I enjoyed a welcomed surprise, or two this past week.I received a 2nd place (red) ribbon for my acrylic painting Belgian Team Ready at the 2018 Champlain Valley Fair Art Pavilion, in the category "At The Fair". This felt good, as you can imagine. Then, as I walked around looking at the wonderful art all around me, I discovered another ribbon. This one was purple and titled "Staff's Choice Award". It dangled from my painting titled G"Night Horse. This painting depicted a girl and her horse, forehead to forehead in silhouette against a sunset sky. On the reverse of this ribbon the staff person/judge had penned this note:
"You've captured the love between the two perfectly, and the sky is phenomenal."
I treasured this little note more than the two ribbons combined. It meant a lot to me to understand what another person actually saw or felt when she looked at my painting. Of course I'm not unhappy about getting the two ribbons. Its just that the note added something more - the human to human connection we all crave.
Think about it. When you go to a meeting, picnic, or party, what's the first thing you do, especially if you arrive by yourself? You look for somebody to connect with. That's what I appreciated most. That human to human connection, even if only in a note.
After I returned home from picking up my unsold artwork, I discovered a message from a friend. She contacted me to inquire about this painting. She said she wanted to buy it and she told me why: "It brought tears to my eyes by bringing together the three things I loved the most - sunrise/sunset, children and horses." This pleased me and we worked out the details together.
I love this painting because it does illustrate the warmth of a good relationship. It touched at least two people who then enriched my life by connecting with me. Relationship, making contact person to person really matters. This can be forehead to forehead, in a tiny note, on text, by phone, or in person. Taking the time to reach out even for a brief moment can make a difference in our lives. Days later, I still feel good.
PS How do you like to reach out? Share your ideas in a comment here.
I often laugh and say to myself "I paint funny", when I start a new painting, like the kitten portrait below.
I had an idea for a mostly white kitten from a photo I'd selected. She also lay on a pale carpet
So what did I do?
I looked for any hint of color in the otherwise white presentation. It's funny that I paint those colors very dark at first, only to lighten them up after.
I do this, to the best I can figure out, for 2 reasons.
First I learned to paint in oils. That process involved starting with dark colors and layering on lighter and lighter colors to develop the subject. So I just continue to paint that way using acrylics.
Second I discovered I paint more freely this way and don't get bogged down with the details.
Below you can see 3 steps in my process.
For this kitten portrait, to begin I sketch-painted the subject, and indicated the background and foreground.
During the 2nd step, I applied darker values of the color in the subject and surroundings. In the 3rd step I add white or light colors to brighten the light areas. I also add dark colors to enhance those areas that need to appear darker. This brings the subject 'to life'.
Each step may take a couple of hours or may be spread over a few days.
I painted this one over a few days. However, I like to let a painting 'sit' on my art room wall for a while to see how I feel about it. Sometimes I work on it later if I find it needs some finishing touches.
Finally, when I am satisfied, I sign the painting.
What do you think of this portrait? Would you paint her differently or use a different process?
Tell me in the comments below. It's fun to swap ideas.
Hugs and Blessings
This title: My First "Splash" actually means two things: Splash is the name of an acrylic painting and the first painting I've offered for sale in the beautiful Bryan Memorial Gallery, Jeffersonville, VT. (11/9/17-12/23/17). This is my debut!
Up to this date, my acrylic paintings have been gifts for my home, family members and friends. I also painted pets on commission, sold some of my prints, and taught in a recent paint and sip. Frankly, I hadn't created my art with a thought to sell them. I enjoy the process. I also got much delight from seeing the faces of those I gifted with a painting of a favorite scene or pet.
However, I began missing the paintings I'd given away. So off I went to St. Albans to the Village Frame Shoppe & Gallery http://vtframeshop.com/ . where I could get my paintings photographed and prints made. That solved my problem because I planned to keep at least one print of each, for myself.
Dan and Christianna at the Village Frame Shoppe, were so encouraging that pretty soon I found myself asking about artists groups I could join. Dan mentioned the Bryan Memorial Gallery, Jeffersonville VT, among others. I applied and after receiving my membership I asked to become part of the GEMS show coming in November. When I delivered my first ever for sale painting, I was received warmly. The gallery is beautiful, with its high white walls and big windows above. It seemed to be everything I wanted to represent my fine art along with the works of other fine artists.
So, if you are near Jeffersonville, Vermont, and want to see some beautiful paintings of all sizes, I know you will be welcomed at the Bryan Memorial Gallery. If you visit the GEMS show, 11-9-17 through 12-23-17 make sure you see my acrylic painting "Splash". That is unless it's already sold!
If you are interested in any of my paintings for sale, or the matted print of my paintings, feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org You can find all my paintings under the ART tab above.
Thanks for reading. Leave your comments or question below. I love to hear from you.
My Frozen Waterfall Painting
I Love birthdays. My grown up kids all had birthdays recently and I gave each one an original 12 x 16 inch acrylic painting on canvas. In this one I learned a new 'how to' and something about myself.
Last December my son and his wife came upon a frozen waterfall while snowshoeing. They loved the scene and took a photo of it to show me. I believe they experienced it as much more breathtaking than the photo illustrates. However, I could tell they loved their spot and I love them, so I decided to see what I could do for them in a painting. Here is their photo.
