#322- Vivid Knoll (2)

30″x36″ gouache painting on 140 lb cold press paper.

Wow, this painting didn’t go at all as expected.

I was going for a free spirit, go where the wind takes you painting experience and instead I got the total opposite! I should have known better.  You can’t  plan  spontaneity!

If you look at yesterday’s post, you can see how I back pedaled on half the painting.

#322- Vivid Knoll (4)

Eventually I worked it out.

#322- Vivid Knoll (3)

I got to make some more tree stamps today.  I’m debating on adding one more tree to the bottom right.  I most likely will.  I’ll see if I still think so in the morning and then I’ll post my changes.

You know, I haven’t really worked with gouache in months.  In fact, before this creativity challenge, I had never worked with gouache at all.  I feel like this week the medium finally clicked.  I get its plusses and minuses now. Months ago I tried very hard to create a smooth surface with gouache. Now I see textured brushstrokes are what make these paints so appealing.  I also didn’t realize you could paint over areas nor did I know you could reactivate the paint with water similar to watercolors.  I’m slowly learning through experience.  I have to say, mostly what I adore is this medium’s vibrancy.  I’ve never experienced colors so clean, crisp and vivid.

Now that I’m getting the hang of gouache, I’d like to try again. To try to create more works.  Hey, they can only get better from this point I think right?

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#321- One step forward three steps back (1)

Yesterday’s post was all about using my intuition, you know, going with my gut.

Ah yeah, that didn’t go so well.

I was so excited this morning to wake up and complete this painting.  I really liked it yesterday and I thought it would go smoothly today. Nope.

My concentration was completely off.  blame it on the kids running back and forth, blasting their morning cartoons or blame it on me.  I just couldn’t get into the zone.

Do you know what happens when I don’t get in the zone? This:

#321- One step forward three steps back (2)

I started in one direction, and hours later I was whiting out everything I had worked all day. I just couldn’t find a direction to go in.

I know, I know, some days are like that, but it doesn’t make it any less disappointing!

#321- One step forward three steps back (3)

I printed out my unfinished painting and then used markers to fill it in.  I was hoping to gain some perspective for tomorrow.  Two of these could work, but I am going to rest my eyes and look at it again tomorrow morning.  Hopefully the answer will come.


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Day #320 – Half a landscape

#320 - Half a landscape (1)

I started a new 30×36″ gouache painting on 140 lb cold press paper today.

I wanted to try one more time because I felt like yesterday’s painting was a little more planned and calculated then I wanted it to be.

Pattern Hill, yesterdays painting, was mapped out, sketched and deliberated. There isn’t anything wrong with this, in fact, most people would expect that this is what one would strive for.  But what I would like to experience is a painting created purely on gut instinct.  No over thinking. No angst.  Just trusting your gut.

Today I wanted to try again to go the direction of this painting: #313- Ode to Hundertwasser


To many it may look like their third grader’s last art assignment, but it really is not easy to deconstruct the world into lines and wiggles.  Really, your entire life from kindergarten on, teachers are trying to show you the “right” way to paint or draw.  This usually has a heavy emphasis on rendering exactly what one may see, not on using one’s imagination to create that which does not exist.

I fall into this category.  My whole art education seems to have revolved around learning how to draw everything realistic.  I like realistic rendering.  I do. It can be very rewarding, but I don’t ever feel like I get lost in a realistic painting.  My mind doesn’t wander, question or provoke thoughts.  I think  to myself “Pretty apple or very flabby body or yes that looks just like Madonna or wow a tulip and it still has dew on it.” and this is where my thought on the painting ends.  Pretty.

Yet abstracts and impressionism leave room for me to wonder.  Why is that there?  What’s around the bend?  The artist deliberately manipulated that, why?

I love the freedom, the lack of restrictions, no comparisons, no one telling you what is “right”.  It is simply your vision.  People can like it, dislike it, they can not understand, they can not even care.  But there may be a few that gain more insight into your brain, how you think, how you feel, and what naturally flows from your tap.

