What’s Up? Apparently An Asteroid.

How is everyone? Doing OK? Hanging in? Let’s be honest, things could be much better. And as we head closer to November, things, not so good things are ampping up all over. My response has been to begin writing my pov, only to delete, delete, delete. I’m an artist, and although I have very strong opinions about the shite show hammering away at us every day, I am also prone to get high anxiety over the whole mess, and really don’t care to get sucked into the bottomless pit of negativity that most social media has become. My answer has been to post a lot of my art. I figure it’s my little contribution to some positivity and beauty, which is sorely needed right now.

I know it has to be getting to most of us in one way or the other. For me I figured it had reached the boiling point, when my first reaction to an asteroid possibly hitting the earth on the eve of the elections was; “good” and a sense of relief. I have had a habit of reading and watching dystopian media since I was a kid. And although on the surface there is that feeling that it’s a nightmare, there is that underlying feeling that maybe it’s not such a bad thing. I by no means have a death wish. It’s just with this type of media, one tends to feel as if they are on the outside looking in, that it won’t affect us personally, even with the real stuff, like an asteroid. Other than to cause a major reset on life.) Which considering everything right now, doesn’t seem so horrible. Unfortunately many writers of this type of thing, seem to find it necessary to turn it all into a military style takeover after a while to “keep people in line” or whatever, and that is bad. Not to mention cliche and trite writing, and thinking. That’s usually the point where I get bored with it. Sadly we’re living through all of this right now.

“Smile Through the Storm”

We get warnings about asteroids and comets once in a while, and have dodged that particular bullet in recent times. I’m sure my reaction has more to do with needing something bigger than us, literally and figuratively to give us a reset, not to harm anyone.

Neowise (yes it’s a comet, not an asteroid, but it’s what I have for now, 🙂 )

I’ve been keeping busy painting, and sketching, and trying to keep my household together. Like everyone else, there are things that I miss. A quick lunch downtown, just stopping into a store without major planning, the movies. Oh I really miss going to the movies. Being the optimist that I am, I know that there will be a light at the end of this stifling, drowning under water tunnel, eventually. I know that I am luckier than many. I am able to go for walks, and to go kayaking once in a while. It may not be an asteroid, but I know that we will get our reset, sooner or later.

“Glass Leopard” from my “Glass Menagerie” series.

Keep doing what you’re doing, and stay safe, for yourself and others.

Playing With Mixed Media

Abstract paintings have been something that I have enjoyed doing, especially in the last few years. I particularly enjoy figurative abstract art. It produces a type of freedom to let go, as well as results in a more exciting piece to view. Having never been one to use mixed media, I have preferred getting the look I was striving for with the paint alone. But the other day, while waiting for something, I pulled up a photo of a painting I had done, and started to play around with the photo editor on my phone. I was pleasantly surprised with the results. So I decided to share them with you here.

This first piece, so far, is my personal favorite. It also happens to be one that I did, after finally deciding that this painting was as finished and refined as it was going to get. (More on that later.)

Isaiah At The Waterfall

Although the painting itself was not as spontaneous as when I incorporate the abstract elements as I paint, I do really like the outcome. And using a computer editor, gave me the chance to add to, or completely change how I wanted it to look, which was kind of fun. Below are other versions of this painting as unfinished, and unrefined, with and without embellishments. When I do a portrait of a specific person, it will go through many changes to get to where I feel it represents the person, and I am satisfied with it, as you can see from the photos of this portrait.

The painting itself went through a lot more changes after this to get to where I was good with it.

Some of these changes may appear very subtle but they make all of the difference in capturing the spirit and personality of the subject. There were a lot more stages, but I thought I’d move on to the fun part, goofing around with my phone!

Some of the tools on the app could be taken pretty far, such as this bit, where I went overboard with pixalating it. But I thought it was kind of interesting.

I threw in just a few pixels on this one, and thought the overall effect was cool. Also this was still not a “finalized version” of the painting itself.

The next three images were manipulated on the final version. And although sometimes never completely satisfied, I have to know when to say, “done.”

I hope you are all well and safe, and join me next time! (PS I know I had mentioned that I might go over some of the tools that I use, in this post. I still hope to do that in the future.)

