Monday, December 31, 2012

Gingerbread Wonderland

"Gingerbread Wonderland" original watercolor on 260lb Arches by Carrie Waller 5" x  7"
Hi Everyone,

I painted this as a gift for my in-laws this year.  My father-in-law likes my snow globe paintings and my mother-in-law does a Gingerbread Christmas tree so I combined both for a joint gift. 

This was so much fun to paint.  I just love painting snow globes.  I just picked up a few more to photograph.  I'm planning on starting my Christmas paintings now for next year, some how they always get put off until the last minute.  So maybe while there is still snow on the ground I can find a little more Christmas inspiration:)

I want to wish you all the best 2013!!!!  Be safe if you're traveling or on the roads tonight!


Friday, December 28, 2012

Friday Features: A Year in Review

Can you believe that 2012 is coming to a close?  I can't!  This time last year my husband was in Afghanistan, I'm thrilled that 2012 did fly by because my hubby is now safe and sound at home with us. 

I thought it would be a good time to reflect on 2012 and revisist some of the fabulous Friday Features.

"Chasing the Wind" by James Green

"Many Mansions" by Barbara Davis

"From Granville Island Vancouver" by Thomas Schaller

"Hydrangeas" by Kathy Cousart

"Duck a' la'orange" by Martine Alison

"Hide and Seek" by Arena Shawn

I'm wishing the best to you all in 2013!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!!

Have wonderful Holiday Season and Happy New Year!!  So glad you are part of my blogging family!!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Feature: Elizabeth Floyd

Hi Everyone,

"Still Life with Sunflowers and Apples" original oil painting by Elizabeth Floyd

It's Friday Feature time.  I hope that you're Holiday prep is nearing an end and that you can enjoy this wonderful Holiday Season. 

Today I have a wonderful feature, Elizabeth Floyd.  I found Elizabeth's work through blogging a few years ago.  I have followed her since I first saw her beautiful still life paintings.  Since that time she has had a beautiful little girl and it has been fun to see how that journey has had an impact on her art.  I'm sharing her artist's statement below:

As an artist, I am inspired to share my fascination with others, developing scenes that evoke emotion, spur a remembrance, and find a way to communicate an observed detail.  I view the process of painting as an opportunity to display layers of contemplation; each layer representing design fundamentals that, when combined, become a cohesive message.

When composing and painting a work of art, I search for two aspects important to me.  The first is to determine the sense of meaning conveyed in the individual objects of a scene.  The second is to explore how the composition can harmoniously communicate a combined, deeper sense of meaning when the whole is composed together.  It is this process of investigation and discovery that draws me in and inspires me to paint.

To see more of her work visit her blog and website.

"December Bounty" original oil painting by Elizabeth Floyd

 How did you get your start?  What’s your artist journey so far?
It has been a circuitous route in becoming an artist.  For years it was a very deep and hidden secret I nurtured, not sharing it with anyone because I grew up in a family that acknowledged my artistic bent, but did not encourage it.  They wanted me to pursue a more practical career… so I have a business degree, that I have never used directly, and I went on to get a Master’s in Architecture degree as well.  This was the closest thing to a fine arts degree I was brave enough to go after when I was in my early twenties.

After grad school, I moved from Texas to DC, to start anew in a place where I knew no one.  I wanted to see what would happen.  Within a year of moving to DC, I met my now husband, and within a year and a half we had married, but it took almost two more years before I shared with him that deep in my heart I really wanted to be an artist, not the architect I was.

The loving and supportive man that he is, he asked how this career shift might be accomplished.  I had just turned 30, and for the first time in my life I had shared this most precious dream, and the most wonderful thing was that it was encouraged!  So I began taking classes at the local art league, mostly figurative classes because I liked how rigorous they were, constantly asking more from me.

Over the next five years, I took classes, started my blog, and painted during every free moment I had.  We also began to cut back on luxuries and saving up, so we would be able to adapt to the day when I left architecture.  Then in just under five years from the time I shared my secret, I made the transition to art, and I have never looked back.

