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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Product Trial and Review

Trying Colored Gesso

What is gesso and why should you use it?

Gesso is basically a primer for your canvas.
When you paint on canvas, the paint can sink into your canvas, and sort of get lost, or it can skip over small parts of it and small little dots of white will show through.  When you're in the middle painting, you might not notice because you are absorbed in the work, and then, boom, you start to see them after the paint dries.
For years gesso was only white and then a few years back suppliers started making black gesso, and now it is available in colors.

Just like paint, you can buy a student grade or artist grade gesso.  Just like paint, the artists grade will have more pigment and will cost more. 

I have used white gesso for years, and I have toned canvas with a mixture of student grade burnt sienna and white paint, or burnt sienna, ultramarine blue and white if I wanted a gray canvas.
I recently was ordering some different paints to try from Jerry's Artarama and came across several colors of colored gesso.  I decided to give them a try so I ordered two colors, terracotta and gray.  I couldn't wait to try them out when they arrived.

This short video shows how I applied it to a 5" x 7" stretched canvas and to a  1/4" thick poplar board using a #12 bristle brush.

There are several theories about gessoing your canvas.  One is, it smooths out your canvas to accept the paint better.  I agree with that.  But it is interesting that on canvas it does give a smooth surface to paint on but on the very smooth board I used, it gave it a little tooth.  (It must be magic.)  It gives the paint on the board something to hang on to.  Just an interesting observation.

Most canvases today say they are primed with 3 coats of gesso, but since I seldom, if ever, buy really expensive canvas I still feel the need to gesso the surface.  If you stretch your own canvas, then you will definitely need several coats of gesso.

Which brings me to another point, how many coats do I need?
Good question.  Most artists believe you need 2 and you need to make sure the first coat is dry and then sand it, and make sure there is no dust and then do another coat and then sand again.  I do know of one artist who advocates 6 coats of gesso.  I tried that several years ago but for one thing it took forever to get a canvas ready to paint and for the other, it seemed to me like there was too much build up.  I didn't like the finished product as much.

I've also read where you can gesso an item that you wouldn't normally paint on and it will accept the paint.  I haven't tried that, but you know I'm gonna.  

One last thought about using colored gesso.  It does affect how the paint looks on the canvas.  It can either warm or cool your canvas and therefore your painting.  Since most paintings will have variations of warm and cool it probably wouldn't make a ton of difference which color you use.  But if you're going for a primarily cool look, you probably won't want to use a warm gesso, like terracotta and vice versa.  I know!  One more thing to consider when painting.  Well, what's one more thing? 
 Or you can stick with white.

So, as you see in the video, I have 4 supports ready to paint on so I guess I need to get to work.

I'll be reviewing the paints I purchased in the near future.

I hope this was helpful.  If so, share it with your buds.
Click HERE to visit my Etsy shop for a mix of my art and some interesting vintage home decor such as glassware, linens and even dolls.  If I find something interesting it might show up there.

If you liked this post, click HERE to see the tab on 10 minute free art lessons on all sorts of topics. 

If you don't receive this blog in your inbox, (what's up with that), scroll back up to the top right hand side and put your email address in the box that says, subscribe to my blog.
I know, not very original, but it does the trick.

Finally, click HERE if you'd like to look over my online beginning painting course, an individual class on painting iris, or a free class on painting daisies.  

Thank you for stopping by my studio today.
Now get out there and create something!  

Monday, November 27, 2017

2017 - Gratitude


My word for 2017 has been gratitude.

I have tried to reflect throughout the year on

What it means.
What it looks like. 
How it feels.

