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.

Monday, October 31, 2016


Remember this one I started back at the festival? Well I wasn't lying when I said it made me nervous to do the water. I was so worried I'd ruin what was already there that I hadn't dare lay a finger on it in two whole months! Just silly. But I have a deadline tomorrow and didn't have time to get a whole new painting done so crossed my fingers and dove in. I had no other choice really. The photo was absolutely no help, nor would it have been if I could've actually found it. But I remember that it didn't really work for a painting so I had to make it up myself, trying to be true to my style and the basics of reflection. I think it works but I'll have to sleep on it for sure. Happy Halloween!

Commission complete!

Finished and delivered! I think the variety of colors ended up looking nice, and the varying of shapes of the flowers really did make it more interesting to look at. And my customer was super happy so that's what's really important!

Monday, October 17, 2016

So hard!

I apologize for the quality of the pictures but I've been painting this in the family room and didn't feel like dragging it up to my studio to use the better lighting. I don't like the painting enough for that. But it's a commission, which is a blessing. Just wish I had any love for the painting! I had to rearrange so much, combining multiple photos and that's so amazingly challenging in a tight, detailed piece like this! You don't want to know how long I spent just staring at the photos! I then spent a whole evening drawing it.
However, a week later when I took it back out to begin painting, do you think I had any idea what I had done? Which color flowers were to go where? Which flowers from the photos I'd drawn where? Oi! So then I had to again consider which colors looked best together, how to squeeze a good variety in there but keep it balanced. I had to consider composition and variety of shape and size and all that. Oi! I don't really have the brain power for that after a full day of parenting! And how to paint shadows on yellow flowers without making them look dirty. And then, what the heck to do with all the negative space after I've moved everything all around, which requires a tightrope walk of making stuff up and painting what I see. Oi! Oi! Oi! But like I said, a commission is a blessing. Now here's hoping I can manage to finish it!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Lilacs complete

Here it is finished:
Interesting how much that green background changes it. I think because of how much yellow is in it, the background even manages to warm it up a bit. It certainly helps the flowers pop foward.

And go here to see the time-lapse video of me painting it. The video is a little bit longer than usual because all those tiny flowers take a long time to paint! No big swashes of space to throw color into quickly. Darn details. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

More Lilacs

Whew! This is not the easiest painting in the world with all those tiny little flowers! My eyes start to blur a bit with all that blue/purple going on. A bit challenging to keep it fresh. To give it depth and variety. Adding the green should really help me see how the rest of it's working. But I have to sleep tonight! So tomorrow hopefully?

Friday, September 16, 2016

Lilacs WIP

So after painting so frantically for that art festival, I understandably wanted a break. Then sadly I was suddenly out of the habit, and it is so much harder to get back going again! But I actually have three commissions right now (it's never happened all at once like this!) so I really needed to get working! I decided to start with this 11x14 painting that this guy commissioned me to do of his wife's favorite flowers. Then he can give her flowers that won't wilt! Ahhh so sweet (he did have to give her a call to ask what her favorite flower was ;) )! Unfortunately, lilacs come in bunches. Bunches and bunches of tightly-packed, delicate little flowers. I so wish her favorite flower was a lily right about now! But that's the thing with commissions. Sigh. I don't get to pick. On the other hand, there's a for-sure customer waiting when I'm done! So here's tonight's start:

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Northwest Art and Air Festival

So I survived my first art festival! That was a bit of a wild ride. It's kind of like stepping into another world. A world that pops up for a weekend at a time and then disappears into nothingness. I spent way too many hours prepping and stressing and reading articles, along with way too many nights rehashing all of that in my brain instead of sleeping. But overall, I think it was a good experience. I can't say for certain because I'm way too exhausted at this point! I have no idea how some people do like 30 of these type of things a year! The coolest part was probably the night glow:
How cool is that?
 But back to the art side of things - I learned lots, got plenty of compliments, distributed business cards, met lots of people and sold a few things here or there. And I got some painting done at the same time! This is an 11x14 watercolor on aquabord that I painted out there for people to see as they walked by. I love the bright trees on the right and the clouds I added into the sky. I fought with the water for a crazy long time, and am mostly happy with it now except it really looks to me like there are snakes in the water. Ha! And ew.
And I got mostly done with this one as well: 
I'm really digging the sky! Kinda nervous about adding the water, which is silly because that's usually my favorite part!  Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Going 'round the bend

I'm so happy with this painting I finished last night that I'd just like to step into it and enjoy a lazy afternoon floating the river or possibly lying on that soft grass reading a book or painting. Sounds so nice. Mary Poppins has all the fun.
And I finally finished this one that I started months ago. It started very poorly, which discouraged me so I put it on a shelf. Kept looking at it, thinking I should finish it but really not wanting to. Finally I ate some chocolate chips and just did it. Glad I did!

