Just Finished My BEST Painting!

You can sense as it is evolving, ‘This is gonna be good!”

Stacked Up by Marsh Gegerson. 20×28″ Watercolor, 2019

“If you are not skillful enough to sketch a man jumping out of a window in the time it takes him to fall from the fourth story to the ground, you will never be able to produce great works.” ~ Eugène Delacroix

What then? Is art all skill? Do you need to draw well in order to paint well? Can a person grow in both at the same time? Surely!

I have to admit that I am not the best at drawing. I have to recheck my proportions. However, in the classroom, I can instantly spot disproportion in my students’ work. My artist friend, Patti Duresky, is a natural with a pencil. She gets proportion right every time.

As for me, my paintbrush is my hand.

As far as my bests, I have had many good paintings. This implies lots of time painting. Perhaps, years. What I need for you to understand is that I am constantly seeing growth in my work. This should be your goal too!

Good art doesn’t arrive on your doorstep. Your art evolves.

What I loved about the work yesterday, seems lacking a year later. That means I grew! One application is to examine how we have used the art elements and principles to develop the subject.

  • Are my proportions more accurate?
  • Do I use a variety of color values?
  • Does my composition invite you in?

This means, you need to know what the art is about and use visual symbols and images to convey your meaning.

Is my visual message clear?

Ask what art elements would express the essence of my subject? No! Please do not use all seven in one art work! That is confusing! Adapt the elements to the meaning.

For instance, if the work is about wind and storm, what lines express the essence of rain? Diagonal straight lines are symbols for rain combined with swirly thick and thin lines to show wind. What colors can represent a stormy day? Red? Yellow? Or dark blues, violets and browns? Will there be people in the work? Think about their posture in wind. By now, you have some idea on how to proceed. It is time for the brush to meet the paper.

For example, I like to start with the background washes of the colors mentioned, except I apply them in toned down values. This will set the painting’s mood.

Don’t be discouraged. This takes practice.

Set a goal to paint a little every day. Peruse paintings of the great artists and ask yourself questions about what elements. composition and tricks they used. Meanwhile, study up on the art movements so you are familiar with their goals and do not prejudge their work as elemental. Make note of the fact that every image you see imprints itself in your visual brain and eventually assimilates into a method. Your method.

Subsequently, these choices become automatic as you grow your sense of good art. Consciously thinking about how to use the basics interrupts the flow of the creative response. Therefore, you need to always remain in the ‘essence’ of the painting and remind yourself why you are painting this subject! Bring back the feeling of it. Now paint the feeling.

Kandinsky, the silent musician.

Notably, Kandinsky used bold, primary colors and a language of lines and shapes to express the music he was listening to or the landscape he was studying.

Wassilly Kandinsky, Blue Mountain, oil, 76-3/8″ x 51″. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY.
Kandinsky's colors are vivid. His forms are bold. He paints unafraid.
Wait a minute! You absorb images that you see. That is why it is important to study the master painters art, over the ages.

The brain is a remarkable organ that never forgets images you look at. This is called Quantum Neuroscience. Kandinsky’s art will implant in your visual cortex and will now add to your symbolic vocabulary. Just as a literary vocabulary list gives you tools to write about, stored visual images give you tools to create!

  • Begin to build stored images of the type of art you love.
  • Collect them in a file on your computer
  • Refer to the images when you are dry and have artists block
  • Write a paragraph on what you like about the image. Color? Subject? What don’t you like.
  • Learn how to analyze a painting. Check Google on how to do this.

Most of all, relax and keep painting. Enjoy the process. Focus on it and let the rest of the world melt away as you create.

I’m Deciding to Take Risks with My ART.

What was my wakeup call? I was not going anywhere in my career. Actually, I had no goals to even have any direction.

What about you? For instance, do you create art to give it away to family and friends? Do you love making art and want to share what you do. That is a noble deed and you should continue to bless others that way.

