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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Guided by textures and trees...

I blog to you today completely covered in paint.  If I do say so myself, I think I outdid myself!  (My poor fingers!)

I painted quite a few backgrounds this morning...
I really love how these turned out.  Some, I'm sure, are fine as is...but I just can't wait away from a (far-from) blank canvas!  I swear to do as little as possible to these...we'll see.

I love being sloppy with paint and getting really heavy with how much I use.

I've been very into textures lately.

I'm very intrigued by this one.  I might even leave it as is!

I'm the least satisfied with this one and also the most clueless as to what to do with it!  We'll see - I'll let it sit for a bit.

This one's just fantastical.  Again,  lots of layers of paint and playing around with textures.
There is something very liberating about not having formal art training.  We all have an inner critic, but this way I'm on as conscious of it and more willing to take risks.  Sometimes I wish I didn't have so much vocal training either!  There are certain cases where the less you're thinking about technique, the better off you are!  Balance, with everything is key.  I do feel like having some real art tools under my belt could stretch me as an artist in new directions though.  That is why I'd eventually love to learn about encaustics, enamel, resin, sculpture, etc...
My new idea is every time I paint, instead of wiping my brush off in a napkin, I use a tiny canvas, so I end up with a painting out of my palette - this is what my "palette" turned into this morning!
So I decided to get my hands on two of these background, just because inspiration struck me - trees of course!!!  I was so happy with my last tree painting (that has yet to be named - the "contest" is still on, readers!) 
Title, Anyone?
So I continued their story...
Since the background was layered with so much paint and texture, I outlined my trees in gesso first.
This is how my trees came out!
 And, saving my favorite for last - I knew I wanted to feature my trees again - I need to figure out names for these two - looks like they'll be recurring characters for me...but I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do.
Starting off with some gesso...

Tree Proposal  - easy title!
I absolutely love this one!  I am just so tickled by the journey my trees have taken, and maybe I've painted myself as this tree all along - first making her debut at Yale Hospital, and then appearing every now and then since that awful time.  I am excited to see her journey - I am already planning a "Tree Wedding" painting now!  I'm envisioning a tree dressed in beautiful white lace, (flowers in her hair obviously!) walking down an aisle of scattered leaves....can't wait!  Looks like these two will be with me for life...
Not unlike some other folks I know...
At my artist's talk this weekend, someone asked me what I do when I don't have any inspiration.  I usually do one of two things.  I start getting messy with paint - not thinking, layering a ton on, creating texture with everything from paper towels, cardboard, forks, sweeping my arms back and forth and banging the canvas like crazy until there's enough paint to cover a pretty couple background.  Then I'll just let it sit and allow some ideas to come eventually.  Or, I'll just start with trees.  Just like in life, the trees have always pointed where I am to go next.  I've looked to them for guidance since I was a child, they've given me hope, inspiration, wisdom and beauty for the hardest period of my life, and I don't see any reason to stop relying on them now!

For other inspiration, sometimes I check out the site Fun Art Challenges - there are some fun little prompts to get you started.  Today, I saw the idea "Draw the Last Meal You Ate" - and it reminded me of that whole awful time I was unable to eat or drink anything - it's amazing how not even being allowed to have as much as an ice cube for over three years, now seems like a small blip.  Everything does pass, I guess.

But, when I couldn't eat, as I mentioned before I became obsessed with cooking - (as I say in my one-woman show, you become obsessed with what you can't have!) and food in general.  And, I actually did create quite a bit of food-related art when I was just fed through IV's.  Man, I missed food!
When I was unable to eat or drink for over three years, I created my "dream meal" on this canvas!
Fantasizing about food in the hospital...
So real I could almost eat it!  But couldn't :(
Luckily, I've had an amazing support system throughout.  My family, friends, and doctors have all been amazing, and thankfully now I'm eating and drinking to my heart's' content!
Me with my amazing dad after my last surgery in 2012
So, before I go, I want to share a song that I wrote when I got out of the hospital.  It's called Hospital Song - it's a song I wrote to myself at that terrible time.  I'd love for you to listen to it.

You can listen at this link HERE.  I'm singing, my brother Matt is playing the piano as usual.  If you want to hear me strum it out pretty poorly on guitar (how I compose) - you can laugh at me HERE.

This April it will be an entire decade since my stomach exploded.  It's been a long road, a complicated story, and way too much for one blog post!  I'll try to post little snippets of my beautiful detour throughout.  But the important thing I remember, is I'm here, I'm living, life is beautiful, life is wonderful, thank you thank you thank you.  There is just so much to take in, so much to make of it...

And that is why I create.



  1. Great paintings!! How beautiful and creative!


  2. Hi Danie -thanks so much for writing! I really appreciate the kind words :)

  3. Wow so good to see your artist talents, and thank you for sharing on #mum-bomonday. I love meeting other bloggers.

  4. Thanks for sharing your post at the sparks of happiness link up! Your happy shines through in your art!

  5. You art does shine of happiness. Fellow happiness linkee Mackenzie xx

  6. I'm so glad you joined us for T this week, Amy. Your story is incredible, and I'm so inspired by how inspiring and uplifting YOU are. If there was a picture under the word POSITIVE in the dictionary it would be a picture of you!

    Your art is fantastic and your paintings are incredible. Your story is memorable, and your food and drink art amazes me. I'm SO glad you joined us for T this week. I hope you will come back and continue to share with us for T in the future, too. So, did the female tree accept?

    1. Thank you so much - that is so sweet of you - and you'll have to send me a copy of that dictionary when it comes out :)

      I definitely do have an interesting story - it sure made for a good musical! Performing is definitely my first passion which is what originally inspired me to write "Gutless & Grateful." And yes, the female accepted - for this June actually! and let the 3 month countdown commence...

  7. Love the freedom you have with your painting. So refreshing. I totally understand about the inner critic. So glad you know how to shut her up and just paint!! I'm working hard with that one as well. :)
    Happy T day!

  8. You have a beautiful voice as well as artist. Your brother is pretty cool on the piano too. I love trees too, I love nature and most of all I love the one who created it and put life into it all. Look at nature, a star studded sky and you see that He is the greatest artist.

  9. Those paintings look like they were so much fun to create...anything goes! Thanks for sharing on #JoyHopeLive

  10. Thanks for sharing with us at Funtastic Friday. You have a great story and fantastic artwork. I look forward to reading more of your posts:-)