Friday, December 9, 2011

Advent Calender

Last year at a Blissful Home Guild Meeting we had a talk about creating your own felt Advent calender. It took me the whole year and is not quite finished but it is operational for the Advent season. The kids are enjoying it but are not really into what it is all about quite yet. On the painting front I have made little progress for several days. We have completely rearranged our house, moving rooms across three levels and so things are in disarray. Happily however I now have a dedicated studio to work in.  I am trying to get everything organized and because of inspiration from this months Blissful Home Guild Meeting I am looking forward to decorating.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Shades not quite done

Shades is close to being finished, I need to work on the hat but I have to wait for the perfect paint brush to dry. I want to be careful to not overdevelop and over work the hat. I want it to be loose and to not draw away focus from the center of interest.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Vacation Sketches

ust getting around to scanning some of the sketches I did on my last two trips to Florida. It is good to work on something when unable to paint.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Progress is going well on Shades. This is a fun painting to work on because the energy of the character. This would not make a good portrait for her to own however because it does not portray her as nicely as desired.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thumb Sucker

My son says that this baby is picking his nose.  I am not sure that counts as a helpful critique.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thumb Sucker

I am very excited to get started on this little thumb sucker. This pose really speaks to me because of about eight years of practice with it as a child. I think I started sucking my thumb in vitro and had a very hard time stopping after that. My parents tried putting a solution on my thumbs that tasted awful but I knew if I kept at it I could suck the yucky taste off after a while so I think It only made me suck my thumb more if anything. What finally squashed my thumb sucking habit was pure guilt.
My "nice" grandma knew that I liked music boxes so she promised she would give me one if I stopped sucking my thumb. I stopped but only when she could see. At bed time as soon as I knew she was not watching that thumb would go straight in my mouth. The ploy worked on her and before long she let me choose a lovely music box for my own. That is when the guilt set in. I knew I was lying to pretend I had quit. Before long I had the habit kicked because it was just not fair to lie to my grandma, and I did not want to have to give the music box back.

This painting is being a little difficult because the whole side of the face is so dark it is hard to show form with out greater tonal differences.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Is it finished?

The painting may be done. Need to look at it again in a few days to be sure.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Babes in progress

 I continued to work on "Babes in a Tide Pool" this evening. It is quite a challenge to paint fabric with flowers and plaid on it but it is working some and will need more development to come.

The back ground was fun to paint and very loose. I was grooving to classic rock on Pandora and my paint brush was going to town. I was amazed at how much paint it took to cover the whole thing. I put more paint out about 4 times each time thinking that that should be enough. I love having so much wet paint on the canvas right now. It just feels so great to add paint when everything is still wet and blends so beautifully and fluidly. This is exactly the feeling that made me love oil paints in the first place. It is nice to be able to look at the pictures of the work because it helps me get a perspective of what really is starting to work from a distance. I think that his clothes and her pants are looking very nice and also the shadows in the tide pool. Still work to do on her face and all skin and hair. Also with blending edges and all of the reflected light.

I have oil paints purchased when I was about eight years old that I am still using, and brushes that were bought well before I was born. Both my mother and my grandmother dabbled in some painting so those supplies were passed down to me. It is so amazing how long supplies can last.

I love the connection that I have to my grandmother when I use her brushes. I was in my early teens when she died after years of Alzheimer's. She never seemed to connect with me probably because I was so young when she was still herself. She was more strict than my other grandmother and we had conflicts over food. I was rather picky and it would become a big deal. There was a certain jello and fruit cocktail salad that she would serve on a bed of prickly lettuce, that I could not stand and it made an appearance at seemingly every dinner.

I like to think that my grandmother would be proud of me now and we would connect over the brushes we have both used and the art we have made with them.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Babes get fleshed out

I started painting Babes in a tide pool during the kids nap and got a first layer of skin tones laid out. After they were put to bed I worked some on the clothes. Painting seems to be going well.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Finger Paint

In an attempt to get my son to loosen up a little with his painting I decided to try finger paints with the kids today. I have a recipe for homemade finger paints I wanted to try and my son always loves a cooking project so we set to work. He loved seeing the mix on the stove and things were going well until my daughter peed on the floor (OK admittedly not the best time to decide to try potty training). In the time it took to whisk her off to the potty and clean up the puddle my finger paints were boiling vigorously. So my paint turned out a little thick but thankfully still usable. Both kids and I enjoyed finger painting however I should have taken more stain prevention measures. My daughter was laying across her painting in an effort to reload her little digits with brightly colored goop.

On my projects I think I have finished up the ship painting and while it turned out reasonably well I don't really like it for several reasons. I do not like copying someone else's work, ships are not what I like to paint and I had no idea what I was doing when I started trying to paint it so I do not think it is my best work. At least I hope there are better things to come. I had to get the painting finished so that I could hang it up and have more room on the top of my dining room hutch for wet painting storage. This can be a problem when one has little space and two small kids who want to touch and help color everything.

I also finished drawing the babes in a tide pool and toned the canvas so it should be ready to begin painting tomorrow. I am nervous about starting because I really want this to turn out well and am doubting myself some.

Red Lilly

I started this painting yesterday during nap time and wanted to complete it in one day. After bedtime I got back to work it is now done except for perhaps a few finishing touches when I look at it in a week or so. It was only 12"x12" so not a very large painting.

I also started laying out a 24" x 36" canvas for the babes in a tide pool painting, that I had hoped to paint while in Florida.