Where were you born?
I was born in Texas, but now call Northern Virginia home
"Autumn Reflections" original oil painting by Elizabeth Floyd
 If you could live anywhere where would you live?
I live where I want to live, Northern Virginia

What’s your favorite thing to paint and why?
I have to say whatever I am painting at the moment is my favorite thing to paint, however I do favor still life and landscapes.  I am inspired to capture the sense of beauty found in my subject.  My goal is to share this interpretation of beauty found in the scenes and objects that populate my life, hopefully speaking to others and encouraging them stop and pause, and maybe appreciate a detail that would normally be overlooked.

Could you talk about your painting techniques? 
I like to paint in a thoughtful, deliberate way.  I work in a very direct wet into wet manner, however I also believe that the beauty of working in oil paints is to take advantage of the medium and to paint in lots of layers. 

Some of my favorite paintings will be worked on over a series of painting sessions, sometimes for two weeks, and sometimes with months between sessions, thus allowing the painting to develop.  Some paintings just need that time to breath.  With each new layer of paint, a quality of depth is achieved, making for a more rich viewing experience. 
"Still Life with Crabapples, Hydrangea and Canning Jar" original oil painting by Elizabeth Floyd
Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites?
I do not have any go-to colors or paints, I use a large palette of colors, 2-3 whites, and then typically I have 30-35 colors squeezed out on the palette for every painting session.  Because I try to paint every day, paint is hardly ever wasted.

Each color has its use, I often select a paint for a particular passage based on what I need at the specific moment, is a transparent or opaque paint required, does it need to be warm or cool in color temperature.  So I find it to be very important to understand all the characteristics of the paint on my palette, as it helps inform my decisions.
"Lemon and Silver Cup" original oil painting by Elizabeth Floyd
Do you have a favorite artist?  Who has been your biggest inspiration?
I have so many favorites, all for different reasons, but at this moment I have to say Franz Hals.  I just love his control, his sensitivity to his sitters, and the amazing bravado brush handling.  It looks so controlled however if you step close to his work, you see how impressionistic his technique was. 

What have been some of your crowning achievements?
It may not be directly related to art, but I have to say having my first child last year is something I am most proud of.  She has made me a better person, and as a result I think my work has evolved also.

What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)
Hmmm, there are a lot of things I want to accomplish in life… They all seem to revolve around art and family…  1) I want to make sure I always grow as an artist, never stop exploring and learning how to better express myself.  2) And then there is the desire to better balance the demands of caring for my family while also wanting to be in the studio painting.  3) Along with my desire to teach my daughter to be an engaged little person, recently I have had a strong urge to start teaching workshops.  So this is my big dream for 2013, I want to teach some still-life painting workshops.  4)  And if the local workshops go well, I would love to then graduate to teaching workshops in beautiful and exotic places like in the Bahamas, Mexico, or Belize… somewhere warm, tropical, and full of color.  How fun would it be to paint all the tropical flowers and fruit found in one of these locations!  …5)  Oh, I cannot really think of another thing, I just want to keep things together and make the most of the daily moments that make life so special.

What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?
Be true to yourself, ALWAYS!

And while always listening to yourself, be willing to study and emulate great artists.  Strive to copy a masterpiece or the techniques of an admired instructor, because you will learn tons by trying to paint like another, you will be learning the craft of art making by deductive reasoning which asks so much more of you.  By learning all you can and becoming so proficient with the medium you predominately work with that it becomes second nature, you will be free to express yourself with ease.   Enabling you to follow your own path with the skills picked up along the way.
"Petunias II" original oil painting by Elizabeth Floyd
What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?
Slow down and really look at what is in front of you.  Slow down and work in small areas if that is what it takes for you to understand the details.  As you get better at seeing, you will be able to absorb larger areas at a time.  Slow down and enjoy the process, don’t think of a painting as a race, something that needs to be completed in an hour, a day, or even a week, allow the experience to be your guide.
"Posy of Flowers" original oil painting by Elizabeth Floyd
Chocolate or vanilla?  Vanilla

