Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A little owl SOLD

 Little Owl
6" x 6" watercolor
$50 plus $6 US shipping or $15 international shipping

I've always wanted to paint an owl. I don't know why. They just seem like such graceful and introspective birds.

And of course, I'm a huge Harry Potter fan. And even though this isn't exactly the same kind of owl as Hedwig, she still reminds me of her. :))

I decided to approach this painting a little differently. I've been spending more time with my sketchbook lately and I wanted to see if I could get a painted sketch type of effect with this painting.

 I got this idea from one of my favorite artists, Kimberly Kelly Santini, who paints the most awesome acrylic paintings of animals that I just love. The thing I love about Kimberly's painted sketches is that they really do look like sketches only with paint. And I LOVE looking at sketches.

I loosened up, and finished this little owl pretty quickly and I really like it. I think I'll be doing more like this in the future.

And please, if any of you guys have a better idea for a title than "Little Owl" lay it on me, I'm really not all that committed to my title. :))

Have a great rest of the week everyone! Huzzah! 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Acceptance SOLD

6" x 6" watercolor
$100 plus $6 US shipping $15 international

What initially caught my attention with this woman was the beautiful patterns of light and shadows created by that knock-your-socks-off sunlight filtering through her gauzy head covering (for lack of a better word ;).

And those alternating warm and cool colors of her skin tones were unbelievable. I'm a sucker for any excuse to charge some blue into cool skin tones.

Then, when I saw her eyes I was captivated by her peaceful gaze. She has a look of complete acceptance on her face that I have seen on very few people. Like she would never judge anyone harshly, no matter who they were or even what they did. Her expression is full of peace, love, and understanding. It reminds me of my mom, and home, and just looking at this woman makes me feel safe.

Photo reference used with permission by Steve Evans.
Until Thursday my friends. Huzzah!!! :D

P.S. My back is feeling much better, thank you so much to all of you for the well wishes and good thoughts you sent my way!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Five Reasons Why I LOVE Watercolors

Bella SOLD private commission
8" x 10" watercolor
 This girl had such a sweet face, she was a lot of fun to paint. I love her big brown eyes. She reminds me of a cocker spaniel my family had when I was growing up. The sweetest dogs ever. :) 

I hurt my back while I was at the gym the other day (the price I paid for doing 60 round house kicks in 30 seconds without warming up before. D-oh!) and my amazing husband and sweet kids have been taking such good care of me. So, for the first time in a long time, I've had time to just sit and think. And of course my mind turned to art. 

I realized that I've never really talked about why I love watercolors so much. So, here's my list. Let's hope it's coherent. :) 

1. They are beautiful. Watercolors have a free spirited kind of beauty that is unlike any other art medium. They have a mind of their own, and you gotta respect an inanimate object with free will.

2. They're challenging. What can I say? I like a little bit of a challenge. I love that every time I sit down to paint there's a physical challenge (the race to paint that section of paper before it dries and turns into a complete disaster instead of a thing of beauty is a bit exhilarating, and addictive.) and a mental challenge (I wonder what would happen if I layer this color on top of that color??).

3.  They're diverse. There is NOT only one, traditional, correct way to paint with them. Contrary to what is sometimes believed there is not only one, correct way to paint with watercolors. They don't always have to be loose and splashy. If that's your style and that's how YOU want to paint, then great. Awesome. I'm happy for you. But, that does NOT mean that it is the only way a watercolor can, or should be painted. 

One of the things I love about watercolor is it's versatility. There's no limit to what an artist can do with it. You want to paint a photorealistic still life of a mug of orange juice? Great. Do it. You want to paint a landscape plein air in five minutes flat with colorful, juicy washes running down your paper? Fabulous. Can't wait to see it. 

You want to combine a little of both for a portrait of your kitten?? AWESOME. Let the games begin. Keep your mind open to all the possibilities that are in front of you. There's nothing that says you have to paint a certain way in order to be a successful, or a happy watercolorist.

4. They are easy to clean up. I'm a mom. I clean up messes a lot. I think this one explains itself. 

And the number one reason why I love watercolors is. . . 

5. They call to my soul. Sometimes I get a new issue of a watercolor magazine and look at the great art in its pages and I'm surprised to feel tears building in my eyes when I see all the magnificent work there.  

I can't explain it. I don't really know why I'm drawn to watercolors the way that I am. But I am. I love them. I love the bright colors and the white paper. I love the feel of my wet brush gliding across the paper. I love the smell of my paints when I take the lid off of my palette.  I love watching my paintings transform right before my eyes as the paint and water dries. It's just magic.

I just love watercolors. And I always will. :)

Your turn. Why do you love your chosen medium?  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Enkindle - SOLD

6" x 6" watercolor
photo reference by Chris Willis (tibchris on flicker)

I've been on the lookout this year for new faces to paint. I've had sessions with two fantastic models (and by models I mean daring friends who graciously agreed to undergo the torture of posing for me. Thanks guys!), I went to a live figure drawing session with a real life ballerina (awesomeness!), AND I have gathered up a serious bunch of courage, intestinal fortitude, what have you, and have started asking people I randomly meet on the street if they'd be interested in modeling for me.

