Thursday, January 31, 2013

"Montana Sunset" - A Landscape Painting

"Montana Sunset"     5" x 7"     Acrylic on Canvas
BUY NOW from my Daily Paintworks Gallery. =)

I can't believe today is Day 30 already!!! =D I'm feeling quite the mix of emotions over this, and am actually quite sad to see this challenge come to an end, especially when I post my last painting later today - it's going to be very bitter sweet. It will feel so wonderful to know I've done it, and actually gotten each one posted on Leslie's wall, but I really wish I could keep this amount of accountability up because I have never painted this much in my life! The constant feeling of a deadline was actually surprisingly good for me, and I am quite a bit scared that without one, painting will become less and less of a priority over the next few weeks. But I shall try to look beyond that, and as Leslie said, just look at all I've accomplished in just this last month instead and really take in the fact that I did it and I have something real to show for it. It's incredible really, to see so many paintings up on my wall (both on my blog and in my house - lol!), and I will be trying my hardest to not lose all of this incredible momentum I've gained from doing this challenge, though the reality is I won't be able to complete a separate painting absolutely every single day from now I. My goal however is to come as close as I possibly can to that for this year, though there will be times that I am working larger and will have to post what I worked on that day instead.

Learning-wise, this Challenge has been quite incredible for me! I have learned sooo, so many things, one of which is that I really have to cut out ALL of my distractions or my work just won't get done, and that even includes things as simple as having my tab open for Facebook up on my Browser, because every time it dings I get distracted and easily lose so much time that way. It's such a time-sucker! And I've learned that I truly do have a great passion for painting small, but I'm pretty sure that many of these landscapes will be making their debut's someday as much larger paintings, though they will probably have some changes in them and all. I really do like this process though of trying a work out small before making a larger version, almost as a study for it while still being a completed painting in and of itself.

Now, as for this painting, it's the second one from the same sunset I posted yesterday of the beautiful cloud filled sky on our drive from Washington to Montana in 2012. The colors were breathtaking, the clouds were all ablaze, and it was simply gorgeous. One couldn't ask for a better night to get to our destination!


Rules for January 2013
Before I forget, TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO ENTER MY CONTEST FOR JANUARY 2013!!! So if you haven't already entered and you want the chance to win your choice of any of my available paintings from my "30 Paintings in 30 Days" Collection shipped and framed (or complete with easel if applicable) COMPLETELY free of charge, then you will want to sign up today to follow my blog by 11:59pm, Pacific Standard Time. This is a prize that may value at up to nearly $200, depending upon which you pick if you should win!!! So if you're interested, go ahead and click the blue button on the right side bar that says "Join this site" and become a member. You will know you did it right if you see your name in one of the little square boxes under the word "Members" (it makes sense, right?). If all goes well I will be announcing my winner sometime tomorrow as well as a visual list of  which paintings are still available for you to choose from. So good luck out there!

Rules for February 2013
And if you don't win, there's no need to worry - there will be 11 other contests this year that you will have the chance to enter into if you want to, and already the one for February is up, in which all you have to do to earn a chance to win one of three ACEO's (a miniature painting that is 2.5" x 3.5," complete with frame card so it is ready to frame if you'd like) is to LIKE my FACEBOOK FAN PAGE and let me know on it that you're interested in this contest. How easy can it get?! And the link to my page is up on my right sidebar (it has been fixed since the first time I posted it thanks to Jean - thank you again!) so you can click on the link there and sign right up just like that! There will be 3 winners this month, which is exciting for me and hopefully for you as well!

Well, it's past my bedtime, and so I better be off now, but I hope you're all doing well out there. God bless!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"Streams of Sunlight" - A Landscape Painting

"Streams of Sunlight"     5" x 7"     Acrylic on Museum Quality Claybord
CLICK HERE to BUY NOW from my Daily Paintworks Gallery

This is my first of two paintings of this late summer sunset that we were blessed enough to see while on the very last stretch from Washington to Montana in 2011. We had just eaten a delicious dinner at Cracker Barrel, and were about to arrive at our destination, only to be greeted by this great and glorious sunset from up above. It was one of the most beautiful I've ever seen, and I imagine that's why they call Montana, "Big Sky Country." Makes sense to me. The clouds and sky stretched all around us, beyond logical explanation in my opinion, and it was so, so wondrous to behold. Hopefully my condition will allow us to go back again someday - we're going to plan it as if it will and hope and pray that God allows the cards to fall in our favor. Best wishes to you tonight (or this morning, depending upon where you live I suppose), and I'm sorry this one was so late, as I had really hoped to post this way earlier. Anyways, have a good one! =)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Sunburst on the Isle" - A Landscape Painting

"Sunburst on the Isle"     5" x 7"     Acrylic on Museum Quality Claybord
CLICK HERE to BUY NOW from my Daily Paintworks Gallery

Here's my second submission for the month of January for the Virtual Paintout. You can see my first one for this month here. We went to the Isle of Man, and as I said earlier, it is one of the most beautiful places on this planet, and I didn't even know it existed. Granted, I always say let's go up to LA and down to San Francisco, so I clearly don't have the best geographical sense or knowledge, but still... =P

I have loved painting along the coast of this Isle, and when I stumbled upon this particular spot I just knew I had to put it down in paint! I can't take all the credit though! I had one of my dearest friends over, Megan, who's son was in the NICU both at Walnut Creek and at Antioch with Levi, and who Tyler actually drove home from their high school graduation (what are the odds we would both have our sons two months early in the same place, especially considering she lived in Sacramento at the time?), and she played the PERFECT art critic today. She was amazing! Helping me to see what should go here, what shouldn't go there, and where to make highlights stronger or less obtrusive, and this painting is all the better for her incredible feedback. Thank you SOOO much Megan, you were an incredible helper and my work is so much better because you were here! You're totally gonna have to come over while I paint more often because I think I've honestly tapped Tyler's patience out with asking him constantly what he thinks. Poor guy!

So, I have some majorly good news today! One of my paintings got selected today for the DPW Facebook picks of the day!!! (You can see it as it is on their page for Jan. 29th if you click here - they picked "Misty Mountains Majesty and it seems to be right next to a painting of little nakie kiddos running through the water, if that helps you find it. Hahaha, so great...) Anyways, I am so thrilled I could just explode! I mean, little ole me has one of my paintings up there with FAMOUS artists - I just can't believe it. And I know some people probably think it's silly for me to be so excited, but I am just thrilled with the fact that other people actually thought my work was good. MY WORK! Woo-hoo!!! I couldn't be happier for this little step in the right direction, as it confirms for me in my heart that I'm going the right direction with my art, and I'm just hoping and praying this leads someday to even more paintings up there on that special little wall. How cool would that be? But even if I only get this one, I don't care, I'm just happy for my name being up there with all those fabulous artists!

Here's the screen shot of my painting as it appeared on their blog page. Sorry, just wanted this on here for my own personal records. =)

I can't tell you just how important it can be to find someone who you can show your work to that will GENTLY tell you the truth about it, without causing you to get hurt. Sometimes those closest to you are the best people to go to, and sometimes they're not, but it should be someone who knows at least a little bit about art, even if they don't make any themselves. And it can sometimes be best to not have it be someone you are personally competitive with, because that can cause problems in and of itself. So, do you have a muse or a critic that helps make your work better than it would be without their help? Do you have someone you can turn to that will lovingly help you see where you can grow? I know I have more than one, and I love each and every one of them for being so honest and helpful, even when it hurts. So, as Levi says, "If you don't have one, get one!" (Lol, sorry, he just watches WAY too much Toy Story - it's his all time favorite!)

Monday, January 28, 2013

"High in the Treetops" (ACEO) - An Expressionist Landscape Painting

"High in the Treetops"     2.5" x 3.5"     Acrylic on Acrylic Paper (ACEO)

CLICK HERE to BUY NOW from my Daily Paintworks Gallery

This one started out as an abstract painting of pinks, yellow and purple, and then turned into this after my Ty told me that it looked more like just a background for another painting. So, here's the "other" painting then. =)

He was right though. It definitely looks better this way. Thanks babe!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

"Misty Mountains Majesty" - An Expressionist Painting

"Misty Mountains Majesty"     5" x 7"      Acrylic on Museum Quality Claybord
Not For Sale
PRINTS will be available soon from Fine Art America

Only 4 more days left for this challenge, meaning only 4 more days for you to follow my blog as a member and enter yourself to win one of my paintings from my "30 Paintings in 30 Days" Collection. Time is going way too fast for me right now!!!

Oh man, this is the third painting in a row that I've gotten in by the skin of my teeth, where as soon as it published the submission link for Leslie's Blog Post for Day 25 closed. This is craziness!!! But here it is, and I rather like how this one turned out. Actually, to be quite honest, I like it A LOT - it's one of my very favorites from this month! =) It's from our trip to Montana back in 2011, from which I have an extensive wealth of gorgeous photographs that not only need to be made into prints, but also that are just begging for me to paint them. I seriously can't wait to spend more and more time delving deeper and deeper into the possibilities of all the works I can create from just that trip alone. It's a bit overwhelming, but in a good way. =)

So this is actually a rather silly tip, but I'll put it up here none-the-less. It's the exact opposite of my last tip, in which I explained that you can indeed use a brush to blend pastels into beautifully soft gradations of color, and keep yourself clean in the process. So, for today, I would love to encourage you to do the opposite with your paints. Put your brush down, scoop up some paint on your finger, and revert back to your childhood for a moment and finger paint with me - trust me, you won't regret it! Your finger is a fantastic blending tool for just about anything, and you can use it to achieve beautiful, painterly strokes in both acrylic and oils, as well as lovely gradients where the foreground fades into the background in an almost seamless manner. And the very best part about it - it makes you feel like a kid again!!! =D I love the feeling I get when I blend with my fingers, for it's a feeling of continuous youth, where the possibilities are endless and where your imagination soars as it did when you were young. It's a wonderful feeling! So, if you're feeling bold and don't mind getting a little (or a lot!) of paint on your hands, I say you should give this a shot. =0)

I have found it especially useful to actually pick up a little extra paint with your fingertip and start your blending from there, so that you don't just pull up the existing paint from the surface you are working on. Then you softly blend it in, swirling your finger around gently on the surface, picking up colors from here and there and adding more paint with your fingertip as you start to run dry, which you will know is happening by the amount of friction created. Try to make sure that your paint is running smoothly, and not dragging and catching or you'll get what I call "skips" where the paint not only pulls up but also jumps around without adhering to certain places where you want it to. Or if you want that to happen, just go for it. That's the joy of creating isn't it - that the sky's the limit?!

Well, I wish you the best of luck with this and hope that if you try it, you would find the little kid inside of you, just waiting around hoping and hopping impatiently to be set free. Because when your inner-child has been set free and you can look at the world from a child's perspective, you will see things completely differently, with great joy and wonder, and you might even be able to find joy in situations you never could have possibly imagined before.

Even the Lord prompts us to be more like little children, to have faith like them for the kingdom of heaven belongs to those like them. It makes perfect sense if you think about it - children are so pure and unspoiled (though they are definitely not without sin just like we aren't, let me tell ya! I definitely have a two year old running wildly about my house every day... =/ Lol!). But the way that they see the world and how they can trust with great abundance and unwavering faith makes it so obvious why God would want us to be more like them. How great would it be to trust without holding anything back? To jump blindly into our Father's arms, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that He WILL catch us and protect us from harm. To be completely devoted to Him and love Him and others without reservation. Oh how I wish I could be like that! Someday when I see Him face to face I know that I won't be able to do anything but that, but oh how I wish that I could be that way now...

"Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.' " (Matthew 19:13-14)
 "He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: 'I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:2-4)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

"Swirls of Copper" - An Abstract Painting

"Swirls of Copper"     6" x 6"     Acrylic on Museum Quality Claybord
BUY NOW from my Daily Paintworks Gallery

Well hello there my friends! I have two orders of business I must attend to on here, and they are quite good if you ask me. =D

First of all, I just wanted to remind you all that there are only 6 more days left for you to WIN A COMPLETELY FREE PAINTING from my "30 Paintings in 30 Days" Collection, both shipped and framed (or on an easel, depending on which one you choose if you win) for free as well!!! What a deal, right?! All you have to do to be eligible to win is sign up to follow my blog by clicking the blue button, "Join this site" on the right sidebar. So if you haven't done it yet, make sure to do that before you go today so you won't forget. You can tell if you did it right if your name appears in one of the squares underneath the word "Members." Good luck to all of you! And thank you so much for those of you who have already shown me your support by signing up for my blog - you have no idea how much that means to me, and I am truly thankful! =D

And secondly, I wanted to let you know what the 2nd CONTEST FOR 2013 is going to be, which will start now and run through the end of February. I will be giving away one free ACEO (Art Cards Editions and Originals) to three different people this month, free of charge, shipping and all!!! So there's three chance's to win this month, which is pretty stinkin' awesome! For those of you who may not know what an ACEO is, it's a small original work of art about the same size as a traditional baseball card (2.5" x 3.5"). And for those three lucky people who win this contest, they will receive their ACEO inside of a Card Frame, which means their work of art will be encased in a little card that actually acts as a mat for a frame, so that it will be all ready to frame and hang on the wall. And this contest is super easy to sign up for! All you have to do is "Like" my Facebook fan page and let me know that you did!!! Yup, you heard me right. That's it. Super easy, right? So if you want some free original artwork in a sweet little white mat that's all ready for you to frame, all you have to do is "Like" my page! You can do it now through February 28th, 2013, and anyone who has already liked my page is automatically entered to win, so long as they comment on my page that they are interested in entering this contest. Woo-hoo!!! I will make a special post for anyone wanting to enter this contest  Good luck to all of you out there! If you actually want to "Like" my page right now, go ahead and click here, and it will open up in a new window for you for your convenience. Soon I'll be putting a link to like my page on the right sidebar of my blog so that people can like it from there.

Now, as for this painting, it went through quite the interesting process, let me tell ya! The underpainting was a combination of baby blue and windsor purple wrapped in a ribbon-like pattern, much like those old fashioned candies most grandparents seem to have in a dish on the table around Christmas-time. Then, it turned into a few different designs, only to be washed away and scrubbed completely clean so I could start over from scratch.

Anyways, my hope was to create something completely different with this one, since that was pretty much my theme for the last 26 days, but I have to be honest with you, I'm kinda dying to go back to spending more than just one day on my works, and my hope is to eventually get a few smaller paintings in the works so that I can spend quite a bit more time on each one, while still posting nearly as much as I am now. That way they're staggered as I'm finishing them, but each one can get more attention to detail and such, because I keep wanting to try some really intensely detailed works, but just can't do so under the pressure of these deadlines. Anyone else out there having the same problems as me? And any tips out there for how to keep up your daily quota without having to sacrifice on the type and style of work you want to do? Because I know that once January ends and I'm on my own that I'm really going to struggle with this A LOT!

On the bright side, what I really have loved about this challenge is how it quite literally challenges me to be fresh, creative, and to try to become more and more organized about how I do my art, although in reality I've found that even if I organize myself by planning the entire weeks worth of paintings ahead of time, that by the time I even just get to day two I've already lost my momentum and my inspiration to paint each one dwindles away completely so that I have to set it aside for another day anyways and just do something else. But I do like how I have to try to come up with something completely different each and every day, because it's really helping to spark the imagination deep within me that I once feared I had lost. And that's pretty huge in and of itself, I'd have to say. So, all in all this has been a pretty incredible challenge and I'm shocked it's going to be over in only a few days...

Friday, January 25, 2013

"Stylized Self Portrait" - An Expressionist Painting with Pastel and Graphite

"Stylized Self Portrait"     8.5" x 11"     Pastel and Graphite on Paper
PRINTS will be available soon from Fine Art America

I decided that now that I'm 29 and all (yup, only one year left until the infamous 3-0!), that I wanted to try out something a little different today. I mean, for me, that's what this 30 Day Challenge is all about - trying out new styles, new tools, new techniques, and of course, new subject matter. So, that led to this... Me. Stylized. I hope you like it, because just like me, it's a little different and not quite perfect, was quite challenging to work with, a bit overstated, and yet soft and sweet as well. I don't know, half the time I find myself to be this annoyingly loud, overwhelming and energetic person, and the rest of the time I find myself to be gentle, soft, calming and sensitive (though I wonder if other people ever see me that way?). If I could only see and know how other people perceived me, I imagine that would be quite interesting... Although interesting usually isn't that great of a thing, depending on how people say it, am I right?! Lol! Oh man, anyways, as a little side note, I worked with what I thought to be a very limited palette of yellow, yellow ochre, orange, salmon, red, brown, white, black and aqua, (limited in the sense that so many of the colors were on the yellow, orange, and red spectrum of the color wheel) which was not only quite a challenge but was also an awesome learning experience as well. I think I shall be testing out trying to work with more and more limited palettes a bit more often from here on out, because I know that in doing so one can create amazing harmony within their paintings, if they can learn the tricks of how to use and mix colors to their fullest potential.

Well, it just so happens that I took yesterday off for my birthday, not so much by choice but by necessity really (I guess I'll be doing twice the work today to make up for it, because I am WAY too much of a perfectionist to let one of these days slip by without at least trying to get a painting in during this challenge, not to mention I just really want to have all 30 on Leslie's wall by the end so I can say I truly did it!).  So today I had my 6 hr. weekly commitment for my chronic pain class over in Martinez, and oh boy, was that ever exciting... =(  And when I got home from that, we had to go pick up a prescription, but had to transfer it first and then had to wait around for it and then... You get the picture. Anyways, I barely had the chance to even see my family today, and even when I did my pain was a little too intense to do very much with them. However, I did have two particularly sweet moments that I will treasure forever! The first was waking up to my husband and my boys, huddled around my bed singing "Happy Birthday" with a cupcake flavored pop-tart in one hand, and a tray of good ole fashioned plastic cupcakes in the other, that Levi had baked up in his oven specially just for me. Apparently, he couldn't wait, and "ate" one on the way up the stairs, but it was so adorable my heart melted right out of my body into a little puddle on the floor. I LOVED every second of that special moment, and will treasure it forever!

The second memorable moment was after the boys went down to bed and I got out the fine china, decorated the table, and ate take-home Chili's that was a gift of some good friends, Rachel and Jeffrey, (complete with cheesecake too - oh yum, yum!) by candlelight with the man who has stolen my heart time and time again. We sipped tea and talked, and it was beautiful.

So I guess my birthday wasn't too bad of a bust after all, if I focus on the sweet little moments rather than dwell on all that didn't happen today. I love my family and friends, and was shown so much love by them all today and that is what truly matters. And the simple yet astounding fact that God even allowed me to merely just wake up one more day, and to have these sacred little moments to treasure with those I love, for that is truly something never to be taken for granted!

So today's tip is that you can actually use a paint brush to blend soft pastels (maybe everybody on earth knew that except me already, but I just found that out and had to try it immediately!)! My take on it is this: what was once a very frustrating medium, (cough, cough... Pastels, those messy little stinkers!) is now loads of fun so I thought I'd pass the info on to you just in case you didn't know about it either. Of course you can always use your handy-dandy finger, but for some reason the brush lends to some gorgeous blending that I couldn't have possibly achieved without it, so it's worth a shot. Well, unless you're like one of those majorly impressive professional pastel artists, and then I'm sure you can do a ridiculous amount more than I could possibly even ever dream of, in which case you're probably laughing at this tip anyways. =0)  But, if you're like me and have seldom ever used this medium before, I found this method to be so much more fun than I even expected that I could hardly believe I was even using pastels in the first place! So next time you're fussing around with pastels and possibly getting all irritated with the fact that you're entirely covered in them from head to toe, like I tend to be, grab a paint brush and get to work. It sure is less messy this way, that's for sure, and I just absolutely loved the results! I will definitely be trying this again with some other styles of pastel painting as well as pastel forms, like oil and crayon (who knew they had pastel crayons?! So excited over here!!!), and I seriously can't wait to get to work on more of them! And this coming from someone who normally hates working with pastels, so that should say a lot right there! =D

Thursday, January 24, 2013

"Thermal Imaging" - An Abstract Painting

"Thermal Imaging"     4" x 4"     Acrylic on Museum Quality Claybord
BUY NOW from my Daily Paintworks Gallery

This started out as an expressionist floral painting, and then ended up as a straight up abstract as I began to fuss and play around with it more and more. I actually am really thrilled with how it turned out as it reminds me of the thermal imaging they do of the earth around places like Hawaii and other island locations, and am really glad now that it took a turn for the... Well, different, I'd say. It's definitely different than the pink and red flower it started out as!!! It was like one of those projects they have you do in art class where you're given 6 pieces of paper to morph an airplane into a boat, but eventually you can make the one form into the other if you have the patience and do it right.. If I had only shot pictures of it in progress along the way! Bummer!

But I honestly didn't have a second to waste - I didn't realize how late it was and got in right under the wire again. Considering that both my internet and computer were moving frightfully slow tonight, okay, add me into that equation too... So with all of us running in slow motion and with only one minute left to post before the submission closed, I started sweating on this one. But once again, thank the Lord, this one got in and as soon as it did, the little button to submit your picture was gone. I made it by the skin of my teeth all over again! Praise the Lord!!!