Our art has great value because it represents who we are and what we have to say. Art is a silent conversation we have with others.

The fact is that I had a lot of momentum at the beginning of my career. For instance, by earning a degree in Fine Arts and I have been in this art game for over 50 years. I have participated in my share of art festivals, have been in group art exhibits and I even had a solo show in a barn gallery in Sugar Loaf, Orange County, New York. At the same time, I also was teaching art in two public schools, which left the summers for me do art. So, what happened to me?

The game changer was beginning our family. I was young; I had abounding energy and drive so I successfully managed this juggling act for years. In fact, I hired my neighbor to baby sit one day a week so that I could study painting with John Gould, Sr., at his Bethlehem Art Gallery. John was a retired Pratt Institute of Art Instructor. Furthermore, I taught painting in my home studio while my kiddos were in Preschool. It was a joyous time and a growing time..

Have you noticed that life evolves?

Accordingly, this means that changes are coming and it will take readjusting of a lifestyle. My momentous change was a move fifteen hundred miles away, where I no longer had an art support group. I was teaching art full time so it took a while for me to discover our local art societies and artist groups.

Eventually I became implanted in two very strong watercolor societies and concentrated on getting accepted into juried shows. Juried shows are very competitive and an artist is not always admitted to exhibit because they have not reached the standard that is required. I was accepted and rejected! However, I found it a great growing experience.

To grow, we have to move, reach beyond our grasp and take risks.

As a result, this is the time where I learned how to make good art. I studied what the judges looked for in accepted art and I constantly reevaluated my work. Also, I was part of a critique group where we honestly analyzed and commented on each others work. As a result of my being active in art, my career grew. I was invited to publish some of my paintings in 3 art books. I was very honored and encouraged plus it consequently helped to define me as a ‘real’ artist and a good art teacher.

Always make an effort to stay focused.

So, how did I get here in a pasture named Complacency? I lost my focus. I forgot my goals. I was like a horse happily grazing in the sun and lazily laying back. If a horse does not stay active, its muscles become soft and weak and it looses strength. It takes a greater effort to gain it back! I was like that horse when it came to my art career. I list momentum and have to work harder to get back up.

Double effort but Small Gains.

I looked at the five bulging art portfolios stored in my studio and discovered over fifty paintings from my career that went nowhere. However, motivation comes in mysterious ways. My daughter threatened that it would all end up in a dumpster after I died. This was all the threat I needed!

I knew I needed help with career counseling and enrolled in a course called Art Biz.

Consequently, this is where I am now, in my growth. I am learning about business; something they never taught is art college. Besides, the world is different from when I started. Everything is digital. Hence, it is like I am back in school learning how to walk. I decided I want pursue internet sales with my art. I am learning about social media and how to get images of my work ‘out there”.

I am very excited and hopeful. My secondary goal, besides selling my art, is to make it count for humanity. I want my success to help poor and suffering children get the medical help they need through Mercy Ship. I want to help build wells in third world countries so water is clean to drink. All this, while people enjoy my work by putting my it in their homes. What joy it is to go beyond my natural reach and try to change the lives of so many more by the outcome of my efforts..


I’m So Disracted and My Worst Enemy!

I really wanted to learn to blog so the idea of this site was born. It was fortunate to have a son in IT( techy business stuff) and he designed this site for me. Whew! My plan was to show the world my work as an artist and drive people to my site. My son is a tech genius, although he will deny it. Steve studied marketing in college and but actually worked IT in the resort industry and later in publishing. Bored with his job, he established his own company and created this blog site for me. Remarkably, the first computer we bought him in college was an Apple2E with drop down menus. Amazed, I wonder how he learned to function in the difficult world of analytics, coding and other blah-blah-blah. Where did he get the genius bug? Definitely, it was not from me.

So who am I really?

