running out of sand

So I've made a bunch of cool stuff lately. I've been playing with different styles and techniques.

wild goose island in the lake there, isn't he cute?

wild goose island in the lake there, isn't he cute?

So I love this painting. I love the colors so much, the clouds I struggled with I need to up my technique for that still also I think I need to learn to use retarder for my acrylics for clouds since it dries so fast I don't get time to think before it dries down. But all in all I love how it turned out. I want to do more like this, it was a lot of fun even if it is more conceptual than my normal stuff. 

this one is hard to photograph

this one is hard to photograph

This bison also is something new I am trying. I have a bunch of old halfworked canvases that I am trying to incorporate into new artworks. I had a lot of fun with this one too. I think I should have made the orange background darker more like burnt orange to make it more like the actual prismatic spring but I still like how it turned out.


Here I just painted over the original and tried again at the same composition. This is what I call a half day painting. That's what the original was as well, a painting you work on for a half a day for fun while watching a movie. Opposed to a normal painting which is worked on in days and several sittings. The original was also a half dayer so it is nice to see even my quick art skills have improved since starting to pursue the "art dream" as they call it. 

So there is a month left of the year. I think I want to make a goal of 4 paintings in this last month. This year has been not the best in general for me but if I am looking at the positive I have made more art this year by at least 3 fold from the previous 2 years. So if art is my positive takeaway from 2017 lets make the last month have even more art to try to balance out 

i want my garmonbozia back

So Twin Peaks... It was all just crazy dream logic and I was wrong, I'm not okay with it! Laura is the one! Why would Coop try to save her [aka not save her] and destroy everything?! I hate alternative realities and un-canonizing the original series. Oh well, I'm just gonna pretend season 3 never happened. Or I'll just pretend Twin Peaks ended with Eddie Vedder's song, cos I flippin' loved that. 

So I finished a painting I have been chipping away at all summer. I am so about it.

the bison I added but the rest is as it was when I was there in June

the bison I added but the rest is as it was when I was there in June

I love it but with the canvas was just a little longer. The bluffs went off so far and vast into the distance. What I remember most about the place was the rocks were so cold. I have a slight... obsession with feeling a place. Well more I really want to lock the place into a memory to store in the vault if that makes any sense, and feeling a place helps ground that. I guess because I am literally touching the ground. It was the edge of dusk where the sun is warm on your face but the air is cool. The breeze carried the pine-coney juniper scent of a million pine trees that filled out the canyon. It was quiet there, like crazy quiet but it wasn't scary like it is when your in your house and its super still it was a calming quiet. That is part of my weird memory "photograph" of the place and helps me get there in my mind and helps me paint it. 

Some of the places I've felt and kept in my memory vault are now gone. A good chunk of Glacier National Park has been lost and continues to burn. My cedar trees I felt and remember are being taken from the ages. While I never got to Sperry Chalet it was always a goal and partially why I started this venture in my life where I decided I was going to pursue art. The goal was to one day be able to be an artist in residence there. Having that goal be destroyed by outside forces does pain me a little bit but I think my drive or goal has become a larger force that can't be taken down so easily. 

Wildfire is also something that costs us many things like 100 year old buildings, the iconic vistas, the natural life of the area but it also allows for re-growth of new life. Glacier had a big fire the year after I was there on the East side of the park that scorched many of my places there. But it now has new life beginning to take the area back from the ashes.

[Photo by Saturated/iStock / Getty Images] Post-Fire Regrowth Near Gorge Trail

[Photo by Saturated/iStock / Getty Images] Post-Fire Regrowth Near Gorge Trail

Waiting on my regrowth here to overshadow the burnt, I feel like wildfire scorched my life some years ago and the regrowth has started but its a slow grow, and I'm impatient. But what else is there to do but keep going at it and wait.  

I think when I paint these places I've locked away in the mind vault, a big part of it is longing and romanticizing these places in my heart. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. I'm okay with it though. When you get to revisit these places via art or in person it is never disappointing or not living up to my memory palace of it. It is almost like the memory palace has improved the impression or feeling these places give me. So maybe that is why I still do landscapes even though I've been told they aren't my forte. [well at least yet they aren't] I want to share that place with people I want to capture that place in a box and be able to go there when I physically can't. 

Another rambly blog, but ramblin' is what I do best. #sorrynotsorry

can we talk about twin peaks for a second?

So this is weird... my dad died about 2 weeks ago. It's really strange times. Half of me for most of my life has been prepared for this moment to come due to his alcoholism and the other half of me is like sad / sorta angry but subdued, like its dulled out in the far distance. It almost feels like it didn't happen sometimes. It is a very weird and awkward space to live in. I just want to watch and talk about Twin Peaks all the time recently so I guess that is how I'm coping. Coping seems like a strong word but Twin Peaks is just my solace right now. 

First off, the finale is tonight people. I CANNOT WAIT. Even if we wrap up nothing and it was all unconnected dream logic I don't even care. 

I am obsessed with the imagery of Twin Peaks. The show has a very weird color pallet of muted and jewel tones. It evokes a natural and ancient kinda of feeling with its sound-work and how vast everything feels with the wide open shots. I just love it. The characters are the best part and they've made me step into fan art.

