Sunday, October 30, 2011

Having A Ball

Hi Everyone,

Guess what? Another jar painting:)  I'm still painting away for a Holiday show since I've been successful with my larger ball jar paintings I decided to paint a few smaller paintings.
"Having A Ball" original watercolor on paper 6x6 BUY NOW

Hope you have  a Happy Halloween it is certainly an exciting time at our house.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Feature: Suzanne Berry

Self-Portrait 10 x 10 by Suzanne Berry
Hi Everyone,

 It's time for another edition of Friday Feature.  This week I'm proud to feature Suzanne Berry.  I came across Suzanne Berry through this wonderful blogging world!  I think I was first mesmerized by her bug paintings and have since become one of her biggest fans.  Her works are amazing!!  The amount of detail, color, light, and emotion that she is able to capture on he canvas leaves me awe struck every time I see one of her masterpieces.  Aside from her mad talents she is also very real and raw with her blog posts.  She shares with us her ups and downs.  I find everything about Suz inspirational and am thrilled to call her a friend.

To see more of her works check out her blog and website.  She is offering a fabulous sale right now, you don't want to miss it.
"Betrayal" 20 x 20 oil by Suzanne Berry
How did you get your start? What’s your artist journey so far?

If by “start,” you mean painting full time for a living – in November of 2004, my long term job as a graphic
designer at the Long Island newspaper Newsday was eliminated, and we decided that I should give it a try. I was terrified, but thought if I began with specific niche commissions – pet portraits in this case – I would hopefully ensure some income and hone my skills at the same time. My very first day in my little make shift studio was nauseatingly terrifying. I’ll never forget that feeling. To that point I had had only a single burst of creativity a few years prior, but really hadn’t created art on a regular basis for more than fifteen years (and decidedly not in oils, which incidentally terrified me). However, as time went on, I found that my experience as a graphic designer really helped my concepts and compositions.

"Give I'm An Inch" 36 x 12 oil by Suzanne Berry
The other “start” was at my mom’s kitchen table when I was about 8 years old. My brother, father and I had a block lettering contest, and I won! After that I just began drawing all the time – because I recognized it was
something I could do and it felt good!  My journey so far has been satisfying, frightening, anxiety-ridden and joyful. Most especially right now. It’s a complete and absolute gift that I get to do this everyday, no matter how much I whine about it.  For the first time in my artistic life, I’m painting. Interpreting with emotion. Not rendering subject matter as accurately as possible. And it feels wonderful. The freedom to not have to match EXACTLY what I’m looking at is a hard won, lengthy process that I’m still working through. Also, I’m not going in thinking, “I want this to look like so and so’s work.” I’m finding a voice and a style of my own, but realizing as I progress, that those things will only evolve authentically if I continue working consistently. You really can’t sit down and decide on a style, at least I can’t.

Where were you born?

I was born in Mineola, Long Island, New York, and grew up in Westbury. I’ve lived on Long Island all my life.

"Lady In Red Too" oil  24 x 36
 If you could live anywhere where would you live?

In a sprawling farmhouse with a huge, well lit, stone wall studio in Ireland, about half an hour outside of Dublin.
Clearly, I’ve been giving this some thought.

What’s your favorite thing to paint and why?

I’m just fascinated by the planes and structure of the human face. I find myself painting in my head while talking to people, noticing the warm shadows and where and when they turn into cool ones, light and shadow playing on the features, the distance between the eyes, etc. My husband, Tim – better known as “himself ” to my blog followers– is an artist as well, and even while watching TV we’re always de constructing faces and commenting on structure. This also includes figurative work.

"Waiting" 24 x 36 oil on canvas by Suzanne Berry
 Which of your paintings was the most enjoyable to paint? Which was the most difficult?

Wow, that’s a difficult question. I’ve had a recent sudden burst of creativity, and I think to date, I’ve enjoyed
painting “Waiting” the most at this point. The reference I used was from a site called “A Day Not Wasted,” and I just fell in love with the photo. I’m my own worst enemy – very critical and insecure – so when I actually like a painting I’ve done, it’s a treat!  And, speaking of working from photos, I believe I’ve finally let go of my ongoing “from life or from photography”debate. Everyone does what works best for them and if I need to defend working primarily from photographs, then I shouldn’t be doing it should I?  On the other hand, the most difficult was my very first commissioned portrait done in my twenties. A co-worker asked me to paint his wife. The reference photo was not flattering, and not knowing any better at the time, I painted EXACTLY what I saw. Bad idea.  He brought it back to me saying he thought it was best, so as to “keep her from putting her foot through it!”
Ouch! Valuable lesson there.

Do you have a favorite artist? Who has been your biggest inspiration?

