Sunday, January 9, 2022

A studio soul sister and 6 reasons to enjoy your sketchbook

In the last post I showed you a few little snippets of a painting I was working on. I finished it and it's still got a lot of color! It doesn't have a title yet so if you have any thoughts, feel free to share in the comments. It's 20x16x1.5 and the image continues on the sides of the canvas. To me, this feels like a field of flowers in spring. 

This one was done, so what next? I wanted to do something different for the first week of the year.

Remember this post? I talked about getting the creative juices flowing again by playing with some small, loose abstract compositions. Some of those little experiments were finished and displayed. Some of them I didn't care for enough to show but I didn't hate them enough to throw them away either. 

After the holidays I sometimes hit a bit of a slump in the studio so when that happens I like to read about and watch other artists for inspiration. You can always find a cool tip or tool to play with that excites the mind. I browsed through my art book shelf and also started watching YouTube videos. There's so much out there. One artist that caught my attention was Louise Fletcher. Oh my goodness, she's like a studio soul sister! She even uses pattern tissue in her layers like I do. 

In this video she talks about how she uses her sketchbook to develop ideas. She does the same kind of exercise that I do with mini abstract compositions but then she takes the leftovers and saves them in her book, makes notes, and uses them for reference. Brilliant! I gave it a go. 

In this next one, I'm testing out some new paint I just ordered. I've never tried Nova paints. They're an acrylic made in CA. I ordered a few colors to try them and I will be ordering more. The colors are wonderfully saturated. They come in jars because they're not heavy body acrylic. They seem to have a viscosity somewhere between fluid and soft body acrylics and have great covering power. I'm happy with them so far and will add them for certain techniques. For some texture effects, the heavier body paints still work better. 

In the one below I grabbed some twigs from the back yard and used them like brushes to scribble on the page. I like the loose, organic feel of the marks.

I've always kept a sketchbook but I haven't used it as much in recent years and I usually just use it for graphite sketches. Now I'm enjoying this sketchbook practice for a few reasons.
  1.   It helps me to work out design ideas for future paintings.
  2.   I can work out color combinations and mixtures.
  3.   I can try different techniques before taking them to the canvas.
  4.   I can save all this to look at later when I need some inspiration.
  5.   I make notes about what works and what doesn't so I don't have to reinvent the wheel when I'm working.
  6.   No one ever has to see my studio work book unless I feel like sharing. I'm free to experiment  and play and if it doesn't work, I learned something. If it works, I learned something.
The new year is starting off with lots of inspiration, learning and fun. I hope you're having a great start to your year. Check out some more of Louise's videos and let me know if you find any other cool artists to watch. Let's go 22!

Friday, December 31, 2021

Setting My Intention

How I'd like the new year to be -  Glorious. In Harmony. That's how I'm setting my intention. By being in my studio this week; painting, feeling connected to nature, to creativity, to feeling, to joy. 


In Harmony

Letting myself paint this week without the feeling of urgency, the need to sell, the pressure of work. I just wanted to feel the joy of painting intuitively and not care about anything else. Below are a few close ups of the next one on the easel. Bold color everywhere! I love the compositions of these little snippets. They might be the inspiration for some smaller canvases in the future. I'll share the finished painting in the next post. 

So with joyful color, I wish you a very Happy New Year!! I wish for all of us to have love, creativity, and prosperity in 2022.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Don't stir the wasp nest!

What happened to this month?! Was it really Dec 1st last time I posted? So, what I did this month..... rememeber the wasps I was battling? They won another battle but I won the war. 

I managed to snap a pic of these nasties before things got really ugly.

After pouring the powder and moving the birdbath over the hole, I thought they would be trapped but it didn't work. I wanted to do something that wouldn't harm the camellias that are right next to the nest so I was looking online and saw that a glass bowl placed over the opening would trap them. You have to do things like that early in the morning while the temp is cool and they're down inside the nest.

