Andrew Wyeth

aw-retrospect-pentecost

 

Andrew Wyeth is the first artist I chose for my inspiration posts because he is my all time favorite artist. Books could be written about this artists life, and well, they have been. I’ve read them. So, rather than write for pages about this very fascinating man, I’m here to say a little on what I love about his art.

Andrew Wyeth’s art is known for it’s amazing a meticulous detail. It wasn’t always this way, however. Wyeth started out working in watercolor and used a very loose style. I admire this about his work because as detail is hard, working loosely is even harder for me.

 

the-lobsterman

 

You predominately see the loose brushstrokes in earlier work like “The Lobster Man,” above. However, if you look closely, you can see that Wyeth carried that style into his later work as well by doing a expressionistic background in his paintings before starting on the detail work.

 

 

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Then of course, there is the detail in Wyeth’s paintings. The detail is meticulous and realistic but still believable. Many artists make the detail overwhelming to the overall painting.

 

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I particularly love Wyeth’s portrait work, of course. He captures the personality and persona of his models in both their features and the environment around them. In conclusion, Wyeth’s work was just genius and I hope it was an inspiration to you today.

 

helga-wyeth

Glacier Park

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If you love mountains, you will be blown away by Glacier Park. I’ve visited the park several times over my years of living in Montana but it still never ceases to amaze me. We had taken my reference photo at one of the look outs on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. This highway was completed in 1932 and they must have made cars smaller back then because passing cars on the way up now is just plain scary. The views, however, are well worth being that close to a sheer cliff.

I wanted to capture the grandeur and sheer immensity of the peaks in my latest painting. For this reason, I chose a two by three foot board as my painting surface. I began my painting in acrylic to get some color on the white board. I then used the same painting process as I did with my painting from the top of Mt. Henry. This painting took quite a bit longer because of it’s size and the detail…lots and lots of detail. I’ll confess, I’m not even quite done with all the detail in the foreground but I was painting at my parents and didn’t want to transport a wet painting back in our car.

I can’t wait to take some pictures of Glacier Park in the winter and do a couple of paintings from them. Snowy mountains are even more spectacular then ones covered with fall colors.

Painting with Your Toddler-Five Keys to Success

 

Wile teaching and painting with my son I’ve learned a few thing that really help when you are working with a toddler. If you follow these few steps you can help your toddler create something really wonderful that you will be proud to hang on your fridge.

#1. Protect your Creative Space.   This means putting down plastic or newspaper over everything your child may be able to reach with their paintbrush or messy hands. Don’t expect a toddler to keep the paint on the paper or off themselves. Leave your child in just their diaper or put them in some old or already stained clothes. With these precautions in place, you will be ready to really enjoy painting with your child without worrying about colors getting on them or the surrounding area.

#2. Limit the Colors.  Most paint sets come with the primary colors which is great but not very practical for toddlers. My little boy tends to just mix all the colors together until they make a strange brown. This is why I choose just a couple colors at a time for him to experiment with. It also helps to choose colors that are close to each other on the color wheel and gold is always a great option to make the painting shine.

micah-painting-gold

 

#3. Determine when to Stop. My little guy will paint some beautiful abstracts in a few minutes, but he loves playing with paint so much that he will just keep going until all the colors turn into a gray blob. It’s a good idea to watch your toddler paint until it looks good. Then replace their work with another piece of paper and gently take away the painting they were working on.

#4. Provide Quality Materials. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to paint on printer paper and had little bits of it roll up or had it tear all the way through. There is no need to provide professional materials for your toddler, but some watercolor paper or canvass will really make their work look great.

#5. Be encouraging. If you want your toddler to keep creating art, please, offer lots of encouragement. There is nothing that will stifle creativity like criticism from parents. Remember, art should be fun, especially for toddlers!

 

 

Progressive Painting Stage Two

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This piece is the second stage in my progression of abstract paintings. It was very freeing paint without worrying about “finishing” this painting in the normal sense of the word. I only brought the piece to where I was satisfied with it and then let it rest until the next stage.

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Detail

The texture of the acrylic paint was a bit frustrating for me being an oil painter. It was also satisfying, however, because it works so well with the texture on the board. I painted with thicker acrylic in this stage and competently covered the first stage of the painting. For the finishing touches of this painting, I used a gold ink pen to add detail and sanded the black areas to create more texture.

The hardest part about these paintings has been rather surprising to me. Instead of struggling with the composition or the medium, it is incredibly hard to paint over something that you have spent hours on. It might take a few week before I can stand painting over this stage of the painting, but I’m sure I’ll come around to the idea soon.

Please comment and let me know how this painting makes you feel or what it reminds you of and as always, thanks for reading.

Pen and Ink

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I’ve been doing quite a few pen and ink drawings lately for inktober. This first sketch is of a bob cat scull that was sitting on the shelf in our living room. I think my husband acquired it somewhere.

