Tuesday, December 30, 2008


"Mishka" 2.5"x 3.5" oil painting ACEO

This is my mom and dad's cat, Mishka, asleep at her favorite perch on the back of the couch in front of the big picture window.
I managed to get a few good pictures of her while I was there at Christmas, and this is from one of them.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I Hope...

Hope -- 9" x 12" oil on canvas

...everyone had a great Christmas. I'm taking a break off of ACEO's for a week or so to paint something I really want to, and this was last night's result. About 6 hours to completion, I think.
Her eyes say it all...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Mo Cuishle

"Mo Cuishle" 2.5" x 3.5" oil on canvas paper

I've been meaning to post a few times this last week, but our internet service is really bad right now, and blogger hasn't been letting me upload pictures. Since this is mainly a blog about pictures, and I didn't have anything interesting to say, I just didn't say anything at all.
This painting is one out of this week's set of ACEO's. It is from a gorgeous photograph that my friend, James, took, and he graciously gave me permission to use it. His was black and white, and I used my imagination to colorize it. I couldn't think of a name for it that I hadn't already used before, and "Mo Cuishle" came to mind, because it means "my darling". In the book I'm writing, I had to do a lot of research on Gaelic endearments because it's based in Ireland, so the term was fresh in my mind. Anyways, I hope you all like it.
Bye for now.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Contemplation - 2.5" x 3.5" ACEO

Hmmm...much to contemplate these days. I'm not sleeping well, thinking too much...too internal. I feel like walking, running, writing, reading, but not painting. Is that a normal artist thing? Am I just avoiding work? LOL! I'm having a hard time focusing on painting, but, I'm still able to churn out these little babies because they only take an hour. That's about as long as I can focus on one thing, and even then, I'm finding myself getting up twenty times, to look in the fridge, the cupboard, the drawers, only to go sit back down at the easel, empty-handed, because I'm not really looking for food. It would probably only take half-an-hour if I didn't get up so often:)
I did finish the 18 x 24 for Inside Barkerville...I think...maybe. There's still something bothering me about it, but I'm not sure what it is yet.
Anyways, I love the look in this cat's eye, and I also love the way I did the red background. It really brings it to life...I think it does anyways. (Thanks a bunch to the copyright free WetCanvas photo library for the reference photo!)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Is That You, Momma?

I've been slacking at posting, again, but not painting. I'm busy! I'm working on an 18"x 24" painting right now for the Inside Barkerville project, and have finished at least 8 ACEO's since I last posted. This little fella is one of them. I love how the light from the window behind him outlines his little head. He looks like an angel:)

I also took part in our village's annual Arts and Crafts fair, this last weekend, and I did awesome. I sold cards, prints, ACEO originals, ACEO prints, and even three original paintings! Yay! Not bad for our little town. I recommend it to all of you artists out there. It helps spread your work and your name around, and lets people know what you do. I gave out lots of business cards and chatted with many people who claim to have not known I was an artist, even though I've been here for twelve years, and have my stuff in the gallery. Who knew?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

New Painting - Not an ACEO!- Le Petit Artiste

"Le Petit Artiste" 11" x 14", oil on canvas

Well, I've been trying to post for the last few days, but Blogger hasn't been letting me upload any pictures. Either Blogger or my crappy internet connection, who knows.
This one's went pretty fast. It was fun, too. It's a picture of my son, taking up the whole kitchen floor, sitting in a beam of sunlight while he colors. The scene took my breath away, and I knew I had to paint it, so I snapped a few quick photos, some of which turned out really well. There's another one from the series I might paint, too. But this is it for now.
Aren't children precious? Everything they do is precious, even the not so precious stuff. And today, that really hit home for me. I mean, I've always known it, and always thought it, but sometimes we take it for granted a bit.

That all stopped today. My daughter almost died.

For weeks, I've been telling her "Take that out of your mouth! You could choke!" Instead of just getting rid of the offending marbles, or picking them up, we'd get distracted by something else. She'd take it out of her mouth, and we wouldn't give it another thought. STUPID!@!!@#$% She's two. She doesn't listen or she just doesn't remember.

