Pet Portrait Commission

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Just finished up this acrylic-on-wood pet portrait for a friend! I really liked doing this one because it was such a change of pace for me. I’ve never done a lot of pet portraits, but I really enjoyed “Jupiter”….I liked painting his beautiful mane of hair 🙂

I am going to finish up another oracle card tonight; I’ll be staying on track with that project. Can’t wait to start another one…I will definitely be keeping the loose-but-careful style. Honestly, approaching the paintings like that makes me more confident in my technique.

All of the finished oracle cards can be seen via my Patreon page.

Second Card: Genius

Working on my second oracle card, “Genius.” You can see the finished painting of “Lack” on my Patreon page. You can also find sketches of this one there, exclusive to Patreon patrons!

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Going to finish this one up and then finish up an acrylic-on-wood piece I’ve been working on for a commission.

I’m really enjoying working on this particular one, probably because of this loose style and approach I’ve adopted for this project. I feel like I’m being true to my style, but I’m trying to actually concentrate on the process of painting, rather than making sure everything is turning out the way I initially envisioned. I’m not thinking, just painting…and this is helping me get more done.

Seasonal Gardening

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Mena and I have been putting in the winter garden. I love this time of year, even though the days are shorter and the sunlight arcs lower in the sky and everything grows a bit slower. All living things are entering a dormant period, a much needed time of rest. Still, it’s incredibly beautiful here in California, and I am getting some garden surprises.

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I knew I would be harvesting a lot of radishes…so that’s not surprising. The “Easter Egg” variety is beautiful! I will be roasting these for dinner the night my mom flies in from Pennsylvania.

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Collards are still going strong and are so beautiful after light rains. Their leaves hold the water in pools, and the plant looks to be speckled with jewels. The mullein in the background is humongous now! I cannot wait until it grows the long stalk and blooms!

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Here is the surprise: my pattypan and yellow summer squash are still growing and producing fruit! I can’t believe it 🙂

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And the lovely Musque de Provence is positively taking over the lower terrace by the beautiful meandering live oaks. Two more pumpkins on the vine, and I’ll be pureeing like crazy come time they turn that nutty orange color. I am very curious as to how they taste; we’ve never grown this variety before!

Ending with a quote, post-election:

“Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.”

― Wendell Berry

Quiet but Busy

Hello! I haven’t updated my blog as often as I would like, but that’s because I’m having a bit trouble staying focused on one particular project. I tend to get bored easily and switch my attention on a whim, but this time, I would like to concentrate and follow through with a project.

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I am now working on a deck of oracle cards, this being my first image. When I complete 5-7 cards, I will explain meanings and the method behind the deck. I want to focus solely on this project and dedicate myself to watercolors, with a few commissions thrown into the mix.

I am also working on opening up a Patreon account, which is very exciting for me!

Home Sweet Home

Finally finished a commission! It’s been tough finding the time to work on this one; Anthony has been working like crazy and traveling everywhere, Mena has not been consistent in her naps, and we just had a giant ant infestation. I kind of feel back about that last one: it was total genocide in our house this past weekend.

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Going to send this one off in the mail soon!

Now I am ready to start a special project I’ve been pretty stoked about…I’ve done a lot of research for it already and will post the first paintings for it soon.

Doing the Best I Can in the Place Where I Am

“Do the best that you can in the place where you are, and be kind.”

–Scott Nearing

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Whenever I’m browsing around the garden, the daydreams begin…imagining grander scenarios, ones with lots of land far away from cities, growing my own personal paradise from seed and cuttings, keeping hives for honeybees and constructing glorious coops for my colossal flock of chickens, wonderful and absolute solitude…

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…and then I remind myself that I can create something productive and fulfilling on the suburban plot I live on presently–a steep and somewhat arid quarter of an acre, with a range of really sandy soil to straight up clay. To focus on what I have, and work to bring it to its full potential. Heck, we’ve already transformed one step of our terrace from a swathe of cat litter to a fruitful potager!

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Going for walks helps me reconcile my dreams with my realities, provides a clarity of mind and allows for acknowledgment and acceptance of what is. And it fortifies me with the enthusiasm I need to implement my vision. We’re really lucky to have a beautiful park just up the road from our house, and Mena and I went there this morning.

