minnesota

boom baby

Again another couple months between blogs, per the usual. #notsorry

So I made a cool thing can I tell you about it?

I made dis:

paintings are so hard to photograph, especially when you use reflective colors and metallics

paintings are so hard to photograph, especially when you use reflective colors and metallics

It took me forever, oh my gahhhhhd did this take so long. But I like it so it was worth it.

So my fiancé and I took a canoe down about 7 miles of the Saint Croix River in Wisconsin last September. It was one of the coolest things I've ever done. It was so secluded and peaceful and beautiful the colors were gorgeous. The highlight was seeing a family of river otters playing along the banks. Seeing otters in the wild is pretty darn rare so it was so cool to see them and so close probably only 20 feet away.

So ever since then I have had like I don't know 30 otter paintings I've wanted to do and this is the first one I have finished. I wanted to a mermaid painting as well, and love the idea of mermaid and wildlife together, hence half the artwork I make features it. 

give or take 4ish hours for each step here

give or take 4ish hours for each step here

The background was a learning process. I have done trees and landscape before obviously but wanted to try out new methods of painting for them. Trying to balance values and color pallet and give depth and detail but not too much detail since it is a background, is a fine line to walk my friend. 

water reflections, harder than Bob Ross leads you to believe

water reflections, harder than Bob Ross leads you to believe

I must have tried so many different ways of painting the reflection in the water. Still water reflections are waaaaay easier to pull off. Moving water has motion yet reflects the image above, which makes it hard to negotiate with a paint brush. 

hey cuties

hey cuties

Otters are incredibly hard to take a reference photo of. They move 100% of the time. My photos from my canoe are much to blurry, luckily I went to the zoo on Black-Friday and got a couple of pics while they were waiting for food and sitting much more still than they normally do. 

Notice the water is different again for the 4th time and I changed it again before finishing. 

scales are hard work

scales are hard work

Finally the mermaid. I love shiny and iridescence, and wanted to use a lot of that in her. She has a lot of gold in her scales and face. I knew I wanted dark hair but wanted it to have almost an iridescent sheen to it so I used a lot of metallic blue and green. I haven't a person in a long while, I want to do more so I am happy with how her body and face turned out, I am finding retarder with acrylics helps with that a lot. It gives you time to blend but not sooo much time like oils where you have to wait days to paint over. Also... Hands are hard okay, don't look at them!

So I have to crank out a few more of these if I am to have my solo show and do art festivals this summer. It is going to be a busy spring!

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.