Monday, April 30, 2012

Great Balls of Fire

"Great Balls of Fire" or "Celebration" original watercolor on paper 6x6 SOLD
Hi Everyone,

I feel a huge weight has lifted:)  My workshop is over and it was fabulous!!!!  I had the best group of ladies to instruct.  It could not have gone better:)  And right after that Crystal Cook and I were featured guests on Artists Helping Artists blog radio show, we survived and didn't sound too crazy:)  I was so happy to be interviewed with my friend Crystal, I couldn't have asked for a better experience.  Leslie Saeta and Kelley MacDonald asked us fabulous questions and made us sound good!  If you missed it here is the link it's the broadcast on 4/26, click here.
My first 3 day workshop, fabulous group of ladies:))

And ta da I finally finished my ball jars!!!!  So my not so "pc" title is "Great Balls of Fire" my alternate more conservative title is "Celebration".  This painting was a lot of fun and I'm anxious to paint a larger version, but before I can do that I have several commissions to work my way through.  That is a great problem to have:)

And to top off an absolutely fabulous week I sold 4 paintings.  What a week--I'll take a few more like that!
"Tall Drink of Water" SOLD
"The Night Before Christmas" SOLD
"Can It Too" SOLD

Hope you had a fabulous weekend:)


Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Interview on Artists Helping Artists

Leslie Saeta, Me, Dreama Tolle Perry
Kelley MacDonald and moi

 Crystal Cook and I were interviewed on Artists Helping Artists blog radio show today!  What a thrill.  You can listen by clicking on the link.  Our show is the one broadcast on 4/26.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Aghhhhh I'm a bundle of nerves

Hi Everyone,

I know, I know, my painting isn't finished!  Shall I start my laundry list of reasons why.

*Steven Waller age 5, occupation super crazy busy little boy,
*Sam Waller age 3, occupation, super crazy busy little boy that loves to aggravate his brother
*A zoo field trip--love these end of the year trips that are popping up like crazy
*Brian Waller--military hubby deployed to Afghanistan--currently recovering from kidney stone surgery in Bagram
*Moose, Bear and Ella--Dog, Cat, Cat--oh the life of a pet, they have their own human servant that feeds them, scoops poop and walks them
*A 3 day workshop that I'm teaching starting tomorrow--agghhhhhhhhh!  My first 3 day workshop, I'm a bundle of nerves!  I haven't taught in years--I'm still in denial that I have to fill 3, 8 hour days and be entertaining and informative.
*And  I'm going to be interviewed on Artists Helping Artists blog radio show-this Thursday!!!  Fortunately I roped my friend Crystal Cook into doing this with me.  My stomach does flips just typing this!!!  Please don't let me make a fool of myself.

So bear with me (I first typed bare with me and then looked it up--glad I did bear with me means have patience, bare with me, means I'll be getting naked, I'll stick with the first spelling:)) folks.  I'll have it done soon.  In the mean time say a little prayer that I don't have an entire workshop walk out on me tomorrow:))


PS and seriously did they have to change bloggers format tonight!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Feature: Martine Alison

"Duck a l'orange" original by Martine Alison
Hi Everyone,

It's Friday again:))  Today I have something new, my feature is in 2 languages:)  Thanks to our French feature Martine Alison, she has her answers in French and English-so considerate of her:)  For all my English readers I've put that in green and for all the French friends check out the purple. Martine's work whimsical and fun.  I was not shocked to read that Paul Gauguin was a favorite artist of hers.   

To see more of her work check out her blog

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

Je suis autodidacte et je peins depuis l’adolescence.
Lorsque j’étais enfant, je prenais beaucoup de plaisir à peindre avec le thé resté au fond des tasses. Je peignais aussi avec de l’eau boueuse !
Mais avant tout, je dessinais. Je ne pouvais pas me passer de dessiner. Je n’avais pas comme la plupart de tous les enfants des crayons de couleurs, seulement un crayon graphite. Je rêvais d’avoir une belle boîte de crayons. Chaque jour en allant à l’école, je m’arrêtais devant la vitrine du marchand de couleurs et je collais mon nez pour regarder de plus près les magnifiques boîtes qui s’y trouvaient…
Je savais déjà je crois que je ne pourrai jamais me passer de dessiner…

I am self taught and I paint since adolescence.
When I was a kid, I took a lot of fun to paint with tea remained at the bottom of cups. I also painted with muddy water!
But first, I was drawing. I could not live without drawing. I hadn’t like most of all children colored pencils, graphite pencil only. I dreamed of having a beautiful box of crayons. Every day going to school, I stopped in front of the window color merchant and I pressed my nose to look more closely at the beautiful boxes that were there ...
I already knew I think I could never do without drawing ...

