Hello my friends. As I logged into my blog site, I was shocked to see it had been so long since I wrote last. I'm going to try to be more intentional this year to write to you a bit more regularly.
The seasons have turned quickly from my last blog post over the summer, to fall. I'm finding myself painting almost daily now. Between the weekly classes and commissioned pieces, I've been keeping my hands busy and the paint palette wet! This weekend and next, I'll be out at local events if you'd like to see what I've been working on and snag some unique holiday cards and gifts.
To celebrate fall in my classes this week, we painted pumpkins, gourds and my favorite, fall leaves! We worked by first wetting our drawing of the leaf with clean water and then dropping in rich colors and letting them intermingle on the paper. As it dried, we lifted out the veins of the leaves (using a clean damp stiff brush) and darkened a little bit above and below the leaf veins to give them some depth. We discussed how fall leaves are incredibly beautiful, yet also imperfect and damaged a little bit ... just like us. Honestly, I've been dwelling a lot on this idea lately and have been totally enjoying a song called, "Beautifully Broken" by Plumb. Such a freeing and refreshing idea!
Each of these I painted quickly in about 15 to 20 minutes using mixes of Ultramarine Blue, Cad Red and Cadmium Yellow. I tried not to overwork or overthink them. It helped to tip and turn the board as I was working to let the colors run together.
Once the first layer was dry, it had lightened up quite a bit (unfortunately, watercolors dry lighter then when you first paint them.) So I had to layer on some additional paint to get the intensity of color desired.
We put in some wet blobs of dark in order to show the leaf decay and spots. This leaf reminds me of a giant sycamore tree Daniel and I once had.
I love the shape and juiciness of this leaf, but the green got a little too intense. I went back in and darkened it when I should have left it alone ... my fatal flaw. ; )
The last one I painted yesterday was my favorite. Wish we could enjoy this kind of leaf color more in Florida! If you are local and have some free time this weekend or next, come and say hello to me at an upcoming event. I'll have these original leaves for sale as well as some holiday recipe notecard sets. Hope to see you out and about enjoying the fall!
I love summertime and all of the loose scheduling that it brings. While I wish I would love to be posting/blogging more regularly, I'm allowing myself the joy of slowing down a bit during this season. I'm an up-early girl normally, but in July I allow myself the pleasure of lingering a little.
If you look closely at the pieces, you can see that I've repurposed an earlier avocado painting as well as the lime. Since my background is in graphic design, I'm able to pull those elements out and use them in these lively summer collection pieces. Ahhh Photoshop. I call this, repurposing with no regrets. Watercolor art elements that I've previously painted can work double time for me in this way. Should I have rather taken the time to paint two different limes for these prints? Maybe, but this summer I will happily use that extra time to fish with my son or dig into a good book. Working smart by reusing my own art elements for digital prints is a little bit of summertime simplification. It ranks right up there with chopping up chicken nuggets, throwing them on a big salad and calling it dinner. How about you? What are your summer simplification tips?
You can get these and other fresh-off-the-press cards and prints at the Oviedo Mall Hallmark store this Saturday, July 14th.
Also if you'd like to learn about creating watercolors, check out my beginner class that starts up in August. I'd love to have you join us!
Well this April I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and experienced the joys and stresses of "live painting". It was the first I had heard of it when a friend's daughter reached out to me about painting at her wedding. I'm embarrassed to say that I actually had to look it up online. Turns out it is quite popular now for brides to have artists painting live at their wedding, while their guests can stroll by and watch the painting taking shape on paper or canvas. Such a great way to document a wedding in addition to videos and photographs!
At first the very thought of the pressure made me want to run and hide under the covers. However, as I looked at the work of other "live painters" I began to believe that their pieces were not beyond my scope and level of experience. I'm ever the optimist : ) The more I spoke with the bride, the more comfortable I felt. She's a lovely lady inside and out, who loves art, so it wasn't a difficult leap for me to decide to work for her. This particular bride does art therapy with patients so she has a great understanding and appreciation for all that goes into a painting. I also felt much better knowing I had plenty of time to plan ahead. The bride showed me a photo of the venue so I could do a little sketching ahead of time. Even when painting in-studio I think that creating quick little paintings and value sketches first before creating the final piece are the way to go.
I arrived at the venue hours ahead of time, so I could begin drawing and painting the scene of the ceremony and have something down on my paper before the guests arrived.
As the guests took their seats, they could come and peek at what I was creating. Everyone was very curious about the process and what it would end up looking like (including me)!
As you can see in the photograph below, I was seated at the back of the ceremony. Sitting at this lower viewing angle, however, made it difficult to view the entire bridal party. I could only see the bride, groom and the officiant. I had to rely on photographs to complete the painting in my home studio the weeks following the wedding.
We agreed that I would paint as much as I could on location, breaking for dinner and working through the reception.
Their venue was straight out of a southern novel with the most beautiful waterfront scenery and delicious catered seafood! Oh you can bet that I dove into those crab cakes, fresh red fish, coleslaw and fried shrimp. I know an on-the-job perk when I see one!
I was so thankful and happy to have the yummy break and get to know some of their guests, celebrating along with them.
