Sunday, December 12, 2010

My First Art Competition!

I finally got accepted into an art competition. It's the "Best and the Brightest" show at the Scottsdale Artist's School. I did this painting of a sweet girl in my church. I just loved the way she turned her feet.

Now, here's the problem, I have to frame it and I can't decide which frame to use. I personally like a gold frame for portraits, but black is all the rage right now. Maybe you guys can weigh in and help me decide. Here is the black frame:

Clean, simple and unadorned. Would look good in a Tuscan style home.

Here is the gold frame. Classic, timeless and a little flashy. What to do, what to do...

So, I need you to post in the comments which style you prefer as I have to have this thing delivered by Wednesday. Yikes!

Oh, and I am not the only artist in my home. Look at what my Art Girl did. A mother couldn't be any prouder.

Now, go vote.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Kid's art class

I have been having a kid's art class. We painted Halloween scenes on panels with acrylics. The kids do all their own drawing and painting. I am pretty impressed. Look how happy these kids are. I love teaching kids to paint. They are so eager to soak up my vast knowledge of painting Halloween creatures.

My monkeys are good at making art. So are their friends.
Scary. And messy. But I cleaned it up.
Look how good these paintings are! I am impressed.
My B made this cute girl. It sits on my entry hall table. Love it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Miss Erika Davies

I come from a large extended family of talented individuals. Most of my 48 first cousins are excellent singers. A lot of us are artists, too. My aunts can make anything. Some of us dabble in painting.

My cousin Heidi makes the most amazing wedding dresses.

I can upholster your car, but I don't want to, so don't ask me.

My cousin Jake has an Etsy shop where he sells his custom belt buckles. So does my niece, Erika. Have an Etsy shop I mean, not make belt buckles. She makes clothing ...AND by the way- sings. Duh.
Only this family member is really taking her talent places. She works very hard.
She's serious. And good. I'd like to think she gets her talent from my side of the family, but you should hear her mother...WOW! My brother did good! He sings, too. Duh.
She's very pretty AND the sweetest person you will ever know.
She is tearing it up in San Diego. If you are ever there for a vacation or anything, you should see her perform. She has her own style and it is all about the VOCAL chords baby! Kinda old, old school, a little jazzy, all Erika.

Just recently, she got snatched up to be in this cute little commercial. You might have already seen it on tv. Check her out. She's not a hiker, she's the singer. Way to go!
p.s. visit her Etsy shop and buy her cd. Nothing like a little plug for family.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Eight kids?!? Really?

I was in the plastic surgeon's office the other day...for Fifi, not me... and his very beautiful assistant asked me how many kids I had. Boy, there's an awkward silence waiting to happen. Nothing like being a frumpy older mom with a stitched up baby in a place where everything is very beautiful and cosmetically enhanced. And, well, a little superficial.

So, I just told her. The truth. Eight kids. 23 to 3. Two boys, six girls. All mine. Same husband. Can I have a tummy tuck now? (Not really about the tummy tuck part -but a girl can dream can't she?)

Now here was her reply. She said, "I wish I had had more kids, you are lucky."
What? Of all the places one would expect to be looked at like a freak, I wasn't. In fact, I was admired. That made my YEAR!

It just goes to show you that having kids is a great thing. Some people think I am very fortunate. Even the beautiful ones. And after all is said and done, if I just lose a few more pounds and raise a few more dollars I just might be back for that tummy cutty offy thingy.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What? We're done?

Summer vacation is over? Already? I hate schooooool! Okay, not really, okay... really- NOT.

How do you send your kids to school when you know it will be hard on their little blossoming self esteems? But at the same time it will get them the knowledge and social skills they need in the real world.

I am homeschooling two little monkeys, Art Girl and B. We love to create and read and do math in the kitchen. But my older monkeys need more than I can give them. They love the social life, sports, and student council. This year is the first time in like, forever, I only have one school to drive to. It is a little weird and at the same time very natural.

I have some friends who wouldn't dream of schooling at home. I have other friends who wouldn't dream of sending their kids to public school. Where do you fall in this category?

1. I wouldn't dream of sending my kids to public school.

2. Homeschool is not for me. Public school all the way.

3. Eh, Maybe a little bit of both.

I'm in the number three category. Get the best of both worlds. Please comment and let me know where you stand.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I love it out here

I love the light out in the North American RAIN FOREST, otherwise known as Nauvoo. It is always soft and cool.

