Friday, August 30, 2013

The trouble is in the details

I am trying to fill in details on the portrait of Mike Mullins. It is very difficult to paint hands with the reference photos that I have. I have three different photos with different lighting conditions and all at fairly low resolution.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Rocking Chair

Work has begun on a new painting. Yesterday I transferred my drawing to the canvas and put on an under painting layer of raw sienna. I also worked or laying in some of the blue for the shirt. Today I have tried to get most of the major areas started so that I can see the way the values work together. It is hard to work from several different reference photos with very different lighting situations and low resolution.

Baby Girl enjoyed her birthday party and cake.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Painting Progress Derailed

There are so many things in my life that can get me derailed from working on paintings. I am currently working on preparing for my daughters first birthday party. She turned one a few days ago but her party is tomorrow. With each consecutive child, parties get progressively less fancy. My son has had some very unique cakes, A dump truck, angry birds, and a pond with frogs and cattails. Tomorrow we will be eating chocolate cake, nothing fancy.

I am not going to have every corner perfectly de-cluttered. By this time our parties have swelled in number of kids and greatly decreased in adult attendance. We are down to a group of two other families and with the 5 extra kids in the house that is more than chaotic enough. I know that there will be toys everywhere once the party is over and with only close friends coming no one is under the delusion that I keep a perfectly clean house. It is nice to feel comfortable enough with a friend to let her see my piles of papers and toys on the stairs.

 There are so many important things to squeeze into everyday. How do I manage to always find energy at the end of a long day full of playground trips and wrestling and book reading and cleaning up potty accidents to paint, once everyone is finally fettled down for the night? Short answer... I don't. When things like birthday party's and homeschooling and cleaning and house projects get in the way of working on paintings I often get frustrated that I am not making progress with painting. 
This week has been one of THOSE weeks. All I have done with my painting is buy some frames, enter two paintings in a portrait competition and do a sketch to figure out the composition of an upcoming painting.  Before I can actually begin to paint I will need to make a run to the Art store to pick up the right size canvas.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Role Models of Motherhood

In the last day I have signed my name to three paintings of three women who are among the most influential role models of mothering in my life.
Amy and I met when we were in a childbirth class and expecting our first children. After the boys were born (one week apart) we, along with another friend from the class, started meeting regularly for play dates. I am not sure how much 4 month old babies really gain from a play date but what we have gained as moms is immeasurable. We exchange advice and discuss parenting issues. We encourage each other with housework and faith. To have other moms at the same stage of parenting who support and encourage and inspire is so important.
Amy makes housekeeping seem effortless even though I know she works hard at it. Her home always seems peaceful and fun. I love the fact that we feel comfortable enough to correct each others children when they step out of line. She is a good example to me of Catholic mothering. Being a convert to Catholicism I often do not know how to incorporate Catholic traditions into daily life but she has lots of great ideas.

My cousin Lisa's is raising five children (including my niece). She homeschools and has grand adventures with her children. She is an example of calm, patient mothering. She always tries to address the heart issues with her children and teaches them to love and follow God.
I often call her when I am feeling particularly overwhelmed with mothering because her advice always helps. She is dedicated to being available for her children when they need her and trusts God to provide what they need. She has also taught me about "the gap." When parenting there are always areas that you let go of in order to tackle what is more important at the moment, and different mothers are good at different things. 

My grandmother who is almost 99 years old has raised 5 children, has 12 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. She always makes us feel loved and welcome. Her home was filled with handmade quilts, afghans, ornaments and other projects. Her table was bountiful with homemade breads and jams, soups and venison roast. Her arms were always ready for a hug and a soft word. She had attics of old treasures to explore and every Readers Digest and National Geographic for the last 50 or more years. She helped me learn to love books and reading, and even though she looked over my shoulder I am sure she helped me to love Learning. She now lives in a retirement village and has downsized her stuff but the love is not downsized because she is still there. I want my home to be filled with the love that hers is.
There are several women missing who have been even more influential but are not yet represented on canvas. My mother who is always there when I needed her and is always gentle and kind. And my sister who's bravery in facing a limited time on earth as a mother to her two children, was an example to all who knew her. Those two have shaped the way I mother in every aspect. I call my mother for advice on a regular basis and ask my sister to pray for me from her spot in heaven.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Children at Art

Art is a great way to get my kids to the table. I have started homeschooling and it can be hard to get started for the day if my son thinks he is going to have to do paperwork, but when he thinks he is coming for an art project he is on board immediately.  He then seems to have lots of fun with the work I do have for him.