Where were you born?
Je suis née en France à Saint-Etienne dans la Loire. Une ville qui se situe dans le centre de la France à environ 1 h de route de la ville de Lyon. C’est une ville qui est à la porte de l’Auvergne.

I was born in France in Saint-Etienne in the Loire. A city that is located in the center of France about an hour away from the city of Lyon. This is a city that is the gateway to the Auvergne.

"Face to Face" by Martine Alison

If you could live anywhere where would you live?
Il y a tant d’endroits où j’aimerais vivre… Je sais que j’ai besoin de lumière, de soleil et de calme. J’aime le sud de mon pays où j’ai vécu des années heureuses. Mais je pense que je pourrais facilement m’adapter si ces trois raisons étaient réunies. Il est vrai qu’il est parfois difficile pour un français de quitter son pays pour vivre ailleurs, mais en réfléchissant, cela ne serait pas un problème pour moi.

There are so many places I want to live ... I know I need light, sunshine and calm. I love the south of my country where I spent happy years. But I think I could easily adapt myself if these three reasons were met. It is true that it is sometimes difficult for a French to leave his country to live elsewhere, but on reflection, this would not be a problem for me.

"Combining Exhilarating" by Martine Alison
 What’s your favorite thing to paint and why?
J’aime peindre des petites femmes… peut-être parce que je me connais bien en tant que femme mieux que s’il fallait peindre des hommes. (J’ai peint une seule fois un homme ! pour une cliente qui possédait plusieurs de mes toiles et qui m’avait demandé de faire une exception…)
Je fais apparaître aux côtés de mes petites femmes des animaux.
L’ensemble de mon travail laisse transparaître la priorité au dessin. C’est la base solide de mes compositions même lorsque je crée des bouquets.
Créer et peindre des petites femmes est pour moi mon mode d’expression. Mon interprétation reste dans le domaine de mon inconscient et le résultat est l’écho de mon état d’âme du moment. Mon monde est semé de rêves à la limite du naïf et il m’entraine vers une sensualité délicate.

I love to paint little women ... maybe because I know myself as a woman better than if we had to paint men. (I painted once a man ! For a client who owned several of my paintings and asked me to make an exception ...)
appearing a long side of my little woman are animals.
All of my work leaves reflected the priority drawing. This is the foundation of my sketch even when I create bouquets.
Create and paint little women for me is my mode of expression. 
My interpretation is in my subconscious and the result is the echo of my mood of the moment. My world is fraught with dreams on the edge of naive and which leads me to a delicate sensuality.
"Apples of love and rose Cider" by Martine Alison
 Could you talk about your painting techniques?  

J’aime travailler l’huile. Je pense qu’elle me correspond bien car je travaille lentement.
Lorsque mes enfants étaient petits je pouvais ainsi laisser mon travail en suspens et le reprendre plus tard.
Ma technique n’est peut-être pas celle qui m’aurait été enseignée si j’avais reçu des cours. C’est en faisant des erreurs que j’ai appris et que je continue d’apprendre.

Cependant j’aime fabriquer mes huiles en utilisant des pigments de la marque Blockx que j’achète déjà broyés mais que je continue de les écraser à la molette de verre. Parfois je broie un pigment durant une année. Plus il est broyé finement plus j’obtiens une grande luminosité après l’avoir mélangé avec de l’huile d’oeillette et de l’ambre. Les dosages et « mes recettes » me sont propres.

Que ce soit une toile de petit ou grand format je travaille uniquement avec de petites brosses de martre de chez MANET 2 et 4 ainsi que des pinceaux 0, 00 et même 000.
Sur une toile d’un format 50 x 50 cm je passe environ 1 mois à 1 mois et demi de temps, entre la création et la peinture.

Je suis très exigeante sur la qualité de la toile.
Je peins sur des toiles de lin extra-fin sur lesquelles sont enduites 6 couches de gesso. Entre chaque couche, la toile est passée sous un rouleau qui écrase les fibres. Ce procédé évite à la toile de subir des modifications.