The colors are a bit off vibrancy-wise, as the orange should be a bit more vibrant than it is, so I'll probably have to retake the pics tomorrow and repost them up here as soon as I can.  But in the meantime, I hope you all are having a good time out there in whatever you do, and all see you all later! =)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"Early Morning Wake-Up Call for Tyler" - An Abstract Painting

"Early Morning Wake-Up Call for Tyler"     5" x 7"     Acrylic on Museum Quality Claybord
Not For Sale

No, no, I wasn't lazy today by just posting the same piece again as yesterday. This one is new. Let me explain... So yesterday morning when Ty saw my piece "Early Morning Wake-Up Call" on the computer,  he loved it so much he was actually really excited about it and even said it was his absolute favorite abstract of mine yet up to date, but then was rather disappointed when he realized I had done it on such a small scale. So today's piece is my attempt at recreating it for him, still small mind you (5" x 7" per Tyler's request), but much bigger than before. I'm actually really happy with how it turned out! After all, it's really, REALLY hard to recreate an abstract, or any piece of art for that matter, exactly as it appeared before, which is why that was one of the main practices masters used to teach their apprentices how to paint. I know this painting's not even close to spot-on, but I like it and it turned out pretty stinkin' close to the original. So now I just have to play the waiting game and see later today what Tyler thinks about it, after he wakes up that is. I'm a little nervous, but after I wake up (I guess I need to sleep first) I'll let you know what he thought. Yup, yesterday I woke up at 3:30am, tonight I'll be going to bed after 4am. Wow. My schedule is ALL messed up! Ha, I sooo have to try to get back on track, but I'm starting to loose track of what being "on track" looks like... Yikes! =P

Well, I really hope you all are having a great day today! Sorry for any of you who signed up for the contest and like this piece - unless Tyler ends up hating it, I obviously made it for him so it's spoken for already. But there's plenty of other works to choose from, so no worries I hope. Plus there's the little baby version of this one too, and it looks awful cute in a frame, let me tell ya! Sorry if there are any guys reading this - that was probably a little too girly for you... Anyways, speaking of this contest, I can't believe there's only 8 more days left to sign up! Seriously, this month has flown by crazy fast!

Did you know that you can actually use plastic wrap and those little thin sandwich baggies to make cool effects with your paint. It's a great tool for creating texture in your works, and you should totally give it a try! You can create multiple effects, such as splattery-ish looks (wow, that was an awful made-up word. Again, sorry. Lol!), tree bark, beautiful smudges and dappling to name a few. I used both "plastic tools" in different areas all over these last two paintings, and I have to admit, it's quite a blast to do! It's super easy too. All you have to do is apply your paint somewhat thick, or even really thick if you like, crumple up the food packaging of your choice, and dab and smear and scrunch it up into the paint, moving around the piece as you go. You can also pick up the paint with the plastic directly and apply it that way, and you can use more than one color as well to get an even more mottled effect. I think I shall be painting an entire abstract soon with only those two tools - it could be pretty cool! Can you imagine trying to do a realistic painting with only those as well - I imagine the effect would be slightly similar to knife painting, though really totally different. I'm not so sure that made much sense, but hey, it's almost 4am, so yeah... Haha, oh bother, I really need to go to bed now. So, if you feel like painting and can't remember where your brushes are at 3am, or if you just want to try something different and exciting, I highly suggest you try this out! It's a blast to do and it can add so much to your painting if you're willing to give it a shot. Either way, I hope you have a great day and have the chance to be creative, whatever that may look like for you in your life! As for me, it's nigh-night time as we call it in our house, and the kids are probably going to wake up soon, so it's off to bed for me. Talk to you later! =)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"Early Morning Wake-Up Call" - An Abstract Painting (ACEO)

"Early Morning Wake-Up Call"     2.5" x 3.5"     Acrylic on Bristol Board (ACEO)

I am SO not a morning person, so any of you who know me will know just how crazy it is that last night I went to bed at 9:30 and woke up at 3:30am. And I mean, wide-awake! So, might as well get out the paintbrushes, right?

I had a rough night's sleep last night - woke up with the most painful stiff armed cramp I've ever had. I cried out as I was waking up, scaring the living daylights out of Ty, who had to get up and help me straighten out my arm because I couldn't do it on my own. It hurt like the dickens. Definitely a result of over-doing it yesterday. But I can't complain, you know why? Because it was sooo totally worth it! Ty and I got to go on the sweetest little date yesterday curtesy of Joleen, who watched our kids from 9:30 to 4. It was A-MAZE-ING!!! Thank you so much Joleen!

So what, pray tell, did we do? Well... First off we went to Carl's Jr, because for months now, actually years if I remember correctly, we have both been dying to try out their breakfast menu, but have never been up and out with nothing to do early enough to try them. Oh man, so good! I got the Country Style Burrito, or whatever it's called. Yummy! Then we went shopping at World Market, one of our favorite date stores, because the stuff in there is just so random. And I found quite the find of this little potpourri collection of seashells and oddly large nutshells and other various accompaniments in the colors of tan and teal blue - oh so pretty! It's supposed to be for our house but I honestly bought it because I saw so much potential within it for painting subjects. I'm so excited! And then, as usual on our dates, we went to Barnes and Noble and browsed for a bit, got a Starbucks, and then headed home to relax, and of course cuddle. "Great date,"you're  probably thinking sarcastically to yourself I'm sure, but it actually really was. It was so refreshing and beautiful for our relationship, and I loved it and I love him so very much. Okay, enough of the mushy stuff now.

I hope you're all having a great day out there and that hopefully you're nice and rested, even if you did end up getting an early morning wake-up call like I did. (Do you like how I did that?! =D Like how they do it in the movies where they drop the title in there somewhere amongst the dialogue... I'm such a rock-star! Oh yeah! Lol.) Oh man, I'm sorry, I'm such a nerd, but you know you love me. Or at least I'm gonna pretend you do... Once again, ANYWAYS... Well, have a great day all! =D

Oh, wait, before I leave, I actually have a painting tip today for any of you out there wanting to try to paint on Bristol Board, which is actually quite fun and economical as well. To keep the paper from warping and curling up on you, paint an X on the back to stabilize it. You can even add an extra T over that, to give it extra support like I do. I do this before I ever even start painting on it, and then if I notice it starting to try to warp at the end when I'm all done, I repaint the X & T all over again, which will get it to stop warping all over again. Oh, and make sure you do this in a light color like white or cream if your painting is going to end up on a light ground, or really even if it's not, so it doesn't end up showing through on your final work. It should look something like this:

How to Keep Bristol Board from Warping & Curling
Umm... Except maybe a touch cleaner. Hmm... I never have been know to keep my workspace free from splatter, so I guess that's true of the back of my paintings too. Oops. Let's just say it gives it extra character. Lol!

Good luck! =)

Monday, January 21, 2013

"Under the Starry Sky So Blue" - A Whimsical Painting of Mushrooms at Night

"Under the Starry Sky So Blue"     5" x 7"     Acrylic on Museum Quality Claybord
CLICK HERE to BUY NOW from my Daily Paintworks Gallery

Here's my painting for the day, and on time for the second day in a row too! I was lucky enough to get the day all to myself to paint and exercise (yes, you heard me right, I'm allowed to exercise a tiny bit now!!! Woo-hoo!) and it felt absolutely and ridiculously amazing. Thanks momma for watching the boys so I can try and get some healing in over here - it's helping a TON!

Like I said before, I'm super excited to be allowed to exercise a little now. Nothing huge mind you, more like the type you do in Physical Therapy. What am I saying, it's EXACTLY the type you do in physical therapy. Haha, I'm such a nerd. Anyways, my PT said I've finally graduated from what he calls "Baby Bear Mode" and can officially begin my "Momma Bear Routine." It's weight lifting and stretching and weird little slow leg lifts and bicycles and things of that sort, along with no more than 15 - 20 minutes of slow walking a day, but oh man, it sure feels good to be getting some strength back into my bones! And another huge joy is the fact that my PT was actually proud of me for how quickly I was moving along and for all my hard work. I wasn't expecting that at all! Honestly, I thought the opposite was going to happen because no matter how hard I tried over the last 3 weeks I just couldn't work my way up to lifting 5 lbs. with my legs - I could only get to 3 lbs. So I'm super stoked to be moving on and up the ladder as far as my therapy is concerned, and I am also eagerly awaiting my next acupuncture appointment as well because I absolutely loved that and my body did too!

I just wanted to give you all my happy little fibro update, because it's so good to finally be starting to get my life back even in little increments, and I am just super overjoyed over here! Thank you all for all your prayers through all this - they mean a ton to me and I know they are helping. In fact, my PT says that if all continues moving along at this pace, that I'll be back to good shape (not pain free by any means, but with a 60-70% improvement which is the best we can hope for) in mid February rather than the end of March. Sooo AWESOME!!!

So like I said, I'm super excited to be back on track a little with my life, and though the pain is still raging underneath my medication, at least it's finally, FINALLY under control and I can start to reclaim some of my life back. Well, in baby steps anyways. But I will seriously take whatever I can get, because anything is better than where I was back in December, which was probably the worst and darkest month of my entire life, bar none! We're moving forward, baby, and I'm super glad to have you all on this journey of recovery with me! Trust me, it gives me such great joy to not have to do this all on my own.

Well, it's off to bed for me, because WE'RE GETTING BABYSITTING TOMORROW!  What, what!!! =D Awww yeah! That's right. We finally get to go on a date and spend some time alone with each other before 9pm at night, and I am so stoked about it I can hardly stand it. But I really don't want to ruin it by staying up to late, so good night y'all! Hope you all have a fantastic day today and God bless! =D

Sunday, January 20, 2013

"The Strong Silent Type" - An Ocean Wildlife Painting of a Shark

"The Strong Silent Type"     5" x 7"     Acrylic on Museum Quality Claybord
BUY NOW from my Daily Paintworks Gallery

I am just so in love with painting ocean wildlife right now! I'm not exactly sure why I love it so much, but for some reason if I had to paint only one single subject for the rest of my life it would be ocean wildlife for sure. Perhaps it's all those gorgeous puzzles I used to do as a child - I think I had the whole set of them... You know, the "Seascapes" puzzles which featured Robert Lyn Nelson's art. Man oh man, those are some of the most beautiful images I have EVER seen in my entire life! I still have his puzzles buried away somewhere, waiting until the boys are a little older so we can enjoy doing them together (and honestly, mostly so they don't eat up all the pieces. Silly boys!). Seriously, I can't wait to dig them out and go to town on them together as a family!

Perhaps, however, my love of painting ocean themed work is just my simple love of the ocean. I prefer the "cold water oceans" more than anything else (possibly because I've never seen any other kind out here on the freezing San Francisco Coast, well, other than Seattle's coast, which is even colder!) and I seriously think there is little more beautiful in the world than the waves crashing against the shore and the feeling of soft sand between my toes.

And I know for a fact that all of our visits to the Monterey Bay Aquarium has a huge part in my love of painting these works too, as I've said before many times. But either way, I just love painting sharks and octopuses and all sorts of ocean creatures, like jellies and starfish too, and really had a blast painting this long awaited shark painting (on my part that is!). Then again, it was a little mind wracking too...

I really wanted this to be a more subdued, moody painting, where it looked more like a true glimpse of a shark in the murky waters of the ocean, on his own turf. I was hoping to make him look a bit foreboding, trying not to use any truly vibrant colors. But I'm not exactly sure if I went a little too far with it or not. I mean, I'm quite pleased with how it turned out in the end, but the true test is how others view it. That's an entirely different matter altogether. Then again, I guess that's true with any work of art. You never know what people will really like, and what might be your favorite might make others cringe, while the one work you absolutely abhor gets sold the instant you post it on your blog. Sometimes it can be so mind boggling how these things work...

One thing I do know is that I had a ton of fun with all the glazing of this piece, especially building up all the layers of kelp and water. The shark was a bit rough going there for a while, but in the end he turned into a shark, and I can't ask for much more than that! =) And the final glaze of paynes grey with a little baby blue, cream, and I think pthalo blue and burnt umber as well, was quite the experience, let me tell you! Nothing is quite as nerve wracking as covering your entire painting with a thick glaze, and then sitting back hoping you get the results you were going for because if not, you totally just ruined all your hard work.

Well, to be quite honest though, in times when you're debating whether or not to glaze I say it's good to just go for it, because you never know if that final little touch is going to take a piece from mediocre to something absolutely incredible in an instant. And even if it does the opposite, you can always go back and try to make something beautiful from the ashes, rather than just give up, as with all things in life. I feel like that's where I'm at right now with everything in our lives right now. I have this choice to be overwhelmed with all that's happening to me medically, emotionally and spiritually; with this glaze that's been washed over me making me look and feel like a completely different person than I was two years ago, and I can either learn to embrace it and fall in love with the new "me" that I am, or I can fight it and lose all the potential beauty that God is trying to build up in me through all these trials.

Wow, I'm sorry, I went on WAY longer than I meant to on this post, but I don't know, we're just dealing with so much right now and the only time I seem to get out of the house is for all my millions of doctors appointments and that's about it. Seriously, I just got majorly excited about getting to go grocery shopping yesterday, because it's the first time I've been somewhere "non-Kaiser" in FAR too long. So my outlet is this blog, and you, my friends, are the best listeners ever (that is, granted you made it all the way to the end here... If not, I totally don't blame you, not that you'd know it if I did anyways, because you'd have no idea I even wrote all this in the first place! Lol!)!

Well, thank you all for listening and I hope that if the case is that you are being "glazed over" right now through trials and difficulties galore like we are over here, that you will try to find some peace in knowing that in the end, even if it's scary and you don't know how things may turn out, that there is a chance for there to be so much more beauty and wonder in your life because of it than you ever could have imagined before, you only need to embrace it and not fight the change. Easier said than done, believe you me, but it's well worth the effort if you can get there. With the help of the Lord, my amazing family and friends, and in particular a very wise and Godly woman who has been a great encouragement and witness to me in this time, I sure am trying to do this the right way!!! I  really thank God for her and for everyone God has brought into my life who has helped us through all of our difficult times, for we are so blessed by all of you, and it's my prayer that you all have someone to mentor you and help you be a better person.

I prayed for two years for someone to come into my life to help mentor me because I so desperately needed it and guess what? I got TWO mentors, not just one! I am dying to meet with one of them again - we only got to meet shortly, but I know God has some major plans for the two of us, and I know he will use her greatly in my life (and hopefully use me a little in hers as well) to grow me and help me to become more gentle, calm, loving and Christlike. And my other mentor who I've been trying to meet with somewhat regularly is also exactly who God had planned for me all along - she even has a nerve disease much like my own and is helping me and my family to cope with all these crazy painful changes in our lives. And what's funniest about all of it is that when I asked her, I didn't even know her a tiny bit, but in all the time since that I've grown to know her, even as short as it's been, she has shown me so much about embracing the fact that I am not who I once was, but that it's okay to not be the "me" I used to be, so long as I can find joy in that and show love to others as the new "me" that I am now. I have to find new ways to love and serve and bless those around me, and it's not going to be easy (I've had so many ugly, despairing melt-downs over this it's not even funny), but it's my life and I can and will find joy in it because I know in the end that it's what God has had planned for my life all along, even before I was in my mother's womb. I'm Melissa 2.0 as my mentor endearingly calls me, and I love her for it!

I know I've totally talked your ears clean off by now so I'll leave you be (FINALLY, right?! Lol!), and I'm sorry again for the epically long post! I seriously hope you have a great day my friends, and that you can find the joy and peace in each and every circumstance thrown your way! =)

After all, "We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you." (Psalm 33:20-22)

Friday, January 18, 2013

"Glimpses" - A Miniature Landscape Painting

"Glimpses"     2" x 2"     Acrylic on Canvas

I caught this glimpse of a beautiful sunset as we were driving home one day along the old winding river road that leads to 12. It was stunning and just begged to be painted. But don't be fooled. This is on a really tiny canvas! Here it is in my hand...

See! I told you so... Lol! Hope you have a great day today! It's off to bed for me (YAY - It's only 1:30am - WAY more normal than some of these nights lately!). Haha, God bless!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

"Mint, Anyone?" - A Still Life Painting of a Peppermint Candy (ACEO)

"Mint, Anyone?"     2.5" x 3.5"     Acrylic on Bristol Board
BUY NOW from my Daily Paintworks Gallery

I'm not really sure why after Christmas has come and gone I'm suddenly in the mood to do all these Christmas-y related paintings, but for some reason I am and this is what came of it tonight. I suppose it doesn't really have to be holiday related, but it is part of my leftover Ginger-bread house stash, so for me it is... =)

This one's a little late - it was the one I was supposed to post yesterday for the challenge but never got around to so I'm posting it retrospectively so it matches up with the days of the challenge as they appear on Leslie's blog. I've realized with how many doctors appointments I have each day perhaps a goal of 365 paintings a year is a bit too ambitious, but I am still going to aim super high, so I've finally decided that my official goal for number of paintings in a year for 2013 is going to be 300, which is such an exciting and yet daunting number! Even if I don't quite make it, it at least gives me some lee-way so I can take a few days off for vacations or sick days or "I'm just feeling so stinkin' horrible from my fibro" days, so that I'm not feeling so behind all the time. I never really got ahead like Leslie suggested except for during the first week, so I am looking forward to being able to be all caught up and to try to get an extra painting in over the weekend so that if I have a rough day I can take the day off and just relax. It's a great goal, but we'll see what happens! Lol!

Oh man, I should go, but before I do I just wanted to add one more little tidbit - I've been wanting to try to paint candy wrapped in plastic for some time now. It's always seemed absolutely impossible to me, and I know I have many more attempts at this before I come up with something I really like, but I really learned a ton about coloring and highlights while doing this. It probably looks easier to do than it really is when you look at all those phenomenal artists who have mastered this technique, but oh man, don't let them fool you. Boy is it ever difficult! This is not the last time you will be seeing a little sweet delicacy wrapped in cellophane or whatever it is candy is wrapped in, and I am hoping that in the next year or two I will really improve in this area. So many goals to reach, so little time! Have a great night, y'all!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Calla Lily" - A Still Life Nature Painting

I stumbled upon an old photograph of a Calla Lily I took way back when and just had to paint it today. At first I thought it was an Iris, and then half-way through the painting I realized what a nerd I was and that it was indeed a Lily instead. Wow, I guess I really don't have a green thumb after all (as if anyone was questioning that, seeing as how the only plants I can keep alive for any amount of time are Cacti and Orchids).

I'm not normally one to get all into painting floral compositions, though I love looking at other people's work on the subject, but for some reason I was drawn back to this subject already during this "30 in 30" challenge, which I found a bit odd. Perhaps it will just be a passing phase, or perhaps it will lead to more, only time will really tell... =)

"Calla Lily"     4" x 5"     Acrylic on Archival Canvas Panel

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"Strictly Ornamental" - A Still Life of Christmas Ornaments

One of my goals for this year in my daily painting challenge is to learn and master as many textures as I am capable of, or at least get as close as I can to mastering them. Eventually, I would like to learn to paint glass, lace, silk, cotton, beads, water, droplets, and metal, among so many other things! The possibilities are seemingly endless, but here's one I've yet to do that I tried tonight - Christmas Ornament glass. It's so reflective not only because of the fact that it's glass, but also because of it's spherical shape. I know it probably seems a little late to be doing Christmas-y themed paintings, but these balls were still out so I decided, "what the hey, why not?" And so this is my very first attempt at painting colored glass ornaments, and I must admit, it is FAR harder than I thought it was going to be! I had to work in many layers, allowing the paint time to dry in between, and for some reason I never really quite achieved the color of red I was hoping for. That is definitely something I will have to figure out some other day, because that was quite frustrating. It's never fun to admit one's shortcomings, or come to realize what they are, and apparently I am not quite as good at achieving the exact colors I am striving for yet. But you know what? With practice, I know I'll be getting much better at this, and now that I know it's an issue, I can try to focus on it in my paintings even more from here on out. It definitely is making me debate working with a very limited palette soon!

"Strictly Ornamental"     4" x 5"     Acrylic on Archival Canvas Panel

Monday, January 14, 2013

"Miniature Sea Dragon" - An Animal Painting of a Sea Dragon

For Christmas this year I decided to paint my sister a tiny little painting for her bathroom, which is decorated quite beautifully with an ocean theme, though I may have missed the mark color-wise a little bit, considering her color scheme is much softer and consists of cool tans and blues and whites. Well, even if she can't use it in there, this one's small enough to fit just about anywhere, so she can actually just even put it on her nightstand if she really wants to - problem solved!  =)

 I have been dying to paint her a special painting made specifically for her, and even though this was a little tiny one, there was a lot of love built into it! Here's how it turned out, or atleast here's the front view (I painted the sides as well so that it looks good from every angle):

"Miniature Sea Dragon"     2" x 4"     Acrylic on Canvas
Not For Sale

And here's how it looks on it's tiny black easel - it's just so stinkin' cute this way, dontcha' think?

"Miniature Sea Dragon" on it's Miniature Easel   =D

I've been wanting to paint her a seahorse for years now, as it's one of her favorite animals, and I finally got the chance to do it! Her family and ours just celebrated our Christmas yesterday, (a little late -cough, cough - but still) we had a total blast!!! We got pizza, watched those little Hulu special movies of the Yule log and snow and Christmas lights, and had chocolate chip cookie brownies with hot cocoa while we opened presents. What more could a person ask for!?!

As for this painting, I really like how this one turned out, and will definitely be returning to this subject to create a larger one in the future. In fact, I'm so excited about it that I already have the name picked out! And like so many of the seascape and ocean animal images before this one, the image was garnered from my over-abundant album of (unprinted) photos from last year's anniversary trip with baby Owen down to Monterey, California, where like always we just had to visit the Aquarium. Seriously, it just doesn't feel like a trip to Monterey without a stroll around those hugely gorgeous tanks of water filled with the ocean's wild abundance. Boy oh boy, I just love it there! We try and go there every year, and I'm not kidding, every time we go it's still as new and as exciting as the first time, plus with the added nostalgia of special memories from each year we've visited there in the past! I really hope we get the chance to go there again this year, but even if we don't, I'm sure we have enough video footage and photography from it to make up a pretend vacation for ourselves, that is, if we get really desperate... Lol!

Well, it's off to bed for me now. I'm hoping today to maybe be able to get ahead for the week and try to knock out two paintings later today, though I highly doubt that's actually going to happen. I know I sorely overdid it this weekend, though it was definitely worth it, but I may be paying for it more tomorrow than I really am counting on. Oh well, I'm glad we got to have fun, even if it does cause a heap of pain later!

