galleries

At the end of August I collected the last of my pieces from the Firehouse Gallery and moved them all to–plus a lot more original pieces–to the Leesburg Town Hall. I was in such a rush I didn’t really get pictures of everything once they were on the walls–but they DO look good I think.

All the pieces are for sale, of course. I actually last minute switched out one of the works (my Blue Ridge Mountains) just so I could say that. The Blue Ridge stays with me!

I think one of the hardest things for me to do, as a artist, is put the brush down and let a piece be finished. I did that with the Blue Ridge, and it is just so pretty.

pure ultramarine

Here is the one picture I have of the arrangement in the town hall lobby:

It was also cool, then night we held an opening during First Friday Leesburg, to see so many of my products on display. Most of them owned by my very supportive mother–but some of them are mine.

I have these gorgeous painted boots you can see in the back there–not for riding anymore, if ever–perfect for a Kentucky Derby Party, or maybe a Steeple chase tailgate. I have a couple more pairs needing painting, I should probably paint them all up and then list them all at once instead of dripping them out into the world.

Also, you should know: Product pictures are a thing. There are moments when I think, “OH! I can totally do that.” and others, usually when I am holding a camera, when I realize that it is MUCH harder than it looks. Hats off to all you product picture people. Good work!

The exhibit runs to the end of Nov, you should swing by the Leesburg Town Hall if you happen through Northern VA. The downtown is incredibly cute, lots of great food and fun shops, plus, you know, this really awesome art exhibit by this artist you follow on the internet.

I’ve already started thinking about Christmas and I’ll be planning out time to paint. If you’re interested in a commission piece, they are shockingly affordable and make amazing presents. If you aren’t sure about something, just ask me.

You can hit me up here, or go straight to my Etsy shop and place an order there.

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gauche tigers

I decided to investigate gauche. I was curious what made it different from watercolor, when most people say, “Oh, it’s like watercolors” when you ask what it is.

The binder is different than watercolor, so it’s just…different…more translucent? More…luminous.

tigre!

I borrowed some of my mother in law’s gauche, and I’ve been enjoying playing with it. Though, apparently it makes me want to paint tigers because that’s all I’ve done.

Yaaaaawn

I’m enjoying how different it is…and how the same. I’ve used the gauche for a base, and then finished the tigers with my brush pens to get really stark lines for the stripes. On the second tiger I also relied on masking fluid. Well….experimented with masking fluid.

I feel like masking fluid is a really interesting tool, and I’m enjoying messing around with it.

Oh, did you notice? I’m still trying to make a tiger half as awesome as my glamour leopard. I’m getting closer. Actually, both of these tigers came out pretty awesome, but are a different medium than the leopard so they still don’t go. I just forget about colored pencils. they still exist. I own them, even.

So how is everyone? September flashed past me at top speed. I cannoooooot believe October is this week.

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How To Train Your Dragon

totes adorbs

I did not expect to love How To Train Your Dragon. I really don’t remember why I watched it at all, who I watched it with, or anything like that. But wow, it was so good. The story, the music…

Oh, the music. I bought the Lord of the Rings Soundtracks because I adored the movies. I bought Prince of Egypt because who doesn’t want to crank up When You Believe or Jethro’s song? The Incredibles, Star Wars…classic soundtracks that I enjoyed listening to…But the soaring tones of HTTYD by John Powell are something else entirely. Rapturous. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so enthralled by music without words.

I was actually poised to dislike HTTYD. I was sort of braced for something like Shrek, which I only sort of enjoyed. I mean, the hero was named Hiccup and had a scraggly voice. I was prepared for a cynical story that was all about tearing down heroic ideals. That is definitely, completely, not what I got. Instead, it was a story about true heroism. An actually useful personal journey in understanding, true value, and sacrifice.

Hiccup’s name didn’t change. His voice didn’t change. But his perception of himself, his father, and of course dragons, did. Astrid’s perception changed. Stoic’s perception changed.

Love really did conquer all.

HTTYD2 was also excellent. Possibly even better than HTTYD. I loved how they built on the story, Hiccup coming to terms with how, though he has Toothless and Astrid, he’s still him, and still the chief’s son. I love the story of him learning that he doesn’t have to be exactly like his father to be a good chief–but being like his father in terms of love, forgiveness, and bravery–that is what makes a good chief. I loved that the story didn’t center on the romance between him an Astrid, you are just shown a real, loving, growing, relationship. The Stoic/Valka relationship so incredibly poignant in the few scenes they had together. I remember sitting in theaters with tears pouring down my face going “YOU DIDNT WARN ME DREAMWORKS! I DID NOT EXPECT TO BAWL AT THIS MOVIE.”

HTTYD3…somehow just wasn’t what I wanted. I think…it felt like they backtracked Hiccup’s emotional and character journey from the previous movie, and…it just…fell flat. I could forgive the antics and goofy humor clearly aimed at the younger audience–though Snotlout’s (right?) obsession with Valka was a little bizarre. Part way through Hiccup’s character arc was sort of designated as “who are you without Toothless, who has become your crutch?”

–except Toothless wasn’t a crutch in the other two movies, he was a catalyst. Did I miss something by not watching the kid’s show Race to the Edge?

We all know and love Toothless, but having the Light Fury resist Hiccup’s friendship so entirely, we don’t really get to befriend her either. Instead, it feels like we married off a dear friend to a harpy who hates us even though she doesn’t know us at all, and we’re left trying to understand why he loves her. I mean…we don’t even know her name. Who is this dragon? She…seems…nice? She’s…pretty?

It’s also really sad that the first movie’s conclusion that man and dragon can live together in peace is reversed in this film–that only SOME people can handle it, and because not everyone can, they don’t get to keep their pets. It might be realistic, but that isn’t what I wanted. I wanted hope for a better future.

A big pro to the story, though, is seeing Hiccup and Astrid continue their real relationship like real people. They grow up, get married, lead the clan, and have children together. Never flagging in their commitment to one another. Talk about relationship goals.

The music was great again, but since I loved the story less I have less of a connection with the music.

Anyway, I still love HTTYD. The characters, the story, and of course the dragons. In particular Toothless and Stormfly. I drew these for practice, working off a variety of images in Pinterest. I think they came out pretty adorable.

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A new thing for me: Sip and Painting

I often sip wine while I paint or draw in the evenings. But I’ve never before tried to teach anyone anything about art. Ever. Before this summer.

I like teaching. When I learn how to do something, I always end up teaching it to someone else eventually. Mostly, though, I’ve taught things like basic understanding of laws. Not things like art, which is so much more instinctive.

For me, anyway.

I’m not really sure how to teach drawing. I learned from books, and copying and tracing and drawing relentlessly. I know some words and principles that might help people draw better, or at least….help them even TRY to draw…but I don’t really know what anyone could possibly do beyond that. You learn to draw by practicing, and learning a few principles about how to draw what you actually see, not what you think you see.

With the sip and paints, a sketch is provided. So I’m mostly trying to convince people to let go of their inhibitions and let the pigments play. That’s the point of watercolors, really.

I myself painted the same rose 3x before the event (4, actually, but I only brought 3) and 2x during, different every time, to encourage people to think outside the box and let go of the pigment.

My mother in law will laugh if she reads that, because I had a hard time letting go, myself.

The blue rose was my final piece.

It was fun, I have a better idea for how I would arrange the table, how I would talk people through some of the techniques a bit better. It seemed to really help them to watch me paint, and this time I’d set myself up behind a pitcher of water and a vertical display of the color wheel–which literally no one looked at. Next time, I’ll forgo the vertical color wheel, put the pitcher somewhere else, and make sure to show people things before I unleash them to dip their brushes in pigment.

I think everyone had fun, and they definitely came up with some great combinations and turned out some very nice work. Best of all, they smiled a lot and talked about how relaxing it was. Creating art has, of course, been proven to relieve stress. One of its many benefits!

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Chicka de de de

Remember that love affair with birds? Still going strong. One of my favorite visitors to the bird feeder (though, lets be honest: almost everything is my favorite so long as it isn’t the squirrel) is the chickadee. I remember watching them at bird feeders in touristy locations—they were the only birds brazen enough to brave the proximity of the crowds. Sparrows are pretty brazen, too, but they spend their time under picnic tables rather than feeders.

My feeder is dominated by house finches and cardinals, but I do have goldfinches, titmice, and chickadees…and in the wintertime I see juncos regularly.

This spring blue jays and starlings started hanging around more, and I’ve noticed more robins in the front yard.

A sketch, and Inktense scribbles in blue and purple.

It had been a while since I’d noticed a chickadee, and one came and sat on a branch quite close to the deck doors—I was surprised that I had forgotten just how tiny chickadees are. I mean, I could probably fit 2 of them on the palm of my hand if they were so inclined.

Such a loud voice and big personality in such an incredibly tiny body—specially compared to the other song birds I’d gotten used to seeing.

Blending with a wet paper towel.

I painted this charmer for my mother as a mother’s day gift. I’m so very pleased with out it came out. #firsttry

Brushing in the branch.

I’d been experimenting for a while with inktense blended backgrounds, and had a really solid idea in my head of how to use the brush pens. I guess it shows. Inktense is such a versatile and sometimes befuddling medium. You’ll be seeing more of it in the coming weeks.

Brush pen, already a little blended. Drying before adding the black.

Have I mentioned that I love the brush pens? Love them. I love putting the color where I want it deepest and then coaxing it out further.

All blacked! And some sharpie paint pen highlights for the branches and white patches.

I still adore my Daniel Smith watercolors—I’ve developed an affinity for their particular granulation and vividness. I’ve been using them so much I’d forgotten just how special they were. My past weeks challenging myself with artist’s loft supplies have been…eye opening…and challenging. So, successful? You’ll be seeing some of that practice, soon.

Prints of the chickadee are in my Etsy shop, if anyone is interested. Just have 5×7 up there now, but 8×10 could be arranged!

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