Après une élaboration lente de mon croquis, je l'achemine vers un univers rempli de couleurs...
Je peins de gauche à droite, comme on écrit, sans presque jamais revenir sur la partie peinte. Je dis de gauche à droite, car dans le sens contraire, ma main risquerait de brouiller le travail exécuté. Je suis droitière ! Toutefois, je parviens aisément à utiliser aussi ma main gauche...
Je ne veux pas essayer de peindre en couvrant toute la toile. Je crains de trouver mon travail déprimant...
Je peins en transparence, sur un dessin établi et achevé, pour que mon trait ne disparaisse pas.
Autrement, je perdrais le trait de départ sous la couche et il me faudrait revenir constamment sur mon dessin.
Je peux peindre en transparence 5 ou 6 couches sans que vous puissiez en deviner le nombre.
Chaque peintre a ses petits secrets !... Je peins comme je cuisine... à l'instinct.

I enjoy working oil. I think it suits me because I work slowly.
When my kids were little and I could leave my job on hold and resume it later.
My technique is perhaps not one that would have been if I had been taught lessons. It is by making mistakes that I learned and I go on to learn.

But I like making my oils using pigments Blockx brand I buy already shredded but I go on to mash with a knob of glass. Sometimes I grind a pigment during one year. Finely grind the more I get more high brightness after mixing it with oil of poppy and amber. The dosage and "my recipes" are my own.

Whether a small or large format I work only with small sable brushes from home MANET 2 and 4 as well as brushes 0, 00 and even 000.
On a canvas of 50 x 50 cm I spend about 1 month to 1 ½ months of time, between creation and painting.

I am very demanding on the quality of the canvas.
I paint on linen cloth extra fine which are coated on 6 layers of gesso. Between each layer, the fabric is passed under a roller which crushes the fibers. This prevents the fabric subject to change.

After a slow development of my sketches, I move towards a world full of colors ...
I paint from left to right, as written, almost never return to the painted area. I say from left to right, because in the opposite direction, my hand might confuse the work performed. I am right-handed! However, I am able to easily use both my left hand ...
I will not try to paint covering the entire canvas. I'm afraid I find my work depressing ...
I paint in transparency, drawing on established and completed, so that my line does not disappear.
Otherwise, I would lose the line of departure in the layer and I would need to reposition themselves on my drawing.
"Garance" by Marine Alison

How did you arrive at your current style?
Je me rappelle avoir toujours dessiné et peint dans ce style avec bien sûr moins d’assurance qu’aujourd’hui. Je ne sais pas si le fait d’avoir visité et admiré les œuvres de nombreux artistes de tous styles confondus dans de différents musées ou galeries a influencé ou non mon propre style. Je pense que nous sommes des éponges. Nous emmagasinons des formes et des couleurs dans les petits tiroirs de notre cerveau. Puis, elles rejaillissent dans notre travail inconsciemment. Toutefois en ce qui me concerne, je dirais que mon style est mon écriture.

I remember always drawn and painted in this style of course with less assurance than today. I do not know if having visited and admired the works of many artists of all styles in various museums and galleries has influenced my own style or not. I think we're sponges. We stock shapes and colors in the small drawers of our brain. Then they unconsciously come in our work. However in my case, I'd say my style is my writing.

"Let's dance the nasturtium" by Martine Alison
 Do you have a favorite artist?  Who has been your biggest inspiration?
J’ai plusieurs artistes préférés. Il est difficile pour moi de les dissocier. Je répondrais  que j’aime les oeuvres de Paul GAUGAIN et Jean COCTEAU.

I have several favorite artists. It's hard for me to separate them. I would say I like the works of Paul Gauguin and Jean Cocteau.

What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your well being/success as an artist?
J’adore cuisiner. Je trouve que la cuisine est un art complémentaire à la peinture.
Je suis aussi une contemplative. J’aime rêver et  m’étonner dans la campagne… J’observe et conscientise l’abondance de la vie qui m’entoure et je m’en inspire pour en créer une œuvre au même diapason, c’est-à-dire un acte de type presque théâtral où l’imagination peut propulser la scène.

I love cooking. I find that cooking is an art to complement the painting.
I am also a contemplative. I like to dream and surprise me in the campaign raises awareness and ... I observe the abundance of life around me and I am inspired to create a work on the same wavelength, that is to say an act almost like theater, where the imagination can propel the scene.

"Manaia" by Martine Alison
Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites?
J’aime les verts qui n’en sont pas… Les couleurs m’ensorcellent ! Cependant je n’aime pas le brun !

I like greens that are not ... The colors bewitch me! However I do not like the brown!

What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)
-      Ouvrir mon atelier-galerie où je pourrais faire du « food-feeling ». Pour faire court, faire découvrir une assiette réalisée à partir d’une peinture. Une sorte de communion ou d’échange avec le visuel, les saveurs, les couleurs et le goût…
-      Avoir la chance de faire de belles rencontres artistiques.
-      Trouver du temps pour faire de la terre. Autrefois, j’ai fait un peu de sculpture sur pierre mais c’est beaucoup trop physique pour moi.
-      Sauver et soigner les animaux.
-      Continuer à voyager.