Your dream vacation spot?  A warm sunny beach with crystal clear and turquoise water

Book or movie?  Book

Favorite author?  Anything by Jane Austin

Favorite movie?  We are entering the Christmas season, and I love to watch “Nightmare before Christmas” this time of year

Romance or comedy?  I like rom-coms, hence why Jane Austin is my favorite author…

Favorite dessert?  Chocolate chip cookies with homemade vanilla ice cream

Night owl or morning person?  Night owl turned into a morning person

Monday, December 17, 2012


"Kugels" 6x6 original watercolor on 260lb Arches by Carrie Waller
Hi Everyone,

Here is my newest painting "Kugels" 6x6.  When Brian and I were living in Germany I started collecting kugesl.  Kugels is the German word for ball or sphere and are the ancestors to the traditional glass Christmas ornament.  They're blown, thick, glass with many colors.  The colors aren't painted but melted into the batch of molten glass.  They are beautiful and I absolutely love them. 

I like this painting because it can be out year long, it's abstract and colorful enough to not be classified as a Christmas painting.

I will have a Friday feature up this week.  Last week I was running behind and was going to post it when I got home from dropping kids off at school and running a few errands.  By that time I had heard the news from Connecticut, and it just had me reeling.  I pray for the families of the victims today and I pray for all those Mom's and Dad's that had to make a brave journey to school today to drop off their precious cargo.  I held it together until I saw the flag at half staff.  Christmas break can't get here soon enough.



Monday, December 10, 2012

The Christmas Spirit

Hi Everyone,

Thought I would take you on  journey to Christmas paintings past and share some of my paintings from last year. 

"The Night Before Christmas" 9.75" x 9.75" original watercolor by Carrie Waller SOLD

 The above painting won Outstanding Watercolor for FASO Bold Brush Contest December 2011
"Let It Snow" original watercolor by Carrie Waller SOLD
I love snow men!!  I collect them.  This was the first snow globe I ever painted.

Hope you are faring well with your Holiday preparations.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Feature: Kathleen Alexander

Hi Everyone,
"Gifts" original watercolor by Kathleen Alexander
It's Friday!!!  Today is another fabulous feature with and extraordinary artist, Kathleen Alexander.  Her work is vibrant and gorgeous!!!  Take a look for yourself.

To see more of her work visit her blog and website.

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

I started painting in watercolor in high school, but had no idea what I was doing as far as materials. I had a Prang paintset and slick bond paper of some sort, then moved up to one of those horrible spiral bound watercolor pads that absorb the paint on contact. It’s a wonder I didn’t give up!
I didn’t learn about artist’s materials until I took a general ed. art class as a graduation requirement in college. After I was married, working full time, and raising a nine month old, I started taking a watercolor class at night at the local community college. I was fortunate to have a great instructor, James Torlakson, who encouraged me. Many years have passed, (my daughter is 22 now), and I show/sell my art in art festivals, am represented by a gallery in Maui, have exhibited my artwork in national and international exhibitions, and have had my artwork published in Watercolor Artist and American Artist magazines.

Where were you born?

San Francisco, California
"Koi Pond" diptych original watercolor by Kathleen Alexander
 If you could live anywhere where would you live?

Three years ago we sold everything so that we could have the freedom to live in Maui half the year—so Maui : )   I live in California for the other half, and that’s great too.

What’s your favorite thing to paint and why?

Tropical flowers—for years I would take short (5-day) trips to Hawaii and then try to keep that feeling alive by painting tropical flowers when I came back to California. I don’t know what my excuse is now, but I’m still in love with them—so much color!

Could you talk about your painting techniques?  

I do a lot of underpainting to establish the shadow shapes and structure of the painting. Then I glaze over with the local color. I also like to create depth by making items in the background slightly out of focus.
"Abundance" original watercolor by Kathleen Alexander
Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites?

