I'm sure you have someone in your life that feels the same way about you. Let them know how you feel, they'll help you, I'm sure of it.

      Questions? Comments? Suggestions? I'm all ears :)


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WIP Wednesday

new watercolor portrait

     Thanks you guys for all those nice things you had to say about my sketch yesterday :):):) It made me so happy.

     I have finally started this portrait! It's been sitting here for so long waiting for me to put those first washes on it, and last night I finally did. I think a lot of what was holding me back was fear. After a few of my paintings weren't what I wanted them to be I lost confidence in myself. I doubted that I could even paint at all, and I thought I can just see the giant mess I'll get myself into if I put my brush down on that beautiful drawing.

     But I decided to quit being such a perfectionist and just get started. And I'm glad I did. I'm hoping *crossing my fingers* that I'll get this done by Friday. I need to have a painting finished that I'm happy with, for myself. My works in progress pile is getting frighteningly large, and that kind of makes me panic. I don't know why, probably because I'm looking at it and thinking of all that I have to do.

     I think I may go out and look for some new reference material today. I was invited to participate in a holiday art show that starts in November and I think I may do a series of small paintings for that, I'm thinking some kind of newborn baby theme. Wish me luck!

     So, what are you guys working on?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sketchbook Tuesday #3

sketch of my main character

     A few weeks ago I mentioned an artist that was inspiring me, her name's Kim Kincaid. I love her portraits and especially her drawings, both in pencil and colored pencil. She has a section on her website that you can find here, featuring fan art she has done from some books that she likes. I wanted to give it a try. I thought maybe I'd draw Katsa from Graceling, or Jace from the Mortal Instruments, but then I thought maybe I'd give my very own character, from the book I'm working on, a try. So here he is.

     This drawing is in between a finished drawing and a sketch, and if you're thinking that he looks an awful lot like Steven Strait (an actor), well you'd be right, I used a photo of him I found as a model. This isn't quite how I picture my character, but it's close. I think I want to give it another try a little later. I picture him to have sharper, more angular features. I do like the look of warmth on his face here, it looks to me like he's trying to hide it, but just can't. I wonder who in the world he could be looking at like that? ;) But still, I like this :) It was fun, and good practice.

Oh and I forgot to mention that on Thursday I will be doing a post on time management, so if you have any questions or thoughts just leave them in the comments :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Goals, revisited


A sample of the chaos of me making art. So, so many piles, and projects. :)

     I've been thinking about goals a lot in the last few weeks. I came across a notebook I had written down a bunch of goals in earlier this year. I only had a few that I really wanted to accomplish this year. My theory was that if I wrote down too many I would be overwhelmed and then stop working at reaching any of them.

     That's kind of what I do, if too many things demand my attention I have a really hard time focusing on getting any of it done. Kind of get that deer locked in the headlights look on my face. So I only wrote down some that I really wanted to reach. And these are just creative, personal type goals.

  • finish my novel and submit it to agent/publisher
  • run a half marathon
  • earn more income than I have in the past with my art
     It's kind of interesting because I wrote down this list and then I don't think I've looked at it again until just this last week. But I am really happy to say that I completed two of these goals! How awesome is that? Don't you just love that feeling of setting a goal and then actually meeting it? That's why I *heart* goals :)

      Run a half marathon: check. Earn more income than I have in the past with my art: check (I set this one kind of low on purpose, I wanted to be able to reach it and feel good about myself). Finish my novel and submit it to agent/publisher: no check.

      When I started this year I thought I'd zip right through this little book I've been dreaming about writing for the last three years, look through it once or twice for grammar and typos and then send that baby off to get published. Yeah. . . it's not really happening like that. I work on it almost every day, but I'm still not finished with it. And I don't think this year I'll be ready to look for an agent. I want this book to be the absolutely best that I can make it and for me that takes a lot of time.

       So I'm changing that goal, and adding some other ones. I find goals and deadlines to be VERY motivating, I think I need some right now. But to make goals that 'count' I need to know what I want. Let me tell you what that is.

      I want to be a published author. Oh, how I want this. You just don't even know. I feel kind of silly to admit that, it seems so shallow and superficial to say it. But that's not how I FEEL about it. It's been my dream for so long and I've never really let myself actually believe that it could happen, until this year. I'm committed to this dream, I'm going to do whatever it takes (I mean, aside from super villainry) to make it happen. I'm not giving up. It'll happen one day, if I just don't give up.

