Kokopelli Conga

Kokopelli Conga
"A work of art that did not begin in emotion is not art." --Paul Cezanne

February 24, 2017

Inspiration and Blooming Aloe Vera

Re-post (first published 4/29/12). 


One thing that is wise for an artist these days is to have plenty of your very own, original reference photos whenever possible. It's also good for an artist to plaint en plein air when you can to just get a good reference on color and how light and color intermix in nature rather than a camera interpretation. I don't paint en plein air a lot, so I am trying to do that more often to let my brain work on the color theory. So, while we were out of town visiting Mesquite, NV last weekend, I painted my little "Bottle Bush" painting en plein air one morning. I also took some good reference photos of the Bottle Bush and also an Aloe Vera plant that is about to bloom to add to my reference photo file. (I've never seen a blooming Aloe Vera before - have you?)

February 17, 2017

FRIDAY FEATURE: Featured Artist ~ Catherine Darling Hostetter

Here is a re-post of my Friday Feature of whimsical artist Catherine Darling Hostetter (first published 4/24/15). Enjoy!

I am trying a new thing with my blog that I am going to call FRIDAY FEATURE. These posts might include Top 10 lists, products/services I have found useful, or other art-related topics (beyond writing about my own art). 

To start out, I am writing a series of features about artists I admire. My goal will also be to provide some personal input from each artist - though that might not prove to be possible in every case. But, I will try my best.

With that, I welcome you to my inaugural FRIDAY FEATURE post...let's begin!

Welcome to the wonderful, witty, and whimsical world of Catherine Darling Hostetter!

"Adoggio" ©Catherine Darling Hostetter

Catherine, a full-time artist from Midvale, UT, also happens to be a friend of mine (though I don't get to see her as often as I would like). A truly talented artist, she is also one of the sweetest and most humble people you will ever meet in your life. 

While I have known of Catherine for nearly 12 years (since I joined the Utah Watercolor Society in 2003), I did not really get to know her as a person until I was an artist at Local Colors of Utah Fine Art Gallery in Salt Lake City, UT in 2010-2011. I worked very closely with Catherine for several months before I left the gallery in 2011. Those of you who are familiar with the book series or PBS television series "Anne of Green Gables" will understand what I mean when I say that Catherine is a Kindred Spirit. :) 

"Then It Dawned on Her" ©Catherine Darling Hostetter

Catherine's paintings are full of fun, texture, and movement. I will admit to not understanding her whimsical style in the beginning (12 years ago - when I was first exposed). But, over the years and more exposure to her work, I came to see the beauty and feel the emotion in all of her work. I am truly a fan! No matter the subject, when you look at one of Catherine's paintings you will feel an emotion. Whether it feels you will humor, thoughtfulness, tenderness, pensiveness, or peacefulness...each painting conveys something to the viewer in an intricately thought-out design. 

"Saint of Motherhood" ©Catherine Darling Hostetter
My husband and I are the fortunate owners of this particular
beautiful painting. It hangs in my living room and I see it
every day as I walk down the hallway from our bedroom.
Every time I see this painting I smile and remember
how grateful I am for my two beautiful children and the
blessing they are to me!

I reached out to Catherine to let her know of my intention to write this series of blog posts and asked her to answer some questions for me. She was kind enough to comply. 

"Flying Below Radar" ©Catherine Darling Hostetter

Q: What are your favorite materials and tools...the ones you just can't live without?

A: I am a collector of art supplies, or in other words, I have more than any decent person needs. I love to try new mediums so it's hard to really pin down what are my favorite materials and tools. My favorite gifts on my birthday or at Christmas are gift cards to art stores. I paint in acrylic or watercolor, so perhaps I should say my favorite tools are something to paint with and something to paint on! I do like artist-quality supplies.

Q: Who are your artistic influences and why?

A: I love Gustav Klimt. He was a very good figure artist and then departed into his own style with all his patterns. I love patterns. There was a period in my art a few years back that I put patterns in everything. Patterns can still be found today in my art, but not quite as much as before. 

A contemporary artist I love is Jeremy Lipking. I love his figures. They are just beautiful and I would love to take a workshop from him. 

