Friday, July 29, 2011

"Shoo Shoo Baby" Work in Progress and Prints Available

"Shoo Shoo Baby" in progress 10 x 13.5
I'm working on a painting that is a retirement gift.  This painting is of a B17 WWII airplane.  I've actually seen this plane in person.  It resides in the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright Patterson Air Force Base.  Wright-Patt was our last station so I've spent a lot of time visiting the Museum.  If you ever get the chance to visit it is phenomenal.
Prints Available at ImageKind
I've also been adding images to my Gallery at Imagekind.  Check out my new available prints.  Imagekind does a fantastic job.  Their prints look fabulous and their printing techniques and inks are long lasting- 100+ years.  I have had great success printing on the Fine Art Ultra Smooth paper, it comes out looking very close to the original.  Their framing services are also top notch.  This is a great gift idea, or just treat yourself:)

I also have the painting "Lavender Tulips" for auction until Sunday evening through Daily Paintworks.
"Lavender Tulips" original watercolor 6x6  up for auction at Daily Paintworks starting bid $100.
Frame NOT inlcuded. 
It does have a 1" in border all the way around the painting making the overall dimensions 8x8
Have a terrific weekend everyone!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

7 Links Challenge

Hi Everyone,

A 7 links challenge has been spreading around blog-land.  This challenge lets you take a step back reflect and share some of our posts again.  I have really enjoyed reading everyone else's choices. My friend Sandra of Sandraws has challenged me, you really must visit her blog, she does some amazing work.

The challenge asks you to revisit:

Your most beautiful post
Your most popular post
Your most controversial post
Your most helpful post
A post whose success surprised you
A post you feel didn't get the attention it deserved
The post you are most proud of

Then tag other bloggers and it goes on and on. I think this is a great idea because there are some gems hidden in most bloggers archives so this is a great way to dust them off and let them be seen again.

So here are my 7 links:)

Your most beautiful post

This painting really had so much meaning.  Personally and artistically I think this painting is a success.

Your most popular post

This was interesting.  I wasn't sure which post was my most popular.  So I had to look through them all.  So by a few comments here is my most popular.
I finished this painting around the Holidays, on a deadline of course, and behind of course.  There was lot going on and we had family in town but I after a few all nighters I finished this painting on time and entered it into the Montgomery Art Guild Exhibit.  I was thrilled to find out that is was one of 76 paintings chosen out of almost 400 entered to be included in an exhibit at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art.

What a surreal moment to walk in a museum and see your own artwork on the wall.  A proud day for me:)

Your most controversial post

I'm not really a controversial artist so  I had to dig deep to figure this one out.  The most controversial thing I've posted about was a personal decision to commit to this blog and to painting a painting a week.  I wasn't sure if I could do it, if I would burn out, or what this journey was going to be like, but I did it.  I plugged away week after week and I'm still here.  I will say it has been one of the best and most satisfying decisions that I have made in my life.

Your most helpful post

 This post was fun and I had a good response.  I posted about my process and how I work as an artist.  I find it very interesting to see how other artists work.  I think this is the best way to learn.  We all work a little differently and you never know what little tip you may pick up that can change your life.

 A post whose success surprised you

In this post I talked about winning my first, first place award.  I wasn't surprised by the support and congratulatory comments for winning, I was surprised at the response to the emotional struggle I had to enter into a competition.  I was so nervous and excited and overwhelmed by the process of entering an exhibit and I described it all in this post.  So many fellow artists identified and cheered me on.  It was extremely encouraging and motivational.

A post you feel didn't get the attention it deserved
 I'm going to cop out on this one.  I really haven't had a post that I felt was ignored.  Of course in the early days of my blog I only had a few comments here or there, but that's to be expected.  Other than that it's been pretty consistent.

 The post you are most proud of

This post was early on in my blog, but it was a turning point for me.  I was really scared of color and this painting was one of my first ventures into the wonderful world of color.  I was encouraged by comments and it really pushed me to the next level.  I gained confidence and really realized that this whole painting on a regular basis thing just might be the way to go.

Now I'm challenging
Virginia Floyd
Olivia Quintin
Nancy Laliberte
Kelley MacDonald
Julie Hill
Tag your it:)

Hope you enjoy today's it was a trip down memory lane.


Monday, July 25, 2011

C'est Si Bon and Sold It!!

