Chasing Bunnies

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Why is it that I am always chasing bunnies?1-0410170941b

Have you ever seen a stray kitten or bunny and just had the urge to catch it and keep it? Yeah! Me too. Why is that?

Last year we had a kitten come into our back year, and even though I am not an animal person I found my self chasing this kitten around trying to catch it. Then all Of the sudden it hit me, What are you going to do once you catch it? Do you really want a cat? When I realized the answer was NO, I stopped chasing it.

The next day a larger kitten came into my year while I was laying in my hammock. So instead of chasing it I just laid there, and so did she. So then I decided to call her and see if she would come to me. Which she did, and when I started to pet her I realized this kitten was a momma. Then all the bells and whistles went off and I realized she was the momma of the kitten I had seen the day before. As I pet her I realized that she was skin and bones.

Now I usually have a rule about not feeding stray cats or they will never leave, but I couldn’t leave this little momma and her babies starve so I broke my rule and fed her. The next day she brought her two babies and she is now our kitty.

0410170943

SO, this morning I see this big bunny in our front yard. Again I am off chasing this fuzzy creature. Again compelled by some unseen force to touch and cuddle this fuzzy bunny. Yet the thought comes to me again, what would I do with this bunny if I did catch him. And the answer? I don’t know. But I still want to catch him! LOL!

0410170941

So why do I chase kitties and bunnies? It puzzles me! I really am not an animal person, but there is something magical about fuzzy furry little creatures that make even people like me go a little on the crazy side. LOL!

Well I didn’t catch him. though he did start to come to me when I called him and if it wasn’t for a car driving by at just that moment and scaring him away I may have been able to catch him. Well, Maybe tomorrow i’ll go a little crazy again if i look out my window and spot him eating in my flower garden again. ūüėÄ

Grey in Gray

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I have been absolutely slammed with wedding prep for my youngest son’s up coming marriage since returning from Florida to witness the birth of my eldest son’s first baby. Since I was there during the photo shoot (which included this amazing photo) I was quick to ask the photographer for permission to paint any of the photos she was about to take. With delight I was glad to hear her say “I was hoping you would ask that! Yes!”

View More: http://naomilynnphotography.pass.us/grey-thomas-miller

Photo by permission of naomilynn.com

Even as I sat on the sofa in¬†my son’s home looking at the photos that the baby’s aunt Naomi took, I have been anticipating painting this photo. My son’s mother in law even offered to get me some art supplies so I could get started. But I chose to put aside my painting and just hold the baby for as long as I was able, before I had to head home to Oregon. SO even though I am slammed with wedding prep, I still snuck in a few hours here and there to paint this piece entitled Grey in Gray.

My students had asked me if I would teach a class on values once I returned home. So I thought what would be more appropriate then a gray values painting of baby Grey. (Even though I would have painting him for any excuse and will be for a long time I’m sure.)

So like always I started by taking my photo into photoshop and turning it into a black and white. Then I had a nice 8 x 10 glossy printed up and printed out a b&w photo copy as well.

0329171715

Using my values chart on the photo I then use the photo copy to write the corresponding value on the areas I had just checked. I did this twice as the photo was dark then I wanted the painting to be. The colored photo looked light and fresh but once I transferred it to b&w it was a little darker and I wanted a lighter feeling to the painting. So once all my basic values were charted I stepped them up 2 or 3 values and re-wrote out the corrected numbers on another photo copy.

To avoid any mistakes I then threw away the first photo copy with the original numbers on it. I did not want to take the chance of picking up the wrong copy and getting the values all mixed up on the painting. So then I blocked in the basic values on the different areas of the painting.

0323171622a

Being that this was a painting of a very soft baby, I wanted the canvas to be very soft as well without a lot of grain to the canvas left. So I primed it again with a layer of gray gesso before beginning the actual painting, then sanded it smooth. This was one of the smoothest paintings I have ever done. I really like having a smooth canvas and it gave the affect I wanted it to have. I did find myself painting and then taking a dry brush and dabbing at it to smooth out and blend colors. I really haven’t done that much before but it gave the skin a very natural soft texture that looks and feels very much like baby skin.

