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Merry (super belated) Christmas/Happy Birthday

I started this painting back in December and it was supposed to be a Christmas gift for my brother and his girlfriend. A couple of days before Christmas, I knew it wasn’t going to happen so I abandoned it and just bought them something instead. After the holidays, I left to go back to Ottawa, and the canvas stayed behind in London.

Over 4 months later, I’m back in London, and this canvas was staring at me.

Background

Conveniently, it was my brother’s birthday on April 16th, so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to finish it up. I had only completed the background back in December so started by drawing some circles. Notice how they’re all so nice and symmetric? Clearly not done freehand. Nope. I used a lampshade, the lid from some body butter, and the lid from a paint container. I’m quite resourceful, no?

More circles

More circles

I added some more circles, and then some streaks throughout the background, and before I knew it, I had a finished painting.

24x36" - Abstract Circles

24×36″ – Abstract Circles

Side View

Side View

If I made this look really easy, then that’s because it was. You should try it! Painting is not as complicated as most people imagine it to be. So next time you need a gift for someone who already has everything, try painting something for them. And if you do, and you feel like e-mailing me a picture, I’d be happy to post it on the blog. [agatasartcorner@hotmail.com]

Here it is hanging it their living room

Here it is hanging in their living room

Go. Paint. NOW. I’m off to do the same. Now that school is donzo, I’ve got plenty of time to dabble with a paint brush or two. I’ve got many many paintings on the go, and I’m really looking forward to blogging more regularly again and sharing my work with you.

And Happy 27th Birthday to my brother Maciek!!!

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Posted by on April 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Let’s Talk Weather

I’ve been putting off writing a post because I didn’t have anything even remotely insightful to say lately. I’m pretty sure the first rule of blog writing is don’t talk about the weather. Nobody cares about the weather! Well too bad, that’s all I got for ya today! And when the weather spikes from -40 to +10 degrees Celsius all within a week, I’d say that rule is asking to be broken. This painting I’m about to share with you seems appropriate for all the rain we’ve been getting, so sit back and enjoy.

If this painting looks familiar, it is because I painted it in parallel with this one so it essentially has the same colour scheme. It is another one of my comfort painting pieces.

I started with a background with a palette knife then drew some guidelines with chalk

I started with a background with a palette knife then drew some guidelines with chalk

Then I started to add some depth to it

Then I started to add some depth to it

Finally, I added a girl with an umbrella and some shadows, and called it a day.

Girl with the Red Umbrella - 12x16" Acrylic on Canvas

Girl with the Red Umbrella – 12×16″ Acrylic on Canvas

Side View

Side View

Zoomed in view of the girl with the red umbrella

Zoomed in view of the girl with the red umbrella

I had to swap my rain boots for my winter boots yesterday, although I think the temperatures are dipping down again today so maybe I’ll just skate to school…

So how did you like reading about the weather? Or do you just skim through and look at the pictures so it doesn’t really matter what I write about anyways? Either way, thanks for stopping by 🙂 Hope you’re staying dry!

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Comfort Painting

We’ve all heard of comfort food. You know, the food that is easily made, tastes delicious, makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Food that is good for the soul.

So what do I mean by comfort painting? On those days when I just want to sit back and relax and not worry about a thing, I usually engage in what I like to call comfort painting. That is, painting without thinking. There is no end product in mind, just paint going on a canvas step by step. Similar to comfort food, it is simple, enjoyable, and just makes me feel good.

At any given point, I usually have at least 2 or 3 paintings on the go. These are usually the non-comfort painting type. Their culinary equivalent would be that intricate recipe with 100 ingredients that takes 4 hours to prepare and leaves a huge mess in the kitchen. Enjoyable, but only on those days when you really feel like it. Lately, I’ve had no desire to continue tackling those, but I’ve engaged in quite a bit of comfort painting.