This is art just for me, not even to display just for me just put it on paper. I don't know why that is even a kind of artwork for me now, it used to be art to sell art to learn, and art to experiment. I had this a little bit with Big Little Lies, where it was like omg they're so gorgeous I just have to put them in my sketchbook, but Twin Peaks bringing it to a new level. I just love drawing them.

candie aka: the best new character of the new season, like I could watch a show just about her

candie aka: the best new character of the new season, like I could watch a show just about her

So Candie wears this amazing just pepto -bismol pink cocktail dress and nylon gloves OMG its just so good like the costume and her totally space cadet personality thing going on, its just so great. I need to start bringing more colors to work because I actually love this sketch but wish it had that intense pink in it.

audrey and coop, so sad they never hooked up

audrey and coop, so sad they never hooked up

I am really into sketching more cartoony stuff at work lately, like I love this. I've also noticed sketching more cartoony helps me loosen up. Mentally and physically well physically as far as art wise. It helps my artwork feel more loose and natural and not overworked? 

laura palmer pin up, since this doesn't already exist somewhere

laura palmer pin up, since this doesn't already exist somewhere

I've been wanting a pin up tattoo on my thigh for a long time, it will probably be a while before I get it done anyways but I am in love with this Laura Palmer pin up. I've always thought of doing a pin up calendar sometime but don't know what kind of market there is for that kind of thing anymore. I also tried my watercolors on this one, I am still pretty new to the media but I love how trees look in watercolor, like fading in the distance. Or if I never get around to getting it tattooed I might hang this one just cos I love it I rescind my past statement about not displaying it, because how cool would it be in my Twin Peaks themed den in my future imaginary house when I decorate it. 

Well there was a weird blog rant about my Twin Peaks fan art this week. #sorrynotsorry 

great faces, great places

For a hot minute I thought I should talk about the art festivals I've done so far this year or the gallery shows I've participated in their have had their ups and downs and take home positives and things I've learned, for me that is the logistical side of business and...logistics bore me! Hence why I haven't blogged since May. So I am just gonna talk about MY process which is A. My inspiration and B. How I make my stuff. Because I'm into it and could talk about it all day.

So I went to South Dakota, ya know that place you went with your family in 2nd grade and you'll probably never go back to until your kids are in 2nd grade. Its a lot cooler than you remember by the way. It is honestly kinda love everything about it, well minus the couple tourist trap aspects but I get it they gotta make that money.

The Badlands are where its at, well ok its tied with Custer State Park, they are equally awesome. The Badlands have the biggest bison I've ever seen, it was like a truck, tons of bighorn sheep, loads of black tail deer. I loved it I just flat out was in heaven.

I love this little guy!

I love this little guy!

and this huge guy, seriously built like a brick house 

and this huge guy, seriously built like a brick house 

I want to like draw and paint every nature moment I had there. Caught some beautiful fish, saw some gorgeous deer and pronghorns, and a billion beautiful sunsets. I utterly loved it. I recently started this landscape of the vista from the needles highway in Custer. You don't really think vastness or mountains really for South Dakota but it really was, the Black Hills are a lot more breathtaking than you think.

so rocks are hard but i love the sunset meeting the far back mountains

so rocks are hard but i love the sunset meeting the far back mountains

I kind of love doing this cartoon-esque landscapes. I don't know if other people like it but I find them so fun and I like the character of it. I want to do some from the badlands too. There was so much color and life at the badlands that really surprised me. 

I also went to northern Minnesota to some mining lakes and want to do a bunch of Minnesota paintings now too. I started by doing a drawing of a Minnesota mermaid with a nice freshwater trout scene.

I freakin' love it

I freakin' love it

So this is probably my best artwork to date. I have only dabbled in colored pencil in the past and this is my first completed colored pencil drawing. I still use copics for blending and "blurring" spots, I have to learn how to blend with mineral spirits still. I have started to try what I call effects, but essentially playing more with reflections and shadows than I normally do. I love the water ripple reflections on them both, I had no reference photo so its not perfect but I think it turned out cool. I think using tan paper helps give it the underwater murky feel. 

I want to make more of these, do a couple of different freshwater mermaids. I am really into fish lately, they are so fun and have so much texture and color that lends good to colored pencil. 

So maybe I will start a more frequent blog schedule and just talk about the things that interest me, probably what a blog is actually intended for. 

i met you in the summer

So last Friday was my first gallery showing. It was a pretty small show and at a city community center art display showcase, but the show was so sweet and really touching. It was in honor of a local artist that passed over a year ago, Anthony Caponi. Tony built an art park that I worked at just after college during my graphics career. When submitting artwork to be considered for the show you were asked to include a short essay about how Caponi influenced you, whether that be through his art, the park, or knowing him in person. I wrote about my time working there and what it meant to me not knowing that if chosen to show that the story would be printed alongside the artwork on display. So seeing my story and everyone else's stories on display was really exposing at first but also very sweet. There was so many touching stories about how one man's art really reached so many people on more than just a visual aesthetics level.

