Friday, January 28, 2011

What I've Been Up To...

Forgive the crooked picture but my camera is in the shop and I'm using my phone to snap shots these days. Well, perhaps I'm not as slow a painter as I once thought. When I gave up working in my art journal this week to see what I could accomplish on canvas, I did pretty well. Considering I only paint for about three hours a day I think I accomplished a lot. This is a landscape I'm working on. I thought I liked the big blocks of color in the photo, but when I got them on the canvas, they just seemed boring. Studying this one to think about how I can make it more interesting.

This is something I just started on a whim this week. I still love hearts and would be willing to paint them if I can come up with a style that doesn't look juvenile.

This is the piece I'm still playing with...and I mean really playing with. Below is the before shot and I really think the transformation is amazing. Even though it looks like an apple with a crazy stem, hopefully it will look more like a tree later. I'm using rather bold colors for my taste, but wanted to try something new. Also getting a grip with the whole "Thalo" being transparent concept. I've never really used those paints over images, so the concept was not sinking in. Now I totally get it. the Thalo paints even glided on like butter compared to the more opaque ones. Anyhow....that's what I've been up to this week!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Do not fear mistakes. There are none.
– Miles Davis

I found another passage in the book “The Zen of Creative Painting” by Jeanne Carbonetti which must have been written about me since I am so not a risk taker and DO NOT want to make a mistake.

"Playfulness: a key ingredient to discover what you love enough to choose to paint. Playfulness implies risk taking, free to make mistakes – big ugly, errors and messes.  Here’s the key…One trait above all others tells me right away if a student will become a dedicated artist: the willingness to go for the big mistake. The painter who doesn’t know how a color will look over there and tries it to find out, will go on to try more and more ways to say things, and in the end will find original forms of self expression. The student who plays it safe and wants assurance that a painting won’t be harmed won’t have the fortitude to go deeper and grow as an artist. I promise, you’re a better painter tomorrow for having made a mess today. When you’re at your worst, you are becoming your best.  With playfulness goes the spirit of forgiveness – letting go of preconceived notions of how something should turn out. The creative process is the constant interplay of artist and medium in dialogue. When your paint throws you something surprising, it’s up to you to respond to it freely, not to force a result. There’s a world of difference between forcing a form that you’re supposed to love, and creating one that answers “What do I really love?”

Again...this hit home with me and even though deep down I know what she is saying is true, it's so hard for me (the logical, perfectionist, left-brained person) to let go, be nonjudgmental and just play. Well, today I was just playing with my paint. I'm using this canvas as simply an underpainting so most of it won't even show. But I had fun playing with the paint, noticing which were smoother going on the canvas, which color combinations I liked, and basically just doodling. I'm trying to work on one subjective painting to learn to paint more intuitively at the same time I'm working on one or two objective ones (landscapes for me).

As I stated in my Monday post, I dedicated this week to working on canvas and not in my journal. I feel it has been a fairly productive week and hope to have some pictures to post in the next few days.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Courage To Begin "The Journey"

…there is no better way to develop skills than through trial and error. It is a matter of having the courage, in every painting, to try something new and to work without fear of making mistakes. Results are invariably more effective and ideas tend to evolve with far greater energy and impact when the painting process is positive and uninhibited. The ability to work with confidence and skill relies on experience, and this in turn comes from a willingness to experiment and learn from the consequent successes and failures.  – Artist, Claire Harrigan

While reading Clair Harrigan's book "Abstract and Color Techniques in Painting" the above passage really spoke to me and about me. I'm so concerned with making a mistake that I hardly get anything done. I tell myself that a canvas with anything but a perfect painting is wasted. I fear ruining something I worked really hard to achieve by adding the wrong color. I'm so afraid of screwing up that I can't paint freely. I know art journaling helps the creative process and helps develop skills, but I think I hide in my journal because it doesn't matter what I's just a journal right?

I will:  
  • have the courage to develop my skill through trial and error ON THE CANVAS
  • work without fear of making mistakes and try something new
  • think positive and work with confidence
  • think of failure as a stepping stone to success
  • put in the brush time to gain the skill to accomplish my goals

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Taco Pot Pie

For those lucky soles that got my cookbook for Christmas this year (or those of you who bought one), I will be posting additional Beef, Pork and Chicken recipes here on my blog. These will be new creations or old ones that I didn't have time to perfect before the first printing.

This Taco Pie recipe uses one portion of my Zesty Beef filling but you could substitute regular taco filling instead. If you like pot pie, this one is a delight!