0325171232

Once I got all the areas of the painting blocked in, I let the painting dry for a couple of days. Then when I was able to squeeze in a little more time on him I started to put more detail and more subtle value changes in. This was so much fun as I saw with every stroke that my grandson’s face was taking shape. My daughter in Law’s face came together just as quickly and beautifuly. I love this part of the painting as you really do start getting a 3 D affect as you put in more and more values.

0325171758

So again, it was time to let the painting rest and dry.

NOTE: I used Golden Open white titanium paint for this painting and mixed it with the regular Golden brand acrylic paint. Acrylic paints dry very fast, but the new Golden OPEN paint will keep the dry time open for a much longer time, giving me the time I need to blend subtle value changes! Which I love.

But unfortunately, this paint reactivates up to and past 3 weeks. Which means that this morning when I went to put on the finishing touches like adding final highlights, instead of adding, it actually lifted the dry color off, creating and very blotchy look, Which I, well, lets put it this way “Hate is a strong word, but I really really , really don’t like you! ” I can’t help myself! ¬†I burst into song lyrics at random points all the time. LOL! i would always rather laugh then cry and that was my option now. So I decided to sing!

So to fix this paint problem, I had to spray the painting with a clear spray varnish to seal off the underpainting, so that nothing would move once I started to put on the highlights and hair details. This worked great. I hope you like it! ūüėÄ

0329171652b

Thank you for taking your time to read about my work process. If you would like to check out my other pieces please click jackielittlemiller.com or check out my Etsy shop by clicking the icon below!

icon-etsy

In Great Hands

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

1-IMG_1628

My Son Leigh with his new son Grey- my photo

I just spent two of the loveliest weeks of my life in Florida! No, I didn’t go for the fun in the sun, or to get a great tan. I didn’t even go to Disney World I barely went out of the house. I went and sat in a little house with a lovely family. My Daughter in Law’s parents home to be exact, and just held my new grandson in my hands! It doesn’t get better then that!

1-IMG_1432

Photo By Leigh Miller

I was invited to come for the birth of my grand son Grey Thomas Miller, who was very accommodating by arriving the day after I arrived in Florida. I was able to help coach mom through the birthing process and was there to see my grandson make his grand entrance into this world.

I have been privileged to coach many a woman through labor. I have seen probably 50 baby’s be born. But it is always more special when it is your own grandchild being born. But to make it even more special, Little Grey Thomas came into this world¬†born in the caul. That is with the water bag in tack. The first thing the midwives said was “Ah, we have ourselves a prophet!” For it is an old wives tale that baby’s born in the caul are prophets!

True or not true, it was a cool thing to be said over my newborn grandson. For we are a family of believers and our prayers have covered and will continue to cover this child knowing our God will bless him through out his life!

 

My time in Florida with Grey was short as I only was able to stay for 2 weeks. I had expected it to be hard to leave him. Which it was! But it was not as hard as it could have been. Let me explain.

Emily’s parents were such gracious hosts. In fact they made me feel right at home from the first moment. Their home was very much like my home. Small but filled with love and laughter.

Lynn (Emily’s mom) apologized that she was not a fancy cook, more then once. What she didn’t know was that I am not a fancy cool either. In fact I am very limited in what I can make, food wise. So something she was embarrassed by was actually a comfort to me, as her cooking was much like my own. LOL! God is so very good.

She also told me “please make yourself at home and go to the kitchen and get something to eat when ever you are hungry! It will bless me to see you going through my cupboards and getting food out of the fridge. I mean it!” I giggled and said “I know you do, and I will do just that Is that is the same speech I give my guests!”

