Finding Comfort in the Binds of Books

A book is a dream you hold in your hands.  -Neil Gaiman

Inspirations come and go. So do likes, loves, and passions. My favorite color changes every day.

But I have always loved books. To read them, to write them, sure, but also just to look at. I admire their binds, pull away their sleeves to see the secret cover beneath, slip photographs and flowers between their pages.

Books are paper sculptures painted with ink and ideas.

And I don’t think they will ever go away. Even in today’s digital world, in which we can download a book in seconds, there’s nothing like the analogue. As we head deeper into screens and flashing lights, printed things become something to be admired. We become grateful for their simplicity. We remember why we have always loved them.

Last night, after spending an entire day sewing binds and covers for my most recent little handmade books, I made a short list of what my handmade books might mean. Because to me they’re not books. They’re fine art pieces (I mean this humbly and literally). I wish I could find a way to display them on a gallery wall.

So why am I making them? I’m still not entirely sure. A few of my bullets suggested that I make them because I want to express everything I’ve said in this blog post so far. Other bullets suggest I simply love the hands-on approach to the craft. The final notion was that I just…love books.

Whatever the reason, I’m inspired to continue down the rabbit hole that is bookbinding, and I feel like a piece of me is in each one of their little binds. I am closer to them than my wall paintings. I hate seeing them go when they sell. I wrap them in little packages and send them off to their new homes and hope they will be taken care of.

And I don’t print them. Somehow that makes them even more special.

My latest book, “Rooted,” contains seven original intuitive watercolor paintings that depict trees and their roots. For me this piece has special meaning, but I’d like to keep it to myself, so that those who open it can gather their own perspectives. Made of Khadi cotton paper, it was folded zine-style, then later sewn into its cover. Like the others, this one will not be printed. And, like the others, it is one-of-a-kind.

Click here to see Rooted on my Etsy shop.

Click here to see all of my little books that are still for sale.

I’m currently working on finishing up my winter themed book–still no title–a personal watercolor journal, and a mini blank watercolor journal for those who’d like to paint their own book. So keep a lookout on my Etsy as some of these will be appearing there soon.

Until next time…I hope your days are quiet, calm, and filled with book smells.

#Folktaleweek Giveaway for Patrons

“Merrily the feast I’ll make. Today I’ll brew, tomorrow bake; Merrily I’ll dance and sing, For next day will a stranger bring. Little does my lady dream, Rumpelstiltskin is my name!”

Hello my awesome blog readers, and to those of you who may have just found this space. Welcome! Bienvenue! Bienvenidos Todos!

This week is Folktale Week! Yay! I’ve been having a lot of fun, and have been applying my “improvisational” approach to painting with these fun little illustrations. I have been going more of the fantasy and fairytale route, but I believe all stories have folktale ancestors. At least that’s the reasoning I’m giving myself so I can paint The Frog Prince. Continue reading

Bookmarks!

Happy November everyone!

I’m so happy to introduce bookmarks to my Etsy shop! I had a lot of strips of paper, leftovers from cutting other sizes to make larger pieces, and decided I should put them to use. The immediate love I got for these itty bitty vertical panoramas was immense!

I love working small, and these are just so much fun that I can’t stop! I’ve already got a new batch going.

My goal is to print these as well, but there will only be ONE hand-painted original for each design, which I think makes these even more special.

And they’re going quick! I posted them on Etsy yesterday, and in 3 hours I’d already sold half of them. I’m very excited, as this not only gives you guys the opportunity to buy original art for a smaller price, but this also makes my artwork useful, and if you’ve been following  my blog you know how important that is to me.

I’d love it if you’d head on over to my Etsy to check them out, even if it’s just to click the little heart icon. I appreciate all of you so much!

Until next time, I hope your days are full of wind-blown leaves and crunchy footsteps.

Art Tutorial: Gouache Ghosts

This weekend we had a Halloween bash at the local gallery, where we all gathered for some pumpkin painting, trick or treating, a story of where the Jack ‘o Lantern originates, and I gave a small class on creating gouache ghosts.

I’ve been painting gouache ghosts for over a year now, since I first discovered the wispy, smoky quality of white gouache on a damp black background. In fact, one of my first paintings entered in a show was called The Guide, and was a result of that initial discovery. Continue reading

Lessons in Treeship: Indigo Autumn

Indigo Autumn started out as a handmade zine, but eventually became a full-fledged project, one that took several hours to complete.

