Monday, May 30, 2011

Sketching at the Beach

I've been away from computers and internet celebrating my grandmother's 80th birthday at the beautiful Oregon Coast for the weekend. We were lucky enough to have gorgeous weather, and enjoyed being with lots and lots of family. Also great is I got the chance to use my new miniature watercolor set and book. It was the most fantastic thing! They fit into this little purse and I can just run out and sit on a bench painting on a dune, for example. Fun! I was very intimidated by the gorgeous handmade book my mom had given me recently, but after I got started, it was SO fun!
Here's a couple of the quick watercolor sketches I did looking out our window:
Sitting on aforementioned bench giving a little plein aire painting a try (I gave this one to grandma for her birthday):
Also sitting on the bench, freezing my fingers off as the sun got ready to set (sorry for the bad photo quality):
Sitting next to my drowsy husband waiting for the baby to wake up (it doesn't look like him at all, but it's just supposed to be a quick dealy and I'm not so experienced at portraits so I didn't worry about it. I was just happy it looked human):
Now I really love my little book! I'll have to use it again when I don't have time to paint real big serious paintings.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


It's done. I'm happy with it too. The photo isn't great so you might not be able to see the changes I made to the sky and water. There are some minor things in the trees too, but I think it's done. I think it tied it together a bit more. You know what helped? I taped it to the wall and after glancing at it on and off throughout the day I knew the sky needed more depth. Taping unfinished and unsuccessful paintings to the wall really inspires me to pull out my paints and fix the problems. It's one of the ways I deal with painter's block. So I finished and then vegged on the couch listening to my book on tape, Room, by Emma Donoghue while my hubbie played Wii. The voice for the little boy in the book is hard to listen to. Sad because we just finished listening to The Hunger Games and the voice was great there (the story too), and before that The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society which in my opinion wins the award for the best voiced audio ever. The story possibly breaks into my all-time favorites list, and the charming voices with their accents really helped I think. Anyway, that's one of the things I do while painting. And then the painting I do always reminds me of that book. Kinda how episodes of Lost, or even just that Hulu voice makes me smell lice shampoo. Unfortunate, but true. Anyway, do you agree that it's finished or can you see anything still needed? Suggestions? Still needing a title. I was thinking possibly Life on the Cliff. Or In the Shadow of the Cliff. Or In Shade and Sun. Hmmmm.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Finishing paintings is hard!

It is SO hard for me to sit still and finish a painting that I am liking. I just get so nervous about ruining it and I end up eating lots of chocolate chips. I don't think that really helps anything but they taste good and I can't help it. I'm going to have to find a new distraction or I'm going to gain back all the baby weight I just lost. Anyway, here's how we stand tonight:
It gets really hard for me to look at objectively after awhile. It reminds me of the time I did a pointillism painting and my eyes starting blurring together and eventually there were dots everywhere I looked. I don't think that's good. Same thing starts to happen here. The shapes all jumble and I can't see the depth and I can't figure out what's going on and ... is that what you see or is it just me? Is there too much going on at the same time and nowhere for your eyes to rest? Is it done? What does it still need? I'm going to hide the chocolate chips. And tape the painting to the wall. Maybe I'll see what's missing in the morning. Any ideas on a title? We keep calling it the Cliffs of Insanity but I hardly think that'll do. Good night!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Why I'm here

So although this is my very first post, I'm going to jump right in as if I've been doing this forever. And by this I mean posting what I painted tonight. My progress. Or my mistakes. However little or much I actually succeed in accomplishing after we get the children to bed. There are lots of nights when I don't feel like I have enough left in the tank to pick up a brush but since it is rejuvenating when I do, I started this blog in the hopes that I would do it more often. You know, like I would feel accountable since I have to report on the blog. That's why I'm here. And thank YOU for being here too! I need your fresh eyes to tell me what you think. Don't be shy. Please, let's be friends.

So, back to the task at hand. I started working on this painting nearly a year ago, didn't like the water, and gave up on it. I recently taped it to the wall until I had the courage to give it another go. It's from a photograph I took near The Dalles, OR. I'll post the photo with the finished painting. But this is what it looks as of 10:30 tonight (my cut-off time so that we get to bed at a decent hour since the little ones don't like to sleep in as much as I do!):
I did the cliffs tonight and added a bit more to the greenery. I'm really happy with the cliffs! They worked! I'm scared to death of overworking this painting though and so am moving along at a snail's pace - worried that I'll do too much and ruin it. That's always a problem with me when I like a painting too early in the process. Again, I'm not happy with the water. What would you suggest? Comments, constructive criticism, encouragement much appreciated!!!