An honest take on life and parenthood

Artistic baby steps – my own, that is

on May 15, 2015

Back when I was in college, I took my very first art class, Introduction to Drawing. I lost track of time as I tried my hand at drawing in pencil, charcoal, and tempura for my homework assignments. Professor Steptoe was demanding and difficult to please, but I liked him and worked hard for him.

Over twenty years passed.

My husband, Michael, knew of my secret desire to paint and draw again, and encouraged me to sign up for art classes once we were settled in Providence. I looked carefully through the catalog of the Eastside Art Center, and signed up for an introductory watercolor class in the fall of 2013.

Since it’s been so much fun, I decided to share work with you in the hopes that you also find time for a creative outlet. I am a novice, but it has been gratifying to look back over my modest portfolio and see how I have grown.

Here is an early watercolor from that first class.

This is a Pooh favorite.  There is something childlike about it.

This is a Pooh favorite.

Here is a still life that I painted with a chicken salt shaker from my kitchen, a tin of dry mustard, and a pepper grinder.

Still life with chickens

Still life

After two classes with watercolor, I felt frustrated. It is a challenging medium. The paint moves around on the page and you need patience and attention to detail, neither of which are my strong suits.

My art teacher suggested that I work in sumi ink, which is deep black ink that Asian artists have used for centuries. It was love at first brush stroke. This next picture is an early experiment that combines watercolor with sumi ink.

Seaside scene

Seaside scene

Here are some koi from about that same time.



Here, I played with negative space and worked to create the idea of a dense forest, using watercolor and sumi ink. I became infatuated with trees.



I found a photograph of a tree lined path on Bored Panda, and used it as my inspiration for this next painting. It now hangs in my Aunt Nancy’s home.


One day, a classmate brought a blooming magnolia flower to class. My art teacher gave me a large piece of paper, two feet by three feet, and told me to run with it. The picture below resulted, which is gouache and sumi ink. Gouache is a water based paint, similar to watercolor, but heavier and opaque.



Can you see how much I love trees? I could draw and paint them all day.

Spooky tree

Spooky tree

This past winter felt as if it would never end, but I did enjoy painting these cardinals.

More winter cardinals

More winter cardinals

The winter also made me think of warmer places, like the Masai Mara. Found a picture of an acacia tree on the African savannah and took a swipe at it.

Acacia tree on the African savannah

Acacia tree

The next picture was also based on a photograph from Bored Panda. It ended up being the most challenging of all of my paintings. I had to draw and paint the path curving into the woods at least twenty times because my eyes and hands played tricks on me. I could not get it right. I scrapped the painting itself three times before I managed to paint the path correctly.

The Path

The Path

Just to change things up, I found pictures of fish at an aquarium and ended up painting them as if I were looking through the water.



On my morning walk a few weeks ago, I noticed countless budding plants and flowers and trees. These seed pods hung from the branches of a tree like dainty Christmas ornaments, so I could not resist painting them.

Spring seed pods

Spring seed pods

I recently taught a class on Vincent van Gogh to the Pooh’s class, and he inspired me to paint sunflowers. Perfect for spring.

Sunflowers II

Sunflowers II

That’s it. Thank you for looking at my pictures!


2 responses to “Artistic baby steps – my own, that is

  1. Joshua says:

    These are beautiful. Really glad you shared.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: