Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Golden Age SOLD

The Golden Age SOLD
16" x 20" watercolor

Here's the Christmas commission I talked about in an earlier post but couldn't show you until now. I hope you all had a great holiday! We did. :) Although, I'm still trying to figure out how many miles I need to run in order to work off all the Christmas candy I ate. Probably more than I want to know. 

Every time I worked on this painting, I couldn't help but think of those few, brief times in my own boys life where they seemed to be getting along perfectly. No arguments, no teasing, or fighting. That was truly a golden age. And one that was over far too quickly.

Because now, this is what I hear, all too often:

Kid A, Kid B, or sometimes even my littlest, three year old Kid C: "Mo-ooom (see how the syllables of my name have been drawn out in a supremely offended tone, this adds emphasis to the victim's case) he's looking at me."

Me: "Oh really? That's nice babe." (Sometimes if I'm very lucky, this indifferent response is enough to subdue the situation)

Kid A, B, or C: "But, Mo-ooom, he's LOOKING at me!" (clearly this is not one of those times)

Me: *sigh* "Well, have you asked him if he needs anything?" (After my first failed attempt at indifference I have now resorted to peaceful problem solving. Because surely he wouldn't be LOOKING at his brother without just cause now would he?)

Kid A, B, or C: "No!" (this is said with little arms folded over little boy chests with a huff. Hmph!!)

Me: *double sigh* "Well, maybe you could give that a try." 

Kid A, B, or C: *shakes head emphatically* "Nope, Mom, I won't."

Me: "And why not?" (this is where my patience is starting to grow rather thin. I count to ten)

Kid A, B, or C: "Because he's still LOOKING at me!"

Me: *brief pause so I can count to 100* I press my fingers to the bridge of my nose and close my eyes, then I say, "Darling, unless he's looking at you with laser beams shooting out of his eyes I really don't see the problem."

Kid A, B, or C: Gives me a look that says a deep injustice has been wrought upon him and all his mother can say is that there's not a problem unless laser beams are involved! Then with blue eyes glinting, he asks me, "Mom, when does Dad get home?"

Because apparently Moms just don't understand the problems of brothers LOOKING at each other. Go figure.  

*This painting helped me work on one of my unspoken goals I've had for this year: work on expressing emotion in my paintings without relying on facial expressions.
Since we couldn't see the faces of these two darlings I had to focus on other things in order to get a message across. Mainly, gesture, and movement. I personally, find paintings of people where we can't see the faces to be deeply moving, if the gesture of the figures is convincing. (Karin Jurick for instance is a MASTER of this. I could stare at her paintings of people studying paintings for hours. Literally.)
I'm hoping I was able to pull that off here. My new collector seemed very happy with it. :) I'm hoping his wife was too, since it was a gift for her.

See you next week everyone and Happy New Year!! :))) Huzzah!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Prince of Peace

Prince of Peace
6" x 9" watercolor
 'And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.'
Luke 1:7

Here's part two of my Believe monthly painting challenge with Carrie.

 I believe in Christ. I do. 

This was an emotional painting for me, and I felt more compelled to paint this piece than I think I ever have with any other painting before.

And so, my wonderful bloggy family, I wish you the merriest Christmas ever, I hope you all have a very, very happy one. And if you don't celebrate Christmas, well, then I wish you a very happy rest of the week. :) 

O holy night,
the stars are brightly shining
It is the night
of the dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
till he appear'd and the soul felt His worth
A thrill of hope,
the weary world rejoices,
for yonder breaks,
a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees,
oh hear the angel voices
Chains shall He break,
for the slave is our brother.
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy,
in grateful chorus raise we.
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord, let ever, ever praise Thee
Oh night divine.

Merry Christmas everyone. :)

And here's Carrie's painting, which I totally love. I want those cookies!!

The Night Before Christmas by Carrie Waller
9.75" x 9.75" watercolor

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Magic

Christmas Magic
6" x 6" watercolor

Christmas is magic. There's just no other way to describe it.

The way it makes people see the good in others when normally they might be shaking their fist and yelling obscenities at you when you *accidentally* cut them off in traffic.

How a corner of your home that receives the least amount of attention the other eleven months of the year becomes the BEST spot in the house, simply because that's where the Christmas tree stands.

How it compels you to make batch after batch of sweets and treats and force them into the unsuspecting hands of any neighbor or acquaintance you can find, calling "Merry Christmas!" in a loopy, sleep deprived voice while wiping flour off your chin, hands, glasses, shirt, hair, etc. etc.

The way it makes you think, for this ONE time a year only, when you hear Mariah Carey sing "All I Want For Christmas Is You," that maybe, maybe she's not all that bad after all. Maybe.

Christmas magic is seeing things, and feeling things, that the rest of the year you just don't. It's like being an artist with even more heightened senses. You become Super Artist. Master of Observation.

But most of all, Christmas magic happens when you see your child take in all of the lights, sounds, and smells of Christmas that you did when you were a child. It's seeing the magic written on their face, eyes wide and full of wonder, lips curved up in a permanent grin, with rosy cheeks and noses from waiting out in the cold for their turn to see Santa.