       So my new writing goal is: Finish my novel (first draft) by September 1st. There I've said it, now you can all hold me to it :)

      And I'm adding a new writing goal too, because I feel like this will help me be a better writer: write one short story every two weeks. Why every two weeks? Because once a month sounded like a long time, and every week started to make me panic. So middle of the road, two weeks it is.

       Artist people I hope you stuck around for that :) Because here is what I want with my artwork.

      I want to earn a steady income with my work (it's not all about money, I promise). I want to move people with my art, I want them to feel something when they look at one of my pieces, something so strong that they need to have it in their home, so that when they walk past it they feel happy, thankful, inspired, or just peace.

      I have a few paintings hanging in my house that I feel that exact way about. And they aren't my work. It's another artist that I admire so much. Every time I look at those paintings I think to myself, that's what I want to do with my work.

      But how do you make a goal out of that? I'm not really sure, but I think it means painting regularly, and painting subjects or themes that I react strongly to. Images that stay at the front of my mind and won't let go of me. And getting my art out where people can see it. So here are the goals I've come up with: Paint a piece specifically for entry to the American Watercolor Society's national show and enter that show, November 1st.

Paint two spiritually themed paintings for two art competitions that are specifically for religous art. One is in October, the other one is about 9 months away.

Paint one or two small "daily" type paintings a week. To improve my skills and just for fun.

     So, yeah. Those are some of my goals. I think I better conclude this epic post now :) But I hope you'll tell me what your goals are, I'm challenging you to go make some. Ready? . . . Go!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Finished works Friday, and photo tips for your artwork

Miss You Grandpa

watercolor 8 x 10

     When my husband and I had been dating for a few weeks he took me to see his grandparents. Almost instantly they loved me as one of their own grandkids. Once we were married and my husband was going to school, and we were beyond poor, they let us live in their basement apartment. It was one of the happiest times in my life because I got to spend so much time with them, and my son (we just had one at the time) got to grow up knowing and loving them too.

     They became my grandparents.Then three years ago my grandpa died, he was one of the best men I have ever known and I still miss him so much. I painted this quick portrait of him the day after his funeral. I had to do something with the emotions that wanted to drag me down to despair, so I painted this image of him, it's how I remember him.

     Miss you Grandpa, I love you.

Photo tips for your artwork

     These tips are things I have found useful, I am not a photographer. I have very basic photography skills and am in no way trying to sound like an expert. These are just some things that work for me and I'm sharing them with you because I thought they might help you too.

     First: the number one thing I try to do is to take a picture that accurately represents my artwork. And so I might try a couple of different things to get the image I'm looking for. Like lighting or camera settings.

     Second: I use a digital SLR camera. I've tried once to use a point and shoot when I first started, but it just didn't work. If possible always try to use a DSLR camera when taking your photos. Of course a film SLR is just as good, but since most art competitions require you to enter digitally it's just a whole lot easier to use a DSLR.

     Third: I always use daylight, and I almost never use artificial lighting. What I like to do is take my photos before noon in  my kitchen where I have a big glass door that leads to the backyard. Lots of nice light comes in right there (incidentally this is also where I take any photos of models or still lifes, you need to find a spot that has the kind of light you feel comfortable working with. Indirect sunlight is what I think works best for photographing your work.) 

     Fourth: Always, and I mean always photograph ONLY your artwork. Don't include the frame or mat or let any gaps show if you can help it. This is for competition guidelines and also for work in your portfolio or website, it looks more professional. And I know of at least one artist who had a very beautiful piece that did not get accepted to a prestigious competition because they photographed the mat too.

     Okay, so now I'm going to contradict myself, if you want to show the mat and frame in your photo, maybe an art buyer wants to see the frame, or maybe you want to show what it looks like all finished up (Sandra did this a few weeks ago, and it worked really well), then by all means do so. But not for competitions or your website.

     Fifth: Always turn your flash off. It's harsh and washes out your colors, and it does not look pretty :)

     Sixth: The exposure compensation button is your friend :) This button is on all DSLR cameras,it looks like a plus and minus sign (look it up in your camera manual, I had to do that :). Just by adjusting this control up or down even a little bit, can make a HUGE difference in how your photo looks. I use this button when the light is low, or even when it's very bright. I love it, it's my new best friend on my camera.

     Seventh: I make sure my painting is straight and flush to the wall, and then I hold my camera at the same angle to minimize distortion.

     Eighth: I take lots of shots of the same painting, sometimes adjusting the exp comp button, sometimes drawing the curtains or opening more up to get the right light, and then I go through them and pick the one that I think matches the artwork the best.

     Well, that's what I do :) Hope it was helpful. Have a great weekend guys!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Small Things

      I am a morning person. I love to get up early before the rest of my family wakes up to get some things done that will put me in the frame of mind I need to have to be a good mom, or at least the best that I can be that day :) By 'things' I mean creative things, like painting, drawing or writing.

       A lot of people ask me how I find time to paint, I think they see it as a luxury I afford myself. But that's not how I see it. My life is busy, really busy, just like yours. I don't have a lot of time to paint, but I still do. Because I have to, for my soul. And so I make the time.

      There is something about creating as the sun rises that quiets me and sweeps away a lot of my stress. It's good for me, it's become something that I have to do. Thinking about finding inspiration this week has been kind of tricky, I'm still not feeling that spark that propels me to paint. But I'm painting and drawing anyway, trying to convince it to come back :)

      Last night as I went to sleep I was thinking about things that had happened in my life that day. I felt regret for losing my temper, I felt sad that I hadn't fully enjoyed the fleeting moments I have with my rapidly growing children, and mostly I felt discouraged that I haven't been living up to the expectations I have for myself. Whenever I let those negative thoughts creep in I can't ever paint like I want to.

      So this morning I woke up determined to do better, to try and find little beautiful things in my very ordinary life. Here are some small things that I've felt inspiring me over the last few days:

  • my colored pencils, I love opening my big box of 132 colored pencils and picking whatever color 'calls' to me. Colored pencil is a very slow medium (and I think I make it even more slow just because I am sloooow by nature) and it's kind of comforting to work on a piece and see it evolve layer by layer. It's actually a lot like my watercolor process that way.
  • I'm working on a more finished drawing, and I haven't done that in a long time. It's taking me forever, but I'm trying to look at that in a positive way, it's building my patience right? Right. And so far I really love how it's turning out.
  •  I was looking through some photos this morning and I found this one:

     We were at a nature preserve a few weeks ago and my two boys had the BEST time. Not because they were looking at all the nature, but because they were making up their own little game (I think they were being Jedi knights actually). They had so much fun and they didn't even have any toys, just a couple of sticks they picked up off the ground (ahem. . . I mean swords, er lightsabers). And remember when you were little and you would always try to not walk on the cracks of boards or sidewalks? That's what they're doing here :):):)

     Why does this photo inspire me? Because it reminds me to stop thinking and just play. Sometimes we work too hard and we just need to let go and go with whatever we create. Don't you think?

     So, what's inspiring you this week?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

WIP Wednesday

untitled, watercolor 15 x 20

      I haven't worked on this one in a while, I was frustrated with how it was turning out, but I looked at it again last night and thought that it wasn't quite as bad as I thought. If you want to see the first step of this painting click here.

      I'm still spending time blocking in values, shapes and colors, but I kind of like the direction it's headed. I'm not sure what I want to call this painting, I know I'm trying to evoke a feeling here, and I know what that feeling is, I'm just trying to articulate it in one or two words. I like simple titles that tell a story :)

      What drew me to paint this image is how hesitant my boy was to get in the water. I loved the way he held his arms back and took one cautious step out at a time. And per my usual artistic tendencies, the golden light on his skin is just gorgeous.

      I received a comment on my post yesterday from Vinayak asking me to explain how I photograph my paintings. So I thought I would include that in my post for Friday, just as a heads up for anyone interested in that. And if anyone has a specific question they'd like to ask me about photographing artwork I'll do my best to answer it, just leave it in the comments my friends:)

      I hope everyone's week is going well! See you tomorrow :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sketchbook Tuesday #2

One year old
charcoal sketch

      I had a lot of fun working on this sketch. I keep trying to do a sketch that reads as 'my' work in the shortest amount of time possible. Which is kind of tricky. I hurried and did this one this morning because I was working on a new drawing (that I think should interest Christine, Jen and Summer) that I'm pretty excited about, but didn't finish it in time to post. Next week for sure :)

     I loved my son's expression in this drawing. There's so much wonder there, like he's seeing things for the first time, which he probably was. I wish I could remember what he was looking at :) And, I'm kind of tired of charcoal for now, I think I'm moving on to graphite for my sketches next time. Ah, the joys of being an artist and the freedom to change your mind over and over again. 

