Sunday, November 15, 2009

Journaling Update

The journaling has been going OK. I feel like I probably won't continue as much with words and pictures together. For writing, I prefer to write a lot and very fast. For art, I'd rather concentrate on the picture by itself and perhaps add a title. It is fun to be part of a group and to see what others come up with for the prompts. I am already rebelling against the prompts: "I don't need no stinking prompts." Famous last words - I'll probably be crying about not having any ideas next time. I'm just making the prompts fit with what I want to do.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Art Journal Challenge

I found out about an Art Journal Challenge from Bridget Benton's tweets. Starting today, November 1, through the end of the month, work on a page or part of a page of an art journal. Sounds fun - I think I'll try it!

It's call NaNoJouMo (National Nonstop Journaling Month) and you can go to to find out about it. I've posted links to the blog, the Flickr group and to my Flickr stream on the Links list to the right.

In case you don't know, there are other challenges out there such as NaNoWriMo*, NaNoBlogMo, etc. Kind of silly names, but kind of fun too!

Notes on my creative progress: I didn't quite make some goals I had of finishing some work projects and billing goals in September, so I kept working into October without taking a break for art. I started getting really grumpy and angry. Finally, I realized I had better take some time for myself. I am so much happier this past week, but I'm slipping on my "day job" a bit. Such a challenge for me to keep up with both, but obviously necessary!

I went to a drop-in life drawing class last Wednesday at Hip Bone Studio in Portland ( It was incredibly fun for me! I brought charcoal and watercolors and switched back and forth between the two. The three hours went by in a flash. Since everything I did was of a nekid woman (NSFW**), I won't post it right now, but I had the best time. And it's only $10 a session! Such a deal.

*National Novel Writing Month
**Not Safe for Work

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October Zombies

As I promised, I am showing some of my "zombie" paintings. These were not done intentionally - just accidents that happened when I lost control of the paints. This is very easy to do with watercolors. One day it will be 105 degrees F with low humidity, and a week later, it will be 70 degrees F and raining. Paper and paint dry at completely different rates depending on the weather and, of course, how much water I slop on. Also, I actually forget how to paint if I haven't done it for a week or so. That's why it's often a good idea to warm up first!

So, Happy Halloween everyone!

My beautiful sister Rachael and her daughter Emma. Not what I intended, but you both look kind of cool, actually.

Jon Stewart in July. No offense - we love you Jon!

I can't remember who this was. I was trying out a Chinese Water Pen and using my Koi pan water colors. The paper was too wet, but I kind of like the moodiness of it now.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Adult Responsibilities

Here's Sadie resting from her responsibility of
guarding the house from the letter carrier.

My drawing teacher used the term "Adult Responsibilities" while talking about having time to practice art. Sometimes we need to focus on those responsibilities. I was having fun and feeling like I had moved to the next level, that I would be able to create art at least half time.

Then, my husband became ill - in a cycle lasting several weeks, the summer temperatures were very hot, my energy level dropped, and most importantly, I realized our bank account was empty!

Hmm, time to focus on my work again! I've been trying to be as diligent as possible, working hard and making enough to cover our bills and upcoming bills.

Now, my next task is trying to integrate art and nature back into my life. We're having a warm beginning of fall this year. I hope that as the weather turns cooler, I make the time to go for a hike. It's probably time to back off on watching TV if I want to spend some time in my "studio" in the basement. I am beginning to sketch and draw a bit.

Anyway, not to give up, not to declare that I can never create again, just trying to keep life in perspective, take care of my adult responsibilities and continue on!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Speedy with "Lost Edges"

I really enjoyed painting this - the Canal paper is very absorbent. It's a little difficult to control the paint, but it is fun to try.

When I paint people, and lose control, I end up with "zombies." I won't post those - although, maybe at Halloween... The boys in the previous post are rather close.

In case you don't know, lost edges (or soft edges) are where the borders between two areas blur a bit as compared to "hard" edges which are clearly delineated. It's a concept that may be obvious to others, but I admit was very difficult for me to understand at first.

Friday, August 21, 2009

People in Water Color

Here are Bob's nephews - Morgan and Colin. Perhaps too much contrast, but fun to do. I'm anxious to try painting my sister Rachael and her daughter, and Bob's cousin and his wife.
I'd like to paint my sister Roxanne. She passed away 15 years ago today. Maybe another day.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Water color

Here are some exercises I painted. The first two use Koi pan water colors, the second two use the colors from my palette, mostly Daniel Smith and M. Graham paints.
They're painted on Khadi Rough paper from India, about 5x7.

First try - clematis and roses from our garden. I thought I didn't quite get it all integrated enough - not enough lost edges.

More lost edges.

Drawn using a grey Pitt pen and painted using my palette colors.

Drawn in pencil, painted, then ink added with a calligraphy pen. I have to admit, I like the high contrast. Next time, I might try to remember to vary the type of lines.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I sold an art piece!

"Arranging a Sunny Day" was sold, and as far as I know, it was not purchased by a relative or friend. Now, Bob's annoyed because he wanted it! Oh well.

Here's an iPhone photo of Bob looking at the piece at the show. We were not actually allowed to take photos, so I covered up the other work. However, there was plenty of great work to enjoy. It was a lot of fun to participate.

Tuesday night I'm taking a Mixing Your Own Encaustic Medium & Paint class from Linda Womack. I'm very excited to play with the pigments. Not to worry - we are wearing respirators!

