Friday, July 31, 2015

Another Flower Girl

I recently finished a portrait commission of an actual person. All of the people and things I draw and paint come from photographs, but they rarely to never have to look like the inspiration once I'm done. And, since I'm self taught and haven't been watercolor painting for very long, I often have no idea what I'm doing. This is definitely the case with painting portraits. Those things are hard.

I discovered masking fluid, life saver, and I got a hair dryer. Both of these things are going to be a major part of my future practice.
Before I began this one, I was excited and a little nervous. Instead of painting blindly and hoping it turns out ok, like I normally do, I read some articles about painting skin and hair. (If you'd like to read them, go here and here.) The thing I enjoy about watercolor is that if I make a mistake, I can pick up the color with a paper towel.

Picking out the embroidery colors was quite a feat with this one. 
Here is the finished product. I'm pleased with her! And, for once, I know what I did to achieve these results and am confident I can repeat them in a future project. I had a hard time picking out the embroidery colors, matching grey and coral is not easy.

I've already started my next project and I'm trying out gouache. A similar process, but different enough.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Flower Girl

The last year or so, I’ve been painting a lot of animals & drawing a lot of animals. Absolutely no people. In January 2014, I decided to give up drawing and painting people forever. I made peace (kind of) with the fact that I can’t draw people, and animals are going to be my thing from now on. I can look at animals as shapes more successfully than I can pictures of people.

Well, ya’ll, I was wrong. While perusing Pinterest for work inspiration, I came across an image of a girl I just had to draw! I drew her and it wasn’t terrible, so I painted her. I’m pretty pleased with her. I felt like my usual geometrics weren’t going to work on this delicate girl, so I scoured Pinterest (again; I love that site) for something a little more delicate. I think the flowers are perfect for her. 

I’m truly pleased with this painting. I’m proud of how far my ability and work have come in the past year. Although I have a lot to learn (I don’t think it ever ends), I’m excited as to where my art is headed!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Unorthodox: A semi book review

Last week, I finished reading  Deborah Feldman’s memoir, Unorthodox, about her time as a Hasidic Jew in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and how she came to leave the community. I absolutely loved the book. It was extremely brave and reflective. I felt as if any of us could have been Feldman, born into a culture where she didn’t relate or belong.

I was raised in an oppressive Evangelical culture, very similar to what featured in the documentary, Jesus Camp. When I was 10, my parents told me we were leaving the Methodist church I’d loved and been a part of as long as I remembered. It was a sad day for me, I didn’t understand why we were leaving. Nothing had changed. My parents explained that they no longer felt the pastor was “following the Bible” the same as they believed. 

My parents, my little brother and I began attending a church where they felt it was appropriate to tell middle school aged children that if someone puts a machine gun in your face, you have the power because you can tell that person about Christ. And if he shoots you, you’ll go to heaven.

We were told that we were soldiers in a war against the rest of the world. Being taught this at 11 and 12 was detrimental to my mental health. I was convinced every move I made was going to send me to hell. I obsessively prayed for my young, damned soul. I was never, ever convinced that I was “saved.” I repeated the words over and over again and never felt like it went through to God. There was so much chance for error, I didn’t know how anyone was sure he or she was “saved.” I cried in panic at every tent revival my parents took me to. But still, they took me.

Much like Feldman was obsessed with being a “good girl,” I found myself considering my every thought and a action, trying to figure out if I was sinning or influencing others to sin. I was constantly overwhelmed with anxiety over if I was doing enough to tell those around me, in my secular school, to tell people about Christ. 

I sat in lecture after lecture where I was told I was bad if I wore tank tops, shorts, skirts above the knee and the like. It was my job to keep men from temptation by looking at me. We were also taught that drinking and dancing were sinning. While my parents didn’t abide by this rule, I was surrounded by thousands of people who did. 

My upbringing wasn’t as stringent or oppressive as Feldman’s but I related so much. I hope some other little girls feeling alone and anxious will find hope and peace in knowing they are not alone. Her book touched my heart. I hope you read it and let it touch yours.

Monday, June 1, 2015


I can't find the original source for this image, but it isn't mine.

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the wedding of a childhood friend. She was my very, very best friend until about high school and we began drifting apart. She came to my wedding a few weekends ago and I was so glad she was there. 

For many years, my mother asked me why I couldn’t be more like {friend}. {Friend} was doing this and it’s so perfect and wonderful and why can’t I do that. {Friend} got into this college and is also doing this other amazing thing and why can’t you be like that. {Friend} is basically perfect, why aren’t you? 

As I watched my perfect friend walk down the aisle and beam at her husband, surrounded by beauty and love, I realized that {friend}’s life is so amazing compared to the struggles I’ve had because she hasn’t had bad things happen to her. Not that that's bad, I’m so thankful she hasn’t had to deal with the struggles and trauma I’ve experienced. But, I’ve done the best I can with what I was given and I’ve made an incredible life for myself considering these hardships. I realized my jealousy and telling myself I’m a piece of shit compared to her is ridiculous. I was able to leave those feelings in the church and beam at {friend} during her reception. I’m so happy she is about to start her future with an awesome guy. I hope she continues to have an amazing life. And I really mean it. 

Monday, May 18, 2015


Boyfriend's dream bedroom {source}
Now that Boyfriend and I are married (for two whole weeks!), we’re trying to make our house a home. We packed all of our returns into the car and drove to Crate & Barrel. Once there, we were both uncharacteristically thrilled over such things as tongs, a hand-cranked coffee grinder and a double-sided potato peeler. We carefully perused the bath mats, but figured we might as well wait until Bed, Bath & Beyond where they’re more affordable. 

Bed, Bath and Beyond wasn’t able to offer us the trash can of our (my) dreams, but we found sheets acceptable to both of us; he insisting on jersey sheets and me insisting that I will NOT sleep on jersey because I’m over 21. I don’t care how soft and stretchy they are, that is a firm no. 

Next up, Target. I still didn’t find the amazing trashcan from my registry. Simple Human Butterfly Step Trashcan, one  day you will be mine! We were able to find some affordable chairs and a little table for our porch. After this, I dragged Boyfriend to Home Depot because we HAVE to have some hanging plants to go on the porch. I need to gaze at them from the new chairs. 

I’m telling you all of this because we are now that couple from Old School. Maybe soon we’ll have you over to show you our hanging plants and have you stand on the memory foam bath mat.