Friday, May 19, 2017


After a fair amount of struggle, I finished my newest commission! It's for a dear friend who's going to surprise her husband with it - can't wait to hear how he likes it!
But I don't mean to go and pretend I've been here all along. Obviously, I disappeared a bit from the blogging world. Again. The problem is Blogger became a pain in the you-know-what to use on my phone. Nearly every time I got halfway through writing a post, it just closed the app! Anyone else have that problem? It got so frustrating and frankly, if I can't post through my phone, the chances of me posting at all go way down. So I decided to give Instagram a chance since it's become such a big thing in the art world. It is so much easier, quicker, and currently more rewarding for me to do! I post progress shots, studio glimpses, inspiration sources, and finished paintings pretty much daily. With the limited time I have, it's definitely working best. And is the most fun! So while I do hope to return to blogging when I figure out how to solve the phone problem and magically make more time in my day, for now, if you want to follow what I'm up to with my art, please check me out on Instagram @alishabwhitmanart. Thanks!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Making Progress

See? Filling in the blank space makes it look so much closer to done!
Although my logical side understood that I was just getting started. And needed to do as much as possible while that blue was still wet on my palette so I could make it lighter and darker as needed. 
Wow. There was a whole lot of empty space to fill with squiggly reflections! But that is what drew me to the photo. The painting is much more realistic than I like to do but the reflections. They're real of course but it's like they're a stylized version of reality. I love how they move. I love the shapes. It feels like what I try to do with my trees. It's abstraction in real life. And it's mesmerizing. So much so that focusing on it so I can paint it for hours made my eyes go a bit buggy :)

Why not now?

So quite awhile ago I finally splurged and bought some Golden Fluid Acrylics. I have been dying to try them since I first heard of the possibility of painting like watercolors with the permanence of acrylics. It would mean getting to paint on canvas and not needing glass to frame. But when I bought them, something came up and I didn't get around to trying them. And then I got a little intimidated by them and felt like I didn't have the time to figure them out. Ha. Kinda ridiculous, eh? There were times when that was true like when I was up against a competition deadline or working on commissions, but basically it was a fear of trying something different and being bad at it. I get so little time to paint that I feel a lot of pressure to make every second count but the thing is, some of those seconds need to be used for learning and experimenting. So I spent a night sifting through photos until I was finally inspired by this one, and decided to give it a go with those unopened fluid acrylics. I maybe should've picked an easier picture to start on or a smaller canvas or something, but the reflections in the photo just were so exciting! Reflections always mesmerize me. It's like they're already paintings, but ones that are constantly moving and if you blink, you might miss the best one yet. 
So it's been sadly very slow going. Even the drawing took forever and after each painting session I've been a little discouraged to see how little progress has been made.
I mean, I worked so hard and long between these two! And you can hardly tell.
I was actually done for the night after that last photo, but when I looked at how little it seemed like I'd done, I picked my brush back up and filled in one more color so there seemed to be a little more to show for my time. 
All that blank canvas is the problem. Filling it in (even if it's just a preliminary layer that'll get painted over time and again) always makes me feel like I'm getting somewhere. So that's my goal for tomorrow! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Time-lapse video

So I painted this for the festival sometime during the summer, but then totally forgot I guess that I'd taken a video of the process. I don't get enough sleep to remember details! Ha. But we found it and my husband fixed it up for me and here it is! A friend of ours bought it at the festival, so it had a happy ending too, which is always nice :)
*I think the video got turned off because my phone tried to warn me that it was running out of battery. Lame. And really unfortunate timing because the best part of my time-lapse videos are when I do a large wet-into-wet area. Come to think of it, it's one of my favorite parts in real time as well! Only watercolor works magic like that. It's why we're friends.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Mural complete!

Ever since moving in I've wanted to paint the walls of our little girls' room. After scouring Pinterest and staying up late many times because my head was swimming with ideas, I decided on a garden theme. But I dreamt of a huge garden, where the flowers are huge, making the girls feel like little ants. Or like Alice. 
So we've now lived here for about 10 months and with the combination of snow days off of school and work and the big girls having rendered my art room totally unusable because of the mess their present-making has caused, I decided it was time! I couldn't paint in my studio, so I'd paint the walls! And I'm SO happy with it! 
And as always, so happy to be done. And I happened on the most perfect quote. And what makes it even more perfect? It's by Henri Matisse! Some of the first leaves I painted made me think of him. And it fits the theme without being cheesy. So happy.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Christmas present commission complete!

So I haven't painted really since I had that deadline because there was a commission I needed to do before I could play. And I was really dreading the commission. I was asked to paint a friend's previous house at Christmas time. Problem was she didn't have a picture of it at Christmas time. So she sent pictures of the old house in summer and a picture of her husband's beloved truck (parked somewhere else though). She also sent a picture of the snowman they always built named Bob and then explained where they put up lights and which window the tree was in. So there was just a lot to have to kind of make up. And a lot of specific details of cherished memories. Oi. I probably shouldn't accept commissions like this in the future. It reminds me why I left painting detailed architecture and developed my looser style in the first place. But I hope she likes it because I did try. Fingers crossed.
P.S. I just heard back from my client and she LOVES it! She said it's exactly what she wanted! Yay! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Rolling In

Oh and I forgot to post this one too! I painted it a year ago (see the post here) but never loved anything other than the clouds. So I chopped off even more of the painting this last week to help the focus be more completely on those big ol' ominous clouds. I also painted over the white lines in the sky that were just too distracting. I think I'm finally happy with it!

And it makes me want to go mountain biking again, which is what we were doing when I saw these fantastic clouds and stopped to take pictures just long enough to completely lose my group. Ha. They noticed I wasn't still with them EVENTUALLY.