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Monday, February 29, 2016

Success Breeds Success

Motivation Monday!

Two Months Down and Making Progress
I've been working on a number of goals, lifestyle changes, and self improvements since January 1.

Yes I'm still working on them.

How do you stay motivated for the long haul?

Staying motivated and engaged is always tough!

Success breeds Success!  

I don't need much success to lead me to more success, 
but I do need some.

Regardless of the goal or change I'm trying to make,
finding success or forward movement is critical.
I've been participating in an online weight loss challenge since about the 8th of January and I lost 9 lbs and 8 1/2".
I was so pleased when I realized that this morning.  

celebrate!

We should all celebrate our successes!
Whatever they are!
When we move forward, regardless of how small
Celebrate that success.
Too often we put ourselves down,
we're not good enough,
smart enough,
talented enough,
slim enough.
STOP IT!
I am,
You are,
We are,
Good Enough.
 
 Learn to be comfortable while patting yourself on the back.
Learn to be grateful for your steps forward.
Learn to appreciate your successes.
You will have many more if you do.

 This was a break through painting as I worked out the perspective
on this ferry in Augusta, KY.
So this was a success for me!

When I completed it, I celebrated.

      

Spring is on it's Way!



Are You Ready For Spring?
Yes, I am too!

At this time of year I am always so grateful for any sunny day and the loss of cloudy, overcast gloomy days.
It's almost amazing how our mood can completely change with sunshine.
I had a group of ladies at Perry Park Golf Resort
who came together to paint dogwood trees and flowers.

What a great time we had. 


We got some pretty abstract backgrounds on these 16" x 20" stretched canvases.
 
 Then we added some branches and then the blossoms.

Carroll County is at the confluence of the Ohio and Kentucky Rivers,which seems to make for great conditions for dogwood trees.
The blooms start to open up in mid to late April and many streets and yards are lined with dogwood trees.

 
Great job ladies.  
Hopefully you had as much fun as I did!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Why Buy Art?

Why Buy Art?

You go to an art gallery, or an art show and your senses are filled with beautiful hand crafted things,
and your inner self starts down the "you don't need that" rabbit hole.

What your eyes and your soul say:
That is gorgeous!
I need to touch it.
How did the artist do that?
I love it!
I want it!
I NEED it!

What your head says:
That's a lot of money!
I can't afford that.
My husband will kill me!
I'm sure I can do that!

I posed this question to many of my online art friends.
Why do YOU buy art?
 Yes, artists buy art.
They buy a lot of art!
Here's why.
Barbare Ball Pask:  Barb and I grew up in Mason, OH and she graduated a year after me.  We connected online several years ago about painting.  Her reasons for buying art include:  "As an artist I understand and appreciate the skill and work that goes into producing a piece of original art.  I feel good supporting other artists  and I am extremely touched when another artist want to own my work. I am proud to own art by other artists and I buy what I love."  Barbara Pask.  You can see Barb's work on her blog at http://wwwlovetopaint.blogspot.com.  
Barb is pretty clever.  Note the title of her blog.  There is no dot after the www.  She used it as part of the name of her blog.  

Meredith Adler:  Meredith and I met online and we have never really met face to face.  When I said that in a recent blog post, she was surprised.  We talk on the phone, we email, we blog, but we've never met face to face.  Meredith is a terrific artist who works in a number of mediums.  She is always stretching and learning and growing.  
Reasons she buys art include:  " As an artist, I look at a LOT of art online. When I buy a piece, it has to really grab me, and usually it has to nag at me for awhile (I go back and look and look again). And when a piece will not let me go, that's when I usually buy. I can think of a couple times I bought a piece quickly, though. One time when Peggi Kroll-Roberts posted a beautiful gouache piece, I must have been online receiving the post right after she hit "publish," because it was still available when I went to her etsy shop, so I purchased that one right up :) And one time at a workshop, Elizabeth Mowry offered to sell us a few pieces at a very nice price. It happened to be my birthday, so I bought myself a present--went right up and bought the one I loved :)
Meredith has a very creative blog titled, Paint Like Nobody's Watching and can be found at http://meredithadler.blogspot.com/

