Saturday, December 8, 2012

Slowly getting back

So it's taken me much longer to get back into painting regularly than I had hoped it would! Before baby G was born, I had really ambitious/unrealistic goals of continuing to at least draw every day and being back to painting regularly within a month or two. So here we are nine months later... But in that time, apart from getting use to caring for four little kiddos, my husband got a job in North Dakota(!) and we moved our family far from grandparents and friends and everything familiar. Enough with excuses though, I did start painting again a month or two ago. I just kept putting off posting until I felt like I was ready to do it regularly again. That probably won't happen until after the holidays, but it is way past time to jump back in. So here are two of the three paintings I've done recently of my new surroundings (Sorry for the bad photos. They were already framed before I thought to photograph them and I'm being too lazy to take them apart just for a photo):
"Badlands Buffalo"
"In the Shadows of Thee"
Never painted a buffalo before so that was a first, but they're a much-requested subject around these parts :) I painted these for a local show (Badlands Art Association's Annual Show), and won 1st place for the second of the two! Kinda funny since I had procrastinated (big surprise there!) and had only finished painting it about two hours before I had to drop off the painting. Oh boy. That was cutting it close! I think I still prefer the first. The color makes it much more exciting. And I never really got the trees in the front of the second painting to look how I wanted them to. The Badlands are a mere half hour from our house though, so I imagine there will be lots more of these interesting hills to come!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My 7 pound excuse

I have to confess. I haven't picked up a brush lately or even thought about painting. But I do think I have a pretty good excuse, and that she's pretty darn cute! So please forgive me for neglecting my art blog for the next bit. My little Gracie is more important for now. As is recovering :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Continuing with the shadows

 I love the flow and life in wind-blown trees, bushes, and grasses. It was fun to fill in a lot more of the greenery. My favorite part really!
And this is where I've left it tonight. Forgive the bad photo with the reflection. Only so much you can do when it's dark outside and the paint's not yet dry but you're too tired to wait until it is :). Sadly it makes it impossible to see the color I added into the shadows, which I really like. But I don't know what else to do now. I kept dabbing a little color here and there and then realized how tired I was and how mindless, and so I stopped for now. I've heard you're done when you don't know what else to do. So am I done? I'm not entirely sold on the composition. Not sure it's successful yet. I don't know really. Maybe it's done? What do you think? Any suggestions?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lots of personality

So I'll get back to my "Shadows on the Hillside," but first I thought I'd post this one that was done for fun (and for a class). The reference photo has always made me think there was a distinct possibility she could end up a crazy old cat lady. Or just really fun. Let's hope for the latter. I think looking at it on the screen that I need to add a little hair on top. Kind of too flat of a head. Why is it sometimes easier to see problems on the computer screen? Weird.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Shadows on the Hillside

This is one of like 4 paintings I'm working on right now (not focusing well :) ) and is a study in contrasts. I'm trying to preserve the lightest lights (which didn't start so well - I had to add a bunch of white gouache to the sky because it was matching the dark value of the tree line. I might have to lighten it even further. Haven't decided yet), so the darkest darks will look that much cooler. And they dark shadows get extremely dark. I'm trying to keep them interesting instead of just the near black they appear in my reference photo. Sadly, I think I have also messed up by cutting up the foreground too much. Again, just trying to add subtle interest to a large, hilly field but I may have done too much? There should be some variety in size of shapes too. But it's early yet. So there's still hope for it. Regardless, I'm sticking it out to learn what I can from it, if nothing else.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Back to the painting chair

So here's another portrait sketch I've been "working on," although the photo's lighting kinda stinks. I put that in quotes because that means that I started it a week ago Tuesday, and then finally got around to picking up a brush and finishing it tonight. I've been working hard on some other non-painting creative projects that have taken up my painting hours, but there done so I should be able to hopefully be a little more consistent again, because it sure felt great to be painting tonight! I think the sketch is lovely but sadly lost the young girl look a little too much. She has these gorgeous huge eyes with quite enviable lashes but when I painted them, it made her look more like a teenager. And I sure wish there'd been better lighting in the photo. I'm not experienced enough with portrait painting yet to be able to just make that sort of thing up.

