Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Of Wizards, Life, and Love

'Wizard in Training'
10" x 14" watercolor on paper
not for sale
I hope you all are having a fun holiday! It's one of my favorite days of the year, and not just because of all the sugar and treats. ;) Those of you who have been hit by the storm have been in my prayers, I hope you are well, safe, and whole.
And in honor of this holiday full of magic, and witches, and wizards (including my very own darling wizard above), I feel the need to pay tribute to Harry Potter. (Yes, again.)
“Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.
"After all this time?"
"Always," said Snape.” 
Me too Alan, me too. :)
Me and the boys just finished reading the entire series and it was so fun to share that with them. And a little sad for it to be over. Reading this amazing series, my most favorite books ever, has convinced me that some of the best magic in this world is found with words, images, paper, and imagination. And that people, no matter how flawed, are good, and brave, and kind.
If you're a Harry Potter fan, through and through, then you must watch this video if you haven't seen it before. I got chills, and yes even shed a tear. There is good in this world. So much good, even amid trials and sorrows. Harry showed me that. :)
Have a Happy Halloween everyone! Hold your loved ones close and be thankful that you have them for one more day. :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sentinel - sold

6" x 6" watercolor on paper
This little guy really got to my heart. I don't know if it's his big dark eyes, or the way he's tentatively peeking around the corner, but I love him. This painting was a little bit of a departure for me too. . . In a way. I thought I'd layer more colors in the background to give it more of the look of aged wood, but I loved the movement and texture in that first wash so much that I left it as is. Sometimes less is more you know?
I feel like I just repeated the exact same lesson that I learned with the horses in the post before this. Ah well. Sometimes it takes a few tries to knock it in my noggin. :)
Reference photo by Pommekiwi (who sadly is no longer on flickr for me to link to), thank you!
Listening to: The Black Keys
Watching: The Vampire Diaries (tis the season)
Reading: Outpost 
Snacking on: baby carrots (blargh)  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

No Words Required - sold

'No Words Required'
6" x 9" watercolor on paper
reference photo by the amazing Elizabeth Sescilla
A new addition to my 'Smitten' series of love, and this is the first non human one. :) This is 'Son of Lloyd' (the grey stallion on the left) romancing one of his mares. Special thanks to Elizabeth for the use of her reference photo, she take gorgeous photos, of gorgeous horses, and is so generous to share them with me. Thank you!
I wanted to emphasize the dreamy mood of this painting by using a background that simulated sunset colors. At first I was going for less variety, but then my brush and instinct took over and my brilliant idea got left behind in the thrill of the watercolor wash! ;) Love it when that happens.
And thanks so much to fellow artist Maria Reichert for the title! I posted a WIP of this on facebook asking for title suggestions and I loved what she came up with.
In other news this morning when I woke up it was oddly very bright outside. I got out of bed and looked out the window and saw the cause of all that brightness. Snow!!! All over the ground. Can you believe it?
Littlest Cook was very excited about this.

After we dropped his brothers off at school we came home first thing and built a snowman, followed by another snowman after he decided to smash the first one to smithereens, had a serious snowball fight (he won), made snow angels, then came inside for hot cocoa.
I'd say it's been a pretty good day so far. :) How about you guys? Huzzah for snow before Halloween! ;)

Monday, October 22, 2012


8" x 10" watercolor on watercolor board

Lately I've been feeling just on the verge of an artistic block (don't even get me started on my writer's block which I've been suffering from for the last ten months. Argh. Double argh.). Which always makes me anxious. I don't know what's worse the actual artistic block, or the fear of an approaching block.

So, with the help of my Facebook buddies and the DPW weekly challenge (paint a sky), I decided to do something totally different that I've been wanting to do for a long time. A drippy, wet into wet, watercolor sky painting. And I did this with no drawing which is a first for me. :) I get a little panicky if I don't have an exact plan mapped out ahead of time. Which is great for accuracy, but at times feels a little stifling.

I'm really happy with how this painting turned out, and I feel so excited to paint again. I think I want to paint lots more skies from now on. It was so much fun.

Now my faithful blog family, what do you do when you start to feel blocked? Any advice?

Thanks for stopping by everyvbody, I hope you are all having a rockin' good Monday. :)


listening to: Passion Pit 
watching: BBC's Sherlock (which is AWESOME)
reading: The Carrier of the Mark
snacking on: mini peppermint patties

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Under Cover - sold

'Under Cover'
6" x 9" watercolor on paper
I was so struck by this sweet baby's sparkling eyes and full lips. I also love the little spot of sunshine on her forehead and shoulder peeking out of the shade.
I used to think that the eyes were the most difficult part of a portrait, and now they are my favorite part. Discerning the variety of colors and values in skin tones is much harder in my opinion, let alone trying to paint it!
And here are a couple of shots of the crafts me and little Cook have been up to this week.
Black Halloween cats made with his handprints (found this idea on Pinterest) :)
I've decided to do preschool at home with him this year instead of sending him to a preschool. I want to treasure every single minute with him before he starts kindergarten next fall. So we spend a good part of every day trying to find something involving learning and fun. Yesterday we went on a leaf hunt. :) He was so proud of all the different kinds of leaves he found. It's days like that that make me realize, yet again, how lucky I am to be a stay at home mom and experience things like this with my kids every day.  
Some of our Halloween decorations the boys and I have been setting up everywhere. Most have been made by them over the years. :)
The kiddos are out of school the rest of the week for fall break so things may be quiet here on my end for a little while. Hope you all are doing well and enjoying this gorgeous fall weather while it lasts. Huzzah!
Reference photo by Gustavo Jeronimo, thank you!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Solemn 2 - sold

