The Back Story

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Sunny Days and Sundry Projects

My mind is boggled by
the weather forecasters actually 
complaining about the 80 degree 
temperatures we're expecting this week. 

Granted, the normal temps are in the upper 60's, 
but I'm not seeing a thing to complain about. 

I'm going to enjoy every bit of warm
sunshine I can. 

My husband and I are just hoping our desert 
tortoises don't come out of hibernation. 

It's still too early for that. 

We're sure to have a cold snap
or two before spring arrives. 

They need warm nights
along with the warm days
to be happy and healthy. 

I made this post card
to send to my son-in-law and
daughter this week. 

It's nice to be remembered
when you're going through 
a tough time in life. 

It looks to me like my 5th grade
self made it, but it's the sentiment
behind it that counts, right?

Last weekend I drew
out a pattern for some
smaller sugar skulls and
my sweet husband cut them 
out for me. 

I finished this one 
with the exception of
the varnish, which should
make the colors pop
even more because it's a gloss. 

This last mixed media piece
is one I'm still working on. 

I'm kind of stuck and
am not sure where to go now. 

Maybe I'll just set her aside
for a while and come back
hopefully with some inspiration
as to where to go next. 

Thanks for visiting. 

Hope you have a great week!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Frida Artist Trading Cards

I'm so excited to be participating in
Steph's "Women in Art" ATC swap.

Never having done any Frida tribute art
before, I chose her as my subject. 

It was important to me not to look at
any works paying tribute to her
before I began. 

I wanted what I created to
lack outside influences. 

Another thing I decided was to
just make an impression of her,
and not go for an actual likeness
(which is really simple to do). 

I used acrylic paint, colored pencils,
collage, pitt pens, and DMC thread.

They're all a little
different, but still
cohesive as a grouping. 

They were fun to create and
I enjoyed having an "assignment"
to work on. 

The link is up top if you'd like
to join in the fun. The deadline is
not until March. 

I'm one of those people
that don't like waiting until the
last minute. . . for doing anything.  

It's one of my husbands
favorite traits about me.

I'm always ready to go 
on a moments notice. 

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Distracted Drawing

I drawing a little Japanese
girl for a mixed media piece
on wood that I'm planning. 

You can get a glimpse of my messy
work space in the picture. 

Quite often I jump around from project to project
and it doesn't take long for my art space to clutter up. 

It's strange though, because I don't like clutter. 

Before long, I have to straighten things up.

I was like that as a little girl too. 

My bedroom would get messy and stay 
that way for a while, and then I'd get so
sick of it and have to clean it up. 

While my problem was maintaining 
a clean organized space, my husband has
always been a "clean as you go" type.

I'm trying to be more like him in that regard, 
and would say I'm 80% there. 

The following is a picture of my
dear sweet son-in-law and daughter. 

This is the reason for my distraction today. 

My son-in-law starts radiation treatment 
for his 4th bout with cancer
in the past 7 years. 

Yesterday he posted on his Instagram;

Tomorrow starts day 1 of my 18 day
radiation treatment. I've got my mental
boxing gloves on and I'm ready to begin.
Cancer has no power over me or my outlook
on life! I am blessed. 

This young man has been
a true hero and inspiration
to me and all who know him. 

If you're a person of prayer, please
remember Evan and his wife Shawna. 

It's so tough as parents having to
see your kids go through such hard things
at a young age. 

Parents are wired to want to take away 
and prevent pain and hurt for our kids. 

Sometimes, all we can do is be
there for them and pray. 

That's what we do. 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Mini Mixed Media

This was a little diversion
piece I made while taking
a break from a larger piece
I was working on. 

I've found for myself, it's good
for me to have a few things I'm working
on at once. 

This way my mind and brain 
is refreshed by something new,
without having to stop creating art
(which would be so sad). 

I finger painted the background of an ATC card. 

While that was drying, I drew my subject with 
colored pencils on a piece of Bristol paper. 

She was brushed with a light coating of matte
medium and then allowed to dry before
collaging her to the card. 

I added some designs with pitt pens and 
a few cross stitches with some bright DMC thread. 

I like her "milky' appearance, and it's kind of making
me want to go in the direction of a geisha. 

She almost has that look about her. 


Thank you for visiting!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Paintings and Orange Season

It's citrus season in Arizona! 

Here's a view of our orange tree
from out our bathroom window. 

We need to get them off the tree before
blossom time around March. 

Needless to say, we've been eating a
lot of oranges and drinking a lot of juice. 

There's a bunch of trading and giving away
amongst the neighbors this time of year. 

Some have lemons, ruby red or yellow grapefruit,
navel or valencia oranges. 

The smell of their skins is heavenly
when they're fresh off the tree. 

I look forward to blossom time. 

The perfume in the air from 
the orange blossoms is intoxicating. 

I wish I could share it, and our oranges too!

The following is a sugar skull that
my husband had cut out of wood for me. 

It's 19" x 13", so it's a perfectly fun size. 

Instead of hemming and hawing about my design
for this one, I set myself an imaginary timer of 15 minutes.

I worked quickly and just let the design flow naturally. 

When my husband came home from work and I showed
it to him, he said, "That's cool, but the eyes are kind of low."

