Secret Garden Series -#2 OWL

18 x 24″ watercolor – Secret Garden Owl

My second painting is complete. I don’t know if it’s the distraction of the pandemic, but it feels like it took forever! I’m very happy with how it turned out. I feel like it conjures up the feeling of a secret garden.

Here are a list of objects to find within my secret garden painting:

A Dharma wheel, a Mayan temple, a chrysalis, an evil eye, a praying mantis, a potion bottle, the queen of clubs, fire flies, a fiddle head fern, matches, and a ladder.

Also, I am adding a Latin quote in each painting. This painting says “ALIS VOLAT PROPRIIS” which means “She flies with her own wings”.

Here were the three little studies I created to come up with ideas and the comparison to the large final painting:

So that’s it. Next I will begin part 3, the rabbit!

4 Paintings

Here are the 4 paintings I forgot to photograph :) 3 of them are 12×16 and the smaller 11×14. All of them are acrylic paintings.

This one is of the clay cliffs of Block Island, RI.

Another Block Island painting, this is one of our favorite fields to sit and watch the sunset. Ok. We never sit. It’s more like hike!

There is a tiny little shed near my kids school in Kingston,RI. It’s bright white against the fields and trees. The white of the building always says “haunted” to me. I guess like the famous haunted “girl in the white dress”.

This is a view of the Island of Jamestown, RI from the mainland. The area where I live is blessed with both beautiful farmland and breathtaking seascapes. The juxtaposition of the two is a painters paradise!

My thoughts are to paint a bunch of 12×16 paintings. Reason being the size will allow me to work rather quickly. The more I make the more “gems” I will produce.

I’ve learned in pottery that not every pot comes out perfect. If I make 6 mugs, I can count on really loving 1 or 2. I call those the “gems”. With these four paintings there is only one true “gem” for me.

my favorite is this one. Other people may agree or disagree, but this painting meets my standards of what I deem a successful painting, a gem.

Ahhh…. I guess I am putting it out there (again :). My weakness.

Deep breath…. I have perfectionist issues…. Don’t judge me, we all have something! ;) This one is mine. Not my first mention of it, but I think it’s important to admit imperfections in ALL humans exist. I know I haven’t found that real-deal airbrush app for real-deal-life so until then, the first step to fixing anything is admitting it, one time or apparently twenty times….or maybe thirty for good measure.

I get it. I do. For instance, I’m new to pottery, I am gentle with myself, I know I have to put a ton of time in to master the art form. But with painting, I am not so forgiving with myself, even if I know I haven’t put In a spec of the time needed to master the art form. I create all sorts of stuff. I cross a wide range of mediums. And I feel no anxiety. No cares in the world. It’s all just play for me. Except for painting. Every insecurity and ounce of angst pours out of me. If I go even deeper, to find the source of my angst, it’s probably a childhood incongruent thought. I grew up in an art gallery surrounded by incredible talent. My childhood association with ART and SUCCESS was based on my observation of PAINTERS. As I sat there scribbling with my crayons, they were the unattainable in my mind. Natural talent. Just pure magic. Little me scribbles = big artists come in to frame their masterpieces. I could never be that good. Why did little Mary think that? Beats the shit out of me. I wish I could go back and shake it out of her!

So, in my 43rd year, I am finally putting the pieces together. All the “unattainable” artists I observed as a child with their perfect paintings, were get this -not perfect. What???? Really, they are my people now. I talk to them regularly. Did you know they have a garage full of duds they never show the world? Did you know they have to practice and practice and paint and paint until they find their gems?

Mind blowing. I know. I wish someone could have told me not every piece will be a masterpiece . Then I’d just need to find a way to get the last thirty years of my life back!

So that’s it. I am going to paint a lot this year. I am not going to craft and fill every hour working on craft shows. I am going to practice my heart out painting and heal my little inner-child. Who is going to come out of this year saying “I am not perfect, but I’m a darn hard worker. If you don’t believe me, check out my garage. It’s full. And there may even be some gems in there.”

Crazy Painting

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Hi yall. I have some work to share…

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Can you see why I named this post crazy painting?  My abstracts keep getting more and more out there!

This rather large painting (2ft x 4ft) Is a completely made up fantastical tropical forest.

When I got to this point, all though there was so much going on, I felt like it still needed some sort of extra life force.

In my imagination I saw hummingbirds just loving that yellow bell-shaped flower.

So why not!

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What’s cool to me, is the birds do not stand out at all.  They are definitely not the first things you see.  Just like in nature.  Everything is hiding for it’s protection. Yet the more you tune in and look, the more of nature you see.

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I have to admit I am a little nervous.

I have two local art shows I am submitting work to this month (this means exposing myself to my artistic peers!).  Yes, I post my work on my blog, but I haven’t actually shown any of these abstracts out in public!

