Friday, December 16, 2011

What to do with your lame paintings....

Make cards or gift tags out of your lame paintings...

Robert Genn suggests burning your paintings that miss the mark... but I have another idea.

You can vent your frustrations by taking scissors or a craft knife to the paintings and then re-purposing them....

Gift tags

Make up some gift tags by cutting out some simple shapes and glue or tape them together. (I used double stick tape) The "To: and From:" can be written on the flip side with a sharpie marker.

christmas card

...or make some cards by cutting out ornament shapes and hanging them on a tree branch drawn with colored pencils. (The "bad painting" ornaments can be cut out of canvas as well as paper.)

You can make the card by quarter folding a piece of printer paper. The envelopes are "invitation" size and can be purchased at any office supply store.

So instead of a bonfire...(though that sounds sort of good on this snowy, chilly day)

...snip snip snip... glue glue glue and spread some holiday cheer.

Friday, November 18, 2011

No Peeking While Drawing

Blind Contour Drawing.... What it is... and how it can help you!

Blind contour drawing is drawing the outside edges of something, without looking at the paper.  Let your eyes travel the edges of your subject, and let your pencil match the speed of your eyes. It's almost a trust exercise with yourself. The hardest part about it is NOT LOOKING!

blind contour coffee cup
Put on your non-judgmental hat... seriously, you'll need it. :)

And why would anyone want to do this exercise?

Because it trains your eyes to really look at the edges of something, and you'll probably end up with some very interesting drawings that you can then develop into some very interesting paintings!

blind contour piggy
Click here for more detailed instruction.

My friend and fantastic artist, Margaret Stermer-Cox, introduced me to "Blind Contour Friday's."  She's very dedicated to maintaining and improving her drawing skills with daily practice. If you want to improve quickly, daily drawing is the very best way to go about it. Check out what she does here.

Thanks for letting me share your terrific blog here, Peggy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Honoring Honor...a fundraiser

“Once upon a time, there was an artist living in Honor, Michigan. (ummmm that would be ME) She read about the Honor Area Restoration project (HARP), a group of citizens that were dedicated to making things better where they lived. “How can I help?” she asked herself. Her skill was art making, so she decided to do a series of paintings depicting local scenes and the “Honoring Honor” series was born. $5 from every print;$3 from each note card set; and 50 cents from each individual card sold,will be donated directly to HARP.”
Click HERE if you are interested in buying a print or note-card of the images pictured. Or maybe forward the link to anyone you know that vacations here! THANK YOU!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Look Ma, No Palette! Painting directly with the tube

I came across this idea in a book called "Watercolor Wisdom" by Jo Taylor. (
See the book here.) It's a really fun way to start off a painting.
First, you might want to have some idea of where your light, medium and dark values will go... then squeeze and drag the pure gooey pigment along some of the edges... (or you could use a palette knife)
Gooey pigment right on top of watercolor paper

Next, load a big brush with just water, and stroke the drippy brush over the wet paint, mixing the colors on the paper. Keep adding clean water (rinse your brush) to the moist paint on the paper, pushing and mixing the colors in the direction you want them to go.

 I added some scraping too, in the example below. It's not quite finished... but is a good start to finish up later!

Next time you are scratching your head trying to decide what to paint... grab a couple of tubes of paint and draw with them directly onto the paper... Then all you need add is water!

Friday, October 28, 2011

5 things to try when a painting isn't working

When something is bothering you with a painting and you just can't put your finger on what it is......
What do you do?
Well, these are some of the things I do...

1.  Look at the painting in a mirror. It's amazing how all of a sudden the 'errors of your ways' becomes apparent.

2.  Look at your painting upside down... and if you are working with a reference image, turn that upside down too. BINGO!  Your inaccuracy's are somehow easier to spot in the "inverted position". (nod to Top Gun)

3.  Take a digital photo and look at it on the computer... I don't know why this works... but I can't tell you the number of times I go to post an image, and whoa... I can spot an error or area of a painting that needs a bit more work before posting.