I hope you all have a fantastic night and I hope to be seeing you all tomorrow! =)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

"Entangled" - A New Abstract Painting

"Entangled"     4" x 5"     Acrylic on Archival Canvas Panel

This was supposed to be my painting for yesterday, but I never got around to doing it, let alone posting it, because things have been absolutely crazy around here lately. So here it is today, a day late but still as pretty as can be! =0)

I've been dying to paint this particular painting for years now! It was originally one of my favorite abstracts from my little sketchbook that we used in our advanced drawing class at LMC for our daily drawings. I remember loving the once formidable task of drawing out a sketch every day, though I felt like I never really had the time to put much of myself into it... And that was before kids... Oh how naive I was! If only I could go back in time and shake myself by the shoulders, screaming, "You have NO idea how good you have it right now! STOP WASTING SO MUCH TIME!!!" I could get so much more done. Ahh, but alas, I'm pretty sure just about everybody I know wishes they could do that too. =P

Anyways, the drawing was originally done in pastel back then, on pure black Strathmore Artagain paper (which, by the way, is one of my favorite papers to draw on EVER, especially with oil pastels!), but I am much more thoroughly pleased with the amount of pizazz this has as a painting, especially with the deep blue-green coloring that I added around the edges. I feel like it not only adds to the depth of the piece, but it also adds to the overall composition as well, making it so much more dynamic and interesting. I absolutely love it! This is definitely going to be redone as a MUCH larger painting some day when I have the time. =D

Well, hope you're having a great day! See you all tomorrow, Lord willing!

Finished Version of "Beads of Dew" Complete with Glass Beads



"Beads of Dew"     4" x 5"     Acrylic & Glass Beads on Archival Canvas Panel

Here's the finished version of my painting called "Beads of Dew," complete with my "GOLDEN Gel Mediums: Glass Bead Gel" attached. I really wish you could see how brilliantly shiny and sparkly this piece is in person, so you could see the way it shimmers as you move around it. The beads are quite stunning! In lieu of that however, you can click on the image to see it in a larger size, though like I honestly admitted before, a lot of the beauty of it is lost in this 2d computer screen format, even though it's really quite beautiful in person. I mean, if you could only see the way it shimmers and shines, changing a ton as you shift your view and as the light refracts off of it from different angles, I think you'd be quite impressed, at least with the beads anyways! I also love the way that when you change the lighting in the room and angles from which you view it at it actually creates even more desirable effects, totally changing the colors of the light that bounces off the beads, making it a very interactive piece.

Close up View of Glass Beads on "Beads of Dew"

All in all I really, really, REALLY love this product! If you decide to buy some and use it for yourself (which I highly recommend!!!) one thing I noticed that you'll want to keep in mind is that you really do have to be very careful to only apply a very thin application of it, or it looks rather clumpy and doesn't reflect the light as well, even though you would think it would do the opposite. It actually says this in multiple places on the label for that very reason. =)  But, as long as you make sure to put it on in a single thin layer (which is pretty awesome when you look at it from a frugal perspective), then it goes on quite beautifully and you'll truly get the results you're hoping for.

I am definitely going to be using this product quite often as I keep exploring new abstract designs, and I especially can't wait to try it alongside some new modeling paste mediums, as well as on mixed media work and collages which I am planning to dabble in quite soon, probably as soon as this "30 in 30" challenge is over. I totally have the urge to get my feet wet with all sorts of different styles and mediums, with the hopes that I will really get to know what all my options are out there. After all, I feel like the sky's the limit right now with my art, not to mention the fact that my passion is on fire and I can't wait to get in the studio every single day (even if my studio for the day is actually just the dining room table because I'm feeling a little too lonely to want to be cooped up there in my art room all by myself all day - Ha! As if I had ALL day to paint! Just kidding. Yeah, that made no sense.)! Anyways, I truly just feel like there's sooo much untapped potential out there for me, and I can't wait to discover it! This "Daily Painting" venture has already been such a blast and honestly, I've never enjoyed painting more in my entire life! Onward and upwards for me, my friends.... Onward and upwards!!! =D

"Rock Garden" - A Still Life of Rocks from Nature

"Rock Garden"     5" x 7"     Acrylic on Archival Canvas Panel

I have been working on this piece for a few days now, trying to perfect it as much as possible, focusing on making subtle shifts in color and in trying to create a dynamic work of art out of a simple pile of rocks from my garden. I've been feeling more and more like I need to try to truly work from nature and less from photographs I've taken, so as to get a more realistic feel in my larger works, and am thoroughly impressed with how this turned out. For a while there I was really worried about it, but in the end I got the results I wanted and can't wait to see how much I grow in this area as I keep practicing over the next year. I foresee many more paintings of this sort in the future, and am excited at the possibility that nature holds, for it seems that the options will be quite endless! I hope you are all having a fantastic day and will try posting that picture of "Beads of Dew" later, as soon as I get the chance. Things have just been a little hectic over here, as you can imagine...

Friday, January 11, 2013

"Marshmallow Frenzy" - An Abstract Painting

"Marshmallow Frenzy"     4" x 5"     Acrylic on Archival Canvas Panel

This was one of the funnest paintings I've done in a while. It's highly textured, full of color and very hectic, just like my life. Lol! I'm starting to thoroughly enjoy just slapping on the paint in thick applications - there's something so wonderful about it, it's almost indescribable. I think the best thing I can compare it to is when you ice a cake with thick, wonderful, mouth-watering icing. It's such a blast, granted I can't really eat this one without getting majorly sick. But hey, I love it, so that's fine with me! =D

Oh, and if you think the name is weird, blame my momma - she named it! Hahaha, love ya mom! =D

Thursday, January 10, 2013

"Around the Edges" - A Floral Expressionist Still Life Painting

"Around the Edges"     4" x 5"     Acrylic on Archival Canvas Panel

So today's painting is a bit late again, but better late than never. And it's quite a bit of a departure from my normal style, but I'm really loving this journey of discovery I'm on, and of trying new things and not being afraid to experiment. It's quite freeing really. Unfortunately (or fortunately for those who think I ramble too much anyways... Cough, cough... Tyler...), I'm seriously too tired to type right now, so off to bed for me. Hope you're all enjoying a good night's sleep at this time (granted, unless you live across the world and it's the middle of the day, in which case, top of the morning to ya!) and I will see you all tomorrow, Lord willing. I have so much fun stuff to talk about, and I seriously can't wait! But alas, I have to. Lol! Sleep... Is... Calling.... Me. Must... Answer...!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

"Beads of Dew" - An Expressionist Painting

"Beads of Dew"     4" x 5"     Acrylic on Canvas Board

I'm running super late on posting today's painting, because most of my time was spent relaxing after having overdone it yesterday, and the rest was spent on working on another painting I'm not quite finished with. This one actually isn't finished yet either, but only because I'm waiting to apply a special layer of glass beads to the top after the paint dries. But still, as a stand alone I still really like how it turned out and can't wait to see how it changes after adding that extra "umph!" I'll repost it on here as soon as it's really done. =)

Well, it's off to bed for me. I am beyond exhausted and have a whole day of appointments tomorrow, quite literally. And when I say literally, I actually mean literally, not figuratively (such a pet peeve over here!!!). Yup, I have appointments from 11am to 5:30 pm. And they're about an hour away, or maybe a little less depending on traffic, so.... Yeah. Quite the day.  =/

Well, good night all! Wishing you all a great night's rest! =)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How to Sign Up to Follow My Blog so You Can Enter to Win a Free Framed Painting. Plus, "Monsieur Squirrel" - An Animal Painting

"Monsieur Squirrel"     5" x 7"     Acrylic on Canvas Board

So today marks the end of the first week of the 30 in 30 challenge! YAY! I'm a quarter of the way done already! Woot-woot!!! =0)

Gee, can ya tell I'm a little excited over here? It just feels so good getting something accomplished right now, when my days consist of getting so little done due to pain. So, I had my acupuncture appointment today, and boy, was it ever relaxing! The acupuncturist was awesome, and had one of the most beautiful, unique faces I have ever seen. He was a sweet man too, and had that look of having aged gracefully because he's just always so kind about him. You know the type. I actually asked him if maybe next time I could bring my camera and paint a portrait of him, he captivated me so. Surprisingly, he said yes! Hooray! I'm so excited to be able to do this, you have no idea.

