Friday, July 25, 2014

Painting Challenges

After waiting to set up the perfect art studio for months, I finally dove right in and set up my art table, unpacked my boxes of paint and just started painting.  I had a burning desire to paint faces and Jodi Ohl's "Extreme Portrait' class was perfect for teaching some good information on portrait painting with great information to make the portrait interesting.  My first portrait was scary - almost terrifying, LOL.

But she definitely fit the bill of Extreme!  My second girl was a little better.  I used a picture of Winona Ryder as my inspiration picture - I use inspiration loosely!

The process was a lot of fun and definitely worth the six weeks of work.  I didn't complete the last assignment of painting a self portrait.  I plan to do it as soon as I take a good selfie. I've been sketching and painting continuously since completing the class.  My portrait inspiration on Pinterest is constantly growing so I should never run out of subject matter!

I've moved on to turning my portraits into angels…

More about the angels, next time.

Karen XO

Friday, June 20, 2014

Settling In

After seven months, we are finally getting settled in to our new house.  After the fire, we stayed in the hotel for almost two months, then moved temporarily to a condo for a month.  In March, we moved into our new home and are finally settling in.  The dining room, above, is one of the only rooms that's furnishings made it out of the fire.  We are still in the process of replacing a couple of sofa's and chairs.  It's a slow process but we're getting there.

I'm working on my art studio, too.  I have a great space - a huge area with lots of natural light and plenty of space.

I am just so overwhelmed with unpacking ALL those boxes of art supplies!  Where did all that stuff come from??  Last weekend, I did open a box with my brushes and paint for the first time since the weekend before the fire.  Man, it felt great to paint!

Still a long way to go…but a good start.  I signed up for Jodi Ohl's Extreme Portraits workshop last night…I can't wait to get started.  I'm hoping to start the first exercise this weekend.

So, life is getting back to normal and that's a good thing.  I feel that I've been through hell and back but I survived it and I've surprised myself that I was able to deal with it as well as I did.  I'm looking forward to the future and what's in store for me.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Unexpected Blessings

This is the last painting I was able to paint before our house caught fire the weekend before Thanksgiving.  I am so thankful that I was home to get my three dogs out of the house as I was supposed to be at a doctor's appointment but wasn't feeling well that morning so I stayed home to take a nap.  I must have smelled the smoke in my sleep because I started having strange dreams about lighting candles and woke up to noises in the kitchen and when I went to check, the kitchen was already in flames.  I ran to get the dogs in the bedroom and when we got outside, I realized that I didn't have our older dog, Chaney.  I went back inside several times to find him but the smoke was too bad and I couldn't breathe.  As soon as the fire department arrived, I climbed over the fence ( I couldn't get the gate open) and was screaming that there was a dog inside and the fireman ran inside.  Within a couple of minutes, which seemed like eternity, he walked out with Chaney.  To this day, I don't know how he was able to breath in that house for as long as he did.  He was covered in soot, a white dog that looked totally gray.  In fact all of our dogs were gray by the time it was all over.

I waited in the ambulance for them to put the fire out.  Meanwhile, the fire marshall brought me a pair of Uggs from my bedroom.  I hadn't even noticed that I didn't have shoes on although it was 27 degrees outside.  He said he hoped I didn't mind him looking for a warm pair of shoes for me.  He also said that he was calling the Red Cross for me because I wouldn't be able to stay in the house - I was in such a state, I just agreed.  When I was finally able to get back in the house, my family had arrived and looked scared to death.  There must have been 8 or 9 fire trucks blocking traffic.  I walked inside the house and was absolutely horrified.  The walls and ceiling were black with soot.  The kitchen was ruined.  The ceiling in the kitchen and living room was burned and gone.  My furniture was ruined, all the blinds throughout the house were melted as was my television in the living room.  All the glass in the pictures on the wall was broken and there was glass everywhere.  I must have been in shock because I was focusing on the cobwebs on the ceiling because they were very black with soot and I was feeling embarrassed that I actually had cobwebs in the corners.

My kids stepped in and took over.  My niece drove our dog Chaney to my daughter's house and she and my daughter-in-law bathed and shaved him all afternoon to get the soot out of his coat. He continues to stay there as he can't walk up the stairs at our hotel.  He won't let them sleep upstairs so they have been sleeping downstairs on the floor with him for a month. My other niece took the other two dogs to her house and bathed both of them and kept them overnight.  She has been babysitting them all month while I'm at work so they don't have to stay in the hotel room alone.  My son and daughter in law stepped in and hosted Thanksgiving at their house on a really short notice and did a wonderful job of cooking their first holiday dinner. 