I had a couple guests that came out for the show and that was incredibly sweet of them to come. So a big thank you to them.

here is the showcased piece, matted and framed up

here is the showcased piece, matted and framed up

So next month I am doing my first outdoor show. It not a solely art dedicated show, its a festival that has crafts and food vendors as well but it more art leaning than your regular run of the mill arts & crafts fair. It is a 2 day festival called Night Market which surprise takes place at night. It seems really fun and I am excited about it. I do have a pinch of nerves/fear of not selling anything but I am hopeful that I can gain some audience and reach more people. 

I've been trying to fit in art more often because I can see improvement the more often I work at it, which duh but seeing actual improvement is a real motivator. 

I really love doing the women and wildlife/nature drawings. I find them super fun to make and relaxing I love how they look. Now, whether or not they are something that appeals to people remains to be unseen. 

I just love drawing cartoony fish, THEY ARE SO FUN

I just love drawing cartoony fish, THEY ARE SO FUN

Fish are incredibly fun to draw. I am so into doing almost cartoon-like animals and women. I can see areas I need to tighten up, but I for sure don't want to head towards realism. I like graphic look to art. Big bold lines and colors, like I wish drawing tattoo flash was an art path I could take. 

I have been playing around with the idea of making travel artwork. I obviously already have a heavy North American landscape and wildlife influence but taking the work and marketing it as travel art. I don't know I need to formulate the idea a little further. I want to make some of my landscapes into postcards. We'll see how it turns out.

I am also excited to try more oil paintings. I finished 2 last month and they were fun and challenging but I really liked working in the medium. It makes you slow down, which is a good thing. 

my little salmon guy

my little salmon guy

colorado scene

colorado scene

Now the first painting I will say plays more to oil's strengths, the landscape I think I tried to approach it like I do acrylics and that's why it isn't as new feeling. With oils it feels like you have to think bigger picture than you do with acrylics. With acrylics I can lay one layer down in the background and work my way forward and its almost like you have to work opposite in oils. Which can lead to cool things like the sunset for the salmon. 

I need to play around with it more, I am always too worried about wasting or ruining a painting but I really need to be okay with making mistakes to learn so I can improve my skillset. Which duh, but it's one of those things you know it but until you do it you don't really KNOW it. 

i can has artz?

I think my first post on my website was exactly a year ago. So I've been arting it up for a year officially. Real talk, I am feeling kinda like a bummer. 

I feel like all I do is bitch and moan on this blog "I wish I had more time for art" "I wish my job was art" "the art community is so up its ass" "how do I find an audience?" and its all sour grapes. I acknowledge this. I am complaining about things I can't change which is just... useless.

But its also frustrating because I legit feel these are the things holding me back. I know I have a chip on my shoulder, I just don't know what to do about it. I want to be positive but honestly it is hard when it comes to getting my work out there. It feels like beyond just the standard hurdles of creating an audience and finding your nische, there have been additional intentional hurdles placed [mostly financial] to weed out up and coming artists of a certain economic background. 

Its hard not to take it personally. I for the life of me do not know how artists who don't come from money start from the bottom up. It feels as if things are set up to help established artists further establish themselves. I don't know what the stepping stone is between no audience/no establishment/no expendable cash to having a client base large enough to be able to afford to appear in art fairs, and it bums me out.

OK, venting complete, I feel better.

So positive stuff. I am so into drawing currently. It makes me happy and I am more apt to work on an illustration after work because its 1000% less set up, I can just dive in. I know a lot of my illustrations are made pretty much just for me, like beyond me there is probably no market for them but I'm not mad about that because I just like making them so much. 

like how gorgeous is this, I am in love

like how gorgeous is this, I am in love

I figured if I am doing American landscapes, I should include some native american women, this is based off a photo of a shoshone woman

I figured if I am doing American landscapes, I should include some native american women, this is based off a photo of a shoshone woman

my beautiful Celeste in that moment you felt her heart sink into her stomach, I try not to post the fan art I make onto my professional site but she was toooo pretty, big little lies so good

my beautiful Celeste in that moment you felt her heart sink into her stomach, I try not to post the fan art I make onto my professional site but she was toooo pretty, big little lies so good

I love them. I love my women. I could draw them forever. I have collected a bunch of reference photos and want to branch out in body types and races and what not. Mix it up more. 

I am also still working on landscapes and wildlife because I love them too. I love mountains and animals so much I can't even. 

so far improved from my zion painting from this time last year, so thats a plus

so far improved from my zion painting from this time last year, so thats a plus

some dog portraits I did for a friend's sister, the dog on the right was challenging with such short fur and all one tone but I am happy with how they came out

some dog portraits I did for a friend's sister, the dog on the right was challenging with such short fur and all one tone but I am happy with how they came out

Sometimes I feel as far as art that all my positivity goes into the artwork and all I have left is sour grapes to promote the work. When I think about drawing or painting my work I feel calm, happy, peaceful, when you ask me about selling/marketing my reaction is blechhhh and anxiety. 

So despite all my bitching I did enter in a couple of art shows, and god if they read this blog I am sure my applications will end up in the bin but hey I am being honest. I am not about to drink the koolaid. I need to get out there and meet my market/create a market and I need to learn how to not be such a bummer about promoting my artwork.  

oops its feb

Long time no writey. Well I decided this year I want to make a lot more art, and considering its only February I think I have a considerable amount of new artwork made in the last month. 