I said, "Really? They may be a little on the small side, but
I don't thing they're too low.". 

Then I realized, he thought the cheeks were the eyes! haha

Oh well, I'm not changing it. I kind of like it like it is. 

I'm back to my pink cacti in this next piece. 

I just love cactus and I love the color pink. 

It was fun figuring out what to do with her glasses. 

Maybe next time I'll experiment with a glaze
as well as highlights on the lenses. We'll see. . . 

Wishing you a wonderful and creatively
productive weekend! 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Wonder Kitty

Something simple, light hearted,
and fun was what I felt like painting.  

I came up with the idea
of a folk art Wonder Kitty!

I didn't search before I 
made my painting to see if
it had been done, but afterward
I searched for "cats in clothes paintings". 

There are so many images
of paintings with cats in clothes
(much more sophisticated than mine).
Scrolling thru them made me smile.

Painting this piece made me smile too,
which is the heart of what art is about for me. 

She may be primitive and rudimentary,
but to me she's PURRFECT! 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Painting Frustrations and Lessons Learned

It's not fun to share my disappointments.

But it's important for me to be 
transparent about my art journey
(the successes as well as the failures). 


*Remember to keep pressing forward.

*Don't linger too long on any one painting. 

*Move on to your next piece.

These are some of the lessons
that I learned over the weekend. 

I was working on this folk art piece and 
thought my design was okay, but I wasn't 
happy with the colors. 

Imagine a visual "scratching on a chalkboard".

That's the best way to describe it. 

 Instead of leaving well enough alone, 
I decided to rework it. 

Hoping to harmonize, I ended
up making a big mess of things.

I kept working and reworking it.

Whatever I did seemed to get me further
away from where I wanted it to be. 

I came to the conclusion, that it'd been
better had I just left it alone and moved
on to my next painting. 

On the bright side, I learned something of value.

I'm not sure if I'll paint over this one
and reuse the board, or keep it as a reminder.

Either way, I'm excited to be moving on to my next piece
and taking this valuable lesson with me!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

"Home Tweet Home" Bird House with Stand

It feels so good to have this one finished. 
I've finally freed up a little more floor
space in my art room. 

It's funny though, solving one problem can 
sometimes create another.

The newly created space in my art room
is now filling up space in our guest room.

Oh well, hopefully we'll get some of
these sold and that'll free up that room.

Dream big, right?

I wanted to take this out in the yard
to get some pictures, but we had
a much needed rain storm last
night and the ground is still wet. 

This'll have to do for now. 

We've made two stand sizes for our
bird houses. This
size is the shorter of the two. 

The flower embellishments on the sides of 
this house are raised wood cut-outs. 

I drew a couple flower patterns on
wood and my husband cut them out
and affixed them to the sides. 

The next two pictures I took from underneath
so you can see that every spot is painted. 

This was an important tip I learned
from a very wise gallery owner and art dealer. 

Don't leave any blank spaces!

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Folk "Heart" Bird House with Stand

This cute little bird house has been sitting
on our guest bed just waiting for me 
to paint a stand for it. 

I've had 2 unfinished bird house stands sitting in my 
art room/studio FOREVER (it seems). 

They're taking up a bit of floor space
and starting to get in my way. 

It's one of those projects that I know
will take some time, so I put it off. 

One day rolls into the next and
well, you know. . . 

Last weekend, I felt the need to check 
it off my list and "get 'er done"!

I set a goal for myself of one day
to accomplish it. 

It was such a good feeling to have 
finished it in the time I allotted myself. 

Today's goal: 
*Paint the 2nd stand. 

The only problem is that today's goal
is in competition with 5 loads
of laundry AND changing the bed linens. 

We'll see, I'm going to push myself. 

I'm all about striking while the iron is hot!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Folk Art Santa

Before the season gets too far away,
I thought I'd share this
piece I recently finished. 

First, I'd like to tell you about an artist I absolutely 
adore by the name of Julia Eves. She has
an Etsy Shop & Instagram that are easy to find if you'd
like to check out her work (you won't be sorry). 

I had seen an ornament she made from an old
paint can lid of an adorable Santa which
really inspired me. 

I drew out a big Santa head pattern on wood
and asked my husband if he'd be so kind as to 
cut it out for me (it's about 13" x 18").  

Here's how it turned out. 

I just love it! It's hanging in my
art room and I have no intention of taking it
down just because the season's over. 

That's not too surprising considering
Christmas music has no season in my world. 

Thank you for your beautiful work
and inspiring me Julia Eves! 

Friday, January 5, 2018

Sah-WAR-oh Folk Art

Saguaro's are a sign
of HOME for me.

They're sometimes refered
to as the sentinels of the desert.

It's so much fun creating worlds
where pink houses, real rosy
cheeks, turquoise hair, AND saguaro's exist. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Desert Folk Art

My husband and I went
exploring in the desert
yesterday on his ATV. 

I saw some beautiful pink
prickly pear cactus and
had to paint some in
my own little world. 

I'm trying to paint
with more freedom
and simplicity and 
strangely enough, am
finding it very difficult. 

That said, I'm not
giving up. There's
something very pleasurable
about it. 

I keep reminding myself
that repetition is the mother of skill.