Back in 2012 I was at a friend’s house in Evergreen, CO for thanksgiving. They introduced me to a mutual friend of theirs who is also a visual artist. Best ‘coincidence’ ever! We chatted, showed pictures of our works to each other, and she patiently answered many questions of mine about what it’s like to be a professional artist. Near the end of the conversation she offered me a wonderful plan to keep this friendship going – she was going to mentor me via snail mail. The situation was, I would draw or paint something, then send her the photo and she would send it back critiqued with suggestions and tips all over it!! When they came back I studied them (still do) and am learning the “rules” of art that way.
We are still pen-pals today, and I continue to learn from her wisdom and experience. This post is a shout out to my pen-pal art mentor Elizabeth Thurow. Thank you so much for taking me under your wing and sharing what you know > it’s contagious and made me want to run back into my studio and keep trying again. And that’s what I want my art to do to everyone else.
Elizabeth Thurow, click her name above to see more!
Another post from Minnesota! I did this one last week sometime, but saved it for now.
I keep some of my still life things on the window sill in the studio, and sometimes they arrange themselves into something paint-worthy. This was one of those times. I loved the light coming through the tree and backlighting the vases. And all that GREEN! Plus, isn’t the title clever? ::smile:: Are you starting to recognize my vases?
140 W Mountain Ave, Fort Collins, CO
You’re in luck! Our flight is delayed and I have a surplus of posts ready for the trip. Here’s another one for today.
If you’re in the area, a variety of my pieces are hanging at Big Al’s on Mountain Ave. through November. Plus, their burgers are delicious!! Like this place needs more color.
I wanted another go at these, the freeness in the style was so enjoyable. Also, it felt like it needed a bit of magenta in it this time. In the sea of white that is these flowers, I found it tricky to choose how to highlight and shadow with such subtle value shifts. That’s why it’s never a bad thing to paint something more than once. From this angle the vase had an awesome patch of lime green shinning through! The top left little bulb is my favorite part. (For another cool flower artist, check out Lisa Daria)
Leaving for Minnesota today! But don’t worry, I have plenty of little nuggets to post while I’m gone. Stay tuned.
Ha! A true perk about having fake flowers around, though once I do have time to keep flowers around I should buy some to add more ‘life’ to my still lifes. I’m thinking sunflowers first! (before they disappear from the grocery store shelves too).
Anyways, I find myself at Goodwill at least once a week. This week I stumbled across this faux bouquet of white peony-looking flowers grounded to the bottom of a short, thick vase (my favorite kind!) to make it look like they’re sitting in water. Probably super silly, but I was inspired! I also decided to take a break from the usual style and go a little heavier in the ‘suggestive’ brush stroke direction. I especially love how the vase and stems turn out when I do this. Enjoy!
There’s this orange Volkswagen bug parked in our complex, and I’ve never seen it move. So each time the kids come over for a lesson they yell, “slug bug!” For our last lesson of the summer, we went out with a bang and painted the bug together. Second time painting a car…a little improvement, but lots more to learn : ).
Here are some shots from the lesson-
Also, before I forget, we’re headed to Minnesota soon for my best friend’s wedding! I’ve been painting a ton and preparing some extra posts for when I’m gone, fear not- you will still have things to check in on. ; ). And more updates from the transformer box to come too!
I painted this a while ago but it was another surprise. Happy birthday friend! His wife asked me to paint a picture of him from a photo taken during his triathlon. Except we changed the background to make it look more like the Boulder Flat Irons. Enjoy!
Had to try these guys again. The giant one is so fun to paint with all those -strings- in him. I wanted to simplify and do them on a solid color. Which do you prefer?
I don’t have any art lessons today so I don’t know what to do with myself! ::wink:: I have a fun side project for a friend I think I’ll work on. The owl inspired me, yay for trying something new eh? I’ll be at the box today from 6-8pm, getting close to finishing! I’ll post photo updates soon.
My husband reminded me that I hadn’t done a Challenge in a while. This weeks’ challenge on the Daily Paint Works website is the ‘Who are you’ challenge. Highly recommended if you want to practice something just for fun, and also see how other artists are painting the same things!
Also, thank you to all of you that came to visit these last two days while painting the transformer cabinet! So fun to see familiar faces.
