Starting a Painting Challenge!

 It's my birthday week and for me, that's really the start of my new year.  I wanted to get back to oil painting this year, and wanted to do a monthlong challenge to get me going.  But I wasn't ready to do so on January 1st when most of the challenges start.  So I decided to do my own, starting now!  

I was hugely inspired by @michellewoodersonart and her limited palette on kraft paper challenge.  She was getting amazing results with her unusual palette of Transparent Yellow Oxide, Rose Madder, and Cerulean Blue, so I wanted to try using something similar.   Michelle is uses Michael Harding Oil Paints, but I work only in Winsor & Newton Artisan Water Mixable Paints, so I had to change the colors to suit that.  I ended up with Raw Sienna, Permanent Rose, Cerulean Blue, and Titanium White.  I'm also trying to limit my supplies to just 2 or 3 brushes, a palette knife, a mechanical pencil, a Micron Pen, a jar of water, and a stack of kraft-paper card stock cut to 5 ½" x 8 ½".  Plus either baby wipes and/or paper towel.   My plan is to paint daily January 18 through February 18 for just 30 minutes a day!  

Here is my pre-challenge trial of the palette.  You can see that I also tried using a cadmium yellow pale, but it was brighter than I wanted, so I ended up using the Raw Sienna, which though technically a "red", actually reads as a dark transparent yellow, very similar to the yellow oxide that Michelle used.  

Day 1!  I painted my special bunny sitting on the windowsill!  After our house fire in 1999, I reached out to "The Herb Farm" in Washington State (no longer in business) as I had previously purchased one of their Sleep Bunnies with an herb pouch to facilitate sleep.  They also had experienced a fire and lost their main building.  I wanted bunnies for me and my kids to help us overcome the trauma of our fire.  They had already stopped making these, but graciously were able to find 4 of them to send to us.  They really helped us, and have been among our favorites ever since.  Mine now lives in my office on the shelf near my desk.   So happy with how this little portrait sketch turned out!  

Day 2 - I painted the pot of faux snowdrops that had been my Mom's.  I've always loved spring flowers and tried to plant snowdrops so many times.  I've only ever gotten one of them to grow and bloom.  I keep this pot in my office where it brings me joy!  I find I really struggle painting flowers, which is so frustrating as they are what I'd love to paint more than anything!  I get bogged down in all the detail and how to translate it.  It makes me miss obvious things, like getting the shape of the pot correct.  Oh well!  I had fun and am reasonable happy with the result, though it did take me nearly an hour!  

Little Finn (not so little anymore, but I still call him "Little") loves keeping me company in the office, though usually he is on the desk in my arms while I'm at the computer.  But thankfully he was content in the nest while I painted! 

Other happenings this week included painting gold edges on a big box of inches that I'm going to use to make cards with!  

I also finally got all the Christmas decor packed up and ready to go up to my middle son's shed once the weather clears.  I had placed all the little trees I had around the house on top of the china cabinet to get them out of the way until I could figure out how to package them up.  I really loved this little forest and was a bit sad to pack them away in a big box.  I suspect this little forest will make an appearance in my Christmas decor next season! 

I finished the mug mat!  Watch for a video coming this weekend on how I made it!  

So glad to have this done and so pleased with how it turned out!  It goes perfectly in my sewing corner! 

If you are interested in owning any of my paintings, follow me on instagram.  I'll be posting a number of my small works for sale in a week or so!  


Hello Again! Stitching Resumes!

 Happy New Year!  I'm finally getting back to stitching after a long hiatus.  Though I've done a tiny bit here and there, it's really been a couple years since I've stitched regularly.  I'm currently working on a new mug mat for my sewing table. 

Speaking of sewing tables, I recently got a new one!  It's very similar to one I had, but got rid of in a fit of downsizing. I'd been stitching on a smaller desk, but found it frustrating for numerous reasons.  And not having my favorite stitching table for the past 5 years, has impacted my stitching, and truthfully, kept me from it.  How delighted I was to find a near match (except that this is a slightly sturdier model with a wooden top instead of painted) at a regional antique mall for a great price! And I had received a generous gift earlier that same day that allowed me to bring it home!  

This is the table I had gotten rid of.  Here, covered in SO much stuff from a stitching project back in 2014.  Embarrassing!  Truly, it received so much use and nearly all my crazy quilt projects were stitched at this table.  I knew I shouldn't get rid of it when I did, but I was determined to have less stuff and having two tables seemed too much, especially since everything I had was going into storage at the time. But I've regretted it every day since.  Now, I don't have to regret any longer!  

After 6 ½ years, I completed my "O Holy Night" piece!  I filmed the finishing of it, which you can find on my YouTube Channel!  I'd love if you'd take a look, subscribe to my channel, and leave a comment there! I'm hoping to do a lot more crazy quilting and stitching on the channel this year.  

I also published a video on the making of my crazy quilted stocking!  Link here: CQ Stocking.  I thought I was done making stockings, but another grandson was born this fall, so there's another one to make!  
I started off the new year with a presentation of my crazy quilting at Sew Downtown in Greeley, Colorado!  I had demo'd and taught a class there a long time ago... maybe 7 or 8 years ago!  So delightful to be asked back!  There is going to be a class series starting in mid-March! 
I've been enjoying some gorgeous amaryllis blooms in my kitchen!  I'm loving this white one! Having blooming flowers in the midst of winter brings me so much joy!  

See you soon!