Friday, May 6, 2011

Mother's Day Blog Hop

I'd like to thank Claudine Intner for inviting artists to participate in her Mother's Day Blog Hop event. I first met Claudine when we were fellow participants in one of Alyson Stanfield's online classes together. We learned about improving our blogs and increasing participation and this is certainly a wonderful way to do that. So, thank you, Claudine.

As wonderful as it seemed when I signed up, right now, I feel like Annie in the movie or play when she was bemoaning: "Oh, my goodness, oh, my goodness!" Oh, my goodness, what WILL I write about? This may be the least motherly, the shortest, and the furthest "off topic" of the
hops' posts, but here goes!

One of my favorite watercolor instructors of all time, Monte Guynes (now deceased), taught me a very valuable lesson. He taught me to always take everything back to the principles and elements of design when trying to solve a painting question, problem, or issue. He taught me to work loosely, wet into wet, and, as I dropped in the colors he taught me to think about dropping in (or painting in, if not wet into wet), a "Poppa Bear"-sized area of a color, a "Momma Bear"-sized area of the same color, and a "Baby Bear"-sized spot of the same color. Feeling a bit like Goldilocks lost in the woods, I followed his advice and as I've grown as a painter, I realize that what he was really teaching me was to intuitively use repetition and variation.

Repeating a color 3 times in 3 places in 3 different sizes helped unify the painting and insure that it was almost automatically harmonious. Not only applying to color, I learned to use a large circle, a medium-sized circle, and a tiny circle when choosing shapes for a painting--applying both repetition (of the shape) and variation (in terms of size). I also feel like Goldilocks, when I get it just right!

I can bring this mini-lesson to a close with an analogy that just occurred to me as I wrote this brief post. Agonizing over starting (just like I sometimes do when starting a new painting), I had an a-ha moment as I began the writing process--as mothers, we repeat ourselves over and over again to our children until the lesson is either learned or it isn't. And, as mothers, we try to vary the message over time so we say it in a different way so it suits each child or so the message doesn't become so boring as to eventually not be heard at all any more. In our paintings, we do the same things. We repeat what works or what we love or what ignites our passions. But we vary it so that it doesn't become boring for our viewers or for us as painters. As we grow in skill and technique and our interests change, we may stop repeating ourselves and change our approach completely.

To read the other posts in the blog hop and find some new and interesting blogs to follow, these people have posted or will be posting in days to come. Some bloggers have giveaways going and you can be part of them by following directions on the individual blog.

-May 1st - Claudine Intner
- May 2nd - Melissa Liban
- May 3rd - Lynn Krawczyk
- May 4th - Ishita Bandyo
- May 5th - Jeri Greenberg
- May 6th - Kathleen Mattox
- May 8th - Amanda Ruth
- May 9th - Judi Hurwitt
- May 10th - Kathleen Murphy
- May 11th - Hannah Phelps
- May 12th - Helen Hiebert
- May 14th - Hannah Klaus Hunter
- May 15th - Claudine Intner

And now, look for repetition and variation here in "Alice's Adventure", a mixed media painting of mine that is a full sheet (30" X 22"), framed to 40" X 32". It started as a "doodle" and grew from there into Alice's fall down the rabbit hole. . . . .


  1. Love all of those gorgeous colors!

  2. Thanks for participating! I love the momma, poppa, and baby bear idea. It is funny how things like that stay with us an artist. I had a very meticulous collage professor who haunts me in the studio.

  3. Hello Kathleen! I truly enjoyed reading your post and the story of "The Three Drops of Paint"-- and I found it helpful. After many years of painting--I've never heard that put so succinctly. Connecting it to the way in which we raise children via repetition and modification is brilliant. I'll pass that on to my daughter who is studying child development and loves art too.
    Wishing you a most Happy Mother's Day!

  4. Wonderful lesson, Kathleen. Thanks for sharing your "Annie" moment too - I think we all feel that way!

  5. I love this picture. It's very wild and funky. I love the bright colors and crazy designs. A really fun and beautiful work.

  6. Can't believe I missed this one! Must've been that Blogger deal.
    Love the colorful pics here! Dying to check out all these links! Thanx!