I have always loved the idea of hand-making miniature books, bound and un-bound, with original art inside. I enjoy having this form of “interactive art” in my portfolio.

At first these miniature books (folded zine-style, though can I still call them zines?) were just a fun side project for me to play around, but the love I got for them hasn’t gone unnoticed. So I’ve decided that I’ll be introducing a new miniature book and/or zine as often as I can. Because not only are they fun to make, but they’re fun to flip through over and over again.

Indigo Autumn was one of these projects. I started out with an 11×14 sheet of Arches cold press, very finicky to fold as you can probably guess, and I chose a main color for the book. Indigo.

Each page has indigo, in the sky, in the landscape. The trees are indigo. And I wanted to somewhat personify the trees, or give them a human-like quality, in that they each have a friend to grow beside. Each of these lessons in “treeship” are based upon a different story, which I feel can only be interpreted by the viewer.

After I painted my trees, I went through the whole book and painted black gouache around the images to give it a more finished look. Then I un-folded the book and painted a full-sized 11×14 painting on the blank side. I didn’t take a photo of this backside, nor did I scan it. I want the buyer to be totally–and pleasantly–surprised.

Indigo Autumn is available here. Be on the lookout for several others in the “Lessons in Treeship” series.

I’ve also added a “mystery zine” product to my Etsy. Each book is approximately 4×3 inches and is a total surprise. Meaning, you don’t know what you’re going to get until you open the package! But each one is handmade, just like Indigo Autumn, and is hand-painted/illustrated. Check them out!

Until next time, I hope your home is warm and your yard is filled with autumn leaves.

New Process Video: Day & Night

Interesting story behind this piece. My goal was to do just a basic process video to get back into the swing of, well, making process videos. So I cut the last of my Arches cold press–still warped from the rain during Porchfest–into two pieces that were approximately 5.25×10 inches each. Even after I’d taped them down I still wasn’t sure what I was going to paint on them, but that’s pretty normal for me. Still, I knew I wanted it to be something simple, something short.

That’s not what happened.

Instead, these two paintings emerged from an idea I’d been mulling over for the last several weeks, and took me a collective 5 hours or so over the course of two days. Once they were complete, I felt as though I’d finished something powerful and important to me. I don’t know what it is, but I can’t stop looking at them! Is it pride? Can an artist be proud of her own work? Or is that an ego thing?

Anyways, I recorded all of it wooo!

Day & Night was painted with gouache and watercolors on cold press. I used the same colors on each side, simply adding white to the colors for Day and black to the colors for Night. The only real difference was the orange moon I used for Night, which went well as a complementary color to Day’s blue sun.

I see winter in the left. I see an October night on the right. Maybe these paintings emerged from not just an idea, but from the feelings I have about this fleeting October, and about the coming winter. I’m not sure. What I do know is that I wanted to create something of a yin-yang in the form of two landscapes.

Day & Night is still available on my Etsy shop. The two paintings are sold as a set and can be bought framed or un-framed. Interested in purchasing Day & Night? Click here.

Thanks for stopping by and reading! Have a great weekend, and if you’re in our area, stay warm!

Capital Arts Exhibition: Artist Talk & Wall Photos

A little over a year ago I showed in my very first gallery. I meekly brought in a few of my woodland animal illustrations, sure I was going to be turned down, and was confused surprised when the director told me my work would fit the Fact or Fiction theme nicely. That show was also my first judged show, and was where I won my first ribbon, an honorable mention on my painting, The Guide.

One year later I’m now the Featured Artist at that same gallery, Capital Arts, in Jefferson City, MO. I currently have fourteen framed pieces on their walls–not an easy feat to put together, as I still have those twenty-five pieces at the conservation center–and was to give an Artist Talk during the reception.

And the theme for this show is Myths & Legends, which somehow brings all of this full-circle. Sometimes the Universe has a way of letting you know you’re on the right track.

During the reception I had a lot of fun chatting with my fellow artists and this awesome community in which I was immediately welcomed to with no question. So many of you guys have become more than just my colleagues/mentors. You have become my friends.

And for those of you who are here with me right now, reading this blog, thank you!

