Friday, November 30, 2012

Discipleship for the Christian visual artist

My first student for this discipleship experience that I am offering! He is doing a mastercopy of a Peter Max work while our amazing custodial staff looks on. (They are teaching ME Spanish! I am kind of bad it though.)

This year I am trying something new: Private art instruction paired with a discipleship relationship for the young, promising (and hungry) Christian visual artist.

Private instruction you probably know about but are you familiar with discipleship at all? In the Christian faith, it is a very special and highly regarded path that a follower of Christ takes in their journey of walking in faith. (Here is a little bit of detail about it.)

I don't know how many people have ever ventured into the world of visual arts discipleships before but I wouldn't be surprised if I am one of the few, if not the only one. *shrug* I don't say this to toot my own horn or anything but perhaps rather to say the following...
  1. Where was such a thing as this when I was looking for it?!!
  2. Why are there not more distinctively Christian visual artists who do this sort of thing? Because (as mentioned in #1) I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR SOMETHING LIKE THIS FOR SO LONG!!!
  3. Is the reason why this exists only because I am starting it? Does this mean that I am crazy for doing this? (Don't answer that.)
  4. Who in the world do I think I am trying to do something like this? I mean... I have never been in a discipleship myself, how in the world can I possibly think that I am a good candidate to disciple others?

To answer all of my own questions as posed:
  1. There is likely not something like this and hasn't been something like this ever though I don't entirely know why it's like that. I suspect it's because artists tend to be islands unto themselves without hardly trying. 
  2. Distinctively Christian visual artists are hard to come by for a myriad reasons that I might present for discussion based upon my own observations and unique experiences. Distinctively Christian visual art galleries are certainly few and far in between so it's no wonder that it's so hard to find artists to fill them up! 
  3. Yes. I might be the only one starting this. Yes. I might be crazy. However? Well... most of my "craziest" ideas have turned out to be some of the best ever!! (This comes from other people saying so and not just me.)
  4. Uhmmm... I don't really know who I think I am. Honestly? Sometimes I see myself as the most unlikely person to disciple others. I'm certainly no Bible scholar and I only became a devout believer in my mid-late 20s. I have been told that I have very abstract and even uniquely mature understandings of the gospel and though I take that to mean something positive about my walk in faith (so far), I don't know. I guess I always try and sell myself short by not believing enough that whatever I am/know/can do is enough so this situation applies for that as well.
Anyway. All of this is to say that I am wholly investing myself in this process of trying to disciple some young (and willing and eager) student artists who are wanting to learn how to oil paint. (We don't offer oil painting at my school.) As with all that I do during regular school time, I am attempting to use the vehicle of visual art in order to teach them more about the gospel in order to be able to apply it to their own walks in faith in trying to be distinctively Christian visual artists. This doesn't mean that we are only painting things of Christian subject matter though. Rather, my main goal is to help them steer through understanding and using the creative process as colored and framed out by the gospel. My goals are other to teach them how to develop good technique and then refine it so it is of very high quality and they are (in turn) producing beautiful artwork that can then be connected back them them, a visual artist who seeks to glorify the Lord with what they are creating.

Other things I am doing include:
  • Helping them to heed and answer the callings that they feel are being given to them to be creators as they truly believe they have been called to create.
  • Helping them to see and embrace themselves as distinctively Christian visual artists.
  • Showing them that with the Lord's infinite wisdom, intervention, and supremely uplifting inspiration, they can really create things that are both anointed by Him and are astounding to behold - both in its actual creation and when it is viewed in its finished state.
I offered this discipleship opportunity up to a select number of students that are mostly upperclassmen. This is because I was attempting to maintain certain structural elements that other discipleship "programs" (if you will) already have within the school and local church communities and because this is how it's been done and worked and I haven't done this before, why reinvent the wheel? The other thing of doing this with primarily the older students is that it doesn't limit them/me as much since most of them can drive and have greater liberties within their schedules. I also have built relationships enough with a lot of them that they feel comfortable with me already to steer them in the very specific way that this discipleship experience requires.

As things are going, I only have one student who has started (the senior student pictured above who is painting) but I have another student (another senior who is female) will be joining in after choir season finishes its big concerts this weekend. There is a possibility of an alumnae from last year coming in and also giving a go at it in addition to informally shadowing me to figure out if she wants to perhaps go into art education. (I think she would be a GREAT art teacher so I am really praying that she entertains the opportunity for both discipleship and shadowing!)