4.  Once you have the image on the computer... If you have any photo editing software... play around with your wacky ideas on the virtual painting... This method is especially helpful for me if I have a lot of hours into a piece...You can be very bold and try all those "what if's" without actually touching the painting. Some very creative solutions can happen this way.

5.  Start a critique group.... This is a group of artists (not necessarily all painters) that schedule meetings to do a sort of "show and tell." If you're stuck... Your critique group friends will help you sort out what's wrong. They also cheer you on, and motivate you with their efforts.  I really miss my critique buddies since we've moved.  sniff sniff. But this is such a valuable group (both personally and professionally) that I'll be sure to find like minded peeps here in northern MI.  It's a goal.

This photo has nothing to do with the article I just posted... but the berries this year are glorious and I wanted to share. :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Midnight Bouquet

I had started this one as a demo for my Acrylic 101 class at Crystal Lake Art Center... and finished it last week. Kind of a fun color combo. The painting started on a purple and magenta background, and I think that's why the colors seem to glow. I just put this one up for sale on Etsy if you're interested.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Gouache Ink Resist... Peterson Road Beach

And here's the newest gouache ink resist painting..."Peterson Beach." 
This beach is a nice 40 minute walk from our house over to Lake Michigan...My plan for these gouache ink resist pieces, is to offer prints and cards, giving a portion of the money to HARP. (Honor Area Restoration Project) I'll be sure to let you know all about it as the series unfolds. :)

Color Inspiration...


On Friday's I'm going to publish some of the "idea sparklers" from my weekly newsletter. These are painting ideas for you to use in your own work. Happy Friday!
From August 2010 newsletter....

"Today's Idea spark-ler is from a blog post I wrote last summer...I'm inspired by my surroundings, and think that this is a fun way to decide your palette for a painting session....Here's an excerpt from the post:"On my walk yesterday morning, I found this gorgeous lichen (see photo below) growing on a branch that fell into the driveway. I just loved the colors of it and decided that I wanted to use those colors for this painting... So my palette was chosen by nature.... so far.I try not to box myself in with these early  decisions....It's a starting point. If the painting works within this palette, great! But if I decide to go in a different color direction, that's OK too....The main thing is to just start somewhere! Put that brush to paper and GO!"

keep climbing in progress

Fast Forward almost a year... I really loved that 'start' from last year (pictured above)... and arguably could have stopped there...But it wasn't meant to be... Here's where I ended up with it. And since it won an honorable mention in the ArtCenter of Traverse City's "It's not just material" show last month...It was meant to be re-worked. :) hehehe"

Keep Climbing

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Fun... groceries are not just for eating

I'm starting a new thing... On Friday's I'm going to publish some of the "idea sparklers" from my weekly newsletter. These are painting ideas for you to use in your own work. Happy Friday! 

Groceries are not just for eating.... (published November 2010)
There is a terrific small seasonal market about 15 minutes from the house called The Market Basket. (Right next door to the Cherry Hut) There's always bushels of seasonal fruit and veggies outside the store to entice you to stop. (They also happen to have the best shortcake biscuits)
I stopped yesterday to check out their selection of gourds and pum
pkins and I wasn't disappointed. I also got a couple branches of bittersweet! Beautiful stuff.

So last night, in my sketchbook... I decided to lay out some compositions using my purchased bounty.

This first one, I began with a red pencil and did a
blind contour drawing, then corrected the wonky lines and filled in with my small watercolor kit and more colored pencil work. Kind of fun... just a warm up, and the yellow gourd looks like a pear. oops.
blind contour sketch

In sketch #2 I've adjusted the arrangement and added a crow. I've never painted a crow, and will have to look at some reference images to make it more crow-like, but this is just a sketch. I'm just trying play around with placement and composition and brain storming.

