I'm entering in a Art Festival!

After much debate (mostly in my crowded head), I've decided to enter in my hometown's little art show. It is an outdoor gig to sell paintings. SELL paintings! After making this decision in the beginning of July with the help of my junior high school art teacher, I dove into research on pricing, framing, hanging the paintings, payment options and how will they take it home? 

The art festival is August 15th. That is two weeks away. Paintings take at least that long to dry. Since most of my paintings are portraits or commission type work, I decided I needed more crowd friendly paintings. With deadlines looming (I can't hang wet paintings!), I have been painting non stop. 

I learned a lot from all this work. I learned that I LOVE portraits...and everything else not-so-much. I did learn to like flowers and once I changed my technique a little bit, the process was better., even enjoyable. I learned that I can paint for 12 hours in one stretch and that I might forget to eat. I learned that I can't sleep in the middle of a painting so it's best to finish it all in one go. I learned that I don't like painting on anything smaller than a 11x14. And last but not least, I learned that night scenes with architecture can be difficult to paint. 

If you could look at my house right now (I'm so glad that you can't...) you would see walls with white paper over hooks (to protect the wall) with paintings on top, hanging on the wall to dry. You'd see that I've outgrown my little make shift studio. The new studio is coming soon. For sure, I'll post about that! All this mess is progress. It means I'm working!

I think the biggest thing I've learned so far is that self doubt can be overcome with perseverance. The artist's curse can be very persuasive. If you don't know what that is, it's the little voice in artist's heads that tell us what crap we are producing. Since we are the creators, we tend to see all the mistakes. Artists that have a strong curse tend to make wonderful art if they aren't crippled with self-doubt. I had stopped painting from around last October until March. All winter, I did not paint. When I was finally ready to get back into it, I dove back in. Hopefully, far enough that I won't find my way back to not doing anything.

How did I break the funk? Well, I reasoned with myself. Platitudes didn't help, I needed logic. I'm a knitter. I have knitted many garments, blankets, socks, bags, so many things. Not once have I been crippled with self doubt. I just made it because it was fun. I liked the process better than the product. Bingo. That was what I needed to do. Just enjoy painting, see what comes of it. Explore new ways and find my own style. If it's successful, it's icing on the cake. (Ice cream would be my preference, but it doesn't go with the saying.) If I happen to think that a painting is failing, I have to just remember that these paintings make the best teachers. I learn something from them every time. 


Painting like mad

I've gone mad. I think about paint. all.the.time. I watch the leaves fall and think how I would mix those colors. A little crimson, burnt umber, and a touch of yellow. I watch my hubs speak and think that his skin tone looks purple-ish. It's the lighting, not that he's ill or anything. I'm just amazed at how the world looks different. 

My first painting after workshop was a big one. I loved this photo so much, I thought about not doing it for fear that I wouldn't do it justice. Besides the fact that it's a portrait, which is already hard enough, she was dressed in the weirdest outfit. She had a winter hat with braids, a raincoat with polka dots and leopard print shoes on. But that's my girl. Fiercely independent. 

I had a few oh crap moments in the process. The polka dots were killing me. But, I remembered what I had learned. I trusted the colors I mixed. I trusted my drawing. I laid it down. 

My art has taken a turn

for the better! In order to describe my journey accurately, we need to rewind time. Back up to spring of 2014. About the time I wrote my last blog post. I was searching for a workshop to further my education. At first, I was looking into drawing workshops. Most of them were only a few days, there were some actually close enough to drive to, and I'd feel comfortable going. My husband looked at me as if i was crazy.

"But you know how to draw. Aren't you supposed to go to a workshop where you learn something NEW?"

mmmm. Yeah, probably.

"Oil paint. You want to learn. Do it."

Panic started to rise up. I don't know if I'm ready. I haven't studied enough! I don't KNOW enough!

After a few tentative searches on the web, I found a workshop that looked promising. It was a chunk of money to go. We'd have to fly to Austin, TX, and stay in a hotel for over a week. But I figured that if I was going to really learn, I'd have to leave the house, and for sure leave the children (with grandparents...)!

The man is Mark Carder, founder of the Carder Method He has been painting successfully for over 20 years. His paintings are very realistic and that was exactly what I wanted. He also offered a workshop in the subject matter I most enjoyed: portraits. All of that was great, but what I liked the most through my research was the way he taught. It was a relaxed way of teaching but with high expectations. He gave you all the tools to learn the foundations of oil painting. He simplified all the materials so I could learn. Over time, I can add variables like other mediums if needed. He has most of the information for free on youtube. It's a great starting point for any artist that wants to learn the basics and get a great painting on the very first go. After you master color mixing and learning how to use a brush (not everybody smooshes the brush into the canvas), you can branch out and do your own thing. But what a great start!

At the end of July, my hubs and I flew down to Austin, TX for a much needed "vacation". During the workshop, I learned to pose my model, take decent photos for painting (very different than taking regular photos), process, print and laminate the photo. I learned to use a proportional divider to relay points effectively from my photo to my canvas.I learned how to make my colors from a limited palette of just five colors: alizarin crimson, cadmium yellow pale, ultramarine blue, burnt umber, and white. By the time the workshop was over, my portrait was half finished. It blew my mind that I could paint this well for my very first attempt at a portrait in oil. All my other oil paintings have been abstract. 

Pensive  16x20  Oil on canvas 

Pensive  16x20

Oil on canvas 

This is Emily, Mark's wife. I got to meet her and talk with her at length and come to find out we have a lot in common. She is also a very talented painter. I tried very hard in this first portrait to not blend until all the canvas was covered. This is why you see the edges of the brushstrokes. The painting was shipped to my home while it was still wet. By the time it got to my house, the strokes could not be blended because the paint had dried too much. I embraced this and finished the painting "unblended". I was so pleased with this painting and couldn't wait to get started on the next!

Grandma Marlys

She is a special person. There is a lot of love pouring her way. She is kind, gentle, soft spoken but firm. She fed me soup when I was "sick" from school even though she knew I was playing hooky. She taught me how to sew and got me a sewing machine when I graduated high school. I still use that sewing machine to this day. She supported my passion for singing. She didn't bat an eye when I told her I was going to go to college and study art and music. She is grounded and spiritual. But the one thing that I love the most about her is that she listens. Intently. 

As I was going through some photos, I came across a photo of her playing with Clara when she was a baby. I loved how the light came through the window and how it seemed they were in their own little world. This is my Grandma playing with my baby.

18x24 Oil on paper

18x24 Oil on paper

Journey through Paper

I am in pursuit of the perfect paper. Something that will be archival. I'm worried that these paintings won't last very long because they are on paper. Many of these paintings will be reprinted and I know that giclee prints will last a very long time but it's just not quite the same as the original. I ordered two different types of oil paper and I simply can not wait until they arrive! Currently, I'm using Canson Montval paper which is student grade and that just will not do. It does show the tooth somewhat, but it is so nice to paint on! 


A recent painting had me looking at old newspaper clippings for inspiration. I originally didn't think that they would work because they lack detail. That sparked my need to compete and I knew that I had to try. They turned out really well! The figure in the middle used several photos as reference. Her face was from one, her body from another, and her clothing from another. I am pleased with the result!

Coach Patti  18x24 Oil on Paper

Coach Patti

18x24 Oil on Paper

This next painting was a joy! It is a commissioned piece for a friend and babysitter. She puts up with our four kids happily! This was a Mother's Day present to her mom who I also happen to know. She and I worked together as OB techs ten years ago! 

Siblings  18x24 Oil on Paper


18x24 Oil on Paper