my creative resolution

Continuing my creative journey into 2015!


Watercolor Swimming Pool

It feels really good to finish something that I have wanted to do for a long time – paint a pool. I have loved pools since I was a little kid, especially outdoor pools. I grew up in a beach town (I know poor me) and our local pool was an indoor pool. I was a swimmer and occasionally during the Summer we would go to a swim meet at an outdoor pool. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

My kids are lucky enough, during the Summer, to have practice and all their swim meets at outdoor pools. Our pool even has a high dive. Spoiled kids! During the Summer, while I watch my kids practice I always think about painting the pool and the swimmers. I’ve taken pictures, started, sketched, but I always struggle early on and never finish.

Last Saturday we were at a Championship swim meet at an indoor pool and I was sitting high up in the bleachers. I took this photo. I thought it was so cool how the pool was crowded with swimmers warming up. I posted it on Instagram and wrote “I’d love to paint this!”

Yesterday I gave it a try. I realized that if I did the bodies first and painted the blue over parts of the body, that part would look like it was underneath the water.
swimbodies  bodies2

In this first version I didn’t like that you couldn’t see one of the lane lines (the kids are sitting on it in the photo). The lanes were also uneven. And once I added the ink, I didn’t like it at all.

I decided to try again. I see my willingness to “try again” as growth as an artist. I used to sit down and expect to get it right the first time. Can you imagine if a photographer only took one photo! I now know that I need to warm up, try things out, not get discourage, and keep working and trying.

I purposely kept things simple without a lot of detail. Both my sons liked my first attempt better! But I like the second one. I’m hoping to do more of these, now that I finally got started!


Abstract Watercolor

I need a large piece of artwork to fit over my new couch in our living room. It seems a shame to buy something when I’ve been doing all this work, right?! Problem is, I don’t normally work large. I had an idea to paint two canvases with acrylics but my first stab didn’t go well, and I haven’t been inspired to try it again. Acrylics are still out of my comfort zone.

The Bare Wall

Lately on Instagram, I’ve gotten compliments for my watercolor backgrounds (ahem Margie). The other day when I was looking through a magazine I saw a watercolor “blob” for sale. Personally I didn’t really get it, but it gave me an idea. “Maybe I can create a larger piece that is similar to the backgrounds I normally create. An abstract watercolor.”

Yesterday morning it struck me – to work on three panels together, almost as if they were one sheet. I’ll trim each one, frame them separately, and hang them next to each other!

Will these work? The hunt for frames begins…

P.S. There aren’t any work in progress photos because I took a video! But it needs serious editing before I show it to you. ha ha. I turned the camera on, then walked away for 5 minutes to get my paints! Hopefully my editor (my daughter) can work on it soon, so I can show you. :)


Watercolor: Building up the Layers

When I first started working in watercolor I was intimidated by paintings with highlights and shadows. I thought I couldn’t possibly paint several layers. I hoped I could paint one layer and make it good enough. As I got comfortable with watercolor, I realized it’s all about building up the layers of paint. You start out in the ugly stages and as you add, and add, you [hopefully] turn the ugly duckling into a beautiful swan. I liked that you built it up, because mistakes could be covered or fixed. Each brushstroke wasn’t make or break. It’s a process.

This is what I was thinking about when I painted this sunflower this morning. How the ugly stage was awfully ugly! And how each layer of watercolor I added made the painting better. Originally I planned to add ink to the flower when I was done painting. As I got closer to finishing, I liked it the way it was. My daughter agreed.


Gardening Pattern

Now that the snow has melted in the backyard, I have gardening on my mind. And painting outside! I can’t wait to have inspiration growing in the garden! My husband likes to call gardening “digging in the dirt.”

This gardening pattern, my March pattern, is the first I’ve painted in watercolor. The other two patterns (art/January and love/February) were painted in Photoshop. I limited the number of colors I used, so the items would be uniform. I scanned the illustrations and arranged them in Photoshop.

After I liked how the elements were arranged, I created a frame and duplicated the entire group several times. First, I checked how the items repeated left and right.

Then I checked how the elements repeated top and bottom. I had to make some adjustements when things overlapped.

I am happy with how it came out. It’s my favorite pattern so far. It’s amazing to see sketches turned into a pattern and looking so finished. Happy Spring! :)


17 blogs that enriched my Sunday morning.

I spent the morning drinking coffee and catching up with all of your blogs. It was a busy week and I was a bit behind. On Wednesday I went to Daily Show, with Jon Stewart, in NYC which was a real treat. On my walk from the subway, I snapped a few shots that I’d like to sketch.

But enough about me, back to this morning! As I scrolled through my WP reader, I was amazed with all the stuff I saw, learned, and was inspired by – all from the comfort of my bed. (I could lie and say the couch, but I’m being honest here.)

Since I had several days of posts to catch up on, it really hit me how incredible it is – all this stuff we share with each other, give each other access to. I get as much, if not more, from following all of you, and experiencing your blogs, than I do from creating my own blog. So, thank you!