Christmas magic is hearing your child ask Santa for the smallest thing imagineable and being touched beyond belief when you ask him why he asked for that one small thing and hearing him say, "I don't need anything else Mom, but other kids might."

Christmas magic is seeing your youngest sit on Santa's lap. :) How cute is that?

sorry for the blurriness of this photo, just pretend you're running real fast past us :)

Christmas magic is being together with your loved ones and holding them close and feeling so thankful that you get to have them in your life.

Merry Christmas my dear, dear friends. I hope you're having a magical holiday season. :)

*this painting is part of my entry for Carrie Waller and my monthly painting challenge. She chose the topic for this month, "Believe"  On Thursday I'll show you the other half of my entry. :)

Until them mis amigos, I'm off to spend the day at my son's school for all kind of Christmas festivus. :)


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Continuing Adventures With Pastelbord, colored pencil WIP

more work on this colored pencil portrat
11" x 14" on pastelbord

Is it just me or does it feel like Christmas is approaching at warp speed? I'm not even done with my Christmas shopping yet! AND we don't have any snow on the ground. . . and I live in Utah! Home of the 2002 Winter Olympics. And we are currently in a snow famine. Man, what a bummer.

But, it is still such a magical time isn't it? Every time I hear my boys talk about Santa, or watch them look at photos of past Christmases I get so excited. I LOVE Christmas time.

Of course I had planned all kinds of festive Christmas paintings, but haven't seemed to have the time to get to any of them, except the jingle bells. Which is fine by me, since I'd rather be decorating my Christmas tree and making treats with my family anyway. Chocolate covered salted caramels anyone? Oh, wait, they're all gone. Sorry! :)

I'm also working on a super secret commission that I don't dare post until after Christmas, since it's a gift. It's turning out nicely, I'm pretty happy with it. But constantly plagued by the fear that the next brushstroke I place will ruin it and I'll have to start over!

So, any extra positive vibes you may have, feel free to send em my way. :)

In between all of that I got this older colored pencil piece out and started working on it again. I always forget how much I enjoy working with colored pencils until I have one in my hand again. Very therapeutuic and meditative. And lots of fun.

So, I'm off my friends. Hope you're all having a wonderful Holiday season! And next time I make chocolate covered salted caramels I promise to save you one. . . Or at least take a picture of them. :)


And if you're looking for a one of a kind Christmas gift I'm having a holiday sale on all the items in my Etsy shop until December 18. There's a variety of paintings and drawings, all originals. Just use this coupon code TTTEAM20 at checkout. :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Noble Face SOLD

A Noble Face  SOLD
6" x 6" watercolor

Every so often I paint a portrait, whether it's human or animal, that does exactly what I wanted it to. I've captured one small aspect of who this person (or horse as it seems to be in this case) is. It's something I really try to do, but not something that always happens. With this portrait of Troy I think I've captured something of what I felt about his personality.

There's something very noble, and gentle about this horse. I've seen a picture of him reaching his neck out so a child can stroke his face, and another picture of him standing in the sunshine with his head held high, looking exactly like royalty.

This was one of those paintings that flowed from the first moment I set brush to paper. I love it when that happens as flow is such a tempermental little beast. :)  Here one minute and gone the next.

This last fact was proven to me again yesterday afternoon when I sat down to paint while my youngest son napped. Argh. The flow was just not happening.

And I was all out of cupcakes too. Double Argh.

Ah well. Today is a new day. :) 

This beautiful boy's name is Westmoreland's Come Fly With Me, AKA Troy, and he is owned by Shannon Johnson. Thanks Shannon for the use of your reference photo!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Jingle Jingle Jingle SOLD

'Sleigh Bells Ring' SOLD
5" x 7" watercolor

I remember sitting in the elementary school's library, when I was about seven years old, in this little circular seating area, and listening to the librarian read 'The Polar Express' by Chris Van Allsburg for the first time. I was captivated. I don't think I moved during that entire story time.

I LOVED that book. I loved the whole idea of being taken to the North Pole on Christmas Eve on the Polar Express, listening to the wolves howl outside the train, tasting the rich, hot chocolate on the ride up there, and of course the chance of being chosen by Santa to receive the first gift of Christmas. 

And the thing I think I wanted for Christmas the most that year was one sleigh bell. A real one from Santa's sleigh, preferrably from Dasher's own harness (who was my favorite reindeer). 

On Christmas morning I was thrilled to see that one small present under the tree that I knew had to be a jingle bell from Santa's sleigh. When I opened it and saw the small silver bell inside, and held it to my ear to hear it's soft jingle, I knew that Santa had come through for me. Christmas was magic.

And now that I'm grown up and I get to see Christmas through my boys' eyes it still is. More so now than it ever was. :)

P.S. I think I am developing alarming magpie-like tendencies as I hunt down every shiny and reflective object I can find just so I can paint them. I feel like that dog from 'Up' who kept shouting 'Squirrel!' only instead of squirrel it's 'Shiny!'  :)

See you later friends. Huzzah!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

This Artists Life

watercolor work in progress
10" x 14"

With every portrait painting there is a certain point when everything starts to come together. I have the foundation in place, the shapes of the face are accurate, and the hard part is over.