I will admit to you all that I am intimidated by what I am doing (for all of the questions and answers I have posed already) but I am just as much certain that this is what I am supposed to be doing and this is part of why I retired from my former career as a professional photographer. I'm delighted to report that this path that the Lord is now inspiring, leading, and enabling me to take is an answer to prayers because I have had the thoughts in the not so recent past in the way of, "Well... if I am not a working visual artist in the way photography work the way I have always known myself to be - what am I?!!!"

I know. I know. I am lame and silly at convincing myself I have to BE something specific to be able to identify myself so specifically AND that it has to be something of visual art. What can I say? I am petty like that and my silly little ego cries out for feedings more often than I care to admit.

Whatever and however the case, GOD WILLING - I am DOING THIS.

(I'll let you know how it goes, of course.)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

We are HERE.

Both the 2D & 3D Design classes have been working on long-term projects that took almost twice the time I normally schedule for a project (about 2-3) weeks. I already shared the painting project called "a place of Grace" with you and I will be showing you the Op-Art project that 3D did called "Extra dimensional" once I get the work hung/installed in the student gallery.

In the meanwhile, 2D & 3D Design have both been working on new unit projects!

For 2D, they are working on combining what they have learned from color theory to create and assemble interesting pattern combinations that will eventually be used in a poster picture of an animal in order to show how the design principle of variety works. Each them is allowed to pick out whatever animal(s) that will be focused on for their final piece but their biggest challenge is trying to select, draw, color, and then pull together as many patterns with as much diversity as possible.

So far they are being both challenged and a little bit frustrated because they love working with all of the patterns but they are dealing with either indecision within themselves OR annoyance because they are realizing that maybe they don't have as many patterns as would lend themselves to a completed project of this type. (One of the major standards of the project is that ever space of the whole 11x14 surface needs to be covered in pattern and color!)

 The 3D class is loving their new unit of sculpting in the round. (Well, for the most part. You won't be able to walk underneath of the sculptures so it's not totally in the round, I guess.) They are working with clay in this unit and doing the ever popular clay cartoon bust project! Each of them gets to pick their own subject matter (so long as it isn't offensive either obviously or questionable) and then they take it from 2D plans and drafts to 3D form in clay and eventually they will detail and articulate it with acrylic paint. We are using air-dry Boneware clay and something new that I am both permitting and maybe even requiring this year - they have to make wire armatures to help ensure that their finished pieces will be that much more structurally sound.

I'm honestly kind of excited about the armatures since it draws in wire sculpting (that I would have ended up running out of time for) and also shows them a little more about the whole business of the art of gestural sculpting. As 3D is getting started they are required to get pictures of their sculpture ideas and then draw/sketch AT LEAST a front view and then side view of each idea.

Both of these projects might easily carry us through to the very end of the semester and that makes me kind of sad because I never like saying goodbye to a semester with any of my student artists but I'm also realizing that doing the kind of work I have been/can now do with all of the classes only means that they have come so far and learned so much! That's never a bad thing, right?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Home studio, sweet home studio

I'm happy to report that since converting my daughter's playroom into a family art studio - where I can paint, my daughter can draw, and my husband can sculpt - it's become what some people call their kitchens: the center of our home where everything else revolves around.

Seriously. If you ever have the notion to convert one of the common rooms of your home to a home art studio - DO IT. It is SO worth it!!! It keeps you from isolating yourself when you are creating, invites others to join with you in creating, and it also allows you to be able to create first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

I recently received an early Christmas present from my parents that is a Daylight lamp (you can find the one I have HERE though I didn't pay such a price for it since it was a gift and I also watched the prices to wait for it to drop down around $120 before I steered the efforts to purchase it). Here it is in action the other night when I was doing some late night painting on a newly inspired series...

I initially was not super impressed with the lamp but after using it late at night and trying out the detachable magnifying glass for detail work in the way of impasto, I am slightly more pleased with it. For my purposes, so I can stand while I work, I have found it helpful to place the tiny canvases I am working on on an overturned Artsphere (Originally purchased for a steal because I thought my husband would enjoy it for charcoal and sketch work. I was wrong though. *shrug*) I cover it with wax paper to try and keep it clean because I have a tendency toward being a real mess of a painter.

