I want to stay up late but I am realizing that I am more productive in the morning… now what?
This is my Everest people…how do I wake UP in the morning? How do you wake up? No really, HOW do you do it? Because I need help. I saw one YouTuber, who made a video of her alarm clock with tiny boxing gloves. The device would hit her in the head until she got up. Yup, she gets it. I need something like that. My family is helping and seeing progress in my paintings helps too. Still a boxing glove alarm clock would do wonders…
I am making progress. I used to stay up till 3 am but I realized (2 days ago), that I also get anxious late at night. I love the night because it is quiet. That part is blissful but it is hard to have a breakfast meeting if someone wants to do that. People never ask to meet at 1:00 am or I would rule the world! Now, that I am becoming more in demand, I have to keep better hours.
The Big, Fat Plan
Go to the gym – check, one day a week, hmm, I should probably change that
Get tired- wiped by 9 pm, in bed by 12 am, it used to be 3 am! Yippee
Pre-pack – Yes, 75% of the time I am doing this so I can paint in the morning
Keep a yellow legal pad – write it down and cross it off
Use a wall calendar – See what is on the horizon
So Now What?
Well, just keep moving in the same direction. Morning still life paintings and soon morning beach paintings too. Any tips you can give me would be great!
What a time we had at The Old Mill on October 6th, Sunday. Thank you, to the parents, individuals and kids for joining in our Family Draw Day. There was even a gallery wall where people donated their artwork. It was fun to see the gallery fill up with the day’s artwork. There was a lot variety and style!
Demonstrations give you new ideas
The above is my demonstration piece. I decided to work in one color because it is all about values. Contrast your darks and lights to create drama! Step back and simplify your work but above all, bepositive because drawing takes work. It can be expressive, funny, delicate or bold, just keep trying.
Any last words of encouragement?
Something NOT to do ( yes, I did this one), is to compare yourself to the masters. You will run screaming and never try again! You’re really looking at decades of their hard work. Even the masters had to start somewhere.
Keep a eye out for more fun activities
Finally, a big thank you to Gary Spisak, the Education Director for the California Art Club. Gary put this adventure together, I helped a little. I hope to see you soon. Feel free, to send your drawings to www.LisaMahonyFineArt.com or, to www.CaliforniaArtClub.org, we love seeing new artwork.
It is always more fun and motivating to paint with others. Thank you, California Art Club, for scheduling events. I painted this at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center on Sunday September 29th 2019. Not only did they schedule a paint out but they had a duel oil demonstration with Rodolfo Rivademar and Lilliana Simanton. I watched both for a while then I toured The Muck to see the California Art Club’s Autumn exhibit. Both the demos and the exhibition were great. Suddenly, I was no longer tired. I ran to the car (in a dignified manner) and started on Rodolfo’s Demonstration.
Why do you like paintingin plein air (outdoors) with others?
I love seeing other peoples’ gear, which mediums they use and loaning out a jacket or a wad of shop towels, so they can continue. The camaraderie is also vital. I know my husband and two daughters are bored by talking about linen vs. canvas or which brand of paint is best, but your fellow artists can tell you what they like and why.
Why not just stay in the studio?
It is important seeing how artists start a painting. I can ask questions at the demonstrations, see how they make their strokes, what mixes they make and even how they hold their brushes. I can talk with other artists and find out how they start. Do they jump right in? Tone their canvas or sketch first? No matter how they start, it allows me to determine if I am painting in the most efficient and joyous way.
Why is it important to staypositive?
Hey, it’s not easy dragging all of your gear out, finding a spot or motivating yourself to paint. Sometimes, nothing works but keep positive about it. Focus on one positive thing, “I made new friends and I did my best” is usually what I keep telling myself, if I am having a crummy day. No matter what, become a cheerleader for yourself and others and guide conversations towards a positive outcome. Why? Because it is easier to stay in bed. It’s harder to become disciplined. Keep doing your best, no matter what you do!
or one woman’s journey down the rabbit hole of organization
“The great artist is the simplifier. “
Vincent Van Gogh
The above painting was recently found in my archives. This painting has everything I love about painting outdoors. It is loose, confident and dramatic. This is a sneak peak as I am working on a title and it will soon be entered in an upcoming show. It is low resolution, before the final signature.
Painting is how I express myself. What is your favorite way to communicate? Is it through music, storytelling or baking? By the way, if it is cooking, I could really use some help. Cooking is so boring to me. Apparently, our youngest nicknamed our skinny cat Stir Fry. I thought it is because he is so skittish, “No, it is because it reminds me of your cooking, burnt”. Well, I can’t argue with that, he does resembles burnt rice. Reading about painting while cooking is apparently not the best way to cook, who knew?
Wait, weren’t we talking about cleaning the Studio?
