A Patchwork Fall

A Patchwork Fall
"A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art." ~Paul Cezanne~

January 30, 2012

ACEO Theme Week Feb 2012

February's ACEO contest is coming up on ebay (ACEO TW). The theme week always starts on the first day of the month. Like Nibblefest, there is a monthly theme.

ACEO is an acronym that stands for Art Cards Editions and Originals.

What qualifies an ACEO is the size, which is 2.5 x 3.5 inches (6.4 x 8.9 cms) just like sports cards.

The theme for February is "Winter Wonderland."

Since I am preparing to do a commissioned painting of Delicate Arch...and since Delicate is wondrous and beautiful, I decided to do a little ACEO of Delicate, but make it winter time. This took a little imagination on my part, since my photos were taken in July, but I thought the results turned out okay. :)

My auction will start on Feb 1st at 6:30pm Pacific time. :)

January 21, 2012

Nibblefest Time! Jan 2012 - Theme: "Letters, Symbols, and Numbers"

After the wonderful watercolor workshop I took last weekend, I have been feeling my creative juices flowing again. So, I decided to get back in the Nibblefest game this month and created three new paintings based on the January theme: Letters, Symbols, and Numbers.

For those who are unfamiliar...Nibblefest is a monthly art contest on ebay. Each month there is a theme assigned. Artists who participate may list up to three auctions for artwork created around the theme. Two of the three must be original, one may be a reproduction. All auctions must be listed on or after the 20th of the month and must end on the 27th. All auctions must start at $0.99. The winners of the contest are determined by the auctions with the most unique bidders.

I enjoy this contest and it's a fun way to stretch your artist's brain. I love looking at all the auctiosns to see other artists' interpretations of the theme.

You can view all the Nibblefest auctions by searching "NFAC" on ebay. :)
Here are my paintings for this month:  "Peace" "Love" and "Happiness"
(If you click on the painting, it will take you to corresponding ebay auction)

January 16, 2012

Don't be afraid to Crop!!

Follow up to my workshop post...

Since my painting time is often limited by work or family demands, I am a big believer in not feeling like I have wasted any painting, even those I don't especially like or love.

Typically, there are one or two areas of a painting that I really like, or sometimes love, even if I don't especially care for the painting as a whole. As a result, I have learned to focus in on those areas and create smaller paintings from them.

My advice to any artist....NEVER be afraid to crop!!!

The two paintings I did on day one of my watercolor workshop were definitely out of my comfort zone, but were good exercises. I didn't particularly care for either finished work as a whole, but had some favorite areas in both. So now, instead of two "so so" paintings, I have three smaller paintings that I quite like. :)

Cropping makes a world of difference!

Watercolor Workshop

I had the opportunity this weekend to take a mini-workshop that was organized through the Utah Watercolor Society. The workshop was guided by Kristi Grussendorf, a UWS and ISA artist that I admire. She has this great ability to work with light and shadow and beautiful underpainting. So, besides just being able to focus two days on art without distraction (which was wonderful!!), I was hoping to glean a little knowledge about how Kristi achieves her wonderful paintings.

The theme of the workshop was "Composition and Focal Point." We had some wonderful exercises the first day in creating floral still life paintings that were supposed to be loose, and created without a reference photo. Both things a challenge for me, as I tend to paint pretty "tight" (though I am getting better about loosening up as the years go on). And, since I paint from photo references about 90% of the time, creating work without a photo, plein air, or still life reference to look at was a real challenge for my artist's brain! She also suggested some ways to add visual interest to a painting including splatter (which I use in almost every painting) and calligraphy (which I hadn't thought of), and a few other things.

Here are my two paintings from day one of the workshop...the first one, much tighter than intended. The second , very loose and impressionistic...very unusual for me. I was not entirely happy with either finished painting, but the exercise was very good.

Day two...
Kristi guided us through identifying focal points in paintings and demonstrated her more "typical" style of painting, which I was very interested to observe. This day was also about creating a painting from a photo reference.
As much as I try, and I tend to use layers and washes of paint on my paintings, I have never quite grasped the technique of an underpainting that you allow to "shine" through on the light areas of your composition. It has been a frustration of mine in the past few years, and I was so happy to see the practice in person. Additionally, she added some advice on how to plan your painting's focal point and some techniques you can employ to draw the viewer in to the focal point.

On this day, once I finallhy decided which photo I wanted to use (one that I took on my trip to Italy), I commenced with the sketch and the first wash of light paint (the "underpainting"). Then, went to lunch while the first wash was drying and enjoyed the company of several lovely ladies who were taking the workshop with me, as well as Kristi. Cafe Rio....YUM. :)

In the afternoon I added more washes and a few details, trying to lead the viewer into my focal point, and ended up with a painting I really liked.

Then...the "critique" ...where we all displayed the things we had worked on and got feedback from Kristi and the otehr members of the workshop. My painting drew a lot of commentary. There were several suggestions made on how to touch up the painting to improve it...and, ironically, I also got personal feedback telling me not to change a thing. :)  Guess if you painting draws enough attention to get that much feedback, at least people are looking at it!

Anyway, in the end, I incorporated some of the suggestions as I touched up the painting at home tonight. A few small changes, but I liked the final result. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take a "before" picture of the painting, so I only have the final. This painting is relatively small...about 8x10. But, I liked it so well, I think I will paint it again in a larger format. :)

January 3, 2012

Paintings for Parkinson's 2011 & 2012

Just a note to thank everyone who has purchased anything from me in 2011. As you may already know, I decided to donate a portion of my 2011 art sales to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. I chose to tally the work up at the end of the year so I could make one big donation...and, luckily, the company I work for has a matching grants program for charitable donations.

Thanks to all of my clients (new and ongoing) in 2011, I was able to write a check of $165 to the MJFF as a donation...which will be doubled by my company's matching grant program! :) Additionally, there was a private donor match working with MJFF for every contribution...so that should have tripled our donation. :) Every dollar helps. I am so grateful for everyone's contribution and will be continuing my "Paintings for Parkinson's" in 2012 as well!

Hanging About

After leaving Local Colors Gallery last August, I have done a few small paintings, but find my time is eaten up with household and family demands. One benefit of being at the gallery is that I could use the time I was working my gallery shifts as "studio time." Not so at home. Little ones need much attention. :) I also recently received a promotion at work a few months ago. I haven't had much time for painting since then. So, the last few months have been challenging on the art front...and finding a way to make time for myself (where I might possibly get the creative juices flowing). I think that is the plight of many mothers. :)

I decided for 2012 that I need to make sure I carve out time for this in my life again. So, starting with this past New Year's weekend, instead of doing those extra loads of laundry, dishes, or cleaning the house...I made time to finish the large ongoing Bryce Canyon painting for my friend that has been delayed and delayed by one thing or another. It measures about 30" x 22". Landscapes are not typically my "thing" but I do like the rich colors achieved from several layers of washes on this painting. However, there comes a time when you are just overworking the painting, so I decided this final layer of shadow washes would conclude the piece. I have already emailed a digital photo to my friend who is very happy with it. So, despite my feeling unsure about whether I like my landscapes or not, my client is happy...and that's what matters.

I also created a smaller painting, about 8" x 10", for another friend. This is a little tree frog painting called "Hanging About." Hopefully, this client will also be happy.

And, I signed up for a watercolor "mini workshop" for two days in mid-January. Looking forward to that! :)

Happy New Year everyone! Here's to achieving our goals!