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Monday, April 30, 2018

Motivation To Finish

Motivation To Finish

Finish is my word for 2018!!!

I started upgrading and redoing my website,
late last year and I had hoped to have it completed by now.

It's not finished yet,
but it's very close.

I write a Motivation Monday blog post almost every Monday,
and you might think it's for you,

But really - it's for me!

I struggle with tech stuff and I put off doing this project
because it is so difficult for me.
So my Motivation Mondays are my effort to keep me going on the project and 


I really wanted to add a membership site to my website.

So what's a membership site you ask?

It's sort of like a gym membership.
You pay by the month and every single month you receive new classes to teach you how to paint.

The Painter Nation Members Club will be available in May
 (I hope)

Things are going well!
I'm nearly done!

I am so excited, because 20 years ago when I was first learning how to paint, I would have hopped all over something like this that could have shortened my learning curve and got me up and painting much quicker.

If that's something you're interested in, 
stay tuned for more information tomorrow about what you can expect in the Painter Nation Members Club.
You're gonna love it!!!

This short little video is just a tiny sample of the types of things that you will find in the Painter Nation Members Club in addition to two new classes each month.

I sent out a very short survey last month to my email list.
If you didn't receive that email 
I'm attaching a link to the survey here.

Click HERE to take my short survey.
It will help me know what you would like to learn in the future.

And since this is an art blog,
I thought I'd better throw some art on here.

The Kentucky Derby is quickly approaching and this area of the country is going into overdrive about horses,
I thought I'd show this painting.
This is the front of the Kentucky Derby Museum
at Churchill Downs.
This original painting is on a 6" x 6" canvas panel and
 is set in a wooden shadow box frame.
It can sit as is or hang on a wall.

First Saturday in May
Special Price
$50 + $10 shipping.

Thanks for stopping by today
and have a great day
and FINISH something.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Let's Paint Skies and Clouds

I have to WARN You!

This is how I got started and I'm not right!

Nearly 20 years ago I started painting because I was very sick and it was on my bucket list, 
and I wanted to learn to paint the beautiful skies and clouds, sunrises and sunsets we have here in Kentucky.

This is a series of paintings I did a year or two ago as I was trying to really improve on painting skies and clouds.

I have these sitting around me as I teach you how to paint skies and clouds.  

Painting the same subject repeatedly is maybe the best way to improve your skills on that subject.

With no one to teach me, I checked out books and videos from our local library.

I practiced.

I watched TV artists.

I practiced!

I studied paintings.

I practiced!!

See a pattern emerging?

That's right!
The secret sauce is in the practice!

But I have 4 videos here that will give you some good basic instruction on how to achieve that look you might be trying to achieve.

In video #1, you will learn how to achieve depth in your sky as we start at the top with the darker color and keep getting lighter as we come towards the horizon.

Video #2 teaches you how to put the sunset or sunrise color on for depth.

Video # 3 teaches you how to begin adding big puffy clouds in your sky and why they are not just white.

Video #4 finishes up the clouds.

I am not going to finish this painting in this series because the purpose was to teach how to paint skies and clouds.  

I hope you're going to give this a try and
 practice this many times.

Do not be discouraged if you don't feel successful the first time.  I don't know long it took me to feel like I could do it,
but it certainly wasn't on my first try or maybe even first 10 tries.  The joy is in the learning and accomplishing and seeing your own growth.

If you would like to see the classes I offer on my website
click HERE

To receive this blog and get all the free info I give away in your inbox click HERE.  

Monday, April 16, 2018

Planting Seeds of Kindness - Motivation Monday

Planting Seeds of Kindness

Living here at JumbleBerry Farm,
I totally understand 
"you reap what you sow".

I know we can't plant tomato seeds
and harvest green beans.

These are some of the tomato plants we have up
and people in our county will enjoy tomatoes throughout the summer and into the fall.

But they will definitely be tomatoes!
No corn, green beans, squash, or pumpkins.

If we want corn,
we have to plant corn seed

and so on.

I, and I'm sure you're noticing too,
there is a LOT of negativity and meanness
on social media, in the news, on the radio and just about any where else you look.  

I hear people say,
"why can't we all just get along?"

And in the next breath, that very same person
will be practically screaming something ugly
 about someone else they don't agree with.

I don't know about you,
but I didn't get along with my parents all the time,
I didn't get along with my siblings all the time,
I didn't even get along with my friends all the time,
I don't get along with my spouse all the time,
I don't even get along with myself all the time.

Why should anyone think that everyone on social media, or TV or radio or even at McDonalds
 should agree all the time.

and it's a pretty big but,
we don't have to be so
hateful or
all the time.

