Monday, January 30, 2012

In Which I Paint a Landscape For the First Time - SOLD

'The Storm Breaks'
6" x 6" watercolor

This month's theme for the Cook-Waller challenge was winter.  I chose the theme this time and can I just say how hard it was for me to finally pin down what I wanted to paint??

I had all these ideas from pink bottles of children's cough syrup and asthma medicine (a constant in my house in the winter for my youngest son) to kids building snowmen, and finally settled on this landscape (cloudscape?). I was driving my boys to school last week and watched these big dark clouds get broken apart by the sun rising over the mountains and it was SO pretty.

It had a very optimistic feeling too I think. The light was stronger than the dark and was smackin' it upside the head. Take that darkness!! Hi-yaaah!

Seriously though, I love images and themes that have to do with light overcoming dark. It makes me feel hope. Because I think that all of us, whether we're aware of it or not, are fighting our own internal battle of light vs. dark.

And I have pictures of another artist's work that I simply have to share. Here's a shot of the artist at work:

My middle child (who's seven)  painting a project for his first grade class about Komodo Dragons. He worked so hard and was so proud of himself. He had the choice of how he wanted to represent his animal from dioramas to sculptures, and everything in between, and he chose painting.

Can you tell how proud I am? :)))

And here's the finished painting:

Komodo Dragon by MC (middle child) Cook 
acrylic on canvas panel 11" x 14"

Hope you all had a great weekend! See you guys on Thursday. Huzzah! :)))

Thursday, January 26, 2012

On Being True

latest WIP - untitled
8" x 10" watercolor on aquabord

I've recently started working on aquabord, just to try something new. This is a very tricky surface to get used to. It is super absorbent so there's even less time to manipulate the paint than I usually have when I work on paper. I'm determined to master it though, no matter how long that takes me.

And during this last year I have found out that in order to keep artist's block at bay I need to constantly be challenging myself with new subjects, surfaces, mediums.

Maybe it's not so much to keep artist's block at bay as it is that I don't want to admit that I have a very short attention span. In honor of that short attention span I'm keeping my post short and sweet today. (I know you are *shocked* right?? ;)

There's been a lot going on in my mind lately about the life of being an artist. We live a life of extremes I think, we have passion for what we believe in, and what we do, in nearly excessive amounts, and because of that when we feel despair we feel it deeper and with more intensity.

But what else can we do? In order to be the artist we are meant to be we need to be who we really are, we need to be true. To the dictates of our own heart.

No matter what anyone else says.

"Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish." John Jakes

Happy weekend everyone. :) See you all on Monday for the reveal of the Cook-Waller monthly painting challenge. Huzzah!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Beneath the Surface SOLD

'Beneath the Surface'
6" x 6" watercolor

Something that always appeals to me (as far as what I want to paint next) is light. But, I think this is kind of a given for most artists. For me, specifically, the appeal is sunlight. And when I saw the sunlight shining through that top row of pomegranate seeds I thought. . . Huzzah!!! Must. Paint. Now.

My son loves fruit. He has since he was a tiny baby and I fed him mashed up bananas and squishy peaches. One night, when out looking for snacks with my husband, he decided he wanted a pomegranate. Thaaaat's right. My kid. Me. The son of the Queen of sugar and chocolate consumption chose a fruit as his snack.

Now it must be said that I do promote healthy eating and being active around here just so you know (I go to the gym every morning, see what a good example I am? And we do Tae Kwon Do as a family. And I'm constantly looking for healthy meal recipes. . . so I can indulge in chocolate of course. . . and because it's good for you), no need to be concerned for the welfare of my child.

When my son brought this treat home I was so excited, because of course, A) he was making good snack choices, and B) it sparked the fire in my artist's brain that's always on the look out for what I should paint next.

And it also forced me to google 'how to open a pomegranate' because apparently one does not just hack into one of these babies with a knife willy nilly.

Yep. I learned that the hard way. They're much, much prettier if you open them the correct way.

Until Thursday friends!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Salvation - SOLD

6" x 9" watercolor

Once upon a time there was a girl who loved horses. She loved them so much that every waking moment was spent reading about them, drawing them, and tracking them down wherever she could find them, just so she could be near them and twine her fingers through the tangles in their mane and hold her palm under their velvet soft lips to feel the blast of heat from their sweet scented breath.

