Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Color and Layers - A Little Tutorial

As promised yesterday, I took photos while painting my next little playful painting.
I had gotten masking fluid for a watercolor class I am going to take, but hadn't gotten around to using it yet. It occurred to me that I might be able to use it with acrylic washes and it worked! So, here are the photos of what I have been doing.
I just made some random marks on the clay board, which I was using. You could use any kind of heavy surface that isn't too absorbing as you'll use a lot of water with this. A heavy watercolor paper would work as well. These first masking fluid marks (use an old brush as it will ruin it or an applicator of some sort) will preserve the white of your surface if you want white in you final painting.
After this dried (it doesn't take very long), I sprayed the surface fairly evenly with water and dripped on some acrylic inks. These are Golden airbrush inks. I have to admit I wasn't thrilled with the colors and had to keep myself from wiping it off an starting over. The thing is, at the end you won't have a lot of the color mix showing.
When the color had dried (that took a little longer), I just peeled off one of the masking fluid marks to show you the white that was preserved (photo below). The rest I left on to keep the white in the painting.
And now I added more masking fluid. Totally random, but I covered some larger areas this time.
Again, waiting to let it dry (this is a great little project to do while you are working on other things at the same time!). After it dried, I covered the whole painting with fluid Turquoise acrylic and let that dry.
Finally it was time to pull off all the dried masking fluid. I just peel it off with my fingers. It comes off quite easily.
This is what I was left with. It was ok, but not really what I wanted yet. Still too busy for me with no real focal point.
It did remind me of a huge flower, so I took some more making fluid and drew a rough outline with it.
After that was dry, I covered the whole board in fluid Paynes Gray to create more of a contrast.
When I peeled off (after the paint had dried, of course) the dry masking fluid, I was left with a big flower. Nice!
In my mind's eye, I saw a little scene with houses and flowers and a tree, so I got out my white gel pen and started doodling.

The result is this little nighttime neighborhood scene with a giant flower in the background. Nice!
 Night Flower
acrylics on 5x7 in. clay board

Available in my Etsy Shop. 
That's all there is to it! It's really just a very intuitive layering process that is completely unplanned. I only go by what strikes my fancy at the moment and even though each of the little paintings goes through a phase that I don't like, by the time all the layers are done, I love the outcome.

I hope you've enjoyed this a little bit!!

Sending you lots of love, happiness and a beautifully colored day!


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Art, Art and more Art

I have been playing with color as you saw in my last post. Not just playing, but experimenting and getting out of my comfort zone.
One of my readers commented on how I have such different styles going on at the same time (one in oils and one in acrylics) and how it's making her think that its ok to have a diverse style.
Sometimes I think that I should have one style that defines me as an artist, but that's just not me. I like variety in most things and definitely in everything creative.
What's more, I found that this kind of art is essential to my creativity. That's when I can let loose and play and expand.
Where the Happy Houses Live
acrylics and gel pen on 5x7" clay board

Available in my Etsy Shop here.
That's when judgment and perfection are thrown out of the window and childlike play is invited in. 
That's when I discover new things and when I get sudden bursts of inspiration for my art and life in general.
In this space of pure play - that's where all the good stuff is born. At least for me.
Underwater Frolic
acrylics and gel pen on 5x7" clay board

Available in my Etsy Shop here.
And that's what feeds my more "serious" art, like this quick graphite sketch for a new oil painting.
One of my Facebook friends had mentioned that they'd love to see how I create the layers in my colorful paintings, so I'm taking some photos while I paint the next one and will share them here!

In the meantime, I hope that your week is off to a great start! Wishing you a color- and playful day!!

With lots of love and gratitude,


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Color Play

Moving from "serious" art in oils in my last post to my more intuitive and whimsical art with acrylics. It's interesting to me how divided the two mediums are for me in terms of looks and how I work with them.
Acrylics lend themselves to working fast as the drying time is so wonderfully short. Plus, they are great for working in layers.
This painting has one layer where I just saturated the whole clapboard with water and dripped acrylic inks in various places. You'd think they'd mix and create a dull brown, but they didn't.
Consequently, the colors are vibrant and gorgeous!
And at the very end I suddenly saw the figure of a woman hiding in the painting like an apparition. I outlined her very faintly. Can you see her?
In the Land of Color
Acrylics on 5 x7 in. clapboard

Available in my Etsy Shop

With lots of love from my colorful heart to yours,


Friday, May 23, 2014

Painting With Oils Again

I finished another oil painting and I am so very, very pleased with it.
Oil paintings take me so much longer to complete than acrylic paintings that I end up putting many, many hours into them.
Every time I am finished with a painting session, I have paint all over my hands and clothes. Consequently, I now have designated oil painting clothes!
I also find it interesting how my color palette in oils is so very different than when I paint in acrylics. It's so much more subdued and subtle.  I like both for different reasons - the happy, strong colors and the soft, muted ones.
Because this is a recycled canvas, the molding paste and paper collage I used for the previous painting give this new one plenty of excellent texture.
This girl has attitude. For a while she was looking quite angry, which really didn't go with the cup in her hand. I toned that down some, but not all the way. A little attitude is good, right?
The Offering12 x 16 inch oil on canvas

Available in my Etsy Shop here. 
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend ahead. We are having the best weather here and I hope you are, too!!

