Inspiration Gatherings No. 2


I love putting these inspirations posts together! It's an open journal of sorts, and although "gatherings" usually happen daily, it's good for me to really sit and think–what has really been my inspiration lately? If you missed the first post, or don't really know what this post is all about, go have a quick read of the first paragraph (or all of it) of this post, Inspiration Gatherings No. 1!

I didn't get very homesick in College, but since moving to Chicago and really facing a cold winter and city life I've been finding my heart being full with love for the place where I grew up in California. I went back last week for a visit, and it was just like I remembered it–full of beauty and sunshine. The place of one's childhood is always full of magic. Looking at the landscape around me, smelling the springtime smells there–it all makes me want to paint. Luckily this time I have things to paint from the trip! While I was there I was able to get dozens of great photographs and have a couple of staged photoshoots with models for new paintings I'll be working on this summer. The paintings (in my head currently) are already pretty special to me, and I cannot wait to get started on them and share. I snapped this photo on my iPhone one afternoon after finishing up with a couple of models posing with my parent's sheep in the backyard. It was just a dream. Those little lambs are so precious . . . and I might be painting this capture now too.

- Peder Mork Monsted - 
I wish I knew so much more about this artist. I can't seem to find a lot of information on him, but I can find a few high-res photographs of his work–that's like finding gold to me!! I've mentioned him briefly just recently here.  His work has been inspiring me so much since I found it. It's not so much that I would love to paint exactly like him, but something about the color harmonies and the way that his paintings seem to have a fluidness throughout the entire piece that is so uniquely Monsted just stuns me. Also, the subject matter he paints is what my dreams are made of: little beautiful, windy, country scenes. Click the image below to see his painting larger, and watch his brushwork come to life! I especially love the birds and the clouds up in the top middle area, and those little laundry lines! Oh, and I have to mention the tree branches just above the little cottages. Zoom in on those!

- Pinterest - 
I feel a bit silly putting this on my gatherings post. Pinterest?! This is a given . . .  but if not, consider this a APSA or Artistic Public Service Announcement. I've found, as I am sure some of you have too, that Pinterest is a FANTASTIC site for finding new art and artists. If I recall correctly, I'm pretty sure I didn't join Pinterest for its great resource of discovering art, but besides the common "wedding board," "quote board," and "dream home board," which I admittedly do have and add to frequently (ok, not so much the wedding one anymore,) I am consistently pinning art that I love now. I'm always amazed that without fail I can find a new piece of art that just sings to me, when I go "gathering" on Pinterest. Yes, sometimes it's good to step away from seeing what other artists are creating, but other times I find it very motivational to look at other's work. So why not Pin?! Pinterest is how I discovered Peder Monk Monsted, after all! You can follow me on Pinterest here, and, if you wish, be sure to leave your Pinterest name in the comments for me to follow too!

Jeweled Bouquet


This last weekend I was able to teach and paint with a couple of my sweet Chicago friends (we actually met in college, but are now all married and live in Chicago.) We had such a great time! At least I did; I can't speak for them necessarily. ;)

We worked on the same composition of flowers together so that I could walk them through the process step by step. They were naturals; I was SO impressed with their abilities and creativity. It's always amazing to see how two paintings of the same thing from two different painters, or even twenty different painters, can look so different and have its own spice and flair. Personality shines in impressionism! 

When I went the the store to I couldn't get over the color in this bouquet, but I didn't even realize just HOW great the color was until we were getting into the real juice of the painting. We kept mixing colors saying together, "oooh! This is the prettiest!" and then on the next color saying, "no! this is prettiest!" We wanted dresses made in every color. It was so fun; the perfect welcome into a REAL springtime painting. 

Above: One of their paintings! Incredible, right? 

 Above: The bouquet! So perfect. And a detail of my piece. 
Above: My dear friends and their masterpieces! They painted so beautifully! Great job, girls! So proud. 

"Hark! He is Earnestly Calling" | BFA Work No. 1


In June of last year I hung my senior exhibit, also known as a BFA show, at the Harris Fine Arts Center at Brigham Young University. It was a wonderful experience and I still feel so grateful for all the support and help I recieved in preparation for that show. The theme was "Variations on the Hymns." 

I've always loved singing from the Hymn book. I have some of my most tender memories associated with singing the hymns in different settings. When I think back on my experiences with the hymns, I know there is a power in that music that can bring the spirit into our lives and bring us closer to our Savior. 

When I first purposed the theme of my show to the faculty I thought I would illustrate the literal meanings and stories the hymns told, but the more I planned out compositions and thought of ideas for the paintings, the more I wanted to leave room for viewers' interpretations. 

