Wednesday, December 15, 2021

February Snow

Inspiration Collaboration has been exactly what its name implies…inspiring. I’ve been encouraged (or forced) outside my comfort zone and painted things that I’d never have considered. I’m a better artist because of it. 

I do love color, but through Sara’s images and words, I’ve grown to see that lots of color is not a requirement for a picture to be beautiful. Her very first inspiration image was Barely There. When I saw that 24 months ago, I thought, “Oh, dear… I can’t do this… The image is… well… barely there!” But, I did paint a response to that one as well as the 35 that followed.  What a rigorous artistic endeavor! What a pleasure! 

I took this reference photo in February of 2011.  It’s the view from our mailbox looking across the highway. That’s not a typo.  I’ve had the image in a photo file for 10 years.  I chose to use this image, this style, and this color palette for Sara’s A New Adventure to honor her.

Original Oil Painting on 9"x 12" Wrapped Canvas
Click February Snow if you'd like to purchase this painting.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Self Portrait, Gram-E (Painting #600)

I think a self portrait should tell something about the artist.
So...This tells you something important about me.

There's nothing more special than holding a grandbaby close.

I painted my first self portrait for Painting #500.  Somewhere around Painting #575 I started fretting about needing to do another one at #600. What reference photo would I choose? That's a tough choice... until I came across the right one.

Original Oil Painting on 6"x 6" Gallery Wrapped Canvas

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Pink Daisies in the Field

It doesn't matter how many paintings that I've done or what the subject is; I still go through through the same patterns of thought
This one will be fun!
I can do this pretty easily
How is this going to work?
This isn't working.
I'm not sure I'll be able to make this work.
This is a disaster.
Should I scrape the whole thing off and start over?
I've been trough this before. I can do this. Just keep going.
Maybe this is going to come together after all.
Ugh, maybe not.
Let me just step back and look from the other side of the room.. 
Hmmm.... Niiiice...
Pick up the brush and get back to it.
I think I can make this work. 
This is starting to look good. 
Where should that next brushstroke go?
Guess it's time for a signature.
Good job, Helen.

You can use this narration as you watch this 26 second video of the process.

Original Oil Painting on 8"x 10" Wrapped Canvas

Friday, December 3, 2021

Bright & Shiny

Tis the season for surprises and gifts, colored paper and sparkly bags, ribbons and bows.

I learned to wrap really well during the Christmas season the first year after we married.  I was a teacher, but during those off weeks, I took an extra job working in the giftwrap department at Dillard's. People would give us their purchase, choose their paper and bow style, then take a number and go back to shopping while we wrapped their gift. Most of the wrapper ladies only wanted to work in the back rather than dealing directly with the customers.  I loved being the go-between customers and wrappers.  I made happy conversation with them even though they always acted shocked that there would be a wait.  I organized the merchandise in the right sized boxes with the wrapping style noted for the ladies in the back.  I took payments. And, I got to hand them their beautifully wrapped presents.  That was always the best part... until... that day. 
It was busy... lots of gifts to wrap... a long wait for customers... boxes (both waiting to be wrapped and ready to be picked up) were all over the place... I don't know that I was taking time to pay much attention to individuals as they came in.  A lady handed me her claim ticket.  I went to find the box.  It wasn't there.  It wasn't anywhere.  She was not happy. I was beginning panic then I remembered,  "Oh, yes!  Yours was that expensive Dooney and Bourke handbag!  It didn't fit in a regular box, so we had to set it in a different spot!"  Silence... I thought she'd be happy. She glared at me then turned to the young lady beside her..."Well, Merry Christmas..." Yeah, I ruined her surprise. Ugh... How to take that back!  
Lessons learned from that? Let's see... Don't forget to pay attention to people even when you multitask? or Don't get a job wrapping packages in a department store at Christmas? or Just keep my mouth shut? Oh, I probably didn't learn anything from it, but yikes... That was in 1985 but is still fresh in my mind.

My weekly-ish painting challenge with my dear friend Cheri was "Bright & Shiny." I always struggle with painting shiny metals.  Thanks to Lynn D. Pratt for a great YouTube lesson, I think I got this one right.

Oil Painting on 8"x 8" Canvas Board

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

December 2021 Inspiration Images

Click HERE to read the story behind each image.

We'll be accepting submissions through the middle of January to give time to complete whatever you've created and want included in the 2021 Inspiration Collaboration Magazine. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Winter Cardinal (Palette Knife)


I've been thinking about the beginning of Inspiration Collaboration and the closing of it at the end of this year. 

