Abstract Sunset

Abstract Sunset Crop

I’m really trying to make a point of painting every day. If not actually painting, doing something to further my process. Take today, for example. I’ll be getting a few surfaces ready – underpaintings and a coating of gesso – so that I can paint tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that.

Yesterday I spent some time exploring colors and abstraction. For me, someone who is very logical and when doing art tends to be more comfortable with realism, this painting is a huge milestone. It was very fun to do (not taking into consideration the frustration my logical side experienced while I was painting) and I really like it! I hope you do, too!

I would be honored to have you visit my shop – Smurgles Art!

Winter Trees

Winter Trees Crop 2

Recently I’ve started making my own pastel surfaces. I know that some folks use a number of ingredients and formulas to make surfaces. Me? Well, I like to keep things simple. I’ve simply been using clear gesso on smooth papers and am loving the texture I’m getting.

This painting is 9 x 12 on 100 lb. smooth Bristol paper with gesso. Before applying the gesso I did a very simple underpainting using watercolor pencils. I wanted to block in the larger shapes and get a little color behind some of the areas. The watercolor pencils worked marvelously as when I applied the gesso the colors activated and became a beautiful underpainting. The painting itself was done with soft pastels. As for the texture on the surface from the gesso, well, it’s fabulous!

This is actually a redo of a tutorial I did about two years ago. I’ve always really liked it, but it was in an odd size. I also wanted to try painting it again not only larger, but looser. I’m very happy with the results.

I’d like to invite you to visit my shop – Smurgles Art – where you can find this painting and more.

Winter’s Night

My husband is a very thoughtful man. He always has been, but it always amazes me that after 35 years of marriage he’s still as thoughtful as he’s always been. What does that have to do with my art? Well, I’ll tell you! A couple of weeks ago he had to go to the hardware store for a few things. When he came home I noticed something on the table where all my art stuff is – a package of sandpaper. Not just any sandpaper, mind you. This was 9 x 12, 600 grit, wet/dry sandpaper, and I couldn’t have been more happy about it! Once we were finished with the projects that necessitated the trip to the hardware store in the first place I headed to the basement and got busy with my new paper.

Oh, what fun! The sandpaper is black, so it’s giving me a very nice support to my pastels. The colors look amazing. I’m still trying to break my habit of wanting to blend, blend, blend, but it is getting better. I have been wanting to do a nighttime winter theme for a while now, so I took advantage of the black support. Here’s what I came up with.

Winter Night Crop

If you like this, please stop by my Etsy shop – Smurgles – and see what else you might like!

Middle Earth Series – Misty Mountains

There are lots of things that really helped me get through some of the toughest times in my life. One of them was J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I first stepped into Middle Earth when I was 15 and home with a kidney infection. I was pulled out of school and had a tutor that would come to the house once a week to make sure I was staying on track. Aside from the infection, it was really one of the best times of my childhood. I usually got my weeks’ lessons finished in a day and had the rest of the time to read, sew, and play music.

When I found Middle Earth I found more than a wonderful story. I found friends – the unforgettable characters that lived in Middle Earth. Over the years I have reread both works numerous times, always enjoying myself when I did. When our son was old enough I began reading them to him and we now share a love for the stories and lore of Middle Earth.

Now that I am exploring my creativity through art, I have decided to create a series of pieces based on my love and vision of Middle Earth. This is the first in that series – Misty Mountains, as seen from Eregion. It is an 8 x 10 ink and watercolor wash on 140 lb. watercolor paper.

Misty Mountains Crop

I would also like to invite you to have a look at my Etsy shop – Smurgles – where I have added this and a number of other new pieces.

Sunlit Hills

Sunlit Hills Crop

I’ve been quite busy today. I’ve been cleaning the house – deep cleaning the house. I’ve been wanting to do it for some time, but it’s only been more recently that I’ve been feeling physically able to do so. It really feels good to get things good and cleaned. The other thing that feels good is the ice on my back, but we won’t talk about that. Anyway, between scouring the bathtub and scrubbing down the foyer I slipped down to the basement and got out my pastels. This is an 8×10 on Fabriano pastel paper.

I’d like to invite you to stop by my shop, Smurgles, where you can purchase my art. Thank you!

Studying the Masters

I’ve always loved art, and Claude Monet has always been one of my favorite artists. Today I took a few minutes between loads of laundry to paint. When I got to my table I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, but then I saw an old calendar that I had saved from a few years ago – a Monet calendar. When I saw Monet’s Cabin of the Customs Watch I knew what I wanted to paint.

In the past when I’ve thought about trying to copy a Monet, I’ve been rather intimidated. I knew that it would be difficult to make the exact marks with pastels that he made with oils. But today I realized something quite freeing. I don’t have to produce an exact copy in order to study Monet’s work. I think that was my “duh” moment for today, and it was quite freeing. Here’s my interpretation of Monet’s Cabin of the Customs Watch. I hope you enjoy it!



Sneaking In “Me” Time

Most days I get to the end of the day and wonder where it went. I’m still recovering from a massive PTSD episode that caused physical damage to my brain which has left me housebound, and I’m also the primary caregiver for our adult son who is on the autism spectrum, so usually by the time the day is finished so am I. It’s days like those that I really need to take some time for myself, to relax and recharge. Unfortunately the end of the day isn’t usually the best time for me to do so. Today I tried something different.

This morning I woke up thinking about the reference photo I used for this painting (from Inga Leibuka at PaintMyPhoto) and knew I couldn’t wait to get painting. I got up, got dressed, and got down to my studio. Well, studio might be too strong a word. Craft table in the basement is more like it. Anyway, I wanted to be sure that I got some painting time in today, some “me” time just to be able to create and enjoy myself. Let me tell you, I had a good time.

Here’s the finished painting. It’s 5×5 inches, done with Faber-Castell Pitt pastel pencils on Pastelmat. I call it Waiting.


I’d also like to invite you to stop by my shop, Smurgles, where you can purchase my art. Thank you!