Sunflowers and Eucalyptus in Oil

6/22/15


I've probably said this way too much already, but having lots of natural light in my studio has inspired me to paint so much more. Believe me, I would paint 24hrs a day if the sun were up that long, but having a bright studio is as close as I can get to extending my daylight hours so I'll take it! It's incredibly refreshing to be here. In my last studio, it was a "garden level" apartment, which sounds charming and quaint (and it really, really was at times,) but in reality it's more like a basement. It also only had just one window with another building just a few ft. away . . . can you imagine my weeping eyes when it became dark in my studio at 3pm in the afternoon? The struggle. ;) But it's made me appreciate this light so much more than I think I would having not been in that other, dark little studio for a year. Win-win, right? 

I'm learning that another way to stay inspired to paint, besides having great lighting, is to set up a still life at ALL times so there is always something ready to paint in an instant. That's what happened with these sunflowers. I had gone to Trader Joes early in the week and bought a plethora of fruits and stems of fresh flowers for a still life. After painting another still life I decided to not take the set up down. Instead, I rearranged the objects into a different composition so that it would be ready to be painted again the next day. Sometimes the prep work behind the painting can be un-motivating; it's hard to get going and prep a canvas, set up a still life (or photograph a model/object/landscape etc.,) sketch out the composition, made design notes ... and then finally start painting. When I returned to my studio the following morning, I can almost promise that I heard those sunflowers peeping at me saying, "paint me! paint me!" ;) And from there, well, the rest is history. 


I hope you've enjoyed my recent posts featuring my newest work. Don't forget that this Thursday, June 25th, I will be adding new originals to my online gallery and shop! Links, details, and more information coming soon. Be sure to follow me on my Facebook page or Instagram . . . and my new Twitter account just for my art!!! YAY! I try to add different content to each, but updates for the new originals coming to my shop will be on all social media platforms.

Lastly, I'm hoping to post more guides and tutorials on my blog this next month. What do YOU want to see? Leave a comment below! I would love to hear!

The painting shown above is titled Sunflowers & Eucalyptus. 12x12in. Oil on clay board.

Bleu For You & Summer Fruit

6/19/15


My kitty, Mr. Kitty Bleu, is the best studio buddy. He named himself just by being his mischievous self and dipping his white paws in the blue paint on my palette. Such a stinker! He's learning how to be a good studio cat now though, and since the move he has LOVED the new studio; mostly because he loves looking out the many bright windows while I paint. He loves it so much, that when I shut him out of the studio for a moment today while I prepared a large canvas on the floor (because I didn't want him to walk on wet paint--again! he was SO sad. Two little white paws came straight out from under the door accompanied by a big, sad, "meow." Anyway, I love having him in my studio, as unhelpful as he is sometimes (he also ate a bit of my still life.. bleh!)


If you follow me on social media, you've probably seen peeks of this new painting, and I am so thrilled to finally be posting it today! This is one of those paintings that is in my head long before I get started on it. It's always a treat when that happens. That's not to say that it comes easily, because I definitely sketched it out, wiped it off, started over, at least three times. There's a phrase I love to tell myself when I need to wipe something off, "I did it once, I can do it again." If I see an error in my sketch, composition, and even final painting, it is HANDS DOWN always worth it to scrape it off, erase it, and start again. With this painting, however, I found that "final" sketch so beautiful with some under sketch showing through that I wanted to share that too. I don't share my sketches often, but it's been kind of a fun thing to do lately!





New paintings are coming to my online shop June 25th! Mark your calendars! I haven't decided if I really can let this one go though because I have a great spot in my dining room for it, but it will most likely be in the shop. ;)

-Sarah

The Portrait Project: A Smirk for a Smile

6/15/15


About eight years ago, for a show I was in (The 50-50 Show, if you've followed me for a while,) I took a bunch of photographs for the portraits I would paint. Well, I came across that file of photos the other day and just fell in love with this little smirk all over again. I had painted her portrait before, but I don't think I had ever painted this one specifically. Honestly, I don't remember much from this shoot, but I do remember this cute little girl.


Every time I go back to painting a portrait, I fall in love it with all over again. I definitely love painting florals, and landscapes, but something about the challenge of a portrait is so exciting to me. It will always be my love. For this piece particularly, I wanted to stay very loose with my brush. I really love the work of Mary Cassatt, and I just love her crazy edges sometimes. I was thrilled with this piece in the end after studying Cassatt's work in the process.





I included photos of the preliminary sketch in this post because I really love how it compliments the painting. I think if I ever let this piece go to someone else, I may have to include that sketch. It was a quick, and simple sketch, but it's not often that they look that pretty if I'm honest with you haha. I definitely think I create more beautifully with a brush than with a pen or pencil, but I'm ok with that. I can't wait to see this little lady framed and on a wall. A portrait can go anywhere!

Farmers Market Peonies

6/3/15


First of all, that entire title Farmers Market Peonies sounds completely cliché to me, but sometime you just have to keep it simple. And Farmers Market Peonies is exactly what this post is all about! I went to my first Chicago Farmer's Market today with some friends. It was exceeded all expectations! I planned to not buy anything (hehe, right,) but we caught the floral vendor right as he was wrapping up his booth and his perfect peonies could not be passed up. Also, the grilled cheese with ham and pear marmalade was out of this world!


I went right home after the market and started painting these beauties in my new studio!! If you missed my Instagram post yesterday, I'll fill you in: we moved! We are still in Chicago, but we just switched neighborhoods. My studio is so sunny and bright now (North light, too!) It is such a change from a tiny, dark studio I worked from all of last year. I feel so undeserving and grateful to be able to paint in there now, but I also feel so motivated and inspired. I have to paint well and work even harder in order to do this studio justice, isn't that how it should be? Anyway, This painting is the very first in the new place, and I'm so thrilled. I think it's going to be a great place to create.




I'm still unpacking boxes from the move (it's only been 4 days!) so I have yet to locate my brushes. I did find this one brush and small palette knife in my "go bag," so they were the only two tools used for this painting. It's always fun to give yourself a little challenge like limiting tools or colors; I need to do it more! I love what I was able to create with just those two. Also, the black board is just a foam board I taped a small unstretched canvas square to. I wish I could keep it together with the painting! What do you think? -Thanks for reading and following along!



Farmers Market Peonies
 6x6in. Oil on Canvas

"Thou Burning Sun with Golden Beam" | BFA Work No. 2

5/26/15



 I always love looking back on old work. Painting can be such a reflective medium for me. When I see old work from ten years and even a year ago (like the painting shown above,) I am flooded with memories; I feel the emotions I felt while creating a piece. I remember the words of the book I listened to while painting it. I smell the shared student studio I worked in on campus. I feel the urgency I felt to complete my work for the show. And that's just the beginning. From start to finish, from a photoshoot for a painting to the end of an exhibit of painting, those memories are all intertwined in the brushwork of my paintings.


The painting above is the second painting from my BFA show last year that I wanted to share with you. You can see the first one here. This painting Thou Burning Sun with Golden Beam comes from a lyric the hymn All Creatures of Our God and King! It was one of my first pieces from the show that really came to life in my sketchbook. 


One of my favorite candid photographs (ever!) from my photoshoots for painting reference was from the set of photos for this painting. These girls were just so wonderful to work with. They absolutely exceeded my expectations. I had six of them there that day to help, and you know we had fun doing it! I love that this picture captures that. (Thanks again, girls!) You'll see them appear again in paintings throughout my future posts, but the painting above features two of them, sisters, second from the left and far right.


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