September 30, 2015

30 Days 30 Paintings – End of Challenge Part 1

September ends today. A month that went by incredibly fast for me, maybe because of this challenge. Working my day job and then painting nearly every night was truly like running a marathon. My challenge unfortunately ended with a whimper when my husband’s knee failed on Saturday. The remaining nine paintings I had planned were put on hold to deal with real life.

But that’s okay, because shit happens and we deal. Right? Of course right!

So it’s time to recap the month and go through what’s changed, what I learned and where I’m going from here.

I started out with a lot of energy, optimism and more paintings planned than I had time for. You can read about the beginning here:

I had a few goals for this past month. One was to kick my painting skills up to the next level. The only way to do that is to paint and paint a lot. This is what happens in art school but tends to fade out over time in the real world. Sure, this 30 Day challenge was effectively made up, but I used the idea to keep my focus and the fact that 780 other artists were involved was pretty awesome.

This year has been a phenomenal year for my painting evolution. I took a few fun painting nights early in the year that helped me find the fun in my work. Loosen up and relax. That immediately had a positive impact on my portraits. Suddenly they went from a struggle to success, and I was finally living my dream of painting portraits accurately and well.

Another goal was to focus on my fandoms. I paint in a lot of styles and categories. Landscapes. Abstracts. Encaustic mixed media. My first, true love has always been fandoms and portraits. Ever since I could pick up a pencil, I was drawing and painting Star Trek and more. What better way to honour the shows and movies that inspire me, than to paint them?

When I started out the month, I was painting on black canvas and taking at least two sessions to get every painting done. I was in the process of adjusting my colour palette and thinking about the direction I wanted to go. I started with my current favourite fandom, Supernatural. I hadn’t truly painted Sam before and this was the result. It’s a good painting that hints at the direction my later work will take.




Acrylic on stretched canvas

Prints and the original will be in my shop next week.

Day 1





Day two was more difficult. I couldn’t get the face of Dean right and the composition was off. It was a painting I struggled with and one I plan on revisiting. Things I am going to do differently include using a 24″x12″ canvas (more rectangular) to change the composition and I’m going to start on a white background rather than black. I’m not disappointed by this work because there is so much to learn from it. I’m looking forward to getting this one right.


sm_20150902_202245-1“I Wish I Couldn’t Feel a Damn Thing”


Acrylic on stretched canvas

Not for sale.

Day 2





Day 3 was freaking awesome. I hadn’t painted in this fandom and had a blast getting my source material together. The warm colours, the unexpected camera angle. The amazing acting. All contributed to this piece. I discovered that I love painting faces with character in them. Age isn’t the end but only makes a person more interesting. Bilbo is no exception.


“Precious? It’s Been Called That Before But Not By You”


Acrylic on stretched canvas

Prints and the original will be in my shop next week.

Day 3


One of the most important episodes, in my mind, of Doctor Who was the one where the Doctor and Amy go back to visit Van Gogh. The writers nailed what it’s like to be an artist and completely got how insidious and terrible depression and mental illness are. How the very art that is created tortured the creator.

As an artist, validation matters. Not that anyone should hang their happiness on someone else’s opinion, but validation matters. When someone buys my work, I am validated. My art moved them to spend money. When someone shares my work, I am validated. These positive hits help when the work isn’t flowing. When it would be easier to lay down the brushes and just stop. STOP.

sm_20150905_174746Of course, Van Gogh had little to no validation and yet he painted. But that lack made everything more difficult. I painted the moment he received incredible validation. He was the most influential painter of all time. And the words made him cry.

In terms of the challenge, this painting is a strong one but doesn’t show the changes I was working towards. I love how it turned out. I love working with and painting depth-of-field focus. I love the composition.

“A Kick in the Feels”


Acrylic on stretched canvas

Prints and original available in my shop next week.

Day 5


I do paint animals and have done so fairly recently. I’ve painted a couple of weiner dogs on commision and found the process very satisfying. Animals have such expressive faces and they are also very forgiving. The downside? All that fucking hair! While I never paint each hair individually, I still have to imply it, so the work I save in capturing the likeness because animals are easy, I lose when painting the hair.

You can see some transition changes in this painting. My brush strokes are looser and more textured.  Lines are softer.sm_20150906_155655

“Rocket and Groot”


Acrylic on canvas

Prints and the original in the shop next week.

Day 6





Returning to The Fellowship of the Ring and another favourite moment was pure joy. The books and movies were awesome but my favourite moments come before the shit hits the fan. When Frodo is untouched by the ring’s evil. When Gandalf suspects but wants to be sure.

When Frodo picks up the ring, his quest begins. This moment, for me, starts the tragedy that is the series.

These paintings, both Bilbo’s and Gandalf’s, gave me such an opportunity to play with light. The fireplace is lit. It’s dark outside. The room is filled with golden light which plays off everything. Outside the door, the moon is bright, giving Frodo a shadow that is cold. Gorgeous foreshadowing done visually.


“Disturber Of The Peace”


Acrylic on stretched canvas

Original and prints in my shop next week.

Day 8

Growing up in the 1970s was pretty awesome. We had things like dangerous parks, total freedom (only revoked when someone was bleeding or the streetlights came on) and shows like Wonder Woman. Of course, the Wonder Woman television show is a bit cringe-worthy now…and yet, not so much. Considering that today, in 2015, it has been a fight to get any kind of traction for a female superhero, the fact that the 70s had several is shameful.

I painted this one for a friend who always reminds me to paint both genders equally (what? I like men!) and actually was a key person is getting my art out in the wild. I wouldn’t be painting like this at all except for her and my fantastic tribe of supporters.

A lot of interesting things happened in this painting. My brush strokes changed completely. Bolder, more textured. And the way I treated the lights and darks on her skin became bolder. Less cautious in a way. When I take final photos of this piece (and all the others), you’ll get a better sense of colour.


“Wonder Woman”


Acrylic on stretched canvas

Prints in my shop next week.

Day 9




What can I say about this piece other than that Twelve is a fantastic Doctor. He really is. The passion the actor has for a role that has shaped my thoughts and life, is gratifying. Refreshing. And his face! Well, expressive is a word for it.

In terms of style, this piece left the reservation completely. A different palette. Different brush strokes. An unfinished feel to it (though it’s done, it really is). I love the energy in this painting. This is most definitely part of the transition paintings. I was starting to feel something changing in how I approached my canvas and it was a heady feeling.




Acrylic on stretched canvas

Prints and the original in my shop next week.

Day 14





The recap continues in part 2 tomorrow.

tl;dr I painted a lot and it was fun.  The first 14 days showed some transition to my new style. Lots of new prints in my shop next week. Yay!