One of my favorite things to do is to scrape things down - canvases, my glass painting palette. It is so cathartic for me sometimes and I actually sometimes paint with the intention to scrap what I do to help clear my mind of things that are clouding my view of the inspirations I know I am supposed to be spring boarded by.

Other things I do? I like to watch Netflix instant of old reruns of series like My So-Called Life or Felicity. Recently I discovered that Lionel Richie made a cameo on Felicity and I just about choked on the leftover banh mi I was eating!

 One of my new favorite things to do though is to study the works of the old masters. I have pared down my art books to just the ones that are most informative and inspirational to me and one I bought for super clearance at a major bookseller who was going out of business is called ART by Ross King and it is chock full of full-color images AND background information of a huge number of artists and their works of all mediums. I think I got the book for less than $20 and it is one of the best resources for art education and history I have. It's so great that I honestly thing it might be one of those few things I would grab if ever there were a fire and I needed to do so.

I have never done a real series/collection of paintings but I am getting ready to embark on one (definitely) and another one might be in the works. I am feeling really uplifted by the Lord right now and encouraged with what I know He wants me to do even though I am quite intimidated by the fact that He sees fit for me to do such things. Just the same, when I fall short I know He will be there for me to see me through it all. That's the point of it all, y'know? It's not my creation to have anyway. It's His. It's all for HIM.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

More finished pieces of "a place of Grace" landscape painting project

As I previously promised, here are the rest of the student work examples from the landscape painting project "a place of Grace." The original positing discussing the lesson and showing the first round of student work was HERE.

Monday, November 26, 2012

creating art for Him

In the past it's debatable (at least I think so) of whether or not I am a Christian artist. I mean... what does that mean anyway? Does it mean that I create distinctively Christian artwork? OK, then what is distinctively Christian artwork? Perhaps it means that I profess myself to be a Christian and then I, in turn, create artwork and because I professed myself to be Christian in the first place then that automatically makes my artwork distinctively Christian?

I have been thinking about this and discussing it with my fine art department colleagues (at school/work) for quite some time now and none of us have know any of the answers. Something I do know (or at least am figuring out) though, is the fact that while I seek to glorify Christ every day with my life - what I am doing, saying, being motivated by, even how I think and feel - I really have questioned whether or not it all directs people specifically back to Him. 

Years ago when I first discovered my calling to believe in Christ, I also discovered a Christian music artist by the name of Nichole Nordeman. She sings a song called "Legacy" and it talks specifically about what she hopes to leave behind her that tells about her life. (The song is not embedded for playback here because of some youtube restrictions - sorry about that. Click the link above though and you can see it on youtube.) 

The song talks about how she wants to do great and wonderful things in her life that are remembered but what she really wants to do are things that distinctively direct everyone to look to the Lord above as the inspirations, reasons, and purpose of it all. That is pretty much how I feel and want I want for my time spent here CREATING art. I want it all to be for Him, by Him, and pointing to Him. This isn't because I'm trying to "Bible thump" around "draft" people into being Christians before the world is alleged to end or anything. (Seriously.) I do this because of what He has done for me in my life for me to have what I have. 

I know I have alluded to the nature of what I am talking about before but I haven't ever actually really really discussed it in great detail and spelled out some of the intricacies of it all. It's actually not because I don't want to do that it's more because I almost can't. My testimony so hard to explain and it also takes a long LONG time. I think that the Lord is working in me for me to learn how to do this in words but as it is happening, He is showing me and teaching me how I can use my creativity and creation of visual art (in the meanwhile) to explain things best. What it boils down to is this: He took nothing and made it into something. Honestly and truly. 

Before I discovered what is now an unwavering faith in the Lord above, I was doing a whole lot of nothing type things that only begat more nothing type things that only made my life empty as far as the eyes or imagination could see. It's hard for me to even openly acknowledge that here and now and see those words spelling it out as clear as day because I don't want to hurt anyone or anything that was somehow included in all of that that might suggest that they (too) were nothing in my life. (I don't think that's how it works anyway.) What I'm talking about is what I was doing way back then and what I personally had because of it. Even the artwork I was creating in that time was so labored through and (honestly) I don't know that any of it was all that good much less great. It was just... there.  *shrug* Even when people would remark about it, there was nothing all that special or interesting to note of it. That's just how it was. And, for that reason, I questioned myself about whether or not I was worthy enough to even create artwork much less show it to anyone after it was done. 