But the most precious part of this trip was that Thomas and Lynn were blessed to have another pair of hands to help with the arrival and care of their first grandchild. That may sound simplistic, but I have seen so many grandparents treat grandchildren as something to fight over and compete for. So not knowing the Suchy’s well before this trip I didn’t know what to expect in that area.But there was none of that in this home, and I was so blessed to share grand parenting duty with them both! I have never felt in competition with any of my children’s in laws. In Fact, I feel that their new family is our new family too.

1-Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 4.31.57 PM

Photo by NAOMI LYNN PHOTOGRAPHY

 

My husband and I are glad to share the honor of helping to raise our new grandson with the Suchy family. We are thankful that they are God fearing, God loving people. That is why it was not as hard for me to leave baby grey in Florida and return to my family In Oregon as it could have been. As I told them, I have no worries to take home with me! What a blessing it is to be able to say that.

Yes I cried! Poor little Grey was wet with tears, but then it was over. I know Grey is in great hands, surrounded by people/ family who love him dearly! Thank you Lord for allowing me to be a part of the birth of little Grey Thomas. And thank you for allowing me to be a part of the Suchy family as well! God Bless them richly!

 

 

Zebra Hearts

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

It’s valentines week! So I decided you post a blog featuring my most recent piece titled Zebra Hearts. This piece was done on scratch board and the painting with water color to give a little more detention.

This was a really fun project! I felt like a little kid again. I remember making our own scratch boards in 5th grade art class. This Scratch Board is a piece of masonite with a special ceramic coating and then a black ink scratch layer.

I started by tracing my sketch onto the solid black board with a white tracing paper. Since it was stripes I actually filled in the spaces with scribbled white so that I could keep the black and white stripes separated. It may not seem like it bout working with black and white stripes can get very confusing at times. This is the first scratch board I have done since 5th grade but I guess it is like riding a bike, because I never really forgot. I started by taking my x-acto knife and making hair like scratches on the surface of the white marked areas. I made sure to go in the direction of the hairs in my reference photo that I was granted permission to use by Photographer Sheilah Swanson who works at Wild Life Safari in Winston Oregon.

I made sure to make very light and fine lines in the areas where I wanted it to be lighter but not white. the zebra’s muzzle is one of those places. Hear I did directional scratches and some cross hatching.muzzle

The ears had longer hairs in them, and so I simply made longer intentional scratches so that the hair would look natural and lot like fence posts.ear

Adding a reflection in the eye was a little tricky as I really didn’t want a high light just a little bit of a haze to show the reflection of the sky. here again I did very fine scratches and cross hatching.eyes

When I had everything scratched in place I slowly used the flat of the x-acto knife and scraped the back ground away. I think it leaves a cool natural looking background. once that back ground was established I used water color paints to the white surface to give detention. I wasn’t sure it would accept the paint but it soaked right in and wouldn’t life out. so if you do this, build up your colors slowly as you wouldn’t get a second chance to lighten it ¬†back up. Once the paint was dry, which was with in minutes, I scratched out the very white white highlights. As for signing it, well I simply scratched that isn too!signature

Final result is as 8″x 10″ Piece titled “Zebra Love” ready for framing. $250.00.

finished

If you are interested in purchasing this or any of my art just contact me at Jackielittlemiller.com

captivating_Miller_08g

Check out my other creations at

icon-etsy

Looking Back

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Have you ever just stopped and looked back on your life to see how far you have come? Do you take time so reflect on what the Lord has done in your life and how you have changed through the years? I love glance back to see where I have been. This helps me envision all the possibilities I could still lie ahead.

I find that I get so frustrated with myself in my art sometimes . For instance this painting above on the right. It is one of my latest pieces. You will remember my struggles to get her face just right. I repainted her face a million times it seemed, before I got it to a place where I was totally pleased with it. Why was this so frustrating to me? Of course my thought process was that I just wasn’t good at painting anymore. Which isn’t true, but it felt true. The actual problem is actually just the opposite. You see, the longer you do something, the clearer you see things. This is actually what drives us to continue on the path of improvement.