Cobalt Blue, Aureolin, Perm. Rose, Quin. Gold., Indigo, New Gamboge, Quin. Magenta, Perm. Sap Green, Winsor Violet and I have a whole new list of Daniel Smith Reds

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

Mark Adams. I love the simplicity of his paintings and his smooth washes. I wish I’d met him.
My biggest inspiration is my friend and fellow watercolor artist, Terri Hill. She has been battling brain cancer for a few years, and still inspires me to paint more, market more, & try harder.

What have been some of your crowning achievements?

Raising my kids to be wonderful people, staying married, and still being in love with my husband.
"Orchid" original watercolor by Kathleen Alexander
 What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)

I’d like to write a watercolor book.
I’d like to travel to Europe and Asia.
I’d like to learn to paint in oils (really well).
I’d like my art sales to quadruple (I guess that means I want the economy to get better!)
I’d like to have the time to be creative without the pressure of deadlines or commitments.

 What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?

Don’t worry about where you fit in, just do what you love.

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

Keep good tax records, unfortunately!
"Hibiscus" original watercolor by Kathleen Alexaner

Chocolate or vanilla?

Your dream vacation spot?
A Greek island with ancient ruins

Book or movie?
Audiobook (then I can paint at the same time)

Favorite movie?
Just one?
The Godfather, The Matrix, or Shakespeare in Love

Romance or comedy?

Favorite dessert?
Rhubarb pie with vanilla ice cream on the side

Night owl or morning person?
Morning person thanks to coffee

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Since we're off at the Happiest Place on Earth, aka Disney World, thought I'd share our Christmas decor.
The last couple pictures make the house, the color is off.  The difference between taking the pictures in the day time versus night.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Dancing Bear Snowglobe

Hi Everyone,
"Dancing Bears" 6x6 original watercolor on 260lb Arches by Carrie Waller
Today I'm sharing a commissioned painting.  This is the second snow globe I have painted.  The client that commissioned this piece spends half her year in Montana and half her year in Arkansas.  So she requested a painting of a grizzly bear snow globe and thanks to Eddie Bauer and ebay I found one. 

Here it is framed! Love this frame, goes so well with the painting.

And here are some work in progress pictures.
"Celebration" original watercolor by CarrieWaller
I'm also excited to share with you that my painting "Celebration" won Outstanding Watercolor in the FASO Bold Brush Contest for the month of October. 

Have a great week! We're off to Disney World this week!!


Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Feature: Kelly Eddington

"Self Portrait" original watercolor by Kelly Eddington
It's Friday again!  Is there any way we can slow down time, maybe double the month of December?  It is flying by and I am not ready folks.

This week I'm bringing you a new discovery of mine.  I found Kelly's work through Imagekind and fell in love with it immediately.  I found her on face book and  after chatting a bit I found out that Kelly and I share some common ground.  She lives in Illinois where I call home and her sister is an news anchor in the area that I went to high school and college, small world.  Anyway, Kelly's work is AMAZING!!!!!!  It speaks for itself.

If you would like to see more of her work check out her website and blog.

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

When I was four or five my mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas. “A scribble pad.” That was a pad of 9”x12” newsprint that retailed for around a dollar. “What else?” she asked. I already had crayons, so I was legitimately stumped. Drawing was my favorite thing in the world along with playing in the pasture behind our house, where I made forts out of paneling scraps, looked for monarch caterpillars, and hid from the ponies. (My grandparents had ponies, strangely enough, and I think I kind of assumed everyone else did, too.)

My love of art continued during my years at school—I was the only one in my grade who found any real pleasure in it. Inspired by my dog Alex, I created a comic strip about a family of basset hounds that my small-town newspaper published. My drawing style evolved from child-art to realism when I was 13. I felt like some kind of veil had lifted and I could really see. My right hand and my brain became best friends, and suddenly I could draw whatever I wanted. I was an overachiever in high school, a mathlete, if you will, and I knew that one day I would have to choose between art and math.

During the summer between my junior and senior years, I wanted to paint. I had been exploring acrylic painting in my art classes, but the only paints we had in the house were a set of watercolors that belonged to my three year-old sister. I spent the summer painting with those sad little watercolors and their awful plastic brush on drawing paper so thin that it turned a translucent gray whenever I’d flood it with too much water. Even though this setup was less than ideal, I fell in love with watercolor, and once I got my hands on decent brushes, acceptable paint, and actual watercolor paper, it became so much easier. All thoughts of studying math in college went out the window.