It's been over a month since the fire.  We are still in the hotel.  Many of our belongings were destroyed in the fire.  Furniture, television, beds, all the kitchen items, and many more things I don't even know about yet were either burned or too damaged by smoke to keep.  All of those things can be replaced.  I am so thankful that it just my "things" that I lost.  It could have been so much more.  I believe that God gave me such a blessing when I was home that day.  

I struggle with the "why" the fire happened, why it happened to me, what did I do wrong, what was I supposed to learn from it, what was the lesson, where is the blessing in the fire?  I think I may have seen it on Christmas when my kids decided among themselves not to exchange gifts and instead, replace all of our kitchen items that we lost.  

We are hoping to be out of the hotel in a couple of weeks.  Living in one room, microwave cooking every meal and wearing the same clothes over and over is getting old.  I'm so looking forward to cooking a meal - I feel that I will never eat fast food or processed food again! Until then, I guess I will go warm up a can of soup….

Until next time….


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Intention and Acceptance

Witching Hour
I started Flora Bowley's Bloom True e-course, yesterday for the second time.  I took the course last September and learned so much about myself as an artist and the process of intuitive painting.  I've changed so much as an artist over the past five years and I like the changes.  I am learning to trust myself and letting the creative process happen.  I don't doubt myself as much as I used to and have realized that fear will rob you of your joy if you let I do my best to keep fear away and welcome joy!

One of things we have available to us is a Guided Meditation that Flora leads....I didn't take advantage of that before because I was always to busy to stop and calm down long enough to meditate - quite frankly I never had time to stop and try it.  I was selling myself short!!  I tried it tonight and it was great!
A six minute audio file of guided meditation was a pleasant and relaxating experience.  I'm definately going to do this daily.  One of the exercises is to set an intention for the course during your meditation.  My intention for this course is to pain the best I can pain and create as many canvases as I can.  I want to fully experience the joy of creating beauty and walk away from fear of comparing my work with others'.

Another practice that we are encouraged to do in the Meditation prompts is to learn to accept yourself without judgement or criticism.  That is something that I need to work on during our course - as acceptance is difficult for me.  Accepting my art without comparing it to someone else's, accepting me as I am has always been hard - I've always felt "not good enough", "not thin enough" "not thin enough", "not smart enough"....basically just not enough.  I am confident that I can learn to accept my accept myself during this course.

So, maybe this week, maybe you can meditate this week and learn to accept your self with joy and not fear.

All the Best!
XO Karen

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Welcome Summer and Call for Inspiration

This little painting reminds me of summer....this little swimmer girl was finished a few years ago in the summer and it reminds of a better time when I was feeling more creative and inspired.  I used a crackle medium for the background then added a walnut stain for definition of the cracks.  I glued some of my vintage micah on the blue to simulate the glitter of water.

I'm having a really hard time getting inspired - I can't decide what I want to paint or how I want to paint it.  Painting my angels and girlie girls used to bring me such peace and now it such a burden to paint them now.  I've taken a break from them and I've been painting abstracts.  But even the abstracts have become burdensome.  

I need to find my way to paint with joy again.If you have suggestions, please pass them my way....I welcome suggestions!

XO Karen

Saturday, April 13, 2013

What's up with my Blogging, Lately??

I've been almost absent from the blogging world from quite some time and I just don't have an excuse!  I've been reading blogs but haven't contributed much myself!

Recently, my kids and I took a trip to Misissipi, and we all fell in love with my Mom's dog, Max.  He is a little bit spoiled!  That's him on the stool....he sits on that stool and watches my Mother cook....for as long as it takes!  Too funny, huh???

This one is my favorite!  He gets fed SOFT FOOD by hand!  She hand feeds, like a baby, all of his food so he will eat.  My dad handed a plate of that food one mornng and said..."here, you feed him" and I thought I may throw up in my coffee!"  The texture in my hands and the smell was appealing with my morning coffee believe me!

You know what the best part is.....Max is perfect for my parents!  He sits in their lap all day....lays down with my mom when she isn't feeling well and doesn't jump up and down on the furniture.  A perfect dog for a Grammy and Papa.!  Kudos to my sister for giving them this puppy last Christmas as a surprise gift!!

Have a great day!