It’s kind of like when a person needs glasses. Before I got my glasses I really didn’t know how much I wasn’t seeing. I probably needed glasses years before I got them, but it was a slow process of loosing the ability to see things clearly. Once I got my glasses I was amazed how much detail was in the world that I had been missing before and didn’t even realize it.

In the same way as a beginner artist we look at our original first attempts at art and are pretty darn pleased with our selves. Which we should be! But as we progressed in our skills we start to see colors and details in things that we never noticed before. It’s like we put on a new pair of glasses. ¬†The funny thing is, that when I got my new glasses I didn’t beat myself up for seeing better, I was excited! This is where LOOKING BACK can really help to encourage us. It’s like taking the glasses off for a minute and seeing the blur again.

SO the first picture above was one of the first attempts I made at portraiture. I had just been gifted the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Which I highly recommend. Anyway, the first exercise they want you to do (before you read the book) is to try and draw a portrait. This first portrait is dated 1994, so it’s been a while. This is that same daughter that I drew back then, that I just painted. Of course she was a little girl then and is a grown woman now. I don’t know about you , but I see a huge improvement over the years.

At the time I was a young¬†mother of 4 and didn’t have a lot of time to devote to drawing. If I had been able to work on my art everyday, Like I do now,¬†I could have progressed much quicker. This encourages me because I know that as I spend more time devoted to my art today, the faster I improve. This is very exciting to me.

I hope you will spend some time looking back to see how far you have come in life. Let it challenge you to move forward with expectation and anticipation.

Dream Dancer

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

leap-of-faith-8 So you might remember my Leap of Faith painting from about a month ago. This one I did for my Granddaughter who was the subject of the reference photo I used. i really liked the way that painting turned out so I wanted to try it on a larger scale. So I pulled out a 4ft by 2.5ft canvas I have had laying around and started to sketch out the leaper in a larger format to fit the scale of the new canvas.

I wanted this piece to be mostly a knife painting so I added a texture paste medium to my paints so the knife strokes would hold their shape as they dried. Being that the canvas is very large it did take me the whole jar of medium! Wow! But I was very please with how the background turned out.

I had drawn the figure on the canvas before starting and did a base coat of a watered down burnt sienna just to take away the scariness of a blank white canvas. But as I was laying the thick background color paint on the canvas  I kind of lost the edges of the figure so I just decided to cover the whole canvas with background then redraw the subject later.

Once I had the background knifed in I started to rethink the whole waiting till it dried to draw in subject. After all if I wait then the subject will have weird texture in strange places making it not read right. So While it was still tacky I placed the drawing of the dancer on top and intended to just use the indent of the pencil edge to make a trace line, not using any carbon paper as to leave a dark mark. I actually thought that i=this would just leave and slight indent in the paint giving me enough information as to where to place the subject. But when I pulled the paper off the outline of the subject came with it leaving a rough edge.0118171501

This is one of those things that Bob Ross would call a happy accident. I loved the roughness of the edge! In fact I considered leaving the painting as it was, but quickly changed my mind as I still wanted to work more on her. so I scraped out the inside of the outline so that I could start painting the gymnast.

0119170900a

Here you can see the rough edges around the subject. I think it adds interest to the piece. Anyway as I finished up with the skin tones I realized that this was not a gymnast but a dancer. I’m the artist I can make these kind of decisions! LOL! She needed a pretty flowing dress and some point shoes. What do you think?

large-leap

So I started painting her dress. I liked the blue from the background as there was just a touch of it. So I lightened it and made a pretty pastel chiffon dress. This I did totally with the edge of the paint knife and lots of paint. I was very pleased with how it turned out0120171925a

But the next morning I was rethinking it. Though I still loved the dress it just didn’t make the dancer pop! I mean I loved the skin tones and how rich it felt, but the dress kinda made her look, well unfinished, flat, she just didn’t make the statement I wanted her to make.

So I took the photo of her into photo shop and did a quick dress color change on her. Now I am not skilled in photo shop at all and there was probably a much better way of doing it then what I did , but this worked. So I pulled colors from the background and laid in the color into the dress.

