God’s Beautiful Mistake



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.”


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


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


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.





Yellow Flowers in vase


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!

Goodbye winter

I love that I can experience all four seasons in the state of Michigan, where I live.  I do not love that sometimes, winter decides to stay extra long.  This year was one of those years, and most of us Michiganders couldn’t wait until spring was finally here. Last week it was snowing.  Snowing.  In April.

Now that it is spring, I can look back and be glad I made it happy and mostly healthy through another cold winter.  Here, cardinals symbolize winter just like robins symbolize spring .  I’m posting this watercolor of a cardinal to say goodbye to winter.  Gorgeous sights like cardinals sitting on snowy branches are one of the few joys I get out of a nasty, cold season.  My inspiration for this was a photo I found on the website http://paintmyphoto.ning.com/.  I love that site to get photos to paint from if I can’t find one of my own to paint from.  I do like painting live scenes, however, I rarely paint things in one sitting.  Also, I never paint the same time every day so the lighting, shadows, and coloring change.  Anyway, here is my female cardinal watercolor to say so long winter, see you later this year at our usual time


Pearly Whirly

Pearl was a miniature dachshund that was part of my parent’s household for many years.  Sadly, my little puppy-sister passed away last year. My folks do have two other dogs and a cute cat, but Pearl will be missed.    I called her Pearly Whirly, and I loved how she would snuggle with me in the morning when I visited.  My folks got up early, and I did not.  Apparently, Pearl wasn’t an early riser, either, so she would sleep with me until I decided to get up. My dad compiled a picture collage of pearly, and I thought it would be a good idea to give him a picture of Pearl for Christmas.    She was a butterball!  I painted just her head and my parents loved the painting Pearly Whirly

Below is the acrylic painting I did.  As with my other acrylics, I textured a lot and added lots of glazes.  This is the first picture I did of a pet, and I was happy with the results

Pearly Whirly

If I had a million blue Ball jars

No seriously, I wish I had a million blue Ball jars.  I might just settle for a crap ton of them.  I would photograph them and paint them and paint them some more and just go a little crazy with the paintings of Ball jars and use a ridiculous amount of run-on sentences while I do it.  As it is, I have several of these gorgeous aqua jars, and I will be adding to my collection when I can.  This painting with flowers was a gift for a friend.  Her bathroom was all aqua and purple, and I thought a photo of lilacs in a jar I came across would make a beautiful painting.  The painting is an acrylic 8×10 on canvas.  For acrylics, I use a variety of paint brands (mostly Golden, Liquitex, Dick Blick, and M. Graham), and I also use glazes and gel mediums.  For this painting, I added a gel medium to the background because I wanted a textured feel.  I glazed on top to bring out the texture, as well.

Lilacs in Ball jar

Fruits of my labor

Pears on a board

Okay, I know it’s a cheesy title, but this is about fruits.  More specifically, it’s about pears.  This is the first post in this blog so I wanted to describe the pear picture that I have in my header.  I love painting pears almost as much as I love eating them (they are so delicious!).  They are knobby and pitted and beautifully imperfect.  Capturing the imperfections, for me, is what makes a painting look real.

This watercolor painting was done on Arches cold press paper.  I blocked out the pears and the wood with masking fluid and masking tape while I worked on the background.  For the back ground, I painted blotches with my masking fluid.  Then I added many layers of color beginning with a light wash of yellows and greens.  I built up the color on the left with a couple layers of light paint.  Then, I painted a thick layer of green on the left, and put some crinkled saran wrap on top.  I left that to dry, removed the masking fluid in the background and added a couple more light layers of color.  I worked on the board next, and I did the pears last.  Both the board and pears were achieved with many light glazes of the watercolor.  I hope you enjoy!