Monday, August 30, 2010

Living an Artful Life

 Art is not a thing; it is a way.  ~Elbert Hubbard

My spirit was in need of a little soothing and comfort.

  A couple times a year I find myself spending time at Roger's Gardens in Newport Beach.

It's a place where you can go and just wander from room to room to be inspired by all gorgeous displays that change every season.

 Do you find time for inspiration?   Is there something that you do to live a more artful life?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sneak Peek Friday

On my desk this week, I finally experimented with an effect that I've seen used by other artists.  I did an orange under painting, so it could show through in areas.  Using acrylic, the colors stay vibrant but dry very quickly.   

A Rose is a Rose, 6" x 6", acrylic on masonite (unfinished)
Here another example of how I use Picnik to improve my work.  When I first looked at this version in Picnik,  I thought the bottom flower was taking the viewer's eye out of the painting.  So I lifted it slighting to keep you from spiraling down and out.

Painting with viewfinder
This picture shows how I made a little view finder to focus on the roses I was painting ... oh my, all those petals.

A Rose is a Rose, 6"x 6", acrylic on masonite

 Just having fun playing with watercolor pencil on top. I'm in love with that turquoise color!

If you want to join us in the fun, just click on  "In the Studio"  and give it a try.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Birthday Buds

"Birthday Buds" 6" x  6", watercolor; watercolor pencil on gesso'd masonite
(artwork by me)

Today I received a homemade birthday card from my daughter:

Moms are kind of like stars, 
they are spread out over the night sky,
twinkling & lighting up the darkness, 

but when I wake up in the morning, 
and my day is filled with light, 
I know that there is always one star 
who shines above all the others,
the Mom

Happy Birthday always light up my day!


Monday, August 23, 2010

Improving your Artwork with Picnik

I guess there's more to be said about scanning a painting into the computer.  One time when I was about to post a painting, I had scanned it, cropped it, fixed the exposure and then I saw something was off.  Since then, I developed this way of scanning an unfinished painting into the computer before posting it to make sure it's the best it can be.   Here's the gist of it.

The above painting was painted to a level I felt was near complete and then scanned into the computer.   The image was then uploaded to Picnik (which is a free, online program or with a small yearly fee, premium  upgrades).  I have and use Photoshop, too, but basically feel most comfortable with Picnik.  Even with this simple composition, there needs to be a balance of light and dark, especially with watercolor....a bounce, a light against dark, back and forth as your eye moves through the painting.    

For some reason, I don't know why, but when working on a painting, I just can't really see it and having the image on the screen helps me become the viewer and not the artist. 

With  Picnik, besides the basics like crop, exposure, etc., under the "Create" tab, then Effects, there is a button called "Doodle" and you can draw right over your image.  So, I played around and did some "what ifs" to improve my painting and in this instance, the values. With the Clone feature, I've taken away objects, like in my earlier post "A Place in the Sun", and I did remove the third girl from the original painting afterwards.

For this painting, I thought I was losing too much of the white sidewalk and the grass didn't recede enough in the distance either so I lighten the green across the back and added more white to the sidewalk.

"Peace Skater" 6" x 6", watercolor on gesso'd masonite

Here is the finished painting with improvements and better from the first so that's a good thing, as Martha Stewart would say.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

How's Your "To Do" List Looking?

I started a "To Do"  list right after the e-course I took with Kelly Rae and have been slowly making progress on it ever since.  My daughter joked about how nicely written it was with big red check marks, too.  Not all my lists look like this, but it was an important one that I knew would be around for a while so I made it nice to look at and boy those red checks are fun to make.
One thing I learned is to put small attainable items on the list.  For me, I keep motivated by those big red check marks and if the list had an item like "Sell painting notecards in a gift shop",  I would just stare at it everyday.

I keep it very easy.  I want to be able to keep making those big red check marks... Two unchecked items on my list say "make a christmas card and a birthday card painting".    And if I did want to sell them in a gift shop, my next item would be to visit a gift shop.   Small and attainable..check.  Ok, someone please give me an idea for these paintings?  I don't want to do a cupcake.  No such items allowed in this house!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sneak Peek Friday

I'm participating in the link party,  "In the Studio", hosted by one of my Flyer friends, Jennifer from Studio JRU.  It's kind of a fun way for everyone to see what your working on at the moment and to see other studios, too.

I had my hubby cut a few of these 6" x 6" masonite boards to try out.  Here I'm adding  some watercolor pencil, but its not quite finished.  I am constantly checking the composition by scanning it into the computer to truly seeing the painting. 

