Beautiful Paitings on Wood

Artist have used wood as a painting surface sense the beginning of time but modern artists are giving it a whole new look. I am so fascinated by the work of Alison Moritsugu and Meni Chatzipanagiotou. Moritsugu is a Hawaiian artist who is known for her detailed traditional style on unique wood rounds. I love her installation named “Wilderness” pictured above and below.

Meni Chatzipanagiotou is an artist from Greece who does beautiful wood cut style art on wooden rounds. Her work was a surrealist feel combined with a traditional style. I love these two pieces pictured below.


For my latest painting I used a birch wood round gathered from the home of this adorable baby girl. I’m excited that the surface will have significance to the family as well as the painting. This one of my first times painting on wood and I learned a lot through the process. The wooden round was already well sanded and smooth. I sketched out the silhouette of my subject and then filled it in with white acrylic primer. I then painted the portrait with oils and oiled the wood once I was finished. This process worked OK but I think a clear acrylic sealer or primer would have worked better for a portrait.


Snowy Mountains



It’s so important to discover beauty in your surroundings particularly in difficult times. After living in the south for three years, I had almost forgotten how hard winter can be. Persistent sickness, below zero temperatures, and long dark evenings didn’t make it any easier.  But, whenever I would start to wonder why we ever moved to such a cold place, all I had to do was step outside. The Bob Marshal Wilderness is in our back yard, and I was struck be the amazing beauty of these snow covered mountains time after time.

The birds have returned to the valley and the snow is starting to melt. It was so nice today we even went for a walk. Spring is wonderful, but the mountains are never so beautiful as when they are covered in snow. This painting is the first in a series of winter paintings I will complete this summer. I’m enjoying the limited pallet and simple beauty of these snowy mountains.





Three Amazing Women Artists I Admire

Today is International Women’s Day and I’m highlighting three amazing women artists that I admire. Being an artist isn’t easy and the field is even more difficult for women. Although I am only writing about three for the sake of time, I admire any woman who continues creating and inspires others around her.

Pages from “Sketchbook for the Artist.” by Sarah Simblet

1.Sarah Simblet is an amazing artist and writer. I admire her ability to draw loosely and fluidly as well as detailed and realistically. Being adept at all drawing media and styles is the sign of a great artist. Sarah’s book “Sketchbook for the Artist” is one of my favorite books on drawing. She has written several other instructional books over her career including, “Botany for the Artist” and, “Anatomy for the Artist.”


2.Erin Anderson is a young artist that paints beautiful realistic portraits. Anderson paints primarily with oil on copper. The copper background gives her paintings a modern abstract element that is truly stunning.




3.Camille Leidigh is the last artist but certainly not the least. I have admired Camille’s work from as far back as I can remember because she is my mother. She is the artist that taught me to always strive to do my best. She was my first watercolor teacher. She was the one that read through volume after volume of art history books with me in high school. She was the first artist that inspired me to create. Camille Leidigh proved to me that you don’t need to be famous or have your art in galleries to influence and inspire others. I don’t think it is any coincidence that four out of five of her children artists. Here are a few of her amazing paintings.




So, think about it. Who are some women artists that have helped or inspired you? Don’t forget to acknowledge them and thank them if you can.


Drawing Cloth (a step by step tutorial)

Cloth is everywhere and learning how to draw it realistically can really improve your work. Drawing from life now can make the work more believable later whether it is from your imagination or not.

So, grab a sheet or some other cloth that is handy and arrange it in a well lighted place. Have a variety of pencils, a blending tool, and a kneaded eraser ready and let’s start.


Any great drawing needs to start with an accurate sketch. If the sketch isn’t correct your drawing just isn’t going to turn out looking right. I gently sketched out the main shape of the cloth with a mechanical pencil. Remember to press lightly and use a sharp pencil that can be easily erased. That way you can adjust your drawing multiple times to get it right before going on to the shading.


During this next stage I used a HB pencil and lightly shaded all the dark areas. Make sure not to go too dark at first so that your drawing can still be adjusted as needed. Remember that cloth will have rounded edges and that you will need to shade it like you would a ball. Keep in mind the core shadows, cast shadows, and reflected light.


Next, I used a 6B wood-less graphite pencil to get some of the darkest values on the cloth. As you can see the dark pencil tends to lay on top of the paper and leaves a rough or grainy texture.

I blended the rough texture with a paper blending tool to give the cloth a softer texture. Then, I went back over the darker areas with a HB pencil to blend and darken.


