A Trip Down A Rabbit Hole

Well folks, I want to tell you about what I’ve been up to for the past while and let you know about my up-coming event, but I first must make an apology for bombarding you with many emails over the past few days. I am an artist with a lot of passion but I admit, I’m not very consistent when it comes to the business side of creating. I have all the good intentions but my life schedule and day job keeps me extremely busy. The result is I didn’t update my website for a long time. The many email you received was my attempt at a catch-up. I really should be adding new work when they are done right! Anyway, I am sorry and I will try to be more consistent in the future.

There is a positive take-away though. My website has been fully updated now with all my latest work! YAY! You can check out the new work in my gallery and anything that is available for sale you will find in my shop. And now that that is done, I need to make room for more art!!!!

🎆Join me for my first ever Online Art Auction!🎆

It’s time to clean-out my art stash so let’s get ready for some fun! 🖼️ Some of my art is going up for bid AND you get to name your price! There will be more than 30 pieces including original and archival giclee prints! If you ever wanted to own an piece of my art or if you want to shop for upcoming holiday gifts, this is your opportunity! It will be easy! Stay tuned to my Facebook page tomorrow afternoon for the announcement!

Ok, so let’s fill you in on what I have been up to for the past while. To put it simply, I guess I have been on a huge road to discovery! This road requires a major commitment and most of my spare time. And, let me tell you, I wasn’t on a straight path! It has been one long meandering thoroughfare with lots of diversions and I am easily side tracked lol. Talk about going down rabbit holes!

Earlier when I first started painting again, I was re-learning  how to paint on my own by reading books, watching video tutorials galore and practicing the same rock, tree, and grass that I had learned when I first started painting in my early twenty’s (OMG wasn’t that almost a hundred years ago 😂🤣😂). My focus then was on landscapes. But back in my mind, I knew that wasn’t enough. I would have to keep learning new techniques, explore new art styles, other mediums and so on if I were to grow. Being located here on the west coast where an actual art school exists you would think I would be able to find a course or two to fit into my already busy schedule. But, that was not the case. Instead I had to look to other artists and online learning to focus my goals for my ‘art schooling’.

My first goal was to learn how to paint people! Now, that was a daunting thought. In my mind, you would have to be a really good artist to be able to do that. In fact, I don’t know why, but I always equated the term ‘artist’ with those who painted portraits. I honestly felt that if I could conquer a portrait then I would surely be able to call myself a real artist.

My first attempts at portraits left a lot to be desired but even so, I was proud of them since the result actually looked like people lol. Here are the first three I ever did.

From Left to Right: 1: Me – My first ever portrait; 2: My mom; 3: My Dad

Although I managed to paint people, I wanted to be able to paint people in a realistic manner. Boy did I luck out when I discovered a master artist, Matt Philleo from Realistic Portrait School. Learning from him, I have developed into a bit of a figurative artist and visual story teller. Here are the last three I have completed. You’ll see the difference 😊

Left to right: 1. Splittin’ Cod; 2. Beautiful Bride; 3. Mrs. Shelley

Realism requires a particular sense of a subject, especially with portraits. It requires an artist to render a very detailed and accurate representation. It is also very very time consuming. My portrait painting skills have evolved. While I still have lots to learn, I’m confident I can successfully paint people the way I envisioned and with a true likeness. So now what? More learning of course! This year my learning goal has shifted to being able to paint in a more painterly manner – quite the opposite style for sure.

So here are three things I have done most recently to help me work on being more painterly.
  • I became a student of Acrylic University (AU) and I am slowly working my way through the classes. I lucked out again with a wonderful instructor, Jed Dorsey from Washington, USA. He has an amazing ability to see only what is necessary to paint a subject and in the most beautiful way. I find this one of the most difficult things to do. My brain tends to go to mush when I try to follow his examples. It wants to create Every.Single.Little.Detail! I have a lot to learn and look forward to a great experience. So far I am truly impressed with both AU and all of the staff and of course Jed!

Some of Jed’s tricks to teach artists to be more painterly is to use time limits, big brushes and minimal brush strokes. While my first few paintings using these tricks look like a child’s work, I am happy with the results. Here’s my first pieces from Jed’s paint Radiant Landscapes Masterclass.

My rendition of the subject for Masterclass Lesson

Our homework was to paint a landscape using bold brushstrokes and to be courageous! I painted like a lion! Lol Hear me roar! Only one big 3/4 inch brush, limited palette (3 colours plus black and white), bold brushstrokes AND 30 freaking minutes! Holy Cow! Now I know it is not even close to resembling the reference photo but for my first attempt at NOT painting exactly what I saw, I was pretty impressed with myself lol.

This is the result of another lesson which focused on painting with a limited pallet using a black and white photo reference. The purpose was to learn about value and how important it is in painting versus the use of colour. Our homework was to paint from a black and white photo and ‘make up’ our own colour scheme. The thought of painting something from a black and white photo was jarring, never mind having to ‘make up’ the colour it might be- and we had to steer clear of traditional colours. Well!!! I had to keep reminding myself that this does not have to be realistic and I am definitely NOT in my wheelhouse and the goal here was to learn about values and how that was more important than whatever I did with colour. It’s definitely scary to try to paint something that you are not comfortable with.

I participated in a Paint the Impressionist Masterclass with Australian artist Rod Moore from Learn to Paint Academy. Rod is a contemporary impressionist artist and he paints in a loose, bold and expressive style. What I discovered from this masterclass was that it takes a lot of effort to learn to loosen up when you have a tendency to lean towards realism. You are pretty much trying to shift to painting an illusion based on instinct – a representation of a subject with visible brush strokes and broken colours. I found it very challenging and I’m not so sure I was quite successful but I did complete two decent reproductions of the early impressionists and I am quite happy with those. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the Masterclass and learned quite a lot from Rod. I am sure I will continue to follow him and do more workshops like this one in my future. Here’s my two reproduction pieces from Paint the Impressionist Masterclass.

The first painting is my rendition of Australian Impressionist, Arthur Streeton’s 1890 “Near Heidelberg” 16×20 acrylic. I thought my biggest challenge was going to be capturing the atmosphere but in reality the hardest part was learning to hold my brush lol

French painter Claude Monet’s “Magpie” 1868-69 was my second Impressionist to reproduce for the masterclass. Now this was such a challenge. I painted it twice! My underpainting didn’t serve me well the first go around and I wasn’t happy with it at all. Well that’s the point of learning and I’m much happier with my second attempt.

  • I signed up for Secret Sketch Party (offered by Secret Art Parties) founder and host British artist Lewis Chapman! I’ve always been open about not being able to draw freehand very well. I mean, you would be able to pick out that I was drawing a person, horse or dog but the images are flat and one dimensional. I had no trouble learning how to use paint to render a 3d image but being able to draw one was not a natural skill for me. So this year, I made it a point to learn as much as possible about drawing. I bought books and sought out online drawing tutorials. I found many many resources online but my favourite by far is the Secret Sketch Party. Every Thursday we meet on Zoom and Lewis presents an image and brings us step by step through the drawing process. I am thoroughly enjoying these.   Here’s a couple examples of some of the work I’ve produced through this program recently. I just love that I can use a pencil to create drawings like these!
Night Time Street Scene

So as you can see, I’ve been extremely busy and you can expect a lot more art from me in the future as a result. If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact me. I am always ready for a chat!

Artfully yours!

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