Friday, January 24, 2014

Two complete and ready to go to their homes

Tonight I completed two paintings and am just waiting to hear from their owners for final approval.

That makes 6 completed paintings so far this month. All while being a full time mom to 3 little kiddos. On other (completely unrelated) news, My house is a very big mess and my laundry needs folding.

Both need to be photographed in better light and I have a signature to add but I am happy with both of them.

My eldest doing a little Plein Air Drawing, now that is dedication!

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Not good quality pictures because I took the photos at night with poor light but here are two progressing paintings.


Life painting Session, three hour pose


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Little Dancer

"On the Way to Ballet" 30x30 is all blocked in now but there are many more layers and adjustments still to come. I cannot decide what to do in the background. I do not want anything detailed but I am not sure that it should just be solid color.
The very beginning of this painting. Lots of work still to go. Things always look messy in the beginning.

We got lots of snow today and the kids had a blast in it. Baby Goose just could not wait to get out in it. She brought me her jacket and stood by the door waiting to be let out into the fun.
We also worked on some homeschool and did experiments with states of water.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Incremental Steps


 Many hours of work with only small changes.


It can be really difficult when trying to start a small business. Especially when it is as a portrait artist. Money output does not yet come close to money coming in. As a portrait artist most of my sales are based on commissions, but to get commissions people have to be aware of me.

I have been putting in many hours a week at painting and marketing and business building. Last week I worked for almost 30 hours. Those thirty hours use up as much time and energy as a paying job but currently are not yielding financial gain. Because the work I am doing does not make money it is hard to consider it a job yet. Therefore I am still "Just a housewife" and as such I have no excuse for the state of chaos in my house.

My husband came home earlier than I expected today and the kitchen was a mess and the laundry was in folded piles on the kitchen table. I was napping in an effort to catch up on the sleep I have missed from staying up past midnight every night painting. I felt horrible that he came home to such a mess. He got to work and the kitchen was clean in no time but that does not make me feel better.

If I had an away from home job, a paying job it would be easier to explain the messes. But then the house would be empty for most of the day and the messes would not accumulate. I do not know whether I should be pouring so much energy into this dream of being a profitable artist, or if I should spend my days doing endless jobs around the house.

I sometimes wish that it came more naturally to me to keep everything picked up and to dash around busy all day cleaning but I get distracted by kiddos who need attention and hugs. And I get distracted by paintings waiting to be painted and the dream of being an Artist. An artist who can support my family by painting. An Artist who can be at home for my children when they need them and fit painting somewhere into this life as a mother.

Really Mother and Artist are not the roles I have a hard time co-mingling. It is the role of Housekeeper and Cook that do not always seem to fit in with everything else, and also maybe sometimes the role of Wife. It is hard to spend time with my husband when I paint every night until well after he is asleep.

Currently on the easel is Ballerina, she has changed since this picture but is coming along. At 30x30 this is a large piece for me after the 10x10 paintings.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Ready for show.

Last night I finished up my paintings for the Imagination Squared Vienna Art Society show in February.

 It is interesting to see how much color difference I get when photographing my paintings late at night in my studio for blog posts and when I photograph outside in the shade.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Desire to simplify

“Up, Up and Away” my kids cry as Daddy picks them up above his head to fly up the stairs for baths.

As I think about how quickly time flies, I am reminded that it is our job as parents to help our kids grow up, up and away. The time we have with them at home to explore the world together, learn about baby Jesus, curl up together reading books, have my nose chewed on by a baby, is so very short.

It can be hard in the constant hustle and demands of the day to relish these precious moments together. My kids will only want me to hold theirs hands or tell them a story for a short time. Laundry will always need to be washed and dust will never fail to accumulate but children are only this young and anxious for my time and undivided attention for a limited time.

Thomas Moore wrote that family is “the nest in which the soul is born, nurtured, and released into life.” This year as I reflect on the future flight of my little Birds, I am striving to make my nest a safe haven in which to nurture, guide and enjoy them as they grow.

I want to simplify our life so that we can focus on the things that are important. We are so blessed to be able to afford toys, clothes and activities for our children but more is not always a good thing. The more toys they have the less they enjoy playing. They get lost in the confusion of toys and pull everything out overwhelmed by choices. Then they take hours to clean up what should be a 15 minute job. I don't think kids are any happier with their hundreds of toys than kids were when they only had 2 or three toys.

Why is it so hard to pair down toys and clothes? I find myself holding onto everything "just in case" instead of purging so that what we do have can be enjoyed more. I am so tempted to get rid of 90% of all their toys and 50% of all their clothes. But why do I never do it?

I have started purges so many times. I go into their rooms with the intention of eliminating most of the oversupply. I usually manage to get rid of a few things but it is so hard to get rid of anything that they have enjoyed even if for only five minutes in the last 6 months. When I do pick something for the purge pile suddenly it become a FAVORITE toy. "OH PLEASE, I LOVE THAT nameless STUFFED ANIMAL"

I know if I could manage to eliminate everything but for 5 or 10 absolute favorites they would probably have a great time using their imagination with what they have, and we would all have an easier time with cleanup.

The same goes for my art supplies. Over the years I have had so many different creative projects I wanted to work on. I have dabbled in scrapbooking, quilting, crocheting, knitting, leather tooling, bookmaking, drawing, colored pencils, beadwork, cross stitch, and doll making to name a few. My studio still has most of the supplies for all of these different things. If I could get rid of everything except what I need for painting I would have so much more room both physically and mentally for the work I am currently doing. I could spend less time cleaning and more time creating.

