And it was right there the whole time

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These two images are the same image from yesterday’s post (interference art) they were just tweaked in different ways using no more than two (maybe three) apps. On the second one I did some selective hand coloring (I’m in a pink phase).

One thing I like to do is photograph paintings I’ve made (the old fashioned way and the new fashioned way) and use them as jumping off points. I open them up in my favorite apps and just run them through the many options, filters, etc until I find a pleasing composition.

Finding a pleasing composition doesn’t happen every time but when I discover something that ‘might’ work, I save it to use as the beginning of another painting.

It helps having a large stash of possibilities to pull from – just like the stash we keep in our real studios.

The options and combinations really are endless!

And now for something completely different…

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I completed this painting mere minutes before beginning the one in yesterday’s post…(yep, the pink one) – wonder what Carl Jung would have to say about that?!

It started with a sticker

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I get inspiration from all sorts of places; beautiful scenery, songs on the radio, inspiring art, magazines, catalogs, etc, etc…and today it was a sticker.

One of my stickers ended up on this painting.

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But when I moved the painting aside to let it dry – I noticed the blotter sheet had some interesting marks and paint strokes on it.

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Unfortunately the interesting compositions were in the middle of some not-so-great compositions. I wanted to explore it further but was distracted by all the surrounding marks. But I had an idea…

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I made a frame with an opening the size of a 4×4 cradled panel.
It became a viewfinder and made it much easier to find the compositions I wanted amid all the distractions.

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Mounting these small “paintings” onto cradled panels will elevate them to star status instantly!

Just remember to use light pencil marks when framing your compositions and add about an eighth of an inch extra around the perimeter of your painting when cutting them out – to allow for trimming and positioning ease when mounting them onto the panels. Of course you’re not limited to 4×4 size – you may have a much larger sheet that you’re finding interesting arrangements on – this is just a starting suggestion.

The point is to keep our eyes open for the unexpected – sometimes it’s right there in front of us!

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Finger Painting (on the iPad)

I am currently obsessed over a new app I’ve recently acquired, “iColorama”, and have been trying to figure it out now for quite some time. As you may remember me saying a while back, I’m heavily right-brained and these sorts of things never come that easy for me. And of course there is no user’s manual either (not that I’d read it anyway).

I learned about this app while reading an article (or two) about the technique that artist Sarah Jarrett uses to create her unique and imaginative iPhone portraits.

There is so much to this app -it’s amazing what a couple of dollars will buy these days…and I am discovering more and more as I play with it.

Today I decided to see if I could replicate painting with acrylics – I wanted to try and get that layered, glazed look and I like the results so far.

After finishing up in iColorama, I opened the image in Glaze and then in DistressedFX to see what other effects I could come up with.

I can’t emphasize enough how freeing it is to have so many art tools at your disposal whenever you have a free moment to ‘play’.

There is no longer any excuse for not taking a minute or two out of our busy days to make art.

And what a difference that can make.20140707-221247-79967491.jpg

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No Regrets

imageWhy We Have Regret
By Leo Babauta
We’ve all heard the phrase, “No regrets!” usually uttered when about to do something a little unwise perhaps.
And yet, as alluring as the “Living Without Regrets” philosophy sounds, it’s not always so easy.
We regret missed opportunities.
We regret things that made us feel dumb.
We regret not telling someone we loved them more before they died.
We regret not spending our time more wisely, accomplishing more.
We regret procrastinating, not forming better habits, eating too many sweets, not writing the novel we always wanted to write, not reading all the books we planned to read, not mastering Russian or chess or the ninja arts.
We regret getting into bad relationships, or making mistakes in a past relationship.
Yes, we regret things, and sometimes it can be consuming.
Why We Have Regret
Simply put, we regret choices we make, because we worry that we should have made other choices.
We think we should have done something better, but didn’t. We should have chosen a better mate, but didn’t. We should have taken that more exciting but risky job, but didn’t. We should have been more disciplined, but weren’t.
We regret these choices, which are in the past and can’t be changed, because we compare them to an ideal path that we think we should have taken. We have an idea in our heads of what could have been, if only a different choice had been made.
The problem is that we cannot change those choices. So we keep comparing the unchangeable choice we actually made, to this ideal. This fantasy can’t be changed, and it will never be as good as the ideal. The unchangeable choice we made will always be worse. It spins around and around in our heads.
Why can’t we let it go? What’s so important that we need to keep thinking about it?
Why We Keep Thinking About Regret
I’ve noticed that I have a hard time not thinking about a bad choice because of how it conflicts with my self-identity.
We all have this idea of who we are: we’re good people. Perhaps we’re smart, or competent, or good-hearted. We make the best choices we can, of course, because we’re good people. Even if you have self-doubt and a bad self-image, you probably think you’re basically a good person.
And so when someone else attacks that identity — insults your competence, calls you a liar, says that you’re a cheater — it hurts! We get angry and defensive. We can’t stop thinking about this offense.
And when we believe we made a mistake, this also is an attack on that identity. We made a bad choice … why couldn’t we have been a better person and made a better choice? This bad choice conflicts with our idea that we’re a good person.
So the problem spins around and around, without resolution. There’s no way to solve this problem, because the bad choice can’t be changed and we can’t resolve the conflict with our self-identity.
How to Let Go of Regret
In examining why we have regret, and why it’s so hard to let go, we can see a couple of root causes that we can address:
1. We compare past choices to an ideal.
2. We have an ideal identity that conflicts with the idea of the bad choice.
These both revolve around ideals, which are not reality but our fantasies of how we’d like reality to go. They’re made up, and not helpful. In this case, these ideals are causing us anguish.
So the practice is to let go of the ideals, and embrace reality.
Here’s the reality of those two root causes:

1. The choice we made in the past is done, and we can’t change it. And in fact there’s some good in the choice, if we choose to see it. Being able to make the choice at all is an amazing thing, as is being alive, and learning from our experiences, and being in the presence of other really great people, etc. And we can be satisfied with our choices and see them as “good enough” instead of always hoping for the perfect choices. Some choices will be great, some won’t be perfect, and we can embrace the entire range of choices we make.
2. We are not actually always good, and in fact our identity can encompass a whole range: we are sometimes good, sometimes not, and sometimes somewhere in between. We make mistakes, we do good things, we care, we are selfish, we are honest, and we sometimes aren’t honest. We are all of it, and so making a bad choice isn’t in conflict with that more flexible (and realistic) self-identity. It’s a part of it.
That’s all easier said than done, but when we find ourselves obsessing over past choices, we can 1) recognize that we’re falling into this pattern, 2) realize that there’s some ideal we’re comparing our choices and ourselves to, and 3) let go of these perfect ideals and embrace a wider range of reality.
This is a constant practice, but it helps us not look for perfection, not constantly review past choices, but instead find satisfaction in what we’ve done and focus in what we’re doing now.
Regrets are a part of life, whether we want them or not, whether we’re aware we’re having them or not. But by looking into the cause of regrets, and embracing the wide range of reality, we can learn to be satisfied with our choices, happier with the past and happier in the present moment.
And that is a choice you won’t regret.

Another great article to make you think…and a newly finished acrylic painting.

Klimt-ish

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Here’s another example of building on what you have…in this case, I snapped a photo of one of my dried paint palettes and layered a couple more images from my camera roll.

I’m really enjoying the freedom that limiting myself to the iPhone has given me.

Sometimes it’s the most unlikely pairings that end up with the most surprising outcomes!

What Are You Waiting For

This is my new mantra.

I thought I was being rather unique too – that is, until I ran across it (like a hundred times) on Pinterest.  Apparently its EVERYONE’s new mantra.

But that’s ok.

Its definitely a good mantra to have and I’m willing to share it if you are.

And on that note…I’m not waiting around in the studio.  I’m spending a little bit of time here every single day.  It doesn’t have to be a lot of time – just some time.

Tonight I decided to flip through the book, Journeys to Abstraction by Sue St. John, for a little inspiration.  I opened to the page talking about color and the suggestions to limit my palette were brought to my attention.  Here’s what she says:

The number of colors from which to choose is staggering.  Therefore, it would be wise for you to select a limited palette of colors with which to work.  When you are choosing your colors, think of the overall theme of your painting. What are you trying to express?  Choose colors that are reflective of this.

Limiting your palette will also force you to use the colors you have chosen to their maximum effect.  You can choose different shades to play with, all while staying consistent with the color scheme of your piece.

Abstract art is about taking the road less traveled.  It is about taking risks and going places in your mind where you have never been.  This extends to your color choices as well.  Don’t be afraid to experiment with different colors.  While harmonious colors are easier to look at, it may be the case that your work is about discomfort.  Chaotic color choices have their place in the world of abstract art as well.

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I’m such a minimalist…its really hard for me to continue forward with a painting – but WHAT AM I WAITING FOR?!?

The colors I used tonight were: Liquitex Heavy Body ‘Light Portrait Pink’, Golden ‘Titanium White’, Americana Chalk Board paint in black, Golden’s ‘Titan Buff’, and Golden’s ‘Cerulean Blue Deep’ (I should have known) along with a black dimensional writer and collaged paper – on 12×12 gallery wrapped canvas.