Saturday, July 29, 2017

July/Early August Happenings

Coming Soon:
an opportunity to hobnob with artists.  Scroll down for details.

First though, I have a little inspiration from an artist I have admired for a long time.
Dreama Tolle Perry


I can only answer to that which calls me.

Often times we feel we should be doing more, something, anything.
We see what another is immersed in and shame ourselves for not wanting, doing, being more.

Overlooking one vital thing.

We can only answer to that which calls to us.

That thing that calls me.
That thing that calls you.
And we each have a unique calling.

THE thing that calls us by name, that wakes us in the night and shakes us gently in our days.
Appearing again and again in unexpected ways and unforeseen times.

It’s important to realize this.

We, you and I, are not missing out on anything that sits in the ‘should’ category.
It was/is not for us.
It is tagged for someone else and is thus calling their name and they are answering that call with all that is within them.

We, you and I, each have our calling and we can only answer to that which calls for us.

With all that lies within us.

Dreama is amazing.  You should check her out.

Also, you should come and see me!

See me and lots of other awesome artists at the closing reception for Midsummer Madness at Circle Gallery, 18 State Circle, Annapolis, MD on Friday, Aug. 4, 2017 at 5pm - 7pm.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Dangerous Waters

Confession Time.
Art is happening, but it is happening slowly.  And the weather is crummy which makes taking photos of the art that IS happening next to impossible.

I have four new completed pieces.

I started this back in January and wasn't satisfied with it.  I went back to it and made some adjustments and I'm much happier with the result.
24" x 24" [needs a name].

Another for the Serpent Series.  24" x 48" [needs a name].

I have two paintings that I intended to be part of the Serpent Series however, they both have definite shark shapes, which I love.  I'm thinking they might belong in their own series.  I'm open to suggestions for the name of that series.

I showed this one during some in-process stages but I'm really happy with how it has turned out.
18" x 24" [needs a name].  [needs a series name]

This one I did while shooting video for a friend.  I enjoyed this new experience but painting while filming a video is very distracting.  Some day I may try again.  I've got nothing on Bob Ross, that's for sure.
Dangerous Waters, 24" x 24" [needs a series name]

One more brand-new piece is on my easel.  It is a huge 24"x 48" canvas and while it fits the theme of my Serpent Series, it is really a departure from my usual style.  Every time I do something outside of my comfort zone it is an opportunity for growth but what often happens not only with me, but with many artists is, when we get to a point in the middle of a painting, we get frustrated and stuck.  If it's work we are comfortable with, we can power through (or sometimes limp through) to get past the really hard part so that we can finish and be satisfied with the result.  When a painting is a challenge from the beginning though, that middle bit where we get stuck feels insurmountable.  I have paintings I started years ago that are still stuck in that middle bit and I don't know if they'll ever be finished.

I had one painting in a gallery show recently and that is always fun.  Despite my shyness, I do have a good time meeting new people and seeing old art friends at gallery receptions.  Also, I have just entered several pieces into an event online.  I am wary of online events simply because it's really easy for disreputable companies to take your money and you'd have no recourse.  This event was recommended by a friend who is a member of the website, so I felt safe in joining the event.  So far, the number of entries for this particular show is fairly small.  We are nearing the entry deadline so that is a bonus.  Fewer entries increases the odds that I could win a prize.  [fingers crossed]

Follow me on Instagram for lots of cryptic, in-process photos of whatever is happening on my easel and (sometimes) in my life:

I am happy to report that I passed my math course at college and my new job is hard but enjoyable.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Spring Member Show May 7, 2017

Come see me and my art this Sunday, May 7, 2017 from 3-5 pm during the Spring Member show for Maryland Federation of Art at Circle Gallery, 18 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401.

Member shows are always a fun time.  Enjoy a glass of wine, a few nibbles, and mingle with artists (like me!) and art lovers.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


It's past the Witching Hour.  Too early to get up for work.  Mind running.  (Yes, I know... I'm supposed to meditate to help with that.  I know.)  Since I'm up, I visit my canvas friends.

