Sunday, September 30, 2012


On Friday morning, I woke up thinking I was going to continue painting my Halloween-kitten painting. Instead, I kept looking over at my watercolors stacked up on a supply shelf. It's been ages since I painted with my watercolors. I told myself it hasn't been that long, but then I thought back and realized that the last time was a commission that was almost three years ago! And before that? Well, let's face it: I'm a heavy-handed painter that likes vibrant colors. That in turn translates well to oils and acrylics, and that creates an easy gravitation in their direction (and makes it easy to forget that I used to like to paint in watercolors too.)

Still, I couldn't get it out of my head. Soon, an idea for a picture in watercolors formed in my mind which made it simply impossible to focus on the kittens. So, instead I dug out my gear and hauled it to a table. I ended up sketching out this Halloween scene with a witch on a hot press block:

It's not horrible... I'm not sure about the balance yet, but hey, I was just supposed to be playing anyway! At least, that's what I was telling myself. I keep reminding myself that it's important to play. Having a business that makes use of my art can create a loop where I feel like every single piece I create must be sellable. We must not have waste! But if it's never a risk, there's not a lot of playing to be had either. It's time to play.

Even so, I realized that it has been so long since I've painted in watercolors, I wondered if I still knew how. There's a rhythm to painting, and watercolors are their own special animal. They work in reverse of traditional painting concepts... tricky, tricky. I decided that even if I am playing, there's no sense in going in blind. I pulled out a piece of scratch coldpress just to test things out again.

Now, coldpress and I have a long standing disagreement going. While I like texture, I also like detail and the cold likes to make everything just a wee bit rough. Which is why I drew on the hotpress. And didn't have a scrap to mess with to test things out again. *face-palm* I know. Anyway, this is where I am at with the watercolors. I'm going to test a bit more, until I feel a little more confident, and then go for it. I realize my "go for it!" attitude kind of went without me if I'm doing all this testing, but since I'm playing with paint I haven't touched in years, I'm giving myself points for at least trying to play!

In other news, a box also showed up carrying some supplies I ordered. On a lark, I ordered a bunch of tiny-tiny canvases! Check these out:

Aren't they cute? I'm planning on all sorts of things, but first up is a moon and pumpkin-patch set:

That's a 2x2", and a 3x6" stretched canvas. I'm going with acrylics, trying to turn these around quickly.

I also bought a bunch of plain canvas panels (I always paint on stretched), to make myself play. The goal is to get me to loosen up a little bit, and also to find ways to speed myself up a bit. I'm a tad slow right now. I think I'm over-thinking my works. Of course, I tend to over-think everything anyway.

So, the goal is to create some nice things, but also? I need to loosen up! Good golly!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Holiday Shift

The one thing holding me back from jumping into my Halloween paintings with both feet was my white rabbit painting. Now that it's done, I have finally begun to start in on those! I'm excited! The air is cooler, and the leaves are starting to change! It's simply perfect for diving in.

View off the back deck this morning.

After so many errands and other things happening this week, I finally have today to myself. I'm trying to balance output with enjoyment, because I am behind the curve this year (well, last year too) on creations for the season, and now it's finally time to catch up! I have put my Alice series off until January, so it's full speed into holiday paintings! I'm pleased, but on another side I'm a little off kilter with finally having this change in mode before me.

My main problem with my glasses not working for me remains, and I'm just not sure what to do about it. I suppose I should have looked into a magnifying arm instead of getting glasses, but I thought I was doing the right thing at the time. Even if it is operator error with the glasses, if I don't figure it out, they're useless to me for painting!

I'm trying to work at a sitting desk right now to see if that helps, but I made the change to a standing easel a while ago, and it was a good change just for my overall health. So, if it does work to sit, I'll be stuck between being able to use my glasses for painting at the cost of my health, or standing and healthier but struggling to see fine details when I have to get close up. Clearly, I'm not done figuring this one out yet!

Today, I'm working on the sketched out canvas of the Halloween kittens:

I've already started painting in the background, and I hope to move forward quickly with this one as well as start sketching out many others! Here's hoping for a productive weekend!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

At Last!

I finally finished my White Rabbit painting from my Alice in Wonderland series! This has been such a long process. I started in on my Alice series this year with the intent to have a show this Autumn, but reality set in hard when I realized I needed to spend a lot more time on the paintings than I had thought. It wasn't because I couldn't paint faster, but because I wanted to paint better. I needed to give myself permission to take my time with it. I was pressuring myself, almost panicking, which was silly!