Gratitude in all things!
Not some things,
Not just the good things,
But in ALL things.
Life throws us curve balls,
and it is often hard to be grateful,
but cultivating a grateful heart is doable.
I have learned to be grateful I am not healthy.
The why is easier.
When I was really sick and couldn't walk outside,
I could sit in my dining room and look out the window
and look at the trees,
the birds at my feeder,
the flowers.
And it seemed as if I saw every little part of those things.
The beaks, the feet, the feathers, the eyes of the birds.
The many shades of green in the leaves on the different trees.
All the shades of pinks and purples, and reds in the flowers.
For that, I was truly grateful.
 I prayed that if I ever got better, I wouldn't lose that.
And over the years as I have gotten better,
I have not lost that gift.
The HOW is more difficult,
because I'm not really sure how it happened.
I do know I had to work at it every day.
It didn't happen every day,
It didn't happen all at once,
But as I worked at pushing out the sorrow
I allowed room for gratitude to creep in.
About 15 years ago, I was given about 30 days to live.
My lungs were failing quickly,
and I was not eligible for the double lung and heart transplant
I had been cleared for.
I had my affairs in order,
Plans had been made...
and then,
my lungs stopped getting worse.
My transplant surgeon said he had never had anyone gain more than 2% of their lung capacity back.
About 9 months later,
I gained 1% back.
Then 2%.
Then another 1%.
For the next 2 and a half years,
 I gradually re-gained about 40% of my lung capacity back,
Enough to come off the oxygen and out of a wheel chair.
I still have rough days and weeks,
but the thing I prayed for,
not to lose the ability to see so many beautiful things,
I got to keep that gift,
and I try to use it in my art,
and in the classes I teach trying to help others see
what most people don't.
As another Thanksgiving passes,
I am grateful that I have seen 3 of my children get married,
7 grandchildren have joined our family,
and I am still here enjoying the beauty of life,
even though sometimes it comes in messy packages.
Gratitude is often easier to see in the rear view mirror.
Looking back we can see that what we thought were
terrible problems, actually cleared the way
for some pretty great blessings.
Trying to be grateful even when things aren't great,
has helped calm my heart through the trials of life.
I will continue to be grateful,
even when it rains,
when it's cold,
when I'm sick,
when I haven't seen my kids for a long time,
when a family member struggles,
Because somewhere in all of the messiness of life,
there is a lesson to be learned,
a blessing to be had.
Here's what Thanksgiving looks like with half my family.
My other two children and their families were not able to make it.
I spoke to everyone though
and they are healthy and happy.
How could I not be grateful.


Monday, November 20, 2017

Trying Something New

Let's Try Something New!

So, is there something new you want to try?

I've tried painting roses in the past,
with very poor results!

I've been studying them recently,
I've been studying how other people paint them.
I've been doing a lot of looking.

So last week I decided to put a brush in my hand.

I had a beautiful pic of a rose on my phone I grew in my yard,
so I uploaded it to my computer,
 And out popped this painting.

I wasn't unhappy with this effort.
All that looking and studying seemed to help!

 Then a day or two later I went to bed
 with painting roses on my mind. 
(I know.  Who does that?)

I went to bed thinking about how many colors I'd used to paint that rose painting.
I'd used my entire palette.
And then I began thinking about how I used all these seemingly unrelated colors to create the rose.
Then I started thinking about another rose painting,
and swirling colors,
and rose petals,
and drifted off to sleep.
(Sleep is good) 

 The next morning,
out popped this.

Then I had to go back to the rose.

This turned out better than I thought,
except for that petal on the right.
I didn't like that one.

So after some looking,
I had to figure out why I didn't like it,
I picked up the brush,
and tweaked.

 It's not signed yet,
but I'm pretty sure it's done!

I think my point is,
we should listen to our inner selves.
We get inspiration from lots of places,
and we should listen to it,
learn from it,
and then go for it.

Last week I gave you several links for fellow artists websites,
and today I'm going to give you a few more.
Cathy Engberg, an online art friend paints some of the greatest paintings of joyful children.
Click HERE to view her artwork. 

Terri Buchholz is another online art friend
who I have admired for her paintings of glass,
but she is currently painting some beautiful faces.
Click HERE to view her artwork. 

Another hilarious and talented artist is Raymond Logan.
I love his art and I subscribe to his blog almost as much for his whit and the way he writes about his art.  
Click HERE to view his art. 

I introduce you to these artists to see some great art,
and to entice you consider purchasing art.
There are lots of artists out there who do some amazing work
and I want you to meet as many of them as possible.

Click HERE to go to my Etsy shop to see my art
as well as some interesting vintage home decor items.

If you have that person on your list who wants to learn to paint, I have you covered there too.
Click HERE to go to my online beginning painting course.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
Thanks for stopping by today.


Monday, November 13, 2017

Shopping Small

Seek Out Artists Work...

As we approach gift giving holidays,
I have a suggestion...

If you have someone on your list 
you want something really special for,

Artists in your part of the world
probably have exactly what your seeking...

In today's world, you can find artists work
 on the internet in a few clicks.

Artists have websites,
Etsy shops,
Shopify sites,
Daily painters sites,
and lots of other ways to find them.

Are you looking for jewelry?
google hand made jewelry.

Go to Etsy and put in what you're looking for
in the search box...

Hand painted china,
Hand made dolls
Hand painted silk scarves,
Original art...

I just happen to have some of that:

Click HERE to go to my Etsy shop 
Where I have my original art,
Hand painted home decor,
Vintage Linens and glassware,
 Vintage dolls,
Jewelry Supplies.

Gotta guy who wants a Harley,
but you can't afford one,
I can help with that.

Is there a bride in your future?
I can help with that. 

Do you have someone who loves vintage linens?
I can help with that.

