If you’ve been following the last couple of posts then you know I spent some time doing a series of colorful/fun portraits of my seven grandkids this spring. Today I’m sharing the last of those, my twin granddaughters. I worked on these at the same time, adding to one as the other dried. The process began with a sketch and proceeded from there with black & white underpainting, backgrounds and the final layer of color.
The image I was work from had Miss A’s hair pulled back in a tight ponytail. She did NOT care for the look, feeling it wasn’t “girlie” enough so during a visit I sat with her and changed it to her natural, gorgeous, head of curls. I have to say, it captures her much better! Below are the two final images of these beauties:
I still haven’t figured out where I’ll hang all these fun pieces together, right now they are placed across the side of my desk and I’m enjoying seeing them each day. Next up? Well, firstly I decided to go “old school” artist and do a self portrait, which was an interesting experience. I also received a commission to do two more adorable “Grands” which will be fun too!
Hope you are enjoying the onset of summer and keeping yourself safe, healthy and well. Love to you from your randomly creative friend,
In my last blog post I featured the first two colorful portraits that I created of my grandkids. I’m continuing with that topic today. This one is actually the one I painted first, just to see if I could! It kicked off the whole idea of painting each of them! My youngest/teen grandson (and yes, he had pink hair at the time!). These are some of the progression images:
I got a little carried away with the hair and had to go back in a shorten it up, then re-do the background and did even more fine-tuning before I was finally satisfied! This guy spend his first five years of life growing up at our house and has a pretty special place in our hearts!
Although not in chronological order of creation, I’m sharing the working images from his little sister, my next-to-the-youngest granddaughter. I actually did one entire painting of her that I disliked enough to paint completely over it and start again! This process is still not the easiest for me, but once I get it right I am a happy artist! These images are the steps of the “do over” painting of my Sweetpea:
I was surprised how many times these youngsters started off looking like old people!! Thankfully that had improved before the final image:
Last, for today, is the artwork of our youngest granddaughter. She is one of the most joyful kiddos I know – and also the one that I collaborated with to create a special book all about her. I call her my Sunshine!
My next post will feature the last two of our Grands, who happen to be (non-identical) twins! Twice the fun!! Until then!
So my latest endeavor has been making creative/colorful/fun portraits of my grandkids. Today I’ll share the process and finished images of two of them – our oldest grands – who happen to be siblings. I haven’t been creating in chronological order exactly but thought I might share them that way anyhow!
I’ve found it a much different process to create female vs. male portraits, although I’m not exactly sure why. It’s not the facial structure so much, although that does differs, but I think maybe with the added color/highlights on their faces I tend to be more sparse with the splashes of color when creating a girl vs. feeling bolder with a guy? Or perhaps since we have five granddaughters and only two grandsons I’m just not getting as much practice on the guys? Not really sure! Here are some of the progress images of our oldest grandson:
I fall in & out of love several times during the process and, at least once, want to chuck it and forget trying but after several of them I’m realizing that’s part of my process. I struggled with the shape & proportions a lot during the first three or four of these but it’s gotten easier. Is that why they always say “practice, practice, practice”? Here is the finished image of his painting:
The work on my oldest granddaughter’s image went through the same process, there were times it just looked horrid but, in the end, I finally loved it. Here are some progress images:
I hope that sharing these rough images I will encourage you to not give up on your artwork, even if you feel like it’s not going well at all! Keep persevering! (Although I did paint completely over one piece so that’s also an option – do overs are always allowed!) Here is the final image:
As far as media I used graphite for the sketch, lots of acrylic paint, stencils for the backgrounds and a generous amount of acrylic paint pens as well. These are all on 9×12″ canvases…once I’ve done them all I am going to hang them all up together and have a “grandkid gallery” to enjoy!
I hope you are enjoying your creative time! With love,
In a recent email I was sharing my thoughts on how this year has gone from my standpoint as an artist and decided it also might make a good blog post. I want to preface my thoughts by saying that I am blessed! I am healthy, my family is healthy, we are not in a food or financial crisis and realize that this pandemic has had devastating consequences for many families and countries. My situation is probably one of the easiest to be in – just stay home and keep to myself! But I know even those of us that are only required to do that, it has been a major shift in our daily life.