     And a quick question before I go, when you guys are doing more 'finished' drawings what's your favorite surface to work on? I don't think I've found one that I love yet, other than Rising Stonehenge, which unfortunately is difficult to find. Grrrrr. These sketches are done on newsprint, which I don't really love either. I'm kinda picky :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Breaking Through, Motivational Monday #2

"A self respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood." Tchaikovsky     

     Sometimes I just don't feel like painting. Maybe it's because I've spent a good deal of time on a painting that turned out to be a disaster, maybe I've gotten some criticism that wasn't too constructive, or maybe I'm just afraid that I'll ruin the vision I have in my head for my next 'great' painting. I'm afraid that I won't live up to the expectations I have for myself.

      Or, maybe, I'm just plain burned out.

      Ever feel like that?

     I firmly believe that our success as artists comes from putting in the time, from doing the work, and from practicing. It's not all about feeling inspired. It's not all rainbows, glitter and kittens. It's work. It's feeling that satisfaction you can only get when you've worked at something that was hard for you. When you've shown yourself that you can do difficult things and, holy-rusted-metal-Batman, you can do a pretty great job of it too.

     Sometimes we need a break. We need to recharge and focus on other things in our life, and when we do that we see the results in our work. We feel fresh again and that freshness shows in every brushstroke of our paintings.

      But most of the time we just need to keep working and not wait around hoping that inspiration is just going to drop in our laps and all our troubles will be solved. Because I don't know about you, but it doesn't work for me like that, sometimes I wish it would, but it doesn't.

      When I feel stale, blah, like nothing is working out and I wonder why in the heck I thought I could call myself an artist anyway, I start a new painting. Sometimes I have to start about five before I feel that flow coming back, but it always does. And it's always because I went out and found something I wanted to paint and got started.

      Pretty soon the light breaks through the trees, I can tell success is just around the corner and I feel like I can call myself an artist again.

      "You don't get in the mood to create - it's discipline." Twyla Tharp

     So, tell me, what works for you? :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Roses on My Table

"I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck."
Emma Goldman

"By Any Other Name"

watercolor 10 x 14

      I painted this rose from my mom's garden as a gift for someone last year. I gotta say that using all those bright colors and painting more wet in wet than I usually do was very exciting. I'd forgotten about that. Must try to remember it now :)

      Ahhh, roses. They just say love and summer don't they?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Finding Inspiration

     I have had a lot of fun thinking about what I should post today. I've taken time to really look around me, to be aware of beauty in unexpected places, and it's been feeding my soul :) I don't know that I've ever actively set out looking for inspiration, I've always just waited for it to hit me. If you haven't done that either I suggest you try it, it's so fun.

      There is one artist who is really inspiring me lately; Kim Kincaid. I just recently discovered Kim and her portraits are simply stunning. She does an amazing job at conveying emotion with her work, one painting in particular of hers caught my eye, I've been thinking about it all week. It's called Alma's Awakening. I love the expression she's captured here, and the simplicity of the composition. I also really love the story behind this painting, which is a spiritual one. It really resonates with me. You want to go see this painting, trust me :)

      Earlier this week, when I was looking for something to paint I found this picture that I had kind of forgotten about.

     It's my son when he was about a month old. I didn't have much time to paint then since I was running on about 3 hours of sleep a day and had two other kids who needed my attention, so I took lots and lots of pictures of my new baby with the hope of painting some of them one day. I really, really love the light in this one, and that sweet gesture he has with his hand that tells me he's a newborn :)

     And check out this cool photo I took at my mom's a few weeks ago.

      Don't you just love that little curly part on the stem? And the light shining through the leaves? It looks kind of magical doesn't it? Just think of the possibilities here. Wouldn't it be cool to do some type of fantasy art with this? I think so.

      And last of all, here is my favorite color combination right now. It is gorgeous! But then, you know what a sucker I am for anything pink. :) Even though the colors are so saturated here, you could use this primary triad for a portrait. Think of all the lovely soft pinks, and yellows you could have. The colors are opera rose, new gamboge and cobalt blue.

     That's what's inspiring me this week. How about you guys?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Work In Progress Wednesday

Unfailing, colored pencil

untitled, watercolor

      Yesterday I picked up my watercolor brushes for the first time in two weeks. The minute I touched my brush to my palette I had this feeling of comfort and familiarity. It was strange, but nice too. I don't think I realize how much a part of me painting really is. It's such an unconscious thing for me now, half the time I don't even realize how or what I'm doing until I'm done. I get lost in the flow (well, when things are going right:) of creating something. Which is very cool.