The kids were excited to see a new painting underway when they got up from nap time, and promptly got to work with art creations of their own. My daughter colored one page green, along with her hands, face, and jumper. Thank heaven for washable markers. My son started out trying to paint a flower but as he told Daddy its now "Just a black and blue picture." He is very realistic in his analysis of what he paints.

I would like to start getting the kids into different kinds of art and am currently browsing the Internet for ideas. This was one interesting article.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Time in FL

I went to Florida with high hopes to get some art accomplished but lack of proper equipment and timing just did not seem to work out. I wanted to try to complete a painting of both kids on the beach but we barely even went to the beech and I never got good pictures.
I did get some beautiful pictures of the sun rise over the ocean but Nathan was golfing with Pop and it was during high tide, so there was no room for Amelia to play in the water.

I  very much enjoyed time with family but was dissapointed that I did not find or make more opportunities to work on Painting.

Halloween was fun, I think it is one of my favorite holidays.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cindy Lou Who

I realized yesterday that I only have three sewing days left till Halloween since we will be going on a trip for the week before. So today I pulled out my pattern and got going on my daughters Cindy Lou Who pajamas. Unfortunately instead of having a lack of heart this Halloween we now have pajamas two sizes too large. I think it will work but it will certainly fit for a long time to come.

Last night I attended a meeting of the Blissful Home Guild (I have a lot to learn) and worked on annother drawing while listening to my friend teach about planning parties and gracious hosting. I worked on this colored pencil drawing of her 6 month old son. I would change the backbround to something lighter if I could. The bright color is too intense for the colors in the face.

The changes are coming less dramatically to the painting now. There are a lot of details to work on and small issues to fix.  I am copying from a painting titled "U.S.S. UNITED STATES Bombards H.M.S. MACEDONIAN - Naval Battle of 1812‏" by Gordon Grant. I was not sure at first if I was allowed to copy someone else's painting and especially post it on this blog but I wrote to the gallery that owns the painting and they replied "It is ok to copy this or any other painting provided you mark it as "a copy" stating in this case it is "a copy of Gordon Grant "

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Color Pencil Portrait

Yesterday I did not feel like I had time to start annother painting so I pulled out my colored pencils and did this drawing of my son. I think I added too much shadow on the right side of the face but he knew it was him so I guess it was a sucess.

I tried to approach the project as if I were using paint, thought about adding the colors the same way I would in a painting and just built up the darkness slowly. I have never done much with color pencils before so I guess the thought process worked.

It will be a good study for a future painting.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Last night and today have been a whirlwind of research. I think there were a lot of things about painting they never taught in my college painting classes. They never really talked about ways to prepare canvases for different types of paintings.

I believe for the detail required in the ship painting I should have applied more gesso to the canvas and sanded to build up a smoother surface. I should have done a neutral under painting on the canvas so I am not painting directly on white.  I also realize that I apply too much paint to the canvas and instead of trying to build up to the color I need I should be mixing the colors more on my palette and then applying them to the painting. My palette also needs to be a neutral tone instead of white. The white makes reading the color tones correctly difficult.

I have been looking at countless websites and visited the library today where I picked up eleven books on oil painting and portraiture. The kids loved looking at library books and we checked out twelve books for them. It can be difficult to get books for myself when I have two kids in tow but I put the baby on my back in an Ergo and the toddler kept busy with popping bubble wrap in the stroller.

Once nap time is over I will be able to get gesso and acrylic medium out of the guest room / storage room and begin applying a neutral background to my canvases for future portrait paintings.

Later: I tried to get the kids started on some artwork after naps but Nathan only wanted to use my paints and work on my painting. He can tell there is a difference between my paints and the one dollar watercolors. After bedtime and cleaning up a floor load of toys, I got back to painting. I worked on the water and then on the sails and am happy to say things went more smoothly. I am happy with todays work.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Day 2- Frustrations

I warked some more on the Ship painting today and am growing frustrated. I dont know how to go about painting a ship. I am so much more used to the process of painting portraits.I feel like I need the canvas to be at least twice, maybe four times as big to fit in all of the detail that is needed.
The kids colored also after they got up from their naps but were not quite as dedicated as they were yesterday. We soon all gave up and headed outdoors to enjoy the fall leaves.
I am planning on starting a series of portrait painting soon also. Went to Micheals and picked up 6 canvases all at 40% off and some Veridian paint.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

New Starts

I am starting a new adventure. I am undertaking the seemingly impossible. Can I actually work on developing as a painter with a baby and a toddler trying to do everything possible to distract me?
I want to chronicle my adventures of trying to squeeze painting into my busy life. I am not great at staying focused or dedicated to any one task so this could be a big challenge for me. But I am tired of saying I want to be a painter and am ready to make it happen.
Today I crawled under the pile of children paraphernalia stashed in the guest bedroom, to retrieve my paintbrushes and other supplies. They have not been pulled out in about a year and a half or more since I finished the painting of my cousin's  pregnant belly.

 I sat both of my children down with artwork of their own, and I started a painting for my husband. He had said for a long time he has wanted a painting of ships battling. So I decided to work on it for his birthday. I prefer to paint Portraits so this will probably be quite the challenge. I at least got some paint on the canvas in the hour or so I could keep my kids moderately contained.

My son was very interested in what I was doing and kept on wanting to help. He worked on a watercolor of his own and also painted his water mug and his hands. He wants me to help him paint all the time. I think he wants to be able to do it better than he is able. So I painted Daddy for him. Not my finest work.