Thursday, January 30, 2014


I have been very distracted lately. Children have been ill, my mother has moved in for a couple weeks... I've been slacking and I really have no excuse... *ahem*

I'm slowly working on my queen. You can see that I have blocked in a few areas:

In progress!

I have blocked in certain color combinations (like her dress) just to see what I think of it (I'm going with it, a red/black/white and gold.) Her hair was going to be black, but painting black hair is a bit tricky with a warmer skin tone, so I'm switching to a deep brunette with copper highlights. I got frustrated with it the other day and had to walk away before I ruined something. 

Oh, and the canvas has loosened. Now, I don't know if everyone knows this trick, but if that happens, spray some clean water on the back and blow it dry with a blow dryer on warm. Not too hot, and if there is paint on the other side, be VERY careful (if it's all painted, I don't do that anymore.) Tightens that canvas right back up like a drum!

I also finally,  finally took updated head shots for my business photos. I've been putting it off for years.  I'm just not a fan of being in front of a camera. But, for some reason I decided to do it. I hadn't planned on it, I had actually planned on making a little video showing how to tighten up the canvas instead, but I realized all my photo lights were set up, and so I went that way instead. I figure I won't have to take pictures for another five years, right?

The static in the air was a bit high today... but I figured now or never!

This is the one I went with for my business shot. I don't know WHY I have a perpetual smirk when I half-smile like that. No wonder I got grounded so much!

I think I prefer the black and white on this one.

Actually, I just love black and white better in almost every portrait I've ever taken (of myself or others when I had a photography business.)

Well, now that I got that done, I hope I'll actually get some real painting in! 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Queen Me

I haven't had a lot of free time to work on things I should for the studio, and yet I haven't done other things that I should have instead. For example, my house does not look ready to receive guests. As a matter of fact, the UPS man pulled his truck into my driveway and I stood out on the porch barefoot in the freezing rain, rather than risk him catching a glimpse of the state of utter disaster that my house is in. Because, you know, clearly my UPS man is Martha Stewart in disguise and would have a heart attack...

I truly wish I was one of those people who can juggle a spotless house along with everything else, but I'm not. I strongly suspect I would be if I lived alone, but then there'd be a lot less fun in my world. (That's my subtle way of blaming the chaos on my family, but seriously if the hamper is right there, how dang hard is it to get your dirty clothes IN it instead of next to it? RIGHT there. RIGHT THERE!!! And if you miss, pick it up! Why is that such a foreign concept? Don't even get me started on toilet paper rolls.)

I have a limited amount of energy for the day. I struggle with exhaustion, and I budget my energy like it's precious gold. I allot time for exercise, because if I don't get it in I actually start feeling pain. I allot time for working on the computer side of the business in the morning, because it has to be done. Usually about 30 minutes into that, I start having problems staying awake. Sometimes I'm defeated enough that I crawl back into bed and guiltily steal an hour or two, but it's not restful because I didn't earn it. Guilt-sleep stinks.

Then I move on to some basic upkeep like laundry, figuring out meals (like what I should be doing for dinner for the family - because I would just eat dry cereal or ancient leftovers and call it a day if I was left on my own) or running errands that must be done. My brain starts to wake up enough to paint after noon, and I slowly go in that direction, but then I often have to run and pick up my kids from after school activities (which takes out at least an hour right there, as the school is almost 30 minutes away.) Then it's working between helping with school work, or just general mom-stuff, getting dinner going, and trying to get other things done like laundry (it's never ending. I've never seen people go through so many outfits in a day) or whatever emergency has cropped up.

I end up doing most of my painting in the evenings, in the middle of the family bustle, right at the kitchen table (I can't work in my studio anymore, it's too full, no matter how I organize it.) This works, because I am there for my kids, but I am able to work at the same time. Yet, I feel bad about it because I should be focusing on them fully. Or scrubbing something. ANYTHING.

