Saturday, October 19, 2013

Watercolor?!


Every artist faces stumbling blocks and has to choose whether to let those blocks stop them or inspire them to push forward into new growth. Watercolor is one of my stumbling blocks and this week I decided it was time to get busy and figure out this tricky medium. Most artists I know will say it's one of the hardest mediums. if you create a mark you don't like, it can be very hard to cover it up, or hide. 

So "this here barn" is my first attempt at a more realistic watercolor approach (as opposed to the washes and fun color I usually use it for). There's a lovely red tractor in the barn, but the photo doesn't show it.

There are definitely things I would change if I could do it over...BUT I CAN'T because it's watercolor -_- (If it was oil paint, I could just keep pushing forward) 

11"x14" watercolor on paper
"I Like the Tree, the Horse, the Barn and Especially the Clouds" 
(How's that for a title?!)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

"Who Got the Last Word?"


     It used to be that I became uncomfortable when a client would ask me to create something outside of my usual style. Mainly because I worried that I might be pushing my luck as far as my ability to match their vision. Some part of me has developed more of a sense of adventure with my art which is infinitely more fun because the same challenges that used to cause hesitation now bring excitement. So much of creating a piece of artwork is about being willing to see where the idea takes you and how you will respond to its challenges.

     This painting was created to accompany another "Dali-esque" painting, surreal in style, that my client had and wanted a companion piece (in ink and watercolor) to hang in the same room. Surrealism is most definitely a far stretch from my more realistic comfort zone. 

     I played with some different ideas and ended up with a tree that had somewhat of a facial structure. I really can't pinpoint what made me think of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, but I liked the idea of capturing it as something other than an apple tree. Eve at this moment might be pondering whether she should listen to what God told her or give into the temptation to choose otherwise. Outside the Garden of Eden story, there is a tension that alludes to similar choices we individuals make on a daily basis. The butterfly hovering by the tree is symbolic of the resurrection, reflected in 1 Corinthians 15 (MSG):
Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
Who got the last word, oh, Death?
Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?
It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!

Trio of Boots


     My client snapped an endearing photo of her husband's and sons' boots all lined up together - being a mother myself, I knew just how she felt looking at those smaller boots next to her husband's and thinking "How fast they grow!" Wanting to capture that moment, she asked me to paint the trio of boots as a Father's Day gift. These are not fancy, cowboy boots...they are working, exploring, feet protection for guys and it was important to me as an artist to reflect that in their texture and worn feeling. I'm sure lots of great father and son memories were made in these boots!


“When you see someone putting on their 

Big Boots, 

you can be pretty sure that

an Adventure is going to happen.”


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Bird Watching


Mr. Great Blue Heron is watching the people and viewer's of the painting are watching him...hence the title, "Bird Watching."

This commission was a fun collaboration with my client. Her input: "lots of beautiful blues, a portrait of the Great Blue Heron that often visits down by the water, and my family hunting for seashells in the background." 

The more I paint birds, the more fun I think they are. I have a photo of a particularly cocky seagull staring me down in San Francisco that might be fun to play with one of these days!


"Bird Watching"
36"x48" oil on canvas
Private Collection

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Schilo's To Go


As the sign says, "Ringa da bell!"


Our family is so busy, sometimes I think we might as well have a bell to ring in our own kitchen for the food that goes out the door as takeout. If I make it, it tends to be healthier, but when I'm painting, everyone's on their own!


As you walk into the door of Schilo's Delicatessen in San Antonio, a long, sleek counter invites you to come in and take note of all the tasty offerings available for dining in or taking out. I loved the contrast between the old set of scales and the modern, shiny meat slicer. Personally, I've only ever eaten in because I go for the atmosphere as much as the food, but I imagine locals appreciate that they can get their food on the go and avoid the crowds.


Wish I had a piece of that pie right now...and some root beer.


"Schilo's To Go"
10"x14" oil on canvas
(available)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"Beloved"


"In Jesus Christ,
God has entered into our lives
in the most intimate way,
so that
we could enter into his life
through the Spirit."

~Henri Nouwen

"Beloved"
30"x40" acrylic on canvas

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pheasant Brothers


This was a new experience for me, painting birds - at least in such detail. When I accept a commission, it's fun to have the opportunity to paint something I probably wouldn't think of painting on my own.   I knew absolutely nothing about pheasants so I immersed myself in learning about them as I didn't want to make the mistake of painting them or their habitat in error. Introduced to North America from Asia, pheasants are a widely established game bird. I had no idea the variation in their feathers and colors. Thankfully, I was able to obtain two taxidermied specimens to view while I painted. That was a huge help. Symbolically, pheasants in art have represented eternity and redemption along with their peacock cousins.


"Pheasant Brothers" 16x20 oil on canvas
Private Collection

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pet Portrait Fun


I'm not trying to be "punny" when I say that creating a special pet portrait for a client leaves me feeling "warm and fuzzy" inside. It's a real joy to work with a client to develop a lasting memory of a beloved pet and these two portraits are the latest of what has become a fun side of my art business. I pride myself in working hard to capture the pet's personality as best I can. (If you are interested in having a pet portrait commissioned, feel free to check my pricing list by clicking on this linkhttp://artbymj.blogspot.com/p/commissionspricing.html )


Perusing my blog posts from 2011, I see that I did not do a very good job of posting a majority of my artwork. This may be due to the fact that 2011 was a year of experimentation for me as I returned to my old stand-by pencil, played with watercolors and pens, dabbled in digital media, and finished off experimenting with mixed media and acrylics.


Who knows what 2012 will bring to my art, but I will try to keep you better informed. Maybe I will feel brave enough to show you some of my more experimental work! I am hoping to find a way to offer prints in addition to the original art and commissions that I am creating. 


As always, I humbly thank you for your encouragement and allowing me the privilege of sharing my art with you.


Top: "Pom Buddies" 11x14 oil on canvas
Below: "Bucky" 11x14 oil on canvas

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sacre Coeur Cathedral




When I visited Montmarte in Paris, way back at the age of 18, I could never have imagined that one day I would be painting it as a commission. You just never know where life will take you!

And when my client's fiance took her to Sacre Coeur one evening, she had no idea there was a proposal coming as they stood at the front of this beautiful cathedral and he asked her to marry him.

Sigh. So romantic.

And I (moi!) had the honor of creatively capturing that momentous occasion.


"C'est à partir de toi que j'ai dit oui au monde."
- Paul √Čluard
It was beginning with you that I said yes to the world.

C'est magnifique!




Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tea Ceremony & Tradition - Golden Gate Park





Art is my work, but it is also my play. I have been doing a lot of playing over the summer months, hence my lack of posts. In between commissions, I have been playing at new kinds of media (different types of paint, pencils, pens). It's been rejuvenating and revealing.

This current "play" is actually a little piece that I started for fun early in the summer. I've also posted the preliminary work so you can see how a painting gets started. A departure for me, this is acrylic on heavy gessoed paper. It was a challenge to work with acrylics the same way I work with oils because they both behave very differently.

Originally, I had intended to paint a picture of the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco a la Monet. I got sidetracked though when a friend offered me his photos and after picking one out, I found that when I enlarged it, there was a little boy taking part in the traditional tea service. So I scrapped Monet and did MJ instead, creating my own version, redoing the scene and the little boy.

I was just telling a friend the other day that I don't think I could ever settle in to painting just one thing or one style. I love being an artist - I can be a gardener, an architect, a cowboy, a traveler, a naturalist, a child, a florist...the world is my inspiration!

"Tradition and the Tea Ceremony"
11"x14" acrylic on gessoed paper