I put my heavy robe on and headed out. With the glass bowl in my left hand, I grabbed the bird bath with my right and pulled it out of the way. Well, they were waiting for me. Before I could put the bowl over the opening, a huge clump of them came zooming out. I dropped the bowl, it broke against the bird bath, I ran while they chased and stung me. Luckily only 3 of them got me - one on the earlobe and 2 on the leg. I saw them crawling all over the robe so I threw it off, left it in the yard and ran inside where I smacked several more off my pj's, stomped on them and had to get the bug spray to kill the one buzzing in the kitchen. 

Before all this happened, I wanted to do things organically, no poison. My husband suggested gasoline. Of course I said no. I can tell you that after the pain of being stung multiple times in that very traumatic incident, I told him he could throw a molotov cocktail down there for all I cared. If I lose a few trees, so be it. It didn't get that dramatic but I did call the pest control guys. It took them 4 trips to the house but the nasties are finally gone. Lesson learned. Do not bother the yellow jackets. Call a professional.

And yes, art happened too....
Remember the painting of my granddaughter from the previous post? Here's her sister with her mask. Fun! 

My husband Mark is also an artist and he did a special outdoor sculpture project in collaboration with IHMC - Institute for Human and Machine Cognition and OEU - Ocala Electric Utility.  Look above everyone's heads and you can see a bit of it - the human hand and the robot hand. It's a steam punky kinetic sculpture so the robot hand moves up to meet the human hand. Here's hubby cutting the ribbon at the unveiling. The last weekend of working on this project in our yard was also the same weekend of the wasps. After I stirred them up I was terrified they would go after him and the others working on the sculpture. Thankfully they didn't bother the guys but they stayed mad all day, swirling in a huge cloud over the opening of their nest. Nerve wracking!!

Second Spring
I painted a couple of new pieces too. This one is part of the group from this post, lots of hot color.

And then I had to play with texture and drips. I was still feeling the warm colors but went with more red and pink. Doing these non-representational, textured pieces are a break for me. They help me loosen up and keep things fun and exciting. I can't seem to paint the same thing over and over again. I need change.

The highlight of the month was going to the Appleton Museum to see the Mucha exhibition. I went with my friend Kelli who studied printmaking in college. She was able to explain in detail about the process that Mucha used for his posters. I had no idea they were so large and the process so tedious! The exhibit will be at the museum until January 9th. If you can make it, it's a must see. 

The bonus at the Appleton was the Christmas display. My youngest daughter was a ballerina in her dance school days so I had to get a photo of this display because of the legs and feet on the table. The display is so whimsical and fun, a perfect way to say Merry Christmas!

I hope you all have a wonderful week, a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday however you celebrate. Spend time with your loved ones, eat good food, play and be happy. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

What's inspiring to you?

So yesterday I was out in my yard battling an underground wasp nest. It's really a matter of pouring some powder into the hole and running the other direction. Then I realized that I forgot the second step which was placing something heavy over the hole in the ground. This morning I repeated the process and remembered the second step. While standing there enjoying my yard without dodging flying stingers, I spotted the first camellias of the season. I have to take pictures. I may not paint them for years but I can't let this year go by without at least taking a few shots. They're just so ruffly!! 

These are the early bloomers. Some other varieties will bloom later in the winter like the one I painted below. I don't remember the names of the different varieties but I enjoy the different shapes, petal structures and colors. For this painting I used gold leaf in the background and glazed a bit of green over the gold. This flower isn't quite as ruffly as the earlier ones but I love the way the stamen surround the center petals.


And then there's another kind of inspiration.... 
These girls inspire me all the time. My granddaughters were out in the yard (no, not anywhere near the wasp nest) doing a little role playing so they decided to come in and make masks for their characters. I loved the image so much I had to do something...
This was a lot of fun to paint! It's small, only 8x8, so it was fairly quick to do. I know I'll be painting at least one more of these and who knows, there may be more. We'll see. 👀


Sunday, November 21, 2021

I've gone dotty

I shared a few close up pics of a new painting on my FB/IG stories yesterday. I wanted to share again here too because when you look at the entire painting it can be hard to make out some details. I mentioned a couple of posts back that I'm playing with a paint shaper tool to add a bit of pointellism. I just dip it in the paint and .........

