Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Progressions: The Different Stages of a Painting

I wanted to show everyone how much work goes into one painting. There are many people I know who don't realize the time and skill it takes to create (sometimes acquiring it as you work).

This post is less about the words and more about the progressions behind these paintings. 

Each of the shells took about two hours to complete. The one in the right top corner took three to four hours.

"Lighthouses" took a while. The reason this one took so long wasn't because of the painting. I had no idea what I was going to paint or how it was going to look. The other reason was scale. The canvas that I worked with was 24" x 48". I couldn't really figure out if I should put one lighthouse and a boat, leave some beach, or what. It took an entire year of me staring at it for me to figure out what I wanted to paint. Then I saw it on a road trip. I realized that I could put two lighthouses in one painting. This painting went through many changes as you can see here. 

It's important to not give up on your painting. I've learned so much about myself through painting. So what if you mess up. You can wet it down and wipe the paint off, you can wait until it dries and paint over it, or you can scrap it and start over. Whatever you decide to do is up to you. Just don't stress over it. Progress. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Art You Buy or Acquire

I just received a comment on a Facebook status and it's provoked some internal questions. I shared a post about a Nigerian painter who paints lifelike paintings of children playing in water. I'm unsure why he paints them, however, his paintings are very good. Although the comment was meant to be funny, since it was a "dog" who posted the comment, I feel that it is a necessary question that one may ask of the community around them seeing that not many people buy art for the sake of art. Many people I know buy posters or reproductions but do not own an original piece. If you do own an original piece I'd like to know what inspired you to buy or acquire it. Was it lifelike? Is it a subject you are interested in? Are you looking for pretty flowers to hang in your living room over a blank wall space? Are you looking for something that you could stare at for hours on end and see something different with every brush stroke? Is it something that a relative gave you or you inherited?

What inspires you to buy anything you deem to be art?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Creating When I've Got Time

Over the past year, I created less than I like to. I try to paint on weekends. There were times when I would sometimes paint twice in one weekend (those were the weeks when I felt really good about it)! At night I crocheted. During the work week I wrote in my journal using sentences like, "Gee, I need to write more." "I'm really pissed off right now." "I need a vacation to a dead writers' house because I'm going crazy and that is a good way to calm me down." "Maybe I should just live like Thoreau, but with GPS now a days there's a good chance someone will find me." Although it was "just a journal", it kept my sanity by helping my brain pen negative thoughts and frustrations every day on a lined inanimate object that held them for me to peruse later in my life.

My life changed greatly over the past year. I now find myself googling questions like, "how can I create more time?" and seeing suggestions like, "get up earlier". Yuck. I was hoping I could bottle it.

I persevere because there are many things contribute to infrequent blog posts about painting, writing, crocheting, parenting. One of them is that my three year old daughter no longer takes regular naps. It's very hard to convince a three year old that she needs to take a nap.

"Alexis, you look tired."

"I'm NOT TIRED, Mom." she whines while rubbing her eyes and yawning.

"Oh, ok." I nod half assuredly.

My painting time used to be peaceful and quiet. I used to hear nothing but the hum of the refrigerator. Now I hear: "Mommy, can I paint too? I want red. I can't do it. The paint doesn't work. You need to help me. I just want to paint a flower. Mommy can you paint the flower for me? Mommy, it doesn't look right. I am mad. MAD MAD MAD! Mommy!"


Don't get me wrong, I love to create with my daughter, and sometimes we have a blast. But there are times when I need ME time. Every hour of every second of every day is devoted to Alexis. So when I have five minutes, or an hour, or even when she goes to bed at night, I will use that time to the best of my ability to read a book, sew, watch a movie, paint, draw, crochet, write, etc. Creative little bursts of time are just as useful than a large chunk of it, because you can sprinkle them in where you need them. See?

The picture above is of my cousin Carolyn McCarthy. She is a beautiful dancer. I gave her this painting as a college graduation present.

In October I started taking painting lessons from a wonderful artist named Sheila Foley. "Sunflowers in a Poland Spring Bottle" was my first painting done her Wednesday night art class. She is an awesome and witty teacher. I highly recommend her work. You should especially check it out if you, or someone you know, is getting married, graduating from college or celebrating some other life milestone as she is a live event painter. You can find her here:   The other paintings below were done by me in her class. I choose the subject and she gives me valuable advice about light and shadow, composition, etc.

The above painting is an attempt to copy Monet's "The Magpie". I absolutely love it. It was a lot of work and I learned so much about the painting itself as well as the colors and the techniques he used.

The above painting is called "Bowl of Toasted Marshmallows". I needed to paint something that was white on white. My sister suggested marshmallows and I was like, why? That is dumb. Except now, I totally see why she told me do marshmallows (thanks Christine), plus they are delicious. Making things seem fluffy and round is tough even more so when they are in a bowl together. They have a ton of colors mixed in them that one does not notice until one is painting it.

Portraits are tough. The above painting is of Rachel Ray. All I can say is that during the last few weeks of this painting, I hated it. I didn't like painting faces. it was hard to get the colors to blend. It was hard to make it look realistic. She looked to big to be who she was. It was not my favorite thing to do so far. That being said, I would definitely do another portrait. Knowing what I know now would help me a lot as I made many mistakes.

This is an apple I did in watercolor pencil on my own. I loved doing this. It was a lot of fun to try a different medium. I am still getting used to watercolor pencils. So far, I've only managed to paint/draw fruit.

So onward in to the summer I march in search of relaxing creativity dripping from my pens and brushes. Let's see what the summer yields!