I've started making some mixed media illustration drawings of naturescapes and faces of women. I am super into it and I know it is totally artwork just for me and no one else probably is even into it but I am loving them and they are so fun to make. I missed drawing people, I have shyed away from it because I also really want to capture nature in my art. So I guess this my atempt of satsifying both desires for my artwork?

fishy is my favey

fishy is my favey

The bottom right drawing was my first, and it turned out a little more "cartoony" looking just because I am getting back into the swing of things drawing people, and even my more realistic portraits still look a little disney, I just don't like hyper-realism I like a little bit of stylistic type look to my stuff. 

This fish is so dope, it looks like a sticker and I am loving it. I for sure want to do a million more woman and fish paintings. Maybe I will do a series of endangered or threatened fish species. This one is a cut-throat trout currently endangered and numbers dwindling fast from Lake Yellowstone; shout out to my cut-throat buds stay strong my friends! 

I think I am going to do at least 2 more of these based on Yellowstone flora and fauna, but I want to do other parks too. I think it would be cool to do this as an illustration series of different national parks. National parks and art are my 2 passions , as you've probably gathered by glancing at my portfolio, so it only makes sense to mush them together.

I have also started trying to sketch daily. I get in at least 1 a day usually. Here are the greatest hits so far. 

dying to do some Finnish goddess stuff too, but again nische market if there ever was one

dying to do some Finnish goddess stuff too, but again nische market if there ever was one

I am super into my animals, they look so cute and disney cartoony. I used to think realism is the goal but now that I have my fundamentals down I am leaning more stylized. Which I am ok with because I love how it looks, whether or not other do or will is another question entirely.

I LOVE the bison. I could draw bison and pretty woman all day long I tell ya. Bison have somehow become my sigil I should really work on making them my logo and ensignia.

I have also experimented in palette knife painting. It is hard. I want to keep practicing but omg it is for the very light of hand, and I am of the heavy handed variety.  

pinky mountains are purrty

pinky mountains are purrty

I want to do some mountain paintings with oversaturated "alpenglow" the pinky snow at sunset, I am obsessed with how it looks and want to do a high contrast pumped up color redention of it. I am working with mediums in my acrylic now to get a thicker consistency to try to paint these mountains with a palette knife; so it is a lot of new stuff at once. 

LOVE the island on this one

LOVE the island on this one

On this one the mountains got a little more pink than I would have liked but again finding the slight of hand balance is hella hard. I love the water and island in this one, but water and silhouetted trees I could paint with my eyes shut, its one of my favorite things to paint. I also really love the cloud, its so fluffy and soft. I think this one is better than my first try but I chose slightly the wrong color for the sky and mountain. I want to play with new colors on scenes but still am finding my color scheme it seems. I'll get there. 

So in conclusion... I'll keep making more stuff I guess. Still haven't figured out how to get it out into the world... idk Ebay? We'll see. 

trial and error

Well we are coming up on the end of the year here; classic reflection time and member berry season. So in looking back on this year these are my observations.

I'll start with the lows. Arts & crafts shows aren't for me. It's not my crowd. I know that galleries aren't my crowd either though. I don't know where my crowd exists. I don't know where to go with my art. I don't know how to sell my art. I have been trying to share and sell my art for going on 5 years but more of a real effort this past year. 

A long time ago I was told that it is selfish to hold onto my art and that is meant to owned by people other than myself. I have hit many walls trying to pursue art as my fulltime career, and my kneejerk reaction to failure is to think "omg, this isn't worth it, obviously it wasn't meant to be, there is no room for my art in the world" That negative funk lingers for a while but always fades away and those words said to me take its place.

it's selfish to hold onto my art, it is meant to be owned by others

I don't know if this is even true. It could have just been nice words to placate me. Yet, I can't shake them. It has become absolute true concrete fact for me somehow. My artwork is meant to be owned by others, it belongs to people, it doesn't belong locked in my storage unit or the shelves of my closet. My art belongs in the world. So knowing that fact means I need to figure out how to do this, and this figuring out how business is the bane of my existence. 

Ok some of the highs. I made more artwork this year than any year prior, and by a lot, at least tripple my normal output for a year. I completed my first ever outdoor mural that was 14ft long, so also my largest artwork to date. I had more requested artwork this year than any year beforehand. I started the year with 10 followers online [all family/friend relations] and as of this morning have 50+ followers online, not thats anything really in the scheme of online but hey 5 times as many as I started out with.

On a more personal note, my family and friends have more supportive than ever this year in my endeavor of pursuing my art career. They are the best part of this journey and I don't know where I would be without them. 

So I will wrap up this member berries blog post with the most recent / probably last finished painting I will do this year. 

turned out more fall like than intended, also a little more bob ross like than intended lol

turned out more fall like than intended, also a little more bob ross like than intended lol

Fall somehow crept into this painting but I am ok with it. Overall I like this painting. I wish I could have captured a little more vastness, this seems a little close feeling for me. The lodgepole pine on the left is meh, only because I had no reference photo for it, I clearly need to go get some more reference photos in person is the answer! *wink* I also would like to work on blending but spoiler alert, that is a goal for next year as I step into the world of... oil painting.

