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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Painting From Life

What Is Painting From Life

Painting from life is a term artists use when they are painting something they are actually seeing.
They've set up a still life,
a vase of flowers,
painting plein air or on location.
You're looking at something and you're painting it.

I like to practice and I want to show you the difference between painting from life and painting from my memory or imagination.

I started this project painting from memory or from my imagination.
As you will see, neither of them must be very good.
I'm practicing on the slick side of freezer paper.
Why you ask?

Well, it's cheap and it's slick.
I can buy a whole roll of freezer paper for under $7 
it's slick so I don't have to fight the tooth of a canvas.
I just have to figure out how to move my brush to manipulate the paint.  Once I have it on there, I can almost always transfer that knowledge to paper or canvas or wood.

Then my sweet husband picked these flowers for me from our yard.

Sunflowers and zinnias.

The most important thing about painting to me, is learning how to see.  If you can't see the highlights and shadows, the shapes, the negative space, it will be very difficult to learn to paint it.
This short video walks you through a few of the things to look for when painting from life.

Now that I've inspected these flowers,
and looked them over and made some mental notes about what I'm seeing I'm ready to paint them.

This even shorter video shows you both sets of work and how different the final results actually were.

Even I didn't realize the difference until I saw them on this great big sheet of freezer paper, clamped to my work table.
I will probably make some sort of reference book with these flowers, so I can look at it and remember why there were problems and how I fixed them.

It's not just the color differences, but I can see the difference in the quality of the work where I was actually looking at what I was painting as opposed to just remembering it.
The details and the nuances aren't in the memory flowers, 
but they are in the ones painted from life.

If I paint them enough I will get much better at painting from memory, but it will take time and I will need to do a lot of practicing and studying before that happens.
It's like having muscle memory.
I can't tell you where on the keyboard most of the keys are, but my fingers know where they are and that's all that matters.

I hope you will give painting from life a go,
and it won't matter what the subject is.
It could be a chair,
a toy,
a car,
a table,
or sunflowers and zinnias,
or any flower in your yard.

Just get out those brushes and give it a whirl.

Are ya whirling yet?

What would you like to paint from life?
Leave a note in the comments.

Click HERE to go to my online art course and classes.
I have a FREE daisy painting class on there.
Scroll all the way to the bottom,
(after you look at my super fun full blown art course)
and you'll see a box that says 
FREE Daisy Painting Class.
Click on that box and it will ask for your email address.
No credit card or anything like that.
Just an email address and you'll have pretty close to instant access to the FREE class.

You'll see I also have a paid class for learning to paint iris, 
and off course my full blown art course where you'll start at the very beginning learning about color,
learn about brushes,
brush strokes,
and all sorts of goodies you'll be using forever,
and I'll take you through step by step
as we paint two paintings together.
Nope, I'm not leaving anything out,
there won't be any time lapse video lessons,
you'll learn step by step.

This course is perfect for home school families who would like to add art to their curriculum, but aren't artists.
Just saying.
Give it a look.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Feeding Your Body, Mind and Spirit - Motivation Monday

Why Is Feeding Your Body, Mind and Spirit

Many of you may know Jim and I live on a small farm where we raise fruits, berries and veggies.
We raise most of our meat as well.
We also raise chickens so we have fresh eggs.

To me feeding the body comes first in this question because if the body does not receive good nourishment,
the mind and the spirit will suffer as well.

I'm not a vegetarian or vegan
or anything remotely similar.
But I totally believe we should feed our bodies with a balance of the 4 food groups.
I think that's crucial!

If you can't grow your own food or buy at a farmer's market,
shopping on the outside ring of the grocery store should be your next best solution. 

Stay away from processed food like the plague.

The body, the mind and the spirit 
need good nutrition to operate at their best.

I'm not saying you can't have a cookie,
hot dogs,
or any other processed food,
eating more whole foods,
real food
gives us the fuel we need.

 raspberry shortcake

Hey I'm no Doc,
but I know how I feel if I eat better.
If I cook more, I eat better, 
and I feel better.

If you're trying to improve your health,
consider eating one meal a day, or
one day per week
eating only whole real food.
Don't cook it to death,
and don't add a ton of stuff to it.
A salad, a baked potato and a steak,
really is a good balance.
Make that a small steak and don't load up that potato with a ton of stuff.
Drink water,
and if you need some flavor to your water,
add lemon, limes, strawberries, raspberries, etc.

you've got to move it move it.
Find ways to move more.
I spent 5 years on oxygen and 2 years in a wheel chair,
so I know how hard it is to get some exercise
 when you're sick.
But - regardless of how bad you feel,
or how sick you are,
moving more will make you feel better.

