Friday, January 30, 2015

The Run-Away..

When I ran away earlier this week, I went to one of my favorite places; Chiricahua National Monument.  Located in Eastern Arizona, there is a quiet spirit to this place.  Long views and clear air paired with the history there make it a great place to escape to.  

The main house

There is plenty of scope for the imagination, whether you are visiting the historic ranch house that once was the headquarters of the Faraway Ranch or hiking among the rock formations.  

A quick sketch out by the corrals

Coming here on a clear winter day means very few visitors to contend with, giving one solitude for painting on the spot or quiet contemplation.  I took advantage of both.  

Just a small sample of the views..

I think most creative people need time for contemplation.  When I paint myself out of inspiration, I often look to nature to re-fill my cup.  Sitting in the shade, looking out over the vast canyon of this place cleared my mind and calmed it, allowing me to entertain new ideas and thoughts.

Old doors always call to me, as though walking through them will let me time-travel.  

Picasso said, The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.” He was right, but to be that receptacle we have to put ourselves in the frame of mind to receive.   

Charming kitchen table with bins for flour and sugar

Contrasted with the intense light and open country outside, the cool interior of the ranch house, filled with the trappings of an earlier day gave my mind food for thought, shapes and lines to contemplate and a reminder to keep my life simple.  

Pure eye candy, this makes me happy.

Each of us will find our inspiration in different places.  What matters is that we remember to seek it; that we be aware of when we are in need of it before we empty our reservoirs and find ourselves in deep waters.  

A cream separator, waiting for fresh milk that will never arrive...

I love this thought from Edvard Munch, Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye.. it also includes the inner pictures of the soul.”  Clearing the mind to be able to see those inner pictures is essential to my life and this morning I can still feel the effects of it; I am easy in my mind and ready to begin again.      

Thanks for stopping by.  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Bumper Crop

Finished this late last night after taking a break from it all day.  I thought my eyeballs would fall out if I stayed in the studio one more day.  It was a sunny, warm 73 degrees here so I took a field trip.

Bumper Crop
Watercolor on paper
22" x 30"

Sometimes you just gotta run away!  Have a  grand day.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Big Reveal

When I'm using mask on a cactus painting, I never quite know what I've got or if I've managed to get the look I'm after until it's time to take it off.  The paint adds up on the mask, further obscuring the shapes I've protected with it.

The color covering the mask keeps the picture plane looking flat...

By the time all of the layers of paint are on and it's time to start adding shadows, I usually decide what I've done is ugly and I'm pretty sure was a waste of time.  

and dull

The shapes I wanted to pop forward on the paper don't and even the eye candy reds are just sort of bleh.  Then, I get the mask off and suddenly can see that the piece is probably going to work after all and find myself fighting the frantic desire to finish the thing NOW!  I'm a mess.   

But the revealed white areas suddenly help the painting plane come to life

This morning finds me standing out in the studio in my bathrobe and slippers, my hair looking like it belongs to some exotic chicken and not even realizing I skipped breakfast.  I look up and realize I've been out here for two hours when all I meant to do was come take a look at the current painting before I started the morning routine.  I got stuck.  

Now that the big reveal is done, I'll go get dressed and grab something to eat and slow myself down before I come back out to cross the finish line on this one.  I hope you have a wonderful day!  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Selling Art

A few semesters ago I took a class on the business side of being a artist.  At the time I hated it.  Isn't it funny how things that are hard for us often turn out to be of real benefit to us down the road?  I got solid knowledge from that course, most of which came from the required text.

Don't let the boring cover fool you, this book is full of great stuff!
The book,  The Artist's Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love is worth its weight in gold.  Written by Jackie Battenfield, it is worth buying for anyone who has a dream, but particularly for those who want to sell their art.  Section One, Taking Charge of Your Professional Life, talks about goal setting.  It helped me see that whatever my vision is for my future, it has to be mapped out more precisely than I previously understood.  She then offers solid help on how to set it up.

