Old Barn Window Work In Progress Part 1

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There’s just something about old barns that I absolutely love. Yesterday I started this colored pencil painting of the window of an old barn. To be quite honest with you, until today colored pencils and I have been at odds with each other. Part of that reason I that I’ve tried to imitate other colored pencil artists’ techniques to achieve the results I desired. While I have learned a lot from these other artists, their techniques aren’t quite right for me. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – there is no right or wrong in art. It is what it is. Yesterday I gave myself permission to relax and simply paint with my pencils, doing what felt right for me and having confidence that I really have learned and know what I’m doing. And guess what. I really like how this is turning out!

Something else that I’ve decided to do with this old barn window is paint it in four different media – colored pencils, graphite pencils, pastel pencils, and soft pastels. I want to have a good visual at the similarities and differences between the media and how those differences affect the final result. It should be interesting and I look forward to sharing my results with you!

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Winter Landscape

There’s something about bare winter trees that I just love, and this landscape (done from this tutorial at TheVirtualInstructor.com) captured my attention. I’ve been wanting to try it for quite some time and finally dove in a few days ago. I just finished and wanted to share the results, as well as some of the process, with you.

This might sound silly, but the more I art (as my husband and our son say), the more I realize just how important the process of creating is for my emotional well-being. I love finishing a project, but while I’m working on it I find myself in a very special place – a place of quiet and peace where I can lose myself in the colors, in the forms, and in the subject. I can feel myself calm down and slip into “the zone.” Once I’m in the zone everything is good and all that matters is the process and the act of creating. Even after I’ve finished a piece the calm stays with me and I look forward to starting again – choosing the right paper, the right subject, the right media, the right colors.

I would like to invite you to try your hand at “arting” even if you don’t think you know how or don’t think you can. If you have a pen and paper, if you have a can of Play-Doh, if you have markers and coffee filters (yes, really) you can art. Tap into your creativity and see where it will take you!

WinterLandscape

Keeping It Simple

I can be easily distracted, especially by colorful, shiny things. When it comes to my art I can get distracted as well. I can get so caught up in trying to find the right tint or the right value for something that the fun just sort of fades away and the art becomes a chore. That doesn’t leave me in a very happy place. So the other night I grabbed a piece of colored pencil paper and my graphite art pencils and had a little fun.

My husband likes barns and I’ve been trying to draw him a nice barn for a while now. I’ve tried pastel pencils, soft pastels, and colored pencils, but the outcomes have been less than what I would have liked. It seems I just needed to keep it simple, stupid!

By using graphite I was able to concentrate on the subject, on the light, on the shadows, and not get caught up in tints and trying to blend colors properly. Don’t get me wrong. I love bringing color to my art, but sometimes simplicity should rule the day. Life is filled with enough frustration. Why bring that to our art?

Here’s the finished barn sketch. Unfortunately I didn’t realize until I was well into the piece that the paper had some scoring on it. I was so excited to get started I didn’t even think to check for that. But my husband loves it, and so do I. When I look at it not only do I see a barn and silo, I also see simplicity and the freedom it can bring.

Graphite Barn

You can find my paintings at Smurgles Art!

Fixing Mistakes

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This morning I did something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while now. I fixed a painting that was just wrong. The perspective was wrong, well, more like non-existent. Originally I had wanted to paint three snow-covered mountains, so I put in a sky and I put in the mountains. The problem was I had no clue what to put in the foreground. I taped the painting to the wall and have been staring at it for months. This morning I took it down and got busy fixing it.

I knew I needed something in the foreground that would put things in proper perspective. The mountains needed to be pushed way back, so that they looked like mountains and not little hills. I decided to add trees and a snowy path to help achieve my goal. While it worked rather nicely I did end up losing one of the mountains entirely, as well as covering up a good deal of the other two, but I can’t complain. I learned a great deal from this and am looking forward to doing another mountain scene – this time with proper planning and perspective from the get go!

Mini Barn

So you might be wondering why I’ve begun focusing on mini paintings (2.5 x 3.5 inches). There are several reasons, one of which is the fact that my husband has asked me to make him lots and lots of mini paintings that he can put up on one of the walls in his computer room. Who am I to say no to a man that’s put up with me for over 33 years? These minis are also a great way to be able to complete a painting in a short amount of time.

Now, my husband like barns and yesterday he asked me to paint another one for him. I had my heart set on something else, but went ahead and worked on his barn. I don’t mind telling you that I wasn’t happy and I was just sure that it was going to turn out lousy. Well, I was wrong! I don’t know why I talk myself into places of frustration and anxiety, but I had. Fortunately it didn’t take long for me to see that things were going swimmingly. I actually enjoyed doing this painting very much!

For this mini I used Pastelmat and PITT pastel pencils. The Pastelmat allows for a very smooth application and the ability to layer quite a bit of material on to the surface. I was quite pleased with the finished product – and so was my husband!

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A Mini or Two

Well, as you know I’ve been trying to be more consistent with my art. In fact I’m trying to do at least some painting every day. (Yes, I consider using pastels painting.) Yesterday I embarked on a new direction with my art – mini paintings. Now I’ve done paintings as small as 4×6 inches before, but these mini paintings are only 3.5×2.5 inches. Now that’s mini! I actually did two of them yesterday and had tons of fun. I’m quickly appreciating the mini canvas for it’s ability to allow me to create and experiment while at the same time limiting my space. Just as a blank page can bring about writer’s block for an author (and I know because I’ve been there), the blank canvas can freeze an artist in their tracks. But these tiny pieces of paper are so, well, tiny, they aren’t intimidating in the least. Here’s to the mini! And here are my first two, both in pastels!

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Second Chances

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I’m still trying to do some art every day, and so far so good! Yesterday, rather than start a new, smaller painting I took a painting I had done a couple weeks ago (and was not happy with in the least) and transformed it. I started by turning it into an underpainting. I blocked in the colors I wanted and then painted over it with rubbing alcohol. I just love doing that. Today I went back downstairs and tried my hand at impressionism. Not only did I transform the painting, but the painting transformed me.

Monet is my favorite artist. I’ve always loved his style and his eye for color and light. Until now it’s been a challenge for me to let go of trying to recreate exactly what I see and paint what I feel instead. This is my first step. I’m actually quite pleased with how it turned out considering what it looked like before I gave it a second chance. I purposely chose a time when I didn’t have a lot of time to paint so that I’d have to keep my painting fast and loose. I’m really glad that I did because I’m feeling a little bit more confident to give this impressionism another shot tomorrow.

I’ve written before that art is an excellent therapy. When you’re involved in creating you can express yourself and work through garbage that could be very difficult to express in words. You can take something ugly and use that ugly to create something beautiful, all while taking a step or two toward healing. There’s no right or wrong with art. It doesn’t judge you. It simply is. All you need is a pencil or pen and some paper and you’re good to go. If you’re lucky and have little ones in the house borrow their crayons and go to town. I think you’ll be glad you did.

Now, I need to find a good reference photo for tomorrow’s painting. Here’s hoping I can stay on track!