The Difference Between Sunrise & Sunset

If you looked at one of my paintings, could you tell what time of day I painted?

Every painting that I work on is based on an actual photo. When I am out at the Farm, I snap photos like a madwoman, catching every cool cloud, every beautiful sunset, and if I can get myself out of bed early enough, an epic sunrise. Over time, I’ve noticed some clear differences in the mood, colors and feel of a sunrise versus a sunset. I try my best to capture the feeling of each time of the day with my color palette, so that I can communicate on the canvas that very same feeling that I felt when I took the photo out at The Farm.

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Who's In Charge Here?

Instincts are an interesting thing. Often they are loud and obvious and help you make the right decision in the moment. It's super convenient when that happens. Sometimes, though, an instinct can be quieter, whispering in the background. You can hear it, but sometimes think it was a mistake, or you heard wrong. But that little voice keeps whispering, and one day you turn around and hear exactly what that instinct is saying, clear as day. 

I had a quiet but persistent instinct whisper in my ear throughout the course of completing The Color of My Sky collection. I felt so good about the paintings that I created. I loved getting back into the flow of my artistic process, experimenting and playing on the canvas. I was confident about each and every painting - except one. Originally titled "Endless Spring," I completed this painting pretty early on in the process of building this collection, so it had been "finished" for a couple weeks. When I made this painting, I could sense that something wasn't quite right about the piece. My instincts were telling me that this painting wasn't finished, but looking at it, I had checked all of the boxes, and it was technically done. What my instincts were saying, though, was  that, yes, this painting may be done by my standards, but it wasn't really finished.

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The First Painting

In an earlier post I talked about my first landscape painting and a particularly challenging assignment that my professor would task us with at the beginning of each semester, which led me to discover a new way to paint. Instead of using areas of thick paint, like I'd done with some landscape & outdoor scenes, I layered lots of thin layers on top of each other, giving the painting a glowy effect. I decided to try out this new application to a landscape painting, thus beginning my "new era," so to speak, of landscapes.

Scrolling all the way back through my photos made me laugh a little, because I found the original picture of this painting in the first hundreds of my 10,000 photos of my camera roll. What seems like a lifetime ago was actually less than three years ago. Three years. It's so easy for me to feel like I have been doing this forever, and that I haven't done enough, or haven't grown big enough or had enough success, but seeing the time stamp on that photo of the first landscape gave me some perspective. It showed me that I have grown, and I have been successful, and I've only been seriously painting barely three years, and part of that time I was still in school. 

Part of my painting process is starting with really bright colors in the first layers, and then painting over them with softer, lighter layers. Because oil paint is more transparent than other paints, the vibrancy of the first layers shine through, ever so subtly, in the finished painting. 

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Finding New Words

It’s been a while since I wrote about my work, about my life, about my thoughts. It’s been a while, probably too long. When I had to talk about my work and write about my work in school, these words came easier, and it seemed like I had more to say. It’s funny how that works; the more you talk, the more you have to say.

Maybe I'm just figuring it out? Maybe the past couple of years out of school have been a transitional time, a time where I get to keep making, not really knowing what direction it’s headed, but knowing that I can’t stop or else I won’t be able to start again. It’s the necessity of creating, rather than the need for the finished product. I can’t lose that side of my work! I have been so focused on selling and the post-production aspect of my practice, that it is easy to lose sight of the making itself.

One of my former professor would give us the same challenge with each new semester: make something you have never done before and never seen before. Every time she introduced the assignment, it was usually met with protest and anger. How is that even possible? How are we supposed to do that? But I’m a landscape/portrait/abstract painter! I can’t do something else but that, right?

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The Farm

Capital T, capital F - The Farm. Located in the heart of South Texas, an hour and a half southwest of Houston, it’s set on roughly 80 acres of the the gentlest rolling land. Nearly-historic oak trees and stately groves of pecan trees grow their roots in its ground. And on a cloudless night, the sky is the clearest window to the stars that you can’t find within big city limits. It started as a place where my family could keep their hands busy and scratch the itch to get out of the city. What I didn’t expect was that it would change my life and my artwork in the best way. 

The Farm came into my life freshman year of TCU. I was a budding art student pushing all kinds of boundaries with my work - cake slices revealing new worlds within! Waterfalls gushing from conch shells! Some pretty earth-shattering stuff, right? Ha. Then I went to Italy for a semester, which I wouldn’t trade for anything, but came back a little tired of cherubs and Renaissance Italian dignitaries, so I started painting abstract paintings.My dad began beekeeping at The Farm, so the honeycomb shape became the basis of this period of abstracts. They kept me busy for a semester, but I knew they wouldn’t be “my thing.” Still, slowly, The Farm was creeping into my work. 

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