C'est Si Bon original watercolor on paper 6x6 $195.00  Buy Now

C'est Si Bon shown in a Randy Higbee Frame.  Frame NOT included.
C'est Si Bon has a 1 1/2" white boder all the way around the 6x6 painting making the total dimensions 9x9
Hi Everyone,

Hope you had a fabulous weekend.  Today's painting is the second in a series I plan on continuing.  Last week Daily Paintworks challenge was to paint to music.  The first painting I did was Buona Sera an Italian scene painted to the song by the same name performed by Louis Prima.  Today's painting I painted to C'est Si Bon performed by another great Louis, Louis Armstrong.  Paris is such a glorious city and this painting captures the Eiffel Tower and the River Seine.  I had to break out my Schmincke Paris Blue in honor of this great city:)  At the bottom of the post click on the you tube video and you can hear the song.

I have another painting up for auction at Daily Paintworks.
Available for auction through Daily Paintworks BID HERE
Here it is in a Randy Higbee frame.  Frame NOT included.
The painting is a 6x6 but it has a 1" border on all sides making the total dimension 8x8. 

SOLD IT!  Here are my recently sold works.


Thanks for stopping by, click on the play arrow below and enjoy Louis Armstrong singing C'est Si Bon:)


Friday, July 22, 2011

Have you made a difference today?

Terri Smith's paintings, one of my first students:)
 This weeks post was inspired from a facebook post last week.  A dear friend and former student of mine, shared my link on facebook with all her friends and these were the words she wrote

"To all of my water colorist friends. You can follow my mentor, and friends blog here. Carrie is truely an inspiration to me. She taught me watercolor techniques while living in Germany. Ten years later, she continues to embrace the medium, involving her children, family, and friends in the process. She is a true artist!"

This really touched my heart.  Terri was one of the first students I had while living in Germany.  We became fast friends and even traveling buddies.  Through facebook I've recently been able to reconnect and prod her along to start painting again.  She even began teaching her own classes and a student of hers sent me a message on facebook.

"Carrie, Terri, was my first art teacher, she inspired me to continue to learn to paint.  She always talks about you as a teacher who inspired her as an artist.  I thank you for being a great artist and teacher as it directly touched my life."  Nina

How great is this?  It really reinforced the message to me that one person can make a difference.  If we take the gifts that we have, whatever they may be, and pass them along, it does really matter.  You never know how you will inspire others, even if you just make someone smile that day, you have made a difference.  

Teaching watercolor classes has brought me such joy.  I haven't taught in several years, but this makes me want too again.  I started teaching classes when my husband and I moved to Germany in 2001.  I was a fresh college graduate with a job, no less, in Interior Design, in Chicago and gave it all up to take the path less traveled and marry the man of my dreams.  We met in college, were acquaintances for a few years and during our Senior year we finally had a class together (Brian's major was Architecture, mine Interior Design).  Brian asked me to be a partner on a project in that class and we've been partners ever since.  Brian was in ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) and commissioned into the Air Force right before graduation.  His first assignment was Germany.  When he found out he was going overseas, he asked me to marry him and during finals week our Senior year we had a small ceremony--this enabled me to be on his orders.   (We had our big wedding a few months later).

So I found myself as a newlywed in a foreign country that had no use for my Interior Design degree.  I had to reinvent myself and figure out what I was going to do.  I just knew I wanted to do something creative with my work, so I found out that you could teach classes at the Skills Development Center on base.  I had to think about what I would teach classes in and somehow decided on watercolor.  I really didn't know very much about it so I checked out every book at the library and educated myself.  I painted a few paintings and off I went for an interview.  I was hired and people actually showed up for my classes:)  I met the most amazing people during these classes, I'm still friends with several.  I eventually broadened my classes to off base.  I taught groups of ladies all over the Kaiserslautern/Ramstein area.  I started teaching kids and ended up teaching to the entire home-school group for the military community.  I made a full time job out of my art.  I painted murals for the Army and became the Art contractor for the Boys and Girls Club of Landstuhl.  I look back and it was a very fulfilling time.  When it was time to move I promised myself that I would only work in a creative field wherever we were stationed.  Since then I have painted murals full-time, worked in my Mom's frame shop, created two little boys along the way and now am a full time Mommy and Artist.