Today, she choked. She was gasping, and barely making a sound. Her face was starting to turn purple and she was clawing at her neck. I rushed over and stuck my finger down her throat, but it was a marble, and the slippery little thing just pushed farther down. I freaked! My husband rushed over and tried to get it out, but to no avail. He finally grabbed her and did the Heimlich maneuver. After only one or two tries, the marble flew out and landed on the floor in front of me. I broke down. I couldn't stop shaking. I just cried and cried. It was too close.
We went through the whole house after that, throwing out anything smaller than a baseball...well not quite a baseball, but you know...
I'll never take my children's safety for granted again. Nothing matters more than them. Her throat is sore, and she's shaken up, but she's alive.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Dog's Purpose

Well, I've had a pretty awful week, I must admit. I haven't been able to paint much let alone think. I've been consumed with worry and sadness. On October 26th, our sweetheart family dog, Zappa, was diagnosed with lymphoma. He was only five, and we got him when my son was just a baby, so they've literally grown up side by side. He was one of the best dogs I've ever had. Smart, loyal, he always knew what we wanted and what we needed. He was great at catching a frisbee, even though he only had one eye. He was calm, and protective, but never aggressive, just the best dog ever. The vet said that we should have him put down right away, but we couldn't do it. It was such a surprise to hear the diagnosis and he hadn't even been acting sick. We wanted to try to fight for him. But only the day after his diagnosis he went rapidly downhill. There ended up being nothing we could do for him, as he couldn't even eat or drink. We had him put down to end his suffering two days ago.
My friend emailed me this yesterday, and it was so true, it brought tears to my eyes.
This is for Zappa...our friend...our family...he will be truly missed.

A Dog's Purpose
(from a 6-year-old).

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, 'I know why.'

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, 'People are born so that they can learn how to live a good Life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?' The Six-year-old continued, 'Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long.'

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree

When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you're not

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008


"Bucephalus" 2.5"x 3.5" oil on watercolor paper ACEO

This is one of my newer aceo's. I've actually been painting more than one a day lately, I've just been lazy about posting! So, you can have a look at all of the other ones on my ebay listings.
Have a great night,

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New original miniature oil painting aceo

The Eyes Have It -- 2.5" x 3.5" aceo

Just a quick post tonight. I'm busy and tired. I painted three aceo's today, cleaned house, played with my kids at the park, cooked dinner, gave the kids a bath, put them to bed, folded three loads of laundry, and now it's time to get to work on my Barkerville paintings.
But, I'm painting:) Who could ask for more?
G'night, all.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New ACEO Black Cat Original Oil Painting for Halloween

"I SEE YOU" 2.5" x 3.5" oil on watercolor paper

Here's another little ACEO. I've been having fun with these kitties this week. My first one, Baby Blue Eyes comes up for auction on Ebay tomorrow at about 7pm, pacific standard time, so check it out. I think next week I'll do horses, or maybe musicians...hmmm. I also finished three other ACEO's and a top secret Barkerville watercolor this week, so I've been busy. I'm a very tired mommy tonight, so I don't have much to say. Oh, I know, you other artists out there, I have a question for you...What is your favorite type of watercolor paint? I need to upgrade, and I'm wondering if anyone has any opinions.
Okay, that's it. Goodnight, all.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Queen Shiva ACEO

Okay, well, I know I have painted this image of my beloved Shiva before, but never this small:) I sold the original one, and I really love this picture of her posing in a ray of sunshine on our old farm. The light is so beautiful, I just had to do it again as an ACEO.

In other news, hmmm...let's see. I know I had something I wanted to talk about. Oh yeah...commissions. I've discovered something new about actually working full time as an artist. I hadn't up until this Barkerville project came up. I'd always dreamed of being able to support myself with my art, but let's just say I didn't do a whole lot to make that dream happen. I painted when I had the energy, or when inspiration hit, or when I thought I had time. When it's a job, though, holy...do priorities ever change. Suddenly it's really not that important to have coffee with girlfriends, or make sure your child gets to the play centre three times a week that's half an hour drive away, and lasts for three hours, or watching Medium every Monday night. I'd love to still be doing those things, mind you, but they sure don't allow me to get any painting done. This is hard!@ It's work. It's good work, because I'm doing what I love, but sometimes I have to do an image I'm not crazy about, or subject matter I'm not familiar with, and...it's work! I'm the one who decided I wanted to paint Barkerville anyways, so it's not like I have to just paint what I'm told, either. But still, I started to feel smothered, and hopeless.

