Lover of nature, color, art, life, adventure. Choosing to find beauty. I hope you can find inspiration and joy while you're here.


Thank-you Notes

Dear Dreamguy, thanks for holding down the fort while I've been the mayor of Crazytown this week. Your skillz and selflessness always always always make me want to be better.

Dear wildflowers, you seriously come in every color of the rainbow (what?!) and it makes my heart soar! There's nothing as appealing to me as rainbow colors in rainbow order, and when it's from the mountains, it's even better! Thank you for the loads of eye candy you provide!

Dear neighbors, thanks for sharing the bounty! We love the tasty apricots and your pleasant company. Don't tell anyone else, but you're our favorites. (Shhh!)

Dear blackberries, I know we haven't had the best relationship in the past, but I'm starting to accept your presence in my life (as long as you continue to follow my rules and keep things under control). Thank you for still doing your fruitful duties even though I haven't exactly encouraged you because we still benefit from your goodness.

Dear Provo River, you have pretty much zero rapids and seem really boring, but it is still fun to raft down you with approximately one million screaming, giggling teenage girls with water guns. I totally saw your fun side and can't wait to see more of it! Thank you for housing all the awesome beaver lodges and weasel romping grounds, too. I can tell we are going to be good friends.

Dear mountains, thank you for being my soul mate! You know me so well and give me so much. You are sweet and peaceful and still wild and crazy, which I like. I love the feathers and tiny speckled egg and pine cones you shared with me this week. I just know we were made for each other!


Grid Practice

I've been working on deliberate practice even more this last week:

I started out with the red one and randomly painted in squares until they were all filled in, much like the forest animals in the last post. With the gold and teal pieces, though, I wanted an ombre effect, so I painted more methodically, in a specific order and pattern. I think the second method worked better because then I knew for sure that the adjacent paint wasn't going to be wet and bleed.


Watercolor Forest Animals

In an effort to practice painting, I made this little set of colorful forest creatures. Say 'hi' to my little friends:

I've been trying to put in a few hours every week of deliberate practice with improvement as my main goal, so, I drew these little guys with a grid over them. Filling in the grid and trying out different paintbrushes took a lot of time, but I think that I got a little better just doing this project. I think of it more as an exercise and less of a fine art piece, but it does make me happy when it works out well enough to have something visually pleasing. It's kind of like technique exercises on the piano: tedious but totally worth it because you can feel those muscles in your arms burning.

Do you deliberately try to improve your skillz? What kinds of exercises do you do to keep that good burn around?


Playing with Pattern

I've been playing around with pattern lately and recently finished this little set of geometric drawings:

I tried to keep the patterns feeling organic within the geometric shapes. I like the way a couple of them turned out, but obviously need to keep practicing. They were drawn with a white pigment marker on cardboard.


Painted Block How-To

So, I've been digging on these decorative wooden blocks lately:

They're super easy to make, so get out these supplies and follow along, if you'd like to make your own:

-wooden blocks
-washi tape (I know! So many uses!)
-acrylic paint

First, tape off the design you'd like to paint. I just can't get enough of simple geometric shapes still, so a quick kitty-corner tape-off did the trick for me:

I keep my corners nice and sharp by trimming the washi tape with scissors instead of just ripping it:

Next, paint on your color. You just need to make sure the color of paint you use looks good with the wood color, but whatevs. I don't really know of any color that doesn't look good with wood, so you're probably safe with anything:

I paint one side at a time and make sure there are no drips or gathering paint blobs, especially along the edges:

Then, once all the sides are painted, remove washi tape. The paint may still be wet, which is totally fine:

I set that sucker aside to dry for a few minutes before handling it. That's the hardest part for me, the waiting:

Ta-dum! Super sexy accents for your home or office. Now that's classy.


Wildbird Watercolor Series

I've been super inspired lately with the fallen feathers I've collected over the last little while. When I stumbled on the most gorgeous iridescent magpie feathers this last week, my search was complete for this art project that's been a-brewin' and I could tackle the group as a whole:

I have feathers from all sorts of birds, but I decided to divide them into groups...'cause that's how my head works, even if it's not how the birds are actually categorized. These life-size feather paintings are all from feathers of birds that are found in the wild around the mountains. I labeled them according to the types of birds I'm familiar with that live in the areas I found the feathers, but no guarantees as to whom they're from, I guess. Here's a look at them individually:

(Red-tailed Hawk)
 (Western Scrub Jay)
 (Black-billed Magpie)
 (Western Screech Owl)

(Western Flicker)

Magnificent creatures, all of them. When I think of wild birds in my little neck of the woods, these are the ones that come to mind. What kinds of birds do you have living in your neighborhood? Or what birds do you wish lived where you do?