Things have very much changed since then. I mean, I am about seven years beyond a period of time that was very dark for me so a lot could certainly change for me but even this year? It's going to be ending on perhaps one of the highest notes I have ever known of my whole life. This is despite the fact that this year I have also experienced some of the deepest depths of despair of my life (not talking about art here but personal). Still, I firmly believe that the Lord has delivered me and will keep delivering me because - in the midst of it all - I professed Him as my Lord and savior even when I felt like things were being taken from me. I hailed Him as the sovereign God that He is even when things were happening that I felt like I didn't deserve and definitely didn't understand. I was tested and (I believe) He is affirming to me through my creative inspirations and abilities that I did pretty OK with all of those tests. 

Below is a screenshot of my new website. It's got a new logo and visual branding, it's own very carefully selected custom domain that doesn't include my name, and it is intended to serve as a place where I will openly share the creations of His hand (through mine) for as far and to as many as the worldwide web will allow me to share. 

You can click the image above to access the website
The site is intended to serve as a fine art portfolio for me to show what I am doing for Him. Irony of ironies, I have been working for close to two straight weeks to get a custom domain to work that was and it would not work!!! I even went in through the backend of the site coding and tried to manually code it. (Didn't know I was such a computer geek with such skills? Ha! You have no idea how geeky I am.) Well... none of it worked. But through it all it occurred to me that perhaps it wasn't what the Lord wanted for what I am doing. So just before midnight some time ago, I registered a NEW custom domain that was And lo and behold? It WORKED. It actually worked inside of an hour - which is amazing because if you anything about setting up and establishing websites it can sometimes take as long 48 hours for a website to be fully set-up.

Anyway, you will now find this website in the center of the navigational bar of this site if you want to access it and follow the fine art endeavors the Lord is inspiring and enabling me to create. I will share some of it here (of course) but the finished pieces will reside on the creating for Him portfolio site. Please feel free to bookmark it or link to it! Thank you!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How about a hiatus?

As it happened yesterday, I posted a blog posting that should have been more student work from the Place of Grace painting project but was really my version of the Sharpie mugs that have been all the rage all over the interwebs. By the time I realized my snafu it was too late to take it back and I was throwing my hands up anyway because I realized I let such a thing happen because I am spent.

Today I'm taking a trip to one of my favorite studio art supply stores (not arts and crafts superstores like Michaels and the like - no offense to them but they can leave a lot to be desired for a lot of the times for me). I am doing this as a bit of a rite of passage for one of my senior art students who is embarking on a serious project this year to 1) learn how to oil paint and 2) paint a canvas that is easily five times as big as he is. Quite a bold undertaking, no? Well... God will see it through. I am absolutely sure of that!

Anyway, today and tomorrow and the next day and the weekend are going to serve as a nice break for me that I sort of said I might take last week (or something) but didn't. And because I definitely believe that it's never too late to start doing what you should have always been doing, I am letting you know that I will be seeing you next Monday when school is back in session for me!

See you then! God bless and have a wonderful time giving thanks for all of the things you have to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Give Handmade | DIY Sharpie Mugs

So this is kind of unoriginal of me but that isn't the point. You know those Sharpie mug tutorials that are all over pinterest and the DIY crafting blogs? (Perhaps I am behind the times and they were actually all the rage last year or something. Whatever.) Well, last week I made some of them as gratitude gifts (just in time for Thanksgiving!) for the three gals from work who I call my #bffl (best friends for life, if you didn't know).

Some things about us:

  • We call ourselves many things including the "Multi-culti Crew" but more often "The Unicorn Club" because it seems so girly and middle/high school-ish and silly.
  • We sometimes talk in hashtags to our kids and to each other because it is ridiculous, annoying, and also endlessly entertaining/amusing.
  • We are all so fluent in the language of sarcasm that it might as well be our native tongue at this point. 
  • Last year we used to do this thing on Thursdays (when we all had a planning together) that we called "Thursdates" where we would skip out and go and get ice creams or smoothies or coffees of whatever. The point was simply for us to just get off of campus for a little bit on a day that was almost Friday.
  • We are all so different but at the same time very similar and we have a unique and wonderful bond where we can be somber and (sort of) crying for one another in support as much as we can pray together as much as we can busting our guts and laughing in the next moment. 
I love these ladies like nothing else. I really do. They are such a God-send and I am thankful for their friendship every day!!! And for all of these reasons, last week I made them all some gifts of gratitude where I made some giant Sharpie mugs with personalized designs for each lady. See below...

