A Whole Lot of Art

A Whole Lot of Art

Here’s the situation:
I have to complete a whole lot of art
in a very short time.

I got a call last week about an amazing art opportunity:
A solo exhibit at my church art gallery.
The catch?
I had less than 3 weeks to have everything ready.

Did I have enough art to fill the space?
Not even close.
But I said “YES!” anyway.

I hung up the phone.
Felt the fluttery start of a panic attach.
Took a deep breath.
Counted the number paintings and drawings I’d need to fill the walls.
Said walls are 13 feet, 13 feet and 26 feet long.
Squished down another surge of panic.
Ordered frames and canvas.
Started painting.
And painting.
And painting.
My canvases and frames delivery formed a small mountain on my front step.
As I unpacked everything,
the sheer number of empty frames and blank canvases nearly sent me into meltdown.
Deep breath in.
Remember gratitude.
Deep breath out.
I can do this.

Read Aloud #87

Read aloud #87:
“Nurture Shock”
Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman

It was my turn to choose our book to read aloud.

“Nurture Shock” is the one parenting book I’ve ever read cover to cover.
I first read it when it came out in 2009.
It made a quite an impression on me.
So much so, that now that my boys are mature enough,
I insisted we not not only read the book aloud,
but we also discuss the contents of each chapter.
I also used each chapter discussion to explain my interpretation of the topic
how it affected my decision making for our family.

Why was this so important to me?

The bottom line is this:
I want my kids to understand the decisions I make as their mom.
They’re getting bigger.
One is in high school and the other in middle school.
They are starting to question me and to push back on some of my rules.

I always tell my boys that they don’t have to agree with me.
But while they are still home, they need to respect me and to obey me.
At the same time,
I don’t want them to think I make up rules on a whim.
I want them to know there is rhyme and reason to my decisions.
I want them to understand how much thought and care has gone into raising them.
And to have some inkling of what they will need to think about when it is their turn to be parents.

There was a lot of information in this book.
Which in turn generated quite a bit of conversation.
My hope is that some of what we talked will stick with them.
Because in just a few short years,
They’ll be out on their own.
And when that moment comes,
I hope…
I hope…
they will understand my whys  
be agreement with me
grow up to be the men we are trying to raise.

Painting and Repainting

Painting and Repainting

What do I do with my completed paintings?
Some have sold (yay!).
Some are hanging in my home studio and at my C3 Lab studio.
Two are currently on display on the student wall at Charlotte Fine Art Gallery.
And a whole bunch of them are on the “repaint” pile.

Is it hard paint over a “finished” painting?
That first brush stroke to start everything all over again is the toughest.
  Especially since I was fully immersed in the process of that painting the first time around.
But process doesn’t guarantee a successful product.
If a painting doesn’t work,
I’d rather paint over it than keep it around as is or put it in the trash.

Here’s the story of one piece that I’ve really struggled with.

“Jagged” (Oil on 12×12 inch canvas, Summer 2017)

Last summer, I started experimenting with abstract painting.
I enjoyed creating “Jagged.”
In the moment, I liked the play of green and red and the upward movement of the shapes.
I liked it enough to enter it in the student art show at Charlotte Fine Art Gallery.

Then an interesting thing happened.
Once I saw the painting hanging on the wall,
My feelings about it did a complete 180.
Quite frankly, I thought it was hideous.
I couldn’t wait for it to come off the wall.

For a split second in November,
I thought it’d be amusing to fill a whole wall with paintings done only in red and green.
(In honor of Christmas, of course).
I completed two successful red & green paintings.
Then I reached for “Jagged” to see what I could do it with it.

“Jagged” morphed into the start of a landscape.
Then once again, I decided it wasn’t working.
I set aside the idea of the wall of red and green.
And was tempted to throw this canvas into the trash.
But instead, it landed back on the “repaint” pile.

I recently read and have been much inspired by Soraya French’s
“Contemporary Landscapes in Mixed Media.”
Til now, I have not been a fan of landscapes.
But when I saw the colors in the Soraya French landscapes,
I had a complete change of heart.

