Saturday, May 31, 2008

Treasury at Last - My First

Doing a Treasury on Etsy has been one of my goals for a long time. I read The Storque article on how to create a Treasury, came up with an idea for a theme, and eventually put together a Poster Sketch featuring a number of shops. My theme is Zest of the Nest, a rather appropriate springtime idea that I thought would make a nice Treasury.

Here's where the catch lies: my timing was never too keen. For a long time the magic number would come up about the time I was cashing in my chips for the night. Now I checked my Poster Sketch from time to time to make sure all of the items were still popping up. Every now and then I had to replace one, because it was no longer there, so I figured all of the rest were still available. :)

Yesterday the magic number came up twice!!!!! You can imagine how excited I got, after all I had been hanging onto this Poster Sketch now for about a month and a half. OK, so the first time the number dropped to 333 before my very eyes, my internet server went down. Yeah, it really did.

I could hardly believe my eyes when I looked at the Treasury that evening, and the magic number was at 340. So I sat there, laptop glued to my lap, waiting until the number dropped to below 333. Then there it was, a spot to name my Treasury! I thought I could somehow just grab the Poster Sketch and plunk it in; however, it seemed each number had to be inserted manually. I wanted to move fast, because I thought if I was too slow, the Treasury might yet get snatched away again. I felt so slow and clumsy as I copied each one into the little boxes, and finally I was done. The pictures were all there, and I had captured a treasury.

By the next morning I had started to get some feedback. It was all complimentary, but then the other shoe dropped! One of the commenters said that most of the items in my Treasury had been sold -- in April yet. Mortification struck me solidly right between the eyes. Oh, no!

Long story short: it's all fixed now, but the comments have ground to a halt. Oh well, it was my virgin run at a Treasury. Chalk it all up to another learning experience. One of these days I may just know a thing or two. Two days later, and it's gone!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Paradise Input Decoder Devices

This acrylic painting of Birds of Paradise flowers has a "Space Invaders" look to it. I intentionally wanted it to have an abstract nature and kept from using true colors and utilized a gradated, textured background to further promote this effect. First I did some thumbnail sketches and chose one with a Papa, Mama, Baby bear composition (that is a large shape, a medium shape and a small-sized shape). Then I used two layers of gradated White Gesso, Hansa Yellow and Cadmium Red Medium to get a nice thick background before starting on the drawing for the "birds."

Once I started on the "birds" I found I needed a couple coats of the White Gesso to get a thick enough layer. The next step was to pick up the colors in the background and use them in defining the "birds." I had left the medium "bird" all white until almost the very end when I decided to use a little bit of the brown on it.

I had printed out on 8 1/2" x 11 paper, some red-brown Photoshop effects of my digital photograph of the real Birds of Paradise photo taken at Pinellas County, Florida's Botanical Gardens as well as some other photos. This effect was so cool looking that I decided use it in my painting by collaging some of it onto my canvas using Acrylic Matte Medium.

The final steps involved using some textures to blend in the collaged parts with the painting and also to achieve the darkest of the dark colors. The result seems other-worldly, and I began to think of the "birds" as other-worldly devices coming to Planet Earth to check it out and report back to the other-world, in this case picking up the paradise from the "birds." That's how the name came about. WoooooOOOOHHHHHH!

This painting is large: 40 x 30 inches on gallery-wrapped canvas which has been painted on the sides, thus eliminating the need for a frame. It has been protected with a layer of Glossy Acrylic Medium and Varnish. It will be on display at Studio1212 Gallery in Clearwater, Florida from June 1st to June 25th in the "Canvas and Then Some" exhibit. I'm also showing it in my Etsy shop, DreamON. For more information, click here.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wind For Sale

Wind For Sale, the title of the painting refers to an old Finnish legend when in ancient times the Finns would offer wind for sale to traders who would wait and wait on their land because of bad sailing weather, and when the sailors paid for knowledge of the winds, the Finns would give them in exchange three magic knots tied in a sturdy leather strap. This is how they were to be utilize the knots: when they untied the first knot, they would have gentle breezes. When they indid the second knot, the winds would be stronger. If they weren't satisfied with the speed they were making and they untied the third knot, they were likely to face hurricane strength winds.

In the painting, the legend is applied to hopes for good sailing weather - full moon, stiff breeze and small boats.

For additional information about the painting or to purchase it, click here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Today's Painting A Day is called "Everlasting," because I saw in the focal point, two rings which symbolized for me covenant marriage, and the colors of the painting are happy colors: gold, yellows and magnificent manganese blue; and where they cross, pale green. It is painted with acrylic paints on 12 x 12 x 1 inch canvas. It will not need painting unless it is the desire of the buyer to frame it. The painting is not signed on the front, because the buyer might like another orientation. It is signed and dated on the back by the artist (me).

To see more information about this painting or for purchase information click here. It will be found in my Etsy shop, DreamON.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Caught Looking

It's fun to give some thought to guessing what this little parrot has interrupted his grooming routine to peruse. Is there a hot little parrot chick out there? Maybe there's a human (how dare them) trying to snag him for a photo, or perhaps it's a wild monkey climbing the next tree in search of bananas.

In any event, I painted this guy awhile ago, photographed the painting and stored it on Photoshop. A few days ago I was looking at photos and playing around with the many different treatments you can perform on your pictures. I discovered an unfamiliar one that turns a photo into a monochromatic version of whatever color you have already selected. These looked to me like they should make some interesting collages. This is the first, but I carried it a bit further than I had intended by painting much of the parrot over again with my acrylics, and then did some outlining with marker before varnishing.
Caught Looking is 11 1/2 x 15 1/4 inches on 140-lb. Arches Cold Press Watercolor paper.

For additional comments and purchase info, click here .

Monday, May 19, 2008

Some Kind of Music

It's about time! Sometimes a painting just paints itself, and this one did.

Introducing Some Kind Of Music.

I just scraped the blue on with my palette knife, and then mixed up some pretty yellows - one cool and one warm, added the peach and painted the sides, and I thought it looked happy. The colors are just that pleasing. I had in mind that this was just a step on the way to somewhere else, but I was pretty contented with just this much.

I laid some bubble wrap down and waited for it to dry, and when it did I tried a couple of things for a focal point right where the bubble wrap pieces came together. I wiped a few of them off before I was satisfied with the treble clef. Then I did a couple of steps to embellish/obscure it, and I'm happy. I just think I like this painting. Some Kind of Music was sold on Etsy almost immediately after I put it on last evening. Yay!

Friday, May 16, 2008

May 16 Sunrise - Painting A Day

This morning's sunrise, fresh and on paper!

The sun had just broken out of a fog bank across the water, and this glorious picture emerged. I just had to whip out my watercolors and try to paint what I saw. Of course, what is my paint and brush rendition compared to the glory of the actual beauty of a God-given sunrise?
The size of this one is 7 x 10.5 inches on 140 lb. Arches Cold Press Watercolor paper. For more details or to purchase, please click here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Pictures of Spring

I lived in Colorado most of my life where Spring really is a season that doesn't exist. You have beautiful weather for a week, everyone has Spring fever, and then a big snow blows in. The blossoms fall off of the trees, and if you're not lucky, the leaves if the snow is late enough. Then the daffodils come out from under the snow, the grass has gotten amazingly green, and you think it just might be Spring. The cycle repeats itself all through the months of March and April, and by May -- maybe it will just rain instead of snow.

This last weekend we visited my husband's mother in Portland, Oregon. Everything is blooming there! In some cases, it actually looks really strange, because there are red blossoms covering a bush that are next to purple blossoms, next to yellow blossoms, next to pink blossoms. You would think that the backyard farmers would have given some thought to this when they planted, like thinking about what looks nice blooming next to what. Of course, we didn't take pictures of the overdone yards, just what we thought looked pretty.

Overall the mass of flowers is beautiful. I was on total floral overload , never having seen so many things blooming in the same place before. This wisteria was gorgeous.

The rhododendrons were simply amazing. Azaleas were everywhere. Even holly bushes had red berries on them. Camelias. Tulips. Wow!

Someone on Etsy recommended going to Silverton which we did. The Oregon Gardens were immaculate, and we enjoyed them very much. Thank you for the recommendation. My mother-in-law got tired, so we did not get up to the falls. Maybe next timeAnyway, after many hours traveling across the country by air and many other hours driving around Oregon and Washington, I haven't gotten myself back into painting form yet. I tried painting today and made mud. Since mud is a most unattractive part of Spring, I will spare you having to see it. Hope you will enjoy the flowers instead.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Notes and Pieces - Painting A Day

This painting is entitled Notes and Pieces. You may notice it is unsigned on the front. Abstracts are often left unsigned in order that the purchaser can display it in any direction. That said, this is my preferred view, but people's tastes are so varied. I have put this painting up in my Etsy store, DreamON. You can click on the picture to get to my shop to see purchase info.

This weekend we flew to Oregon to see my DHLM. (That's code for my dear husband's loving mother.) It takes all day just to get there and another whole day to return. I may be feeling like buzzard bait by Monday morning. (I'm such an optimist!) My diurnal clock is going to be on Eastern Standard Time no matter what. Four days is just not long enough to reset. This morning I was wide awake at 2 am (oh joy!). I have a feeling that four hours of sleep is going to make me a very grumpy companion for the day. Help me to keep my mouth glued shut, lest I say something I shouldn't.