For those of you not familiar with Fort Collins or Loveland and the bizarre project of painting on Transformer Cabinets, here’s some information I found to help explain the project >
Bit of interesting information I stumbled upon while Googling Amelia Caruso (local Fort Collins painter):
In 2006 the city of Ft Collins, Colorado came up with a plan to help mitigate graffiti, reduce maintenance costs and add art to the Fort Collins community. The plan was to select local artists to paint the transformer boxes with colorful murals that would make the boxes less desirable for graffiti and tagging.
The program is proving to be successful and cost effective. The sanding, priming and repainting required to completely remove evidence of graffiti on one transformer cabinet costs about $250 and 20-30 man hours, according to Kraig Bader, Utilities Light & Power Standards Engineering Manager. While all three steps may not be required every time a vandal strikes, it still runs about $200 just to sand and prime a cabinet. By reducing graffiti, the city estimates savings could reach $130,000 over the life of a singletransformer cabinet~fcgov.com
And here’s an action shot from today, I had a helper with me : ).
Thinking of a clever name was taking too long. Anyone have a better name for this?
Anyways, was at it again with my friend L. She wanted to paint mushrooms, (because the ‘stringy’ part in the center intrigued her) and I’ve never painted them before, so of course we had to do them! They turned out pretty great. Although we both agreed we wanted to try them on a solid colored fabric next time. We were initially drawn to the striped paper because of the red, but I think the pattern takes something away from the mushrooms. Hmm, something to paint tonight maybe!? We began with 3 colors for the mushrooms, a light, a mid and a dark, to kind of map out the mushrooms. I explained that to make an interesting composition you don’t want to have equal parts of each (dark, mid, light). It’s more interesting with a lot of one, a fair amount of the other, and a smidge of the third. Here we did mostly mid, then light, and a smidge of dark. And not each mushroom the same! Wish I would have snapped a picture of her. Oh well.
Just for fun; here’s a before and after of what I snuck over to work on today!
I’ll be back tomorrow, 9am-11am! Behind Perkins in Old Town.
I needed some knife practice for a painting I want to give some friends for a wedding, and here it is! The practice that is. The gift will be a still life and I hope to man it up a little with a knife. Right?! ::smile:: I’m also pleased with the cherries this time, I added a cherry to a painting I did the other day, and it wasn’t very convincing. Oh well, at least it was redeemed today.
And here’s more progress on the box. I had to stop (very) suddenly because the rain dumped down real quick, but I got a little more done.
All in all, a successful day. I’ll be at the box tomorrow (SE corner of Olive and College) about 4-6pm, come watch the fun happen!
Oh man guys these turned out great! We accomplished a lot from the last update. Here’s an action shot:
L did such a good job covering that huge canvas! And we worked through some pretty tricky things; the different shades of white, hard edges vs. soft edges, glass… and like a champ!
And drum roll please….. ……. ….. Here’s L’s finished painting:
My favorite part here is her flower’s shadow on the far right, and how the composition kind of sets up in a triangle. Cool!
This is only my second time painting this round pot and I love how it turned out here! If I could cut of the left third of the canvas, that is my favorite part. Maybe I’ll just have to keep it set up and paint just that part again.
Excited to get this girl back and begin another masterpiece!
(to purchase this painting, check out the “still life” section on the left hand column.)
I forgot to post the link to the city’s page where all the info about each artist painting a transformer cabinet is located! Click here. Just scroll down a little and you’ll see me and my concept and progress, what I can get at least between all these rain spurts. But since you’re here, check out what I did yesterday! The egg is unfinished because I had to pack up in a hurry to beat the rain. yikes!
Too cheesey? This was the warm up for the 12x12in below, but I think this one went smoother on my end. It was one of those in-a-trans till I finished paintings, so when I stepped back I was pleasantly pleased. First attempt at polka dots. Carol Marine says the trick with making polka dots believable is to make them the same value as the color they’re sitting on, that way they don’t look like they’re hovering above the fabric. I’ll continue to work on that.
