Big Mountains on Small Canvas

My favorite way to remember a trip is to paint it. My favorite way to get over painter’s block is to do small paintings. Luckily this past year I took a lot of really great, beautiful trips so I had plenty of inspiration for when I wanted to do something small. Unfortunately, now my problem is that I want to move to the PNW (and I’m also running out of wall space). But these are good problems to have.

Crested Butte

I love Crested Butte. Not only do I always have the best times there (birthday weekend snowboard trips with amazing people) but the scenery is top notch. It’s hard not to be inspired to paint these mountains. The beauty and the memories make Crested Butte one of my favorite subjects to paint.

Crested Butte

Crested Butte in January. Acrylic on Canvas. 24×36. 2017

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Crested Butte in Color. 8×10 acrylic on canvas

Flatirons Practice

flatirons practice Sept 17, 2017

Trying to paint the most iconic view in Boulder requires practice and a lot of it. With that said, I’m pretty happy with how things are coming along.

Once I get back into the artisan fair rotation and begin to focus on my business more, I hope to offer my watercolors (mountains, flatirons, skylines, etc) as cards for sale.

WA in August 2017

WA in August 2017 Series

This August I finally made it to the PNW and fell in love with Washington State and the national parks they have there. Unfortunately, during my visit the the British Columbia wildfires were going on so the sky was constantly filled with smoke and hid the mountains in haze. I still had amazing views since the North Cascades and Mount Rainier are simply breathtaking, but this presented a new challenge when trying to paint from the photographs I took. Everything had to have more muted colors and softer lines with essentially zero visible details. This required me to focus more on the movement of the brush strokes and use of color than in trying to capture finite details (which is always great/hard practice for my perfectionist brain). Luckily, using small canvases makes that challenge a bit easier.

Engagement Paintings

People are really into engagement photos and capturing the moment the proposal happens. Typically in Colorado, that’s done in a beautiful place. By random chance, a friend’s friends got engaged at Dream Lake the same day I completed a 4×5 painting of that location. My friend immediately contacted me about buying it as a gift for them. This sparked a little idea of doing engagement paintings (at least as gifts for friends). A few days later that same friend contacted me about commissioning a painting of her engagement as a gift for her fiance. It was then I started to think that this could be a really cool market to dip my toes into: Engagement Paintings.

Colorado is full of so many picturesque spots that having an original painting of where you got engaged or tied the knot is a cool really unique way to memorialize it.

The painting I ended up doing was surprisingly way harder than I had originally anticipated, but I’m (and more importantly “the client” is) pretty happy with the finished product.

Engagement

Trying Something New

Acrylics have always been my strong suit. However, my style requires a lot of time and patience and recently I’ve had little of both. So in order to  make me feel productive and challenge myself, I’ve picked up watercolors. Turns out, nice quality liquid watercolors are WAY more fun to use than the little crayola disk watercolors we got as elementary students.

I’m excited to see the progress I’ve made in such a small amount of time and how drastically different my watercolor technique is compared to my acrylics.

I also realized that making cards with watercolors is way more fun than trying to buy one from the store.

Sam’s Aspens

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Sam’s Aspens. 2017. 48×36

My friend (and former roomie), Sam, bought a condo a couple months ago and asked me to help fill her walls– which I obviously said “yes!” The first spot to fill was, of course, above the fireplace. She gave me a target canvas size, color preferences, and “aspens” and the rest was up to me. It was really great to work on my largest piece to date and it was my first piece to paint entirely without photo references. It may have taken me a long time (at least 39 hours) but I’m really glad with how it turned out.

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picture for size reference

What’s next?

After the Jackalope Art fair was finished, I got a lot of people asking, “so what’s next?” Good question.  Even though the first show went really well, I’m still really nervous about putting myself out there. It’s a big investment both emotionally and financially. But as I sit here typing this, I have 4 applications for art shows and art residencies in the works. Whether or not I actually send out the applications and their fees is another story.

In addition to potentially participating in summer art fairs, I’m also working on setting up an etsy account to make it easier for people to purchase prints/paintings. Once that account is up and running I will spread the good news.

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2nd day of Jackalope with my biggest cheerleader/booth engineer

Hand Painted Ornaments

In the months leading up the Jackalope Art Fair, I worked on an array of ornaments to sell. Below are samples (not all) of the ornaments that I sold at the fair. Ornaments were a hit since it was the holiday season, they were cheaper price points, and each was hand painted originals.

The Square ornaments were painted canvas superglued to little wooden polaroid-looking frames. I then used holiday washi tape to cover the backs. I think they turned out really well, but probably should have reinforced the tape with superglue as well.

Can’t wait to work on more ornaments for next Christmas!

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2.5×3 canvas ornaments

The wooden round ornaments were directly painted on with a label, year, and signature on the back.

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round wood ornaments

And Now for Something Completely Different

One Friday evening while sharing a pitcher at our local haunt, Elliot shared a photo from his childhood with me. I immediately thought, “I want to paint this!” and made him email it to me that second. It’s not that often that I’m immediately enamored with a photo so much I can’t wait to start painting it– let alone one with not one, but 4 faces!

I avoid painting portraits like the plague. But as we all know, you can’t get better at something if you never work at it.The biggest draw was the clothing. Painting the folds and shadows of clothing is one my favorite things to do and I took this painting as a good exercise/challenge.

After a month of work, I finally had a piece I was pretty proud of.

Four Brothers

“Four Brothers” 2014. Acrylic on canvass 12×16