An artist's journal.
Here you'll find my paintings and musings, where the featured subjects could likely cover just about anything.
The last 4+ years I've been caring for my best buddy B during his courageous fight to live through cancer and it's complications. I'm tickled to report, he's getting better and I'm finding small bits of painting time again.

Looking forward to a daily celebration of life's gifts by using the brightest, happiest colors in the box!

Visitors looking for 'B's Journey', click here.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

'Strawberry Roan' 2005
24 X 24 X 1.5" 
Acrylic on canvas
Wingate collection, Tucson AZ
This is 'Shortcake, the strawberry roan'  ©. She is one of 3 horses I created in 2005. She, along with 'LaLa, the appaloosa' ©, and 'Firefly, the grey Chincoteague' ©, have always shown up in my equine paintings since then. They are the horses I never got to have as a kid.

Today I seem to be stuck. Mired. Motionless. Blocked. I simply can't paint a thing I like and I'm pretty sure I know why. Today I find myself caught up in the dreaded comparison trap. 

"You shouldn't compare yourself to the best that others do." unknown

That's the first line from 55a note I posted on my 56th birthday summing up some of life's lessons that I've learned while having the privilege of spending 5.5 decades living on this marvelous/perilous planet!

You shouldn't compare yourself to the best that others do

I find that if I start to compare my paintings with the work of those artists that I'm most in awe of,  I open the door and invite in for a spell, one of an artist's worst enemies, the self-doubt monster. And while he's visiting, his influence on my painting is paralyzing. The faster I show him the door, the better. By allowing myself to be inspired, not intimidated, by the the work of my favorite artists, I come away lighter, free to let myself explore where I fit into the big picture.

How boring if all artists painted exactly alike. I have a friend whose paintings hang all over her own house. She does beautiful landscapes. But her palette rarely changes, her style stays consistent. While I'm visiting, I find myself looking for that one painting that's a bit different. Her paintings, when hung with other artist's, stand out. But walls and walls of just her stuff leaves me searching for something.

In this big old art gallery of a world, there's plenty of room on the walls for all of us. Explore! Learn from others. Be inspired by others, but be careful not to put out your creative fire by comparing your work to the best of the best.  We all have something to offer!

Ahhh..sometimes, just putting things into words helps. So now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a monster who needs to be shown the door.

Monday, February 7, 2011

'Autumn Rooster' 2005
18 X 24 X 1.5"
Acrylic on canvas
McCourt collection- Boulder, CO

Janie, the owner of this little rooster painting, called me today to let me know he was the star of a party she'd had recently. Asking me if I had any other barnyard critter paintings in the works, she reminded me of several ideas I've got along those lines. Thanks Janie. Great hearing from you my friend!

click image to enlarge

A YEAR IN THE LIFEJanuary recap and progress report

I spent this first month going full steam ahead on this one year project to introduce myself to the online art community. There was way too much time spent at my computer, rather than my easel, and that was a bit disconcerting. I kept having this nagging thought that I was building a beautiful store, but with little time spent painting, the shelves were going to be quite bare. Then I would remind myself that every bit of  what I was doing was important to the larger picture, so I stayed to task. Now as I do my January recap, I realize I really did accomplished quite a bit. I know my YEAR IN THE LIFE project kept me going in the right direction and I did finish two paintings.

My list of online to-do's was extensive. After all, this was the first month of my journey. Many of the things on my to-do list, once established, will require minimal upkeep, but the process of setting things up does take a good chunk of time. I was pleased to discover I have some pretty good instincts and was already applying some basic fundamentals to my blog and art marketing.

