Monday, October 31, 2016

Photos of the Week

Happy Halloween!

My life feels like it is playing in fast-forward mode right now, but I did take some time for a nice walk one day last week.  The weather was perfect and the birds were out.  It was heavenly!

Fall birds

fall country scene
yellow leaves
fall landscape and horse

Between custom art orders, Halloween costumes, home study and adoption plans, my plate is more full than it has been in a long long time, but I'm grateful to feel well enough to handle it.

Many miracles have happened for my family since we decided to start down this difficult road to adoption. My health and energy have improved a lot and I didn't even change my medication! My business is doing well and we are finding ways to save money for an adoption.  I take these things as a sign that we are headed in the right direction. I've been reading a wonderful book about adoption and I get the strongest feeling that the Lord is very involved in every part of this process. He cares about us all so so much!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Floral Watercolors

I know it's fall and I should be painting things like pumpkins and leaves, but I just can't kick the florals.  They're too fun to paint!

These are three watercolor flower paintings on my desk at the moment:
one 11x14 and two small 4x6's

pastel flower paintings by Elise Engh
mini flower paintings by Elise Engh
11x14 watercolor flowers

Pastel Flower Paintings by Elise Engh

I used gouache for the first time on these and I love it! I love being able to add some white in at the end of the painting, instead of using masking fluid at the beginning.  Much easier and less messy. Sometimes, it pays to experiment with new mediums. Good things can happen :)

All three of these are up in my Shop, so check them out!

Pastel Floral Art 11x14
Mini Watercolor Floral
Watercolor Floral Sunburst



Thursday, October 20, 2016

Washi Tape Gallery Wall

I'll admit it. I  have waaaaaaay too much art. Most of it is sitting in a cupboard in my art room, unused and lonely. It's about time I got it out of the cupboard and up on the wall!

I don't have nearly enough frames for all of these, so it's good thing I have washi tape! I created a gallery wall and used up two entire rolls of washi tape in the process. It was fun to make and I love all that color on my wall.

Washi Tape Decorating Idea: art gallery

The two methods that work best for me are:
1) Place long strips on the top and bottom of a painting.
2) Cut four small strips and place them diagonally across each corner of a painting.

It also works better if the paintings are completely flattened, not warped. That can be a problem with watercolors paintings.

Hang art with Washi Tape!
Watercolor Art Gallery with Washi Tape
Watercolor Art Gallery with Washi Tape
Watercolor Art Gallery with Washi Tape

Have you ever used washi tape to hang your art?

As far as I can tell, it doesn't pull the paint off my walls, so it's a win. Reminds me of how I used to tape cut-outs from magazines on the wall by my bed as as teenage... haha!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Watercolor Night Sky Tutorials

Ready for some dreamy starry nights?

I've been working on these watercolor night sky paintings and tutorials to go with them for several weeks and today the watercolor tutorials are up on the Craftsy Blog.  Check them out!

2 Wondrous Ways to Paint a Night Sky


Watercolor Starry Night Sky
Watercolor Starry Night Skies
Tropical Night Sky in Watercolor

My favorite by far, is the tropical night landscape.  I just knew that palm trees would look good against a luminous, sparkly sky!

The night sky tutorials are simple and fun- you don't have to be a pro to make these. They also require a few extra materials, but it's stuff you usually have around the house already.  Epsom salts, Q-tips, and Rubbing alcohol.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Photos of the Week

 Cool pumpkins and gourds are one of the best things about fall, don't you think?

orange, green, and yellow warty decorative gourds

The colors and textures are almost too mush for me to handle. I'm an artist.......... I get excited about these kinds of visual feasts. My art brain is exploding!

orange, green, and yellow decorative gourds
orange and green warty decorative gourd
orange yellow pumpkin

I'm so excited to have been able to buy a few of these beauties this year and I'm even more excited to capture them in watercolors. It's been a very very busy fall for me.  Lots of projects in the works, some of which I can't announce yet, but it's exciting stuff!

Art news is good, but the best news is for my little family. We have decided to try and adopt! I can't believe I am typing this right now. I have waited for so so so many years to get to this point. I mourned the loss of my fertility and waited and waited for the time when adoption felt right.  It feels right now. Of that we are sure. So fasten your seat belts, it's going to be an amazing ride!