My favorite watercolorist is Joseph Alleman. His work is fabulous and I was able to take a workshop from him several years ago. 

If you look at my artwork, you will see that I don't paint anything like those artists mentioned, but I love their work. I paint whimsical art, and my influences are James Christensen and Brian Kershisnik. I love both of these artists' work. 

Q: What is/are your favorite subject matter and why?

A: My favorite subject is painting people and my second favorite is animals. I have always loved these subjects since high school.

"Aubrey"  ©Catherine Darling Hostetter

"Patience is a Beggar's Virtue"  ©Catherine Darling Hostetter

Q: What are your favorite quotes?

A: My earliest favorite quote is from the play Auntie Mame: "Life is a banquet and most fools are starving to death." We performed that in high school and that is the PG version. Another favorite quote is from JRR Tolkien: "Not all those that wander are lost." Another favorite is "If you don't know where you are going, any road will do." from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

"Alice Laughing" ©Catherine Darling Hostetter

Q: What advice would you give to emerging artists?

A: Develop your basic skills. Learn to draw very well and always be in "learning" mode. Take workshops and, if you can't afford them, go to the library and get books. Focus on one style. I see a lot of artists that want to show you all the ways they can paint. If you are looking to get into a gallery, they are looking for strength in one style. Focus! (I need to follow my own advice.)

Q: What would you most like to be remembered for in life?

A: Being a good, kind person.

"Unlimited" ©Catherine Darling Hostetter

Catherine served as President of the Utah Watercolor Society in the 2008-2009 year, and is currently the President of Local Colors artist co-op. She publishes a blog of her thoughts and her art at Cathy Darling's Pure Art Studio. You can also find her art page on Facebook and she has prints and originals available at her Etsy Shop. Catherine is represented by Local Colors of Utah Fine Art Gallery in Salt Lake City, UT and Paisley Pomegranate in Park City, UT.

As always, thanks for stopping by my blog!

I hope you enjoyed this first in my Featured Artist series of posts. Please leave a comment with your thoughts and feedback. I would love to hear from you!

November 20, 2016

Exhibitions, Workshops, Paint Outs and Nibbles

Where has 2016 gone? Only a few more weeks until the new year. The holidays are upon us! The first few months of this year, I busied myself preparing for an exhibition at the Utah Arts Festival Gallery and finishing up my two years as the Newsletter Editor for the Utah Watercolor Society (UWS). I had been asked to take on the UWS Vice President role for the coming 2016-2017 year and, in June, I was voted in as Vice President. Since then, I have been super busy with all the duties that come with the role of VP!

Over the summer, I also learned that I had been selected for another exhibition at the Utah Arts Festival Gallery - but this time for their October show! So, in addition to the VP duties, I worked hard to prepare eleven new paintings for this show.

In October, I was also privileged to be the UWS liaison to Iain Stewart, the national artist that UWS hosted for our 2016 Fall Workshop. He was also the juror for our Fall Member Exhibition. What an amazing artist! What was nice, though, was that Iain was just a good guy. Funny and entertaining while he taught the workshop as well as in person. It was a very busy week - but enjoyable!

So...here we are in November already!

This weekend, I was excited to take a workshop with Sue Martin. The workshop was Friday and Saturday. Unfortunately I ended up with a work conflict on Friday, so I was only able to attend Saturday. But, what a great day! I came home exhilarated and feeling happy for the first time in 2 weeks. I have so many great ideas for patterns and textures to incorporate into my paintings. I can hardly wait to get started on some new paintings!

Meanwhile, here is a little butterfly painting that I completed in the workshop. :)

"Fancy" ©Jennifer Love

I've decided to list this Fancy lady for Nibblefest on eBay this month. The auction starts at only $0.99 and ends on the 27th. :)

Click here to see the auction.

In the meantime...on the home front...my KonMari tidy project still continues. I haven't been able to do this project "all in one shot" like the book says. I've had numerous interruptions and delays. But, I am about halfway through the process and ready to try to give a big push to get through the rest of the categories and then to get our basement rooms put together the way we want them! I feel that the finishing this project up will allow me to feel the freedom to pursue my other interests without feeling guilty about the disaster state of my house!  However, if there's anything that the past weekend has taught me, it is that I still need to make some time for art every week too. Ah...the scheduling challenges! LOL Who's with me? How do you manage to schedule your household duties, work, family, and still make time for making art as well? I'm going to try!