Further Notes On Juneteenth in OTown

Continuing with the theme of my last post about having been asked to showcase my art at a local Juneteenth event, I managed to get two other paintings done in time to show along with the first, “Beautiful Son”. It’s always gratifying to be acknowledged as an artist, and this is especially so.

The second painting I did, I simply call, “Story Time”. It depicts a young father reading to his baby. Here are some photos of it, and the process of creating this piece. As you can see in the second photo, I drew up a sketch of what I had in mind. In the second, I filled in the background shape of a map of the USA, and began working on the figures. I continued from there, adding color and finishing up the figures to my liking. Once the painting was dry, I gave it a thin coat of acrylic gloss medium. This serves two purposes, it helps to protect the painting, as well as to highlight and maintain the bright colors. This is quite a bit smaller than the first painting, “Beautiful Boy”, for a few reasons, mostly concerning time constraints and having to use what I had on hand. It’s still a good size at 16″x 12″.

“Story Time”

The last piece I call, “Grace Under Pressure”. I didn’t get as many photos of the process of this as I was short on time, but I used basically the same process. I did a few quick sketches, (sorry they’re very light, but you get the idea.) From there, I then drew up an approximate sketch on the canvas, arranging, and changing features as I worked on it.

“Grace Under Pressure”

I hope it doesn’t sound egotistical, or worse, silly ( heheh), but I tend to fall in love with my paintings and these are no exception. I think I have even more so, because I feel that I have gotten to a place with my work where I feel more confident about it, as well as am able to create what I envision at a quicker pace. Not that that is important in and of itself. But for me as an artist, it is, as I feel these representations wanting out of my cranium, and am compelled to create them, to get them on the canvas. And now being at a point where I can do so more readily, makes it more of a joy and less tedious. I’m thinking that, in my next post, I may go over some of the tools I use, and give some pointers on my own process. Let me know if any of you think that you might like that, or not. (I’ll still probably do it. 😉

I wish everyone joy, and to stay safe, and I hope you join me next time!

Juneteenth 2020 In Otown

This is a short post to catch up a bit and let you know what I’ve been working on, and here it is!

I have been asked to showcase a recent painting I have done at a Juneteenth celebration event in my town. I awoke with the idea for this painting, and felt almost compelled to do it. To have someone feel that it should be included in such an important event, is exciting and flattering. I am very happy with how it came out. There are times when I paint that I get lost in the process, and it almost feels as if I am being guided, and this is how working on this piece felt. It’s an incredible experience.

Below I have included some of the steps to the completion of this piece.

It is my objective to show my process whenever I can, but sometimes getting caught up in actually creating a piece, I don’t always get a chance to take photos. I did manage to get these few taken. I’ll try to get a few more for the next one!

Care for one another, and stay safe. I hope you join me next time!

Taking A Breather

I’ve taken a bit of a breather, as the title of this so aptly says. After Inktober, and now through some other things in life going on, as well as some overall stagnation, I need some time to think on where my art will lead now. I’m not sure how it is with other people, but I generally find that I need real down time to recharge my creative flow so to speak. And unfortunately my “other” job has been exhausting of late. Today is the first time I’ve done anything somewhat substantial, art wise in a few weeks. I’m posting it here today to show I’m still around, heheh.

Last year my grand daughter learned how to properly walk our dog Kota, who can be a handful. She did a great job, and Kota showed her respect. I’ve done a painting of a moment in that interaction. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing next. I do have a few ideas, but need some time to work them out. For now I hope you enjoyed seeing this little painting. See you next time!

Inktober In Review; Week One, “Enchanted”.

As a quick recap, for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Inktober is a fun art challenge that lasts through the month of October. It was started in 2009 by Mr. Jake Parker. An artist who said that he started it as a “way of challenging himself to improve his inking skills, and improve drawing habits.” It has become a fun, (sometimes stressful) way for many other artists to do this as well. Mr. Parker posts a list of words to be used as prompts to get you thinking about something to draw. He does mention however, that people can draw whatever they like, and many people do. I usually try to stick to the prompts. I did post the first two drawings of the challenge last week, so I thought I would stick some older Inktober or Drawlloween (another great challenge), sketches here as well to keep it interesting. (You can see these, and more from a past Inktober challenge on my blog post from July 9th, 2019, “Challenge Me”)

Some, maybe most of the one’s I did last year, had a decidedly more sinister aspect to them. I did this in keeping with the whole, Halloween month theme. I may do some in this vein this year, who knows? The following are the images I’ve done for the first seven days of this year’s Inktober, beginning with Day 1 “Ring”.