Taco Pot Pie
A twist on the standard comfort food…and so easy!
2-3 cups                     Zesty Beef Filling or taco filling
2 cups                        frozen mixed vegetables (or 1 cup frozen corn and 1 cup frozen peas)
1 can                          diced potatoes, well drained
1 can                          fiesta nacho soup (10 ¾ oz)
1 can                          diced tomatoes (if you like it spicier use tomatoes with green chilies), slightly drained
2 cups                        cheddar cheese
1 box                          refrigerated pie crust, softened (2 crusts)
                                  sour cream
                                  chopped fresh cilantro
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare pie crusts according to package directions using a 9-inch pie plate.
In a bowl, combine Zesty Beef Filling, frozen vegetables, potatoes, soup and tomatoes; pour into bottom pie crust. Top with cheese and add top crust, fold edges under bottom crust and crimp edges to seal. Make several slits in top for venting.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until golden brown. Use a pie shield part of the time to prevent over browning. Serve by cutting into wedges and top with sour cream and cilantro
Serves:  6  
Notes:  If you like the taste of enchilada sauce, you might try adding a 10 oz. can of enchilada sauce to the beef mixture as well.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Few More + A Little Further

Week #14 -- RESOLVE
Just had to stop working on this since it's just a journal page and I REALLY want to get caught up. Still need to add the journaling..maybe today at the beach...supposed to be 80 degrees today in So. Cal.

Experimental background page with snowy tree partially added.

Experimental paper border on a partially finished fall tree painting. I realized I was trying to paint little tiny leave and it was taking forever + detail is not the look I want. Finally got smart and used bigger brush strokes and it made a big difference. My left brain want to paint exactly what it hard not too!
Looking a little too bold for my taste. Needs lots of work...Again my brain want to paint everything, but what I really want is a loose, painterly, free-flowing impression of the original photo. I just gotta loosen up!!!

Week #15 -- BRAVE
I'm following along with Pam Carriker's Recycled Journal Pages Strathmore Workshop and will be using her style to create this page. This is just the first step of cutting and gluing. Next steps are under journaling and charcoal shading. Can't wait to work on this one.

That's it for now!
Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Work in Progress-Abstract Landscapes

I love abstract landscapes with their large blocks of color and loose painterly feel. In some of the books I've been reading lately I've noticed that many of the paintings I'm drawn to have an impressionist, painterly feel with soft edges, smoothly blended colors and a minimum of details. Easy to create....right? Well, I also noticed that many of those kinds of paintings are created using oil paints. Been there, done that...don't want to go back to the messy clean-up of oils. I have to figure out how to achieve the look I want with acrylic...which I mentioned in my previous post that I find them difficult to blend together because they dry so quickly.

So I thought I would practice my own abstract landscapes to see if I could figure out a technique to get the look I wanted. Well, I've read many times before that the key to acrylics is layer, layer, layer and I must admit that is true. My first layer of paint just looked horrible and I almost gave up too quickly. So the next day I tried adding a second layer of paint and it was starting to look more like what I had envisioned. So one more time I let the paint dry while I went to Kohl's and returned to add one more layer. Yes...this is what I was looking for and I may have just learned an important lesson. Patience and Perseverance pays off. Layering takes time but really adds depth to a painting.

On most days when it's time to clean up my painting mess for the day I have rarely painted anything I'm really happy with, but when I finished these two backgrounds I was dancing a happy dance. It's unfortunate that they were only painted on drawing paper in my art journal and the paper is kind of rippled from all the moisture. Now the hard part is adding something on top...I'm bound to screw them up!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Charity + Begin

When I started this 52 Words challenge I thought "no problem" I can do one page a week. Well, I must be challenge challenged because I am so way behind. In fact, I skipped the words "Do" and "Merry" which I haven't been very motivated to "DO"! I left the pages in the journal with a sticky note to remind me to do them later or, if motivation never strikes, I'll just create my own word.

For the words Charity (11/29) and Begin (12/13) I was practicing blending with acrylics. I find blending extremely difficult since the paint dries so stinkin' fast. I watched several online video to help me get the hang of it. I do like painting flowers...they're so cheery and fun, always bringing a smile to my face. But my flowers always look the same if I'm painting from memory. I think I need to invest in a book on flowers so I have some reference for different types.

