Birds of Michigan Series: Chickadee

A few days ago, I finished a painting of a chickadee. I love chickadees, because they are the ones that watch out for danger. We have a hawk nearby, and when the chickadees give the alarm, all the other birds go completely still until the most alert chickadee gives the “all’s clear” signal. Here he is, painted  larger than life (81/2 X 11 inches on canvas board). Just a quick note: when I paint a bird, my roommates and I give them names. The other day, I came up with the name “Wilburforce.” It seemed to fit somehow. Wilberforce, the chickadee.

 

chickadee oil painting by Yeshua's Child Art

Cheery Chickadee, 11X14 original oil painting

Learning to go on Etsy: The Confused and Bewildered

Okay, I admit it. I’m new to this online marketing for art stuff. Below is a stock photo that shows how I felt yesterday, when I tried to create my first etsy listing:

Image:Okay, maybe I’m a little cuter than this, but you get the idea. For months, all my friends have been telling me, “You HAVE to create an Etsy store. That’s where EVERYONE sells stuff nowadays.” Okay, so, like every herd animal, I decided to do what everyone else is doing.

I went to the site, filled in the information, and after feeling bewildered by the array of items, created my account. And, put up one whole item for sale (well, I have to have stuff to take to the big gallery in a nearby city later this week, I can’t list EVERYTHING). By the way, I’m really nervous about going to a real, busy gallery in a fairly large city that’s a tourist destination, but that’s a whole other story I won’t bore you with.

Okay, one item listed, and I found out you get charged 20 cents a month per listing. Nobody told me that.

While I was there, I looked up “oil paintings.” There was fantastic stuff, by some really good artists. So, I’m in good company there.

I hope this was worth it. I’ll let you all know how it goes. And would love to hear how others have done there.

Oh, yeah, here’s my listing (I hope I got this right): https://www.etsy.com/listing/194739359/birds-of-michigan-titmouse?ref=shop_home_active_1 in case you want to visit.

 

 

Experimenting with Spatter painting: Lake Michigan Shoreline

Okay, since I’m mainly self-taught (well, I did minor in art in college, but they didn’t teach much painting technique, mostly drawing and design) I like to check out art books from the library, learn about techniques and…experiment. Sometimes they work out, sometimes they are disasters.

I went to Lake Michigan a couple of weeks ago, and was fascinated by some old broken down pier posts on the beach. So, I decided to try spatter technique for the first time to create the sand, and paint the rest traditionally. Below is the result:

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Sorry about the glare; the oils were still a bit shiny. The real thing is a bit sharper.

How I did it: I sacrificed an old toothbrush, washed it out in hot water, then after painting the underpainting in a mixture of burnt umber, raw umber, yellow ochre and a touch of white, which I let dry, I dipped the toothbrush into turpentine, then mixed up yellow ochre and white for the lights, in varying shades.

I found out that I needed to keep the paint mix very thin, and not hold the toothbrush too close (or I got big blobs which I had to wipe up). For the darks, I mixed raw umber and ultramarine blue. I also used a bit of yellow ochre and burnt sienna for mid-shades. It took a LOT of spattering to get the right amount of texture.

My roommates love it. I’m experimenting with spatter painting in another painting that I’m doing. I confess: I love water and shorelines. I can’t wait to visit the shore again. Lake Michigan is AMAZING. It is huge, just like being at the ocean (okay, I’m from Texas, I had no idea the great lakes were so big). Or beautiful.

 

 

Does Good Art Require Caffeine?

I admit it. When I get ready to start work on a painting, I require the help of caffeine. The photo below shows my favorite forms of consumption:

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Hot, black, dark roast coffee and dark chocolate. I love espresso, when I can get it, but will settle for Seattle’s Best Dark Roast at home.

This got me to thinking. A lot of artists I know drink a lot of coffee. And galleries are often in or near coffeeshops. So there must be a relationship between heavy caffeine consumption, and the creation and enjoyment of art, right?

Anyway, here’s an informal poll for you artistic types, just for fun

Do you require caffeine to produce your art?

a. Yes, I drink several energy drinks and shots of espresso each day to get my creative juices flowing

b. Yes, I drink hot coffee several times a day, combined with chocolate and sodas

c. Yes, I drink a cup of green tea each day

d. No, I wouldn’t put anything that unhealthy near my lips, I only drink Kale purees

 

I would love to hear how others get themselves motivated to create their masterpieces each day. I’ll share the results next week!

Birds of Michigan series: Titmouse

Recently, I’ve been painting birds. I did a couple for one of the bathrooms in the house I live in, to complement a series of birdhouses that a roommate put up. They look nice together, along with the shower curtain that has…birds.

I live where the birds constantly come and visit, due to the feeders we put out. During the fall, winter and spring, the chickadees, titmouses, red-breasted Grosbeaks and cardinals swoop in all day long, while the finches and woodpeckers get their share, too.

A friend suggested that I paint a “Birds of Michigan” series (this friend REALLY likes birds). So, I’ve decided to go for it. This is the first painting I’ve completed; it’s a titmouse. Image

I hope you like this little feller. He has that cheeky look that titmouses get; I love their beady eyes and tuft of hair. I think he’s quite satisfied with himself!

 

Plein Aire painting of Atoka Lake

ImageI love to paint outdoors, and capture the feel of a landscape on site. This is a plein aire (outdoors on site) painting that I did awhile back of the trees at Atoka Lake in Oklahoma. I was fascinated by the textures of the lichen growing on the bark, and wanted to show it. If you ever go there, it really does look like this in mid-summer, lots of brown and ocher grass, very different from the lush greens of West Michigan.

No mosquitoes there, either. But I do love the cool summer weather here, and how beautiful and green it is.