Yellow and Pink roses in vase. Painted on 10×16 140 lb. Arches cotton rag water-color paper. This is a fairly expensive paper I have been saving because I didn’t want to waste it. But I will have to say this paper does make a big difference, especially in the brilliance of the pigment and the way the water-color flows. I will be using this paper for all my paintings in the future. I can’t believe how much difference it made in the work ability of the paint and the finally painting.
Thought I was through:
This is a good example of why you need to look at a painting for a while before you declare it finished.
Here is my final painting. Look at both of them and see if you like the first one or the last one. Hopefully it will help you see how small adjustments can make a big difference.
“Garden Party” is composed of my favorite subjects, birds and flowers. Who doesn’t love that! Well maybe I am a bit predacious.. Roses, for me, is a real challenge. Getting them to look realistic without looking stiff. I am always trying to capture the essence of the flower. Each time I paint them I feel I have learned a bit more than the last time I tried, so I am always anxious to start another one in anticipation of improving.
In this painting I was trying to capture the feeling of distance in a rose garden without actually showing a distance plane. As I worked on the painting I began to get bored with all the flowers and foliage so I decided it needed some life. I knew I wanted birds but didn’t know exactly how I wanted to incorporate them into the flower garden. My first thought was a bird bath but after laying it out in my mind I decided that would be too large for the scale of the flowers, so settled on a pot with bird seeds and a group of blue birds enjoying their meal in the shelter of the rose garden, and of course every garden has to have a few ants.
Evening Fall’s a Spiritual Journey, is a painting for my son Rob, who recently died of cancer. I wanted do a painting that represented his spiritual beliefs but didn’t know exactly what subject would be most appropriate.
After his passing his ex-wife and a close friend saw an owl and at the same time a shooting star fell to earth. Both thought how appropriate it was because they were both thinking of Rob when it happened on the same night of Sept. 12th. The ironic thing is, one lives in South Carolina and the other lives 2000 miles away in Colorado. Neither knew what the other had experienced till they shared their experience with each other at a later date. Their experience gave me the inspiration for his painting. I remembered Rob often commented on the owls he saw and the spiritual connection he felt to them. At that point, I realized, he had sent me a message letting me know exactly what he wanted me to paint! I began my search on Pinterest, one of my favorite social medium sites, and soon came across a beautiful piece of artwork by a very talented photographer/artist by the name of Angie, who specializes in Celtic scenes. It was a perfect representation for his painting. I wanted to ask permission to use her artwork as inspiration for Rob’s painting so I got busy and sent her an email. The following is her very gracious reply.
Thank you for your email and for taking the time to ask permission to use my Artwork for your painting. I am very sorry for your loss and I would be honoured for you to use my work as your inspiration. I have always had a deep spiritual connection with Owls myself and ‘Evening Falls’ is my personal favourite out of all the works I have created so far.
The inspiration behind the image was the song and video by Enya of the same name (Evening Falls)and is about memories and returning home – not necessarily in this life but may be another life or even the other side of this life. It has an other worldly feel to the song and that is what I wanted to capture in the picture – A feeling that the veil between this world and the next is thin and we can connect with those on the other side in our dreams.
The owl was photographed at a Medieval Fair in England and the Window is from a country church in Worcestershire, England. The background and the castle in the mist is Kilchurn Castle on the shores of Loch Awe , Highlands of Scotland.
My Birthday is September 11th – so the shooting star may well have been on my Birthday taking in to account the time difference between the UK and the USA. I like coincidences like that – in fact I don’t believe in coincidences, only messages from the Spirit world.
Please let me see the painting when it is finished. I would like to see it. I hope you feel connected to your Son as you paint it – as I am sure he will not be far from you.
Brightest Blessings to you and your Son looking over you.
One last thing I would like to relate to you before I end this rather long post. I don’t believe in coincidence’s either. Evening Falls, as you have read in Angie’s email the title of a song by Enya, which was Rob’s favorite artist. He would listen to her song “Evening Falls” most nights as he went to sleep. Coincidence or not?? Also, I was talking to my sister on the phone last night and I was explaining to her how I had decided on the subject for Rob’s painting and, quite unexpectedly, a long multi-colored bar of vibrating light appeared at the bottom of my iPad screen, one I had never seen before, and a bell began to ring?? I was confused as to what kind of message I was getting. My sister asked what the noise was and I said I don’t know maybe a private message coming in for me but when I went to check I had no new messages from anyone. I just laughed and said “I guess Rob is letting me know he approve’s……..
“Moments of Joy” was painted in watercolor on a 11×16 cold press cotton rag paper. My intention was to depict the innocence of childhood the carefree moments when life was simple and the most important thing was a good friend to share your laughter with. xoxo’s
“Granny’s House” is a painting that was conceived from a special place in my heart. Let me start off by saying I have very fond memories of that summer I spent with my Granny and Pa in the Texas hill country. It was a time I will never forget. Every night as I drifted off to sleep, from my bed by the window, I would watch the shadows creeping across the moonlit landscape and the smell of fresh country air in the cool breeze. My Granny and Pa were very stoic and regimented people. Every day they had chores to do, which I helped with, gathering the eggs, washing clothes on a wringer washing machine and of course hanging them out on a clothes line to dry in the summer sun. One day we picked cucumbers and canned pickles all day. It wasn’t work to me, I was so happy just to have time with my grandparents whom I didn’t see but once a year. My Pa was a quite man who never said much, so one day when he ask me if I wanted to see a dead man I said of course I did! He smiled at my curiosity and I wondered why he had that mischievous look on his face, one I may add I had never seen before. I remember asking him about the dead man and he said we had to get a shovel and some picks so we could dig him up. I had a lot of questions about who he was and why we had to dig him up, but Pa just smiled and said I would understand when we got him dug up. Pa wasn’t given to much conversation as a rule, so I knew when he wouldn’t answer my questions I wasn’t going to get the answer till he wanted me to. When we got to the spot where the dead man was buried Pa started digging, he dug for a while and then let me dig a little. The digging was hard and the only time we stopped was to drink some water. The dead man was buried really deep and I thought we would never get him dug up. Finally Pa said he had hit something, I thought, it must be the dead man. I was so scared to look in the hole but Pa said it was alright. As I peered over into the hole all I could see was a big rock! I ask Pa, was the dead man under the rock? I must have had a really concerned look on my face cause Pa just broke out laughing. He then let me in on the big joke, the rock was the dead man, he went on to explain, which was a term the ranchers gave to a big rock they buried that was used to keep a long run of fencing from sagging. I have to say I was a little disappointed when I saw that rock but I had never seen Pa laugh so hard.
Granny wasn’t a very good cook but she always had molasses cookies in the old cookie jar. Every afternoon I would have a cookie, or two, if I could slip one by Granny while we watered the flowers and grass. She had a beautiful yard with cool thick carpet grass which I enjoyed walking on barefoot. It was one of the few places where there were no grass-burs. Some of my favorite flowers was her hollyhocks,larkspur and zinnias. There was a huge trumpet vine that covered one end of the porch that protected it from the evening sun, it was in full bloom and the bees seemed to enjoy the flowers as much as I did. We kept a fly swatter in hand to take care of a roaming bee or an occasional fly while we enjoyed our afternoon cookie break. After we ate an early supper, which usually consisted of some kind of fried meat, potatoes, cream gravy, fresh vegetable of the day and always cornbread, we would go out side and set up the card table in the yard. Pa would get a water-melon, fresh picked out of the garden and Granny would cut it into slices, then we would eat water-melon and play dominos till dark. Pa wasn’t much on games so he would sit his chair in the yard with his rife laying across his lap ready to shoot an unsuspecting deer that might wonder by. Deer meat was one of their main sources of meat so Pa was always looking to get another deer for the freezer.
This painting has brought back precious memories of my childhood, when life was simple and wonderous. I hope you enjoyed my post on “Granny’s House”, my wish is, it will take you back to a place in your memory that was special to you as well.
Till next time, may you make special memories and share them for all to enjoy…Blessings to you all…Barbie
Just a quick post on my latest water-color, “Bluebird”, demonstrating the difference it makes when you add more contrast to your water-color’s. When I complete a painting the first thing I do is take a number of pictures in different lighting, in preparation for editing and posting on Facebook. Thinking it looked pretty good, I posted it on my Facebook page. Soon it became apparent to me it was lacking contrast. I know how important it is to take a picture or look at your painting in a mirror to get a more objective view of your work and I thought I had done that, but the longer I looked at it the more I began to realize it looked washed. That is why I wanted to post the two pictures together so you could compare the two.
Now you can see how adding more color helped the bird stand out. Water-color proves to be a big challenge in more ways than one. I have taken a few water-color classes online and have learned some basic techniques, but like all new things, I need a lot more practice. The whole process is totally different from oils and acrylics and I struggle with holding the lights. Even though it is a challenge I really am enjoying learning how to paint in water-colors. It has taught me to me paint more intuitive and let the color describe the objects. If I could suggest one thing to help you become a better artist, it would be to try different mediums. This allows you to be more playful with art and gives you permission to experiment with color and intuitive techniques.
As you can see I love flowers! One of my fondest memories was as a little girl helping my Mom plant and tend to her flower beds. One of my favorite flowers was her roses. She only had one rose-bush which she received from a neighbor. I can remember watching with great anticipation for the first blooms of the season to arrive. Still to this day the rose is my favorite flower. I have several different varieties in my garden each beautiful in their own unique way. I know I can never expect to capture its true beauty for God is the only one that can do that.