Every painting deserves a 2nd chance...

Okay so I don't actually believe that. Some are just bad and should be learned from and forgotten. Or started completely over if you don't resent the subject by then ;) But I pulled this one out of a forgotten pile (I posted the finished product January 11th) and tried to implement some constructive criticism my critique group had given me plus some of my own ideas. And I think it worked! 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Looking Up

Having hit a bit of a painter's block, I spent a stupid amount of time looking through pictures to find something, anything that would really inspire me. I finally found this photo by Michelle Lykokapis that she'd put on the Photos for Artists page for artists to use for free. It's such a cool site and so supportive! And it managed to snap me out of my funk! I loved the perspective and then had fun magnifying the little bits of color into a wider spectrum.
 It was a challenge to see more than was there but it was a fun challenge - not like that tower of laundry trying to catch my eye. 
After I'd finished the tree, I had a big dilemma because I really liked it and didn't want to ruin it by messing up the sky. The trunk said the sky should be dark so it's lights would pop, but the darkish leaves wanted it to be light so that they would get to shine. My original plan had been to make the sky into kind of a stained-glass window with each section being a different color, separated by the branches and leaves. But I was no longer certain it would work. Thankfully, my husband encouraged me to go for it so I did! 
And I love it! The yellow and light purple areas were a real risk but I knew they'd help bring the color from the tree around to create repetition and balance. The risk paid off!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Lacecap hydrangeas

I went to this gorgeous garden with my mother-in-law recently and loved looking at these lacecap hydrangeas. They're just so delicate and unique! I hardly took any pictures of them though because I thought they'd be rather frustrating to paint. And they don't make for a good Georgia O'Keeffe style, like I prefer. Well, I wasn't wrong about either assumption, but I painted one nonetheless because as I said, they're just so unique! Roses I've painted and will paint again. Same with lilies and tulips and sunflowers. But never one of these. And they're cool. Can you tell I was almost equally drawn to the bright leaves? Hopefully they don't take over the painting entirely.

Sunday, August 7, 2016


Hmmm...I didn't want to do another dark background so thought I'd try something different. Yellow seemed perfect to bring out the yellow in the bees and in the centers of the flowers, and might even help give the feel of the serious heat that was killing me when I took the picture.
Not at all sure I like it though. My husband told me to put it down and assured me I'd like it better in the morning. It's been nearly 24 hours now and I'm no more sure about it. We'll have to see how long it lasts or if I just end up painting over it!

Purple Flower time-lapse

I'd been waiting on some music from my talented brother to finish up this video, but decided to just go ahead and use his music on a later video. Gets a little crazy with my other hand spinning the aquabord around to give me a better angle for my painting hand. Ha! It's kind of a funny idea, but it's not always easiest to paint with your painting right side up!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Glory of Flight

Not sure this one is finished but then again, I vowed to not spent to much thought or energy in these so I should probably just moved on. It's just that it looked better in my head. Ha! Sometimes hard to transfer that to paper, isn't it? It's just that with the light source behind the balloon, the side facing us was all in shadow and I just couldn't get it to not look flat, and when I tried it just turned dirty. Then the lines on the balloon didn't really seem to curve around it but there wasn't room for them to with only showing this small portion of the balloon. Such artist problems. So it's not my favorite but I'm posting it anyway. 

Photo Credit: Linda Seavey

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Drifting Off

So clearly I'm kinda stuck on the hot air balloon gig but it just hasn't run its course and I'm having a lot of fun and they're quick to do so I haven't even had the chance to get bored yet! Oh and I'm preparing to have an art booth at the Art and Air festival (there will be hot air balloons), which I'm super nervous about because I've never done it before. I just don't know what to expect but the good thing about it is that it's got me painting. And painting lots. And I love it.
Watercolor on paper 8x10
Photo credit: Tricia Anderson 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

"Blowing Away" Time-lapse video

Oh, this video wasn't quite ready when I posted the picture the other day, so here it is now. And forgive the quirky angle, I write while laughing heartily at myself. I had no clue it would end up looking like I was painting on the ceiling when I filmed it like this. Live and learn they say ;) Hope you like it!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Spiraling Upward

