Tag Archives: mixed media

Imitation, Inspiration, and Some Good News

Imitation is the biggest compliment, right? I mean, that’s what my third grade teacher told me when little Johnny wouldn’t stop copying my every move. It’s no secret that I fall in love with the work of other artists, try to learn new skills, and imitate when I am inspired. I mean, I learned how to draw whimsical faces with Jane Davenport, I dove into alcohol inks with Karen Walker, and I even attempted some mixed media people with no arms and lots of fancy scrapbook paper after visiting Kelly Rae Robert’s site.

Pablo Picasso said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” He’s right too. I copy all kinds of things because it’s part of the big experiment and sometimes speeds of the learning curve. I mean, copying is a tool and often in art schools students are asked to recreate a painting. This helps you learn techniques, match colors, and figure out what makes an excellent composition. Of course, when you copy someone you can’t claim it as your own work. It’s about learning and practice.

Stealing from another artist is another story. I don’t think Picasso was saying paint something exactly like the other person did and sign your name on it. I think he meant steal the color combinations, the technique, the materials, or the composition and incorporate it into your own work. Digest all of the information and spit it back out in your own style, using your own subjects and creative ideas.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been obsessed with Lisa Graham Art. She paints these people into scenes that tell a story and I just love them.

Her painting “Grandmother’s Garden” has been calling to me. I’ve been back to look at it at least a dozen times now. I know, I am probably a little crazy, but some art just speaks to you and gets under your skin. You can’t get enough of it. Lisa Graham’s work has all of the elements I have been working on for the past year: Mixed media, people, story telling, rich, layered backgrounds. Anyway, I really loved this particular piece because it was based on an old photograph and I just happen to have a bunch of old photographs because I had been collecting them for a class I took with Heather Murray.

I dove in and incorporated a person based on an old photograph, some mixed media techniques (the background has at least three layers), and words. I am still working on the story telling part. I think that might come more easily when I get better at putting people into spaces. I am still working on just getting my people to look right. I want them to have some character and proportional features. It sounds much easier than it is! My technical skills still need some work. I also don’t want my people to look like the people all of these other artists have created. Each one of the artist’s I have referenced in this post have very distinct people. I mean, you know who painted them! Their style shines through. I am still working on my style. At least I think I am. I have a much more difficult time recognizing what makes a painting scream “this was painted by Lillian Connelly” but I can easily recognize the style signature of the artists I admire. Here is what I came up with:

Imitation, Inspiration, and Other Good News
Develop Your Presence, Mixed media on Wood Panel.

On to the good news! A few of my watercolor and alcohol ink paintings have been turned into needle point kits and are officially available on the Chelsea Needlepoint website. I am so excited!

But wait…there is even more good news! Jim and I just found out we are pregnant! I really thought Tiny-Small was going to be an only child, but I guess she isn’t. Over the past few weeks Tiny-Small has been asking, “When am I going to meet my sisters?” I’ve been telling her she doesn’t have any sisters, but now I am wondering if she knew something before we did! Of course, the fact that she has been saying “sisters” instead of “sister” has me a little worried, but I’ll keep you posted! Plus, she could still end up with a brother, won’t she be surprised if that happens?

Have an excellent Wednesday!

P.S. Remember imitation is an excellent way to practice, but you should always give credit where credit is due and never try to pass it off as your own work. That could get you into a boatload of trouble.

P.P.S We are going to have Tiny-Small Squared. I’m already hoping they invent some kind of cloning machine so I can clone myself. Hurry up technology!


Mixed Media Jack Russell Day 19 Of 30 Paintings In 30 Days

I know. This Jack Russell is taking over my life. Her head is just the perfect size to glue onto all of the bodies I seem to be collecting. Oh, that sounds so sinister! I think I need to name this dog. I think she will be appearing at least a few more times in my mixed media adventures. I can say, with certainty, that she will be appearing at least three more times because I have three tiny-head photos of her left. I feel a little giddy thinking about the possibilities….

Mixed Media Jack Russell Day 19 of 30 Paintings In 30 Days
Mixed Media Jack Russell 11×15 on watercolor paper $75.00

These little women came from some wrapping paper my Mother-in-law wrapped one of my Christmas presents in. I am pretty sure she has had this paper for a while. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it and quietly slipped it into my paper stash when nobody was looking. Actually, that’s not true, I distinctly remember yelling, “I want to save that! I want to save that!” at my family very loudly on Christmas morning. Then I put it on my dishwasher where nobody shorter than four feet could reach it.

Anyway, I have no idea what is going on here. Some kind of holiday theatrical performance? I decided to run a caption contest on my Facebook page. If you can think of a witty, funny, thoughtful, whatever (!) caption for this painting go visit It’s A Dome Life on Facebook, like the contest post, and type your caption in the comment section. You can even like my Facebook Fan page for fun since you’ll be there anyway! The caption with the most likes will win a $5.00 Amazon gift card. Caption contest closes at 5pm Mountain Time Tuesday, January 21, 2014. I’ll just need an email address to send the gift card to you electronically which I will direct message you for – like a secret society member. Meanwhile, what should I name this Jack Russell? Gracie? Joan? Penelope? If you think of a good name for her leave me a comment here on the blog and maybe you will be the one to name her!

Have you ever had an image take over your life? What is your equivalent to my mixed media Jack Russell obsession at the moment?

Please visit the other painters sweating over paints and brushes hoping to finish this challenge without missing a day on Leslie Saeta’s blog. If you are an artist, you might like to check out her Artist’s Helping Artist’s podcast (it’s available on iTunes too).


How To Never Clean Your House Again In 5 Easy Steps

What? Never clean your house again? What madness is this, right? Well, between the two of us Jim and I have developed a fool-proof plan to keep you untidy, but still respectable.

Step 1: Become an artist. Or, just announce that you are one. People don’t have to know you are secretly an accountant. It’s a well-known fact that artists are unconventional and messy. It’s totally acceptable to have piles of chaos when you are an artist. It also means you can dress funny too (win-win!). This leads us to step 2.

Step 2: Make a sign or piece of art (or just buy one) that says you are messy and hang it by the front door. It’s like saying, “Here I am world. Love me as I am or don’t take one more step.” What can people really say? You warned them. If they seem shocked just talk a lot about being an artist until their eyes glaze over. That works every time.

never clean your house again, just hang up this sign.
Please Excuse the mess…it works every time!

Step 3: If you have an area rug that has become impossible to clean or you just don’t feel like vacuuming ever again, just flip it over. When people ask why your rug is upside down, just look at them like they are crazy and exclaim, “Burlap is all the rage right now. This is a faux-burlap look, but it gets the job done.”

Burlap carpet for the win! Never clean your house again.
Burlap carpet for the win!

Step 4: Don’t ever, ever, ever have kids. Or dogs. Don’t have kids or dogs. A stray cat or two is fine, maybe some fish, but no kids and no dogs. If you do have kids or dogs make more signs (see step 2) and blame the mess on the kids and the dogs. Just blame all of your problems on your kids and your dogs. People will just nod in agreement because nobody can make a mess like a kid or a dog…nobody. Plus, dogs and kids are cute, so they can get away with just about anything.

Step 5: If all else fails, you can always join the witness protection plan. OK, maybe not, but you could hire a cleaning lady…or move. So, never lose hope. You can be messy and still have friends. You just have to find friends who are even messier than you are. That way you look like you have a spotless house whenever they come over.


What cleaning tips and tricks do you have?