What I'm doing isn't the true definition of pointellism - "a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image" (think Seurat) - but using dots to enhance and add texture to a painting.

Below is the finished painting. If you enlarge it on your screen you can see where I painted the dots. Like the gold leaf I sometimes use and the textured gesso I put on the canvas before painting, sometimes seeing a painting in person is best. A painting can be experiential and doesn't translate as well in a photo. 

still deciding on a title


The 2 paintings above are the newest so I don't know what to call them yet. If you have any ideas I'd love for you to share them in the comments! I got on a warm color kick too. Looking back on past work, I seem to have gone through a "blue" period. It seems like everything I paint is mostly blue or cool colors. I don't usually pay much attention to trends, even my own apparently but when I noticed, I decided to play with some hot color for a change. We'll see where things go from here. 

acrylic and colored pencil

Shimmer was finished before I started the other 2 pieces so it's been added to my website along with the one below that finally has a title. It reminded me and many others of fire so Rekindled became it's name. It makes sense too because I seem to have rekindled a love for hot color!


And this one below..... I just remembered that I added it to the site but forgot to title it. I've been so focused on painting that I forgot all about it. It's more abstract than the others. Hmmmmm, something will come to me this week while I'm doing other things. I've been super productive in the studio the last couple of weeks so maybe I'm just getting ready to take a few days off with Thanksgiving coming up. My youngest daughter and her family are flying in and I'll have my local grandbabies here with me since they're out of school. It's time to focus on getting some work done around the house and wait for new canvases and gesso to come in the mail.


I hope you have a wonderful week. Enjoy being with your loved ones, eat good food, relax, and laugh a lot! Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Well, I goofed.

Well, I goofed. I should've let you know about this show last week because the opening was Friday! But.... the show continues until the 26th of this month so, if you're in the area, you can check out the Small Works show at Macon Arts Alliance. Sadly I couldn't be at the opening so maybe that's why the date zipped past me. I am excited that the gallery used my painting on the show announcement. Cool!

Scroll down to see a few of the pics from their site. The first one lists the other artists in the show. All the pieces in the show are available for purchase online so if you can't make it to Macon, you can click the link above and still see what's there, maybe grab a small art piece for yourself or find a gift for someone you love. 💝

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

From black and white to The Secret Lives of Color


Giving Way

Above is the result of hopefully, saving, the painting from the previous post. It went through several ugly phases and now I can look at it without thinking "ugly"! I especially had fun adding the little dots with a paint shaper tool. It's hard to see in the photos but the dots are slightly raised, giving a little extra dimention to the painting.

Remember one of the tips from this September post? I mention printing reference photos in black and white in order to free yourself from slavishly copying color from a color photo. Well, it can also free you up to play with more than color. I think I went to town on this one. Is it even recognizable as the subject for the painting below? I had so much fun with it! If you have any title ideas, leave them in the comments. 😀 And to see the above painting along with lots more... head to my site.

I'm still deciding on a title

One more thing I wanted to share.... have you seen this book? The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair is entertaining, educational and if you love color, it's luscious to look at too. I bought this for my kindle instead of the actual book but forgot that my kindle is only black and white. If you buy this, be sure to look at it on a device that has color. I'm reading it with a Kindle app on my tablet. Scroll down to see a few sample pages. I saved a couple of screenshots to share. Each page goes into the history of the color name along with how the color was developed - very interesting. 

So, check out the book and enjoy the colors. If you're up north, you get to see these colors on the trees, in person. I can only dream and remember the golden yellows and oranges of autumn in New Jersey. Here in Florida, we only get a little color teaser in the fall so I'll be enjoying them in this fun book.