As mentioned in my last post, I decided to start out with a simple, easy picture for the first prompt, “ring”. (above), no pressure. You might ask yourself, ‘pressure? Why is there pressure’? Is there a prize involved, (no). Fame, fortune? (Nope). So why do literally thousands of people join in this challenge? Of course I can’t speak for anyone but myself, so I will give you my reasoning. I have no reasoning. No just kidding. I do like a challenge. It makes me think, often way outside the box, and gives me a chance to stretch my artistic chops so to speak. For me there is some stress involved though. And from different comments I’ve read on the Inktober twitter page, I’m not the only one. When I commit to doing something, I like, nay, I am compelled to follow through. Even though I do it basically for myself, I sometimes put pressure on myself. But then I remember the spirit of it, and find it is fun to do, and to interact with other artists and to see what they come up with. Day 2 is “Mindless” I decided not to go into the whole reason of why I ended up re-using an older sketch, as I explained it last week. So if you’re interested and (gasp) didn’t read last week’s post, you can find out why there. 🙂

For day three the prompt is “bait”. Trying to avoid the obvious, I went way out on a limb and did something that is maybe a little too sweet. But I was happy with it, so that’s all that matters, heheh.

Day 4 is “Freeze”. You may notice a little running theme. I had had it in mind to try to do all of my pieces with elephants as central figures. I’ve already missed a few on that. But again, no big deal. I did receive a very thoughtful compliment on this one, and that is always really appreciated. Like I mentioned folks doing this are extremely nice, and encouraging.

Day 5 is “Build”. Again, maybe I’m being a little corny, but this is a subject close to my heart, and if I can influence even one person to be kinder, and to want to help animals, then that’s OK.

When I’m doing any of these challenges, I don’t look at what others have done for prompts until after I’ve done my own so as not to be influenced. Drawings run the gammit from very simple, to extreme crazy-amazing work. I won’t lie, I do feel sometimes that I have to “up my game.” But that’s only for my own benefit. As an artist, I am always striving to stretch. These challenges aren’t a competition, and people are kind and honestly enjoy each other’s work. I highly recommend it for anyone. We are a week in, but you can jump in at any time.

Day 6 “Husky” This was a total “gimme” for me. I have a husky, and she loves to pose. (Really she just lays around a lot.) This is Kota.

Other than when I am painting abstracts, I’m mostly a realist painter. I have always admired fantasy paintings, and the artists who have the ability to bring that to new heights. So this last prompt for the week, “Enchanted” was a little trickier for me. I didn’t want to do anything trite, but again, it isn’t my usual style. After thinking about it a bit, I think I came up with a good mix of realism, and fantasy. Many times when I’m drawing or painting, time slips by me. I have often looked back at a piece and thought how it didn’t seem as if I’d done it, as if my paint brush, or my pencil is… “enchanted”.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope you enjoyed it, and maybe learned a few things. See you next time!

Make Up My Mind

How does one decide what they want to paint, or sculpt, sketch or write? When it comes to writing I have struggled with that mind numbing empty void often. Although I’ve been told that I’m a passable writer, unlike painting, writing has never come as smoothly to me. I think people who like to talk, or have “the gift of gab” tend to make better writers. I neither like to talk a lot, nor have that particular gift. I tend to stumble over my words, or think after the fact that I should have said this or that. I guess in one way, writing is easier than talking for me, because I can proofread, and change things around. Or simply because there is no one interrupting my train of thought. But still, not my best skill set.

So what of art? That empty sheet or canvas that sends shivers down the paint brush of so many artists?

Well, here’s the thing; I have too many choices of things I want to paint! And I want to do them all yesterday!

There was a time when this insatiable need to create also included miles of crochet work.( One of my grandmothers taught me when I was four years old,) and along with a stint of about ten years of embroidering everything in sight, (oh those fun 70’s), and the occasional macrame, my hands and mind were never still. Interwoven among these creations, which also included years of quilting, I sketched and painted. And somewhere within all of this, I became a wife, then mother… four times, worked sometimes two jobs, and moved house 15 times while my family was growing. But I digress. Eventually these things went by the wayside, (not the kids, heheh) but I never stopped sketching and painting. So now when I’m not working my “other job”, I mostly paint. Although I still occasionally do something else like making a macrame rope lamp, or a cheese board from a barrel lid.