"My Buds",. 6" x  6",  watercolor, gouache, w/c pencil on gesso'd masonite
What I love about painting watercolor on this board is you can wipe off what you don't like.  Unlike painting on watercolor paper, you can virtually start over.  Problem is you start wiping, and you end up wiping an area you loved!  

If you want to join in the fun, just click on the "In the Studio" button on the right and give it a try.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

SB Trolley

"Santa Barbara Trolley" 6" x 6", watercolor on gesso'd masonite

When I went with my friend to the Laguna Artwalk, I was surprised to see paintings of old cars.  My friend, who is an interior designer, said a lot of people, especially men, like them.  Well, I don't have a reference picture of an old car at the moment, but I do have this picture of the Trolley taken on my Santa Barbara trip.  I see why so many people like these little 6" x 6" paintings.  I think it looks cute here on my table or it would make a nice souvenir for someone's bookshelf.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Today, marks the date of the Kings death at age 42.  When it happened, I thought he was an old, overweight singer.  Now, wiser and more mature, I realize he was still so young and had so much life left to live and unsung songs left to sing. Bruce Springsteen once famously said that Elvis Presley freed people's bodies, the way Bob Dylan freed people's minds.  Long live the King (in our memories and our hearts)!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Upsy Daisy Steps

"Upsy Daisy Steps"
Mixed Media, 10" x 10"- watercolor, paper on bristol vellum,

Have you ever read some of Kelly Rae's blog archives?  I so enjoyed going back to her earlier posts to see where she came from artistically and creatively.  I blog about this because it gives me hope.  In the beginning, she posts all her happy paintings.  And you see them getting better and better each time. She's just happy and grateful to be able to create.  She's so positive and upbeat, and  I think that's what attracted me to her blog in the first place.

Let me confess unlike Kelly, I agonize over my paintings.  I throw away two for every one I keep or post.  I cry when I just can't get it.  I would cut my ear off  if  I could!

So today,  I decided I'm going to be more forgiving of myself.  I'm going to try to enjoy the process and not focus so on the outcome, as my flyer friend,  Kat posts in "The means or the end".....the process, the means, is probably more important ...the end is not the purpose of the creative process, the means is".  

So, I am posting "Upsy Daisy Steps", a tough "means" painting.  I  happened to see it again in the drawer and thought what was wrong with this one?  Don't remember.

Someday, maybe someone else will look back at our earlier posts and be inspired, too!  

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What 's on Your Work Desk Wedneday?

We all use different areas of our homes to create.  Many of us have multi-purpose rooms and tables.  I used our kitchen table to paint watercolors so that I could be with the family at night.  Eventually, the drafting table served the purpose.  Now that I have a nice studio to work from home, I have to be very clean and organized.  

This is what my table looks like during the day.  Here I'm designing the layout and storage for a boy's closet.

Here's my table at night.  This is a clean day.  Most of the time I get glue, paint and paper everywhere.  The Borco vinyl top was in such bad shape, I almost bought a new one, but then I just found this little can of Goof Off in our cabinet, and it works great on getting off the glue or anything.  Smells like gasoline!

Anyone want to participate in WOWW....go to Stamping Ground .

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Laguna Beach Art Walk

To be an artist in So. California,  20 minutes from Laguna Beach,  there's no excuse not to ever have attended the First Thursday of the Month Artwalk.  That was me until this week when my friend called me to go.  All the galleries in Laguna Beach keep their doors open till 9 p.m. and people make a night of strolling from gallery to gallery looking at art, drinking wine.

There were artists painting demos and musicians playing instrumental guitar.  Unfortunately, we talked too much at dinner, got there late, and had only an hour left of strolling.

One artist that caught my eye was Marianne Kolb, She had a series of mostly single figure dancers.  The art  looked like it had a polyurethane finish.  They were so glossy and slick.  I had never seen anything like it before. It is art that needs to be seen in person, because it doesn't read as well on the internet.

I have to say, it is good to see what other artists are doing. Taking baby steps out of my comfort zone. There are so many more galleries we didn't see....perhaps next month.  Any joiners?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Anniversary Roses

My hubby surprised me with roses for our anniversary.  Hard to believe it was 23 years ago, we drove to Vegas one weekend to tie the knot!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Place in the Sun

A Place in the Sun  10" x 10" watercolor on  illus. board

Same painting, 3rd girl removed

5 x 5 print
Another painting from my Santa Barbara trip. This group of girls were having lunch at the beach.  I'm thinking the third girl's face is distracting.  So, I eliminated her with Picnik.   What do you think?  Which one do you like better?

I so loved the shirt from Mi Casa, Su Casa, I had to repeat the bright pink "Opera" and yellow in their towel.