Painting 101 (just for the fun of it)

It doesn’t matter if you think you are a good artist or not.  Art is subjective.  What might affect my emotions in a painting may not be the same as what style someone else is attracted to.  I have stood adoring many a painting in museums and in homes and I am in love with southwest oil realism.  Or anything from the sixteenth century.  My friend has a painting in his dining room of blue brush strokes that he no doubt paid hundreds for.  See, none of that matters.  We are painting because it is fun.  Creating and using your right brain helps your brain function better, breaks up the daily schedule, and helps us be like children again.

First grab a canvas, acrylic paints, and a set of brushes.  These things are found easily and inexpensively at Walmart.  Acrylic is easy to clean up.  I adore oil but I do not love the fumes or clean up.  Watercolors are also nice.  I have carried watercolors with me with a small canning jar of water in my purse before for a stint, capturing moments in coffee shops and parks.

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Find a photograph that you love or something out of a magazine.  In your mind, imagine a cross through the photo evenly splitting the photo into four blocks.  Now do the same on your canvas and use that as your scale.  Use pencil.  Here is a great trick that my seventh grade teacher taught me and I will use it forever: if you get stuck, turn the photograph or picture upside down.  That’s right, turn it upside down.  You will start drawing it as you see it not as your mind sees it.  Big difference.  You will be astounded by your accuracy!

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Use an egg carton as a palette.  It’s easy clean up and you can blend twelve to eighteen colors at a time!  Start with the background.  You are building from the back to the front, otherwise it will look confusing to the onlooker.

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Have some fun with it!  There are no rules with art.  These koi fish could have been purple and blue and maybe would have looked even better!  Look for sparkle paint to highlight pieces of your painting; the scales, or a sunset, or fireflies.

My paintings take about two hours.  If I have to create them over months, they will end up in the pile of unfinished knitting and other projects.  Remember that your painting will never look like you imagine.  Art has a mind of its own- even for the great artists of the world- and art looks like it darn well wants.  You cannot manipulate it.  Just go along for the journey and see what creates itself.

Spray with a protective spray for paintings, sign, and hang on the wall!  Be proud of your work.  We are all artists!

Lost Hobbies…what is yours?

Our living room with Sister Mary Francis

What was your hobby when you were a kid? What did you want to be when you grew up? What is something you are really good at? Your lost art?

When the kids started being gone more and I had to figure out what to do if I weren’t bossing people around and working, I started thinking of all the things I loved to do before I had kids.  I loved to dance (reopened my dance company), I loved to write (I am definitely writing more!), and I loved to paint.  So, a few years ago I gathered up supplies and started painting again.  How different my paintings are now then when I was in high school!  Landscapes and still lifes, fashion design and drawings of cats made way for paintings of farms and farm animals, of praying nuns and villages.  Looking at a painting one can see the artist’s soul, their utmost desires and needs, their joys and sadness, their inspirations.

San Miguel

When we moved last March, everything was put up and I haven’t done many paintings of late.  How easy it is for us to get lost in our world of working, errands, play, children, spouses, to-do lists and lose the essence of our expression.

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My paintings will be shown at the coffee shop in Elizabeth next month.  I would love to have some new paintings out to show.  One can tell that I am not putting as much energy into painting as I could as I sell roughly one painting a year.  I can’t do art shows near our town because everyone only knows me as the herbalist.  Last year I did my first art show since school.  I kid you not, every single person came up and said, “Where are your tinctures?”  “Do you have any Allergy medicine?”  “No?  How about Stress and Blues?”  “Oh, who’s the artist?”  I would deter everyone to the shop.  Doug had a stellar day; I did nothing!  Then things got busy and the paints got put up.

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People are often intrigued by the paintings of the nuns.  Baffled and interested at the same time.  I paint nuns because I had every intention of becoming one.  After watching Haley Mills in “Trouble with Angels” I decided that is what I wanted to be.  I already made my way by myself to mass often.  I loved the peace and serenity one can find in prayer and the beauty of the Catholic church simply amplifies that.  I love helping people and it just all seemed to be a good fit.  Apparently being pregnant is frowned upon when becoming a nun, however!  And of course I realized my true path in life is as a mother and wife.  I cannot imagine anything better.  But my desire for peace and tranquility, for serenity and prayer comes through that set of paintings.

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The farm animals, the New Mexican paintings all speak of what I really want.  I have more paintings in my mind, one of my son Andrew, Maryjane needs to be immortalized in acrylic (though I could never do her justice), a table of brightly colored chilies, a barn, a child praying…..no pastels, only vivid colors.

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What hobbies do you hope to start up again?