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!
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!
Last year I began the tradition of designing and publishing a book of the paintings, studies, and sketches I created through the year.
I started with the idea to give the books out to family and friends as gifts, but the design process and end result have become so much more than that to me.
When I am putting each year’s book together, choosing photographs of paintings and inspirational quotes I want to include, I am able to stand back from the trees and get a good look at the forest I have been dwelling in during the previous 12 months—metaphorically speaking!
I find that when I step back to look at this retrospective, I am given the precious gift of getting to see the arc of my own personal growth as an artist.
And this year I saw BIG changes.
The first change I saw while looking over the paintings I produced this year was a focus on experimentation.
New techniques, new materials, even a new medium (water mixable oil) kept me on my toes and headed out in directions that kept my process from being stale and predictable.
Another change I consciously focused on this year was quality over quantity.
It doesn’t bother me to set a painting aside and let it sit for days, weeks, or even months if it just isn’t “there” yet because I appreciate how it gives me fresh eyes to critique and move forward in whatever way is necessary to reach my vision.
But this year I have also made peace with the fact that I am probably never going to be a hugely prolific painter…and that’s ok.
I’ve realized that my painting process and personality do not lend themselves to popular social media challenges like “paint 30 paintings in 30 days”.
In fact, I have found that if I can’t stop and linger when I want or need to in order to produce the work my soul is crying out to create, I die inside just a little!—and that is not acceptable to me.
But this year the biggest change I actively encouraged in my heart, mind, and artistic process was toreally seek out what it was I was trying to say with each painting, and then to let myself express those ideas, desires, and feelings onto the painting itself.
One of the wonderful benefits of allowing myself to work in this way is that I am becoming more aware of my artistic voice—who I am as an artist, what I value as an artist and human being, and how I want to grow in the future.
As a result, I can see the meager beginnings of a “style” that marks my work as mine and validates who I am becoming as an artist.
And that, my friends, is something I have been waiting to see emerge as the months and years of creating have slipped by.
All of the photos in this post are included in this year’s book, and I wanted to share them with you.
If you have made it this far, thanks for sticking with me to read about my thoughts on creating and artistic growth.
You can read the inspirational quotes that I included in this year’s book here.
But I will leave you with the quote I used to close my 2021 book.
It speaks to this idea of growth and not yet being who we were created to be….
“Beyond myself, somewhere, I wait for my arrival.” — Octavio Paz, poet
Thank you creative friends for taking time out of your precious life to read this post. I pray you will stay your creative course, wherever that leads your heart, and that on the journey you find joy in the process.
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.
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!
Hi all! Just checking in before the Memorial Day holiday here in the states to share what I am currently working on.
I have been taking a deep dive into oil painting the last few months, and I am thoroughly enjoying myself.
That said, I feel like there is a pretty steep learning curve regarding oil painting, and specifically, water mixable oil painting.
One of the reasons I held back from trying oils is the use of smelly, toxic chemicals in the application and clean-up.
BUT NO MORE!!!
I bit the bullet and purchased several tubes of water mixable oils (WMO’s) and a few water mixable mediums, some brushes and canvas, and haven’t looked back.
What I have found is that there are really only a few basic rules one must follow to paint in oils, but once you get a handle on those, the rest is really about learning to manipulate the paint in ways that will give you the effect you are looking for. And that’s where your own individual style comes in.
So, enough of that. Here is what I am currently working on…
I’m loving trying to get that misty/foggy effect. This one’s almost done. Hope to finish it over the weekend.
That’s it for now. I hope you have an enjoyable week and upcoming holiday 🙂
Don’t forget to make time to feed your inner artist and do something creative!
I wish I could say I am going to miss you, but I would be lying.
Will 2021 be better? I sure hope so. But I woke up this morning to an ice storm, tree limbs across the driveway, news that someone has fraudulently claimed unemployment benefits on my hubby’s behalf, power outages, a finicky generator….sigh….
Not off to a great start….
On the other hand, my family is with me at home, safe and healthy. The power is currently on. (Yay!) Relationships in my extended family have been going through some much needed healing, praise God! And I have had the privilege to spend the last year creating art I love in a space I love.
I’m not really one to set New Year’s resolutions, but the quiet that comes after the bustle of the holiday season, especially on a day like today with snow falling onto a hushed world, lends itself to a little introspection.
I look back at what I have spent my time on this last year: caring for my family, homeschooling, music-making, painting.
But if I’m honest, I’ve also spent significant time and energy worrying, wondering, trying to discern, trying to control, trying to adjust, trying to let go.
As I reflect on the changes I have seen in our world in 2020, I hold on to the conviction that I want to do more of what brings light and life into this world.