By nature, I am a creative person of reasonable intelligence with a thirst to learn new ways to create while seeking truth about my world. I am a practical no frills woman who is comfortable in my skin. By the way, it took me a lifetime to achieve this since I was always sensitive to what others thought of me. Deep within my center is a Bohemian color-crazed artist who loves pattern, bold colors and weird things hanging from my studio ceiling that have no function except that I like to look at them. When I retired from teaching visual arts for 24 years, I inherited about 200 origami birds of all colors that were made by students in the Literature class. You can see them in the photo before I braved the ladder to get them on the ceiling! Added to that are ribbons and colorful fabric leis that I collected from a school prom I chaperoned. My studio is a smallish hodge-podge of color and memories that expresses my life experiences and fires me up to create.

My studio is well lit with natural light but small and cramped but functions. See the garland of birds?

I am a mixed media artist that likes to try new mediums to express myself (sometimes all media at once… Well, maybe not all). This goes goes with my undercover Bohemian artist nature, which I hid for ages under a conservative wrapping. I have never been wild. I never did weed and alcohol because I was wise enough and didn’t need to patch myself up with those external feel-good things that might get me trapped in a habit I would regret. Yet, the Woodstock era was mine and ‘everybody’ did weed and more. Tie dye, head bands , pink lenses on glasses and wild hair were the rage.

I envision myself as practical, level-headed and a deep thinker who likes to figure stuff out. Actually, at this late stage in my life (age 79), I find I have a powerful motivation to work on an art career then I tell myself to ‘chill’ and drop it. That ‘fire in my belly’ begins to burn again and I NEED to take up this radical business idea. Good grief!

A lot of time is spent in my studio and I have about 50-60 paintings stored in portfolios. May I reveal a hidden secret that I am risking to tell the world on this blog. I am timid to approach people, art businesses and galleries to offer my work. Taking that initiative makes my blood run cold. Yet, I KNOW I am a good artist. I KNOW my work has quality and can hold up in today’s market but I’m afraid I will not meet the business demands it all will put on me. Will I bail out when others are counting on me. Afraid. Af-raid. Afr-aid. However I say it, it doesn’t go away. I have a fear of success. My present excuse is that I am too old to reinvent myself. If you are experiencing the same emotions and have moved on, may I offer many words of congratulations. Just tell me how you overcame the fear of starting over?

Alas, I am stuck in a new era of technology I never learned in school yet a three year old feels comfortable with. I hate phones and social media that drives the world market today. I really do not want to be on Linkedin, which took forever to get off! I rarely Tweet, Instagram or Facebook unless I want to see photos of my family’s grand kids. Do you think there is hope for me in business? I would need a mind miracle.
So, what do I do with the FIRE, the challenge, the drive?

There is one sliver of hope but haven’t done it yet. The question that was put to me was, “Are you sure you want to have a business?” An awesome, motivating art coach named Alyson Stanfield of Art Biz Success .com was revealed to me. I read most of her business blogs online and had some glimmer of hope that I would take her workshop on how to start an art business. I bought her book, IRBITS which is in its fourth printing. However, as a retired person living on an a small pension, I realized that I have very little capital to invest in a new business. Formerly, I had a retail business that ran out of capital. Trying to expand, I could not continue although it was breaking even after 3 years. This experience scared me.

At that time, women were not encouraged to be in business. I tried to float a bank loan to grow my venture. I was told by the bank officer to go home and just make it a hobby. “Women are not good business people.” Nowadays, that bank manager would be burnt at the stake for slander. Go Women!. That experience soured me and I lost belief in myself. This still hangs on me like a ball and chain. I know a bit about retail but less about marketing.

Where will this end up? At my elder-ish age, business seems like futility because I do not know how long I will have on this earth. I was never one to leave something unfinished. I have this stubborn persistence to complete what I started. I am a legacy builder and am hopefully an example for my grandchildren to never quit but to keep on, keeping on.