I know to most of my public, these paintings are pretty frigging crazy.  I brought This giant 4 x 4ft abstract in for jurying last week:

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I absolutely love it. I had this in my kitchen and it brought me joy and energy every day.  But when I walked into the gallery and placed it next to a muted beach pastel, everyone in the rooms eyes popped out of their head!  Ok maybe I’m over-reacting and being super-sensitive… but high energy and bold may have been words thrown out there…

I have to prepare myself for the possibility that many people will not like my work…

That hurts.

Luckily it only bothers me about 25%  which leaves about 75% thick skin.

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I mean, when I display my work in my home, it makes perfect sense!  I just have to find a few more people out there like me – you know, totally awesome! ;)

I know that like an awkward teen, I’m just going through a phase.  Be that a crazy phase!  I can see down the road that one day I will be able to marry the craziness with my prior realistic style and when the two come together, look out! I will have found my artistic “signature”.

Gotta walk the miles in the shoes…

Just like the bobby pin holding back my awkwardly growing out hair, I still have to go outside and greet my neighbors.  Gotta keep living day to day…

Gotta show my work. Stand tall and enjoy this crazy ride!

 

 

If Spring Won’t Come – I’ll Force it to!

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I am Freezing.

I don’t think I can take another day.  I’m losing it.  really!  I had to help my kids find their snow suits this morning!  In my mind, I have to make it to St. Patrick’s Day and if I can make it to then, spring is just around the corner.  Except for this year.  It’s like winter won’t ever end!!! Ahhhhgh!

I get depressed feeling cold and bottled up in my cocoon all winter.  I joke that us “New Englanduhs” loose our necks in the winter.  We are shuddering with our shoulders above our ears! Being cold physically makes you tense up.  I’d imagine it makes us a little cranky too!

Well, I have found a small solace.  It’s a little patch of my dining room.  As I framed away, preparing for my art show, I broke down, pulled everything off my dining room wall, hung my bird paintings and thought –Wow.  Instantly, I felt better.  It was like the combination of bright happy colors and the thought of nature brought me internally, to a happy warm place.

Oh yeah, that’s why artists need to make art!

  It can physically change the energy within us all.  Some artists explore other emotions like sadness, anxiety, & anger.  Not me.  I’m all full here, I don’t need any more of those feelings thanks.  But a mood lifter, a giddy feeling of spring, a feeling of hope.  Sign me up! That’s what gets me inspired.

It’s going to be hard to part with these bird-beauties.  I just love them.

IMG_6614 #93 - THE AMERICAN GOLDFINCH REVISITED x #94 - Baltimore Oriole (1) #95 - THE DYNAMIC DUO -CARDINALS (1) #96 - THE BLUE JAY (1) #97 -THE ROBIN REVISITED

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DAY #358- THINK BEFORE YOU PAINT

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I have to say, I really didn’t like either of yesterday’s faces.  They were weird and although I am actually trying to go for weird they weren’t cool weird they were recycle bin weird.

Following yesterday’s disappointment, I thought it a good idea to scrap the spontaneous painting and go with a little more structure.

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With all the previous heads, I’ve simply added paint to the paper, swirled it around and began to look for the faces in the paint swirls.  For today’s paintings, I paid closer attention to the negative & positive spaces.  I knew I wanted them colorful, but I tried to show a little restraint and use some neutrals for the faces and the color for everything else.

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I’m a lot happier with the outcome.  They are quirky, strange little 7×11″ watercolors. I think they’d make a fun hallway.  I want you to look at them and wonder things.

Now that I’m back on the right track, these are my favorite from this series thus far:

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OK. It’s Christmas Eve and I can’t check out without mentioning this special day.

I think I like Christmas Eve way better than Christmas Day.  The day is filled with giddiness and excitement. The kids hung their stockings, they sprinkled reindeer food all over the front yard, we made cookies for Santa and finished off the night snuggling on the couch watching The Christmas Story.  It was quiet, calm and just the 4 of us.  It was a gift.

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I thought this was cute.  My daughter left Santa a note: “Dear Santa, whose cookies are better mine or my mom’s?”

I’ll have to tell you tomorrow which Santa preferred… :)

To all of you a Merry Christmas.

Whatever your religious disposition, gather and hold your families tightly.  When we push aside all of the crazy capitalism, thinking of others and creating memories can be a beautiful thing.

Enjoy!

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DAY #339 – ROSES WITH ROSEMARY

 

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For some reason when I woke up this morning I felt like changing the color of the roses.  The roses were from my garden and in real life they are cherry red.  The color is mystically somewhere between red and hot-pink.  Although I have tried, I just can’t duplicate its magnificence, so might as well go with my imagination.  Red it is!

