Sunday, March 18, 2018

It's time for my closeup

For quite some time I have been wanting to paint some of my carosel pictures I have been collecting on my phone. I probably have a good 50-60 photos of carousels and their detail parts throughout Paris and Denver that I have taken. I started to paint these carousels initially with the entire carousel, only to discover that they were all very boring & were basically complete crap. So, I put the carousel idea away for almost 2 years....
Then, at the beginning of this year, I started to look at them again in a different way. I started to take my photos and zoom in on the closeup parts of the carousel and found that these were much more interesting & seemed to tell more of a story about the carousel. It really brought these horses to life. 

The painting below is from a seasonal carousel that is on the 16th street mall during Christmas time. They ask for a nonperishable food item to ride the carousel & the proceeds go to help the homeless. 
Carousel CloseUp (2018)
Oil on canvas board 6x8

There is a lesson here in being patient, persistant & never deleting anything off your phone...EVER... so that way when you are your child's 2 hour baseball practice & your sitting in a windoless batting cage, waiting for it to end, because you left your book at home, you can just focus on your closeup. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Turbo Pet

Sometime last year, I was asked by my work wife to create a painting for her husband for Valentines day. They had recently lost thier beloved dog, Henry, and she wanted to have a special memory of him.  I was honored that she asked me to paint their dog, but, I was not sure I could create him for her. I said: Let me try and see how it turns out. So, in true form, I delayed staring on it, then I got it most the way done & then I procrastinated the final touches until the last minute. Which is basically the same way I do our taxes.

Not long after, another friend asked me to paint her dog for her husband & this one proved to be a great challenge, as the dog, Aspen, was an all black lab. Finding color in black was something I hadn't done a lot of, so I said the same thing: Let me try and see if it will turn out. Once again, I delayed start, then got mostly done, then procrastinated the finish..executed it just like our taxes.

Not long after, I offered to paint a pet portrait in our silent auction for my son's school fundraiser. The winning bid was this little cross-eyed siamese cat, Clarabelle. Once I received the pictures from the winner, I did what I do best....performed my taxes.

Clarabelle 2016
Oil on canvas 8x10

Aspen 2016
Oil on clay board  12x16

Henry 2016
Oil on clay board  12x16
In all honesty, each of these pets, I was deeply honored to paint. Pets bring a joy and a love to a person and a family like no other. My Dad says "Dogs are the best people" (I would add that cats are too). 
Also, painting pets is way more enjoyable than doing taxes. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Upside Down

      As I have been working on portraits, in order to complete my entire family by 2017, I had to get myself done. Making a "selfie" is much more difficult than you'd expect. You think it would be easy, but we really don't spend that much time looking at ourselves, at least I don't. I spend more time staring at a computer screen...or when home, at my kids everday messes. Seriously, I'm not sure the toothpaste ever gets in their mouth, but rather all over the bathroom sink. So, when I started this painting, it took awhile and a lot of revision. You see yourself a certain way & when you really stare at yourself, for long periods of time and then start to put in on canvas, your brain starts to trick you. And before you know it, you don't look like yourself. You've strayed way too far off. So you flip yourself upside down to make sense of the nonscese and that is strange to be so upside down at yourself, but it works for a little least to accomplish some parts. But then that starts to fail and you have to go back upright again, where you are somewhat more comfortable. And it continues this dance of the upside down. 

Self Portrait #1 (2017)
Oil on canvas board 6x6
However, at some point you just have to stop working on yourself for a bit, just enjoy what you've accomplished already & make another "selfie" later, when you have a new haircut. 

Here is the finished accoplishment: 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Bombs of sunflowers

Like many others like us, without a yard or with a small yard, we belong to a community garden. It's only our second year in the garden, but we are getting it. Each year when I'm planning out my veggies, my son is planning out his sunflower & snap dragon flowers. 
He loves his flowers, but will not openly admit it. 
He loves sunflowers and snapdragons best because they are "good pollination for the bees." 

He has a style to planting these  sunflowers. He forms the seeds into mud compost balls, so called "seed bombs" and he strategically puts them into the ground. So far, both years he has had great success with his sunflowers.
Evening Sunflowers (2017)
18x24 Mixed Media

Morning Sunflowers (2017)
9x12 Acrylic 
Mexican Sunflowers (2017)
10x10 Acrylic 
So far, he has the ability to successfully turn bombs into beautiful drops of sunshine. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

It's too hot for life and air conditioning...or the time we bought a minvan

Every-time I sit down to type this story, I end up stopping because  I still can't decide if I find it funny yet. 

Last month, we headed to northern Wisconsin to spend vacation in a place called Lost Lake up by Minoqua & St. Germain, very close to the Canadian boarder. Quite lovely living up there. 
This year, instead of flying to Wisconsin, we decided to take the Subaru, so we could hook our bike trailer and haul all our bikes, plus save a little bit of money by not flying (this little irony is important later). We spent a wonderful week up there enjoying fishing, biking, tennis, swimming, a small bit of antiquing, and napping. Our children each made some new friends and both got much better on their bikes. The little one mastered her 2 wheel pedal bike (no training wheels)! 

A great vacation, well spent. 