When it finally happened – the last of all the events on my schedule was cancelled and all the galleries were closed I felt more than a little lost. First, to be completely honest, I mourned a bit. An empty calendar looming is hard to reconcile at first. I was heading into what had appeared to be a great year – I had big art events scheduled, new and old, had joined a new gallery, with a paid residency to look forward to and within a couple of weeks it had all disappeared and was replaced by a heavy layer of fear hanging in the air. I didn’t know what to do, so I shut down and did absolutely nothing! After a week or so of sitting on the couch wallowing in a bit of self pity, I finally returned to the studio and began completing the work in progress that was for upcoming shows. It seemed like a waste of time, there was no reason to push myself to complete the art now. It was slow going, with low enthusiasm but, looking back, I’m glad I continued. Eventually there will be shows again and I’ll be ready! After that I took care of some “business” things that I don’t always enjoy but had plenty of time to get off of my to-do list. Redesigned business cards, overhaul the website, cancel upcoming classes, post on my blog, re-write my artist statement and updating my resume were among the mundane chores that I finished.
Throughout this time Spring was finally beginning to show its face, hiding here and there among the dead winter leaves and bare trees. I walk daily, often multiple time, outdoors in the woods and around the fields – observing the changes, taking photographs and just absorbing the peaceful calm of nature. It’s probably been the most grounding experience during all of this. Although I am one to enjoy the coming of spring and signs of new life (I admit I am a wildflower geek!) this year it seemed to hold an even greater promise. When I was feeling that I was just trapped in time there was evidence that life would go on, and actively looking for it was both a good distraction and a great joy.
After a few weeks I returned to the empty calendar and looked at it again, with fresh eyes. It didn’t seem as empty now, it was full of possibilities. All those “one of these days” things we all talk about? Well, now was the time. I sorted through half-finished projects and completed or discarded them so they no longer took up space in my studio or my mind. I cleaned and organized the studio (not that you could tell it now!). I carved many new stamps and used them on scrap papers, then painted more scrap papers with vibrant colors – all added to my stash of papers I can choose from when I decide to collage next. When all else fails, on particularly rough days, I continue to do small slices of creative work in my art journals. I began an online class that I had purchased last year and, most likely, wouldn’t have ever slowed down long enough to sit and learn. That led to inspiration of more new creativity. and I just signed up for another class!
The days have begun to finally flow in a slow, comfortable rhythm that includes outdoor time, reading, learning, working in the studio and “daily life” activities. I am also taking better care of myself – exercise, full nights of sleep, cooking delicious meals, soaking in the tub and just being more aware of what my body wants and needs. In the meantime the calendar will begin to fill. A few events have set re-scheduled dates. I’ve discovered some virtual opportunities to participate in. I’ve been blessed with grants from the Indiana Arts Council and a couple of small commissioned projects so I can pay the bills and keep myself supplied in paints and materials. For now, I’m going to take advantage of this slow time.
How have you dealt with the last few months? Are you feeling confident of the future or cautious? I think I waiver between the two, especially if I am exposed to the media for any length of time! Then I need to retreat – into a book, into the studio, into some music or into the woods. I hope you have found your retreats and are able to use them when needed – love & blessing to you!
As I’ve navigated these odd times, with no art events on the horizon yet, I’ve spent more & more time working on personal art project. Last post I shared about an online portraiture course I’ve been working through, which inspired me to attempt some portraits on my own – starting with my fur babies! They all turned out a bit different that each other, I can’t say I’ve settled on a “style” just yet but they all make me happy anyhow! My first attempt was to create an image of my sweet old gal, Emmy. She recently turned nine, we rescued her over two years ago and she has stolen our heart, and we have hers – although she’s not a lovey/friendly gal with just everyone. 😉 The best guess is that she is black lab and perhaps a bit of Rotwieller. Here are the images of the painting process:
I had so much fun I immediately jumped in and started working on my second image – this time of our not-quite-as-old guy (he just turned eight), Carl. Carl joined us a little over a year ago and kind of turned our world upside down – in a good way! He is smart, curious, full of energy and LOTS of fun. The calm and quiet is gone by the happiness has increased for sure! Carl is several inches and a few pounds bigger than Miss Em, he’s a mix of black lab and possibly Great Dane. He has these eyes that are so bright and direct and seem to look right through you!
