Sunflower fields and Plein Air Painting

creating beautiful, personalized centerpieces for any celebration.

I am not a fan of plein air painting…. there I said it.  It is very hard to do for me.  I typically get a rough painting on the canvas, let it dry overnight, then work on the painting till its done.  Unfortunately if you keep mixing paint, you end up with what artists refer to as “mud”.  So moving wet paint around a canvas can be pretty difficult for me.  So Plein air has always been daunting.  Nevermind lugging all your equipment, dealing with the elements, and being on display while you paint.  All tough for me!

But it looks like the universe was giving me a push this year! My daughter is starting an AP art class for her senior year, and on her list of things to do this summer is paint plein air. Plein Air painting would be a much different experience with my daughter. So we packed up our art supplies and headed to a local farm that has stunning sunflower fields.

If you have not painted plein air, one tip I have always found helpful was to cut the canvas shape out on a piece of paper, and use it to frame your painting.  So helpful!

DSC_0480.JPG

 

After picking her view, my daughter sat down at her easel to paint, and I immediately was inspired.  Why not paint my daughter?

DSC_0479.JPG

I did what I could at the site, and will add a few more details once it dries.  Overall it was a great painting day, with only a few casualties of bugs flying into my painting.  So if you are an artist, and thinking about painting Plein Air, I encourage you to try!  It is always great to step out of your comfort zone, and I certainly did today!

bothof us.jpg

If you would like to see these sunflower fields, there is a festival this weekend, July 20-21st.  It is located at Buttonwoods Farm, off of Rte 165 in Griswold.  They sell bouquets of sunflowers, and the proceeds go to the Make a wish foundation.  As an added bonus they also sell delicious ice cream!  So if you are local to Griswold, Ct, you should make the trip!

cropped.jpg

Easy Peasy Photo Centerpieces

creating beautiful, personalized centerpieces for any celebration.

I am at the age where aldone-5ot of my family and dearest friends are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversaries.  I am one that has celebrated this milestone too!  My cousin and her hubby are the latest lovebirds celebrating, and a surprise 25th was planned for them, and I volunteered to create the centerpieces.  Shortly after I volunteered this, I got nervous, wondering what the heck was I thinking?  I always do this to myself, volunteer, then worry about if I can do it…. well I am happy to report I did it, and I am very happy with the result!

I wanted something with their photo, to make it more personalized.  Plus some of the guests had not been at original wedding, and I thought it would be cool to see photos from actual wedding.  So I contacted the Moms of the lovebirds, and got lots of wedding photos.  I scanned these wedding photos in, and then looked for something to put them on.

jars

 

I luckily found some lovely glass jars at Christmas Tree shops.  They were perfect!  They had that country look, but also had a large flat side which would be perfect for a photo!

I then asked on a wonderful face book group called Image Transfer Artists, for some advice on how to get a photo on these jars.  They had lots of suggestions, but I went with the one that was to use transparent stickers then apply them to the jars.  I ordered them from Amazon, and then used Photoshop to make them to the size of the squares on the jars. I put one on a jar to try it, and it was very transparent.  Like stained glass.  So I decided to paint the rectangle white, so it had a background.  This worked perfectly!  I also recommend printing them out and letting them sit to dry overnight. Or more.  They take a while to dry.  And some still seemed tacky to the touch.  I have to add you have to be very careful, as they do also scratch easily.

paint

 

Once applied I decided they needed a spray of sealer. So I took a piece of thick clear plastic, cut out a rectangle the same size as photo,  and taped it to side of jar, and sprayed.

Now came the hardest part!  What to put in them……  I wanted to do fresh flowers, but did not realize you had to order them pretty early. So I had missed the boat on that sadly.  I visited a local grocery store, who told me to come back on Thursday as that’s when they would have a fresh delivery.  In the meantime, I needed some painting supplies at Michaels, so my daughter and I stopped in at our local store.  And there were some pretty bouquets, artificial on sale for 60% off.  Jackpot!!flowers2

My daughter and I picked through and got the exact number of bouquets we would need, with a few extra.  What a deal…. now I would not have to worry about what variety of fresh flowers were at store, or if they would bloom in time, or how they would look.  Instead, I would have a pretty centerpiece that would last forever, not need water and not wilt.  Thank you Michaels.  My daughter and I took each bouquet apart, removed tags and placed them in each jar.  Then we positioned them, cut ends so they fit jar nicely, added an extra flower if needed, then wrapped them with some twine or a ribbon.  Once they were done, we dropped them into jar.  So now no one had to worry about rearranging them.

both

Below is the finished product! I am happy to report they weree a big hit with everyone.  On our way home, I told my hubby how I was happy everyone liked them.  And he replied that he was not surprised as everything I create always comes out well.

Isn’t he a keeper?