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These are the pieces currently in my little “featured” nook of Capital Arts Gallery. Behind the table, in the window, you will also see my daughter got her own little featured section, where she was able to display some artwork of her own.

Note: if you are interested in any of these pieces, please let me know here. Since these paintings are currently for sale at the gallery, I have to ask them whether or not paintings in question are still available for purchase. It’s kind of hard to sell a painting that’s already sold haha. Thanks so much!!

For those of you who’d like to hear my Artist Talk, you’re in luck! I was able to record it and have uploaded it to Youtube. Just like with those in my audience at the gallery, you can ask me any questions that I may not have answered.

Until next time, you guys! Thanks for being here.

 

Inktober so Far & Some Hidden Optimism

It’s only day 3 of Inktober, but I’m already having a ton of fun. Not only that but it’s finally starting to feel like fall outside. It’s been nothing but 90 degrees and humid for the past month, which has been pretty lame. But now it’s a crisp 60 degrees, dark and cloudy and super moody and I’m in the mood to just curl up with hot drinks and creepy movies and candles.

But first let’s chat art! Continue reading

Exhibition Showcase: What’s on the Wall at Runge Nature Center (Part Two)

Welcome to Part Two of my Runge Exibition Showcase! If you haven’t already seen part one, click here to start at the beginning.

For those of you who have come to see part two, let’s get right to it!

Once again I’d like to explain that, while most of the originals for these pieces are still available to purchase (frame and all), they will not be shipped until after this show is over on October 28th, 2019. Prints, however, are available at any time, and are usually shipped within 2 days of purchase.

Please note: prints do not come with a frame. If you’d like a frame, feel free to contact me through Etsy or my site and we can discuss.

Twilight Garden

Watercolor & Gouache | 8×10 | 2019

Twilight Garden was another one of my “improv” pieces, in that I didn’t know where I was going to end up, even after I began. What I really wanted to do was play with my new colors: indigo and aussie red gold. Those two colors, plus perylene red and a little bit of moonglow, make one awesome color palette. I learned that with this piece, and with Ghost Garden, a painting I did right after this one.

Want to watch a video of me painting this? Click here!

To purchase Twilight Garden click here.

Winter Bluffs (Print)

Watercolor | 8×10 | 2018

This is another one of those pieces that was painted right on the cusp of 2018-2019 so it’s hard for me to remember which one it was. It was definitely wintertime, as you can see, and for this piece I really wanted to experiment with a monochromatic palette, using mostly blues and grays. I also experimented with different types of salt and found that coarse sea salt makes large, “flowery” patterns, while table salt makes tiny little “ice” patterns. Both are great for a wintry scene!

The original for this piece has already sold, but you can buy the print here.

Lone Tree

Watercolor | 11×14 | 2019

Lone Tree was a painting inspired by a piece I did during my “mini landscapes” themed draw post on Twitter. I really liked the way the tree dissolved into the sky, and I aimed to try it again on a larger scale.

The miniature piece that inspired Lone Tree

As of right now the larger piece is one of a kind. I do not have any scans of it, and if it is sold before the show is over, then congrats to the buyer! Because there will be no prints, and what they have will be truly unique.

If you’d like to purchase Lone Tree click here.

Fog on the Bluffs (Print)

Watercolor | 8×10 | 2019

Fog on the Bluffs was painted in early spring, when I often woke to a fog so thick I could barely see the tree just outside my window. The fog is one of the many reasons I love living next to the river. I remember painting the darker clouds at the top, and thinking of dense fog and rain on the hills in Wales (where one of my favorite books takes place) and I even though to put little white dots to hint at sheep.

The original piece was in a professional exhibition in spring, and spent some time in a restaurant before making its way over to the local gallery, where it will hang until mid October. If you are interested in the original (12×16 framed) please fill out this contact form. Because it is in a gallery show right now, I have to make sure it hasn’t sold already before selling to a buyer elsewhere.

If you’d rather a print, click here.

Winter Roots

Ink & Watercolor | 11×14 | 2019

Winter Roots was an experiment that went totally right. I wanted to see how isopropyl alcohol would look as an “underground” texture. I used Arches cold press so that I could get even more texture, added some coarse salt, and loaded a calligraphy pen with watercolor to get the roots and tree. It’s possible that this piece is 100% watercolor, but it’s possible that I may have added ink here and there, and so to be safe I listed that as one of the mediums.

