Saturday, May 31, 2014

New prints!

Hey y'all! Things have been rather busy 'round the studio (which I FINALLY got set up!) I'm finished with the day job for the summer and so I finally have some time to catch up on my art work. I've got a sale today, and after that I'll be posting lots of new paintings to my prints website. Please stay tuned for new paintings and hopefully a prolific summer for this artist! :)

If you ever want to keep more up to date, since I'm terrible at blogging, please follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or friend me on Facebook. All those links are on the right.

Until I have a more interesting post, here's a couple of pics of the studio, as I was working on matting all my paintings for this sale.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and sometimes not even then...

I had my reservations from the beginning. Despite my ardent desire to work on something "challenging", I wasn't sure about this painting from the first outline. Now, I usually doubt myself whilst painting, and often am completely unsure of whether a painting will be even passable or not until it's finished, sometimes not even then. But this painting, this one was different. I couldn't seem to get the shapes right, everything looked wonky and cattywampus (one of my favorite words) and it just wasn't working out. Despite my reservations, I pressed on, bolstered by my fabulous teacher's reassurances. She always sees my work better than I do.

After about an hour, however, even my lovely teacher was starting to have reservations. The head looked too fat and too thin all at the same time. The top of the head was too big, there was something off about his eyes. Nothing seemed to fix it. I added pastel, brushed it away, tried to draw in lines with my nail to see what might help this poor guy come together. Nothing was working. Diana, my fearless teacher, took up the paints, adding here and there, trying desperately to figure out why he looked so weird. We couldn't make it work. He looked deranged and slightly dead.

Finally, my time with Diana was up for the day and she tried to reassure me that she thought he was really close; he just needed a few tweaks. I wasn't so sure. I chalked it up to a learning experience, and while I was mildly irritated that I'd used a pretty expensive piece of pastel board for what I thought I was going to brush out and just leave to live out the rest of it's sorry life in the closet, I wasn't too heart-broken.

When I got home, I decided to take a picture of the beast and share it to my social networks. I don't like the idea of pretending that everything in my life is sunshine and unicorns, so I didn't want to represent myself as an artist who always gets it right. So, I posted my little disaster with the title, Buffalo Train Wreck. Here he is, in case you didn't see him on Instagram (danastrotheide if you want art and cute cat photos):

I expected my friends to chuckle along with me and say, "Well... nice try, Dana, better luck next time." Instead, what I got was resounding voices of approval. They liked him. People really liked him.  Now, this may be people just trying to be nice, which is fine, or it could be that people honestly don't see the flaws. When my husband returned home and saw him, he loved him immediately. This is quite impressive as while me hubs is very supportive, he's also brutally honest and not afraid of telling me when he thinks something in my painting didn't work. 

So... it just goes to show you. Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder. I still think my little buffalo here needs some major work, but I find it intriguing to experience first hand how subjective art is, even when you've created it yourself. 

I received some excellent advice from my teacher, and favorite mentor, Diana Tripp, when I entered my first art contest. "Either way, don't take it personally." Good or bad, the love or hatred of art is merely an opinion, and doesn't necessarily reflect on you as an artist. Works to take to heart. 

In other news, I rapidly learned that I shouldn't leave my painting sitting on the floor, especially when it's got such dark colors. I woke to a pinkish cat this morning. I guess Dumbledore liked the buffalo at least. :) 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Two Years

Two years ago today, I walked into Particulars Art Studio here in Lafayette, and took my first class in pastels with my teacher and mentor, Diana Tripp. I was nervous, as I always am when trying something new. I've never been a particularly adventurous type. We spent two hours, and I created this, my very first painting.

Looking back at it, it's definitely not my favorite piece that I've ever completed, but it was a decent start. My style has changed a bit over the last couple of years, and I find myself consistently gravitating toward large, bold florals in my work. 

As a child, I never dreamed of being an artist. I stopped taking art classes after fourth grade because I had to choose between music and art, and liked music better. I've long had a desire to find something that felt like I was meant to to do, and many times, painting feels like that. Painting rarely feels like work. And I hope, very much, that I'll be able to continue my art for many, many years to come. 

It's been a bit of a crazy ride, full of joy and disappointment, but I don't think I'd trade it for anything. Not many things at least. :) 

I hope to show you all of my latest paintings soon, since I've been pretty lax about posting them here (if you want more consistent updates, find me on Instagram: danastrotheide), but until I get my act together, here's one of my latest, and a personal favorite. Not quite finished in this pic, but almost there. 

Also, go check out my Facebook page (link on the right there) and like it for a chance to win a print of your choice. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Back at It

Ho-ba-dang. Yeah, yeah, yeah.... whatevs. If you're still around, I commend you for sticking with this completely half-assed blog. It's been nuts. Long story, quite short... thought we were going to build a house, price went up a stupid amount. Bought a house (in a stupid-crazy market) this summer, moved in, started back to school (teaching) that's been nuts, massive flooding in CO, we were in the middle of it (house, us, cats, all fine) and thus... blah, blah, blah, haven't posted, painted, etc.

