abstract oil painting
Renew, oil on canvas

Renew is the first painting I finished since moving. It’s on an 8″ x 10″ canvas, the perfect size for someone who is unsure of what they’re doing.

When I started this painting, I had no clue what to do, I just knew I needed to paint. To get out of my lackadaisical habits and start doing things that make me happy (happier than sitting in my bed and watching TV).

At first, this painting looked like this:

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In a Rush

chalk pastek drawing
In a Rush, chalk pastel on paper

In a way, this is a self-portrait. In a Rush.

A lot of the time this seems to be my life. Always in a rush. Trying to get too many things done. Trying to do too many things for other people. Twisting and turning, rushing. Feeling rushed even when I’m not actually doing anything that requires that feeling.

Art, and more specifically painting, often helps me to stop all the rushing. Sometimes instead of freaking out over something I’m doing I’ll choose to sit down and paint instead. It’s a way of coping, and one that I don’t use nearly often enough.

Since I’ve moved out of my parent’s home it has been difficult to get all of my stuff together. I’ve gone home several times just to get more of my stuff (and spend time with my family of course).

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Montana in July

My uncle died on December 2, 2012. Three days before my 21st birthday and about a week before he came home for Christmas.

He had lived in Montana for over 10 years at that point and we only saw him at Christmas. Except that year he was in Texas with my whole family for my little cousin’s baptism but I didn’t go because I had a track meet. We tried skyping so I could say hi to everyone but it didn’t really work.

So my uncle had died and I was the only person in our whole family who hadn’t seen him in a year.

I was pretty sad about it for obvious reasons.

My mother was on a whole different level of sad.

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New Territory

sea anemone oil painting
New Territory, oil on canvas

Just before my last semester in college one of my art teachers finally got me to start using oil paint instead of acrylic paint. I was scared because I hadn’t been formally trained in oil paints and there seemed to be a lot of rules for using them. Something about turpentine and mediums and oils. Plus the drying times are so different.

My first oil painting was rather dark and I had trouble making it brighter, largely because oil paint takes infinitely longer to dry than acrylic paint does and I wasn’t very patient.

I didn’t want to make the same mistake with my second one.

I decided to take a very different approach with my second oil painting. Super thick sections of paint contrasted with very thin sections.

While researching potential subject matter I came across some pictures of tide pools and sea anemones. They amazed me with how squishy looking they were and the different colors they could be. After looking into them a bit, I determined they would be the perfect subject for my second oil painting ever.

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acrylic and hot glue painting
Paths; acrylic, hot glue, and glitter on canvas

In one of my art classes in college we were told to try something new with a painting. That day I brought in hot glue and glitter glue and went to town.

For this painting, I went with varying layers of watered down acrylic paint (my first time making the drips you see in many of my paintings!) and I laid down tape to create resistance. In some places I completely covered where the tape had been, in others I drew with the hot glue gun instead of laying more glue down. This removed some of the paint, revealing the white of the canvas beneath.

When I finished painting, at first I wasn’t sure which direction I wanted it to go. Should the drips go downward? Should the large glitter-circle be on top? Should the tape lines lead the viewer’s eye into or out of the painting?

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Losing Faith

chalk pastel drawing
Losing Faith, chalk pastel on paper

At the time I titled this piece, it wasn’t a very personal title. I looked at my sad light-flower and decided it looked more than depressed. It looked like it was losing faith in everything. It was dull and detached and feeling devoid.

So I titled it Losing Faith to further communicate what I saw in it.

Looking at this drawing now, it’s more personal. I know a lot of people my age who are losing their faith or have lost it completely. I’ve gone through ups and downs, but overall I still believe the same things I always have.

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Blending In

abstract oil figure painting
Blending In, oil on canvas

At first, oil painting was difficult for me.

It was so different from acrylic that I didn’t truly understand how to blend it or how to wait for it to dry before going in with the next layer. I was used to waiting about 10 minutes before I could start in on my next color. With oil I had to wait hours, days, and sometimes weeks before a certain color would dry.

These issues were why I was so reluctant to make the switch in the first place.

Eventually I got over that. And after my first moderately successful attempts at oil painting and abstract painting respectively, I was ready for something more challenging. At least for me.

So my teacher goes, “Make something more abstract,” which, if you’ve seen my painting Trying to Stand Out, I was already going pretty abstract.

But he goes, “Like that [Trying to Stand Out] but with the figure less obvious.”

So that’s what I attempted.

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Go With Your Gut

abstract acrylic painting
Go With Your Gut, acrylic on canvas

Abstract art is my favorite. To look at and created.

This wasn’t always the case. I used to want my art to be realistic. Then my desire for photo-realism almost drove me insane so I gave up. Not on art, just on realism.

My senior year of college with my senior portfolio theme looming over me, I decided to continue down the abstract path.

I started by mixing a few colors – the dark red, the peach, the orange- and then I went to town. Overall this painting is dark, but there are many highlights in various colors. I wanted this piece to be chaotic and different from anything else I’d made at the time.

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Peaking Disappointment

Peaking Disappointment, acrylic on canvas

I’ve mentioned this in other posts, but my senior year I was required to take a course called Senior Portfolio, which involved coming up with a big idea and creating a bunch of artwork based around it. Then at the end of the year myself and the other art major seniors (there was only one) would have a Senior Art Show, showcasing our work and trying to impress people. (The art show actually worked for me because I sold my first three paintings there!)

My general idea for my senior portfolio was to paint emotions. But how to do this? Color was important. As were brush strokes and medium used.

At first, I created a bunch of “light-flowers” that expressed different emotions.

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