Saturday, December 10, 2011

Going down Memory Lane

As usual, I'm late in painting my Christmas card.  I've started 2 different paintings for this purpose, and didn't finish either one of them.  Then, looking through my finished paintings, I liked this painting because it reminded me of my roots.  I grew up on a ranch in Montana, and our Christmas celebrations were very simple, with handmade construction paper chains and popcorn that trimmed our tree.  Of course, the tree was a real tree.  Dad would drive us through the hills on our ranch, and we'd pick our favorite tree each year. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm going to try to keep this holiday more simple and remember the special traditions of my earlier years.  Happy Holidays to all of you! 
By the way, this painting started with charcoal sprinkled on the paper, and then pouring a big bucket of water on the charcoal to create the wonderful texture.  I'll be teaching this process at my workshop at Madeline Island on August 6 - 10, 2012.  Go to my website for details.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Redoing Old Paintings

I belong to a critique group, called Critical Thumb Group.  We meet once per month and critique each other's paintings.  By the way, I encourage all of you to form a critique group.  It's a great way to get feedback from other artists.  A new set of eyes to challenge you to be a better artist.  Our group has 10 members, and that is the maximum that I would recommend.  This month, we were instructed to bring old paintings that we didn't like.  We all exchanged paintings, and then painted revisions, using acrylic, caran d'ache crayons, and whatever else we could find.  It was great fun, a lot of laughs and a great lesson for me.  Below is the painting that I started with.  My favorite part of the painting was the right flower section.  I liked the rhythm there.  These were colors that I usually don't use, so that was a fun challenge too.  I kept telling myself, get big simple shapes in, but my brush had other ideas.  We only worked on these for about an hour, which is hard for me, since I am typically a slow painter.  In analyzing the finished painting now, I can tell you that my brain was right.  I should have gotten the big simple shapes in there first.  Way too busy!  Tomorrow, I will show you what I do with busy paintings.  This one's not done yet! 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Two Faced Turkey

Last night, I went to the Minnesota Watercolor Society meeting, where EmmyWhite was the demonstrator.  Her demonstration was a fun, whimsical painting of turkeys who had been pardoned, and were in a shelter.  There were so many laughs as she told her thought process and basically, became a kid again.  We all need to find the kid within us when we paint, don't you think? I decided to do a turkey painting this morning in homage to Emmy.  It was so fun to play, and I can honestly say that I didn't look up turkeys before sketching this.  I went from my memory.  No surprise by the look of it, right?  It was a stretch and a big risk, but so much fun!!!!  This painting is called Two Faced Turkey.  See the 2 headed turkey in the background?   I really admire Emmy's paintings, and love that she follows her true spirit evey time she paints.  Check out Emmy's paintings at

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Life is good!

I got my 30 minute study done early this morning.  I decided to do wine glasses, since I LOVE a glass of wine with supper each evening.  It's been recommended by my doctor, after my yearly physical that I drink only 3 - 5 glasses per week.  (He didn't mention how BIG that glass was supposed to be, though.....)  So, the daily routine will have to be moderated.  This sketch took about 45 minutes to do, but I was loving the illusionary effect so much that I just allowed myself to take longer than my usual 30 minutes. I'm feeling very inspired today, after spending the day yesterday with my good friend, Suz, going to 3 gallery shows. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Don't feel like painting? Here are some suggestions.

Some days you just don't feel like painting- whether you have the moody blues, or you're scared of that white paper, or you're just procrastinating.  I have many cures for this.  Sometimes I make cards, like this one, "Red Vibrations".  I use "old dog" paintings and cut them up, add acrylic paint to brighten up the muddy colors, add embellishments, and before I know it, many hours have passed.  The best thing is that my imagination gets sparked, and suddenly, I feel like painting again.  This card has brads, price labels, grommets, and ultra thick embossing powder on it to really spice up the composition. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Exciting workshop in August, 2012