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Isn’t the Callistemon gorgeous? The bees and the hummingbirds love the bottlebrush flowers.

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I think about Scott Nearing’s advice, and think about all those who have lived and breathed those words, who have brought to pass beautiful and marvelous things, one flight of fancy rooted in the earth at a time.

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“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”

–Jawaharlal Nehru

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Look at those gorgeous grim pine trees! I see a painting with them in the near future…

“The value of doing something does not lie in the ease or difficulty, the probability or improbability of its achievement, but in the vision, the plan, the determination and the perseverance, the effort and the struggle which go into the project. Life is enriched by aspiration and effort, rather than by acquisition and accumulation.”

–Helen Nearing

A Time for Every Purpose

Nearly finished with the studio. Anthony has only to put the window trim in (the baseboard is actually in, just not in the pic), and it’s finished! I’ve moved most of my supplies in, including the computer and printer. So excited to have a room of my own, in the words of one of my favorite writers 🙂

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Got a bunch of dirt and some manure to prepare the garden next to the keyhole bed…have to come up with a good name for that one, instead of always referring to it as “the garden next to the keyhole bed.” I love planning a garden…and it’s so satisfying to see it growing in, maturing, becoming what you imagined it to be, and more.

In the veggie garden, summer squash is still chugging along, radishes will soon be harvested, another batch to be seeded now. Mesclun has sprouted, to be picked when young and put into my daily juice!

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Rosemary is blooming and lovely, and the bees are in heaven. Going to take some cuttings. I’m planning on planting a hedge just below the last tier of the terrace and above the live oak, one of blackberry and currant and rosemary. I’m going to do a bit of guerrilla gardening and stop on the side of the road next to a local park where I noticed the blackberries growing wild and take a few snips!

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Looking forward to October and cooler days and nights and keeping busy inside with painting and baking and reading. And going to the parks on off-season when we don’t have to pay for parking! I really do miss truly delineated seasons, especially fall: the sweeping mass of color in all the foliage, the smell of wet leaves and the cold, everything in a golden haze at sunset, when the air is so crisp and clear it makes everything seem hyper-real.

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I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.

–Henry David Thoreau

Finishing Touches

Finished the 5″ x  7″ unicorn painting. I took a few progress pics to show those who are interested my process. Most of the time, I just make things up as I go, stopping periodically to look at the composition and deciding how to continue, which shapes to integrate, coloring and tone, etc.

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I thought I was going to take a more asymmetrical approach with this one, but then I decided to add similar gingko shapes to the other side in order to create an arch.

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After I finished up the background, I needed to distinguish the unicorn a bit more, make it pop. So, I added some black foliage in order to really contrast with the white. I think I’m going to make this a limited edition of 25, hand-embellished with metallic bronze paint, matted to 8″ x 10″. I’m really excited to be painting again!!

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Pumpkins in the garden are getting orange!!

Keeping Sane

“To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

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My husband Anthony has been away for a week, and the girls and I have been spending the days outside. I am excited for fall and have started sprouting the season’s vegetables: cauliflower, cabbage, pak choi, kale, broccoli raab, lettuce, and onions.

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Being out in the garden always gives me great drawing/painting ideas. Way too many to keep up with, actually. But a few have stayed in my mind, waiting to be transmuted onto paper…like Grandpa Ott with his morning glories and foxes wearing gloves and other lovely cottage garden scenes.

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I really hope when my girls are grown that they will garden, too. It is truly an incredible source of happiness. One that also happens to have delicious by-products without all the extra nonsense they usually come with in grocery store form!

More Unicorns and the Fairy Room

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Working on a unicorn painting to get back in the swing of things, do a bit of practice. I haven’t painted in a while, probably because I don’t like looking at the ever-expanding zone of chaos my little art corner has become.

Luckily, my studio is almost finished!! Then, I’ll be able to move all of my art supplies to a special, designated place, which makes me feel a lot more productive.

I’m going to finish this one tonight or tomorrow and then start on a commissioned piece. Hopefully, my fingers and right brain will have been sufficiently reawakened by then.

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And I got some prints for my little girl’s room…they arrived today and look so magical 🙂 I also have a poster of “Midsummer Eve” by Edward Robert Hughes. The two above are by John Bauer and John Atkinson Grimshaw.