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.


Related Posts with Thumbnails