#ArtistCommunity Challenge June 2018 – Hunger

Kat Skinner of the /r/artistcommunity group submitted the June challenge with the topic Hunger. Hunger is such a powerful and thought provoking word. I spent a lot of time thinking about it trying to decide how I would interpret it.

The first thing that comes to mind is food scarcity and the very real struggle of so many of our fellow humans around the world to access adequate nutrition. That is not, however, the deeper meaning that stuck with me as I contemplated this challenge.

Hunger, to me, talks about a deep and insatiable longing–some want or need that cannot be filled. 

I have viewers from around the world, and I don’t want to presume the religious experiences of anyone. I imagine that people who read my blog or watch my videos have wonderfully diverse cultural and spiritual backgrounds. I was raised in a Christian household. So I would like to share a story from Christianity that inspired the image I chose to represent the Hunger challenge.

In the Bible there is a story of Adam and Eve, depicted as the first humans created by God to live in the idyllic Garden of Eden. These humans had their every need provided for them by God who came to visit them and talk with them. They were allowed to do whatever they wanted except one thing–they were not to eat the fruit of The Tree of Knowledge. 

As time passed, so the story tells, Eve was tempted by a snake in the garden to eat the fruit of that tree, which she eventually did. In the Bible, the fruit is not named, but it is often symbolically represented by an apple.

The story of Adam and Eve is part of the creation story of Christianity that explains how humans fell out of favor with God. To me, the story illustrates how people are never satisfied. Having all of their needs provided for, these first humans could not resist the one thing that was denied them and were ultimately banished from Paradise because of it.

Some things never change, do they? So often, it feels like nothing is ever good enough and we are always longing for something else–anything else–everything else. It is in that spirit that I decided to paint the simple apple.

I’ve wanted to do another work with the oil pastels and found this the perfect subject. The picture is created on 9″x12″ watercolor paper. You can watch my process in the time lapse video below.

The Artist Community Challenges for May

During the month of May 2018, The #ArtistCommunity issued two challenges. One was an Ocean Theme, submitted by Kat Skinner, and the Other was Painting Music submitted by David Cavallin. I participated in both of those.

I’ve created a playlist for each challenge. I will continue to update those playlists as I come across new entries. If you participated and don’t see your video in the playlist, let me know! I want it to be HUGE!

The Ocean Theme Playlist can be watched on YouTube by clicking this link.

The Painting Music Playlist is a little shorter, but I hope it continues to grow. You can watch those videos by clicking this link.

For the Painting Music challenge, I collaborated with my husband, John Hall. John had written a short tune that he sent me via messenger. While listening to it, I wondered what I might paint to go along with it. The image materialized in my head–a cartoonish little flower with bees buzzing around it.

Then I painted the picture I’d seen in my head. Afterward, John looked at the painting and wrote another piece of music which was inspired by the picture. That’s the tune we used for the video. You can watch that here:

Kat Skinner has issued a June 2018 Challenge using the theme Hunger. You can read all about it here.

You can join in the fun by using the #ArtistCommunity tag on Instagram. Check it out. There are many thousands of beautiful works of art there for the looking.

I Got My New Soap Stamp!

If you’ve been following any of my social media, you might’ve noticed that I’ve been making soap lately. It is so much fun experimenting and looking for the perfect recipe. It turns out making the soap look pretty is just as much fun as making a soap with great soap properties.

I saw some of my fellow soapers using cute stamps on their soaps, and I wanted one, too! I dug out a design I’d made quite a while ago. My original intention was to use it as a wax seal, but I never got around to that. I still love the design, though. It’s the one I use as my website logo!

I sent the image to Tatiana at SoapStampSource on Etsy. She was so kind and helpful in getting my image up to the right quality and level of detail to make the best stamp. 

I can’t even tell you how much I love it and how cool it looks! So, naturally, I’m going to show you. Enjoy this video of me using my soap stamp for the first time. And if you need your own stamp, go visit Tatiana’s Etsy shop. She will sure hook you up!

