Sunday, May 22, 2016

2nd chance WIP

So I had this partially-begun painting hanging on my line of unhappyily unfinished paintings and fairly demanded to be finished. In it's defense, it didn't really seem fair to make it keep waiting while I started something new so I brought it back out for a second go. And I like what happened tonight. It feels kinda soft and dreamy. And instead of stressing as I sometimes do about how to keep my "style" intact while still giving the impression of the reality that inspired the painting, I zoned out singing to Les Mis, reminding myself that "my painting, my rules."
And I even cleaned my art room this weekend!!! Maybe that's why it was easier to relax while painting tonight...

Rule follower by nature

I think I might've had a breakthrough. I brought this painting to a critique group on Friday and one of the ladies said that since I wasn't painting realistically, I didn't have to follow the rules. Since I was creating my own version of reality or my own playful universe, I got to make the rules. See I was struggling with the ocean. Trying to keep it on the same level of that middle ground but if land - the same in lack of detail or sharp edges, the same in intensity of color. But it made the water, which is like a whole third of the painting, into a total blah zone. 
So I deepened the colors and sharpened the lines. And then I played with the sky, trying to tie the circles of the leaves together with the repeated, parallel lines of the ocean rolling in. Sure they weren't really there. But what does that matter when I'm making the rules? I think I'm going to like this game. Now the question is, is it done?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Zigzagging along

So trying to paint when you're watching a very stressful NBA playoff game is unwise. So much tension! I wasn't even really watching. Just listening as my husband did but the stress got to me all the same. But after the Blazers so sadly lost in overtime, I took a few minutes to recover and went back to it and got the middle ground done better than I expected! It's so hard to keep the shape style without being able to add as many layers or use the sharpness and distinction between the shapes.
The only problem is, now that I have that I see that the background strip of land is much too dark. And it's refusing to cooperate. So now I have two options. Add a white haze overtop and be less of a watercolor purist (it'll add a milkiness instead of the transparent quality of water colors that I prefer), or I'll have to darken the middle ground, which will risk making it the same as the foreground. Stay tuned until next time to see which one is the lesser of two evils...

Friday, May 6, 2016

View of Rainier

So my husband and I got away for a rare escape last weekend! And by rare I mean only the second time since our eldest was born nearly eleven years ago. So we joked that we get one weekend a decade and rather accidentally put incredible pressure on my sister and her husband, who were hosting us in their home in Seattle. They didn't disappoint. We had a wonderful time and enjoyed perfect weather that allowed us to do things like take this splendid Sunday morning hike. When I got home and sat down to start a new painting, I wanted a fresh subject, something applicable to my life and so I settled on this photo my husband had taken. Because it made me happy. And that's kinda the point, isn't it?
And I could be wrong, but I'm thinking those trees and bushes sorta reflect that. Don't they look a tad bit playful to you?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The hills are alive with yellow!

I forgot to post this too! A few weeks ago I got to go to the Watercolor Society of Oregon's Spring Conference. Had a lot of fun learning a lot in a very short amount of time. I started my day going to a demo/classy artist Sally Bills-Bailey. She used huge brushes, big and quick bold strokes and bright colors and challenged us to do the same. Here's the painting I did in her class:
I like it and got lots of compliments in class about it. The zig-zag composition that I caught in this old photos has always been asking me to paint it but I've always been a bit intimidated. I'm not sure if it's finished? Or if this was just a nice color study and now I should go back and paint it again for a final painting? It's not my typical style but can it stand on its own?

Thursday, April 28, 2016


*****OOPS! Forgot to post this after all that work!*****
Finished! Man, keeping white flowers white while adding shadow to them to give them depth is both scary and really cool. Basically scary before you started and while you're doing it and after you've started (if it's going poorly) and cool when it works! Ha. 
Now for the grand reveal to a hopefully happy customer tomorrow morning! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Once a night owl, always a night owl

You know how great it would be to be one of those people that only need four or five hours of sleep a night? Alas, I am not one of them. Not even close. But what are you going to do when you don't get to start painting until after 9 PM and then you're on a roll and if you can just keep going, there will be no more of that darn greenery to paint tomorrow?
You stay up until it's done. 
And then tomorrow, you get to look at the painting with fresh eyes. And with the help of some chocolate and a lot of peanut butter, you might just get lucky and get it finished. I know, I know I'll regret staying up late but when you're on a roll, you're on a roll and it's really hard to restart dead inspiration. How does it work for you? Can you just turn your motivation/inspiration on and off at will? Or do you have to build up that momentum like me? And does it get harder or easier the longer the project goes on? For me it's much harder. I'll go ahead and blame my attention span on the quick convenience of iPhones and Google searches but I frankly cannot fathom how the old masters used to spend years and years on a painting or sculpture. Although I suppose if you had deadlines that stretched on for years, you probably would get a little more sleep.