Thursday, April 16, 2009

Color Mixing

I used to purely mix color based on what my eye saw. Maybe I should preface that comment with the additional fact that I tend to see saturated or high key color all the time. So I was mixing color all the time with a heightened key, based on it's root hue (like lemon yellow or cadmium yellow), focusing on the value of the color and it's relationship with the values of the colors laid down around it.

It hasn't been until recently that I've realized how much more powerful my paintings can be if I instead focus primarily on the color temperature and less so on matching what the base or root hue is. I'm enjoying this diversion and all it is teaching me.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Winter Lingers

Above is a journal page from my sketchbook.  Titled "Winter Lingers," the theme for this year's spring break, heralded by 7" of newly fallen snow on Monday. 

First I painted the spread in a graduated wash of blue, meant to represent the 24 hour heavy snowfall we had. Then I used my own lino-cut for the lower grasses - a series of flower and leaf designs carved into a Staedtler eraser. The snowflakes came from a purchased stamp, and the sequin embellishments were from my daughter's stash.

I had a great time painting alongside my daughter, and talking about images of spring. I'm discovering journalling allows me the opportunity to work side-by-side with a variety of people in a relaxed environment.

I'll be leading several classes on Creative Journalling this summer. You can see the schedule on my website.

I am also enjoying creating my own little linoleum stamps, despite the serious chunk of thumb sacrificed during the carving of my first design. Pushing to expand my creative comfort zone is always a great way to keep the blood flowing - quite literally!!

Thanks for looking at my art,

Monday, March 09, 2009

Thank you!!

Painting a Dog a Day has been honored recently with several different awards, and I'd like to thank those who so kindly thought of me. It is always a treat to hear that my artwork and ramblings connect with others, and despite the length of time it takes me to respond to such awards, they are very much appreciated.

In keeping with the intent of the awards, I am to list things for which I am grateful, and in turn, forward the prizes onwards. Here goes.

My gratitude list:
1. The song of my children's laughter.
2. My husband's smile, which has the power to brighten the darkest of days.
3. The swell of a great crescendo - it can drown out everything, taking over my mind and directing my energy.
4. Sublime brushwork - it is humbling and oh-so perfect.
5. Walking the dog, as his delight in the world is highly contagious.
6. There is nothing like burying myself in a good read to escape the stress and demands of the real world.
7. Finally, a stolen afternoon with the company of a dear friend.

Arte Y Pico (rough translation: wow, the best art, over the top!!) Recipients:
WARNING - be prepared to be blown away!!
1. Art with a Bark, the blog of the Canine Art Guild,
2. Elin Pendleton's blog and mini-art lessons,
3. Karen Appleton's gift paintings,
4. Sheona Hamilton's Black on Grey on White,
5. Kathi Peter's Cob Cottage Studio,

Love Your Art Recipients:
1. Vianna Szabo,
2. Sharon Will,
6. The Equine Art Guild,
7. Aaron Lefferth,

I know that the above recipients will, in due time, forward their awards on, and further expand our realm of inspiring artwork. Thank you again to those who honored my work,


Friday, February 20, 2009

Going With the Flow (of Energy, that is!)

The last couple weeks have been challenging ones for me. My mantra this year is "Focus," and I've been repeating that word over and over more so in the last few weeks than in all of January.

The biggest "focus" was with my oldest, who is scheduling his courses for his first year of high school. There was a LOT of information to process and big decisions for him to make. What career path was he choosing? Should he take honors courses? Which other required classes could he test out of because of passing middle school honors courses? Was he planning on playing college sports, because if so, graduation requirements are stricter, so we'de better take that into consideration as well. And schedule auditions for the cadet band and don't forget to pick up the sheet music for band boosters scholarship auditions, too, while you're at it.

All this happened within the blur of a couple days, amidst parent teacher conferences for the younger two, a neice's birthday party, delivering work for one show, shipping paintings off to another exhibition, attending an opening and several guild/committee meetings, and a few other family obligations. 

And of course the kids were also out of school, which means a merry-go-round of friends and neighbors for 5 days straight.

But the one thing I have learned through my "focus"ing is that I have the most creative energy first thing in the morning. If I tap into that I end up being far more productive.

I'm putting that rule to test in the coming week, which should be a little calmer pace-wise. I'm planning on getting to the easel right after walking the dog each morning, THEN moving onto paper- and computer work.

I'd be interested in hearing how other's channel their energy into making days more enjoyable. Feel free to comment!!

Thanks, as always, for following along with my musings,

Friday, February 06, 2009


I have been thinking lately about the natural progression of an artists' style, and specifically how mine has evolved. 

