Sunday, October 2, 2011

Different kind of crafting!

I've been working on a couple of random paintings but they're coming along slowly.  The next ones I plan on finishing will be for the joint book/painting giveaway mentioned in the previous post.  While I read Dracula and Dante's Inferno, I have to keep those creative juices flowing!  So for my dad's birthday present, I made some scrapbook pages and had them laminated for him to use as placemats.  Here are the images!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Finally I will be involved in another online event! It is next month and it's pretty exciting.  I am joining Adam of Roof Beam Reader and Allie of A Literary Odyssey in a Group Read and Paint Me a Book Giveaway!

Adam and I have discussed a Paint Me a Book” giveaway where he would offer readers of his blog prizes of books and I would create a painting inspired by that book to also go to the winner.  This has kept getting pushed off, mainly by my indecision about whether books that I feel I could create a good painting from would also be attractive as prizes to his blog readers.  We’ve also been delayed because there has been so much going on in my life that painting has slipped to the back burner (along with another of my favorite pastimes: reading).  But when I saw the books Allie chose for October Group Reads, Dante’s Inferno and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, I became really excited.  Here is my motivation to read two books that have been on my list for a long time and I think there are some really fun painting possibilities.  

Instructions can be found on Adam’s blog, but to sum up, Adam will be offering up two October / Halloween-themed books (not the Group Read books) to go along with the paintings – so two winners (participants in the Group Read) will end up winning one book + one painting.  If you want to sign-up for the Group Read and thereby have a chance at winning one of two books + original paintings, head to THIS POST and claim your spot.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Life's speed bumps

My husband and I have had the good fortune to be able to help out some family members and take care of their little boy for a while.  His addition to our home almost six weeks ago has pretty much taken over our free time and I haven't painted for fun since.  I have done some more practical painting-our bedroom is now edamame green and his is grass sprout.  I also painted some shelves for his room.  But I have felt the twinge (it's pretty much a constant hum these days) to do something creative.

On that note, I finally have a painting in the works for Adam's (Roof Beam Reader) blog to accompany one of his upcoming book giveaways.  I am so excited about this one.  It is a subject I haven't attempted but am really interested in and the colors will (hopefully) be fantastic.  I'll post pictures as soon as it is finished-hopefully a week or so.  Thanks for continuing to follow during this absence!

Here is a picture of the little boy we are taking care of.  Brennan and I have both fallen in love with him.

This is the color of the bedroom we just painted, edamame, from Sherwin Williams.  I'll take a picture of the room once all the furniture is set up again because it ended up looking really nice.

I did the shelves in sky blue but I think I need to change them to dark blue.  

Friday, June 10, 2011

Missing Time to Paint

Well, it's Paint Party Friday and I don't have anything to submit.  We're still unpacking, but on top of that it has been one of the busiest couple of weeks of the year.  The warmer weather brought with it barbecues, camping, graduation parties, baseball games, longer hours at work (boo!).  Apart from work, all the activities have been wonderful but I just don't feel like myself when I don't get to paint or draw or scrapbook or bake...I have to do something creative to keep myself in balance.  So the plan is to get my new painting nook set up Sunday - I will post pictures - and get painting this week! 

Thursday, June 2, 2011


My husband and I moved this past weekend from an itty bitty apartment to a nice sized home.  The move went well in spite of the strong thunderstorms and flood warnings.  lol.  Now on to the furnishing!  The good news is that all of our furniture is at the new place.  The bad news is that there is so much to set up and to clean that it will probably be a couple of weeks before I get to settle down and paint.  Maybe I'm panicking and I'll be able to work on some before then, but it feels like it's going to take forever.  We're enjoying setting up the new place though and I get a little studio in the basement!!  I'm going to need to get some OttLites to bring in natural-ish light to the dark space.  Anyway, I am excited to start painting again and hope to start pounding some out in another week or so.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Work has been crazy busy lately (have I mentioned how much I hate being stuck behind a desk all day??) and I'm moving in two weeks so the packing has begun!  All this has led to very little painting time!  :(  The current painting project is for my first joint giveaway with Adam at, but I don't think it'll be ready for another week or so.  I don't want to go too long without updating this, so here are a few pencil/charcoal sketches done recently. 

 I may turn this elephant one into a painting at some point.
 My dad made these candles for me and I thought it'd be fun to give the shapes/colors a try.
The fist doesn't look too bad, but I struggled with the open hand.  I kept referencing it at a slightly different angle lol.  The thumb in particular is goofy.  Well, they say hands and feet are a couple of the hardest things to draw!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Moving On

This painting is for Wet Canvas' May Different Strokes Challenge.