Right, right one of my goals is to become more organized. It is a process. I have attempted this many times but now I am cleaning out the studio. There are a lot of old paintings, sketches and experiments that are no longer where I see my paintings going.
Experimentation used to be a big part of my process but it also slowed me down. My focus is working on composition, mood, brushstrokes, glazing, all to create more interesting paintings. Once I decided that was my goal, it started getting easier. So, now I work primarily in oil, with a little gouache on the side for miniature work. Acrylic is what I use for warm ups and with my students.
So what is the problem?
Focus is my problem! To fight this monster, I decided to go back to the basics and use a combination of low and high tech tools to help me. I know these are simplistic but if I can concentrate on painting, instead of looking for the next submission deadline, or where my notes are on a painting spot, that clears my head and lets me concentrate on what I need to do.
Make a plan!
Here is my super secret formula:
Yellow legal pad – write it down and cross it off this is so satisfying
Clear out the almosts – some of my old work had to go but anything that started a flood of images, I photographed it before tossing it. It could become a super painting yet!
Use the computer for good – creating files, labeling images, blogging and journaling. Basically anything to get me away from loose paper and make it findable.
Keep the best of the best -date it, bubble wrap it and take high quality pictures to keep on hand for upcoming shows. Also keep a log of where it is.
Develop a critical eye – this is getting easier by asking myself questions. What do I find exciting to paint? What time of day? What type of scenes? Listening to people at receptions and getting critiqued by other artists are all part of the journey.
Journaling – self discovery is hard work but writing really helps me focus
Enter shows early – I am excited about the next upcoming show to put this strategy in use. My computer was incredibly slow, due to all of my pictures and it used to be full of viruses (6). My husband cleaned it and 8 hours later it works! I missed two deadlines because of it.
Use a wall calendar – I resisted this for years but I now have a big ugly calendar and it is helpful.
Digital calendar – yeah, it feels redundant but it helps with using the alarms and reminders.
Framing supplies – keep extra supplies on hand so in case one frame gets damaged you can use the next one and repair the other one later.
Thanks for stopping by, and share your stories with me, I would love to know how you organize your projects, who knows, it could help.
Painting is hard. Don’t make it harder by reciting negative mantras.
No one starts out hating art
When we first started painting, we were full of wonder. Swirling paint, mixing colors and creating storylines was enchanting. We made all the things we loved: trees, rainbows and smiling people holding hands.
Then we look around and spy some one doing it better. That’s all it takes to cast doubt and our creative spark wobbles.
The truth is that the amazingly gifted kid, simply put pink flowers in the foreground of a dark painting.
All of this happens in grade school! So when your seven year old shows you the painting he made, he worked on it just as hard as you did at your job that day. Take a moment and say something intelligent. Ask him why he chose that color or ask him to tell you the story of his painting. Listen and learn.
We are all learning so be nice to yourself, celebrate your victories. Getting your gear together is a victory. Organizing the studio is a victory. Get into the habit of complimenting yourself, your friends, the mail carrier, a waitress because we all need a little happiness to continue. That way, when someone compliments your work you won’t be thrown off balance. Say thank you and how much you appreciate the compliment. Anything but, do you really think so? I messed up the water and the trees are all leaning to the left.
Wow, that wasn’t what anyone expected to hear. I whoop or hop, sometimes I do a little dance. Sure it looks mad but I am experiencing joy, so why not?
People have come up to me and asked me who I am talking to? This usually happens when I am working out a tricky bit. I laugh and tell them what I am actually doing.
Look, people don’t know how to talk to artists and their only references are from sitcoms and their friends that paint to relax.
I tell them. I am trying to pick out a color for the shady side of the rocks that is a bit surprising and fun.
It is so wonderful being awake and painting late at night. No one stops by selling me services, no cars are honking and even the dogs dream. Blissful silence.
This painting just got accepted into Harbor Gallery & Gifts in Ventura Harbor Village. It will be hung on September 27th.
The painting is 11 x 14” and is oil on panel. It’s wonderfully gushy and swirly. .
Nocturne’s are really my thing now they are just so yummy.
A nocturne was first a musical term. Now, it is also a painting term. I am part owl, so it works for me.
I painted this while a couple was Pokemon hunting and we visited for 20 minutes. We had a nice chat. Then I did another version in the studio. Now I am off to bed so I can look fabulous for my acrylic demo today at 2 pm. Thanks for stopping by.
I will post more when I choose the perfect frame to compliment this piece.
Wow, what a place this is! It’s hard to believe that I’ve grown up in Los Angeles County and now, live in Ventura County but I’ve never visited this place! It is astounding to see the variety, care and planning they’ve put into creating the gardens.
I’ll post even more pictures later. Here is what I am working on first. Then I’ll be back tomorrow! Really, it’s 127 acres of sheer beauty.
Do you know what arboretum means? Woody plants. That’s what it used to be- trees and shrubs.