Two large canvases that may or may not be companion pieces.  I think they look great together.  The one on the left is black and grey.  The right is Dioxizine Purple and grey.  Each canvas is 24" x 48".

 A shot of the Dioxizine Purple featured on the canvas on the right.  I've had more than one art instructor tell me, "Don't use Dioxizine Purple."  "It's garish."  "It's unnatural."  "It will take over your whole palette."  Don't tell me not to do something.  I'm stubborn.  I'm going to do it just to spite somebody.

I do what I want.

Mixing black from a limited palette.  Alizerin Crimson, Sap Green, and Ultramarine Blue.  This makes a cool (blue-ish) black with a ratio of 3 parts Alizerin, 2 parts Sap, and 6 parts Ultramarine.  This black is also the base for all my greys and it works as a toner when used in small amounts to cut back the brightness of a color.

In other news, I got a new job.  Pretty much the same as the old job, but better.  I have just a couple of weeks left before Summer Break from school, and I'll have news of a gallery show coming soon.

Sunday, February 12, 2017


The Moon peers through the sheer curtain.  She knows me better than I know myself.  Your whisper is like a call and now I am wide awake.  Listening.  Listening.  To you and to the night.  I want to see you but must be cautious.  The Moon watches, waiting.  She knows what is coming next.

I'll show the progress in reverse here.  Start at the bottom of the post if you'd like to see it from the beginning.

I was noodling around with the dark purple and noticed the shape sort of resembled a shark. 
I added two similar shapes in the larger circle and will add a third toward the center of that circle.

Very thin beige and light neutral-grey are added in layers over the background area and in the larger circle so the eye is drawn to the smaller circle at the top left.

Scales patterns in turquoise and purple are added using a stencil I made.  I wanted to add texture to the background area as well as accentuate the circular motion and to indicate that the circles are moving in opposite directions.

 I began with a few dribbles of yellow and allowed those to dry.  Then blue-grey and light neutral-grey are added with a lot of water.  Some areas are allowed to run and other areas are painted into circular patterns.

Sharks.   Powerful, focused, curious creatures. Superior instinct and a remarkable drive for survival.  Actively moving forward through life.  Silent before they attack.


Friday, February 3, 2017

Stealing Moments

I have crept out of my bed and met my lovers in the dark of night.  I am cautious.  My breath stops in my throat at every creak of the floorboards in the bedroom above my studio.  Does my husband sense he is alone?

Sounds like a trashy novel.


My lovers are these:

Adding more color and defining the focal point of the top painting.  The painting with circles gets scales to help suggest motion and to add texture.

Here are the beginnings of each:

The top painting has the focal point pretty near the center and that's generally not where I want it to be.  I will probably make some adjustments later to draw the eye slightly to the right of center.

The scales painting will get a transparent layer of color over the scales outside of the circles so that there is texture there but the eye is not immediately drawn to it.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Day 30 - All the Paintings

The Collection

Some are incomplete but still quite interesting.  Seeing them all together, there is a lot of cohesion because of the repeating colors as well as multiple paintings with drip lines and scales patterns.

Through this month I have learned so much about my preference to work on several pieces at one time.  Being able to set aside a piece and come back to it later helps me to really see the piece better.  Multiple photo images during the process help me see the challenges with a painting and help guide me to the next step.  Taking photos and checking them in black-and-white helps me to see if there is enough contrast for visual interest.

Working on several pieces at one time also reduces the pressure I put on myself to finish a painting before walking away.  I don't feel the need to dedicate several hours at a time in the studio.  I can pop down for 15 minutes and still make progress.

 That was critical for me this month.

My month began very quietly, as January often does.  Then all h#ll broke loose.  It always does.  What is UP with January, anyway?  My time in the studio is limited because of a full time job unrelated to art.  I knew I was starting a new semester at college on the 19th so the paintings needed to be mostly done and posts needed to be mostly written by that time.  My husband got very ill and was in the hospital for 6 days then promptly got the stomach flu when he came home.  My daughter got the stomach bug about a week later.  Both of them are feeling much better now, thank goodness!  But you can see how this impacted my possible time in the studio.