After showing these choices to a couple of artist friends of mine I decided on the dark blue dress. I just felt if gave the feeling I wanted and the pop that it needed. My daughter even suggested that I could put some sparkle stars in her dress echoing the galaxy feel from around her. SO I did. And Here she is finished.

Dream Dancer

31″ x 47″ x 1″

Acrylic on Gallery wrapped canvas

$1,000.00

0127171207b

Once I get a good photo of her so prints I will finish her with a couple of layers of gloss varnish. This is also My first piece with my new signature that you will be seeing on all my works from this point out.!

0131171033

God bless your day and Thank you again for following my Works In Progress!

icon-etsy

For my online portfolio click below!

captivating_Miller_08g

 

Image

Quiet Time

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It seams like I have gone from a year long dry spell to an oasis of ideas. Working on several pieces at a time. This painting was so much fun and yet so much of a challenge. I wanted to do her with a loose brush stroke to give it a relaxed feeling as the pose is of my daughter Jenny relaxing and with me and a cup of hot chocolate. As I often do as I am talking to someone I think of how I would mix the colors to paint her face or the color of reflected light that catches her chin. Then I was struck by her relaxed pose and did the mom thing and pulled out my phone and snapped a few quick shots before she realized I was doing so.

 

img_0758

 

SO of course I started with a sketch and traced it onto my canvas as always. I worked on blocking in the back ground and then started on the face. I know I should do other things first but I am like a kid in a candy store when it comes to painting faces. I just can’t wait to get at it. This painting proved to me a true test as I lost her face completely a hundred times. well maybe not actually 100 but close.

When painting faces especially portraits that ¬†you want to look like a specific person, the larger the painting the easier it is to get those features right. This painting is only 12″ x 16″ So her face is only about 2″ big. this makes getting subtle value changes and warm light cool light areas a little more difficult. Plus at this size if you facial features are off by a hair width you have a different person interlay.

Also I had a hard time getting her eyes to look up like in the photo. This doesn’t seem to be that bad but even if the eyes are the correct shape it changes the mood of the subject. I wanted the upward glance because it¬†was happy and hopeful. But I kept getting the straight ahead gaze which made her look sad or even one time mad, which was not what I wanted at all. Because it isn’t who my Jenny is. She is fun loving and cheerful¬†and always thinking of new ideas. That is the feeling¬†I wanted to capture.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here is a quick run through of all the faces of Jenny! LOL! I know she is blue for a while, It was an underpainting that eventually got painted over also. These are just a few of the many faces. Over the weeks of working on her I would get so frustrated paint over the face and start again, working on something else on the painting until the face painted area was dry and ready to work again. This actually worked great because I had a lot of time to spend on perfecting the other area of the painting that I might not have taken if the face turned out great the first time.

 

Here you can see the purple underpainting of the shadows on the sofa and pillows which eventually got glazed a lovely sand color. It makes it a little hard to judge if you are getting things right when you paint things in colors that they are not going to be, but it is truly the values that matter the most so if they are right everything will turn out fine in the end.

 

It can be hard sometimes as I post my works in progress as I work on them. Sometimes that pressure makes me work harder to get it right, other times it makes me wish I would have kept thins one to myself! LOL! But even with all the frustrations I am totally excited about how she turned out.

fb-scan-jenny

Thank you so much for following my Works in Progress! You support and encouragement are so appreciated!

captivating_Miller_08g

Check out my online Portfolio @ Jackielittlemiller.com

or check out my Etsy shop by clicking Icon below!

icon-etsy

It’ Not White

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I am an art instructor at our local¬†Ye Old Art Shoppe¬†, and have been trying to explain to my students that in actuality white is hardly ever pure white. Even thought our eyes perceive it that way. So to demonstrate this I took the below¬†photo and took it into photoshop and pulled touches of color out of it’s surroundings, just so the student could see the true color they were seeing.

tigers-color-breakdown

Not only is white not always white, it is not necessarily as light as our mind thinks it is either.¬†You will see here how dark some of these “whites” actually are and how they are not really white at all. We have mauves, blues, and beige, warm gray, cool gray and sand colors; but Wait! Where are the whites?

