Welcome to Ardent Reflections Fine Art

Welcome to the blogging page of Ardent Reflections Fine Art.  This is where I will share my thoughts, works in progress, painting tutorials, drawing tips, art tutorials, diy decor ideas, and art marketing ideas.  I’ll also share links to paintings for sale, and occasionally have a “How to watercolor” post or something similar.
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  1. Monday Muse – Heiner Hertling

    • An inspiring, yet unassuming artist and teacher I’ve recently discovered a TV oil painting teacher who seems very humble, unassuming, and inspiring.  I’d like to tell you a little about hi[...]
    • An inspiring, yet unassuming artist and teacher

      I’ve recently discovered a TV oil painting teacher who seems very humble, unassuming, and inspiring.  I’d like to tell you a little about him.

      Not just copying…

      For years I’ve watched Bob Ross on TV and later on Netflix.  I’ve never really tried to paint to along.  One thing I do notice of his approach to teaching though, is that what you learn to do, for the most part, is to reproduce a Bob Ross original, rather than learn what to do to paint what you want.  Now don’t get me wrong, I know if you followed along and painted enough of his paintings, you’d learn plenty of techniques that you could eventually apply to your own original work, but kind of like the paint and sip classes I teach, you learn by copying exactly what someone else is doing.

      No, “Happy Little” references, or beating the devil out of your brushes…

      Recently I discovered another TV painting teacher, who doesn’t teach in the same way.  He isn’t in a dark studio painting from memory or imagination, rather he is outside, painting what is in front of him, he also doesn’t just teach you to paint what he paints, rather he teaches you the techniques, the steps to take, in order to paint whatever scene find in front of you when you go out.  Also different is that you won’t here him refer to “happy little” trees or clouds, and he doesn’t clean his brushes by “beating the devil out of them” and in the process splashing paint and thinner all over the place.  His name is Heiner Hertling, and the show he teaches on is called “Your Brush with Nature”.

       

      Two artists creating in plein air.
      Two artists creating in plein air.

      Not just entertaining, but really teaching…

      Honestly from an entertainment perspective, Bob Ross is funnier, and more entertaining to watch, but I think from a learning perspective I like Heiner better.  He teaches how to roughly sketch in your scene with earth-tone oil paints on a canvas he has already covered in an earth-tone acrylic base, how to block in your darkest areas first so you can get good darks before your thinner gets clouded.  Then how to block in your major color areas, and mix colors on your canvas as you go.  He also doesn’t only teach you techniques, but teaches principals of good composition, methods of creating depth in a painting, etc.   His paintings have a painterly, spontaneous, impressionistic look which I love.
      Basically, he teaches you how to approach a scene and make the decisions you need to make in order to paint it yourself, rather than just teaching you how to copy a mountain lake sunset.

      Now don’t get me wrong, I think Bob Ross’s method would definitely be worth learning, and you’d learn plenty that could apply to your own painting, but Heiner just gets down to business with some serious teaching right off the bat.

       

      No exclusive supplies

      For Bob Ross’s method, there are certain supplies he uses that you can only get through the Bob Ross company.  Things like liquid white, liquid clear, liquid black… those are things that not just any art store carries.  Now I’ve read online that some people have found ways to make substitutions for these things, but usually only after working with the Bob Ross brand first, to figure out what products are similar enough.

      Heiner Hertling on the other hand, uses oil paints, mineral spirits, and sometimes linseed oil or turpenoid, all things that you can pick up easily at any art supply store, and some of the things are even available at hardware stores.  So all in all, his system requires a little less investment to get started.

      Since discovering his show, I’ve watched an entire season on Netflix, so far I haven’t painted by his method, mainly because I haven’t really had the weather or oportunity to gather everything and head outside for some plein air painting.  However, I do know that I’ve learned a lot, and plan to rewatch again, taking notes, while I wait for the weather to become more agreeable so I can head out to do some painting myself.

       

      Now, I may have just discovered this show, but its been around a while, I found YouTube clips of it that are 9 years old, still its new to me, and its on Netflix if you’re interested in watching more.

      Here are two videos, one shows the intro to the show, and the next shows a brief excerpt from the middle of an episode, if you want to see an entire episode though, you can see it on Netflix, just search for “Your Brush with Nature”.