I had so much fun playing with yesterday's hot air balloon, that I just had to do another. Might even make a series of it. Course I didn't want it to have the exact same look, so I tried to change up the magic a bit. I gave it a slightly different touch. What do you think? 
Photo credit: Linda Seavey

Monday, July 18, 2016

Blowing Away

Had a really, really bad day today. Like daughter-puked-in-the-car-after-driving-30-minutes-to-Costco-so-we-had-to-turn-around-and-drive-back-without-the-groceries bad. It's hard to come back from that. So I needed to paint badly, and to paint something fun. Never painted a hot air balloon before, but I'm going to have an art booth at an Art and Air festival in a month so I thought it might be fitting. But it was more technical than I'd realized, although I'm not sure why that came as a surprise. It's like I'm a complete idiot sometimes. Like I haven't been doing this for years and have no clue what it'll take to paint something. And as I finished, it was just kinda meh. But all along I had toyed with ideas of ways to somehow make it as magical as hot air balloons seem to be. And at the end, not loving the result, my husband said, "why not," when I told him what I was thinking and that's all I needed. Permission to play! And it suddenly wasn't boring anymore.
8x10 Watercolor on paper
Photo credit: Linda Seavey

Aquabord instruction Video - Tulips

After another go at the Ampersand Aquabord, I felt like I'd learned a couple of things so added my hints to the beginning of my time-lapse video in case they can help anybody else. I was a little worried - the painting went through a lot of stages of ugly along the way but pulled together at the end and now I kind of like it. Isn't it funny when that happens? That's why you can't give up early in the process, no matter how discouraging it may be! It's super helpful to have somebody nearby to remind you of this in case one of those "stages of ugly" make you forget. 
 Oh and another thing that is great about the Aquabord is how easy it it to lift color. It just comes right off! Hope you enjoy the video and please leave any suggestions if you have them!
Oh and they really are tulips as the title says, they're just super open with the petals about ready to fall off. Makes them look a lot less like tulips but also made the deep yellow a lot more visible. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Tiny Columbine

So I'm not quite as thrilled at my second attempt on the Ampersand Aquaboard. It is just tricky. When I paint flowers I do a lot of controlled wet-into-wet where I wet one petal, then being the paint in and move it around and let it mix and the Claybord doesn't do that a ton. Then I come back in with layers on top of that when it dries, but on Claybord, that just lifts the color is already placed there. So I have to change my mindset when painting. Great it a bit like a different medium altogether. Relearn how to paint. 
And while I'm not head-over-heels for tonight's results, it was a good learning experience. Or at least that's what I always tell my students when they don't like their end product! No but seriously, these little 6x6 inch Aquaboard are the best time to practice.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Fun with Time-Lapse

So I got a crazy idea to try to take a time-lapse video of me painting. I went for something small and easy that didn't require as much thought. Funny thing, I felt a ton of stress doing it and like I had to keep moving and move quickly! Which is silly since the video thingy speeds it up for me. Although I wasn't the only one confused. My 4 year-old Grace watched the whole thing with a bewildered look, and just kept asking me how I moved so fast! Hahaha.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Lilies in the Park

Almost repeated the miracle of finishing a painting in a day! And honestly, I could force the issue and finish it now but I haven't decided what color the background should be and I don't want to do something I'll regret tomorrow.
I had planned on leaving it white but I started painting it at a park while my kids played and I was constantly distracted looking up to check on them and being bumped when my littlest finagled her way onto my lap and so I ended up with some splatters from my water cup. And once that same tiny girl accidentally grabbed a wet edge and smeared it so white is out. What to do instead...?


Wahoo! I don't think I've ever completed a whole painting in one day. I'm trying to get a bunch of small (8x10) paintings done for a festival I'll be in at the end of August, and thought I'd see if I could complete one in a day. And I did! Not sure how many times I'll be able to repeat it but I did try to relax and just keep going instead of worrying about getting it perfect. I think sometimes we put this stress on ourselves to basically make every painting into a masterpiece and that's just silly. 

So it's not a masterpiece but it's done!
And I think that's enough sometimes too.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Light Runs Through It

I think she's done. Not sure why my painting has suddenly become female but she has in my mind. And I like her. It was really, really fun to paint on this aquboard and just play with the shapes and colors. I love painting.

