A slow start...
After painting several of my studio paintings with my go-to regular palette, I came up with the idea of painting the same subject but with a limited palette...just to see what the difference would be. Using a limited palette is something I’ve wanted to try. This seemed like a great time to experiment! Right away, I was surprised at the versatility within the limited palette. It forced me to think more strictly in light/dark and warm/cool terms which, I think, is good for me. Editing and simplifying never hurts and the limited palette made me think differently. I was definitely happy with the results and folks on Social Media seem to like the results too...whatever that means.
Studio Study Gallery
It's been a fun experiment and something I will carry with me into my plein air work this season. I'm definitely considering how to limit my plein air palette. It's not an extensive one to start with...8 colors, but it may be time to experiment a bit with that this spring!
When I'm doing these challenges, I like to alternate doing different things; so one day I'll paint a small studio study and the next I'll play with some abstraction. Some days I may do both, especially if I've had a couple days off, but it helps keep it fun and interesting for me to mix it up a bit.
Gouache studies plus...
A number of years ago I took an online class from Larry Moore. He introduced me to this idea of many small gouache studies, one building off another and just building the layers of them too. You can add collage, markers, pencil drawing, whatever you want to the process. I enjoy the intuitive-ness of this process. Sometimes it ends in a disastrous mush or a chaotic blur but sometimes a gem pops up. Even in the messes, often there's a little something…and you add another layer once again to "fix" it.
Anyway, one sheet of gouache sketches is 2-3 days of short work sessions since it is layered.
After I was working with these shapes for a couple weeks, I decided I wanted to try painting them with a limited palette. That’s where the 12” x 12” paintings happened. Some successful. Some not.
Then I wanted to get even bigger! Would it work to enlarge the gouache studies or would something be lost in that translation? Let’s try! My 1st attempts went quite well. It helped that they were done over old paintings. I LOVE working over old paintings. I’ve started a few on new panels. They are coming along but it’ll take a bit more work to get them to a similar level to the first two.
There was no "final destination" in mind when I started this challenge. I've created paintings I'm happy with and I'm definitely inspired with ideas for more and that is what I was hoping for. I have learned new things AND I have more work to do. That feels terrific. The challenge served it's purpose.
Please consider following me on Instagram at @sbaptistart and signing up to keep on top of things like this challenge by signing up below. Sarah
My February Art Challenge...
Many moons ago I would challenge myself in January to do 30 paintings in 30 days…My January Paintings Challenge. This was created to get me back into the studio and “working” after the holidays. The past 3 January’s there have been deaths or crisis’ that have kept the January challenge from happening and that’s ok…getting into the studio isn’t an issue like it used to be, but I admit that this year I’m feeling that a little structure or focus could be helpful.
Sooo, I’m modifying my challenge. I started on February 1st and promised myself to work every weekday. I always pick two themes to work on and usually swap them out every other day. This is a personal preference and keeps me interested. I always enjoy painting my studio but this year I may expand into the house. We'll see what happens there.
Some works in progress...
The 2nd theme will be my abstract studies in gouache. These have been a lot of fun for me and I can see that they may be inspirations for larger paintings down the line, so I'm excited continue with these. Here’s an example of one sheet I've done. Check out my You Tube Channel for videos of me working on these abstract gouaches sheets.
I am limiting myself to weekdays because I know of a few conflicts already. That gives me Saturdays to catch up if need be. I reserve Sundays as a day-off these days.
This does not preclude me from working on other things. I have a few other ideas I want to develop also but this is bare minimum. When I originally did this type of challenge, just getting into the studio was a challenge. That is not the case so much anymore. This is more to help me focus on something in particular. Feel like I am accomplishing something, have something to show after a few weeks in the studio. I think it will help. We will see.
Also check out my Instagram at @sbaptistart. I post regularly what I'm working on. And SIGN UP for my email list. My subscribers got a video and sneak peak of all this before it hit social media.... !!
And here we go...2023...