I like this idea a bit better... Not the colors... but the idea.  Note that I've grown the yellow "pear" gourd a little larger. I think I'll run with this idea in an acrylic painting or acrylic collage. It just might be the painting for next week!

So, have a good look at your groceries when you bring them home. Even if you didn't purchase just for painting, like I did... You might find some interesting still life subjects.

Now, I'm off to look for crows....

Thursday, September 29, 2011


"Moondance" 28x22" Acrylic on Canvas (c)2011 LEF

I started this one a couple of years ago and then it just sat there. I liked the idea, but needed the moon to be actually round... which it wasn't...(and that isn't as easy to paint as it sounds.) So, I started back at it last week and finished it up. I'm patting myself on the back for persevering.

The milkweed leaves look like they have "jazz hands"...which makes me laugh but support the title.
"Moondance" will be part of Glen Arbor Art Association's show next weekend (October 7 through the 9th) They are participating in Leelanau's "Fall for Art" event. Moondance is very excited to show itself after such a long wait in the wings. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Glimpses of fall color... the show is beginning!

The blueberry bushes are beginning to show their fall colors in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park.... And I'm starting to see touches of orange and red here and there in the trees. I love this time of year... color addict that I am.

And Major is sporting his fall colors as well.... romping through the park is his favorite.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

And Miles To Go Before I Sleep

AND MILES TO GO BEFORE I SLEEP 36x43" Acrylic (c)2011 L. Everett Finn
It's a BIG 'un (36 x 43 inches).... There is a two track road that we ski by to get to the park. (Spencer Road) I've always loved this spot...There's something about the tree sheltered pathway across the swamp.

One of the things I wanted to work on this year is using I'm patting myself on the back today. Lookie there... just grayed and neutral colors. I had to sit on my hands so I would not paint a cardinal sitting on one of the branches. (hehehe)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gouache Ink Resist...the Cherry Bowl Drive - In

CHERRY BOWL work in progress 7x5" gouache ink resist 2011 Lauren Everett Finn
We have a very cool drive-in theater here in Honor, called the Cherry Bowl....I've begun this one a bit differently than my normal gouache ink resist process. Color coming next.... stay tuned! (I'll be teaching this process at Crystal Lake Art Center on Nov. 7th if you're interested.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Wine Label...with my painting of the dock on it!

He he he he.... this tickles me... I hope you can click to enlarge the photo so you can see the label... It's one of my paintings of the dock. (and how tacky of me to leave the orange price sticker on there!) My dear friend found the wine in Ann Arbor and got me a bottle. (I have a case of it at the distributor's in Oxford, but I haven't made it downstate to go pick it up.) What fun, eh?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

3 Dog Afternoon...

This photo cracked me up.... Major (ours) on the left... cousin KT and cousin Gordon watching for my aunt Carol... the lady with the goodies. She made Major his very own monogrammed travel bag... it's da bomb, or as Major said "Ritz ra romb!"

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fairy Hammocks....

Fairy Hammocks..... really.... what else could you call them?
Hot, Hazy, Humid up here in Honor.... Keep cool, friends!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Daylight Moonlight

Last week's newsletter....

All my bags are packed... I'm ready to go...
Off to Ann Arbor to visit with girlfriends for a couple of days... If you'll probably hear us laughing. :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Re-Fashion Show.....

Re-fashioned dress army uniform and shoes
Crystal Lake Art Center put on a "Re-Fashion Show" last Thursday evening in downtown Frankfort. (At the theater) What a fun event, with all proceeds benefiting the Art Center.

The garments went from the classically beautiful to hysterically quirky and funny! All made from re-cycled materials. Move over Project Runway. LOL

My donation was a re-fashioned dress army uniform... with poppies as my theme... The poppies were made from re-cycled Christmas napkins that had been my mom's.... a REALLY bright red. The rest of the patterning was acrylic paint.  I took off the epaulets and made belt loops to hold a wrap belt, made from the dress pants. I also used the black ribbon trim from the sides of the pants to cover up the button holes of the jacket. The black patten leather shoes were covered in gesso and red acrylic paint... leaving the black patten polka dots peeking through. Happily, the outfit sold that night. Whoo hoo!