As surprising as it may seem, this last tactic has so far proven highly ineffective. Of course this may have something to do with the fact that I am all babbling awkwardness when I approach them and say something like, "Hey, you have a very paintable face, wanna pose for me?" to which they politely say "HECK no crazy lady!" while internally they are running away screaming.

True story.

I've also been searching through photos online that allow artist's to use them for paintings. And that's how I found this beautiful girl.

She reminded me of a character from one of my all time favorite books (I happen to have a lot of those), she has lovely, expressive features, and a mysterious kind of look that makes me wonder what has captured her attention. Doesn't it make you wonder too? 

And here's a pic of one of my figure drawings. We worked in short sessions (I had to leave before they did a long one), this drawing was around ten to fifteen  minutes. I'm not exactly sure since I spent the first ten minutes procrastinating out of fear looking at the model and figuring out the best way to get started. It's been a loooooong time since I've drawn the figure from life, except for those rare occassions when I've convinced my husband and kids to hold still for me for two minutes. Which is really not the same. :)

ballerina study
charcoal on newsprint

See you next week everybody! Huzzah!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love Letters For Mom

Love Letters For Mom
6" x 6" watercolor

This month's Cook-Waller Challenge theme was 'Love Letters', as picked by Carrie.

Some of the best love letters I've ever received have been given to me by my children. I keep every single one of them, some are stuck in the pages of scrapbooks, others are tucked away in boxes, and some of them I keep out where I can see them at all times. So that I can read them any time I need to remember that for all that I may do wrong as a mother the one thing I do right is love my children with all my heart, and they know that.

And here's Carrie's painting:

Love Letters by Carrie Waller
12" x 12" watercolor

Carrie paints still life's like nobody's business, and I really love the story that is told here. These are love letters that her husband (who is stationed in Afghanistan right now) has written to their two small sons. A truly meaningful and beautiful painting. :)

See you later friends. :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Of things with wheels, little dogs, and green slime

'Keep Up' SOLD
6" x 9" watercolor

I sometimes think that I am more like the little dog in this painting than the woman. Trying my best to keep up with my ears flapping in the wind. Well. . . maybe not the ears flapping, but you get it right?

I've been sitting here staring at the computer for nearly an hour (in between packing lunches and kissing loved ones goodbye for the day) trying to come up with something clever, motivational, or funny to write about and I just. . . got nothing.

This could be because of all the angst I felt yesterday while painting. I kept going back and forth between loving the painting I was working on and hating it. I even hid it in the closet at one point.

Oh yes, I really did.

It made me think of the Wizard Howl, from Howl's Moving Castle, who has a complete meltdown and turns himself into green slime when Sophie rearranges his potion bottles in his bathroom causing him to accidentally change his hair color.

Green Slime. That's me when I feel like the painting I'm currently working on is not working.

Having spent all my life being an artist I have yet to figure out how to not be overcome with feelings of "I am the worst artist who has ever lived. Period. The End." (or as I shall call all such times henceforth: Green Slime) whenever I paint something that is less than what I think it should be.

Even though, now, in the light of day, I know that one bad painting does not a bad artist make.

But today is a new day, a new chance to paint something extraordinary, and slam the door on any and all Green Slime-like feelings.


Until Thursday friends. :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Isabelle Lightwood

Isabelle Lightwood
character study from the book City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
graphite on Strathmore 400 11 x 14"
I'm working on having some giclee prints made up of this drawing. They should be available in my etsy shop by the end of next week. An 8 x 10" will be $30. Smaller sizes will be coming soon as well.

 'Shadowhunters: Looking Better in Black Than the Widows of our Enemies Since 1234' - City of Bones   

The other day I had the strongest urge to just draw something. I have been neglecting my sketchbook lately and if I do that for too long I start to feel very unhappy. So I started this drawing from a non-copyrighted photo I found of a young woman with a hefty dose of attitude while I was waiting in the car to pick my kids up from school.

After about fifteen minutes of drawing I realized that she reminded me of someone. A character (Isabelle Lightwood) from one of my favorite books, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. Once I realized that, the drawing started to take on a life of its own, and it was SO much fun.

No, wait fun's not the right word to describe it, it was just enjoyable and satisfying to put on paper an image I had held in my head since I had first read these books nearly four years ago.

Drawing characters from books is something that would not have occured to me if I had not found and became friends with Kim Kincaid. She is an amazing artist who draws character studies from books she loves (a fellow bookaholic just like me!). Click here to see some more of the characters she created from this same book.

Sometimes I really feel like drawing is as close to real live magic as I can possibly get. And it is awesome.

Have a great week everyone! See you on Tuesday. :)))

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