After dinner I went back to painting while the guests danced and enjoyed the reception. There was a lot of interest in how the painting was coming along.
The kids especially enjoyed looking for their likeness among the guests that were painted. I had wished I was farther along in the piece by this point, but happily the bride and groom were patient and understanding with my learning curve.
While I had some challenges of seriously hot morning sunshine, intermittent spring showers and not being the fastest of painters, all in all it was a very positive experience. The moral of the story is, if you're learning on the job, be honest about your knowledge and abilities. It helps to be brave by doing artwork for great people who will support you in your learning process!
One of my favorite parts of this job was making the bride and groom little thank-you notecards from the final artwork. The bride intended to use these notecards to thank her family and friends for coming and it allowed the guests to see the final painted piece.
I enjoyed meeting many great folks that day and I'm hoping some of them will enjoy seeing themselves worked into the scene!
Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear ... look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.. are you not much more valuable then they? ... Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.. each day has enough trouble of its own.
- Matthew 6:25-34
In our art class this past week, we started painting bird nests. I wanted to challenge us with just having some soft, washy colors for the background. I started my piece by first sketching loosely the bird's nest and eggs. Next, I masked off some white highlights and the eggs to keep them from getting messy. Now the fun part begins of painting in the background.
This imagery of eggs in a nest reminded me of some magnets I used to make with the bible verse, Mt: 6:25-27 on them. I saved one for myself ...
We mammas do get to worrying, don't we? If it's not about all that we have to take care of, it is often over our kiddos. When raising children, I find that nothing is more true then the old adage, "Do your best and leave the rest." Relinquishing control to our heavenly father is something I'm working on daily. Especially this year, resting and trusting are big themes for Daniel and I as we have a high school senior ready to "leave the nest." Hoping these sweet words taken from Matthew 6:25 - 34 will be a good reminder that God is taking care of us AND our children, whatever stage we are in ... all of his little birdies!
Next step was to put in some browns and warm tones for the sticks. Birds build messy, creative nests all around my house each spring in my garage, in my window boxes and on my back porch, so I actually have a few abandoned nests laying around that I can look at!
After I scanned in the piece, I color-corrected it in Photoshop to look as much like the original as possible, then took it in to Adobe Illustrator to over-lay the Bible verse type over top.
Excited to say that I've been invited to sell some pieces for Mother's Day at our local hallmark store. This piece and others will be for sale next Saturday, May 12th at the Oviedo mall's Hallmark store from 10am to 4:00pm. If you have not been to our mall's Hallmark store recently, you should check it out! Much has changed as they now offer some great lines of gifts and even some fun, funky jewelry. Come visit with me, see some new inspirational pieces and get a few unique gifts for yourself or your mom!
I'll be getting these printed soon and selling them as 5X7" cards, 8X10 and 11X14" prints at the event.
What verses or imagery help you to quiet your mind and still your spirit?
For the first time in the seven years that I have been teaching art classes, I'm hosting an art exhibit for my students to display their work! I've long thought that these endeavoring artists who work so hard to improve their skills, should have a place to display their triumphs with family and friends. I'm so excited to give them that opportunity this spring.
Since this show is about the student's work, I thought it would only be fitting for me to use elements that they have painted, and I put them together into a lively spring invitation.
I had my advanced Wednesday students each paint certain items that could go in a wreath. We decided on including watercolors of fruit, flowers, blossoms, eucalyptus, olives, feathers, and branches. Since Kerry Kisinger of the Orange Door Gift Boutique in Oviedo has been kind enough to allow us to display the art in her beautiful shop, I wanted oranges and citrus fruit to be the focal point/theme.
After we decided what we wanted the wreath to include, we picked who would paint what. In truth, I couldn't resist painting the fruit myself since you know I'm a sucker for painting food! The rest of the components were all done by 5 ladies who have painted with me for a few years now. I could not be more proud and amazed by their progress! A few of their paintings are featured below:
That week, each of us set to work painting our assigned wreath elements and brought the paintings back the following week to share in class. Now that we were together again, I scanned each painting and used Adobe Photoshop to remove the background paper color and clean the edges up around the watercolor art. Removing the backgrounds was the most time consuming part, because each piece needed to have no background so that they could overlap one another on the wreath and have what is underneath peak through.
Once that labor intensive part was finished, it was time for me to play in Photoshop. I got busy layering and moving around the different elements. This was fun work for me. I'm always grateful when my graphic design background collides with the watercolor world!
When we met again the following week, I had it almost finished placing everything into the wreath. We looked at it again together and the student's keen eyes helped us make decisions on final tweaks and adjustments.
Here is just the wreath alone that went behind the text in our lovely invitation.
I had the small invitations printed on card stock at my favorite local print shop: Whitney Printing in Oviedo. They do a great job on everything I send their way. I'm a big fan of printers who pay attention to detail. The guys at Whitney know I'm particular about the final output of my prints, and I appreciate that they're always looking out for me as their client.
You are welcome to come and join us on April 19th at the Orange Door Gift Boutique to see all of the great work that these local Oviedo and Winter Springs artists have been creating!
Whether I am working with a client on their brand identity, teaching students or creating a custom watercolor piece, I hope to refresh and inspire others with my work. Read more ...