Anyone have a room like this? This is the "junk" room in the basement. We are not supposed to tidy by room, but by category with the KonMari method. But, because I'm not even sure all the "categories" that are in this Miscellaneous room (other than art supplies), I am treating this room somewhat like its own KonMari category, trying to weed through all the different kinds of things in here.  This is the "before" picture. Thanks to some help from my friend a few months ago (yes...months!), it has been about 1/3 sorted out. But, it needs to be finished, and this is the next project on the KonMari method project! (And...there is a BIG, scary spider web in the corner of one window. YIKES!!  I'm not sure I dare to move the shelving that is over there by the window. My rubber gloves and shop vac will be handy at that time! Wish me luck!)

Do you have a room like this?

I hope all in the United States have a great Thanksgiving and that everyone has a happy holiday season! Hopefully, I'll be blogging more regularly over the coming months.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

August 19, 2016

Painting for Fall

Summer FLEW by! 

Our summer was filled with tee ball games, coach pitch baseball games, and visits to grandma's house. I spent a good amount of time in my continuing efforts to complete a KonMari sort and tidy of our entire house. We are at the "miscellaneous" category in the discarding process. It's a long process for me, marked with many detours. Not the recommended (tidy all at once, in one "event") process from Marie Kondo. But, I have not lost sight of the ultimate goal, and continue to tidy by category and just keep picking up where I left off whever I can devote a few hours or a weekend to it. It is slowly, but surely coming along! (See my previous blog post "A place of Sanctuary: If I tidy up my home life, it will benefit my professional life." to read why I think it's important to complete this tidy project.)

Along the way, in July, I also received notification that I have again been selected for a group showing (3 artists) at the Utah Arts Festival (UAF) Gallery for the upcoming 2016-2017 season. Awesome! When is my show? October...YIKES! :) Actually, it's great, and I am very excited to be accepted into their exhibition schedule again this year. 

My kids started school again this week on Wednesday (already!!), and our household is coming out of the crazy summer schedule and getting back into our Fall school routine.

I am working on creating 10-12 new fall-themed paintings for my upcoming October show at the UAF Gallery. The exhibition opens October 21st and will hang through November 11th. 

Here is one of two new paintings I completed this weekend.

"Fallen 2"  ©Jennifer Love

Now...back to work...I have some paintings to create! 

As always, thanks for stopping by my blog!

May 21, 2016


Spring in Utah brings a rainbow of beautiful blooms. I love walking through my yard daily to see what new flowers and colors have popped out! We've had an especially rainy May this year and my yard is loving it!

Some of my roses, iris, peonies, and weigela bush

I draw a lot of inspiration from the spring and summer seasons and am always thinking about new bushes or bulbs I might want to plant in my yard next to keep the array of colors going through the summer. Roses are one of my favorites. They give and give all season long...and they remind me of my grandmother, who always had stunning rose patches and won several city beautification awards for her yard.

Some of my roses, weigela bush, and peonies

The beautiful fuschia pink roses in my front yard are from a bush that I started from a small cutting off one of my grandmother's bushes. Incidentally, fuschia happens to be my favorite color - ever since I was a teen. I thought it was especially fitting that, of all the cuttings I took from her rose bushes, the one that survived and thrived was the fuschia pink. While I love all the roses in my yard (the rest of which were gifts from my aunt and uncle for my birthday one year), this bush has extra special meaning to me both for its origins as well as the time it took for me to nurture the cutting into a full rose bush. I love the giant roses it produces year after year, and I think of my grandmother every time I see them. 

Fuschia pink rose from my grandmother's cutting
bush, iris, weigela

As I looked at the color palette of the irises, roses, and weigela shown in this picture, I realized that it is the same color palette I use in my paintings time and time again. Funny how you know your inspiration comes from the beauty and life around you, and yet something so obvious doesn't always register in your brain until you examine the flowers your Instagram photo layout! 