For those of you who have the ‘fire’ also, take the risk so you will never regret having missed a great opportunity to invest in your world and to bless others with your talents. To Alyson Stanford, you are the hope of many creative women like myself who don’t know where to start. Great going Gal and thanks.

I’m Painting Up A Storm.

Greetings Dear Artists,

I have been busy, busy planning paintings, stretching watercolor paper, painting a painting a day and taking this time to say hello. I decided to give up my laziness and start on painting a SERIES of the same subject. 

This is the best way for an artist to grow. I used this idea in my art classroom. I had my students pick their best workk. They were asked to change one thing and then repaint it. We did this three times. They might change the composition in the first one. Next, they took the ‘remake’ and changed something in that too, like the value or color scheme, or deleting something in it. By this time they were cozy with the subject and felt comfortable with changing it. 

Then I asked my class to abstract it, and not worry about proportion. Many master artists like Modigliani used this. He elongated the figure proportions. Braque tried cubism.  A good starter is to teach about artists of the 20th century who stepped out of the box and experimented with new ideas.

I won’t be long with this post.  I spend about 6-7 hours a day developing a painting. My average is about twenty four hours in work time.  I put the art work away to get a new perspective of it the next day or two when I self-critique the work. Most of the time, I find imbalances in contrast or color or horizontal lines are dipped a little. Then my time is spent correcting.

When the painting seems perfect, I take a digital photo of it with my iPad and save it as a RAW file. The size from the device is seventy-two in resolution and looks great on my monitor which views things in 72.  However, for a painting to be printed,  it has to be bumped up gradually in my Photoshop app to three hundred. This is a big file and would slow up the computer and take a lot of storage space. 

I resolve that issue by making a file called Master Paintings. I save it on my 62G-USB drive. That saves me time later so I don’t need to take another RAW.  It is easy to reduce this file to a smaller size to send in an email or post online. Remember. The large file is just for printing purposes. Most of the time I use my 72 file. 

You can get a lot of info about this and in much more detail online. Google ‘ How do I convert a RAW file to send to a Printer?’ A free app that can do this for you is called PixLR. You can get it by searching in Google.

Happy painting!

I’m In The Mood to Clean Up and Throw Out!

For an artist, throwing out doesn’t happen often. Besides the local dump, we are in second place as the pack-rats of society. We collect. We never know when a spark of creativity will hit and we will find use for the thing we stored somewhere. SOMEWHERE is the key. Where IS somewhere? 

Today, I got a whim to clean out my studio because my organization talent was taking me over. My studio needed some reorganization to make more space for more stuff I might move in. Remember, I am a creative pack-rat.  Well, I found things I forgot I had.

I discovered some really cool art books, popsicle sticks to thin paint with water, candles (not to light) but to seal the edges of illustration board before painting, spray bottles of watered down paint in four colors, oiler-boiler bottles ( Look it up in an art catalog).  I found my ages-old printmaking tools  from college when l was learning to do drypoint etching on a zinc plate. I will reinvent them for some other process, but I am definitely NOT throwing these out.  I found my Goo Gone that  I was looking for two months ago. The biggest find of the day was my airbrush propellant but I never found the airbrush. I will save it because I just know the airbrush will turn up someday. 

I owned a ton of inspirational art books. I left most of them in my art classroom when I retired from teaching two years ago. My husband said, ” You cannot, cannot take all these books home!”  You know. Those books you leaf through at Barnes and Noble that “speak” to your inner child and say, “You need me. Buy me. Buy me because you like the pictures”. Then, before I finally gain control of myself,  I have four books in the cart that I NEED!

NowYears later, I say to this greedy artist person, “What were you thinking? You never lever did this kind of art!”.  However, as a pack-rat. I may someday like to paint like that. I moved out of my art room at the school,  with a forlorn sigh and only 3 boxes of art books, telling myself that the new art teacher will always let me back in  to ‘borrow’ one of my own books that I was so nice to give her.  I felt like I disowned my puppy! Worse, I felt like a selfish giver. Guilt. Shame. Ok Girl. Get a grip and move on.