I love art! I love painting! I should be enjoying this series, because I love it too. Why rush through and ruin the journey?

So, I took a deep breath and gave myself permission to slow down. I tried to not think about the countless hours translated to an hourly rate per painting (I'm aware that this one wouldn't even buy a stick of bubble-gum with what it breaks down to per hour.) I tried not to panic about other paintings needing to be done, and allowed myself to take time off to do those here and there (though admittedly, this creates a little bit of painting ADD and a backlog of half finished works. I'm not happy with that. I think I need to clear out the backlog, and get back to finishing what I start. Having a business though, means I need to be able to shift between other projects too, so there's a balance I need to strike with that one.)

What was wonderful about this was that I was able to fall in love with this painting. It started to become very important to me, so much so that I was excited to finally paint the white rabbit, but very nervous too. What happens if I mess it up? But I didn't. And I love it!

I know the series has a long way to go yet. I have a Cheshire cat coming, a Caterpillar, and more! Queen of hearts, and of course ALICE!  All told, I think this series is going to round the bend at about 25 paintings. I'm up to about seven right now. Some smaller ones, but some very large ones are planned. I know they'll be complicated, and I know I'll have to slow down and fall in love with every single one of them. And I know they'll be wonderful.

So, without further ado, here is "Tea Time":

"Tea Time" by Kyra Wilson, Alice in Wonderland series
(held for exhibition)
16x20x0.75 acrylic on stretched canvas.

And here is the time-lapse video of it as well!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Yesterday, after several failed attempts over the weekend, I thought I was finally going to finish my white rabbit painting. I feel like I have put more time into this painting than any other, ever. That's probably not true, but it feels that way! Worse, I am just crawling up the walls with excitement to get going on my Halloween paintings! This painting is now holding me back! Not fair!

One of the problems over the weekend was that my eyes were especially tired and I really was having problems with the close-up detail. I thought to myself "Well, the glasses place called and told me my glasses were ready! So, Monday will be the day! All our problems will be solved!"

So yesterday I was very excited to get my new painting-glasses. My eye sight is generally fine, but that up-close stuff had faded to a bit of a blur. I couldn't wait to see if it helped!

Ta'da! Me in my new glasses! Of course, they only work with things in the range of 6-12 inches from my face which means I could barely see the camera here...

I tested my new glasses out by looking at some of my paintings up close, and sure enough I could actually see the details I had been lacking! Of course, this led to about 15 minutes of me screeching "OMG! Why did I do that? Didn't I see this needed to be worked a bit more? And what about here....!" After I got over myself, I couldn't wait to get to work. I just knew this would be the answer to my painting woes. My secret hope was that it would actually speed things up for me because I'd spend less time waiting for my eyes to focus on things. My glasses were going to be like magic!

Now, one of the things I have done in my studio is to make my work space a standing one. I was finding that long bouts of sitting and working was leading to my not feeling so well. This was working out great, but it turns out that is not the best set up for glasses like these.

I made myself so sick, I had to stop and go lay down. You see, I could see everything I needed to while working up close, but then I had to shift to my paint, and I was not using a hand palette. Instead, I had the paint set on my rolling paint shelving which put my gaze well past the correction. Oh, hello motion-sickness nightmare!

So, unfortunately I not only didn't finish my white rabbit painting, I didn't do much else for the rest of the evening either. I have to figure this out (so if anyone has any suggestions.) A friend who works at an eye doctor's said that if I keep having problems, that I should go back and explain that - that maybe they have reverse progressive glasses or something like that (mine are not progressive at all.)

Ugh. So, I'm off to finish this painting without the aid of my new super-hero glasses. *sigh* Fortunately, my Halloween painting I have all ready to go will be worked at a studio desk, so the paint should be level with everything else. If that makes me sick too, I guess it's back to the doctor!

Friday, September 21, 2012


Yesterday, I managed to finish Mr. Rabbit in my White Rabbit painting for my Alice in Wonderland series.
Mr. Rabbit from my White Rabbit painting, for the Alice in Wonderland series.

His coat ended up a bit overworked, with probably too many folds and ripples, but at the same time since he's the focal point in a larger painting I think it helps bring him out a bit as well. I really is much harder for me to work in acrylics with details like this, but I think I've been making great strides in the process of learning about it.

