Saturday, March 30, 2013

Getting Loose in Carmel, Indiana

Leslie Saeta may be The Queen of Loose Painting with a palette knife. After falling in love with palette knife painting myself, I began looking for others whose work I could learn from, and she was top on this list. The only problem for me was that she lives in California, and that was a little too far for me to travel ($$$), so my hopes were put on hold.

Then one day, while uploading some of my paintings to her site (, I learned that she was offering a workshop in Indianapolis! And would you believe, all of the stars aligned--my teacher husband had spring break, my mom would watch our boys, I had sold many paintings in the month of February to cover all costs, and managed to fill a spot in the class! I wrote it on the calendar and began preparing while I counted the days!

Now I don't know about you, but my right and left brains are constantly doing battle. Knowing this about myself, I decided there were things I had to do to prepare for this workshop. I decided that if I'm going to learn from someone, I needed to leave my own ways behind. I started using oils again, but this time on panel boards. Not just any panel boards, but tiny boards. I later learned at the class, of the three knife sizes we were to bring, I had been practicing with the smallest, but Leslie used the largest one.

This was THE BEST thing I learned because if one wants to get loose--my number one goal--then using a knife 1/3 the size of the board was definitely the way to do it! I loved it. Seriously loved it. It felt like me. It was what I have loved about painting huge (mostly elephants) on huge canvases; it made me looser. I have loved the way those huge paintings felt to paint because it felt free to me. I couldn't be happier with this discovery.

Another thing I noticed at the workshop was that my colors tended to be a bit brighter. Perhaps I'm not experienced enough to know that toning my art to make things more "life like" is the way to go... I'm just not into it. I love bright colors. I see things brighter and like the way it looks. You don't see me painting too many gray elephants on brown grass! Instead you're more likely to find a blue elephant with a bright background. Perhaps you'd rather have the life-like art in your home (but I hope not, because you're probably not going to buy a piece of my art)!

The verdict of self-discovery has been huge for me. I've honed in on what makes me feel happy. I've come closer to my true self as an artist. I can only hope it reflects in what I do and that you enjoy what you see. Thanks for reading and for sharing in on an experience that I will never forget. I have included a few photos of the journey to Carmel, Indiana--which truly is a beautiful art district full of amazing galleries and things to do.

Leslie giving us our first demonstration--painting a round apple with a knife bigger than my thumb! Yikes!

Here we are set up in the amazing studio space with two walls of windows called Renaissance Fine Art & Design.

Here are our apples (mine is on the bottom, third from the left).

Next we painted roosters--some of the people in this class had never painted with a knife! Aren't they awesome??

Here is my completed rooster, which of course I will keep FOREVER.

Here is a close-up of Leslie and her completed painting. Boats are her specialty and she does them well.

Here we are working hard! You can see my easel on the far left--still working to complete this one.

These awesome statues adorn nearly every block in Carmel--they look unbelievably life-like!

My amazing husband could relate to this man, being so relaxed and all! He spent two whole days working on his own art--writing and playing music! Check him out at (plug!)

One of the beautiful galleries we visited in Carmel--I could live there!

Saturday, March 23, 2013


My five year old brought me a numbered notecard and a pencil today. I was so relieved and quickly jotted down some of the "fifty-million thoughts in my head". (I was told this was an exaggeration.)

I truly wonder if other artists have felt as over-whelmed with all of the choices that are out there as I have this week... There are so many things I want to try! I can't decide if You Tube is bad for my health or not! With each new "interest" comes new studies, new supplies, and new chunks of dedicated time. Then the mommy-guilt kicks in...

On Monday my husband and I are driving to Indianapolis to hone our art skills. He will be holed up, with no responsibilities, writing and playing music while I attend a two-day art workshop. We will both have about eight hours of uninterrupted arts time and get those creative tanks filled. The boys will be on a vacation of their own as my parents step in to indulge their every whim!

Looking forward to some professional, focused art. My mind looks like scribbles--fun, creative, colorful scribbles, but scribbles none-the-less.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New Discovery!

Nothing is as exciting as trying and loving something new. This was my absolute first time using this technique, and I am excited to experiment more and see what I can come up with.