My 2023 is starting out a bit slowly and that's just fine with me this year. For years I've done a painting on January 1st and then tried to do paintings every day or regularly there after, just to be in the studio after the holidays and get back to working. This year i just couldn't do it. On January 1st, all day I kept thinking ..."I should do a painting" but my heart wasn't in it so I let it go. It felt odd but it also felt OK to let to go this year.
Here are a couple more shots of my studio and what I'm working on. Mostly urban abstracts right now. I'll be working on this word/urban series this winter with "walk" and "yield" being integrated into the paintings...or that's the plan at the moment.
We are all our own Creation Story. Right now I'm feeling the need to slow down and listen, read, fill my well. Slow and steady is the course right now. What's your story/year looking like?
Tis the season….Here we GO!
How’s this all come about anyway?
As August and September roll around, I start thinking about IF I want to do a holiday series. Usually that dependents on if there’s something I want to paint; something that I think will be fun and interesting that people will enjoy. That is half the battle because believing in what I’m creating is essential.
At first this year, I really had nothing. No ideas that excited me, so I figured I’d sit this year out. But I was still mulling things over, trying to decide if that was the right decision. Something was nagging at me saying…you can think of something fun…come on. Then I remembered a Sock Monkey painting I did a couple years back; he was with a bunch of art supplies and was a big hit. I got a couple requests for him in other situations but because of the holiday time frame, I couldn’t deliver. But this could be a series…
It’s definitely playful, quirky and something different…. PERFECT! Yep, Good ole’ Sock Monkey paintings! I knew I found my answer. THIS was IT! I was thinking about Elf on the Shelf and then started thinking I could substitute Sock Monkey into all kinds of Holiday situations in kinda the same way. The rest is history…well …sock monkey paintings actually.
Now I just had to think of a counterpoint. I think that makes it all more interesting…mixes things up a bit. This was easier for me. I’ve been working on these “mash-ups”…These start as plein air paintings that I re-work with collage, painting and maybe some drawing to create a new artwork. part plein air and part abstracts. That fit the bill.
Some folks say they like the original painting better but the fact is that these paintings have been around for years. I can't hold on to everything forever, so the paintings I feel I can add new life to are the candidates for me to re-work. It does not always work out but luckily, so far, it's worked often enough.... PLUS I have a blast doing it! I love a challenge too and it's such a joy to take a rejected, tired old painting and re-energize it...give it new life. So that is what the Merry Mix Ups are!
As for size of paintings, how many and when to launch the series, past experience, how much time I had to paint and the number of frames I had dictated my decisions there. Honestly, these types of projects can get weighty and not so much fun at a certain point but I have really enjoyed this one. It’s been the perfect size and a joy to create. I am glad I didn't just throw in the towel, say NO to the whole Holiday series idea and not give it another thought. I'm glad I listened to that little nagging voice inside. Do you think it was my inner Sock Monkey..poking me? hahaha
To Subscribe to this years Tis the Season Click right here and hop on my mailing list...or check out the gallery page which will be up for the month of December.
Have a Fantastic Holiday season. I wish you Joy, Happiness, Peace and Many Blessings......
Tis the Season - is coming!
Every year I say, "I'm not ready" for the holidays but this year...I'm REALLY not ready! I feel like the world spins a little faster every year because we seem to get to the holidays before I seem to catch my breath from Open Studio. But it will be OK! I know I just need to keep chipping away at my to-do list. I love my to-do list!
For me the Holidays also brings up the question of whether to launch a Holiday series...or not. Quite honestly I was leaning towards the NOTuntil I had THIS one idea; the more I thought about it, the more it made me laugh and smile. It just seemed like SO much fun, I figured I had to DO IT!
Soooo, I'll be launching "Tis the Season" on December 1st.
What does that mean, you ask? Good question! Starting on December 1st my subscribers will get an email at 6AM with 1 new painting featured. This will continue for 10 days. After 24 hours each painting will go public, so Subscribers have that 24 hour window to see and purchase paintings first.