This year is my first year venturing outside realism.  I’m not sure what my publics response is to it, but I sincerely am doing it for me.  I enjoy it.  When I put paint down without any thoughts, without a script, I feel like I am working purely off intuition.  No angst, no comparison, no get it “right”. I’m simply feeling and reacting.  In this way, I also feel way more vulnerable.  It’s like hanging your soul on a wall for others to see.  Not so many volunteers for that job I’d imagine.

#320 - Half a landscape (2)

So for today’s painting I filled up a palette with paint, picked a spot on a large white canvas and began to paint.  From the first spot, I stay incredibly present and simply ask myself “Do you want to go left? right? up? down? Quick! Don’t over think it, choose a color…what FEELS right?” and I simply move from area to area.  No pencil sketch, no itinerary, no struggle to implement all the “shoulds” I’d like to add to my work.  It’s just the inner me. Which apparently is very bright.  I mean LITERALLY!

#320 - Half a landscape (3)

Here’s another tidbit about today.

I just love carving. Next year I think I’ll have to try wood cuts, but for now, stamps will suffice!

I created a forest stamp to use in my painting today.  I carved it out of a pink rubber eraser.  It worked perfectly.  It gives an area a “wood cut” look to it which I just adore. Here’s a close up of the stamp in action. It’s from the right top section of my painting:

#320 - Half a landscape (2)b

There is so much more to do tomorrow.  Day #320 of my challenge and still LOVING it! I have to go to sleep so I can wake up and get busy.

Until then…Nighty Night!

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Day 319 – PATTERN HILL Completed

#319 - Pattern Hill completed (1)

Pattern Hill  30″ x 36″ gouache painting on 140 LB Cold Press paper.

What a fun painting! Well, I had fun painting it for what it’s worth!  It has all my favorite components:

Color, pattern and I was even able to sneak in some of my hand-made stamps.

Did I mention color?

I love the movement created by the curvy black and white fence.  I like the herringbone pattern sliding down the hill.  I love the way the sky just says hallelujah gosh darn it! I just want to put on some running shoes and take to the road like Forrest Gump!

Well, that’s sort of it.  Quite plainly.

This painting makes me feel happy and energetic and don’t we all need a little of that?

Happy Friday everybody!

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Day # 318 – PATTERN HILL


I feel a little bit better today.

Yesterday I was feeling like the painting was embarrassing and weird.  Today it’s just weird which I’m totally fine with!

So judging by the title have you figured out the premise?  I plan on having a blast coming up with all sorts of patterns and designs.


I started the day off simply blocking all the spaces off with color.  It’s great having a computer.  Every once in a while I take a photo and put the painting up on my computer screen.  This allows me to gain some distance from my painting.  Since the painting is large, I don’t have much space to literally “back up”.  It allows me to check the colors and patterns and gain perspective.

I was originally thinking the sky didn’t fit.  It’s a totally different style of painting, but today it doesn’t bother me as much.  I love days when the clouds seem aligned with the sun.  The sunrise and sunset are in a halo of sun-glow.  Somehow it works for me.

It’s pretty cool to see in real life.  It’s large enough that you can focus in on different areas and roam around a bit.  I love that in art, when you’re forced to wander.

IMG_7809IMG_7817 IMG_7824

I hope to finish this painting tomorrow. There is still quite a bit to do.  I’ll cross my fingers!

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I had so much fun with the painting #313- ODE TO HUNDERTWASSER this past weekend that I decided to try something similar only really large.  The painting I started today is 30″ x 36″.  That’s about the size of a dishwasher.


Ok. So this is the painting from Saturday.  It is gouache and I did it without any planning.  It started abstract and then I went in the direction my first strokes took me.


Already, I’ve done too much planning on this one.  I created a small sketch or map you might say. I also have been thinking a great deal about color and pattern before I put it down on the paper.