But. . . this point is kind of a no return. I'm crossing the Rubicon. It's do or die from here on out. (okay I'm done with the cliches. . . I think) I need to tread carefully and take slow, methodical steps to finish the painting and push it to be everything I want it to be. If I rush it and don't think it through carefully I will make a mistake and it will be ruined.

That's where I am with this painting right now. I'm ready to see it finished but it's taking me a long time, more in planning than actual execution. But that's the way I paint. This is me. I can't paint any other way.

Sometimes there's some kind of Divine intervention that comes over me and my hands and eyes know exactly what to do, but most of the time my paintings require a good deal of thought and planning, as much as I might wish otherwise.

I think that sometimes we try to be what we think others want us to be. Spontaneous, loose, impressionistic. Those are all qualities that I admire in other artist's work. But it's not me. I can't force myself to paint or write in a way that isn't my own unique voice.

So I paint portraits, because I love faces and expression, and horses because they are beautiful, powerful, and kind, or stuffed animals, or sliced kiwis just because. And I write about cupcakes and chocolate, insecurities and fears, Coldplay songs and the Vampire Diaries, Hobbit jokes in novels and my life as a mother. I write about things that make me feel something. I paint things that make me feel something.

And it is my fervent hope that when you come here you feel something too. :)

So thank you friends, for reading my posts (which are sometimes longer than they should be), looking at my paintings (even the bad ones), encouraging me (when I'm feeling bad about myself) and making me laugh (with your witty comments and emails). I am an artist and I always will be, but the journey is made easier and more enjoyable when you know there's someone there to share it with. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. :))) 

And my good friend Sandra featured me on her blog today! I'm so honored and touched. Thank you Sandra! Do go check it out right here. :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Newly Smitten SOLD

Newly Smitten
6" x 6" watercolor

About a month ago, when I took my kids to the park one afternoon, I spotted this teenage couple. There was something so compelling about the way they had their bodies angled towards each other, knees and hands just slightly touching. And the light! Huzzah! It was gorgeous!

This is also my interpretation of "Something I'm Thankful For." A new painting challenge that me and Carrie Waller started together. It was my turn for the challenge idea and I set the rule that it couldn't be a portrait of a family member, and it couldn't be something (an object or something like that) we had painted before, because I wanted it to literally be a challenge.

Warning: the remainder of this post borders on epic amounts of sappiness. 

So, here's why I picked this image as something I'm thankful for: because it reminds me of what it felt like to fall in love with my husband. And how thankful I am that he's in my life and that we're still in love. When I took the time to really think about something I was thankful for that I could paint my thoughts kept coming back to my husband. He is my life. I would not be who I am today without him. My life would be drastically different if we had not met. And I am so thankful that we did. :)

To see Carrie's entry clcik here

Have a great rest of the week everyone. See you on Tuesday. :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

An Interview With The Artist: Sandra Busby

Meet Sandra Busby. She's gorgeous right? And talented, kind, charming, witty, humble, funny, and truly one of the most genuine people it has ever been my good fortune to 'meet' through blogging. I honestly can't say enough good things about her. She's just awesome. She is skilled in several different mediums and is one of the few people that I have ever seen who can truly capture that wonder of being a child, that curiosity like you're seeing things for the first time, through her work, which is beautiful and sensitive. I hope you enjoy this interview with her, because I really did. And here's the link to her blog which you must go visit.

Now, Onward to the interview!

Once again, this is me. And this is Sandra. :)

This is the heading of your blog and I absolutely LOVE it. “We assume when we see a lovely piece of art hanging on a wall that it would have come easy to an Artist, but of course this is not always so. Most Artists will generally only show their best pieces of work. What we don’t often see are the private sketches of the Artist, the ‘failures’ and the sleepless nights that often go in to achieving a successful painting. So with that in mind, whilst I will share with you some of my better work, this blog is largely about what it takes for me to get there.” Sharing the good works with the bad takes a lot of courage. Can you tell us a little more about what brought you to this decision?

Having an ‘honest blog’ was important to me from the very beginning. I remember stumbling across a few art blogs long before I ever thought of having my own. I was in total awe of the work on display, and though I longed to be able to produce such a standard of work, as a fledgling Artist it all seemed so unreachable. Then one day I came across an art blog called ‘Laurelines’. It was full of simple, yet lively sketches. Her sketches did seem reachable to me and so that was a huge inspiration for me to keep trying. That said I quickly found that sketching is not as simple as it looks. In fact I still find sketching to be more of a challenge than anything else! Eventually I felt inspired to start my own blog, not just as a motivation to sketch more frequently, but I also hoped that by sharing both good and bad work, it might inspire others to have a go too. That is awesome, I just love that mindset! Remembering how intimidated I had felt by some of the amazing blogs out there, I felt that it was important to show people that every artist is a beginner at some point and that the ‘failures’ are nothing to fear, but rather a means to an end, another lesson learned and a step closer to becoming a better Artist.

Feeling Bubbly
acrylic by Sandra Busby

We all want to know how artists began their creative path. Can you tell us a little about your path to becoming the artist you are today?