The more I thought about it and studied the words and history of each hymn, the more I realized that sometimes it is just one phrase from a hymn that stands out to me; one phrase that really hits me. 

Because of that, all the paintings were titled after a phrase in the hymn, and not after the hymn title; for instance, this painting is titled Hark! He is Earnestly Calling which is a phrase from the hymn Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd. 

I loved that phrase because to me it meant Listen! He is always, always calling and reaching out for you.

I will post more of my work from the show throughout the next couple of months, along with a bit of history. I hope you enjoy. 

Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd

Dear to the heart of the Shepherd,
Dear are the sheep of his fold;
Dear is the love that he gives them,
Dearer than silver or gold.
Dear to the heart of the Shepherd,
Dear are his "other" lost sheep;
Over the mountains he follows,
Over the waters so deep.

Out in the desert they wander,
Hungry and helpless and cold;
Off to the rescue he hastens,
Bringing them back to the fold.

2. Dear to the heart of the Shepherd,
Dear are the lambs of his fold;
Some from the pastures are straying,
Hungry and helpless and cold.
See, the Good Shepherd is seeking,
Seeking the lambs that are lost,
Bringing them in with rejoicing,
Saved at such infinite cost.

3. Dear to the heart of the Shepherd,
Dear are the "ninety and nine";
Dear are the sheep that have wandered
Out in the desert to pine.
Hark! he is earnestly calling,
Tenderly pleading today:
"Will you not seek for my lost ones,
Off from my shelter astray?"

4. Green are the pastures inviting;
Sweet are the waters and still.
Lord, we will answer thee gladly,
"Yes, blessed Master, we will!
Make us thy true under-shepherds;
Give us a love that is deep.
Send us out into the desert,
Seeking thy wandering sheep."

Text: Mary B. Wingate, 1899-1933. 

Music: William J. Kirkpatrick, 1838-1921.

Anemone No. 1 - A Floral Portrait


It is 1:41am. I should be in bed sound asleep getting my beauty rest; I am turning 23 years old today though! I really wanted to paint one more painting before I turn 23, and tonight I was just really feeling a good rhythm for it. Why I am blogging about it, I have no idea. (Maybe it's because I decided to have a Coca-Cola at 10pm... hmm. I never ever do that usually.)

Alex took me out for steak dinner tonight–my favorite–at a very fun, fancy, takes-you-back-in-time  sort of steak house. We got dressed up, drove the few miles to downtown which was a treat for me because we usually take public transport when we go downtown to save on parking(bleh!), and I was sure that Mr. Gatsby was going to come join our celebration dinner at any moment. The food was amazing; the company even better; the evening was wonderful; and I'm still feeling fancy from it all.

When we got home (10:30pm) I told Alex I wanted to paint for "just another hour" (ha!) and I had these anemones set up from earlier in afternoon. They were just begging to be painted, because, you see, they are fancy flowers, and it's been a fancy evening. And so, in silence (city silence,) terrible lighting, and a fancy feeling, I present to you, Anemones No. 1. I think no. 2 will be painted tomorrow... There's something sort of poetic about painting anemones at midnight the eve of a birthday though, don't you think?

Good night!

"Winter Is Departing" - A Landscape


I've been starting this post over and over again this morning. I begin writing, and after a sentence or ten, a paragraph or four, I hold backspace on my keyboard. It's been one of those strange mornings were my to-do list is unreasonable, and yet, for the first time in too long, the sun is shining bright into my usually dark, garden-level home (glorified almost-basement;) so I feel like everything is right in the world, and I feel pretty good about not being able to tackle all my responsibilities for today. It's certainly a day to be grateful for.

I painted this piece over the weekend and finished it this morning; I call it "Winter Is Departing"* because it doesn't quite feel like spring, and it doesn't quite look like spring, but it's getting there and that change is beautiful, both in the painting and my reality. After finishing it, it reminded me of a poem by Robert Frost. I studied poetry for a couple years before high school (and maybe in high school too? The timeline is kind of fuzzy in my mind.) Once in a while, one of those poems will come back to me and I relish on it. This is one of those poems and one of those times. If you aren't sure of the metaphor to this poem, do a little studying--it's beautiful!

Robert Frost (1874–1963). North of Boston. 1915.

The Pasture

I’m going out to clean the pasture spring; 
I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away 
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may): 
I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too. 

I’m going out to fetch the little calf 
That’s standing by the mother. It’s so young, 
It totters when she licks it with her tongue. 
I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too.

*"Winter Is Departing" Oil on Canvas Panel - 9x12in. (Available - Please email for details.)

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