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Monday, January 16, 2017

Gratitude - My Word of the Year

Last year my word of the year was courage.
This year I'm concentrating on Gratitude.

 Gratitude in all things is my motto of 2017.

Having gratitude for paintings you're pleased with,
great sales,
a swift learning curve,
lots of followers
are all things that are easy to be grateful for. 

But, learning to be grateful when things aren't so great,
paintings you wiped off, more than once,
a subject you just can't seem to master,
few or no sales,
no one seems to follow you on social media,
health problems,
lack of funding,
lack of studio time or space,
lack of inspiration:

Those are all things you have to really intentionally be grateful for.  
How can you be grateful for health problems?
For feeling discouraged?
For not being able to move your art career forward?

Yet, we can be grateful for all these things.
We CAN drive out the "Whoa is Me" mindset
and usher in "Gratitude". 

Yes, it will take effort!
It will take introspection,
mind set adjustments,
and a plan!

I am planning to be grateful in all things this year.
It may take all year to incorporate this new "Habit" into my personality.
I must admit, I am a "glass half full" kind of girl,
but I do get frustrated when I can't seem to get something.
Learning all the techy stuff that goes with promoting art online has had me near tears on many occasions.
and I am NOT a crier!
But, I have found that once I do get something,
I really understand how and why it works.
That's a really good thing!

I am placing some gratitude fliers around my studio
to serve as reminders to be grateful.
I know there will be days I will really have to search for something to be grateful for.
But I also believe that if I truly search for gratitude,
I CAN find it.
I'm PLANNING to find it.

Congratulations to June Mefford who won one of the two paintings I gave away recently for November and December.

 June lives locally so I could hand deliver the painting to her.

Fay Terry, a fellow artist in North Carolina, won the other painting I gave away.
Congrats Fay.
We met, I believe through the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge we each did several years ago.
Now if you want to win one of the paintings I give away every single month, you have to enter.  
You enter by filling out that annoying pop up box that showed up when you started reading this blog.  
If you clicked the X, I get it, but you can still enter by scrolling back up to the top on the right hand side and put your working email in the box.  Then when you receive a confirmation email, click the link in that email to confirm you did sign up.
I draw out a winner every month and send them an email letting them know they have 24 hours to respond to that email.
So, make sure you sign up with an email you use, or you might not know if I contact you with 
No Joke!  YOU Won! in the subject line.
Get back with me and I'll hand deliver or ship it out to you.

Funny Update.

My 8 year old grandson, Aidan visited this weekend 
and I took him to my studio to see my new painting
and asked him what he saw.
His face lit up and he got all excited
and said,
"It's a magic door"!
I said, "You're right!  It is a magic door."
Now that's something to be grateful for!!!
Let me know in the comments if you have a word or motto of the year and what it is.
Thanks so much for reading my blog.
I truly appreciate your comments and follows.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Turquoise Door


36" x 15"
Unframed $200
Framed $300


Framed or Unframed

This has been a lot of fun working on this painting
with the turquoise door.
It started last year when I found this frame at a flea market.
I loved the frame and even before I bought it,
I sort of knew what I wanted to paint to put in it.

Well, then I couldn't find a canvas that would fit it's odd size.
So I had to stretch my own canvas.
(totally new experience)

I did a sketch of the door one day while my husband was having surgery.
It has changed considerably since then.

It even changed after I drew the sketch on the canvas.

My first drawing did not have the door open.
But then I got this bright idea about having the door open slightly with lots of light pouring in around it. 
Lots of symbolism involving light.

It changed all along the way.

It started out with a dirt path and stones in it,
(stones not shown here)
But to me, it felt more like a creek bed,
so I changed that.
With that dark in the middle of the dirt path it deepens it,
and even after I put the rocks in it, it still had a creek bed look. 
So out cam that path and in went another one.
You can do that in acrylic paint really easily

My goal was to have the door slightly open
with lots of light coming in around it,
even though there is no light source behind it.

I wanted you to think about that.
Where does light come from 
how it affects all things around it.
 Including our spirits.

As I painted the trees, bushes and flowers and added the rocks, I tried to keep that light in mind and how it would affect things it fell on.

To me, this painting is somewhat magical.
It's inviting us to come into that light,
just because it's there and we are curious beings.
We would be curious as to what is the source of the light,
what is on the other side of the door,
Why is it coming out the door, but not around the rock wall holding the door?

So many questions,
in a rather odd shaped space.

Please leave me a comment about what you think will happen when you walk through that door.
Maybe we'll write a book!

About the frame,
I know you don't see it.
You don't see it, because I'm still working on it.
It's a heavy carved framed,
but I wanted to lighten it up also. 

Want to Learn How To Paint?

I have created the perfect course for beginning painters, regardless of your age.
It was created with home school families in mind to use as an art curriculum.
It is also perfect for that individual who wants to learn the basics of art, why things work, how to make them work, etc.

Click HERE to view the course.

Thank you so much for stopping by today
and for taking the time to comment.