When I was little, my friend Kerry and I used to draw all the time! I’d draw people and animals, make posters, comic-strips etc... I suppose I drew a quite a bit until I was about twelve. But that’s probably the last time I picked up a pencil before discovering the world of being a teenage girl; fashion, make-up, boys, lol!  I don’t think I ever picked up a pencil again until about four years ago. We had taken a holiday in Scotland a few months before and my friend Kerry and her husband had joined us too. Kerry carried her sketchbook around with her everywhere, but never once did she open it! I was longing for her to draw something but she was just never in the right frame of mind. She let me look through her sketchbook though and when I did, it sparked something inside and I just knew that I wanted to draw again. When we returned home, the first thing I did was to buy myself a sketchbook and pencil, but it was at least six months before I drew anything in it. I was just too frightened to spoil the pages! Anyway, finally one day I picked up my pencil and sketched the bird-table in the garden. It was at that moment that I knew I would never put my pencils down again.

Motivation for artists is a major focus of my blog, what is it that inspires you to create your art and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?

Sometimes it can be a simple object which catches my eye. The inspiration for the Baubles in a Cocktail Glass for example, came from simply un-loading the dishwasher! I had put some glasses on the side ready to put away and noticed their reflections on the shiny black surface of the hob. I really wanted to re-create that in paint. Generally anything either shiny, light reflecting, or of some sentiment, inspires me to want to paint it. Aside from my family who continuously encourage me, I also find other art blogs to be a constant source of inspiration, not just because of the huge variety of art on show, but because of the endless encouragement and support I get from those people who leave comments on my own blog. It’s those comments that keep me motivated when things aren’t going well in my art studio! I love that part about blogging too. :))

Ted's Bear
oil by Sandra Busby

I love all of your pieces, and I’m especially fond of your sketches and works featuring all kinds of different subject matter, from bubbles and glass work to teddy bears and portraits. What has been your favorite subject to paint so far and what is something you would really like to try in the future?

It is my Dad’s Bear that remains my favourite painting to date. That ole’ bear has inspired me to begin a whole series of bears, which I will be painting in a similar style :0) I did enjoy my portraits, but I think that I am only able to successfully draw the people I know on the inside as well as on the outside. I really don’t think I could paint a stranger and capture their personality successfully as you can. I didn’t enjoy painting for the course I was on because I never felt that the work I produced came from the real me. It is the paintings, which you speak of, that were not part of the course but rather the art that I chose to create from my own vision. I believe that’s what makes those pieces successful. The Bubbles, the Baubles in a Cocktail Glass, the Brandy Glass, the Marbles, all of them are what I consider to be paintings by the real me in my own style and not by the me that is trying to paint in someone else’s. I certainly intend to do far more paintings from my own heart in the future. Being a keen Scuba-Diver, I would like to paint some under-sea scenes one day. I’m really looking forward to experimenting with that subject. I would LOVE to see those! Especially one with a shark in it. :)

For My Dad
pencil portrait by Sandra Busby

Life as an artist is pretty awesome. But it’s not all glitter and rainbows. What do you think is the best part of being an artist? And the worst part?

For me, the best part of being an artist is when I paint something for someone and I am able to touch them in some way. It’s the silliest things, like when I sketched my Aunties cow ‘Blossom’, of course my Dads bear, which I gave him for Fathers Day and the portrait I did of my Daughter, Adele. These are the paintings which I know will be treasured and it’s a wonderful feeling being able to do that for someone. The worst part is the frustration I feel when a painting is unsuccessful, particularly when it has taken a long time to do. No, wait – even worse than that, it’s the part where I actually post those disasters on my blog for the world to see! Lol!! But I have never seen a disaster posted on your blog! Never. :)

What has been your biggest challenge as an artist so far?

I would say that in the first couple of years, about seven out of ten drawings I produced were disasters! I’m pleased to say that now that number has significantly reduced, Huzzah!! but it’s a real challenge to get past that first stage without giving up! The other thing I find challenging is to try to fit painting in around work commitments and family time. Luckily my family are all incredibly supportive and encouraging, but when we are all at home together, I tend to avoid painting unless they are busy themselves.

Pen and ink sketch by Sandra Busby

What is one thing you want viewers of your paintings to walk away with?

My painting of course, lol! ;0D  :D Okay seriously, if they walk away from my painting having experienced any kind of warming emotional response, then I am happy :0)

Let’s talk about artistic influences. Who has been your biggest source of inspiration? Dead or alive.

Ooh, now that’s a difficult one because I like so many! But if I had to choose, then my favourite Artist of all time has to be Rolf Harris! He is 81 years old and very much alive! He was a big part of my childhood as an overall entertainer, but his main talent has always been painting. I could listen to his lovely Australian voice all day long and watch him effortlessly paint whilst singing away, taking the occasional break to play the Wobble-Board or Didgeridoo… He always makes me feel like a little girl again :0) I hope that he will one day be remembered as an ‘Old Master’ of the 20th – 21st century because, entertainment factor aside, he is an incredibly talented Artist.