Then one day the girl received a horse of her own and they grew up together. She taught him to follow at her side without a bridle or lead, and to stay in one spot, like the most obedient dog on the planet, until she called  for him.

He learned the sound of her footsteps and the call of her voice and waited at the gate for her every day after school. He pressed his face close to the fence, leaving behind a trail of long white and red hairs from his forelock, waiting for her to come home.

She learned empathy, understanding, compassion, love, and finally how to deal with the grief of losing your best friend when he died.

They were each other's world, and salvation. He was my best friend, and I still miss him.

Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride,
Friendship without envy,
Or beauty without vanity?
Here, where grace is served with muscle
And strength by gentleness confined
He serves without servility; he has fought without enmity.
There is nothing so powerful, nothing less violent.
There is nothing so quick, nothing more patient.
-Ronald Duncan, "The Horse," 1954

In honor of Skye, my niece's horse in the painting above, who was rescued from slaughter by my sister and her family, ten percent from the sale of this painting will be donated to an equine rescue group. 

Painting this piece stirred up a lot of emotions for me as I reflected back on the relationship I had with my horse growing up. The story is about me, the painting is of my niece and Skye, but it feels like it could have been me as well. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

An Interview With The Artist: Taryn Day

 'Daydreaming at the Cafe' by Taryn Day
7" x 7" oil on panel

"For many years my habit was to spend two or even three months on one painting, trying to create an image without flaws. I've begun to realize that painting is not about the absence of flaws- painting is about being fully awake, and fully aware of a larger world outside yourself. At best it is an act of spiritual renewal."   - Taryn Day

This is Taryn. She is awesome. :) I first discovered Taryn through browsing the Daily Paintworks site and instantly fell in love with her very thoughtful and poetic figure paintings and portraits. Her still life, landscape, and animal paintings all have this same quality too. Everything that she paints seems to tell a story about what it is to be human. Even if it's a portrait of a sheep. And to top it all of she is so nice and genuine. You'll love her. :) To see more of Taryn's work you can follow her blog Awake and Painting by clicking here. And visit her website by clicking here.
Welcome Taryn! I’m so excited to have you on my blog today. I’m a big fan of your work. I’d love to get to know you a little better. Could you tell us a little about your path to becoming the artist you are today?
Thank you Crystal, I’m a fan of your work too! I’m pleased that you’ve chosen me for an interview, because I get to spend some time navel gazing, something I love to do. My path has been somewhat long, as I started painting in oils at the age of 16, thirty six years ago. I started out loose and painterly, feeling excited and inspired just about all the time. In my mid-twenties I started to slow way down, using tiny brushes and spending two or three months on a small painting. I was after the way light caressed surfaces, and usually painted interiors and the way light from a window would create beauty in an ordinary room. This worked well for a few years, but then for some reason my drive and excitement over painting turned slowly to dread. I would often begin a painting with enthusiasm, only to eventually paint the thing to death, losing my initial feeling.
Then I married and had two kids, and began to work a series of part time jobs and desperately tried to fit painting in when I could. Sometimes it would work out, but too often I would overwork a piece, probably out of a lack of confidence. A few years ago I began to be aware of the Daily Painting Movement, and thought that trying to paint small pieces in one day might help me to get out of my perfectionist bog. Many small and quick paintings later, I found that my work was improving, but most interestingly, was usually not as bad as I thought. I mean, I used to think that my work was not fit for anyone’s eyes but my own until I’d worked on them for a long, long time, but having to finish in one day and put it aside, then come back to see it the next day was a real eye-opener.  It dawned on me that while my first impression of a subject was full of small inaccuracies as compared with a camera’s, it was often an interesting and valid statement.
I do find that my most current work has slowed down a bit, where I spend 2-4 days on a small piece. By painting so many one day pieces, I’ve learned a lot about getting the most important elements down quickly, and to focus on what I am most moved by.

