The Geographic :: Week Three

Blank canvases + clean slates felt good last week, but this week? Well, they felt a little intimidating.

So I dug in.

Painted on nine of them during the first part of the week.


Created a color palette that I would use for the Valley Ford paintings.

Decided I would name each painting based on the words I'd been accumulating in my art journal for the project over the last few months.

No. 1 - Dry


No. 2 - Not yet named and has morphed into an experimental test canvas. 


No. 3 - Blackout


No. 4, 5, 6, 7 + 8 are not named yet.


No. 9 - is another experimental canvas that I'm playing around with using liquid acrylics and I will explore a color palette for the Bodega Bay series of paintings.


Talking with my Professor this week, we talked about falling down the rabbit-hole of inspiration that is Instagram and she suggested taking a break from it and self-referencing my own work and style. 

This made a lot of sense to me because I have been feeling a lot of visual over-stimulation lately. I'm inspired by EVERYTHING and that feels overwhelming.


Looking at my own drawings and work I've done at home would be a good place to start. She also suggested I consider my own personal style; from what I choose to wear for color to the shapes of my accessories. I agree that I need to develop a style as a painter, so if I self-reference and figure out what I like and why, then I can develop a confidence around that. This makes sense to me.


Originally I thought these landscapes would be abstract, but resemble real landscapes - now I'm not so sure. Perhaps the landscapes I'm exploring are more the landscapes of my mind or my memories - darker and really abstract in nature. 

 I don't know where it's headed, but I do know that it has to evolve on its own.


No. 9, 10, 11 (from the bottom up) are more Bodega Bay experiments using liquid acrylics. 


No. 2 - by the end of the week, my experimental "test canvas" morphed into this and I love it. I used a palette knife to apply the paint in horizontal bands and like the effect, as well as the underpainting coming through the layers. I like the imperfections a bunch and think I'll try working with more horizontal layers in paintings No. 6, 7 and 8 next week.


These (above image) were the fruits of my labor during my second painting session of the week. 


No. 3 - Blackout - I applied a base of colors last week using an old plastic Anthropologie customer loyalty card (that looks like a credit card) as my make-shift paintbrush. Then I applied black circles using black Dr. Martin's Ink and a calligraphy pen + nib. I like how the circles are imperfect and wonky. 


By week's end, I felt like progress was made.

Blank canvases were no longer blank.

A color palette was being established.

Self-reflection had kicked into high gear.

Having 11 paintings in progress feels good. However, I'll need to go much bigger if I'm going to fill a few walls in a gallery come June, so next week I'll be purchasing much larger canvases and starting this process all over again. 

The Geographic :: Week Two


This week, I needed to create a color study using blues and greens for The Geographic project.


Inspiration came to me in a dream this week. I like when it visits me in this way.

The colors in my journal are the ones I'll use for the Valley Ford paintings.

The colors (below) will be used for the Bodega Bay paintings.


I started small in an effort not to overwhelm myself.


But small can feel limiting and harder than just going for it on a big canvas.


It's a rough start.

The Valley Ford color palette will consist of greens, blues, golds + ochre, whites and pinks.


Acrylics will be used for the under-paintings.


It feels good to be back in the painting studio at school, again, and working with my professor.

This week I'm taking a closer look at artists that I admire and whose work inspires me. 

Heather Chontos has bold color choices and strong, confident brush strokes. I love everything about her work.

Rouge   22" x 30" acrylic wash, gouache and ink on paper  Heather Chontos    


22" x 30" acrylic wash, gouache and ink on paper
Heather Chontos


I love Karine Leger's mark-making, the repetition and wonky geometric shapes. Also the softness of it, as well as they layering.

Tout atour - 36 x 36 - acrylique sur toile  Karine Leger    

Tout atour - 36 x 36 - acrylique sur toile
Karine Leger


Heather Day's use of the color blue, as well as her sketchbooks and creative process fascinate me.

Souvenir #44  7" × 5", ACRYLIC SOFT-PASTEL INK ON PAPER, 2017  Heather Day      

Souvenir #44

Heather Day


I'm a big, big fan of Meredith Bullock's work. She uses vivid colors, bold marks and weaves in her narrative about losing her mother and becoming a mother. She's my favorite.

A close friend sent me a sweet text last week and simply said she saw my new project, was looking forward to watching it unfold and that she hoped it wouldn't be too sad for me. 

It made me pause and think. Would this work make me sad?

It most likely will, but I'm okay with that.


I'm actually looking forward to diving back into those foggy memories and tapping into how I used to feel during those drinking years. I'll use mark-making and paint to create work that epitomizes the mood that lived inside of me during those turbulent times. Processing these feelings actually helps me grow and see that they were not all bad; they are informing the woman I am today about how to continue moving through this world. I no doubt will learn a lot about myself throughout this semester.

I love when art can stir up and evoke an emotional response. That's actually one of my favorite things about making it.

I opted to work outside yesterday.


I love the meditative process of prepping canvases, taping off edges and applying a fresh clean coat of gesso.


Blank canvases.

New beginnings.

Infinite possibilities.


3 - 8 x 8 inches
3 - 6 x 12 x 1.5 inches
1 - 18 x 24 inches

Hardwood panels will serve to symbolize my solid foundation in sobriety and where I'm at today. It's because of my current recovery that I can look back at my drinking in a healthy, positive way and glean what I need to off the top of those memories.


I love the newness of a project.

All of the ideas flooding in at once.

All the notebooks. Always.


The shapes I'll use, as well as the color palette, will directly reflect my moods and memories from those years when I drank to soothe myself and make me more comfortable in my own skin. When I drank like I used to, I was using alcohol as a way of softening the hard edges of my anxiety and as a way to bare the painful newness of motherhood.