Have someone who loves vintage glass?
 I can help with that. 

Gotta Kentucky Fan?
I can totally help with that!

If I don't have anything you're interested in,
here are some links to some my favorite artists.


Here are some names of artists for you
 to check out their work 

Meredith Adler - Painter 

Sylvia Brestel - Fiber Artist

Laurel Daniel - Painter

Monalisa Miller - Pottery 

There are so many interesting artful gifts out there.
I hope you'll take a look at some of my work,
and the work of these artists,
or some of your favorite artists.

Shopping small with an artist,
is a great way to keep cash moving
and keep artists working 
and you will know the person who created your gift.
You'll see their creativity,
their brush strokes,
their hands all over your work.  

The recipient will love that you thought enough of them
to seek out a one of a kind hand made item.

Thanks for stopping by today and looking
at the art of these artists and myself.

Click HERE to go to my Etsy shop. 


Friday, November 10, 2017

Painting - Painting - Painting

Getting Unstuck

It seems like I haven't painted in forever.

Lots of family things going on
and it seems like painting was getting
 further and further away from me. 

Sometimes when you haven't painted for a while,
it's hard to start again.

When that happens to me,
I usually paint something I'm comfortable with.

I started taking a video,
but I goofed that up and it didn't work out.

 I started out trying to lighten up my palette
but that didn't work out either.
I used two new blues, Alexander Blue and Phalo Blue,
so I mixed them and added white for the sky.
Then I started adding the distant trees and 
began to bring them forward.
Then I decided to add one fall tree.

There's a point in most paintings when it's ugly,
when you can't believe you even know how to paint.
That's where I was here.
 But you keep going.
Here I'm starting to add the smallest of branches.
You can't really see that I'm adding branches
 in lots of different directions. 
You don't start at one side and work your way around,
You sort of hop all over the painting,
here a few, there a few,
until you're happy with the result.

This is a close up of the branches.
I used a #1 script liner.
Your paint has to be more like ink.
You'll need to add water to your brush
and roll your brush in the paint in order to load it.

I add the darkest leaves first.
I used dioxazine purple, burnt sienna and cad red light,
and pounced a rough brush on the limbs.
You need more leaves in the middle and less on the edges.
 I added cad orange med to the leaf mixture
and added some highlights on those leaves.
I also added the shadow on the ground.
I took the green of the grass and added its compliment, red.
You don't want a black shadow, you just want a grayer color.
I usually just add the compliment, the color opposite on the color wheel to make a shadow.

Putting final highlights on the leaves by adding cad yellow light to the leaf mixture.
I added some grasses at the bass of the trunk to seat the trunk into the ground.
Made sure the highlights on the leaves were lightest
on the edges on the right. 
Added more grasses, pods on the grass
and checked the trunk to make sure I was happy with it.

This was painted on 140 lb water color paper
taped on to a board.
This painting was just practice to get me back painting.
When I want to get back on track,
I paint something I'm familiar with.
I love painting trees, rocks and skies,
so I paint them as a warm up,
so to speak.

Then I'm ready to try something new or different.

If you'd like to learn to paint from the ground up,
click HERE to see my online beginning painting course. 
Great for the person who's wanted to learn to paint,
but doesn't know where to start.

Click HERE to visit my Etsy shop to see
all my items.
I have paintings, (shock), vintage linens, home decor
and even a vintage doll or two.  

 I offer FREE shipping on many items
like this painting in my Etsy shop.

Thanks for stopping by today.
Leave me a comment on how you get unstuck. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

It's Elementary My Dear

Art From Nature

 This big guy was my welcoming committee
when I arrived at Camp Kysoc this week.

She was walking ...
He was following!

I went to Camp Kysoc again this past week to teach a nature craft, leaf rubbing.

I had 3 different classes with between 15-20 students in each
of 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students.

Took a short video of each group of students.
We had a great time as they learned about different types of leaves and how to make rubbings out of them,
how the leaves worked and what the different types of leaves looked like.

No two works of art were the same.
That's what makes it art.

I wanted you to see all my new friends and their work.

Lots of leaf rubbings going on today.

It's so interesting to see how different leaves
make different types of rubbings.
And then there's all different types of art,
created with copy paper and chalk.

Pressure makes all the difference in creating art.

There's lots of fun and learning in making leaf rubbings.

Creating art is one of the best things I know of.
Click HERE to see my online art course
where you will learn art concepts from the ground up. 

If you would like to view some interesting and artistic items in my Etsy shop - Click HERE
I have vintage items, home decor and my original paintings.

You can follow me on Instagram or Twitter as kypaintster.

Thanks so much for stopping by today
and have a great day. 

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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.