I know I was going to go somewhere with this...damn mommy brain...I wish I could sleep at night:) That's it...back to the ACEO's. I've realized, that no matter how tiny, or insignificant it is, we, as artists, need to remember to take time to paint just for ourselves, or we'll start hating it. I was getting so burnt out. The last thing I wanted to do was pick up a paintbrush. And then I took an hour and put it aside for just me, and painted a little trading card. It turned out great, and I felt great, and I didn't have to take it all seriously, and worry if it was going to be good enough. So now, when I'm feeling smothered by the project, I grab a little 2.5" by 3.5" card and whip off a little kitty, or horse, or something totally frivolous, and suddenly everything's all good again.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I'm BAAACCKKK! With some original miniature oil painting ACEO's

"Baby Blue Eyes" 2.5" x 3.5" oil on primed watercolor paper

I know!!! I've been away from here forever, but...I'm going to try to come back, I promise. I'm finally painting something I'm allowed to show you all:)

For the last five months, I've been working on a top secret project:) I'm not allowed to show the paintings off online...yet. Not until the website is up and running. I'll give you a hint, though. The Candyman painting is one of the paintings included in the project. And, this cat painting is not, lol! Okay, I'll tell you about it. I know that I mentioned somewhere that I decided to do my body of work on Barkerville, this cool historical, restored ghost town near Quesnel, B.C. -- Well Serendipity walked in, and about a week after I'd made that decision, I was contacted by a man working in Barkerville, who saw my art online and wanted to know if I might happen to be interested in illustrating a book he was writing. (At that point, the only person I had told about my decision was my husband.) Well, DUH!! I had just decided to do twenty or so paintings about Barkerville anyways, so that was a no-brainer.

So, I've been working really hard on those full-size, original oil paintings ever since, and haven't given myself much time to paint anything just for me. These little ACEO miniature paintings are perfect, since they don't take long to finish, so they're not really cutting into my project time, but I still get that wonderful sense of accomplishment of finishing a new painting. Plus, I can paint whatever I want, and that's nice, too. I'm really enjoying the Barkerville project, but sometimes it's hard as an artist when you're being directed. So, Baby Blue Eyes was my solution! Hope you like her. She'll be on Ebay for the next week, so have a look.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

'47 Mercury

Uncle Ron 11x 14, oil on canvas, NFS

This is a quick, one day color study I did for a larger portrait commission that I'm going to be working on. I like how the study turned out, and I think it almost stands well on its own as a finished painting. I would like to see more detail, though, and I'm going to change the angle of the pickup to get more of the grille in if I can find a good reference photo of a 47 mercury pickup.
Anybody out there have one? If you do, send it to me!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bears, Bears, Bears

Grizzly at Atnarko River, Bella Coola, B.C. 6"x 9" watercolor

I said I was going to post another Barkerville painting the other night, and I had fully intended to, but I walked into my studio to discover my portrait of a little girl in period clothing obscured by pearlescent blue paint! My two year old, Rhiannon, had decided she really liked that little girl and wanted to add her own personal touch! It couldn't be salvaged, so I painted over it and will start again sometime...But in the meantime, I whipped off this little feller last night in a few hours. I've been wanting to do something different for a while. I think I just needed a breather from the same old subject matter and the same old medium, so instead of portraits in oils, I did wildlife in watercolor. I don't use watercolor very often, and don't really know the medium that well. I don't have a clue about technique, anyways, so I'm pretty happy about how he turned out. I think I'll make him into an art card for tourists.

Grizzlies in Bella Coola are kind of a big deal right now. They're done sleeping for the winter, and are out in full force. There are a lot of them around, as there is a limit to hunting, and we basically live right on their doorstep. We have about one attack a year, and this years' was just a few weeks ago, May 3, I think. It made the Vancouver paper. A B.C. hydro guy was out working, and a grizzly decided to use him as a play toy. It took off part of his scalp, and chewed on his arm, but he managed to get away and drive to safety, despite his serious injuries. He's okay now, and happy to be alive.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Candy Man -- Mason & Daly, Barkerville, B.C.

