Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New Challenges

I kind of lost focus during April.... I've hardly been to the studio at all.  Time to get back on track.  I almost had to force myself today.

And as you can see I didn't get a lot done, BUT I did go, and that counts for something.  It's not for lack of ideas.  I'm not sure what the issue is.

But, I've decided to do another Leslie Saeta challenge, this time 30 Marketing Ideas in 30 Days.  And of course, if I don't paint anything there's nothing to market, so I'll need to show up at the easel, too.  I'm hoping for a little inspiration on both fronts.

A couple of weeks ago my husband went to a Windows on the World international festival and at one of the booths there I saw this awesome flag with the symbols for the chakras on it.  I loved it but I didn't want to drop $30 on it, so I decided to do this series of mini-paintings.  It will be a series of seven, obviously, for the seven main chakras in seven colors.

More to come on what chakras are and what the symbols for them mean!

Friday, April 26, 2013

When You Burn Out, Play

"Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play".  ~Heraclitus
I'm still full of ideas but this past week I've been reluctant to go to the studio to start to execute them.  I think it's partly a reluctance to BE in the studio... my son's room is a disaster, especially the bathroom where I wash out my brushes.  =/

So, I thought today I'd pick the most fun of those ideas and head down there to imagine and let my inner child out.

I have at least a dozen Breyer horses that are holdovers from when I was ACTUALLY a child.  I painted some of them, most with a stinky black magic marker (I insisted that their hooves be black... hooves are black, right?).  Most of them are tucked away in a box in the garage, but I had a couple up here at the house.

When I was a kid it was really important that all my horses look realistic.  I didn't want any stupid fantasy pink ponies.  I insisted on realism in all my toys, actually.  Maybe that says something about my inner artist.  Anyway, you might not know this but there is a whole hobby that revolves around these.  When I was a kid people would take pictures of them that looked as realistic as possible, often with incredibly detailed tack, and mail the 35 mm. pictures to a person holding a "photo show."  (There also were and are live shows but I have never gone to one).  The person who holds the show would then organize the photos into their classes based on breed.  There were even "Performance" classes wherein the horse was supposed to look like it was actually doing the thing - jumping, or cutting cattle, or barrel racing, or whatever.  Dolls were optional and of course I detested dolls, they took all the realism out of the photo because no one is as meticulous about horse-riding dolls as they are about the realism of their horses.  And I have major issues with Barbie because of her inability to ride a horse without dislocating a hip, but that's another story.

Of course, the Internet has changed this hobby completely and every once in a while I get an urge to ogle the amazing works of art.  Model horse artists take these resin sculptures, melt off muscles, reposition legs, sculpt on new details, carve out other details with a dremel, add real mohair, and paint them in exquisite (realistic) detail.  Here's an example at Half Fast Farms.

I've always sort of wanted to do that, but my fancy has taken me in another, entirely unexpected direction...
I had a brain wave that I thought might breathe new life into my old collection.  I want to paint a line of "Henna horses", some with images on them similar to Painted Ponies (I didn't like them either when they came out, for lack of realism), but all with designs painted on them with my henna paste technique.

So!  Long story long, I took 20 minutes and put a base coat on this primed Breyer Arabian foal that will be my first victim.  She's going to be palomino, with designs that invoke spring.  I'll be honest, I'm not even sure what I'm going to do.  I may paint her with a golden sunrise background and then henna on top, we'll see.  I'm just experimenting at the moment.  I have dozens of ideas, of course. 

Some of them even include some realism.  ;)

I'd love to hear what happens when you let your Inner Artist out to play.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Some progress on the violin. The Aquabord is a little weird in the way it takes up paint. I wet the violin surface but it doesn't seem to dry at the same rate, so I had some problems with blotchiness. I think it'll straighten out in subsequent layers though. I'd really like to like this painting surface.

In other news, last year was the first year we were members of a CSA. It stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Basically, you contract with a farmer and pay a fee at the beginning of the growing season. They then provide you with a certain amount of fresh produce weekly throughout the year, depending on what's in season. 

We adore this concept. It's an affordable way to have organic, responsibly grown, local food on your table all year.

Our farmers, Miracle Mountain Farm, asked me if I'd be willing to exchange services this year... I make them a logo and paint their sign, in exchange for a substantial discount on our fee this year. I'm excited for the opportunity to do this, and I can't wait for fresh produce!

Anyway here's the logo I came up with for them. It still needs coloring; I think I may attempt to do that on the computer.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Music of the Ainur

Major dry spell... I'm not sure why. Partly because I spent a week driving people around but that's been better this week. I had some jewelry orders to fill but if I'm honest, I could've painted.

Anyway, I'm back in the studio today and playing with watercolor on Aquabord. It behaves differently from paper, but I think I like it; when dry, the colors come out fairly vibrant.

I have a good bit more work to do on this, hopefully tomorrow.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Beginning With Bison

I'm about to embark on a series of paintings that it seems to me very important to do. A series of animal totem paintings, composed in part of the mostly realistic painting style I first learned from my mentor Karen, with symbols and accents and sometimes the animals themselves done in my henna impasto style. It seems to me a marriage of the physical and the spiritual, which is what painting must be for me.

It seems natural to begin with Buffalo (American bison, Bison bison). For one thing, its medicine is something I need in my life right now. For another, White Bison is the keeper of the North direction on the Medicine wheel, the beginning, slumber, winter time. The medicine wheel will figure significantly in Bison's painting. To begin with Bison is to begin at the beginning.

These are going to be 10x10 oil paintings on, I think, panel. I'm ordering the materials, and sketching and researching while I wait for them to arrive.

If you've got an animal you'd like to see me do, feel free to leave a comment or email me.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

First Sale :)

As I finished a painting the other day and put it on top of our entertainment center, I realized that I'm running out of room for finished paintings.  So I took an armload of them to Fragrant Mushroom Gallery on Wednesday.  I was really excited when Cherri told me Thursday that this one had sold... my first sold painting :)

I have still not had much time to paint this week.  I went and started allergy shots on Friday, and one thing or another seems to get in the way, although I worked on my lorikeet a couple of times this week.  I hope to get back into the groove on Monday and start painting every day, or close to it.  I've had some kind of new inspiration and a series of paintings I want to work on, and two that I want to get done.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Almost There

FINALLY I had a day to spend a few hours painting.  It was wonderful.  The house is quiet, I put on some mood music, got out knives and paint and my Kindle for a reference photo (love that), and just played. 

Knife painting doesn't feel that much unlike finger painting to me.  It's very tactile, very much about the patterns IN the paint as well as the patterns the paint makes.  I adore this aspect of it.  I thought feathers would be a lot of fun to paint with a knife, and I was right. 

I have a few little tweaks I want to make with this, a few areas that need a little more blending or color adjustment, and I want his beak and eye to be very realistic, but he is pretty close to finished.

There seems to be a lot of confusion around species and subspecies of Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus).  I think that's what this guy is, but I see some with the black barring in their red breast feathers and some without.  A lot of the birds that were once classified as subspecies of T. haematodus are now getting their own classifications too.

At any rate, they are funny, active little birds whose diet consists mainly of nectar.  It's getting popular at many zoos in the US to have a large walk-in aviary with lories and lorikeets flying loose, and you can buy a cup of nectar to feed them.  I get a huge kick out of this, and both the Nashville and Cleveland Metroparks zoos have such exhibits.  If you get a chance to try it, take the kids. :)

Here are a few pics from our adventures at Nashville zoo with my niece and nephew, and the rainbow birds.