Otherwise, I've been doing lots of painting exercises, but I don't really have any finished pictures at the moment.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Bob went with me to make sure I didn't change my mind at the last minute!
Here's the line.

Here's Bob with my dinky art pieces. There was one man with a canvas that had to be 8 feet by 6 feet.

The show starts on Friday!

Perhaps now I should get back to my regular, income producing work. It would be nice to make the July mortgage payment!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Final pieces for the art show

My pieces are polished and packed up, ready to be submitted to the Lake Oswego Art Festival Open Show tomorrow.

"My Blue Ocean" - Final. I removed some of the sea foam - it was obscuring the ocean blues.

"Arranging a Sunny Day" - 12x12 bulletin board with 9 4x4 tiles. These are all Aquabord with water color and water color pencil and colored markers. I topped them with 2 layers of clear encaustic medium.

Magnets were glued on the back. Most of the tiles can be arranged in any orientation and in any position on the board. I thought this would be fun because it would give you an excuse to touch the encaustic finish. A soft cloth will remove fingerprints and smudges.

Close-ups of a few of the tiles.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Encaustic works in progress

The Lake Oswego Art Festival takes place June 26 - June 28, 2009. They have an Open Show that is, well, open to anyone who wants to enter. There is a small fee of $25 per three pieces, the items have to be for sale, and the festival keeps 40% of the sale price.

I set a goal to have something ready for the show this year as a challenge to myself. It's a way to get started interacting with other artists, learn about art shows, learn about readying a piece of art (hanging, framing, matting correctly), and see how my works compare.

The submission date is June 21. Here are two of the pieces I'm working on:

"Vaux Swifts at Chapman" - 12x12 on birch board, encaustic with tissue paper transfers, in progress.

"Vaux Swifts at Chapman" - completed in a frame. Sorry about the parallax in the photo.

"My Blue Ocean" - 11x14 on Aquabord with water color and 2 coats of clear encaustic medium (beeswax and damar resin), in progress.

"My Blue Ocean" - still in progress. I added encaustic paint and ground glass for the sand. This is on a 2 inch cradled board, so I'm collaging the edges. I'll show that when I post the finished piece.

I have one more to display. It's called "Arranging a Sunny Day."

Friday, May 22, 2009

"Brushes" on iPhone

Something I've been enjoying, and which I've read is all the rage, is using the "Brushes" app for the iPhone. Just download it from the app store and even if you forget your sketchpad, as long as you have your phone, you're ready to go.

Brushes has 3 different brush types with adjustable widths. Infinite colors AND you can vary the transparency for layering. Pinch to zoom in to create detail. Only one color at a time, but use the eyedropper to grab a previous color you painted. Fun and a challenge! I purchased a special stylus to go with my iPhone. It helps a bit - although I mostly use it for the keyboard for sending messages.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Keep Trying!

I was re-reading the book "The Joy Diet" by Martha Beck when I came across this passage:
Uncomfortable Truth #2: Creation is Hard
...Aha, I remember thinking. Here is one of those artistically ambitious people who believe that talent means success without effort. Benjamin had been searching vainly for his own genius all his life, because he didn't know what it would look like. He thought he'd recognize it by the magnificent work that would spill out of him spontaneously, perhaps while he was napping. He never expected talent to come wrapped in the slow, messy, awkward, humbling work every creator will sooner or later have to face. Michelangelo once said, "If people knew how hard I work, they wouldn't find my achievements so remarkable." Like Benjamin, most people attribute creative achievement to great ease, when in fact it comes from great effort.

That reminds me of something my drawing teacher spoke of during last term's class. He quoted some other teacher who declared that one must draw at least 1000 figures before drawing one good one (or something to that effect.)

In other words, I should stop crying because my painting didn't turn out. Paint 100 or so, then let us know how it's going for you!

Of course, the joy is supposed to be in the process, in the creating, and we're not supposed to worry so much about the outcome. It's just that - time is money, baby! If I spend 5 hours on a painting and it's crap, maybe I should have been working instead. Of course, I don't feel like I'm wasting time when I'm watching television. But I consider that re-charging my batteries - and getting my allotment of witty repartee!

Current art progress: I spent yesterday trying different materials for filling incised lines in an encaustic painting. Oil sticks are okay, but they are kind of dull. I bought a tube of Indigo Oil Paint. That was quite beautiful, actually. I'm planning various paintings to try it on. First, I just need to get the work hours in to pay the mortgage - and my husband's dental bills, and the dog's arthritis medicine - and the cat's flea drops...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Keep trying?

I started this to keep motivated, but I haven't been maintaining my enthusiasm. It's just so hard to do what I want to do! I spend a lot of time experimenting and playing, but that means I end up with a pile of messy, ugly work.

I'm posting a few drawings I've done over the past few months. Today is Speedy the Cat day (aka Speed Racer.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring Hostas

This is an 8 inch by 7 inch detail from a 15 x 11 watercolor painting.
I've decided I don't like the original but I want to start posting.

What don't I like about it? Too few colors? Composition. Values - the center of the leaves turned out too dark. It was painted on Arches 140lb Rough. The paper was kept loose to be able to move the paint around. I think 300 lb will work better. The Sap Green was very sedimentary, which is something I've never noticed before.

Here's the original: