God’s Beautiful Mistake

 

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Sunflowers are those flowers that you either love or hate.  I don’t think I ever heard of anyone saying, “meh, I think sunflowers are just okay.” I have a friend who absolutely loves them, and the above painting was a birthday gift in acrylic.

One of my favorite sunflower descriptions was in the horror movie The Order in a dialogue between Alex Bernier and Mara Sinclair;

“I hope you like sunflowers,” said Alex.

Mara replied, “I love sunflowers. You know that.”

Why? Why do you love sunflowers?”

“Because I always thought that when God was making beautiful things, He messed up with sunflowers.”

“How?”

Well, ’cause they look like – I don’t know. They look like crooked teeth around a mouth that’s too big, kind of.”

Yeah.”

But… just when He was about to start over, He realized that’s what made them beautiful. They were a brilliant mistake.”

“Like you and me.”

That really stuck in my head.  I saw the movie years before I started painting, and it made me look at sunflowers differently from then on.  A friend of mine told me once that artists see things differently.  Sometimes, I feel like that’s true, but sometimes, I still need things pointed out to me.  Like the loveliness of  a sunflower.  Later in the movie Alex compared  Mara to a sunflower, calling her “God’s beautiful mistake.”  Best. Description. Ever!

For me, sunflowers are definitely my favorite flower to look at.  The interesting textures and warm colors just make me feel good.  When I paint something, the more imperfections that show up in the painting, the more realistic the painting looks. Sunflowers are real.  The petals are all different sizes, the colors are all wonky, and the whole flower is imperfect.  They’re a favorite subject to so many artists. I mean, what art lover hasn’t seen or heard of VanGogh’s sunflower paintings?  It really comes as no surprise to me that people keep requesting sunflower paintings.  In fact, they keep requesting one painting, in particular,  and that painting is just a copy of an artist-unknown pallet painting I saw on pinterest.  Well, anyway, here are my copies

 

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Easy(ish) Art

 

These were some relatively easy pieces that I did for wedding gifts.  They were easy to do but a bit time consuming.  Each one was about 16×20 inches and they were painted on slats of dog ear fencing.  Here are the steps I took to make these.

  1. The first thing I did to make these was put together 3 pieces of pine dog ear fencing.  I used my Kreg jig and joined these every 6 inches.  Then I cut the joined pieces perpendicular to the slats. The fence pickets are about 6 feet long and I can cut 3 decent size pictures from the joined fencing.
  2. Sand, sand and sand.  Fencing is rough.  These needed a little one on one time with some sandpaper to handle them without getting splinters everywhere
  3. I whitewashed the slats for the jar pic.  This was about 1:4 white acrylic paint to water ratio.  I painted it on and then wiped off most of the excess.  I did a similar technique with the Founders growler but I used burnt umber acrylic instead of the white.  This can be done with a water based stain, but it doesn’t work well with oil based stains.  The reason is because there needs to be some absorption in the wood to transfer the image nicely and oil based stains tend to seal the wood
  4. I reversed the images and blew them up to fit the wood pieces.
  5.  The Ball jar graphic I got from thegraphicsfairy.com.  I placed the backwards image on the wood and used citrasolv to transfer the image onto the wood like this method https://snapguide.com/guides/transfer-images-using-citrasolv-natural-solvent/.
  6. For the growler, I blew up a photo and used tracing paper to transfer the outline and wording and then transferred it onto the wood.  This is a good way to do it, but I used a white charcoal stick http://www.wikihow.com/Trace-Using-Only-Tracing-Paper-and-Pencil-Lead-for-Visual-Artists
  7. I traced over the transferred images.  For the Ball jar, I just used a black sharpie to trace over the image.  For the Founder’s growler, I used a white sharpie paint marker.
  8. After that, the Founder’s growler was done.  For the Ball jar, I watered down some aqua colored acrylic paint and painted in the jar.  Voila!  Two easy art pieces for the bride and groom.

