Beautiful Changes

“Spring:

a lovely reminder of how beautiful change can be.”

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Setting out on a different journey this year is just not as simple as I planned. Becoming a full time artist after years of meeting deadlines answering to customers, working around contractors, and having a pretty set schedule is just hard. Now it’s just me and no schedule. Oh yea, we still have laundry to do, Bill asking for lunch, kids coming home, and the art gets shoved aside again and again. Days go by and there is no body of work to show. Painting has always been a luxury for me. So, I tell myself (that little voice inside us that needs to shut up). “You can’t paint during the day, all day.” “ Are you nuts you should be working, this isn’t work.” “Have you been to the food store, cleaned up the house, fixed a gourmet meal,” and on and on… I then put down my paint brush, find a small distracting job and get off course. The ADD doesn’t help either. What I need to be doing is putting my art first. I won’t ever ignore my family, they truly are first for me. But ,I can schedule time for art and stick to it. Give myself permission to explore this new stage in life. And yes it’s ok for me to read a art book in the middle of the day, take a hour walk outside, kayak up river to sketch and just do what feels good. After all I am an artist !

Whats working for me

Mediating in the morning, this is my secret weapon to calm my mind. Setting intentions at this time turns into a type of daily schedule which helps me reach my goals. I have been using the Insight App on my phone. This App is free and has lots of great features for meditation.

A calendar, I am currently using arc notebook system you can customize it to your needs with all kinds of to do list, daily list, monthly, and more. Its available at Staples but amazon also has it. Being able to set up a list each night for the next day has really improved my production.

Starting my day with art first thing. I used to have my two cups of coffee and scroll aimlessly through Facebook in the morning. Now I make coffee the night before and go to the studio with my cup in my PJ’s . I might sketch, read a art book or plan a painting. Its a pretty special time, sets my day in the right direction. I find myself getting up earlier just to enjoy this time.

A gratitude journal, each day I list at least three things I am grateful for. I sometimes put them on my daily calendar page, or maybe in my journal. This gives me a feeling of fullness and happiness, sets my mood to accomplish all things.

A proper North facing window, This was my Birthday gift and what a difference it makes. I now have to live up to this great light. It really feels like an artist studio. I am blessed with the studio I have but I do stalk Rebecca Rebouche she is a artist that has a tree house in the woods outside New Orleans. Rebecca lives in the tree house Monday through Thursday by herself just to paint. She even has her food and supplies delivered weekly. Hmmm, maybe Bill would not mind me moving into the studio, I’ll come back on the weekends. Anyway I feel like I’m in a tree house with my new window.

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I even have a view of the river.

I even have a view of the river.

Funny but I love putting on clogs and a linen apron to set the mood

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I am remembering to take it slow, take time for me. Rushing is a thing of the past and I find my creativity level grows when I savor time. Yep, beautiful changes and a beautiful life.

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Practice Makes Perfect

Learning new techniques, and styles, really helps an artist to reach beyond limits they often put on themselves. A few weeks ago I was fortunate to attend a four day workshop with Alvaro Castagnet, a international award winning watercolor artist. His passion for art was contagious. The visions he saw for ordinary street scenes must come only by painting from the heart. He captures the feeling, the moment, the light, the soul of all he paints.

Drawing Cape May


His drawings were very loose using a soft B6 pencil.

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Always beginning with colorful washes of paint, using a very large squirrel hair mop brush. Alvaro does have a line of brushes he sells. I purchased a few and have to say they have made a difference in the way I paint.

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Finishing with white highlights and a bit of color.

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Drawing of the kitchen at the Mad Batter restaurant. It was cold out so he decided to paint a interior for the demonstration.

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Beginning washes, he left the white of the paper for highlights but he is not afraid of using opaque white on a finished piece.

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The freedom he had in letting the paint create the structures and atmosphere was so amazing

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Another demo of Cape May.

We painted ourselves after watching Alvaro demonstrate . We had a choice to use the same subject or find our own. I choose to follow Alvaro’s as it gave me the confidence to be free. I now had direction on how to handle the scene, and problems were already worked out. Never could I have been as loose and confident if I had not watched first.

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A Paris train station as Alvaro saw it.

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My painting of the same photo. I was somewhat pleased but remember Alvaro had already showed me the freedom of the brush and paint to capture the feeling of the station ceiling. I watched him choose colors, fade out the train, put in detail. But what a learning experience.

So I have now been practicing at home in my studio. I started with a image that I watched him paint, the kitchen. I never finished the painting but learned a little more.

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My version of Mad Batters Kitchen

So I then branched out and tried a painting from a reference photo I had. Now I had to solve the problems of the composition and colors myself. Much harder…

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The photo of a New York tea room. (I love interior paintings)

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My painting inspired by all I learned from Alvaro Castagnet.

I will continue to practice with the freedom of letting the paint do its thing but will bring my own style into it. Never stop learning, and paint from the heart.