If you’d like to purchase Winter Roots, click here.

After The Rain (Print)

Ink or Watercolor | 8×10 | 2019

After The Rain I’m almost certain is Hydrus watercolor by Dr. Ph. Martin’s, but it could also be India ink. This piece was an idea I’d formed in my mind before giving it a few tries. To get the upward “flow” effect, I had to paint this upside down, adding water here and there so the ink/watercolor would flow downward.

For me this piece is about rain clouds that sometimes seem so low they can touch the tops of the trees. But I have heard others say they see a fire. What do you see?

Prints are available here, but if you’d like the original (11×14 framed) please fill out this contact form, as the original is in a professional gallery and I will have to make sure it has not already sold.

Dragon Hills

Watercolor | 8×10 | 2019

Dragon Hills was an improv piece that I made when I first got my Hydrus watercolors. I absolutely love using the Hydrus colors, as they are already in liquid form and I can water them down further, or use them at their concentrated state. I can drop them onto wet paper, or spread them through one another. The possibilities are endless!

When I finished with this piece, I realized it looked something like the head of a dragon. Perhaps this hill is built upon the bones of a dragon slain long ago.

You can purchase Dragon Hills here.

Morning Flight (Also called Flight at Dawn)

Watercolor | 8×10 | 2019

Morning Flight was created one morning when I decided, suddenly, that I wanted to try to paint with natural materials. While I used brushes, I also used rose petals and leaves to get certain textures in the cliffside and choppy waters.

Want to watch a video of me painting this piece? Click here!

Morning Flight can be purchased here.

Abstract Autumn

Watercolor | 8×10 | 2018

Abstract Autumn was inspired by a smaller piece I did for my 365 Days of Watercolor project in 2018. I really liked the idea of creating an abstract piece that hinted at a dense forest. I tried it again with green, but it wasn’t as vibrant and exciting as this one.

Abstract Autumn can be purchased here.

Autumn on the Bluffs

Watercolor | 8×10 | 2018

Autumn on the Bluffs was inspired by the previous piece, Abstract Autumn. Once I had the idea of a dense forest in abstract form, I wanted to try many hills or bluffs, much like the ones near my home. We live right next to the river, and autumn during 2018 was a vibrant, fiery event. Every tree seemed to explode with color, and that’s what I hoped to portray in this wet-on-wet piece.

You can purchase Autumn on the Bluffs here.

Mudslide (Print)

Watercolor & Ink | 8×10 | 2019

Mudslide was an experiment with white ink. I wanted to try to create an abstract-like illusion of a flooding stream or waterfall cutting through the land. I loved the marbling effect I got with the brown and white, and I learned that too much white ink will crack when it’s drying. While some like the crackling effect at the bottom of the waterfall, I’ve tried to prevent this from happening in later pieces with this same effect.

You can purchase a print of Mudslide here.

The original may still be available. If you are interested (12×16 un-framed) please fill out this contact sheet, as it’s at the local gallery and I will have to double-check it isn’t already sold.

Bridge of the Cherry Willow (Print)

Watercolor & Gouache | 8×10 | 2019

Bridge of the Cherry Willow was created on a failed painting. I had a piece of decent hot press paper with a failed underpainting on it, and after a few weeks (maybe even months) I pulled it out and decided to either do something new with it, or throw it out. I went for the former, and what I painted has gotten lots of love!

The original of this piece has sold, but you can still buy a print here.

Jupiter Tree (Print)

Watercolor | 8×10 | 2019

Jupiter Tree was an improvised piece I made with my Woodlands watercolor palette by Prima. I took a large sheet of cold press, stretched it, and focused only on the color on my brush. The title of this piece comes from the big red spot in the center, making the whole landscape reminiscent of the planet Jupiter.

Want to watch a video about the process behind this piece? Click here!

The original for this piece has sold, but you can buy a print here.

And that’s all of them, folks! Once again these pieces will be taken down on October 28th, and so if you buy one of the originals I will ship them that day. Prints, however, can be bought at any time and are usually shipped 1-2 days after their purchase.

Also, from now until forever, if you use the code GIMMEFREESHIPPING you can get free US shipping on my website store with orders over 35$. You may also get free US shipping on my Etsy shop for the same amount, but no code is required there.