It was a big deal, because I feel like the largest portion of the painting has been dealt with. Now I'm starting in on fleshing out the rest of the painting on the left side, and roses on the right. Now it's about bringing overall balance to the composition. I'm in the home stretch, on what's been a very long run for me! Yay!

I've updated the time lapse faithfully as well, and my video now stretches just shy of three minutes. I'm looking forward to completing that too, and I've decided that I will do more video blogging here and there.

I'm so excited to finish this painting, not just because it's been a long term project, but also because I can finally dive into the holiday paintings. I'm just itching to paint Halloween canvases, I can barely stand it! I miss my oils, and I think I'm going to revisit them for some of these, although with drying times being what they are, I might be shooting myself in my foot, business-wise. Maybe I'll save the oils for my fairies and mermaids which are also on deck to be worked on!

I hope everyone is well, and that you have a fabulous weekend!

I do tend to post more on my facebook page, so feel free to stop by and shout a hello!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

In Order to See You Better!

Today, I get to go pick out my first pair of glasses. Granted, they're only for when I paint, but it's a big change for me!

I started noticing I was having some trouble with close up work a bit ago, but I muddled through it. Then, one day I couldn't. I simply couldn't work as close as I needed to and be able to see what I was working on at the same time. Oh, the horror!

So, yesterday I went and got my eyes checked out. While I'm mostly fine, for that up close work I need a little something, and apparently I'm just now developing slight astigmatisms in both eyes. Which makes it sound like my eyeballs are going to fall out of my head, couldn't they have come up with a better name than that? If it's just about shape, why do they have to make it sound like a deadly disease?

Anyway, I'm off to go try on frames and see if I can pull off the librarian look! I don't know how long it takes to have glasses made, so I'm not sure if I'll actually receive them today or not, but here's hoping!

I'm getting closer to finishing my white rabbit painting:

I keep looking at his eye though, and I think I need to drop his lid a bit. I know the white rabbit was generally an excitable fellow, but the paranoid look is a little disconcerting after a while!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Video Hello!

After posting those time-lapse videos of my paintings, I had several people express an interest in me actually showing UP in one of my videos. So, I experimented with my phone, and I managed to actually make one. I'm pretty shy about showing up on camera at all, so bear with me!

If this works out, and people like this sort of thing (and I can figure out WHAT to talk about, suggestions welcome), I'll do a few more now and then!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wandering Errands

This week didn't afford me the time I was hoping for in the studio since a cold has made it's way through the house. On Monday, both my husband and my son were home sick. Tuesday, my son. Yesterday, I finally had the house to myself and I spent a good hour running around like a lunatic celebrating that I had my space back! I did manage to get some painting done, but then other life-things started to intrude, like errands. You know, there is only so long you can put off going to the grocery store before the natives revolt.

At the store, every single person and their second cousins were out cramming the aisles! It was so bad, I started to wonder if I had forgotten a holiday or something. I live in a small town, and really there are just so many people to go around. It's not November, so since when does a Wednesday warrant a ton of people in a store? It was a bizarre thing to witness, but at least if I had to be there waiting in lines for half an hour I could let my mind wander.

I'm an excellent person at keeping from being bored, because in my head I have a stack of about 20 paintings that are just waiting to be created. As long as I'm not actively needed, I can play with ideas and work my way through my plans. I'm always painting something, even if I'm not physically painting.

As useful as this skill is, I have to wonder if I don't appear to be a glazed over idiot to someone watching from the outside. I looked around at all the other people waiting in line and noted the various dull expressions. I wonder what they're thinking about? Their list of to-do's? Or do they have a place like my imaginary studio that they escape to as well?

I have managed to achieve more progress on my white rabbit painting. I hope to start painting the rabbit himself today! I really am falling in love with this painting, and I can't wait to see it finished. However, at the same time I am really feeling the pull to create more holiday and seasonal paintings! There's just something about Autumn that lends itself to starry nights. My favorite!

On another artistic front, I've had requests and have been looking into how to make pendants featuring my art. I've basically narrowed it down to a domed necklace, and I guess it's about learning how to make them now and supplies. If anyone has any advice on this, I'd love to hear it!

Sunday, September 9, 2012


I've been working on trying to put my studio time into the week, like a normal job. The tricky thing about creating artwork is that sometimes it's just not up to me when I create it. Mood matters!

