Taking Art by the Business End:

I’ve been doing some heavy duty thinking. Thinking about a lot of things- what’s next for my art, both on the creative side and on the business side; what my goals are; and how best to connect with you (yes YOU), and just generally speaking how to be better at everything. That’s part of why I haven’t written in a while. I’ve been hiding out in my own head. But I’ve decided maybe that needs to change. Maybe I’m in my own head a little TOO much.

So, just to keep y’all in the loop, here’s what I’ve been doing. First off- this blog is going to be moving. Hopefully I can just slide everything over to a different platform with little to no disruption. However, it’s possible that that won’t work. I’ll give you a few more warnings before I make the switch.

Here’s why I’m making the switch. Currently, this blog is hosted through wordpress.com. However, apparently, I should have hosted it through wordpress.org. Stay with me here if you’re interested at all in building a website/blog and in building an audience. If this is not your thing and you don’t have any questions about computer stuff (which, frankly gives me a terrible headache), then here’s a pretty picture to look at.

Oil painting of my little wild child. Still working on a title.

If you are interested in the businessy, computer side of things, (or even more, NOT interested, but know you should be) read on and I’ll try to break things down for you.

I didn’t realize when I started this blog that there was a difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org, but apparently there is.The way it was explained to me, wordpress.com is like renting a space, and wordpress.org is more like owning a space. So, just like renting an apartment, with wordpress.com the technical things aren’t really your problem. That’s the advantage. However, also like renting an apartment, there are certain limitations to what you can do (don’t knock down that wall!). So, even though the technical side of things can almost make me feel queasy at times, I’ve decided I’m ready to push through the limitations. I have big goals, big hopes, big dreams, and big plans and time’s a wastin’.

As I figure this stuff out, I’m going to keep posting about it. Maybe I can help some of you figure out your “next right step.” By the way, that term is from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Have you read it? Just thinking in terms of, “What’s the next right thing?” really helps me when I feel overwhelmed.

I’ll talk to you soon. In the meantime, keep painting.

Hands hands hands

I love to paint hands. Love them. All the joints and angles and fat parts and skinny parts and knobby parts… are your palms sweating just thinking about it?  I, too, used to cringe when I got to hands- all the joints and angles make them a bit of a challenge. Make the fat parts too fat and you get sausage fingers. Too skinny and you get E.T. But get those angles right and… ah, satisfaction. Now, they’re my favorites. So, for practice(and for fun):

Click on the images above for more details on my process.

Oh, and here’s my palette. Because that’s fun too!

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Look at all the pretty colors… and not one of them labeled as a flesh tone. Reality lies between the lines.

If I was painting someone with a darker skin tone, I would likely use many of these same colors. However, I’d spend more time up top, at the darker end of my color strings. And, of course, the opposite holds true for fair-skinned folk, whose skin tones lie in the lower third of my palette.

So, go out and paint something that scares you. Maybe next I’ll tackle feet… or profiles. Eeek…

Summer time and the livin’ is easy

Ah, it’s summer. Time to relax, unwind, enjoy complete freedom and fun, right? Right?? That’s what everyone else is doing, according to the always accurate, always honest world of social media. And clearly that’s how it SHOULD feel according to every magazine and television commercial out there. So why do I feel like I can’t catch my breath? Probably because I’m human. Or more accurately, because I’m human and I have two small people in my house.

ALL.

THE.

TIME!

Why won’t they leave me alone???

I’m just kidding. I really am. Sorta. I am so acutely aware of how quickly these moments pass and I truly want to enjoy them. But to be honest I enjoy them a bit more when I have a few minutes to gather my thoughts and I enjoy them a lot more if I have a chunk of time to paint.

I’m working on that, though.

That balance. That flow.

Because isn’t that life? Things just aren’t going to line up smoothly all the time. Right now it’s for the wonderful reason that my children are tiny and school is out. At some point it may be for a harder reason. Who knows?

But I do know I have to paint. I have to find that time for my work. If I don’t, I stagnate. Then I’m no good to anyone.

So I’m working on it. And hopefully I’ll have something to share with you soon. But for right now I’m movin’ a little slow.

Every Picture Tells a Story

This is Baby Monkey. My little girl’s best buddy. Her constant companion for the better part of her life. So loved is Baby Monkey that I worried about her safety, constantly checking to see that she hadn’t been left behind at stores, hotels, airports. The perfect size to clutch in a chubby little 3-year-old fist, she went everywhere with us.