Here are some blog highlights.

  • Artwork. I love seeing what everyone is working on – whether it is a similar medium to my own or something totally different. I love it. Check out The Sketchbook, Shari Blaukopf is so talented – those puddles are amazing! Createarteveryday is working in collage. I’d add that to my list…but my list is getting really long!
  • Photos. I love seeing pictures from all over – Margie, Late Bloomer Buds, sharing pictures of Lake Michigan, Nature has no boss sharing Yellowstone National Park, and the Russian artist.
  • Books. I’m adding to my list, “How to be Creative.” Thanks decorartuk!
  • Videos. Andrew Nixon’s Photo Blog shared Miss Aniela’s work process (photography and Photoshop). It is very cool. And this interview with Children’s author Roald Dahl that Oreos&spiltmilk shared was awesome. Dahl said “Keep your bottom on the chair” when talking about being stuck. I can relate, when I think of the ugly phase with watercolor!
  • Personal stories. May 13th‘s personal story, told through poetry is so moving.
  • Materials. Brad Young Art used tea in his painting. I’ve always wondered if that would work. Awesome!
  • Writing/Collaboration. Alisa, Sweet Afternoons, is adding words to her amazing illustrations! She is calling for collaboration. What a great idea! I’m excited because her illustrations have so much character, you want to know the story!
  • Healthy Eating, Fashion, and more. I can’t wait to go out and buy soba noodles after this post from A Style Study.
  • Apps. I loved Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday‘s illustration created with “Procreate” for the ipad. I can’t wait to download the app and try it.
  • Tools. dkatiepowellart reblogged Citizen Sketcher’s post about picking one brush if you were on a desert island. Thank you Katie for introducing me to Citizen Sketcher‘s blog!
  • Technique. Sandsaltmoon‘s jellybean post reminded me how leaving some whites is so important. I don’t do this enough!
  • Places to visit. K. Ryan Henisey posted about the Center for Contemporary Printmaking. I was surprised to see it’s in nearby Connecticut. Hmmm. Time for a roadtrip?

I couldn’t believe how motivated and inspired I felt this morning. And I hadn’t even gotten out of bed!



Many Versions…

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been creating illustrations for St. Patrick’s Day and posting to Instagram. For each idea I have, I draw/paint multiple versions to see which one I like the best. It dawned on me, the it isn’t just hand-lettering that takes “Practice, practice, practice.” I have to draw several “takes” before I create an illustration that I like. I also take pictures along the way to see how the illustration will look when it’s finished, and to make sure I like the background and how it fits in the shot.

This way of working is new to me. In the past, I’d sit down to create a painting, and try to make it work. I began working in this way since starting my themed postings (first Valentine’s Day, then St. Patrick’s Day). I doodle, I paint, I plan in pencil. I try again. I wouldn’t say it’s about getting it perfect, it’s more about warming up and trying different things.

I really enjoy following one theme. The first couple of days are easy. After that, there is the period where I’m like, “What am I going to do now?” In both cases, the more creative ideas came to me towards the end of the campaign. I guess it’s the time when I dig a little deeper. All the obvious ideas are out of the way, so I have to think harder.

This Valentine’s Day post was one of my favorites:

This grumpy guy is my favorite St. Patrick’s Day post so far:


Exciting News…

Yesterday, Country Living Magazine reposted my Instagram pic! In their April issue they asked readers to post “how and where” we enjoy Country Living. I shared the above picture of my sketchbook, where I created illustrations from the April issue.

Here is the back story, so you can fully understand why this is so awesome to me. :)

  1. Sometime after 2001 – Girl (new mom, me) from the suburbs of NYC falls in love with Country Living Magazine. She finds it creatively inspiring.
  2. 2014 – Girl starts and includes Country Living as one of her inspirations.
  3. Girl sees illustrations in Country Living and dreams about one day creating illustrations for the magazine.
  4. 2015 – Girl thinks about approaching Country Living with a sampling of “country” illustrations. She works towards this but doesn’t follow through.
  5. Girl reads April issue of Country Living and sees the call out to share on Instagram. She pulls out her watercolors.
  6. Girl posts picture of sketchbook with #mycountryliving.
  7. Country Living “likes” girl’s post. Girl goes crazy with excitement. Shares news with family.
  8. Country Living starts following Girl (@mycreativeresolution). Girl gets more excited. Shares news with family.
  9. Several uneventful days pass.
  10. Girl checks Instagram and sees numbers – next to the likes and follows – that don’t make sense. 44 likes? 23 new followers? Instagram must be broken.
  11. Girl realizes that Country Living Magazine reposted the sketchbook picture – thereby sending people to Girl’s Instagram. Girl passes out from excitement.
  12. Girl recovers and at the end of the day, realizes she has 43 new followers. 888 people liked her picture on Country Living Magazine’s Instagram!


Is this story over? I hope not. :)


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