Friday, December 30, 2011

Love the Layers

Image 1

Image 2
"Release" 16"x24" Acrylic on Canvas

Week four of Wyanne's Paint Free e-course (which I started this summer and can finally say I am half way through...yikes!) was an awesome lesson on layering. The assignment was to write a message then cover part or all of it with paint. We could either sketch in a subject or just paint abstractly. I chose to simply start adding paint to the canvas (I even limited my palette to only 5 colors). After several layers I chose an area I found interesting and used masking fluid in the shape of a heart to save the painting underneath. After adding a little more paint (image 1 above), I saw what looked to me like the shoulders and back of a woman in a low-backed gown gazing at the trees. Even though I have no interest in painting figures, I had to move forward with this vision (image 2 above). I am very pleased with results...I love the FREEdom of painting in this style, no expectations, less frustration, and just FUN!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Holiday Snow Girls

Every year I like to make a homemade gift of some type, especially for the friends or relative I no longer exchange gifts with. I hate to show up empty handed, even if we agreed to it. This year I was inspired by Artist Sue Pelletier's Snowmen and thought they would make adorable gifts. They were a little more time consuming than I had anticipated and quite a messy project. I only had the time and energy to make these nine and didn't even get to make one for myself. I really needed to get the mess cleaned up so I could use my work table for painting. All my painting got put on hold due to the holiday frenzy and I miss it terribly. Paige got an art set for Christmas and has asked to paint everyday since Christmas, so now the Snow Girls are put away and the painting can begin!

Friday, December 2, 2011

I Want To Be Great, But I Can't Get Started!!!

"You don't have to be great to get started,
but you have to get started to be great."
~ Les Brown

Today I'm having trouble getting started. I have what I need to paint...time, a clean work surface, quiet and no distractions. My environment and my heart say "Yes" please paint, but my brain says "NO!" My computer isn't cooperating and I don't feel like cleaning-up the Christmas decorating disaster that has taken over the house and I don't work until 1:00. So what's keeping me from painting?????

FEAR? Yes, it's got to be fear! Fear of frustration, fear of not being able to let go and just paint, just play, just enjoy the process. I'm reading "Trust the Process: An Artist's Guide to Letting Go" by Shaun McNiff. Everything he talks about makes sense and while I've been reading I've been really excited about trying some of the exercises. The only thing is...while I've been reading the book, I haven't painted once. Nope...not one single time. I'm all about getting ready to do NOTHING! I'm always so worried about the end product or making a mistake that I freeze up and can't think of anything to paint. If I approach the painting with no expectations, how can I mess it up...right? Why can't I just LOOSEN UP? My it that hard? Why can't I just paint 50 paintings of nothing and not care? I'm not getting ANYTHING done anyway...what harm could it do? I'm kinda getting frustrated with myself...can you tell? Anyhow, I'm just in that kind of mood you ever get that way? Please say "YES."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Random Hearts Find a Home

Paige bit into the center of her bun and left this cute little heart cut-out. She ALWAYS insists that I
take a picture when she discovers a heart, and many times if it's a man-made heart I don't
really want to bother. Thanks to her persistence, I'm ALWAYS glad I did!

Found the above two rock hearts on a trail in Cuyamuca Rancho State Park,
Paseo Picacho Campground in October 2011.

Found this shadow heart on the road after a hike in Julian.
Gotta be quick to catch hearts like this...still waiting for that
cloud heart to make itself known!

My son Scott brought this rock back from Boy Scout Camp
at the Outdoor Education Center where he was a volunteer...
sssshhhh....don't tell!

Makena found this blob of paint one day while her and Paige were painting.
Even the kids friends are on the lookout for hearts. I love this hobby!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Reaching New Heights

I started this painting 3 or 4 months ago hoping to give it to a dear friend for her Birthday. Not liking the outcome too much, I decided to redo only the top half of the painting because I really love how the trees at the bottom turned out...the two trees on top, not so much! 

"Reaching New Heights"
24 x 30 Acrylic, marker, assorted papers on canvas

This is the final piece, finished the day before her birthday. The photo quality is poor...I just couldn't eliminate that darn light reflection. I'm much happier with the two focal trees, but everything turned out a bit darker than I would have liked. It was a fun experiment and I had fun painting it.

Close-up of lower trees.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Marine Thanksgiving

This year our family was honored to have two of America's Finest Marines join us for a very special Thanksgiving. Pvt. Michael Ranft from Michigan and PFC Roberto Mijares from Missouri who are stationed at Camp Pendleton in California, thousands of miles away from their families. Through the Adopt-A-Marine program, 500 Marines spent the Holiday with families in Southern California. Both Marines just completed Basic Training and recently arrived at Pendleton to complete their Marine Combat Training.

We picked them up from the base about 9 o'clock in the morning, which was the first time they had left the base or seen the ocean, since they've been here. My sister and her family joined us and we spent the day learning about Marine life and the life they left behind, hearing funny stories, and their plans for the future. We also enjoyed lots of food, football, video games, more food and just relaxing. The guys were in no hurry to get back to the base, so they stayed till the very last minute, took the 30 minute drive back to the base so they could enjoy about 1 more hour of liberty. They were very grateful for a Family Thanksgiving, even if it wasn't their own, and a little taken back that strangers would take them into their homes for the day. We enjoyed having them very much and plan to make this our new Thanksgiving tradition. Below are a few more pictures from our fabulous Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Taco Skillet

Taco Skillet
A quick meal that's sure to please everyone!

