My Saving Grace

Once again life moves more quickly than I can possibly anticipate. This last month our lives have been filled with even more love in the most beautiful of ways. Miss Amelia Ruth was born on April 13th at 10:35am. She has stolen all of our heart and our bed…and our sleep! Lol! But, we wouldn’t have it any other way! She is a wonderfully calm baby. Her beautiful face and all her charm already has us wrapped around her little finger. A little southern belle in the making!

As a parent you always wonder how you could possibly love anymore than you already do. Having another child come into your life instantly grows your heart. You create a space nothing and no one else will ever be able to fill, dedicated specially to this tiny little human that you created.

Sidenote: she’s a month old and I’m still holding her up like Rafiki in Lion King saying “Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba Sithi uhm ingonyama”! Amazed I made something soooo beautiful three times over!!! #brushmyshouldersoff

Now on an art note: Art, ArT, and more ART!

I have completed more work since January than I have the two previous years combined! I have some exciting commissions lined up as well. I’ve had so many requests for prints of the bourbon series art that I’ve been printing and shipping them all over! I’m definitely spreading the whisky love! Never underestimate the power of alcohol to bring people together, especially during quarantine! 😉

Since we are on the subject of quarantine…..my two older children have adapted to this life change in very different ways. Asher has become very emotional in the later days of distance learning. Kindergarten is such an important year socially for children and the disruption has been hard on him. He is a such a smart kid. He learns very quickly and loves school….but he is not so keen on online class. He misses his classmates and teacher so much. Some days he just starts crying for no reason. I hold him and tell him he’s doing a great job. He still does his best to wake up every morning with a smile on his face, regardless of how redundant our days have become. He’s begun planning for the next day every night. Right before bedtime he lines out what we wants to accomplish. He started doing this on his own and it’s keeping him excited and positive when he wakes up each morning. He tells me most days “I can’t wait until this Corona Virus is over and I can hang out with my friends.” I feel you son….I feel you.

He just had his 6th birthday and my husband and I completely spoiled him. We got him everything on his list and met every want he had…plus some! We don’t normally do this…actually we’ve never done it. We try really hard to not over spoil them to ensure they don’t act entitled.

We are raising them to be respectful in all aspects of life…but, sometimes they just need to feel over the moon, especially during this time. We don’t know how this pandemic will ultimately impact our lives, changing the way we see the world and ourselves. Every little joy is emphasized and family is as important as ever.

As for Abby Rain, she is taking it a bit better. Her caring nature and instincts to make others comfortable has blossomed. Having a new sister has given Abby the opportunity to shine. I am so very proud of her dedication and hardwork. She is such a kind beautiful person. I am finding myself lean on her everyday for all the little things I need help with, which in the end adds up to the biggest thing- being a family and having each others back. Josh and I could not be more proud of the both of them and how they are adapting and handling this chaos.

Looking ahead and trying to anticipate what the future holds becomes more and more uncertain but, what I do know is being quarantined has brought our little family closer together. We have learned how to make moments special and fun in creative ways that we may not have ever thought of before. Taking our minds off all the negative at least for a small while.

Of course, there are days that I am extremely short and irritable, days I can’t handle being home every single second, and days I break down like Ash and cry just because. But, ultimately I am so grateful we are healthy. I’m grateful my small business, as well as my husband’s, has not halted to a stand still like so many others around the world. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity our children have in distance learning. We are seeing the truly wonderful way we can connect through the internet. If we didn’t have technology this quarantine would be a entire different experience. It has kept me somewhat sane the last couple months.

As we adapt to our new norm I find that my creativity has been my saving grace. It keeps me mind grounded and reminds me that I can always turn a negative to a positive. It’s all in how you look at things.

Letting the Good Outweigh the Bad

Hello again y’all! I felt it was time to get back into my blog posts. Sorry, for the absence of art goal updates and life things. I’ve just felt unable to write due to not even knowing how to organize my thoughts this last little bit. February not only concluded with the beginning of the COVID-19 virus spreading in the US and shut down of the world’s economy but, the passing of my Grandmother. Cancer and eventual liver failure finally gave way and took her. She was such an integral part of my childhood and someone that shaped who I am as a person. I am so grateful she was always there for me and miss her dearly.

March has passed and we are now in April. Despite everything right now it is an extremely joyous time of year for my family. Amelia is due any day now! My creativity and art production is truly at an all time high as well.

