Category: best effort

Warren’s Sunset

I’m showing a lot of trust and blogging on my iPhone. Word Press has done major work on the iPhone app.

This is from a photo my husband took. It was taken at the end of our street.

I initially did this digital pastel about a year ago. I decided it needed work. The clouds were looking very odd and the mountains had no contrast.

I recently joined a group on Facebook. People there are actually willing to tell you what’s wrong with a piece.   Don’t get me wrong, I love all the likes. But sometimes I just really need a helping hand.

I have never gone back to a piece and reworked it. I have learned so much so fast in painting. I try to do some kind of art every day. Going back to a piece feels uncomfortable. I have changed. My art skills have changed.

Going back and reworking this proved very difficult. My strokes were very small and tight.

This was done digitally. I had all kinds of layers and digitally, it was a mess.

I think I should have just done a new one. That’s what I’ll do next time.

The clouds in this piece had always bugged me. They were so stiff. I also wanted to honor my husband’s photo with a better pastel.

It took me three days of futzing around, but I finally got it.

Mary over at oilpastelsbymary.com is a fabulous pastel artist.  She had been a huge inspiration to me

I hope you enjoy this.

Looking Forward

Looking Forward

Looking Forward

Looking Forward is what I like to do.  One can choose to look at the past, whine over previous mistakes, regret what was or look forward and see what can be.  I found that life is way too short for regrets of what was.  I realized that it is human to make mistakes.  It is the human condition.  So, no use fretting over them.

I recently did this painting with a group I belong to on Facebook.

We do intuitive paintings by using prompts that people in the group suggest.  For instance, this painting started out by one woman suggesting that we cover our canvas in a fun color or two and make sweeping marks and stay loose.  Then the next person chimed in to do the same, using contrasting colors.  I suggested we cover the 1/3 of our canvas with geometric shapes.  Then someone suggested adding tissue paper or some other media to give the painting texture.

I am the only digital painter in the group.  I particularly enjoy this group, because it challenges me.  When they suggest something that I can’t necessarily do the same way they are going to do it, I get to use my imagination and do it digitally.  So, I just imported a blue piece of tissue paper into my painting.

For those of you using Painter, you can bring things like this into Painter on a layer of its own by going to File/Place.

However, pieces of tissue paper hanging out on the page did not look cool.

So, having recently taken a dynamite brush class at the DAA (Digital Art Academy), I simply made a brush that would respond to texture.

I have a huge collection of textures to paint on.  One way I can use these textures in Painter is through the paper panel.  Over the years I have collected various paper textures from pond scum (really good one) to asphalt.  I chose a couple of these and with a darker blue, added some texture to the blue/violet areas of the piece.

In the beginning of this piece, I chose to use liquid inks and dribble red, oranges and yellows over the page to give myself something else besides just paint strokes to start with.

I also used pencils to add some interest to the piece.  I am finding that using a very dark or very light-colored pencil in my work will add pop to the piece.

If you’re interested in joining our Paint Prompt Facebook group, please drop me a line and let me know.  We’re always looking for new members.

Staying Positive Works — Strong Spirit

Strong Spirit

Strong Spirit

This painting was done in Painter, using oils, liquid inks and pencils.  I am using it because it is entitled Strong Spirit.  That is what I have.

I started this blog to write about fibromyalgia and lyme disease.  My intention was to write how my belief in a God of my understanding, coupled with affirmations, gratitude and positive thought had allowed me to find a peaceful, fulfilling life in spite of these chronic illnesses.

Then, practicing those things led me back to being able to do art, and art has pretty much been the focus of this blog.

Today, I want to write about positive thinking.

I came across the idea of having God in my life and thinking positive about 30 years ago.  I began reading a lot of varied books on many religions.  I put together an idea of what God is for me, personally.  I believe there is something that holds us all together.  I believe that we are all connected in some way.  I believe that when I, or someone else, does something negative or harmful, it affects us all.

I believe in taking personal responsibility for myself and what I can change.  As I read and researched, I concluded that the only thing in this world that is possible for me to change is me.  I can’t change you.  I can, however, change how I react to you.

This was working fine, and life was going along real sweet.  I was a textile/mixed media artist.  My work was starting to sell.  I was having shows in galleries.  I had been in a group show at a very prestigious museum here in Seattle.  I won awards for my art.  Life looked good.  Positive thinking and a belief in a God of my understanding was working.

Oops, I got sick.  I didn’t just get sick, I got completely disabled and unable to do anything but lay in bed and wonder when I was going to die.  Doctors said I was crazy.  No one, absolutely no one would help me.

Friends and family walked away.  As they left, they said “Screw, you.  You’re a little liar, you’re not sick, just crazy.”

OK.  I got mad.  I got angry, I got resentful, hateful, mean-spirited, the whole thing.  I threatened to divorce my husband of over 30 years.  I was one sick, miserable person.

