Loosening Up


I’ve got a problem. Well, I’ve got lots of problems, but one in particular is that I’m terribly logical, and I find that when it comes to my art that logic gets in the way. Now don’t get me wrong. Logic is a good thing, but when you’re trying to loosen things up and get a little more impressionistic with your art it’s not such a good thing.

I’ve been practicing getting loose lately, but no matter how hard I try the logical part of me kicks in and I find myself wanting to fill in all the blanks and try to make things look perfect. Well, maybe it’s not so much my logic as my perfectionism that gets in the way. Either way, loosening up is a real challenge for me. I’m hoping that with more practice it will become easier for me. Either way I’m having fun!

This shoreline scene is about as close as I’ve come to loosening up. I’m really quite pleased with it. I grew up at the beach and love all things “beachy.” I used to go down to the shore early in the morning before anyone else was up and get some good peaceful time in – just me, the sand, and the waves. I have my new quiet places now, but the beach will always hold a special place in my heart.

Available on Etsy, here.


The Joy of Watercolor

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Several years ago I decided to get back into art after about 30 years. Sometimes life just happens. At the time I started exploring art again I was hoping that it would not only be a fun creative outlet, but that it would be an integral part of my healing journey. It hasn’t disappointed.

Because of the circumstances at the time I started with a media that wasn’t messy, was easy to store, and that I could use and put away quickly if necessary, so I started out with colored pencils. While I very much enjoy using them, they just weren’t ‘doing it’ for me. After a time I decided to branch out and give pastels a shot. Again, I very much enjoyed working with pastels, but something was still missing.

During my colored pencil/pastel days I dug out some watercolors that my son and I had used when we were still homeschooling. He graduated last year, so they weren’t the freshest paints on Earth, but I figured watercolors were watercolors, right? Wrong. Unfortunately I didn’t know that at the time and I concluded that watercolors weren’t for me. Again, I was wrong!

A couple months ago I decided to give watercolors another try, but this time I bought a small travel set of pan watercolors from a quality company. I also bought some 140 lb. paper instead of trying to use the 90 lb. paper that I used previously. What a difference quality makes!

I can’t begin to describe the joy I feel when painting with watercolors. It’s amazing how intuitive they are for me. It’s also amazing when I stop and think of how far I have come not only as an artist, but in my healing through my art, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me in the future.

I’d like to invite you to visit my shop, Smurgles, and check out the pieces that are available for purchase. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them!

Graphite Lighthouse

A couple months ago I wanted to try creating the same subject (an old barn window) in different media. I made it through two of the four. Why? Well, the second one I did was in graphite and the results really captivated me. The other day I decided to do a bigger pieceĀ  in graphite. This is an original design of a cliffside lighthouse, and let me tell you, I loved doing this one! This is an 8 x 10 on Bristol vellum.

Graphite Lighthouse

Boat and Windmill Tutorial

Well, I have taken a break (perhaps a permanent one) from the Old Barn Window. I really like how the graphite version turned out and when I attempted it in pastel pencil it simply didn’t measure up, so I’m putting that on the back burner. I did complete this tutorial in pastel pencil. I love the palette he used for this painting and will be using it for an original piece next. The tutorial is from Colin Bradley. He is a wonderful artist and an excellent teacher.

Boat and Windmill

Old Barn Window Graphite Final Part 4


Well, here’s part 4 of 8 in my series of the Old Barn Window. This is the final product using graphite pencils and is 5″ by 5″ as all of the pieces will be. Again, I still have challenges getting the photos to more accurately depict the actual artwork, but this is pretty close.

I very much enjoyed working on this piece, and being only the second piece I’ve done in graphite I must say that I am very pleased with it. I learned a lot, as usual, and had a great time making this one.

For parts 5 and 6 I will be rendering the Old Barn Window in pastel pencil. Also, I’m thinking about having a bit of a contest when I’m done with all four of the Old Barn Window pieces. I’ll let you know more as I progress!

Old Barn Window Colored Pencil Final Part 2

Final CP Old Barn

Well, here is the finished colored pencil version of the Old Barn Window. I broke a number of “rules” in doing this piece, and I’m very glad that I did. I really like how the wood turned out. I like how the stonework turned out as well. I’m not so crazy about the plants in the foreground, but I do know how I would do those differently in the future, so that’s a good thing. All in all this was not only a very relaxing project, but it was a great learning experience as well. Next I’ll be tackling this barn window in graphite!

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!