I am very excited about these paintings. There are 2 series. Both have been a joy to make...getting me back into the studio after feeling a bit "flat. The larger series is VERY playful and I think you'll get a real kick out of them. It's hard to keep it all a secret but I also think that's part of the fun...the suspense, the reveal... kinda like opening a present every morning when you get that email!
So Sign up now to get your Tis the Season 6 AM email to get exclusive access!
No more bon-bons Sarah....
Okay…Sarah… stop your lounging around eating bon-bons. Well, that’s not exactly what I’ve been up too but it is time to get back into the studio on a regular basis. It’s also time to set a schedule and some goals. I DO like a to-do list!
This couple weeks has been a much needed time for me to breathe and reflect. A transition period from plein air to studio time. I was sitting in my studio this morning, looking at this bridge series I’ve been working on and thought… Bridges are transitions! They get you from one place to another.. how apropos. Although my take on bridges isn't of the tradition view...the sort that actually shows you getting from one place to another...I still like the analogy.
Here's my bridge series. Click images for more pictures and information.
Anyway, I’m feeling ready to finish the year out now. I have an idea for a small series of paintings for the holidays…something very different and like I said…just FUN. My subscribers will get 1st dibs on these paintings delivered right to their email inboxes BEFORE I release them to the public 24 hours later! If you'd like to be one of those people...Subscribe Now!
Till next time..... Sarah
Since my Open Studio is in late September and that is when the weather also is cooling off...ie I'm tapering off on plein air painting, I find that afterwards is a natural time to take a break, reflect on the past year and consider what’s next in the coming months and even the coming year. The input I get from people who come to Open Studio is key in all this too and is part of what makes this a great time to take stock.
I want to take this opportunity to Thank everyone who came to Open Studio and those who cheered me on from a distance or on social media. We tried some new things like the paint demo and Wendy Mitchell from Talleyville Frame Shoppe who came and did a framing talk/demo. We met some new friends (yeah!) and as always LOVE visiting with old friends. Thanks to ALL!
So it's September...
September. For many that means the kids are back to school or vacation time is over. For me it means…Open Studio.
And then there is the people factor. Every year as we go thru all the prep and cross off the items on the lists, we wonder who, if anyone will show up. When we finally get to Open Studio, one of my favorite parts is seeing familiar faces coming through the door AND new ones too. It's a joy to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. It’s also fun to see which paintings people respond to, what questions they have or just hear their stories about how Art has been a part of their lives. It always restores my faith in the power of Art to connect us, even when I don’t feel it needs any restoration, it gets a good boost anyway.
We are just a few weeks out from this years Open Studio as I write this. I hope to see you this year. If you aren't local Check out my webpage because we be Live streaming the demo and framing talk.
Apology Not Accepted...
Perhaps this is not new phenomena but it is something I have noticed a lot recently; it is the art apologizer. Countless times this summer, at various venues…be it a gallery show, out painting plein air or if I meet someone and they find out I’m an artist I get the “oh I’m sorry, I don’t know anything about art”.
First of all, I don’t believe it. Everyone knows a little something about art because it is everywhere! It’s surrounds you from the clothes you wear to the design of the coffee mug you use, the car you drive, movies you watch and music you listen to just to mention a few obvious things.
I understand that the visual arts intimidate some people but I’m here to say…RELAX. There is no reason to be scared or intimidated. You know what you like right? Do you think you need a Ph.D to own art or view art? NO! An appreciation for the sincere effort the artist put forth is good place to start. If you like their art- Great! Sometimes it may take a while for you to absorb it and that’s fine too…you can even say that…”I need a while to look at this!”. Or you can always ask the artist why they created something...that can be a great conversation starter, but do not apologize.