       

       

      Embedding isn’t allowed on the second video, so all I can do is link to it… you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/419Psm3P6nM

       

  2. You Can Learn to Draw!

    • Anyone Can Learn Basic Drawing I know what you are thinking, if you aren’t an artistic person naturally, you are thinking that no one can teach you how to draw.  However, I can tell you that any[...]
    • Anyone Can Learn Basic Drawing

      I know what you are thinking, if you aren’t an artistic person naturally, you are thinking that no one can teach you how to draw.  However, I can tell you that anyone who can see can improve their basic drawing skills.  I’m not talking about necessarily becoming the next DaVinci, but rather becoming what I’d call, “drawing literate”.

       

      Drawing is a Skill

      Drawing is a skill.  It can be learned and practiced.  Artistic expression is more innate, natural, more something that just flows from within.  Think of this way, unless there is a severe disability, every person in school can learn basic writing skills, but not everyone is going to be the next novelist.  The fact that you don’t have the ability or desire to write the next great novel isn’t reason for you to not learn the basics of written language.

      Drawing is Communication

      I see drawing the same way, you might not have it in you to be the next great artist, but that isn’t reason to not even learn the basics of visual communication. I call it communication because drawing, pictures, basic figures, all of these things can be great tools to communicate with others.  The first written languages were series of pictures that told a story, and while we are not longer dependent on pictures alone, being able to sketch a basic idea can still really help to get information across.  Think of drawing a basic map for someone to find a place you are telling them about, sketching what you want a finished project to look like before starting, sketching out an illustration of your child’s math word problem, or playing Pictionary!  There have been many times when I’m trying to explain something to someone and feel they would understand better if drew them a picture, think about recounting a traffic accident, wouldn’t you probably sketch out the road and cars and use arrows to show what happened?

      There are Many Resources to Learn Drawing

      I can think of countless books that one can learn from, from the very basic “Drawing Textbook”, to the more in depth “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”, or one of my favorites, “Learn to Draw with Jon Gnagy“.  But books aren’t the only sources, the internet has free information, full courses, and videos.

      One video series that a beginner might find helpful is “Learn to Draw” by SchaeferArt.  His first video starts at the very beginning, with materials, and covers the very start of sketching and shading, later videos get more in depth on specifics of shading and form.

      So for today’s “Friday Feature” I am featuring the first in his Learn to Draw video series.

  3. Abstract Games

    • Sometimes Art is Like Playing There are times when I sit down and I know exactly what I am going to paint or draw.  I have a definite plan, and stick with it.  Other times though, I just start to put[...]
    • Sometimes Art is Like Playing

      There are times when I sit down and I know exactly what I am going to paint or draw.  I have a definite plan, and stick with it.  Other times though, I just start to put paint down… and I play.

      That is what is what I’ve been doing with a piece I currently have in progress, I just felt like playing, so I took a palette knife and started to cover a canvas in gold paint and modeling paste.  Then I put some back and modeling paste, then copper.  I am doing a little here, a little there, and waiting for it do dry in between.  I am not really trying to make it look like a recognizable object, but rather, I’m just doing what feels right, and ending up with an abstract design.  Its relaxing and fun, like a game though it is a little costly to put so much modeling paste down on one canvas.  Sometimes when I paint abstract like this I come up with things I really like, and other times I don’t care for the result at all, either way I had fun playing in the paint.

      Here is what the piece looks like so far:

      abstract palette knife painting, gold, black, copper, waving lines
      I’m not 100% sure what will come next, but I’ll probably stay with the three colors I already have on the canvas, or at most add one more into the mix.

       

      Other Projects are happening too.

      The drying takes a long time when the paint is put on so thick, so I also have other projects going at the same time.  One of which is that I am experimenting with oil paint.  I haven’t really worked in oils, so its a learning process, and so far I don’t have anything in oils that I’ve finished.  Soon though I will complete at least one oil painting and post it on here.

  4. The Ultimate Blog Challenge Also a Contest Winner!

    • Blogging Each Day for a Month I am once again taking part in the Ultimate Blog Challenge, which means that for the month of April I will be blogging each day.  However, not all my blog posts will be o[...]
    • Blogging Each Day for a Month

      I am once again taking part in the Ultimate Blog Challenge, which means that for the month of April I will be blogging each day.  However, not all my blog posts will be on this blog.  I have a few different blogs, and I will alternate between them. So you can expect a post on this particular blog every three days.