'November' by Taryn Day
7" x 6.5" oil on panel
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?
I love blogging. It is so great to finish a piece and get feedback within a couple hours. As far as being inspired, usually an idea will smack me in the face, so to speak. When I try too hard to find the perfect subject I come up with nothing. When I relax and become more open to my environment, often I feel that a great subject just hands itself to me. Case in point, recently I went to the Philadelphia Mummers Parade to take pictures to use in paintings. For the first hour I felt frustrated and impatient that people were not getting into poses that I thought they should, but finally relaxed and sat down on a curb and just waited. That’s when things started to come together. Once I spent two hours trying to pose a half a watermelon, gave up and sliced it into many small wedges for my family to eat and put them in a bowl, then realized I had exactly the composition I wanted.  So I think inspiration is kind of accidental.
The times that I feel I need a kick in the pants to get going on a painting is first thing in the morning, when I have a big cup of coffee at the computer and am sifting through my favorite websites, or sending emails. I’ll say to myself that I must start painting by a certain time, and then I’ll stick to it. It’s easier for me to work than to not work and have to call myself bad names. Lol. :)
If I paint a painting I’m not happy with, I do get a little down and am not the best company, (me too! Just ask my husband :) but that makes it especially great to be able to start something new the next day. I love that positive spin. No use crying over painting disasters.
'Leah at Sea' by Taryn Day
6" x 6" oil on panel

Some of my favorite pieces of yours are your figure paintings and portraits. I think you have a real strength for conveying emotion through gesture and expression, something that isn’t easy to do in my opinion. What is it about figures and portraits that inspire you to paint them so frequently? And what is it that draws you to paint a specific scene?
Thank you Crystal, that is just what I want to try and achieve- to say something about what goes on inside a person by their face or gesture. I’ve spent much of my painting life concentrating on still life, interiors and landscape, but I’ve always wanted to paint the kinds of scenes I’m painting now. I did spend seven years working exclusively on portrait commissions of children, but usually from photographs. I didn’t enjoy working from photos, and thought the end result was stiff and unpainterly. Just this past year I began to paint from my computer monitor, and although at first I hated it as compared with painting from life, I have started to absolutely love it. The subject matter possibilities have just expanded for me to an amazing degree.  I can avoid the stilted, photographic look by standing ten feet back from my monitor, as a way to focus on the essentials, and I can turn the image upside down and sideways to get a fresh view. I can lighten the shadow areas if I need to see what’s going on with the structure, then darken the image again for a highlighted area.  I’m really having fun.
I grew up in a family with seven children. There was a certain amount of necessary discipline just to keep the crowd under control, and my parents, being mid-Westerners, preferred understatement to letting it all hang out. There was lots of stimulating talk, and my brothers were quite witty, but I would feel a little cut off from real feelings. I developed a habit of studying people closely to try and figure out what they were really thinking and feeling.
As for how I choose a specific scene, I like introspection and even a certain healthy amount of melancholy in a person or scene.  Simple happiness doesn’t do it for me. I like to show a person with more ambiguous feelings, or if they are happy, it should be a deep sort of peaceful happiness, as if they were contemplating something outside of time. At least that’s my goal- not sure I’m there yet. Well I certainly get that feeling from viewing your work. I'd call that a success. :)
'Patience' by Taryn Day
6" x 6" oil on panel

I also love the way you are able to simplify the detail in your paintings, to focus on the essence of the subject. You really make every expressive brushstroke count! What tips do you have for other artists who may find themselves getting ‘lost in the details’ and forsaking the big picture?
I’d say to paint one painting a day for a few months. Use only large brushes, at least ½ an inch across. Think of the subject in the simplest possible way. If you are painting something that is round, just keep thinking about the roundness. Squinting can be good, but even better, as you paint a brushstroke, look at the entire subject. Never focus on just one thing. How a detail fits into the whole is what matters, not that detail by itself. Love your subject and know why you love it, and aim to get that into the painting. If you can trick yourself into seeing the subject as something, anything, other than itself, it will help. In other words, always look for the abstract pattern. Try and forget you are painting a face, a flower, a tree. Just see shapes, and see big shapes. The little shapes can be added later, they’ll have a lot more power if the big shapes are correct.
You often quote poetry on your blog, which I love, is poetry something that inspires your paintings? And is there a favorite poem that you turn to again and again?
I’m not sure why I’ve added poems to my blog. It just seemed a natural thing to do. Painting is about the meaning behind surfaces, isn’t it? And poetry is about meaning hiding behind this daily life we live, isn’t it? I go through phases of reading poetry, usually first thing in the morning. Finding out about a good and exciting poet can be quite inspiring for me. I don’t have one poem that is a favorite, but I sure do like Galway Kinnell, Robert Lowell and Robert Frost. I’m no poetry expert, but I like a poem where emotion and meaning trumps beauty.   I love poets with deep originality and a sense of humor, like Billy Collins and Kenneth Koch.
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 for me is loving what I do, to think I have something to say and to be sometimes be able to say it. The worst part? I think I get a little too intense sometimes, too focused on this one thing I do.  And of course money is always an issue.