It’s a tie between John Singer Sargent and Nicolia Fechin. I think Sargent has been the most influential throughout my life, although I don’t believe my work reflects that at all. It’s funny, I’ve been playing guitar off and on for years, and I find that the same thing happens. I’m influenced by very specific musicians, but what comes out doesn’t reflect them at all, which is both frustrating and gratifying at the same time.
Going back to Sargent, I used to spend hours at a time just analyzing his strokes. I read that he would stand and study the subject for great lengths of time and then suddenly rush to the canvas and capture a shadow, highlight or mid tone perfectly with one stroke. I think besides exceptional skill, artists on his level have infinite patience and drive.

"The Exhibit" oil 24 x 36 by Suzanne Berry
 What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your well being/success as an artist?

Actually, Tim is not only one of my favorite things, but I also consider him to be crucial to my sense of well being and success as an artist. Artistically and musically, he’s attracted to what challenges him, what makes him feel uncomfortable. I tend to find a comfortable place and want to stay there. He challenges my safeness, opens my mind up to a lot that I would normally not be drawn to. I’m excited about growing as an artist now where I used to be concerned with just painting the next pretty piece as realistically as I could. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all, I’m still doing that because I like it, but now there are other roads open to me. I’m very stubborn and don’t like change, so it takes me a while to come around and see what he’s saying, but it provides a lot of fertile ground for growth, not to mention some very extensive, interesting and sometimes heated conversations.

Do you ever get artist’s block? And what do you do to overcome it?

I get blocked almost after every micro-burst of creativity. Without fail, if I’ve done one or two paintings in a row that I am satisfied with, an unsolicited period of adjustment inevitably shows up. I call it the Dread Mahockiss.  Boom! Suddenly the brush feels like an alien in my hand, the paint greets the canvas as if they’ve never met before, the voice keeps repeating I’m a fraud and I’m overcome with a sense of complete and utter failure. I get nauseous and my entire self concept comes into question. Sounds dramatic and it my head. I’m beginning to understand those periods more lately and am realizing that the phone call is coming from inside the house. It takes just a short objective listen to the voice to realize it’s just a way of retreating, going back in, maybe recharging the batteries. It would be nice if I could find a less dramatic and less painful way to do that though wouldn’t it?  I also spend a lot of time online visiting my favorite artist’s sites and blogs and looking for new ones. This online artist community is incredibly supportive and inspirational. It is so gratifying to connect with someone you’ve never physically met and find that you can discuss fear, exposure, criticism and the like on the common ground of being artists.

What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)

1. I’d like to be successful enough with my art to allow Tim to leave the corporate creative desert and work on following his dream, to give back the gift he’s given me.

2. I’d like to be successful, whether that means internally or externally. Clearly I’d like to keep a nice roof over my head so there’s that but I’d love to, at some point, enjoy working and enjoy my work on a consistent basis, no matter what I produce.

3. I’d like to be painting really large canvases! I’m talkin’ over 6 feet.

4. I’d like to be playing music with Tim, his brother Conor and a real drummer—instead of skippy the drum machine—to a live audience. Nothing big, something small and intimate. Just jamming and enjoying the moment.  Tim is also an incredible cook. A big dream of ours is to own a funky little place somewhere equally funky, with our art on the walls for sale, incredible meals created by Tim on the tables and jam on a small stage while folks enjoy their vittles.

5. I’d like to have peace of mind on a consistent basis, no matter what is going on around me. I would like to
say, see a peaceful world but clearly, we’re not really good at that as a race so, I figure if I can achieve peace on a smaller level it might affect the whole in some way. And I’m a firm believer that we experience outside what we’re feeling inside, so I’m goin’ for some peace of mind. I’m pretty much done with self-created chaos and drama... at least for the moment that is.. I’m a tad emotional, so I’m working on it.

"Allie" oil 12 x 12 by Suzanne Berry
What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?

Listen to your inner voice because I believe it’s really the only one that knows what’s best for you. You might
make some mistakes and go in the opposite direction that you’d like to but it’s all part of the journey. I’m still very much on that journey and for the first time in my life I’m enjoying the accommodations. Oh and try to be supportive of yourself, something I’m just beginning to work on. And realize that if something someone says about your work upsets you, look at it, square in the face and have an honest dialog with yourself about it. I’m finding that if my buttons are pushed, I need to examine the buttons, not the one pushing them.

What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?

Just shut up and paint!

"Cheek to Cheek" oil 16 x 20 by Suzanne Berry

Chocolate or vanilla?

Sunny beach or rustic mountain retreat?
Somewhere in the middle so I can access both easily.

Book or movie?
Both, depends on the mood.

Favorite author?
Hard to say. I really enjoy well written biographies. I’m fascinated by what makes people I admire tick... artists,
political figures, musicians.

