What Is The Purpose Of Painting A Still Life?

For most of my artistic life I’ve wondered what the purpose of painting a still life was. In school, I found them to be the most boring subjects of all and a waste of time. They felt painful to work on and I had a lot of resistance to drawing and painting them. Portraits were my sweet spot and I loved the challenge of capturing someone’s essence on canvas.

Things started to change for me this year when I took up painting again. I knew I would be staying home more because both of my dogs were very ill and I needed something positive to put my mind to.

Teapot with Persimmon painting

Teapot with Persimmon 14″ x 11″ Acrylic on canvas 2017

Seeing Still Life Differently

Much to my surprise, I had discovered that “realism” was back as an art form. I was always a realist painter but modern art was more acceptable as “real art”, so I floundered around a lot not knowing where to put my

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Creative and Artistic Halloween Invitations

Since Fall has arrived, I thought I’d share some really cool creative and artistic Halloween invitations that I found on Zazzle along with one quick pumpkin study to kick off the season.

Pumpkin Study by Shelley Hanna

Pumpkin Study painting in ArtRage

Pumpkin Study: Having Fun In ArtRage

In a previous post, I talked a bit about digital art and a couple programs I’ve been using. ArtRage continues to be the program I reach for when I want to paint. Above is a quick study of a pumpkin I did to celebrate

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Portrait Of A Dog And The Gifts Dogs Give Us Unconditionally

Last weekend I continued working on my digital painting skills by doing this portrait of a dog named Scoby. If you’ve ever drank kombucha, you may understand his name a little better. His momma, Donna Schwenk, is the founder of Cultured Food Life and is a dear friend.

Portrait study of a dog named Scoby

This is a portrait study of a dog named Scoby painted digitally in ArtRage

I got to meet Scoby last year when I had a leak in my roof. Donna’s husband, Ron, came to my rescue to fix it and brought the mighty Scoby along. Apparently, he goes everywhere with Ron and is obsessed with him. The reference photo I took for

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Learning How To Do Fine Art Painting Using Procreate And ArtRage

I’m finally learning how to do fine art painting using Procreate and ArtRage with the iPad Pro. I resisted getting an iPad for SO LONG and was one of those traditional snobs who thought “digital art wasn’t real art”. BUT, the world is changing and my mind is changing regarding the subject. Bottom line, I’m coming to realize there is a definitely a place for digital art in today’s world. 

Cheating or not cheating?

Using a reference photo in ArtRage

Using a reference photo inside Artrage

To me I thought it was too easy to cheat or difficult to do very “painterly” art digitally based on some of the work I’ve seen out there. However, there are a lot of ways to create whatever effect you want with the tools inside the programs.

There definitely is an opportunity to “cheat” by being able to trace images and color select right off reference photos, however, it’s still the artist that brings their unique skill set and interpretation of the subject to life using the tools in the program just like you would use paint and a brush.

Values and color

Selecting colors from the reference photo is helpful for learning values, but you need to have knowledge of what color to start with in order to create blended colors. Selecting a

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How To Paint A Dog Portrait In Oil Step-By-Step

Have you seen a painting of a pet and wondered how to paint a dog portrait? If you have then today is your lucky day!

Step-By-Step, Baby…

I came across this cool website called Snapguide that helps people create step-by-step instructions. There are a variety of “how to” guides which include everything from making a cake to applying eye shadow.

How to paint a dog portrait image

It’s My First Step-By-Step Guide EVER!

I’ve wanted to find a way to share how I did my art, but really didn’t have

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Painting Failures And Mistakes – Should I Give Up Or Start Over?

The odyssey of one of my painting failures begins…

Life is full of failures. I’ve had small painting failures before, but this one had me starting over. I had primed one of my panels improperly and the painting just wasn’t working. This painting was a commission and had to be done within a specific time frame and a mistake was not part of the plan.

Painting Failures image

It started out great, or so I thought…

Above you see the progression of the painting I’m talking about. It might look good in the photo, but the first two shots are of the panel that failed.

I started the drawing and captured the likeness, but as I continued to work I noticed I was struggling with the paint on the surface. I had just started painting in oils, so I really didn’t know if this was a normal thing or something going terribly wrong.

All I knew is that the struggle was getting really, really, real!

Step 1: The pain begins:

Painting of Sammie step one - painting failures

Sammie step 1 – a disaster waiting to happen

For step 1 on this little painting of Sammie, the cutie-pie Cavalier King Charles, I was feeling pretty good about how the drawing

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combine painting

Cool Combine is #2!

I painted this combine at the beginning of the year. It’s only the second oil painting I’ve ever done as an adult!

The Start of Something New…

At the beginning of the year I decided to expand from acrylic painting (which I still love) to oil painting.

I did oil painting as a kid, but the smell of the turpentine made me a little light headed.

Fortunately there are now more non-toxic ways to paint in oil, which has allowed me to breath a little easier.

Out of Iowa…

I’m originally from Eastern Iowa so any scenes that are reminiscent of the farmlands I (more…)

A Spooky Thing Happened In The Studio Today

Spooky things sometimes happen while painting

Every once in awhile, spooky stuff happens while creating a piece of art.

I’ve had drawings in the past that would contain a full portrait in the background of somebody I never intended to draw. This happened in college and scared my roommate so bad that she never really got over it! (Still makes me laugh.)

Today I was staining a canvas and noticed a face appearing right before I wiped it down.

painting today in the studio

Is it Donald Trump or my mind playing tricks?

It wasn’t just me!

I posted this image on Instagram and an artist friend of mine, Stephen Holding, had the exact same thing happen to him yesterday. Double spooky

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Picasso quote on inspiration

If you are waiting for inspiration, you may be missing out.

So many artists (anybody, really) find excuses to get started on something because they are waiting for inspiration to strike.

Having worked as a creative professional for over 30 years, the one thing I know for sure is that if I had waited for inspiration to get a job going, I would have been fired. Funny how when you know you have to find inspiration, you get good at finding it rather than it finding you. (more…)

Change Your Mind About Bacteria

It Will Make You Feel Better

Why on earth am I writing about bacteria? A few years ago I was nearly non-functional. I felt terrible. I had zero energy. All food made me sick. Especially healthy food. I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything and was seriously thinking I would end up going on disability at work.

Sick and Tired quote

I had been to the doctor and all of my tests came back “normal”. How could my tests be normal when I felt terrible? It was no way to live and I really couldn’t imagine

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