'Protected' by Taryn Day
6" x 6" oil on panel
What has been your biggest challenge as an artist so far?
Having to work full time for a while and still consider myself a painter. That drove me mad. My biggest challenge as a painter? Getting rejected by many galleries over the years really shook up my self-confidence. Starting a blog was a way to have people see and then buy my work, and now finally some galleries are expressing interest. I’m happy to have the independence to sell online, so I’m not sure what will happen.
What is one thing you want viewers of your paintings to walk away with?
Oh, to remember a time when they felt the same way as a person I’ve painted, and to realize the ordinary can have something to say. Beautifully said. I love that. :)
Let’s talk about artistic influences. Who has been your biggest source of inspiration? Dead or alive.
Oh, this is such a hard question.  I tend to get personally inspired by female painters of my generation, but it would be too hard to choose one.  I love Diana Horowitz’s work. She has a wonderful lofty way of seeing the world, with such great color and light, but there are so many others.

'Watermelon Bowl'
6" x 6" oil on panel
What do you like to do when you’re not painting?
I like all the normal things; I like to take long walks, read, watch movies, practice yoga. Of course I like spending time with friends and my large extended family. I like to travel, but money is usually too tight. I work part time at the library, where I enjoy staying in touch with people in my local community. I like to cook and I like being organized. I like to be organized too. . . I'm just not very good at it. Can you teach me? ;)
What are some of your goals for the future?
I’d like to continue in the direction I’m headed, meaning to gradually increase the size of my panels and paint more complex, involved subjects while keeping my brushwork loose. I’d love to eventually teach art more seriously. I’ve taught one or two classes at a time for years in small art centers, but it would be great to teach in a college.
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?
Winslow Homer, Van Gogh, Vilhelm Hammershøi, Howard Hodgkins, Antonio López García, Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, Robert Capa, Josef Sudek, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Pieter Jansz. Saenredam,  Giotto, Michelangelo, Titian, Catherine Murphy, Alice Neel, Edwin Dickinson, Paul Matthews, Diana Horowitz,  - it’s hard to know where to stop.  You might mean music and literature too, but I think I’ll stop here.
And finally what tips or words of advice do you have for beginning artists?
Don’t look to others for validation. If you feel you have something to say, work on saying it, and look at lots of good art. I absolutely love that. Words of wisdome for sure. :)))
(Off the top of my head, and sometimes I couldn’t just pick one)
Dawn or dusk? Dawn.
Sweet or salty? Salty.
Winter or Summer? Summer
Zombies or Unicorns? Why yes this is an important question. Answer please. :) Unicorns.
Dine in or eat out? Dine in. 
All-time favorite book? Huckleberry Finn or Pride and Prejudice.
All-time favorite movie? On the Waterfront, The Verdict or The Year of Living Dangerously.
All-time favorite food? Popcorn. Oh my mom would love you! That's her favorite too. :) It would be mine but only if the popcorn was chocolate covered and in the shape of a cupcake.
All-time favorite song? “I was made for you” by Rivers Cuomo or Beethoven’s 32nd piano sonata.
Thank you SO much Taryn! It was such a treat to have you on my blog today. I loved reading all of your answers and you've inspired me (and so many others I'm sure) so much. I wish you the best of luck with your art career and can't wait to see your next painting! Once again you can visit Taryn's blog Awake and Painting by clicking here.
And just in case you all were wondering what the score is for the Zombies vs. Unicorns in these artist interviews it is: Zombies: 2 and Unicorns: 3. Sparkly white horses FTW!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Trust SOLD

'Trust' SOLD
5" x 7" gouache on aquabord

Synonyms for trust: confidence, hope, faith, belief, conviction, expectation, dependence, reliance.

