Saturday, May 28, 2011

Baby Under the Blanket

When do you use your artistic license?

I believe that it was in working on this painting that I discovered I had an artistic license, and I was allowed to use it!  Very freeing!

This sweet little baby had a right hand that was giving me fits!  There's no telling how long I spent trying to get those little fingers right.  Finally my teacher suggested using my artistic license to pull that blanket down a little further and cover them up.  What a thought! No one would ever know the difference, and I could sign my name and be finished.

FYI... this little one grew up to be my "A,B,C,D...E!" girl and the picture for the very first blog entry I ever did.

You can purchase a giclee of "A,B,C,D...E!" by clicking the title.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


What color are teeth?

Well, they aren't white.  We think they're white, but they really aren't! Finding the right color was so tricky. This lesson was enough to make me decide that I'd choose to paint people with their mouths closed.

And... what color is flesh?   
What made me think the flesh recipe that worked for "Abby" would work for the next little one?  Of course, it didn't!   But how fun to find the right mixture to put another little face on canvas!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sunflower Field

I love sunflowers. (I even used one as my little Etsy icon).

I planted a row of them in my garden. Right now (mid May) they're about 6 inches tall. It's hard to believe they'll be 6 feet tall in a few short weeks. I'm anxious to see them and do my best to get a picture of them before the squirrels climb up and have a feast.

This painting was done as a challenge piece from Atelier Studios

Click on Summer Field to enjoy a lovely Etsy treasury (collection of related art pieces and vintage) that celebrates the yellows and greens of summer.

Original Oil Painting on Wrapped Canvas

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


What color is flesh?

I was astounded to learn the "recipe" for flesh.  I know now that there are many, but the one that I started with was: 
yellow-green + red-orange + white.
I would have never come up with that on my own, but it works!

FYI... this little one grew up to be my "Blow on It!" girl.  See that post from July 8, 2010.

Visit an Etsy treasury (collection of art pieces) celebrating Children and Summer where she's featured.

"Blow on It!" can be purchased in several forms. 
and can be put on any size upon request

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Immigrant Girl

Isn't a face the hardest thing to paint?

The lesson I learned with my first portrait was not to look at it as a face.  It's not an eye, it's a shape and colors... It's not a nose, it's just shapes and colors.  It's not a mouth, it's onlly shapes and colors...
Then... you leave the room for a minute, come back, and voila... a face has appeared on the canvas!

"Immigrant Girl" was the very first painting I ever sold to someone I didn't know.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Red Barn at Sunset

How does an artist control the viewer's eye movement when looking at her paintings?

This is a barn we discovered while driving through a neighboring Northwest Arkansas county. It was actually near the highway (not in a lovely field with trees and a country road.) It was a working barn... What were my clues to that? First -a metal horse fence. Second - the strong scent fresh manure. Finally - three angry guineas ran out the door and chased me back into the car after just a few photographs.  

I learned - no, not learned, began to understand or at least think about - something while working on this painting.  When searching for a setting for this great old barn, I found something that I liked and thought it would be perfect with some modifications to make it mine.   The inspiration image had a great old barn with a fence, road, and tree in front of it.  But it didn't quite work for my barn, so I flipped it - made a mirror image.  But somehow, mine became a great big old tree with a fence, road, and barn behind it.  
The focus completely shifted... and with neither my intention nor my permission!
That weekend, I got my first installment of  Weekly Painting Tips from Daniel.  The short video was about this same idea!  I am very interested in learning to be in control of this, but for now... I think I'm still just surprised every time I paint something and it actually looks like what it's supposed to.

In case you wondered if my story of photographing the barn was true... These are the mean old guineas that chased me.

Original Oil Painting on Wrapped Canvas

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Trumpeter Swans

What's the difference between a swan and a goose?

I proud to say I'm a farm girl, but I'm embarrassed to say I'm not sure I know.  
Can geese swim?  Maybe that's the difference....
Or, maybe it's their attitudes and behaviors.   
The goose is a symbol for silliness. (Don't be a silly goose.)
The swan is a symbol for elegance. (The ballerina was a graceful as a swan.)
My experience with these silly / lovely birds is limited to children's literature. 
Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White and Goose Girl by Sharon Hale are both wonderful!

This pair of trumpeter swans nests in a little Northwest Arkansas pond .  The real ones have wide green "necklaces" or bands that allow them to be tracked.  On the way back from a hike near the Buffalo River, we pulled over to take a few pictures.  They seemed to enjoy performing for me.  They'd paddle over, look at me, then wiggle their feet to make the water muddy.  Then they'd dip their heads in.  That made their heads and necks all brown and muddy! 
Luckily, I have my handy artistic license that's ready for use in these situations.  I was able to remove their numbered green bands and wash them up a bit for their debut on the canvas.  I think they'd have wanted that.

Enjoy an Etsy treasury (collection of related art pieces or vintage items) that celebrates these lovely birds by clicking Serenade with Swans or Elegant Swans for the Holidays.  Another treasury celebrates water in with a tranquil, yet funky collection.  Click Spirit of Water to have a look.

To purchase this painting, click "Trumpeter Swans."