Original oil paintings coming 2017, lets see how awesome or how awful it is.


Well, this past weekend's craft show was a bust but I guess I learned my lesson about knowing your crowd. But hard to know what the crowd is or is gonna be without trying some things. The next show I am doing is crafters / makers only, so maybe the audience will be more open to art. I am really still not into the idea of galleries, maybe I should look into coffee shops but even then, they have become almost gallery like because soooo many artists are looking for their showcase.

I also learned that apparently there is always one lady at a craft show that is going to passive agressively deflate your mojo with a sly ass hatted remark. I feel like I am usually someone to just let things slide but these craft show shady ladies dig deep yo. It put me off my game for a day each time. 

But since I have the best family ever, I feel like I can bounce back from those haters. Seriously I have the most supportive friends and family and am so thankful for them. They are national treasures and I want to build them all vacation homes and make it so they can all retire because they deserve it and they are just so awesome. 

My friend Meredith requested a cardinal in winter painting for her Grandma. I had so much fun making this one.

he's a little grumpy and I love it

he's a little grumpy and I love it

I love how the bird looks and the background, I still struggle with tree branches and bark. I should do some practice pieces of just tree branches, to up my game.

So I love how it turned out, but when comparing it to an older artwork of a cardinal I love it more. 

just wow

just wow

Don't get me wrong I still like the one on the left but not often do you get to see side by side comparison of your skill level. My boyfriend always tells me that my technique has improved and being a woman you assume he is just placated you but I guess I actually have, which is really cool and awesome to see. 

I am in the midst of making a new northern lights painting, people seem to love them, and I had one ordered by my gracious aunt at my last show.

Lets hope new and more art is on the horizon and next year turns out even more art and success. 

on the road again

I am an inspiration/reference material hoarder. There, I said it. I must have a million things I want to make paintings about, yet I still wanna get more ideas. I need to work on the follow through on getting more paintings cranked out. I think that November and Decemeber I am going to have to take a lot of 'me' weekends and get stufft doned.

Next Saturday is my second craft/artisten show atempting to sell my wares. I hope it goes well, I have my hopes up, but not my expectations?? If that is possible. 

I feel stuck between the 2 factions of art. I am not the gallery type, and I am not lowest common denomiator type either. I need to find my niche market, I feel like it is out there I just haven't found a way to connect with them. 

I have at least 2 commisioned paintings on deck for the holiday season, which is good. I mean thats 2 more than any other year. I think honestly I need to make more new stuff. Perhaps that shall be my Thanksgiving goal, paint something everyday during the 4 day break. Less the day of the craft show.

I am kinda pumped to set up my booth again, I feel like it looks hella awesome.

a little crowded but idk I like it

a little crowded but idk I like it

and of course my fly ass vintage table cloth

and of course my fly ass vintage table cloth


Couple things to get out of the way. I decided to roll the dice and do some art/craft fairs. I know they are a gamble and most likely I won't gain any audience or sales, but I gotta get out there somehow. As we know I am not a fan of the gallery scene just because its all concept no substance and its not about engaging with the audience, its more selfish type art, which I think is important but isn't my main focus. I like working with people I like hearing people, I like making artwork for people. So I am betting on my artwork and taking the plunge into arts/craft shows.

If you are so inclined [whoever if anyone is reading this] the shows are:

October 22nd 10am-3pm @ Knights of Columbus KC Hall in Hastings, MN

November 26th 10am -3pm @ Holiday Inn Hotel Conference Center St. Paul NE in Lake Elmo, MN

So I finished my commissioned bear painting.

"Bear Family" 18" X 24" acrylic on canvas

"Bear Family" 18" X 24" acrylic on canvas

I like everything about it, except baby bear's face. That little face caused me more trouble than I care to admit. I am satisfied with how it turned out but wish it was better, my reference photo was so tiny that it didn't give me much help so I did struggle getting his little face in there and looking cute. The mama bear was a breeze, as were the lupins, I really had a fun time painting those. I just love adding flowers to paintings. I actually really like the willow branches, and how the bark turned out. I know I am not hitting it on the nose for photorealism but I am not sure if that is where I want to be heading. 

I also worked on a couple other paintings this weekend. I tried doing some experiment paintings where you just go with it and it usually turns out crap, so I'm still on the fence if it did turn out crap.

Ok I kinda love how this looks and also see the problems. I love the gold on blue, omg I love the gold. I get Klimt's obsession with gold leaf. Gold is fun. I think the elk photo I chose as reference was taken at odd angle so when it is silhouetted his body looks stumpy. I still like it though, real talk, I'm into it, as of now. I am sure I'll look back at this in a week and be like ew junk. 

I also attempted another northern lights painting, because I miss and obsessed with my old one.

I went too dark with the sky and too pastel with the northern lights. It is hard to find that balance yo. My blue's weren't doing it so I added a little black which darkened the sky too much. I think also this is a kind of painting that needs to be large, I keep trying to make it work on a small canvas and it isn't working. I think I need to go big with this and try again.

