Friday, February 26, 2016

My Week in Paint

I can't believe another week has passed. This one was a little tumultuous for me and I discovered something interesting. Art has become not only what I like to do, but it has become my way to get back to center and to work things out in myself. 
I used to think that words were most important - talking about things or writing about things, but for me that's not the case. I feel most whole when I go beyond words into shapes and color and intuition flowing freely.
In fact, I have noticed that words can be so inadequate to describe anything. But before I painted, words were all I had. I'm glad that changed.
Ok, enough of the deep talk and back to color and paint. Here a little something about a new technique I tried after watching this video by Annie Hamman. In it she demonstrates how she created a very subtle texture for an angel wing.
Basically, you rub an oil bar (like a big oil paint crayon) all over the stencil you want to use. Then you take a rag with mineral spirits and wipe over the stencil onto your canvas or paper.
It leaves behind a very thin and delicate layer of whatever stencil pattern you used. I was looking for something to bring texture to this alligator I am painting (still in progress) and this was perfect!
It took a while to dry, but today I will spray it with fixative and work on it some more. Fun!!

Linking to the ever inspiring Paint Party Friday!

Here's to a peaceful week. May yours be filled with sunshine, hope and much love!


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Art and More

I'm late with this week's post, but I have a good excuse. Sunshine! And warm temperatures. It's been gorgeous this weekend and I have spent much time outside. I'll have some outdoor photos later in my post, but first this week's art!

This mountain lion just wouldn't come together, so I just kept working at it and adding more layers and wiping them off and adding another. And suddenly, there it was! Beautiful and intense.
The swans are somewhat unusual. They look like they are floating under disco lights. Strangely enough, I painted them around Valentine's day. Totally unintentional and very heart-shaped!
The gorilla took a little while, plus one revision after I thought it was done. I had to lighten the background to make the face stand out a little more. I had fun with this one and the swan painting using my stencils. I used them to apply paint and also wiped off layers of paint with rubbing alcohol through the stencil and got some great texture that way.
I love this snake! It looks as intense as it probably is. I'm happy I don't see them in the wild too often. In fact, having lived in areas heavily populated by poisonous snakes, I have only ever seen three in nature. And none of those times was I in any danger. I'm very glad!
The following four photos are of the backgrounds I prepared for this next week's small paintings. All of them have two layers of high-flow acrylic paint.  I'm hoping they will be just as beautiful when they are all finished.

This next photo just makes me laugh. One of my dear friends from childhood sent us two espresso cups from Germany. One smiles and the other one sports this sad, sad face. I was sitting at the table and noticed the ceramic woman a friend brought back for us from Santiago de Compostela in Spain last year. She, too, looks so very sad. It had quite the opposite effect on me and had me giggling and reaching for my camera.
Daniel has been beyond busy with work and this weekend I made him drive to Tybee Island with me and go for a walk on the beach. He was brave and walked in the water even though the ocean is still very cold. It looks like we were the only ones there, but the beach was full of people who had the same idea. It was wonderful and somehow makes us feel more relaxed instantly!
The artist in me always notices things in nature that I would have overlooked before getting into art.
Here I was totally enamored by these tree forms the waves left in the sand. Aren't they pretty?
Speaking of nice weather, we've put a bit of time into our yard this weekend and planted several kinds of lettuce, parsley, cilantro, kale, zinnias and poppies. The poppies never come up, yet we put out seeds every year in hopes that maybe this year will be different. We'll see. The zinnias always do exceptionally well and give us cut flowers for the house all summer long. Can't wait!!
I took these photos this morning in our yard. The daffodils are blooming, the kumquats are ready to be eaten, the yarrow is starting to flower and a few azalea buds are getting ready to open. They won't really bloom until mid-March, but they are announcing that spring is coming!
On that note, I hope you are seeing sings of spring where you are. I know that the weather hasn't been great in northern Europe where many of my family and friends live. I wish I could bottle up some sunshine and warmth for you who live there...

I wish you sunny days, a happy heart and flowers to bring you joy! Until next week...


Friday, February 12, 2016

Bears, Owls and more

Another week has passed and it's time for Paint Party Friday and to show you what I've been creating since last time.
This is a large (for me) canvas that had been sitting for weeks with the outline of the bears, but no progress. I just wasn't inspired, so I waited until it was time.
Annie Hamman's class (see my last post) unlocked something in me and suddenly I wanted to play with this painting again. Play is the operative word.
I played with color, fluid paint, stencils, fingerprints, big brushes, little brushes, stamps and anything else that struck my fancy.
I just kept going, layer after layer until it felt complete. It was so much fun to create!
After the last layer of the bear painting, I had some paint leftover on my palette and just started another canvas.
Again making sure I stay playful with my art using stencils (how did I not have any for all these years?!?),
 a few collage pieces from old books for texture,
 and more stencils and drips.
 I have no idea where this is heading and that's ok. I'll find out soon enough.
And now a few small paintings, I completed. Not as many as I had planned, but we were away last weekend and the bigger paintings took up some of my time.
The little fox above I finished yesterday. The colors are a bit unusual for me, but it came together nicely.
The two beluga whales above remain somewhat etherial and I like it. I've seen them once in an aquarium and what magnificent and graceful creatures they are. I loved how they actually interacted with the people standing in front of them, especially the children.
Ah, and an owl. I love owls! We hear them here almost every morning, but it's rare that we glimpse one. If you are interested in any of my art, the links to my various shops are in the sidebar.

I am linking to Paint Party Friday, a fantastic gallery of beautiful and diverse artwork, lovingly hosted by Kristin and Eva. It's always a pleasure to visit.

Until next week, I wish you creative and peaceful days, joy in your life and fun surprises sprinkled throughout!


Friday, February 5, 2016

Fearless Painting

I am taking the year-long Lifebook course again this year (a link to the site is on my sidebar) and just January alone was well worth the cost of the course. I am learning to take risks again, to let go of being careful with my art and it was exactly what I needed.
These process photos are from a lesson by Annie Hamman and her little daughter, Tallulah. The lesson was to paint a portrait, but to take turns either with your young child or with your inner child. As you see in the photo above, my woman looks pretty tame in the first layer (adult version).

But in the photo below, my inner child came out to play. The challenge was to not look at it as a face, but just as a canvas to play on. It didn't matter if "important" parts get covered up.
Wow! My inner child sure loves color and has discovered stencils. And was hard to stop! But then my adult(ish) self got her turn and the face started coming to the forefront again. I did love some of the abstraction and made sure to leave some of it.
And again: PLAY! Stencils, stamps and fingerpainting. And color, color, color. So much fun!
And for the last layer I felt that both my adult self and inner child got to have a turn together. I cleaned her face up a little and added a few more stencils. And given how I usually paint, I couldn't resist the drips...
Such a good lesson in connecting to the uninhibited part of ourselves. Not just for painting, but for life. So often we forget to have fun because life can become quite serious. Everything seems to become easier when we inject a little levity. And course, this new approach is already making its way into my other art, but more of that in another post.

I'm linking to the fantastic Paint Party Friday. Head on over for lots of amazing art!!

I hope you are having a wonderful week. Here's to a great weekend ahead.