The last stage is always the hardest, so, don’t give up! Remember that your eraser can be as important as your pencils. Use a kneaded eraser to remove any smudges and lighten highlights. Use your 6B pencil to go over the darker areas again and add some cast shadows. Darkening the negative shape behind your object can make it pop into the foreground.

Have fun drawing cloth! I’d love to see how your drawing turn out.


K.C. Christmas

“Contemplating Earl Gray”

K. C. Christmas is an up-and-coming artist whose art I greatly admire. I love the simplified lines and solid blocks of color that give her work the quality of a vintage illustration. The combination of food, nature, and people in K. C.’s recent work has a surrealistic feel to it. It makes you look twice, and that is what sets great art apart from good art.

When asked to say a little about herself, K. C. Christmas says, “As for me, I am a tea-loving artist that can’t resist a good book. Currently, I’m earning a history degree but I make time for my art. My work has been featured in various exhibits around the world and is owned in different homes across the United States. My work is consistently focused on portraiture and the interaction between people and nature. These current illustrations I’m making right now are inspired by the sweet things in life – food, flowers and fashion. I love making work about people because it’s so relatable. You or I could easily be that illustration of a girl drinking tea or being grasped by ivy. Most of my illustrations are made with ink – whether that is micron pen or Faber-Castell brush pens. In the near future, I will be returning to some acrylic and oil paintings on a series of medical issues. I’m excited to see where that leads!”

If you want to see more of K. C. Christmas’ work you can follow her on Instagram. You can also purchase these beautiful illustrations on her Etsy shop.


“Side Effects of a Cherry Cordial”


                “Shoes Aren’t Required for Tea Parties”


“The Grasp of this Earth”


“A Dab of Whip”


“Turning Over a New Leaf”

Looking Back

Sometimes looking back gives you a vision for the future. I was reminded of this wile looking through an old sketchbook from college recently. It was interesting to see how much my art has changed and surprising to see that the fine lines and gentle shading had been replaced by a hurried boldness. In many ways, this change in my art is a reflection of the changes in my personality and life. Wile noting these changes over the past five years, I began thinking about what I would like my art to look like five years in the future. (Will that really be 2022? That’s insane.) Primarily, I would like to grow in originality and style have my art recognizable as uniquely Aspen Creek Art.

In what way has your art changed over the past few years and what is your vision for your artistic future?

Here are a few more of my old sketches from college. Enjoy!







All Smiles


This is my son. He is ball of energy that can wear me out at times, but his smile, it can brighten my day like nothing else.

I painted this portrait for a friend using the same method used in this watercolor tutorial and for my other watercolor portraits.

Watercolor Portrait Tutorial

Painting a portrait can be tough and painting one with watercolor can be really tricky. Here is a tutorial that will help you get though it step by step. So, grab some paper and paint and let’s get started.


The first and most important stage of a watercolor painting is the drawing. If you don’t get the proportions right in the beginning your whole painting will be off. This is because watercolor paint will stain your paper and if you get paint in the wrong place, it is hard if not impossible to remove.

After you sketch out your face, you will want to start blocking in the lightest colors on your portrait. Remember to keep the white areas white. Then take a break, get some tea, and let the whole thing dry for a few minutes.

Next, you will want to start working on the form of the face and adding in some of the darker areas. Look for the shapes of the sparkles in the eyes and leave them white for now. I like to finish the eyes early on in the painting so that they can be a good reference for the face tones. Try to think of the colors and shadows on the face as shapes and fill them in with color.

Next you will want to finish the hair. It helps to think of the hair as a shape instead of bogged down with individual hairs. Using a round brush will help you get thin lines. Because the hair was the darkest part of this painting, finishing this stage helped me get the right values on the rest of the painting.

Adding a color wash behind your portrait can really help it pop. Use a big brush and be careful as you cut in around the edges of the figure. After everything was dried, I used a damp brush to soften any hard edges on the face and between the background and the hair. I also added a little color to the whites of the eyes and to a couple of the sparkles. Check out some of my other watercolor portraits here.

Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the process!




Benjamin Schipper

Benjamin Schipper is an artist whose work I have admired from the time we were in art classes together in college. Schipper uses a combination of traditional and digital media to create unique illustrations. I love the use of line, color, and shape that makes his work look spontaneous and yet still complex.


When asked to say a little about himself Ben says that he, “loves to create artwork and illustrations that have sad, spooky, and poignant emotions. He likes people in general, and animals in particular. He lives in Greenville, South Carolina with his wife Karen and their little black dog Willow. He wishes it rained more there”.









Benjamin Schipper has illustrated several books including the ones pictured above and below. You can see more of Ben’s artwork and read his blog at