The whole evening was a success.... well attended, and lots of fun!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Within 5 Miles of Home....

"Indian Hill Road Across From Carol's" ~ 10 x 10 watercolor
This one has a nice springy feeling to it... but I'm a bit rusty with the watercolors. If you want to see what else I've been up to... click the link. :)
Newsletter... within 5 miles of home.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

First Victim...

Karen's Teddy ~ 8x8 Acrylic
in my new series "Well Loved"
hehehe.... this just tickles me. He looks a bit startled. I think he's finished though it's not signed yet. Thanks so much Karen for sharing your Teddy's picture with me. If any of you would like to send me a photo of your well loved childhood friends, please do!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I see little leaf-ies!

Yesterday's walk to Loon Lake (in sleeping bear park). I love this particular has the most glorious twisted trunk. He's (she's?) on the schedule to have her (his?) portrait painted.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Subjects for a new series....

Well Loved... a new series!
Many of us have kept our childhood "lovey"...that thing that gave us comfort when we were small. I have my "Brown Teddy" (who is next in line for his portrait) My sister has "Whitey" her floppy stuffed dog. (for two rather creative people...I laugh at the un-original names for our best stuffed friends)

I want to pay tribute to these important parts of our lives. The worn and tattered friends that received our hugs and secrets and tears and joys...the much loved friends that helped us endure those scary nights, and protected us from what was under the bed...and in the closet.
Do you have a stuffed friend that supported you through your childhood? 
I'd love you to send me a photo of him or her. They could be immortalized as part of this new series. 

You aren't under any obligation to buy the painting! I just want to paint your friends. :) The more raggedy the better...
Karen's Teddy.... (thank-you!)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Show of violets...

spread of violets on Deadstream Rd. in Honor
This photo does not do them justice... but I'm posting it anyway. I'm paying tribute and celebrating this gorgeous purple bonanza of violets down the street from me. Does my heart good to see such loveliness.

Quote of the Day: "It's only possible to live happily ever after on a day to day basis."  ~Margaret Bonnano

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Re-thinking your scheduling

This morning's walk was one of those walks where the ideas come at me faster than I can get them recorded (on my phone)... Tons of good painting ideas... I was fired up and ready to go! But the schedule I'm trying to stick to is walking first ..doing other household stuff and other exercising (trying to lose a bit of this winter coat)
THEN making my way down to the studio around 10...less fired up than I would have been right after my walk.

So now I'm re-thinking that schedule.... I should be taking advantage of the creative momentum gained right away and head down to the studio immediately! Most of you are probably thinking... "well, duh Lauren." But how often do we stop and think if there is a better way to go about things.... I guess in my case... not enough. :D

From today.... loved the figure 8

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royally Hopeful and Happy.... I needed that.

I didn't think I was interested in watching the wedding...but then someone on Face-book mentioned "the hats" and I had to have my coffee with the Royals. It was a delightful way to break the day. I was struck by what a hopeful event it was... Beautiful and happy... I really needed that. Thanks Britain...much appreciated.

And on another hopeful and happy note...lookie here!  The Riverside is getting ready for all the canoe and kayak river riders! I do believe this is a sure sign of spring....Yee Haw!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

When you think you're finished...but you're not.

decided it was not done (signature was put on with Photo-shop)
I thought I was finished with this one last week....But this morning, I saw that the right side needed something for balance. After I painted on the circle...then I got out the paint pens... and I have a hard time quitting once the paint pens are a few more somethings were added. I think it's better now....And it's in the truly finished pile waiting to be varnished.

