Monday, January 31, 2011

Never to old to learn? I hope!

The past couple of days have been spent in front of my computer.  I would much rather be painting, but as you all know...the buck can’t stop there...not if you want to market yourself and your art.  In Kelly Rae’s e-book, she talks about that giant learning curve.  Trying to build a website, social networking, blogging, and all the while creating her art.  It is overwhelming and sometimes bewildering the amount of information one must assimilate to “have a presence” on the world wide web!  I have always used iweb to build my site, but I want more than it can offer now.  I’m in the process of learning a new software program called Freeway Pro.  Lots of neat stuff there, but my brain is on overload.  I also know I will use paypal for my e-commerce.  Reading how to integrate that into Freeway....well, it’s not rocket science, but it is fairly involved for someone like me.  Someone like me...who knows just enough to really get herself in trouble.  On top of the new software, I have been trying to make prints on my new printer.  I learned how to calibrate my computer screen and I’m learning all about color profiles and such.  One that front, I think I am making progress.  I will more than likely end up purchasing calibration hardware to help me along the way.....oh, goody another manual to read!  Let’s not forget photoshop elements.....I know my way around there fairly well, but now I want to create some graphics to put in my new website so once again I’m reading and watching tutorials......thank goodness for the web......REALLY....did I just say that!  I’m not sleeping well these days, my poor little brain is doing it’s best to catalog and process all this new information and I think it may be running out of storage room very soon.  I’m taking a break from all this today....a trip to the laundry mat is in order, so glad I already know how those machines work.  Tomorrow......I paint. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Old Truck part 5

OK, I finally got back to my painting of the old truck.  As you can see from the photo I did some more work on both fenders and also the front grill has been blocked in.  The grill work is definitely a pain.  I need to get that curve and the lines really all need to be without wobble or change in thickness.  NOT AN EASY TASK!!
The grill is close, but I still have a few corrections to make.  I'm not, repeat not going to make myself nuts about this though.  After all it is an old rusty truck.....things would be expected to sag a little just like me and my aging body.  LOL! 
For those of you that may be interested....when I get my new camera I plan on experimenting with shooting some video.  If it works out, I may invest in a micro phone and try posting some works in progress on you-tube.  

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Finish lion it is.  This little guy is sleeping soundly now....with his blankey in tow.  I love how this painting turned out.  I struggled along the way, but the process was rich with opportunities to learn new skills and refine old ones.  I truly feel I have achieved a new level of skill with the completion of this painting.  The painting was done from a reference photo taken by a cousin of mine.  She recently had a beautiful baby boy and I'm gifting this to her for the nursery.  The painting measures 8 inches by 8 inches and was painted on a 3/4 inch cradle style gessoboard in acrylics. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Letting frustration get the better of me.....

It seems the last few days have been filled with activity.....not much time to blog or social network or anything.  We had some great sunny warm days and those were spent out enjoying the company of my rv friends here at the park where we are wintering.  Soon though, my paint brushes were calling me back.  The last two days.....I have been consumed with my painting of the baby lion.  Things were going so well until I started working on one little section of the blanket he is holding.  I'm ashamed to say I let my frustration and anger (at myself) get the better of me that day.  Nothing seemed to work and I was cross with myself and my poor hubby.  Finally, my two fox terriers decided I needed a break from my painting table and insisted on taking me for a walk.  It was a short walk, but it did the trick.  Walking out on the beach, next to the Colorado river....the mountains....the big blue sky....and seeing my two furballs at play.....the tension of my day finally started to drain away.  In fact, walking on the beach I couldn't believe how much I hurt!  My neck and my shoulders were in knots and screaming at me....small wonder I was having trouble doing anything.  When I came back inside, my sweet husband was fixing us tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.....Just what I needed....comfort food!  After dinner, I made one last attempt at that little patch of fabric and "bingo" it starting coming together.  The painting is almost complete and "if I do say so myself" it is looking pretty darn good!  It it so close that I will finish it today.....look for some photos in the next post. 
Speaking of husband and I have been looking to replace my camera.  He did all the research and gave me a list of what he thought I should have...(yes, I am completely spoiled rotten)....yesterday, we found a really good price online and we ordered the camera and one lens.  It is a cannon 2ti 550 and the lens is a wide angle telephoto....I'll share all the details once it arrives. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

OH, What a night!

I posted this on my travel blog......then I decided it "bares" repeating and I am posting here in my art blog as well.   Hope it gives you a nice chuckle!