I loved being an art major at Western Illinois University, and those years flew by. After completing four semesters of required courses, I was finally able to study watercolor, and I didn’t even have to think about it—I knew that this was officially my medium. After graduation I became a graduate student in art education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My father was a teacher, and my working-class background dictated that I would need to make a reliable living once I was on my own. Teaching art seemed like the way to go.

I taught art for seventeen years in two medium-sized Illinois public high schools. I didn’t marry until I was 39, and teaching allowed me to support myself and pursue my painting every summer. I spent the bulk of my twenties exploring abstract expressionism before returning to realism in my thirties.

Teaching at its best is the most fulfilling job imaginable, and I loved helping students discover talents they didn’t know they possessed. My first teaching position was wonderful, but after eleven years my job became increasingly difficult—classes loaded with forty students, no money for supplies. I accepted another teaching position at a different school, but its breakneck schedule and factory-like environment burned me out in a hurry. I found that I was jealous of my students. I wanted to be the one doing the projects. Teaching at its worst can be crushingly repetitive, and eventually I experienced “I shouldn’t be here” feelings every morning when I pulled into the parking lot. So two and a half years ago I took a giant step and quit teaching in order to pursue my painting full-time, and while I am no longer raking in that big fat teacher’s salary anymore and have to hustle for every dollar I make, I have never been happier in my life.
"The Graduates" original watercolor by Kelly Eddington
 Where were you born?

I was born in Iowa and spent my entire childhood in La Harpe, a small town in western Illinois.

If you could live anywhere, where would you live?

If I could magically transport my current, weird home in eastern Illinois, along with its stream and dozens of trees across the ocean—and also take my extended family, husband, and three cats along in a way that would stress-free for all involved—sure, I’ll live in Italy.
"Mabel" original watercolor by Kelly Eddington
 What’s your favorite thing to paint and why?

Lately I’ve been obsessed with things that are wet, shiny, and/or complicated. For a while I was really into reflections on water. Now I’m crazy about jewelry. It’s also very satisfying to complete a portrait and watch a human being take shape under my brush—I like to say that it looks like the person I’m painting is slowly rising up from a vat of milk. Usually my portraits are very tight, so I tend to follow those up with a looser floral. I feel like I will never come close to painting everything I want to.
"Studio Assistant" original watercolor by Kelly Eddington
 Could you talk about your painting techniques? 

The majority of my paintings are watercolors in the 22”x30” range. They’re highly detailed and can take from a couple of weeks to over a month to finish. I work slowly, completing one section at a time. Nearly everything I paint begins with one or two layers of wet-into-wet paint, and once those areas dry (or not) I’ll glaze over them with additional flat washes and drybrush techniques. I use the smallest amount of water required and rarely flood my paper. I’ve avoided using masking fluid for over twenty years—I felt that to use it would violate this ludicrous old-school code of mine—but a couple of years ago I had no other choice and broke my rule. And now I love the stuff. I use it sparingly, but if you want to paint sparkly things, it’s the only way to go.
"Burano Glass" original watercolor by Kelly Eddington
 Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites?

Most of my watercolors are from Old Holland (tubes). Their cadmium red light is so beautiful I want to be it. I fill in Old Holland’s color gaps with other brands such as Windsor and Newton and Van Gogh. I’m crazy about W&N’s turquoise. And opera. Oh. That’s the most gorgeous hot pink, and it stuns me when I squeeze some out of the tube.

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

I was an art history minor, so I have so many, and I’m the crazy person in the museum who stands in front of paintings with tears running down her face. Artists who have made me weep include (in no particular order) Giotto, Masaccio, Rembrandt, Goya, Durer, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Rembrandt, Hopper, Warhol, Vermeer, Picasso, Rothko, Bellini, and de Kooning.

