Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I know who Wonder Woman is!

Let me tell you about my friend Cris. We've known each other for a long time. If you'd met her you might wonder WHY we're friends. We don't have that much in common. We don't have the same taste in clothes, in home furnishings, in music, in food, you name it! You could even assume we're friends by association, because, after all, I was friends with her husband first - we went to college together. But that is not the case. I like her and I know she likes me.

My family and I just spent the last weekend with them. And every single time we meet them, I wonder "how does she do it?" And this is what I came up with: she is Wonder Woman!

She has a fighting spirit. She works fulltime at a job she is not particularly loving at the moment, but will not quit; she is always hopeful that things will work out for the best.

She's all about family. She has 2 of the sweetest kids I've ever met, who adore her, and for whom she will do anything, even a last-minute mohawk on both boys for Crazy Hair Day when she is already late for work. She works out religiously, but that never gets in the way of the quality time she spends with her husband and kids. She hates cooking, but will whip up a healthy meal for the kids in 10 minutes - and they'll eat it!

Always on top of things... She doesn't let her laundry accumulate. Ever. You can find her at least once a day loading and/or unloading the washer or dryer. Her house is always spotless! There isn't one magazine that is not where it's supposed to be. And still you will hear her complain to her husband about the dust on their glass-top coffee table! Invisible dust, I'll tell you! I didn't see anything!

She speaks her mind too. She'll give you her opinion, always. Leave it to her to blurt out, in the middle of a conversation about my paintings and how everybody is impressed and proud of me, that "the only ones I don't like as much are the ones with a face in it". That is so typical Cris.  She does things like that from time to time, and if you knew her as much as I do, you would KNOW she means well. When I was pregnant with my daughter, she once asked me if I had chosen the name. I said "Yes, it will be Aurora!" She started laughing and said "No, seriously!" Since I didn't laugh, she knew I was being serious, and even through the phone I could feel her embarrassment, trying to fix her faux-pas by saying that that name didn't sound like me. But I couldn't be upset with her. I just know she would never say anything to hurt a friend on purpose.

Plus, she is good. She is one of those genuinely good people. She does good just because she can. From the little things, like making Mac'n'Cheese for breakfast just because my daughter asked her to, to the big things, like helping a friend when they're going through a really rough patch.

All I know is I came back from their house with an inexplicable need to clean out all the junk I don't need, to not let the dishes pile up in the sink, to play more with my kids, to let my husband know how much I appreciate him more frequently. Time management was never my forte and I feel I'm always trying to keep up with my own life...I can't even write this freakin' post without being interrupted 5 times!

Anyway, Wonder Woman, keep up the good work.
Your secret is safe with me.
And with whoever reads my blog.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Painting and Music

I was never one to enjoy music while I'm working. I find it very distracting.

Don't get me wrong, I like music. I love music. My radio is ALWAYS on when I'm driving. I'm ALWAYS singing in the shower. Sometimes I can even be caught jumping around and shaking my head like crazy in the middle of my kids' playroom, if a really good song is playing. ;-)

But for work, no. Mind you, I was (am?) a graphic and web designer, and depending on the kind of job you're doing - coding, for instance - you have to really concentrate. A missing quotation mark can really mess up your code.

Ever since I started painting, though, it's been different. I have almost the opposite feeling. Well, no. I think maybe it's the same feeling - music can be distracting - except now distracting is GOOD! When I'm listening to music (and therefore singing, cause I'm always singing), I pay less attention to what I'm doing, which means I don't censor myself as much, which means I'm freer to do whatever I feel like, to make mistakes, to let go.

Especially in the beginning stages, when I'm just layering colors, this is a great thing!
I am almost (keyword: almost) totally in the moment and not thinking 1 or 2 steps ahead. That's my goal, to really be in the present and enjoy every step of the process without thinking about what I'm gonna do next. And the music helps me do that.

Not only music, though. I have a computer in my studio, and sometimes I'm painting while watching a movie on Netflix instant streaming! While you're concentrated on the dialogues, you use more of your instincts on the painting, you think less. I find it very liberating.

The painting below is in its first stages. I was working on that while listening to a Kelly Rae Roberts video this afternoon. And I'm quite happy with how it looks so far!

