Bird & Sunrise photo

Bird & Sunrise photo
Because "someday" is today!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Is Your Best Ever Good Enough?

"A Partridge in a Fir Tree" 3.5"x2.5" graphite on paper  ©2014 Tina M Welter  Pencil drawing of a cat tempted by a bird in the Christmas tree.
"A Partridge in a Fir Tree" 3.5"x2.5" graphite


The sweet, sweet taste of low hanging fruit.   Do you ever allow yourself to enjoy it?  Are you wondering what I am referring to here?  What I am talking about is the concept of choosing a "course of action that can be undertaken quickly and easily as part of a wider range of changes or solutions to a problem." (thanks dictionary.com) 
 
It seems sensible enough, look at what you want to accomplish and take the easiest steps.   I didn't really think I had a problem with this until I started looking at what has been really holding me back in setting up an on-line business and also in sharing my paintings and music.  I want everything to be perfect and the best before I share it with anyone.
 
For example, this little drawing.  I have had this concept in mind all week to share on my blog, but hadn't actually put pencil to paper to create it, because I didn't think the idea was good enough and I thought I didn't have enough of the right photos to work from.   Once I got started, I didn't end up hardly using any photos.  Secondly, I didn't manage to get it painted first before my Monday blog deadline came around.   I wasn't going to share, and then I thought "this is the whole doggone point!"

You may have noticed my sign up for a newsletter on the side of the blog.  I have decided this year I want to confess and share my creativity hang-ups with the you, in the hopes that I can face them better myself, be accountable and perhaps inspire you to do the same.  Even better, it would be nice to get feedback so we can inspire each other.  I can't be alone in this fear.

If you are interested, please sign up.  I don't spam or share e-mails, and you can always unsubscribe any time.  'Fraidy Cats, unite!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Finding the Perfect Gift...

"The Perfect Gift" 5"x 7" oil on gessobord ©2014 Tina M Welter
How much we sometimes scramble around, trying to find the "perfect gift"!  I think part of the fun and pressure of the season is the anticipation of surprise and delight we hope to give those we love.  

When I think of the delight of perfect gifts, I think of the movie the "A Christmas Story".   Young Ralphie spends the whole movie thinking his requests for his perfect gift - the Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and "this thing which tells time" - are not being heard or even worse, being dismissed.   Who hasn't experienced that intense combination of hope and uncertainty?

For me, it was a wish for an acoustic guitar when I was 17.   Being a teenager and shy, I don't recall being very direct about what I wanted, plus it was one of those things I had deemed "too expensive" to even ask for.   But like Ralphie, I was completely stunned when my Dad surprised me with the desired guitar on Christmas morning.  It was a second hand guitar, a bit worn, but I didn't care.  What filled my heart was knowing that Dad had heard what I wanted and did his best to make it happen.

Isn't that the key thing, the perfect gift is the feeling of having our wants and needs heard and noticed?  So my advice on finding the perfect gift is to really listen.  It may not be a "thing" at all, perhaps it is a wish for time spent together or an experience to share.   I hope I have given you something worth thinking about as well as a new painting image to enjoy.

Happy listening!  All my best wishes for a joyous season of giving and receiving.

Tina  

If you feel this little message is worthwhile, please feel free to use the links below to share, or tell me about your experience with receiving your perfect gift in the comments below, I would love to hear about your joy.

Click here if you would like to buy "The Perfect Gift" as a card or a print.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Meet Kirk...

"Kirk" 7"x 5" watercolor on 140lb cold press paper, © 2014 Tina M. Welter. 12 year old terrier mix, white with brown patches.  Adorable personality.  Kirk dog is waiting for his supper with intense hope.
"Kirk" 7"x 5" watercolor on paper ©2014
Say "hello" to Kirk, he is hoping with intensity for his supper to be ready.  Who could resist that face?  He looks pretty spry and full of energy, but he is 12 years old and having some health troubles.  My friend Evelyn commissioned me to paint Kirk for her brother's birthday.   She knows how much her brother and his wife enjoy Kirk as part of their lives and she wanted to do something special for them.

I was just delighted she felt confident to ask me.  It was fun to go and meet Kirk try to capture something of his personality with my photographs.  The intense work starts when I have to decide how to get that special "something" into a painting.   I do put a lot of pressure on myself to get it right, but it is worth it all when I get to read delighted responses like this...

"Thank you very much for the beautiful painting. Kirky’s eyes are so life-like. And you captured the expression on his face perfectly. This is exactly how he looks when he knows that something is cooking on the stove, but also wants to keep me in sight in case there is something tasty in my hand and he tries to look in both directions.

George says "thank you" too. He is delighted with his birthday present. We’ll get it framed this weekend according to your instructions."   ... that kind of review completely makes my day!

