Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Occasionally, I'll do a watercolor

Acrylic paint is my jam right now.  But now and then I'll try a little watercolor action.  A friend wanted some watercolor paintings to choose from to use as wine bottle labels.  He's developing Happy Lake Resort and winery and is playing around with ideas.  He was looking for a specific type of scene: someone in a boat or maybe on a dock, fishing and drinking wine,  more into the wine than the fishing.  So I did a couple of sketches...

and ended up with this:
Chillaxing on Happy Lake
Having a request with guidelines was fun.  Like a Project Runway challenge.  And it got me out of my acrylics rut.   (p.s. I think there is time to get more ideas to him if you paint and would like to be considered)

Here's a watercolor I never finished.   It's based off a photo I took in Quebec.
See the original photo?  Yes, I went to Quebec before digital cameras existed.
What was I thinking attempting something so detailed?  There's no way I have the attention span to finish this thing.   Maybe I'll finish it someday when I have more patience.  And skill.  

My husband, on the other hand, has much more patience than I do.  He has done some watercolors that I love.  Here's one based off a photo I took in Jupiter Island, Florida:
Jupiter Island mansion

Watercolor is so beautiful.  Yet for some reason it don't gravitate towards it as much.  It's like the yoga of painting to me.   I try it a little, and it's great, but too much and I have aggression issues.  I love heart pumping cardio and I love piling bright blobs of paint in an impatient manner.  Yah!!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Charleston - history, horses, and ghosts

During our Kiawah trip, we spent one day in Charleston.  It was a quick 30 minute drive from our cottage, so we headed down without much of a plan, hit up the visitor's center for some maps, and started exploring.
down one alley we found a quiet courtyard
I loved seeing all of the gorgeous old neighborhoods and historical buildings.  We spent some time on Market street checking out artist and retail booths. Church Street had some of my favorite old houses.
a cute little door I spotted on Church St.
If you wanted to see the sights without too much walking, there were a lot of bicycle rickshaws and horse & buggy tours.  There was a big horse presence in the area.  (and all the accoutrements.  don't step in that yellow puddle.)
A horse picture would be good here.  Too bad I didn't take any.  Here's another door on Church St.
Instead of taking informative pictures of the area, my phone seems to be full of close ups of cute details on the houses.
loving this finial
The one thing we did plan ahead was we reserved a spot on a "Ghosts of the South" candlelit walking tour.   The tour guide had ghost pictures and ghost stories, but we didn't get to meet any ghosts ;-)    The stories were really good, though, and I liked hearing anecdotes about some of Charleston's noteworthy buildings.
a church on the ghost tour
On the ghost tour and on our own, we walked by all these fascinating old graveyards.  I think every church we saw had an adjacent cemetery.  Perfect inspiration for a Halloween painting.

10"x8"x0.5" acrylic on canvas
Twisted tree casts his spell of leaves over ghost graves in the night.  boo!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Kiawah Island beach

If you visit Kiawah Island, I highly recommend renting some bikes for the duration.  There are a handful of companies that will deliver bikes right to your cottage.  We went with Island Bike & Surf.  The little island cruisers were perfect for biking around all the bike trails and even for biking right on the beach.
biking down the beach

The tide comes in and out so far, it creates a really wide stretch of hard packed sand during low tide.    Just right for biking and very easy beach walking.
low tide

We found several perfect sand-dollars and even some live ones.  Tons of little hermit crabs, big horseshoe crabs...   cool stuff.

dolphin spotting

We biked down to the inlet and were able to see the dolphins strand feeding (not our video).  They work together to herd fish up onto the bank, and then they splash around eating up the stranded fish.

strand feeding

Basically, Kiawah Island is dolphin infested.  It's awesome.  Rent or bring a kayak and a bike. You can spend a few days just tooling around the island watching all the critters.  They aren't shy; you can't miss them!

10"x8"x0.5" acrylic on canvas
Thick blobs of paint, puffy clouds, beach, and a dolphin.  My work here is done.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Kiawah Island

We just got back from Kiawah Island, South Carolina!

We had great weather and a great week.  We drove down (10ish hours) and rented one of the cottages on Inlet Cove.  Our cottage (#86) looked right over the river.

Every day, dolphins were swimming behind our cottage.  One glorious day, a bald eagle flew by.  It was awesome to be able to sit on the deck, sip our coffee, and take in the wildlife every morning.
osprey eating breakfast

We happened to be there for the lunar eclipse, and lucky us, our deck was pointed in the right direction for a comfy view.
Nate got some great eclipse pics

Bacon and coffee and a blood moon over the water.  Good times.
the setting eclipse right before sunrise

I'll post more about the beach, bikes, dolphins, and ghosts later.  For now, here's my painting of our view at sunset.
10"x8"x0.5" acrylic on canvas

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

more Alaska

Some more highlights from Alaska:
Bald eagles everywhere

Gigantic glaciers the color of cotton candy

Moose, bears, otters, sea lions...

Super crisp fresh air

Majestic mountains

I painted another mountain.
16" x 20" acrylic on canvas board

It's over top an old paint & drink painting again.  I really need to get out and buy some new canvases.

Friday, October 10, 2014


We went on an Alaskan cruise over 10 years ago.  I dug up our old pictures to find some fresh painting inspiration.

We took the cruise during the last week of May, late Spring (or maybe that's more mid-Spring for Alaska).  It was a one week cruise on Holland America.  I'm normally a beach vacation person, but I have to say, this trip was a trip of a lifetime.  If you want to fall in love with creation, go to Alaska.

We sprung for a cabin with a balcony, and it was totally worth it.  We spent a lot of time drinking coffee from the special coffee bar out on our balcony, watching the amazing scenery go by.

Among the breathtaking things we saw were glaciers calving.  When a chunk of glacier falls off and slides into the water, it sounds like thunder.  Absolutely awe inspiring.

Another favorite: whales.  So many whales.  Pods of killer wales.  Humpback wales breaching and blowing.  Their size is a bit alarming up close.

Here's my big old mountain painting I just did.    I ran out of canvases, so I painted over an old "paint and drink" painting. Just to get the old painting covered up quickly, I painted really fast with a big brush.  Then when I started my second pass to do detail, I decided I liked it all blocky. Done!
16" x 20" x 0.5" acrylic on canvas

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Salt Fork Stream

Here's the last in the Salt Fork series (for a little while).

another photo from Salt Fork.  See the heron on the shore?

I reigned in my embellishing a little from the Funky Flowers painting, and I like what happened.  I guess I want to go more impressionistic.  (??)  Or just figure out my own painting groove, whatever that is.

10" x 8" x 0.5" acrylic on canvas

Friday, October 3, 2014

Salt Fork Funky Flowers

A lot of the pictures from Salt Fork had these pretty little wildflowers.

So I wanted to paint them, but try to do something funky or different than my usual style.  

10" x 8" x 0.5" acrylic on canvas

I'm not sure if I like it.  It almost seems trippy.  I don't hate it.   But my husband likes it better than what I consider one of my "good" paintings.  Everyone likes what they like.  It's always so interesting to me when other people like my "meh" paintings, but aren't excited about the ones I love.  Getting reactions is the last step of the painting fun.