'Solemn 2' - sold
7" x 10"  watercolor on paper
This was a special request for one of my good collectors. This version is a little larger, and slightly different, mostly because of the nature of watercolor and the semi-impossibility of recreating those spontaneous effects in the background. But also because I think I've grown as an artist in the year since I painted the first 'Solemn.'
My palette isn't quite the same and I think my observational skills have gotten better too. This painting was kind of a challenge, but in the end I was really happy with how she turned out, especially her eyes. :) And my collector was happy with her too so that makes everything worth it.
Meanwhile, on the homefront, me and littlest Cook are getting ready to make caramel apples and cute Halloween crafts involving handprints and black cats. I'll try and save you an apple but I'm not promising anything. :)
Reference photo by the awesome Steve Evans, thank you!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Without a Care - sold

'Without a Care' - sold
6" x 6" watercolor on paper

When we went to the farm a few months ago I saw this little girl and only managed to get one shot of her, and it was this one. I loved the light in her hair and her messy little braids. She was so darling. I remember watching her mother gently try to smooth her flyaway hair several times and the little girl leaned into her touch every time. It was very sweet.

Sometimes I daydream about what it was like to be small and taken care of by my mother. To not have to worry about anything, knowing that I was safe, and loved. To be completely carefree and just focused on the moment. Now I think I need to call my mom and tell her I love her. :)

Carefree and happy are what I wanted to express in this painting, as part of the Daily Paintworks challenge for this week to express emotion. And I wanted to try and do that without a direct look into the face. I think her far away expression helps a lot.

Now I must get to work on some commissions that need attention. Play time is over, back to work!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

All Things New

'All Things New'
5" x 7" watercolor on Ampersand Aquabord
$100 plus $7 US shipping
I've spent a lot of time lately going through my stash of photos and organizing them (Ha! no really, I'm trying), looking for that one image that shouts at me to paint. I found some of my youngest son when he was a baby, and then some I had taken of him just a few months ago and I was shocked to see the change in him. He is so grown up now (that's not him in the painting above just in case you're wondering). Makes me a little sad. He's my baby, my last, and it's hard to see him grow up so much right before my eyes, although the new changes are fun too of course.
Then I found these photos I took of my darling nephew over the summer. He was about a year and a half old, and he had that look of wonder at everything he saw around him. And his beautiful brown eyes are what called me to paint him. I have a few other shots of him I will be painting too. He was such a great little model. :)
Now about this aquabord. I've been wanting to paint with my techniques in watercolor on a surface that won't need framing behind glass, and also bigger. I envision a certain wall in my home with three 24" x 24" portraits of my boys, on cradled aquabord with out glass or frames. So, here I am trying aquabord again.
And I liked it a lot better this time. I think I'm getting the hang of how this stuff works. And the best part is that the finished painting still feels like 'me'. Where as when I paint with acrylics or oils it feels like I'm trying somebody else's clothes on that don't fit quite right. I enjoy oils and acrylics for a change of pace, but they don't feel like me. At least, not yet. Maybe one day I'll feel differently.
One tip I found useful for using aquabord is to use a very wet brush with mostly water and not a lot of pigment, and gradually build up color that way. Which actually is how I paint with watercolor on paper too. :)
Until Thrusday! Huzzah!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hidden in Plain - sold

'Hidden In Plain Sight'
5.5" x 7" watercolor on paper 

Last year I had this idea that I was going to paint a big series of myself (because I'm a cheap model, I work for free) in a bunch of different masks. I was so excited. And then I started painting my first one. It was a close up of just my eyes and the mask. After that first one my excitement kind of. . . left.
It is wicked hard to paint yourself. It feels like the worst kind of narcissism to think that I am important enough to be painted, by my own hand no less. It feels like getting dressed up to go to the prom when you're actually just going grocery shopping, and you're a thirty year old woman who is just way too old to be getting dressed up for the prom.
I couldn't shake that feeling. I don't like looking at myself for a long time. So my project got set aside. Until now.
Because it's Halloween time (Almost! Chocolate, sugar, zombies, ZOMBIES!!!) and I love Halloween. :)
It also helped that I was wearing a mask so I could pretend that it wasn't actually my face I was painting, but some random blonde woman. He, he. :)
And now I shall end this entirely too awkward blog post, in this entirely too awkward way of telling you I'm going to end this blog post.
I think I need some chocolate. . . Huzzah!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Inquisitive - sold

'Inquisitive' - sold
6" x 6" watercolor on paper
"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitter steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree you still believe it to be a beautiful place." -Kurt Vonnegut
This statement is never more true than with children. No matter what their life is like they still believe the world to be a beautiful place.
Reference photo by Steve Evans, thank you!

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