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Doubt Zapped

February 8th, 2016

Doubt Zapped

Doubt can unfocus you in a second. It is insidious. A quick stumble of the psyche and you're done for the day. I speak from experience! Mastering a coping,defensive move against this enemy is an every day challenge, especially while working alone in your studio.
Each of us has our own special moments that trigger this feeling, but we share a common goal of beating this time robber.
When it happens to me, I realize that I skipped an important part of my work day... planning ahead! Not doing this allows the doubt to creep in ...very unbusiness like days then ensue. My focus is lost and instead of painting or doing the things that propel my work forward..the distraction of housework, yard work or errands take over beyond their importance. It is not that these thing don't need attention ..but they are not my business.
Now, I'm not highly organized but I do have a pattern of habits that has seen me through the worst of these moments.
Before ending my day, I leave the start of a new piece of work on my desk...even if it is simply a quick sketch or wash of color. This gives me a quick start for a creative day .
An article to read as I have my coffee encourages my continued knowledge. My learning curve has a slow but steady base.
I choose a deadline for ...something, anything art related. I can end my day feeling that I've accomplished a goal.
I listen to a podcast,view a demonstration video,read a blog by an artist or about art marketing. We encourage each other this way.
I work S.M.A.R.T. ...specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

Lol! When all this fails ..and it does...I connect with a friend, have a laugh, twitter or FB for (a few minutes..thank you!) and know, not doubt, that tomorrow I will paint again. This is my business! What's yours?

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Daily Rhythm

February 2nd, 2016

Daily Rhythm


My day has a certain flow to it. Habits and patterns have been established over years. I must admit it probably reflects a little OCD also! I don't think about it much until it's not there.
When paints have dried on the palette, a painting that I'm stuck on remains untouched on my easel ... I'll find every reason not to walk into the studio. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter all beckon with feeds that distract me...even a good book. So I find that by simply starting ...scribbling, throwing paint on canvas and playing has always lead me out of my doldrums. When the colors hit the paper or canvas I start to feel better. Just the pure activity of painting, since I was a child, has brought back my joy, and minimized problems real or imagined.
I think perhaps the resurgence of coloring books that now fill adult book store shelves "get " this idea. Color,form,movement ...it is the rhythm of life.
Go doodle... Helen

Return Home

January 9th, 2016

Return Home

Set in the Adirondeck Mountains this scene is typical of the many hiking trails that wind its way through the beauty of this land. The original, acrylic painting is 24"H x 12" W on canvas .

Painting what I know. It's an old adage yet so true. Ingrained in me at a young age,hours spent in the woods following brooks and streams in solitary and joyful play,I return in my adult mind to a time of joy ...again & again.


Beginnings and Endings

January 8th, 2016

Beginnings and Endings

Repainted, framed, almost purchased, unframed, repainted and now...finished!
Such is the life of some paintings.They get placed against a wall for months even turned toward the wall in rejection only to be revisited from time to time because it nags the soul of a painter.The bare bones of the idea has always remained along with the vision and intent, but the painting took many revisions.
I've learned to hashtag my "works in progress" ( #wip) so that my customers realize that changes may yet occur while posting on social media. I must give credit to the outspoken yet gentle critique from one of my collectors for pointing me in the right direction on this one. An early version of this painting attracted her interest. After visiting my studio, not realizing that the work was still undergoing changes, she passed on its purchase, respecting my need to pursue my approach to the work and not compromise for the sake of a sale. I think the extra work was worth it!
SplitRock Falls has been a learning experience in painting as well as marketing.

Small Works...for Big Ideas.

December 22nd, 2015

Small Works...for Big Ideas.

Small Works...for Big Ideas.
How do I express the many sights and awestruck moments that I enjoyed on my trip West ?

I attempted to keep a journal on my trip but quickly discovered that there were only so many ways that I could say "wow!' . Words simply failed to express the wonder of such immense, open land.
I tried some photographs and was more successful, but still felt that the 360 degree vision of clouds in a crisp morning air was lost in the flatness of the shot. I recorded the facts and now as I paint each day I am trying to convey the feelings that were present.
Little by little the images are beginning to appear as I sift through all that I absorbed from walking in this wonderland of mountains, plains and coast, through pines and sage and drought dried riverbeds.
As I prepare to paint larger canvases than I've ever tackled before, I decided to work out the images not only in my sketches but as small paintings.