Step 1 - paint the background using a palette knife

Step 1 – paint the background using a palette knife

Step 2 - Add some of the foreground

Step 2 – Add some of the foreground

Step 3 - Continue building the foreground

Step 3 – Continue building the foreground

Finished Painting - Acrylic on three 12x16" canvases - Total size 36x16"

Finished Painting – Acrylic on three 12×16″ canvases – Total size 36×16″

Zoomed in Section

Zoomed in Section

Displayed in my room over my bed

Displayed in my room over my bed

I realize these paintings aren’t as interesting to look at as the non-comfort painting type, but while the thermometer is sitting at -39oC (that’s -38F for you American readers out there), I really can’t be bothered to do anything that requires thinking. So as the temperature rises, so will my painting creativity. Fingers crossed that happens soon. Ottawa, I’m over the cold. Let’s move on.

Hope you are all staying warm if you happen to be experiencing this lovely arctic-like weather.

What is your favorite comfort activity on such days? Or comfort food? As I’ve already mentioned, I enjoy comfort-painting, especially if it is paired with something warm and delicious from my crock-pot.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Oh Claude, you are so bright

Have you heard of Claude Monet? I sure hope so. If not, go Google him NOW. Trust me, he’s worth knowing. One of the greatest artists to ever exist. He’s not only brilliant in his painting, but also in his words.

“People discuss my art and pretend to understand as if it were necessary to understand, when it’s simply necessary to love.” – Claude Monet

I love this quote. Mainly because I can totally relate to it. I often don’t understand my own art. I don’t know why I did it, or what I was thinking as I did it, because truthfully, I wasn’t thinking and I just did it. Sometimes people want to discuss my art with me, and they attribute much more symbolism and meaning to it than I ever did. It’s actually quite impressive what others can come up with.

The Original Painting, that I did a few months ago

BEFORE: The original painting, that I did a few months ago

 

On that note, here is a painting I re-did over the holidays. Why? I have no idea. It just didn’t look “right” to me the way it was so I “fixed” it.

The "fixed" painting.

AFTER: The “fixed” painting.

So no need to discuss this one, just love.

When you go to art galleries, do you feel the need to discuss the paintings there and try to guess what the artist was thinking when he/she painted the piece? I’m the first one to admit, that I rarely do this and I am terrible at it when I try. I prefer walking around quietly and simply enjoying the paintings that are either pleasing to the eye or cause me to stop and wonder what is going on. I usually feel like a fake artist because I have nothing insightful to say. This stems from the fact that my own paintings rarely have some deep hidden meaning. Although I will admit, there are ones that do, and I will share those with you on this blog, however, that painting above…I just wanted it to be pleasing to the eye. I didn’t think about it, I just painted it.

Also, which one do you prefer? The before, or the after?

Happy Wednesday everyone.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Creativity – Nature versus Nurture?

I come from two very artistically creative parents. My dad is very talented with woodwork; he not only designed, but also built, just about every piece of furniture in my parent’s house, including the kitchen and all the bathrooms.

My mom on the other hand can knit and sew like it’s no one’s business! She grew up making a lot of her own clothes (by necessity more so than by choice) and still makes us curtains, throw pillows, and Halloween costumes, among other things. She openly does not enjoy doing these things, but she does them anyways and we love her for it!

A few months back, I came across a pattern on Pinterest for a very cute, girly, ruffly, apron. I e-mailed it to my mom, knowing she could easily make it. I never heard back so I assumed she simply didn’t want to make it. Understandable, since I am well aware of how much she dislikes sewing. My heart just about melted when I opened this on Christmas Eve (yes, we open presents on Christmas Eve here, not Christmas morning…).

Beautiful apron that my mom made for me.

Beautiful apron that my mom made for me.

I was beyond excited! I mean, how cute is it! And it’s purple too. Bonus. I think it’s too cute to wear cooking and risk getting dirty, so right now it is hanging on the wall in my kitchen.

She also made this one that was initially going to be a gift for someone else, but she didn’t think it looked good enough to gift, so she kept it for herself instead.

Here's my mom doing her second favorite thing other than sewing. Just kidding.

Here’s my mom doing her second favorite thing other than sewing. […sarcasm]

Pretty talented, no?! I will eventually show you some of the incredible things she has knit me over the years too.

Since I know how much my mom dislikes sewing (and cooking!) and yet she put in all that effort for Christmas, I gladly did another painting for her when she requested it. This one was for my parent’s bedroom, to hang over their bed. Like I’ve mentioned before in this post, my mom likes much different paintings than me. Knowing this, she was very clear what she wanted me to paint for her. Based on her instructions, this is what I came up with.

The finished product on five 10x30" canvases

The finished product on five 10×30″ canvases

Panel 1

Panel 1

Panel 2

Panel 2

Panel 3

Panel 3

Panel 4

Panel 4

Panel 5

Panel 5

The painting hung up in their bedroom.

The painting hung up in their bedroom.

Now back to the title of this post, do you believe that artistic creativity stems from our nature or nurture? I believe that nature has a lot to do with it. Before I could even understand the difference between the two, I know that I liked to create things. Because of this, I was always doing just that. This innate desire caused me to practice this skill over the years, which I am sure helped improve my creativity, however, had I not had that initial interest ingrained in me, I don’t think I would have ever practiced in the first place. So basically, our nature will often predict what we nurture.

On the other hand, I think if I didn’t have this interest and my parents tried to force me to do artistic things growing up, I would have only resented it. For example, I tried karate and I absolutely hated it. I’m athletic enough that I believe I could have gotten decent at it if I stayed in it, but I don’t think I ever would have grown to actually enjoy it and intrinsically want to pursue it.

What do you think on the nature versus nurture debate? What is something you always knew you enjoyed doing and thus pursued (or didn’t enjoy but did anyways) growing up?

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Merry Christmas Mom

Happy Monday friends!

Thank you to everyone who commented on the last post, whether on here or by text, Facebook, or e-mail. I absolutely love hearing your feedback.

If today is your first day back to work or school after a long break, than I wish you all the best. I head back to classes today, although lucky me, I only have one (Mechanical Vibration Analysis… sounds riveting, doesn’t it?!) since labs and tutorials don’t start until next week. This is also my last full semester of classes at the University of Ottawa so I’m excited to get it going and finally be one step closer to graduating.

As excited as I am to be back in Ottawa, I miss these people. - Family on Christmas Eve 2012

As excited as I am to be back in Ottawa, I miss these people. – Family on Christmas Eve 2012

Now back to Christmas gifts.

My mom and I have very different taste in art and decorating. She loves flowers (poppies specifically) and abstract art, whereas I pretty much like everything but those two things. However, when it comes to gifts, you have to know your audience, right? Right.

So for one of her Christmas presents, I combined those two things. She wanted something that could hang in their dining room, so I took a quick look at the color scheme there to make sure it would all match, and came out with these paintings.

The finished paintings. Acrylic on six 8x10" canvases.

The finished paintings. Acrylic on six 8×10″ canvases.

I realize there are no poppies in these paintings, but if you’ve seen their Living Room, you would know why. That avenue has already been entirely exhausted! There is no more room for poppies in that house!

1 2 3 4 5 6

The paintings hung in the dining room. They kind of match the place mats.

The paintings hung in the dining room. They even kind of match the place mats.

I have one more Christmas gift posting coming up for you guys in a few days, and then finally moving on to paintings of 2013. I’m pretty excited for the new year. I’ve got some great ideas for new paintings. Since I’ve been painting so much lately, my confidence has grown tremendously and I feel comfortable trying new things. Check back often to see what I come up with 😉

Also, if you like reading my blog and don’t want to miss posts since I blog on an irregular schedule, you can subscribe to my blog by e-mail. Scroll to the end of the panel on the right, and under the last tab, Follow Blog via Email, just click the Follow button and you will never miss a post.

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Childhood Flashback

Happy New Year friends! I hope you all welcomed the new year in style last night.

January 1st is a day when many of us set resolutions for the year ahead, and reflect back on the years past. I haven’t actually made any resolutions, but I did take a stroll down memory lane the other day.