 

 

Hope this inspires you to create something as well!

done-3

Reaching an epiphany

Most artists struggle with comparing themselves to other artists.  I try hard not to do this, as it can be very damaging.  It can even make you avoid painting.  I enjoy reading and living by quotes, and one of my favorites is one by Theodore Roosevelt.Thief of joy

That quote is so true!  When I am working on a painting, I will sometimes look at other paintings to see how other’s have created their art.  And I always wish that my art would look more like theirs.  Today though I thought more about that wish, and realized that maybe I don’t want my art to look more like theirs…. maybe I want it to look different.  Like the style I have.  I have heard my art described as whimsical, and I think that is a good thing. Especially when you want your art to be an escape and to make people happy.

whimsical.jpg

So maybe I should embrace my whimsical interpretation.  I have always liked being different, and I think it finally sunk in today, that I should enjoy my interpretation, and listen to Teddy Roosevelt.  And enjoy my colorful art, rather than compare myself to others.  As usual, I find that this lesson also should relate to my life as well, and I should not compare myself to others. I feel as though the older I get, every day life’s experiences and podcasts I listen to are enlightening me.   So please take my little epiphany today and learn from it as well.  Don’t compare yourself to that person that seems to have it all, or is thinner than you.  Or has more than you.  Because as Teddy says, “Comparison is the thief of joy”.  I for one will be embracing my whimsical side, and enjoying being different. And I hope you enjoy it as well!

 

The art of embracing Failure

Who determines what failure is? How is it determined? When it is determined? I recently had a conversation with a family member who had packed their family up, moved across the country, following a dream. We were, and are so proud of them for chasing a dream. Even if it seems to have stalled at the moment. Speaking with them, reminded me of my own dream. And how difficult it can be. For every success, there is doubt and frustration that follows. Through these struggles, I find quotes very comforting. After my talk with my cousins, I came across a quote I had saved from an artist that I follow online. She is a southern artist, named Mary Gilkerson. Mary has a wonderful, bold brushstroke style, with tons of color. She makes videos with tips, and has a lovely southern drawl while speaking. I am telling you all about her because she said something that has stuck with me. What she said is “Failure is your First attempt”

failure

Almost every new discovery, new record holder or great work of art started with failure. And if they gave up, we would not have the medicines we have, cars, phones, art, I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Artists, business owners, musicians, and anyone else that take chances, improve our world. So its not a bad thing to put yourself out there and take a chance. And if you do fail, remember Mary’s words…. It is your first attempt.

To see Mary’s work please click here

 

 

 

 

 

Painting Challenge Day 2

inspired by the beauty of Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay

Day 2 is a painting that I have painted before and wanted to do again.  That does not happen often!  But sometimes I like to see how I have improved, or it is just an image that I really enjoyed painting.  Maybe it is just a beautiful image, or maybe it reminds me of somewhere I have been.  Both are the case with this one!  This is Disney’s private beautiful island, Castaway Cay. Which I have been extremely lucky to have visited twice!  This is not a scene that everyone sees, so not everyone may recognize it.  Its along a path that we rode bikes on, that leads to Serenity Bay.  The adults only beach on the island.  My favorite color, as many of you know, is pink, so of course I was mesmerized by this sight.

So here is day two! Painting is available in my etsy shoppe for anyone interested.  Please click here to see purchasing info.

Stranded in Castaway Cay 3sm

Painting Challenge-Day 1

Sometimes change is a good thing….

The painting challenge has arrived!  I will do my best to have a painting posted every day for 30 days.  Which is no easy task.  Sometimes paintings just fly off my brush and other times they are quite stubborn.

This floral painting was inspired by my recent trip to California.  A trip that I planned for almost a year that was changed because of the wildfires.  But I always think that change is good, and it certainly turned our trip into an adventure.  We saw lots of things we were not expecting to see.  Once of which was the town of Cambria.  From eclectic little shops, delicious restaurants, art, and scenic vistas, this town had it all.  And it was so much cooler here!  Which was very welcome after traveling through temps of 115d.  Yes, you read that right!

We stayed right along Moonstone Beach, and I saw one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.  As we would say in our home, “Most Impressive”.  These are taken in the same spot as the sun was going down……  One of the other guests said we were lucky to see it, as the other nights had been foggy.  Lucky indeed!

 

 

Back to the painting!  I am sorry for the diversion, I just fell in love with California, and had to share its beauty.

Before you reach this beautiful beach, there is a little town with restaurants, shops and a little historical museum.  And that is where I saw these glorious flowers.

 

 

I saw the car sitting there, and decided to change it to my Dad’s Model A.  I thought it fit right in, and I hope you do too!

Cambria blooming fencesm.jpg

This painting is 20″ tall by 16″ wide, and is available in my etsy shoppe.  Hope you enjoyed reading about what inspires a painting.

Please click here for info to purchase  Blooming fence in Cambria

September Painting Challenge

Hola!   I am gearing up for my 6th painting challenge, this September.  This is where I try to create and post a painting every day for the whole month.  This challenge is orchestrated by an artist from California, and there are about 1,000 or more that paint with me. I am not sure what inspired her to create this challenge, but there is a movement of “daily painters”  that paint every day.

I do try hard to paint every day but I find it difficult to finish a painting in one day, and would not consider myself a “daily painter”.

all-sept -2015SM
Paintings from my first painting challenge in January 2015

My painting process is that I typically start my painting, let it dry overnight and then maybe finish it the next day.  If it is a large painting it may take a few additional days. After its finished I may add some highlights a few days later, so they are fresh and bright.
Working in oils means that they do not dry quickly, and over mixing can create what we call “mud”.  If you look at a mud puddle you will understand why we try to avoid making mud.  So that’s why my process typically takes a few days.

overall-sm2-sept-2016
Paintings from my fourth painting challenge in September  2016

That being said, I am fervently painting trying to get ahead so I can post a new painting daily.  Add in a few commissions, and I have a lot of painting to do!

all-sm-jan2017
Last painting challenge, January 2017

 I hope you will follow me on my journey in September!