Terri Buchholz:  Is part of an online group of friends, (Meredith is a member also) and we try to encourage and support each other.  Terri is from Indiana and does some of the best glass paintings I think I've ever seen.  
Her reason for buying art says:  My first reaction was, "because I love art, of course!". But then I look up and within distance of where I sit now, I see a print of "Flaming June" by Fredrick Leighton hanging on my wall and I remember how I spent a lot of money getting it and other prints framed when we built this house. But since that time, I've been able to invest in my own development as a serious artist and subsequently, because of time spent in the presence of beautiful original art in the gallery that represents me and with friends that are artist, I see paintings from much different perspective. To me, now, an original painting represents a living thing that, with a few strokes, separates me from the artist's experience of making that art. I appreciate what she or he perhaps saw as they tried communicate the image through their medium. And how the work was crafted using their skills and intellect in choosing the focal point, molding the composition, and selecting the palette, the temperature, and the notan of values. When I'm grabbed by a piece and not only experience the "love at first sight" reaction, but can appreciate the elements I just mentioned, then I know I can not only live with looking at it for years (like my prints), but can learn from it and therefore justify the investment. I just bought a painting by Tim Horn that I love and it is like having a workshop hanging in front of me. There's so much to learn just by seeing it "in person".
Terri's work can be seen at http://splattermark.blogspot.com/.  
Check out the name of her blog, splatter.

Laurel Daniel:  A super artist whose work I am inspired by.  She lives in Texas and paints beautiful landscapes and skies from there.  Laurel teaches workshops all over the country.

Her comments on why she buys art are:  As an artist, I buy art because I love to be surrounded by beautiful and inspiring work. The great thing is that my husband and I make art choices together, and pretty much agree on what we like (kind of important since we live together!) Our collection includes both pieces by artists we admire, and pieces that captured our hearts with no knowledge of the artist at all. We have landscapes, still lifes, collage and figurative work. The common denominator is that they are works that move us deeply and that we know we want to see every day.
Laurels work can be seen online at http://laureldaniel.blogspot.co.
I love her cover photo on her blog.

Becky Joy:  Is an incredible artist whose work is amazing.  She is a southwest painter and you can see and feel that in her paintings.  Becky is a plein air painter and she regales her blog audience of her adventures in the desert and other places.  She teaches workshops all over the world and has won many awards and honors. 

Becky's answer to my question about why artists buy art: That's difficult, but simple. I LOVE art. A personal connection is very important to me, which does vary with each piece. Some paintings and sculpture that I have are by friends. There have been some from painting trips and shows with friends in which we have traded and others that I have purchased. One of my favorites is a piece of sculpture by a good friend and accomplished artist, Vala Ola. I really like art that is very much the style of the artist in which it feels like their signature.

I love sculpture and especially when I can run my hands over it and feel where the sculptors fingers have been. Paintings often have the same feel with brushwork, the individual artist's signature. It feels like more of a connection and gives a sense of awe to me.

Accomplishment in the fundamentals is important to me, but most important is the individuality.

Becky's work can be seen at beckyjoy.com.

All of these artists work are worth your time and hard earned money.  Their art makes my heart sing and I have my own little gallery where works from some of these artists reside.  I hope to own them all before I'm through.  

Hopefully, the next time you're looking at original art, you'll feel some of the things these artists feel, and realize you can't leave it at the show or gallery.  You also want to see it every day, feel it and love it just like the first time you saw it.

Another great resource for those interested in collecting is this blog post by art auction site Invaluable."

Enjoy 

 

 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Technique Tuesday on Thursday

Tuesday - Thursday?
What's the Difference?

I got in the studio (technically it was my husband's office because he has such a great view) early this week to paint and it's taken me three days and a trip to the library to get it on here.
We got a significant snow on Sunday, Valentine's Day and this view out his office window was calling me.
So I moved my gear into his office and painted for several hours.
One thing I love about this view is the house and barn peeking out from behind the trees.
I really wanted to accentuate the house, so I changed the color to a brighter rust/red and it was the only warm color in the whole painting.
It makes your eye go straight to it.
Framing the house in the branches of the tree also aids in it being the main focus of the piece, even though it is small and in the background.


I painted on Arches paper, 140 lb.
I tape it to a masonite board and I leave it taped on there until it is 100% dry.  That way it dries flat and doesn't warp.

One reason it took so long to get this on here is, my internet stinks.  I live in the middle of nowhere, which is great, until you want to get online.  Then the weather has to be perfect, I have to be standing on my left foot with my tongue hanging out the right side of my mouth and maybe I'll be able to connect.
Maybe NOT!