I do not think I will ever change. I FEAR not having that hidden art supply, just when the creative idea of the century hits and the spell will be broken because I have to get in my car, drive  six miles to Sam Flax Art Store and spend my money for something I just know is somewhere in the studio.

The best thing I can do is organize my stuff into  logical ‘zones’ like a computer directory. Then I can look in the ‘region’ of where it might be. No need to look everywhere, yay! I’ll remember to try the left corner of the closet, third shelf in an organizing basket number two. Aha!

I’m so glad for today, Five hours of moving stuff around has made my life easier. I’m glad I took the time to do it. Now, I will use my label maker to tag my stuff because I will never remember which basket or drawer I moved things to.

I feel so good, so productive!  I did myself a great favor taking the time to organize.  Kiss, kiss me.


Okay! I’m Revved Up but Canvas is Expensive.

I have a hint for you. Read on!

I’m now a full-time artist!  We are ’empty nest’ parents and the explosive tumult has become quiet luxury. Since I am a visual learner (no surprise here), sounds interrupt my thinking processes. I now luxuriate in my thoughts. I envision new experiments with all the art materials that overtake my studio. I visualize the paint layers I might try. I imagine the colors. This really gets my creative ‘battery’ charged and I can’t wait to dig in on my selected support.

In art lingo, a support is what you choose to do your art on.  It can be a stretched canvas, a wood panel, a panel with a sized canvas surface, even something you found in a pile of trash.  The preparation of the support depends on the medium you use. A very generic one is gesso (pronounced with a soft G). This is usually white and seals the under-surface so that it is less absorbent. Another prep material is acrylic matte medium.  It can be used for oil paint  although gesso is most preferred. The basic rule to remember is, “Fat over lean but no lean over fat”.  If you are using an linseed based medium like oil paints, you can use it as accents on acrylic.  However, acrylic over an oil painting will not bond and is non-permanent. Acrylics can be used over a watercolor  support.

Caution! Oil based products like linseed oil will cause oil seepage on your paper supports. To use oils on a paper support like illustration board, first seal the surface with gesso. 

I actually found paintings that were thirty years old, rolled up in my attic loft. I did these in art college and they were still framable. To save money because of the frequency we painted, we coated good quality Kraft paper with actual white latex house paint. The latex worked just like gesso and a gallon went a long way.  I painted hundreds on it with both oils and acrylics, cut to size and taped to a gator board.  Because they were rolled up and stored in the dark, the colors were still vibrant.

If you are playing around trying new ideas and practicing my Kraft paper thing is great. Also, when you are developing a series, it is a cheap way to try your ideas and then do your ‘serious’ painting of it on canvas. Plus, they are easy to store for later reference and you don’t have stacks of practice canvases to crowd your studio.

I hope this little tidbit helps you understand about painting surfaces so that you can make the right choices for more archival art. We will not be around for a hundred and fifty years but our art will!

Did You ever Get a ‘God Kiss’?

You are probably asking, ‘What is she talking about?’  My ‘God kisses’ are a very unusual and favorable event or response that would only happen in  a million years… maybe.  It catches our attention because the event is so unique and it is so joyful.

This happened to me last night in JFK airport in New York City.  This huge international airport exchanges about a million people arriving and departing every twenty-four hours. (Not official data, please.) It happened to me while waiting at my gate for close to five hours. If you travel often, you know what it is like to w-a-i-t until you want to scream!

My traveling companions consisted of my nephew with a leg cast, my husband, my daughter and yours truly. We were exhausted because ours was only a 24 hour trip to the Big Apple for family business.  We were finally on our way home to our familiar beds. Ahhhh!

This is how the God Kiss began.