So there's two more's not too late to start your own 52 Words or Less if it looks like fun!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Art Goals for 2011

Before listing my new art goals for 2011 I went back and looked over the goals I established after my Flying Lesson e-course with Kelly Rae Roberts. Even though I don't feel like I accomplished much artistically, I did manage to:
  1. create a Facebook art page
  2. start a blog which I was only considering
  3. connect with other artists through various art communities
  4. get a little art journaling in
  5. work on art almost everyday
For the new year my goals haven't changed much...
  1. take at least one online course
  2. continue to work on finding my artistic voice by putting in the "brush time" everyday
  3. be more patient with myself and less critical
  4. finish the art that I start
  5. work in my art journal more
  6. focus on the art process and less on the product
  7. make more connections with other artists and get feedback on my work
  8. open my Etsy shop 
These goals don't seem very lofty, but considering that I'm still floundering with my artistic style and learning the techniques for the kind of painting that I want to do, it's the best I can come up with. I just need to PAINT, PAINT, PAINT until I have that "aha" moment!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Blogging Goals 2011

This morning I was sipping my coffee and reviewing my google reader blog list of 187 posts that I needed to catch up on. I enjoyed every minute of it, but I hated that I had to speed through the last 60 or so because it was time to get the kids up for school and get ready for my day. Scanning through the posts of fellow bloggers always leaves me inspired. I love looking at all the photos (especially the art), hearing about the year past and hopes for the year ahead, travels, plans and all the pure uplifting messages. It's definitely a great way to start the day.

My Blogging Goals for 2011
  • Blog 3x a week (as stated in my previous post and this is my third time this week...yeah!)
  • Post glimpses of my everyday outside life (I just went back through some of my previous posts and they are so very fun to look at again)
  • Also post glimpses of my everyday inside life (the part in my heart) which is a big stretch for me - I have trouble putting it into words
  • Create more art to post since this journey was the main reason for the blog
  • Educate myself more about Blogger
  • Do regular maintenance of my blog to keep it fresh and growing
  • Interact (comment) more with fellow bloggers, especially my fellow flying lessons classmates
  • Add new goals here
  • Add new goals here
The heart rock above I found on our hike to Rainbow Falls in Mammoth Lakes, CA. I don't know why I didn't keep it, I simply took a picture of it on the ground and left it. Someone else must have needed a new heart because when I passed by on the way back it was a good home of course.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cherry Cream Cake

I'm always looking for excuses to make desserts that will find their way into someone else's possession. If I make any kind of sweet treat and I don't remove it from the premises, it will surely get eaten by ME! I have a terrible sweet tooth, so much that I rarely bake at all. The other reason, I recently discovered, is the additional mess, dishes and time in the's exhausting! Since baking can't take the place of dinner...and that would still need to be prepared by me, it makes for an overly tiring and extended time in the kitchen...oh my achin' back!

So, for a scrapbooking outing over the holidays, I made this quick and easy Cheery (I should call it "Cheery" Cream Cake because every time I type the word "Cherry" it come out "Cheery") Cherry Cream Cake. Tastes especially good warm!

Cherry Cream Cake
1 white cake mix
3 eggs
2 cans cheery pie filling (21 oz.) divided
powdered sugar
whipped cream topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix cake mix and eggs together. Stir in one can of the pie filling, but don't over stir so you get a swirling effect. Pour batter into a greased bundt pan. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. While still hot, invert onto a round platter and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve warm pieces of cake with remaining pie filling and whipped cream.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy 2011 Everyone! I survived the holidays and I'm very much looking forward to the start of a wonderful 2011. Since one of my goals for this year is to blog on a regular basis I thought it would be appropriate to actually get a post up on the first day that I scheduled. I'm shooting for Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but if I can accomplish three days a week regardless of the day, I'd be happy.

I have to admit, I'm very jealous of all those bloggers who managed to successfully blog over the holidays. I found I had several disadvantages. 1...Christmas preparations kinda take over my being and I find it hard to accomplish anything else and family totally distracts me and I can't focus. I have a hard time doing anything creative with everyone home...I'm always needed. So for now, I'll have to stick to weekdays. I just need to come up with some way of keeping a blog topic list or something, so when it's time to post a blog, my mind doesn't go blank. I can always think of things to blog about when I'm not sitting at my computer, but when the moment comes, I just go blank. Any suggestions?

The photo above is from our afternoon at Corona Del Mar beach on January 2nd. Getting a bit cabin feverish after the holiday hibernation, we thought it would be fun to go walk along the beach and climb on the rocks. We tried to make it down there before the rain started, but didn't make it so we climbed and played in the rain until we just couldn't stand the cold any longer. Then it was off to Starbuck's for a warm one! Here's to making the most of 2011!!!!