Saturday, August 30, 2014

Pelee Island

Pelee Island is a tiny Canadian island in Lake Erie.  We traveled there a few summers ago for a wedding at the winery.    

that might be the ferry in the distance
We stayed in one of the cottages and rented bikes to tour around the island. I think we saw more people on bicycles than in cars.
some of the cottages

On an overcast day, we visited the old lighthouse and saw a several waterspouts out on the lake.

It's a great destination for a quiet summer weekend getaway.  Hit the winery, rent some bikes, and enjoy some awesome stargazing at night.   Here's my attempt at capturing the bright July sunshine and the fresh lake breezes.
20"x16"x0.5" acrylic on canvas

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Other people's photos.  Other people's pins?  Here's a few more of my Pinterest inspired paintings.

inspired by this photo (12"x12"x1.25" acrylic on canvas)

If I'm painting, chances are there's a tree or a beach involved.

inspired by this photo (12"x12"x0.75" acrylic on canvas)
Don't look super close at the reflection, because it's not scientifically accurate.

On the next two,  the proportions ended up a little off.

inspired by this photo (12"x12"x0.75")
I started with the blue tower, and by the time I finished the buildings, there was way too much room left for the street.  The perspective and details had already taken too long, so I got tired of it and left the street plain.  It seems like I lose interest in a painting after about three hours.

inspired by this photo (12"x12"x0.75")
There might be too much sky or too much rock here.  Do real artists sketch out the whole composition first?  Can I sketch pencil on canvas and then paint over it?   I guess I can do whatever I want.

inspired by this photo (12"x12"x0.75")
Ahh, one of my all time favorites.  Whenever I look at this one, my heart aches for Mexico.  Even though I'm not sure where the original photo was taken.  But it reminds me of our trips to Mexico.  That thought led me to realize I should try painting photos from my own travels.

What is your favorite vacation spot?   I'm a beach girl.  Sunshine & ocean all the way.

p.s.   $10 off Colors and Bottles!  use the code "CBLOVESME" through Friday.  (offer expired)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Paint and drink review: Colors & Bottles and The Party Studio

Here are two more reviews of paint and drink events I have attended...

Colors and Bottles
I heard about Colors and Bottles through Wyandotte Winery, who hosts a painting event once a month. I search by venue on the Colors & Bottles website to zero in at what is being offered at the winery.  

Everyone gets an easel, paints, a 16" x 20" canvas, and brushes. The canvas is a flat style that is not ready to hang.  At the watercolor event I attended, we were each provided with paper and a watercolor set (and no easel obviously).  I don't remember ever getting aprons at any of the Colors & Bottles events, not that you really need one.
my watercolor which I embellished more once I got home

Their events rove around to different restaurants and bars, and you can choose your event on their website based on date, painting, and location.

At the three events I've attended, the artist instructors were helpful and encouraging, but not as super-clear step by step as the Wine & Canvas instructors.  Although, I think that's what led me to go more on my own with their paintings which ultimately led to this:

16"x20" acrylic on canvas board

Colors and Bottles events are normally $35 per person.  Once you get on their email list, they will send you special offers and discount codes.  Right now through the end of the month, use the code FLYINGCOLORS for buy one get one free! (offer expired)

The Party Studio
The Party Studio does not rove around to different venues.  They have their own studio  where all of their events are held.  It's a great location with lots room to spread out and lots of windows and  light.  They set you up with an apron, acrylic paint on paper plates, brushes, and your 16" x 20" canvas.  (the ready-to-hang wood framed kind)
last spring, painting with my neighbor (photo credit: The Party Studio)

Another big difference with the Party Studio is they are totally BYOB.  You cannot order refreshments there and are encouraged to bring your own drinks and snacks.  They even have a fridge you can use.  Bringing your own bottle of wine to share sure is cheaper than buying it by the glass.

Their studio has several hair dryers available to speed up drying.  You can dry between layers of paint, or give your painting a quick blast before you go home.
last summer, painting owls (photo credit: The Party Studio)
They have an extremely laid back, fun atmosphere. Music, lots of art on display, and the free-spirited artist instructor really get you in a creative mind-set.