We were at the last gate at the far end of the Jet Blue terminal in JFK and my husband noticed about four seat away, a mother lovingly concerned about her daughter who felt ill. My husband asked the mother if he could pray for her daughter to feel better and she agreed. A few minutes later, her mom walked over to where I was seated and I commented on her beautiful tunic which seemed hand embroidered.  She said she had done the handy work on the tunic and as an artist, I was so impressed. Then my daughter made a comment that I did a lot of creative things too, and began to tell her that I was an artist and an art teacher. I shared some of my art work on my iPhone and gave her my business card for this web site. Now it gets really interesting!

The woman and her daughters and her sister and nephew were going to Orlando to visit family. They were from Pakistan. Her english was impeccable.  She was also an art teacher in her native country. We were both astounded to be seated just 4 seats apart waiting to board a late flight, out of thousands of departures in this vast airport terminal. We did what was natural for new friends. We exchanged names (I will call her Shemah’  to preserve her identity). Next we agreed to share art lesson plans and continue to communicate when they got back to Pakistan.

I instantly loved this woman like a sister and knew it was God’s love poured into me.  We shared how people stereotype those from other cultures when we actually we are so individually different from their ideas of who we are perceived to be.  Really? Yes.  Americans and  Christians also suffer this same kind of bigotry world wide.  Shemah’ is a Muslim. I am a Christian. We both know what bigotry is first hand. Yet, there was no enmity between us.  There was love. We agreed all we wanted was PEACE to raise our children safely.  I asked Shemah to show me how to write ‘Have peace’ in Arabic so that I could inscribe it into a painting I was doing.

So according to God’s plan, I entered this huge New York City airport,  exhausted from a 24 hour round trip to wait hours for  a departure time that was moved up because of a late arriving flight, so that God could give me more time to make a friend and bring me joy after grieving at my sister-in law’s funeral.  It did not matter how different Shemah and I worshipped, because we both shared common experiences. She trusted us enough, caring much for her daughter, to let my husband pray for her. When we disembarked in Orlando, the young girl seemed better.

We  both hated that we are cast into a role by others that is unfairly generalizing and untrue!  Yes, shemah’ became a sister to me, bound by a common vocation and negative experiences due to the bigotry of others. Yet, God did this to teach us both about His LOVE.  All the glory goes to Him. Thank you Lord for this new joy in the midst of our sorrow! You are so good!

Yes, I am still alive and well.

I realized that I have not blogged since April.  Actually, I was deciding the direction I needed to take with this blog.  I live my life in many arenas. I am no longer a teacher of advanced art in high school. My first year out of teaching was an adjustment and I felt displaced for the whole year.  I missed my faculty friends. I missed my students. This August 2018, when I would be back in my classroom, I was actually glad that I had no more faculty meetings, curricular events, lesson plans and tons of academic social events to chaperone. I do not feel displaced anymore but now have all those fond memories of my students who went on to study art in some of our nation’s prestigious schools like SCAD, Cal Arts and Parsons School of Design in Manhattan.

So,  I am settling my feet on new ground and trying to get back to painting full time. I also do volunteer work at a Pregnancy Center where I can use my experience as an RN in Women’s Services to help women with parenting. There was a time in the ’70’s and 80’s when the art budgets in schools were dropped and the money was shifted to math and science studies. I went back to college to get my Nursing Degree. However, I still was active painting part time and trying to do some juried shows.

The circle comes around again. After years of hardly painting because I spent my creativity in the art classroom and had nothing left in the evening when I came home,  I lost my “edge”.  I was frustrated.  I thought I couldn’t paint anymore. I painted what I thought was junk.  However, I persisted and then something in me clicked like riding a bike. I found my “zone’.

Runners know about ‘zone’. Artists do too. It is the place where everything around us disappears and we lose our sense of time. We become totally absorbed in what we are doing and then something emerges that is like a Eureka moment.  I think I am slowly getting back what I lost those years of teaching.