8x10 Oil on Museum Quality Panel 

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Little of This and A Little of That

I've been kind of all over the place lately. When I can find time to paint, I'm so torn between painting something huge or painting something tiny! For the past few days I have been doing a lot of photo work and also painted another elephant, which was a 6x6 oil on panel. I love the tiny elephant (such an oxymoron!) and especially the bright color combination. Today I finally started the crocus piece and have decided to work with oils on a larger 11x14 panel. Hopefully I can focus in a little, but I'm definitely enjoying painting--whatever the form!

6x6 Oil on Museum Quality Panel

Monday, March 11, 2013

Turquoise & Coral

I'm thrilled with the outcome of this bright and happy elephant painting. It was so nice to get loose again and paint on the buoyant canvas. I don't know how I would ever only paint with just oils or just acrylics, unless I am able to accomplish all that I love about both on one piece. Only one way to find out, and that is to just do it!

I definitely have to keep moving back and forth for now--quite a contrast between this 30x40 and my last few pieces, which were 5x7. My goal is to get loose with the oils on small panels, and would you believe, I've signed up for a painting class! It is a two-day workshop with one of my favorite artists named Leslie Saeta.

After I accidentally discovered palette knife painting one day and was trying it out for a while, I began looking for answers online. Her work is something that I stumbled across and began following (and also the reason I tried to paint the boat you see on my website). She paints oils on small panels--check out her site

30x40 Acrylic on Box Canvas

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Elephant Withdrawl

The elephants just call to me. It's been a while since I've painted one, and so started a few days ago using a 30x40 canvas and acrylic paint. It was strange to use my larger knives again after using the small knives on panels for the past few pieces. Even stranger was using acrylic after enjoying my oils so much. The only way I can describe the acrylics in comparison to oils is to say that they seem sticky. However, I have such a nice time accomplishing the look I'm after, which I have to work on describing, and of course there is the added benefit of extremely quick dry time--that is hard to beat!

I painted my canvas black and layed in the shadows using my darkest tone for the elephant. (I am so excited about the colors for this one!) Check back to see my progress!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


This yellow is so bright and cheery and of course makes me long for spring. I am inspired to paint some more bulbs and actually went to the local florist to get some lovely crocus and tulip photos to paint. Hopefully that will get me through a few more weeks of winter!

5x7 Oil on Museum Quality Panel

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Snowy Day

It was a great day for playing out in the snow, and of course, a great day for painting. There was definitely something cozy about being tucked into my warm house working on art. I found myself wishing for a warm fire, and come to think of it, a glass of wine would have been nice too, had it not been the middle of the afternoon... Soon!

As I put my things away, happy with the progress I made today on the daffodil painting, I realized how much I have needed art over the years. Leaving my profession to be a stay-at-home mom has been great in a million ways for our family, yet at the same time can be been tough on me. Painting is an amazing outlet!

I hope to finish and post the daffodil painting tomorrow. Thought I'd share this photo of my backyard today--it's even more beautiful (and cold) than it looks!

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Little Note

There was only a little time to work on my little painting as my little one decided he was too big for a nap today. Needless to say, I felt a little frustrated... However, I was able to get some great colors mixed while he observed (as carefully as a two-year-old can) from my lap. He had a nice little color-mixing lesson and he insisted upon having a turn at pushing into the paint with the knife. It is fun and does feel good, so I shared--like a good little mama.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

They Love Me

My husband and two sons gave me a beautiful spring bulb arrangement for my birthday this year. The yellow sure brightened up our home as we are in the depths of winter and snow around here. I drew one of the flowers in the bunch and hope to start painting it soon. Check back to see my progress! Have a happy Sunday!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Lily of the Valley

I have always loved Lily of the Valley. They look like such delicate little flowers and make me happy to look at. I thought they would be fun to paint on a small sized panel and I love the way it turned out.

5x7 Oil on Museum Quality Panel

Friday, March 1, 2013

Starting Fresh

I'll be honest, blogging about my art is scary. It must be the idea of putting it all out there for others to see. Being self-taught, finding my way 100% on my own has always made me feel like I'm not quite an artist YET. However, I am enjoying every moment of discovery, even the mistakes I make have been complete learning experiences. Not to mention the happy accidents and wow moments when I step back and think, this looks like art! I love painting, the feel of it, the idea of it, the look of it, it consumes me and is definitely a part of me that I love to share. Hope you like what you see!