Et pour se faire, apprendre peut-être à m’aimer…

-Open my studio gallery where I could make the "food-feeling". In short to discover a dish made ​​from a painting. A kind of communion or exchange with the visual, flavor, color and taste ...
-Having the chance to make beautiful artistic encounters.
-Find time to make the earth. I once did a bit of stone carving but it is far too physical for me.
-Save and care for animals.
-Continue to travel. 

And to do, learning perhaps to love me …

What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?
Rester authentique. Travailler le plus régulièrement possible et croire en ce que l’on fait. Laisser aller son pinceau au rythme de ses émotions.

To stay authentic. Work as regularly as possible and believe in what we do. Let go of his brush to the beat of his emotions.
"Never let me go" by Martine Alison
What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?
Continuer de peindre tout ce que j’aime, sans me préoccuper de ce qui se fait ou pas en restant moi-même. Il ne faut pas chercher,  il faut ÊTRE moi.

Go on to paint whatever I like without worrying about what must be done and staying myself. Do not search, I must BE.

Chocolate or vanilla?
Chocolat vanillé…

Chocolate vanilla ...

Sunny beach or rustic mountain retreat?
Sunny beach,  lorsque les plages sont désertes.

Sunny beach when the beaches are deserted.

Book or movie?
Livre et film

Book and movie

Favorite author?
Livres autobiographiques

autobiographical books

Favorite movie?
Harem avec Nastassja Kinski et Ben Kingsley
Et le film danois, Le festin de Babette avec Stéphane Audran.

Harem” with Nastassja Kinski and Ben Kingsley
A Danish movie, « Le Festin de Babette » with Stéphane Audran.

Romance or comedy?


Favorite ice cream flavor?
Vous touchez à mon point faible en parlant de crème glacée… Elles sont mon péché mignon !  Il est difficile pour moi de faire un choix ! Un seul parfum !!... Puisqu’il le faut je dirais menthe avec des pépites de chocolat.

You touch my weak point in speaking of ice cream ... They are my guilty pleasure! It's hard for me to make a choice! Only one flavor! ... I would say it must be so mint with chocolate chips.

Night owl or morning person?
Je suis une couche tard et une lève tôt. Je dors très très peu.

I am a stay up late and up early. I sleep very little.

Cake or Cupcakes?
Petits gâteaux. Je trouve plus intime de déguster un ou des petits gâteaux avec une tasse de thé. Le « spectacle » est beaucoup plus organoleptique !

Cupcakes. I find a more intimate tasting one or cupcakes with a cup of tea. The "show" is much more organoleptic !

Thank you so much Martine!  Have a great weekend everyone:)


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ball Jars Wip part 2

Hi Everyone,

So I didn't finish, but I got in the grove today and I'm finally making head way!  This piece is pretty complicated with all the colors and patterns, easy to get lost.  I really love how some of the colors are mingling.  It's a fun composition with fun colors.  I'm plugging ahead and wish I could stay up all night without paying for it in the morning. But, responsibility calls so I better head to bed.


Monday, April 16, 2012

WIP Ball Jars

Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a terrific weekend:)  I'm working on a painting at the moment and for some reason I am so antsy I'm finding it hard to sit down to paint.  I mean I was excited that I had laundry to do this weekend as a distraction from my painting.  That's pretty bad folks, I hate laundry!!

I think a lot of the problem is that I have soooo much to do that I'm having a hard time focusing!  Sometimes I think I self-sabotage just to make my life harder, do you do that?

I'll see you on Wednesday hopefully with a completed painting:)


Just a reminder I have a workshop coming up in Montgomery, Alabama April 23-25.  There are a few slots left click here for more info.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Feature: Karen Stakelum

Hi Everyone,
original watercolor by Karen Stakelum
TGIF:))  Today I have the fabulous and talented Karen Stakelum.  I met Karen through the Louisiana Watercolor Society not only is she talented she is also generous with her knowledge and time.

To see more of Karen's work check out her website.

How did you get your start?  

Drawing comes naturally for me and I am self-taught.  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t draw and paint and always wanted to be an artist, even as a child.  In the 1980s, I became part of a troupe called “The United Theatre Artists” and for ten years I was part of a group that designed and executed stage sets for local theater.  It was a fun time, a learning experience and sharpened my trompe l’oeil skills.  When I hit middle age, I became tired of painting on a ladder.  After experimenting with acrylics and oils, I eventually chose to do watercolor paintings exclusively since the vivid colors lend themselves to my particular paintings …and they are easy to clean up!