Well now I just HAD to try my hand at my oldest pet, Miss Amy, the tuxedo cat! We adopted her about ten years ago and guess she is about twelve. She was a feral/outdoor cat that we adopted to be a mouser in our garage. She wouldn’t come near the door, let alone in the house for the first year we had her. That slowly changed and when we moved several years ago she decided being a house cat was a pretty good life! The last five years she has been my “studio cat” and has the run of the studio.
Last, but certainly not least, I created a painting of my good friend, Corey! His momma and I have been friends for years and he’s been a frequent visitor here at our house (although not so much now that Carl joined the pack). He is part Corgi and part Beagle and just as sweet as he looks. This was a gift for his mom, who really enjoyed it – even if Corey wasn’t all that impressed!
Next up? Both my grandson’s have their own pups so they’ll be on the easel soon!
Late last year I purchased an online class titled “Adventures in Portraiture” by Dana Bloede. Although no one is exactly enjoying this pandemic, I did find that it freed my schedule up enough that I had the time to actually sit down and start the lessons. So, bonus points for that anyhow! It has been a lot of fun, and I still have a couple lessons left to look forward to! I thought it would be fun to share what I’ve done so far, here are the progress & final images for the first lesson:
The second lesson went like this:
What fun! I was picking up some techniques along the way but still felt like I was very much trying to follow right in her footsteps with the composition and brush strokes, if not the colors. Something else I noticed now though, when I was watching television or looking at images online I was really paying attention to the shadows, darks & lights and how they played on different peoples faces! After these two lovely ladies our third lesson was to create a male portrait with a limited color palette. I like that the faces that were chosen to use as models were all so different in each lesson!
I will post more of these “adventures” as I continue the lessons. Most of you who know me won’t be surprised that after getting a taste for this process I have got “rogue” for a bit. 😉 But that’s for another day!
Something I’ve long wanted to do, this year brought a fun project to fruition! I’ve always admired the illustrations in children’s books and thought it would be so much fun to create one but, as I’ve always got more ideas than time, I had never attempted it. Until a visit with my granddaughter, who lives four hours away. She is one of the most amazing little ladies that I know and has a passion for drawing and painting. She paints almost daily as the piles of creations make evident. As I was flipping through the pages of colorful creations it finally came to me that she & I could make a fun collage book using her artwork. Being on the autism spectrum, and non-verbal at 4 years old, she continues to improve her communication skills with the help of her parents, therapists, family & friends. It’s so amazing to watch her progress in communication, along with seeing what things interest her the most. So this book was custom made, just for her!
I purchased a blank 8.5 x 11″ white board book, brought dozens of her paintings home and then…nothing. Fear of failure can certainly stop creativity in it’s track and I was hesitant to begin. I ended up bringing all the supplies with me when I took a short vacation. As the days passed and I relaxed and enjoyed a break from the routine, the creativity burst forth. I’d made a list of notes, things she was interested in, things she did, how she acted, what she loved and what we loved about her. I had to narrow it down to fit on the available pages. In hind site I would have, perhaps, ordered them differently but honestly I just started the cutting and pasting process randomly so things landed where they landed. And that’s okay! By the time I returned home I had all the collage elements finished. Then on to the next hurdle…lettering.
Although I’ve practiced lettering I’m just not always pleased with my own. I decided to take the route of using stickers, which I wasn’t 100% sure of but felt like I’d like it better than my own handwriting. Plus stickers could be removed…lettering, not so much! Is it all as neat and well spaced as I’d have liked? Perhaps not. But the imperfection brings some personality to the pages, and that I like! Here are the pages as they read in the book:
This was a fun, love-filled project! I have a few more blank books! Perhaps there will be sequels, or stories from my other grands. Who knows where it will lead!
I wanted to share some changes I’ve implemented regarding class offerings. I’m not going to re-invent the wheel here so this is an excerpt from a newsletter that goes out to those interested in my classes and workshops:
I’ve been, especially this year, less than successful with the class offerings I’ve promoted. I’ve spoken with other teaching artists and know that I am not the only one struggling in this area. Trying to discover the right combination of topic, date and location is frequently like pulling the handle on a slot machine…. …NOT a winner!
