Friday, February 19, 2016


6" x 6"

I finished my portrait of Sydney. She is a student at one of the elementary schools where I teach. Her mom gave me a photo to work from. I had in mind a couple of goals that I think I did a pretty good job on. First of all was to be more deliberate with each stroke. I sometimes find my colors getting muddy. One problem is overworking the painting. Color stays true when you just put on one stroke of nice, clean paint...and then leave it be! At times I tend to mix color on top of color to make corrections and then I've got browns and grays. So I've tried to be more thoughtful by studying the color I need, making sure my brush is nice and clean, and putting the paint on the canvas in a more thoughtful manner.

The second goal was to use a little more color in the skin tone. I love the sea-foam green color in her skin. I used purples, pinks, blues, and grays in the shadows. I think the skin looks more lively.

And lastly, I wanted to show my brushstrokes. It's a painting. I want it to look "painterly" rather than photographic.

Portraits are difficult for me and I'm determined to grow in this. And I'm taking this one as a win!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Tidying the Studio

This book was a Christmas gift from my niece this year. I have never been great at organizing. In first grade my mom came home from student/teacher conferences and told me what my teacher had said. She also wrote it on my report card. "Debbie has a hard time staying organized."

I don't know how it happened, but through all my organizing struggles I have found that it's really enjoyable to help my friends get organized. I love to sort and make things look pretty.

This book takes it up a whole new level. Like the title says, applying the principles that Marie Kondo suggests really has been life-changing. This book is all about clearing out the old clutter to make room for all the new, wonderful good stuff to come!

I  began as suggested; sorting through my closet and getting rid of things I never even wear and like Marie says, to get rid of things that don't bring me joy. I've taken loads to Goodwill and thrown out bunches of stuff. And I'm happy to say that I have even gotten rid of some things my mother has given me. I know, GASP!

The magic started happening as soon as this process began. It was during this period that I took on my 30 day painting challenge. Painting every day after a grueling day of teaching little ones is something that I would have never even considered. But as the excess baggage became a little lighter, my ability to commit to something extreme seemed do-able.

There's still more to do, especially in my studio. I've narrowed down my boxes of photos that are possible "someday paintings" and organized my art supplies. I feel less attached to my paintings. It's fun to sell them and send them off to a new home! And the ones that don't turn out like I expected, well, I have managed to take my palette knife and scrape off that wet paint. I have a brand new canvas for the next day and I'm not stuck looking at a failed painting.

I have a stack of paintings in my studio. Some are unfinished from years back. Some I just couldn't get past the first few steps and some are finished and I'm not happy with them. So, there they sit, horrible reminders of failures! Next on my list is to gesso over those paintings that have been lingering. Put them (and me) out of their misery. Thank them for the valuable painting lesson and thank them again for a brand new surface to paint on!