Looking back into my childhood, there are 3 things that instantly jump out: (1) Arts and Crafts, (2) Full House, and (3) Super Mario World, in that order. In primary school, I pretty much lived in the Arts and Crafts corner. My favorite “toys” growing up were my coloring books and sets of colored pencils and markers. I never wanted to share these prized possessions. And I mean never!

That's me in the Arts and Crafts corner doing my thing in Grade 1

That’s me in the Arts and Crafts corner doing my thing in Grade 1

The only exception was with my fellow arts and crafts lover/next-door-neighbour/best friend, Evelina. We grew up together and pretty much spent all day every day doing some kind of arts and crafts. To this day, she is probably the only one who truly understands how much I enjoyed enjoy art.

My 5th Birthday Party. Those crowns that we're all wearing...we made those at the party lol

My 5th Birthday Party. Those crowns that we’re all wearing…we made those at the party at the arts and crafts table. Shocking.

I was always (secretly) jealous of her because I thought that she was much better at it than me so a few weeks ago when she told me that all she wants from me for Christmas is a painting, I was actually so humbled. In my eyes, it was like Picasso asking me to paint him something. I asked her for to list of her 5 favorite paintings of mine so that I knew more or less what she liked.

I first did a quick sketch on a 10×30″ canvas, and then used a palette knife to paint a background.

Can you guess what it's going to be?

Can you guess what it’s going to be?

Then I painted in the couple and the umbrella, added street lamps, and reflections on the ground as well as some shading onto the background. Low and behold, here is the finished product!

10x30" - Acrylic on Canvas

10×30″ – Acrylic on Canvas

And here’s a side view. As usual, I extended the painting along the edges so it doesn’t need a frame.

side

One of Evelina’s gifts to me literally made me laugh out loud. She got me a “glitter-by-number” arts and crafts set. Our childhood revolved around things like these, and she said that when she saw this at HomeSense, she immediately thought of me and had to get it. Not a word of a lie, I cracked it open as soon as I got home and probably enjoyed myself too much!

And yes, there is now glitter EVERYWHERE. And I mean everywhere!

And yes, there is now glitter EVERYWHERE. And I mean everywhere!

I know I said I didn’t make any resolutions for 2013, but after writing this, I’ve decided to make one: I’d like to embrace doing things I enjoy. Such as this. No shame. haha

Did you make a new years resolution? If so what?

What are some of your favorite childhood memories?

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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London Ladies – Take 2

London Ladies? That sounds a little familiar now, doesn’t it?

You’re right, I have done this before. If you remember my post from Reading Week, I featured a painting that I called London Ladies. I didn’t talk much about it on the blog, but I painted that one for myself, of myself with my 3 best girl friends from London.

From left: Gill, me, Steph, Mouna

From left: Gill, me, Steph, Mouna

I grew up in London with these fabulous ladies (hence the appropriate title for the painting). I have known Gill and Mouna since the 4th grade, and met Steph in the 9th grade. Let me tell you a bit about the stars of this painting.

Gillian Heisz, CA, is the chartered accountant of the group. So we would expect her to be very organized, proper, and boring, right?. While she certainly is the first two, boring she is not! She is so funny without even trying (seriously, you are!), and also classy, confident, elegant and caring. Think Samantha Jones, but slightly less kinky…or at least, I assume… In the painting, she is wearing a simple blue dress, which in real life suits her perfectly. Simple, elegant, beautiful without trying too hard. That’s my Gill 🙂

Did I mention that she is gorgeous? Oh yeah, she is gorgeous, and single!

Did I mention that she is gorgeous? Boys, get in line!

Next in the painting, is me. I’m not going to dwell about myself here, but I’ll just mention the outfit choice. If you know me at all, you probably know that I tend to gravitate towards pink or purple clothes… That may be the understatement of the century. So appropriately, I’m wearing a purple dress in the painting.

I was shocked to find no pictures of me in purple...but pink is close enough and there are plenty of those!

I was shocked to find no pictures of me in purple…but pink is close enough and there are plenty of those!