Another problem was I made this little video out of stills of the progression of the painting with info on each one.
I made it in Picasa and I've done it loads of times.
What I didn't know was Google is no longer supporting Picasa.
When did that happen you ask?
On February 14.
The day before I needed it.
So I'm looking for a new way to do the same thing.

I was able to create this little animation
but it goes pretty fast and so far I haven't figured out how to slow it down.

Without further adieu,
and with no chance of winning an Oscar,
I give you 
Valentine Snow

  Click HERE to see a very short video.

Never done this before, so I hope it works.
Let me know if it doesn't.

 Not signed and not sure if it's done.
I think there is some tweaking to be done on that tree on the left in the foreground.
 
 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Motivation Monday - Shut Up and Paint

Shut Up and Paint With Me!

I love that song,
Shut Up and Dance with Me.

That song has special meaning to me because I was a dance student and dance teacher and I married a man who doesn't dance.
You can see the problem and the irony.

I've had a lot going on over the last six months health wise with me and my husband.  And in December I closed River Run Gallery.  It was sad, disappointing, but necessary.

 I brought all my art supplies home to my old studio,
and guess what?
I didn't have enough room for them all.
They had multiplied while I was at the gallery.

I began the year on a quest to bring order to my life.
I was overweight,
I had too much stuff,
My home and life was unorganized.
My spirituality was waning.

I spent several days working on plans to improve the areas of my life that were out of whack.  I finally got a plan together to help me get on track.
And
it's working.

I'm purging my home, one room at a time,
participating in an online weight loss challenge,
reading more, watching less TV,
learning to rest and breath!

This morning was weigh in for my online group,
and,
I lost 3 more pounds this week.
Three pounds isn't that much, but when added to the other pounds and the inches I've lost,
and all of a sudden
I felt much better about things.

I've struggled to get back on track in my painting.
It's amazing how those three little pounds lifted my heart and motivated me to get back in the studio to paint.  I haven't painted in two months, and today was the day to say,
enough!

I didn't actually get back in the studio,
I commandeered my husbands office because he has a beautiful view out his window and with all the snow we received yesterday, it was a wonderland!

(More on that tomorrow on Technique Tuesday)

The point of this post on Motivation Monday,
is even when things don't look particularly sunny, it doesn't take much to turn it around.
I don't have a depressive personality,
but I have family members who struggle with that disease and I know it can be devastating.  I wasn't depressed, I just wasn't ready to paint.
When I got on the scale and realized 3 more pounds were gone, the motivation took care of itself.  I don't know why those 3 little pounds affected my outlook so much,
but they did.

So, I guess we never know when things will change for the better for us.  Maybe we need to just keep moving forward the best we can,
knowing things don't stay the same forever.

Now,
if spring would just hurry up and get here!
 

  10" x 8" stretched canvas
Sides painted.
$100 + $6 shipping
      

Thanks for stopping by today.
Leave me a comment about how you get back on track. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Balance

Motivation Monday
Balance

Balance Beam
Balance your check book
Balancing Act
Out of Balance

Just what is Balance?
and how do I achieve it?

We've all seen the scales of justice.
The bar across, with three chains on each side holding a disk.
If you add something to one side,
you have to add something to the other side to make it balance.

If you add too much to one side 
it will come crashing down and the other side will fly up and out of control.

Our lives are like that set of scales.

We keep adding more to our days, our weeks, our months, until we also crash out of control.

I can always tell when my life is getting out of balance.
 
I start thinking of escaping to the beach.
A LOT!
 
I am on a year long quest to bring more balance into my life.
I have gotten very out of balance over the last year,
and it will take some time to make the adjustments needed to get back in balance.
  1. I'm tackling losing much of the weight I've gained during the same time frame.
  2. I'm bringing order into my home and studio through organization.
  3. I'm working on improving my spirituality.
  4. I've set out a plan on where and how I want to improve my art.
Those are 4 different areas where at times I've allowed one or more of them to be the main focus of my life.
 
Achieving balance is tricky.
To achieve balance is almost paying more attention to what you don't put on the scales, than what you do put on.
 
I get out of balance when I allow any area to take center stage for too long.  Yes, I would rather paint than just about anything else, but I also like to eat, sleep (sort of), have clean clothes and sheets, and be able to walk through my house without tripping or being infected with something.  I like to know how much money is in my checking account, and where I need to spend that money.
 
