Color Inspiration...


On Friday's I'm going to publish some of the "idea sparklers" from my weekly newsletter. These are painting ideas for you to use in your own work. Happy Friday!
From August 2010 newsletter....

"Today's Idea spark-ler is from a blog post I wrote last summer...I'm inspired by my surroundings, and think that this is a fun way to decide your palette for a painting session....Here's an excerpt from the post:"On my walk yesterday morning, I found this gorgeous lichen (see photo below) growing on a branch that fell into the driveway. I just loved the colors of it and decided that I wanted to use those colors for this painting... So my palette was chosen by nature.... so far.I try not to box myself in with these early  decisions....It's a starting point. If the painting works within this palette, great! But if I decide to go in a different color direction, that's OK too....The main thing is to just start somewhere! Put that brush to paper and GO!"

keep climbing in progress

Fast Forward almost a year... I really loved that 'start' from last year (pictured above)... and arguably could have stopped there...But it wasn't meant to be... Here's where I ended up with it. And since it won an honorable mention in the ArtCenter of Traverse City's "It's not just material" show last month...It was meant to be re-worked. :) hehehe"

Keep Climbing

When you think you're finished...but you're not.

decided it was not done (signature was put on with Photo-shop)
I thought I was finished with this one last week....But this morning, I saw that the right side needed something for balance. After I painted on the circle...then I got out the paint pens... and I have a hard time quitting once the paint pens are a few more somethings were added. I think it's better now....And it's in the truly finished pile waiting to be varnished.

I'm superstitious about signing my work. If there is any doubt as to whether a painting is finished, I hold off. I want my signature to be the very last thing added. This baby is actually signed now. :)

"Doubles" ~ Acrylic on Yupo ~ 6.5x6.5 inches

Doin' the Happy Dance....

I was VERY excited to find that I'd won 2 awards at the ArtCenter Traverse City's "It's Not Just Material" show.... Don and I went to the opening last night...(after we enjoyed our very first "slabtown burgers". Ooooo La La! I had the Olive burger... delish!)

"Keep Climbing"
22 x 22
Acrylic and pencil on paper
Honorable Mention

"Showing Restraint"
30 x 22
5th place

Needless to say... a really really fun evening. :)

A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Funeral Home....

"It's a Spring Thing"

Many of you know
that I've been away from home since last April, helping out my mom and her husband of two years. She was diagnosed with Acute Mylogenous Leukemia, and then a week later, she suffered a major stroke....paralyzing her right side.

Adding into that mix, my husband had lost his job in March...we decided to put our house up for sale (real estate in the Detroit area...hahahaha)

My mom's husband suffered a mild stroke in the summer...

I had to put my 13 year old fuzzy companion, Ivan... to sleep in November....

The chemo quit working
for my mom in November, she declined and passed away on the 31st of December...

Good riddance 2009......

So.... my sister and I are driving to the funeral home, and my cell phone rings. It was the gentleman that had purchased one of my two paintings in the "Think Small 09" show at Lawrence Street Gallery. He had decided that he wanted the other painting in the show too.

I've decided that this is a sure sign that things will be looking up for me and mine!

I'm looking forward to an art and fun filled 2010!

Aspire...and your art can too match your sofa...

"Aspire" work in progress...
24 x 24
acrylic and pencil on canvas

About this painting: The gold sections are Daniel Smith's gold gesso (which is addicting to use...but really hard to use 'well' I think) and will eventually be covered in gold leaf... we'll see how that goes...LOL

"Real Art Doesn't Match the Sofa"
I don't know where this phrase came from... probably from a frustrated artist.... I can almost hear the conversation as they are looking at the completed and commissioned floral painting...

patron (holding her couch arm sleeve thingie): "shouldn't that rose be a more lipsticky mauve rather than the purpley mauve you've painted?
: "If i change the color then that rose will not fit in with the rest of the painting."
patron: "Well, see here in the really is a more lipsticky mauve."
artist:"But that color wouldn't look right against the greens that you provided with the paint chips."
patron:"I really thought that the rose would match this lipsticky mauve color in my sofa..."
artist:"Real art does't match the sofa."

Yup... I can imagine where the phrase came from... But, I think it puts up a barrier....
It makes the average person feel intimidated... It's as if artwork coordinating with furnishings is soooo not cool...
And I completely disagree....