And on a completely unrelated matter (well, it's related to art), here's my new easel:

I think I'm in love!!! <3

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Flickr favorites

Thought I'd show you some of my favorite Flickr stuff.
So many talented people in this world...seriously!

spots and leavesTBD (Week 1)Line Juhl Hansen 3robotissimaI know_gilhoolySacred Stones
The Courage to Stand Talltrafforddock171_tulipDeepKelly Rae CunninghamKelly Rae Cunningham
This Time Yesterday, Today Was TomorrowWhen ToGrand Plan de ParisWIP (still!)week one: inspired by gee's bendhappy alligator

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy...for more than one reason

I had this painting sitting in a corner for awhile. When I first started it, I liked the colors so much that I didn't know what to do next. Everything seemed interesting, so I didn't want to cover anything up. Classic.

When I finally got sick of looking at it and decided to work on it again. "That's just how I roll."

Anyway, as I was painting, not only was I happy with how it was turning out, but I realized 2 other things:

I am so much better at mixing colors now. Not only it takes me less time (and paint!) to get the shade I want, but I'm also more comfortable doing it. Sometimes I put the paint straight from the tube on the brush and mix it directly on the canvas.
I'm holding my brush differently. I feel more at ease now, like I have my own way to hold the brush.

That might sound like small details, but it's not. It was somewhat of an "a-ha" moment for me.

I just wanted to congratulate...

...my son, for graduating

I'm so very proud of you, baby!
Now let the summer fun begin!
(and if I can include painting in there somewhere, even better!)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Blog etiquette and a new painting

When I first started this blog, I had the comments turned off. I thought they might make me self-conscious, I don't know. Anyway, I turned them on now, and have received some sweet replies.


I'm not really familiar with the "blog etiquette". How should one deal with comments? Should I reply to each one, should I acknowledge them somehow? Will people think I don't read or - worse - that I don't care about what they write? Cause I do!

Comments are, first and foremost, the certainty that somebody is actually reading what you're writing. That's a great thing in itself. But when people say how they understand you, how they feel the same way, how they like your painting, when they give you suggestions or tell their stories, then it feels even better!

So if you ever wrote here, please know that I loved reading every single comment and that I appreciate you taking the time to do it. Really.

Now, the painting:

And for my friends back in Brazil, Feliz Dia dos Namorados (that's "Happy Valentine's day" in Portuguese)!!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Don't think, just paint!

I have a new canvas to show today. And a story.

Like in every other painting, I started by adding color(s) to the canvas...

And layering more colors on top of that...

...making marks, adding variation...

...trying to create an interesting background.

At this point, I saw a face. 
You may not see it yet, but the eyes are on the bottom right.

As I'm defining my face, I'm thinking "I wonder if people will like this".

And immediately I wanted to press the "undo" button in my head and erase that thought... That is such a heavy thing to have in mind when making art! It adds so much pressure! 

The minute I start thinking like that, I also start second-guessing and censoring myself. 
Am I the only one?

Long story short, I don't know if people will like this or not; I'm sure some people will and some people won't. But I like it. I'm happy with it. That's good for now. ;-)

By the way, what do you do to "shush" those negative thoughts?

PS: I added a new Pinterest button on the sidebar. Cool!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Another one finished!

Inspired by this painting, I finished another one. Here are the progression shots:

By the way, I soooo discovered drybrushing now, I'm addicted! I have special brushes - the oldest, most destroyed ones -just to do that! Drybrushing is fun, but it can be kinda hard on the poor brushes... ;-)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

There is always hope

I started a painting last week trying to follow the steps that my friend Tara Leaver wrote about on her blog last month: it was about her experience at Flora Bowley's workshop.

So anyway, I started with a couple of colors and some sprayed water, just to get rid of the white; then I went on to making marks, to add variation; and then I added my darks and lights. That's how my painting looked after these 3 steps:

I stopped after that, and thought "Wow, I don't know where this is going, but there seems to be a lot of possibilities here!" Of course I was still at the top of the U then...

It was all downhill from then on...

I found a few shapes... 

...added some black...

...hated the black...

...and then, when I just about to burn this, it dawned on me: well, if I'm gonna throw this away, I might as well "let go" and have fun with it!

And that seems to be the basic rule, doesn't it? When you're not attached to the painting, you feel more free to go crazy, to take chances, to "ruin" it, even. Most of the times, though, you will be much happier with the result.

This was no exception.

PS: By the way, I did quite a bit of dry brushing here (in white). LOVED it!