Making a chart like this is so helpful even to an experienced artist as our minds lie to us constantly. It is nice to be able to hold your color pencil right up to the local color and be able to make the correct decision even if it feels like it is totally wrong.

It will be difficult to trust it and actually put that color down, but until you do your paintings, drawings are not going to read as real.

My students give me a hard time because I am always talking about getting the values (Light and darks) right. Values are the most important thing in being an artist, at least as far as I am concerned. This photo shows us that even a dark gray can appear to be white when it is place where it is surrounded with darker values. In fact if you practice at getting the values right, soon enough when your dark values are right, you will start to notice right away that placing the white beside it is way to bright and to great of a contrast!

Another note to shades of white is that white that is facing a light source will be warmer. Yellows, pinks, or beiges may be used. Those whites that are in shadow or even facing the sky will be more Blues, purples or greens. Depending on that colors surround them will decide the value of the ‚Äúwhite‚ÄĚ Not white areas. You should practice this by painting something that is white. Paint a white flower, or a white cat! Something that will force you to see the other colors that are in the whites.

This is also truth for Black. Black is hardly ever black. In fact, using straight black will also make your painting look flat and boring. Mix some blues or purples, maybe some reds or browns in with your blacks. Just as white has warm and Cool tones, so should your blacks.

Remember that your mind lies to you. We have an amazing brain designed by an amazing God. This brain fills in the gaps of us so that the brain doesn‚Äôt have to work so hard. This is why we see ‚ÄúWhite‚ÄĚ or ‚ÄúBlack‚ÄĚ when there is no white or black present. Our mind makes it consistent and simple for us to understand so our mind can rest and not burn out by being too stressed.

Once you train yourself to see the other colors in whites, and the blues and purples in the shadows… It will blow your mind! I love it! I don‚Äôt look at anything the same anymore. If I am sitting looking at a beautiful landscape, I am marveling at the colors. If I am sitting and talking to you, I am wondering what colors I would mix to get that beautiful reflected light that bounces off the underside of your jawbone or the underside of your brow.

Color and value, shadows and light, they are so very beautiful and so necessary to show case one another. If your artwork is looking a little flat, you probably need to punch your not black darks darker and your not white lights a little lighter.

 

Hope this was helpful! Have Fun Creating!

icon-etsy

captivating_Miller_08g

Check out my online Portfolio @ Jackielittlemiller.com

Cat Fight

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wow! I just found out and I am so excited to tell you all that my new Painting “Cat Fight” has won¬†in the Advanced Category¬†on the Facebook¬†CPAL Featured Artist Contest for the month of January. This is such a great honor, as it is an international group of Color Pencil Artists from beginners to experts. The contest is voted on by the members and there is nothing quite like being recognized by a group of your peers. This means that “Cat Fight” will be featured on the facebook banner for a month, plus It will be published in an upcoming issue of the magazine Color Pencil.

Story of creating Cat Fight

My friend Sheilah Forbes Swanson has an awesome job out at Wild Life Safari in Winston Oregon; where she gets to take photos of the animals up close and in person. She has given me the awesome privilege of being able to use her photos for reference for my art. As soon as I saw this photo I knew I needed to paint these girls.

tigers3-play-edit-crop

First I prepped my canvas with Art Spectrum fine tooth colourfix primer on the unstretched  canvas which I had taped to a board. Then left this to completely dry.

Then I started By by graphing out the photo so that I could increase the picture in size.Then I can trace that larger image onto any surface I want to paint or use my colored pencil using a large piece of carbon paper.

 

 

I had done a tiger face earlier in colored pencil in canvas I really liked how it had turned out.So I decided to try that again to make a series.Then I set forth to trace the Cat Fight onto a piece of canvas.

I love eyes! I always start with the eyes, kinda like eating desert before dinner. I just can’t help myself. My reasoning is that if the eyes are not right nothing else matters. This may not actually be true, but it is true to me!