I think that as artists we have a responsibility to share, to teach, to steward, and by doing those things, to love.
To that end, I thought I would share a little bit about some of my paintings from 2020–what I like about them, why I painted them, and what I learned from painting them.
First up: Pathways No. 1, pastel
Pathways is the genesis of a series of paintings I definitely plan to continue. They are experimental in nature. The scene is from my imagination and represents more of a “mood” than a place.
When I was painting Pathways No. 1, I wanted it to be moody, bleak, brooding, and a little uneasy because that’s how I was feeling. It was a sunny spring day when I painted it—incongruous to my emotions and a world in lockdown—and I needed to see the physical expression of my emotions.
Painting No. 1 was cathartic in many ways, and I remember feeling lighter, freer, and exhilarated as I stepped out the door of my studio when it was finished.
It’s one of those painting that I will never sell because it’s like a journal entry. I painted it just for me.
Next: Pathways No. 2, pastel
By the time Pathways No. 2 came along (above), I was looking for the challenge of creating something of a nocturne.
I strove to capture the sense of it being late in the day when the last light of a stunning sunset is leaving the sky—the time when you can still make out the slightest hints of the colors that flood the landscape during the day before they are lost to the night and your eyes can no longer discern them.
This painting reminds me that we can’t bottle time and we can’t hold on to light. We can only enjoy each fleeting moment and be grateful.
I will keep this blog posted when I paint the next in this series…
Next up: Golden Pines, pastel
Golden Pines was one of those paintings which seemed to paint itself. It didn’t take me long to paint, and it taught me that often simpler is better.
My goal was to capture the low angled sunshine hitting the pine tree trunks late on a winter day. As I look at the photo today, I can see a few things I would tweak. You might think that would make me unhappy, but it actually makes me excited. To me it means I am growing as an artist!
Next: Daisy Delights, acrylic on canvas
Daisy Delights was a delight to paint! (sorry… 😉
This painting seemed to scratch an itch I had to work with thick, impasto strokes of heavy bodied paint—something which is nearly impossible with soft pastels alone. I love the rich tones I could produce which make the painting seem to glow from within.
It was my first acrylic painting AND the first painting I had ever completed entirely with a palette knife—very freeing!
I completed Daisy Delights after viewing the channel “Palette Knife Painting Tutorials” on Youtube. Check it out if you are interested in seeing a how to.
Next: Bunny, watercolor and pen
Oh, that sweet little bunny! I saw the reference photo of this little guy on the line-of-action website I have referenced in a previous post. (I could not find a photographer’s name to credit the photo to, but it is not my own.)
There was just something about his pose and the softness of his fur that just begged to be put into a line and wash type of watercolor.
I love this kind of sketchy, loose look. And who doesn’t love a good scribble???
But my favorite touch was using a pen with watersoluble ink to make a border box. I loved touching the edge of the ink with a water brush to see it bloom and create a loose frame. I am now incorporating that technique to add tone to sketches. But more about that another time.
Next: Squirrel! pastel
Not too much to say about this furry critter except that sometimes a good painting comes out of experimentation and a letting go attitude—at least this one did! My hubby loves it so much he insisted we hang it in the house.
And finally: unnamed painting after Les Darlow,pastel
I wanted to include this pastel painting mainly because it was a huge departure for me. I painted it mostly with Pan Pastels, finely ground pastel in pan containers which are applied with sponges and other tools.
I painted this after viewing a demo by Les Darlow on Youtube—a search will bring it up easily.
I had used pans before mainly as an underpainting, but never to this extent. This painting does have stick pastel applied, mainly in the highlighted areas, and a little marker work in the treeline. Again, lots of experimentation for me, and I love the skyscapes pans let you achieve.
Well, that’s it! I hope you enjoyed browsing through some of my favorite paintings of the year and hearing my thoughts on each.
I pray you are well and will strive along with me to continue developing your creative side as we walk into this new year!
I hope this post finds you well and loving life. I can’t believe it’s already February! My, how time flies…
Well, I’ve been moved in to my new studio for about a month now, and it has taken me some time to adjust to working in the new space….something I wasn’t expecting.
I have spent the last several weeks in this new year cocooned in a sort of creative solitude. My goal was to forge a new process or rhythm of working in my studio balanced with the demands of family life, schooling, and other obligations. Not easy.
Mainly, I have been focused on musical inspiration. Many of you may not know that I play violin, so I have to keep up my skills on that instrument. But recently I have also been learning to play guitar—something I tried to teach myself long ago, but that’s another story….
In addition to learning something new, I don’t mind telling you that I had a little trepidation about creating my first art piece of the new year in the new space….and I was feeling the pressure.