Favorite movie?
Right now it’s The Hangover, the first one. If it’s on cable we’ll watch it wherever we come in. There are so many.
Raising Arizona, Fight Club, LA Confidential.

Romance or comedy?

Favorite ice cream flavor?

Night owl or morning person?

Cake or Cupcakes?
Cupcakes from Crumbs Bake Shop online. Visit. I’ll say no more.

Hope you enjoyed the interview!  Big Thank You to Suzanne:) 

See you Monday,


**I give Crystal Cook credit for coming up with a majority of these interview questions

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Your Art is Bad!

"Illuminated Pumpkins"  watercolor on paper by Carrie Waller 30 x 24 BUY NOW
Hi Everyone,

Have you ever experienced a bad art critique?  I know I certainly have.  My worst one was in college.  I was taking a sculpture class at the University of Illinois it was part of the required courses for the degree I was pursuing.  This class was way out of my league, it was avant-garde and shock value at it's best.  I'll never forget another student's work, he had a naked inflatable female doll hanging from the ceiling, condensed milk dripping from inside (representing semen), with money hanging out of her mouth.  He had a very long spiel with the general idea being that he thought of his mother as a whore.  Heartwarming, I know!!  Anyway I felt lost! knowing that this would never be my league.   My overall critique for the class from the instructor was that my work was anemic.  It was a hard blow!  I took my "B" for the class and left with my tail tucked between my legs.  It really left me confused and wondering if I could ever hack it in the art world.

Since that time, I don't really care if I make it in that "art world".  I have my own little "art world" and if you don't like it get out:)  Sounds tough, right?  It is still hard to receive criticism but I have learned to take the constructive parts out of it.  After going through countless critiques in college getting my Interior Design degree, I've built a pretty thick skin.  But it's never easy to hear that your work isn't up to par.

I've recently been watching Oprah's life class and it is really terrific!  They are going back and talking about life lessons that have been taught throughout Oprah's talk show.  One lady said something that has really changed my life.  She said something like this-- I don't have to accept another persons negative opinion as an evaluation of myself.  It is merely that, an opinion.  What I do with it will determine the impact it will have on my life.  Isn't that profound.  This will be huge in my life.  Not only in art but all areas of my life.  Why do we give that power away?  Let's take it back and be in charge of our life!

With this new found freedom it opens us up to take risks without worrying about the outcome.  If we can free ourselves of these negative ideas that we say to ourselves and others may say to us, we can be empowered.  Our dreams are attainable!!!  Oprah also had the guy who started,  Jeff Bezos, on as an inspirational person.  When Jeff started Amazon, he did it out of his garage, with his wife, filling the orders himself.  His main motivation to start Amazon was that he decided to look at his life as if he were 80 years old.  He realized that if he didn't want to look back and have regrets.  He decided if he didn't take a risk to start his company he would regret that far more than his fear of failure.  To fail would mean he had tried.  But to never try was much worse.

So really think about this, what do you want out of your life?  What opinions are your turning into evaluations? What would you regret not trying?


Monday, October 24, 2011

She Sells Seashells

Hi Everyone,
"She Sells Seashells" watercolor on paper 6x6  BUY NOW

When we were in Florida on vacation last month it was scallop season.  There were scallop shells everywhere.  As we were driving into our campsite we stopped at the bay and I took the most fabulous photo of scallop shells with a layer of glittery, golden water floating on top.  I have painted a 6x6 and a 4x6 version of this.  I may at some point do a larger painting.  The colors are just beautiful, lots of golds, oranges, turquoises and blues in addition to the muted neutrals.  Just gorgeous!

"She Sells Seashells" watercolor on paper 4 x 6 BUY NOW
 Have a great Monday, see you Wednesday:)


Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Feature: Kelley MacDonald

Hi Everyone,

Kelley and I in Atlanta
It's Friday Feature time.  This week I interviewed the fabulous Kelley MacDonald!  I first discovered Kelley while listening to Artists Helping Artists.  She was always calling in with great questions and interesting information.  I've had the pleasure of meeting Kelley in person.  I hope to get to hang out with her more in the future:)

Kelley's work is just as fabulous as her.  I started following her blog when she and another blogger Susan Roden were in the middle of  a food fight, a virtual food fight, of sorts.  Kelley will do a masterful painting of a donut and throw it up on her blog as a challenge for Susan to respond.  They go back and forth, so much fun:)  Kelley does paint more than just donuts but I must say, nobody paints a jelly donut like Kelley:)  And if you know her you know she shares her life with a very special person, or should I say pug.  Paco, her side kick, Paco's tails (pun intended) are a great source of fun and he even has his own blog.

If you want to see more of her work check out her blog here 
or her website here

 How did you get your start?  What’s your artist journey so far?

