Another angel in the works…

I think I subconsciously tend to paint angels when I am dealing with a health issue. As many of my followers know, I am living with Stage IV inflammatory breast cancer. In the lead-up to my Angels of Power collection, people asked if I was painting chemo angels – because they were bald. I wasn’t intentionally, but it turns out that at that time the cancer was coming back.

I have only painted one angel since then, but she was gorgeous. The other week I attended a social event with a cancer group I am an advocate for and the subject of angel paintings came up. Immediately, I decided to paint another angel… maybe more than one. We’ll have to see about that.

The ironic thing is, now that I decided to create another angel… and I’ve actually already started on the underlayers… my own health and concern for cancer spread has come to the forefront. Are they related? I don’t know. I don’t necessarily think that’s how the world works, but I really don’t know.

Anyway… check out the beautiful underlayers! Can you see where the face is? I’ll post more as she progresses. Maybe I’ll even paint some small angels to spread the joy.

Summer Markets

It’s almost halfway through the summer markets and I’m just now getting around to sharing my news. I am so proud to share that I have been and will be at the Mebane Maker’s Market, in the town where I live, on the first Saturday of each month. This market goes through the first Saturday in September – the next market date is THIS Saturday, July 2nd.

I also partook in a Last Friday’s Art Walk in downtown Hillsborough, NC in May and had a great time!

I’m still adjusting to figuring out what works best in my display and how much art to take with me. I am figuring out how best to hang my works on canvas. I have a new plan for canvas hanging but requires me to purchase a few new items, one of which is online, and I’m not sure I’ll have the online purchase in time for this Saturday’s market, but I’m going to try! I would love to have this new display set up for hanging a large graffiti heart painting.

If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen that I have started to create jewelry with metal clay. I so enjoy coming up with interesting designs and I’m learning so much about the process and ways to improve.

Stay tuned next month as I start POTTERY CLASS! I’m so excited to dive back into clay work – I haven’t created in this media since college but I got a pottery wheel for my birthday last year and I want to learn how to use it!

Self portrait #3

Why do I try to make my portraits with life like skin tones? I think they look better when they are very vivid.

Initial block in
Finished portrait

Maybe I’m really not finished… what do you think? I’m realizing I need to touch up the eyebrow on the right…

Self-portrait progress

Well, I’m still working on my self portrait. I decided for my second practice piece I would do if slightly bigger, 12 x 16 inches. I used the grid method to draw my face but I didn’t put in all the details. By details, I mean the markings to indicate the different values.

Ugh… 2nd attempt

The mouth just ruins this whole attempt. It looks scary and it’s not the right shape. I do like the amount of color I got into the painting – and I’m using unsanded paper, so there’s a limit to how much pastel I can apply – but I’m just gutted over how the mouth looks so wrong.

That being said, I am not giving up. I realize I need to make my marks to indicate each value so that I can paint it better. And I know I can do better. And I will do better! Just probably not today.

Still resting but check out my art haul

You may recall I went to Jerry’s warehouse in Greensboro a few days ago. Well, I’m happy to share with you the goodies that I bought.

I purchased a couple of the portfolio folders, 5×7 inch and 14×17 inch. I needed somewhere to put my soft pastel paintings that are 12×16 inches. I do have an 11×14 inch portfolio (which is too small) but I can’t seem to find it. I need to clean up a couple corners in my art space to see if I can find it. I also will probably pick up a 9×12 inch one the next time I go because I have a lot of 8×12 inch paper.

I also have been following Sandi Hester lately and she has inspired me to go big with sketches. I already knew I didn’t like small sketchbooks given how many are sitting around with only a few pages used. So, I picked up a couple of 11×14 inch sketchbooks. I have an even larger one I bought from Blicks and I plan on sketching with paint in all three of them. I want at least 3 so I can move on to another ones while paint is drying in the first one.

The last item in this pic is Art Graf. I have the carbon black Art Graf block but decided to pick up the primary set because I’ve think it might be fun to use in my new sketchbooks.

Oil sticks

I can’t remember if I shared that I am starting to learn about oil painting but I knew that I would want some way to make chunky marks on the top later so I got the 24 count set of mini oil sticks from Sennelier. I have only peeled of the coating on a couple sticks but I love the feel of them already. I can’t wait to dive in to oils and really get my hands dirty playing with them.

I hope to get feeling better tomorrow so that I can actually make art again. Until then, hope you have a great day!

Practice makes progress

It’s that time of year when I start to think about painting my self-portrait again. This year I’m thinking of painting it in soft pastels and I had sketched it out on some inexpensive unsanded pastel paper.

This morning I started my practice piece. It turned out ok, but I realized that I neglected to include the part of my face that was in the deep shadows. I didn’t notice it until I went in with pastel pencils to add some details. It’s ok. I’ve learned a lot and will be doing this again on a bigger sheet of paper so I can get ask the details using the pastel sticks instead of needing pencils.

