Monday, November 2, 2015

Busy Bee

It's been a little while but I'm happy to say I've been busy working/painting. Assignments due, a wedding, and commissions to work on have all come and gone (although schoolwork is a constant factor) and I'm happy to say that within all the craziness that life tends to throw at me, I have been able to squeeze in a few new paintings. I'm realizing the importance of a daily creative practice. Just for me. So here's a progression of a new piece that I finished for a show last weekend (in the nick of time too!).
"Another Era" Watercolor  18"x 24" (before matte and frame)

 The initial drawing, which did undergo a few changes before the painting began.

The first pass of a watercolor is the most exciting/nerve wrecking for me! I can't lose the light and it starts with the first drop of color. This pass sets the tone for the whole painting.

Now things were really starting to take shape and the colors become a bit more dramatic.

Here's the finished piece hanging in the annual Ocean Springs Art Association's Fall Art Exhibit. I'm hoping it finds a new home from there! If you're local check out the show which will be hanging until mid November.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Closing Chapters, Starting New Ones

Time has flown! I'm finding the true meaning of this more and more. I'm realizing that doing the things I say/want to do needs to happen NOW instead of this ambiguous "in the future".  I'm starting to close a chapter that I started almost five years ago with school and thinking about that made me truly come to terms that LIFE really does happen. It gets chaotic and busy. Changes occur and with all my best intentions, years fly by and now I am in a completely different place in life (uh hello wife and mother!). Those goals I held so tightly to, and claimed nothing could deter me, had sort of faded with their intensity. And while other goals may have replaced them, when I finally came up for air I realized I have some unfinished business. Things that need to be completed for me to move ever onward.

So I'm taking those steps. And it's really not to late. I just took the long way getting there.

While I feel somewhat like I've made a HUGE step backwards, sometimes I need to retrace my steps to finally go in the direction I want to go.
Almost seems counter-intuitve, but I feel so good about finishing these old goals. Finish a chapter while subsequently starting a new one. Seems like this will be a season of re-evaluating exactly where I want to go, both with my life and within my art. 

That whole "in the future" is actually right now.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

White Walls

So I've decided to give my home studio a make over. It's been a long time coming. Now that I'm back working in the upstairs spare bedroom, it's time to make it feel less like a beige box and more like the inspiring creative space that I need it to be.

I'm starting primarily with the walls.
White, blank walls.
Seems weird that this is the first time in my life that I've ever painted an entire room completely white (or even just a wall for that matter). My room in high school was four different shades of blue!
But I really want the contents of the room, that is, my work, to really shine. And for that I need a blank background. The color will come from my paintings as I fill the space and I can't have any reflected color from the walls interfering with my painting/mixing.

Even though it is a lot of work, I'm starting to get excited about revitalizing this place I'm in now. Something about being intentional with the room, carving out a new place for my work and really allowing myself to be surrounded with only things that will enhance creativity. Instead of it being a catch-all for the random stuff we don't know what to do with. I have a feeling I'll be doing some de-cluttering in the process. The prospect of making this room fit MY purpose feels really good. It's crazy that it's taken me over 10 months for this to occur to me. I can't wait to finish painting and work on rearranging everything to make it all more functional (and possibly adding some shelves??). It doesn't have to be a huge space I've just gotta make it work.

I have a lot of goals this year and it's time to get things rolling in the right direction.

If anyone has any small space saving tips I'm all ears!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Jude Gestures! (Art Mama Series Part 1)

Here lately life has turned into a steady routine. It's nice, actually, and it works well for us. Part of that routine is the park. Jude and I go pretty frequently. Mainly because I have no backyard and sometimes, we just need to get out of the house. A change of scenery and some sunshine work wonders for the both of us. We go to break up the routine and now it has become my favorite part of the routine (go figure).
Usually I just walk with him in the stroller,  but other times I bring a blanket and spread out on the grass and he plays with toys (and explores the grass) and I do some sketching.
You have never done speed drawing unless you're trying to draw a very active nine month old boy! I do enjoy the challenge though and I am surprised how much of an impression I got from gesture drawing for the few seconds he sat still before moving. Also this was all while stopping him from trying to eat leaves and acorns (everything still goes into his mouth).

I also want to start a series here on the blog on how I incorporate Jude into my art. Aptly called the Art Mama Series. Whether its sketching/drawing him, or dragging him to various art functions I want to really involve Jude into my process and into the arts in every way. I also want to begin allowing him to grow up in a highly creative environment which allows him to experiment, imagine and create. I know it will be messy and hectic but it is something I truly want in my life and his.

The "Jude Gestures"

So hopefully you guys will get to see how this all progresses and plays out. I can't wait to see where this takes me as an artist and as a parent.


Monday, April 20, 2015

One of a Kind

So I thought I'd share what it's like to commission a painting. The process is pretty easy and most people would be surprised to realize that I am (and most artists for that matter) are pretty flexible when it comes to working within a certain budget for a client.
Let's take the latest commission I just finished for a friend of mine who wanted a painting of Mt. Rainier, where he is currently stationed.

The first step is to contact me! You never know until you ask! Tracey got in touch with me about an idea for a watercolor landscape based off of a photograph he really liked depicting the mountain. He wasn't sure if I even did landscapes (I do!) and he gave me a lot of artistic freedom (which is always fun!). Usually the first few questions I ask are:

1. How big? I price based on size first

2. What medium? I work in watercolor, acrylic, graphite, and occasionally oils. This helps me narrow down what you are looking for and also helps with pricing works on canvas or paper.