This was my first "pet-portrait" painted in New Zealand, I hope I will be able to do more in the future.  I really like creating something that means so much to other people.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Watercolor Versus Oil

Baby seal from the Kaikoura coast, New Zealand.  Small oil painting by Tina M Welter "On the Rocks" 7"x 5" oil on Gessobord ©2014
"On the Rocks" 7"x 5" oil on gessobord © 2014
Watercolor versus oil paint.  Sometimes it's a challenge to decide which medium I want to use to paint a subject.  After painting so much with oils, it was a nice break to try the last three paintings in watercolor.  I was curious to see if the watercolor would be faster.  The result, the watercolor of this same seal and rocks was faster.  My "Farewell" seal took five and a half hours, this same baby seal in oils took me almost three times longer, a total of sixteen hours!  I was really surprised.  I have had other watercolor paintings take almost as long as an oil painting of the same size and subject.  I think I must have been "in the zone" with that first seal painting.

The next question is, which one do you like better? (Scroll down three posts to see the "Farewell" seal)  Team watercolor or team oil?  I like both of them for different reasons, but I do feel like my seal in the oil looks better to me.  What is your vote?  If you were buying one of them, which one would you choose? 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Morning Wash.

Charming brown and white cat, washing her face on the garden wall in Dresden, Germany
"Morning Wash" 7 x 5 watercolor © 2014

How lovely it is when you don't have to do all the gardening, but you get to enjoy all the benefits of seasonal flowers!  Our apartment in Dresden, Germany had the nicest yard with fruit trees and flowers.  Since it was located on a hillside, the yard sloped from the road above to the house, 38 steps down to the back door of the apartment.  Our landlords, the Sobotta's, called it the "fitness apartment".  It did get our heart rates up to carry groceries or luggage up or down all those steps!

I mention the hill because they had built a pretty three foot tall retaining wall of stone partway down.  I loved the red and rust brown colors of the stone.  This little cat loved it too, not for the color, but because the stones were warm in the morning, a perfect place for her daily face washing routine.  With the sun shining on her fur, she was having the best time.   I wanted to document this little moment of kitty joy.

"Morning Wash" at my Etsy shop

Monday, September 29, 2014

Up A Tree


"Up A Tree" 7"x 5" watercolor on 140lb paper, ©2014 Tina M Welter
"Up A Tree" 7"x 5" watercolor ©2014
This elusive black and white cat used to haunt the backyard of the apartment we rented in Dresden, Germany.  I loved to see her because she reminded me so much of the black & white cat that my parents had on their farm, her name is Silky.

Silky is a shy, temperamental stray that adopted my Dad.  He spent the time to get acquainted with her and she would often go on walks with him on the farm, complaining by meowing and sitting down if she thought he walked too far.  Dad often had some story about Silky's antics to share.  One of the most memorable is of he and Mom watching her hunt outside in the snow one winter and actually killing a pheasant.  Silky didn't seem to know what to do with it, so Dad went out and brought the poor dead bird in and prepared it for their own dinner.  Dad didn't like to keep animals in the house, but that didn't stop Silky from trying to convince Dad to let her in.  She would let them know it was time for her dinner every evening by standing up full length in the front window whenever she saw Dad in the living room.  He taught her to ride in the wheel barrow when he went to get wood for the wood stove and he even showed me how he got her to ride on the seat of the big swing he had put up in one of the trees for the grand kids.  Silky didn't seem too thrilled, but she did it for him.

Poor Silky was just as lost and confused as the rest of us when when Dad passed away so suddenly.  I'm so glad he shared with me his adventures with her, I'm glad to have those stories to remember.  He was so gentle with animals and people, I miss him so much.

I was sorry when the elusive black and white cat didn't visit our Dresden backyard anymore.   At least I did get this memorable moment of her peering up at us with her intense green eyes from her perch in the apple tree below.  I am reminded that it does us good to climb up and appreciate our surroundings everyday, right now.  Tomorrow can change everything.  Wise kitty.

   "Up a Tree" at my Etsy shop

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Kaikoura Coast Inspiration

"Farewell" 7"x 5" watercolor on 140lb. acid free, cold press paper ©Tina M Welter 2014
"Farewell" 7"x 5" watercolor ©2014
Part of our journey when we were traveling north from Christchurch to catch the ferry at Picton, involved driving along the Kaikoura coast.  It was a grey day, but the steep rocks on one side and the ocean on the other kept it quite interesting visually.

I don't remember if we saw the signs for seals or just saw the people gathered at one of the pull-offs at the side of the road, but we decided to stop and take a look too.  Looking down the steep embankment, we could see and hear mother seals and their pups on the rocks below.  So exciting!  I didn't know if I could get a good picture with a grey day and such a long distance, but I saw this young one looking up at us just before he turned to go down the rocks.

The look in that little seal's eyes captured me!  I knew if the picture was any good at all, I wanted it to be my first painting inspired by New Zealand.  Similar to how the swans captured my attention in Germany.  Since I had been painting so much in watercolor lately, I thought it would be interesting to try a watercolor painting before tried one with my oil paints.

This painting also gets the honor of being the first item I listed in my Etsy shop I just opened on-line.  Setting up an Etsy shop has been a goal for me for at least a year.  Thanks little seal for your inspiration!
Baby seal, Kairkoura coast, ©Tina M Welter
My "farewell" baby seal turns to go.
"Farewell" at my Etsy shop