The girl in the red dress would be my beautiful friend Stephanie Buono. We met on the first day of the 9th grade in our English class and I was immediately drawn to her laugh. If you’ve heard it, you know what I mean! It is ridiculous contagious and funny on it’s own. Not only funny, she is also super smart, caring, supportive, and appropriately studying to be a psychologist. She was my first ever roommate and we went through some rather interesting (think horrifying) experiences together in ‘Susie’ (what we named our apartment) which will probably haunt us both forever. I painted her in a cute red dress because she wears red often, and it looks great on her.

And she also has the best wardrobe ever! How cute is that dress?!

And she also has the best wardrobe ever! How cute is that dress?!

And last but certainly not least, we have the fabulous Mouna Hanna. The painting I’m going to feature in this post is actually painted for her, to put in her new apartment when she moves to Toronto. Mouna is the very successful lawyer of the bunch, and just got offered a new job in TO (congrats!). I could say so many great things about this girl, and have so many memories growing up with her that I actually don’t know where to start! I’ll summarize it by saying that she is just awesome 🙂 Seriously, the best! Funny, gorgeous, intelligent, loves wearing black, and has the most incredible shoe collection. Look closely in the painting, and you’ll notice the signature red soles that Mouna is lucky enough to own several pairs of.

You can't see the shoes, but they're probably Louboutin's

You can’t see the shoes, but they’re probably Louboutin’s

If you’re still reading, then you get a gold star, because this has been one long post, and I haven’t even made it to the painting I’m featuring yet! So here goes. This is London Ladies – Take 2, painted specially for Mouna.

As always, I started with a background, done with a palette knife on an 18×24″ gallery wrapped canvas.

background

If you’re wondering where I initially got the inspiration for the color scheme of this background, check out my shirt.

Colour Inspiration

Next, I added the abstract buildings of the background. If you look closely, you can see some chalk guidelines that I drew to the central focal point. I usually wipe off any that are left once I’m done.

Building up the background

Building up the background

Then came my favorite part: adding the stars of the show! I rearranged the order this time, because I wanted Mouna in the middle since the painting is for her.

From left, Steph, Gill, Mouna, and me

From left, Steph, Gill, Mouna, and me

And the finished painting:

London Ladies - Take 2

London Ladies – Take 2

This one is slightly bigger than the original one, and I put some more definition into the background buildings. Here is a side to side comparison.

Preference?

Preference?

To give you a better idea of the size, here is one with reference to my bed (which is either a queen or a double..)

I had to make my bed for this photoshoot...

I had to make my bed for this photoshoot…

Lastly, here is a side view. I used a 1.5″ deep canvas instead of the typical 0.75″ for more drama. I want this to be more of a statement piece than the original one. This also means it looks better unframed, since the painting is extended along the edges.

Side view

Well there she is! I hope you like it Mouna, and I can’t wait to see it in your new home.

Side note: Today is my fabulous mom’s birthday, so if you happen to be lucky enough to see her, please give her a giant hug and kiss from me. I won’t say how old she is, but let’s just say she is getting dangerously close to 50 (but doesn’t look a day over 20, right?!). Mom, Happy Birthday!!! You are the best and I love you beyond words. Can’t wait to see you in 15 days when I’m home!

Happy Birthday

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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All or Nothing

If you’ve never heard of Leonid Afremov then you need to do yourself a huge favor and google him asap! He is a Russian–Israeli modern impressionistic artist who works mainly with a palette knife and oils. He has a very unique style and it is unmistakable. Oh, and just amazingly beautiful. Seriously. Beyond words. Unlike most artists who have to die before they become famous, he is still alive! Bonus. Needless to say, I am a huge fan of his work and am constantly inspired by it. Here is an example, courtesy of Wikipeida.

Leonid Afremov and his painting of the Venice Canal

If you can’t beat them, join them, right?! Well that was my inspiration for this next painting. I figured he’s doing something right so I might as well learn from it. So I can’t take all the credit for this painting… a huge shout out goes to Mr. Afremov.

I started out with a very rough outline for the background. Basically just getting some colour on the canvas.

