Category Archives: Animals

Strange Holiday

So it’s the 4th of July, and I’m sitting around in my red, white, and blue (flip-flops and Eeyore pajama pants are patriotic, right?), and I’m musing about the strangest Independence Day ever. The usual local fireworks display at the high school football field down the street has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the neighbors seem to be taking up the slack… and then some — at least the neighbors who are less concerned about keeping all ten fingers.

The extended family didn’t plan anything today except that we attended a memorial service this morning for a dear friend. Our daughter is moving to another state in a month. My husband is waiting to hear if he will get the job he interviewed for on Thursday. He’s been at home since March; his previous job was eliminated due to the pandemic’s economic fallout. There was one art fair where I planned to sell my work at the end of the summer, and I just now learned that it has been Corona-canceled. Everything seems to be in a state of change or uncertainty. In the midst of all this, my motivation to make art has had its ups and downs.

I’ve been working on a bunch of smaller works on paper and trying out some art supplies that I had collected but never used. Three pieces (pictured above) that I was very happy with came of it, and then I ran out of ideas for a few days. The next round produced one even smaller floral watercolor (with bee) and then one dud (not pictured). They can’t all be winners. If it’s not a success, then it’s lesson, right? I think the main lesson in that one was that cheap watercolor paper is no bargain.

I am looking into selling my art as prints and merchandise. There are several print-on-demand sites where I could set up an online store. For those who don’t have a place to hang a large oil painting but still want to enjoy a little art, perhaps a print to put on a desk will be just the thing. I’ll keep you posted.

Getting High On Weeds

I finished a new painting last week. I’m calling it Irish Pasture. Now it’s sitting on the easel in my studio for me to stare at while it dries. That’s what I do when I’ve finished a painting — I stare at it. While I’m working on a painting, if I’m doing it right, life and light flow out of me onto the canvas (or paper, or panel) and then when I’m finished I get to stand back and absorb that life and light back into my own soul.

Eventually the effect wears off, and then I’m less attached to the piece and I can sell it. At that point, ideally, I will have the next one finished and then it can be my stare-at piece. My husband said that’s disturbingly vampire-like, but I explained to him that it’s roughly the same thing he gets from reading his poetry to a live audience, so he gets it now. Runners claim to get a high (I’ll take their word for it), and this is the painter’s version.

The focal point in a painting is always the eye or eyes if there are any. This scene has several, but the only one looking directly at the viewer is the steer on the left. His eye and the effects of the morning light falling on his face are definitely the main focal point, but I painted that first so I suppose I’ve already “sucked the life” out of that bit already.

The parts that now keep catching my attention as I walk past the studio door are the weeds in the foreground. They aren’t anything special, but they are an eye magnet — at least for me. I suppose each viewer’s eyes will settle on a different detail. Or, if I did my job well, there are enough eye magnets to keep a person looking, and looking, and looking. If you can’t easily look away, then I’ve hit a home run!

Once Irish Pasture is dry and ready to sell, I am going to donate a portion of the sale price to the missionary who took the photo, my friend Korina. Korina has traveled to many places around the globe, but lately she’s been going back to Greece for a few months at a stretch (interrupted by a bit of a pandemic) in order to work with Syrian refugees, a Roma (Gypsy) school, and Threads of Hope, a ministry that helps victims of human trafficking, and otherwise making a big difference in the world. I am hoping to make her next flight to Athens much more affordable.

Big Ideas – Small Art

Feb-Mar2019_SMALL

I haven’t posted in a while, but I promise I haven’t been a slacker.  I couldn’t post what I was working on until recently because it was not publishable work.  There are lots of reasons a work of art may not be publishable… one was a commission for a birthday surprise and I can’t spoil the surprise, one was an 80% plagiarized watercolor I did for fun as a silly Valentine’s day gift for my husband, and another was a sketch of a young acquaintance that I can’t share because he’s a minor and I don’t know his parents to ask for permission. (He thought it was pretty cool though.)

Then I went to an art event at my friend Jake’s studio, and met A. R. Drew.  She describes herself on her web site as “a contemporary badass warrior artist.”  I bought one of her pieces – something I rarely do because I already have an excess of art at my house (occupational hazard).  It was a fascinating small figural sketch done in gold paint marker.  I also watched her sketching one with that marker and I realized that was the answer to my problem of always taking a couple weeks or more to finish anything.  With a big, bold marker, I can’t fuss over detail, and I can’t erase, so I’m forced to work confidently and “sketchily.”  Thanks for the inspiration, A.R — Crown On!

You see that onion picture above?  That one’s a photo, not a painting.  I took that photo while the sun pouring in the west window was perfect, intending to use it as a reference photo for a small oil painting, and I have actually started on it – the picture is sketched in pencil on a canvas – but then I stalled on that project because in order to paint with oils or acrylics, I have to have a significant block of time.  If I’ve only got half an hour, that’s just enough time to get paint on the brushes and then clean up.

When a local crafts store announced a moving sale, I bought a set of oil-based paint markers and I’ve been going nuts with them in a watercolor paper journal.  First I found some public domain photos and drew the lamb, the duckling, and the wolf in just marker, and then the parakeet in paint marker with a watercolor background.  Then I thought I should try something other than an animal, and I did a distant cousin, Elsie Grace, from an old photo circa 1905.  I’ve always liked that photo, and what I like most about the sketch is that it actually looks like Elsie, even though I only spent about five minutes on the face.  Drawing a person is easy – achieving a good likeness is hard.

If you live in the Elkhart, Indiana area, come get a closer look at these smaller works and my larger paintings too during Art Walk – April 10, 2019 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  Businesses up and down Main Street’s “Arts & Entertainment District” will be hosting the event.  April’s event will also feature a lot of talented young artists.  More details on that and my exact location for the event will be in my next post.  Thanks for reading!