Sunday, July 17, 2011

an idea and an alphabet are born

I am in love with the nights I get to paint.  I crave the feeling of knowing that the kiddos are in tucked safely in their beds for a long nights rest.  I practically sprint down to my studio where my chaotic "organization" wait for an enlightened night of creation...or something along those cheesy lines.  I'm ever so slightly embarrassed to share a picture of my truly scary studio...but what can I say?  It's part of who I am.  I can't stand the thought of spending any of my precious painting time organizing and putting things away when I could be painting.  It is exciting to me to start with a blank canvas or a half finished painting and to know that by the end of the night, a transformation will take place.  The piece will never be the same, forever changed by the paint, the brush, the mood and the inspiration.  I am generally too tired at the end of the night to even consider reorganizing my stuff...and I like to leave it out so I can use every free moment to paint.  Anyway, that's my justification and I'm sticking with it.

my semi-controlled chaos...I swear I know where everything is!

Let's start with the inspiration.  The beauty of art is that inspiration lies all around.  I mentioned in an earlier post that most of my inspiration for my work for children comes from, well, my children.  But the inspiration grows in my head long before it makes it's way onto paper.  I am fortunate enough to be married to the most supportive human being on the planet. (Are you reading this, honey?)   My husband, Dane, helps me find time to go on a mind clearing (or thought provoking) run every day.  It is during this time that most of the paintings I have planned become a visual in my head.  Lord knows I can't think about the miles or the runs will seem forever long.  Instead, I lose myself in the thoughts and ideas that are to become my artwork.  Below is a picture of my favorite stretch of road.  I don't actually have a picture of myself running on it so I included one of my dog - he's easier on the eyes anyway.  He's a good looking fella, isn't he?

this stretch of road reminds me of several paintings
including my current alphabet project

I come back from my inspiring runs and
look into the eyes of the real inspiration, and the reason I am doing this

So, now I am training for my first marathon.  Let's just say I have a LOT of thinking time on my hands.  The long runs are the perfect time to dream up ideas.  It was during a long run one Saturday that I started dreaming up an alphabet painting that I have been really wanting to do.  My second blog post told the story of a friend, Tara Kelly Kidd, who is battling stage IV colorectal cancer. 

Visit Tara's support page on facebook: 

I have the privelege of being able to donate a painting for an upcoming fundraiser.  I wanted to create something that would appeal to all types of parents and kids, with vivid colors and imagination-capturing characters.  This is where the alphabet started taking over my every thought (aside from the ones about how to win battles with my two year old or get both kids in and out of the tub at the same time...)  These characters took on a life of their own during the many hours on the road.  It has been so fun to see them come alive on the canvas as I work each night!

the first character I thought of when I saw a tiny frog on the side of the road.

Now comes the sketch...all these thoughts leave my head and go onto paper.  Once the initial (and very rough) ideas are down, I start to work out the details like spacing and fine lines.  This painting has been fun to do because of the independant nature of each letter.  They are like their own individual painting, therefore making it easy to work in small increments.  Now, let me just say that the margin for error in a painting such as this is pretty huge when you have a pea sized brain such as mine.  Okay, maybe it's average in size, but it certainly hasn't been dusted off in a while.  I have had nightmares about accidentally painting the "s" after the "t" or leaving and "o" out all together.  So....

I had to cut and tape each letter to the canvas to make sure my own stupidity didn't hold me back -
when in doubt, go elementary

This brings me to where I am with the project...almost done, with just a handful of letters that need to be worked out...and here I am tonight, writing in this blog, doing a little online shopping, checking twitter, facebook and whatever other social networks and waiting for the hubby to come home.  All while I should be's as if I am back in high school and procrastinating on the homework.  After a full day of exploring, singing Karoake and riding tractors, it's my time to create (blogging and shopping are creating, right?)


singing Karaoke

riding on the tractor

So now, at a time I have vowed to be asleep, I am off to the sketch book.  Back to the drawing board, as they say.

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