As a result, I set real, reachable goals.  I won't bore you with them, or the plan I've made, but I will say this: I'm making progress.  I think I'd still be making pictures and just wishing someone would buy them if Battenfield hadn't been so clear about how to move beyond that.  It takes a plan, it takes pinning down dates to achieve those goals by and it makes one feel they can succeed.  Thank you, Jackie Battenfield!  (And Professor Abbot)

I reached one of those steps on my plan yesterday.  I'm so tickled to announce my new shop, Whatercolorit.  Just click on the name and go see it for yourself. There you will be able to see what paintings I currently have for sale, and, coming soon, products featuring my work.  I hope you'll check back now and then to see what is new.

If you are looking for ideas on moving forward in your work, pick up a copy of this book and use it; you won't be sorry!


Monday, January 26, 2015

We Don't Live in the Middle of Nowhere..

But you can see it from here.

Recently I had professional pictures taken of some of my cactus paintings.  I'm pretty excited to have them and for all of the possibilities good digital images present.  However, going to town to get them will take an entire day.  When you live a good 3-4 hour roundtrip drive from a real town you end up with errands that have been waiting for a couple of weeks.  Errands such as getting groceries, going to the dry cleaners or finding car parts; exciting things like that.

All of the masking in place..

On Saturday I started a prickly pear painting.  I don't paint on Sundays, so it's been not-so-quietly sitting in the back of my mind, waiting for me to come back.  Singing it's siren song.  Hopefully there will still be time this evening to work on it.

Bumper Crop
22" x 30"

Finding balance is a struggle I suspect every creative person has to make.  Food has to be grown or bought, cooked and eaten; bills have to be paid and of course family is a priority.  Finding time for making art takes dedication and creative scheduling sometimes.  It is, though, a struggle I'm willing to make.  Without it, life becomes drudgery, doesn't it?  Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Inspiration or Indigestion?

I had this idea.. a prickly pear pad, up close, personal and large.  Meh.  It wasn't such a cool idea after all.  After I spent an entire day in the studio on it, I was pretty disgusted.  This piece put me into a week long funk.  I threw it into the reject drawer of my flat file and figured I'd cut it up and make a book cover with it sometime.  Or maybe dance on it just before I burned it.        

Poor Ugly Cactus
24" x 18"
Watercolor on paper

I pulled it out today to get to a piece of paper that was under it and decided that there are parts I really like in this.  The texture is fun.  The colors are, too.  I may keep it.  It would work as a triptych as well.  You never know..  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

When the Cranes Gather

Evenings outside the back door of my studio are usually pretty spectacular.  During the winter the sandhill cranes circle, gathering together to head north each evening for the Gila River. They call to each other and I feel like they are calling me, too.  

When the Cranes Gather
Watercolor on paper
18" x 24"

Now and then we have what I call a 'golden evening.'  The atmospheric qualities are just right for the sun to turn the whole evening a luminous shade of gold.  The desert lights up, making my throat ache with the beauty of it.  This painting is an attempt to capture not only the golden light but the peace and quiet of my home.  

The fourth attempt, I feel like I met my objective with this.  Thank goodness! I was about to tear my hair out.  

Friday, January 23, 2015

Skies are Fabulous/Horrid Things

Hi.  Greetings from my studio.  Maybe it's a butcher shop.  Not sure yet.

Try number 1

Yesterday I gave myself three pieces of paper to practice landscapes on.  I figured I'd get a big sky in place and start the foreground practice today.  I got three skies.  Three tries, three strikes, three whatever, I got them.
Try number 2

You can't do a landscape full of sky without a sky.  So.. I'm turning the papers over and re-doing them.

Try number 3

Try number 3 is getting closer to what I have in my head.  Three pieces of paper means 6 tries, not three! I've been using Indigo to get the dark value I want, but it's not behaving on the paper like I want it to.  Time to choose another blue!  Cross your fingers for me.  Or light a candle or send energy or pray or do something!  I need all the  help I can get today.  