I hope you all have enjoyed my online exhibition showcase and learning about all of the pieces hanging on the wall of our local conservation center. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below.

Until then! Have a good one!

Exhibition Showcase: What’s On the Wall at Runge Nature Center (Part One)

Summer was a slow go for me as an artist, which is why these last few weeks have felt like a whirlwind. Between framing 40 pieces for shows, speaking at the local gallery, giving classes, creating pieces for auctions, and even making a few sales here and there, it’s hard to recall what it was like during swim season, when my busiest day was heading to the fairgrounds to drop off mine and several other artists’ pieces for the State Fair.

No complaints here, though! I would much much rather it be super busy than super dead. Now I can shed the impostor syndrome and work to dig myself out of the no-sale rubble, and perhaps strengthen my platform as I update my new site and hold giveaways on social media.

And despite it all, I still found time to blog so wooo! Glad you’re here with me.

I thought I’d do something of an “exhibition showcase” and talk about each of the pieces that are on the wall at Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City, MO, for those of you who live in other states/countries and can’t make it in, or for those of you who did visit and want to know the story behind one of the paintings you saw.

Most of the originals for these pieces are still available for purchase. They come off the wall on October 28th, and if they’re purchased before then they will be shipped in their frame. I will literally lift the painting off the wall, wrap it in bubble wrap, and ship it off to its new home.

Prints, however, are available at any time, and are usually shipped within 2 days of purchase. Prints do not come with a frame, so if you’d like a frame, feel free to contact me through Etsy or my site and we can discuss.

 

Winter Moon

Watercolor | 11×14 | 2018-2019

The first piece I want to talk about is Winter Moon, as it’s considered the “star” of the show. I painted winter moon in either December 2018 or January 2019 (most likely January, as I recall the paint being a birthday present). I received a tube of Daniel Smith’s moonglow and decided the best way to first use it would be to paint a portrait of the moon.

The view in the painting is inspired by the view from my back door/window. I, of course, removed the highway and the shops/restaurants on the horizon. My hope was to possibly show what my backyard looked like before the city grew.

You can purchase Winter Moon here

Late Spring

Watercolor | 9×12 | 2018

Late spring is a piece I made while taking classes by Jean Lurssen. Her unique, abstract approach to landscapes inspired me to try them myself. This one is reminiscent of the bluffs by the river, lush with green, spring trees.

This piece has been around the city. It first debuted at an event before hanging on the wall of a local restaurant beside its sister piece, Like Shale.

You can purchase Late Spring here.

Like Shale

Watercolor | 9×12 | 2018

Like Shale is another piece I made while taking classes by Jean Lurssen. My goal for this painting was to create a scene reminiscent of the rock formations I might find while hiking in the Ozarks.

This piece, like Late Spring, spent some time at an event before hanging on the wall at a local restaurant. They are now hanging together at Runge.

You can purchase Like Shale here

Breath of Fresh Air (Print)

Watercolor | 8×10 | 2019

Breath of Fresh Air was one of my “meditative” pieces, or what I would consider an entry to my Wordless Diary. I didn’t know what I was going to paint when I started, but once I finished I was floored by how much this looks like the heart and lungs! Total happy accident.

What is framed and hanging here is a print. The original is also still available.

You can purchase a print here.

You can purchase the original here.

Mother Cloud (Print)

Watercolor | 8×10 | 2019

Mother Cloud was a painting I thought up while dealing with the struggles of mothering a 6-year old with a whole lot of independence. I had the idea of a large, thunderhead cloud, with a much smaller cloud drifting away from it, and the mother cloud spreading as if to reach out to catch her child.

This piece was sold in its very first exhibition, but I have sold several prints since then. It seems to be one of my most popular pieces to date.

You can purchase a print of Mother Cloud here.

Sea Foam

Watercolor & Gouache | 11×14 | 2019

Sea Foam was inspired by an upcoming exhibition with beach-related themes, Maria Raczynska’s gorgeous seascapes, and by the song “Orinoco Flow” by Enya. I listened to the song often while painting this piece, and also listened to a few other ocean-related songs such as “Soul of the Sea” by Heart and “Caribbean Blue” by Enya.

This piece was a part of the Life’s a Beach show at the local gallery, and is now currently on display at Runge and is also currently part of an online show at SquidInk Gallery called “Visual Art Inspired by Music.”

