Tuesday, June 28, 2011


10" x 10" acrylic on canvas

I've been feeling a little. . . melancholy lately as I've been at home with my boys this summer. I love having them home and out of school. We play games, go to the park, go swimming, hang out and pop popcorn and watch movies in the middle of the day and it's just such a sweet time.

But, being the pessimist that I am I'm also watching them and thinking of last summer and how much they've grown and changed since then. I'm feeling sad that time is passing and they're growing up. It's already almost July, there's only two months left of summer vacation. Am I cherishing this time as much as I should? Am I taking enough pictures, writing down all the little things they do that is unique to this stage of their life that I never want to forget?

I hope I am. I guess one day when they are all grown up we'll find out. :)

I painted this of my youngest son, when he was about six months old, a few weeks ago and when I was finished I looked at it and remembered those first days and weeks after he was born that were so incredibly sweet, but also so incredibly challenging. 

It was much harder to balance the needs of three children instead of two. I was sooooo tired all the time. I remember some days looking at my sink full of dishes, and gigantic laundry pile and feeling so completely overwhelmed. There were lots of days when I'd just start crying for no reason at all. Hormones, the baby blues whatever you want to call it, I had it. 

But then I would hold this baby, and feel his little hand wrap around mine, his breath soft on my cheek, his face tucked in close to my neck and I'd feel better. Who cares about dishes and laundry when I have this perfect little baby to hold and love all day and all night? 

Just holding him made me feel better. He was my sunshine that broke the dark clouds and chased them away. He still is actually.

I try to remember this and all the other happiness each of my children has brought me when I hear a little outraged voice for the tenth time that day say, "He started it!!"

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

May The Force Be With You

'May The Force Be With You'
10" x 14" watercolor on Arches 140 lb. cold pressed paper
This is number three in the Work of Childhood series

One benefit of being a mom to three boys and having a very manly husband too is that my house is usually filled with very. . . 'boy-type' things. Like super heroes, action figures, Nerf gun battles, lightsaber fights, things like that.

Maybe some moms would not see that as a bonus. But me? Well, I was the kid who loved He-Man just as much as She-ra and got up early on Saturday mornings to watch the latest X-men cartoon.

There, I've done it. I've suppressed my inner dork long enough and can hide it no longer! Confession: I have a thing for super heroes. Cool gadgets, tricked out cars and hovercrafts, mutant powers (speaking of which, the new X-men movie, First Class is completely AWESOME!). I love em all.

And when the last Star Wars movie came out I was the one who had to talk my husband into going to see it.

Don't look at me like that. I mean, come on, it was the making of Darth Vader! Epic coolness!

But I digress. This painting was the result of a sunlight filled morning and my middle child playing with his lightsaber and wearing a hoodie. He looked like a Jedi (or a Sith, but let's hope not!) in training and I thought it would make a great addition to my Work of Childhood series.

Imagination. Can't get much better than that for childhood work now can you?

Have a great day everyone and. . .  may the force be with you!   :) 


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Still Life Interruptus #3, Just A Peek

Just A Peek
#3 in the Still Life Interruptus series
8" x 10" acrylic on masonite

Last week the Daily Paintworks challenge was to paint a gift. So of course, the first thing I thought of was a set up of my son and a big ol' wrapped present he could wreck mischief and mayhem with. This is how it went down, step by step:

1. I went to the store, bought some shiny pink wrapping paper, a ginormous curly-ribbon bow, and a small box of treats for my son's modeling fee. 

2. Came home, wrapped up a box (which happened to be one of his older games that he hasn't played with in a few months, and I wrapped the treats too, because it would just be mean to have him open up a big box of nothing right?) and set the shiny present in the perfect spot of sunshine.

I did all of this without my little model underfoot, thinking he would be more excited and interested if he didn't know what I was doing. . .

3. I bring my son upstairs and show him, very nonchalantly of course, the shiny little present on the floor and stand back, camera at the ready for what I'm sure is going to be the biggest bunch of cuteness I've seen in weeks.

4. He stands there, prods the present a little bit, then walks away and comes to ask me if he can go back downstairs to play with his brothers.

5. My jaw drops. I'm flabbergasted. For real. Wasn't expecting that lack of interest. Hmmm. . .Change of plans.

6. I bring out the much smaller box of wrapped treats I got for him and let him open it. A-ha!! Now he's interested. He heads for the other present and in about fifteen seconds has it completely unwrapped.

Pretty pink paper lies shredded all over the floor.

But somehow the curly-ribboned bow managed to survive.

And there's now a smudge of chocolate on my son's face as he brings me the newly-unwrapped-old game and asks me to play with him. 

So I do, of course. :)

He beats me, 2-1.    

A little later, when I'm holding my boy on my lap, I wonder if John Singer Sargent had this much trouble with his models? I kinda doubt it. But, I bet he didn't have as much fun either. :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Still Life Interruptus

Still Life Interruptus
10" x 14" watercolor on Arches 140 lb. cold pressed paper
The second painting in the 'Still Life Interruptus' series

A couple of weeks ago I thought it would be fun to try and paint some vegetables. By themself. In a still life. My son (the two year old above), however, had other ideas.

I had them all set up on the table right in the perfect spot of sunshine. Then my other son, who was getting ready to go to kindergarten and couldn't find his backpack, called for me. So, I left those poor defenseless tomatoes all alone on the table and went to track down a Spiderman backpack.

Now I guess I miscalculated the appeal of tomatoes left unattended because when I came back I found them with little bites taken out of them, one still in the culprit's hands, with tomato juice dripping down his chin.
I stood there with my hands on my hips, surveying the carnage and trying not to laugh when he looked up at me and said, "Not an apple."

Then went back to eating the tomato.

Final score: The two year old still life interruptus, fruit and vegetable snacker-2 

I don't think I'm meant to be a still life artist. But I can't complain, this painting was a lot more fun and interesting than what I had planned. :)

June 8 edit: I love the spontaneous feel of this painting so I'm going to have a new series of paintings called, yup, you guessed it, 'Still Life Interruptus' of which this painting is the second. Here is the post for the first painting 'Please?'

A note about the painting process for 'Still Life Interruptus': When Alvaro Castagnet came to the Utah Watercolor Society demo last month he said something that really stuck with me. He talked about how watercolorists have one chance to gain the attention of the big galleries. One chance against the 'king' of media, oils. Paint with passion, be bold, take risks, strive for mood, ambience, grit. The unexpected.

I pushed myself further with this painting than I usually do, although I don't think it was intentional. I wasn't thinking of Alvaro's words at the time I painted it, but remembered them when I was finished.

This painting came from my own intuition, rather than a set of rules to follow, or any acedemic knowledge of 'how one should paint'.  

I exaggerated colors and lighting. Pushing them further with each glaze. A couple of times I set the painting across the room, stepped back and looked at it, and felt sure that I ruined it. Then decided to try one more thing, which worked (Huzzah!), and made it into the painting I'd been envisioning the whole time.

Sometimes we need to just go with our gut. Trust our intuition. Paint what we feel, with passion and boldness. Rules be danged. :)
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