The Meadow of Apple Creek Canyon


My husband Alex arrange a camping trip for us about a month ago. It was all just a bit of a dream looking back; unlike any camp experience I have had before. Our little camp spot turned out to be a great little grassy (unreal) area for our tent. We hung hammocks and cooked our food with a Jet Boil, and just relaxed the entire time. We would read books to each other and play card games in between little adventures to the river and hikes that felt more like getting lost. The weather was utterly humid and hot, but I think that made for the experience.

On one of our hikes, which we both later agreed we had gone off the marked trail, we came down a wooded hillside and into a meadow, just before reaching the riverbed. In that meadow I saw this beautiful, quiet, and ever so charming tree. I stopped and took a picture, and absorbed some of the atmosphere, just knowing I would take it to my studio to paint. 

You may have seen on my Instagram of Facebook page if you follow me there, but the day I painted this meadow tree was just as nostalgic-like as the day I encountered it. Here is what I said of it:

 It sounded like a train was passing by my house as I painted today. It was only a huge Midwest storm with big, loud thunder. The heat and humidity stayed. My power went out. So I lit candles and painted by the candle light (a first time for that.) I had one album on my laptop that I didn't have to stream from the unusable internet: Grieg. Couldn't have been better. The lights came back on as I signed my name at the bottom of the painting. ..I think this painting painted itself.

Farewell to Midsummer


I know that it is technically Autumn as of today, but these peonies are nothing but midsummer in my mind. When I took the photo reference for them a couple of years ago, in the middle of summer, it was while I was staying at my sister's home a few states away. She had the most gorgeous vase of these flowers grown in her sister in law's back yard. Is that what we love so much about flowers? That they resemble the giving done in summer?

Below is my progress shot of this piece. I love it just as much in progress as I do completed, and I photographed it just as the sun was going down so those whites are really glowing! I have a special person and place in mind for this piece, and I am so excited to give it to said person. Now that it's Autumn, I have a hankering to paint more landscapes and portraits. It seems to be this way every year, but I can't wait to get started!

Sunflowers and Eucalyptus in Oil


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


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. ;)


The Portrait Project: A Smirk for a Smile


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!
| mlekoshiPlayground |