Being inspired by someone’s work and actually trying to emulate it are two totally different things.
I had such a frustrating time with this painting.

“Purple Hills” (Oil on 12×12 inch canvas, Winter 2018)

It’s called “Purple Hills.”
The blunt truth is,
I think it’s still a hideous painting.
But it’s a step in the direction I’m wanting to go with a new series of paintings.
So at least there’s that, right?

Val’s Super Cool Art Travel Kit

Val’s Super Cool Art Travel Kit

This is how dorky I am:
I obsessed all weekend about how to best pull together an art travel kit.
Once I decided which supplies I wanted to schlep around with me,
the real conundrum was what I’d use to house all those tchotchkes.

I wanted my supplies to fit in one container with a handle.
Said container had to be aesthetically pleasing to me.
It had to sit upright.
It needed a small footprint for the times I find myself sharing teeny tiny cafe tables with other artists.
I had to have easy access to all my supplies with minimal unpacking.
Fully loaded, it still needed to be relatively light and easy to carry.
So what to use as my art kit carrier?

Til now, my go to has been a wooden cigar box.
But I’ve outgrown it and have been looking for something larger.
I love the look at the classic artist wooden pochade box.
But geez, those things are expensive.
And I bet they weigh a ton fully loaded with art supplies.
Plastic is light…
But plastic is ugly.
No Art Bins for me thank you very much.
How about a vintage metal toolbox?
Ohhh… I do like the look of those.
But the one I have has a broken latch.
The last thing I’d want is my art stuff spilling all over the place.
What to use…
What to use?

Muji Makeup Pouch (7″x9″x7″)

Enter the Muji makeup pouch with handle.
A big THANK YOU to Lollalane for sharing about her art journaling supplies.
I had a transcendent moment when I saw her things housed in a Muji makeup pouch.
Hey, I had one of those sitting around!
And since I don’t actually own makeup,
of course it should be used to carry my art stuff.

Here’s my filled Muji art pouch at a glance.
It’s the perfect carrier for my supplies.

I bought my Muji pouch a few years ago.
 It measures 7 inches x 9 inches x 7 inches.
This may differ some from the ones in stock today.

Curious to know what I’m toting around town?
Here’s the list of what currently resides in “Val’s Super Cool Art Travel Kit:”

Faber-Castel PITT artist pens in sepia and black
05 Micron Pens in assorted colors
Pentel mechanical pencil with twist eraser
0.9 HB lead refills
A pair of scissors
Nifty metal straight edge (from Stacy Lee)
A small plastic organizer acting as a pen holder
A selection of washi tape
Small paper clips
4 watercolor brushes
1 trashy brush for mod podge
An elastic hair band to hold the brushes together when in transit and to hold my hair back when I’m working
Mod podge in a glass spice bottle
Small glass jar with screw on lid to hold water
Small plastic water spritzer
2″x3″ cardstock
A length of red and white bakers twine
Schmincke Horadam Aquarell Half-Pan Paint Metal Set of 48 colors
Charcoal in the silly blue bunny tin that makes me laugh
Three fake yellow flowers that remind me of walking through NYC Soho
And last, but not least, an pic of my beloved Barkus.

This little bag sure can hold a lot, huh?

The one thing I’m still carrying separately are my art journals.
I’m currently using Strathmore art journals.
One 500 series for mixed media work.
One 400 series for watercolors.
I use an elastic loop to hold the books together when I’m not using them.

I’m ridiculously pleased by how well my art kit has come together.

It has a very minimal, efficient look when in transit.
Simple and understated on the outside.
But once I unzip the pouch and open my art journals,
All the pretty stuff and the silly stuff show through and light my day.

Heart Art

Heart Art

Sometimes I’m just in the mood for hearts.

(Collage on 8×8 inch board)


(Oils on 5×5 inch claybord)

(Mixed Media on 8×8 inch board)

(Mixed Media on 9×9 inch stretched canvas)

(Mixed Media on 9×9 inch stretched canvas)