Definition of trust: 1. assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something 2. one in which confidence is placed 3. hope for the future

Every time I lock eyes with my dog I see this trust there that I don't see with anyone else. Her trust is absolute, with a very childlike faith. She believes that I will always be there for her, that I will do my best by her. And when I see her watching me with those soulful eyes, or feel her soft muzzle rest on my feet while I paint, I think of how lucky I am to have someone who believes in me so much with a faith that is never failing.

Trust is a powerful thing.  

It's something every artist must have. Not the trust of someone else in what you can do, or who you are, like my sweet dog, but trust in yourself. The belief that what you are doing, whatever you're doing, matters. That it will have an impact with someone. That it will bring you whatever it is you're looking for that made you want to become an artist in the first place.

That you can succeed. However it may be that you define that word for yourself.

That's where true confidence begins. Inside you, not from the approval, or acclaim of anyone else. It all begins with you.

Huzzah. :)

Until Tuesday my friends.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

An Interview With The Artist: Brenda Thebeau (and blogoversary winner announced!)

Thanks so much to all of you for your sweet and thoughtful comments on my blogoversary post (and really ALL of your comments on each of my posts). You all are just plain awesome. I wish I could give each of you something. I have the winner (randomly chosen by my son) but I'm not going to announce it until the end of this blog post so you can focus on this amazing artist interview I have today. Seriously, I have been so excited to share her with you! Her paintings and posts leave me feeling inspired, empowered and motivated. And I know you will feel the same. You can visit her blog by clicking here. Let's begin.  :)

My Photo
This is Bren. She is a mixed media abstract artist and she is made of awesome. :)
Bren, you truly are an amazing artist. Your abstract pieces always evoke an emotional reaction when I see one, I can only imagine how it really feels to see one in real life! I’d love to get to know you a little better. Could you tell us a little about your path to becoming the artist you are today?
You're too kind, but I appreciate knowing that my art communicates, it's a thrilling and humbling feeling. About three years ago, I began to toy with the idea of making my life practice of journaling more visual in nature. As I searched the internet for some inspiration I found a whole community of Art Journaling bloggers! I began to pick up on techniques and found that working with acrylics and ink in my journal was just my fit. After exploring all manner of ideas through my journal, I began to wonder if what I was doing on paper would translate onto canvas. It was liberating and before I knew it I was off and running into the world of abstractions and mixed-media.  Liberating is a word that always comes to mind when I look at your art. :)
3-panel 12 x 16" = 16 x 36"
acrylic and mixed media on canvas by Bren Thebeau 
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?
Maybe it's because I've only been at this for a couple of years, but I don't worry about trying to be consistent, I just follow my inner rhythm. Mind you life and health issues can really mess with my rhythm! I struggle with rather debilitating fibromyalgia so to set a goal of painting daily would just lead to defeat. Instead I've learned to hold loosely to plans and make the most of the moments and times I have. While I'm working on a piece, the process is working on me. It's a mystery to me but at the darkest of times the process of creating somehow holds and releases the things I have no words for, or way of understanding. Working on my art connects me to myself and my world in all its layers and that keeps me motivated. Well said Bren. I just love that. :)

Like I said before, you create some absolutely, stunning, jaw-dropping abstract pieces. What is it that draws you to paint abstractly? What is your thought process before you create each piece?
All too often there is little conscious though that goes into a piece to begin with, but as I work I begin to realize that something has been bubbling away on a subconscious level and out it comes. I have learned so much about myself, gained insight and I hope some wisdom as the process exposes and helps me explore in ways that other wise would have taken longer to see or realize. Rather than having a visual of what I want a piece to look like, I will have a desire to work with certain mediums, play with some new idea or colour palette. Exploratory! However, when working with the Gorilla Glue, I do take some time to consider a basic design, only because once you get that glue down it doesn't come back up again! As for choosing to paint abstractly, I love the wide open feeling I have when creating abstracts, I can play and explore without a worry of ruining what came before. Layer upon layer of explorations. And I confess, abstract choose me, because I have little talent when it comes to painting realistically! I leave that in the talented hands of people like yourself. You have loads of talent my friend! I could never create what you do. But you are too kind Bren. Thank you. :) 
24 x 24" acrylic and mixed media on gallery wrap canvas
by Bren Thebeau
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?
I'm not sure I've been at this long enough to qualify in answering these, give me a few years and maybe I'll have something worth saying! :)

What has been your biggest challenge as an artist so far?
Personally, it has been getting my art out there, taking the plunge and putting my art on display. That didn't and doesn't come easily. I'm not an outgoing person and frankly it's still a wonder to me that others have liked what I've created! It has been the biggest personal challenge and the most amazingly, positive one all at the same time!