Monday, June 13, 2016

"Life finds a way"

I was dying to get painting today. Of course it didn't actually happen until this evening but I kept thinking about doing it! It's just that I first helped my oldest get going on a sewing project, did some laundry, read to the three littles so that they got good mom time before I tried to get them to play without me while I painted, got tiny down for her nap and then cleaned the kitchen because it was killing me. Unfortunately while doing so I watched this great video about needing to take care of yourself so you can be more creative. He was very persuasive. So I made lunch for us all with real food instead of throwing together an array of snacks like usual. And one thing lead to another lead to a softball game in the unseasonably cold weather, led to me not starting until late. Such is life. But I did paint in the end and I'm really pleased with how it's going. 
My landscapes usually take considerable more stress and planning and long pauses where I stare at them without doing a thing. This one is just flowing almost effortlessly. Feels so weird it's almost wrong. Is it the clay board surface instead of paper? Or the preliminary sketches I did, which I don't usually do? Or my new attitude about not having to follow "the rules?" I don't know. But I'll take it!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Finally some time to paint!

As we were driving home from our recent camping trip we kept getting a quick view of this amazing rock. It just went straight up outta nowhere, like somebody had pulled it up out of the ground like taffy. It really was so cool. And as the sun filtered through the trees and the river ran through it all...love it. So inspiring. I could've sat there all day and watched how the gradually moving sun changed the shadows in the trees. But I had 5 kids in the car who were tired of mommy getting out to take pictures of pretty scenes, so I jumped back in of course and we drove off. But I've been thinking of painting it for days now and finally sat down this evening when we didn't have a softball game to be it in what feels like the first time in forever. So I took advantage of the free time. And my husband even made dinner so I could get to painting sooner, meaning I possibly won't even stay up too late!
It started out going very quickly, almost alarmingly so. I think having had the image in my head for days helped me plan all sorts of composition decisions ahead of time and I was just ready to get going. It's not on paper though, it's on Ampersand clayboard. I have never done a painting on it before. Totally new experience here. I can't do wet-into-wet like I usually do because the water doesn't spread and the paint just sits there. But the color is bright and it lifts off like magic whether you want it to or not. Ha. Can't wait to do more.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

And Painting-Needs-A-Name is done!

Finished!! And what's even better is that I'm truly happy with it! 
I added large ripple lines to help the reflection read as a reflection, which was a bit terrifying. Before I bit the bullet and did it, I put a piece of tracing paper on top and painting the blue ripples on the tracing paper. I've never tried that trick before but it totally worked! I knew instantly I had to do it. Took a lot of the fear (of ruining the painting) out of the equation, which is always nice. Especially because throughout this painting, I enjoyed a freeing sense, a lack of fear and restraint. Trying to figure out how to work that into the title...

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Almost there

After a long weekend of camping, hiking, and waterfall hunting, I was totally inspired and HAD to paint. Natural beauty does that to me. I just can't get enough of it. You should see how many pictures I take! Thanks heavens for digital cameras. I would totally go broke if it was still back in the days of developing film to see what you managed to capture. But before I could start something new, I was ready to tackle this unfinished one with a new eye and enthusiasm.
I like the flow and the softness. I did realize earlier this evening that it was too soft and punched up the colors so that the trees and hills looked more solid. Wish I could finish it now but after three nights on a hard ground in a tent with five children, I gotta catch up on some sleep!

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.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

There's hope!

Less empty white space yet! Wahoo! 
I might actually finish this painting after all.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Now we're getting somewhere

You know sometimes what I need more than anything is just to fill in a lot of the white space. My inclination is to finish each little flower before moving on but even if I do, I look around at this big white page and feel like I've made no progress whatsoever. 
So after filling in a lot of the lower green spaces, I'm feeling a little better. I tried to keep it loose but I'm not sure I accomplished that. Hopefully the background doesn't take away from the flowers - I don't want to give everything equal attention or there's nowhere for your eye to rest. But my husband does assure me that it's only my eyes that go a little buggy looking at it, which by the way, is a good sign it is time for bed. And look at the time! My eyes are so right.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

WIP Day 3

A little bit at a time. Slightly discouraging but I've been getting less than two hours a night and the painting takes time but so does the thinking! I'm changing this:
into this:
with a little help from this:
So many decisions. So many colors to balance. So much needing to sleep.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Day 2

Unfortunately my youngest two have decided sleeping is overrated. They're seriously messing with my sanity and my painting time, which are sometimes related come to think of it.
Why do I mention it? It's my excuse for not getting more done but I think the red flowers might end up being my favorite!
P.S. That picture didn't look nearly so awful on my phone! Darn lighting. Sorry for the lack of professionalism but I'm tired and going to bed instead of going back upstairs to get a better picture. Good night!