1-d-face-with-ref

Here I basically blocked in the face in the color tones and values, then worked them down into the texture of the canvas using¬†odorless mineral spirits on the colored pencil to melt it down into all the diets of the canvas so there wouldn’t be white spots anywhere.¬†This I did through out the first layers of the tigers and background.

h-tiger2

Bit by bit I did the same process on the whole canvas surface, blocking in the underpainting. I then sprayed the entire piece with a textured fixative by Brush and Pencil. This is an awesome product and it made it possible for me to put lighter colors on top of the dark ones. You still have to be mindful to leave light spots light to retain the light in the painting, but it makes it easier to lighten things back up a bit.

Remember that when ever you are painting or using pencils to draw an animal with fur that you need to make you r pencil/brush stroke in the direction of the fur. You must constantly refer to your photo because underlying muscle and bone cause the hairs to shift position as they proceed down the body/ face…i-more-t2

Here I start refining the face and adding the detail. I just wanted to stay on the face and not finish the rest. Her eyes kept calling me back to them. I had to stop and step back from this piece for a while at this point because some of my values had gotten off kilter. Some things needed to be punched much deeper, others needed to be lightened up. at this point everything I do on the cats is done with hair strokes in the proper direction.

NOTE: don’t fence post your hairs. Hair can aim in a general direction without everything going in exactly the same direction.

z-finished

Once the values were corrected, and background filled in with shadows punched just a little darker I was done. I could have gone into more detail on the forelegs but I felt that I wanted the focus to be her eyes anyway so I left the rest less detailed.

To give the canvas I nice protective surface I sprayed it with 4 layers of Golden’s Archival varnish with UVLS protection. This you can get in a Gloss or satin finish. I prefer the Gloss, but us a satin until I get it scanned or photographed so there is no glare.

icon-etsy

captivating_Miller_08g                                   See My online Portfolio at jackielittlemiller.com

 

 

Leap Of Faith

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Every artist hits dry spells. Well I had a year full of dry! It seemed every piece I worked on this year was not what I would call a success. I had started to teach an art classes at our local art shop in my home town two years ago. Dealing with students questions, I became convinced that I needed to learn to do everything my students had questions about. So I started trying everything: landscapes, still life, oils, pastels, Color mixing, and learn to paint in blues, yellows and pinks… These are all good things, but I have no passion for them.

I love doing portraits. Whether it’s people or animals, I love portraiture. Even when I paint landscape, it is more a portrait of a tree, not every tree in the forest. My mind wants to single out the subject and make it the complete focus. I was trying to fight myself¬†because I felt that “Real Artists” see the whole picture and should be able to paint anything in any colors, any time, any where. But I have found out during this year of trial and error that all it seamed to do was steal my joy of painting and drawing. I am very stubborn and sometimes not the sharpest knife in the drawer. So it took me a year to get this revelation! LOL!

Once I finally realized what I was doing, I¬†decided to just paint for the joy of it and paint what intrigues and fascinates me. Something amazing happened. I started to enjoy the process again. It took a while to get back in the swing of things again. Paintings didn’t just start coming out perfect all of the sudden, I still had to fight a years worth of what I saw as failures. Each had built upon the others leading me to the conclusion that I was not a “REAL Artist”. It was a epic mental battle that I had to press through with God’s help.

The Revelation and Healing

December 2016 came and with it the realization that it had been a whole year since I had turned out a completed art piece that I loved. One day after failing yet again trying to do something that I SHOULD do. I threw up my hands and asked myself “what I was doing?” and “Why” did I feel I needed to know how to do everything, Why?¬†I was fed up, frustrated and just down right angry with myself for being so arrogant that I thought I could not teach or be an artist until I ¬†knew everything there was to know about it.