East to West ..at 80mph

August 25th, 2015

East to West ..at 80mph

Laying out a new palette of colors...the West is so different from what I'm used to in the East. Did I mention the colors in between of the Mid West?
The last 15 days of my life have been driving through out this beautiful country, 7000 miles to and from. Until now most of my life has been along the Eastern Atlantic seacoast. Blues and varied greens, deep tones of purples have been the hues of my life. I reached the Pacific coast. Drought has dried the mighty rivers and turned the green tinged, rocky wilderness to tones of yellowed brown suedes. Silvery /violet sage brush withstand the harsh, unrelenting sun. Smoke from over 200 fires blanketed the ridges. Astonished by the vast grazing pastures and ever-present cornfields interrupted by farms of wind turbines, the images are starting to take form in my first sketches in pen & watercolor...paintings sure to follow.
Will this be my theme for my upcoming Spring show in 2016? Time will tell. Can I connect the dots of my life long painterly East coast experience to the brief exposure to such a stunningly different horizon? I really don't know,but am excited to see what happens next on my canvases. Follow me!

Do I need a bigger studio

July 31st, 2015

Do I need a bigger studio

I have found myself muttering to my canvases lately. Stepping back, tripping over my desk chair, backing into book cases and knocking over my water containers. What had been a comfortable,well lit studio space for my watercolors has become a very uncomfortable and too dark space for my acrylics!
Just as I found out that I could not think watercolor and then paint with acrylics, so it follows my physical surroundings have been slowly changing as I paint in acrylic each day. It was a slow adaptive change, nothing sudden, just a slow incorporation of different tools, timing, lighting and attitude toward my subject matter.
Did I need a bigger space? Increasing the footprint of the room was not possible, using a different
room did not solve the lighting situation. What to do, what to do?
Solution! I rebuilt my old classic drafting table into a full size easel. Used upright now for acrylic canvases rather than flat for watercolors giving me the added foot space. I enlarged the surface area on top and frankensteining a tray from the smaller easel I had in the room which I could now eliminate. The tray can move up & down, with a system of well placed holes and pegs, allowing for larger formats beyond the size of my watercolor papers.Shifting this new easel to face my windows gave me better overall natural lighting, and now my computer no longer has window glare. My library of art books are within easy reach in a simply built book case rather than a pile. From here it was just fitting pieces of the puzzle while eliminating any clutter. Repurposing every day items from milk containers to baskets and furniture I already had gave me a whole new studio @ $ 0.00 cost.
I took a fresh look at how I function in the room and what was it's central function...painting on an easel. I made everything else support that main goal....I even got this blog written!
Enjoy your day ...painting......Helen

Packing Up and Westward Ho

July 27th, 2015

Packing Up and Westward Ho

I'm about to drive across the country. Half excited, half dreading the long journey, I'm making decisions of what art supplies to pack. Really, you'd think this would be a simple task...just bring everything! Of course, I envision stopping roadside to capture every new plant life, river & mountain.
I will be resting along the highways & byways to picnic in a bucolic setting watching the sunsets as I go west, painting en plain air.....ahhhhno.
Recently I returned from one trip to New Hampshire & Maine and another from the Adirondacks of New York. I am more fully aware and at ease with the methods and habits of my day as an artist that have worked for me over the years. Always changing as I've added new skills, I've also learned to be kind to myself and not beat myself up when that gorgeous sunrise was not captured, brush in hand at that moment right there on the spot or sketched in newly purchased journals.
You see, I was present, but I had a nice hot cup of coffee in hand and felt the chill in the fresh mountain pine scented air. I watched the sun peaking through the trees and sparkling on the water. I absorbed my colors and my hand would sometimes trace in the air the movement of the trees in the breeze. I silently watched ...the birds flying through the mists, the gentle ripples of landings on the water that made the reeds sway......and then I painted, after arriving home, in my studio.
From these moments observed, felt, ingested, my painting has evolved. Fascinated by textures on the surface of my canvases the rock that I saw is now collaged in 3D on my canvas. The waterfalls cascade in abstract shapes. I am true to my vision, my painting.
I'll bring my sketchbook, make some notes, splash some paint ......maybe they will get used. I know with all certainty that the paintings I do in the near future will be the rocks I climbed and skittered down. The trees that shade me (and I sneakily climb) will appear in textured surfaces of paint. Observed, inhaled, skinned knees and all, the West will become a part of this Eastern artist's vocabulary because I lived it ...not just recorded it.