Body Guards | Acrylic on Canvas Panel | 12x12in | $40
I tried swinging by the transformer cabinet to work on it this morning before another art lesson today but it was just too drizzly. Shucks. Here’s a little progress from yesterday though:
Behind Perkins on Olive and College
For lack of better title, here’s our warm up from painting together yesterday. I found it easier to have it read as a flower when painting it so large like this, vs. the smaller version on the larger painting from yesterday. I also decided to go with a different color scheme for the shadows (see previous post) than the blue and yellow here. I also lightened it up a lot in round 2. The leaves were my favorite part, especially the really dark spot under the flower.
It’s looking rainy, but I’m still shooting for 5 or 6ish to paint the box tonight, cross your fingers.
Round two of painting together time! Another great 2 hours. Here’s an action shot. L’s is quite a bit bigger than mine but I’m loving the orange! We’ll have to work that in so it shows through.
Today we did a warm up with the flowers to get the stiff-ness out before working on the ‘real thing’. I think that helped a lot. Then we got to fill in the glass and some shadows. I got to express my love for painting glass and actually walk someone through it <firstTime> it was good to know I can do that! It’s harder than you think trying to explain something that comes naturally for you to someone else. Try it sometime.
Anyways, here’s L’s: LOVE it! Her glass is awesome!
and here’s mine:
I lost my horizon line a little, fear not, it will be back. For previous progress click here.
In other news; I finished sketching on my transformer cabinet (see previous post) today and will officially start painting tomorrow evening from 6-8pm if you want to stop by. SE corner of Olive and College in Old Town (behind the Perkins), if it’s not raining of course.
I had my co-worker keeping an eye out on my transformer box (because the city is behind schedule with priming it for me) and told him to let me know when he sees it turn bright pink. That’s the base color I picked out for my diner-themed box behind Perkins. Then yesterday I came home to an email that said, “let there be pink!” and a photo of my box from his apartment window, how perfect!
So here it is folks! I made my way over there to start sketching on it today. Right now the experiment is- what will last through the rain better (as it is raining every afternoon here) colored pencil, or regular lead pencil? Any guesses?
This side will be this:
Choose your Weapon | Acrylic on Canvas Panel | 12x16in |$50
I finally asked someone what a dirty martini was when we were at a bar a while back, and found out I LOVE them! It’s the savory cocktails, gotta love em’. The kiddos I do art with thought it was the funniest thing that I bought a jar of olives just to paint, but I loved the colors. Might try these again.
Camping was fun and wet. We got pretty good at packing the important things up really fast because it rained on us 3 times, but the whole time just felt damp. It was the first time my husband and I have gotten to use all our new camping stuff since getting married though- woohoo! Here’s a picture of my husbands tiny tent that we both shared last night, it was cozy.
As promised, here’s my painting after round one. I up-cycled a painting my husband did a while ago when we tried painting together… ; ) … so ignore the hot air balloon in the center.
We’re headed up the canyon to go camping tonight! I painted an extra painting yesterday to post tomorrow when we get back, just in case I’m pooped. Stay tuned.
Two posts today, but this was too cool not to share! So I started doing “lessons” (she’s 12 and has some mad skills already) with a friend of mine, and the plan we decided on is pretty cool. She brought over a large canvas and we set up a busy still life and in 2 hours here’s how far we got:
Each week, or however often we get to paint together, I’ll post the progress here. I’m painting one also but I’ll post mine tomorrow, keep the suspense. Doesn’t this sound so fun!? Here’s our still life, except we ate the oranges after painting them. : )
Husband is gone all night tonight ::cracksfingers:: time to get some painting done!
I was recently in Minnesota for my grandma’s funeral, sad, and my sister and I each got one of these glass ducks from her collection. It was pretty cool seeing all the stuff she had collected, as grandma’s do. Anyways, so the duck represents grandma, and my sister….family duck. Glass is so fun to paint, all the different shades and I love how dark the glass gets near the edges. I could work on the reflection more next time, but it was fun to try!
Back in Colorado, and glad for a day to paint before going back to “work.” I’m figuring out a good balance of painting teddi-things and getting some commissions started. All fun, just different brain modes.
I started this one before I left, but the semi-top view was hard to get the proportions right, the initial sketch took a while and left no time to paint it. So, it was my warm up this morning to finish it. My favorite parts; the hot orange tea pot’s reflections and the distortions in the little blue glass jar. Improvements for next time; the proportions on the clear glass jar in the middle. Hmm.