 I discovered that with some colored paper, water in her cup holder and a paint brush the baby can have a great time "painting" along with the big kids. Sometimes she uses brush and sometimes fingers but she always loves to play in water so this was just the thing.

Play-doh has been in use a lot recently. All three have been enjoying it in someway, the baby likes the tool and getting them out of the bucket. Also she discovered that the bucket makes a great walking assistant.
 My son is finally making a few drawings. He has been very hesitant to try drawing because of his perfectionism and lack of hand control. This is his painting of a Grandpa Sun who has a beard and walks on the Earth.
 Something that can easily bring the whole family to the table, and we spend a lot of time with is Lego. We all have our own Lego collections but Dad's is certainly the largest.  I have no idea how many pieces we have in this house but it would be very interesting to know. Lego collects in corners and closets, on the tops of furniture and (heaven forbid) under the couch. Everyone has to be very careful to pick up anything that they drop or Daddy will ban them from playing, I think he knows everyone of his thousands upon thousands of pieces.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Baby Face.

I love the sweet little baby face and love the way the paint fades into the canvas. This painting was so fun to work on the raw linen. I still have a few touch ups, on the hands mostly, to do once the paint is drier.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Airing out Linens

This painting is my first attempt to use clear primed linen. With this type of canvas the point is to allow the canvas to show thru and add to the painting. I am trying to be very careful to not over paint.

Lots still to go. The thing that is bothering me the most currently are the teeth. I certainly do not have them right yet.

Homeschooling Preschool

To begin our homeschooling adventure we added several important things to our dining room walls. We have a daily schedule that can be adapted for each day, A chore schedule with an assigned daily kitchen helper and an attitude chart.  For the chore chart we took pictures this morning so the kids can see what they should be doing until they learn to read.
We also added the Ten  Commandments adapted for kids and some rules for our family.
Morning routine in Pictures

Very Cute little Man that Nathan drew in Salt while practicing s's

Table Work Time

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Getting close

 Here is a view into my easel set up and painting in progress. I have gotten quite a few brushes loaded with paint in today's painting session. I will use odorless turpentine substitute to get most of the paint out. Next I will be cleaning them with my all time favorite brush cleaner, Masters brush cleaner soap. I almost never use the turpentine substitute when painting. I use liquin to thin my paint out instead.
I still need to tackle the hands but most of the rest of the painting is getting close.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Cable knit sweater

Today I am not sure whether I accomplished a lot or not much at all. I followed up with a lot of art business and kept the kids from making too much of a mess, put up one piece of drywall in the bathroom I am remodeling.  I also fed children multiple times.
I cleaned yesterday because I woke up thinking it was Saturday, the day I usually try to do some more serious cleaning. So today I felt like I should be finishing my weekly cleaning but the house did not look messy enough to get me motivated.
I worked for several hours on this self portrait, and entered an art contest. Most of my efforts have no immediately visible results but I am hoping to see fruits from my labor in the future.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Quiet Moments and Messy Eating

 To begin this painting I drew the image and then did a very thin layer of liquin and various earth tones. Thin layers to build up a base and establish shadows. I have had much more success in unifying a painting when I start from a colored ground than when I start with a white canvas.

 And for the less tranquil side of my baby eating, here she is at dinner. This girl loves to eat and loves to make a mess.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tender Touch

The first of several Nursing paintings made some major progress today. Maybe complete but I need to look at it under daylight conditions to know for sure. The Photograph is taken at night with poor lighting so color quality is not accurate.