With lots of love and happy wishes,


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Going with the Flow

Dear Friends, I've been a little quiet on the blog, but only because life has been so wonderfully busy.

Remember this post when I talked about the power of asking open-ended questions? I especially like "what if" questions as they open me up to the wonderful world of possibilities.
5 x 7 inch acrylic painting
Etsy Shop
Well, one of the questions I asked myself was: "What if I simply jumped into the flow of my life and allowed it to carry me?"  I thought instead of making plans for each day and kicking and screaming internally when they were derailed, I'd just experiment with going with the flow.
Wide Awake
5 x 7 inch acrylic painting
That combined with giving myself permission to just be who I am (remember this post?) and my life took off! It's been some experiment I have say!
5 x 7 inch acrylic painting
Etsy Shop
I was afraid that I'd just sort of lollygag through my days and not get much done - because how can you get anything done without a plan or a list?! What I found is exactly the opposite. It made me very focused on all the things that are me: art, family, home, cooking, reading, social networking, etc.
I love the way these flower open and wear their little "hat" for a while.
It's our single-clove garlic.
And because I don't spend so much time trying to swim against the current when it is taking me away from my plans, I have way more energy to spend on the things that I love to do.
Gorgeous gerbera daisies.
The result has been astounding. I've been incredible productive without having that as my goal.
Our fave summer food: hummus (recipe in this post)
I've had fun doing all of this, even updating my shops and doing other office work. I've even organized my desk, something I had put off for months.
Tiny little booties I knitted for a baby shower last weekend.
I felt like I was knitting with toothpicks... :)
I've sort of neglected my blog until today, but I'm ok with the ebb and flow of how things are catching my attention. It's all a part of going with the current of life.
6 x 8 inch acrylic painting
Etsy Shop
Our weather has been sublime, which is rare as we are heading into the southern summer, so we spent much time outdoors, watching the birds, petting the cats, laughing about squirrel acrobatics, and greeting the occasional raccoon at dusk.  Daniel put in a raised flowerbed for us in the backyard - gorgeous! I'll share photos soon.
Beginnings of a necklace. Aren't those colors luscious?!
I've been making lots more necklaces and bracelets and will have some photos soon. They look delicious to me! I've sold a few and more are heading to an art show this weekend.
A bracelet with a charm.
eBay Store
I leave you with this photos of our busy, busy bluebird parents. They are a joy to watch as are all of the bird families crowding around our feeders these days. Most babies have hatched and many have left their nest already.
Breakfast is served at the bluebird house!
I hope your day is wonderful and filled with joy, sunshine and many happy surprises!

With lots of love and gratitude,


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Smelling Great!

Do you like to smell good things? I do! And yesterday was one of those days fill with good smells. In the garden (front and backyard) the jasmine is in full bloom and smells divine.
The gardenias are starting to bloom and that as you know if you've ever been near one, that flower has an amazing scent.
Then last night I was making a salmon recipe I had found online, which used lime zest. You can just imagine the great smell of that! I kept leaning in to inhale and get as much of the citrus scent as possible.
The lime zest was mixed with garlic, grated jalapeño and olive oil and then spread on the salmon and baked in the oven. Delicious!! That accompanied with a warm asparagus salad and it was a perfect meal. 
You can find the recipes here and here.

Bon Appétit!


Monday, May 12, 2014

Do You Like Green Beans?

Just the other day, I was admiring people who post original recipes on their blogs and websites and I thought how I usually just cook with cookbooks. But then on Saturday I made these green beans that make all the time and never had a recipe for - only an inspiration from some green beans we ate at a restaurant once.
The pork chops and mashed potatoes in the photo were from Jamie Oliver's Meals in Minutes cookbook (I'll do a separate blog post on that sometime). They were both delicious!! The potatoes were mashed with grainy mustard and olive oil, which was new to me and oh, so good! And with it I made "our" green beans. We love them so much I thought I'd share how I make them.
There are no fixed ingredients, so just wing it as I do if you want to try these. It tastes best with fresh green beans and I cut them into 2 inch pieces (about that). I heat some olive oil in a sauté pan, put it over medium-low heat and add the beans.

I turn them once in a while until they start to get soft and a little brown, which takes a while. If they get brown too fast, I lower the heat a little and add a bit of water to help them get soft. (If you are in a time crunch, you can microwave the beans for a few minutes with a little bit of water to start the cooking process.)
When they start to get soft, I add lots of minced garlic (lots!) and whatever else I might like. This time I had some leftover grape tomatoes and added those to slowly cook with everything. Sometimes I add some Herbes de Provence or rosemary or thyme. Or some hot peppers. You can grate some parmesan over it all when it's done. Or add lemon juice. You see, the variations are plentiful! Definitely season with salt and pepper.
The trick is to cook them for a long time until they are soft, brown and are starting to caramelize.

They are delicious!!