As you can see, I never want for something creative to do, As for painting, the list of things I want to paint, is endless! It’s choosing one to settle my mind on that is difficult. Of the many family outings, to vistas I see on hikes, things my pets do, other animals that I love, or the fan art I would like to do, deciding what I feel like doing and have the time for, is never easy.

Every so often it is easier, as was the case with a recent painting I did of one of my daughters, or these paintings I did some time ago. I’ll get a clear feeling that this is what I want to do. But whatever the case may be, for me I’ll never have painter’s ‘block”.

I hope you liked this post, I wish you abundant ideas, and energy to see them through! See you next time!

From The Easel; Building A Love Note In Paint

When painting a portrait it often feels like a love note in paint for me. The following pictures are some of the steps to creating one such “love note”. I recently painted this portrait of one of my daughters, Nikki and our puppers, Kota. It had started out as just a simple sketch of a nice summer day, but I liked the pose and decided it would make a nice painting. The following are some of the steps taken to build on this portrait and create something both meaningful to me and interesting to the viewer. I call this; “Walking On The Fourth” as I completed it around that time. Enjoy!

After I had lightly sketched in the initial drawing, I then started to block in the basic shapes with an underpainting of the general colors I planned to use.

I then began filling in the facial features, and added more to the background as well as added some more smaller details to the figure. Then I began to layer in more detail on the fence and on the piece of wood on the ground. Adding more trees as well as more colors and leaf shapes to the trees that were already there, gave the background more depth. At this point I also added some more shading and fur to Kota’s image.

Unfortunately I hadn’t gotten enough sequential photos to show all of the details used to further flesh out and finish this painting. Needless to say, there was some reworking, and a bit more detail work needed, such as the layers on Kota’s fur, and darkening Nikki’s hair. I did this until it felt finished to me. (Something I’ve gotten better at over time, is knowing when a painting is finished. Maybe I’ll tackle that topic soon!) I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the steps that brought this painting to life. Thank you for stopping by. See you next time!

From The Easel; Steps of a Commissioned Piece

Having had some dental issues in the last few weeks, I didn’t get a chance to post anything yesterday. But as they say; “Better late than never”! I have wanted to post a series of photos that chronicle the making of a painting for some time. About a year ago I was given a commission and I had photographed many of the stages of creating it. I feel that this is a good representation of the making of a commissioned piece. So here I give you, “Mack”.

I was asked to create a painting that represented something that is very important in the lives of this family, for their young son. The father is a truck driver, and their son is crazy about trucks. Other than that, I wasn’t given anything else in particular to go on. I found this to be a good thing as it gave me a little more free reign to design this heirloom for them. As Their son was still quite young, but kids grow quickly, I decided that it should be playful, yet be something that he would be OK with having for some time as he grows older.

In this first image, you can see where I had lightly sketched in the body of the truck, and the beginnings of aspects that would make it feel more substantial. I then added some paint to begin “fleshing it out”.

Blocking in the background gave me an idea, and feeling of place.

In this photo I began to paint the sign on the side. As you can see, I left highlights where the metal of the truck bumps outward. I thought at this point to leave parts like this to give the sign a somewhat “worn” look.

Here I began to block in different areas to give it more depth.

At this point I started to add some fun elements. As you can see, the truck is now hauling a load of candy, peeking out from under the tarp at the top of the truck.

In this image I’ve blocked in a layer of under painting to begin building on and continue giving the painting more depth. I also added the name of the truck.

In the above three images I had begun to give the truck more realism, filling in the tires, and adding highlights to the fenders.

Here I’ve added more candy, and lights to the top of the cab of the truck. At this point I also began changing the walls where the “dig” was, showing that this was a candy “mine”.

Things were coming together, and I then added more whimsy to the over all look of the sign.

Here I added more highlights, and color for depth, as well as added the name of the young boy to the door of the truck.

After adding some work on the back and fore ground,(and adding a shadow of a man driving), this painting was finished!

It is always a bit nerve wracking to do a commissioned piece. You never know if the client will be pleased with the finished product. But I’m happy to say, they loved it! I hope you enjoyed seeing how this painting came together, and I hope to do more like this in the future. See you next time!