But, as it is for so many across the globe my mind has been completely consumed by the world wide virus pandemic COVID-19. With the shutting down of the kid’s school we’ve been discovering the world of online learning. We are adjusting to a new normal that has been forced upon us so suddenly. The kids are resilient and seem to be handing everything about this better than I am.

Not only has the spread of this virus changed our lives but, I am terrified of what the hospital visit with Amelia will be like and result in. I already know family and friends will not be able to join us for this wonderful time in our lives, but the mere thought of doing it alone, without my husband, is panic inducing. Although I am scared I have to remind myself to have faith in the medical team and respect that they will do the very best job they can to keep Ameila and myself safe.

So, now that I’ve acknowledged all the stress inducing issues surrounding life I’ll get to talkin’ about the goodness that is happening! And there has been so much!!!!

My and Amelia’s health is perfect! Which gives me peace of mind amid the scare of the virus. Although I am extremely ready to give birth I have had little to no unusual issues with this pregnancy! Josh and the kids are crazy excited to see her! I can’t wait to see how she changes our lives and what kind of little person she will become!

On another good note my art reception in Downtown Bentonville turned out awesome! Met some new people and got to talk shop with other fellow artists! Being part of the local community is so important to me and it made my heart happy!

Creatively I have been overwhelmed with the value and production of what I’ve been doing lately. The bourbon series has taken off so well that my time has been filled with creating art and sending it all over the country for others to enjoy! So much so that I haven’t had time to complete the 10 in the series for myself or continue on into another project! I know I haven’t stayed true to the original art goals I set but, I am not disappointed with my progress or what I’ve been accomplishing.

Below are some of the works I’ve completed! Not only including the bourbon art but, a few other pieces I’ve worked on. I’ve been trying really hard to get all of my commission work done before Amelia is born.

Now y’all are all caught up for the most part I’m going to do my very best to write updates more often and not cram so much into one post! I will end with a huge outpouring of love and support for everyone being affected by the virus, which at this point is the whole world. It is truly amazing to see communities support one another.

The generosity and love we all need to get through this is essential. My own family has seen it first hand. With our food truck being our livelihood, community is everything. So, thank you Northwest Arkansas for the love you’ve given us, as well as the donations we’ve received in our free meal program! We are able to provide food for anyone in need. My heart feels heavy but, very much hopeful! I love you world!

If anyone is interested in donating to help feed families contact @spuddoctors on Facebook and either make a donation through Venmo, over the phone, or by simply stopping by the food truck.

903 SW A st in Bentonville, Ar.479-257-0681

https://www.facebook.com/spuddoctors/

Jack, Blanton’s, & Old Fitzgerald

It has been a very productive week! I’m a bit late on my post this week because…well life. Lol! But, I have completed the Jack Daniel’s and Blanton’s drawings! As I was finishing them I thought adding some gold would be awesome! I tested it before completely going for it and loved the way it looked! So, I am adding it to all of the drawing of the series. The Blanton’s has already been sold and now a second one must be made for the series!


I have started the third drawing as well. Old Fitzgerald Whiskey is the bottle for this coming week. I am currently working on the second version of this drawing right now. The first one was too small for my liking so, I scraped it and drew it larger. It is coming along nicely! I should finish it up before the end of the week and begin a second Blanton’s to keep in the series this weekend.


I am planning to display the series after finishing them as a collection and making prints to sell for anyone interested. Staying busy busy to finish these drawings and begin the next! Going into February on track for completing the series as scheduled!

“Fly Me To The Moon”

Not everything went according to plan last week but, that’s usually how life goes! I was so busy with helping Josh on the food truck (they had a massive week of events and moving around), working on organizing an art opening, along with weekend plans, and being mom I had to squeeze in the first whiskey bottle drawing whenever I could. Which, seems to be at night when my mind can quiet down and I can focus.

First drawing up is Jack Daniels. This particular bottle is the Sinatra Select Edition and was made to honor Old Blue Eyes. Jack Daniels was a favorite whiskey of his and he was buried with a bottle next to him. This one is displayed in its box along with a few other Jack Daniels bottles surrounding it. It is sitting on a barrel bought from the distillery in Lynchburg Tennessee. In front of the bottle is an exclusive Tennessee Squire wooden display accompanied with a shot glass…basically a Jack Daniels shrine!! This drawing has been a bit daunting due to all the script and filigree in tiny white lines.