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Palettes, or Why to Stop Buying So Many Cool Art Supplies

What is your palette like?  Is it large with many spaces for colors or small and limited?  I have an embarrassment of the things in my studio and used to go back and forth between them like a little kid trying to choose the best candy.  Some have been handed down from other artists who didn't need them.  Maybe because they realized they had an embarrassment of the dang things..

A few of my palettes.  Yes, there are more.  Ugh..

When I first began to paint I wanted a tube of every color.  My first watercolor instructor didn't need her old Robert E. Wood palette and gave it to me.  It has 24 color wells and I gleefully filled it up as fast as I could afford that many colors. And promptly stalled out.  What I didn't realize was- all of those paints were overwhelming.  I had the paints and I knew what colors I wanted to lay down, I just didn't know where in the whole beautiful array to get those colors.  Having the tools and materials didn't make me an artist.     

Some of my color charts from over the years

Then, I came upon an article in the Daniel Smith catalog about using only 7 colors, by Susie Short. I tried her ideas and realized that I only needed to know how to mix a few basic colors to have any hue I wanted.  I owe her a debt for that lesson.  As I pared down my colors I began to understand color temperature.  I spent several years just making color charts.  I still have most of them. 

Chinese butcher trays.  I'm a sucker for anything with enamel on it.

Understand, I am not an expensive, high maintenance gal.  However, I think I was making the same mistake many beginning artist make- looking for just the right tool to help me transform my work from what I was making to what I wanted to make.  

Twelve colors are all I buy anymore and never use all twelve in one painting

Once I stopped searching, hunkered down and got to work, my paintings began to change.  I no longer haunted art supply stores looking for cool stuff and didn't even lay in the bathtub with the Dick Blick catalog for a whole evening lusting after new supplies.  I was in Tucson yesterday (a 2.5 hour drive to town) and stopped by the art supply store.  I ran in, grabbed the bottle of mask I needed and found myself chomping at the bit to get home and put it to use!  

My most used and useful palettes

How each of us makes that switch from searching for the right tools to using them well is a personal journey.  For me it meant going to college for an art degree and having to focus hard to get assignments turned in on time.  The tools became just that, tools, and I zeroed in on the outcome.  For others, it is finding the iron will within themselves to make it happen on their own.  There isn't one right path to take to get there, but get there we must if we want to meet our creative goals.  

Thanks for stopping by.  Alice  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My Bookcase is Full of Hidden Treasure

About the time I started college, I bought a book by a painter named Ray Hendershot. I read it, tried some of his techniques and put the book in my bookcase.  

Then I forgot I had it.  (rolling my eyes..)

As I've been struggling this week to learn how to handle elements of landscape painting, I came across this wonderful book. I have to admit I feel kind of sheepish about the whole thing. The information I needed was right here all along. 

My photos aren't so hot, I'm behind schedule today and had to rush!  

The demonstrations he gives are outstanding. Clear, simple to follow and highly adaptable. 

If you are looking for a reference book on texture and how to use it in landscapes, go find this book. Today!

I have high hopes of putting the techniques he teaches to use on Friday. Hooray for Ray Hendershot and hooray for going through my reference material more often!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Landscapes.. or Bust

I am not a great landscape painter, but I know I can learn to do this.  Dang it.  By the time I'm finished with this fight, I'll be more than ready to get back to the cacti I suspect.  I'm spending this week practicing the elements that make up a landscape.

Winter's Demise
8" x 5"

The thing I find the most difficult in watercolor landscape painting is keeping the foreground, middle ground and background areas believable.  I can handle each section fine in pastel or oils because they have opacity.  The transparent nature of watercolors makes this a whole different ballgame.  It's a thought process that is still confusing to me; painting the background while planning clear and distinct foreground areas has eluded me so far.

Using photos, reference books and sketchbooks I am going to start to wrestle this thing to the ground.  The sketchbooks take the fear of failure out of it and the photos are because I am a sissy and sitting outside in cold weather is just too much to deal with right now.  I know, I know, I am a proponent of painting from imagination or life.  Oh well, I'll get over the shame!  Here goes nothing.  Or everything...