I have started a new dripping bird piece and am pretty excited to see how it turns out. I am pretty settled on an osprey but I don't know what bird to pick. I also toyed with the idea of doing another animal instead of a bird, but birds have the most fluid motion, that translates to the drips. 

I feel like I am in a better swing of things, now having weekends generally open to work on my artwork. Whether it be actually painting or preparing for art/craft show, or getting reference materials. I am hoping that I am able to keep at it like this and make the transistion to doing this as my main gig instead of my side hustle. 

against the wind

I finally had a legit full weekend of working on canvases. The canvases were fighting back however. 

It is becoming increasingly clear I need to work on making the switch from career to artist; not that you can really call my day job a career but still, it gots to go. I don't hate my day job its neutral to me, I have no feelings about it one way or another however it eats up all my time and sucks the energy out of me. So when I do go in to working on what is currently my weekend craft, I have nothing left in me because weekday job used it all up.

I think my current reachable goal is to be able to go down to part time / 3 days a week. I would like to be able to do that within 6 months if not sooner. However that would mean making $400 $500 a month from artwork sales, which I've never done. So we'll see. [that saying should be my family's crest]

I'm still working on my bear painting comission. I am hoping it leads to more work. I really enjoy comissions because I think I try harder when making something for someone specifically. I really enjoyed doing the mural I recently completed. It is going to sound obvious but working with that much color brought me joy. There is of course doing what you love the actual painting act which is rewarding but being around the color was what I really enjoyed. I liked playing with the colors and I miss being able to "go to work" and be immersed in color. The color gave me life almost.

So long story short I need to quit work and be able to do art, it will be simple right?

Here is the one painting I finished this weekend. I like it but yet I feel like it is missing something. I like playing with silhouettes and color, but I am not sure what I feel is missing. I wanted to capture a dusty old bison in rut running against the wind, the smell of hot summer in the grasslands where the rocks just radiate heat like an oven, and the breeze is even warm and dry against your face, where the badlands just feel so vast and empty. So yeah, that rambling, that's what I wanted to paint. 

14ft of awesome

Mural is finally finished! 

Like my photoshop skills to have the gate on there? It's not actually mounted yet

Like my photoshop skills to have the gate on there? It's not actually mounted yet

It doesn't photgraph well from a distance. In person the details are much more vivid, so I took some closer shots so the "glasswork" can be seen. 

Each pane has beveled glass details and I absolutely love how it turned out. The iris is my favorite detail. I am a sucker for purple. 

Overall it took about 32 hours of work, which seems like a lot but it is a 14ft x 9ft space, so the sheer size is what ate up a lot of the time. 

This has been the largest project I have taken on and I am happy with the result as is the client. I am exctied to move onto my next project [bear painting] and hope that more comissions will follow. 

murals, commissions, life lessons & adventures

Welp, I thought by July I would have a ton of new paintings done that I could post on here but alas nothing new in a while. HOWEVER I have been busy. Which I'll get to in a minute, first going to talk about what I learned the hard way.

MN State Parks is getting their own MN license plate and held a contest recently for artists to render designs that they would use on said plate. I made a painting but had decided it sucked too hard to bother entering and thought there's no way I could have won so why even try. Well life made sure I will always try now. They posted the 3 finalists last week and they... well they... let's just say had I known that kind of quality would be finalists I would have entered in a New York minute. I guess I know now that always try, because you never know. 

So in spirit of try, I am going to do my own artist in residency of sorts in 2 weeks. I will be going to a rural yurt with my friend Anna for a few nights on the Southern Shore of Lake Superior in Upper Michigan. I plan to bring a couple sketch books and hopefully find some inspiration to make some new stuff. I took off 10 days for me to work on new stuff and work on some newly commissioned stuff. 

Recently I was commissioned for my first non-family/friend artwork. I know that sounds like oh wow finally someone who isn't related to you is asking for art big deal, but I don't know, it kind of feels like some sort of step forward? I am making a mother bear and cub portrait for her, with a forest motif. I am actually really excited to start this painting. I think it's going to be a lot of fun. Here is the preliminary sketch. 

wanna do lupins and lots of pines in background

wanna do lupins and lots of pines in background

I also have been commissioned to do a outdoor mural on the brick wall on the back of my aunt's garage. She had told me she wanted to incorporate her garden and ferns but wasn't exactly sure what she wanted. I went with a stained glass motif since she is a stained glass artist herself and I thought it would simplify the large wall space instead of trying to do life like detail on enough flowers to fill a space of 14 feet, and would be something unique to her. This was my original sketch, excuse the highlighter coloring since that was all I had available when I sketch this during an overtime shift. 