Baubles in a Cocktail Glass 
acrylic by Sandra Busby

 Let’s say life as we know it is about to end and you’re in charge of creating an artistic time capsule for the aliens who recolonize Earth to find. What art - both classic and contemporary – would you insist on including?

Well, it would be important to include some wonderful portraiture so they could see what we humans looked like – I can think of none better than a Crystal Cook painting to suit that purpose! Why you sweet thing you!! *beams* Thank you my dear!
Hmm, I would have to include two of my favourite paintings; Monet’s ‘Impression Sunrise’ and ‘Scarlett Sunset’ by J W Turner, if only to teach them that they can look at the landscape in such different ways other than what is merely in front of their eyes - or eye – depending on what type of aliens they are of course! :0)
Oh and I would include a whole selection of Rolf Harris paintings. He paints so many different subjects in so many different styles that those Aliens would have plenty to look at!

Any tips or words of advice for beginning artists?

Yes – never see an unsuccessful drawing as a failure, but rather as another lesson learned and a step closer to becoming a better artist. They say there are 2000 awful paintings in every artist – so best get them all out of the way as soon as possible!

What do you like to do when you’re not painting?

Well I’m never more at home than I am when I’m Scuba-Diving, preferably surrounded by sharks, which are beautiful and gentle creatures contrary to their reputation - but the UK is not the best place for Scuba-Diving unfortunately, so I don’t get to do it as often as I’d like. I also love to write (a kindred spirit!) and I once began writing a novel!  Unfortunately I didn’t choose the best time to do it since my children where so young, but creative writing is something I have always enjoyed. Finally, aside from enjoying evenings out together with friends and family, I equally love a cosy evening in with my family in front of the log fire :0)

Mummy, I've Been!
watercolor by Sandra


Dawn or dusk? Dusk
Sweet or salty? Sweet… Yum!
Winter or Summer? Autumn, lol! Oh, okay then – Summer.
Zombies or Unicorns? A Zombie riding a Unicorn? No? Oh, well, then I’ll have to say… Zombie :0)
Dine in or eat out? Eat out
All-time favorite book? Bridget Jones Diary (Oh, how I wish I could give you a more cultural answer without telling fibs!) That is an excellent choice!! :)
All-time favorite movie? I have two – Grease and Harry Potter!
All-time favorite food? My Nanny Molly’s Mousse, and Haagan Daz Pecan Nut and Caramel ice-cream. I have been known to eat an entire family size tub in one sitting – oo-er!
Housework or yardwork? Housework – I am useless at gardening!
Strong heart or strong mind? Strong Heart :0)

Thank you SO much Sandra! This interview was so fun and you are such an inspiration!! :))

Until Thursday everyone! Huzzah!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Windows SOLD

Windows SOLD
7" x 5" watercolor

 You all probably know that I've loved horses all my life and that they were a huge part of my growing up years. Now that I don't get to be around them as much as I did when I was a girl, I feel an even stronger pull towards them whenever I see them, like a gravitational pull, or tractor beams or something.

 I saw this horse last winter in a field I was driving by when out looking for new painting material. I pulled my car over and walked over to the fence. There were a few horses in the field but this one headed in my direction right away, whether she was hungry for human attention or carrots I can't say. Although she did not seem to be too disappointed when my pockets turned up empty of any edible horsey treats.

Or maybe she recognized what I was feeling, that I needed to see her and rub my hand over her velvet nose and fluffy winter coat. The way she calmly gazed at me, so gentle, friendly, and curious ignited all those emotions I'd felt about horses for so many years as a girl.

Her eyes just got to me, they were so kind. It really is true what they say about the eyes. They are the windows to the soul.

P.S. My dear blogger friend (who I also had the good fortune to meet in real life!) Michelle Teacress spotlighted me on her blog the other day. I was honored, flattered, and extremely touched. Thank you so much Michelle. :) Michelle's blog is a great place. You must visit. She is "offering creative encouragement for fellow readers and writers through literature, music, and art."

P.P.S. November means NaNoWriMo (that's National Novel Writing Month in case you didn't know). It means writing an entire 50,000 word novel in thirty days. Thirty. Days. Thirty days and thirty nights of literary abandon. Or, as it seems to be in my case, thirty days and thirty nights of staring at a blinking cursor on my word processing screen and wondering what the heck my characters should do next!

This means that anything witty, funny, or uplifting that I have to say is being written in my novel and probably not here. Just ask my husband about the funny little Hobbit reference line I came up with for my novel that I am absurdly proud of.  I've told him about it at least ten times. Which probably means it's not quite as funny as I think it is. But still. Maybe a little funny. I hope.

Until next week my friends! Off I go to add more words to the 13,109 I already have. Clackety-clack.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

An Interview With The Artist: Prabal Mallick


We're back with another fantastic artist interview! This time we have Prabal Mallick, from Bangalore, Karnataka, India. I first saw Prabal's work about a year and a half ago through his blog and was instantly struck with how fresh and spontaneous it is. He is a watercolor artist who paints mostly plein air landscapes but he also paints figures, portraits, still life, and animals. And all of it has the same freshness, vitality, and spontanaeity and it is beautiful! He is an awesome friend to have in this blog universe. See more of his work by visiting his blog here.