Once when we went to Amsterdam, I was sooo tired by the time we got there after that long flight. I just had to sleep, no matter what we were told about staying up until our normal bedtime. Then I stayed awake for days! There was a church very closeby that had truly amazing chimes, but they went off every fifteen minutes. I would tell myself, as I tried to go to sleep, "You have 15 minutes to go to sleep, surely you can be asleep before they go off again." Ten minutes later I would be telling myself, "The bells are going to go off any second, might as well wait until they go off to sleep." Then I would listen intently. Well, this went on for two nights, until finally I found a music channel on the TV to drown out the incessant sound. As beautiful as the sound of a carillon is, it can also be overwhelmingly annoying as a sleep-aid.

Who ever said that one of the requirements for being an artist was sanity? (VanGogh might be able to tell us something.)

Pears and Squares Revisited

This was my day to paint with my artist girlfriends at Studio 1212. It's one of those times when you don't remember what was talked about, but you do remember the giggles, smiles and raucous laughter. Yesterday we had our last business meeting and lunch at the beautiful home of one of our members and were treated to a relaxing and gorgeous view of the Gulf of Mexico complete with signs for the boating channel leading straight out to daydreams at sea.

Today I reworked Pears and Squares. It took a lot more effort than I had previously thought it would, because it just didn't look right to me. It might be fun to compare the first one that I posted a couple of days ago with this one. Anyway this is the result of the revision. I now have it up in my Etsy shop where you can find purchase information about it. Click here.

Tonight's American Idol results could be interesting. The cut will narrow the number down to the Top 3. Jason seems to have dropped out already, or that's the way it appears to me. He's such a dreamy-looking guy that he might just have a bucket-load of teeny-bopper fans to keep him alive, but from the last few weeks' performances, I just get the feeling that in his mind, he's already gone. That said, the battle of the Davids (David Cook and David Archuleta) who both are outstanding, has been made much more interesting by the rapid and profound development of Syesha Mercado and her obvious Broadway-bound vocal stylings. How's that for a totally uninformed commentary?

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Beach, Mud Pies and Pears

These are some pictures I took yesterday when my husband and I were at the beach. Since there were quite a few fishermen trying their luck, there were also a number of shore birds hoping to tag onto someone's rejects, or maybe sneak some bait. These egrets are so beautiful and white that I always am amazed they look so clean. Frequently we see them up to their knees (I guess they have knees) in swampy-looking water, still looking white! Anyway, I love them, and watching them is fun.

Today, I have been making mud while painting, and that hasn't been so fun. I struggled to finally get something decent, and I still think I have some work to do on this one. It was another beautiful day outside, and I think my mind and body wanted to be out there. Sometimes I think I should just listen, because you can't force painting to turn out right if you are tired or just not in the mood. I should have gone out for awhile and then done some ironing or something.

This painting I am calling Pears and Squares. Its size is 9 1/2 x 15 inches, and it is, like the previous one (Refreshments) watercolor in the first layer with the remainder of layers painted in acrylic.

I don't think the pears are well-defined enough yet, so that means I will need to go back in and solve that problem in another session. You could say that painting a picture is a little like doing a puzzle, it has to be solved. Since I was struggling with my mud pies, I ran out of time to solve this puzzle today.

It was so late when I stopped painting that the flash on the camera came on when I took the photo, so I would need to take a better photo anyway, one without the glare even if I didn't need to do something else to the painting.

Another painting I have been re-working is the Eye of the Ocean, and now it doesn't look anything like it did when I talked about it on the blog a week or so ago. When it gets done, I may bring it back as a topic again. Would you like to see what it becomes?

In the meantime, I need to go to the beach more often. It is so incredible out there!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Refreshments: Painting A Day

This week has been pretty much occupied with the preparations required for delivering 30 pieces of art to a couple of local venues serviced by the Creative Artists' Guild. These venues are part of the rotating art exhibits which the various participating artists of the guild fill from month to month. I have a two-month exhibit of my paintings in the Bel-Aire Cafe in Clearwater with three other artists and at Somers Title Company in Palm Harbor where my paintings are shown in a single-artist exhibit. These exhibits are in addition to locations where I exhibit year 'round at Studio 1212 Gallery in Clearwater, Grecko Grill in Madeira Beach and at the Artists' Guild Gallery in Holmes Beach. All of these locations are in the Tampa Bay, Florida area.
My new painting of the day, Refreshments, is an acrylic over watercolor on Arches Cold Press Watercolor paper. The dimensions are 12 1/2 x 15 inches. Click here for purchase information.
The technique I used was described earlier in the blog and is the same one used in Escape of the Little Boats and Spring Fling, the only difference being that I used a layer of watercolor first before negative painting in three succeeding layers of acrylics.

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