I've seen coupons for them on groupon and living social.  Normally their events are $30 per person.  They also email me offers and special events.  Visit them at Olde Worthington Market Day on Saturday, September 13th to receive a special offer! (offer expired)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Paint and drink review: Wine and Canvas

I go to paint and drink events less frequently now that I paint at home, but I still love to go with friends.   I thought I'd start posting reviews...

Wine and Canvas
This was the first paint and drink company I heard of.  I saw people on facebook being tagged at these events and thought "I have got to go to one of those".

My first ever paint & drink event in 2012 with my mom and two friends. (photo credit: Wine & Canvas Columbus)

Events rotate between local restaurants and wineries, and now it looks like they also have a dedicated studio in the mix (at least they do in Columbus).  It's very easy to  glance at the local calendar for your area on their website, zero in on a location / date / painting that appeals to you, and book your reservation.     You can also book private events.

same venue, different artist. (photo credit: Wine & Canvas Columbus)  
When you arrive, they have workstations set up for everyone, including an apron, paints, brushes, easel, and a 20" x 16" canvas.  The canvases are the type that are stretched on a wooden frame and ready to hang.  You can order food or drinks from the establishment it's held at.  (I'm not sure how things work at their private studio.)

do you see me?  I'm holding a tree painting. (photo credit: Wine & Canvas Columbus)

In all of my experiences with them, the instructors have been very clear and have walked us through with fool-proof step by steps.  For example, the instructing artists will say things like "Using your biggest brush and the blue paint, start a line about a hands width from the lower left corner." But they also encourage making the painting your own.  They walk around the room to see how you're doing and advise you more if you want.

I've had a lot of fun at these - the whole room singing along to the 80's music, people getting really creative and silly with their paintings...  They absolutely create a very fun atmosphere.

Their website is well organized and easy to navigate.  I also like their facebook page and how they post pictures from the events.  I don't remember using a coupon with them, but I think they have them from time to time.   It is normally $35 per person.

Ah!  I just noticed they have Cruise and Canvas events!  OMG.  Wow.  I need to go on one of those.

Are there Wine & Canvas events in your area?  Who wants to go on one of these Cruise and Canvas things with me?!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Maybe I should take some lessons or something

Trying to come up with painting ideas on my own seems pretty hit or miss.  Those paint and drink events make it seem so easy because the whole painting is already thought out.  But on my own, I kind of stall out and lose direction.   So I thought I'd try using photos for inspiration.   Pinterest has a ton of fabulous photos, so I started there.  These were all done with acrylic paint on 12"x12"x.75" canvases.
inspired by this photo
My friend dubbed this one "loner tree".  I really love how the sky turned out.  I think I must have finished this one at night with bad lighting because the foreground ended up more washed out that I thought it would.   The more I look at this, the more I find the tree to be... cheesy? cliche?   Like maybe Kohls would print it on a trivet.  (I should be so lucky)

inspired by this photo
At some point, I had a face painted on the girl.  It was no bueno.  Faceless girl and her bike that fades into nothingness.  Next to mega tree.  Yet I still like it.  Art!

inspired by this photo
This is one of those paintings that, while I was working on it, I thought "this painting is the worrrrrrrst".  So I totally gave up and threw some trees on there that I thought were crappy just to be done.  And then an hour later I went back to look at it again and liked it.  It's not winning any prizes, but you know it's on display in our living room.  The big cloud does bother me a little though.  I should probably take some paint classes so I don't stumble around so long trying to make what I want to happen.

inspired by this photo
Here's another one that I know isn't making it into the Louvre, but I love it.  What's at the end of the tree tunnel?  Maybe Bob Ross.

Do you ever get on Pinterest?  Do you just look around, or do have some of your own pin boards?   Lately, I pin a lot of recipes and things that make me laugh.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Stu Stu Studio

Going to so many paint and drink events inspired me to start painting at home.  The fabric / craft store has pre-stretched canvas and acrylic paint sets.  I started with the econo-pack of 12x12 canvases and a set of basic paints including primary colors, black and white.   Then when I see a sale or have a coupon, I go back for more canvases and more paint colors.  I seem to go through white and yellow the fastest.   I like acrylic paint because it dries quickly and I can hang my masterpiece on the wall the same day.