What is one thing you want viewers of your paintings to walk away with?
Do you know, it is such a humbling experience to have someone view your work and to be moved by it. I hope they feel the power of the colours, sense the movement of the design and find some part of themselves being expressed there on the canvas.

'Joyous Struggle'
acrylic and mixed media on canvas by Bren Thebeau
Let’s talk about artistic influences. Who has been your biggest source of inspiration? Dead or alive.
I love the ladies of 'Experimental Abstract' like Maxine Masterfield, Pat Dews, Virginia Cobb, Jan Sitts, Suzy Andron & Mary Todd Beam. Their work inspires me endlessly.

What do you like to do when you’re not painting?
I love being with my family. Hanging out with my Grand-daughters, maybe playing in paint, enjoying my adult children, talking up a storm with my sisters and Mum. And any time spent with my husband of 35 years, is a great day in my books.   :)

What are some of your goals for the future?
I'm not a goal oriented person, although I've tried. I tend to work from a big picture perspective. I do keep my To Do List handy though, couldn't get along without it. There is a phrase that I have adapted, something I learned from working on one of my abstracts of a Joshua Tree. 'Bloom then branch.' According to the Wikipedia the Joshua tree usually doesn't branch until after it blooms. I knew right then, I was to just focus on letting my art fully bloom, and the branching would come naturally. I'm finding it to be so. If I can continue to grow as an artist, improving, expanding, exploring and remain mindful and open to opportunities to branch I figure I'm doing pretty well. 

And finally what tips or words of advice do you have for beginning artists?
Begin! Let the process take you, on an inner journey that leads to a profoundly, powerful experience in artistic expression. Trust your own creative voice, you have one, never doubt it. Nothing will derail you quicker than substituting 'other' voices for your own. Be you, you are an original! Those are some wonderful and wise words. And so true!

Acrylic and mixed media on canvas by Bren Thebeau
  Dawn or dusk?  Dusk by nature
  Sweet or salty? Mmm, salty.
  Winter or Summer? Cool is better :-)
  Zombies or Unicorns? Why yes this is an important question. Answer please :)  Unicorns if you please. :))))
  Dine in or eat out? Eat Out, cause then I don't have to cook! Huzzah! :)
  All-time favorite book? One! Just not possible.
  All-time favorite movie? Brave Heart, Dances With Wolves
  All-time favorite food? Lays Potato chips Yum!
  All-time favorite song? Again, only one! I'm afraid I like a random and varied music selection

Acrylic and mixed media on canvas by Bren Thebeau

Thank you so, SO much Bren! This has been such an inspiring interview, I now feel like rushing to my studio! And it's one I know I will be back to read over and over again. :) Once again you can visit Bren's blog esynergy to follow along with her on her art journey.  

And now to announce the winner. . . Last night I wrote all your names on little slips of paper and put them in a hat (because we're high tech like that around here) and had my son draw one of them out. And this is who it is. . .

Sandra Busby you are the winner of my print!! I'll be sending you an email shortly with the details. Thanks again to everybody for entering, I wish I could give each one of you something. *hugs to all* and Huzzah!! This is not going to be the only giveaway for this year, I have a few more tricks up my sleeve so be on the lookout for them!

See you Thursday everybody! :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Right Beside Me - SOLD

Right Beside Me
5" x 7" watercolor

My two oldest boys are back at school and the house is unusually quiet today. It's just me and my little one and the unlit Christmas tree that still sits in the corner because I'm hesitant to pack it away and say goodbye to all the good times we had together this holiday season.

Maybe that's why I chose to paint this image. A mom and her baby, no matter the species, walking this life together.

It's something that's always on my mind, but especially lately. I'm feeling a little sad about how quickly my children are growing, I'm trying to enjoy every single stage of their life, and hoping that I'm teaching them everything they need to know to grow to be the men God intends them to be.