1 lb.  ground beef
1 can  condensed tomato soup (10.75 oz.)
½ cup  salsa
1 packet  taco seasoning (or 1-2 tablespoons Tex-Mex Spice Mix)
½ cup  water
6  corn tortillas (6-inch), cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup  cheddar cheese, shredded
sour cream
green onions

Cook beef in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until browned; drain. Stir in soup, salsa, taco seasoning, water and tortillas; heat to boiling and then reduce heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes; stirring occasionally. Add cheese to skillet and melt.  Serve topped with sour cream, onions and cilantro. Serves 5

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Spicy Meatball Stroganoff

I took the summer off and didn't cook dinner due to our hectic swim schedule. We survived on burgers, dogs, quesadilla, burritos and quick meals from Trader Joe's. I've now gotten back into the swing of cooking for may family and have a backlog of recipes to post. Here's the first one I know you will enjoy.
Spicy Meatball Stroganoff
Cayenne pepper adds a little spiciness to this recipes and the premade meatballs make it quick!
1 lb. egg noodles, cooked and drained
1 T. vegetable oil
1 cup onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 T. butter
¼ cup dry white wine or cooking sherry
2 T.  flour
2 cups   chicken broth
1 T. lemon juice
1 tsp.  dry mustard, ground
1 tsp.   thyme
½ tsp. marjoram
1 cup  cream
28 precooked beef meatballs
salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet, sauté onion, garlic, paprika and cayenne pepper in oil until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add wine to skillet and simmer until liquid is reduced by two-thirds. Sprinkle flour over onion mixture and stir; add chicken broth, lemon juice, mustard, thyme, and marjoram and simmer 10 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in sour cream, meatballs and desired amount of cooked noodles; stir and cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4-5
Note: 1 cup sliced mushrooms can be added; sauté first in skillet with 1 T. oil until browned, remove and then cook onions as recipe directs (I don't like mushrooms).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Focus Problem?...Who Me?

This week I gathered up all my half finished paintings and was quite surprised by the quantity? I seem to start energetically and then either get too busy to finish or get distracted by another technique or idea and move on. By the time I get back to each painting, I've forgotten the direction I was going with it or can't remember what colors I was using and just get frustrated, starting the cycle over by beginning a new painting. Thus my accumulation of half-baked ideas!


Then to add to the problem...I got a part-time job working at Michael's. I really enjoy helping customers with their projects and get fueled-up by all the crafty stuff I get to see and play with. On the down side...I have less time to paint since most of my extra time is now spent catching up on life. And did I mention that my children are NOT too keen on Mom being gone and not able to do everything for them?

So for now, I'll keep working on finding balance between my domestic responsibilities, working and painting. Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pieces of Me

I am an original. There is no one quite like me. I'm learning to accept my flaws and my features as pieces of my true self, the curvy, intricate pieces of this puzzle of my existence. The pieces that make up this wonderful person are filled with self-doubt, and doubt keeps me from moving forward. I need to let go of preconceived ideas that my paintings should look a certain way. I need to quit comparing my art to others. I need to embrace each mark I make on the canvas as special and beautiful and unique to me. So what if no one sees the beauty or the meaning or my uniqueness. So what if I don't know what it means either. What comes from inside is mine alone, for me to cherish and celebrate on this journey to be more ME!

Monday, September 12, 2011

New Practice Works on Paper

After re-reading Kelly Rae's Book I decided to turn my fears into affirmations. Behind each stem is a positive phrase which started out as a fear. I took the fear out and put the possibility in. This piece was also to practice some techniques I learned in Paulette Insall's e-course "Color Me Beautiful."

This is another practice piece from Paulette's e-course. After dripping and scraping paint across the paper I tried to find a hidden subject come through in the paint. I saw the heart-shape and created a weird looking tree around it. I really enjoy seeing the layers of paint come through and the way the intersecting lines create shapes and color changes.

Another practice piece (12" x 12" on watercolor paper) called "Serenity." Loving the technique of painting around an object instead of filling it in. Love the way the interesting background shows through and again how the intersecting lines create great color changing opportunities. I'm trying to move my work more in this direction rather than traditional landscapes where I try to paint exactly what I see. That just frustrates me and I'm finding it boring! This is sooooo much more fun!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Hearts from Northern California

Wanted to quickly post these hearts we found while on vacation in Calaveras Big Trees State Park last week. 
Carved heart in felled giant redwood.

Bugs eat heart-shape into leaves on a tree in the South Grove of the Park.

Scrambled egg heart on Paige's breakfast plate. She's great at finding hearts for me.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fun @ the Fair

Yesterday found us at the Orange County Fair having a wonderful time on a beautiful summer afternoon. The weather was mild, not the blazing heat of the blacktop I usually dread, and a slight ocean breeze. The crowd was small when we first arrived, so Scott and Paige ran from ride to ride enjoying spin after spin after spin. They even resembled a loving brother and sister on this was such a treat. I loved watching them enjoy each ride, especially the fun houses.

We took a break from rides to watch the adorable All-Alaskan Pig Racing and wander around the farm animal area. As night fell, we grabbed a few delicious bites of nourishing food and sweet treats. And when you forget to bring jackets, you scour the fairgrounds looking for affordable warmth. So we now sport wearable OC Fair souvenirs. I scored with a cute, green fuzzy jacket, but the kids were happy with theirs OC Fair jackets since that was all we could find.

It was a delightful day!