I suppose mood matters for everyone, but I can't imagine a doctor going to work and saying "You know, I just don't feel the whole heart transplant thing today. Maybe in a few weeks, or who knows? Maybe a good night's sleep and that'll do the trick! But hey, that appendectomy sounds like SO much fun, I must do one right now!" Not to say that painting is like surgery. Well, at least my painting isn't like surgery. There have been some that I've seen that I've wondered about...

Anyway, one of the tricky parts about running your own business is in knowing that you are most likely not going to work just 40 hours a week. Running any business usually means you're going to be working 80 hours a week or more. It's simply the nature of the beast. If you are in art, it feels like creativity swings on so many things that you simply can't predict it. Instead, you have to take advantage of it when it presents itself!

I've been working on my Alice in Wonderland series, slowly. I still have my painting of the White Rabbit on my easel, and I have full intentions of finishing it. However, there are just some days (sometimes many days) that the mood isn't right. If I force it, the painting takes twice as long and is often not up to the quality I want it to be. It's hard to admit, but sometimes the best creative choice is to walk away until another day.

The upside to all of that is that on those days I can sit down and work on the business-business side of my art business. Last week was tough on the creative front because my dad had to come over every day and use our Internet for his job because his new house wasn't set up with it yet. He didn't bother me at all, but there was something about being off routine and having another person who usually isn't there in my space. So, I ran numbers and created spreadsheets, and made sure all my accounting forms were completed (also known as "the extremely boring stuff".)

This coming week I am looking forward to having my house back to myself (since my studio is in my house, this is key!) I know I'm going to work on the white rabbit. I know it so well, I thought about going into my studio today, but something was just off. I thought about it for a while, and then I realized that the reason is that I have been feeling a lot of pull to do some Halloween and Autumn paintings! Everyone wants me to finish the rabbit painting, I do too, but deep down I'm really feeling drawn to the more seasonal ones!

So, that's what I sketched out today:
Kyra Wilson halloween
new Halloween painting all sketched out! It's 8" x 16", stretched canvas

It's a bit cutesy, but I like it. We'll see how it all comes together. I figure I'll be in between this Halloween painting and the white rabbit painting this week. All I need now is the right mood!

Friday, September 7, 2012

September, Start it up!

I'm so happy to have my children back in school. They may not say it out loud, but I'm pretty sure they're happier in school as well. They get to see all their friends every day, and I get more time in my studio!

I'm working hard on finishing my white rabbit painting (I'm calling it "I'm Late!") over the next week, and I'm going to be able to put up another time-lapse video of this from start to finish. I've also been considering doing some videos from my studio where I am actually in them. Me, talking... on camera. It looks like it will happen!

I've also been thrilled that I've been able to start working on my holiday paintings! I'm all about Halloween right now, but I'm even thinking ahead to the winter holidays! I love any excuse to paint fun holiday themed paintings!

I put up a collection of paintings at a shop in Montpelier, VT called Inspired Creations. The shop is owned by two artisans (potter and jewelry), and is only a few months old. I brought them 18 of my paintings up there, and a slew of prints, and I got to visit the area which I hadn't seen in a while. It really is such a cute town up there, but I admit I had a hard time resisting the idea that the Ben & Jerry's factory wasn't too far away. I think ice cream may be my very favorite treat!

I'm doing more work on my Fairy series as well, and since it's open ended I can visit it whenever I want! I finished this painting of mushroom townhouses:

Kyra Wilson
"Townies" by Kyra Wilson, Acrylic on 6x6x0.75 stretched canvas $115 (including shipping in the USA & Canada)
I started working a bit on a mini-canvas of a fairy, but I'm not certain I like it. I may have to switch to my oils so I can really capture the fairies I am envisioning (not to mention, work on a bigger canvas!) I always have a million ideas, and canvases lined up to be painted. The only thing I seem to lack is time!

I'm going to be paying more attention to this blog, because I think it allows for me to post more updates, with perhaps a bit more interesting content in them as I process different things and work on different projects. Facebook is still my go-to spot for updates, but it's not a good thing to be so long-winded on it. Here, however? I can explore all sorts of ideas! My posts will probably get a lot more specific and seem less like an update overall. I also know I'm going to start writing about the business side of things, because I think if you're an artist trying to figure out this business stuff, any information can help. And if you're in the business, writing it out can help too!

Off to the easel...