Because of my increasingly growing pregnant belly and pain in every muscle in my back, the want of doing a time lapse video of the drawing did not happen. I set in a big comfy chair in my living room or in bed while drawing, not exactly the best place to set up a camera! Lol! Although I did take a few photos and must say the drawing is coming along beautifully! I am happy with what I have on paper so far. I did decide to make all the drawings 11×14 keeping them a manageable size to complete within a weeks time and it has resulted in needing very VERY small detailed lettering.

Pencil being the medium I want to stick with I am able to get finer lines as opposed to the lines I could achieve with charcoal. I have also ordered a fine white sharpie pen that I am waiting to come in the mail. It will assist in helping me finish up those really small letters. Hopefully it is a good pen and will be a perfect contrast to the graphite. If not I will have to come up with a plan B. As I wait for the pen to come in I will start on number 2 in the series.

Blanton’s Whiskey will be the next drawing to embark on! I’m getting such a good response from everyone about this project and it really helps in keeping me exicted and motivated! So, thank you everyone for the encouraging words and wonderful feedback! Can’t wait to see how this next one turns out!

I hope y’all are still sticking to your new year’s resolutions and keeping creative juices flowing! On top of finishing the Jack Daniels drawing, hopefully I will have an update on the art opening in downtown Bentonville I’ve been working on by the end of this week as well!! Exciting things are happening and it is a much needed distraction to a few emotional set backs I’ve been dealing with lately. Pregnancy hormones don’t help my mood but, staying positive and busy does! Here’s to delightful distractions and staying on track with goals! Onwards and upwards!

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Title image credited: Frank saluting his audience with Jack. Photo from the The Telegraph.

Sam & Whiskey

Weeks end and I have finished Sam! He is submitted to the Walmart Project to be considered for the mural in a local store! Fingers crossed that my art gets to live there soon! It always seems to take me a bit when I go back to a unfinished drawing. Once I shook out the cobwebs I was able to immerse myself back into it.

I also had the chance to get the reference photos for my 10 Whiskies series this weekend. Below are the photos I have narrowed it down to. I will begin with the first one on Monday and hope to complete each one within a weeks time. I’ll be doing time lapse videos as well to show my process with this project! Some of these bottles are going to test my skills for sure but, I’m always up for a good challenge! 😉

The way I look at creating art is just like the precision in geometry. It’s all just perfect measurements and shades of color. Compartmentalize each shape and focus on precision then the rest is cake! A drawing can be daunting for me if I look at it any other way. If shapes and colors are arranged perfectly you can draw anything you want.

It’s not about drawing what your minds thinks a object looks like. It’s how the light plays with the shapes and what you are actually seeing with your eyes.

What you see may not be the perfect shape of a bottle but, the reflections and background all effect how 3 dimensional an object looks on a 2 dimensional surface. Draw what you see not what you think! Anyway, enough of my infinite wisdom..lol! I will keep y’all posted on my progress this next week and hopefully have a great video to share!

Studio Drawings / W.I.P

This week starts with the intent to have a good idea on what whiskey bottles I want to draw, as well as, work on some unfinished pieces that have been collecting dust in the studio.

I started with a portrait drawing of Josh. With it I wanted to explore a little bit more of an abstract portrait with high contrast. The black paper and white chalk was the perfect combination to do a portrait of him with smoke wafting around his profile. I loved the way it played into the curls of his beard as well. I’m happy with how it turned out.

Next, unfinished project is a portrait of Sam Walton. Feeling my strong sense of community and culture with this one. There is a deadline for a mural project Walmart has opened to the public on January 11th. Thanks to all my peeps who have been tagging me for this project! Crossing my fingers I’ll get choosen! I thought this would be the perfect time to finish and submit it for a chance to have my art, blown up mural sized, in a store! It is a charcoal/pencil drawing on paper. I have pulled it out a few times to work on it over the last year but, have yet to fully complete it. I’m working out the details and doing final touches.

This will be my main focus until the weekend when I’ve scheduled to do the photoshoot of the whiskey collection. I plan on taking loads of photos and choose the best 10 to draw from. The drawings will all be the same dimensions and I will be challenging myself to finish one drawing per week. If I stay on track it will take me two and a half months to complete the 10 Whiskies! I’m thinking I might be doing time lapse videos of each drawing as well! I’ve always wanted to do a video start to finish.