In preparing to paint, I covered the 12 x 16 inch canvas with black Gesso. This ensured the waterfall had a good dark back drop. Then I used a scrunched up paper towel to paint the sun, sky and land mass. I indicated the trees with the back of my fingernails, by dragging them upward. Later I added more detail.
I was surprised to find the waterfall presented a dilemma. As you can see in the photo the waterfall looks uneven at the top. When I attempted to paint it this way, it didn't 'make sense'. (God has much more liberty for creation than I do). As I worked, I discovered that I prefer my paintings to 'make sense', at least, to me. So I reconfigured the waterfall to appear more level at the top. Below is the result. What do you think?
If you are wondering why the water and ice are not just white, it's partly because water and ice take on the colors of their surroundings. It's also just fun to take artistic license and put blues, pinks, greens and even yellow in the ice and water.
I titled this one "Winter Icing" for a few reasons. The kids appeared visibly excited to share a photo of what they'd discovered on their snow shoeing adventure with me. I felt happy to create this painting to capture their moment in time, the feelings they'd expressed, and my love for them too. So, I hoped my painting would be like 'the icing on the cake.' It seemed right for all of us.
Tell me what you think about this in the comments below. Do you paint? What are you discovering?
Twee' Means You & Me
The Washington" #2
Susie E. Caron
The next one also took 2 months, mostly because I began to paint it as a snow scene. However, my husband told me that in the winter, this train would not have a cow catcher in front. So, I altered it to a mid-summer scene .
In this one, I discovered that I needed to use graph paper grid lines over a photo of his train in order to enlarge it and make it proportionally correct. This took a lot of time and planning.
I particularly like the way I painted the smoke. The most important thing I've learned to date is not to be afraid to paint over anything I don't like, or that just isn't working. I used white Gesso for a while, but later for small mistakes I just used Titanium white.
I promised more photos of my original paintings on coasters. As you will guess from these, my son and his wife are very active. I painted their coasters from their photos.
If you are thinking about painting your own coasters, I recommend buying the 4 to 4.5 inch pine blocks and using acrylics as a great way to start. You can find them at most art supply stores. I buy most of my supplies at DickBlick.com or Michaels. Dont forget to purchase some acrylic sealing spray to water proof them as well.
Questions or comments? I'll answer below.
Hugs and Blessings
This is painting #10 and my very first bird painting.
Susie E. Caron (c) 2/15/17
I just completed this little acrylic painting of a sweet, colorful bird. I found the photo on Pixabay, a site that offers Creative Commons Zero License (CCO). What a wonderful site and obviously, helpful to me while I'm learning to paint.
I found several that I liked and chose this little fellow because he's all alone. He also looks a little cold, but he's sitting in a tree filled with small seeds.
I decided to call this painting:
"He Feeds the Tiny Bird"
....because that's what I see.
Matthew 6: 26 says "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
I hung this painting in our dining room to remind me that God miraculously provides for all living things.
When every I find myself wondering how God could take care of us and our needs, this painting will remind me that He Feeds The Tiny Bird and He can supply our needs. I only need to ask.
Hugs and Blessings
I'm excited to introduce my new blog. When I began painting in April, I didn't know what might come out. To my surprise I'm doing really well. (At least that's what I'm told.)
Whenever I painted I took photos of my work in progress. I thought that was so I could study what I was doing at times other than when I was actively engaged in the process. Then I discovered the photos demonstrated my journey (mistakes and all) and what I discovered So I thought, "Why not share these with you?"
So that's what I'll be doing.
In the next weeks, months, and - dare I hope (?) - years - God willing, I'll show you my work, my paintings, and talk about my journey and process. I hope this will be entertaining and also give you hope that you too can do new things, even if, like me, you try them later in life.
Watch for new posts, at least once per month, but possibly more often. Don't be shy. Tell me what you like. I'd love to hear from you.
Hugs and Blessings
16 x 20 Painting #1
Susie E. Caron
This was my first large painting and took me 2 months to complete. I called this 'my love painting' because I knew it may not be an artistic treasure, but a reminder of my love for this horse.
We framed it and II sealed the following identification label on the back.
Horse Play with Water #1
Artist: Susie E. Caron
Original painting in acrylics;
Size 16" x 20"
An expression of the artist’s love for
her 8 year old Morgan Horse, Apple.
This was difficult, but I think I was successful because first I practiced...
Prior to attempting this one, I practiced by painting on 4.5" x 4.5" wooden 'plates (front and back). These would become Christmas presents to our grown children.
Many of these were copies of photos, etc. I'd found on the internet. As a result, they were great for practice and it's a good way to learn to paint.
I completed a total of 23 of them before I began to work on larger canvas.
I created original paintings for our own coasters illustrating our current pets. As you can see, I played with my signature a bit to help me decide how I wanted to sign my paintings. Because these are tiny, only 4.5" by 4.5" they took me only a week or two to complete. I made a lot of mistakes on each one, but it's easy to redo by painting over any mistake. After it dried I made any corrections I needed.
These were loads of fun to do. When I completed several of them, including something fun on the reverse sides, I sprayed each one with an acrylic sealer, twice. This made them essentially water proof.
We use ours during morning coffee, in our sun room and for cold drinks while watching TV . To date they are holding up really well.
I'll show you some more of my original paintings for coasters in my next blog.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me in the comments below. I'll be glad to share what I know.
Hugs and Blessings