My math professor at college has given us a task of filling out a schedule sheet so she can see exactly how long each day we intend to dedicate to math work.  I am definitely scheduling time for art and plan to sneak in the studio whenever I can.

At the beginning of the month I read a book called, "Big Magic" by Elizabeth Gilbert and one of the things she mentions about making time for creativity is treating it like a love affair.  If you were having a love affair, the rest of your life would not stop.  You would find time to sneak away and be with your lover.  Stolen moments, so to speak.  Art is my passion and I need to give it attention.  Sneaking away from the rest of life to be with my art sounds wonderful.  Thinking about it being a secret rendezvous makes it so enticing!

I am so thankful to everyone who visited this month.  Your comments have encouraged me immeasurably.  I hope you will come back and visit from time to time.  I doubt I will continue posting every day but with my new practice of sharing my process, I feel at ease with doing just that, rather than only posting when a painting is finished.  Some of my paintings will be for sale on Etsy and I will post when they are there.  You can also follow me on Instagram.  I'm karimelenartist.

30 in 30 Blog.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Day 29 - Several Beginnings

Ending the 30-in-30 with more beginnings gives me a lot of inspiration and it reminds me that my painting is NOT done for the year.  I don't know where to store all of these giants but I had a blast painting them and I'm so so glad that I resisted the urge to paint small and try to just finish each day.  I have enjoyed sharing my process with you and I hope that you enjoyed the journey.  I have a few new friends to follow from this challenge and I'm excited to see where they go from here.

This is going to be another dark serpent painting.

Light grey is added to the top one third, then deep and light sap green are added to the lower two thirds.

This is the yellow-only painting I was stuck on for some days.  I was inspired by a lot of other paintings I've seen recently that featured circles.

Medium grey and light blue-grey are splattered, sprayed with water, and then circles are drawn to give the feeling of movement.

Going back to the neutrals and violet scales with this one.  I'm going to keep it very light and airy, to contrast with the one with dramatic maroon.

Burnt Umber is washed on in a wave shape.  Violet scales are added with the stencils I created, then medium grey and light blue-grey are added to the upper kidney shape.  I also added some light spritzes of water here and there.

30 in 30 Blog.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Painting Two Needs a Name


I wanted to reveal the final painting near the end of the challenge.  The creature has no visible legs, and we're not quite sure where he ends as he curls around a large, blue egg that could be his sibling.

Mythical creatures have long been a fascination for me and this painting was wonderfully fun to create.  I have more creatures to spur your imagination (nightmares?) coming soon.

30 in 30 Blog.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Painting Twelve -- Tectonic

Part One

Lots of drama with this painting.  I love these deep, rich colors and I intend to keep this one very dark.

Maroon, varying shades of deep turquoise, and black are applied with a palette knife.

Part Two

I kind of knew where I was going with this painting from the beginning but as I went, it really screamed lava meets water and I added bits of steam to accentuate that feeling.

30 in 30 Blog.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Beginning Eleven

Part One

I wanted something a little different with this painting so I began by drawing some large shapes on the canvas with a colored pencil.  Charcoal smears, but colored pencil disappears quite easily under the acrylic.

I like the colors of it already so think I will keep this painting rather light and use a lot of blending techniques for a soft, flowy feel.

30 in 30 Blog.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Painting Seven Changes

Part Three

Adding some drama and mystery to this painting, I have painted black and maroon around the edges to help reveal and fade out the edges of the Serpent.  I have a few more adjustments to this one before it's complete, but it's very close now.

Several thin layers of black and maroon are added with a dry brush technique.  This adds texture and visual depth.

Previous posts of this painting are here and here.

Part One:
 Part Two:

30 in 30 Blog.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Painting Eight - Love You FIVE-ever

Part Three

My daughter uses the expression "five-ever" to mean even more than forever.

The last touch ups here are the addition of some bold maroon at left, a wash of very light black at the center (black vs. grey here because the white is opaque and will totally cover over the detail underneath), a small amount of gold paint at the top and right and white to emphasize the main 5.