I like to call this little effort "Robin Scorns Trees":
stay over there, trees (12"x12"x0.75" acrylic on canvas)

I wanted to capture the pretty rust color on the Robin in a painterly style.  It turned out with the Robin looking way more linear than I intended.  And he looks irritated.  And then I had no idea what to do with the rest of the picture, so I did Bob Ross happy little trees.  The end result cracks me up.  I do like the colors, though.

Here's one that I never really finished.
what's going on here? (12"x12"x0.5" acrylic on canvas)

Maybe this is where all my white and yellow paint went.  I had this idea of this amazing sky, and then once I got into it, I couldn't really make it happen and I lost sight of what I was even originally going for.  I think the quick drying property of acrylic paint worked against me since I was trying to do lots of blendy things.  I like putting a ton of paint on the brush and having 3D blobs on the canvas.  So maybe I'll need to try painting with oils eventually? I still might go back and try to make something of this "golden sky" painting later.

Here's another where I was trying to do blendy blobby paint moves and do something not so literal.
guess what this is (hint: a tree) (12"x12"x0.75" acrylic on canvas)

I actually like the trunk and the ground, but I hate what I did with the leaves and flowers.  If I ever get some more skills, I'd like to do something different with the leaves.  It's also possible I'll decide I like the whole thing later.

For a while, I was setting up my paint projects on the dining room table, but it was a pain to set up and clean up each time.  I was using an old picture frame to prop up the canvases. Then I got a proper easel for my birthday, which motivated me to create a little studio in our  basement.

where the magic happens

I set my chair and easel right in front of the window with all my brushes and paints spread out on the side table.  The sliding glass door lets in plenty of natural light. Once I got that set up, it was so much easier to paint on a whim, and I really started cranking them out...
seaside (24"x20"x0.75" acrylic on canvas)

This beach painting makes me happy.  I'm not sure if those are flowers, or what's on the beach.  Piles of happiness.  If we moved to the beach and I painted beach paintings all day, that would be fine with me.
it's a forest (12"x12"x0.5" acrylic on canvas)
This one's not my favorite, but people say they like it.  And by people I mean my mom.  Maybe because there is some depth to it?  I'm okay with how it turned out, but I prefer a lot of open sky I guess.

a mix of grasses and mountains (6"x6"x1.5" acrylic on canvas)

I love the colors on this one and I got the smeary paint effect going on.  And again, a lot of sky and clouds.  If I just want to paint 100 pictures of sky, clouds, and trees, is that lame?  Look - this is the painting I used to create my title picture on this blog.

What draws you in to like a painting?  The colors?  Subject matter?  Linear / realistic looking, or visible brush stroke / painterly style?

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Beginning

"Veni, vidi, vici" is Latin for "I came, I saw, I conquered".  I guess Julius Caesar said it originally.  Later on, Victor Hugo said "Veni, vidi, vixi" ("I came, I saw, I lived").   Then Bill Murray said "We Came. We saw.  We kicked its ass." in Ghostbusters.

In contrast to these people of greatness, I am simply having some fun and painting some pictures.  I am too lazy to figure out the Latin for "I painted".

A couple of years ago, I was introduced to something called "Wine & Canvas".  You sit with your friends, drink wine, and paint something.  Hello - how fabulous does that sound?  They set you up with everything you need and walk you through the painting.

(photo credit: Wine & Canvas Columbus)

Look how good everyone's paintings turned out!  So much fun.  After that first experience, I was hooked and signed up for several more.

(photo credit: Wine & Canvas Columbus)
(photo credit: Wine & Canvas Columbus)

I also branched out to other events with the same "paint and drink" concept.  They pretty much all do acrylic on canvas, but there was this one watercolor I did with "Colors & Bottles":
mmm, tropical

Maybe next week I could do a run down on the different paint and drink events I've tried and what the little differences between companies are.

Here are a couple where we copied my two favorite artists: Monet and VanGogh.
The goal was VanGogh's sunflowers, but I ended up with Susan's Susans

Monet would not be proud

Once I quit trying to stick to the planned paintings, I had even more fun.
We both went rogue with our owls.  I named mine Butterscotch. (photo credit: The Party Studio)
I went full rogue on this one.  It didn't end up looking anything like what we were supposed to paint.

And then I realized - heck, I can do this at home...

Come back in a few days and I'll start showing you my home brews.

Have you ever gone to a paint and drink type event?  Did you like it?  How did your painting turn out?