This was for the original unicorn of the group. On the side of the mug you can't see it says "#unicornstatus"

This was for the original unicorn's little sister. I have mentored this lady in the ways of professional photography and she is an outstanding talent in the way of portrait photography especially! 

This is the mug that actually started it all. I posted the one mug I made for a student on instagram and this lady saw it and showed it to her awesome mom and they laughed for 15 minutes straight and then she told me she had to have one. 

It's hard to tell but these mugs are actually gigantic. I got them all at Michael's and I have been scoping them out for (literally) years. You can't just give a gigantic mug to someone though, y'know? I mean... you can but it can be taken in the wrong way or at least not fully appreciated. For my fellow unicorn ladies though? I knew that they would appreciate them completely AND they would use them!!! It is this reason why I did gigantic mugs and not just standard ones. The point was that they mugs would make a statement and that's why I opted to make them as big as possible. (See below the picture of me holding the one. That's not forced perspective, people. The mug really and truly is that gigantic. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!!!)
See the giant mug in relation to a standard sized one? I tell you what. Gigantic mugs RULE. 
I might only do Sharpie mugs in extra-large/gigantic size from here on out. Seriously. I mean, they are awesome but (also?) I always automatically enlarge things so the larger surface area was a lot easier for me to work on.

So there you go. The Sharpie mug on the gigantic scale. If you are interested in making some for yourself you can pick them up at your local Michael's or other arts and crafts superstore. I would hyperlink them here but I can't find where to buy them online. They were about $10 in the stores though if that helps you at all.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Lesson Idea: A place of Grace | Landscape painting with Water-miscible oils

So... it's been at least a month and if not more than that since I blogged a lesson idea. It has happened like this not because I have been sitting around twiddling my thumbs but much more because I have been doing this lesson for that long and on Friday was the final day of it!!

I have already blogged about the WiPs stage of doing this landscape painting project with my 2D Design class HERE when I shared about the creative processing related to establishing strong and successful visual composition and then HERE when I showed the students applying color (for underpainting purposes) to their sketched (on canvas panel) pieces. This project was intended to be a very long-term type endeavor both because I wanted the students to do well in painting their selected places of grace landscape paintings as much as I wanted the painting process itself to be a place of grace in the midst of their busy school days. I am happy to report that on both accounts there was major success!!! 

By encouraging and supporting their learning processes of painting techniques and manipulating/working with water-mixable oil paints, they ended up learning not only about how to create some incredible examples of great visual composition not just in the structure of the overall elements of the pieces but also by using color relationships and intentional value work to push and pull the painting in the directions that it needed to go. The students worked from photo reference and they were required to go through a number of stages before they got to the point where they were laying paint to canvas panel. 

If you can believe it, the majority of the student work that I will be showing you was done by students who have never painted in this style/type of painting before. I did a lot of 1:1 consulting with each of them every day to ensure that they would move along swiftly as much as confidently and this project endeavors has turned out the greatest amount of successfully created student artwork examples ever for me!!! I am so incredibly proud of these kids. The below is just a small sampling of what I could have shared with you but I will be doing at least one more round of sharing more examples tomorrow so come back and see me then! 

Each piece was painted on a Blick-brand canvas panel that is 11x14 inches and the brand of paint we used was Reeves class pack of water-mixable oil paints. Also, I went through three entire large tubes of Titanium White (purchased separately) that I distributed/rationed carefully to make sure nobody took more than they needed but everyone got exactly what they wanted.

I just LOVED doing this project and I cannot stress how proud I am of my student artists for turnig out the incredible work they did. Many of them discovered what their personal artistic voices look like and a select few will be embarking on developing what they have discovered and refining it in their own (and mine as well) time. (More about this on another day.)

Anyway, like I said, tomorrow I will share another handful of student samples of this project. Hope you enjoyed the above so far!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Painting = Finished. Everything else = just getting started.