What’s your artist journey so far?

Becoming an artist opened doors for me through the years that ordinarily I wouldn’t have had to opportunity to enter.  After my children graduated from school, I joined the Louisiana Watercolor Society.  This afforded me the opportunity to become friends and compete with the best artists in the state.  Also, being involved with the yearly LWS International Exhibition has allowed me to see and examine the best watercolors of nationally-known artists up close, which is a great teaching tool.  Through the years, I do something to advance my artwork each day – whether it’s taking new reference photos, drawing out new paintings or actually painting.  I’ve been a professional watercolor artist for about twenty-five years.  Locally, I have a few loyal collectors and once a year I have a solo show.
original watercolor by Karen Stakelum
Where were you born?

I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

If you could live anywhere where would you live?

My first choice would be to have two houses – one in California and one in Alabama…the places where my two children live.   But I’m happy to live in the middle at my home in Covington, LA.
original watercolor by Karen Stakelum
  What’s your favorite thing to paint and why?

I do love to paint kitschy things from the 1950s and 1960s and buildings from that era, especially concentrating on places in New Orleans that were once local fixtures…but now are gone.  And I have a fun, ongoing series of paintings that involves me placing my old Beatle albums in a still-life setting with other objects from the 1960s. 

Could you talk about your painting techniques?  

My compositions usually start in the lens of my camera because I work from photographs.  I draw directly on my paper using a 6H pencil.  I use Arches paper exclusively – usually Elephant Size or Half Elephant, 260 lbs., Cold-Press.  For paints, I use Daniel Smith, Winsor+Newton, Holbein and Schmincke professional-grade watercolors.  My technique is simple:  When the drawing is complete, I float clean water in the spaces I want to paint & then with another brush, drop in the watercolors.  I rarely mix paint on the palette, preferring to let the paint mix itself once it hits the damp paper.  This gives vibrancy to the end result.  Since I live in the most humid of climates, I dry the paper with a heat gun.  It takes about three days to complete a small painting and about a week to ten days to complete a large one.
original watercolor by Karen Stakelum
How did you arrive at your current style?

Trial and error! 

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

Johannes Vermeer and Jan Van Eyck are two of my favorite ‘Old Master’ artists.  And as for the present, all one has to do is to observe the completed paintings of Paul Jackson and John Salminen to understand how a good, solid watercolor is put together.  I also must say that I draw inspiration from my friends in LWS.  I’m amazed at the level of talent we have in this organization and the artists are top-notch. 
original watercolor by Karen Stakelum
What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your well being/success as an artist?   

Aside from the obvious (paint, paper, water & brushes), I need to have air conditioning and my TV.  My comfort-zone is important!   Another thing that is essential is natural light.  I cannot paint at night.  The paint looks different under artificial light sources and actually can fool the artist.

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

Essential colors on my palette are Daniel Smith Cobalt Blue, Manganese Blue, Nickel Azo Yellow, Transparent Brown Oxide, Quinacridone Pink and Sap Green.  Holbein Opera and Jaune Brilliant   are also favorites of mine.  I use many other colors but these always find their way into my paintings.

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

 Completing a new series of paintings is a goal of mine.  And I am hoping that the economy recovers so that those in our field can sell their work more easily.  I would also like to become diligent about entering competitions so that I can earn my NWS and AWS signature status. 

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

Choose subject matter that you love.  You will not get a good painting if you aren’t interested – usually passionately – in your subject matter.  And always use the best art supplies you can afford.  Two or three tubes of the best watercolors will make a better painting than a whole palette of cheap paint! 
original watercolor by Karen Stakelum
What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?

Always paint from your own photos and/or life experiences.   There is a certain ‘magic’ that happens in the painting if you have actually been to the place that you are trying to depict. 

Chocolate or vanilla?

Sunny beach or rustic mountain retreat?

Book or movie?
Love books.  Love movies.  Don’t make me choose!

Favorite author?
Mark Steyn, Stephen King, Jane Austen

Favorite movie?
National Lampoon’s Animal House and
any movie directed by Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock or Martin Scorsese.

Romance or comedy?  Comedy and suspense.

Favorite ice cream flavor?   Vanilla.

Night owl or morning person?   Night owl.

Cake or Cupcakes?  Cookies!

Thank you so much Karen:)

Have a great weekend, everyone!