I'm superstitious about signing my work. If there is any doubt as to whether a painting is finished, I hold off. I want my signature to be the very last thing added. This baby is actually signed now. :)

"Doubles" ~ Acrylic on Yupo ~ 6.5x6.5 inches

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sight for my color starved eyes....

Crystal Gardens, Frankfort MI
Bopped around the garden center yesterday.... in 2 layers of coats and hat and gloves. I was rewarded with this trailer full of spring time glories.... My eyes did the cartoon "BO-ING" thing. They just didn't know what to make of all that glorious color. AND... after I purchased a couple of things...they gave me a free Easter Lily.... How about that...  Thanks Crystal Gardens!  Happy Easter to you too!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tree in progress

Tree Embrace -  Work in Progress -  15x15 -  Acrylic on Paper 
I have a thing for trees.... always have. They are sort of like dogs...happy to see me...they wag their limbs at me on breezy days...very comforting. This is the first in a new series about my wooden buddies.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Empire Dunes work in progress

work in progress
I found a very cool little beach area (Village Park) in Empire, MI... They were getting the sand all swept off the parking lots etc. getting ready for the season. This is South Bar Lake...Lake Michigan is behind us. Love the grassy hillocks, and the pure spring sunshine. I'm almost finished here... I'll just let it rest a bit to see if I need to add any more grassy bits.... It's hard to stop once I get started with those grassy bits.

Friday, April 1, 2011

ice amoebas...

I'm calling these "ice amoebas"
I have no idea what made them form...other than freezing and thawing. They look like line drawings of land masses to me. After the warm day yesterday...(40's whoohoo) they have disappeared. 

oh... and if you're interested... here's a link to yesterday's newsletter that includes a video about "expressive drawing."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Getting out of the studio....

Milwaukee Art Museum
We artists log a lot of hours by our lonesome. It's good to emerge from the studio occasionally, and take a field trip.... which is what I did last weekend....

To Milwaukee.

Not your first choice as a spring break destination?  I beg to differ! We had a great time... and really enjoyed the Milwaukee Art Museum.... Here's a link to more about our adventure...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Random Word Generator

Morning Tea & Leaves
Happy St. Paddy's Day!
My weekly newsletter is published  the link is here....
Click the link to find out about using a "Random Word Generator" in your painting warm-ups.

Monday, March 14, 2011

March in Michigan

It's all about anticipation...
Warmer days
Sunny skies
Green growth

We sort of focus on the future here in least in March we do.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

painting is a statement of gratitude....

When you decide on a subject, you are choosing to celebrate something in paint. Whether it's a color or color combination, an outside view, a loved one, or a beautifully shaped piece of're communicating.

 You're saying....

"I care about this."

"I appreciate this thing I'm painting....
I want to show you what I'm thinking
 and then maybe you'll care about it too.
A painting starts out as a monologue. You conversing with the paper or canvas, using paint as the language.

When you've said just enough to get your point across (not too much, mind you... just enough) then you're sign it, and you can invite others into the discussion. 

Sometimes, lets face it... it ends up a rather dull conversation.

But occasionally, your efforts spark a flood of communion and empathy.

We are grateful together.

Those are the golden moments and the thing that keeps me at it. How about you?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

back amongst the living....

Good morning, sunshines....
A really painful and annoying dental issue was resolved on Monday, when I said adios to molar #18. I'm healing now and beginning to be able to think about something other than jaw pain! Planning on a painterly favorite.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

So Many Techniques....what to choose.

"Lyle Lyle Crocodile"~ Acrylic on Yupo

I'm finalizing my plans for my Acrylic 101 class at Crystal Lake Art Center...  but I'm having trouble limiting the techniques that I want to introduce!   We are going to start painting in a watercolor fashion and move to a thicker and thicker consistency... But fitting in or omitting the great stuff you can do within each consistency... now that's just hard to decide!
Oh... and here's a link to last Thursday's newsletter... I made you a valentine that you can print and send.


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