The Candy Man -- Mason & Daly, Barkerville, B.C.
18" x 24" oil on canvas

I did it, I think. I overcame my struggle with this one all by myself. Thank you, viewers, but not a single one of you here, or on Flickr, had any words of wisdom, so I was forced to use my own brain, however dysfunctional it may be at the moment.
Can you believe I am still nursing a 2+ year old, and she wakes up at least 5 times a night? No, I don't expect too much sympathy, yes, it's my own fault! But it does explain some of my psychoses these past months, LOL! I also have been too exhausted to paint much, so this one took a long time. For every two and a half hour painting session, I got about two of those jars painted. (The only time I get to paint is after the kids go to bed, and that's how long I last before I fall from exhaustion.)

Anyways, I think I've explained Barkerville before, it's one of British Columbia's most interesting historical sites. It is an old mining town, which has been lovingly restored, and has period actors that carry out the actual services of the town. You can eat at restaurants with menus from the 1800's, but old-fashioned fudge (YUUUUMM!!!) and candy from the Mason & Daly, fresh baked goods, you name it...there's even a China Town. It's a definite must-see for anyone traveling in B.C. It's about 1 hour northeast of Quesnel, in Central B.C.
This is my friend, Rick Galbraith, an historical writer and singer in the town who is my partner on a publication about Barkerville to be released hopefully in 2009. He does a wonderful job of doling out fudge and cheer to the many visitors of the store. You can check out the Barkerville site at http://www.barkerville.bc.ca/.

Well, I hope to start on another Barkerville painting tonight, so that's all until next time.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Music Festival Poster AND New painting--HELP!

I know I said I'd post the poster the next day, but I thought I'd better get it okayed from the festival committee first, and it did. They love it, so now you get to see it. It doesn't have all of the text on it yet, but the design part is finished.

I'm also posting this painting that I've been working on for a few weeks. I really need some help, so please, please comment! I hate the background color. I did thumbnails, and it worked on a small scale, but this big, it just looks so...yellow...YUK! It isn't finished, obviously, but I didn't want to spend a lot of time on painting the candy jugs before I decided on the new background color...but, I can't figure out what color would work. I have no artists to consult in this teeny tiny town of mine, so I'm depending on you fellow artists to help get me unstuck! So do you think it should be darker or lighter? There is fairly strong light coming from a window on the right hand side...The front part of the painting won't be yellow, it has little glass inserts with coffee beans and candy behind them. I want the light effect to be pretty dramatic, but right now, all of the values are too similair.
Any suggestions, anybody?

Thursday, May 1, 2008


I'm back...I can't believe it's been almost two months since my last post. Talk about inconsistent posting! I'm going to have to change the name of my blog soon if I don't get back on track somehow. I'm very sorry to anybody who actually follows this thing. It seems that it has taken much longer for me to adjust to being back in Bella Coola than I thought it would. Right now I feel like my life isn't my own! I'm taxi cab, housekeeper, maid, servant, gardener, wife, toddler entertainer extraordinaire. I can't remember the last time I had a day to myself, or a minute for that matter, unless I'm sleeping, which doesn't seem to be happening very much lately either. I can't remember how I had the energy to pull off a painting a day before I went to Hawaii, either.

Well, enough excuses for now (although valid!) I have been doing art though! I am well into one of my Barkerville pieces, although I'm keeping this one secret until I'm done, and I've been totally absorbed in a commissioned piece for the last month. I think I've re-started four times now.
RULE NUMBER ONE--When it comes to commissions always, always, always, did I say always? make sure you know exactly what the customer wants! Don't let them say, (like I did), "oh, just go with it, we trust your judgment". As nice as this feels initially, and as good for the ego as it may be, DON'T DO IT! Always get an exact idea of what the customer wants. Do sketches, a gazillion of them if you have to, until you get it right. Show the customer all of them, and let them pick.
I have been hired to do the poster for the 10th annual Discovery Coast Music Festival, here in Bella Coola. We get some really great acts for such a small town so be sure to check it out if you're in the area.

Anyways, they told me to "run with it" and I've been running for a month now, trying to get it right, not following my own good advice. I spent a week on the original idea, which was then rejected because it had a Viking in it, which may apparently be taken the wrong way from the native population here?? I didn't know I was making a political statement, just a pretty poster, nonetheless, it hit the scrap pile...then I started throwing a few more ideas around.