So, at any rate, I have lots and lots of news, much of which I'll post about in more detail at a later date. Right now I'm just trying to get a post out between finishing watching Monday Night Football and going to be so I can be semi-coherent educating the future tomorrow.

And thus... I'll stick to just showing you some of my recent works. I might talk more about these later, might not, we'll have to see how it all plays out. Given the track record of this blog, I don't imagine that any of you are holding your breath. :)

This one was completed back in April (has it really be that long? Apparently...)

Pink Poppy- I really need to start coming up with better names. I found this black paper at my local art supply store, I believe while looking for something else and decided to give it a try. I actually really liked working with it. Though it was quite difficult to get the edges crisp, I love the contrast.

Next up, this Parrot Tulip. I'm not sure if this color of tulip actually exists in nature, but I really liked the colors in the picture. This isn't a complete painting; it's still in progress (currently hanging out in the basement of our old condo) but I hope to get back to it soon. I think I'm going to purchase some more black paper too. I really like the look. and also, yes, I know the stem is way too small. :)

Zinnia- this was my first time back with my teacher in a while. It's sort of funny to me how I have very little orange, red, and yellow in my daily life, but I really gravitate towards those colors in my paintings. I love these close ups of flowers. It's one of my favorite perspectives.

And finally, my most recent piece. Surprise... another close up of a flower. :) I rather like the contrast between the green and the red in the petals.

I hope to get back into painting regularly soon. I've got a great new loft/studio space at our new house and I think it'll be an inspirational space... or something. :)

At any rate... let me know if you've been up to anything awesome, or semi-awesome, or just life in general. I hope that alls been well with the rest of you in blog world. :)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

First Time...

Well then. It's been a bit since I've last posted. I'd give you all the excuses, but they're pretty much the same, just go check out any other post on this blog and you'll see why my posts aren't as often as they could/should be. Whatevs... apparently I am not as awesome as all the mommy bloggers who can raise 6 kids and blog 8 times a day about their perfect houses, organic home cooked meals, and hand made clothes. It's cool... I'll just be over here in the corner with my Taco Bell, my cats, and my once in a blue moon blogs. Fact is, I even started this post like three days ago and am just not getting to finishing it. :)

Anywho.... last Friday night (anyone else hear Katy Perry when they read that? Nope? Just me?) I participated in my very first art show. It was nuts. Fun, exciting, petrifying, exhausting, pretty much every emotion I could feel was felt that night. Over all, it was a great learning experience. I got quite a few nice compliments on my art, though I didn't hang around it too much to talk to people looking at it. It was cool to meet other artists and people in the art industry and very awesome to see so much great artwork all in one place. I even have proof that A) I was there and B) I was not hiding under a table :)

 So, there you go. The first is just me, second is the hubs and I in front of my pieces. Unfortunately, they weren't in the best place You can see they're on a half wall, behind which was the stairs, so people were constantly standing in front of my work, leaning against it, and setting drinks on that ledge. That sucked, but live and learn I guess. When you drop off work don't ask if you need to hang your own pieces (the answer was no) ask if you can hang your own pieces (answer to that was apparently yes). Regardless, it was quite the learning experience.

Other learning experiences this month? Well, I entered my first two art competitions: The Chelsea International Art Show and a competition to be exhibited at Cableland, the official residence of the Denver mayor. I did not get into the Chelsea show, which, while a bummer, I felt okay about. The pieces that were selected were radically different than anything that I've ever painted, so I can easily see why the judge would not choose my work.

 I still haven't heard about Cableland, which is infinitely more stressful. I hate waiting. I'd really like to just know, one way or the other, especially since it's been a month since the deadline. We shall see. I'm cautiously hopeful.

Those two entries, coupled with this show, and putting up a bunch of pieces for sale at the pilates studio I go to, have comprised all of my art life for the last month. It's definitely been stressful and anxiety inducing, and it's not my favorite part of being an artist, but it is a necessity. I'm hoping that I can get back to getting some paintings done over the next few weeks and be able to focus less on the business side and more on the creative side of my work.

So, there you go, all my firsts for the month. :) First contest entry. First contest rejection. First show. First show without any sales. First waiting forever to find out about an exhibition. It's been rough month of firsts. I'll leave you with the two pieces that I submitted to Cableland. I dig them... but I may be a little biased.

Rocky Mountain Columbine

Denver Sunset

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bouncing Up

Whew... thank you for your kind support after my sort of depressing post last week. Many of you reached out on Facebook and in real life to encourage me, and I really appreciate that. :) FYI- I have a link to my Facebook book page up now, over in the side bar there. So go "like" me if you want to stay caught up on my life even more.

