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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 “Mini Books!”→
A little over a week ago, I wrote about my New Year’s Resolution of not limiting myself in 2019. This “freedom” mentality led to my newest 365 project, #limitless.
Every day I have decided to just go with my flow. Whether I wanted to paint with watercolors, or even just sketch all day with a pencil, I wouldn’t hold myself back with nagging, existential questions. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to start giving myself monthly themes, as I’m not sure if it’s counter-intuitive to the whole idea. But I’m definitely open to giving it a try at least once.
Now that the first week of this project is complete, I think I can safely say that I’m going to learn a ton this year. Not necessarily in skill–though I do plan to learn some new skills!–but in letting myself go, and just being the artist my heart wants me to be. Continue reading “#Limitless Project Week One”→
Again, these don’t have to all be accomplished in 2019, but a few are already in the works, like the watercolor classes and the kid’s camp. I’m very excited!
As for my project 365, I think I will be going for two this year. I’d like to not only do a 365 days of Art (with monthly themes) but I’d also like to do a 365 days of Yoga, because I love yoga and really want to get back into it. I’m interested in seeing how my health and well-being improves over the year with this challenge.
But enough about my goals! I want to know about yours! Any New Year’s resolutions in mind? Thinking of trying a project 365? Feel free to comment below, or shoot me an email!
A few weeks ago I was wandering the art aisle of a well-known store that rhymes with small tart, and I saw the a tiny little 4×5 sketchbook for a couple bucks. I’d been needing a small sketchbook to doodle in while on car rides and sitting in waiting rooms, so I grabbed it and decided to keep it in my purse.
I joke with my husband that I have an existential crisis at least once a month. And it’s true, I really do! I am always getting stuck in the muck of “why am I doing this?” and “who am I as an artist?” and “What on Earth do I have to offer this blue ball in the sky?”
My latest existential crisis was triggered by my experimenting with oil paints, which led to experimenting with acrylic and gouache. I freaked myself out a little. Am I leaving watercolor? Why would I do such a thing? I had so much potential with my watercolor pieces and even had four on display at a local gallery! Why change my medium just when I was starting to get the hang of another? Continue reading “Am I a Painter?”→
If you’ve been following along, you’ll remember that I’ve been having tons of issues with oil paint, from anxiety over the toxic mediums, to headaches from resin and linseed fumes. For a while I was pretty bummed about it, but soon moved on to gouache and did my best to forget about oil entirely. Continue reading “Oil Painting Returns: Five Lessons I’ve Learned”→
I have been adoring oil paint, but certain side-effects have left me dreading my art room, where all of my oil paintings are drying: headaches, dizziness, and nausea.
What gives? I’m using nontoxic mediums! I even placed a fan in the window and had it blowing the rainy air from outside onto my face. But it still wasn’t enough.
After doing some research, it appears a lot of artists run into this problem, and it’s a sensitivity to linseed oil that is the culprit. Guess what oil paint is made with!
Seriously. After all of that nonsense of falling in love with oil, having anxiety about toxic mediums, finding nontoxic mediums, then falling in love with oil again, this is just depressing. In fact, after learning I might actually be sensitive to oil paint itself, I curled up in bed for an hour with a “woe is me” attitude and then grumped about the rest of the evening. It just wasn’t fair!
The good news is, I did find an alternative: M Graham’s walnut oil-based paint. The bad news is, I’ve already spent my art budget this month. So I have to wait a few weeks until I can get some.
Until then, I’m back to playing with my gouache, which makes me super happy and I’ve even had the itch to pick up some microns and do a few zentangles and illustrations, already proving this break will be a blessing in disguise.
Ever since I started the “Ghost” series, I’ve been contemplating giving oil paint a go. I felt like some of the things I wanted to paint would do much better with a heavier medium, and I’m not a huge fan of acrylic. And ever since I’ve been a part of the local gallery, I’ve seen tons of gorgeous oil paintings, and I suppose I just got the itch in general.
So what was my holdup? Well, for starters, I’d heard it was toxic to use around kids and animals. Since I have a 5-year-old and three beloved pets, I have always just kept oil out of mind. Second of all, I always figured oil was too expensive for my budget. And finally…well it was just daunting. Only the “pros” use oil, right? The people who know what they’re doing? Not someone who just wants to dabble. Continue reading “My First Go at Oil Paint”→
I recently had a conversation with a fellow artist on Twitter about adding gouache to watercolor paintings. Honestly, I’d tried to avoid the own subject in my mind because the whole idea of adding another medium to an already established medium seemed complicated. What colors would I use? Why? What could gouache give me that watercolor couldn’t? This particular artist said he would use white gouache to add highlights, and that made so much sense! I suddenly had a flood of ideas, but one in particular kept pestering me:
What if I added white gouache to Payne’s Grey watercolor, and let the white drip down to make a ghost? I imagined the gouache flowing, trickling down the deep blue-gray shade, giving my ghost eerie tendrils, and I couldn’t wait to give it a try!
The past 1-2 weeks were difficult for me. Every time I sketched something out, I put the unfinished piece on my easel, and then it would just sit there. Because I was scared to go further, to pull out the Micron pen and draw the “final” draft. I was scared to mess up, to make a problem mark somewhere, to overdo it.
Every now and then I’ll practice something that may or may not make it into my future illustrations. Because I learn. Even if I never use it again, I learn.
I’ve practiced hatching & cross-hatching in the past, and it didn’t make it far into my artwork. However recently I picked up a few illustration books at the library and one of them discussed hatching and cross-hatching–as well as other shading methods–and I decided to play around with it again. This time I think it has stuck. My artwork is evolving again; I can see it! While I do like the “clean” look of my most recent work, I also like the weathered quality provided by the hatching. In fact, it seems to bring forward the part of me that loves all things eerie: foggy mornings, ghost stories, fall wind, dusty photographs.
And I think that, maybe, hatching will help grow yet another branch of style for me.
At the time, I seem to like the “quick sketch” look, as I usually do, but I want to work on cleaner lines with my hatching.
Maybe it’s because I’m an info junkie, but practicing the basics is super fun for me. And because I returned to these “basics,” I’ve already sketched out four new pieces!
Looking for fresh colors, atypical from the basic reds and greens I’d been limiting myself to for so long, I discovered the joy that is Prima Watercolor Confections. They have many different sets with beautiful colors, all with unique themes such as: Decadent Pies, Odyssey, and The Classics.