In my earlier years I copied other artists work (Richard Stone Reeves, Sam Savitt, Wesley Dennis, and horse racing photographers in Sports Illustrated, to name a few), striving for a photo-representational final piece. I worked in charcoal, pen and ink, watercolor, colored pencil, pastel, acrylic paint and oils, trying to master the hand-eye bit. Success was measured by how close my finished piece got to representing the real thing.

In college I was encouraged to step away from representation and explore the possibilities of color, form and line purely on their own. I lost myself in the joy of laying down shapes and building up texture free from any notions of perspective or actuality. Any surface fell victim to my tools - fingers, scraps of canvas, palette knives, spatulas, vermiculite, and even a garlic press - all called to duty in building my paintings. Success was measured by the balance of pattern and strength of composition, as well as a certain experimentation with the paint and other elements.

Post graduate work had me building installations. I began creating physical spaces asking the viewer to examine their thoughts on ideas like memory, home, and a woman's role. Of course, while I was making this art, I was considering my own life journey, getting married, creating a home of my own half way across the country, and having children. Success was now measured by my internal processing - what questions did I need to ask that would help lead me to my own happily ever after?

And then I stepped away from art-making for a bit.

Now, more than a decade later, I'm back painting. I've been painting subject matter that I love (animals) and doing it pretty much on my own (although I have been taking the occasional class, I'm not completely immersed in any sort of program). Most recently I realized that I've developed my own style, one that blends lessons I've taken in from the earlier phases of my life.

My work is rooted in representation, yet there is a passion for color and gesture that comes from my love for abstraction and art-for-arts-sake (or "just because" sorts of art). And my best pieces also are able to convey an emotion, hint at that relationship, between the viewer and the subject of the painting.

All this sort of smacked me when I got Duane Keiser's latest oddments paintings delivered to my inbox yesterday ( , #57 and #58). He painted some conversation hearts, which you may recall I tried my hand at last month. His hearts look just like what I envisioned mine should have been. Yet at the time I painted mine, I was pleased with my effort, even though I knew they had fallen short of what I wanted them to be.

You see, still lifes are all very new to me, and consequently I feel as though I'm back at the beginning, trying to paint things tightly and very representationally. Yet what I really strive to do is paint them with freedom that comes from total comfort with my subject, my tools, and my talents.

When I shared Duane Keiser's conversation hearts with a friend (Tami Oyler - you must take a peek at her work -, her response was "Art is when I draw Point A and Point B, and you dance in the spaces in-between."

I love that concept. It sums up where I want to be. And where I'm already en route to. Dancing.
Thanks, Tami!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Random Thoughts

I'm trying here, but it's not always easy to collect my thoughts coherently and get them over to the blog.

What have I been thinking of late?

That the sun last week in Mexico was wonderful, but pales to the glittery ice atop freshly fallen snow. Although the snow gets grimy and dull very fast.

That I need to do something about my Feedblitz feeds before Feedblitz goes "poof" at the end of next month.

That I'm thoroughly enjoying painting the candies. Valentine's Day was an easy excuse, but I really should expend some energy and figure out how to market these paintings.

That I need to clone myself. As I catch up on some tasks, I fall way behind on others. The idea of a virtual assistant is terribly tempting, but a little out of my financial league.

And speaking of finances, I really should start on the studio's 2008 tax preps. And pay 2008's sales tax. Hmmm...

I remain in love with the idea of an annual word. "Focus" has worked extraordinarily well for me. Especially when I get distracted from other things by housework - "focus, Kim, focus!!"

That I am so very grateful to be able to work from home, be here for my family, and follow my dream. What did I do to deserve this?

And finally, I'm thinking I should go start a big pot of soup for dinner. Pasta Fajoli anyone??

I'll try to check in again next week,

Thursday, January 01, 2009

2009 - The Year of Focus

There's been all sorts of talk among my friends about choosing a one word theme for 2009, as opposed to setting resolutions and specific goals. This was an idea that I believe should be credited to Christine Kane, but one that carries much merit. 

For instance, it's way easier for me to remember a one-word mantra than to visualize a page of scribbled thoughts.

Hence my Year of Focus.

"Shut up and Paint," which has been written overtop the studio door for a couple years, will get masked out, and "FOCUS" will be written fancifully on the wall.

I could FOCUS and do that today, but instead will FOCUS on the boys and figure out how they can access email through their new handhelds while still preserving our parental controls/screening. Then I will FOCUS on balancing my checkbook, which I have neglected for a little too long. And then I will FOCUS on making a killer breakfast-for-dinner feast for the family, our New Year's Day tradition.

Next week I'll be able to FOCUS on studio work. But for now, the FOCUS is on family.

Happy New Year!!

PS If you have a minute, you might want to FOCUS your eyes on my new Etsy store, one that has over 80 paintings for sale!! will get you there. Keying in "DOGADAY" during checkout will get you 20% off any paintings on canvasboard.