#ArtistCommunity May Challenge – Ocean Theme

I was really excited when Kat Skinner first announced the ocean theme challenge for May. I love the ocean and enjoy painting beaches and ocean scenes. Then, a few days after that, I got a commission to paint something ocean related, yet totally different!

My client sent me a photograph–a stunning, awe inspiring photograph, of the offshore oil rig where her husband works. The sky was dark and misty with gray clouds. The water, a beautiful navy blue, was broken up by choppy waves which battered the oil rig standing there, impervious to the storm.

I couldn’t wait to start painting this!

View the video below to see how I did it.

The Artist Community April Challenge Update

I can’t believe how excited I was to see each new submission for the Red Panda Challenge. I have been watching for new submissions to come up in my subscriptions, as well as in the reddit group and on Instagram.

All of the pieces are so varied, in style and medium. I hope you will click on the link below to watch some of the videos of these brilliant artists. (You may have to click on the YouTube logo to go to the playlist. I’m still not sure how this embedding works.)

DIY Fairy Garden

Finally!! I’m so excited. I’ve wanted to build my own fairy garden every since the first time I ever saw one. It’s so me! I put one together yesterday. I used a plant saucer and flower pot from Home Depot. I had some rocks and figures from Dollar Tree. Then I collected moss from my own yard. It turned out so pretty. I love it.

Step one was to drill some holes in the bottom of my plant saucer. I added small rocks into the bottom of the saucer to keep it weighed down and to provide drainage. Then I filled the saucer up with potting soil.

I visited a couple of places around the yard to dig up a few different kinds of mosses. After watering the potting soil, I laid the moss out on top of it, attempting to get good surface area connection between the moss and the dirt so the moss can develop roots and grow there.

After that, I broke the flower pot and used part of it for a structure. I added a few black rocks, my plastic figures, and some fallen branches to create a forest floor looking scene.

Watch this video below to see how it turned out. You’re gonna love it!

#ArtistCommunity April Challenge – The Red Panda

Kat Skinner of the #ArtistCommunity group on reddit issued the April Artist Challenge to create a work of art featuring the Red Panda. These little creatures are classified as endangered. If you’d like to learn more about them, read this National Geographic Article.

If you’d like to participate in this challenge, you can submit images to Instagram with the hashtag #ArtistCommunity. And let us know. We’d love to see it!

Here’s my submission for the Red Panda Challenge!

Acrylic Painting Van Gogh Style Challenge

Vincent Van Gogh is one of those artists whose work is immediately recognized by so many. His bold use of bright colors, thick paint, and visible brush strokes are some of the hallmarks of his style. Van Gogh’s birthday was a few days ago. And in honor of that, some fellow artists started a Van Gogh style challenge on YouTube and in our reddit and Instagram communities.

In fact, I’m a few days late getting my challenge done, due to an injury, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me because it sounded like a lot of fun. And it really was! It didn’t take me long to envision this cute little owl sitting on a branch with the bright moon behind him. I was inspired by the full moon we had a couple of days ago and the mysterious owl I hear calling some nights when I’m out walking the dog in the wee hours.

This piece is acrylic painted on 11×14″ stretched canvas. I just love owls and I’m really happy with how this one turned out. I think it looks sweet and … every so slightly reminiscent of the style of Vincent Van Gogh.

Watch the time lapse video below to see my painting.

New Sketch Book

I finally got myself a new sketch book. The last one I had was full. I can’t believe I used all of the pages. WOW! I got one a big bigger this time. I’m not sure why I was drawn to the bigger pages. It doesn’t lend itself to traveling. So, maybe I’ll have to get another smaller one to carry around with me.

I was looking around at pmp-art.com and found a photograph of a tufted titmouse that looked like it needed sketching. I really loves those sweet little birds. I’ve only seen them around the house a little bit. But they are so precious and fun to watch.

I’m still not thrilled with my camera’s video performance. It’s not meant to be a video device, after all. But I do wish it would stay in focus better. In any case, you can watch the video below to see my first drawing in my new sketch book. Enjoy.