A Mystery

Have you ever painted something that almost felt like it painted itself? Like maybe it just flowed out of your mind, right down your arm and onto your canvas or paper?  Okay, I know it sounds weird, but I have had that experience.  The first time was right at the beginning of my artistic journey.  

In 1991 I took my first watercolor class and immediately loved the medium. We painted a monochromatic piece, then another using only two colors and finally got to use a full palette.  I got the kids to bed one night, taped a piece of paper to my kitchen table and whipped this thing out in two hours.  It came from who knows where and was absolutely exhilarating.  I thought all paintings would go just like that.  Hahaha!!

Painted from a photo torn out of an old National Geographic Magazine
The Potter
Watercolor on paper
14" x 21"

Over the past 24 years since that time I have made paintings that thrilled me and ones that filled me with despair, but this one is precious to me as a reminder that I have instincts that I am not even aware of most of the time and if I allow them to lead me I can do great things now and then.  Have a happy sort of day and thanks for stopping by!  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Dinosaur At Twilight

For having had low expectations and a bad attitude at the start of this piece, it turned out better than I thought it would.  Of course, there's a long way to go till I can say I am a landscape painter, but each try is a step on that journey.

The Dinosaur
18" x 24"
Watercolor on paper
Here in the southwest, solar-powered systems are replacing windmills for pumping water out in the open country.  We don't have streams or ponds for the most part, so getting water to the cattle is a matter of deep wells and algae-lined troughs.  I grew up in windmill country and love the creaking/clanking sounds they made and their silhouettes against the amazing skies.  I remember getting drinks with the tin cup that was kept hanging on a bit of baling wire from the frame.  It was cool and fresh on hot days. This painting is a remembrance of those memories.   

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Psychedelic Mess

Based on my policy of finish every painting, I have been working on they sky I began earlier this week on my blah day.  Here's progress so far:

Trying to simplify shapes and textures, growing darker in value as I come forward, and planning things out as I go 

I'm surprised at how the mid and fore grounds pushed those clouds back.  Not expecting anything but another landscape mess out of this, I didn't plan as I moved forward in space down the paper.  As a result I've kind of painted myself into a corner, so to speak.  However, I have to admit that figuring out problems as it progresses is part of the fun.  This piece is turning out to be interesting to puzzle my way through.  

I'll be taking my time on it, painting slowly and thinking the process out.  Hopefully, this one will teach me lessons to use as I try to learn this landscape process.  However it goes, I'm pleased to report that it does go!   I hope you're having a productive day, too.  Thanks for stopping by.   

Friday, January 16, 2015

Hit the Re-set Button

Knowing I had to get out of the silly slump I was in earlier this week, I went on a wander yesterday.  For me, spending time in the wild places of the world is the fastest cure to the blues.  Getting outside gives my spirit a boost somehow, helping me see myself and life in perspective again.  It's like someone hit a re-set button in my mind.

I used my large Moleskine watercolor book for this,  8" x 11", my view from the wash bottom

Sitting down in a sandy wash for shelter from the cold wind, I watched the long grasses blow across the hillsides like waves of water.  The grass is tall and thick this winter and a beautiful shade of yellow, while the cattle across the ranges are fat and sleek.  What a peaceful place, miles from any traffic or noise.  I feel one hundred percent better this morning and like a painter who needs some time in the studio!  Yep, "George is back on top again!"  (From the film, Oh Brother Where Art Thou)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Discouragement is a Dull Companion

Monday I created the ugliest cacti painting ever made on this earth. Really!  I am still smarting from the experience.  Times like this try my resolve to paint.  In fact, yesterday I didn't paint at all.  I decided to rectify another ugly mess instead.  

I started a rug on my Navajo loom this past summer and the higher it got, the less I liked it.  I may have a finish-every-painting policy but I sure as heck don't have a finish-every-rug policy.  You can tell because I've never finished a rug on it yet.  Sigh.. 