I primed the wall then sketched out in marker then went over in thin black paint to create the outline I am filling in with each "pane" of color. I will go over the outline in black again once the panes are finished to give the illusion of lead soldering. 

had to modify the sketch a bit to fit the actual dimensions of the wall

had to modify the sketch a bit to fit the actual dimensions of the wall

I have started to add the color piece by piece and it is proving to be a lot more time-sucky than previously thought. I love how it is looking but I am glad I am starting with the small bits and moving towards the larger colors because I don't know I would have the patience for the small detail after doing the large scale colors.

the border looks a little gryffindor now but once the other colors fill in it will balance out the cool tones

the border looks a little gryffindor now but once the other colors fill in it will balance out the cool tones

I will take more detail photos once more of it is finished. Each pane I have painted in the illusion of stained glass with waves and reflections on the glass. I think it looks pretty cool, and excited to see how it looks when I add more and more colors. 

ain't got no suitcase

So I got the rejection email from the artist in residency program I applied to. Schwang-wang-waaaang...

Honestly I wasn't expecting to be accepted because, keepin' it real, I'm not totally ready, I don't really have a voice yet and my skill is decent but not excellent yet, and I know I need to make a larger cataloug and yada yada yada. The thing is ugggg that takes so much tiiiiime. I would love to do it everyday, but my god, how do people have the spare time to work at it daily or weekly? I honestly only have time to drag out all the art stuff once a month at most. I really think people underestimate how much time and work it takes to hold a fulltime job and work at your passion, when they say stuff like "follow your bliss." 

I also am regrettably a glass half full kind of person deep down. I know I had no chance really for this residency I know I need more development I know there are a lot more people than me that probably deserve it more and are more talented, I know all this but deep down there is a seed of "what if?..." I can't decide if I love my seed of wistful hope or hate it. The thought of "what if?" is motivational and detrimental at the same time. Hope is motivational; rejection can be debilitating. 

Do I feel debilitated by this rejection? No. However, this is my I don't know 1000th something rejection, so they just don't pack a punch quite like they used to. Of course, I mean I am a little disapointed because anytime you put yourself out there and get shot down without any critique or feedback its frustrating because you don't know where you need to focus your efforts to grow. [and a little sad I offically won't be going to Montana anytime this year now]

I think rejection is fundamental for artist growth, or personal growth for that matter. You need to be ripped down raw in order to not only toughen up your skin but to learn what it is to be raw. Raw you is real you, and real you is the you that needs to be the person you are putting out there. [if you can make any sense of that lol] Not only because learning to be your authentic self is important but because when you are always raw rejection starts to hurt less and less. I know a couple artists that were lucky enough to achieve some success right after college and have been working in their medium all of their adult career. This may be some deep seeded jealousy talking but it's my honest opinion that artists [or people] who are granted early success and faced no battles to acheive said success have their work suffer for it. Their work become stagnant and they don't improve upon their skills because they have never been challenged. Now it can be argued they don't need to improve because they have already been granted success, but I think that fights against what it means to be an artist or person.

As Captain Picard said "Inside you is the potential to make yourself better, and that's what it is to be human. To make yourself more than you are."

I also feel like I know that the rejections I've faced are leading up to my destined... non-rejection?... Or acceptance, as I've heard its rumored to be called. I know that I will definitely appreciate my non-rejection more now than I would have say 6 years ago. It will a gift when it happens and not a given. 

ask and you shall receive

Not that I directly asked, but I recently had a little diatribe about my disatisfaction of art education and availability of truth and helpful information for artists. Low and behold, while youtube searching for ''artist success" I came across a video series made last year about just that.

So this guy, Tim Packer, stepped up to the plate and made some videos giving aspiring artists some real concrete advice and tips of the trade. He makes incredible artwork, his stuff is super unique and beautiful, and he has an amazing Canadian accent. [makes me long for the day MN is adopted by its true parent Canada] 

He is an established sucessful arist and he is sharing what he has learned and putting it out there in a non-condescending, totally accesible way. He's not just talking about the personal/mental side of what it takes, he's doing videos about acutal art composition. 

I also like that he doesn't stress any particular style and sends the message that there is room for any style of artwork in the art community, as long as you put in the work. Which is refreshing to hear. 

Check him out at:  

dunraven pass... I think

During this painting specifically I've learned I struggle with paitence while painting. I love acrylics because they dry so fast, I would LOVE to learn to paint with oils but CANNOT imagine having the patience to wait for things to dry. However while working on this painting I realized how slow dry time would be helpful in the blending of large areas, so maybe in the future I will dabble with oils... we'll see. 

I tried to paint this exactly as I saw it the day I was leaving Yellowstone out the NE entrance, near the Tower area of Yellowstone. It was rainy overcast, the sky melded with the furthest hills and clouds mixed in with the steam from a distant geyser or spring. I also included some ferns that were near the road. I don't know how to explain it but when it is overcast the greens of leafy stuff like ferns just seem SO vibrant green again the dark forest green background. 

I think the large trees could use some more definition from the closest hill of trees behind it [picture doesn't show any but trust me there is some in the painting] but thinking back when I saw it in real life, there was little distinction and they kind of melted together. 

I know I need to work on detail technique in my landscapes but I need to work on having patience for little fine work like that. Overall I am happy with this, I think it captures the essence of what that place felt like to me. The place was misty and wet and vast and like most of Yellowstone it felt ancient, and I feel that when I look at the final product here. 


