Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Mama is a Big Fat Woolly Sheep! Sketchbook Travels!

"Now I lay me down to sleep, 
My mama's a big fat woolly sheep!"

Did you ever love those novels that take place in the southwest of Ireland, where our heroine is walking through pastures, towards the cliffs overlooking the crashing ocean waves. 

The ocean is calm today, the sun is out. The sheep are resting in the warmth of a summer day, little lambs tucked in beside their mother. A gentle breeze blows the fresh ocean air.  Breathe deeply, take in your vast surroundings, green as far as you can see on landside, deep ocean aqua blue across the Atlantic and Dingle Bay. 

Now put yourself in her place...you are that heroine! Stop along your walk, take out your sketchbook and record the scene, maybe a little vignette - to remind you of the day in a way that no photo ever, ever will! 

I'm inviting you to come along dear! Now is the time for you to consider telling your own story, changing the course of your life. Choosing fun and creativity.  Has someone told you that you cannot draw? (was it you that told yourself that?). Rubbish! Everyone starts at the beginning (as one of my most respected teachers gently told me). I'm here to show you that you CAN!! All levels will enjoy this week of sketching and watercolor journaling in the Ring of Kerry area!

Sketchbook journaling is personal, not for show, totally for enjoyment, a great way to 'practice seeing and experiencing the world'. 

If you've been following my blog posts for a while, you know that I've been back many times to this area of Ireland. My friend Barbara Mastaglio (also a painter) runs art retreats and workshops at her home on Valentia Island, Ireland. I think it will be my 10th(?) time there. I've gone as a student, and have taught plein air oil painting there a few times as well. 
My love for sketch-book journaling has grown over the last several years, and I've wanted to share this trip with those who would like to experience the same! 
I took up watercolor painting back in the late 90s while living in San Diego, and was a member of the San Diego Watercolor Society. We'd have weekly paint-outs all year long! My fondest memory was painting along with many of our older members (mid-80s at that time) who were retired Disney illustrators. Some of them would share some really interesting stories about working for "Mr. Disney" on movies like Bambi, and Dumbo! We would paint all morning until noon, and one of these fellows then led a critique. It was a great way to get out there and learn!
Click here, for more photographs of what you'll see. 

Click here for more info of what you'll be learning and what's included.

$500 will hold your spot, 
Click here for registration information and to reserve your place!
I look forward to having you join us!

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Importance of a Good Title for Your Painting!!

8"x8" oil on gallery wrapped canvas, framed
Commissioned work- "Like Sunshine On A Cloudy Day"

Most parents put lots of care into naming their babies. They understand it can carry a lot of weight and be either a blessing or a curse! I'm always curious as to why some artists give no more thought to naming their painting than "Untitled, #1". What does that mean? Did the artist even care about it? Where is the emotional response to your subject? Why are you painting it?  

When I paint for myself, I choose things that really excite me, make me happy, get me lost in some wondrous thoughts. And when I don't...I'm lost- I'm not a painter of just "things or places". When I originally painted one quite similar to this several years ago, I had the song "My Girl" on my mind, humming away, thinking of the movie, and the many times I watched it with my daughters years ago.  The phrase "Like Sunshine on a Cloudy Day" stuck with me - as that's what my daughters are like to me.  

Well, I just had a request for a commission come through my email, and this fellow had googled this phrase....found my painting...saw that it was sold...but contacted me to see if I could paint one similar to that. You see, this phrase was what he called his wife....who had recently passed away late last year. I was so moved by his story - we had a wonderful email conversation. He is putting together quite a lovely tribute to her - and I am feeling blessed, humbled, and oh so grateful to be able to do this! 

I came across a wonderful quote this evening, "Make your love visible in the world through your work." - Robert Lawrence Smith, former headmaster of the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC.   

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

"I'll Take You To Italy"- a wonderful love story painted!!!

18"x24" oil on cradled birch panel
Commissioned work

When I get the opportunity to work on commissioned pieces for my collectors, I feel like the luckiest person in the world. I truly appreciate my 'job'. It dawned on me recently that almost all of my commissions (actually perhaps every single one) is a love story of some type or another.  Each story has been as sweet, and beautiful as the next.  

This couple met at a charity auction, and both were bidding on a trip to Italy.  Neither of them won the bid. The woman was disappointed, but the man (who was obviously smitten) offered, "I'll take you to Italy"!  A few years later, this is where they stayed- and now, I get to paint it for them! 

Travel memories are some of our strongest and fondest memories - especially when romance is involved! It's especially wonderful to commemorate and celebrate these wonderful times in our lives.  It's another way of "making your love visible in the world"...an outward sign of inner joy.  

Make sure you don't miss my next post! I'll tell you why choosing a good name for your painting is as important as naming your child!  

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