The law of the harvest is
you reap what you sow,
if everyone is sowing seeds of
and argumentativeness
all the time,
should we be surprised that that is what we harvest.

I really like Instagram
because it's pretty.
People sharing pics that are pretty 
and interesting.
Not much drama!
I like that!

But occasionally I get sucked into the black hole of Twitter
and man, that can get nasty.

Back to my tomatoes.

You can't sow seeds all day long of
hatred, or
and expect to receive back

Sowing seeds of kindness are necessary
if you want to receive kindness in return.

If we are always looking for the ulterior motive in other peoples actions, 
we probably will not find
or love.

We get what we give.

Have a great day and sow some kindness seeds today!

If you enjoyed or found this Motivation Monday post helpful, please feel free to share with someone you think might also enjoy it.

Please leave a comment on how you sow seeds of kindness.

Click HERE to read another post on planting seeds.

Click HERE to visit my website and my FREE blog.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Doing What I Love. . .

...and I LOVE Teaching!

I love painting,
but I truly love teaching.  

Recently I was asked to teach a class at
 the Carroll County Public Library, in Carrollton, KY.

Patricia Hersy saw an online painting class I taught about painting a jar with some tulips in it and asked if I could teach that to a group at the library.  The class morphed into 2 classes and we had a great time.
Well, at least I did.

Morning class.
This group all came from the Carroll County Senior Citizens Center.

Deep in thought!

This can feel so uncomfortable to a beginner.
We've all been there, when we felt that that brush was a completely foreign object.

But look how they all turned out!!!

Here's a short little video I took during the 2nd class.

2nd class underway

Everyone working on their jar.

It's always amazing to me that every painting is different.

Had a great time ladies and I hope you did too.

Click HERE to see how to host your own painting event.

Click HERE to see what others say about painting with me.

Click HERE to visit my online classes.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Lily Martin Spencer - Famous Artist Friday

Lily Martin Spencer
Famous Artist Friday

Self Portrait

Born November 26, 1822 as Angelique Marie Martin in Exeter, England, she was nicknamed Lily.
Unlike many women I've considered for this feature, Lily's parents were very progressive particularly in areas that gave women more opportunities and education and she benefitted greatly from those views.

Her parents emigrated to New York when she was eight, and remained there for three years before moving to Marietta, Ohio where her well educated parents home schooled her and her brothers.

Lily had obvious artistic talent when as a child she drew figures of every person in the household on the walls of their home.  She studied drawing and oil painting with local artists and soon became a curiosity and sought direction from many in the area and finally studied in Cincinnati for seven years as a student of John Insco Williams.

Her popularity grew and in 1942 she began accepting commissions and exhibiting her work in local stores.  

In 1844, Lily married Benjamin Spencer, an Englishman who worked in the tailoring trade, but he quickly quit that profession and began to work for his wife as her business manager, promoted her work and even painted backgrounds for her.  In studying the norms of the times and other female artists, this was a highly unusual arrangement for the day.  She would become the most popular and widely reproduced female genre painter of the mid 19th century.

Most women pursued painting as a genteel accomplishment but Lily pursued art as a career and while she gained in popularity, she did not often benefit financially and her family was often in dire straits.  

In 1848 the family moved to New York where Lily could sell her art and study at the National Academy of Design.  She worked during the day coloring lithographs and took classes in the evening.  Her husband took on most of the domestic duties for their home and children.  Her most popular works were created between 1848-1858.

Lily produced a large body of work that consisted mainly of happy domestic scenes but often had the focal figure looking directly at the viewer in a coy, playful or flirtatious gaze.

Many things impacted Lily's ability to earn a living at her art, the most important of which were the 13 children she had, seven surviving to adulthood.  She joined the American Art-Union, a subscription based society where thousands of lithographs of her work were sold, but she only received payment for the sale of the rights to the paintings.  She worked tirelessly illustrating books and magazines, and her portrait commission work.  

The civil war also impacted her ability to earn.  The war itself, the inability of people to pay for art at the time, and the mood of the nation changed after the war.

Home of the Red White and Blue

This was Lily's view after the war where she believed that the country was torn apart, just as the American flag was in the foreground and that the work of putting the nation back together belonged to women.  Notice the central figure in white and her two daughters are in red and blue.  Men are in the background.

In 1869 Lily completed what she believed to be her masterpiece in Truth Unveiling Falsehood.  The painting shows on one side a monstrous woman with a sheeps head and on the other side is a beautiful woman nursing a child. She was offered up to $20,000 for it but refused to sell it.  The piece was eventually lost.

Click HERE to see the painting.