Furnishing a home is an art... A room is a composition.... I would not place a piece of art in a spot that didn't look good.... If the pattern on my sofa looked awful with a fabulous painting above it... I would move the painting, or the sofa.

I know I'm being literal with this saying... and that's probably not what the author meant...
But we shouldn't be flippant and roll our eyes at someones "unsophisticated" tastes... It's never good to make someone feel dumb...

As artists need to try to educate and lead... (Especially here in the US... where art education is so sadly pushed to the bottom of our schools' curriculum.) We need to try to entice our friends and family into our artistic circles... to show them what we see and feel, with approachable language and an open and welcoming attitude.

"Real Art is for Everyone"

Website Work Woes and other stories...

"Thought Process"
11 x 10
Acrylic on Paper
not for sale at this time

For the last 10 days I have been working on revamping my website. Hours and hours were spent on it... It had hundreds of pages under the "paintings" category, with subheadings that included~
  • Taking the High Road Series
  • Landscape
  • Faces and Figures
  • Animals
  • Gouache Ink Resist (including a demo section)
  • still life
  • abstract
  • My Year of Paintings Series...
So Friday morning... I excitedly push the "publish" button and we are off and running, for a couple of minutes... then the "serious error with SiteBuilder" screen comes up.... AAAAGGGGHHH!!!!
I want to throw up.

Luckily, I had saved most everything on an external hard-drive (I had learned that hard lesson a couple of years ago) So I spent more hours importing files into the fresh (uninstalled then reinstalled) SiteBuilder...and re-doing the links ( they didn't work when I put the pages back in) And stopped with just my current work posted. Someday I might add some of the stuff back in... but for now I'm calling it "good enough".

So... you are probably asking..."Why doesn't she hire this done so she can just paint???" Here's why~
  • the expense
  • the flexibility of adding pages when new work is done...immediately
  • I would drive a designer/programmer crazy with my indecision and waffling. (I drive myself crazy)
  • I don't want to hunt for or interview website designers.
  • my very strong 'self reliant' tendencies.
  • and...."I can do it myself" said the little red hen. (rolling my eyes here)
I'm not saying that these reasons are good reasons... but they are my reasons.
I drive me crazy.

Distractions and Diversions... and some juried show advice

"Distractions and Diversions"
12 x 12
acrylic on canvas (framed)

Was delighted to hear that "Distractions and Diversions" received a prize in the Crystal Lake Art Center's All Media Show! The reception is the 11th, and I'll be there with bells on. :)

I submitted 2 paintings... the second one ("It's Complicated") got "declined"... which was a lot easier to shrug off since I won a prize with the other one... LOL
I'm usually quite philosophical about entering shows and try to remember the following~

I consider it a success if I:
  • fill out the form correctly
  • have color corrected, great photographs of the painting
  • select the best 2-3 available paintings that look good together
  • get all the labels in the right places
  • get the jpg's the correct size
  • get the jpg's labeled correctly
  • have everything in or postmarked by the deadline
  • just having the "ca-hones" to enter a juried show at all!
After that... It's out of my hands.... so fogetahboutit!

Having been a juror before, I know what a difficult job it is. Jurors are most often artists themselves.... They know how each person will feel when they get their results. It ain't easy to curate a show. Remember, the juror will be judged by every person that entered! They are either brilliant or a horses patoot, depending on how they filled out your jury results form!

So....My sage advice....

Try not to get too amped if you get in, let alone receive a prize...
so then on the flip side...

When the inevitable "declined" letters come... you can be Scarlett O'Hara~
"After all.... tomorrow is another day!"

What gets me started....

"Circumventing Obstacles" (work in progress)
15 x 15
mixed media on watercolor paper

So where do you start when you are going to make a painting?
Well for me, it sort of goes like this....

I start usually with an idea. And then I keep the idea in my head as I sketch and doodle either right on the paper with pastel pencil or in my sketch book. I try to remember to write the idea or title on the back of the painting. I'm working on so many paintings at a time that I might forget what my intent was if it takes me a while to get back to it.

"Circumventing Obstacles" has started pretty much that way... With one slight difference... On my walk yesterday morning, I found this gorgeous lichen (see photo below) growing on a branch that fell into the driveway. I just loved the colors of it and decided that those colors would suit my intent for this painting... So my palette was chosen by nature.... so far.

