Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Results of A Little Commitment

My New Years Resolution for 2013 was to get more involved with my art. Back in March I told you about various projects that I had been doing for the Art House Co-Op .  I had also signed up for a few other projects by that time, that I knew I wouldn't be able to share until they were all done.  The idea was, that if I committed to such painting projects, it would force me to take the time needed to complete them. It was a good plan.

Early in the year, on Facebook, I saw someone post something about giving away things they made to the first five people who commented on that status line.  There was a condition that the responders post the same offer on their page.  Then I saw more of my friends post the same notice I mentioned to one of them that I'd love to get in on that, but I didn't know what I could make. She told me that a small painting would be lovely, so I jumped in with both feet.  I lucked out though, as, instead of having to make things for five people, and only getting one thing back, I managed to get into a basic exchange with four other people. I posted on their page and they posted on mine.  I was thrilled, but still had to figure out what I would paint for them.  I was very happy that the project deadline wasn't until the end of the year so I had all year to work on it.

The lady who said she'd be happy with a small painting happened to have a photo on her facebook page that I had already saved to file, as I thought it would be a good thing to try painting someday.  I would have asked her permission if I'd done it for any other reason than to give to her for this project, but it seemed the perfect subject for this, so I started with that.
This is the first time I had ever tried to paint a dog, I thought he was pretty cute, though I wasn't sure if she would recognize him or not.  As she has a few of these little fellows, I'm still not sure if she identified it as the right dog.  I don't know the dogs personally, so I have no way of knowing which one it was originally meant to be either.  It doesn't matter, I guess, as she seemed pleased with it, and I was pleased that it resembled any kind of dog, let alone a specific one. Not too bad for a first try, I was thinking.

That made it easier to decide what to do for the next
project, as there was a dog at that household too.  I went back to the facebook files to see what I could find for the second project, and I came up with the family beagle.  That's a step forward as now I had to contend with an entire dog, not just the head. I was very happy with it when I finished, but now, months later, I'm not so sure.  Perhaps I've improved as the year went on, causing me to be more critical now. However, it was mailed off to one of my long lost cousins, who immediately recognized her dog, and sent many thanks, so I guess that was another success.

A friend of mine had seen me working on both of the above projects and made some rather nice comments, so I thought I'd surprise him by trying to paint his puppy. He's not on Facebook, but he does have a Flickr account, and while he thinks his photos are safe there, I do know how to steal them.  He was extremely pleased when I presented it to him.

Oh, I must say that in the past I've never felt that I produced anything good enough to give away, and here I am doing it time after time. I guess that in itself is a step forward.

So, since I'm learning to enjoy giving away paintings, I decided I'd try a portrait. My daughter-in-law had lost her grandfather over the winter months, and the family was preparing to do a memorial service for him in the springtime.  I thought he had an interesting face, but in most of the pictures I saw of him, he had on a baseball cap.  While I wanted him in his overalls, I didn't want the cap, so I looked for another photo of him facing the same way, and then combined the two. I was really happy to have produced a human face, but since I didn't know the gentleman well, I wasn't sure if I had captured him or not.  I took it to my daughter-in-law and asked her if she recognized this person. She got the sweetest grin on her face and said, "That's my Grandpa!"  I asked if I could take it to the memorial, and she said I could. When I arrived there was no one around to see me place it among he other pictures on display, and it took a while before anyone knew where it had come from.  Then one of the aunts said, "There's only one artist in the room."  LOL  I've been elevated to artist status now. That made my day.  The painting went to reside at the family cottage where the old gentleman spent a great deal of his time.

With one portrait under my belt, I decided to try another. I couldn't find usable photos of pets on Facebook to use for my next exchange project, so I made off with a photo of the lady I would be sending the painting to.  Faces were a nice change from dogs, and I think perhaps I even do better at them.

Meanwhile, I had also discovered something called the Petal Parade on Wet Canvas. I told you about that back in May, when I painted the Parrot Tulip.  For me, to finish painting something within less than a months time, takes a concentrated effort.  I started with the Parrot Tulip in May.

Moved on to Apple Blossoms in August

And switched to acrylics to try a pumpkin flower in October.

I decided it was time to get back to my exchange project, and I just had one more to do. Since I was doing so well with faces, I decided to capture this lady in one of her many costumes. She's involved in re-enactments, steampunking, archery, face painting, belly dancing and karate, so she's seldom in regular clothing.

I discovered that while I had no trouble with likenesses at a larger size, when I made it smaller, even the tiniest fraction of an inch out, you create a totally different person.  I rather like this painting anyway, and may make it into cards, but it definitely could not be sent out as the final exchange project.  So, back to the drawing board, so to speak.

I noticed she had a new dog, so I took a stab at him.  Cute little fellow, don't you think.  I hope she's as happy with him as I am.

I couldn't finish out the year without doing one more dog.  I have a friend who is good enough to give me a lift to various functions in the area that I wouldn't have gotten to without her. She has a pug, so I decided I'd surprise her with a little Christmas present.  I'm getting rather confident at painting dogs, and I must be doing alright as now I've had a few people ask me if I'd paint their pets.

All in all, the idea of committing myself to projects this year has worked very well.  It kept me painting while some other friends from my old paint class tell me they have not picked up their brushes at all this year. All this practice has given me more confidence, and, I'm sure, increased my skill levels as the year went on.

I did very well at keeping my New Years resolution for 2013.
Now I just have to set some new goals for the coming year.


  1. My puppy painting is definitely Jewely (who we lost earlier this year) - easily recognizable when seen on a smaller scale - like on this post :). It is a beautiful reminder and memory of a wonderful cuddly girl. Thank you again, Karen ... I love it.

    1. Thanks Sue. So sorry for the gender confusion then.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Bonnie. I love knowing that you still drop by :)

  3. They are fabulous!! I love every single one of them! I'm always a little in awe of anyone who can paint. Painting is the one thing that completely eludes me -- unless I'm painting walls. :)