So, here's a recap of what I accomplished this first month. Blog building, using the How To Create an Insanely Popular Blog for Your Art broadcast, was the focus for January. My goals to tidy up this blog, as well as build a new blog for my 'The Daily Painters of Arizona' endeavors were among the things I completed. I also:
  • Launched my YEAR IN THE LIFE chronicle here, posting Part 1 and  Part 2.
  • Joined and started posting on 'The Daily Painters of Arizona' blog~ for this I created a second artblog dedicated to posting only on DPOA. Probably spent more time than I should have on the header for this blog, but I liked the way it came out. And I learned a few more photoshop skills along the way, so the time was well spent. See this new blog by clicking here.
  • Redesigned this blog~ Wow! This took a big chunk of time, but blog-building was this month's focus. I changed templates, creating a customized version of 'Watermark'. I also played around with a new header for this blog, and although I'm still not crazy about it, it'll have to do for now.
  • Created a Zazzle store and an Imagekind store for my paintings. 
  • De-cluttered and organized my blog's margins. I got rid of outdated links and added links that are currently relevant for me, such as links to my newly created Zazzle store that sells greeting cards, mugs and totes with images of my artwork on them and my Imagekind store, where prints of my paintings are available with a variety of sizes and options.
  • Became a professional member of Contemporary Fine Arts International. I had to write and send a bio of myself along with 15+ images of  paintings for my Artist Page found on their website. All the images needed resizing before I could send them (more photoshop time), but writing the bio was the hardest thing for me. I waited 'til the morning it was due to write it and I'm sure a few months down the road, I'll be wondering what the heck was I thinking when I wrote it. But it is what it is for now.
  • I also entered 3 paintings in the CFAI  monthly painting challenge. This is a first for me! These are all archived works, but were relevant to this month's challenge theme, FRIENDSHIP. See all the paintings (including mine) submitted here. Submitting art to be judged is not as scary as I thought it would be. The results of this competition won't be announced until early March. I've got my fingers crossed.
  • Had some success with my blog building adventures, increasing my blog followers 20% this month.I'm at 25 now. I am also timidly approaching a few other artists who's blogs I love, asking if they might consider adding my blog to their blogroll lists. I am surprised and delighted by the friendly reception I'm receiving. My humble thanks to Carol Nelson, Dana Cooper, Jennifer Woodburn, Lisa Walsh , Carol Schiff and Gwen Bell.
  • Speaking of blogrolls, I expanded and improved mine, adding more great artists. I've also added links to some fun Art Challenges I've found online. My plan is to also add links to suppliers and art resources as I put together my lists of companies I love doing business with.
  • I only completed two paintings, but did play around on a few others. I organized and cleaned my studio, and I created a new still-life staging area, that's going to be great for my daily paintings of everyday stuff. Yippeee!
  • "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans" - John Lennon ~A lot of life stuff went on in January, including two of our granddaughters' birthdays. I read a book. I gardened (well, I cleaned up my garden after a pack of javelinas tore it up). And, I spent almost a week paralyzed, watching, along with the rest of the country, the events unfold here in my beloved Tucson, after a madman went on a shooting rampage. Read my related blogpost. 
When I started A YEAR IN THE LIFE, I thought I'd be covering two radio broadcasts a month. Well, I can already tell that's not a pace I'll be keeping up with. I spent way too much time away from my hubby and my painting this first month. Time spent applying what I'm learning from each broadcast to my own endeavors, as well as keeping up to date with the chronicle, is a bit much. Instead, I'll cover one broadcast a month, relevant to what's next on my list of things I need to do. 

Website building is on my list for February. My website is self-built, and embarrassing. I hope to find the resources I need for building an affordable website I can be proud of through Artists Helping Artists. I especially need to have a gallery to display my available (and sold) paintings. Do any of you artists out there have any recommendations for a Fine Art website builder? I could sure use some suggestions for a good one, or warnings if you've had a bad experiences with a bad one. Oh, and I need to be able to post and edit my new paintings myself as needed, so it needs to be somewhat user friendly. (I do have a grasp of html and css)

Once again, thanks for visiting....and happy painting!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"Emma's Fireflies" 2011
10 X 10 X 1.5"
Acrylic on canvas

Original not for sale,
but prints are available here.

click image to enlarge

Yesterday, our oldest granddaughter turned 17.  An amazing, gifted singer, songwriter, piano and guitar player, she already 'glows'. She likes fireflies, so I decided to do a little painting for her birthday. As grandparents, we love to pass on words of wisdom to our grandchildren and I feel that through this painting that I will be able to 'speak' to her for many years to come.

I'm making prints to give to my other 6 granddaughters. If there's someone in your life you think would also like to have one of these, you can ORDER PRINTS HERE  through Imagekind. I also have matted, signed prints of this painting available by contacting me directly HERE . This painting is also available HERE on mugs, greeting cards and totes through Zazzle.
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"There are days when I feel I could've painted the Sistine Chapel and, then, there are the days when I'm not sure I could trace a stick figure.... the only difference between these days is my state of mind"~ Jenna Millward Corkill