A bit about the process: for a reference, I used a photo I took in Daytona Beach, FL. I used watercolor inks to add depth to my color, and used white gouache for my “foam.” More information about the “behind the scenes” of this piece can be found here.

Sea Foam can be purchased here.

Lavender Falls

Watercolor & Ink | 12×16 | 2019

Lavender Falls is a piece that started out with an idea, but took on a mind of its own soon after I began. At the time, I was very big on using the watercolor inks by Brea Reese, as well as various iridescent inks by Dr. Ph. Martin’s.

This painting was part of a professional exhibition in the spring, and spent some time at the local restaurant with a few of the others before heading over to Runge.

You can purchase Lavender Falls here.

Amethyst Dawn II

Watercolor & Gouache | 11×14 | 2019

Amethyst Dawn II was a painting inspired by a painting inspired by another class by Jean Lurssen. In her class, she showed us how to use a palette knife to “spatter” white gouache and make abstract flowers. I tried it immediately, using my Brea Reese watercolor inks and white gouache and the painting sold within a few hours after I finished it. With so much love given to the first painting, I decided to make a second painting with the same colors and techniques.

You can purchase Amethyst Dawn II here.

Amethyst Dawn (Print)

Watercolor & Gouache | 8×10 | 2019

Amethyst Dawn was the first of the two pieces that were inspired by the Jean Lurssen class, in which she showed us how to use a palette knife to make rocky textures and to spatter white gouache in order to make flowers. The original painting was created with Brea Reese watercolor inks and M. Graham white gouache, and sold hours after it was complete.

If you’d like to buy a print of Amethyst Dawn, you can go here.

Vineyard at Sunrise

Gouache | 11×14 | 2019

Vineyard at Sunrise was another improvised piece. I gave it a zendoodle-like approach, in that I did not plan anything, and simply painted patterns and colors while remaining present and refusing to shape the piece into anything remotely figurative until the very end.

You can purchase Vineyard at Sunrise here.

Late Summer Blues

Watercolor | 11×14 | 2019

Late Summer Blues is one of my favorite pieces to date. I love the colors, the warm browns with the indigo. I love the starry pattern the salt made at the bottom. There wasn’t much planning to this piece. It came from the heart. I used a large brush to get the flowy washes, and a calligraphy pen (loaded with watercolor) to get the finer lines.

Late Summer Blues has sold. Thanks so much to the buyer!

Tundra (Print)

Watercolor & Ink | 8×10 | 2018

Tundra was an experiment I did on a watercolor board in winter 2018. My goal was to create interesting textures and patterns with inks as they melded into one another. Not long after, the original piece was damaged, but luckily I had already scanned it, and it makes a gorgeous print.

If you’d like to buy a print of Tundra, you can head here.

Hope you have enjoyed reading about these twelve pieces. If you’d like to continue reading, head on over to my Runge Exbition Showcase part 2.

My First Solo Exhibition

I didn’t grow up in this town. As a child, coming to the Capitol City was a treat. I remember, even then, marveling at the array of bluffs surrounding the buildings, a town nestled within its own protective wall, built ages ago by the river as it cut through to create what is now miles of lush green farmland.

And the city had a sound to me, a jazzy sound. As a pre-teen, I’d walk behind my dad as we made our way downtown to a local restaurant, the sun setting behind historical stone buildings, casting long shadows on busy sidewalks. Continue reading

Mini Books!

I watched a zine tutorial recently and learned how to fold a single sheet of paper into a book. Since then, I’ve been hooked on folding up hot press paper into mini books and painting in them! They are a great way to experiment throughout the day, and I end up with a cute collection once the book is complete. Continue reading

Painting With Nature

The bottom left-hand texture of this painting was created with leaves

I started my Wednesday morning with some hot coffee, a Bobby Darin record, and watercolor videos. A few of them were more meditative, which reminded me of how much I myself love this technique. Meditative art–or at least my definition of it–is when you paint/create with having no idea what you are going to come up with. You start with one or two colors, one brush, and just, go with the flow.

See what I did there?

Meditative painting is how I’ve been filling my Wordless Diary, as it is a great way to get my thoughts/feelings down onto paper, without trying to put what said thoughts/feelings are into words. I often feel better after finishing a wordless entry, than I do after writing two pages of whiny nonsense.