Now this painting is not a true rendering, it’s loopy on purpose.  It is a contour drawing that I then water colored.  I like it when other artists work is loose and imprecise, so I figured I’d try to loosen up a little too.  The paintings take on a bit more personality and quirkiness I think.

Roses with Rosemary also features a couple of my pieces of pottery.  I love how the bleeding of watercolors is similar to the blending in glazes.  They are imperfect and flow where they want to go.  I like this about both mediums.

Also, this watercolor is smaller than I have been working lately.  It is an 11″ x 14″ and yet it still took me two days.  That’s roses for ya.

I may be resigned to smaller canvases as I try to navigate through this marathon of a month, but hey, I started small so maybe that’s fitting.

Tonight is opening night for my daughter’s play.  I’d tell you to wish her luck and to break a leg, but she’s actually the kid that would land in the emergency room.  So let’s just wish her a happy & exciting night and smooth sailing for mom!

Humbug!

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DAY #329 – WHAT’S GOOD FOR THE GOOSE

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I thought for sure I’d finish this goose in one day, but it wasn’t to be.

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I started bright and early 8am.

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I created a feather template from my recycle bin. I assure you, when I am through, they will look a lot more like a feather motif!

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By 3pm I had mostly only completed the under-painting.  I’m not sure if this is due to my driftwood goose’s size, which is around 2 ft high or the fact that the dried out wood sucked up so much paint I had to go over every area 2-3 times.

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Whatever the reason, I’m only half way there on this creature.

I still haven’t figured out what I want to do for designs on the head.

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I also plan on adding some of these corks too.

Either way, I love having these brightly colored 3-D objects around the house!

Tomorrow is my favorite day of the week, pottery day.  Maybe I will try to be disciplined enough to leave the pottery studio when I’m supposed to.  I generally stay an extra two hours.  I will try to leave early and finish this goose. I better. I still have five other driftwood sculptures waiting to be transformed!

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DAY # 328 – LUCKY DUCK

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Today I was a glutton for punishment.

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I still need some key pieces of driftwood to complete some of my sculptures, so I decided to hit the beach.  If you are not from New England, then let me fill you in on the weather.  It was about 20 degrees today but with the wind chill, it was estimated to feel about 9.  Great day to go to the windy beach!

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I wised up this time and brought a wagon.  My arms are still sore from lugging driftwood.#328- Lucky Duck (5)

The beach I went to was an absolute disappointment.  I came home with a headache and an ear ache from the wind and only about 6 small pieces of driftwood.  None of which were what I needed to complete my pieces.  It was so windy I thought I was going to blow over.  I love having the beach to myself, but there was a reason I had it to myself today, it was nasty!

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I came back home and it seemed like all my wooden sculptures were waiting for me.

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We got back down to work, my daughter and I, we had wood shavings, nails, wood and saw dust all over the place.  There was absolutely no way we could work outside in this weather, so we moved it all inside.

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I have to say my 9-year-old daughter was way more productive today than I was.  She tells me all the time how much she doesn’t like art and how she has no interest, what a liar!  On her own, she decided to create some Christmas decorations.  I just love this snowman see-saw.  The snowmen are corks.  She nailed them all together and created a functional lever and fulcrum….show off!

I, myself, was all over the place today.  I couldn’t figure out what I wanted.  I started with painting the block orange and the duck magenta, but from there, I didn’t know where to go.  This is what I started with:

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I wound up adding a log for visual interest and I’m glad I did.  The faux-bois log is my favorite part!

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I had also found this rusty wheel shaft on the beach.  I thought it would be great for an eye. Unfortunately, I thought I could drill two small holes in it which I couldn’t, I wound up cracking about 3/4″ inch off the side of it.  That stunk. It was absolutely perfect, but I went with what was left and it still adds some visual interest.

You know, originally I was thinking of painting this bird to look like a seagull, but then I thought about how many people in the world have painting a seagull out of driftwood.  My second thought was to go with something wild from my imagination which I think was a good call.  My driftwood duck is wild, over-the-top and oh-so very colorful.  It ties in with all my art kicking around the house.   I have to say I am truly digging the 3-D element to these pieces as well.  With all of the paintings I’ve been creating, everything winds up being some form of a rectangle.  These pieces are adding some dimension to the room.  Who knows, some of these creatures might wind up permanent dwellings in this place.

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I plan on tackling my goose tomorrow.  I’ll have to dream up some crazy color combinations tonight.  I already have a fun idea for the neck.  It’s going to be crazy!

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DAY # 321- ONE STEP FORWARD THREE STEPS BACK

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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:

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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!

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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.

Bugger!

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Day #320 – Half a landscape

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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

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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.

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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!

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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:

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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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