Real Estate

...is exhausting. It's been a WEEK and it's only Wednesday. I'm tired and uncaffeinated and have been deep cleaning my house for the last five days. It's taken so long because we're down to the last difficult boxes to unpack, I think. You know, those boxes full of random papers and junk that seemed really important once but now that you've moved it across the country you think, "why did I keep this garbage?"

We're also trying to clean out our guest bedroom until it's bare bones because my mom will probably be moving in with us soon until she finds her next house. That part isn't so bad, since we don't keep much in there, but we were using the closet for linens so those all had to get "rehomed" somewhere else in the house.

It just seems like we're down to the last few boxes, then three more show up somewhere. I'm so tired of it, and I've probably thrown away more stuff this week than I ever have in my life combined. Eventually I'm going to get everything unpacked and the whole house deep-cleaned, or I'm going to rent a dumpster and become a minimalist so I can just paint all the time.

That doesn't sound so bad...

Kickstarter Round-Up Vol. 1

Something I've wanted to start doing for a long time is a periodic feature of Kickstarter projects by my friends and friends-of-friends. I can't always support my friends' Kickstarter projects with money, but so many of my friends are incredibly talented and I want to support them by featuring their creations at the very least.

First up...

Meredith Dillman's 2018 Calendar

I've known Meredith for uhm.... a really long time! Her watercolor art is sweet and playful and perfect for anyone that needs something to brighten up a space. You can snag one of Meredith's calendars for as little as $17!

Visit Meredith's Kickstarter by clicking HERE

Scurry: The Drowned Forest by Mac Smith

I actually don't know Mac personally, so this is a friend-of-a-friend's Kickstarter project, but how awesome does this look?!? I think I may have to ask "Santa" to back this for me. If you're an adult and you loved Redwall as a kid, you might be interested in Scurry, the tale of a colony of mice living in a post-apocalyptic world. This is a self-published comic book project that has gone way over the goal already. And this is actually book 2, but you can get both books in softcover format for $35.

Visit Mac's Kickstarter by clicking HERE

Erica Lyn Schmidt's 2017 Art Book

Erica's bird paintings are a delight for any bird-nerd. Her Kickstarter project is for a 6"x9" art book featuring her artwork and it also looks as though there are some interesting art tips and a feature of some other Bird Whisperer project artists. You can get a copy of Erica's book for $25!

Visit Erica's Kickstarter by clicking HERE

That's it for this week's (month's?) Kickstarter Round-Up! Do you have a Kickstarter project you'd like me to take a look at? I can't promise I will feature every Kickstarter project I'm shown, but if I think it's interesting it might end up here. Submit your Kickstarter below!

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Priorities

I really miss blogging. At various points I've managed to make it a daily or nearly-daily habit, but the last couple of years have just been too crazy. I feel like things are finally starting to settle down, but then I suppose they're not really.

  • We just had hurricane Irma, and we're fine. It was a tropical storm by the time it made its way up here, and it was hardly windy at all where I live, just rainy. But we did have to spend a little time doing things like bringing our deck plants inside, bringing in loose or lightweight objects, etc. It wasn't too bad, and now that we've done that I don't know if we'll bother to put that stuff back outside. It seems like summer is almost over here anyway.
  • My grandparents are selling their house, and might actually be signing the papers as I type this out. They still live in Washington but have bought a house literally five minutes away from my house. In a few days they will be here and will have to stay with us for a little while until they take possession of their new home.
  • My mom is also selling her house and by the end of the month I have to be in Utah to help her move. She is also moving here, and will be staying with us until she finds a new home and a job.

In the midst of all of this, there have been hurricanes here, and wildfires in Washington. My grandparents had to evacuate the house they're selling and there were a few days where we weren't sure they could sell it because it was uninsurable with the wildfire so close to it. That seems to be resolved and the wildfire is partially contained now, so hopefully we are done with that and in a couple of days they'll be on the road towards my house.

It's been a bit of a roller coaster lately. But I've been painting all along it, and working on revamping the website. It's a lot easier to "juggle" so much now that my son is older and goes to school.

Over the weekend I started a couple new pieces. I've been priming panels and working on an underpainting. I'm trying a sort of hybrid of underpainting and grisaille, using burnt umber, white, and black fast matte alkyds from Gamblin. I'm trying to shorten the time a little bit by working the grisaille into the underpainting while the underpainting is still wet. It feels like it's slow, but I'll do one more layer on the grisaille to adjust lighting, let it dry, and then begin colors and final details. So it might not be so slow after all.

I'll try to blog more often, at least until I have to go to Utah!

Swamp Rose

It's been a long summer, it seems. School gets out very early hear and goes back even earlier. I've been neglecting the blog while I've been busy painting and trying to keep a six-year-old entertained. He's already in his second week of first grade now! And with more time to blog, a little more peace and quiet for concentrating, and liberal application of coffee, I may just find more time to blog on a regular basis.

I sketched this painting in the spring time, before school got out, I think. I hate to admit my sketchbook has been sadly neglected since then as I've been in a scramble to get paintings ready for Dragon*Con. The finish line is in sight and I'm looking forward to spending a lot of time sketching this fall.

I think this piece is finished now, but I have to wait for my signature to dry. Once I have all of the oil paintings for Dragon*Con finished, I'll photograph them all at once, probably. It's easier to set everything up one time, since it requires easels, tripods, and special lighting.

In the next couple of days, I will be putting up pre-orders for limited edition prints. They are finally coming back! "Swamp Rose" will be among them, along with most of my new work and some older pieces that were never released as limited edition prints before I moved from Montana to Georgia. I have a little bit more work to do to prepare for the pre-orders, then I'll be ready.

Hands of Toil

"If you give people that painting, they're probably going to think you're weird." - My son, Wolfgang, age 6

Well, I have bad news kid; I am weird. "Hands of Toil" was done in oils on canvas, and measures 6.5"x10". I'm going to have my husband cut a board to mount it to, so she won't be available for sale for a little while yet (unless you don't mind waiting). Earlier this year I painted "Toil" in watercolors and I wanted to take a crack at painting the same thing, but more stylistically polished than the watercolor version, and in oils.

The first piece was more impressionistic, and the colors were a synesthetic choice. I initially started out copying those colors for the oil version, before I realized I wanted it to be a more somber piece, and toned it down.

Yes, it is a weird piece. Her hands are bloody, and that may be a startling contrast against the pink flowers and white feathers also present in the painting, at least for a six-year-old. But the piece is about being an artist, and the hard work that goes into creating what pretty much amounts to expensive and delicate pieces of paper. The title is inspired by the poem of the same name by James Russell Lowell -

No man is born into the world whose work
Is not born with him;
There is always work,
And tools to work withal,
For those who will;
And blessed are the calloused hands of toil.
— "Hands of Toil" by James Russell Lowell

These days I am doggedly preparing for Dragon*Con. I won't have a table this year, but my art will be hanging up in the show and in the print shop. I have a lot of work to do to get prints ready in time, and a few paintings to finish in about 1.5 months. It's nice to be back to work regularly, though. Sitting around, thinking about working, is not good for anyone. The new studio space is finally coming together in some form of organization, and now that I have almost all of my tools and supplies in my easy reach, work is flying out as fast as my little hands can move the brushes.