I really appreciate them!!!  

Monday, January 9, 2017

Old School Calendaring

Staying On Top of Things!

I'm OLD school!
Really old school!
Paper Old School!

 Told You!
 I'm in the middle of planning out my day, week, month and year
using these tools.
I also have a year long wall calendar, 
but there's only one thing on it right now.
When Kentucky plays!
(got my priorities in order) 
I color coded the areas of my life I'm working on.
My Art
My Art Business
My Personal Life
My Church responsibilities
Our Farm
Kentucky Basketball 

When I look at my calendar like this,
I can see at a glance what's going on when,
and I can also see if part of my life is taking over
 the rest of my life. 

I use my phone for daily appointments.
My calendar is for planning out when I'm going to paint,
When I'm going to work on my computer,
When I'm going to work outside,
When I have to teach at church,
And when Kentucky plays.

Does all that look crazy?
It is a little.
But it is what works for me!

What works for YOU?
Leave me a comment.

I made goals for 2017 
and then I made plans to complete those goals.
My old school calendars will keep those goals 
and plans in front of me. 

I'll let you know how things are going throughout the year.

Meanwhile . . 

Here's part of the latest painting I'm working on.
More later. . .
Do you like to paint?
Would you like to host a painting party?
It's easy enough.
I do most of the work.
Click HERE to see how it works. 
If you are interested in learning how to paint,
from the ground up
learning basic art concepts and then putting them to use
in two paintings,
click HERE.  
  Hope you have a wonderful day.
See you soon!
Let's paint!


Friday, January 6, 2017

The First Week Is In The Can

The Week In Review

was my first thought for this post,
but then I thought I sounded like 
Walter Cronkite.

The first week of 2017 got off pretty well I think,
although we did have a lot of snow here in Kentucky
and it is colder than a witches heart.

I'm working on getting a workable plan together to bring some order and productivity to my day.
Click HERE to read about it in my first blog post of 2017.  
It involved these:

I drew out two names of people who won November and December paintings.  
(I got behind.)  
Hopefully their new owners will love them.

  If you want in on the fun,
subscribe to this blog
and then confirm it when you receive the confirmation email. 
I contact the winners via email so you'll want to use an email you actually use. 

My sweet husband Jim, has been out in our shed working on my new art studio, even though it's frigid outside.  We have a wood stove in there so that's a good thing.  Once he gets the ceiling up, it will be much warmer in there.

 Panels are going up.
See my wood stove back there.

 Thanks Jim.
You're the best.

So far, this doesn't look much like an art blog post.
I did paint this week and here's the proof.

 I finished this this week.
It's from a photo I took years ago of
the Washington D.C. Temple
of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

I have a beautiful photo I took,
and I've always wanted to paint it and I've been working on it for a while, which is not my usual m.o.
I usually finish the same day I start,
but this is a 20" x 16" and there were some areas on it I really wanted to get right.

This is what's currently on my easel.

 Finally finished the block in.
Started putting some clouds in also.
Lots and lots of work to go on this one.
I'm sure I'll be blogging about this big guy next week.

Remember, I have an online beginning painting course if you would like to get serious about learning to paint using acrylic paintin2017.
Click HERE to check out my course, class and a
I can really help you cut your learning curve down as well as help you buy only the supplies you need.
There is a bonus in the course with a shopping list and if you buy only what is on that list, I know I can save you the cost of the course when you hit the art store.



Monday, January 2, 2017

Looking Back/Looking Forward

Looking Back
Looking Forward

2016 was not particularly good to Jim and I,
but. . .
Looking back, I did accomplish many of my 2016 goals!

Yea ME!!!

I am currently working on my 2017 goals and setting up plans and systems to accomplish them,
because that's the only way!.  

Without a plan and deadlines to accomplish your goals,
they will remain wishes.
You must PLAN for Success!

I really feel that even though I didn't accomplish all my goals, I am so far ahead of where I would have been without the plan I put in motion.

Let's take a look! 

Things I accomplished in 2016

1.  Loose weight - I did, but I'm not happy with the final number for the year, so I have set out a different plan for 2017.

2.  Get in better physical health - I did and I am so much stronger than I was this time last year.  I have laid out a new plan for 2017.
These are some of my tools.

 3.  De-clutter my house - I didn't stick with my plan completely, 
 but I got rid of so much CRAP and will be continuing the process this year.

4.  Paint more - I did participate in the 30 paintings in 30 days last September, but didn't complete because I got the flu and pneumonia about day 21.  I will continue to improve my painting skills in 2017 by working on areas I need to improve on by continuous study and painting.  It doesn't matter how much I study, if I don't actually get in the studio and paint.

5.  Get more classes on my website - I did get one single subject class and one FREE daisy painting class, but I had no voice for 1/2 of 2016 so there was some technical difficulties there.
But in 2017 I have a list of children and adult beginning painting classes I plan to add to my website,
Click HERE to view my website and sign up for the free class. 

