Trying not to get discouraged

For 2016, I made a commitment to myself to make a drawing every day. Some days, it is more of a doodle, on other days I try to sketch an object or face. My comfort zone is in plants and the natural world. I love flowers and leaves, stones and sticks. I would not say I have any expertise or skill, but I just enjoy drawing those objects.

The thing is, I have a desire to create portraits – not necessarily of any particular individual, but more abstracted, such as Misty Mawn, Gillian Lee Smith, or Jeanne Oliver.  Even though I ultimately want to paint more abstractedly, I long to capture an actual likeness.  I have been trying to draw a self portrait and have not even come close yet.  I try not to get discouraged, but simply recognize that I need practice.

January 28, 2016

January 28, 2016

This was today’s drawing that started as a self-portrait, until I got the nose way too long.  There are times that I regret committing to posting my drawings every day on Instagram, and posting them in my blog as well.  It is a lesson in humility for sure!

Reminding myself to practice, then practice some more…





Here are my other drawings since my last posting:

January 26, 2016

January 26, 2016

This began as Georgia O’Keefe.  She has such an interesting face, I so wish I could accurately capture it.

I love painting and drawing from Buddha sculptures.  It transports me to a calm and tranquil place…

January 27, 2016

January 27, 2016

I have some Buddha paintings I did a couple of years ago that I posted about in December 2013 and January 2014.








I also played with some paper clay this week.  I formed some small hearts that I painted with acrylic ink after the hearts air dried.  These have such a smooth feel to them, like stone, but so light weight.


Finding Stillness


This is the third Buddha painting in my series.  I really am pleased with this one.  I painted the initial layer in the same way as the others, using many colors and freeing up my movement and mark making.  But, when I started to add layers, I began to decrease the number of colors and develop a consistent palette.

Striving to keep myself from getting too tense as I paint, I begin each session with Tai Chi.  This has helped me to center myself and give in to the process.  Then, when I feel myself tensing up, I back away, take a deep breath, and relax.  Needless to say, I am enjoying this method much more than my anxious and impatient former style of painting!

Using this process, there is a point at which I am able to enter the stillness within myself to draw out the painting.  Instead of using my head to paint, I am using that stillness within my heart.  The more I can quiet my mind (especially my critic) the more I can settle into that stillness and be present.

I am finding that every moment in life can be a meditation, if only I let it.

Buddha 2

I completed my second Buddha painting.  It has been a difficult couple of weeks for me.  I am trying to deal with something for which I have no clue how to handle.  These Buddha paintings are helping to keep me grounded.  They remind me to let go and trust in the power of the moment.  I believe that right actions come from right thoughts which are created by being fully present in each moment.  My brain wants to analyze, list pros and cons, fix the situation.  By practicing painting more intuitively, and by focusing my attention on the image of the Buddha, I can open myself to painting not with the brain, but with the body and the heart.  I intend to carry that process into challenges and interactions in my life.  I wish to act out of the present moment and my own intuitive knowing, rather than react based on fear or anxiety.  I have a long way to go….

The first photo is the background layers of acrylic paint and torn dictionary pages.



In this next set of layers I am simply playing with the paint and developing the image of the Buddha.

Buddha2_inprogress2Finally, I add more detail and definition to the image.  In addition to acrylic paint and dictionary pages, I also used a number stencil, a lotus stencil, and a wine cork as a stamp.

Buddha2Namaste and may the New Year bring health, joy, and peace.



Painting Buddha

I began my series of paintings of the Buddha.  After seeing Whitney Freya’s Buddha paintings, I signed up for her online course.  I wanted to free up my painting style and begin to work in a larger format.


This painting is on a 20″ by 20″ canvas and is mostly acrylic paint.  I have also used some paper scraps to add texture.  Painting a background with many colors really opened up a freedom from judgment and control.  I knew that if I painted something I didn’t like, I could keep going over it until I was satisfied.  That is the magic of acrylics.

It is interesting that painting a Buddha face is really quite calming.  I kept reminding myself to relax into the painting process.  I usually get tense painting with acrylic because it dries so fast I feel as if I need to hurry if I want to blend my colors and marks.  But, this time I continually reminded myself to relax, go with my intuition in the moment, and experiment.

This process is amazing, and I will continue to make more paintings.  Whitney has an wonderfully exuberant teaching style and encourages her students to enjoy the process and let go of the fear of making mistakes.  Something that I am beginning to get the feel of, but I definitely need more practice.  I bought 9 canvases on sale during the Black Friday/Black Monday sale at Jerry’s Artarama, so only 8 more to go….