Navajo loom, warp and ugly weft, coming undone

I have beautiful yarns to use so who knows why I chose ugly ones to start with?  After I get it all off I'll tighten my warp and begin again.  Who knows? Maybe I'll finish it.  Goodness knows, there has to be a first rug, right?  If it is wonky, I'll just say, "Oh, I did that one when I was a raw beginner.  Last week."  

This evening I thought of a scene I love to look at and got the watercolors out again.  This has not cheered up my mood.  Here is a shot of progress so far:  

The only thing keeping me from jumping up and down on this is the thought that the windmill will at least be fun to paint.  

As a painter I realize that there are ups and downs.  Knowing it doesn't make those times any more fun, but I will recover, turn out an eye dazzling piece and be on top of the world again one of these days.  In the meantime, I will pull up my socks and push forward with this psychedelic gem because if I don't I know it will be more difficult to get back at it again.  Hopefully, I'll be working from a better place tomorrow.  Or, I'll be under my bed with a carton of ice cream.   Whatever... 

Monday, January 12, 2015

None So Blind As She Who Cannot See

Over the years I have left home with my art gear in the car looking for a place that might inspire me on more days than I care to admit.  Much to my dismay, most of those 'hunting' days were failures.  I'd see something with possibilities but pass it by just in case the real subject I was looking for was just around the corner. I never found anything that made me stop the car and shout, "I shall paint this!" in an AHA kind of voice.  

I've looked at paintings of landscapes that are of simple, small spots in the world that have been inspiring to me, but for years it didn't occur to me that the inspiration wasn't in the scene, but in the artist.  I may live in a desert among very few architectural beauties or rustic covered bridges,  (none, in fact) but looking at my photos one day I suddenly saw that what I do live by is a very pretty spot by the side of a long, straight and otherwise boring road.

1. The playa in the summer monsoon season
The thing about this spot in the world is that it's a little bitty alkaline low place in a playa, or dry lake bed, along a highway.  It fills up with rain water and is over-flowing or dry and cracked, depending on how long it's been since we've had wet weather.  Little bitty or not, it lends itself to some pretty spectacular views.

2. Evenings in the desert are reflected in the surface of the water when the winds are still
I may never set my easel up next to this place, but my photos point out to me that I love this playa.  It is one of the things in my world that inspires me.  It draws my eye and captures my attention every time I drive past it.  Whether I end up painting it or not, I am stunned that I have driven past for years and never realized how important it is to my store of creative energy.  

3. A rare winter snow day completely changes the scene, obscuring the distant mountains and bringing the focus up close
The color combinations captured in these photos have been transferring to my paper in other paintings.  The proportions and light have been showing up in my landscape attempts and I didn't even know it.  I don't have to sit here and copy this exactly for it to have influence on my art.  This place has been sitting softly in a quiet place in my mind informing my life all along.  

How mistaken I was to ever leave home thinking one place would grab me and I'd stop my car and create my masterpiece when every spot I saw could have been a masterpiece if only I'd have opened my eyes to see that the beauty is inside of me, stored up and ready to flow down my brushes and onto my paper.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

I've Seen The (Lamp) Light

We have a little hidey hole we built years ago.  It is pretty primitive which is probably why we love it so. No phones.  No electricity.  No water without a trip down the hill to the well. One of us will ask, "you want to go to the hill?" and both know it's time for a break from our normal gig.  Someday we'll live there full time, but for now it's a nice refuge.

I love my collection of old oil lamps
We were there Friday night.  Sitting by the wood stove with a coleman lantern for light, I spent an hour before bedtime with my sketchbook, winding down and processing my thoughts.  If the world discovered the joy and peace that comes from journaling with words and art, therapists would see a sharp decline in clients.   If you don't have a little notebook to love, it might be time to get one!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Reality Check

The article attached at the end of this post is from the New York Times. While it is about architecture, I feel it has applications for all practicing artists. Written by architect Steven Bingler and journalist Martin C. Pedersen, this piece addresses the need for artists to connect with the public and not just their artistic peers.  I think it's a great reality check.