 

 

farm-house

 

This second drawing is of a farmhouse that we pass almost every day. I did diluted India ink washes as a base and then did pure India ink drawing with a calligraphy nib.

Progressive Painting

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Progressive Painting, Close up, stage 1

 

Acrylic painting and abstracts are not my artistic strong points, so, I decided to start a painting for practice. This a progressive painting because it will be progressively changing until I am satisfied with it. I wanted to focus on the composition, colors, and textures in the piece more than the end result.

To complete stage one of the painting, I added light acrylic medium to my board to create texture. I then used very thin acrylic paint and used it like watercolor on my surface. I was satisfied with the colors, but the texture was too distracting when looking at the entire piece. This painting also turned out too representational, something I still need to work on! Let me know what you think and feel free to leave suggestions.

 

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Turning “I can’t” into “I can”

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Photo credit, Cassia Abbott

 

There is nothing like a migraine in the morning to get you thinking about what you can and can’t do. As I lay in bed today, I began writing this blog post in my mind to get it off the pain in my head. I’ve always been a bit pessimistic about what I’m capable of, and there have been many things that I have failed to do because I didn’t think they were possible. I have listed a few of these mental obstacles I have gotten through and a few I am still working on.

  1. “I can’t ever be as good an artist as…A, B, or C.” Most of my young life the A, B, and C were my family members. This is one of the downsides to being the youngest with several talented older siblings and an artistic mother. In college it was easy to compare myself to my teachers and, of course, my classmates. The fact of the matter is, that no matter how good of an artist you become, there is always someone else that will be better than you at something. The key is to learn from other artists instead of comparing yourself to them. Strive to do the best art you can do, not the best art some other artist can do.
  2. “I can’t do art after I have a child.” Several people implied that a child would bring a halt to my creativity and to be honest, I believed it. I did six paintings during the pregnancy of our first child because I didn’t think that I was going to be able to do any art for a long time after he was born. I also didn’t do any art for a year after my son was born because I didn’t think I could. It wasn’t because it was impossible, it is because I believed it was. I will admit that doing art with a baby is more difficult, but once I started painting again, I realized that it is completely possible.
  3. “I can’t do art because of my living situation.” We are currently living in a small camper and that provides some unique hurdles to overcome when you are doing oil paintings. I didn’t think that I would have adequate lighting or that I had space to keep my paintings safe as they dried. Because I couldn’t do oil painting easily, I gave up on all art and watched way too much Netflix all summer. I could have done more sketches or watercolors during this time but I didn’t. This fall I finally had enough of not painting and found some creative solutions so that I can oil paint in our camper.

There are a few things that we just cannot do, but they are very few. Maybe they are things you can’t do without help. That doesn’t mean they are impossible, it just means that you need a community around you to support you emotionally or physically. Involving others in your creative process adds to your work instead of taking from it.

Maybe there are some things you can’t do, yet. Don’t give up. Believe that what you want to create has purpose and meaning and is worth doing a few times in order to get it right. As Zig Ziglar said, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly–until you can learn to do it well.”

I’m learning that I should never say that I can’t do something if I haven’t at least tried to do it first. Please comment on this post how you have turned “I can’t,” into “I can.”

Birds

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There is a whole flock of geese at the park that I take my son to each week. They are obnoxious and hiss at us, but I love their beautiful forms and colors. I’ve been longing to draw these geese all summer and I finally decided to do it for Inktober. I used a watered down India ink with a brush for these sketches.

seagull

 

I also saw this seagull at the park and thought, what on earth is a seagull doing in Montana. Then I remembered Flathead lake and how large it is. I used watered down ink and pure India ink with a pen for this sketch.

 

Trail Ride

western-riding

 

When our family from South Carolina came to visit us, one of the things on their western bucket list was to go on a trail ride. I’ve always been a bit scared of horses because of difficulties handling them in the past, but I wanted to go along anyway. We saddled up at a great outfit called Artimis Acres and stared off on a dusty trail following our wrangler. It was one of the last warm and sunny days of the fall here in Montana and was fantastic for a horse back ride. The azure blue of the sky was a perfect contrast for the golden aspen leaves. Grasshoppers made a raspy clicking sound as they flew away from the horses feet. We rode through meadows, up logging roads, and up a steep mountain to a look out with a great view of the Flathead Valley.

The hour ride went very quickly and by the end, I wanted to do it all over again. The horse I rode was a paint named Patches. She was perfectly behaved except for stealing a couple of mouthfuls of grass along the trail. She also walked the entire way, just my kind of horse. Even though I was sore for a couple of days, I didn’t regret going on bit.

Our wrangler was a real western woman..from Florida. But seriously, she really knew her horses and how to train and handle them. I have the utmost respect for people that can work with horses day in and day out. I snapped a picture of our guide before we got off our horses and drew it with micron.