Lily Martin Spencer worked until the day of her death in 1902 at the age of 79.  Her career spanned 60 years and she had produced thousands of pieces, but always struggled financially and for the recognition she deserved, not unlike artists today. 

Information for this post was gleaned from 2 main websites: 


I hope you have enjoyed this post and all the Famous Artist Friday posts.  Unfortunately I will not be able to continue this as a weekly feature but will continue as a monthly post.  The time it takes to research and write these posts has taken a great deal of time away from my own art and the project I've been working on of updating my website and creating a membership site for beginning artists, that I think you're going to love.

I appreciate your comments on these features and hope you have learned as much as I have with them.

Have a great weekend.

Click HERE to follow me on Pinterest

Visit my YouTube Channel at Sharon Durbin Graves
to see all the newest art videos I have released.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Planting Seeds - Motivation Monday

Planting Seeds

It's spring here at JumbleBerry Farm and seeds are sprouting in the starting room. We have cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower , tomatoes, herbs and lots of other great things.

 The seeds are in warm moist soil where they can sprout and be ready to go into the ground in a few weeks.  

What does your warm moist soil look like?  

If you want to sprout and grow, you need to make sure you put yourself in warm moist soil so the hard shell of the seed can crack open and sprout. Then those seeds need to stay warm and moist and receive nourishment to stay alive and begin to grow.  

A creative person needs inspiration, motivation, and time. Warm, moist, soil.
 Inspiration of what to create, the motivation to work through to completion and the time to 'gittr done'.  

(Perennial Peonies pushing their way up through the soil right now)

(This is what those red stems will become in May)

Creativity, like seeds can't be rushed.
 It doesn't look like anything is happening, and then, up pops a little green stem with a seed stuck on it like a cap.
 It stretches toward the light as it starts the growing process. 

The flat the seedlings are in will need to be turned every day or the plant will not grow evenly and will be permanently deformed and probably will never bare fruit. The seedlings will stretch and stretch and finally fall back to the soil and die, usually before it gets its second set of leaves. 
It was too one-sided.
 As it grew, it only grew on one side. One side grew tall and the other side grew weak.
 The weak side pulled down the strong side. 

Isn't it interesting that the weak side won
 and not the strong side. 

(If you want to pick fruit someday, you have to get the seedlings up, strong, and then into good ground to reap the rewards.)

There's lots of parts in this analogy. But just like seeds need warm moist soil, it also needs to be in the right conditions. Creative people also need their own kind of warm moist soil and they also need to be turned so they are not one sided. So they are not brought down by the weak side.  

Apricot trees in bloom.
They almost always get frozen out in the spring
by that one night that gets cold after blooms like
 these open up.
(Last night was such a night, so we'll see if they made it later)

How can we strengthen our weak side? Trying new things, read new books, create new subjects, try new mediums, find new inspiration. Creativity can grow into a large plant and bare fruit for a long time, but only if we don't stifle it and hold it back and keep it in a box. Creativity needs to be encouraged and nourished and let loose.

We all have our own weak sides, but we cannot and should not let them rule our strong side.  
When we are aware of our "weak" side, 
we can work on it to help it become one of our strong sides.

My weak side has always been drawing
and painting figures.

This was not a first effort, or even a 10th effort.  This was after a 6-week course where I drew every day.  After I became aware of what pencils did what, how to create shadows and highlights, finally I was able to do something I was happy with.

There's only one way to overcome that.


By drawing more and painting figures.

This was my first attempt at painting figures.
Yes, I chose something with no face,
but everyone in my family knows who this is.

This was after I had done all my other grandkids, including this little guy Josh and started back through them again.
It's very far from a good likeness of him, but I see him in parts of it, so I was very happy with that.

I have made a goal to draw my grandkids daily.
I love them.
They are adorable.
So, getting a drawing to look like them will be "fun".


I will learn from my drawings and sketches
how to do it better.

What is your weak side and how can you strengthen it.

During April, we will talk about growing ourselves
just like growing all sorts of seeds for Motivation Monday.

For Workin Wednesday, we will be working on skies, clouds,
sunsets and sunrises.

Hope you're going to join us.

If you didn't receive this in your inbox,
well great, glad we found each other.

If you don't want to miss out on anything this month,
scroll back up to the top right hand side and there is a box that says "Subscribe to my blog", (pretty straightforward).  

Put your email in that box and then you will receive an email confirming you did actually sign up
(and it wasn't some Russian bot).
Click on that link.
Finally you really should drag that email into your primary folder so it doesn't get lost in promotional
purgatory.  It will ask if you want to do that for all future emails and you should click yes!
You're done!
Now you won't miss a thing.

Don't forget to leave a comment below on your own weak side, or how you can make your weak side your strong side.

Have a great week!

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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.