The colors in this painting are bright and fun.  It is probably the loosest painting I've done so far and that's quite an accomplishment for me.  It seems like a big trend in painting right now is to paint loosely (i.e., don't use too many brushstrokes, don't paint every detail, go for the feeling more than what's observed).  I don't entirely understand the method and though it sounds easier than being really detailed in a painting, I've found it to be really hard.  I start loosely but it ends up looking sloppy, muddy, and chaotic so I end up falling back to painting things exactly as I see them.  Anyway, this is the loosest attempt I've managed so yay! For an example of loose painting, here are links to the blogs of a few wonderful artists I'm following: Celeste Bergin and Carol Marine and Pam Holnback. 

Overall I'm really pleased with this.  I did have a couple of problems.  I started the background with a more haphazard sky and when I painted over it some of the texture from the first draft stuck around.  I'm not sure how to get rid of that-sand it down before applying the next layer?  Also, I'm still trying to get the knack of taking photos of paintings.  This was taken outside, facing North, at around 7PM.  There probably was not enough light.  My camera's having trouble with zoom also so the quality isn't the best.  I'll get this eventually!

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


I was informed last night that I hit 100 followers.  Wow, that is pretty incredible.  I didn't really think I'd want people to know about my blog.  It was more just a private place for me to post what I was working on and get some suggestions from other artists.  I am pretty unsure of what I create because I don't have formal training and am still working on technique and skill.  I have the enthusiasm and imagination, I think, but I still need to get what is in my head on the canvas.  There is so much to learn about color and composition and texture... the list goes on and on.  But all I can do is keep practicing and creating and studying how the pros do it and hopefully I'll improve!  Most importantly, playing with paints and charcoal is really, really fun.
I haven't set up a way to sell my paintings for a couple of reasons.  For one thing, places charge to host your work and I’m just not sure enough people would want to buy my work for it to be worthwhile.  The other thing is that it’s scary for me to give people my work.  What if they don’t like it?  It’s hard enough giving paintings to friends and family as gifts, but to someone who pays for it?  That being said, if anyone sees a piece on my site and would like to make an offer, I’d be happy to consider it.  It would be an honor.  And if there’s a subject in particular someone would like interpreted into a painting, please let me know.  I like the challenge and if you’re happy with it and want to purchase it, great!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Taking a Peek

This is my final, for now anyway, version of this barn owl.  I am pretty happy with the shape of the face and the color of the fur.  I still wish the colors would have blended together a little was a tough balance to find.  I would like to paint some more owls, maybe try one that is a little more abstract and further away.  Something to look forward to!  Now, as President Bartlet from The West Wing would say, what's next?

This painting was done on an 8" x 10" panel with acrylics.  The reference image can be found here.

Owl Update

I worked on the painting of the owl for almost two hours last night. After a full day of work, that was all I could manage.  Unfortunately I'm still not happy with it!  The colors of the body should show off its fun shape and texture but have to stay soft and light.  I'm posting two in progress shots and will hopefully get the final one up tonight.  If I'm still not happy with it after another hour or so tonight I'm going to put it on the back burner for awhile so I can move on to new things.

Here was my first attempt:

With some significant changes, here's the second draft:
Suggestions are always welcome!  Thanks!

Monday, May 2, 2011

My excuse for not having an update sooner than this....

My project for the last couple of weeks has been an 8x10 painting of a barn owl. Usually I complete a painting a week, at least, but I know this one can be better than it is so I just keep plugging away.  I am going to make my last effort tonight and then it is what it is!  There's a great community of artists at that has been willing to look at my work-in-progress pictures and offer advice.  Since I don't have any training, a lot of times I will know something is off but can't really pinpoint the problem.  Their suggestions have been invaluable and I recommend the site to anyone interested in art.  I'll post the progress photos and the final product tonight.   I really can't wait to get on to new things.  There are a couple of challenges this month I want to participate in and I'm going to produce my first painting that'll be given away on my brother Adam's literature blog: 

Also, I just wanted to thank all the people that are following my blog.  It's very kind of you to be interested in my development as an artist.  Critique and requests are welcome! 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cherries in Love

This is my submission for Paint And Draw Together's April challenge. You can check out the site and other submissions here: 

To get the background, I did an undercoating of yellow ochre and dark and light green on 8x10 panel. Then I wrapped the canvas in rice paper, using mod podge to adhere it to the panel. I painted the cherries and wood chips on top.  I didn't spend too much time on this one, but I love the colors of the cherries. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


My most recent project was from Wet Canvas' Southwestern/Western Art Forum's March Challenge.  You can click on the link to see the reference photo and other people's really beautiful contributions.

This painting was a toughie.  I hope I have time to take a swing at some of the other photographs and also to dive into their April challenge.   I love the southwest and if I can't live there, at least I can travel through painting.