Check me out, I did manage to crank one out before leaving this morning. I actually finished this one last night in an eager attempt to just paint something! My soul was aching for it. I love that. I woke up early and started another one today, but alas, didn’t finish. So this will be my last painting I post till I return from Minnesota.
My husband found this awesome little hexagon-bottomed jar on our last Goodwill excursion. This painting came out pretty easy, the one I was working on this morning was a CHALLENGE! I’m doing more of a top view on some bottles and man the proportions are tricky to draw. There’s much I have to learn. We were chatting about that on the way to the airport in fact; when and where I can take some classes. Yipee!!
The last of the four milk jug paintings. It’s such a blast to paint, I actually found another fantastic milk jug at Goodwill yesterday. I felt bad getting another one but my husband convinced me, and I’m really glad now! We inspected it when we got home and there are tons of impurities in the glass and it’s a bit taller and bluer- so pumped!
This painting strayed a little from the bold and loose brush strokes I’ve been trying to do, whoops. My husband liked it so I kept it. Every painting has it’s lesson, and I think I learned some good green vs. red combos here, and an attempt at folded fabric. This blue fabric is really stiff, probably won’t paint it again as a drapery, lesson learned.
The family is gone, so I might try to get the studio set up and work on something small because I leave for Minnesota tomorrow morning and won’t be back till Tuesday! It’s like with my Spanish, the longer I go without speaking it, the less I remember! I hope that doesn’t happen with painting, that’s why I’m anxious to get in there today.
No painting today. Since we have family in town my art room converts to the guest bedroom, so I tried to stock up on a few paintings before they came and I’ll be stretching them out over the next few days.
A few days a week I do little art lessons with some kids from church. I like to snap a photo after days we paint because the room just looks like we had so much fun! This is where the tupperwares full of house paint come in handy, although we do mix some colors to get a little understanding for them. We painted a still life with an orange and a green apple on purple paper, all the secondary colors! One of the little ones hates painting shadows, can you believe it!? So we did our paintings together and I showed them my favorite artist’s website and explained how shadows are so awesome. No one’s going to leave my studio with an un-appreciation of shadows. ::wink::
Happy 4th of July!
The big day was yesterday! Congratulations to my friends for being married 20 years! I can now post the big (literally) commission I’ve been working on the last 2 weeks to have it ready for the surprise:
Barns Yield Blessing | Acrylic on Stretched Canvas | 48x60in | SOLD
They live on a cute little hobby farm here in town and wanted the view of that. Plus the kids, the goat, the tomato plants and the dogs. Phew! But it all came together in the end. The verse reads: “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15
Onto the next commissions!
This one was one of those where I got half way through and really doubted how it was going to turn out. But I’m really pleased with it! My favorite part > the section of orange behind the green glass. I love how it distorted. (grammar?) This milk jug is getting lots of air time, maybe I’ll set them all up in a series at my up coming show at Big Al’s in Old Town.
Update on the transformer cabinet; I went to go sketch images on Monday, but when I showed up the box wasn’t primed yet! Whoops. The city said they will let me know when it is ready to go, they’re a little behind apparently. Sorry if you swung by to check it out already- no action yet!
Hopefully this title doesn’t offend anyone. : ) I was having my quiet time and eating an apple, wondering what I should paint as a warm up today before I continue on a larger piece I’m working on. As I set my apple down, it hit me! So here it is, my breakfast. I went over the apple-innards a few times, they probably still could use some adjusting. I really squinted to pick up the drastic value changes, but didn’t really have a game plan for the rest of them. Another practice in plate ellipses too. But I like the red and green among all the greys and browns. Makes them pop!
I went to start sketching on the Transformer Cabinet yesterday, only to find that it hasn’t been primed yet….not sure if they’re going to tell me when it’s ready yet either, guess I’ll just keep checking on it. After visiting it, there are a few more ‘sides’ that I didn’t originally account for, so I’ll just have to make those up as I go. The Northern-most side is really close to a giant shed too, we’ll see how tricky it is to paint that. But I’m getting excited to start actually! An artist acquaintance I’ve made, Ren Burke, responded to my email about what kind of paint to buy. Maybe I’ll pick some up today.