I started drawing at age 3, and my ‘specialty’ was 2 family houses with seagulls overhead and flowers in the front yard!  I never stopped drawing.
Catholic school was good for a lot of things, but not art.  I had my eyes opened to the History of Art at Wheaton College, which I took to fulfill a requirement, and kept getting chest pains the first class because I stopped breathing so often during the ‘overview’ slide show!  I took some drawing classes in college, then when I got out of school I made sure I took classes pretty continuously at local art associations and adult ed as the kids grew up.  When I was 47 I quit work and painted full time, taking oil painting lessons, and then studying at workshops with artists I admire.  In 2007 a friend and I ‘buddied up’ to blog our art – and the rest, as they say, is history :D

Where were you born?

I was born in a Fall River, a Massachusetts mill town.  I have lived in New Hampshire, then back in the Boston area for about 15 years, and now live in Tiverton, RI, which, btw, is smack next door to Fall River.  Where the kids STILL grow up never going to an art museum!

If you could live anywhere where would you live?

Do you really want to know?  Paris – in or around.  OK, second choice would probably be the California coast – or New Mexico.  Or Mid-Maine.  Or NYC.  Or… the tip of Cape Cod… or right here... :D

What’s your favorite thing to paint and why?

Oh, Carrie, to me that is like asking which child is my favorite – I’m just in love with painting, and there’s so MUCH to love!  Well.  Ok.  I think my favorite thing to paint is … scenes from my travels.  Which is news to me – I just let myself answer – and…. I hardly ever actually paint from my travels when I get home!  I guess I should do more!  There’s the ubiquitous jelly donut, which leaps onto my canvas quite often, and I do find real joy in describing each individual one!

Which of your paintings was the most enjoyable to paint? Which was the most difficult?

I did a painting of my husband’s grandfather’s lunch pail, which just flowed and I loved doing every stroke.  Never ever would I have imagined this subject to be so enjoyable!  And most difficult – a commission of a horizontal scene on a vertical canvas – 24x48 – torture.  I never, ever should have agreed to it!

Do you have a favorite artist?  Who has been your biggest inspiration?

Ah… deceased?  Well I think Joaquin Sorrolla – and I was lucky enough to visit his home/museum in Spain.  Once again… stopped breathing.  MUST stop doing that!  Inspiration? I think Carol Marine.  She is one gutsy girl, and she just tackles things till she nails them.  And keeps her eye on her goals.  I like that.

What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your well being/success as an artist?

Well, good art supplies, and plenty of them, give me comfort and I feel like I can just charge in and make mistakes, if I have enough panels, boards, canvases and brushes.  And my Studio Assistants.  At the studio it is Paco, my pug, who is ever supportive of my struggles, and at home I have a cat on each side of me while I paint – my Tortie Isabelle, with the pumpkin colored triangle on her face, and my orange boy Harry.  I adore them!

Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites?

I start with (and stick with for plein air) a limited palette (guarantees color harmony)
Titanium White
Lemon Yellow
Cad Yellow Med
Cad Orange
Cad Red Light
Permanent Rose (or alizarin crimson)
Ultramarine Blue
Pthalo Blue
Burnt Umber

Then I do have some colors that I love – Horizon Blue, Yellow Ochre, all the Radiant colors from Gamblin, transparent orange

Do you ever get artist’s block? And what do you do to overcome it?

I think I had a day or two of ‘Block’.  I’m really never bored or at a loss there – my problem in the opposite – I want to do and try everything.  But the time I felt like that I simply did something fun – a movie in the middle of the day I think - and very soon I was bursting with desire to get back at the easel!

What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)

I’m assuming you mean in my art life?
  1. Get into multiple galleries.  And here my problem is the more proficient I become, the higher I set my Gallery choices.  In other words, I never want a gallery that would want me!
  2. Paint in France
  3. Paint in Scotland
  4. Paint in Italy (this is getting boring?)
  5. Teach painting workshops.
 What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?

Let yourself be the worst in the class!  Don’t think you’ll do your best work in a class or workshop – it has to sink in.

What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?
Keep painting! (Charles Sovek)


Chocolate or vanilla?
Chocolate (I AM a woman!)

Sunny beach or rustic mountain retreat?

 Book or movie?
Tough one.  Book!

Favorite author?
I like a lot, but Anita Shreve is right up there.

Favorite movie?
I have to tell you all my strangenesses?  Prancer.  Yup.  The children's’ Christmas movie.  I need Kleenex, too, to watch it.  Every time.

Romance or comedy?
Comedy – make me belly laugh!

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Night owl or morning person?

Cake or Cupcakes?
Tender cupcakes – chocolate or white – with butter-cream frosting!

Great interview, Kelley:))  I have to say I just love Kelley's work and I her unique signature on her paintings.  I hope everyone enjoyed the interview!