What are your favorite flowers of the season? Do your favorites remind you of loved ones or other special memories?

As always, thanks for stopping by my blog!

April 8, 2016

Paintings for Parkinson's 2016 - Our Story

Updated from April 2014 post...

December 2013

I was going to call this “my story,” but it’s really not about me. It’s about us. It’s about me and my husband, Steve, and our life together. Our story begins on January 9, 2004…our first date.

At age 30, while young in the grand scheme of things, I was nearly considered for spinsterhood here in Utah, where marriage between ages 18-25 is very common. When you pass that mid-twenties mark, you quickly find yourself in lonesome territory, where most of the men you meet in your age range are already married with kids. By 27 years old, it feels like your odds of finding a date, let alone husband, are almost nonexistent. By 30, you’d better resign yourself to the single life and make your peace with it! Not that I was on the hunt for a husband. In fact, I had settled into my life and reached a place where I was content. I had purchased a house, I had a good job, a cat, and I was able to set up my paints and easel in a corner of my dining room which officially became my “studio” area - where I could spend time painting almost every evening of the week.

Just like the cliché “It comes when you least expect it…” BAM! That’s when it happened. Right when I wasn’t looking. Right when I had made peace with my "spinster" life and was content. :) That’s when I met Steve. 

Our first date (bowling and pizza) - was a double date with my friend and her husband. And, despite the fact that he showed up with a BYU jacket on (bleh!) we had a lot of fun – an unexpected surprise for me. He was sweet, funny, had kind eyes and strong hands (it’s just one of my things!). Our first date led to a second, third, and so on.  We were engaged by March, and married in December. I was 31 at the time and Steve was 42. It was the first marriage for both of us. Despite a rough first year (as I think all couples have when blending two lives together), I was so happy that I had found my love and my soul mate, someone who appreciated who I was as a person and found me beautiful inside and out.

July 2010

Then, in the Spring/Summer of 2006, Steve developed a tremor in his left hand. Not extremely noticeable at first, but it was there. By December, he had a diagnosis of Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease (at age 44). Two years into our new marriage, the meaning of “in sickness and in health” really hit home for us. My gentle, sweet-natured, soft-spoken husband was given a life-long sentence of a debilitating disease with no cure. And, faced with this knowledge, we had to make new life plans together.

This was not my first exposure to Parkinson’s Disease. My Aunt had also been diagnosed with Young Onset PD in her 40’s and had been living with it for some time. But, it takes on new meaning for you when it is your spouse, your life partner, your soul mate, your best friend, your eternal companion. Let’s be honest. It SUCKS! It feels like a mountain has just been placed on your shoulders. Not just for the person diagnosed with PD, but for those who love that person as well.

For me, the next step was research. I feel better about tackling any problem if I feel well-informed. It might be difficult, but at least you can develop a plan of approach if you understand the details. For Steve, the next steps were harder. They were questions of “why me?” and struggles with feelings of loss – the loss of the life he thought he would have and the life he hoped we would have together, the things we would do, and so on. To be fair, I worried a little about those things as well. And, I worry about them sometimes now. What will the next decade bring? How much help will he need? Will we still be able to go do things we plan to do? I don’t know the answer to these questions. But, I DO know this. NEVER give up or give in without a fight. Okay…so there’s no cure for Parkinson’s Disease. As I said, it SUCKS! But, at least it’s not a terminal diagnosis. It’s not cancer, not HIV/AIDS, not a stroke or a fatal heart attack. He still has the use of his limbs, though not as coordinated as he once was. And, yes, life has changed. But, you adapt and change with it. That’s what we have done. You live with Parkinson’s.

In 2008, we welcomed into our lives a true angel and blessing, our first son. Born seven weeks early due to complications I was having, our little fighter (3 lbs, 15.25 inches long) spent five weeks in the NICU (or Special Care Nursery – as it is now called). Grueling, to be sure, but we all made it through. Two years later, in 2010, our second son was born. Thankfully, he was full term and a healthy 8 lbs 2 oz and 21 inches long. Our oldest is growing up fast and is so smart and sweet. Still an angel! Our younger son is super cute, super smart, full of energy, and fearless. (Honestly, sometimes a challenge!). Both are tremendous blessings in our lives.