Monday, March 28, 2011


I created the image below using the photograph here as a reference: Wet Canvas Image .  It was fun to do, but I've gotta admit that I'm getting tired of purple.  It's not one of my favorite colors, it's too "in your face" for me, but I am giving this painting along with the previous two to my brother for his birthday. He requested purple paintings.  Hopefully he likes them.  He's my brother, he has to!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Out for a ride

I'm doing several paintings using the color purple (the tree in my last post, this hot air balloon, and an extreme close up of an iris) and I am learning a lot about mixing this color.  It has been a great exercise so far.  I've also found out that if I photograph purple with a flash, the color shows up as blue.  haha.  The challenge in this one was the angle of the balloon/basket and also layering the silver.  I think it took three or more applications before you couldn't see the blue sky through the silver.  C&C welcome!  I should add that I had to crop the picture a bit on the right to straighten it-there is a bit of blue along the right side of the balloon.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Just a Tree

This is a terrible photo of my most recent painting, but it'll have to do. The painting is pretty dark, but in person the whitest parts of the tree are much brighter, more eye-popping, I think, so there's more contrast. It was an attempt at a more abstract painting than I've done recently.
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Sunday, March 6, 2011


I purchased a book called The Big Book of Painting Nature in Watercolor a month or so ago.  I was flipping through it in Barnes and Noble and even though I don't paint in watercolor I was drawn in by the photographs.  The book is made up of photographs by John Shaw and watercolor paintings by Ferdinand Petrie.  I used a photograph of oak leaves and acorns from this book as a reference for this acrylic painting done on an 8" x 10" canvas. I still don't have a good method of photographing my paintings and that gets a bit annoying but here it is.  I am not entirely happy with the background or the leaves yet-any suggestions would be very much appreciated!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Painting Pause

I have been sick on and off for three weeks.  Aside from a lingering cough, I am finally feeling better and can’t wait to get home from work tonight so I can start painting.  Hopefully I’ll have something to post tonight or by the end of the week, at the latest.   It’s funny how strong the itch to paint becomes.  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Mountain Chickadee

My submission for February's Wilderness Art Challenge.  Lots of great pieces posted for this challenge!

Mountain Chickadee
Acrylic on 8" x 10" panel.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

10 Minute Challenge

I decided to participate in my first online challenge.  Carol Marine is an amazing artist and the challenge she posted on this week was to do one picture several time - allowing yourself only ten minutes for each square.  Ten minutes!  This was a lot more challenging than I thought it would be.  For example, the paint didn't have time to dry so colors were blending together that weren't supposed to with some pretty ugly results.  But it was a great exercise and a lot of fun.  I learned a lot and will definitely do this again.  Thanks Carol!

Monday, January 24, 2011

2 of 1000

This is another sponge painting done from the book Sponge Painting: Fast and Fun Techniques for Creating Beautiful Art by Terrence Tse.  This one was a real challenge.  I couldn't get the highlights on the vase correct.  I made them much too thick and white rather than transparent and tapering at the bottom.  I tried to correct it but it was difficult.  The perspective of the lily on the right is all wrong.  I also don't feel like there is any sense of depth.  Usually I'd chip away until I felt more satisfied, but at the moment I can't bear to mess with this painting any more.  I am ready to move away from sponge painting for a while and on to something a bit more me! 

1 of 1000

I had a lot of fun with this sponge painting completed with acrylics from the book:
Sponge Painting: Fast and Fun Techniques for Creating Beautiful Art by Terrence Tse.  As usual I ended up having to improvise and muddle my way through it because it's never as simple as the instructions make it seem.  The background was especially fun to create and I learned a lot about highlights.

Paintings from 2010

I started experimenting with acrylics last year.  Painting is a whole different ballgame from pencil or charcoal.  It's messy and hard to control and time-consuming, at least for a pathetic beginner like me, but I love it!  These were done prior to the 1000 paintings idea so I won't count them toward that number.   But here they are!

This is the rough draft of a painting I did for my brother.  I did his on a smaller, wrapped canvas.  The style of the background sparked my interest in sponge paintings.

This painting was done from a set that included the paints and a how-to booklet.  I feel a little like a cheater when working on these kind of projects, but it was a great tool to learn how to mix colors, paint in layers, etc.  Gotta learn somehow!  And I always end up doing things my own way anyhow.  Maybe I don't follow directions that well.

This is a painting of a B-2 bomber.  My dad works for the company that builds them-Northrup Grumman-andI thought it'd be fun to give it a whirl.  It is also the first landscape I've ever painted...pretty obvious, huh?

I wanted to paint some calla lilies, I fell in love with them when picking out flowers for my wedding.  I haven't finished this by a long shot - I'm adding a couple more flowers and hopefully some holly, stephanotis, etc. that made up our Christmas wedding floral arrangement.