We packed up the Subaru and headed on our way back on our 2 day road trip back to Colorado. 
Somewhere, close to the Iowa/Minnesota boarder, in 95 degree weather, the Subaru decided to up and die. Die! Right there on the highway, close to nothing! That's right, we were stranded, with our car packed full, bikes on the back, in 95 degree weather, sweating...sweating so much. 
"What's going on with the car?" (me)
"It's dead...I told you we shouldn't run the air conditioner. That's probably what did it." (angry peacock)
"I'm sure it wasn't the air conditioner. It was only on for an hour. And I'm too F@#*ing hot, I needed a cool down." (me)
(Now I'm about 80% sure that something along the lines of "It's too hot to have the air conditioner running that long." was said. But it could be that "it's too hard on the car to have the air conditioner on"...either way...It's too hot for life and air conditioning and our car...obviously).

Long story, but we finally get ourselves and the car moved to a repair/dealership in a small town in Minnesota. They tell us the car is totally done, engine is done, gasket heads...oil leaking....antifreeze something or other...basically all the running parts of the car don't run... but... it's NOT from the air conditioner...just sayin.  

We're trying to figure out how to get ourselves home with all our crap plus our bikes and the bike rack. I should also mention here that I STILL haven't removed the ski rack from the top of the car, so we have that too. The closest car rental place is an hour away and they are not answering their phones. It's coming on 5pm and we've been stranded now since 2:30. 

So, I got this van I could could sell you.....

WHAT!? I say to the peacock. We aren't going to buy a minivan today, in the middle of Minnesota. That's insane! I don't want a minivan. 
Well, it'll get us home, with all our stuff....and who knows, you might like having a minivan. Help you haul the kids around with all their stuff.
[Daggers are shooting out of my eyes at the peacock now]
I don't want to drive a minivan, it's too big and will it even fit in our parking spot (yes, it did....barely. But it did not clear our speed bump in the garage very gracefully). 

So, we bought the minivan (and for those wondering, yes, a minivan is more expensive than 4 round trip tickets to Wisconsin, but it will haul 4 bikes, the bike rack, 4 suit cases, 1 family, 2 car  seats & 1 ski rack). We drove the rest of the way home in the van WITH THE AIR CONDITIONER ON!!
We got home & prepared to sell it. We owned it for 2 weeks.  
And you think the story ends there.  However, when we were getting ready to bring it out of our garage for a test drive, the peacock was pulling it out and there was all this broken industrial glass on the street in front of our garage and he popped the tire on the way out...I'm serious. I literally can't make this crap up. So there we are with a guy ready to buy & a flat tire. This is why we owned it for 2 weeks instead of one. 

Journal sketch with watercolor
St. Germain, WI 2017
Journal Sketch with watercolor
On the dock at Lost Lake, WI 2017
But, we got the tire fixed. Sold the van. And survived our first family road trip. 
I'm thinking in about 5 years I will laugh at this...for now I'm still cooling down with the AIR CONDITIONER ON! 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Live Fun Raising

About 2 months ago, I painted live for my son's annual fundraiser along with 2 other amazing artists.
Talk about nervous excitement.
This  was my first time to ever paint live. I did years of dance recitals and a couple of plays, but never painting. I am an introvert by nature, but I have always been able to "perform" & quite enjoyed it when I was younger without claming up. What makes painting live so nerve racking is the fact that I don't always have a "good painting day" &  I suppose that's also what makes it so exciting. You really don't know what is going to come out of you that day. Just hope it is something good.

I chose to paint a painting that I had done a couple of times before, but go a little rogue by adding some florescent acrylic paint, ink, collage pieces and oil pastels to this new vision. I had about two and a half hours to complete it, but the hardest part was knowing when to stop. When I paint at home I just stop when I'm stuck or want to think about it, and I just keep it up on the easel or raise it up on a shelf for like anywhere between 2 days to 2 weeks or until I decide what to do with it (I have a painting in a corner that I've been picking at since January).

Live art Clock Tower 2017
Mixed Media on canvas 12x24 

When you paint live, there is no raising it  up on a shelf to sit for 2 months. There's only getting it done, having some fun and praying to God that you're having a good paint day.



Monday, April 17, 2017

Crushin it

A couple months ago, the peacock and I took a long weekend to Crested Butte to rest and relax and enjoy the large amounts of snow. The peacock loves to snowboard and I...well, don't. I honestly, have a bit of fear when I downhill ski. I prefer scenic skiing, with snow shoes on.

So for this trip, I decided this was my year to ski!
I rented ski equipment from the local shop & got ready to head up with the family to a T-bar lift in town called Cranor Hill. For those who don't know the area, Cranor Hill is NOT Crested Butte. It is a hill, one hill, with one Tbar lift. I figured that this was a cheap and fairly easy hill to learn to ski. Oh, and I planned to just teach myself by watching some YouTube videos. I've seen my son teach himself all kinds of cool things building Minecraft, so I'm sure my Youtube ski lessons will be similar. Plus, I did ski when I was 7, so it's like riding a bike....

except that it's not. It's not at all.

We got to hill and that's when I decided, there was no way I would get on the lift and make it down intact without acquiring some kind of "trick hip" or any other long term orthopedic consequence.  So, I'll just do some hike ups and plow downs. So up I hiked about 5 feet, put my skis on and down I went...slowly, slowly, slowly. Hike up, plow down, hike up, plow down...crushin the slopes.

Not long after I began tearin it up on the slope, wouldn't you know it, but one of my old high school crushes arrived with his family. Why I never run into any of my old crushes when I'm doing awesome shit, is beyond me. At this point, the peacock was no where to be found, leaving me alone on the hill. Crush.

Crested Butte Spring Break 2016
Oil on canvas board 6x8
I soon found my forever crush inside, feeding our offspring lunch. Doing awesome shit. 
And ya, I'm crushing on it. 

This is an older painting, from last year's Crested Butte trip. Just didn't have the words till now.