The making of ‘Laurel’

I get compelled to make angel paintings from time to time. The most recent time was this past fall after meeting with a contact of mine in my advocacy work. She had purchased an angel from me for her mother. After we talked, I was inspired to paint another angel.

I started off by writing positive affirmations and statements with water-soluble pencils and then splashing on colors that give me joy – bright pink, mauve, purple, and, of course, gold. Those colors give me joy. I’d love to use fluorescent pink (which I have) but it is not a lightfast color – that means it will fade over time. The paint I use is all lightfast, so should last for decades without any fading.

I flip the painting around a few times to see what configuration I liked the best before carving out the angel shape.

As I looked at the colors, I decided to have her wings be made of flowers, leaves, and feathers. It was at this point that I decided her name – I wanted something floral inspired that was also something that wouldn’t be the most traditional name either.

To make the wings have more of a glow, I used antique silver gold-leafing. I like it to peek out from behind some of the feathers. I also used the gold-leafing in the flower centers too. I also needed to add details to her face. Acrylics dry so quickly that I didn’t think I could have the color blending that I would like so I used oil paints to define her face.

Lots more shading and highlights added and now, she’s done! I took her to a local photographer to have high-resolution photos made of her so I can have fine art prints made. Because of the size (30×40 inches) I struggle to get level and non-skewed photos, so better to hire a professional!

I will be offering 5×7 and 8×10 fine art prints and am very excited to share that I will be also offering, 11×14 inch limited edition hand-embellished with gold leaf fine art prints that are mounted on a cradled board and will be ready to hang on your wall! I’ll provide an update when I have the items listed on my website.

I am not feeling compelled for new angels currently, though I am very motivated for art-making, so stay tuned for birdies, flowers, and maybe some landscapes. We’ll see…

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.

Scammers :/

I’ve been working on a custom portrait of two cute doggies for the past few weeks (minus the time that my son’s school was closed for mold!) The dog parent loves the paintings and I posted them on social media – only to attract the attention of a scammer…

I try to stay pragmatic when someone I don’t know suggests a commission but today’s conversation went on way longer than I expected. My first clue should have been the long name with multiple underscores and then a number at the end. Then they didn’t completely answer my questions. I was starting to think it was a scam and then they started to tell me they can only do a digital copy of a check for me to deposit. RED FLAG!

So, I ended the conversation, politely. Remind me to never use the hashtag “commission” again. Though, I am totally open to commissions, just not the scam variety.

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…

My next collection

My son and I love the movie, Encanto. He’s requested a painting of a capybara, one of the animals that came to Antonio’s room. This prompted me to make a collection of animals that are native to Colombia. I’ve been sourcing images of some of my favorite animals.

Almost all the canvases are prepared so it was time to prepare my paint palette. Sometimes when painting I do well using colors that I pick instinctively, in the moment. But, most of the time I create a more cohesive and successful painting when I develop my pallete ahead of time.

I learned about this general idea from a few artists that I follow but, Amanda Evanston shared the idea of finding images from advertising that speak to you and pull out the colors. So I rummaged through pages that I’ve turn out of magazines. I decided to use the colors from a blanket that was on a magazine page.

I spend 15-20 minutes mixing colors in my paint box to come up with the colors I wanted. I have written how to mix the colors on page in my watercolor sketchbook from Arteza. I’ll refer to this page over and over until I finish the painting. I may still pick one accent color to add for pizzazz but that remains to be seen.

And we wait again…

Waiting in the ER as I write this post. I will probably be here for several hours as we wait to see if the new antibiotics help my skin infection.

In preparation I have brought my sketchbook and charcoal pencils, my knitting that I restarted, and a stuffy that my son picked out.

I’m still thinking about the self-portrait from yesterday and realized that I made the mouth too wide. When I crop out the bottom part of the painting, I’m pleased with it.

The background needs some work.

I love that I was more daring with incorporating brighter and bolder colors in the face and then added some traditional skin tones. I feel confident that my next attempt will be even better than the first two. I’ve been using unsanded paper but I think I’m going to use sanded paper for this next attempt. I am working on having a light touch with my pastel application but I think I filled the tooth off the Canson Mi Tientes paper that I used yesterday.

Stay tuned – hopefully I’ll be able to share some good news and creations tomorrow!

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.

Working on some art for me!

We have a soon-to-be blank spot on our wall and I decided to paint a beautiful heart painting for our home.

I painted over a painting that failed to inspire me and then added collage hearts. This morning I painted more hearts on it.

When the paint is dry I’ll be adding more hearts with acrylic ink markers and maybe even some soft pastel. I can’t wait to see it vintage and hanging on my wall!