But in a different matter, I got some good news! My painting, Deserted Splendor (seen in this post), got accepted into a national competition. I've never got into a national competition before so I'm pretty stoked! I'd never applied to one before but I sent some out a few months ago and had been discouraged by just getting back rejections until this one. It'll be in the Western Colorado Watercolor Society's 20th Annual National Exhibition that starts March 1st. I'm totally bummed that I won't be able to go see the show in person but airlines and doctors have that pesky rule about not flying in your last month of pregnancy and the show opens less than two weeks before I'm scheduled to have a baby so that's pretty much out. But it's cool nonetheless! Oh and that would be my other reason for me not painting enough lately. My hard, wooden painting chair is so not meant for a 7 month pregnant lady to sit in for more than a few minutes. I've got to figure out a different arrangement.

Monday, January 16, 2012


I love that my girls are so close. They're only 18 months apart and really are each others' best friend. I painted this "sketch" trying to catch that bond. The photo I was working from didn't really do me any favors, but since I took the photo guess I can't complain too much. My redhead's face was particularly difficult to get right. I'm not sure why exactly - the angle, the nearly closed eyes, the lost edge in the photo that I didn't make as dark? But by the end, I could see her in it so I'm happy. I think I used too dark of a pencil on their soft faces, and it is a little more illustration-ish than usual, but there is something about the childlike, soft, light-filled "feel" of it that works for me. What do you think? Can't wait to see their reaction in the morning. They LOVE it when I paint them, vain little darlings that they are! Oh, and here's the reference photo since some of you have said you like it when I include it:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

My First Miniature

It's all done but the signature! Which, speaking of, is it okay to just sign it with a pen? I don't have a brush small enough. I tried. But it's only a 5 x 5 canvas, and I don't exactly want you to look at it and have my name be what stands out. So it needs to be small. I think, though after a late night of working on it last night, I'm happy. I had to re-work the hand on the right a gazillion times because it was too small and I kept not fixing it enough. And I got bold with the reflective light on the face, which was a little scary as I didn't want it to be confusing which was the pumpkin, but I think it works. My daughter was very disappointed I didn't add the flower print that was all over the hoodie in the photo, but I wanted to keep it simple. Limit it mainly to those two complimentary colors.
So just to sign it and name it. "Just My Size?" "Found One My Size?" "The Perfect Size?" "The Perfect Pumpkin?"
Oh, and this wrapped canvas thing was a new experience for me. I've never painted one of these before but here it is at an angle. Tad tricky for sure but oddly satisfying. Next time I'll continue on to the edges at the same time I paint the front. That way I won't have to remix paint to match later. You'd think I'd think of these things.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy New Year!

So it's totally crazy but it's nearly been a month since I last posted. How awful is that?! I knew it had been awhile but phew, time sure does fly. I mean it's 2012 for goodness sake! But the holidays are now over, family is all back home, girls back in school, our camera is found (not in time to take any holiday pictures unfortunately but thank goodness we found it!!! It's actually one of the big reasons I haven't posted. I couldn't photograph anything! It was awful!) and it's time to get back on track. So here's what I'm playing with right now:
These first two are for a local miniature show. I don't do miniatures. In fact, I might have to go buy a little brush to be able to finish. On top of that, they're acrylics, which I also don't do. But Aaron Brothers was having their penny sale on canvases and I wasn't excited about trying tiny watercolors, so I thought why not? Can't say I felt the same as I struggled getting going, but I am happy about where they're at now and having a hard time stopping, so there's that.
Also, the other day I wanted to play around with a watercolor portrait sketch. I didn't get around to the eyes, which are clearly the most important part but all I was focusing on was experimenting with skin color. Wish the photo was better because I was pretty happy with the color variety and freshness.
So I guess I'm starting out the new year trying new things. I wish I could say that was one of my resolutions, but I haven't actually got around to making those yet. I mean to. But like last year, and the year before frankly, I keep trying to figure out what they should be, and in the meantime we're getting further and further away from New Years. So my goal will be to actually set goals this year. Here's hoping! And just for kicks, here's my son making artwork of himself with his spaghetti. Looks like creativity is a riot!