The Story of the Pink Elephant Painting

Last year, in June or so, my cousin told me that if I was going to get her anything for Christmas I should just paint her a pink elephant. I thought it was a cute idea so I agreed.

She told me in June.

On January 2 (the day we were to celebrate Christmas with my father’s side of the family), at around 11 AM, I realized I had not yet painted that pink elephant.

On Black Friday I had gone out to Michaels and gotten a canvas board on which to paint said pink elephant, but suddenly we were leaving in less than 2 hours to go to my cousins’ house and I had not even started painting yet.


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What’s in a Name?

As I mentioned in my last post, most of the time it’s really easy for me to title my paintings. I just give it a look and whatever stands out, whatever word or phrase pops into my head, becomes the title.

Sometimes, it’s a bit more difficult than that, though. Sometimes my paintings will go months without having a name. They’ll sit in a corner or be hung up on a wall, unnamed and rather sad looking until the time comes when I can finally give them a name.

There are other times when I’ll title a painting and then a few months later I’ll notice something else about it or just decide I no longer like the title and I’ll come up with a new one. Holding On To You was originally titled Looking Up and Disconnected had several previous titles, none of which expressed the meaning of the painting as well as the final title.

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Mirror, Mirror

abstract oil painting on recycled framed canvas
Mirror, Mirror; oil on recycled canvas

 Happy Accidents

In my creative journey I have largely left behind my planning ways. As in, I don’t stare at my sketch book for hours trying to figure out each minute detail of my next painting. Usually, I just pick a few colors and start painting. Everything else that happens is either a happy accident or artist’s intuition.

Mirror, Mirror is the perfect example of this style of painting that I have adopted since finishing school.

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oil painting of a tree and a dancer
Fierce, oil on recycled canvas

I was in this youth group in high school and in the summers we would head out across the country on mission trips to help the less fortunate in different areas. One year my friends and I met some really cool people in another youth group from Tennessee and we all had a grand time.

This one girl, Danielle, told my best friend that she was fierce and there was this whole hand motion associated with it. I don’t remember what I was, but it wasn’t fierce. I’ve never been fierce. Most of my life I have lived worried that things are going to go wrong or worried I will get in trouble somehow.

I want to be fierce, I just don’t know how.

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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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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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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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