I try to never box myself in with these early impulsive decisions.... If the painting works within this palette, great! But if I decide to go in a different color direction, that's ok too....The main thing is to just start somewhere! Put that brush to paper and GO!

How exciting!

"Distractions and Diversions 2"
12 x 12
Acrylic on canvas (sold)

I was really thrilled to find out that this painting won the "Peoples Choice" award at the Artcenter Traverse City's juried show last month! How about that! I was REALLY tickled because I know nobody in the area...strangers voted me in! (Other than you, Judy)

The really strange thing is that no one from the ArtCenter let me know that I'd won...LOL (My husband just happened to read it on their website.) We all need these little boosts.... so I'm sure glad he happened to see it.

Last week was chemo week with my mom... So I wasn't able to paint. Hopefully tomorrow...
It's really hard on us artists when we can't eek out our painting time.

This Way Is Up......

"This Way Is Up"
15 x 15 inches
Acrylic on Watercolor paper (300#)
$400 unframed

Detail images below....

Again with the wonky ladder and 2 support imagery.... I can't seem to stop. :)

And on a completely unrelated note.....

I had written to Polly Hammett, (she has a great video from CCP called "Design with the Figure") asking her where she purchased the moldable foam stamps. I was delighted to get a very kind response from her today.

This material is a sort of foam product that when heated becomes soft. You can then press any number of things (fern, mesh, lace, leaves, your face...well, not really sure about that last one) ...then the foam cools and wha-la! A nifty stamp to add texture to any painting that needs "a little something there." Polly demonstrates this technique brilliantly in her video.

Polly said in her email:
"I heat mine on a hot coffee pot burner untill it gives just a little, then quickly push it on a raised surface....Lace, leaves ect.
It is like making magic!"

I'm going to get some of this foam so I can make some magic too!

Measured Progress...WIP

"Measured Progress"... WIP (Work In Progress)
12 x 12 inches
Acrylic on Acrylic paper (so far)

Preliminary shapes and values blocked in with Daniel Smith Gesso... Black, White and Venetian Red

Taking it a bit further...and now I want to stop and think a bit...

We are going to the Crystal Lake Art Center's fund raiser tonight... From what I hear it is an active group... and only about 20 minutes away. Looking forward to seeing all the goodies they'll have in the auction.

Celebrating Achievement

"Celebrate Achievement"
11 x 11
Acrylic and pencil on watercolor paper
$220 unframed

I had a friend express interest in "Support System", and since it's not available, I decided to try to complete a larger version of it that I had started some time ago.

And this is what I learned about that....

I have to just stick with the idea... and forget what I've done before...
I found myself glancing at "Support System" trying too hard to recreate it.
I'll continue on with the idea of the wonky ladder with the 2 supports....And even keep the title in mind as I paint... But there will never be another "Support System".

There will be more paintings with that idea behind them... some of the paintings will be worse... some might even be better.... (I can hope) But never the same.
I think that's great.

Transparent Ambition...

"Transparent Ambition"
6 x 6
Acrylic and pencil on collage paper

The word "ambition" has some interesting and sometimes conflicting connotations. I consider myself to be ambitious... but probably not in the traditional sense of the word. I am an ambitious learner... and experimenter with my painting... I'm rarely afraid to try something new, and to play around with the "what ifs" that pop into my head. I guess I consider that ambitious.

And what I mean by "Transparent Ambition" is simply be who you are...if you are excited about something... show it! Don't try to manipulate people or have some hidden agenda. Be authentically transparent.

I probably shouldn't have attempted to explain this cryptic title... it was quite ambitious of me. :)

Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble

"Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble"
6 x 6 inches
Acrylic on Acrylic Paper
$60 unframed

Today was another good day....

  • It was spent painting and listening to a good book tape (The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee)....
  • I sold a painting and went to the Honor post office to ship it (A very neighborly place)....
  • Finally (after months) called Sears to come and fix my mom's dehumidifier (she bought a 5 year in home service warranty...who does that?)
  • Got a really good walk in before I even picked up a brush...
  • Got in doodle mode with this painting... but I ended up liking it! (which doesn't often happen for me when I'm in doodle mode)
  • Have another small painitng almost completed...and I sort of like that one too so far...

All in all.... a red letter day! Who knows where that phrase comes from... anybody? ...anybody?
Answer here! :)