Have a Great Weekend!!!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

10 Tips for having a successful Holiday Show!

Hi Everyone,

This year I'm going to participating in my first Holiday Show.  It's an annual Holiday market that they hold at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, Nov 18 &19.  I'm a researcher by nature so I've been doing some leg work to ensure that I have a successful show.  Also I'm new at this and I know there area  lot of you out there that do shows and fairs and I would love for this to be very informative. It would be great and oh so helpful if you would give your input and experiences in the comment section.  Would love to learn from you:)

Etsy had a nice post about shows and fairs so I've pulled some information from that article and the other info is from advice and personal experiences.

So here goes:

1.ATTRACTIVE DISPLAY--The display and art work should be set up so that it is very appealing.  I've been working on making sure my booth looks very professional.  It is indoors so I won't need a tent but I do need a display for hanging art.  I have a screen so far, made out of 2 hollow core doors and hinged together.  I've seen some made out of  pegboard.  And of course there are very professional systems sold, but I'm not at the point to invest in something like that.  I'm trying to decide what color I should paint my doors or if I should make a slip cover to go over them.   I just ordered a small banner from Vista prints with my logo. 

2. DEMO-- I'm assuming most people will want to see an artist at work.  I'm going to make sure it's a painting that is at least half way finished so that they can see an almost completed painting.

3. DRAWING--Free stuff, who doesn't like free stuff.  I'm hoping to generate a little excitement and get some potential client contact info at the same time. 

4. PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL--Make sure you have plenty of business cards.  I'm also going to bring along my artists' bio rack cards (vista prints), and some other mini-prints.

5. GIFT WITH PURCHASE --I'll be offering a small gift with purchase.  Would love some ideas here if you've done this.

6.  HAVE A GOOD CHECKLIST--With all the preparations going on I'm sure it's going to be a little crazy right before the show, I'm going to make a check-list as I go along to ensure that I remember everything, here is a small sample of what I'm thinking so far--can you think of anything else?

*price tags
*framed art (wouldn't want to forget that:)
*promotional material (mini-prints, artists' bio, etc)
*certificates of authenticity for each painting--I should have these already on  pocket on the back
*receipt book (for this show they handle the money but we have to have a triplicate receipt book)
*name tag
*demo painting and paints, water, paper towels,paint brushesetc
*drinks and snacks
*tool kit (hanging art, fixing anything that goes wrong, etc)
*first aid kit (band-aids, etc--just in case)
*guest book
*Catalog of my other available works
*table cloth
7.  INVENTORY WITH MULTIPLE PRICE POINTS--I'm currently working on this phase.  I'm painting away and I'm trying to make sure I can hit several price points.

8.  INTERACT WITH THE GUESTS--They are after all guests in your booth and they should be treated just like a guest at your home.  I think telling people about the drawing will be an ice breaker and I'll have some kind of treat I can give away, candy?

9. HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE--No one wants to hear from a Debbi downer, so when potential clients ask how your day is going and if you're having a successful day, keep it positive and upbeat and optimistic!

10.CUSTOMER AND USER FRIENDLY--Before the show begins really step back and take a look at your booth.  Make sure your prices are very visible, nobody wants to have to ask!  Really make your space look inviting.  For example there is an indoor flea market in our town, when I go in there I am always immediately attracted to one of the booths that looks great.  She has lights and fabric draped.  The whole booth is just homey and inviting.  So go look at your favorite stores or even vignettes in catalogs.  What draws you to them, what elements can you add to your own booth.

What have done that has worked in the past?  What hasn't worked.?


Monday, October 17, 2011

Let It Snow *Carrie Waller

"Let It Snow" 6x8 BUY NOW
Hi Everyone,
Hope you had a great weekend!  This week I have a Christmas piece.  I know, I know, it's not even Halloween, but I'm getting ready for a Holiday show.  So here is "Let It Snow".  I had a blast painting this.  I even changed the colors of the original snow globe and now I wish my snow globe looked like the painting:)  Snowmen are my favorite and I decorate with them at the Holidays.

Steven (5) and Sam (2) got into the action this week.
Steven's Halloween pic  A scarecrow in a snow globe:)
Sam's pic
Sam's pic

Hope you have a great week, see you Wednesday!


Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Feature Crystal Cook

Crystal Cook, "A-Punk self-portrait" 8 x 10
When I first started my blogging adventure I came across Crystal Cook's blog.  I of course was mesmerized with her amazing watercolors and then thrilled to know that she was a Mommy/Artist in the trenches as well, with a brood of little boys.  She gave me hope and determination.  On days when I was saying to myself "Why am I doing this again", I would think of Crystal and it was a great feeling of camaraderie.  I am so grateful for Crystal and our friendship.