When I read it, I immediately shared it with my husband as Bingler and Pederson have hit on something that applies to an ongoing conversation at our house.  The gist of that topic is- there are forms and traditional shapes that are pleasing to the human eye; we both feel that when we throw out tradition in design (and even lifestyle) we lose touch with our history and, to a certain extent, who we are.  As craftspersons/artists, we profit creatively when we consider why we make what we make and who we are making it for.

All of this is not to say that innovation and new ideas are wrong or bad, in fact they are very important, but when those ideas turn their backs on human creative tradition, we can lose sight of the amazing work that is our history and find ourselves adrift and unsure of ourselves.  Awareness of oneself and purposes can drive a more thoughtful outcome to one's work.  John of Salisbury wrote,
"Bernard of Chartres used to compare us to [puny] dwarfs perched on the shoulders of giants. He pointed out that we see more and farther than our predecessors, not because we have keener vision or greater height, but because we are lifted up and borne aloft on their gigantic stature."
Equally as important, in my opinion is the need to connect with those we have chosen as our audience.  If our work causes us to lose touch with our intended audience, we may be straying from our own course.  If your intended viewer is truly yourself only, then this is not a problem.  However, if you, like me, want to depend on your art for income this deserves some consideration. Asking myself the question, 'who is this for?' now and then can help me keep focused and remind me of my goals.      

I hope this article is as insightful and useful to you as it has been for me.  It's one I'll refer to over again to remind me of the truths I feel it contains.

The article:

Friday, January 9, 2015

When Getting Into a Rut is a Great Idea

Years ago I read an article by an artist who had spent 3 years of his life painting trees.  I was flabbergasted.  I figured he was in a total rut and hoped I'd never get into one.  That was before I started to paint cacti.  I have to admit I've learned more from painting my cactus series than from any class I've ever taken.  

Acquiring an identifiable style, one that causes people to say, "That's an ____(your name here)______ painting!" comes from painting in a series.  The more we explore one subject, the stronger our work will become.  

Having a Ball with Poppies, Watercolor on Ampersand Board, 8" x10" 
Enter Jennifer Redstreake.  Her Ball jars are a great example of painting in a series.  I first became aware of her work on the popular painting forum, Wetcanvas.  It caught my eye not only because of how well executed it is but because of the creative way she handles her subject.  She says- 
"The challenge, for me, painting ball jars with things INSIDE them is two fold - reflections in glass is hard enough but painting reflections in combination with objects behind them is quite another. I love adding to the complexity which creates an almost abstract look to the painting, especially in the creation stage. As I am painting the lettering of the jar, all the forms and shapes lose their meaning and are completely complex. The lego people, TARDIS, flowers, etc. are meaningless as I get up close and break shapes down into colors. What pigments to mix with what and how many layers do I need to add where… all the while challenging my aquabord. And when I step back to look at the painting as a whole, it is like magic… it all comes together and I have to say, WOW… that looks crazy amazing! I painted THAT. That was HARD! Now what can I do NEXT?! When I lose the ability to say that, I am done with the jars.”
Had a Ball, 3, Watercolor on Aquaboard, 5" x 7"

Jennifer's paintings have been shown in the Tennessee Valley and are in 4 galleries.  If you'd like to see more of her work or find a gallery where you can view it in person, you can find her on Facebook and at  

Trapped! Ball Jar with Iron Man & Pepper | watercolor on aquabord | 12 x 18"

For you Whovians out there, check out this treasure: 

Landed in the Wrong Place, Watercolor on Aquaboard 12" x 9"
Using the tool of working in a series is a powerful way to grow ourselves creatively and develop unique styles of work.  I know that when my cacti are exhausted, I will be hunting for a new concept to explore. I just hope that when that time comes I can hit on something as dazzling as Jennifer Redstreake has.      

Thursday, January 8, 2015

"You're SO Talented!"