Becoming a mother has been the greatest joy in my life and I find it interesting that even when I paint subjects other than my own children this theme still pops up in my work. And I imagine that it always will.

I hope you all are having a great week. :) I'll see you Tuesday to announce the winner of my blogoversary print giveaway.

If you happened to miss my earlier post and you'd like a chance to win, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post.

Huzzah!!! (You knew I had to :) 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A new year, a look back, and a blogoversary giveaway!

Two years ago this month I started this blog. And I had no idea it would be such a hugely positive way for me to connect with others about my all consuming passion for art. You guys have been a huge support for me, encouraging me when I doubt myself, praising me when I don't deserve it, and just being downright awesome in every way. This artist's life can be very lonely, but you guys make it less so. Much less so. :)

So there will be a giveaway, as my way of saying thank you. :) But first, a look back at last year.

I set a goal for 2011 to grow more with my painting skills and when I look back at the work I've done over the last year I think that I really have grown. I've tried new mediums, new subjects, new points of view. I've let go of (at least some of) my fear of failure when it's time to sit down and paint. I've painted from my heart, subjects and compositions that matter to me, things that I wanted to paint. I've been true to myself.

And I think that is the greatest thing an artist can do.

So, with that in mind, I've compiled a list of paintings that I feel were milestones, paintings that really helped me stretch, or see things in a new way. And there's even a painting here that I've never posted before.

Here we go!

7" x 9" watercolor

Obviously this painting is a portrait of my son, so there's nothing new there :) but the thing about this painting that helped me grow was making those lost and found edges in his clothes, and maintaining his sweet face and eyes as the focus point. It's easy for me to paint everything I see in focus and be very literal about sharp edges since I love detail so much, but I think not having everything sharp makes a stronger impact, at least with this piece it did.


Still Life Interruptus 2
10" x 14" watercolor

With this painting I really pushed color and light, much more than what was seen in my reference photo, and much more than I usually do. Let me just tell you, it took guts for me to splash so much cadmium red all over his skin tones. I was a nervous wreck every time I sat there and watched the wet paint drying, asking myself "what have you done!" But in the end it was worth it. I really like the glow. 

Next! No soup for you! (sorry but it had to be said)

7" x 9" watercolor

This painting helped me see what a big difference having a well thought out color scheme can make in your finished work. I like the color harmony here. I think that I only used about five tube colors to create this painting. Wierd since I'm a color junkie and usually use everything on my palette! And I really like the variety of edges here too.  


Beauty Inside
6" x 6" watercolor

This was the first still life I ever painted. And painting this proved to me that you don't always need a face or figure to tell a story or have some drama. Go figure! ;)

And really I could talk about what I learned from every single painting I did last year, but that would be boring so here's one more. . .

Sleepy Baby
8" x 10" acrylic on masonite

This is the one I never posted, but painted back in June of last year. Working with acrylics is an interesting experience for me. I feel like I'm completely out of my comfort zone and I'm always interested to see that how I paint with acrylics is entirely different from how I paint with watercolors, or even colored pencils. It's like I have a different personality that only shows up when I paint with acrylics. I think I'll call her Genevive. (that's for you Brodie ;)

But I digress, the growth that comes from painting with acrylics shows up in my watercolors too I think. I feel more daring, more brave, less afraid to fail when I approach my next watercolor. It's very. . . liberating I guess you could say.

Now onto the giveaway. :)

As my way of saying thank you for being the rock stars that you are all you need to do is leave a comment on this post (or on the corresponding link to this blog post on my facebook page). In your comment you don't need to tell me how awesome you think I am (although that would be cool. Kidding. . . kinda :), you can tell me something awesome about you, like what your favorite cupcake flavor is, or your future plans for world domination (Mwa ha ha!!!).

I'm not requiring you guys to do anything extra for this giveaway, just comment and you're entered. But. . . if you want to share it with others through facebook, or your own blog, or some other way, then  that would just be awesome and I would be your best friend forever (I'm sorry I just can NOT bring myself to write BFF), but you don't have to. :)

Then next Monday night I will randomly choose one person who will win a 5" x 7" print of my painting Timeless Remedy:

and on Tuesday I will post who that winner is. :)

Thanks everybody. It's been an amazing two years. Here's to a great new year! Huzzah for 2012!!!
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