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Reclaiming My Time (And Space)

April 5, 2018

Studio from Entrance

Lots of exciting things going on in the studio these past few weeks. But first I had to clear the space in order to work. Since then, I’ve been painting away, and in the down times (what are those?) have been teaching a weekly beginning watercolor class to a group of 8 women.

I’m teaching it because I want to get better at it myself. I have taken numerous watercolor classes and workshops over the years, but never did keep it up. It was frustrating every time, and so unforgiving that I just gave up. But it has always been something I wanted to conquer, primarily because it is such a gorgeous medium when done right. I stay just a step or two ahead of the students, so it’s a win-win for all of us. Teaching gives me the discipline that I need to stay on task and practice daily.

The bonus surprise from immersing myself in watercolor is that it is making me a better painter overall. It’s a little too soon to see where that will lead, but already it’s beginning to break me out of some of my old habits and helping me to see new possibilities.

I’ve been working on several new paintings on canvas, and a new series of 8-inch square paintings on paper. I’m struggling at the moment for a title for the new series of squares, and it just isn’t coming to me yet. So I’ll stop struggling and then maybe it will reveal itself when the time is right.

Here is one canvas that I finished over the weekend.

“Spring Thaw” – Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas, 24×30 inches – Available for Sale

And here’s a peek at one of the 8″ square ones. These are acrylic on Arches 300# rough paper with a hand-deckled edge. No titles as yet.

New Series, #2 – Acrylic on 300# Arches watercolor paper

I am overjoyed to have had some recent painting sales. That has provided a great impetus to keep heading out to the studio every day.

Here’s hoping you’re having some discoveries and inspirations too. Stay creative!


What’s New in the Studio

January 13, 2018

Just looking around the studio this morning at a whole bunch of unfinished projects, wondering which ones to focus on first. That’s not a bad problem to have, actually, but it does tend to give me pause. What it means is that I need to clear some space in order to focus. Am I the only one?

Over here are several little baby canvases ready for their last coat of clear gel. Once that’s been applied and has a day to dry, I can move them out of the way.

Over here is a stack of my favorite size of small panels with texture applied, waiting patiently for me to get back to work on them.

And in several places around the studio are some half-finished, fairly large canvases. I’d say there are a half dozen of those standing up against the wall.

It’s been unusually cold in our neck of the woods, so that’s going to be my excuse. It’s cold in the studio. It has its own heating, but I’d have to commit a day to be out there working. OK, I’ve talked my way through this dilemma. Now time to get to work on it.

Just a quick note about my Etsy shop: If you know of anyone who’d like some affordable art that is small enough to fit just about anywhere, and can brighten your day, please save the link and share it freely. You, my faithful blog readers, have always been the people who have kept me going and helped me get the word out about my work, and for that I am forever grateful.

Have a creative day!


‘Tis the Season

December 20, 2017

It’s holiday time again, and I hope many of you are planning to spend it with family and some great friends to celebrate the traditions you love.

That tradition for me is Christmas. And, for me, every year seems to be a little different. Some years in the past, depending on the family’s big plans, the holidays were a marathon of cooking, cleaning, decorating, and late nights standing over a bed or counter wrapping an endless assortment of gifts. But there were years when I couldn’t quite anticipate them with joy. Couldn’t quite get into the spirit of things. My Scrooge years.

Then there was the occasional Martha Stewart year, when I would string lights all over inverted tomato cages and put them on my front porch. And then I was over it for a couple of years. This year I have my same little table top tree, and a few lights strung across the mantel. And it gives me a cozy feeling.

But as an artist, the constant for me has been the anticipation and relishing of the quiet time right after the madness of the holidays. When others are happily occupied elsewhere and digging out from under the trappings, I love the solitude of my studio and more art supplies than any one person deserves.

It’s a season of creativity and promise, and like the dormant bulbs in my little flower bed, a lot is happening just under the surface. I can feel the shift already. My thoughts (and dreams) are already turning once again to creating with a renewed energy.

Yesterday I started cleaning my studio, which I’d been avoiding, plugged in all my big lights, and turned on some music. Next, I put the finishing touches on a painting that I hadn’t quite managed to resolve back in the summer. It’s been shown in this blog before as a work in progress. It’s now finished and ready to find a new home.

