Thursday, October 25, 2012

Art CAN Change Everything

This past weekend I've had the huge privilege to be apart of a movement. Something new here on the coast of Mississippi. Something very exciting!
About 2 or 3 months ago I was approached by my friend Angie Molyneaux about a street art project that she had envisioned for the last year. This weekend it finally came together.

The project: 21 different artists painting together on the boarded up windows of the old Kress building in the Vieux Marche area of downtown Biloxi, MS. Over 30+ windows to paint. All to accomplish within one weekend (to keep an element of surprise).
We all met for over a month, each planning their painting and talking over ideas for the building. Chase Taylor (the owner of the Kress) was extremely excited for us to come in and turn the old gray plywood covering the windows into original artwork. He supplied the materials and equipment, (paint, scaffolding, scissors lifts, lights) and we all donated our time and energy.

Some artists took their boards home (which most were 3 panels of 4ft by 8ft!) and some painted onsite the night of. I had a mix up with my boards and basically didn't get them until Thursday night and worked like a mad-woman to catch up and be ready by the weekend.

Here's some before shots of the building

Friday night everyone set up and got to work. I started painting at home Friday morning at 6am and went until 4pm, stopped to let it dry them we loaded up my panels and my friend Carmen's and headed out to the building to finish the painting on site. By the end of Friday I'd spent a total of 20 hours painting!!!! It's the biggest piece I've ever done. All in all I painted 24 hours in two days to finish it on time.

I can't remember loving painting so much as I did in those few days. I was reminded of why I LOVE being an artist and as Carmen put it "it lit a fire in me that I didn't know went out".  I was exhausted (never had my arm/wrist/everything actually HURT from painting so much in a day) but somehow I felt like I could do this forever and still love every moment of it.

The energy and community working with everyone was absolutely amazing! Everyone shared what they had, everyone encouraged one another, everyone was just so excited to be painting and being a part of changing something here on the Gulf Coast. We were bringing new life back into a community. I love the responses we got from the people who came by and saw us all out there. SO happy with what we were accomplishing!

Front of the building (that's George Ohr's face up there)

My finished piece! "Death to Life" 

Mine installed on the windows!
the back of the building

Back of the Kress. Left: Jericka Broussard. Right: Robby Amonett

by Gretchen David

Ben Rusher

Robby Amonett

Greg Gandy

Jennifer Emerson

Richard Haugh

Julia Reyes

Alan Longino

Carmen Lugo
Side alley view. Photo credits to Carmen Lugo!

Carmen and I with Chase, the owner of the Kress
A HUGE thanks to Chase for allowing us to go crazy with his building!

I'm so thankful for my husband who put up with barely seeing me all weekend and hauled me and all the panels around all weekend and who put up my crazy stressful running around and who supported everything that went on. 
It's truly been an ART REVOLUTION and I'm so happy I got to be apart of it.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

En Plein Air

Yesterday my husband and I took a spur of the moment drive to one of our favorite spots on the coast. An old lighthouse in Biloxi where people go to fish and there's tons of birds. He decided he wanted to do some reading. I decided to do some sketching so I thought I'd share what I bring along with me when I'm not painting in the studio.

For me, plein air painting [French- for open air painting] is all about relaxing and not necessarily achieving a perfect masterpiece. Mostly the sketches I start outside will be the smaller studies for larger pieces. But sometimes it's nice to just get out and be in the sun with your pencils and brushes.
Here's my array of watercolor brushes

Drawing pencils, sharpener, favorite pens (pilots), and sharpies

Bucket for water. Whenever I go sketching at the beach I never bring my own water but use salt water and let the salt work with my watercolors. 

To keep things simple I use a tray of watercolors instead of my usual tubes.

Watercolor pencils.

My bag to carry everything in.

And music, its sets the mood. 
I did a few rough drawings of some seagulls and herons, I'll definitely be going back hopefully next time I'll get to spend more time out there.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Work in Progress

Seeing as how I haven't updated in a while I'd thought I'd post some work in progress pictures on one of my latest watercolor paintings. Kind of an evolution of a painting and the process.

This was the original reference photo I took at an antique fair. I did a little rearranging with my drawing to find a composition that I was happy with.
Initial drawing

First wash

Adding some color

Finishing touches

The final piece! "Vintage Bottles"

Friday, May 25, 2012

We Are The Desirable People

We are the desirable people
The dreamers and fighters of things unseen
The believers of the world
and the lovers who love hard
and don't give up
The workers of jobs we hate
while we strive everyday to make or break
To stand still is to die
We've got the wanderlust 
the feet that need to go
and be about the world
to feel and hurt but to grow
We are the inspired
The fly-ers
The hopeful,
The beautiful,
The makers and the buyers
We are the artists, the musicians, 
the creators, the singers and writers
We work hard for but a taste of what we crave
These dreams are costly and they take more from us 
than we can give
Our world loves us yet we don't belong
We are the undercurrent 
Appreciated but not valued
Loved but not needed
We carve our own place
We push through our own way
We are the desirable people
Yet we cannot live

Monday, May 21, 2012

Altered Books

So I've found a new obsession! When a friend of mine showed me some of her sketchbooks made from old discarded library books, I was instantly hooked! She had paintings and drawings and color. In a book!

I went straight to Goodwill and bought some books to try on my own.
It's super easy and I love that there are no rules, so its hard to feel like you messed up a page (although if you truly disliked it, taking an exacto knife to cut it out is super easy). Plus I bought 5 books for $1 (sale at Goodwill oh yes!) so I definitely consider them cheap sketchbooks. I'm also finding that these books are a great small exercise in getting some creative juices flowing. No pressure. No fear of the ole blank canvas. 
This particular sketchbook I've begun using for sermon notes. Yep I lug the book, the pencils,  the pens, watercolor pencils and pastels to church (yeah I'm that person who takes up two chairs with my junk). I listen, I write, and I sketch. As a highly visual person this helps me remember what was taught Sunday to Sunday while also letting me be as creative as I want. Yes, in church. Long ago I realized that God and art definitely go hand-in-hand. Letting one inspire the other has always been good for me. 
Right now we are in the books of Acts
Vintage sewing pattern tissue paper, scrapbook paper, a receipt for some earrings Justin bought me, even letting the book page show through
When I start a new page I usually focus on color. I glue at least three pages together to make them sturdy enough to hold paint and whatever else I stick on the pages.

I prepare the background ahead of time at home in the studio, so that all I have to do is take the notes come Sunday. My backgrounds consist of paper I like, gessoed pages, paint, and sometimes I even modge podge regular drawing paper to just cover the words and give me a blank page to write and draw on. My favorite backgrounds are monoprints of abstract color.

(an example of a mono printed background, great for texture!)

This one has sandpaper, mono printed paper, and drawing paper.

I begin during the service and then finish when I get home in my studio (mostly acrylic paint because that would get messy to take with me).

Pictures, newspaper, scrapbooking paper, even tea tags!

Altered books are more about putting together what you like and find inspiring. There's no wrong way to do them just put whatever you want in them and have fun!

To see some more art journals/altered books go to: and check her work out! It's amazing!