Oh and her work is beyond incredible.  I think of her as a modern day Mary Cassatt.  So here is an interview with Crystal.

To see more of Crystal's works check out her website or blog
How did you get your start?  What’s your artist journey so far?

Well, I’ve always loved to draw. When I was little and my friends would come over to my house and we were trying to figure out what to ‘play’ I always suggested drawing. It took me a while to figure out that not everyone had the same compulsion to draw that I did.

When I was about twelve years old my brother (who is an AMAZING artist) bought me a watercolor kit. That was the first time I knew that watercolors came in tubes, I always thought it was just those little pans they give you in school. The kit came with a watercolor book that had a bunch of different artist’s work showcased and I saw this portrait of a red headed girl in the sunlight painted by Jan Kunz and I knew that I wanted to paint like that one day. I took all the art classes my high school offered and drew and painted as much as I could. Then when it was time for me to go to college I put art aside for a while. I met, fell in love, and married my husband and focused on getting him through school while I worked.

After we’d been married for a few months I pulled out a pad of drawing paper and some old charcoal pencils I’d had for years and started drawing again. The results were not pretty. I was a little out of practice. But the love to create was still there. My husband noticed this and signed me up for a local watercolor class as a surprise Christmas gift.
Then after our first child was born I had the strongest desire to paint their portraits. I read every art book and magazine I could get my hands on and practiced late into the night, trying to paint the love that I felt as a new mom. It took about two years of concentrated practice to finally paint a portrait that I was proud of. After that I started entering shows and gallery exhibits and won some awards and started selling some paintings. I’m still on that journey, still showing in galleries and competitions and still painting portraits of my kids.

"Just Right" 8 x 10
Where were you born?

Born and raised and still living here. Good old Utah. J Ogden (Northern Utah) to be specific.

If you could live anywhere where would you live?
I’m really happy here in Utah. My family’s here, all of my growing up memories are here and I love the snow. But I’d also love to live somewhere warm and sunny year round. And I’ve always really wanted to live in England. Probably because of my love for famously dead (and those who are not so dead) authors that used to write or live there. And let’s face it, their accent is just plain cool.
"Eyes So blue" 10 x 14
 What’s your favorite thing to paint and why? People. But especially children and babies. There is something that is so unguarded and accessible about a baby’s expression that just gets to me. I love how they don’t try to hide their emotions, if they’re happy, or sad, or just amazed at something you know it straight away. From a purely artistic point of view I also love the glowing colors of skin in the sunshine. And I LOVE painting eyes. It’s my favorite thing ever. I’ve also done some paintings lately with glass and shiny objects that have been a lot of fun. I’m working on incorporating more of that into my portraits in some way. 

"Wizard In Training" 10 x 14
Which of your paintings was the most enjoyable to paint? Which was the most difficult? The most enjoyable? Probably my “Young Wizard in Training” I loved the colors in that one and all the reflections from the shiny material of his costume. And I love Halloween. J The most difficult? I painted a portrait of my Grandpa shortly after he died that was really emotionally difficult for me, even though it was healing for me at the same time. And skill wise it would be my acrylic painting “Emerge” without a doubt. I’d never painted with acrylics before and I had no idea what I was doing. It took several tries to get it to where I was happy with it.

 Do you have a favorite artist?  Who has been your biggest inspiration? Well my favorite famously dead artist is John Singer Sargent. I love his understated use of color, dramatic values, and economical brushstrokes. Jan Kunz (I basically taught myself how to paint with watercolors by reading her books), Ali Cavanaugh, and Mary Whyte are modern day favorites, all of whom are fantastic watercolor figure and portrait artists. And my biggest inspiration has been my husband. I would never have started painting again or had the courage to enter shows without his belief in me and constant encouragement. I think he actually entered a few competitions for me when I was too afraid of getting rejected to do it myself.

What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your well being/success as an artist? Arches 140 pound watercolor paper. I’ve tried basically everything else and have never found a better paper for my style of painting. My ipod for music, audio books, and podcasts to listen to while painting. An old towel to use as a paint rag, since controlling the amount of water in my brush is essential for how I paint. My camera and computer for reference photos. Art books and magazines for much needed inspiration when I’m running low. 

Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites? Permanent rose, raw sienna, and cobalt blue are my favorite colors. I also love aureolin, brown madder, and opera rose. Basically I’m a sucker for yellows and pinks. I have a ton of them. My brand of choice is Winsor and Newton Artist’s Water Colours.
"Draw" 10 x 14
 Do you ever get artist’s block? And what do you do to overcome it? Heck yes I do. What do I do to overcome it? Eat way too much sugar.  Seriously though, I just keep painting but will try to look at painting in a different way. I might switch mediums, from watercolors to colored pencil or acrylic. Or I’ll try a new subject matter that I haven’t tried before but have always wanted to. I listen to podcast interviews with other artists obsessively and read every book or magazine article written by Harley Brown that I can get my hands on.