Once again I will be speaking in blue, like this. And Prabal will be answering like this.

Onward to the interview! :)

So, Prabal, you are an extremely talented watercolor artist. Can you tell us a little about your path to becoming the artist you are today?

Crystal, first of all thank you. Those were really nice words. I guess my artistic inclination must have been spotted by my parents first as I used to keep drawing on floors and walls as a kid (Your poor mother! :).  And I must have got my first painting set as a result of this. LOL. Anyway I think it was in high school that my teachers thought I had talent. I got a lot of guidance and encouragement from my art teachers and other teachers too. And there I was painting in oils. After school I went on to do my engineering and during this time I did not even touch my brushes. After engineering I started to paint again. Yes still in oils itself. But somehow the old relationship was not working anymore. The spark as they say was missing. It was by a random chance that I came across some beautiful watercolor works of some of the masters and the spark was ignited. I wanted to paint again. But it was going to be watercolors. It was a little more than 3 years back when I started painting in watercolors. And since then the passion has only been increasing and every day I am learning.

Short Spell @ Church Street
22" x 15" watercolor by Prabal Mallick

You post new work regularly to your blog, which I think is very impressive. It’s not easy to be consistent about your work. What inspires you to create your art and how do you keep motivated when things get tough?

Actually I get inspiration to paint from all kinds of places. While taking a walk, listening to music, reading newspaper, travelling.. I mean it could be anything. But I think it is the act of painting, the act of watching colors flow on paper, the act of creating something out on a blank paper that inspires me most of all to paint. I just try to make the best of what I have, tough times or not and that kind of works most of the time. :) I love that, words of wisdom for all of us.

You paint some really gorgeous plein air pieces that I LOVE. The spontaneity and freshness is amazing. What is it that draws you to paint en plein air?

Thanks again. I really don’t know what it is about painting on location, but it is one of the most satisfying experiences. It is at the same time most exciting and most humbling. Being surrounded by what you are painting is a beautiful experience. Moreover a little memory gets created along with the painting.

Life as an artist is pretty awesome. But it’s not all glitter and rainbows. What do you think is the best part of being an artist? And the worst part?

The best part… Hmmm.. I guess it is the whole process of creating art. That is being able to see more beauty and meaning than what meets the eye in stuff, internalizing that beauty and feeling and creating that on paper. I think it is a kind of roller coaster ride of emotions that only an artist experiences. I think that is special. The worst part is not being able to really share this ride with anybody. Being an artist is a little bit like walking a lonely path I guess. There are others walking with you, but on parallel roads. That is. . . profound. I never quite thought of it like that before.

Food Court @ UB City
15" x 22" watercolor by Prabal Mallick

What has been your biggest challenge as an artist so far?

The best way to paint is to paint with the heart of a child and with the skills of an adult. Skills are external while the attitude is internal. External development can be achieved through hard work. But the internal purity, which enables one to paint without judgments and with innocence and awareness at the same time, has to be cultivated. And I guess this continues and will continue to remain the biggest challenge. Well said. Well said indeed. :) 

What is one thing you want viewers of your paintings to walk away with?

I just want people to be touched by my painting in some way. Sometimes people have been touched in more ways than one by seeing my works. Things that even I had not thought of while making the painting. That is a great feeling always. It really is isn't it? Gives us something pretty grand to strive for.

Let’s talk about artistic influences. Who has been your biggest source of inspiration? Dead or alive.

My first non-competitive award that I received was two art books. One of them had a section on Van-Gogh. Since then his works and his life has drawn me towards art. And of course there are so many other artists who have been inspirational. But for me my turning point in painting has come because of Mr. Milind Mullick whose paintings inspired me to start doing watercolors.

Afternoon At Puri
15" x 11" watercolor by Prabal Mallick

What do you like to do when you’re not painting?

Pretty much the normal things. Spending time with dear ones and friends, reading a good book, going for an outing sometimes. Nothing special really.

What are some of your goals for the future?

I really do not have any goals as such. The only goal is to keep painting, learning new things, honing my craft and finding peace and happiness while doing all this.

Let’s say life as we know it is about to end and you’re in charge of creating an artistic time capsule for the aliens who recolonize Earth to find. What art - both classic and contemporary – would you insist on including?

I think I’ll take at least one art work from every passionate artist in the world from all artistic fields. For the performing arts I’ll take records. Then I’ll compress it and put it in the capsule along with the DIY guide of uncompressing it. Let the Aliens know how it was. :) 
Indian Ocean
21" x 14" watercolor by Prabal Mallick

And finally what tips or words of advice do you have for beginning artists?

I am a beginner myself. But for whatever little it is worth I think I would say ‘Practice’, ‘Reflect’ and most importantly ‘Enjoy’ and find ‘Peace’ through your creation.

Now, on to the SPEED ROUND!!