Case in point: Water + shade = Cool pictures!

In Arizona we rarely ever have rain so we don't have streams or shade. Out here in Iowa it rains almost every week and this year it has rained nonstop since April. Some of the farmers couldn't plant their crops, it was just too muddy. Have you ever seen a tractor stuck in the mud? Me either but I bet it is not a pretty sight.

So if you are in Hot-izona, find some shade for Pete's sake and shoot away!

There are some tricks to shooting in the shade. You need a large aperture lens. Mine is a 50mm 1.4. Then, you have to boost up your aperture and slow down your shutter speed- you may even need a tripod but it is way worth it. I used a rock wall but I still was a little shaky.

Now, go try this at home.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I Shot a Deer in my Yard!

Yesterday, Art Girl saw a deer in our back yard. So I had to shoot it.

The blue rectangle thingy is our pool cover. Yes, the bushes are a bit overgrown. I just got here. I'll get to it okay?

She just stared at us and didn't know what to do.

"Should I go out the way I came?"

"What is the human thing looking at me with that big black thing on her face? " (Uh, a camera.)

"I think I'll go out that-a-way."

Art Girl was so happy to see it. In Arizona we don't have deer in our yards. I know the rest of you are like, "a deer? Really?" We also don't have four foot high thistles either- yuck!

Here she goes. Sorry for the blur but I didn't have time for settings.

"I'm outta here. "

Out the gate she goes. I like to think of my yard as 'lush greenness' not weedy.

"Bye, you weirdos."

We tried to find her but she ran out into this amazing wooded area. I love Iowa.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Painting with Art Girl

Art Girl's first oil painting- available

The other day, I thought it would be a good idea to teach Art Girl to paint an abstract landscape. A little blue...a little green... voila! We had a blast and the best part is, it was done in one day!

I realize that the public school teaches the kids art. And my kiddos have come home with some pretty sweet stuff. But there is just something about sitting down with your offspring and making something you will treasure forever. Sappy. I know. You should try it.

Look how intense my little monkey is.

My studio is pretty sweet! I have floor to ceiling windows and a 6 foot grand piano for mood music. Okay, okay, it is really the living room. But, when I painted in my closet studio I could never be with my kids which meant they weren't being supervised, which meant ... trouble. So I moved into the living room. It kind of has a Ralph Lauren feel to it with the giant easel and all.
Art Girl getting her brush strokes smoothed out. She wants to sell this on Etsy or if any of you want it, it is available. Just send me a note. We will even frame it for you. It is a 12x16 .

This was my painting. I love it. Way fun. I think I will do some more. Let me know if you want one.

Don't worry. I am still doing portraits.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Peder Mork Monsted

Class... today's lesson is on unknown Danish landscape painter, Peder Mork Monsted. He was born in Denmark late into the impressionist movement, so of course no one has ever heard of him. But for some strange reason, he is being highly sought after in the auction circuit. I think it might be because his middle name is "Mork". Slight giggle. Or it could be because he is fabulous!

You won't find him in any museums. But, you will find him in wealthy collector's homes.

You can't touch one for under $25,000.

He traveled all over Europe, but during WWI he pretty much stayed close to Scandinavia. Aren't these woods just beautiful? I want to go there some day.

I really love his paintings. You really feel like you are there in the painting. I secretly want to paint landscapes. Okay, that secrets out. I really want to learn to paint landscapes, but everyone tells me to paint portraits. Someday...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

How This Whole Thing Started

Six years ago, I read a magazine article about losing your marbles (i.e. getting dumber). In the article they mentioned ways to regain your brain function by learning a new skill.(i.e. getting smarter). It said if you want to keep your mind sharp, you need to learn something new and challenging - specifically, learn a foreign language, learn how to play a musical instrument, or learn how to paint. I chose learning how to paint. Because, I've seen some pretty crappy stuff out there so how hard can it be?

very first oil painting ever

I signed up for beginning painting classes at the local art center. At 39, I was the youngest student there. Apparently, I was not the only one who noticed a little brain function decline.
My teacher had us paint our first painting with only blue and white. This cube cylinder thingy is my very first oil painting ever. Isn't it SWEET!