      I was looking for something to paint last night and I found these two pieces that I started a long time ago (long as in a year or two ago, I forget). I have a drawing ready on my watercolor paper but I hadn't stretched it yet, so I wouldn't be able to paint that until it dried, which wasn't until this morning. Sometimes I'm not so good at planning ahead :)

      I don't know why sometimes I stop and start on a painting and then other times I see it right through to the end. It's something that I wonder about a lot. Why is it sometimes so hard to feel inspired? We're creative people, we have skills and talent, and we know we can do it because we've done it before, maybe it was even easy. But sometimes the muse goes on vacation and we're left to our own devices, which is usually not all that inspiring. But that will be a post for tomorrow, I'll be quiet now.

      I haven't touched my colored pencils (other than for sketching) in a long time either, but looking at this horse I think I might pick them up again. Maybe that's what I'll work on today, maybe that's just the thing I need to feel inspired again, something different. Don't you think? I'll let you know how it goes :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sketchbook Tuesdays #1

Leopard sketch, charcoal

      This little sketch (actually it's kind of bigger, about 12" x 17" I think) has been haunting me for the past two weeks. I would work on it for about five minutes at a time and then put it aside. It didn't seem to flow, I felt like I was forcing it. Usually that means I have something wrong, like my brain is trying to tell me "STOP! Go back and make it right!"
      It's not as accurate as I would like, but still effective at creating a feeling I think. This is one sketch I'm going to paint one day, the light and his eyes are just too beautiful not to. :) I'm not sure that it's coming across as well as I would like in this sketch, but this leopard has beautiful rim-type lighting. It kind of gives him a halo effect.
      I've been using pressed charcoal for my sketches lately, the kind that looks like a pastel stick. It helps me to make more expressive marks, to not be 'fussy' like a pencil might encourage me to do. And that is truly a lot of fun.

      How much fun have you been having lately? Art related or otherwise?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Motivational Monday, Never Give Up

I ran my first half marathon on Saturday. That's 13 miles! And most of it was uphill! Oh, it was a good challenge.

There I am on the left side, almost finished!! Special thanks to Neon Trees for seeing me through to the end! ;)

I think I should get extra points for sharing this picture because not only am I without makeup and my hair is yucky, I'm also covered in sweat. Blegh. But there's a hot guy standing right next to me, which I think should make up for that. Hands off ladies, he's mine :) 

      I love to run. I'm not fast. Like not fast at all. I average about 10 minute miles, sometimes if I'm running a shorter distance (anything 6 miles or less) I can hit 8 or 9 minute miles. But what I do have is a lot of endurance. It's pretty rare for me to feel like I have to stop and walk during a run, or to feel like I just can't run another step. That's not to say that it's easy, it's still challenging. Sometimes when it's a really hard run, with lots of speed work or hills I really want to stop, my legs are begging me to stop, but I never do.

      Why? Because to me that's a kind of failure. It means I quit. That I wasn't strong enough. That I couldn't stand up to the challenge. Am I reading too much into this? Maybe, but it works for me. When I finish a run that's really hard (like on Saturday) I believe in myself a little more. I know that I can do things that seem out of reach. I know that I can accomplish my goals or dreams if I just don't quit. Even when it's hard.

      Being an artist isn't easy. You work hard, you pour your heart and soul into what you create, you try things that don't work out. But you never quit. You keep trying. You might take breaks to recharge, or go in a different direction but you. never. quit.

      On Saturday I saw a lot of runners stop to walk. And where did they stop to walk? At hills, when it was the hardest. (Now I know that some of them probably had legitimate reasons for walking, I'm not condeming them at all or trying to act superior. This is just my own belief for myself and how I connect it with being an artist.) But that's the time when you MUST keep going. When things are the hardest. That's when you find out what you're really made of, that's when you know how bad you really want to succeed. That's when you know that you have it in you to get where you want to be, because no matter how long it takes you to get there, or how far away it seems right now, you can do it. As long as you just don't quit.

      I believe in you. 

      So tell me fellow bloggers, what motivates you to keep going when the easy thing to do would be to just quit? 


Sunday, July 11, 2010



10 x 14 watercolor

      I painted this beautiful little horse a few years ago, I fell in love with the expression in his eye and his gorgeous dark grey coat and silver mane. He belonged to a good friend of mine and I knew his sire very well. He looked so much like his father. I thought his name 'Legacy' very fitting. He was stunning, and a joy to paint.