This isn’t my typical type of painting, but I loved how they turned out.  I want to make a jar for my own kitchen, now!

 

 

Mom’s Flowers

My mom loves floral paintings.  The painting with the pottery was an older painting I did.  She had it on a wall in her livingroom when the walls were painted a deep rusty red.  Her furniture and accessories were all earthtones so it fit nicely.  When my mom decided to remodel, she painted the walls a bright celery green.  The painting didn’t really fit so I painted her some flowers that had a green toned background and lots of leaves.  I’m not wild about the yellow flower painting, but she enjoys it.  I guess that’s all that matters.  Both paintings are acrylic.

pottery

Pottery

 

yellowflowers

Yellow Flowers in vase

 

Budding branches

I know everyone has different inspiration when they paint. I find inspiration in lots of things, but every now and then I find it in magazines.  I found a beautiful photo in my Better Homes and Gardens magazine of some flowering branches in a green pottery pitcher with a blue background.  The colors were gorgeous, and I loved the photo.  I ripped it out and threw it on my inspiration pile (which is getting a little out of hand but that’s a mess for another day). I never intended to do the painting just like the photo, but it was too awesome to change.  I removed a couple things in the photo, made the flowers a bit larger, and added an antique glaze on top.  Overall, I liked the painting.  It wasn’t quite the photo, but I loved the antique feel of it.

vase of buds

Dear summer, take all your weddings and shove it

Wow, what a busy summer!  Weddings, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, birthday parties, and bonfires are just a few of the things I’ve had to handle.  Pretty much all of these things require gifts or food to pass.  So, in the absence of a favorite pal, money, I have been making the gifts.  That, too is consuming a lot of time.  I count myself lucky that I am crafty and creative enough to make the presents. I’ve still been painting off and on, just not as much as I’d like.  This picture is of an oil painting I did for a friend’s birthday.  She loves wine and has had wine tasting parties in the past.  It is a bit more old school traditional than I usually do, but I was happy for the results.  The painting is only an 8×10 on canvas board so each layer went rather quickly.  I don’t usually like canvas board, but it’s affordable and easy to fit in a standard picture frame.

wine

Spiced Pears

Spiced Pears

This is a painting I did ages ago for a class final.  For the final, I had to paint anything I wanted, and I did a trio of canning related pictures.  One of the paintings was of stacked canning jars filled with fruits, veggies, and sauces.  Two of the paintings looked like photographs and vintage looking recipes surrounded the subject of the recipe. This one, of course, is pears, and they are one of my favorite subjects to paint.  For this, I taped off the middle square first and painted the “photograph.”  I re-taped and added the off-white edging using acrylic spray paint.  I really wanted it to look like a Polaroid.  The surrounding pears were painted and I added the decoupage of the recipe last, I added several layers of acrylic medium to the painting so that the recipe blended better.  I love how this one turned out, and one of these days, I will post the other paintings if I can talk the owners into photographing them.

pear Recipe

Palette knife painting

palette knife landscape

Have you ever worked on a project for hours, only to find you didn’t like the end result?  That has happened to me several times with larger paintings.  I found something that was visually pleasing to me with good composition.  I went to paint it and put an enormous effort into this large painting.  Then, when I got my finished product, I was disappointed.  What the hell happened? Why does the reference photo or still life setting look so good, but the painting looked like crap on toast?  Smaller paintings are awesome because even if I don’t like the end result, I only wasted a couple hours.  Yes, I know making mistakes is a learning experience, and with painting the more I practice, the better I get.  The painting process for me is always calming, but the burst of enjoyment I get when seeing my completed painting is what fuels me to paint more.   Small paintings are great to take care of a needed creative fix, but they are also a good pick-me-up if the painting turns out how I imagined.  This landscape is an 8×10 oil painting on canvas that I did with a palette knife.  I like to use a palette knife sometimes because my palette knife paintings are always a different style than painting with brushes. I think this one is going to join the other landscapes that I’ve acquired or painted for my bedroom.  Have a lovely week!