I'll bet you've heard that before.  What exactly does it mean?   I think it's meant as a compliment, an acknowledgment of ability or skill. When it is accompanied by "I wish I had your talent," however, is when it bothers me.  Everyone has talent of one sort or another, whether one chooses to develop it or not is what matters.  Skill and ability come with hard work and dedication.  Period.  "Talent" means nothing without them.

I'm sorry to pain you, dear reader, with these images, but they do make my point.  Nobody looking at this painting would say, "You're so talented!"

When we see work done by someone that we admire, it is the result of their efforts.  What we don't see when we look at that product is where they started, what training they sought and what practice they put into learning to make that product.  If 'E' is for excellence, it is only because it was for 'Effort" first.  Yes, I capitalized effort.  On purpose.

How embarrassing.  However, I can look at this and know I've made real progress.  

If one thinks they wish they had your talent, they are fooling themselves.  If they wanted it, they'd get to work and develop their own gifts.  If we truly want excellence, we will go after it.  If we tell ourselves we wish we had a talent or skill, that's all we will end up with- wishes.  There are people practicing not only in the visual arts but chefs, writers, mathematicians or a whole score of other areas to whom this applied as well. They worked hard to get the skills they have.

Yes, nearly every piece from this time has outlining with black ink.  Please don't ask me why, I cannot tell you because I do not know.  

I want to be a better painter.  If I truly want it, then I have to keep pushing myself to increase my knowledge and skills.  I don't think there will ever be a day when I can say I've arrived and now I can just paint willy nilly and everything I produce from that point on will be perfect.  In fact, I'm sure of it.

This is a good example of if-you-don't-know-how-to-proceed-keep-adding-paint-till-you-weep-in-despair syndrome.  

So... I get off of the computer and get a new sheet of paper out and start my creative day.  With determination. Of course, first I'll have to hunt down some clothes so I'm not working in my jammies all day.  Again.   Happy painting!

Talent, huh?  Hahaha!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Good Paintings Gone Bad

It happens now and then; you start a painting that you feel excited about and somewhere along the way the dang thing goes wrong.  I don't know about you, but at that point I tend to get worked up and start to over paint.  As if that weren't enough, sometimes I start to scrub the paint off as though I can somehow start over.  I wish I had a studio elf who would grab me at that point and send me to my room with a bowl of ice cream.  

Just before I scrubbed all the violet off for the first time.  300 pound paper is very forgiving, but it can only absorb so much paint..

When I've really made a mess, I'll finally give up and put the painting away and re-visit it later.  Actually, today was my third go round with this painting.  I have more incarnations of it in its various forms in my photo files than any others I've done.  

Where I got frustrated the second time..

Today, while digging through the flat file I came across it again and pulled it out.  It called me.  It tantalized me. I took it to the table and started to wet my paints... 

Actually, having a painting that you consider a loss is a chance to work with a real sense of freedom.  If it's already ruined, then what do you have to lose? Who knows, you may be able to come up with something wonderful. 

Today's result.  (The color of this photo is the most accurate.) While this is no masterpiece, I wouldn't be ashamed if someone wanted to frame it and hang it up someplace now.

Cuba Bluff
Watercolor on paper
22" x 30"

Although I never even started the painting I planned to work on today, I think I may have taken what appeared to be a total waste of paper and made it something I like.  Of course, it'll go in the flat file and in a few more weeks I'll know for sure.  In the meantime, it was a productive day after all. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Fruitful Day

Yesterday was productive in the studio and the wood shop.  These are some of my favorite days; our work spaces are next door to each other so we share a busy companionship while we work on projects.  I've been trying to get a re-do finished of a piece I did in October, Crowning Glory while Tom has been working on book shelves for all of our married kids.  

Sun Kissed
Watercolor on paper
22" x 30"

The painting is finished and the first two book cases are drying in my studio where it's warmer.  Tom is tired of bookcases and I am tired of cactus! (Probably won't last..) I think I'll move on and try other things for awhile- he has 3 more book cases to go, poor guy.   

Made of pine, this bookcase is roughly 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide.  The wood came from trees burned in the Wallow Fire in Arizona and has a nice, blue stain in the grain.