Searching the stars

Last year I started painting galaxies on star-shaped magnets. I did about 12 of them. Each one turns out so differently. It’s exciting to see what happens and fun to use these as practice to expand, experiment, and practice the technique. There is so much more that I want to try out.

Cosmic galaxy star magnets
© 2020 Dawn Blair

These are my first batch for 2020.

I have a feeling that I’ll be creating a lot more of these star magnets this year, hopefully more than 12. (grin) I am also thinking about doing simple tree and sky paintings on heart-shaped magnets too, much like the ACEO’s I started out painting, but I haven’t made that commitment yet.

The reason I haven’t started on that is because there’s another avenue I’m also contemplating exploring. And I know that every time something is added, something else needs to be removed. There is only so much time. And I have to decide which is more important.

This other avenue: working more on Bristol board, possibly including charcoal/pencil work as well as paint. I know that to some this might not seem like a very exciting decision, but for me it was something I was thinking about most of last year; I just didn’t get started on it. All I can say there is that the time didn’t feel right; another one of those “trust the process” things.

What changed?

Star magnet 2020-4
© 2020 Dawn Blair

I’m not very certain. Maybe I’m just reaching for the stars. Maybe I am another year older. Maybe I just like working on Bristol. Quite frankly, I do painting on Bristol and I want to get better at it, so there’s no time like the present. Is there another reason?

Possibly. But I think those I stated are enough.

If you’re interested in getting your own magnet, check them out on one of my stores. Free shipping. Stay tuned because more are coming!

Click here for Zibbet.

Click here for my newly updated Etsy store.

A tree dreams

Once again, I’m going to start with the last picture of the prior painting blog. This is where I was at when I started “fixing” the nebula. I almost stopped here, but I felt like the colors were too soft now.

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Black needed added in.

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I knew I needed to make the color more dramatic. It just felt too soft and everything blended without a draw for the eyes. So I intensified the hues with another layer. If you look carefully at the next picture, you can also see the splattering of stars.

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Time for the final stars and highlights on several of them. There are 7 glittering stars in that sky created by the dreams of a tree.

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Come see the original today at the Jerome Music Booster craft show from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Happy adventuring!

The nebula develops

Honestly, I never expected the nebula to give the problems that it did. I thought I had this.

Yeah, right.

Okay, here is the last picture from the last blog so you can recall what it looked like.

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Here I blended the colors together. Oh, and I also added the sparkles to the tree which I wanted.

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So I thought it was all well at this point. I just needed to add in some dark spots.

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That was when I realized I had a mess. Giving the top a moment to dry, I filled in the ground beneath the tree. I wasn’t certain that I even wanted ground, but after I got it in, I decided that it had been the right thing to do.

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I had the thought at this point that I wanted the nebula to reflect the colors of the tree. I went back to some reference pictures of nebulae and tried to decide what I wanted to do. Here’s what came about:

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I’m going to leave this blog here for now. I’ll post the final on Saturday. As I will be out at the Jerome Music Booster craft show from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., you can come see the real deal there.

Until then, happy adventuring.

The tree develops

Happy May Day!

Short blog here. It really didn’t take long for the tree to take form.

This is the second layer of the tree. Also started some highlighting on the trunk so it can take shape.

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Now for the full highlighting of the tree.

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Happy adventuring until next time.

Space on a long board

I’m working on a new space nebula painting and I’m hoping to have it ready for the Jerome Music Boosters’ craft show this weekend.

I had picked up this board that is 20″x10″ and I had thought I would paint a kind space nebula on it. Then I had another idea.

In order to start it, I had to plan where the “mist” would be and let it guide me to placing the nebula.

Are those dark clouds now on top of the mist at the bottom. Nope. Let’s see if the next picture can give us a clue.

Ah! There we go. It looks like the beginning of a tree. Stay tuned to see how this develops!

Phoenix nebula

So I thought I was going to have a book cover reveal this week. Yep, that’s not happening, Life has blown this week out of the water. I’m counting myself fortunate enough to be doing this post, thought it’ll probably be short unless I find myself with something suddenly to say or rattling on like this sentence is. Yeah, I go off like that sometimes. *grin*

I thought I’d show you one of the paintings I finished last week. I do wish I had more work in progress pictures of it, but I wasn’t certain about this painting. It probably really hit rock bottom when I had just started it and my youngest son walked by and said, “So, Mom, what’s up with the eclipse and the alligator.”

Eclipse and alligator? Well he wasn’t wrong. Here’s sort of what he was seeing:

You see the “eclipse” at the top of the painting and the alligator at the bottom left. I do believe this is actually after he had made his comment and I had started a second coat, getting rid of the alligator’s open jaws so much. You can still see the two parts sticking out that originally made it’s mouth. Yep, can’t get much worse from there.

I wish I’d remembered to take a picture of the first layer when I started, but I really did feel like I’d messed it up right from the get-go. Then the eclipse and alligator really made me question it. But I had this burr that I really wanted to work with, to try this, to see what would happen. So I continued. That’s when I ended up with the picture above, and then this.

This is after a few more layers and some stars added. I was tempted to go with the angel look here, but I decided to hold to the idea I really wanted.

More layers, added so black back to it, and more stars. This is the finished piece.

I really want to do this, or something like this, on a larger canvas. I am having so much fun with these space nebulae. I’m learning something new with each one. It’s definitely been an interesting journey. I never thought I’d be creating these as beautiful as they are. My first attempts at nebulae were so awful. I’m glad the urge to continue attempting to paint these never abandoned me.

Onward! Let us continue our explorations!

Nebula on a hexagon

My six-sided painting. I was pretty excited to find this canvas. I knew immediately that I wanted to do a space painting on this. Once I felt ready, I painted the canvas black. The picture above shows it all prepared and ready.