There was an idea... Sara wrote, "... it would challenge me to get out of my comfort zone... get my brain working in different ways."  I replied, "I've had a restless feeling that it's time for something new... different... challenging..." 

72 hours and countless e-mails later, our idea had a name, a blog, an Instagram account, a Pinterest board, and participants were invited. 

In the last 24 months, I have indeed been challenged to think and create outside my comfort zone.  I know I've grown as a painter, writer, and friend because of my work with Inspiration Collaboration.  

My first inspiration image was SnowCardinal.  Winter Cardinal brings me full-circle as my last inspiration image.

I was prompted to do this cardinal painting for my weekly-ish painting challenge with my art mentor/friend.  The topic was "Winter Scenes & Winter Things."

Thanks to Annie Troe for her very helpful YouTube lesson.

Palette Knife Painting on 8"x 8" Wrapped Canvas

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Autumn at my Home

I used to think that it was only old people who talked about fall foliage or paid attention to changing leaf colors in autumn. 
Hmmm... Maybe I was just too busy to notice when I was younger.
Now I try to be intentional about appreciating the colors of the season.
 My view as I walk up to the mailbox.

My view as I walk back down from the mailbox.

My view as I look up while walking the dog.
Another view as I look up while walking the dog.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Poppies (Palette Knife)

I don’t know much about poppies.  I’ve never grown a poppy, and I’m really not sure I’ve ever seen one growing.  I know the poppies in The Wizard of Oz almost put Dorothy to sleep, and I know that opium somehow comes from poppies.  Those aren’t very positive, but I recently learned that poppies are a symbol for remembering fallen soldiers. That’s good to know. 
I do think they’re beautiful flowers, but my favorite kind is spelled a different way… My four (five soon) grandkids are so lucky to have my Ron for their Pop-E.

I do love the way this poppy painting turned out.  I'm going to enjoy it on my wall until someone decides they need it for their own. I painted them in response to Sara's beautiful poppy portrait photograph on November's Inspiration Collaboration.
Original Palette Knife Oil Painting on 8"x 16" Wrapped Canvas
Click Poppies if you'd like to purchase this painting. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Pretty Goat, Esther

Sometimes I have an idea then search for an image, but sometimes an image appears then gives me the idea.

My friend Healey likes to post pictures and videos of her goats.  They're always cute and funny.  Then one day I saw this pretty little goat looking right at me.  I found myself going back for another look then another.  Finally I messaged and asked permission to paint her.  Healey told me that her name was Esther and that I could paint her as long as didn't change her name.  

So... meet my lovely blue-eyed goat friend, Esther!

On another note... 
I've been having fun with this site  to discover the color theme of my paintings.
8"x 8" Original Oil on Wrapped Canvas
Click Pretty Goat, Esther if you'd like to purchase this little painting.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Little Beach Lovers, Kiawah Island SC

Whenever I do a more complex piece, I like to take photos along the way.  Here's a little video of my process from blank canvas to finished painting.

This painting passed all of Buff's quality control for packing and shipping.

Original Oil Painting o 12"x 16" Wrapped Canvas

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Baaaaa Humbug, Ebaaaaneezer Goat

I took this funny goat's photo at the county fair a few years ago... (I just checked the photo stats... It was August of 2014!!) and put it in my "Painting Possibilities" folder thinking that one day I'd paint this guy.

I guess it was finally time to put his handsome face on canvas.

My weekly painting challenge this time was "Baaa!" 

Original Oil Painting on 8"x 8" Wrapped Canvas
Click Baaaaa Humbug, Ebaaaaaneezer Goat if you need this little painting to be part of your Christmas decorating.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Merry Santa (Mixed Media)

How early is too early to start getting ready for Christmas? 
We used to decorate during the Thanksgiving weekend, but we've scooted that up to the middle of November during recent years. 

Original Mixed Media Collage on 5"x 7" Canvas Board
Click Merry Santa if you need this little guy!

Thursday, November 4, 2021

The Merry House (Our Fixer Upper) 11/4

Yep, we have a fixer upper.
Nope, it was never our dream, but we just bought the house next door.
Yeah, it's hard work!
No, we don't know what we're doing; luckily my brother does.
Yes, we're having fun with it.
No, it's nowhere near finished.

We  walk out our front door and cross the yard, apologize to the deer who've been resting in the strip of woods between the houses, and enter the yard of our fall project. 

For 45 years it was Mary's house. 
Now we call it The Merry House.

I took this picture from our front yard.
You can see The Merry House beyond the trees.
You can see a couple of deer (circled).

We try to tell them not to get up, relax, we're just passing through...
They don't listen.
They're camouflaged pretty well, but you can see four in the picture.