So I said “NO MORE!” and I walked over to my reference photos of things I really wanted to paint some day. As I looked through them I found a photo Of my granddaughter doing a Gymnastics leap. I could hear her precious voice in my ear as she had said to me months ago, “I would love it if you would paint a picture of me doing gymnastics, Granny!”

img_6776

So it was settled. I knew I was not up to getting a perfect likeness of her at this point, so I decided to do a gesture painting. Again not something I have done before, but it is something I have always WANTED to try. So I started laying out a background.

leap-of-faith-1-background

This was so much fun, but again I was fighting my nature. I love to refine, blend and smooth things out, yet with gesture painting you want to leave deliberate brush strokes with minimal detail. When I reached this point I stopped. I wasn’t sure I liked what I saw, though I had done what I set out to do. Needing some feed back I posted this photo On my facebook page¬†and walked away from my studio for a couple of hours.

leap-of-faith-3

When I came back with a fresh set of eyes and less critical, I saw that I really did liked her. I saw just a few things I needed to add or fix to complete her; and set forth to complete the work. When I went to post the completed work photo I saw that I had gotten a great supportive response that I was not expecting.

I really like idea of using the more abstract style to give the feeling of movement. It also gives me the feeling that the dancer herself is leaping in a focused, trusting strength(which is great that you call it “Leap of Faith). I love the colors for the background and that whatever the dancer is leaping into is not clear to see, which gives me the feeling that the dancer is unconcerned about what is around her. Very beautiful.” Katie M

I was so encouraged and blessed by so many of my friends. Finishing up I had such a sense of relief, joy and excitement. The thought came to my mind “I am Back! I haven’t lost it after all! Thank You God!”

leap-of-faith-8

I was still a little reluctant to show it to my granddaughter. For fear that she wouldn’t like it because it was abstract, and partly because I was afraid she would like it and want it, and I would have to part with it. I know, crazy maker stuff. Am I the only one that does this to my self? I think not! When I made the big reveal, she was just giddy! She loved it and gave me a hug enthusiastic hug! If that doesn’t boost ones¬†confidence nothing would.

 Food For Thought

I guess what I wanted to share with you is that whether you are an artist or not, sometimes you go through a time of doubting your abilities and gifts. You may go through a time of really stinking at everything you try to do.

Let me encourage you that in trying you are learning. In failing, you are learning what not to do. You can’t fail if you don’t try, and not trying really stinks too. I have learned that I am human and fallible. Not a huge revelation!¬†I had feared that failing in front of my student would cause them to doubt my ability to instruct them, but in fact they told me that it was actually an encouragement to them. Because if their instructor could try new things and fail then it was alright for them to try and fail in front of others.

I also learned something that simply amazed me. As I was struggling with the nagging thought that I was not a “REAL ARTIST” I kept hearing other artist say the same thing. Even artists that I look up to as my mentors were saying things like, “Well, so and so is¬†a Real Artist” or “If I was a Real Artist.”…

LIGHT BULB!

We all feel inadequate. All feel like posers. We are all comparing ourselves to others and thinking if only I could be like, paint like, cook like, write like… that person, then I would be a REAL artist, Chef, Author… Insert what ever it is you are trying to be REAL at here.

It’s REALLY quite ridiculous if you step back from it and look at it for what it is! I love art, I love to paint and draw. I do it all the time. I can’t NOT be an artist. Even when I am no good at it, my heart struggles and is compelled to keep doing it. It’s like trying not to breath. Eventually you have to do it even if you are under water. I am an artist! Inside out or upside-down it is who I am, not what I am.

If you are going through a dry spell, take courage that it is a learning process and this too shall pass. Do not doubt that you are REAL. God knows who you are!

Psalm 139 (Biblegateway.com)

13 For you (God) created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
¬†¬†¬†¬†they would outnumber the grains of sand‚ÄĒ
    when I awake, I am still with you.

 

I hope this encourages you to go on trying new things, stretching yourself and even failing. But also remember that God has made you to be one of a kind. You don’t have to be another Michelangelo or Monet. Just be the best you that you can be. Paint what God has placed in your heart to paint. Don’t do it for fame or fortune, do it for the love of it.