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Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Day in the Life

What is a Day in the Life of an Artist Like?

This is another in our blog carnival and at the end of the post is a list of other artists participating in the carnival.  You can visit them at your leisure.  There are giveaways along the way.

I will be giving away my 7" x 5" study in the post.
Be sure to click to see the progression of the painting.
Leave a comment on my blog and share my link on your fb page and you're entered.

I don't know that I have a normal day,
but this will give you a pretty good idea of what a "normal" day might look like.

I was getting entries ready for the Kentucky State Fair
so let's get started.

First off
you have to have the proper attire,
and these complete my ensemble of a UK t-shirt and blue jean capris.

Clothes make the woman.

I couldn't figure out how to show the wheels of my brain turning as I flipped through many possible photos I could use for my State Fair entries.
I decided on a swampy scene I took a photo of in Florida this past winter.
I've entered in two classes, a mini painting which I will do in a 4" x 4" format
 and another in a 16" x 20" on a stretched canvas.
 I've decided that I am going to spend more time in preparation for my paintings.
Here I'm drawing the scene, trying to get the composition I want.

 A little of the progress of the drawing.

The finished drawing.
I don't consider myself very good at drawing, but it is something I've worked on lately.
I'm happy with this.
Let's see if I can translate this composition into a good painting.
I've taken out several trees and a foot bridge from the actual photo.

 I'm going to do a 7" x 5" study of the drawing, again refining the process and
 getting the colors and values right.
This is how I attach my small panels to a dabble board.
Yep, that's just rolled masking tape.  I put the panel on a larger piece of masonite
so I can paint all the way to the edges, not touch it until I'm ready to remove it,
and I have something to do a quick practice stroke on if I need one.
I've used this method for years and have never had problems with the panel falling off 
unless I leave it on for several days.

Click here to view the video of the progression of the painting.
Before I start the small painting, I start priming larger canvases.  
I usually do several at once.
If I'm doing small ones I do a dozen or so at a time.
These will receive up to 6 coats of gesso before I begin the painting.
Starting with a fresh palette.
Those are paper towels around the edges with the paint on them.
Since I paint in acrylics, I can spray my palette with water and the paper towels absorb the excess ad keep the paints moist.
I spray it several time during a paint session.
When I'm done for the day, I spray everything, put the lid on and
live to paint another day.
 The beginning of the study

The completion of the study.
I'm happy with the colors.
Might make more separation in the distance foliage.

 I'm beginning my 4" x 4" painting.
It's on a panel.
I felt it would be easier for me to start small and then go large.
I'm using the same reference for both of these paintings.
They aren't competing against each other
and I really like the composition.

Here it is finished.
You can see I added more distance by painting another lighter bank of trees back there.
I also added more warmth by adding brighter yellow and light green in the foreground.
I took a break for lunch here.
I've really worked up an appetite!

 Now for the 3rd painting today,
I'm starting the 20" x 16" stretched canvas.
Here's the block in and . . .

 Here's the finished painting.
There's more reflections in this version and more oranges and yellows close to the water.
 Here's all 4 pieces I've completed today.
I know,
I'm an over-achiever.

I popped the 4" X " into this cute wooden shadow box frame.

Now to frame the big boy.
I made a little video of how I frame a painting,
so click to view the video here.

Now one last thing.
I'm entering one of my slate shingle yard art pieces,
and I needed to do a few finishing touches to it.
Can you see those holes about 2" from the top.
This slate hangs on a shepherds/mini flag hook in the yard,
for some pretty cool yard art.

I'm pretty beat.

But a day wouldn't be a day without this,

 During my little lunch break,
of course I had to go throw a load of clothes in to wash.

Well there you have it, friends.
That's pretty much what my days in the studio look like.

Here's the list of other artists blog posts.

Cindy MichaudJo MacKenzieChristine ParkerMarla Laubisch
Joanne GrantKevin LarsonCindy WilliamsSharon Graves
Sally BinardKaren Johnston
"">Charleen Martin

Thanks for stopping by today.


  1. Cool, Sharon! I agree, clothes are an important decision for painting - I try to stay in my "painting clothes" but somehow I always end up going in to my studio to do "one little thing" and get paint on my good clothes.

    Thanks for sharing your process, it's always good to see how another artist works.

  2. It is fun to see everyone's processes...especially since you use acrylics it is interesting to see your palette and how you keep your paint fresh. Thanks so much for sharing your day.

    1. so welcome Maria. It is fun to see how everyone creates art. I spray my paint a lot during any given day. Thanks for your encouragement.

  3. Love your post! The tips are great, I can certainly use a few of those.
    My day is often interrupted by the dreaded laundry too!! I wonder why I can't just let it go? If I worked out of the house, who would do my laundry during the day?? Hmmm, us artists need to collectively figure out how to keep chores from encroaching into our painting time!

    1. Thanks Joanne. I can't imagine I have any tips that can help you. I love your work and sort of slobber as I look at it. Thanks though. I don't mind throwing in a load of clothes, but it's all the other daily cleaning stuff that grinds me down.

  4. very interesting...somehow all my clothes have become painting clothes...that was an accident!

    1. I really try to wear only my painting clothes, but every once in a while I got into my studio and not meaning to paint, but you know how it is, you pick up a brush and before you know it, you're painting and making a mess. At least I do.

  5. I follow you on facebook and have for about a year now. I live in Charleston, South Carolina, but I'm originally from Bracken County, KY. Your paintings remind me of home and bring back memories. The one you are painting for the State Fair has a composition much like the swamps here in the Charleston area. I have always wanted to take up painting and your video was so interesting, but I'm in my Master's program with my PhD to follow shortly and I don't have the time or money for that hobby yet. Anyway, just wanted to to tell you I think your work is fantastic!

    Kimberley Easterling

    1. I answered you on fb. Hope you see it there. I lived in Bracken County for 8 years, 82-90. I used to own Petal Pusher Flowers. Tell me if I know you or not. Good luck on your Master's and PhD. What are you studying? You will have time to learn to paint in the future. I was in Charleston in March of this year. Beautiful place. I took lots of pics and I will be painting them in the future. Thanks for the comment on here and my fb page. You're in for the free painting.

  6. Love your sketches...I should do more!! I have to wear old painting clothes too...I look like a ragbag but I'm a happy one. Thanks Sharon, I really enjoyed this!

  7. Thanks! I have just begun doing these sketches and I'm trying to learn how to draw. Practice, Practice, Practice.

  8. Thanks for the insider view and all the generous tips! I loved seeing your sketches and am amazed at how your paintings just stay put on the larger panels. Great post, as always, Sharon!

  9. Thanks Meredith. I used to always paint large and then I started painting smaller. I have a 24" x30" I'm anxious to get to. That's the largest I've every painted.

  10. This was left by Sally, but I accidentally hit the delete button instead of the publish button on my iPad. Buttons too small,fingers too big.

    This was a great glimpse into your process. Thanks so much for showing all the setup and prep work. Very informative! And the paintings are beautiful. The reflection on the water is superb!


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About Me

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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 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.