30 in 30 Blog.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Painting Ten - Diamondback

Part Two

Nearing the end of the challenge so I'm trying to finish up as many paintings as possible.  This painting is part of the Serpent series.

The previous version of this was very light and I wanted to really add some drama with lots of maroon and a few touches of gold and darker purple.

Not a lot of changes here, just a few small touch ups with black paint marker and a bit of splashed paint for interest.

Because the difference is so dramatic, I thought I'd show Part One of this painting.
See the beginning of this painting here.

The more I watched the video and looked at the beginning stages of this painting, the more I liked it in the earlier stages.  I still love the drama of it with maroon but the lightness of this earlier version is also lovely.  I decided to do another painting with a similar beginning stage and keep it in the lighter tones.  Look for that soon.

30 in 30 Blog.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Painting Eight Continues

Part Two

This painting needs a more defined focal point so that will be the next step.  I don't want to lose all of the bold lines but I will have to decide how to draw the eye to one area more than the others.  I have a good start with the transparent red and gold.

Crimson is mixed with Burnt Umber and lots of water.  No Matte Medium is used here so the paint stays transparent.  Cadmium Yellow Medium is mixed with Burnt Umber, again without Matte Medium.

See the beginning of this painting here.

30 in 30 Blog.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Painting Seven Continues

Part Two

Trying to keep this one from getting too busy but looking at it here I see I definitely need to edit this one.

Orange was added around the scales to suggest movement and the scales were painted with light and dark blue for contrast with the orange.

See the beginning of this painting here.

30 in 30 Blog.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Painting Six -- Fascinator

Part Three

I wanted to keep this a monochrome painting and I'm happy with this result.  I didn't add a lot from the previous painting.

Liquid white and liquid black (black that I mixed from Ultramarine Blue, Sap Green, and Crimson, blended with Matte Medium and water) were splattered on with various palette knives.

See The beginning of this painting here, and the mid-stage here.

30 in 30 Blog.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Beginning Ten

Part One

Another in the series using scales stencils.  I did a time lapse video of this painting and posted on Instagram.  (You'll have to tell me if you can view that.  I have no idea if the link will work.)
I think the fact that almost everything is neutral color keeps this from looking too busy.

A light wash of Burnt Umber is applied and allowed to dry.  Purple scales are added with a large stencil then warm grey is used for the smaller scales stencil.  Black marker for the marks along the right and left edges, then light grey is washed over much of the painting.

30 in 30 Blog.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Beginning Nine

Part One

Beginning Nine is not speaking to me at all.  This is where it started and this is where it still is after several days.

I sprayed the canvas lightly with water and dribbled on paint that is antique gold in color.  That's it.  I'm not coming up with anything for this one... maybe later.

30 in 30 Blog.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Beginning Eight

Part One

Sometimes an artist uses art to work through a problem she is having with some other part of her life.  The number 5 and I have a love-hate relationship.  I won't get too existential talking about my relationship with numbers.  The shape of the number 5 just doesn't always compute in my brain.  A bit of dyslexia with that particular number, I guess.  I just have to stop and think before I write it,,, every time!  That is why the 5s here are all directions, swirling around with lots of confusion.

I started with a large black paint marker for hand writing the marks and some of the 5s.  I also used several stencils with paint, and a gold paint marker.  After all the marks were dry, I sprayed the painting with a clear coat to set everything because I was afraid that subsequent paint would lift off the markers and make mud.  It may not, but I didn't want to take the risk of losing all the bold lines.

30 in 30 Blog.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Beginning Seven

Part One

This painting will be the second for the series using scales stencils.  The first of that series is becoming a bit more complicated than I wanted so this painting will be very simple -- just shapes and patterns.

Going back to using some stencils I made.  I started with very thin Burnt Umber as the first layer then violet scales pattern and a splash of green/turquoise.  I used canned air to spray the green after it was applied and I like the effect however, the canned air scared me a little bit.  As I sprayed, the can got freezing cold and actually froze the paint in a couple of areas.  It didn't seem to damage the paint or the canvas at all but I certainly didn't expect that to happen!  So in the future I'll know... short bursts of canned air ONLY!