Beautiful Mess

Our house is always changing. I never keep something in one place for too awfully long. I would love to say I have it in order…like ever but, I do not. Art is always leaning against the walls. I collect weird things and live in a old house. I have an obsession with mirrors and for things that glow softly.

But…..right in the middle of my crazy mess is my husband. Loving me for my need for change, my haphazard way of acting like I have my shit together and the never ending crazy that is me. He is my constant, calls me his beautiful mess and finds my artistic brain endearing. We grow together and learn more about each other everyday.

Our journey is definitely not perfect but, I find these moments and am proud of this beautiful life we have created. 💛

If You’re Gonna Post A “Selfie”

This isn’t my favorite painting. Not even my second ;)…..it’s a self portrait from 2012. Created in place of a night I couldn’t sleep. Not unusual but, that night was especially rough. I decided to focus my energy. I had a mirror that was eye level and thought it would be challenging to do a self portrait as a live oil painting. Adding a whole other level of difficulty I painted it on a piece of glass. I spent 6 hours painting as I looked in the mirror. This is much MUCH more difficult than I thought it would be!!

First off, oil painting is a skill that is only honed by practice….LOTS of practice. Second, looking at myself for six hours from night to morning is a whole other depth I wasn’t prepared for and I’m yet to do it since.

You force yourself to look inward. Do you like what you see? Can you focus and portray that to others? Are you beautiful? Do you love yourself?…Do you see your weaknesses?….as an artist and as a person????…..All questions I asked myself when painting this…along with a massive train of other thoughts.

I don’t “like” this painting but I do love it. I love what it means to me. I LOVE that I don’t have a photo to reference. I love that it was in the moment.

I really love that I can look at this painting and know I did my best at that point in time.

I’ve had other artist tell me they hate it. “The detail in the hair just isn’t there”…”your eyes make me uncomfortable.” “Why does your forehead look that way?”….blah..blah..bluhbadi, blah..

To be honest, I don’t care if anyone likes it. I have learned to judge my art on my own level. If I feel it has value I don’t care if others see it. Or even like it.

It means something to me. That’s all that matters.

These Moments

This is a watercolor painting of my daughter in a moment we shared one week into parenthood. The illumination is a perfect representation of the new parent high I was running on. And, of course includes that baby smell. 😉 I swear it’s like catnip for women!

How could I not be inspired by her beauty? As I slowly layered the colors I could feel incredible warmth coming from it. I knew I had accomplished exactly what I intended.

In these moments of creative clarity adrenaline fuels me. When I look at this painting I can imagine that memory perfectly. I feel her in my arms and can remember how the golden sun made its way across us.

That moment is perfection. Creating artwork that draws me in and keeps me intrigued is what makes it important for me. I love these moments. They are priceless.

Explorin’ Fiction

When people find out I’m an artist I get asked to do all sorts of different creative things. I have taken on a lot of new work and explored a variety of styles and mediums by doing this. Pushing the limits of what “kind of art” I do makes me a better artist.

On this particular piece I needed to create a concept for a fictional character in a game. A game I didn’t even know existed before this point. Although this genre of art isn’t something I’ve been into it still intrigued me enough to give it a shot!

I’ve been working on this for the last few months. Taking my time to land on something I was happy with and fulfilling the image in the clients mind was my goal. I worked through 6 sketches before decided on a pose and style. I reached out for resources from another artist more versed in creating characters of this sort as well. He was a very crucial aspect in the sucess of this project. 😉 thank you❤

I choose to use graphite, color pencils, pen, with a mix of paint for the final image. Mixed media fit perfectly for the design I had in my mind. On final completion I am pleased with the outcome! My art is usually a non-fictional subject matter that I can scrutinize and perfect.

This piece of art was the opposite. Using different ways of thinking to reach a final product that I love opens my mind to possiblities that I may not have come to! Glad I took on a project that I didn’t know I could successfully accomplish and did so with results I’m proud of!

Being outside my comfort zone made me think in a different way and learn from that. I thrive in this type of environment! I had lots of fun!

Now that this is completed I have jumped into a collaboration with an artist resulting in me eating yummy things! Art & Food…win win for me!!! 😉 I will be telling y’all about it very soon!