This week I'm painting a series of 9 crystals for a mineral taxonomy that will be available as a print soon. Here are some of the minerals I've painted below, and be sure to follow my Instagram to see the rest as I finish them.
Here's my most recent painting, the birds that came to me in a dream from a few blog posts back. I finally got around to painting them, so here are some close-ups.
The original painting of these guys is for sale, and I'll be posting it on my Etsy shop later today.
This week I broke out the pencils and went about designing a pattern inspired by my favorite season, Fall. Autumn is a particularly spectacular thing in the Pacific Northwest, and having grown up largely in Florida where everyday is a version of Summer, I find it deeply charming, comforting, and inspiring. So as winter has begun to take an undeniable hold I thought I'd bid a fond adieu to Fall this year by drawing some of the things I love to see most as the colors change and the temperature falls.
This pattern is available on some well-made and useful products in my Society6 shop. You can find it on totes for farmer's market hauls, notebooks for your travels, scarves to keep you warm and fashionable, as well the almighty coffee mug - an Autumn essential if there ever was one.
At the beginning of this week I painted this Venus Flytrap in a teacup. I wanted to practice painting on illustration board with gouache, as well as the textures of mosses and the reflective quality of porcelain. Of course there are things I'd change about it, but that's the point of doing studies like this: learning how to do better next time. Here's a detail shot of the plant and moss.
I also spent some time going through the finished pieces I have on hand. I've been booked to show my art in several local cafés over the coming months and need to have art to show in them. I realized that some of the dolphin illustrations I still have are perfectly sale-able, but felt incomplete as they were. So I decided to practice an ink transfer technique I've heard about. Here's an example of the results!
I used the ink transfer to add the text onto the image and really appreciated the worn and textured look of it. So I continued on with it for the rest of the dolphins. While it's very legible in person it doesn't photograph or scan well, so while all the pieces were transferred to give them this hand made and worn look, I'll show you the digital examples of them for ease of reading.
I had a lot of fun thinking about possible names for dolphin parts. I'll be posting the rest of the dolphins on my Instagram over the coming weeks so if you're not following me there please do!
Other than that, this week has been all about resting. It's important to listen to how you're feeling and do something about it, so while I spent a couple days futilely struggling to be productive despite feeling pretty worn out I eventually decided to be wise about it and let myself spend some time doing nothing but looking at things I find inspiring.
The main moment of realization came when I'd been sitting on the couch staring at my fish tank for 40 minutes, trying to muster the energy to do literally anything else. I thought to myself that I'd really rather just be staring at animals all day than painting. So I went to the zoo instead of the art desk and spent a truly lovely afternoon watching a huge variety of beautiful creatures doing what they do. In the process I learned about volunteering opportunities they have at the Oregon Zoo helping to rebuild and maintain animal habitats in local wildlife refuges, as well as animal observation opportunities for research. So that's something I'm excited to do next.
My point is that inspiration is part idea and part energy. Personally I have to cultivate them both in the best ways I know how to for myself, they don't just magically appear. Ultimately, to me inspiration is just a function of ones own well-being, and if you're not taking care of yourself as a person, then you can't really carry on being an artist for too long without doing something nice for yourself or fizzling out. So here are some pictures from the zoo in case you'd rather be staring at animals than working, too.
Finally I proclaim "la grenouille est finie". Some paintings come easy. This was not one of those paintings. But like most things in life the harder you have to try, the more you tend to learn. After several false starts struggling with the black background I originally intended for this illustration, I decided to see a new possibility for Frog Bro on a white background and to focus on what really mattered about this illustration: making it real and moving on to the next one. Below you can see a few shots I took at various stages of the painting process.
In the end I learned a lot during the painting of Frog Bro that makes me feel more confident and inspired about the next piece I'll paint. By the end of things, while I was delighted that Frog Bro came into my life as an idea, I was truly delighted to see him hop off my desk to create space for something new! And I'm happy to say that he's ready to hop into the home of a new and loving owner. If you'd like to bring Frog Bro home with you, visit him here at my Etsy shop.
Hey there! Before I move on to new things, as you can see I've finished the art print of Oceanic Dolphins I've been working on and it's available in my Etsy shop. It's also available as a beach towel on Society 6 if you want to ensure you're beach experience has dolphins in it.
Now for something else. I've started working on my next surrealist piece. In my head I call him "Frog Bro" but the painting doesn't have a real name yet. I went about starting this painting in an new and weird way so here is a process shot.
The Process of Frog Bro
Frog Bro started with a feeling, was created by collaging together vintage illustrations of plants, snails, and frogs for a layout idea, redrawn, and then and painted roughly in Photoshop for a color reference to work from in gouache and watercolor. I usually never reference anyone else's work when making my own - I intentionally avoid it! But I found this vintage, royalty-free, animal illustration book at a thrift shop for like a dollar and thought the illustrations were too amazing not to play with. So I tried collaging with them and eventually the idea of Frog Bro was born.
The Story Of Frog Bro
I like to imagine Frog Bro is trying to get somewhere, and he could get there faster if he would just hop, but something is stopping him from stretching out his froggy legs. So he hitches a ride on Snail Bro, not really sure where Snail Bro is heading, but figuring that at least it's somewhere ahead. Frog Bro is probably a little anxious and unsure, but feels the calming surety of Snail Bro's intention to just keep slugging ahead so he's hanging in there. Unfortunately, I don't know whether Frog Bro is heading towards a great adventure or an inevitable calamity any more than he does, so I can't tell you how things end up for him. But for now he's sitting on my desk, waiting to be made a little more real one brushstroke at a time.
What a busy week! So many lovely things to share with you. I've got to start with the handsome horse above. I was lucky enough to go visit a stable and meet some of their very sweet and well-cared for equines. A horse will always be the highlight of my week!
More dolphins have been painted and scanned and cleaned up in Photoshop. These are some of my favorites from this week. Did you know that at any given time a person is only 16 dolphins away from insanity? I didn't, but I do now! Love painting these guys but it's hard for me to focus on one project for more than a day because I have the attention span of a gnat.
Now before you look below, I apologize for how terrible this picture is. It refused to cooperate. I show it because the entire image of this sketch actually came to me in a dream. I never get to say anything as mystical or arty as that so here it is, the future painting that came to me in a dream. Just a rough sketch for now to keep the idea, but hopefully I'll get a chance to spend some time on it soon!
Lastly, this bird notebook is just a reminder that I'm constantly adding new merch to my Society6 and Redbubble pages. This week I revamped an old painting of this bird with peonies and specially designed it for this notebook with wrapped around cover art. It's also an art print and a really shnazzy sticker. Thanks for your support and look forward to future blog posts here published every Monday morning.
This week I'm working on a project focusing on around 20 members of the Delphinidae Family. Here are a few dolphins to get you nice and acquainted with some of our flippered friends.
The original paintings of each dolphin will be for sale, so please email me if you'd like to take a dolphin friend home with you. Each illustration will also be available as stickers and arranged into larger prints/posters when I have all of them painted, so check out my Society 6 or Redbubble shops if you're interested in sticky dolphins. You'll also find this garden snail there.