Posted in Oil Painting

Fresh Off The Easel!

Hello creative friends!

Wow…Can you believe it’s February already? I’m not sure where the time is going, but it sure flies.

As the year gains momentum, I hope that you are getting yourself well-established in whatever creative practices feed your soul. 🙂

One of the things I have been wanting to try this year is creating my own homemade painting panels. I just finished a painting on a homemade panel, and it feels good to have expanded my horizons. More on that DIY process in a future post.

In today’s post I want to share the oil painting I just finished. While it’s what you might refer to as a skyscape, I am thinking of it more as a dreamscape—it’s a little ambiguous, a little nebulous, a little…dreamy!

“Adrift in Time” Oil on panel, 11×14” Available Here © R. Sorrells, Artist 2022

One of the reasons I paint is that it allows me to forget time, appointments, responsibilities, cares, and concerns.

Even when I don’t produce something “frameworthy”, the time I spend in painting, sketching, drawing, and other creative pursuits allows me to connect with a part of myself that tends to go uncared for in the daily grind of life.

I find that I am calmer, less anxious, more centered, and more resilient when I honor the fact that I NEED to spend significant time creating.

So I make it a priority in my life right up there with the other things I need to do like brushing my teeth, making meals, paying bills, etc.

This painting is an example of what can happen when I honor that need.

It isn’t always easy finding the right mix of free time, energy, inspiration, and desire to create, but it is so worth it when they all come together in what I can only describe as a blessing that feeds my soul.

Friends, I hope you are taking time to feed your creative self. It’s so important, and you are worth it!

I’d love to know how you take time to feed your inner artist. Please share your thoughts in the comments and let me know!

Till next time, stay creative.

~R

Posted in watercolor

Letting Go…in Art and in Life!

Hello creative friends!

Today I thought I would post a few of my latest watercolor creations. I wanted to try out some new materials and just have some fun, but what to paint???

Enter “Mo” my studio gnome…

Mo the Gnome

Mo is a daily inspiration to me.

I love his unkept salt and pepper beard and the perfect roundness of his nose.

Though his drab-colored clothing is practical and basic, and his shoes are different sizes and a bit wonky looking, his stocking cap speaks volumes about his whimsical nature.

In short, I can’t help but chuckle when I see him there waiting on my studio desk.

But what does Mo have to do with letting go???

Well, seeing Mo reminds me not to take myself so seriously—to let go of what others think of me and much of what I think about myself.

And since I’m a pretty serious person, I need this reminder on almost a daily basis!

Artistically speaking, being able to let go gives me permission to play and experiment.

In short, it gives me permission to ask, “What if….?” while I’m creating.

That playful attitude helps the artist in me to try new techniques, mediums, supplies, and application methods, which in turn encourages my overall artistic growth.

Even if I don’t end up liking what I create, it’s time well spent to help me know not to head in that particular direction!

Mo reimagined

Without the ability to let go, we lose the chance to grab onto something new or different.

So why is it sometimes so hard to let go in life and in our artistic process?

Fear can be a huge driver in much of this, at least for me.

Unfortunately, fear can come from any direction and take many forms: fear of failure, fear of loss, fear of criticism, fear of losing control, fear of comparison, etc.

How do we combat fear?

By faith in practice and by practicing our faith!

Gnome practice….

You don’t have to be an artist for long (or a human being, for that matter) to know that you will create lots of stinkers and make lots of mistakes.

But you can learn to let go of the failure and keep moving forward, and gradually you learn not to make the same mistakes.

Hummingbird Watercolor on paper Copyright R. Sorrells, 2021

I will leave you with a quote by one of my favorite artists of today, John MacDonald.

“Creativity and learning flourish when we’re on our edge, out of our comfort zone and out of our spheres of knowledge. We can only learn when we’re in the unknown. But the unknown is often terrifying…. When we’re filled with the joy of playing, there’s no room for fear. It is in the state of play that we learn the truth about fear and discover that we can live with it and manage it. And as we become more accustomed to playing fearlessly, we can relax, open up, and begin working fearlessly.”

John MacDonald, Artist

So begin a practice of letting go my friends.

Show yourself and others grace.

‘Till next time,

~R

Posted in Oil Painting

Oil Studies: Getting loose and creative

Hello creative friends! This summer finds me busier than ever. How ‘bout you?

Our string band played the county fair providing ambiance for the fair-goers. That was a lot of fun. 🙂

Here at home our little garden is cranking out beans, tomatoes, berries, and zucchini—which means harvest and preservation are in full swing. Time to dust off the canning jars…

Yesterday was a chicken processing day—thank goodness for our chicken plucker!