The one in the picture above is my second attempt, which I think is pretty darn cool considering I'm not a graphic artist at all, but it wasn't "colorful" enough...another two days down the drain. There was another one in there too that hit the recycle bin, and now the one that I'm working on presently, which should be done by tomorrow. So...if I can get it together enough by then to do another post, I'll show the finished artwork.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Barkerville Series in the Works

Frank at the King George 4"x 5" value and color study

Well, I've decided I better come up with a "body of work". I finally feel like my work is up to gallery standards, but so far I've been all over the map when it comes to style and subject matter. An important part of becoming professional is to develop a style, and a body of work to show to potential collectors and galleries, and so far I don't have enough pieces that are related.

Last summer I was in Barkerville, this incredible old historical town near where I grew up that has been re-built to look like it originally was. My sister and I took a gazillion photos, and a few really nice people on Flickr gave me permission to use some of theirs for reference as well. It has great actors in period costumes that remain in character throughout the day. I want to pay tribute to this remarkable place, and the remarkable people who keep it going, by doing a series of paintings showing the people and the place. Sooooooo.......this will be my first "body of work".

The King George Hotel is a great old building in Barkerville where you can actually spend the night in the historical townsite. This is the cat, Frank, who lives there.

Oh yeah...I almost forgot. We're down to our last few days in Maui, and I have to pack up really soon. I won't be able to post for a while, as it's too late to start the new painting because the paint won't be dry to pack it, and I'll be en-route. I'll be back in a week or two, as long as we still have some semblance of internet service when I get back to Bella Coola...sob...snow, rain, clouds, YUK!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Nap Time #3 (in progress)

Okay, this isn't really only the third painting session, but I didn't dare show you all the previous two or three before this! Frightening! For literally 15 painting hours, I went backwards. Once again, I seemed to forget everything I learned. I'm starting to question the whole inspiration thing. Every successfull artist I've ever read about says you have to work even if you don't "feel like it", but it seems like every time I try that, I screw everything up! The skin tone has gone from yellow, to orange to purple and back again! But, yesterday, I "felt like" painting, and everything I knew came flooding back to me. It was like I was working from instinct instead of thinking about it. Anyways, I'm pretty happy with the results. I still need to tweak some values and richen up the skin tone a tad, but I'm feeling positive about it again.
As always, constructive criticism is welcome, so feel free to comment.

Friday, February 22, 2008

In Progress-#2

This is after my first day of working on laying in the main colors. I quickly blocked in the background and started adding detail to the part of the blanket that's wrapped around the baby. I changed the position of the face, and added detail there. I quickly blocked in shadow colors on the arms and legs. I'm having a few problems with the skin tones and the temperature changes. I think that I may need to make the local skin tone warmer, with the shadows warm, as the light is fairly cool. Right now she looks kind of corpse-like...YUK. The colors in the reference photo aren't very good, and I wanted to warm the whole thing up a bit, so I am kind of guessing at the colors at this point...tricky...anyways, I'll have more soon.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Nap Time -- In Progress

Okay, so I'm on to something new. This is a large painting, one of the largest I've done. It's 24" x 30", and so far, I'm enjoying the size for the clarity of detail and features that can be attained. This is almost life size. Since this isn't a daily painting, I thought I'd post some in-progress shots.

So this morning, I thought I'd work on my painting while the baby napped...isn't she beautiful when she's sleeping? I started to get ready, ate some breakfast, kicked my husband and son out of the house (well not really, they went willingly) and prepared my self mentally to start painting, when, of course, she woke up. No painting during the daylight hours again today. I heaved a big sigh and collected her from her room. We had a bit of a snuggle together, and she left my lap to go and play. Now, I do a pretty good job of baby-proofing, but something always seems to show up when I least expect it. This time it was a pin-cushion...missing the pins.
Oh My God! Where did she find that and where are the pins. I found one soon enough, sticking out of my foot! I pulled it out and blood squirted all over the carpet. As I'm trying to clean up the blood, I notice that Rhiannon is being uncharacteristically quiet, so I limp over to where I thought she was admiring her portrait, only to find that she is adding her own artistic touch with a blue wax crayon. I hope that oil paint sticks to wax! You can see her beautiful scribbles at the top of the painting, from one side to the other.

Anyways...About the painting...I learned my lesson with the last painting, and this time I did some planning. After taking the reference photo, I cropped it to get the best composition that I could and did some thumbnail sketches. Then, using a wonderful program that is a free download, called "Oil Painting Assistant", I gridded the reference photo and printed it, and then, using the same ratio, I gridded my canvas. On smaller paintings, I usually don't do this, I just rely on my eye, but on something this large, it's easy to really screw up proportions.