It also helps you sleep better.
And if you pair eating better with moving more,
you will:
sleep better,
feel better,
and maybe lose weight.
Which really makes me feel better.  hehe
Nobody's asking you to become Atlas,
or a boxer or body builder,
but walk today more than you did yesterday.
If more is out on the front porch to sit in some fresh air,
then that's where you start.

While you're sitting there,
look, really look at everything around you. 
You will begin to feed your mind.

Read a book.
Listen to music.
Read poetry.
Write poetry.
wait for it . . .

Learn to breathe deeply.
Learn to appreciate things and have gratitude.
Learn something new.
Pick up a new hobby,
or return to an old one.
Do puzzles.
Create something.
There are so many ways to feed your mind.
How do YOU feed your mind?
feed your spirit.

put your head phones on and sit or lay down and click HERE to listen to a 30 minute guided meditation on relaxation.
Read uplifting books,
Read scripture,
Listen to great music,
make your own play list of uplifting music on Pandora or some other music app.
Ponder things,
Keep a journal,
Write letters,
Set goals and work on them,
Celebrate your successes, regardless of what they are.
You need a reason to celebrate?
Look for the good in yourself and others.
Don't dwell on the negative.
Find those things that lift your spirits, 
and go to them when needed.
A scented candle,
An essential oil diffuser,
Breathing deeply,

Whatever lifts your spirit,
Do it!

Make a conscience effort to eat better,
use your body and your mind more,
and feed your spirit.

These are things you deserve.
Not another purse or pair of shoes,
but spending the time to find peace and balance in your life.
It is there and it can be found,
only not in another piece of jewelry 
or furniture.

But in yourself.
Yes, it takes effort,
it takes time,
but it is so worth it.

When I am not feeling well or angry or frustrated,
these are the things I know I need to change in my life.
Feed my body,
Feed my mind,
Feed my spirit.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by. 

Obligatory piece of art,
cause hey, it's an art blog!
Oh before I forget,
Winner, winner, Chicken Dinner.
I had several winners for free paintings since I was a slacker this summer.
I sent out 3 email notifications to people they won a painting,
and they got back to me,
and now they are the proud owners of original art.
If you'd like to get some of that,
scroll back up to the top right and sign up to receive my blog
 in your inbox,
then you will receive a confirmation email asking you if you did indeed know you just signed up for crazy Sharon's art blog.
Click the link in that email.
If ya don't,
well, you're not really signed up to receive my blog in your inbox.
So you can't really win a painting,
and I give one away every single month.
My blogaversary is coming up next month
and I've been known to give away some pretty awesome stuff then.
Get crackin buds.  


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Now That The Kids Are Going Back To School, It's Time For You. . .

Now It's Time For You!

You've taken care of everyone all summer,
You've taken them on vacation,
to the library,
to the park,
to the amusement park,
to the fair.

You've fixed lots of meals,
done tons of laundry,
cleaned house and the car,
worked in the yard and garden.

Now it's time for you to do something 
you've always wanted to do.

Learn how to draw!

I have put together a short, 4 week, 2 hours at a time class for a total of 8 hours of instruction teaching basic concepts of drawing, how to use your tools and how to achieve various looks in drawing.

I have day time classes and night time classes.

You will start at the beginning with creating form and work your way up to doing a landscape and then a vase of flowers.  Blog the way you will learn how to create perspective, draw clouds, trees, rocks, fence rows, grass, hillsides, vases, iris, zinnias, daisies, and Queen Anne's lace.

Class size is limited to 8 
so you won't get lost or overwhelmed.

I'll be teaching in my studio, on Bucks Run Rd.,
in Ghent, KY where distractions are few,
and fun is in everything we do.

And all for $80.

I'm attaching a syllabus so you'll know exactly what you'll be doing when and what is expected.

I'm even adding a PayPal button so you can sign up and pay all at once.

I just can't make it any easier than that folks.

Pick your time

Beginning Drawing Class Syllabus

This syllabus is the same for morning or evening classes.  Morning classes are held on Tuesday morning 10-noon, and evening classes are held on Thursday 6-8 p.m.  There will be 4 classes, 2 hours each for a total of 8 hours of instruction for $80.  Students are responsible for their own supplies.  (List included).

Classes begin August 22 for morning class and August 24 for evening class.  Class fees must be paid in advance and class size is limited to 8.  The evening class on August 31 may be pushed back one week because of the Labor Day holiday.

