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!
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!
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!
Earlier in the year I created some of my favorite recent batik artwork, using verses from the Psalms as my inspiration. I had been working my way through the Psalms and writing scripture that spoke to me in my journal along the way, making the selection process easy!
Each piece began by writing the verse in some sort of circular form on Unryu paper that had pieces of gold thread imbedded in it. As always I used my trusty Sharpie for that, knowing it can withstand the rest of the batik process without fading.
I took a wide brush and dipped it into melted wax and blocked off streaks of the pieces so they would remain white and then added light strokes of color with a feathery brush and India inks. Next all the pieces were entirely covered with the wax, crumpled to create cracks for more color to seep in randomly and then sprayed with liquid watercolors.
After that application the pieces dried and then the wax was removed to reveal the final outcome of each. All four have been framed in 12×12″ barn wood frames. Here they are:
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!