Wordless Diary Entries

I’ve been feeling a bit meh lately, and so I decided I needed a good meditative/wordless session. And as I was filling an empty cherry jar with water, I noticed Goo’s flowers from her recital by the window. One of the roses had wilted, and the loose petals were just begging to be plucked. I took a few, along with two or three tiny leaves. My goal was to stamp their patterns into the painting somehow.

The first painting was a major flop–as the first painting tends to be, because I’m “clearing the cobwebs” so to speak–but the next painting flowed together much nicer. I switched between watercolors and pens. I just let my brain wander, and refused to worry about whether or not I was going to produce something extraordinary.

Tip: when doing a meditative painting like this, using scrap paper helps keep you worry-free

Flowers painted with rose petals and gouache

The leaves made pretty “stone” textures at the base of my hills, making me think of a rocky cliffside by the sea. The rose, however, didn’t do much. It was much too soft to paint wet-in-wet with, and even placing something heavy on top of it didn’t leave an imprint. I decided that once the painting was finished, I would try a bit of wet-on-dry with gouache. And it worked nicely!

I have used bits of foliage here and there in previous paintings, but I think I’ll start a whole collection of natural tools. Rocks, sticks, dead flowers, to name a few. Should be fun!

Materials Used:

Daniel Smith watercolors (indigo and Aussie red gold)

-Brea Reese watercolor in (lake blue and pink)

-Winsor & Newton Designer’s Gouache (white)

-Scrap cold press paper

-Mixed media paper

 

Want to see more? Check out my Instagram

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Hoping to see some videos? Here’s a link to my YouTube channel

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All images/videos ©Lina Forrester

My First Porchfest

Hi Friends!

Yesterday I got to be a part of my first downtown festival! This one was called Porchfest. Several historical homes on the same strip got together and donated time on their large porches for musicians and visual artists to come and perform live! It was a free festival, anyone could attend, and there was food, tie-dye stations, and super fun stuff for the kids like chalk art and face painting!

I myself got to nestle beneath a big tree with huge green leaves and display my art on a table while working live at my easel. I painted five little pieces total, three pretty landscapes, one sketch, and a fail. In between these pieces, I also worked on a larger painting I started on Friday evening.

It was super fun being surrounded by live music, live visual artists, and kids carrying balloon animals. Goo, my own kiddo, had a cat balloon, and a face painted like a rainbow. She had blueberry sorbet and made me a tie-dye shirt.

Next year I hope to have my own kiosk/tent where I can display my artwork better, and a much more efficient way of receiving payment (like a card swiper thing for my phone). Can’t wait!

Several of the pieces I displayed at this Porchfest are currently up on my Etsy! Come and see!

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Where the Witch Lives

Not all witches are bad, have crazy eyes and warty noses. In fact, the witch who lives in this house, though very introverted, is kind and cheerful. She keeps to herself, tending to her garden, the plants in which provide endless hours of alchemy practice in her study.

I like to think she uses flower petals and beet roots to dye fabric, which she later sews to make hardy dresses and quilts. And her cat isn’t black, but orange, with big bright green eyes that match the dried basil in her herb collection.

This piece was one of my “go with the flow” paintings, meaning I didn’t know what I was going to paint until it began to take shape on the paper. Contrary to what I usually do, which is paint on a flat surface, I used my easel set at around an 80 degree angle so that the watercolor would flow downward. I also used a wet on wet technique, only letting it dry at the very end, when I wanted to paint in some finer details.

Here is a timelapse of the painting process. Unfortunately, my phone died toward the end, so a good chunk of the video never saved. But I hope it’s enough for you to see how it all came together.

Materials used:

-Daniel Smith watercolors (moonglow, indigo, rare green earth, hansa yellow medium, and raw/burnt umber)

-Arches cold press 140lb

-Princeton brushes

Both the original and the print of this piece are available on my Etsy shop.

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All images/videos © Lina Forrester

Aussie Red Gold

When I saw Jean Lurssen using Aussie Red Gold in one of her YouTube videos, I knew it was going to be the next color on my list. But Daniel Smith watercolors are not cheap (this one was around 15$ for a tube) and so it remained on my wishlist for a month or two, until I found the means to splurge.

And wow this color rocks!