But my little girl isn’t 3 anymore. She’s 6. Tall, headstrong, funny, bold. Baby Monkey stays home most of the time nowadays, no longer making trips to the grocery store and school. Recently, though, after a long day out my daughter said, “I want to go home. I want to go home and see Baby Monkey.”

Still special. Still loved.

In Full Bloom

I just finished this commission and I love it. It’s unlike anything else I’ve ever done. However, it began the way many of my paintings began.

It began with love.

A couple. A wedding in an exotic locale surrounded by the people that love them best. And flowers. Beautiful flowers.

Five years later, that wedding is a marriage- no longer just a celebratory statement of love, but a daily, quiet, steady, continual recommitment to a relationship with kids, a mortgage, and all the trappings. And through that weekday love, the memory of that wedding, and those flowers, glows bright.

Five years. The flower anniversary. As a gift to each other they chose this: a daily reminder to hang in the heart of their home of that beautiful day, that embrace of family and friends, and those flowers.

Hello, darlin… nice to see ya

It’s been a long tiiiime…

Hello there stranger! How the heck are ya? Do you even remember me? I’m sure that’s questionable. Remember in my last post I promised you that I would tell you soon what was keeping me so busy. Apparently I lied. I apologize.

See here’s the deal. I had a baby! I say that like it just happened. Oh no. It wasn’t recent. It was so long ago now I’m embarrassed to say. Embarrassed because while a new baby might be a reason to neglect a blog, a 20-month-old, despite the fact that he’s into everything, seems like less of an excuse. The thing is that while I expected that to mean extra work, no one told me that the craziness increases exponentially with each child so that 2 children is somehow through some mathematical mystery 4 times the work. I would imagine that people with 6 children never ever stop moving and never take in any sustenance but the last drops in the bottom of a juice box and the 1/2 a chicken nugget child #4 dropped on the floor that the dog failed to notice. So hats off to those of you that make multiple children look easy. But I digress. Where was I? Ah yes. Kid x 2= Work². However, it’s also Fun², so while there’s extra cleaning messes, laundry, correcting, containing, and refereeing, etc; there’s also extra snuggling, kissing, teaching, learning, and laughing. It’s good. It’s great! But it is busy.

I am very happy to say, though, that work as been busy as well. I’ve done several commissions which I have really really enjoyed. I love the collaboration involved in helping someone flesh out what they want in a painting and bringing it to life. My commissions have ranged from an oil painting done from an old photograph of the client and her mother, to a traditional portrait, to a portrait of a beloved stuffed bunny, to tiny boots and baby knees (plus a couple of pet portraits not shown here). The work has been varied, but so so good with each piece presenting its own challenges, learning opportunities, and rewards. I’ll probably go into detail about some of these in future posts, but for now here’s a brief glimpse of what I’ve been up to since the new kid came along:

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The “Skin”ny on Skin

Forgive the title…I’m kind of a dork…

Yowzah it’s been a long time since I posted! So long that I forgot my password to log on to my site! I have been very very busy with things that I will share with you at a future point. However, for the moment, I’m STILL busy. I do want to show you a piece that I finished a few months ago, though, that I’ve yet to share. It’s a diptych (which is a fancy way of saying that it’s on two panels). I had so much fun with the colors in the skin tones-greens, violets, reds… To anyone reading this who is not a (totally obsessed with tiny details, value shifts, and color changes) realist artist, that statement probably sounded weird. I mean, caucasian hands should be painted in caucasian flesh tone, right? Yeah right, and grass is green and apples are red. Ok, well, those last two are true even though much more goes into those than meets the eye as well. But skin… how can I begin!? Skin is an organ, right? The largest organ of your whole entire body. It is a living thing with blood flow, covering muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones. And because it’s translucent, those elements underneath affect the color of the skin on top.  So, take that complexity and add to it some other factors like form, light, shadow, the hills and valleys that make it look like a hand instead of just a lump of peach or brown clay and it gets pretty colorful. Your amazing brain is so amazing that it takes in all those details and processes them without you even noticing, then says simply to you, “That? That’s a hand.” So, take a minute. Look at the back of your hand. Wiggle your fingers and notice how the shape of the shadows changes as you do so. Pretty cool, huh? Now tell me, what color is your skin?

Tug of Love

Tug of Love, detail