second painting ever

The next assignment was to paint a still life. This is my lovely teapot with food. Dig my groovy shadows. I was so proud.

third painting that I want to burn

Then we got to paint whatever we wanted. I was trying to be Christie Repasy but it didn't turn out so hot. I want to burn this one but my monkeys won't let me. So I hide it in the closet.

fourth painting ever, first portrait ever

Then, I took a portrait painting class taught by the very talented Sarah Clemens. I would link to her site but it has nudes and I have children who read this. I don't know why this pic is grainy but if you click on it you can see it larger and it is really smooth and perfect. I can't believe this is my very first portrait. It took me eight weeks and is a 10x14. Wow was I surprised! Especially after seeing the first three pieces. Everyone started telling me they didn't know I could paint. Well I didn't know either! Isn't that the most beautiful surprise you could ever find out about yourself!

second portrait ever

Then my dear friend passed away and I was so distraught that I painted this for her family. I cruised through this in 2 weeks. It really helped me heal and I learned why painters love to paint. It is like a drug, but cheaper (barely) and legal.

third portrait

This one was so fun to do. But it took me three months. I love the details. She is an angel. I also found out I loved to paint fingers.

fourth portrait

I started this one but quit. It is very unfinished and now that my boy is all graduated and everything I probably should finish it and start a new one. I want to start a tradition of painting Senior portraits for my monkeys.

fifth portrait

Then I did this crazy monster for the Church Art Competition. Of course I didn't get in but I had a growth experience with it. It took me three months. My favorite part is the comforter on the right hand side. So real. I stare at it every time I walk by it. Having art in your home is wonderful, but when it is meaningful and it's your own kid, it's just amazing.

sixth portrait, ninth painting ever

Love, love , love this one! The lighting, the composition, the details, the flowers... the long time it has taken me to complete it. Just kidding about that loving the long time to complete it part. It is actually not done but I framed it anyways. Sometimes you have to call it good enough and move on. I know when I clean house that's what I do.

There you have it. My little story of "How I Became a Painter". I really do think I have gotten a bit smarter. Or at least I am so busy painting I haven't noticed losing brain cells.

Have you seen my keys?

Should I or Shouldn't I?

A commission for a picture is almost corrupting to the artist, since it injures his originality of impulse. - Alfred Stevens

Everyone has impulsive desires. Why do you think there are malls? How about the checkout counter at the Walmart? Artists are more impulsive than most people, I think. It's the drive that makes you work instead of just thinking about it. I am very dependent on my impulse to create. Sometimes I have to tell my impulses to calm down because I have to do laundry or some other horrid thing... like DISHES! Ewwww.

Well... I have been toying with the idea of taking commissions for portraits. What do you think? I don't really have the time or desire to do anything big or anything with more than two subjects. I also have to be the one to shoot and pose. So my work would probably have to be local. Unless someone wants to fly me to Paris to shoot their kids in front of the Eiffel Tower. I'd be down with that!

But, if I get all tingly and inspired to paint someone, should I charge money? And if so, how do I do that? It almost seems to me that if someone wants a painting made by me, then that is enough of an ego boost to make the painting. Is that silly? I mean -I could use the money since modeling gigs are really down right now.

Should I have a website?

An Etsy shop?

Should I wear jeans or a skirt today?

Do you hate it when you make your burrito too big to fold?

Come on people, help a girl out!

I've been to professional portrait artist's websites and read how they charge for their commissions (and how MUCH, whoa!). They actually get client approval before they start! AND halfway through! AND before delivery! What's that all about? I don't know if I could do that. I mean...who is making this thing? Them or me? I'm the artist here! Okay, I'm not that big of a diva, but what if they don't like what I'm doing? I don't think my precious ego could take that.

It is always dangerous to paint a portrait for nothing, for the person who has sat for it never defends it when it is criticised.
- Alfred Stevens

So, back to my question. Should I or shouldn't I? I would love it if you would weigh in on the matter. Tell me the truth. Am I full of it? Am I good enough? Since I only have one reader, I will take your opinion heavily into account.

Love and thank you,

-mom of eight monkeys and aspiring artist.

p.s.... one more thing, how much should I charge? Just askin'.