Just like I need space in my studio to focus on what is important, I need more space in out lives to focus on what is important. All of the toys, activities, TV shows and clutter fill up our time and leave us with less time for each other.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

From Life

3 hour life painting pose today. It was really fun to work on this portrait. because I had a little longer time to work on the pose I wanted to include her torso and not just the face. I used calipers to measure the head and body dimensions. This was such a huge help in getting the layout drawn correctly. I had a smaller canvas than  would have liked because I forgot the larger canvas on my easel at home. Her shirt had lost of design on it but I wanted to simplify and make her look a little more rustic.

I drew out my next painting this evening. It may be hard to see but I am very excited about this one. It is rather large at 30"x30". My daughter is drawn at full scale. Cant wait to get to work on this tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Little Cowboy

My time in the studio tonight was spent working on my 10x10 canvases.
Grandma's Helper is now blocked in

"Intent" got some refining touches.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Squarely underway

I have begun two paintings for an upcoming show at the Vienna Arts Center. The show requires the use of 10x10 canvases, and will be hung on February 3rd. I thought it would be an interesting challenge to paint something small and specifically for a show.

I have only worked on the background of this one and need to let it dry before I can proceed to the boy.
I painted over most of this canvas already but will have multiple layers to get it to its final state.
I picked both of these to showcase my figural work depicting children. And they are both so sweet.
I also worked on the layout for two other new paintings today and updated my website some more. It has been a busy day.
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Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Fairy, a princess and a fireman....

"Baby Blues" oil on Canvas 12"x12" is complete and awaiting approval by her momma.

So a Princess, a Fairy and a Fireman go to a tea party.... miraculously no dishes were harmed in the making of this picture.
Recently my three year old daughter and I have been having a rough time connecting. She has not been listening to me and has been... well acting three. I get so frustrated with her and some days it feels like I am always correcting her or sending her to timeouts. Then I realized we had not been having many special moments together recently. I have been busy with Christmas recovery and business growth. She would act up and I would get frustrated and that would push those connection moments even farther away. So the other night after I sent her to bed for the fourth time in one night I realized I needed to reconnect. I went in to give her an extra hug and to say a prayer together. We prayed for patience and for good listening. Then I asked her if there was anything special we could do together.  Of course a magnificent tea party was in store for the next day.
Maybe things have improved...and maybe they haven't but we did have one great tea party.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

30 New Canvases

Today I purchased 30 new canvases!
Plaza arts has great a great sale and most of the canvases I picked up were 70% off. I am ready for many new paintings. It is so nice to have such a nice variety of canvases to choose from when I want to start something new.

I also set up a checking account dedicated to my painting business. It feels great to have dedicated funds. I am trying to keep track this year of all expenses and income and this will help.

Today's new painting is the sister to a painting I worked on two years ago. A dear friend of mine wants this one to go on the wall across from the original which I gave her as a present. It is much more responsibility to paint one that has been commissioned even though it is the same size and style. I did the first in one evening but this one will take longer, everything has to be perfect.

I worked a little more on the wedding painting but need to let the thick areas dry for a few days before I can work on it again.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Dancing the night away

Tonight I spent working on a wedding painting for a dear friend. There were so many wonderful things about their wedding but something about their shoes during their first dance really seemed to me to capture the evening. Their shoes show such a great combination of retro relaxed and unique, exactly what their wedding was. I am painting thicker than normal on this painting because I feel like the shoes need to have a more expressive paint technique than a normal portrait would. I want the strokes to convey the motion and the energy of their dance.
Goose was given the go ahead to eat at the table like a big girl. She was quite a sight with no shirt and only one sock on, covered with soup. The table and chair ended up being quite a mess but she was so proud to be a big girl.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Cleaning to avoid my real Work

This weekend I attended a wonderful workshop "Mastering the Business of Art" with Jill Banks. It is overwhelming to think of all of the things I need to be doing. It is hard to fit painting into my schedule as a mother let alone the hours of marketing needed to make my painting turn into a successful business. Successful Artists spend approximately 50% of their time painting and the other 50% of the time marketing.
I spend 80% of the time cleaning and caring for children and 20% of my time on painting, where are the marketing hours supposed to come from?

If anyone would like to join my mailing list please let me know. Also please share my blog and website with anyone who might be interested. My best marketing comes from all of you and your recommendations and referrals.

Here are some of my commissions and sales from the past year.

"Henry and Tom" 12x16

"Mike Mullins Rocking Chair" 24x24

"Heidi's Grandparents" 16x20

"Tide Pool"  14x18

"Pope Francis" 24x36
And two a little older

"Grandpa's Barn" 24x30

"Babes on the Beach" 24x36

When I feel overwhelmed I often have a hard time getting started. I have been putting off painting by cleaning my studio and my supplies.  If I keep putting it off I might start making a dent in the pile of laundry I need to fold. That would make my husband happy!

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year New Focus

Last year I worked on developing a more regular painting schedule and increased my painting output from 7 completed in 2012, to 21 completed in 2013. I hope to increase that number even more in 2014.

This year I am focusing on developing the business side of being an artist. I have been developing a better records system and have all of my paintings entered into a spreadsheet. I am planning on signing up for a sales tax id, in anticipation of lost of sales. This weekend I am attending a  "Mastering the Business of Art" workshop taught by Jill Banks, a successful local artist whose work I have been following.

The holidays were a joyful mix of traveling, family, celebration. We went to see both sets of grandparents and enjoyed both the farm and the beach. It was a little cold over all but we did have a few warmish dry days in both locations.

One of my presents was a plein air easel.  It was so exciting to go out and paint on site, what a difference this easel makes.
My first plein air painting, "Edge of the Marsh"
"Egg Scale" still life

 Quilted Purse Christmas Present

Marion loving on the bunny!