Where had it all gone?  What was happening?  One day I woke up, and could stand myself no longer.  I vaguely recalled what I had practiced just before I became sick.  I was very dubious.  I figured, this stuff works when things go well, God is there when I’m happy.  But what happens when the pedal hits the metal?  It’s all gone.

Hmm.  Perhaps I had missed something.  “OK”, I said, find something to be positive about.  What?  I can’t remember what I found, but I found one small thing.  Like breathing or something.  I practiced being grateful.  I said affirmations.  I worked at it.  I was not convinced, but I went on with the teeny, tiny bit of faith I had left.

It worked.  Just as negative things build and grow larger and become overwhelming, so do positive things.  It built up.  I found more things to be positive about.

Don’t get me wrong, it was slow going.

I’m Calling You

I'm Calling You

I’m Calling You

 

I have been wanting to use more kinds of media in my work to give it more interest and texture.  In this piece, I used liquid inks, pencils and oils.

I have decided to focus on getting better values in my paintings.  Values (or tones) are the darks and lights in a painting.  Not so much the colors, as their values. For instance, a highly saturated yellow can have a dark value in a painting.

I was dismayed when I first learned this about value.  I love to use really bright colors.  But doing that in the painting means that the painting won’t have much depth.  If you don’t have much depth, you usually don’t have much of a painting.

So, what’s a girl like me to do?  I have had to tone down my colors.  I looked to the Impressionists.  They have incredibly bright paintings, or so it would seem.  However, many of them used greys in their paintings to make their other colors look bright.

Right now, in my paintings using grey is just not something I’m up for.  So I started adding highly saturated colors that also contained a lot of white.  That way, I can get better values going in my paintings.

I’ve been working with a new category of brushes in Painter, the app I use.  They are called liquid inks.  Painter has a category for regular inks, but liquid inks are a whole other thing.  

Look In My Eyes

Look In My Eyes

Look In My Eyes

I have taken a brush making class at the Digital Art Academy (DAA). The DAA is an on-line school that teaches art while using Painter, the app I use to make my art.  Jason Maranto taught the class.  It has been fantastic.

First, let me explain about brushes in Painter.  You don’t just grab your mouse and paint.  I use a stylus and tablet that plugs into my computer.

Painter comes with over 700 brushes.  These brushes are in many media, such as oils, acrylics, pastels, charcoal, pens, pencils, watercolors, conte, markers, crayons, inks and others.  The brushes actually mimic real world media.  The brushes work with paper textures.  So one can take charcoal or pastels and draw on a rough surface or smooth surface.  The brushes will show the textures of the rough papers and be smooth in the others.

The brushes in Painter have a number of adjustments.  Painter calls these adjustments the Brush Engine.  It is much like an engine, very complicated.  For each brush, there are setting about how the brush will interact with paper, opacity of the paint, the saturation of the paint, the paper grain, the angle the brush is held, and many more settings for each brush.  Users of Painter can make brushes in addition to making adjustments to the brushes that come with the program.

In my art, I want as much as possible to have every part of it my touches, my strokes, my decisions.  In order to do that with digital art, I needed to understand the brush engine. 

Bird Stamps

Bird 2

Bird 2

Bird 6

Bird 6

 

 

 

As I blogged before, I recently took an ecourse from Tracy Verdugo.  During the course, Tracy took us through a painting for six weeks.  In addition to the painting we did, each week, there were other projects and creative ideas given to us.

The ecourse was for mixed media artists.  I took this course because Painter, the app I use to paint with digitally, is actually a treasure trove of mixed media.  I wanted and needed some fresh ideas.  I had spent the previous two years just figuring out how to get paint on canvas in Painter.  I wanted to start exploring all the other media that is in Painter.

One week during the course, Tracy had people take some material similar to the trays meat comes in at the store.  Then people made a kind of stamp out of these by pressing down with a dry pen.  Everyone was making fantastic stamped art.

That left me kind of out in left field.  What to do?  Everyone was making these great stamped art pieces.  So I put on my thinking cap.  This is the creative nudge I had wanted, I just needed to figure out how to do the process in digital.  I decided to make stamps in Painter. 

I’m so Excited

Pink Fish

Pink Fish

In 2012, through an odd series of “coincidences”,  I took a painting class from Flora Bowley.

A very good friend at that time, tricked me into signing up for Flora’s eclass.  I was very sick with fibro, lyme and CFS.  I had been in bed for over 20 years.

I was kind of doing art.  But I was just too sick to do much.  Making a phone call overwhelmed me.  Trying to be creative was impossible.

Then, I discovered the computer app I now use, Painter.  At that same exact time, Flora came into my life with her philosophy of life and art.  I had a positive outlook on life, but it had never occurred to me to apply that to my art.  Duh!

Flora has shared stories of her students  in her blog.  This week, she chose my story.

Click here to read the blog.  While you’re there, check out her fantastic art and be sure to check out her classes.  Be sure to click on “Shop” at the top.  She has fantastic products made from her art for sale.  Flora’s art or her classes make fabulous Christmas gifts.

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