My first layer:

It’s hard not to block a painting in like this and not absolutely hate it and fear that it’s been messed up. But, the painting must continue.

Here’s the next layer:

Now we’re getting some of the misty cloudiness into the piece.

In the next layer, the stars start to shine:

More layers come next, more stars, and adding some of the black of space back in. Finally we end up with this:

There was a point at which I really messed everything up. I didn’t grab my phone to take a picture though; I knew my paint was drying quickly. That probably returned the fun to this painting. I’d started to take it too seriously and quit having fun with it. In causing a catastrophe on the canvas and knowing I had little time to fix it, I had to attack it with courage and release everything. Believe me, at the time I really wasn’t sure I’d be saving it. It was extremely hard to release the fear. Words make it sound so easy, but at the time it was horrible. I instantly projected myself into the future where I had to paint the canvas black once more to restart and regretted the past where I wished I hadn’t touched it so much. I was everywhere but the present.

Grounding yourself with courage puts you firmly in the moment. There’s an obstacle that must be overcome and only by stepping forward can this obstacle be hurdled.

This painting could have easily gone the other way where I did have to go through the future of repainting it that I had imagined. However, I’m glad I kept working it and gave myself the chance.

As my friend, J.D. Estrada, said a few days ago on an Instagram post, “Self doubt is an option, but so is believing in yourself.”

This weekend, believe in yourself.

Happy adventuring!

It was a date, remember?

So on yesterday’s blog, I showed some pictures of a space painting I’d been working on in 2018 and thought I had done.

But then, as any good tale would have, conflict struck.

I painted another picture that made it look like garbage. Well, what’s an artist supposed to do?

I’d say that the correct answer is not to pull is back up on the easel and keep working on it, but I know that’s exactly what a lot of painters do. But I do understand the need to let something hang for a bit so you can look at it just to let your mind mull it over.

So let’s talk about this painting.

I started this painting the same night that I started the other two paintings, but I was way too embarrassed to show it. I honestly thought I’d be painting over it. I mean, what do you do when you have a mess like this to start off with? So I let it sit with some creative procrastination for a while. I figured if I didn’t look at it, I wouldn’t think about how badly I would feel at having to paint it over because it was a horrible start. However, I had some ideas I wanted to experiment with, so I decided I’d play and see what happened. I figured it was only a 8″x10″ flat panel canvas, so who cared if I messed it up so badly that I ended up breaking it in half over my knee like a ninja master? If nothing else, I would learn something.

But I sure as heck wouldn’t advertise my intent to fail.

Nope.

I took a picture for me to document my learning process and didn’t show it to anyone.

Then, on January 1st, I decided it was time to pull out the painting and play with it. How better to get a start at painting for the new year than to learn if I could or couldn’t pull this painting out of the fire.

This was the next layer. Honestly, by now I was a little wowed by the hole thing. It was so simple, and yet so pretty. Just brushstrokes.

Look at the depth now starting to come into this piece. There was a part of me that wanted to stop right here.

But, I’m a fool and I pressed on.

Here it is finished:

Yes, there are parts of this I wish I’d been able to express some self-control on, but I do wish the picture did it justice too. I’m happy with the lessons it taught me and and that I managed to save a painting I wasn’t sure would work out.

So, for hoots and giggles, let’s look at the “finished” painting from yesterday compared to this on:

I hope you see what I mean when I said it nearly made me want to cry. The “finished” painting seemed so clumsy and blockish compared to the smooth grace of the new one.

Now let’s see them both together after that 1st one had the reworking:

What a dramatic improvement, don’t you think?

I wonder what will get cooked up this weekend on my easel. Just after I continue working on my edits for Tangled Magic.

I think I’m finally done!

I’m done. This time, I mean it. I swear. Done!

Okay, remember this painting I showed you about a month ago or so?

I’ve been working away at it slowly. I worked really hard on it last weekend because I wanted to have it done in 2018.

Here’s a couple pictures of it in progress:

I even said I was done on my progress blog because I really thought I was done. Here’s a picture of it “completed.”

Not a bad little picture, right? I was so happy with it. Yea, a nice little space galaxy. *insert happy smiling face here*

NOT!

Two days ago, I painted a picture that blew this one out of the water.

Ka-BOOM!

I picked this picture up last night and nearly started to cry. It looked so bad, horrible, blah! Especially when compared to the other one.

So I wasn’t done. I knew I could do better. Back on the easel it went. Awhile later, here was the result:

I dare not say that I’m done yet. Who knows what tomorrow will bring,

Now, aren’t you excited to see the picture that inspired this one? Yeah, I think you’ll be just as amazed on that as me. How about I show you tomorrow? Great! It’s a date.

Progress – December 17, 2018

Adventures this week have been… oh, look, SQUIRREL!

Yeah, something like that.

It feels like two or three things have been going on all at once. Someday I swear I will learn to focus.

It’s just been challenging to get my words in this week, though I have been painting. It seems like that’s what I really want to be doing this week. It’s making me really consider making my word count next year into a rolling word count like I’m doing with my painting. There’s a little part of me that keeps saying, “You’ve already accomplished your word goal for the year. Give yourself a break and paint.”

Then there’s the other part of me that says that I have over 125 days into my writing streak. Do you realize how long that is of getting a certain amount of words in every day? Yeah, 125 days. Just because I have overflow one day doesn’t mean that I can just apply that to the next day. That’s not consistency!

It’s like the fight of the good shoulder angel and the bad shoulder angel. I’m tired of the constant blabbering in my head.

“But you’re doing it with your painting. Why not with your writing?”

Argh!!! Painting is different, don’t you understand that? What if I couldn’t count the words until the novel was completed?

“Maybe you’d finish more if you did that instead of bouncing between projects.”

BANG HEAD HERE!

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