Slowly started building up the background, added trees and some more colour overall.

Next I added some lamp posts

Then some light!

Lastly, I added some more trees and a couple under an umbrella.

This painting looks great unframed because of the depth

18×24″ Acrylic on Canvas. Here it is relative to my bed, to give you an idea of the size.

Zoomed in on the couple under an umbrella

Zoomed in on some trees.

Zoomed in on the lamp posts

 

So I think this concludes my “rain” paintings, at least for now.

On a side note, I tend to have two extremes in life: all or nothing. I either love you completely, or you are totally indifferent to me. You get all of my time and attention, or none of it. I’ve noticed this coming out through my art as well. For starters, I went from painting almost never (maybe 2-3 paintings a year) to pretty much pumping out 2-3 a week! I just can’t get enough of it lately. It has been such a tremendous stress reliever and the amazing feedback from everyone has been very motivating as well. I woke up this morning at 5:30am (even though my alarm was set to 7:30am) and pretty much jumped out of bed and painted until 7:30am (which is when I completed the above painting).

I don’t know how long this enthusiasm will last, but for now I’m just going to go with it and paint. Since let’s face it, there are far worse things I could be spending a big chunk of my time doing.

Ironically, this same “all or nothing” approach to life has prevented me from painting in the past. The last couple years I’ve been super busy, taking 6-7 classes per semester (another example of my all-or-nothing approach to life) so even though I often felt like painting, I would always talk myself out of it justifying that a 1 hour break is not enough time to paint, and it’s not even worth starting if I can’t finish it. In retrospect, it probably would have been a great way to take my mind off school work.

So what changed now? With only 4 classes this semester (by default, since that’s all I have left 🙂 ) I found myself with more spare time than I am used to. I considered getting a part time job, but then had a light bulb moment and thought that I’ve always loved painting but never felt I had enough time to fully pursue it. What better time than now? And honestly, I couldn’t be happier with my decision!

I seam to have gone off on a tangent here. What I originally wanted to get to is that life is about balance. I constantly have to remind myself that. So bringing that back to painting, how about only 1 more “rain” painting this year? Sounds good to me!

Anyone else struggle with finding balance?

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Don’t Want to Ruin My Shoes

Yup, another “Rain Painting”. Brace yourselves…

I like doing these because they allow me to just go to town with a palette knife. Don’t have to worry about staying in the lines, or being too exact, and after a long day at school, it is my favorite way to unwind. This one is similar to Rain, Rain, Go Away and Best Buds  but it is spanned across three 12×16″ canvases, making it three times as great!

As usual, I started off with a quick background.

Background using a palette knife on three 12×16″ canvases

Once that was dry, I drew some guidelines of the buildings in the background with some white chalk. Then proceeded to colour them in.

Finally, I added street lamps, a picture of a man holding a woman in his arms, who is holding an umbrella over them, and I added some highlights to the background. And voila!

To give you an idea of the size, I took a picture with my bed as a reference. It’s a double bed (or maybe a Queen…I’m not quite sure).

Close up of the left panel

Close up of the middle panel

Close up of the right panel. Do you recognize the buildings on the hill? Hint* in Ottawa, on a hill…
 

Zoomed in on the couple in the rain

View from the bottom. All the edges are painted so no frame is necessary.

So what inspired this painting, you ask? Well I bought a new dress this past weekend (okay, actually I bought 2…) and I have nowhere to wear it. It is pretty and red, just like the girl’s in the painting. Maybe if I wear it, a knight in shining armor will whisk me off my feet! In the rain, of course.

I’ve got three other paintings on the go right now (and only one of them has anything to do with rain) so hopefully I can finish those soon and share them with you here. School is getting a little busy right now since it is almost exam time, so I may be MIA for awhile.

I’m also working on 2 commissioned pieces, but won’t be able to share those with you until after the holidays, since the people who asked me to paint them would like to give them as a Christmas gift. I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise since it might be for YOU!

Happy Wednesday folks 🙂 Anyone started Christmas shopping yet?

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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