We did have quite a night a few days ago.  I keep a small lamp next to our bed...on one of those little shelves.  I put the lamp over on the sink vanity at night so I don't accidentally bump it in the night.  Well, Billy needed to retrieve some tums from our medicine cabinet somewhere around 1:30am.  He was trying to be careful and quiet....said the first thing he grabbed was the talcum powder.  When he reached back in for the tums.....there went the lamp.....crashing to the floor with a very loud "bang".  Boy was I ever up and so were the dogs.  Of course the bulb broke, there were fine bits of glass everywhere.  Poor Billy is standing there in his b-day suit ( he sleeps in his b-day suit) looking a little bewildered.  I told him to flip on the overhead light and then I went and got the sweeper.  Once all the glass was vacuumed up, the furballs wanted to go out.  I put on my clothes and took them out.......came back in.....and there is Billy on his hands and knees on the bedroom floor.  I'm what?  It seems he dropped the tums bottle and now there were tums all over the floor.  LOL!  What a sight that was.  Finally....around 3am we all crawled back into bed....What a night and I'm still finding the occasional tum tablet....LOL!

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Painting Process

I am often asked how and where I find my inspiration to paint.  My passion comes from animals and their environment.  I don’t just limit myself to nature; however, anything with interesting shapes and textures can get me a-going.  I’m one of those that stops and stares at the strangest things...the bark on a tree, a pile of brush, an old piece of weathered fence can really get my attention.  Especially if the sunlight is playing “hide and seek” with all it’s nooks and crannies.  Hopefully, I have my camera, as I can’t rely on my wee brain to remember all those exquisite details.  I paint from reference photos and I do try to take my own whenever I can.    Sometimes I combine one or more photos into one composition.  I like to use photoshop elements at this point.  It is a lot easier to play with the composition at the click of a button, then at the point of a pencil.  Once I’m satisfied with the basic composition I move on to the sketch.  First thing I do is to break it down into simple shapes.  You know the ones... we all learned about in grade school....circles, squares, rectangles but don’t forget about cylinders, cones, and cubes as they add dimension.  Next, I start looking at what is inside each of those shapes.  What textures do I see, what color and value.  Now. what position does it other it closer to me or does it seem further away.  Finally...I look at how it relates to the other shapes around it.  Does it fit neatly into that little niche there or does it overlap the shape beside it.  Once the sketch is done I transfer it to my gesso board.  At this point, I’m ready to start putting together my painting palette....I look back to the reference photo and begin picking out the colors I see.  I don’t think in terms of just “red” or “brown”.  I like to be more specific then in a rich brown becomes Burnt Umber and that touch of rust I see reminds me of Burnt Sienna.  I’m finally ready to paint.  The reference photo and sketch are my constant companions.  I paint all those shapes.....textures, values.  Each and every painting is an experiment.  I’m always looking for new ways of bringing my painting to that you see what I see....the beauty and wonder of the world around us..... captured in that one small moment in time......

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Baby Lion Part 2

I have been working on my baby lion painting.  As you can see, I decided against the green grass background.  Just didn't give this guy enough "POP".  So, at least for now, I'm sticking with the burnt umber version.  I'll reevaluate the background again at the end.  The lion's face has been a challenge and I'm still not sure if I have it the way I want it, but I needed to move on. I need to see how the rest of the painting plays out and that will help to put troubled spots into perspective.  I always paint from a reference photo....I paint what I see, those shapes and values.  Sometimes find that you need to make adjustments to make the painting work.  I also like to add more color then what I normally see....that is the fun part making the image your own.  I plan on adding some more blues and maybe even a touch of pink among the washes in the fur.  This is going into a why not!
I'm focusing on the shoulder area at present.  It is not working...I need to "re-claim" it as it were.... I spent way to much time with the painting about 10 inches from my face and that is what happens.  I needed, I should have forced myself to step back more often and then I would have seen this happening.  The shoulder has become rather flat and dirty and I have carried the curve of the shadow to far.  Good news is.....It's only easy fix!  I do love the way the paw and the spots are happening....a little more refinement and they will be puuurrrrrfect!  LOL!