Dawn or dusk? – Dusk (Waking up early is really difficult)
Sweet or salty? - Sweet
Winter or Summer? – Winter
Zombies or Unicorns?  - Unicorns
Dine in or eat out? – Eat out once in a while. But mostly dine in.
All-time favorite book? – ‘Jaya, an illustrated retelling of Mahabharat’, The entire Harry Potter series
All-time favorite movie? – ‘Leaving Home, life and times of Indian Ocean’, ‘Lord of the rings series’, ‘The Matrix’, ‘Andaaz Apna Apna’
All-time favorite food? – I am a foodie. I love so many things. It will be unfair to name a few. But some of the stuff that my mom and only my mom makes are just great.
All-time favorite song? – Almost everything by Indian Ocean, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, A R Rahman…… The list is never ending. :)

At Cannt Station (plein air)
14" x 10" watercolor by Prabal Mallick

Thanks so much Prabal! This was truly an inspiring interview! :)

P.S. And just to let you guys know, my blog (this is me Crystal, speaking again) has been featured at Artists.Blog.Critique and I was really honored to be included there. Hop on over and take a peek! 


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Solemn - For Mothers Everywhere SOLD

7" x 9" watercolor
all of the proceeds from the sale of this painting will be donated to Every Mother Counts
photo reference by Steve Evans

Daily Paintworks is hosting a fundraising challenge called Every Mother Counts. I saw this challenge posted a few weeks ago and really wanted to donate a painting, then almost at the same time I found Steve Evans photography (babasteve on flickr) which I completely fell in love with.

I looked at the photos of these children he has from all over the world and was moved to tears by their innocent, unguarded expressions and very humble living conditions. 

I thought of my life with my three children and how blessed we are with good health, and also how I may have taken that for granted at times.

The DPW auction site states, "Every 90 seconds a woman dies from childbirth. Fully 90% of those deaths are preventable. The aid organization Every Mother Counts  is training midwives in Afghanistan, opening health clinics in the Democratic Republic of Congo and shipping unused medical supplies to South Sudan. These are tangible, practical projects designed to combat maternal mortality and injuries worldwide."

I wanted to help. Every mother deserves to live, when death is preventable, through pregnancy and labor so she can hold and love her child.

Every child deserves to have their mother to protect, care for, and love them throughout their life.

I've had my share of emergencies and health problems with my pregnancies. With my last son I vividly remember sitting in the emergency room and waiting in fear for hours, when unknown problems developed, just so I could see my baby's rapid little heart beating in the ultrasound, assuring me that he was still alive and safe and that I was too. I had a doctor I could rely on and medical care was constantly available when needed. 

And I am so thankful for that.  Every mother deserves the same.

If you feel so inclined to share this post I would be so touched. :) It's not for me, but for mothers everywhere. Every little bit helps.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sparkle 2 - A Sketchbook Tuesday study

Sparkle 2
graphite sketch on unidentified paper currently in my sketchbook :)

Well friends, 'tis the day after Halloween and I'm feeling a wee bit sluggish. This may have something to do with the copious amounts of sugar I indulged in yesterday, (though I'll never admit to it) and as such this post will likely be a mix of all things random and nonsensical.

This sketch is a small study I did for an upcoming painting I'm going to be working on. I loved this little girl's big, sparkly eyes, and her pouty lips. But, the lighting on her face was very soft and diffused, which makes for beautiful soft cheeks, but also makes it more difficult to model form.

I usually don't do such detailed sketches like this before every painting. I typically have a very short attention span and don't do well with a lot of preliminary work, I lose interest and don't want to carry on with the painting. But the lighting was tricky here and I wanted to see if I could get it right in a sketch first.

I think it turned out pretty well. I just fell in love with her eyes. :) And I can't wait to paint her.

Now my friends I shall leave you with two photos of my two most favorite super heros, as well as a spooky looking phantom-type thing. (Which would be, my three boys)

The spooky looking phantom-type thing (oldest Cook boy) with the Green Lantern (middle Cook boy) hot on his heels.

Beware evil doers! Spiderman (littlest Cook boy) has joined up with the Green Lantern to bring you to justice! Huzzah!

Until Thursday! Huzzah!

photo reference used with permission by Steve Evans (babasteve on flickr)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

An Interview with the Artist: Kim Rempel

This is Kim. Lovely, awesome, kind, generous, talented (and did I say awesome?) Kim Rempel. :)

Welcome to another edition of Interview With The Artist! Today we have Kim Rempel, artiste extraordinaire.  When I first started my blog I was cruising around checking other blogs out when I somehow managed to find Kim's. I instantly fell in love with her buttery brushstrokes, rich colors, and striking yet simple compositions. I found her paintings of  sometimes quite ordinary objects absolutely gorgeous. And Kim is not only talented, but one of the warmest and most genuine people I know in the blogoverse.

To see more of Kim's work visit her website here
And her blog here

On to the interview! :)

(as a side note: this interview runs a little like a conversation, so I will be speaking in bold, blue letters like this. And Kim will be speaking like this.)