So... as it is often said, the darkest time is always before the dawn. While I'm not sure that I'm actually at my dawn yet, I do have some exciting news. I'll be showing in my first art exhibit in April! It's an underground art show that a friend mentioned to me. So, April 26th I'll have 3 (maybe 4 if I can get another painting done) painting up for the Pancakes and Booze Art Show. :) It's really exciting. And really scary. Petrifying actually. But... I've got to just put on my big girl panties and get my butt out there. We shall see.

Anywho... here's the link to the Facebook event if you want more info. I'd love for you all to come if you're local. It looks like a lot of fun, and it involves pancakes so it really can't be bad. :) If you're not on Facebook and want to come here's their website with more info Pancakes and Booze Art Show.

In other news... I've been painting a bit. You've already seen them if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, but here they are again, just for fun. :)

11x14 pastel on paper
This one was a commissioned painting for my Uncle. (Yes, I do, in fact, do commissioned work.) His beloved dog, Nelly, passed away recently and he wanted something to commemorate her. He sent me a photograph of her running in her favorite field and asked me to paint that. I cannot even begin to tell you how nervous I was/am. I'm delivering it to him tomorrow and I really hope he loves it. I loved Nelly too; she was a really sweet dog and I hope I did her memory justice. We shall see.

Abstract Aspens
14x11 pastel on paper
Next up, Abstract Aspens. A bit of a departure from what I normally do, but I think it turned out all right. I like how the aspen leaves look a bit like birds, but I'm not sure I'm a huge fan of how the foliage on the ground looks. I may need to tweak that a bit... I don't know.

Umm.... horse?
14x11 pastel on paper
And finally... a total departure from anything I've done before. Not sure what to call it at all... Horse? Rainbow Horse? Something not as sucky as either of those two? Meh... I have no title. But anyway, I saw a painting similar to this in a magazine (though it was oils and much runnier...) and I thought it was really interesting so I decided to give it a shot. It was definitely a challenge. I had a hard time with the face not looking lumpy and weird, and the legs... though sort of nonexistent, it was still difficult to get a bit of a hint in the shaping. So, a very different piece for me. I think I'd like to try a buffalo in this same style, but I've got a couple of other things to finish first. :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Carry on...

So, I haven't blogged since I made my big announcement about all of my artwork being for sale and available as prints and what not. Now, part of this is because it's been a little busy around here. It was the holidays, and then Monday, and well... let's just say I was taking a lot of naps too. But, the real part of why I haven't been blogging, and also why I hadn't been painting either was a wounded ego.

Ugh. I like to think of myself as a strong confident woman, but honestly? I'm really not. I have terrible self esteem and putting myself out there is just petrifying. (See my previous post) But, I put on my big girl panties and did it. I got my artwork out there. I sent out a mass email, posted a big thing on Facebook and promoted it as much as I could. And you know what happened? Nothing. Well, I shouldn't be rude, that's not entirely true. Plenty of people sent me kind notes, encouraged me, and offered to help in many ways, but did I focus on that? No. I focused on the fact that I the only thing I sold from that whole push (and the only thing I've sold period) is one greeting card. (Thanks, Linda!)
Now, is my art all about making money? No. Definitely not. If I was into jobs that make money I obvsiously wouldn't have chosen teaching as my first career. But, I wanted to believe that my artwork was great and that people would want it and it would fly off the proverbial shelves. But it didn't. And that really, really stung.

So, I kind of hid from it. I didn't paint. I didn't promote. I didn't blog. I didn't do anything related to what, in my mind, felt like an epic failure. I just stopped. This little bump in the road stopped me in my tracks.

For those of you who know me in real life, this might seem surprising. I'm always pressing on, and always encouraging other people to do the same. I always tell people their failures don't matter. Pick yourself up and carry on, but it was something that I couldn't do myself. It took me a while to realize that the reason I wasn't painting wasn't that I was so busy, it was that my ego was bruised and I wasn't sure I could still paint. I didn't know if my work was "good enough". And honestly, I was also wrestling with whether that mattered to me or not. I don't sell my knitting, but I still knit. If I don't sell my paintings, can I still paint?

I'm still not sure. I love to paint. It's fun; it feels easy and I love taking lessons. I would love to keep painting as a hobby for sure. But there is still this nagging feeling that I want to sell my work. Get it out there to people. Have others enjoy the things that I have created. I don't know if that will ever happen, and if I can be okay with it if I never do sell a painting. We shall see. It's a tough road for sure. Not selling anything feels like a rejection of me as a person. It feels like all those people who told me my stuff was pretty were just lieing and paying me lip service. I know in my head that neither of those things are true... but in my heart. Well, that's a different matter.

So, we'll see. I've painted a couple of things in the last few weeks, and I have another class tonight. I'll try to share those pictures with you soon (though if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you've already seen them). And I'll continue to wrestle with my feelings of inadequacy and disappointment. It's always a battle isn't it?