Mimi paints Dogwood

Ever wonder how much a rainy day effects you mood? Mimi gets tired of the rain most days, but today she welcomed it because it kept her indoors to paint. The frogs are croaking, and last night the air smelled of blossoms. It is no wonder Mimi would paint flowers again. Somehow her painting—as well as her mood—has been influenced by the rain. The lack of sunshine in the sky has shown up in her painting. Still only three colors have been used on her palette, red, blue and yellow. It is helping somewhat with color harmony and she is getting better at mixing colors. Mimi is still working on focal point and foreground vs. background. If you have any helpful information, leave Holly a comment and she will pass it along to Mimi.

Poppies for Sandy

What inspires you? For me it is people, my kids, family, friends, special occasions like birthdays and holidays. It always comes back to who’s on my mind. Today I had coffee with a new friend, who seems like an old friend. She continually inspires me to be the best I can be. So today I paint for Sandy. “Poppies for Sandy” Thanks for the inspiration wise friend, and the laughter. Check out Sandy’s blog and you’ll know why I like her so much.

Learn something new everyday

As you may have noticed I have been trying to learn to paint in watercolors. I believe the more I sketch and paint the better graphic designer I will be. Now, you may know that I studied graphic design in college. I had many illustration classes, but they never really taught us how to use the different mediums. It was more like, “Draw a vegetable with Prismacolor pencil” or “Illustrate an emotion with watercolor paints.” Now I try to dedicate three hours, three times a week toward sketching or painting. As I improve, I get more done in those three hours—and make less of a mess doing it. The idea of dedicated studio space is becoming more and more of a need instead of a want. Every time I paint, my kitchen shuts down—which is not good considering how much my family eats. I have joined a group on FB called Virtual Paintout which uses Google Street View for inspiration to illustrate from. Google Street View is copyright free as long as you are creating art from it. It truly is a wonderful way to virtually travel the world. Every Month a new location is chosen. Here is my first attempt: location, Stavanger, Norway.

I think the only thing I like about it is the trees, maybe the sky, but no worries, I am learning and it is much more important to like where you end up, than like where you start. I had some very good critiqing from one of my favorite children’s book artist. His name is Lee White check out this blog about him http://amy-baskin.blogspot.com/2010/03/crazy-day-with-lee-white.html I need to work on focal point, and color harmony—just about everything. I can’t wait to use the information He gave me on my next painting. Another excellent site—for learning watercolor technique— http://www.johnlovett.com/class.htm I have been reading all day on watercolor techniques and viewing all I can find. If you are interested in taking this journey with me check out creativetechs.com and sign up for Molly Murrah’s watercolor 101 starting soon. It is free if you watch it live—what a bargain.

As my age inevitably increases, I find myself surprised at how much I am turning back to the fine arts as opposed to computer arts—fine arts are constant and the computer arts are changing faster than my hair is turning gray—there is some security in that. I encourage all of my friends to challenge their brains with something new every day. It doesn’t have to be art. Try a new recipe, start a journal, try a new sport, rearrange your furniture, for goodness sakes, I don’t know—just turn off the TV and do it.

Update: A new challenge from a blog called the International Fake Journal Blog can be reached by clicking the “dog icon” on my side margin. I plan to take this challenge.
artist friends, please join me.

Pass It On: trying to teach my daughter

It is Spring break here in Oregon and what better way to celebrate than to paint flowers. With extra time on her hands (Courtney, not me), I wanted to inspire her to paint. She loves art. Our quick sketch idea turned into quite an ordeal—five hours. First we looked for inspiration at morgue.com—a great site of royalty free photos by creatives for creatives. We picked a flower we both liked and sent it to the printer. Easy, right?… No. The printer was not going to cooperate. An hour later, with printer “woman handled” (ugh), we had our inspiration printed out.

Inspiration Photo from morgue.com

Now, to transfer it onto the paper. I like to use the grid method in order to enlarge (see earlier post of “June Foxglove”) the picture. In this case we decided to paint it at actual size, so we used graphite paper which allows you to trace right over the printout, thereby transferring the image to the water color paper. Place the graphite paper under the print-out and over the paper, trace the drawing.


Because we were using my old college art supplies that are over 20 years (yes, I attended college when is was 5 years old) we thought it would be great to do some test painting. This is always helpful to get a feel for your supplies. Simple enough for Courtney, my ten year old. Supplies include Dr. Ph. Matins liquid water colors and Dick Blick liquid water color magic, graphite paper, pencils, vinyl eraser, inexpensive practice watercolor paper, water, brushes, paper towels. As we improve, we plan to purchase better quality supplies. The Dr. Martins Dyes are actually very good quality, but mine are old and have separated from sitting.


Test colors

Next, we started on our background. Courtney and I have different plans on what to do. I love that about creative people. We all have our own ideas. I find that this is when most creatives get stuck. Either they are afraid to put the brush to paper, or they don’t like how it looks at first and get frustrated. Artists CAN NOT be fearful or they will never improve.

All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”—Pablo Picasso.

I noticed CJ (Courtney) getting very frustrated as I looked on thinking what an amazing job she was doing. She had an idea, and I couldn’t help her create her vision—she was frustrated. I encouraged her to walk away and come back to it later. She is a perfectionist for sure. Here are our backgrounds that are drying completly before we move on to the next step of painting the flowers.

Holly’s background

Courtney’s background

So why write all this and call it “Pass It On”? Because as parents, adults, teachers. aunts, uncles sisters, brothers, friends—whatever we call ourselves, we owe it to the future generation to pass on our skills. I encourage all of you who read this to pass on the talents the Lord has given you—to not only your own children, but also, to other people’s kids. Whether you teach sunday school, art, horse back riding, chess club, cooking or gardening classes, I encourage you to volunteer in your community. Pass It On!

P.S. Jacksonville Elementary will have their Annual Art Exhibition in the gym on April 6, 2010. Hope to see you there.

Starting the flowers.

What we ended up with today. I celebrate young artists. CJ did a great job overcoming her fears. Pass it on.