We have many big decisions to make and mountains of paperwork to tackle, but we feel so good about this choice. We've felt the Lord's hand guiding us to adoption and in these choices we are making. We believe in miracles!

Friday, October 14, 2016

House of Blue


Decorating in Blue: Grow Creative Blog

Over the past year I've been painting lots of things in my house blue cause, who doesn't love blue?!

I have one blue accent wall and now I'm adding in some blue furniture.  Check out our Ikea bench!  We purchased it unfinished and now that it's painted I want to keep it forever.

Ikea Bench Painted Blue

I dreamed up a fun bathroom storage idea when I was walking through Home Depot one day.  I saw some unfinished wooden crates and I could just see them as shelves in my half bath above the toilet. We currently had no storage in that bathroom. So away I went with the blue paint. I'm lucky to have a handy husband to help me mount these babies on the wall!

I found some cool wire baskets at the thrift store and added my framed floral sunburst painting.

Blue Wooded Crate Storage
Blue Wooded Crate Storage

And here are a couple more of my painted thrift finds.  Thrifted frames are the best!  They take work, but they are soooooooo much cheaper that way and you can paint them any color you want.  

I framed my Orange Globemallow painting and....

Blue Thrift Store Frames

My colorful leaves painting for the guest room!

Watercolor Leaf painting in Blue Frame

What's your favorite decorating color?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Photos of the Week

 As promised.................. Canyon Lands photos!

Island in the Sky at Canyon Lands National Park
Mesa Arch at Canyon Lands National Park

We visited the Island in the Sky part of the park and it rained off and on all day.  Luckily, we were prepared with umbrellas! Sometimes it's more fun to see parks this way.  Rain is a rare phenomenon there! We felt lucky to see it all wet and humid with beautiful puddles and clouds.

Island in the Sky at Canyon Lands National Park
Island in the Sky at Canyon Lands National Park

I've lived in the desert all my life and not until recently have I started to appreciate it for what it is. It's not lush and green (that's the only stuff I admired growing up, unfortunately), but it's vast and open. It inspires wonder and a sense of freedom! My husband, my son, and I all felt that that on this trip.

What inspires you in nature?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

New art materials and some experiments

I love playing with new art materials! Recently I've tried Fabriano Watercolor Paper (kinda flimsy, but good for practice work), a new round brush with a pointy tip, and some white gouache.

I've never used gouache before, but I always wanted to. I'm glad I did!  I used some white gouache over my dry watercolor flower painting- to add details to the leaves and flowers.  I love the effect!

bright watercolor flowers: grow creative blog
bright watercolor flowers: grow creative blog

I also love my new brush- the round with a fine tip is much better for lettering than my other blunt tip brushes. It's also excellent for leaves and stems.

bright watercolor flowers: grow creative blog

And then I threw in this little sketch from my camping trip. This was painted in the tent because it was too rainy out.  I'm glad I brought my paints to keep me occupied :)

yellow leaves watercolor: grow creative blog

Monday, October 3, 2016

Photos of the Week

Just a few photos from our adventures last week in the cool, misty mountains.

Scrub Oak Acorn: growcreativeblog
Manti- LaSal National Forest in Fog: growcreativeblog

Fall yellow leaves: growcreativeblog
Manti- LaSal National Forest in Fog: growcreativeblog

Sometimes, I'm really grateful that vacations do not go as planned.  We end up finding the coolest camping spots that way!  It's all about going with the flow and learning not to stress when you don't know where you are going to stay for the night.  I'm a planner, so that skill has taken some practice and prayer was involved.  We're grateful someone was listening!

We meant to camp at Canyonlands National Park, but discovered the campground was full.  All the other campgrounds nearby were less than appealing, so we drove and drove and drove.  Eventually, we ended up at the top of one of the mountains of the Mant-LaSal National Forest.  It was magical when we found our camping spot, up in the Aspens, all decked out in yellows and oranges.  The perfect fall color!  In spite of the rain, this turned out to be my favorite camping spot ever! 

The best thing is that we ended up getting the best of both worlds this trip. The smoky mountains and the vast desert (we were able to visit Canyonlands on the way back home). You could see parts of the desert features from the mountains and it was the most amazing contrast I have ever seen in nature. Iconic desert landscapes surrounded in fog!

I took so many photos, that I decided to only post the mountain photos this week. Next week...... Canyonlands photos!