First, I need to work on this web site and add my new work. So stay tuned. I have two paintings I finished this past week. They actually were painted over 2 old works I hated. One has 3 layers of paintings on the canvas. It will probably get a 4th!  I enrolled at Crealde in Winter Park, FL to take an advanced class and to get back with camaraderie of other artists. I am encouraged. Please hang in with me. The best is yet to come.


Becoming Good at One Thing

I tried every medium. I had to. If I was to be an art teacher in a public school, I needed State Certification. I needed to be proficient in all media so that I could teach it.  I had to know my art history and art movements throughout time.  It doesn’t mean that I LIKED to work in all media, I just had to know enough to teach it.  As I explored each one, I would experiment to see how far I could take it by combining one medium with another technique or using it in a way that was never done before. I came to the conclusion that there is nothing new under the sun. Someone tried it before me! So where do we go from here?

I examined the progress I had  made in each medium. Which of the dozens of art supplies felt natural to ME? Which one was I more eager to play in? Which was more of a struggle? Which medium fit into my ideas of expression. For instance, if my style uses line and shape, would rough lines made with chalk speak to me more than using pen lines? Or would a thin liner brush to create line feel more like my style?  What if I like the impressionist style that uses overlapping short strokes to give me a pixelated painting? Then my natural medium would be pastels, even oils, acrylics and gouache or tempera.  I would want a more opaque medium than watercolor, which is free-flowing and transparent. If I enjoy ‘happy accidents’ where I have to pull an idea from the way the paint flows on my paper, watercolor would suit me.

After experimenting with each one, I worked in watercolors for a long time. I like the way it flows into watery brush strokes and it does its thing. I like the  spontaneity and  transparency when the white of the paper comes through the paint and illuminates the colors even more. I like the challenge of conquering smooth washes by overlaying layers of color. After I became really good at my technique, I needed to expand my ideas. The worst thing for an artist is to get stuck in the same old, same old.  I would be missing a lot more like experimenting with light and how it falls on objects at different times of day. I found that I like combining collage with my watercolors.

How do we incorporate collage in our work? I have two drawers full of parts of prints, magazines pages and even painted paper and the paper towels I used to mop up paint on my table. Yes, I dry them and save that too. It is fun for me to dig into that drawer and most of the time my selection of collage pieces, forces me to solve my problem another way.

Used when I am ‘stuck’.

Thus, the painting turns out so different than I planned it. This also frees me from my preconceived idea and sets me in a new direction.  I am using my creative instincts to solve a problem. I might correct a problem that I was unable to erase with another coat of paint, by gluing something over it. Ha! Where there is a will, there is a way, my mom used to say!

Once, I actually tore apart a watercolor I hated and used the scraps to create a new painting. King’s Garden was the result. It is in my gallery.

King’s Garden  Watercolor Collage, 24×36

Every work I do is dedicated to God. I thank Him for my talent and for Eternal Life because I believe by faith,  in Jesus dying for my sins. I am forgiven and at peace. How can I explain the JOY I have inside me except to say it is because of my personal relationship with God, not due to  religious doctrine or because I may belong to a church. Those are good on their own, but they do not replace knowing God in a personal way like you know your best friend. It is a deep trusting, true relationship that I have with Jesus. This is always available to you also. Ask Him to reveal himself to you personally then believe He will do it his way.

Expressing Yourself in Your Art

Hi again and celebrate spring with me!

I am happy to note that you have been progressing in understanding the nuances of more substantial art making.  You see, art is not just a pretty picture.  It needs to ‘say something’ to the viewer and communication is meant to draw them into your art by triggering their emotions. So maybe we should start here. What is emotion in art making? How do we use it?