One of my other favorite flowers is the hydrangea. Hydrangea needs an acid well-drained soil and Corpus Christi is humid and the soil is mostly very dense clay. So it wasn’t until we moved to the Texas Hill country, which has a drier climate, that I first encounter the majestic hydrangea. I fell in love with the way the flower would change colors during its bloom cycle. But the most wonderful part was how well they dried. I have vase’s full of dried flowers that I enjoy all year-long. I hope my flowers give you the inspiration to try painting some of your favorite flowers as well.
I have been wanting to start a journal mainly to keep a record of how different water-colors mix with each other. I had several journals but none of them had a good grade water-color paper. I saw a post on-line, can’t remember who the artist was, but she recommended the Stillman & Birn beta series journal. So far I am impressed with how the paper takes the color. There is no point in using a journal for this purpose if the paper is not of a good quality. I had so much fun with this first page I can’t wait to play some more.
I think this is going to be a very productive thing for me to do. I have already learned a lot about choosing colors and now this will allow me to see the color combo before I put brush to paper.
My thought is to do a sketch on one side and map out the colors and mixtures on the other side then loosely paint the sketch. I think this process will give me confidence in my decisions before I start painting. Water-color is not a spontaneous medium. It has to be planed before executed and that is not my strong suit. For that reason, if for no other, I need to learn this medium. Will share when I have come up with the procedure that works best for me.
I am sure in time I will become more adapt at mixing water-colors but as of now I feel like a fish out of water, no pun intended. LOL.. I would encourage you to try working from a journal before you jump into painting. I am so impatient I have been skipping this process but now see how beneficial and fun it can be.
Thought I was finished with this painting “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” till I got up the next morning and took another long look and realized I wasn’t. I haven’t painted much with acrylics, and didn’t know, as they dry they become darker. I soon recognized I no longer had enough contrast in my values which caused the painting to appear flat. I also saw I didn’t have the 3rd dimension represented either, so I added some distant trees and foliage. It is surprising what you can see after you get
away from a painting for a while. At this point I was sure I was ready to sign and frame, but I was wrong. After several more days of staring and tweaking I decided it was good?? That brings up a good question, how do you know when a painting is finished? One I have asked myself many times. There is no one answer for everyone but some of my favorite are: This one was surprising to me, “when it is no longer yours.” LOL! I guess that is one way to be finished.. Another good one is “when you can’t find anything that bothers you”. I suppose the best one for me is “it’s not finished till I say it is.” After all it is your decision, you created it and no one can tell you when it is finished… I know some of you are probably thinking, how did I come up with this subject and arrangement and why did I name it “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”? The truth is it started off as a field of wild flowers and slowly evolved into something totally different. I didn’t have a photo to use so I had to use my imagination. I knew I wanted some daisies as one of my main flowers. I have a lot of flowers on my Pinterest board so I went to it and found all of the flowers I needed. Pinterest is an excellent place to keep things you love and what a great place to save photos for inspiration. Then as I got busy painting flowers I knew I should be thinking of composition, which is not something I have much, if any, knowledge in. So I went to YouTube and searched composition videos. It seemed like the rule of thirds was the simplest so I went with that. After I figured out where the center of interest should be located I knew I needed a little bird to fill that position. As I stumbled thru my process the painting began to reveal its self to me and it’s story began to unravel. I learned a real important lesson in that moment. If you allow your imagination to take over your hand will manifest it in paint. This is what I saw in my mind, I was standing on the edge of a lush forested mountain overlooking a deep foggy valley. In the distance I observed a little bird who was taking a break, from sitting on her eggs, she was hungry and needed to grab a bite of breakfast. She flutters over to the nearest branch where she finds some very tasty ants. She thinks to her self, what a special place to live and raise a family. Life is good for her on Mount Tiffany. Yes now you know why I name this painting “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. Well I can’t tell lie, my husband looked at the painting and said he had the perfect name for it. “And now you know the rest of the story.” Till next time, my wish for you is to find your Mount Tiffnay…XOXO’s Barbie
“Water-color Garden” started out loose and then turned tight. So enlightening for me to realize how fast you can switch from right brain to your left. Needless to say, I am still working on my water-color technique, improving but not there yet. Which for me is exciting because the learning of new things is why I get up in the morning and I hope I never loose that excitement. There is a learning curve with all new things, whether it is a new medium or style of painting or new things you experience in life, for that matter. If it was too easy it wouldn’t be a challenge and, for me at least, that would be boring. So with that in mind I am having fun with the challenge. Each time I pick up my brush I learn a new way of expressing my subject in this beautiful medium, and that keeps me coming back for more! My goal is to have, at the least, a cursory level of understanding in all the major mediums. I do believe that will allow me to elevate my abilities in all forms of art. My goal is to incorporate numberous mediums into my art, which has been coined as mixed media art. I like pushing the limits on what is comfortable and usual into something that is different and unusual, but at the same time is pleasing to the eye.
I have babbled on for long enough. My hope is this will inspire you to try new mediums and see where it leads you in your art quest. I will leave you with this thought, paint, paint and then paint some more…xoxo’s, Barbie