When I asked for directions from Siri, he asked (haha, I changed Siri to a man), “Did you mean- LA County Arboretum & Botanical Gardens?” Yeah, that one. They had to add botanical garden because it is so much more than trees and shrub now. There are flowering plants, exotic plants and er, crazy looking plants. More later.
Psst, Don’t forget about my demo on Sunday in Santa Paula California, at 963 Santa Barbara St., in the Old Train Depot. We will be on the top floor and the demo will be from 2 PM and go till 4 PM with a nice snack break in between. I’ll even bring some small paintings that will be for sale.
It is starting to look like a painting graveyard over here. I keep lying to myself and promising to finish that one tomorrow. That ended yesterday! My paintings are taking too long, that’s the big problem. I have had a steady year of improving my artwork. Reading, getting critiques, studying the masters and asking a lot of questions. I have even been selling, winning awards and my first demo is Saturday at 2-4pm 963 Santa Barbara St. I will tell you secrets during my acrylic demo and teach you how to paint happy.
Now that it is September, it is time to complete my plein air journey. I need to get ready for my ultimate goal of doing 2 to three paintings a day on location. Can I do it? I am going to do everything I can to reach that year end goal. So it starts now. Actually it started yesterday.
I can only use oil paint outdoors so this is a great challenge for me. At home I have an outdoor studio! When I carry my paint in my car I keep it in a sealed container. OK on with the show.
I hope you are enjoying your summer, I know I am. August is almost over and I am looking ahead to tell you what’s coming up. Great things are on the horizon and I am grateful to be doing so much. Here is the run down.
I just made my first logo from scratch! That was a hard one to think of what says YOU in one image. I picked what I wear often, my blue beret. This has started a lot of conversations and says, ta-da, I’m here! Kids love my beret and it is a way for other artists to recognize me and introduce themselves. I try and wear it when I don’t need a giant sunhat. Paint outs can be so hot! I also wear it when I use my iPad to digitally paint in museums, at the park and in a mall. I don’t shop at the mall, unless you count me shopping for figures. I could be drawing you right now.
August 28th- I was lied to! I was told by one ranger, a month ago, that McGrath State Beach was open, since there wasn’t any more rains. So, I scheduled it for my Plein Air Wednesday group. It was not open. It happens unfortunately. Nobody went, phew. I had to run out to Ventura anyways , so I ended up painting at a friend’s house in gouache. Painting with friends is better than painting alone. This is a little gouache painting in under 30 minutes. Later that night I started an oil painting. I am giddy with excitement to share but it is in its ugly duckling stage right now. Tomorrow I will finish at least one oil painting to share with you.
August 30th – I will be painting rural scenes tomorrow! I am hoping to get up early enough to meet some of my neighbors.
August 31st – Gouache on the Go! My Saturday morning class at the Ventura Botanical Gardens There are some spots left, buy the whole gouache kit, or bring a watercolor sketchbook and intense pencils or watercolor pencils and paint with me. I love teaching people how to enjoy painting. Use the link to sign up.
Upcoming in September
September 8th – Lisa Mahony’s Acrylic Demonstration will be at The Depot in Santa Paula. I was asked to demonstrate by the Santa Paula Society for the Arts on September 8th at 2 p.m. Join me if and learn how a working artist starts a painting, keep her energy up and creates something before your eyes. I have been winning awards, get accepted to shows and selling. This year, has been my best year yet. Are you looking for a teacher? This is a great opportunity to see if you would like to study with me. Plus, I will also have some acrylic paintings for sale. You never know what you’ll find, it could be just the piece you were looking for!
September 10th- Old Mill art reception 5:30-7:30 p.m. The link takes you to the official California Art Club Exhibition page, our group show is the second one. I am honored to be showing with this prestigious group. The Old Mill’s address is 1120 Old Mill Rd, San Marino, CA 91108
September 15th is the last day for our Member’s Show. Come Sail with Me, oil on canvas. This beauty will be on exhibit at Harbor Gallery and Gifts . Come see it in a gallery setting, by far the best way to see a painting. This painting won a merit award and people have been asking about it as well. I suggest, seeing it in person, otherwise it comes home with me. At that point, I will look for another gallery to show it in. My July, Outstanding merit winner, found a new home and also was in The Breeze newspaper. Thank you, to all of my collectors. It is one of the reasons I paint; creating pieces that connect with people.
Did you ever want to paint out in nature? Does it seem interesting? Painting is a great way to spend time outdoors and it can be simple. Join me Saturday August 31st, 2019 and I will show you how fun it can be.
What Time? We can meet down at the gate at 9:00 am and walk up or drive up
Where? Ventura Botanical Gardens, located directly behind Ventura City Hall.
When: August 31st. The class starts at 9:30 am. You can walk up with me at the gate through the Chilean Garden up to Summit Pavilion or you can park on Brakey. All of the directions are on the website.