Monday, January 10, 2011


Two very special things I did just for ME in this new year.  The first, I took advantaged of a great sale price and purchased Kelly Rae Roberts e-book, "The Whole Shabang".  I was so excited waiting for my computer to finish the download... so I could finally know all the secrets to her success.  It is an amazing read and the fact that all the "links" to all her treasured finds and inspirations are live....well, that is the "icing on the cake"!  I had talked myself out of that very many times.  BUT....a little nagging whisper...just kept calling me back.  So glad I finally listened.   One thing I also you travel through your creative path....WRITE IT DOWN and keep take of all those people and places that helped you along your way.   Not only so that you can "re-visited" all those "ah ha" moments in your life, but also so that you can share those important discoveries with others.
The second.....I bought two instructional DVDs by David Kitler.  He is an outstanding wildlife artist.  I have been painting a long time and have purchase numerous how to books and videos along the way.  I finally got to the point where I stopped all just starting running together.  The same techniques, the same theories....I just need to practice....just keep painting....I would improve with time.  I did, but I also still struggled...I just felt I was missing something.  Then I found David Kitler's web site and I was so inspired by his paintings that I decided I would purchase his DVDs.  Soooo happy I did.  I have learned so not only reinforced many of the techniques I was using, but also went on to give me new tools and techniques.  I hope someday I and fortunate enough to met David Kitler....he has a passion about the animals he paints and you can see that "passion" in each and every painting he brings to life. 
I feel as though a breath of fresh, clean air has just blown through my entire being......"I can see clearly now the rain is gone".......been humming that all day!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Old Truck part 4

Here is where I am at on the truck painting.....little by little, bit by bit it is starting to come to life.
I have been working on the grill.  Difficult easy to get things out of whack.  Thank is an old rusty if things aren't quite right I can blame the deterioration rather than me...LOL!  Still the grill is in remarkably good shape and it is one of my favorite areas of the painting.  I also have been "noodling" around in the background.  I didn't care for the "actual" setting in my reference photo.....just to bland and white.  So I have been lightly playing around with mountains and cacti. 
If you have never taken photos of your "works in progress" I encourage you to do so.  I find it really helps me gain a whole new perspective on my painting. are just so close to your work, you can easily miss the obvious.  For example, in the close up photo below I have circle an area I had overlooked until I took this latest WIP photo. 
Do you see the line of the fender there....the angle is too steep.  It needs to follow the same line as the other fender.  I'll be correcting that today.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Facing Fear

I was just reading my new e-book, “The Whole Shabang” by Kelly Rae Roberts, in it she talks about facing your fear.  It really stuck a cord for me.  My biggest fear is not being “good enough”.  It is also my biggest excuse for not following my creative path....not listening to those ‘whispers of my heart’.  I would convince myself that I was simply not good enough to pursue an art career.  After all, on any given day, I could go to the internet and find at least 10 artist who were better....better artist, better at marketing, better at blogging....the list went on and on. Than one day not so long ago.....I simply said, “So What” and maybe, just maybe they are not actually any better....just different.  “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”...what appeals to one may not appeal to the other.  If I don’t try, if I don’t put myself out there.....then how will I ever know if I’m good enough? I made the decision that I had to stop worrying about being “good enough” and just paint.  Just pick up that brush and paint.....paint.....paint....paint.  Amazingly seems the more I paint.....the better Artist I become....duh!  So it follows, the more I blog, the more I market, the more I get the idea.  I’m growing as an Artist, as a person.....I’m experimenting, learning, and reaching out to others.  I found this quote a long time ago, but never really took it to heart.  But has new meaning and I have it posted where I can see it simply states.....

“There is only one you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself.”

~~ Anonymous

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lion Cub

As I had mentioned last post....I had decided to start another painting.  Trying something new...trying to be more productive.  I find I need to take a break from my paintings....even if it is only for fifteen minutes.  It gives me new perspective.....seeing it with "fresh" eyes.  Unfortunately that cuts down on productivity.  I don't want to sacrifice quality for productivity by forcing myself to continue to work on a painting.....when I'm starting to feel restless or bored.  So, I'm going to simply switch to another painting.  We'll see how this works out. 
This "new" painting is of a sleeping lion cub, snuggling up with a blanket.  It is a long overdue gift for a cousin of mine that had a little boy last October.  I promised I would do something for the nursery, but I just could not seemed to get "inspired".  Finally, I got the bright idea to look through some of her facebook photos of the nursery.  Quite by accident, I stumbled across some of her vacation photos and found this cute little guy.  He is perfect.  What could be better than a cute little baby animal, snuggling with a blue blanket....and it will remind her of a great vacation as well.  Here is a photo of the very early stages...starting to block in some shadows and highlights.
Too cute......don't ya think!