And if that doesn’t work then I take a break and read one of my favorite books, which is always therapeutic for me.

What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)
Hmmm. . . Tough question.

I’d love to write a book that merges motivation and encouragement for artist’s and portrait painting techniques.

Write, illustrate, and publish a children’s book.

See my work published in an art magazine. An awesomely well read one, not an itty bitty one (although that would be cool too).

Attain signature status with the National Watercolor Society or American Watercolor Society.

Painting every day, all day. (My kids will all be in school by then)

What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career? Paint because you love to, and paint what you love, not what’s popular or what you think will sell. Believe in yourself and be proud of your art, but never stop seeking for ways to improve it. And don’t give up, if you want to be an artist there will always be setbacks, but never let them keep you back from doing what you love.

What is the best advice that you have received as an artist? Paint what you love. And don’t go for the obvious composition.
"Joy Unrestrained" 10 x 14


Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate

Sunny beach or rustic mountain retreat? Rustic Mountain Retreat

Book or movie? Book. Huzzah for books!

Favorite author? This is an impossible question! Well. . . the obvious answer is J.K. Rowling tied with Jane Austen, but who ever said I went for the obvious? I’m going to say Laini Taylor, an incredibly gifted writer. She’s an artist with words.

Favorite movie? Pride and Prejudice

Romance or comedy? Romance! I’m all about the SA-woon. J

Favorite ice cream flavor? Creme brulee

Night owl or morning person?   Morning person

Cake or Cupcakes?  Cupcakes. Cuteness and portion control in one package. Can’t be beat.

Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did:)  See you all Monday!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Norman Rockwell Behind the Camera

Hi Everyone,

If you could have any super power what would it be?  Okay, I'm going to tell you mine, but don't think I'm too strange:)  I have always wished I could make myself invisible and be able to slip through walls in this state.  Why? you ask?  Because I love to see people's homes, how they decorate.   Maybe it goes back to my roots as an Interior Designer, but I just love taking a tours of homes.  So when I stumbled across this book "Norman Rockwell Behind the Camera", I was instantly interested.

This book gives you the inside scoop on how he set up his paintings.  His models and the stories he told in his paintings.  As the daughter of a photographer I always thought you wanted to spontaneously catch a moment, and that creeps into my thoughts on paintings sometimes.  However, one of my favorite things to do is set up a still life and photograph it.  So I just loved seeing Norman Rockwell's process. I'm sure this will have an influence on how I set up my paintings in the future.

I'd love to hear how you set up your paintings.  What does the behind the scenes look like in your artistic space?


Monday, October 10, 2011

Winner Announced and a Sunflower painting:)

Original watercolor on paper 4"x4"  $75 BUY NOW
 Hi Everyone,

I want to Thank You all so much for contributing some absolutely terrific titles.  If you came up with a title suggestion I put your name in the proverbial hat to win a set of mini-prints.  Using, Linda Popple is the winner!!  Congratulations, and I'll be in contact with you to get your mailing address.  I plan on doing some more give-aways in the future so stay tuned:)

As I was saying, I got some terrific titles, and I'm thrilled because I am stashing them away to use on future paintings.  The title that I chose for the painting was "Preservation".  My hubby actually suggested it and I thought it was very fitting and went along with my other large jar painting title, "Anticipation".  Like I said I will be using some of the other titles, you guys are awesome!!!!

This week I have a 4"x4" painting.  The smallest I"v painted so far.  I"m gearing up for a Holiday Show and I want to have a variety of price points available.  So you will be seeing more of this these little guys:)

I have been so blessed this last week and half and I wanted to share with you some of my successes.
"Anticipation" original watercolor on paper 23.5 x 32 1st Place in the Louisiana Watercolor Society Crescent City Brewhouse Exhibit
"Apples in Candlewick" watercolor on paper 18 x 24 last year's 1st place winner and 3rd place winner in the Montgomery Art Guild Alabama National Fair Exhibit.
Last week I traveled to Louisiana to take part in Louisiana Watercolor Society's Crescent City Brewhouse Exhibit.  Last year this was my first exhibit I ever participated in and I placed 1st.  This year I feel like I've come full circle and I am ecstatic to say that I placed 1st again!  "Anticipation" is the painting that won.

I also was chosen as Dick Blick's feature artist for the month of October, how lucky does a girl get:)
"October Bounty" watercolor on paper 18 x 24 Honorable Mention in the Montgomery Art Guild Alabama National Fair
And if that was not enough I also took home 2 ribbons in the Montgomery Art Guild's Alabama National Fair Exhibit.  Third Place went to "Apples in Candlewick" and Honorable Mention went to "October Bounty"

It's been an exciting time!  I feel so fortunate and grateful!