So, I spent a day or so thinking deeply about and writing down what was important to me, goals I would need to achieve those things, and then things I would need to do daily to achieve the goals.  
 
It took some time.
All things worth doing take time.
But, I am almost mid February and I have made some new habits, (I hope) and I am well on my way to achieving more balance in my life.
 
 ( This was a redo of a painting I did as I tried to achieve more balance in it.  Balance is a critical part of art also.)

Sometimes, we are running so fast,
we don't realize we have one foot nailed to the floor.
We are running a great pace,
but we will never get anywhere. 
 
Take a step back and look at your life.
As Stephen Covey says,
Stop sawing and sharpen the saw.
His 7 Habits for Highly Effective People
was life changing for me about 35 years ago,
and yet I have recently abandoned what I learned from him.
He puts things so clearly and makes so much sense.

I tried to get a link for you, but as usual I am having weather here in Kentucky, and when we have weather, my internet goes haywire.
I'm hoping I'll be able to post this.
Go to Amazon and search Stephen Covey,
or 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
I'm sure you'll find it,
cause,
I'm not sharing mine.
 
Have a great Motivated Monday.
 

  

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Is She Thinking Flowers

If She's Thinking Flowers
for Valentines Day,

I got ya covered.

And they'll last a very long time





Head on over to my Available Paintings section
Click HERE to view available paintings.

There's lots to look at there
and I'm always adding more.

Now,
if your significant other wants to learn how to paint,
I got your back on that one to.

Click HERE to view my online painting course.

 Always watchin out for you! 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Only Right Way?

Is There Only ONE RIGHT Way?

I think the answer to that is NO!
Otherwise,
how could there be so many types of art?

Oil
Acrylic
Water Color
Pastel
Charcoal pastel
Colored pencils
And the list goes on and on . . .

Then we have:
Landscape
Floral
Figurative
Portraiture
Abstract
Still life

Almost everyone has heard the story about Vincent Van Gogh, and how he only sold one painting in his life time and that was to a family member.  Today, however, the most any of us commonfolk can hope for is a poster or print of his.  

Impressionism was not highly thought of when it began, and today it is loved and favored.

A great online art friend of mine, (we've never actually met face to face), Meredith Adler wrote a wonderful blog post about this very subject.  Click HERE to read it and view her collage of her 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.   

I'm not suggesting you should ignore every "rule" in the world of painting, but what I am saying is it is a good idea to learn the rules and then play around and figure out how to break them.

Playing in the paint is pretty important for every artist to figure out what works, what they like, how to create, and so many other elements of painting. 

The most important thing for an artist to learn, (in my opinion) is to learn how to see.  Look deeply at things.  Take note of color, shadows, highlights, perspective and how things fit together.  Is it dynamic or is it dull and lifeless?  Are there reflections that create shadows?  Is that color warm or cool?  Why do those colors look so great together (get out the color wheel)?  Learn to see better, and your art will improve, regardless of how you create it.

  Speaking of reflections.
This was a practice I did several years ago of some old metal cups.
They are very reflective and I was trying to see how to get, not only the shadows the cups created but also the reflections on each other.  First I divided a large sheet of paper into 4 quadrants, then I set up three of the metal cups in the primary colors.  I had a light I could move around to get the shadows to move as well as the reflections.  I learned a lot about my subjects and how they interacted, but I also learned how to see them more correctly.  I also learned about the perspective, especially of the stacked cups and the laying down cup.

So,
NO
as you can see,
there really is no right way to paint.
Just what is right for you!

 
 Fresh Pickins
is exactly that.
I picked these flowers from my garden
and I this is one of the many paintings I did using them as modules.

16" x 12" acrylic on canvas paper.
I really feels like fabric but it comes on a pad of paper.
It will come rolled up in a tube.

$95 + $5 shipping


If you want to learn how to paint from the ground up, and learn those many art concepts and then be able to break them, as well as paint two super fun paintings, click HERE to view my online beginning painting course.

 

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 and flowers. I work almost daily. You can purchase paintings by contacting me at slgraves6@gmail.com and there is also a tab across the top of my blog for available paintings and one for small paintings with buy now buttons. You can also purchase through my Etsy shop using the name of Fine Nature Art. . Thank you so much for stopping by.