I am still working on a name for it or even the series/collective that it will belong to but for now I am going to go ahead and call it "The Seven hour painting" because that is actually how long it took me to paint. While the pictures help you to get a sense of it in its finished state, it's truly amazing in person. 

The inspiration was actually an instagram photo I took some weeks ago. I talked about it in my last posting.

That's right. You heard me. That's a 40x40 canvas done with Gamblin brand oil paints, some liquin and some natural turpenoid, and it took me only seven hours. SEVEN HOURS. I seriously cannot believe it only took me seven hours from start to finish. Unbelievable.

I am as astounded by this fact as much as you might be. (Perhaps I am easily impressed? Or maybe I don't know anything about oil painting and large scale painting and this is completely normal.)

Whatever the case, I think it asserts and affirms the fact that giving my professional photography endeavors the "pink slip" from occupying the part of my life it   has was a very good thing. Or, as I like to think of it, very much a GOD thing. I have never ever been able to paint like this. NEVER. I mean, really? But that's kind of the point. I don't believe I did this.

I firmly believe that it was and is the power of Christ working through me to lay out the colors and values on the canvas the way you see it. I mean seriously? I have "dabbled in painting for probably five years or so but I only just learned how to oil paint this past summer in the five week intensive course I had to take at the local community college in order to satisfy some studio art credits for my Masters of Arts in Teaching program. As far as I would tell you (even now after completing this piece) I am a beginner at this whole business of oil painting.

I am still working on figuring out what the Lord wants me to do with my time and talents but I firmly believe that all of this with this painting is something that is very much a part of what He wants for me and from me. Is this the start of me trying to establish myself as a professional working oil painter? I don't know. I really don't know. I am not that concerned with such a thing either. All I know is that the Lord is truly providing me with the thing that makes me happier than anything in the world. And that is to be able to PAINT and CREATE beautiful things as inspired by Him and His creations.

My little girl is more and more inspired and encouraged to work alongside me on her own easel, see? I love the fact that she is learning to associate the delicious smells of oil paints and the colorful marks on a page with HOME. 

While I have not shared the "gory" details of my personal life from the past year or so, I will tell you that I feel like I have been in some serious rebuilding mode. It's been scary and maddening at times and I will tell you that there have been at least a dozen times when I have wanted to look at God and the trials and paces I know He has put in front of me to be tested by (and to choose Him in spite of) and say, "You know what, God? How about NO."

I haven't done that though. I haven't said no to Him. Rather, I have sought shelter in Him and asked for Him to tell me and show me what He wants from me and then comfort me when I have admitted to Him that it's too much for me to do alone.

As things are right now? I feel like I am in the midst of the part of the gospel that is the re-creation of it all. (The gospel starts out with the Creation and then the Fall happens followed by the Redemption and the Crucifixion and Resurrection and then the Re-creation because of it all.) While I know my life can always veer off course back into the Fall again, I know that just like I have in the most recent months especially, Christ is and will be for me always so that I can be redeemed over and over and over again. Lamentations reminds me of then it's discussed repeatedly throughout His word.

If you'd have asked me a month ago if I would be here having these things - an abandoned professional photography career, a fully-functional and actively producing home art studio, and a FINISHED 40x40 oil painting despite the fact that I haven't painted in months - I would not believed you. But because I believe in a sovereign, abundantly loving and forgiving, and truly provident Lord God Almighty, I can tell you that I (indeed) am here and this all is very much happening.

Amen. Absolutely, positively, and as loudly as I can say it - AMEN.

I removed the the light post at the base of the painting because it was driving me crazy. 
I felt like it destroyed the aesthetics, composition/visual armature of the piece, etc. etc etc. 
Check out the below for what I mean...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I had no idea painting and creation could be like this.

This 40x40 canvas has been hanging around my house waiting to be marked up for quite some time. I haven't had the time to do anything with it though (when I bought it) I had some inspiration for it and even though it was quite some coin to buy it, I knew I was supposed to do it. (I did manage to save some money though with a 40% discount coupon from Michael's and my teacher's discount.) 

When my students came over to my house to have a painting/art party for my one student's 18th birthday celebration, it seemed like a good idea to finally do something with and to this giant blank canvas. My original goal was to paint this instagram snap of the sunrise taken one morning right outside my house weeks ago...

