Breathing

Sometimes you just have to get outside and breath the fresh air, take a walk in the woods, clear your head, ...especially after an extremely long winter like we've had this year.  It's still too cold to plant my garden, but things are starting to green up a little and it's encouraging to see the first wildflowers popping up.  Maybe take a sketchbook with you.  No, everything doesn't have to be a masterpiece or even a finished work, or ready for a competition, or even for anybody to see but you. I meet so many people that say they can't draw, who told them that?  Drawing is freeing, painting is calming, creating is good therapy, who couldn't use a little of those things? My sketchbooks very greatly between, simple watercolor landscapes, up close specimen details, value studies, random thoughts, doodles, scribbles.  The point is to get out there...get quiet...listen...see...no I mean really see!  Trust me, you'll be glad you did.

20180227_102900.jpg

Remember to bring something to draw on and a few little art supplies in your pack.  If things won't sit still for you, you can always take a picture and finish it later, no worries!

IMG_4350.JPG

Springing

Springtime in Southwest Michigan is an eclectic mix of sunshine then snow, flowers then frost, and temperatures fluxuating by 40 degrees in one day.  As excited as I am to get out into my garden and start the prep of a new growing season, the cold rain and mud are keeping me in the studio.  Just as well probably, as there are several garden shows and spring markets to stock up for and always new projects on my desk to paint.  

The garden show events have become some of my most favorite vendor markets and opened up a whole new world of meeting so many dear sweet people that appreciate beauty and like to grow things with their hands.  I seriously had no idea there were so many Master Gardeners and programs to gain such knowledge or the amount of dedication and work it takes to earn that title!  Although I'm primarily an artist and only a very amateur gardener, without these lovely people growing the things I paint and blowing me away with their knowledge of plants...my work would seem so much more pointless.  So gardeners I salute you!  Please keep doing what you do to make the world a more beautiful place, and I'll keep painting what you grow to capture and preserve them. Then maybe we can keep our flowers around us all through the long, cold winters!

11222462_1130552626961355_2500584627722072092_n.jpg

Painting

I always think it's so sweet when one of my students sends me a text from the paint isle at Hobby Lobby (or Michael's, etc.) asking what was the name of that color, or paper, or brush that I mentioned.  I guess I'm amazed that anyone was even listening or values my opinion enough to do that!  After all, it is just my personal preference as far as what supplies I like to use, and I think every artist has their own personal favorites as well that I'm sure differ from mine.  Still, of course I don't mind sharing what I might have learned along the way, maybe it'll save someone else a little time, money, and frustration from sorting through all of the options out there.

So, with that in mind I'm going to take my next few blog posts as I try to write to you once a month here, and let you in on some of my favorite watercolor painting supplies, in case you're interested in giving it a go yourself and would like a little direction in where to start.

#1 -Paints:  My very utmost hands down favorite has to be Daniel Smith brand professional watercolors.  I fell in love with these paints many years ago through trial and error and still get so excited when I get to order a new color (yay!) and then try it out fresh from the tube in a painting.  If you look them up, you'll see the colors are just AMAZING, rich, vibrant and so many beautiful options, agh- I can hardly stand to have to choose!  And then... when you start painting with them and they blend and swirl and mix, it's almost magical I think. DS also has this fabulous way of granulating, where the pigment separates sometimes leaving little flecks of pure color and texture that creates little "happy accidents" you maybe didn't plan on.  I know some watercolorists would rather their paint not do those things that are unpredictable and out of their control, but personally I think that's what makes watercolors so lovely, ...even as much of a control freak and perfectionist as I am. :)

20180122_131842.jpg

Finishing

As another year draws to a close, it's always bittersweet looking back to the things coming to an end, and the new things that are ahead for the upcoming year.  It's been a year of unexpected opportunities, amazing adventures, and challenging events as well.  Most of all I'm forever grateful to all of my encouragers and supporters, without whom I couldn't do what I do.  I'm humbled and forever grateful for your following!

Looking ahead, it's time to schedule new events, shows and exhibits, plan and dive into new works of projects that have been swirling around in my head just waiting to get out on paper, continuing to build, learn and grow my art, and seeing where the Lord takes me next.  Saying yes to the best opportunities and no to the ones not meant for me is sometimes difficult to discern, but it's all part of the journey, and I'm excited to see what 2018 has in store.

May the year ahead hold many creative adventures for you as well, and blessings for a most fabulous new year!

redbriarstudio_full.jpg

Thanksgiving

Where do I even start, this is the day to count your blessings and think of all the things I'm thankful for, but I'm so blessed to have them all around me all the time, It's not just for this day. Family, friends, food, health, a comfortable home, running vehicles, getting to do what I love to do for work, I could go on and on. Yet it's so easy to get caught up in the business of life and the cares of the world that we so often forget to see, really see, all the little blessings. I guess that's why I have to do this, the beauty of nature, the details of creation, the colors and textures that fascinate me, they make me stop,...and see.  I hope that my work helps others to see too, and to stop to notice those little blessings.  Happy Thanksgiving!

christmasberries2.jpg