a few of my favorite things

We rearranged some furniture in our house (this was a few months ago).  When we moved the filing cabinet from it’s odd placement between a bookshelf and a table I remembered why we had put it there – to cover a bad spot on the wall.  Years before I had placed a peel and stick dry erase calendar on the wall to use for the kids/homeschool.  When I took it down I saw that the marker had seeped through and stained the wall.  Oops.

So now we wanted to move the furniture that had hid the spot and I was left with the ugly markered stains uncovered.  What’s a girl to do?

Rather than repaint the entire wall I went for a mural.

It’s in the space between the kitchen and the school room.  It’s at a weird place, much lower than you would ever hang a picture.  I wasn’t sure at first what I wanted to do – but the idea of an owl and books made perfect sense.

It started out a little amorphous.  It stayed that way for months.  I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to leave it be, fade the blue into the wall color, add a frame, or what.  So I left it alone.

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A couple weeks ago it occurred to me the perfect thing to do would be a frame. I wanted to do a swirly golden frame – a play on something fancy. I drew it on free hand.

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When I think of swirly golden frames mocking at being fanciful, the first one that comes to mind is the one around Monica’s peephole. It was really fun to paint. I actually love the mural so much more now. The darker blue (which happened while trying to even up lines and spread the blue to the edges of the frame) made the white of the owl really pop. The yellows of the frame are a wonderful contrast to the blue and really brings the whole thing together.

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The craziest part? I’ve already started a group of flowers a little higher on the wall. Husband and I agreed that that entire wall should be filled – over time with a natural progression – with paintings. We envision it like an old school tattoo sleeve, each image it’s own, and in the end pulled together with a cohesive background.

a watercolor of shadow and color

I’ve had a little extra down time over the holidays, which is the perfect time to fit in new paintings.  I had just finished a piece on my wall with acrylics, so I was in the mood to work on a watercolor.  I also love that I can do a watercolor start to finish in one sitting.  Acrylics on canvas (or my wall) always take me several sessions.

My last several art attempts have been in trying to balance color, in using blues and reds as the colors.  The first was with pencils, and I decided pretty quickly into the project that I wanted to switch to something a little softer.  The next was with watercolors, but I think my color choices were too bright, or maybe the colors had too much contrast.  (I don’t know what I’m talking about, I just know I didn’t love the outcome).  I think this has been the best yet, which just goes to show that you have to keep trying.  In every effort I learn something and know what I want to do differently the next time.

This girl, she’s much closer to what I have been going for in style and color.  I think she’s one of the best I’ve done in terms of shadows as well.  Maybe with practice this will continue to improve.

*Shameless Self Promotion:  Prints will be available at Society6 soon!

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Last Minute Idea for Twenty Fifteen

I’m not sure why it hadn’t occurred to me before, but I was hit with the idea just last week that I should put together a calendar of my paintings.

I do a calendar every year of photos for the grandparents, so it’s something I’m always thinking about come Thanksgiving time – time to get those pictures sorted and arranged for the calendar.  Maybe it hadn’t occurred to me to do an art calendar because I didn’t have enough images for a full year.

Now I do.

I threw it together first through iPhoto – I’m comfortable working in iPhoto and do our family calendars there.  In the end it would just cost too much to go through them for something I wanted to sell.  I ended up going with VistaPrint for the art calendars.  I was nervous because I had never used them and knew nothing of their quality.  Here I was selling a product sight unseen and risking the quality along with it.

The calendars arrived last night — I am super pleased!  I love them!  I am actually hoping one of the sales falls through so I can keep one for myself.  haha

I have signed and doodled on each calendar to make it a little more personal.  I can’t wait to get them in the mail!!

I ordered ten and sold ten.  It was a first go around and I’m so so happy I ventured into this territory and took the risks.  It’s also opening my mind to new possibilities for the future … keep your eye out for notecards and new products in the new year.

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Bee Girl

For a while now I’ve wanted to do a girl with exposed ribs and something crawling out from her ribcage.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that when I sat down to do the piece she ended up with bees coming out of her ribs.  Of course I had to name her Bee Girl after that.

I’ve also been wanting to do a watercolor that didn’t involve coloring in the lines – just some spots of color over the drawing.  I’m not entirely pleased with the outcome.  Partly because I used low quality paper that was labeled for water color but didn’t hold up well to water, and partly because I couldn’t figure out the perfect colors for her.  Gray, yellow, and blue seem like old stand by’s at this point.

What do you think?

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Disclaimer:  Original artwork by Jess Moore of Bee Girl Art.  Please don’t steal my images.  Feel free to use them as inspiration to make your own art.

Playing with Color

I have this favorite author that is also an artist (ever notice how these things can go together? the drive to create spilling over into other areas?), and I love her work. It’s very different and I can’t say I understand how she does it. Yesterday I printed out one of her drawings, as inspiration, and set to work.

– Click on her name for a link to Maggie Stiefvater’s website to see the picture in question. –

It was fun. I enjoyed playing with the colors. It was hard – on my body at least, because I sat hunched over this drawing for the better part of three hours (what else is a girl to do when the kids are sick and lying around doing nothing?). It wasn’t nearly as frustrating as I imagined it would be because once I set to working on it, it flowed.

You guys know I’m the first to admit I have no idea what I’m doing. My color pencils? I bought a fancy set (Prismacolor Premier) years ago, and have rarely touched them. I’ve never felt like it was intuitive to use them, to figure out blending them. I just didn’t get it. It was really fun to play with them and get more comfortable with them. I still don’t think it comes naturally to me, but more so than before.

I’m a bit “meh” about the final product. My oldest son loves it and says it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. He came in the room and said, “I didn’t know you were so talented!” Pure shock. haha Good to have at least one fan of this crazy eyed rainbow girl.

In an effort not to be a complete theif, I did color my own drawing, rather than replicate Maggie’s. And if you clicked on that link up there, you’ll see mine is really nothing like hers at all. In fact I might try again soon with water colors rather than pencils to get the lighter washed effect.

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