Amazing, no? Instagram is such a guilty pleasure of mine. 

I was debating between the above and another sort of similar picture but my husband convinced me that the above was a much better inspiration to draw from. (The other one I was considering is pictured HERE in this blog posting.)

Anyway, I blocked out my painting with the Portfolio brand oil pastels I love so much and talk so much about...


And then I went in on top of that with an open palette of colors in Gamblin brand oil paints that I bought (also way too long ago and have been sitting waiting for me to open up) paired with Liquin and natural Turpenoid.

I worked on it probably less than three hours when I finally stopped/quit for lunch and I was content enough with it. It wasn't stressing me out at least. I took my students and my daughter to lunch for a VN feast of Pho Tai, Goi Cuon, Ca Kho To, Sung Sa Hat Lua, Banh Mi, and a Vietnamese style birthday cake. We ended up being out and about for most of the day and I didn't get home until right before dinner time. This is where I stopped before the lunch break...

When I came home, I contemplated not working on it but then ended up stepping back into putting more color down because my daughter was happily playing by herself and I wanted to get some more layers of paint built so that I could work wet on wet if I wanted to.  

Then right before my husband arrived home from work, I had a moment where I just thought this to myself...  

"You know what? How about you just let go of your expectations a little bit and do what you are going to do because this is the first time you are back at the easel. The Lord will surely do a mighty work in you and with you and ON THIS PAINTING if you just let yourself loose a little bit. Paint what you feel and how you are inspired and not what you (think) you know. Let both divine inspiration  and the paint itself speak to you and then you do your best to respond with your brush to start a conversation (of sorts) so that your canvas/painting is saying something more than showing something."

And wouldn't you know it as soon as I had the above conversation with myself, I yielded something amazing that you can see a little bit of below. How gracious and provident is God. Man oh man. I had no idea I could or would ever paint like this. I know I am entering an entirely new phase as both a visual artist and a painter. I feel so incredibly blessed.  I have wanted to paint like this for as long as I have known paintings - both just admiring them as much as trying to paint myself.  

Tomorrow, I will share the finished piece with you. Yes. A finished oil painting on a 40x40 canvas was finished in less than a day by me - the painter who (in the past) has taken up to 10 months to finish one piece that is half that size.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

At the home studio with my (from work) art students

Yesterday I told you a little bit about how I decided to take my first day off/day of leisure (in I don't know how long) and invited to of my senior art students to my home studio to celebrate one of their birthdays with a day of painting and then a feast of Vietnamese food. I don't have pictures of the trip to get VN food but here are some pictures of what my students painted! I will share pictures of what I worked on in my next posting.

This student painter is the (now) 18 year old birthday girl and she is actually nationally ranked rock climber in her non-student and non-artist time. Her place of grace is definitely in the mountains and scaling ridiculous rocky terrain so she opted to work on a 16x20 canvas knife painting with acrylics to make an inspired piece of some rocky mountain ranges. She blocked out her painting in Portfolio-brand pastels and then she painted over it all.

She is quite accomplished and gifted in painting even though she is not currently an art student because her advanced placement course schedule does not permit any. She does serve as the school's peer-elected visual arts senior prefect. 

This student artist opted to do two smaller canvases and the one below is the second one she did. She was very inspired by the colors of autumn and her previous small one was in the whole rainbow spectrum. Her plan with her pieces was to take both small pieces home and develop them further into mixed-media works of art using tissue paper and ink on top of the painted layers.
This student is also an advanced art student but her gifting is more in drawing so she is in the year-long intensive drawing course. She is especially good with "zen doodling" and anything that is geometric and graphic. 

Because no occasion can pass (by me) without me giving something handmade. I did an inspired Sharpie-ed mug design (and then baked it) of a design I originally saw on either Pinterest or Etsy. (Can't remember where but this is my way of saying this is not an original design idea.)

The birthday girl and I always joke about how to be a TRUE hipster so she is wearing a disco necklace (a silly costume prop from Party City) and holding the mug so you can see Lionel Richie on the front of her (green) tea mug. Below you can see the back of the mug that reads, "Hello. Is it Tea you're looking for?"

This image collage was made with the iPhone app called PicStitch. (I think)

In tomorrow's posting, I will show you what I worked on while my art students were working on their things.
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