Top: my finished practice piece, Botton: my portrait sets of soft pastels

My plans are to sketch on the grid again for the bigger piece but try and remember to erase the grid lines once the sketch is in place. They blended into the background in a bunch of places but not on the face itself.

Sketching Consistently

In addition to painting in a semi-abstract way, I also enjoy drawing. I think my drawing skills have grown a lot in the last couple years, but I still have so much room for improvement. So, to that end, I plan on trying to do 4 sketches a week in my sketchbook.

Last Sunday, while recuperating from a biopsy of my spine (yes – it was a painful as it sounds), I spent hours reading Alison Fennell aka The Pottering Artist’s blog:

I remember one of the posts talked about having a regular sketching habit and Alison described printing out 7 photos at a time and attaching them to the left side of her sketchbook so she could look at them while sketching on the right side. I thought that sounded like an awesome idea, so that’s what I’m planning on doing.

I dug through my photos from 2014 and picked four that I thought were interesting. I think I will sketch with charcoal pencils, though may change my mind and use graphite. I’m not certain about that yet.

Do you have a regular sketching habit? If so, how did you start? How do you keep yourself on task even when “life” gets in the way?

DaVinci watercolor paints

Have any of you tried DaVinci watercolor paints? I have purchased some watercolors in the past (Denise’s 24 earth friendly set and a couple individual tubes.) I have enjoyed them all. So, when I saw DaVinci was offering up to 60% off around Thanksgiving, I decided to splurge and purchase more.

I picked up the Mother green 11 color palette and a tube of thioindigo. What beautiful colors! I am loving thioindigo – it’s absolutely gorgeous. I made a very messy swatch, so I think I’ll refine it and update with a pic.

I also purchased a slew of fluid acrylic paints but I’ll share those another day.

So, do you have a favorite color by DaVinci? Let me know, so I can add to my wish list for the next sale 🙂

Custom Christmas ornaments

I was so pleased when a friend of mine, who has purchased several pieces of my art, asked me to create her custom Christmas ornaments to give to her family. I jumped at the chance… And then I sat and didn’t do anything.

I had originally wanted to gelli print them, because I love the look you get from transferring the shape of the actual item (in this case, holly.) But, I couldn’t find holly of a size that would fit the size of the wooden discs.

After a bunch of “hemming and hawing,” I decided to just paint the holly and add some berries. In a short couple of hours the ornaments were all done, complete with a custom message to her family on the back.

I’m pleased with how they turned out and she is too, which is what matters most.

Reviving ye olde blog… :)

How has it been since June that I last blogged?! Well, I’m starting this resolution before the new year so, hopefully, it will be easier to maintain.

I have grown so much since we last chatted. I have been learning so much from Amanda Evanston’s Insider’s Studio group in the last several months. Though I don’t do all of the classes, despite them being totally awesome, I have learned so much and my confidence as an artist has burgeoned. If you want to paint with fun color and reckless abandon, consider checking out joining her subscription group when admission opens again in February.

I also have been supporting two other artists via Patreon: Karen Margulis and Alison Fennell. In case you are not familiar with Patreon, let me tell you a little bit about the platform. It is a way for people to provide financial support to artists… to be a patron of theirs. In exchange for paying a small amount each month (the amount depends on the different tiers that the artists come up with) you have access to content that is developed by the artists for their patrons.

The first artist I am a patron of is Karen Margulis. I have been expanding my soft pastel (and general art) knowledge by watching and reading her content. I don’t know how she is so prolific with her blog posts and patreon posts, but I have come to rely on having an interesting read and/or video almost daily. Not everything is new content, but she curates her extensive blog for blog posts relevant to the current topic we are studying.

The second artist I support on Patreon is Alison Fennell, The Pottering Artist. Alison is a watercolor artist from Wales and is relatively new to Patreon. She creates detailed printable documents to make it easy for beginners to be able to paint along with her very thoughtful tutorials. Initially we focused on a different country each month, but recently we have moved on to different festivals.

I truly get a lot of value, for a small monthly outlay, by participating in these monthly subscriptions. I very seldom actually do the tutorials that I watch, but I have gleaned a lot of skills and techniques that I am using to create my own art and develop my own style.

Oh, I forgot that I am a subscriber of the Critique Club with Lindsay Weirich from The Frugal Crafter. As a subscriber, I have access to two really long, real-time tutorials each month and I can submit my own creations for a critique by her. I have had my art critiqued once or twice a month and I value having a seasoned artist take a critical eye to the painting and provide constructive criticism.

I have painted a ton since I last posted, but have taken a little pause currently. If you know me personally, you know that I have a rare, aggressive form of breast cancer. I have been stable for 3 years, but it looks like the cancer may have come back in my spine. I have had a slew of tests and, most recently, a biopsy of my spine to confirm what is going on. It was very painful, and I am still in pain, but I am determined to rest now so I can heal and get back to creating my beautiful, unique art.

I’ll leave you with this image of one of my recent paintings. I have been called to created angels for months now, and they keep evolving, but this one is one of my favorites. Her name is Hadassah.