I think it’s bad news.  I should have went from the gut like last time.  The sky is traditional and painterly yet the foreground is more of a 2 dimensional pattern.  The two styles contradict one another.  Tomorrow I will begin the task of flattening the sky and adding more detail to the patterns in the front.

I’m sure something cool will come from it, but already I want to try again without planning, you know, simply intuitively paint.

That is the one thing I hate about this daily blog.  I totally do not want to show my work today.  I feel completely vulnerable.  I’d never show this step of a painting if I knew I was going to scrap it.  I guess that is what’s cool about blogging though.  It’s real.  Not every day is perfect.

We shall see what tomorrow brings to this painting.


On another note, I was complaining Saturday that I ran out of yellow gouache. What was frustrating is that I still have plenty of every other color but yellow.  I guess I’m a little heavy-handed in the yellow department.

Thank you South County Art Supply I mention this because I had the coolest thing happen to me at South County Art Supply.  I went in and bought a new six-pack of gouache paint because I needed the yellow.  I was telling the owner this and the next thing I know, she slipped a yellow paint tube in my bag.  It was yellow gouache from her own personal set.  I think that says so much about Andrea and her mom & pop art supply store.  When I tell her what I like and dislike about certain products, the very next time I come in, she has thought of a solution.  When I need something she doesn’t carry, she orders it lickety-split. She also does a great job educating me about what’s new on the market.  I’m sure I’ve already said this, but I’m so very glad to have S.C.A.S right here in our little town.  It is such an asset. Thank you!

On that note, I’m headed back to the kitchen to put my mom-hat back on.  Got to get dinner on the table ASAP!

See you tomorrow!

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Boy do I love Friedensreic Hundertwasser!

If you don’t know his work, check him out.   I find his work fascinating.

Today I am away from home. I packed my stamps, some gouache paint and a stack of paper thinking I’d create some more tree prints with my hand-made stamps.

When I sat down to work, I  realized key stamps were missing and out of the red, yellow and blue paint, my yellow was severely low.

Hmm. No stamps and one of the three primary colors missing.  Guess I’m not doing what I thought I was today!

When I get thrown curve balls like this, I scrap it all and just decide to play.

No pre-planning, no sketches, I just dip my brush in paint and see what manifests.

 I started with the magenta paint, basically because it is what I had most of!  I had no idea what the shapes were going to be.  I just painted.

4 pomegranate shapes popped up.  Was I going to paint pomegranates?  Nah.

Next, I put the blue and green lines in. I still had no idea what it would be, but the lines did give me a feeling of farm fields.

From there, the rest started to take shape.

I created a sky, brush, hills, texture and then I wondered what to do with those 4 large round orbs I made??? Black came to mind.  I decided to treat them all the same. I painted them black.

I  had one round tree stamp with me.  It seemed like a perfect fit.  I loaded up the stamp with white gouache and stamped the tree pattern in.

It all fell into place.  The 4 orbs turned into trees and the repetition of their pattern moves throughout the image. The lines create movement and the dabs of paint create patterns.

The painting is naïve, but I dig the colors and the movement.


All in all, It’s kind of fun when things don’t go the way you plan them to.  It makes you let go of all of the control you think you have, that you really never had in the first place!

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Quick recap:  For the past week I have been trying to flatten and simplify my artwork in an attempt to better understand the artist Milton Avery’s work.  My sole purpose is to strengthen my own compositions by stripping my own work to its bare essentials, studying line, contemplating good design and then adding detail back in as I see fit.

This was way harder than I ever anticipated.

Here are the past few days paintings:

#213- Milton on my mind (1) #214 - THE MILTON INFLUENCE (1) #218 - TURNING THE CORNER (3) IMG_3348



The first few days, you can see, I just couldn’t shake the texture and detail. When I finally got to the second to last painting, I had stripped my image of all depth and texture.  I’m telling you, that painting is flat!  But you know what, it was a little too flat for my own personal taste, so I tried it one more time.

Today’s version measures 18 x 24 inches and is a Gouache painting on 140 lb Cold Press paper.