What are you feeling at this moment? How can you express that feeling  to me on a canvas or paper? If you are feeling  confused, how would you show confusion in your art? Would you use the same directional lines or a bunch of different ones like thick, thin, jagged, pointy, wavy?  What colors would you choose to represent the feeling of confusion? A bunch of primary brights will do it. How would you represent ‘calm’?  Warm colors? Cool colors? Certainly not intense bright  colors. You would think of ‘gentle’ colors like aqua. pinks, peach, light blue.  Your brush strokes would be calmer, more horizontal, longer.  Was there a  color scheme that you liked in a magazine photo?  Even these photos are planned colors that are meant to attract your attention. Just do not do all ‘boring’, like the same old, same old. Using all cool colors needs a bit of warmth to add interest, like a peach or orange.  Start with just a smidgen of the main color’s complement (opposite on the color wheel). Using too much of a complement breaks the color balance.  Think ‘unequal’. If you use a lot of texture with your paint or as a collage, have a smooth spot to rest the eye for a moment.  I try to think  of ‘opposites’ to utilize in my work. This is an art principle called variety.  Art principles are how we use our art elements like line, shape, form, color, texture, value and space. The caution is to not use so much of one art element so  that it results in confusion or equalization.

I personally love to use texture and create it on the base canvas with tissue paper or modeling gel. However,  I incorporate a few smooth spots, not more than three, and never  in the same size. (Think mama, papa, baby when using size and group them spaced apart.) The eye will naturally follow. I do the same with color.

 I might use a bunch of cool colors and pop in a warm one in one or three places, but mini sized, so that they attract and not dominate the painting. This is called the principle of balance.  A dark or vivid color visually weighs more, so you need less.  Think of a small black box on one end of a seesaw with a white large box on the other end. The black box is more weighty than the larger bigger box, even if it takes up more space. Dark, vivid, weigh more.

So this month,  we have learned about expressing emotion by using art principles  of variety and balance. Too much variety creates confusion.  Equal amounts of the art elements creates boredom.

Everyone has a ‘balance meter’ inside them, so you will feel you want to equal things out,  like in one space with that one next to it.  Caution! That is when, as an artist, you need to fight that balance instinct and strive to be a little more creative. I carefully plan my composition so that the main interest is slightly off center or slightly lower or higher than middle. I think of opposites like tall/short, bright/dull, straight/wiggly, cool/ warm.  and just don’t use them in equal amounts. Do you get the idea? How about the following  along with the next one?

This is a great month for me as my spirit is  quickened as a believer in the Cross, that Jesus died on, for ME!   Wait!  Let me finish for it is for your benefit.

I have been renewed with the love Jesus has shown for me to choose to die for my sins!  Why me? I am not worthy. If I try to reach the north pole by throwing a rock at it,  I am likewise not able to be good enough to live in God’s presence when I die no matter how hard I try to be a good person.  I am no match for God’s holiness. I just cannot do it by being good!  No one is sinless except Jesus,  as He came from God and was born to die for us.  Then He rose from the dead on the third day and lives at the right hand of God the Father, interceding for us. Want peace in your life, tired one?

I accepted Jesus’ death by faith in His forgiveness. (Actually His resurrection was witnessed by many at that time.)   I am at peace with God, with myself and with others because His love is in me. He is risen and lives.  You say prove it!

God is Spirit so He cannot be proved like a thesis or by touch, or sight.  He is Spirit so   unless you have an open heart to ask Him to show you Who he is and  are willing to see the truth, you will never know God. Your inner spirit is dead. You need to choose to respond to Him.

So this is my challenge to you this April. It is my ultimate gift to you. The opportunity to have Eternal Life.  God may have gifted me to create, as He is the ultimate creator.  Yet, I pass on a greater gift to you, out of His love for you. All life is a risk. This may be a greater risk for you, an unbeliever. Ask Jesus to show you Himself.  Next be willing to accept His truth. You will know truth and the truth will set you free, I promise. You can pray simply to ask Jesus to forgive your sins because you believe He died to make an atonement for you. Then you need to choose to receive His life and peace into your spirit  so that He can take the burden of your sins and make them white and pure as snow. Then He is free to bless your life in ways you never imagined. This is my Easter gift to you. To BELIEVE. To RECEIVE. To be BLESSED.