3. Subject matter. This is where we go back and forth on what exactly you were thinking. Keep in mind my style and way of painting (I'll usually have you look at my work first so you get a feel for my style). If you're wanting something waaaaay outside of what I do and the way I work then odds are, you won't be satisfied with anything I do (and I'll always be upfront about whether or not I'll take it on!). Realize you are coming to me because you like my artistic point of view.
Now, if you are not sure what you are wanting and need me to help with the designing of the piece this is where I would do some sketches/mockups to give you some ideas. You could send me inspiration photos or other things that you really love and elements to go into the piece. By the time we are done, you will know exactly what your piece will look like so there are no surprises.

Once we have those things established I can quote you a price. This price takes into consideration the design process, my time,  and my materials. I'll require half of the commission price as a deposit.
With my friend we established a 28"x 30" watercolor of Mt. Rainier, loosely based on a photograph but also left room for some creative liberties. He also didn't specify a deadline and gave me all the time in the world to finish (I like to have a 2-4 week turn around time, although here lately with an 8 month old I'm at around a month, depending on the size of the commission).

Then I get started! My favorite part!

My initial first wash/pass after drawing everything out (didn't get a photo of just the drawing)
The yellow at the top is my masking fluid which helps preserve my whites when I'm painting with watercolor.

My second pass is a little bit darker. Watercolor is all about building up to those layers.

Darkening the mountain even more!

Getting the trees in place as well as starting on the reflection

More work on values. LAYERS people!

The trees are just about finished and I'm making the mountain even darker and starting it's reflection as well. It's really starting to come together!

Took the masking fluid off and worked on the snow, then removed the border tape (ahhhh those crisp, clean edges!!!). Once the tape is removed I usually consider a painting done and I sign the piece.

Stared at it a while (ok A LOT) on my easel then thought it could use a little bit more COLOR to break up all the green and brown. Which left me with this:

And there you have it! I shipped this one all the way to Washington state. I love seeing my work go out into the world! I ship all over the place (including one that made it to Australia!). 
Hope you enjoyed a little behind the scenes taste of what it's like to commission a custom piece of original art that you will cherish for years! It makes me excited when people are truly happy with a painting (and I love seeing photos of it hanging in homes).

Thanks so much to Tracey for this piece! I had a great time painting it, makes me want to see the mountain in person.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

April Showers....

These last few days have been nothing but a torrential downpour here on the Gulf Coast and it looks like it will continue allllllllll week long.
Sadly, the weather makes me VERY unmotivated. I've got tons to work on, things to type up, website stuff research but all I want to is drink hot tea, binge watch Netflix and mindlessly surf the internet (or if I'm lucky take a nap, this is perfect napping weather).
So I figured I'd show off some sketchbooks I've been meaning to document. Here's one of my favorite altered sketchbooks, aptly named The Observer, seeing as how this book is filled with sketches of random people/places I've observed in various places (laundry mat, bars, a beach house, and lots and lots of coffeeshops). This book could possibly also be called my Time Waster book since usually that is what I'm doing when I drag it out to work in. (Oh yeah it happens to be a book about a fictional viking boy before I altered it, love some of the illustrations in it!)

Also here is a new watercolor sketchbook I received for Christmas that I'm really enjoying working in. It's panoramic layout poses a challenge when looking for a scene/subject matter. I kinda like how it forces me to change things up though.

Now to get on all that stuff I was procrastinating....


Thursday, April 9, 2015

What's New

Well hello blogsphere! It's been awhile since I've posted but I'm making it a goal to be better about regularly blogging and keeping up with everything that's been going on. And there's been A LOT going on.
Let's see, here's the quick run down of where I've been in life since that very last blog post (which now looking back it was definitely a turning point for me!).

-Got back in touch with an old friend (via our artist shenanigans with the newly formed A.C.C.E. group, Art Can Change Everything)

-More shenanigans, including a crazy awesome art installation in a pop-up gallery, (think large bird's nest)

-Decided to open a studio (!!!) with that friend, Carmen Lugo

-Strange Bird Studio was born!

-Hustled like crazy to make that dream a reality! Painted my fingers off, sold art, taught classes

-Enjoyed an amazing time connecting with people and other artists within ACCE

-More shenanigans, called a Surrealist Spectacle (where I dress up like a dark bird and live painted to some amazing music)

-Found out I was pregnant!! :-O

-Had to make some tough decisions regarding the studio

-Ultimately husband and I decided I needed to take a break from the studio to take care of our son (one of the hardest decisions I've ever made!)

-Jude William Daniel was born!

-Fell in love like I never thought possible

-Currently a stay at home mom, who is freelance with all her art endeavors. (And now I drag my little Jude to all my art shenanigans, including a street long outdoor art gallery called Re:Vieux when he was 3 months old)

There you have it! If you made it this far, thanks for sticking it out (believe me it was crazy times)
A lot of life change and experiences, but you know, I wouldn't change a thing about it. Now I'm acclimating to life with an 8 month old who gets into everything, while still continuing to pursue an art career. Here is where you can expect me to try to stay true to my painting, to learn and grow as a parent (and artist!), and to find my voice and speak about all of those things and more.
So stick around, it could get pretty interesting up in here. ;-)


(p.s. I leave you with a shameless picture of just how cute my son is)