I think what I like most about this color is its warmness. I have a lot of cool yellows, but I’ve always gravitated toward my Woodlands palette for the warmer yellows and oranges.

So far I’ve only been playing with this color, testing its limits, but I do have a few ideas brewing of sunrises and golden autumns and sunflowers.

This morning, I shot a timelapse of my play, in which I mixed the new color with my other Daniel Smith watercolors, and then splashed around on a scrap piece of paper.

These are the colors I mixed on the video in order:

-Perylene Red

-Hansa Yellow Medium

-Yellow Ochre

-Raw Umber

-Burnt Umber

-Payne’s Gray

-Rare Green Earth

-Prussian Blue

-Ultramarine Blue

-Indigo

-Moonglow

My favorite mix of these was probably the pretty green I got with prussian blue, but I did enjoy the neutrals I got as well, with moonglow and ultramarine blue.

I’m not sure what my next color will be. As of right now, I’m pretty set, and the only thing I may need to buy soon is another primary set, as I’m low on those three colors. But you can be sure that when I buy a new color, I will definitely write all about it on here!

Until next time!

-Lina

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Watercolors to Oils: Three Things I Must Change

Let me just say how much I have loved oil painting these past few days. Since switching over to water-based oils, I can sense a bridge between my favorite medium, and the medium I’ve just picked up. I’m more comfortable with it, and feel more in my “element.” Even when I’m using a medium like walnut oil instead of plain ol’ water.

But there are a few things I’ve noticed about my painting habits/issues since playing around, and they are kinks that definitely need to be straightened out.

1. I Work Too Fast

I was working on an oil piece two days ago, and realized how fast I was moving my brush around, and how it was getting paint everywhere. Seriously. It was on me, on my clothes, and mussing up my painting in a way that would require an extended drying period before moving on. Forget painting tiny details. I couldn’t even get a block of color in without making a mess.

And I stopped for a moment and reminded myself that I was working with oils, not watercolor. With watercolors, one usually has to move super fast to get things where they need to be before it’s dry. But oils take for.ev.er. to dry. I forced myself to take a deep breath. My mess wasn’t going anywhere. In fact, it would probably still be workable tomorrow. I could chill.

So, obviously, my first goal is to work on slowing down.

2. I Lose Interest Quickly

With watercolors, a piece can be finished within an hour. If I take my time, it could take a few days but it probably still all adds up to only a few hours. Because of this, I’m used to busting pieces out pretty fast and moving on with my life.

But oils force me to take longer. Oils force me to wait, which can make me write off the drying piece altogether. The excitement has passed, and now I’m onto something new. Which works okay for watercolors…but again…this is oil.

So my next goal is to maintain my focus when working on a piece. As if it were its own individual identity (because it kind of is, right?). Perhaps each painting gets its own type of music, or its own easel. Maybe I will work on three pieces at once, but all with extremely different color palettes. Whatever I can do to separate them and bring something “new” to the easel when working.

Most of all, I will focus on each movement of my brush, each tiny detail. I will remain connected to my piece by learning everything I can about it. Even after it’s deemed complete.

3. I’m No Good At Values

This is hard to admit…but getting good values in my paintings hasn’t been my strong suit. In the past, I worked around this by inking in all of my lines. But now that I’m working with oils I find that I need to seriously practice my values if I want to make it anywhere in this medium. Not everything can be a midtone.

One way to help me through this is to photograph each piece and look at it in black and white. This will show me my highlights, midtones, and shadows, and whether or not they produce something with good contrast, or something that is nothing but mud.

As a photographer, I have been working in black and white for many years. I spent all of 2017 shooting with black and white film. I can make a good black and white photograph, so why am I nonsense at values when painting? I really have no excuse.

So my third goal is obviously to practice my brains out. Other than taking black and white photos of my paintings, I can also work on monochromatic pieces. In fact, I gave myself this same exercise as a photographer, and shot only in black and white for an entire month. You wouldn’t believe the things I learned about shadows and light and which colors showed up as a bland gray. Time to apply what I learned to painting.

I’ve only been working with these new oils for a few days now, but I really really want to get better at them so I can add them to my everyday work. I love their richness, their colors that never fade, and the fact that I feel like a Van Gogh badass when slapping alizarin crimson onto a canvas.

What about you? Have you gone from one completely different art medium to another? Did you see a few flaws that needed to be repaired? Tell me below!