So…what brings me to the Paintings for Parkinson’s idea?
Well, I like to be proactive as much as possible. There is no cure for Parkinson’s Disease. But, maybe there could be! We don’t know the cause of Parkinson’s Disease, and the only way to find better treatments and to find a cure is for medical research to be funded. Until Michael J. Fox came on the scene with his Young Onset PD diagnosis, and Muhammed Ali some time later - two very high profile public figures - not much attention was given to Parkinson’s Disease. PD has long been thought of as an “old person’s disease.” In reality, approximately 2% of those diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease are considered Young Onset (diagnosed before age 50). There are over 5 Million people living with PD worldwide, 1 Million in the U.S.; and there will be 60,000 new cases diagnosed this year in the United States. We felt that the Michael J. Fox Foundation was a good place to start supporting PD research and looking for a cure. 

In 2009, I signed up for TeamFox, a grass roots effort for regular people like you and me to make a difference. We put together a "Pancakes for Parkinson's" fundraising breakfast to raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation and it was a fairly successful event for a first year. 

Our original intent was to make this an annual event. But, the following year, our second son was born in the Spring and I was too tired and too busy with a newborn, a two-year-old, full-time job, etc. to put together another event that summer. So that year turned into “next year,” which then became “maybe next year,” and so on. You see where I’m going?

In 2014, I put together a monthly eBay event called Paintings for Parkinson’s (the first evolution of the idea). This monthly event gathered together several artists who wished to participate by listing an auction on eBay during the first week of the month with at least a portion of the sale price being donated to the Michael J Fox Foundation via eBay Giving Works.

Again, like our Pancakes for Parkinson's event, it was mildly successful. But, by 2015, monthly participation and interest from artists was waning, and it was taking too much of my time to manage the event with too little participation. So, I decided to end it.

But, Paintings for Parkinson’s lives on in a new evolution for 2016. Beginning this year, I will choose one painting (or maybe a few) during the month of April to auction off on eBay - with 100% of the purchase price being donated to the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research via eBay Giving Works (eBay automatically sends the donation to the foundation - and I can print out a donation receipt from eBay at the end of the year for my taxes).

I will list the painting(s) with P4PMJFF in the title to make it easily searchable. And, if I have artist friends who are still interested in participating once per year, then I welcome all of you on board! (Any percentage of auction donation is welcome. You don't have to do 100%!)

Why April? For the simple fact that April is Parkinson's Awareness Month...and also happens to be my husband's birthday month. Easy enough. :)

Look for my painting(s) to be listed on eBay starting on April 13th (my hubby's birthday) for a 7-day auction. Search P4PMJFF to find the listing(s) if you wish to bid.

To any artists who wish to participate, send me an email to jenniferloveartwork@yahoo.com and I will email you details. :)

We hike to Delicate Arch as often as we can. More movement = Good Medicine!

If you're not interested in bidding on a painting but would like to make a donation straight to the Michael J Fox Foundation, click the pic below. Thanks!


As always, thanks for stopping by my blog! :)

FRIDAY FEATURE - My Favorite Basics

Updated from a previous post...

I was once asked about the brand of paint I use and whether I prefer cold water or hot water to paint. Both were interesting questions and I didn't have an immediate answer for that customer - though I should have! 

Over the last couple of years, I have made an effort to become more aware of the supplies I use to create my artwork, and why I prefer some brands over others. This has been a good exercise for me as well as arming me with the sure knowledge of the answers to those questions should they arise again sometime in the future!

"A Patchwork Fall" - watercolor ©Jennifer Love

I once ran out of Ultramarine Blue paint in my palette and had to replace it with a tube from a brand I don't normally use. While the color match is pretty similar, the properties of the paint differ quite a bit in use. It helped me realize why I seek out my preferred brand of paint. :)

As to the cold vs. hot water, I generally use cold tap water. Over time it becomes room temperature, until I dump the basin out and start with fresh water. I haven't really experimented with hot to see if that makes a difference in dissolving the paint or how the paint goes onto the paper, but for my purposes, I don't think the temperature of the water makes as much difference as the dilution level I am trying to achieve with the paint.