But, and not to sound too precious about this, my biggest inspiration is nature. The colors and shapes I see in this most boring of landscapes blow my mind sometimes. Yesterday I gasped at a stubbly, harvested cornfield in afternoon light—that yellow-gold was stunning. Or swirly snow drifts by the side of a ditch after a blizzard: there is no better sculptor than the wind. Color combinations you see on birds, shapes created by wilting flowers…I feel like I must annoy my husband whenever we take a walk in the fall because I can’t see a red tree without pointing it out to him. It’s really kind of a problem.
"Glass Gems" original watercolor by Kelly Eddington
 What have been some of your crowning achievements?

I’ve had a great year: I’m now a signature member of the Illinois Watercolor Society, saw one of my paintings turned into a mural in downtown Urbana, won an online art competition put on by CaféPress, and received special awards in a couple of juried exhibitions. I’ve had two one-person shows over the past year and a half. A few months ago, I finished an insane wedding portrait that kept me busy all summer long.

I follow Roger Ebert on Twitter, and one time he tweeted that he always looks for books on film criticism in bookshelves in the backgrounds of movies, but he has never seen any. Coincidentally, I had just completed a portrait of a little girl named Mabel, and one of Roger’s books was on a shelf behind her. I brought this to his attention, and he’s blogged and tweeted about my work and has been a pen pal of mine ever since. We even sort of collaborated on my painting Abandoned Knowledge (he sent me a photo and said, “You should paint this,” so I did). I got to meet him last year, which was a thrill. He is unable to speak and communicates via a small notebook and pen now. He introduced me to one of his friends by writing the word “artist” on his notepad. And then he underlined it. And then my mind exploded.
"Planets and Foil" original watercolor by Kelly Eddington
 What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)

I want to remain healthy and keep doing what I’m doing. I don’t take that for granted for a second. I’d like to have a few more one-person shows, maybe publish an article or two in watercolor magazines, and take on some high-profile portrait commissions. I also think it would be awesome if every “like” or positive comment on a Facebook post of mine would automatically translate into cash that would come spewing out of my laptop. How about a dollar per like, and five dollars per comment? Ten dollars per share!

What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?

Paint what you love and realize that you’ve got to put in lots of time no matter how talented you are. I’ve been painting for over 25 years and feel like I’m still improving. Challenge yourself and take on projects just to see if you can do them. Be prepared to deal with rejection and keep expectations low as far as competitions are concerned. Don’t get too down on yourself if you lose, but don’t get too thrilled if you win. Count on the fact that people who ask you to paint something might flake out at the last minute. Down-payments need to happen. That person you said you’d email? Email her today, not tomorrow. Social media will not lead to many direct sales, so don’t get discouraged; if you stick with it, it can provide a foundation that will lead to other opportunities. Let your audience get to know you as a living, breathing person with other interests beyond begging them to buy your work. If you like to write, create a blog. If you are like me and live in an area where the art scene is not exactly robust, online art galleries and printers like Imagekind can be your friend.
"Ruby Liberty Dragonfly" original watercolor by Kelly Eddington
 What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?

I love this quote by Nick Cave.

"Inspiration is a word used by people who aren't really doing anything. I go into my office every day that I'm in Brighton and work. Whether I feel like it or not is irrelevant. Inspiration is nice, but if you only work when it strikes, you're going to be an unhappy artist. This is especially true if you want to earn a living at it; you don't hear about surgeons getting ‘surgeon's block’ or garbage men getting ‘garbage men's block.’  There are assuredly days when the surgeon doesn't want to be removing gall-bladders, but she does it anyway, because that's her job."

Chocolate or vanilla? chocolate

Your dream vacation spot? Venice/Murano/Burano (I’ve been there twice.)

Book or movie? Book

Favorite author? Vladimir Nabokov

Favorite movie? Pulp Fiction

Romance or comedy? Breaking Bad

Favorite dessert? This: (Malted crisp tart, from my blog)

Night owl or morning person? Morning.

Thanks Carrie! :D

Thank you so much Kelly:)

Happy Friday everyone1!!