On the scrubbing front; the days I do clean things, I don't have the energy to paint anymore. I cleaned all three bathrooms, and I needed to take a nap later because of it. Painting goes out the window when cleaning is front and center. I have discussed this tiredness with doctors over the years - since I was a teen, but they just blow me off. I mean, I ran a marathon like this, so I'm fine, right? Never mind that the marathon training was the only thing I was basically able to do for the day at all. The rest, I just survived. Barely. My new and current doctor is taking more of an interest, but we'll see where this leads.

Well, that was a tangent (sorry) to get to this: I did manage to squeeze in some time to work on my Queen of Hearts, finally! I started painting her, and this time I got to start on the face (normally, placement puts that later in the painting, but this time I could jump right in.) This was good because she's the centerpiece. It would be awful if I worked hard on the rest, then painted her and watched the painting fall apart!

Working on the skin. I only realized after I was painting her that her eyes follow you wherever you are in the room. It's creepy. I'm being judged by the Queen of Hearts! GAH!

I'm planning on her hair being raven black, but that's at an in-between part of the painting. Once I finished her face, well that's where it gets messy. Some painters are clean painters, and can work on any detail anywhere in the painting. Me, I work in layers. When I work on a part I have to ask if there is another layer in front of it or not. I have to work on the furthest back layer, and make my way forward to the last. I think I'd like to learn how to develop a painting all at once, but this is my current process.

So, after her face, I lightly under-painted her hair and then blocked in the sky:

I'm going to tone it down and push it back further into the distance, but the first blocking of blue was nice to see anyway.  I'm working in acrylics, and this is 16x20, stretched fine-tooth canvas.
So, I work messy. It all cleans up as I refine the painting, like bringing it into focus, but it's messy. Oils, you're able to push back, but with acrylics it's all about the layers.

I have to say that my heart is more into this painting than it has been in any of my others in a long time. I can tell the difference too. The quality is just better, I'm trying harder? I don't know. I try hard at everything I paint, but I think I have given myself permission to take as long as I want on this, and that takes off a lot of pressure. That means better results... I hope the rest of the painting keeps turning out!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Head Case

OK, I'm doing poorly with updating here. To be honest, I actually have another blog where I blather on about my life and whatnot (but tend to hide any art discussion from), and I often forget to come here and talk some more. I've been bad about my instagram account too. It's funny how often time feels like it's crawling by, but in other respects it just seems to fly (like between haircuts, that time goes by so fast! Yet, eating super-clean and strict for a day? Every day is three days, at least. Maybe nine. Or a year.)

Things have been crazy for me here. My daughter had an accident where my daughter was doing a stunt with her fellow cheerleaders at a game. It went wrong and she ended up falling off the mat and cracking her head against the hard floor at the same time as another cheerleader fell on top of her head. (So, floor, head, someone's back - stacked like that.) I was not there and didn't witness it, but the information I have is that the coach didn't think much of it and my daughter went back out for a few more stunts and cheers before my she felt so ill she needed to sit down. A trainer for the basketball team had seen everything and evaluated her as having a mild concussion and told her to sit out.

When my daughter arrived home, she seemed OK, just tired and kind of nauseous. So, she went to bed. I woke her up at school time and she had a headache and didn't want to go. I let her sleep and worked a bit. I should explain that as soccer coaches, my husband and I are pretty familiar with concussions (and this child has had a few mild ones.) I finished this painting in the meantime:

The prompt was Marie Antoinette, and it will be up for open auction in a couple weeks on Facebook.

...and then I went and woke my daughter up. It was 11 AM by then, and I decided to make her get up so I could evaluate her. One look into her eyes and I saw that her pupils were not equal, with one twice the size as the other (not a totally blown pupil, but wrong nonetheless.) That was it for me. Her headache was worse, still sick to her stomach, and so on. So, off to the ER we went.