See you Wednesday!


Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Feature-- Liu Yi

Have you checked out the new magazine The Art of Watercolour?  It is fabulous!  It can be hard to find, it's a French magazine that is translated into English, I found my copy at Books-A-Million in Baton Rouge, LA.

The painting on the cover was so mesmerizing and breathtaking I wanted to feature Liu Yi's paintings.  His paintings are breathtaking!

Have a great weekend!!!  I'll announce the winner of my contest Monday, so stay tuned!  And if you want to enter check out my Monday blog post.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How To Find Your Painting Style and Lose Weight At The Same Time!

Have you ever had a sleepless night, or if you're like me up till the wee hours painting?  If you answered Yes, you've probably seen an infomercial or 2.  In that hour of t.v. magic you are convinced that you can have fuller /straighter/shinier/curlier hair, look 20 years younger, have sparkling floors and be 20lbs. lighter all for the low, low price of $19.95.  Have you ever noticed the fine print?  *Results are not typical!  Do you know why that is?  Because there is no magic pill, no magic product :(  Just like everything in life it takes hard work and perseverance.  I know not what you wanted hear!!!

I've recently been re-listening to the podcasts of Artists Helping Artists radio show.  I've been listening to all of the artists interviews.  Leslie and Dreama do a fantastic job of grilling, I mean politely asking, these artists those questions that inquiring minds want to know.  Do you know what these artists have to say when asked the question, How does an artist find their artist style?  These master artists, Kevin Macpherson, Scott Christensen, Greg LaRock, Carol Marine, Karin Jurick, etc. all had something to say.  Guess what they all said, they all had a common thread--They just weren't that focused on finding a style!!!  In fact some of them weren't even sure they had a style, that's right folks, these artists, that we love and adore and can spot one of their creations from a mile away, weren't even sure if they had a style!!!  It just wasn't a priority!

What was priority was painting, painting with passion, painting what they wanted to paint and not what they thought would sell, and doing a lot of it.  Painting miles, and miles of paintings, painting daily, just showing up and doing the work!  Paint, Paint, Paint and then Paint some more, and guess what your artistic voice will emerge.  Just like everyone has a unique fingerprint and their own unique handwriting, that style will emerge!  And just like we evolve and change in our life our style will evolve and change with us!  So relax!  Problem solved, just take that task off your plate!  Isn't that freeing?  Focus on painting that is the answer! 

So I challenge you to ditch this notion that you have to have a style.  Let's try it together, for the next month, just don't worry about it, free yourself and the rest will follow:))) 

Now maybe if I could just figure out how to paint while on the treadmill I could kill 2 birds with 1 stone:)

I'm still running my mini-print give-away until Friday!  If you're interested in participating check out the Monday's blog post HERE

See you Friday Peeps:)


Monday, October 3, 2011

I need a title, mini-print giveaway

Hi Everyone,
watercolor on paper 14 x 20
I just put the finishing touches on my newest painting.  I'm struggling with a title so I thought I would have a little fun.  I'm asking for your help.  Please leave a title in the comment section.  Everyone who enters a title will have the chance to win a collection of my mini-prints.  Once you've left a title I'll put everyone in a drawing for the prints.  Make sure you leave your e-mail address in the comments also so I can get in contact with you.

My friend Crystal Cook asked me what the inspiration behind my jar paintings are, so I thought I would share what keeps drawing me too them.  It also might help with a title inspiration. 

When I was kid I spent most summers in Southern Illinois at my Grandma's house.  Next door to my Grandma's house was my Great Grandma's house.  She passed away when I was a baby so for all of my childhood the house was vacant and dilapidated.  My cousin and I would dare each other to go into the house, which of course we had built up in our imaginations to be haunted.  We were not allowed into the house for safety reasons but we still broke the rules from time to time and went exploring usually on a dare into the house.  One of my vivid memories is of a pantry in her kitchen.  There was hole in the roof above the pantry but the shelves were still lining the walls and there were numerous jars of canned food still sitting on them.  With the placement of the hole in the roof and my height I had to look up at them and the sunlight would filter through these jars making them look like a stained glass window.  This year I've been on a bit of a journey to remember and capture some of these memories in my art.  My jar paintings are an interpretation of these memories.

I appreciate any help with a title:)

I also want to say a big Thank You to everyone that has been leaving comments.  I try to personally e-mail everyone, but I've been so busy lately I haven't been able to.  I'm trying to play catch up.  I really loved reading everyone's own struggles with their inner critic from last Wednesday's post.  It feels good to know I'm not alone!

Hope everyone has a great week.