Yellowstone is, let's keep it real, one of the best places if not the best place in America. Everyone knows it's great but if you haven't been there, know that it's 10 times better than you think. It is like nothing you have ever experienced. I am doing a whole series on Yellowstone so I am going to talk piece by piece about the inspiration from the park in each painting. 

So I'm gonna talk about the grand prismatic spring for a second here. It is huge. There are paths to see it from a higher ground to get a larger view of it but I really preferred it from the boardwalk point of view. There are so many small areas of beauty, it of course is amazing and beautiful as a whole but when you are up close and personal with it you get to see that it has so many more colors and it such a delicate feel. In the fields leading up to the spring the water flow on-top the mud has caused the bacteria to form these windy trails that look like arteries almost. I love when you see biology within other biology, it gives you a sense that we are connected to the natural world, because we truly are.

Midway geyser basin is the stop you need to make in Yellowstone, if you are doing a one day trip driving through this is the place to stop, not old faithful. In this one stop alone you get to see 2 gigantic springs [grand prismatic and the dormant excelsior geyser] and the incredible turquoise pool, which I will also be featuring a piece on. 

For this painting I wanted to focus on the edge of the bacteria line, where the vibrant colors are beginning to pop, and there are mounds of clay/dirt. I had a lot of fun time making this, abstract pieces are always interesting to play around with new methods of blending and application. I wish it had turned out a little less peach and more orange but I really love this piece. 

year of the bison

We all know that bison are the ish. 

I met a ton in the Dakotas and Wyoming, but it seems the ones I get to encounter close up [not that close though, I'm not about to selfie with a bison] are bulls going through rut looking a mess like this. 

If you could only hear the bellowing belch/honk coming from this guy. So about 3 minutes after this picture was taken, he walked out towards our car on the road stared into my soul and yelled at us. He never broke eye contact as we drove away. I will never forget you grumpy bison! 

If you could only hear the bellowing belch/honk coming from this guy. So about 3 minutes after this picture was taken, he walked out towards our car on the road stared into my soul and yelled at us. He never broke eye contact as we drove away. I will never forget you grumpy bison! 

Not that I have anything against grumpy drooly bulls, I just wanted to paint a sweet one. When I think of bison I want to nuzzle my face in their fluffy fur on their forehead. Knowing that I can't do that in real life [apart from the goring and death factor they kinda have a smell and are covered in nast] tears apart at my soul. 

Most of the bison I saw were in Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. Yellowstone did have a lot as well but at TRNP they were bam right there and we lucked out and got to see an entire herd in motion both times I've been there. I would love to do a whole series on TRNP as well [I am already working on a Yellowstone one] because there is such cool stuff there and I feel like nobody knows about it. The Dakotas have so much just incredible stuff and I think it gets overshadowed by the tourist traps. Spearfish Canyon is one of the best scenic drives in the country, and you probably would never know about it unless someone told you, so here I'm telling you. If you go to Rapid City skip deadwood drive up 14 to Spearfish, stop in Lead at the bakery, and you can either go to Devil's Tower or back to RC.  

Anyways, back to the painting, I found it hard to get depth in the fur since they are so dark brown but overall I am happy with how he looks. I wanted him to be peaking out from behind some spruce, because I saw a ton shading themselves in the trees and I like giving animals a more [for lack of a better word] cute feel, although I have contemplated recently to do a series of grumpy animals. 

*clap*clap*clap*clap deep in the heart of zion

I got the chance to visit Zion National Park last month and it was pretty incredible. 

Somehow we were able to make it there the week before the shuttle system began, and thank god man. It was actually some sweet-ass driving in Zion. They really have their roads on point. Most mountainous national parks have some moderate to difficult driving on the way to and within the parks [not that I'm complaining I totally get why they have roads like that] but Zion was a dream for driving, in fact all the mountain roads and highways in Utah and Nevada were nice, god what life must be like without winter potholes. 

There was about a billion and a half people parked by Angel's Landing, and it had just poured pretty hard so I wasn't about to walk up slippery rock dropoff holding a wet chain, so we chose to do the Emerald Pools Trail. [which I highly recommend] Also, may I say the place smells so good. They got some fresh breeze/crisp juniper/light sage/cedary type of thing going on in the air, and I was digging it. Anyways, there's 3 emerald pools, you can hike all the way to the top waterfall to see the upper one, we didn't make it since rain was closing in, but it was still an incredible hike with cool sights. 

Most of Zion is accessible from the canyon floor, which gives you a really cool play on light and shadow from the bottom perspective. The rock gets 'dyed' from water run off and turns an indigo shade in certain places. I was there during winter, and even without the greenery of leaves there was still TONS of color in Zion, which lends itself nicely to painting aesthetics for a winter season artwork.  

As far as the painting is concerned it didn't really capture what I was going for. The rockfaces in  Zion are so drippy gooey dark blue and black on top of the vibrant red rock. But in paint its hard to walk that line without it getting muddy and unreadable. It's even difficult to photograph in person. The mountains have an iridescent quality and from the canyon dark and shadow can deceive the camera. Obviously most mountains or any nature scene doesn't live up to the reality of seeing it in person but Zion has this on a whole 'nother level. I'll consider this a practice and attempt another in future, but for now I am pleased how this turned out.