I want to tell you about my workshop that you may want to put on your Christmas list:  
This is mainly a watercolor class, but additional media will be offered to expand the imagination of the student.  The objective of this class is to expand the imagination, simplify shapes, and create clean, glowing colors!  We’ll learn how to do 30 minute studies that will help students think in simple terms and create great designs.  Many special effects that will be offered:   working with graphite and pouring water over the paper to create great textures to begin the paintings.  Also, collage will be added to create texture.  A patchwork effect will add to the fun!  This workshop will definitely get you out of your box! (Karlyn Holman will be teaching at Madeline Island on the same weekend, a separate class, but lunches and evening meals, etc. are all together!)  To view details of my class, click here .

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"Longing", a study for future painting

I did this 30 minute sketch, using markers, while up at a friend's cabin.  Kim Grant had invited 3 artists to join her for 3 days of painting.  Check out Kim's website to see how great her art is!  She is the most imaginative artist that I know!  We had a fabulous time, sharing ideas, laughing lots, and painting late into the evenings!  We made every minute count.  This study is already being transformed into a 15" x 15" painting.  It's my goal to stay with pure watercolor, but it's been a struggle for me not to add collage to this one! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Patterns, 30 minute study

I'm still doing my 30 minute studies, using Tombow markers.  This time, I decided to use patterns as my main objective.  I had seen a portrait that was only in black and white, and it inspired me to try to keep mine in the neutral colors too.  Can't wait to do a watercolor and collage painting of this one.  I'll change the background, but stay with the black and white color pallette.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Adding metallic to paintings

Tomorrow, I'm teaching a workshop in Bethel, just north of Minneapolis.  The subject is metallics.  I've been preparing for this workshop all week, and am excited to share everything that I know.  This is a painting that I did several years ago, when I taught in Oregon.  It's got 3 different metallic effects on it.  I actually teach 12 different techniques! 

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Today, I did another 30 minute sketch, using markers.  I used a photo of my sister and me.  Although this doesn't look like either one of us, it was so fun to do, and I think the love between sisters really came through. I look forward to turning this into a larger painting, and having more background, so that I can have fun with abstract design. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sketching faces, 30 minute studies

Here are 2 more of my 30 minute studies.  I had the goal last year-to paint more people.  These are a type of fun carricature sketches.  Really fun to do.  I challenge all of you to do a 30 minute study every day.  The one below is done totally with a sharpie marker.  The girl above was done with Tombow markers.  They make great cards!

Monday, October 3, 2011

These are 2 of my 30 minute studies, where I didn't like the colors in the first one, and did the same design, but with different colors.  I like the simple design, and that's really why I keep the time to only 30 minutes.  You can't get too detailed when there's a limited time. This design will be the start of many paintings to come.  By the way, these are done, using Tombo markers.  I found that watecolors were too slow for my 30 minute time frame, so I work with the markers, very much like I paint with watercolors, still building up to the darks, and glazing to get new colors.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

30 Minute Studies- ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!!

Today, October 2nd, marks exactly one year since I gave myself a challenge- to do a 30 minute study every single day.  Actually, I started out with only a 90 day challenge, but upon completing that, I decided to keep it up and today marks one year!!!!  I can't begin to tell you how this has improved my artwork.  And I also can tell you from my experience, that this has made my whole life better in every way!  This is the first time that I've ever really completed a promise to myself.  That's really BIG in my book.  I think we're all like that, putting ourselves last.  So, I'm very proud that for once, I really fulfilled my promise to myself.  (I have to confess that I did miss 4 days within this year.  But that was because I totally forgot!  Otherwise, I accepted NO EXCUSES, no matter how tired I was, or whatever else was going on.) 
We went on  trip to Fargo, ND this weekend, and saw lots of cornfields and barns on the way.  So, I thought that this scene would be best to post as my first study.  I actually did this on January 9, 2011.  I try to write a little paragraph by each study, so that I can look back and see what influenced my choice of subject, and also to see how life really does influence your artwork. 


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