Fire and Ice – Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas, 20 x 24 inches.

And here are a few works in progress. Just like me.

On a table over there . . .

In this corner by the window . . .

And in another corner:

So many possibilities. Have a wonderful rest of the year and a fabulous new year!


A Brand New Day

November 25, 2017

This brand new day is full of possibilities and promise. So before someone, or something, tries to grab it away from me, I will claim it as my own. My very own day to spend as I alone choose. How will I spend it?

I will definitely include a second (or third) cup of coffee.

A little background music — this might be a nice choice.

Add some paper from the stash . . .

maybe a canvas or three . . .

some paint . . .

Get out the glue, and maybe some other interesting things . . .

And I’ll see what my very own day brings. Perhaps some buried treasure just waiting to be brought to light.

. . . out of all the chaos.

Have a brand new creative day!

Down the Rabbit Hole

November 17, 2017

Teaching this new arts and crafts class for a group of women has taken me down the rabbit hole. And I guess I mean that in a good way. The 1-1/2 hour class is every other Thursday, and I am doing it as a volunteer. Confidentiality rules prevent me from giving more specifics than that, but I wanted you to understand the parameters.

Some of the limitations are that we have two rooms, each with a large dining table, so the quarters are a little tight. Therefore, not a lot of room, or time, to really go wild and get messy as I typically like to do. Some of the women are artistically inclined, but for most of them it’s just a relaxing and fun time, and that’s also fine. I’ve noticed that they like making things that their family members will enjoy, and are proud of their accomplishments.

I have solicited from the community and received lots of free materials and supplies, and so I try to come up with projects that will put those to use.

For example, one friend went through her entire stash of ribbon and trims and gave me tons of them, and others have loaded me down with buttons, old jewelry parts, sequins, and bling.

From others, a collection of scrapbooking paper and stickers, used but good manila file folders, magazines and more magazines, and containers for washing brushes. I’ve received small donations of money to buy regular supplies such as glue, scissors, brushes, and paper. I’ve hauled out my own collection of pencils, pens, and markers, which I usually pack up and take with me. My big tote bag is getting heavy. The next thing I need is a cart.

But I thought I’d share some of the links I’ve bookmarked, and some of the projects we’ve done. If you’re like me, sometimes it’s fun to go down the rabbit hole. Warning! One video leads to another. You will find it necessary to step away periodically.

Session 1

We did a simple little 8×10 painting, in a negative painting style that I knew would be mistake-proof.

  • First we taped off the painting area and painted a colorful background and let that dry.
  • Then we painted over that with a pale color or white, allowing some of the color to peek through and leaving random circular openings where the background would completely show through.
  • Finally, using the resulting circular shapes, we created plant forms. (Exception: one person decided hers were balloons and drew spiral ribbons coming off them!)

Here is my demo:

And here is the video that gave me the idea. The results everyone came up with were amazingly diverse and exciting.

Session 2

At this point we were at peak leaf season, so I wanted an autumn-themed project. It took me forever to find the perfect one, but this was it. Every single finished piece was a work of art, and they thoroughly enjoyed doing it. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of any of their projects. But trust me, you would like doing this with a group.

Session 3

Yesterday we did tags or bookmarks. I had a small stack of big inventory tags on hand, but made more by cutting up manila folders and punching them at one end. I had enough for each person to make 4 to 6 tags. I took collage supplies, watercolors, pencils, and pens for this project. They had fun coming up with their own designs, embellishing them with the beautiful ribbons and trims. I didn’t photograph any of the actual pieces, but here is one video that got my wheels turning. A quick time-hop through this video will give you the idea.

And for future projects . . .

Here is a video for one I’m definitely going to do with them some time soon. Mistake proof, and beautiful.

And another one on the back burner, which doesn’t involve poring over videos or Pinterest. This one is a simple grouping of little nature studies. I have a big stash of blank art cards in a drawer, some with backgrounds already painted on them. And I’ve been collecting all kinds of things from nature and putting them in a plastic tub for subjects to draw and paint. This is what I envision for that project, although it might be a little intimidating for anyone who has never drawn much from nature. Still, no matter the skill level, I think this idea would work:

Have fun down the rabbit hole. If you see anything interesting that you’d like to share, let me know.