The good news is that she was OK. The CT scan was clear and there was no bleeding on her brain. The bad news was that she's going to be a "little off" for a while (slow, slightly confused, etc) and was not allowed to text, watch TV, or basically use her brain for a few days. In other words; the worst fate any teenager can possibly imagine. She was pretty bored and stalked me around the house to entertain her. This isn't conducive to getting work done, or calming my nerves as her whole personality was a bit off.

I cannot explain how creepy it is to have your child change on you. You realize that you can lose someone without physically losing them, if that makes any sense? It made me sick to my stomach with that feeling of wrongness, and I have to say that we're a week out and things are not all the way back to normal. She has only been back at school once, but at least her pupils look more normal (they're still slightly off, especially if she's tired.) The doctor says that if she still doesn't feel well by Monday, all bets are off and it's back to the ER for another CT.

These kids are going to be the death of me, I swear. Since they hit their teenage years, I haven't slept much. The anxiety and fear from this sort of thing does NOT help. It's hard to focus on anything. Even taking a bath feels selfish and stupid - you should shower, and be quick about it, because you need to fix this NOW! You are mom, and things aren't right, you are failing! Go fix it!

But I can't.

Horrible. I feel just horrible. I should add that this is just compounded with some big things that happened this past year with my children as well. The constant fear I've been living with on one level or another is just suffocating. I have a whole slew of paintings in my head for my more abstract side of the studio, but believe me when I tell you that they are seriously dark. I haven't decided whether to paint them or not. Side note: it's nice to be able to paint in my head, even if I'm not accomplishing much in reality.

I could blather on, but I realize that what I have to share I could actually make into another post! So, I shall! And that way my posts won't be two weeks between one another.

Saturday, January 4, 2014


I'm posting without all the new art to share, because I'm trying to remind myself that I'm not only going to post when something is done! (That whole blog-resolution thing I had going.)

Well, except I will share pictures. I like visuals for my art blog.

So, it's cold out here. COLD-cold. Last night I was out with my husband at a business dinner and it was -19 F (-28C) with a windchill about -30 F ( -34C). Now, folks, that's just cold! Parts of your body just go numb, after screaming at you in agony for a few seconds. It's not pleasant.

This morning, it was up to 1 degree (-17C). Interestingly, it feels just about as cold. Possibly because the windchill isn't that different. But the sun is out, and the snow is blowing around outside in the most amazing patterns. In the field next to my house, it actually looks like a frozen ocean, complete with waves. (These are from instagram for the most part, I'm trying to remember to use the account: kyraart - I had deleted my original one when they had their sneaky policies in place.)

This doesn't really do it justice. It's amazing, wave-like, and dynamic!
I did have to go out in it (hence why I took a photo), to retrieve my daughter from a friend's sleepover. Oh, the things we do for our children.

I brought my co-pilot in the car with me though so we could shiver together. 
And once I got home, I...well, I'm still not warmed up. Every time I venture farther than 10 feet from my fireplace I end up chilly again. Fully socks, or no, it's cold!

I'm working on getting my spot back in front of the fireplace. Lily won't leave it.
My first projects for my art in 2014 actually came out of left field for me. Granted it was my own fault, because I wasn't paying attention. I'm part of an artist collective that does an auction every month with a theme. This month's theme is Marie Antoinette. So, I have two sketched out:

And I got to work on them yesterday. I heavily salted their backgrounds, and I'm hoping I haven't over done it.

They always look like zombies with the violet layer. Long ways to go, but it makes me wonder about stopping at this point on a picture... a purple girl... Might be kind of cool?

Today, I've been too cold to work. My joints hurt in my hands. Some of this is without a doubt due to the cold, but some of it is the over indulging I've been doing for a while. If my body swells, my hands don't work as well. It's unfair, but true.

Tomorrow, my husband and I are starting a new fitness plan, and with it we'll be locking our food back down again too. I'm hoping that clears up most of the issue for me. The rest? Well, I'm contemplating painting with an electric blanket on my shoulders!