I lightly sketched the image onto the canvas with a #2 pencil, leaving out unnecessary details,and then re-enforced my pencil lines with a mix of burnt umber and hooker green. Next, I used a mix of hunter green, burnt sienna, cad yellow med. and white and I laid in a very fine wash of the local blanket color. I kind of use it as an underpainting to fill in the white of the canvas. I do the same with the skin tone, burnt sienna, cad yellow med., aliz crimson, ultramarine blue and titanium white, and the hair, for which I use a mix of the skin tone, with a bit of burnt umber, I think. Then I start to work in some of the major dark areas, and wipe out some of the lightest areas. I put in a bit of red on the lips, ears, nose and fingers, where the blood is close to the skin. All of this is basically an on-canvas value study that will later be covered with thick paint. It helps me see the beginning of the painting as a whole, and determine if I need to make any major changes in value, composition, etc...I know, this is a step that should be done as a thumbnail, and I did do some, but I find that it is not always successful. The last painting I started looked great as a value study, looked great as a thumbnail, even looked great as a 12 x 12 painting, but when I transferred it onto a bigger canvas, it was just plain boring. The large format didn't do it justice at all, so I wiped it off and started this one.

Well, now on to laying in the real thing. I'll try to post an in progress picture tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Paniolo -- Hawaiian Cowboy

Well, I just finished writing this whole post a few minutes ago, and somehow deleted it! Now I have to start again...DAMN! Sometimes I hate computers!
Anyways, I want to thank the wonderful girls who left me some great feedback. I took your advice and now I have a painting that I'm pretty happy with!
I lengthened the mane and tail, and made them fly out, adding to the sense of movement. I definitely feel like this makes it far less static. I spaced out the back legs slightly, defined them, and added a longer shadow. This, along with the longer tail, balances the painting out and makes the horse more grounded. I took away most of the dust behind the horse, and added some color to the dust in front. I defined some of the background shadows, and values, and evened out the color in the mountains.
All in all, I feel pretty happy with it now. Of course, there's still things I don't really like, but don't know how to change, or if they need it. Artists are their own worst critics! But, if anyone sees something that still might need help, let me know. I, unlike most, love constructive criticism!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Fresh off the Easel

It's finally done...I think. I'm not quite sure I'm satisfied, but I don't really know where else to go with this one. I've done so much to it already, that I should have planned in the beginning for. If anyone's wondering if it's really worth while to do those thumbnail sketches...IT IS!! I only did one, that I was pretty happy with, but, it didn't work when translated to this big canvas. It used to have three mid-ground figures, and a background guy on a horse, and a guy leaning against a horse in the far background. I decided it was too busy, and after many attempts at just trying to FIX everything to make it look like it was supposed to be there, I systematically began eliminating things, until there was nothing left to eliminate. This would all have been much easier to do before the painting was near completion...with the thumbnails...but once again, my initial enthusiasm for the subject overtook my logic, and I dove right in without proper planning. NEVER AGAIN! This one was so hard.
I want to put this one out for critique. I desperately need input from other artists, so if anyone thinks this painting needs some help, or could use something else, please drop me a line. I would appreciate it so much. Like I said, I'm not really sure if it's done or not, so let me know what you think. It also needs a title. "Fresh off the Easel" just isn't going to cut it.
I really want to thank Eduardo Amorim, the amazing photographer whose photo was the inspiration for this shot. Check out his work at Flickr by clicking on his name.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Coming Soon, I promise!!