Supply List:
Sketch pad, should be marked sketch pad, not less than 14” x 11”., bigger is better in this case.   Should have minimum of 40 pages.

Set of graphite pencils, minimum 8 pencil set, graduated hardness, from at least B-6 to H-6.  

Pencil Sharpener - though often the pencils do not fit the sharpeners.  I use an exact knife to sharpen my pencils.

Kneaded eraser - 

Often you can find a set with a good mix of pencils, a sharpener and an eraser for under $15.

Pkg of blending stumps approx $2.99.

Week 1 - We will be getting acquainted with our materials as we learn about creating form using shading, making a gray scale, scumbling, cross hatching, using blending stumps to blend.  We’ll also be drawing a number of simple subjects such, as fruit, cups, mugs, vases, etc.

Week 2 - We will be learning about perspective and planes as we perspect buildings, fence rows, paths, roads, rivers, etc.  We’ll also be looking at and working on the perspective of a still life and a landscape drawing.  Perspective is important to understand in order to make your drawing or painting not look wonky.  

Week 3 - We will be learning how to draw the various parts of a landscape, such as; clouds, bldg, fence, road, path, river, trees, weeds, hills and rocks.  Hopefully we’ll actually get started on the landscape itself in the 2nd hour, but you will have drawn all the parts, so you can work on this at home.

Week 4 - We will be drawing a vase of flowers from life.  We will use many of the lessons we have learned, such as creating form and shading and perspective.  We will learn how to draw several flowers such as; iris, zinnias, daisies and Queen Anne’s lace.  

Classes basically begin with student watching what is being taught and then going back to their seats and doing what they learned.  That pattern is repeated with each new concept.  

This course of 4 classes will give you a lot of basic information and practical experience and a jumping off place for you to practice at home what you have learned.  

If you’ve always wanted to learn to draw but haven’t had much success by yourself or with books, this class is definitely for you.  

I probably won’t assign homework, but it would be to your advantage to continue to work at home, especially on the things you’re struggling with.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Painting a Seahorse

Paint Was Flying . . .

I was invited to teach an art class in Carrollton, KY
for a summer program, Camp Impact.

13 students attended camp this week as they studied art.
Their director, Hannah Devine, is a Carroll County graduate
and devoted her summer to providing a worthwhile place for kids to safely spend their summer.  

The students were about 6-14 so we had a wide variety of ages and abilities, but they all did wonderful.

We had paint flying all over the place
 as we painted seahorses.

We learned to paint water, coral, plants, and then of course the seahorses and then moving water.

Lots of color and creativity
 were going on at Camp Impact yesterday.

This is my first blog post on my new iMac computer.
There is quite the learning curve on it,
so I'm not being too adventurous.

But I hope to get better 
and much quicker.

It took me forever to figure out how to download the pics.

And this tiny keyboard is killer.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

4 Year Old Art Lessons

What Can We Learn From a 4-Year Old?

I know I did!

I seldom take students as young as 4,
for several reasons:
1.  hand - eye coordination
2.  hand dexterity
3.  ability to follow directions
and of course
4.  attention span
But, after talking with mom, I decided to give it a whirl.
Blaire had all of the above.
It takes about an hour to complete a painting, and an hour is a very long time for a 4-year old.  But she was always able to give it her best for the hour.  
Following directions is another important piece of the pie.
I don't mean you must put this color here type of directions,
but more like, in your sky the strokes go left to right and not up and down.  
Blaire has her own style and idea of what colors she wants to use and that's great.  It also opens up lots of experimenting along the way of what works and what doesn't work so well.
Here is Blaire and her owl.
She did a fantastic job!
I really do not help that much along the way.
I show how to accomplish something,
and Blaire accomplishes it.
One thing we can learn is not to pigeon hole people.
Just because they don't exactly fit the criteria,
doesn't mean they won't be very successful.
Given some instruction and a little bit of help along the way,
if you want to learn to paint, YOU CAN!
If you have a child who would like to learn
 to paint or draw,
whether it be one lesson, or a series of lessons,
I can make that happen.
If you, an adult, would like to learn to paint or draw,
I can make that happen.
If you would like to host a painting party
 at your place or mine,  
 I can make that happen.
Click HERE to get some info on how 
I make that happen.  
If your don't find an answer to your question there,
you can email me at
and put painting question in the subject line.  
I've had students from 4 to 76 years old.
I'll bet you're somewhere in there. 



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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 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.