     Lately I have just not been feeling my artwork. And it's frustrating, very frustrating. I mentioned this a couple weeks ago but I didn't want to dwell on it, so I threw myself into a new painting and drawings and just felt. . . blegh. I got nothing.

      In an effort to change those feelings I am shaking things up on my blog. I'm going to have a new blogging schedule where I post Monday thru Friday. I'm taking it as a challenge. Sometimes that's just what I need :) Here's what I've come up with.

Monday: Motivational Mondays - I've seen this around the blogosphere and decided I want to make it a weekly feature here. Something I really like to read on a blog is what motivates people to create, it inspires me to work harder and is just plain uplifting. I'm pretty excited about this one actually, I hope you like it too :)

Tuesday: Sketchbook Tuesdays - This will be the same as sketchbook Mondays, just moved to Tuesday. Because Motivational Tuesdays just didn't sound as cool as Motivational Mondays :)

Wednesday: Work In Progress Wednesday - This is another one I've seen around the blogging world (it's pretty popular with writers in particular) and since I'm kind of a slooooow painter I need to have a day to post my work in progress. And I'm fascinated with the process of artists and I thought maybe you guys would be too :)

Thursday: What's Inspiring Me Now - I thought I would originally just have this be 'artists that inspire me' but really there are lots of things that inspire me. This is where I talk about and show you what that is. It could be paintings, drawings, photography, writing, or even just something from my everyday life.

Friday: Finished Works Friday - I am going to try really hard to have something new here every week, but in the event that I don't (my life can be crazy hectic sometimes, I'm sure you can relate) I will post a piece of my finished work, whether it's something new or old.

    What do you think? Sound good? Any suggestions? I'm all ears :)

     Also, I'm sorry if I haven't made it around to your blog lately, I'm trying my hardest to visit everybody! Thanks to all of you for stopping by here whenever you get the chance, you're the best!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sketchbook Mondays # 5

      What is the purpose of Sketchbook Mondays? For me it's a motivational tool to spend more time in my sketchbook, and to embrace the fact that not every drawing needs to be 'perfect.' I think the reason most of us are artists is because we love to draw, we have fun creating an image. And this is one way for me to get back to that state of mind.

    Most of the time I am driven to create a painting that is a success, at least in my mind. And each one I do usually falls short of where I want it to be, and that's okay. That's part of the process. If we were satisfied every time we painted what would propel us forward to that next 'masterpiece'?

     So for the sake of just plain having fun with my artwork I have made an effort to spend more time doing things that I want to, just for fun. Not for any other reason. Thus the sketchbook Monday. When was the last time you sketched or painted something just for fun? Unafraid of what anyone else would think? Maybe you're better at that than me :) Tell me about it, it will be fun!

     These are some of my favorite sketches from seven years ago. That seems like a long time. I used to carry my sketchbook with me everywhere, and I would draw whatever struck me. Sometimes it was from a photo, a book, or even from life. I think my skills grew so much in that time just because I was practicing every minute that I could. And you know what? It didn't feel like practice or work, it felt like fun. :)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Making some progress

work in progress

watercolor 10 x 14

Making some progress here with this pretty pink flower. It's so fun to use such bright colors and go a little crazy with them :) I need to unify it more, soften some edges, and add details and darks, but I think it's coming along pretty well. I'm still debating on how I want to paint the background. I think I want to include some of the foliage, we'll see. Isn't it funny how you can plan and plan for a painting and it still takes on a life of its own? That's something I love about painting, its full of surprises.

Now, on to the question of the week. This is just going to be a fun one, no stress here okay? Let's play Desert Island. If you were stuck on a desert island (that by some break in the rules of logic had a DVD player) what five movies would you want to have with you? Keep in mind that these are the movies you will be watching for the rest. of. your. life. So make them count :)

Mine are:

  1. The Two Towers from The Lord of The Rings Trilogy (I love a good fight between good and evil, and that Aragorn is such an awesome hero)

  2. Pride and Prejudice, the one with Keira Knightley and Matthew McFayden, because really it's the best love story EVER. :)

  3. Ocean's 12, because Matt Damon is hilarious and dead pan, and I just love it.

  4. The Count of Monte Cristo, sword fighting, chivalry, pure awesomeness!

  5. Notting Hill, I am so seriously sentimental with this one. It always reminds me of my husband :) And I love Spike.
Okay, your turn :)

Related Posts with Thumbnails