All along the way I have had God whispers telling me I was on the right path.  And after reconnecting with Terri and hearing from her student I'm wondering if I'm supposed to teach again.  I've won awards and done well with my watercolor career so far but one of my best accomplishments was when I had another student tell me that after taking my class they really "saw" for the first time.  She told me that she had never really paid attention to her surroundings before and that after me talking about my process she really started to pay attention.  She said for the first time she looked at a tree and didn't just see brown and green she saw lights and shadows and hundreds of different colors and subtleties.  And for me that is what it is all about, helping someone else to really "see"

I would love to know how you got your start, inspired someone or had someone inspire you.  Have an inspiring weekend:)


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Buona Sera

"Buona Sera" original 6x6 watercolor on paper $195.00 BUY NOW

Here it is in a home setting.  "Buona Sera" has a 1 1/2" white border around all sides of the 6x6 making the overall dimensions 11 x 11.  The fabulous thing about a watercolor is that you can mat large and make a very substantial piece.
 Today's painting is in response to the Daily Paintworks weekly challenge.  This week's challenge was to paint to music.  As soon as I read the challenge the song "Buona Sera" by Louis Prima popped in my head.  I downloaded the song and listened to it repeatedly while painting this piece.  I let my brush dance across the page to the rhythm of the music to create the ripples in the water.  Click on the you tube video at the bottom to hear the song by Louis Prima.

The reference photo for this painting was taken during a trip to Venice.  As we were walking back to our hotel during sunset this is the view we had.  So romantic!  I love Venezia:)
original 6x6 watercolor on paper with a 1" border of white all the way around making the overall dimension 8x8
"Hydrangea in Soup Tureen" up for auction at Daily only a few days left BID HERE



Monday, July 18, 2011

Shabby Chic

6x6 original watercolor on paper $195.00  BUY NOW
Here is a look at the painting in a home setting.  The painting has a 2 1/2 inch white border around the 6x6 making the overall dimensions 11 x 11.  The great thing about a watercolor is you can mat much larger and make a substantial piece for your home.

Hi Everyone,

This week I'm taking another trip down memory lane.  I spent most Summer's as a kid in Southern Illinois at my Grandma Smith's house.  Next door to her house was my Great Grandma's house.  My Great Grandmother passed away when I was a baby and her house was in disrepair my entire life until it eventually had to be torn down.  Growing up this house was strictly off limits for safety reasons but my cousin and I had vivid imaginations and dreamed up many haunted house tales.  We dared each other often to break the rules and go into the "haunted house".  Through my adrenaline filled visits into this house I have remember snippets of the house.  One thing I remember were the crystal door knobs on each door.  Unfortunately the door knobs were not saved but I did find some at an auction and purchased them.  When I visited my Grandma last month I brought along my door knobs and photographed them on my favorite old chair.  There is a lot of beauty in those door knobs and in the wear of that chair and they really compliment each other.  I hope you enjoy my newest creation "Shabby Chic"

I'm also participating in the 3rd Annual Where Bloggers Create Party.  I posted about my studio space last week.  But please click here if you would like to read about my creative space.

"Hydrangeas in Soup Tureen" original 6x6 watercolor up for auction at Daily Paintworks opening bid $100.00  BID HERE
Here is a glimpse at the painting in a home setting.  This painting has a 1" white border all the way around making the 6x6 painting have an 8x8 overall dimension.
I have recently joined Daily Paintworks.  I have the above 6x6 available for auction on their site.

marker, pencil and colored pencil 5 x 10
Steven has been back in the studio this week.  Here is another of his fabulous, colorful, creations.


Friday, July 15, 2011

My Creative Space

I stumbled across a blog the other day, My Desert Cottage, and she is hosting a  3rd Annual where bloggers create party.  Anyone can put up a post of their creative space and she is sharing everyone's link on her blog.  I think this is a terrific idea.  So I'm sharing a glimpse into my creative space.
I paint in my dining room.  I have two little guys and I have to be in the hub of the house so that I can see what's going on and still be able to create.  My house is open concept so my dining room opens up to the living room and kitchen.  It can be Grand Central Station but this allows me to be a Mommy and an Artist.

Add caption
I have help in my studio.  My fellow artist in residence is my son Steven.  I always have art supplies available to both my boys.  Steven paints with me on a regular basis and he and I both post our works on this blog.

Some of Steven's work.