When I feel pressure, it’s usually because I am raising my expectations to unreasonable levels, and then I tend to procrastinate so as to avoid that pressure, and it can become this vicious cycle.
Anyway, I gave the perfection and people-pleasing parts of me a good kick in the pants, and went out to the studio to play. And today’s post is the result!
I hope you enjoy it. 🙂
Let’s start with the piece.
Now for the progress shots….
First, the set up:
Next, an underpainting of cool blues and purples for this snow scene:
Slow building up of color and establishing the sky.
Deepening the shadow areas and beginning to feel my way with those pesky wintry trees:
More development of the dried grassy areas, as well as the trees:
At this point in the photo below, I thought I was getting close to being done, so I put up some black artist tape….Usually, I use a black mat that I keep on hand for this purpose, but I didn’t have a square one handy!
Hmmm. SOMETHING was bothering me. The painting was missing something or a even a few things, but what?
It was at this point that I let the piece sit on my easel for several days while I thought about it. I often need to step away for a day or so while the painting “cooks”.
When I came back to it with fresh eyes, I used my editing app on my ipad to make some notes of things that I thought needed to be changed.
For starters, I wanted more contrast in the overall piece.
Next, I wanted to bring more unity to the color scheme—especially by tying the sky colors into the rest of the piece.
Finally, I needed to lead the viewer through the work with some subtle hints about where to look.
In the photo above, you can see that I added subtle hints of turquoise into the snow shadows to tie the sky into the rest of the scene.
Next, I deepened some of the dark areas for added contrast.
And lastly, I pushed the colors ever so slightly in areas where I want the viewer to look—namely the golden grass near the focal tree and continuing in the mid-ground grass.
And here is the final result once more.
I hope you enjoyed this one. Thanks for stopping by and visiting!
Here we are….literally minutes away from a New Year as I begin writing this post. Maybe I’m getting more sentimental with age, but this year, I am kind of sad to see the year ending.
Don’t get me wrong–I am looking forward to all the “new” of the new year. For me, there are plenty of things to look forward to! But I can’t help feeling a little nostalgic for the waning of 2019.
I think part of the reason I’m feeling this way is because so many wonderful things happened this year.
First, I was given the opportunity to design my very own studio–talk about exciting! I got to plan and dream and work and decorate (more about that in a future post). I was involved from the very first step of laying the foundation to the last moments of hanging curtains and placing artwork.
And I loved every minute.
For those of you who don’t know, I have been working in a very small corner of a very small room in our rather small house. But no more!
I am so grateful to my dear husband, Matt. Without his “let’s do this now while we can still enjoy it” attitude as well as his hard labor and enduring patience while I revised, tweaked, and re-tweaked my vision, my studio would have never become a reality.
Thank you sweetheart! Xoxo
Second, I was given the opportunity to share my art in person with a larger world than just family and friends for the very first time during a Christmas open house. Which brings me to a third wonderful event…
I sold my first painting… EVER!!!
In fact, I sold 9 paintings, but that’s not the point. You see, I didn’t really know how my work would be received. It felt so risky be putting myself and my work out there, you know? I mean, family and close friends tend to love you and what you create no matter what….but others???
Well, I’m glad I took the risk! And that brings me to the fourth wonderful thing that 2019 brought to my life…
A better understanding of who I am as an artist.
Let me explain.
If you’ve ever tried to learn something new–how to paint, how to play an instrument, how to dance, etc–you probably started out by learning the basics. The what-to-do and the what-not-to-do. The “rules” as it were.
Well, the same is true for my artistic journey. I have spent the last several years learning about drawing, values, composition, color, perspective, different media, the materials that go with those media, and a host of other important subjects.
As I became better with the basics and could actually begin to produce art, I concentrated on replicating what other artists did. Replication is a time-honored way of learning and is how pupils learned from the old masters because it works.
But as I grew artistically, it was only natural that I begin to have a desire to express my own voice and vision. My style began to emerge and continues to develop.
I can only tell you that it is a very exciting time of growth, change, surprise, and forward movement for me personally. I am grateful that I have been given the time, support, and encouragement to continue on this path, no matter where I end up.
It’s a journey I am happy to be continuing into this new year…for as I glance at the clock, 2020 has arrived!!!
So for now, friends, if you have made it to the end of this last post of 2019, let me share with you a collage of some of my favorite pieces of the year.
And may I say with the utmost heartfelt sincerity, Happy New Year friends.
May peace that surpasses all understanding, joy to be alive and breathing, love that conquers fear and hate, and gratitude for our Creator and the ability to glorify Him by sharing in acts of creation be yours this year.