Friday, January 31, 2014

January Painting Challenge

I have spent the entire month of January participating in a painting challenge. The challenge was organized by Leslie Saeta, an artist I took my first (and only, up to this point) painting workshop with last March. The rules were to try and paint a painting per day for 30 days. Not sure how successful my numbers were, but I do feel I gave myself plenty of challenges this month.

I started out posting two paintings that had been commissioned as Christmas presents and hadn't made it to my blog yet. Then I painted about 13 small oil paintings my usual way, with a palette knife, including a five-set commission. It had been such a busy December and then, a kind of pressure to produce in January and I started to lose inspiration. I think I kind of shut down. 

This was when I called my artist grandma. I wasn't looking to produce, just to let loose! We did a few paintings using watercolors on Yupo paper--one I shared on my blog. The next day I went out and purchased some watercolors and did my next five tiny paintings with those. I was feeling inspired again, but with a totally different medium and tools. I definitely pushed myself as an artist. 

I know my paintings probably don't look cohesive or like they came from the same artist, but maybe they didn't! I'd like to think I've grown, or at least stretched a bit.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Orchid in Watercolor

Here is another orchid painting done from a photo I took at The US Botanic Garden in DC. I always liked this orchid, but was not sure how it would look with oils and knife due to all of the spots and stripes. I'm happy with the way the flower turned out.

4x6 watercolor on paper


My sister lives in San Francisco and has some of the best photos from California. Perhaps since I used her photo, I should be a good sister and send her the painting? Hmmm...

It has been great fun exploring another medium, and I am proud to say that this is my last painting posted for the 30 in 30 challenge. I don't have 30 posts, but I think I did about 20 paintings this month. That's incredible!

4x6 Pen & Watercolor

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Art Deco Project

These paintings were commissioned for use in an establishment being opened in the area. I  was asked to come up with five small Art Deco/Great Gatsby pieces that were sexy and fun and kind of given free reign. The client wanted black and white so as to reproduce the image in a variety of ways. I knew I was on the right track when my husband commented on how sexy they were! 

6x6 Oil Palette Knife Paintings 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Black Swallowtail

I took this photograph years ago and have always wanted to paint it. With watercolors I can just grab my little papers, pen, and travel paints and do it. The process for what I'm doing is just so much more convenient, especially with two boys underfoot. I mix as I go instead of mixing out the whole palette as I do with my oils. Hmmm. Maybe I will give this a try with oils--risky!

4x6 watercolor on paper

Monday, January 27, 2014

Watercolor Whisper

I'm having so much fun painting watercolors. I first tried painting with them in... 2004?? You wouldn't believe the photos I used as reference for these first ever painting attempts. One was a mountain I had hiked with my dad in California, including rocks and a creek in the foreground. Another was a sunset behind a lake with a large tree silhouette. Both on 11x14 paper--poor me! 

5x7 watercolor on paper

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Watercolor Excursion

Now I'm not sure if I've ever told you this, but the very first paints I purchased were watercolors. I tried them for a few weeks, and decided I wanted brighter, thicker, shinier... You get the idea. Was at an art shop with my three year old, and decided to purchase a Windsor and Newton travel box, a water brush, and a waterproof pen. Then I came home and cut up some large pieces of paper into smaller, less intimidating sizes and had a little fun with all of my new "mini" stuff. Not too bad for a first attempt!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Rufous Hummingbird

I just love the colors on this tiny little hummingbird. Though they are very small, they are apparently pretty ruthless while pursuing nectar. Funny, I never think of hummingbirds as aggressive!

6x6 Oil Palette Knife Painting

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Old Leather Chair

My youngest brother is a creative thinker and has a great sense of humor. He found this old leather chair and wanted to take some photos outside. We posed in the middle of the yard in it, and also in front of a huge log pile. The colors were awesome, and of course the randomness of the chair outside... Very artistic and good for a laugh to boot.

8x8 Oil Palette Knife Painting

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tody Bird (2)

I have painted this adorable bird before, and see more of them in my future. The original was used as an image on one of my notecards. A client loved the card so much, she commissioned her own painting. 

The second time around I worked on painting it a little looser as I did on my chickadee painting. I am very happy with the way it turned out. Hope she likes it! 

6x6 Oil Palette Knife Painting

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hibiscus Hiatus

My mom and I went to Washington DC in August. One place we visited was the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. We spent some time sitting around the fountain in the center of the garden, which was where I captured a photo of this great flower. My favorite part though was discovering the little Pavilion Cafe, a convenient lunch location that just happened to serve icy cold sangria to hot, thirsty tourists.

6x6 Oil Palette Knife Painting

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Silver Dollars

Silver dollars so remind me of my Grandma Cronin and my childhood. I remember watching her and learning how to peel the papers from each side by rubbing it between my finger and thumb. They were nothing special, dried out and almost dirty looking, until those sides were removed. Then, a few seeds would fall out, and there in the middle was an irredescent, translucent, milky white paper--as if by magic.

6x6 Oil Palette Knife Painting

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Farm on Ruger

My husband and boys often have to deal with me stopping the car or whatever we're doing to take photographs. This photo was taken on one of those super cloudy, cold and windy days in late autumn. I had to stand outside for quite a while waiting for the sun to peek out for a moment to highlight all of the greens and give me some shadows. It was worth the wait.

The painting was done on canvas instead of smooth panelbord as I traditionally use. 

10x10 Oil Palette Knife Painting

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Vintage Ring

Many of you know that I have been looking for vintage photographs. Have been doing lots of searching and happened upon some beautiful vintage rings. I love them. Not sure how many I will paint as this little painting took a loooong time to do. Lots of little detail, which I have a love hate relationship with.

6x6 Oil Palette Knife Painting

Monday, January 6, 2014

Quality Time

Here is the fifth and final Christmas commission called "Quality Time". I had multiple images to choose from, and so was able to get some interesting light on the boat and also some beautiful clouds. Having options makes commissions even better!

Such an amazing way for two boys to enjoy spending time with their dad. 

12x16 Oil Palette Knife Painting

Friday, January 3, 2014


My boys and I were playing out in the snow the other day, and I looked up and noticed this beautiful shadow on the front of our house. The morning sun was shining golden, with all of these amazing purple shadows of the tree and their footprints all over the yard... It took my breath away.

8x8 Oil Palette Knife Painting

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


This month I am participating in a 30 days of painting challenge through a wonderful artist that I took a workshop with last March called Leslie Saeta. There are hundreds of artists participating; it will be awesome to see all of the entries each day!

This painting was commissioned as a Christmas gift. The recipient took the photo while on vacation in China, and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to paint it. I am so drawn to structures like this, although it was definitely a challenge!

I painted most of this painting from a blurred image so I wouldn't become too overwhelmed in the details. Later I went back and added in the individual posts and rails; this was so helpful. I will have to say that it is paintings like this that help grow one's confidence and push us as artists.

8x10 Oil Palette Knife Painting