I have to say, I’m not all that familiar with Gouache as a medium.  I’ve only used it once or twice so far during this 365 challenge.  I knew that the gouache paints would be opaque which I wanted, however, I thought I could layer this form of paint.  Meaning, I could paint an area of the painting, let the paint dry and then add another layer over it.  Oils and acrylics you can layer.  watercolor paints become reactivated by the new paint and begin to move and blend on your paper.  Gouache, when I went to add another top layer to an area, would reactivate into something similar to finger paint. Meaning, as I pulled my brush of new paint over dried paint, the bottom layer of paint would release and leave marks similar to running your finger through finger paint.  It begins to look streaky and I could literally carve what ever I wanted into the newly activated wet paint.  I mention this because I fought with this painting for like a day or so,  continuously trying to add paint and instead, mostly removing the existing paint.

I slowly figured out to go with the flow.  For instance, check out the top hillside.  I have streaks of color running through the ochre colored hillside. The paints don’t blend easily, so I finally figured out to purposely not blend them.

 However,  I needed the water to be fully opaque to capture the stillness of the water, so for the water I struggled to paint as fast as I could to add some extra layers without disturbing the underlying paint.

Am I boring you with all this layer talk?  Sorry about that!

I guess what I am trying to say, is I learned a lot this week.  I kept failing and I’d try again, fail, try again…ect.  Each time I’d let go a little more and I’d learn a little more.

I don’t think I will ever be as minimalist as Milton Avery, nor will I ever be a realist.  I lie somewhere in that middle-grey area, a place where I will find my own niche. I’m still searching, still defining, still working that out.

I really like todays painting though, I feel like I captured the key elements of the image without going overboard.  Not too much texture, not too much color, just tranquil, modern and old-fashioned all rolled into one.

A little bit of everything.


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Happy Father’s Day to my awesome husband.

When asked what he’d like to do today – “Absolutely Nothing!” was his reply.

I even talked him out of mowing the lawn – which is the #1 thing I harass him about!

So I need to hurry this up, so I can return to doing NOTHING! It’s quite nice actually.  We don’t do nothing very often.

This is the card I made this morning for Father’s Day. First in line is my husband who is quite the businessman by day and quite the goofball by night.  He has on half of a business shirt and half of a tie-dye. Of course with Birkenstocks.  Yep, that sums up his appearance.  I made myself, my usual mismatched, over-patterned, colorful self.  You know, the more is MORE philosophy to style.  And then my two kiddos, an 8 year old girl know-it-all and a 6-year-old boy who must prove his “coolness” through scary clothing daily. My son wears the same Crocs every single day of the year.  In fact, we could say he is very successfully accomplishing a Croc 365.  My daughter tries to wear flip-flops and tank-tops with the first blade of grass poking through the snow.  She’s a bit of a hippie nature lover.

Anyway, I came up with “Thank You for Keeping Us Ducks in a Row!” while trying to come up with an image that summed up my husband.  I’ve heard people use the term “better half” loosely, but no joke, my husband is the better half!  On top of working all day long at his own business, he comes home and loves to cook us dinner.  He plays with the kids, reads them books for over an hour every night and he enjoys supermarket shopping!  I am the spaz and he is the guy re-organizing the dishwasher and methodically plugging away at the laundry. The man never gets sick, so he is always the one nursing all three of us back to health. Dad is our go-to-guy for anything tech related too.  He fixes our printer, loads up music, outfits us with every state of the art gadget we would otherwise never even know about. We’d be in the stone ages if it wasn’t for him.

So that’s what I thought of.  Ducks in a row.  Organized.  Methodical.  He circles his flock, keeps them from getting lost or going awry. He is the back bone.  He is the straight line.  He is what holds us all together.

We are very lucky.

Thank you husband.

Thank you father to my children.

I’m pretty sure I got the better end of this life-long deal!

As my father said to my husband when he asked permission to marry me…”No Backsies!”  This should have been a warning!

Love you!

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