Homeschool is just around the corner. I mean, it literally starts next week—yikes!!!

And throughout our busy schedule I am somehow managing to find time to spend at the easel.

Lately I have been working on monochromatic as well as limited palette studies in oil. I have also done some experimenting with new colors, but would like to spend more time really going deep into the possibilities via some color charts.

Here are a few of the studies…lots of fun to do and all from imagination.

Oil study on paper
Oil study on paper
Oil study on paper
Oil study on paper

These studies are done on canvas paper and take as little as 20-30 minutes, though some took longer depending on how much fun I was having! 😉

I could see these studies serving as inspiration for future larger oil paintings. Producing them was a fun way to test out ideas and materials, and engage in some imaginative playtime without feeling like I had to produce something frame-worthy.

So I highly recommend this kind of work for those times when you are in between projects, or for when you just don’t know what to work on next.

I think it is also something incorporated into a daily practice if you desire. Like daily sketching, but for oil painters!

Hope you are taking time to restore your creative juices as summer continues. Before you know it, autumn will be upon us and we’ll be longing for these long, lazy days, so don’t let them go to waste!

Till next time, stay creative.

~R

Posted in Oil Painting, Uncategorized

Baby Chicks, Oil Painting, & Thoughts on Being Creative

Hello creative Friends!

I hope today finds you well and happy. This week has been a little crazy around here.

We hatched our first batch of baby chicks for the year, and though we are not new to the process, it’s still a little nerve-wracking every time we set eggs.

We also tried out a new incubator which added to the drama. Would it turn the eggs properly? Would it keep the eggs at the proper temperature? Too hot? Too cold? Humid enough? Not humid enough?

To us a new hatch usually means interrupted sleep, hyper-vigilance over the incubator, witnessing the first pip, and the occasional rescue of a shrink-wrapped chick… Get the picture?

Think “maternal instincts on steroids”!

PHEW!

I am delighted to report that as of this morning we have added 9 little peepers to our menagerie!

So CUTE!!!

I don’t know about you, but when I have too many irons in the fire, I tend to lose my creative energy!

But now that the chicks have been moved to the brooder and are settling in, I was able to spend some time in the studio experimenting with water mixable oils.

Being more familiar with pastel and watercolor painting, I decided to take it slowly. For me, that means COLOR MIXING.

Here are a few examples of what I mean:

(Color swatches with a black check next to them are the closest to matching the paint sample.)

I decided to start by gathering paint chips from my local hardware and big box stores. If you try this exercise, be sure to pick a variety of chips to include the major color families (hue), as well as lighter and darker versions of each color (value), and purer vs. grayer versions of each color (intensity). The best part is that they are FREE!

Next, using a limited palette of titanium white, permanent yellow light, ultramarine blue, permanent alizarin crimson, and burnt umber, I worked to match each paint chip’s hue, value, and intensity.

Essentially, I wanted to see if I could get close to mixing most colors from just these five.

Why?

Because it would be less confusing at first and it would teach me not only the possibilities, but also the limitations of a primary palette. (A primary palette is one consisting of a single yellow, blue, and red. White is for tinting and the burnt umber is for creating shades.)

Now, I knew going in that I would eventually be using a split primary palette (one with a warm and cool version of each primary color) like I use when I am painting in watercolor, but like I said, I needed this to be less confusing at first. 🙂

So looking at the pics above, these 4 chips were mixed using the colors of my primary palette. I did lots of these matching exercises, and I have to say it was fun in almost a meditative way.

It was also very enlightening because eventually I came across colors I just couldn’t match using this palette of colors.

  • That’s when I added in a warmer red (Pyrrol red, Royal Talens’ Cobra brand).
  • I also switched out burnt umber for burnt sienna (more orangey and just as capable of giving me a dark value when mixed with the ultramarine.)
  • So far, the permanent yellow light (Cobra brand) is working for all my warm and cool mixes.
  • I am also trying out adding in titanium buff when I don’t want my color to be lightened AND cooled like it would be using titanium white.
  • And the verdict is not in yet as to what other blue I would add in addition to the ultramarine.

I foresee that there will be times when these few colors will just NEVER give me the color I may need–think very intense, highly saturated (aka high chroma) color.

And that’s when I would pull out tubes with specialty colors.

Alas, my color mixing adventure will continue for a while to come. That’s ok. I have a lot of work to do in this area!


In my latest Instagram post I briefly write about being creative. Please check it out and follow me if you haven’t already! Click here to view today’s oil study and leave me a like and/or a comment with your thoughts.

Thanks for taking the time to read my latest musings. May you be well and filled with creative musings of your own in the days ahead!

Till next time,

~R