6.  I celebrated my 7th year blogging with a tremendous giveaway of note cards, paintings and classes.  I hope you got in on the fun, but if not, please click the button below and get signed up so you too can win a painting.  I give one away every month and I will be giving two away tonight.
Click HERE to enter

7.  I went social media crazy.  I now have a twitter and instagram account, and you can find me there as @kypaintster.  I would love for you to follow me.  
I re-opened my Etsy shop.
Click HERE to see and follow my Etsy shop. 
You can look me up on Linked In as Sharon Durbin Graves.
You like Pinterest?  I'm there.  Click HERE to go to my Pinterest page.  I have boards there all about painting.
And finally, Click HERE to go to my You Tube channel where you can see free videos on classes I've taught, time lapse videos of paintings and real time classes. 

(This is one of the many photos my daughter in law Amanda took of me this year.  I didn't paint the scene behind me, it's near her studio).  She photographs infants and families, but I have an inside track and she took some incredible photos of me!
 Click HERE to go to her website.  
Prepare to be amazed!!!
8.  I started a facebook page for all those students who signed up for either my online full blown art course or my single subject iris painting classes.  I encourage my students to post their work there, ask questions, make new friends and I show up at least once a week.  I'm going to go live there soon.  I've been terrified of FB live, but hey, I'm a goofball, so I'll be jumping in this week or so.

9.  I ate healthier in 2016 but not as good as I would have liked.  2017 will see me cooking more and eating more whole foods and eating out less.

10.  I improved my spirituality by studying more, but I didn't make it to creating an everyday habit of scripture reading.  2017 will see that as part of my Routine for Success that I will be doing every day.

I have created a daily Routine for Success
that I will be doing every day. (some days like Sunday will be abbreviated)
It includes: exercising  to give me physical strength
study time to strengthen my spirit 
eat a healthy breakfast.

Hopefully you have some great goals and plans to improve your life for 2017.  I'd love to hear about them.  Let me in on your goals in the comments.

Thanks for following me and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Have You Ever Blown Glass?

A Gift To Each Other

After watching a segment on WDRB, a Louisville TV station about Flame Run Glass Works in Louisville,
Jim and I decided we would like to go and do that as a gift to each other.

Brook was our "main man" at Flame Run.
He did ALL the heavy lifting,
we just did the heavy breathing.

Brook is retrieving the hot glass out of the 2000 degree furnace.
 You can see it on the end of the pole.
It is crazy hot but one of the most interesting things I've ever seen.
Brook is rolling the hot glass in little pieces of glass to give it the color we selected. 
He'll roll it on that stainless table in front of the trays of glass to shape it and cool it.
Next he put it in a "much" cooler furnace.
It's only about 1200 degrees.
This melts the little glass pieces onto the glass on the pole.
Told you it was HOT!

Brook rolls and shapes the hot glass with the ease of a master.
He adds every color we selected separately,
re-heats it in between each addition and continues rolling and shaping.
Here Brook takes a cherry wood cup that has been soaked in water for a decade or two, and put it around the hot glass while he rolls it to really give it a nearly flawless round shape.
(Told you Brook has skills)
And then after all that super perfect work,
Brook gets real brave and turns it over to me.
Are you Kidding ME!
Brook is still rolling and shaping and I'm blowing.
He guided me every step of the way. 
"Blow softly, blow harder, harder, more, more, STOP"
Brook is scoring my ornament so it can come off the pole easily.
Brook took the hot round Kentucky Blue and White ornament
off the pole and took it to another station where he put the loop on.
Here Brook is, with a much better view,
putting the hook on Jim's red, green and white ornament.
In a matter of minutes, each of us had our very own ornament.
It was impressive.
 Now aren't this just beautiful!
We are SOOO proud!
If you'd like to give this a try,
and I hope you do,
click HERE to go to the Flame Run website. 
They also have a great gallery of all sorts of blown glass items.
It is beautiful and incredible to think of how it was all made.
Hey guys,
I didn't give away my November painting yet and now it's time to give away my December painting.
You really should hop on this right now and get signed up,
because I give away a small painting every single month.
Here's how to sign up.
Scroll up to the top and on the right hand side is a box that says,
Subscribe to my blog
(I know, I'm so original).
Put your email in there.
Then you'll receive an email from me asking you to confirm that you really did sign up.  Click on the link in that confirmation email and you'll be all set. 
You also should move my email into your primary box,
because I will notify you by email if you're a winner,
and you don't wanna miss it.
Want to learn how to paint using acrylic paint in 2017.
Click HERE to go to my website to see the beginning classes I offer.  More will be coming in 2017.
Happy 2017


About Me

My photo
Ghent, Kentucky, United States
I'm a nature artist and I love to paint old barns, rivers and lakes, trees and fence rows. I work almost daily trying to improve my art and all that entails. I try to learn all I can from others and from the earth itself by being aware of all God has created and its beauty. You can purchase paintings by contacting me at You can also purchase through my gallery website at . Thank you so much for stopping by.