"Peaceful Daisies" - watercolor  ©Jennifer Love

It's important to note that every artist has their own preferences, and there is no "right" or "wrong" answer to the choice of paint and supplies. We have all used various brands and quality of paint, and decided what we like the best. And maybe some don't have a preference. 

But, for those who are interested, here are my supplies and materials preferences. 

I love M. Graham watercolor paint. These are professional grade paints and are archival. These paints are little bit hard to find these days in a craft store or art supply store, but I tend to order mine online - usually through Blick Art Supplies (the company that recently purchased Utrecht). 

Image source: public domain.
Copyright belongs to respective photographer,
company, or graphic designer.

M. Graham makes their paint in small batches using pure gum arabic and natural blackberry honey. These paints don't dry up in the tube - even those I've had in my box for years! They also re-wet very easily on the palette and I usually don't experience the "grainy" consistency that comes with rewetting some colors in other brands I have tried. The colors are brilliant, they dry nicely, and are represented well both wet and dry.

"Flutter" - watercolor ©Jennifer Love

For watercolor paper, I prefer Arches 140 lb Cold Press, or sometimes 300 lb Cold Press. Again, these are professional-grade, archival papers. There is a smooth side and a rough side, but I prefer to use the rough side to add more texture to my painting. 

Here is the description of Arches' paper-making process on the Blick website.

"Arches watercolor papers are mouldmade in France, with 100% cotton fiber content. They are acid-free, pH-neutral, gelatin-sized, and air dried. Sheets have two natural deckle edges, two torn deckle edges, and are watermarked and embossed."

So, if you happen to see embossing or a watermark on one of your watercolor paintings that says "Arches," know that it is not a bad thing! You actually have a painting that is created on high-quality paper and happened to get the watermark to prove it!

"Kokopelli Weave" - watercolor  ©Jennifer Love

I do still use other brands of paper from time to time, and will use up whatever art supplies I have been given or purchased to try (waste not, want not!). But, when it comes to making a painting I want to enter into a competition or hope to sell in a gallery setting, it is almost always on Arches! 

When it comes to brushes, I have a variety - from inexpensive craft store brushes, to high-end sable. However, I have found that I am pretty rough on my brushes and they wear out - and the expensive ones don't seem to last much longer that the cheaper brushes. So, I have ultimately found that I like Blick (formerly Utrecht) store brand brushes. They are affordable, durable, and form a nice point for quite a long time before they wear out on me. I love my Round #20, #18, #10 and #8 brushes. Even though I have a huge variety of other sizes and shapes, I rarely venture beyond these four. They tend to serve my needs very well.  I don't use flat brushes all that much - occasionally for washes or wetting down my paper - so, I am less picky about the brand of flat brush. But, I really like the Blick store brand in general. Some watercolorists I know really like hake brushes for wetting paper down and for soft edges, but I haven't found much use for them yet in my work.

My brushes

My brushes

And, finally, the palette. Some artists like to make their own palette (to save money or to customize the wells). Others (like me) buy their palette. I am into whatever is most useful to me, easy, and convenient - so I have more time to paint! I like the Robert E. Wood palette. It comes with a lid, which is nice. I tuck the lid underneath the palette when I am using it, raising the palette up slightly like a pedestal. (Somehow, I just find it easier to paint like that!) There are several wells to organize your paint, and two large sections for mixing. Plus, you can use the lid for extra mixing space or paint color as needed. It is also reasonably priced at less than $15. I actually have two of these, but only one in use at any given time. :)

My palette is organized with similar colors grouped together. I try to have a warm and a cool of each primary color, and generally mix my secondaries, though not always. The colors I use most often are Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Yellow, Hansa Yellow, Cobalt Teal (special color), and Quinacridone Rose (special color). Also, rather than pure black, I prefer Sepia for my "black" when needed; and I rarely use pure white, though I have some if needed. There are other colors on my palette, of course, but those are the colors I use the most.

See the lid tucked nicely underneath?

Extra little wells in the lid if you need more mixing 
space or need to put other paint colors on.

So, there you have it! My favorite basics.  What are your favorites?

As always, thanks for stopping by my blog! :)