Perhaps you don’t have much experience in going to art shows, museums or viewing art and the lingo is intimidating. Artists I know love to teach and if you ask what something means, they'd be happy to explain. Listen, if I’m talking to a lawyer or a financial person and they start talking…I sometimes have to say..yo…what’s that mean? We can’t all be experts in everything so enjoy the art and ask questions. Look and ask yourself what you like. Just as important, ask yourself what you don’t like but do it when you are looking at art and it’ll help you. If you do it enough you may surprise yourself in the range and type of art you are open to. I’ve seen this happen many times and I think it's fantastic; as people get curious and look, look and look they see more and more which just opens more doors. We continue to grow and learn. Art is so cool.
But please, Don’t ever apologize. I’m simply not going to accept it.
Here are few paintings I've done, en plein air, recently. Please enjoy and click on images for for information.
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Winning Isn't Everything...
The painting that won was one that I tried a different design idea. I wasn’t sure it would work but I decided to give it a try. The dark bridge with the bright light through to the other side was key. Part of doing these events is pushing yourself to paint more than usual and really looking at things around you. The award is a fantastic validation. Nice that an urban landscape can win!
I want to say something to those who didn’t win anything or maybe didn’t sell anything either, because I have been there too. It’s hard to not take that personally. Really hard sometimes. I saw some wonderful paintings that did not sell and when those are yours, you ask why? There is no good answer. Just not the right time, the right person but it is not a reflection of your talent!
Remember why you’re painting, keep painting, keep learning and keep enjoying your creativity.
I am Thankful to Marietta Art Alive for putting together such a wonderful event and having 4 days to paint and be inspired. It’s a great way to jump start the plein air season and I look forward to next year! And YES, Thanks for the award…it’s definitely nice but no, not everything.
still available (when written) - click image for more images and info
Everything Old is New Again
There is always a dilemma with what to do with older paintings...of course, some you want to hold on to but you can't keep them all! Some get sanded out to be become newer, better paintings, but I've been looking for another answer...sanding them out seems so extreme. You’ve surely heard the phrase “Everything old is new again.” This has come to mind as I’ve decided to rework a few older plein air paintings. The idea is to keep some of the original painting but apply some of the new collage and abstract techniques I’ve been doing recently and see what happens. I like the idea of merging the old and new in this way.
The creative process kinda mirrors life here. You go off past experience; search for what works. You don’t always know what you’re looking for but when you see it; find it, you know it. There’s satisfaction and joy in that space and so, you continue on. OR, you don’t like it and make another, different choice, BUT you still continue on.
Merging the old and new. is a way to try to make sense of where I’ve been and perhaps where I’m heading.
Prior to doing this collage work, I was working with gouache...also working from older plein air paintings but mostly as inspiration rather than directly on them. I'd look at the painting and do small drawings that were very loose, then add layers of paint, marker, whatever...again the point was to play and disconnect from the "thing". It was about responding to shape, line and color really. I did a whole series called Market Riffs off one painting. It was fun to see just how far I could go. I imagine I could go farther, really.
To see some of this newer work, check out The Art Trust show REFLECTIONS which opens on April 27, 2022 and closes June 10. May 6th is the Opening reception-5-9pm.
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I'm headed up next week to paint for a few days. Tune into my instagram account to follow along with what I'm doing! It's been a while since I've done one of these events. Getting all my panels ready...just being tuned up and ready to paint is a lot to do. Well, I've gotten out this week and I admit to feeling a bit rusty. That is about normal though and the only remedy is PAINT MORE!
Here's what I've done so far this week. It's a start. I'm happy with that. :) Click images for more info
One year ago...
One year ago today my Father died. January 25, 2021 at 9:30 AM. I miss him and am sad sometimes but I do not doubt, he is not only fine but soaring with angels.
It was my intention to write a wonderful tribute to him on this occasion. His role in me being present in this world is obvious. His influence on my art I have always known, but this past year I have begun to FEEL the depths of this gift and there are no words to describe the love and gratitude it has graced me with.
A few weeks after Dad's death I wrote a Valentine's Tribute to him. On reading it again, I don't think I can improve on it so I re publish it again here: