Friday, December 30, 2011

July in Christmas

Yes, you read that right.  The familiar saying of "Christmas in July" is reversed this time because I painting a piece for my brother-in-law who serves in the army, and his family.  I needed a Christmas present for them, and I know they like the Hawkeyes (no way this Iowa State fan is doing something including that), hunting and the army.  (I know that's pretty limited, but humor me here!)   So, I decided to paint the Stars and Stripes. 

I love to paint over collage, so I collaged many patriotic images onto a canvas prepped with gesso.  Images include coins, statue of liberty, songs, famous past patriots and maps.  I printed out some images, and then printed out more.  I collaged them onto the canvas with acrylic medium.  It's amazing how many pages it takes to cover a roughly 24" by 34" canvas.  After letting the medium dry, I tinted the entire surface with a yellow ochre/ burnt sienna mix to even out the color.

Next, I simply measured out the correct dimensions for the red and white stripes and blue field.  I painted the acrylic as washes to let the collage show through.  I kept the color pretty muted for a folk look.  After that dried, I measured and cut out a star stencil and painted on 50 white stars.

Two coats of varnish, and this project was complete!  I loved collaging a painted a themed piece.  I plan to make several more flag paintings similar to this one.  I also have ideas to create other themed pieces in the future.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A gift for a friend this summer

This was a gift for a dear friend this past summer.  I love the collage and ink drawing.  I think I need to work on my art not being so dark.  : )

Friday, December 2, 2011

Curing Artist's Block

I'm starting to go through the book, The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.  It is a 12 week self study "course in discovering and recovering your creative self".  I have gone through the first few chapters before, and I did have more ideas flowing out of me than usual.  I have a bad habit of starting things that work, and then quitting them instead of realizing I need to continue doing those things to get the results that I want.  (Phew, that was wordy.)

I find a few basic exercises introduced in the beginning of the book very helpful.  This is just a basic, basic rundown that barely skims the surface.  The first one is "morning pages".  This is simply writing down your stream of consciousness or "brain drain" on 3 full pages every morning.  It's not necessarily writing that will turn into a finished product, but it helps us to get past our "censor".  The negative voice in our head that says, "you're not an artist", or "whatever you create in kitsch", "you don't have time" and so on and so on.  (Trust me, it really works.)

Another essential element is the artist date.  A time once a week (for 2 hours or so) for you alone to nurture your inner artist.  Whether it's gardening, visiting a thrift store or gallery, taking a long nature walk; do something that nurtures your creative side.  It may seem like an obvious thing to do, but it's amazing how we tell ourselves we don't have time to pursue such endeavors.  It is the second part to the basic foundation to rediscovering our creativity.

More to come later...


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Grant Wood Reproduction

I love painting commissions and in the fall of 2010 I got to paint a Grand Wood reproduction for a client.  It measured 4' x 6 1/2' and was based on "Fall Plowing".  The dimensions were a little different from the original painting, so I had to improvise, but I think it turned out all right.  The top photo is Grant Wood's original "Fall Plowing" and below it is my interpretation.

Grant Wood    -     Fall Plowing

My interpretation of 
Grant  Wood's "Fall Plowing"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I have been able to help at my husband's business by doing some graphic design work.  My skills are fairly limited, but this gives me some practice and helps me to develop some skill.  I've made posters galore, brochures, signs & etc.  I recently made a "successory" for him.  A little cheesy, I know.  But I though I'd share it.  I also tweaked the design and made it into a business card magnet.  I'm glad that I can use my art background in this way.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

This year's Mother's Day is definitely the best and most memorable Mother's Day I've had.  My husband, Justin, and my 13 year-old son, Jacob decided to make a 5 course meal for me.  (It was supposed to originally be 6 courses, but I'll explain that later.)  

The idea sprang from Jacob and Justin's idea to cook together sometime, I think possibly in a cook off.  You see, Jacob has thought about becoming a chef since he was in kindergarten.  However, if he doesn't become a professional chef, no pressure - he'll probably enjoy cooking at home.  

The five course meal took them all afternoon to make - I think much of them for persevering that long.  Each "course" came to me one at a time and they were all great!

Course one was the appetizer.  They made a bruschetta that included an olive paste and balsamic vinegar.  It was amazing - I think it was my favorite of the day.  They astounded me with the presentation as well!

Next were two main dishes.  The first one was Ratatouille, which I've never had before.  They even made a shape of a heart with it in the pan.  Awww..... : )

Can you make out the faint heart shape?

Now the story gets more umm........  interesting.  : )

For the third course, Justin and Jacob planned to concoct three-cheese stuffed shells.  But, it ended up with a different name.  Imagine if you will...  Traditionally with stuffed shells, the shells are stuffed with a mixture, in this case, cheese,  and topped with a sauce.  Well,  somehow directions were miss read and the sauce contained the cheese mixture and the tomato sauce contents together.  Now, if any of you have mixed these ingredients, you know what kind of a sauce you get.   Let's just say - the new title for this course was "Sea Barf".  "Sea" for the shells and the other part for well, you know.  It was, however, very tasty - a lot like lasagna.    (Picture omitted.)

Onto the fourth "course."  Justin made his college days specialty, the virgin strawberry daiquiri.  We were both surprised he'd never made this for me before in our 6 years of marriage, but that's okay.  It was a special day - and he's been making his famous chocolate milkshakes at our house for the last six years instead.

And now for the piece de resistance (sp?).  My guys made me..... a chocolate souffle.  A SOUFFLE!!!  I've never even made a souffle before.  And might I add that is was well executed and delicious.  Ah - I almost forgot - this souffle in the picture is actually their second attempt!  Something didn't quite work out in their first go at it - and it actually turned out like chocolate pudding - very delicious.  It was a good lesson that sometimes good things are created by accident.

So, those are the 5 courses for my Mother's Day meal.  Not bad, eh?  So, what was the 6th course supposed to be, you ask?  Homemade cheeseballs - mainly for our 3 daughters.  But, Jacob is planning to make them later this week.   

I felt so loved by my dear husband and dear son on Mother's Day.  It was WAY better than eating out. 
I thought I'd share this day partly because creating food is a creative endeavor.  As you can see on a previous post, "Food" is one of the title chapters in the book I've been reading lately entitled, The Hidden Art of Homemaking.  Food is not only for necessary for life, but taking the care to create a simple meal or extravagant one with love and care is a type of communication and demonstration of creativity.  

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Hidden Art of Homemaking

I have been reading a book with the above title by Edith Schaeffer.  No, the book is not what you probably think it is.  I'll describe it briefly the best that I can.  It starts with the premise that God is the perfect artist and all art reflects his glory.  We are created in the image of the Creator, therefore "we can and are made to be creative".  This book has given me freedom to be creative and convinced me that it is not a waste of time.  I've been stuck partly from thinking that all of my artwork should be for sale or made to advance my "career".  Not so.  I need to create - even if it's only for one other's person's eyes.  I don't dare to write more right now.  I want to bring you with my on this journey chapter by chapter.  I'll give you a sneak peek of what the chapter titles are.  

1.  The First Artist
2.  What is Hidden Art?
3.  Music
4.  Painting, Sketching, Sculpturing
5.  Interior Decoration
6.  Gardens and Gardening
7.  Flower Arrangements
8. Food
9.  Writing - Prose and Poetry
10.  Drama
11.  Creative Recreation
12.  Clothing
13.  Integration
14.  Environment

So, by the chapter descriptions, is it about what you originally thought it was about based on the title?

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Our church is going through the book of Philippians right now. Last weekend, the sermon was about Phil. 4:8-9. "Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."

Just yesterday, I took to heart and changed my typical thought patterns from what these verses said. Here's the back story. I was getting frustrated with myself again, for not spending time being creative. (I have only created one finished non-commissioned work of art since graduating college in 2003.) Just a couple of days ago, I had opened an old journal (from 6 years ago) and one of the first pages had this verse and a paragraph stating what I want to be and do as an artist. Then it dawned on me. Art can be a very consuming thing, and in my life it is not number one. So, when I DWELL on it.... when it becomes the thing that my brain goes to when it's in neutral, it has become consuming. And as I said, I become frustrated and irritable because I'm giving it the place in my life that is not meant to be.
All this being said, I think I can begin to exercise my creativity through journaling, art work, writing and not be frustrated because I am going to keep it in its proper place. BTW, thanks to Linda Dillow who included the priority planner in her book Creative Counterpart. After reading this book several times, I'm finally going to put this part into practice and plan my priorities accordingly.

So, I am going to dwell.... with God..... and everything else should fall into place a little better.