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'.