Although I adore sharing my love of art and techniques with others, I have reached a point where my outlook has shifted. Instead of putting things out there and hoping for the best and I am going to rely more on you, and others like you, to determine the dates, topics & locations! As I make this shift you will see changes to my website making it easier for you to do the choosing. You can visit THIS PAGE to see how the new system looks and works. (You’ll notice one scheduled event listed too…that’s because someone has already taken advantage of both the new system and the discount offered below!)
Another change you will see is that for classes here at my home studio there will be NO minimum attendance required. If you are the only one that registers, congratulations – you’ll get one-on-one instruction! Want to have a special date night with a family member or friend? Here’s the perfect opportunity. If you’d like me to bring a project to you for a gathering, party or shower – can do! You’ll find all the offerings listed HERE.
If you’ve been thinking you’d like to take a class, now might just be the perfect time! As an incentive to try out this new approach, I’m including a coupon code for $10 off any(all) class(es) you register for during the months of October or November. You are welcome to share this code “NEWshift” (with no quote marks) with those you feel might be interested. I’d also love some feedback on the changes, I’d appreciate it if you’d share your thoughts!
As I continue randomly exploring different forms of art I branched out a bit into musical instruments! Not hand-built or fancy but an easy kit and lots of creativity. 😉 I purchased three of these kits and have had them in the studio for quite some time. I’m not sure what happened but last month it was finally TIME. So I pulled out the first one and got busy.
After a bit of sanding the painting commenced! Layers of acrylic ink in randomly colorful streaks were the first order of business. A great base to add to, with lots of designs, doodles, more ink, paint pens and fun.
It took several sessions to complete all the details, then it was time for assembling the pieces. No instructions included but a couple of YouTube videos spelled it out pretty clearly. The waiting time for the glue to dry as pieces were added seemed like it took forever but, finally, it was all put together.
I found a handy app for tuning eukeles and had it strumming at last! The included strings were not inclined to keep a tune so I have a new set that arrived the other day that I’ll be switching too. This one was for fun, for practice and just for ME. I’ve got it hanging on the wall in my studio.
The next two? Well, I’ve had a request or two already so we’ll see what happens. The possibilities are endless for design, the hard part will be making up my mind!
I love to include words, quotes and text in my art but, despite some instruction and practice, I’m not always thrilled with the way my hand drawn letters turn out. This little hack is a favorite of mine and I thought you might find it useful as well! This was just an impromptu, messy fingers project that popped into my head one day. The first step was to add acrylic paint to the board I was painting. Somedays my favorite paint tools are my fingers, and this was no exception.
I have accumulated a large selection of fonts on my computer (there are many resources for free downloadable fonts available online) and have fun using different ones in digital creations, advertising and such. They are especially handy when lettering on artwork! Some of my batik work is done on Unryu paper which is transparent enough you can actually just trace the letters onto the paper as they are visible when placed underneath.
If I’m working on wood or canvas I have a way of getting the letters on my art that works very well. First I measure the space where I want the words placed and create a blank file in Photoshop Elements that is the same size. Then, using the type function I type, resize and arrange the letters to suit my project. This is what the file looked like for the project I am showing you:
I printed it the exact size as the file (which meant it had to be printed in two sections) and then taped together the pieces. The next step was to turn it over and take either pencil or charcoal and cover the back of the paper where the letters were printed.
You want to cover it fully, the pencil or charcoal is going to be used like copy paper to make outlines of your letters onto your art. Turn it over and position it where you want the letters to be on your art and then take a ball point pen and trace the outlines of each letter. I get excited and always want to rush things so come to find out my paint wasn’t as dry as usual, I ended up lifting some of it from the wood when I applied the marks. It still worked!
Now that I had the outline on the artwork I could use markers, paint pens or a really steady brush to add the colors and outline for the lettering and any details I decided to include. I decided to just handwrite the “hello” portion of the lettering and kind of wish I’d have traced that too. Oh well! Here is the final piece.
Let me know if you try this technique for adding letters, I hope it’s inspired you to get creative!