And I share my studio with some studio assistants.  Moose my studio mascot.  He is always by my side and a regular foot rest:)  I also have 2 kitties Bear and Ella but they're a little camera shy.

And this is what's on the watercolor board for this week.  My work in progress of vintage glass door knobs.

Hope you enjoyed a glimpse into my daily life.  Would love to see your creative space:)


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Putting your best photo and art forward

Hi everyone,

If you are like me you are always trying to get better photographs.  Whether it be family photos or references for paintings I always want my photos to look professional.  I spent my younger years around my Dad who is a professional photographer.  He was always trying to tell me about taking pictures but as with most kids I wasn't very interested in listening.  I never got past the line "The camera is like an eye" before it all glazed over and sounded like the teacher from Charlie Brown.  Now in my adult years I wish I had listened.

I was very excited when I saw a segment on The Nate Berkus show.  He has a photographer Me Ra Koh that has been on a few times and she has terrific information.  As I was listening to her tips I realized that these ideas easily can be used in our art and compositions.  Here are her  tips:

1.  Look for defining moments.
 Her example on the show was instead of having a staged or studio photo, try to find those little moments that you want to remember.
photo by Annie Ciotola an amazing photographer
This photo is of my youngest son when he was only 2 weeks old.  I love this photo because it isn't your typical baby photo, he's mad and you get to see his little toothless mouth. This is the face I saw quite often in that first month and I love that I have it documented

2.  Capture moments of tension or emotion

This photo documents my ever constant battle with my youngest son trying to keep his toes off the table.  To me it captures his stubborn nature.  He is always pushing it to the limit and this is a snapshot into his 2nd year of life.

3. Take photos of memorable settings

I love this photo of my oldest son.  Most afternoons you can find us in our dining room counting rainbows.   I call this our Pollyanna moments.   These rainbows are cast from the chandelier my husband and I scoured the Czech Republic to find.  This was the only chandelier we agreed on and it has hung in each house that we have lived in.  I just love that this chandelier is now the high-light of my boys day and will be a memory they will remember their whole lives.

After reflecting on these tips that I will be implementing into my family photos I realized this is what I also strive to create in my art.  After an art critique where the juror said to me your painting is too literal, I embraced that critique and translated it to mean that I needed to have emotion and a story with each of my paintings.  I think that added element really shows through and definitely connects me to each painting and hopefully everyone else.

Here are some examples of my paintings that I've had a great connection with.
A black and white watercolor, "Smitty", of my Grandfather.  This to me is the epitome of him, he was an auto body guy.  I remember that jacket and those pants, even though I was 6 when he passed away.
Black white watercolor, "A Mother's Love", that I painted from a photo that my husband took.  I just love the expression on my son's face, that look of innocence just melts my heart.  Just reminds me that he is a gift to me.
My most recent painting "Reminiscence".  A chair that has been in my family for generations.  I have seen this chair on my Grandmother's back porch my whole life and my Mother saw this chair at her Grandmother's her whole life.  It was my Great Grandmother's wash tub chair.  The history of this chair is amazing to me.
So put your best foot forward in your photos and paintings.  Really think about what your painting or photographing and make it count!


Monday, July 11, 2011

Reminiscence original watercolor

original watercolor on paper 19 x 27
 1.  the act or process of recalling past experiences, events, etc.
2.  a mental impression retained and revived.

Since I've been visiting family recently, I had the opportunity to revisit this old chair.  I love that this chair has history and has been in the family for several generations.  During my visit a few weeks ago my Grandmother was telling me that my Great Grandmother used this as her wash tub chair.  I guess that might explain the wear pattern on the seat.  I was a baby when my Great Grandmother died, but I've heard she was a real spit-fire and I'm named after her, so in some way this painting connects me to her.
When I showed my Grandma pictures of my paintings of this chair she said "why didn't you paint the whole chair?".  So here it is the whole chair.  I really enjoy painting the layers of paint on the chair and the beautiful colors that are layered on each other. Can I tell you that Daniel Smith's quinacridone paints are quickly becoming my go to paints.   They are so beautiful and vibrant, can't get enough of them.
What is your favorite childhood memory?  Have you used that memory as a source of inspiration for you?  I'd love to hear your stories.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July everyone (for those of you in the U.S.).  I'm taking the week off to have fun with my family.  Hope you are too:)

See you soon,