First of all, I love the name of your blog: “Eat, Drink, Paint.” How did you come up with that title?
When I decided to venture into daily painting I was a bit daunted by the "daily" part. It felt like a huge commitment. My thoughts went back to intense periods in school when you would eat, study (or paint), and sleep. It kind of felt like what I was about to venture into but I thought it needed a bit more of a pleasurable ring: hence Eat Drink Paint. Awesome. That's one of the best titles ever. :)

So, everyone wants to know how it all began. Can you tell us a little about your path to becoming the artist you are today?
Sure. I graduated from Sheridan College's Illustration program with a major in book illustration and a minor in illustration for advertising. After that I basically worked as a freelance graphic designer. When my second child was born I decided I wanted to leave the computer for the paintbrush and I began taking courses. That was about ten years ago. I'm still taking courses. You gotta keep learning!
Indeed you do! Learning is key, isn't it?

'Holiday Table (a flower for Richard)'
6" x 6" oil on panel by Kim Rempel

I’m pretty impressed with your ability to consistently produce beautiful work. You post almost every single day to your blog! That takes nerves of steel my friend. I’m curious about your motivation. What inspires you to create your art and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?
I began the blog purely for personal development. You always tell your children they need to practice to get better and I thought I should do the same. I wanted to see if I'd be able to see a marked improvement over time - if it really would work ; ) I'd been told you just have to log in the time - paint miles of canvas - to see yourself get better. And I took it to heart. Having the blog keeps me motivated for producing regularly because you can't back-date your posts! It keeps you accountable ; )

Egg Stash
6" x 6" oil on panel by Kim Rempel

I’m a huge fan of all your work. And I think that your small still life paintings are some of the most
beautiful I’ve seen. What is it about still lifes that keeps you painting them? And what projects are you currently working on?
Oh, thank you Crystal! For years the bulk of my work was plein air but when I began "daily painting" I took up still life because I wanted the comfort of an indoor environment. Just lately I was beginning to feel that the smaller works were taking away from time I needed to develop larger pieces, so I've recently decided to post everything I've been working on - run it more as a daily art journal as opposed to a blog showing only finished small works. Currently I'm working on experimentation. And I've got a few ideas for a series tucked away...

24" x 24" acrylic by Kim Rempel

Life as an artist is pretty awesome. But it’s not all glitter and rainbows. What do you think is the best part of being an artist? And the worst part?
Best: the daily opportunity to create something intriguing, beautiful, arresting. How awesome is that? I mean, really! Excitement, hope!
Worst: waiting for my skills to catch-up with my vision. Word sista. :)

What has been your biggest challenge as an artist?
My immediate reaction was skill development. But after much thinking I would have to say my biggest challenge is not making a real income. The arts is a tough gig.

Cupcake Fever
6" x 6" oil on panel by Kim Rempel

What is one thing you want viewers of your paintings to walk away with?
I want them to be moved - to experience something in a new way.

Let’s talk about artistic influences. Who has been your biggest source of inspiration? Dead or alive.
The Group of Seven.

Spelt Chocolate Biscotti
6" x 6" oil on panel by Kim Rempel

Let’s say life as we know it is about to end and you’re in charge of creating an artistic time capsule for the aliens who recolonize Earth to find. What art - both classic and contemporary – would you insist on including?
I love your questions! The pressure! Okay - this question could take pages so I'll just do a very quick, off-the-top-of-my-head answer.

1. Kathe Kollwitz - Widows and orphans
2. Klimt - Fulfilment
3. Tom Thomson - In Algonquin Park
4. Van gogh - The Artist's Room
5. Peter Doig - Ski Jacket
6. Louise Bourgeois - Maman
7. David Alexander - Japanese Rain no. 2
8. work from a 4-year old child.

Excellent choices! I love Kollwitz too. And the last one, the work of a 4 year old child is the BEST. But, I'm unfamiliar with some of these works. Off I go to google. . .

Any tips or words of advice for artists who are just getting started in their career?
Marry a marketer! I kid. . . Have support. Look at everything. Go to galleries. Check out art books. Take courses. Don't take short-cuts. Tackle what needs working on.

Fletcher Creek
acrylic by Kim Rempel

What do you like to do when you’re not painting?
Read, bake, play cards/speed scrabble etc. Hang out with my family ; )
Reading, sugar, time with family. . . you are a woman after my own heart!

How do you maintain a good balance between family time and creative time?
That one's easy. My children are in school full days so I get to work from 9-3.

6" x 6" oil on panel by Kim Rempel

And finally, where do you see yourself in ten years?
I'd like to be more established and to be doing a bit of teaching.

And now for a random bit of fun we have a. . .

Dawn or dusk?

Sweet or salty?

Winter or Summer?
Can I say Fall?
I suppose. But only because you're awesome. And now as a penalty you must overnight me a cupcake. :) Kidding. . . kinda. :))

Zombies or Unicorns?
Zombies! Except kind of artsy ones that roam around looking cool, not the kind that would actually eat your brains. Well chosen, well chosen indeed.  :) 

Dine in or eat out?

All-time favorite book?
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
Oh, I love that book too!

All-time favorite movie?
"Sound of Music" but that sounds so darn sappy. My second fave is "Lars and the Real Girl".
Nothing wrong with a little bit of sap. :) Or a lot. :))

All-time favorite food?

Housework or yardwork?

Strong heart or strong mind?
Strong heart. 

The Extra Mile
6" x 6" oil on panel by Kim Rempel

Thank you so much Kim! You are the best! :)

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