So like I said earlier, the appointment went great and was super relaxing, but we've been extra stressed around here as our horrible little "vacation" complete with crippling pain, awful colds passed from one of us to the next and then back again, a death in the family, and not nearly enough improvement on my end with my pain came to an end and we realized this just isn't working. We have to figure something out NOW before Tyler loses his job over this because of how much he has to take care of me and the kids. It's a bit depressing over here.

So, given that, I really didn't get the time to paint today, nor am I really in the mood to, but a commitment is a commitment and so instead of doing a complete painting, I finished up the last little details of the painting I painted a long while back, and then refurbished recently to give to Kelsey as a gift for Christmas. She always loved this painting from the start, even when it wasn't very good, and a part of me always wanted to make it better and give it to her. I'm so glad I did! She was so happy it was awesome! And boy does it look so much better than it did before! We're just gonna say this counts, right? After all, I did technically "complete" this painting today, so huzzah! Okay, okay, I'll stop. Anyways, it's well past my bedtime and my body is aching like crazy so I really must go and pretend to fall asleep, and I'll just have to see you all tomorrow. =)

Oh, and just a note before I go, I noticed some of my friends were having a hard time following my blog and I wanted to give a better explanation of how to do so here. I may have to come back to this again in a week or so if it doesn't work, but here's how you do it. On the right sidebar of my blog (which I believe you can only see from a computer, and not from a phone, though I may be wrong), anyways on the right side as you scroll down you will see in all caps "MY FOLLOWERS - YOU CAN BE ONE TOO!" And under that there is a blue button that says "Join this Site." CLICK on that and follow the instructions. It should be pretty easy, though you may have to sign up for a google account, but I love mine and it's how I follow all my favorite blogs, so in my opinion it's totally worth it! Plus it's free and it's no different than yahoo or any of those other ones out there. And once you've signed up your name (and possibly your picture) will show up in a little square box under the words "Members," and this is how you will know you've done it right. If you don't see your name or picture under the "Members" Title, then you'll need to try again or let me know. I really hope I explained that well, but if not, just comment on my post and I try to work with you from there. Hope you're having a great day! =)

Monday, January 7, 2013

"All That Glimmers..." - An Abstract Painting

"All That Glimmers..."     5" x 7"      Acrylic on Museum Quality Claybord
So I got to try out a new surface medium today, Ampersand Museum Series Claybord Panels, and I just loved it! I noticed that the first coats were sucked right up into it, which makes sense as they claim the product to be very absorbent. So next time I have a go at it I might give it a good amount of love from my gesso, so as not to waste so much paint. But I really, REALLY love just how smooth it is to work on, and can't wait to try a quite detailed, realistic or whimsical painting on it to see how it holds up for that. But so far, I am quite impressed!

Thank you so, SOOOO much Uncle Dave for your AMAZINGLY generous present! I am loving it more and more each day and I can't wait to call you to tell you all about it in person. Love you Uncle Dave!

And as for the rest of you, don't forget to sign up to follow my blog so that you too can enter to win any one of my available paintings from my 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge, Framed and shipped for free!!! It's quite the deal if you ask me! =) Have a very blessed day and wish me luck - I have an acupuncture appointment later today (my very 1st ever) and although I couldn't possibly be more excited than I am to do it, I'm also a little scared. So yeah, that should be fun! I'll let you all know how it went tomorrow! Have a great day!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

My Very 1st CONTEST on the Blog Ever!!! Plus, "The Scenic Route" - A Landscape Painting

Happy Sunday Everyone! I can't believe I'm already on Day 5 of this 30 in 30 Challenge, and I'm loving every minute of it. I've been dying to get the chance to focus on my art more, and at nights it helps me feel less lazy to actually be doing something rather than just wasting away in front of the TV (though I do love to do that too, don't get me wrong!). Today's painting is also my first submission for the year for "The Virtual Paintout."January's location was The Isle of Man, a little known island nestled between The United Kingdom and Ireland. It's quite a beautiful destination, and I've absolutely loved "driving" down the old fashioned country roads, complete with moo-cows and flocks of sheep, as well as beautiful coastal scenery like what you see below. I think I am going to do more than one submission for this particular location this month, since we're allowed to do up to three and I really am intrigued by this beautiful island. Boy, Google maps sure has revolutionized how I'm going to start planning a vacation! It's pretty awesome when you can visit a place street by street to really get a true feel for it in every day life, not just the manufactured Hollywood feel that I feel Hollywood square has. It's just so different in real life, and Google maps seems to be so "real life" to me. Anyways, I'm having a blast and totally recommend trying this out even if you aren't a painter. If you are, it's a blast because it lies somewhere comfortably between plein air and studio painting, and it's just downright fabulous. And if you're not an artist, why not try traveling to a country you've always wanted to visit, but have never had the opportunity to do. Seriously, you could totally have a virtual "date" in Paris with yourself or a loved one, just by sitting on your couch with a cup of steaming cocoa or espresso or whatever floats your boat, and then taking a leisurely virtual stroll down the lane. Sounds amazing to me, even if it is a tad nerdy. Whatever, I'm just gonna have to embrace my nerd on this one and let it fly!!! Happy travels to you! =)

"The Scenic Route"     4" x 5"     Acrylic on Canvas Panel

AND NOW TO THE GOOD PART: The other day I won an AMAZING (and I mean REALLY amazing!) prize on Leslie Saeta's blog during what she calls "The Twelve Days of Christmas: Twelve days of giveaways for all of my friends." What I won was what is called a webinARTS class that teaches people how to better market their art and was valued at a whopping $179 (WHAT-WHAT!!!). I was so ridiculously excited at the time that I freaked out and refused to believe it until my husband could confirm that it really was MY name on her blog under winner. CRAZINESS! And it was then that I realized that I really wanted my blog to be one of those where people are excited to check back in every once in awhile, because you never know what you may find or even win! And so, in the spirit of giving, I have decided that rather than do a 12 day giveaway like Leslie, which just isn't possible for little ole' fibromyalgic me, that I will do a year long giveaway instead, where there is a new contest and a new prize every month, because man, how fun is that!?!  This month's will be my very first giveaway contest EVER on my blog, and I couldn't be more excited!!!

And you know what? It's super ridiculously easy to enter!!!  All you have to do to enter is simply sign up to follow my blog! HOW MUCH EASIER CAN IT GET!?! So cool! If you're already following, don't worry, you'll be automatically entered to win!

But first off... What, do you ask, will be given away this month? Well, the answer is... (drum-roll please...)

Your choice of ANY ONE of my available paintings from the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge FRAMED or on a MINI EASEL and mailed directly to your doorstep, free of charge! How awesome is that!?!

So, what defines an available painting, you may be asking to yourself? Well, that's anything that I've painted during the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge that has not previously been sold or given away as a gift. And like I said before, what makes it even better is that it will be framed for you and sent to you free of charge! How cool is that!?! Entry for this contest lasts from today up through Jan. 31, 2013, but you'll want to start following me as soon as possible so you can stay up on what new paintings may be available for you if you win when this month is over. Also, when the time comes at the end of this challenge when the 30 paintings are complete, I will create a post with all the available paintings in it to choose from and whom the winner is.

So go sign up now and GOOD LUCK to you - perhaps a genuine Melissa Adams original could be yours in less than a month! =0)
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