30 in 30 Blog.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Painting Six Continues

Part Two

Half way!  I can't believe I am half way through this challenge.  This is the furthest I have made it in the challenge for some time.  Life just always seems to get in the way and I feel a lot of pressure to complete a painting each day.  Giving myself the freedom to just work on art and share my process has made this challenge work much better for me.  A friend asked me what I wanted to accomplish through the challenge and my answer was simply to paint more.  I actually did very few paintings last year and maybe that was because I felt too much pressure to complete... but completing wasn't actually the issue.  The issue was not starting.

Liquid white and liquid black are added for interest.  I was thinking I wanted a bit of a monochrome painting this time and I like the lightness of the background but I may have to visit this painting one more time before it is complete.

I haven't talked much about the sizes of the paintings I have been working on this month but all of them have been either 24" x 24" or 18" x 24".  Large paintings compared to those I have done during previous challenges and I have enjoyed these larger works, however I'm running out of storage space for these guys!  Ha!

See the beginning of this painting here.

30 in 30 Blog.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Painting Five Continues

Part Two

The streaky areas of blue and grey have blended together here and virtually disappeared.  It wasn't the effect I was after but I still like it.

Liquid white and liquid black are splattered and allowed to somewhat blend together.  Crimson accents are added for interest.

See the beginning of this painting here.

30 in 30 Blog.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Painting Four Continues

Part Two

Sometimes I want art to be gorgeous and sometimes I want it to be creepy.  This one is kind of creepy and I like it.  I haven't decided yet if it's finished or not.

A bit of Burnt Umber in the lower right with lots of water.  Then streaks of Crimson are added.

Stepping back it looks a bit like a scary yellow and white cat is thinking about doing bad things while you are sleeping.

See the beginning of this painting here.

30 in 30 Blog.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Beginning Six

Part One

Pretty soon it will be no secret how much I like turquoise and grey.

I started with a very light wash of warm grey around the edges and in the darkest area and then allowed that to dry.
Light grey, black, and turquoise are applied in patches with a palette knife and blended with a dry brush.

30 in 30 Blog.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Painting One Needs A Name

Part Four

Wrapping up Painting One.  When I'm driving to work pre-dawn, I listen to music and just kind of let my mind wander.  Sometimes song lyrics catch my attention and I note them for painting names.  Here are a couple of possibilities:
"Don't Expect an Easy Answer"
"Burn Out Bright"
...Or maybe you have a suitable name.  Let's hear it.

Black was dry brushed over the area left to bring out the texture from the fork marks.  Then liquid black was added around the areas of white for visual interest.

See the beginning of this painting here.  And some mid-stages here and here.

30 in 30 Blog.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Painting One Continues

Part Three

I was really having too much fun with the Pipettes here and the effect is getting rather chaotic.

I give more "breathing room" to the painting by adding warm grey to about two thirds of the painting.

When I added the grey, I accentuated some texture areas by using a squeegee to remove some of the grey, which also helped to bring a muted version of the original color back so the whole painting was not just one grey mass.  You can see the area of dark purple/grey that had fork marks previously is now very obscured and nearly disappears.

Adding back some blockier shapes for more interest and setting up for the center of interest.

30 in 30 Blog.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Painting Two Continues

Part Three

Adding dimension through the use of the same stencils I started with, simply rotating them for interest.  Red is added to the background and over some of the stencil marks.  Some of the stencil marks are painted individually, using marks already on the canvas as a guide.

I keep hoping the painting fairies will come and finish this painting for me while I'm asleep but the painting fairies want me to do this work, I guess.  The progress is slowww with this one.  I feel like every mark on the canvas is thoughtful and maybe it's too thoughtful.  I have some way to go before I can think about finishing and trying to not get frustrated that it isn't easier.

Adding more background texture, being mindful to not let it get too busy and distracting.

See the beginning of this painting here.  And some mid-stage work here.

30 in 30 Blog.