I know, this isn't it, but this is proof that I've been doing something creative while on holidays. I got this tired looking portrait of my DH last night while he was watching TV. I haven't had the light to paint at night since I've been here, and that is usually the only time that I have to paint...AFTER THE KIDS ARE IN BED!! That's my time, when my muse can come out and work uninterrupted. It's amazing how much one can accomplish in those few hours before sleep comes knocking. So, I bought a clip-on light today with a full-spectrum bulb, so I'll be able to paint in the evenings. BUT...My painting's almost finished! I have been working, really. A few more days, I hope, and it should be done. It is a big one, 18"x 24", no more of these 6 x 8's for me, I'm going big! I felt the need to breathe, stretch out that painting arm. That said, this one is sure presenting me with some problems...Have you ever started out, and the underpainting turns out amazing, and the first layer looks amazing, then one part looks really amazing, and then all of a sudden, the whole thing looks like crap!?!!???!@#$%^&*()_!!! I can't believe it, the first few days I'm like "Wow honey, this is going to be the best painting I've ever done," and now I can't even stand to look at it!
Well, I bought "a BOOK" today, and it's going to get me out of my rut, I know it!(fingers crossed behind my back) Is it that I put too much pressure on myself? Did it become all TOO Important?
All of the above... and, I met Jia Lu the other day, maybe that is what it was. She is an absolutely incredible, internationally acclaimed artist whose paintings sell for like, $120,000. She is so sweet, and unassuming, but I almost cried when I met her, I felt so inadequate. It made me question my abilities, my art, my purpose as an artist...all of those things. I was depressed for about four days after, and my husband said I should stop trying to put pressure on myself to paint while we were on holidays. It was affecting him and the kids, and well, me. But it was good, because last night I had an epiphany, an AH HAH moment. I realized what it was that was bugging me about the whole thing. I hadn't been totally sure before what my purpose as an artist was. Being a mom of two small children, with very little time to paint, I spend my few hours before I drop off from exhaustion, doggedly painting from whatever good photographs my crappy little digital puts out that half-ass inspire me, or, I ask photographers who are much better than me for permission to use their work. I realized last night, that the problem with this, is even though for the most part, I paint from my own photography, that these photographs lack intention. I mean, I take the picture because I see something that is paintable, but there is no conscious thought, no planning, no intention other than to create a pretty picture. So, that the painting produced from such a photograph, is just a reproduction of something pretty, with no thought behind it, even if I tweak it and omit busy things, etc...
What touches me about Jia Lu's work is the creativity, the thought process behind the painting, etc...I hope I don't sound like an insane lunatic, it's just that I think I've finally GOT IT! I need something more.
So I decided that I will get models, and set up scenes, and if I have to "photograph" them because of the time restrictions of being a parent, I will, after doing some value and color sketches. Or if I see a scene that screams out to be painted, I will ask people for permission to take their pictures. (Oh yeah, that's another thing. I am a people painter. That is my passion. That is what touches me.) I've tried to paint for ebay, or what the market demands, or on commission, but the artist inside of me rebels, and I end up getting stuck and blocked.
So to all of you artists out there, IF YOU WANT TO BE A HAPPY ARTIST, BE AUTHENTIC!!
( Not that I would pass up a thousand dollar commission if it came my way! LOL!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

New Painting in the Works, Finally!

So here it is, the sketch I promised...I'm not getting near as much painting done as I had hoped. I'm going to have to get more disciplined, I guess. There's just so much other fun stuff to do and sights to see in Hawaii. I'm taking lots of pictures for future paintings, and visiting as many art galleries as time will allow.
This has all thrown the kids for a total loop. My once almost weaned daughter is now up every two hours a night to nurse. If I don't nurse her, she won't sleep sound, so that every time I so much as sigh, she wakes up screaming, demanding "Sa Sa", (the Nuxalk word for nurse). So I'm back to total, ridiculous exhaustion. I even checked out the SuperNanny site last night to see if she had any words of wisdom that I hadn't already exhausted. Not so. Nothing works. So I give in.
My usually sweet-natured son has become a whining, demanding troll. He complains all day, and makes his sister mad or hurts her on purpose. We're in Paradise, but the kids just know that their world has been turned upside down.
Well, if I could get them back on schedule somehow, things might start to settle a bit.
For now, I'm keeping my fingers crossed, and just hoping for time to paint.
I got the underpainting done today, and it's a big one-18" x 24". It's going to be fun. I'll keep you posted.
Ciao for now.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

ALOHA!! from Maui

I still haven't painted anything new...I'm embarrassed. But, I did finish my commission (and I forgot to photograph it before I sent it off), and it has been so busy since Christmas...excuses, excuses. AND...I'm in Maui! It is so beautiful here, so inspiring, so amazing. I feel like I've come home. This is where I'm supposed to be. There is so much art here. So many artists, so many galleries, so much opportunity, and I did finish the sketch for the painting I'm planning next. If I can figure out how to install the scanner here, I will upload it tomorrow for your viewing pleasure. Anyways, aloha and mahalo from paradise.