      Here are the three blogs I will be posting on during this challenge.

      My Art Blog

      My art blog can be found at ArdentReflections.com

       

      My Health and Personal Blog

      I have one blog that is primarily about my efforts to lose weight and get healthier, but I also post personal, daily life things there from time to time.  My Health and Personal blog can be found thriceblessed-lessofme.blogspot.com/

       

      My Devotional Blog

      I also post devotions and thoughts on Bible readings on my devotional blog, which can be found at thriceblessed-moments.blogspot.com/

       

      We Have a Winner!

      In other news, during the last ultimate blog challenge, I ran a contest giving away a print of Starry Night Over Seattle, there was a winner to that contest! The blogger who goes by the name of  vidyatiru won this contest, but needs to give me information on where to ship the print.
      Congratulations  vidyatiru!

       

  5. Bumps and Blessings

    • The Best Laid Plans A while back, I posted details about my well laid blogging plans, how I would follow a schedule and blog regularly from here on out.  Well, you know what they say about the best la[...]
    • The Best Laid Plans

      A while back, I posted details about my well laid blogging plans, how I would follow a schedule and blog regularly from here on out.  Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans… they go awry.

      Bumps in the road.

      So, my well laid plans for blogging hit some bumps in the road a few weeks back. First, I experienced a few days without internet access, and after that, I was caught in a procrastination loop, finally I was delayed even more from blogging because of a wonderful blessing to my family.

      Internet Issues

      So first, the internet problem. I have absolutely no idea what caused it, but I was without internet at my house for several days just after my last blog post. When it finally started working again, I found myself caught in that procrastination loop.

      Procrastination loop.

      What is a procrastination loop, you ask?
      Its when you know that you really should something you dread before you do something else that is optional, but that you want to do. So you tell yourself you will not do that optional thing until you do the dreaded thing, but then you procrastinating the dreaded thing, and therefore don’t get either thing done. For me the loop I was caught in revolved around taxes.
      For a business owner in Washington state, there are two different major categories of tax to be concerned with. The first is the excise taxes for businesses. This is a catchall phrase that encompasses the sales tax you collect from people when your business sells things at retail, plus the use taxes that are levied against out of state sales, plus the business and occupations taxes that are collected by your state and some counties. After the excise taxes, comes the income tax, which is the same income tax that everyone pays, the only difference for business owners is that we can deduct business expenses from our income total, which of course is only fair, since if I spend $50 manufacturing something, and then sell it for $70, I shouldn’t have to pay income tax on $70, but only on my profit of $20.
      The procrastination loop I spent time spinning around in was my excise taxes for business. I knew I needed to get those forms filed, but I was dragging my feet on all of the calculations I needed to do. The forms should have been in my January 30th, but circumstances I couldn’t change had delayed them until after that date. That meant I was already going to be fined 9%, the next deadline was February 28th, after which the penalty jumped to 19%. I told myself that I shouldn’t spend time blogging until after I completed the forms, but kept on putting off the paperwork. The deadline I was now facing was February 28th, so obviously I did NOTHING until February 28th, and then spent several hours that day online and on the phone with the department of revenue completing my online forms.
      Finally the forms were done, and my family could file the income tax forms next. Those were done within days, since we actually pay someone to prepare those for us.

      Then the waiting..

      So, by March 2nd, I really was free to go ahead and blog, but I was out of the habit, not only that, but I was very distracted by waiting for a blessing I knew would come any day. That blessing was my first grandson, who, like my tax forms, was due on February 28th.
      Each day the whole family waited, expecting a call that it was time, and each day as we went to bed we were still waiting.

      The Blessing on its Way

      Finally, of March 6th, early in the morning the call came. I went to my daughter’s house to pick up my granddaughter, so that my daughter and son in law could focus on getting my daughter through early labor at home, without having to worry about taking care of their first child.

      More Bumps

      My grandson was on his way, but there were more bumps in road also.

      Inconsistent labor

      My daughter’s labor was pretty normal at first, though it was a bit inconsistent. Her contractions weren’t following a regular pattern, so they stayed home timing them and waiting.

      Intense labor

      Then around 1:30 in the afternoon, her water broke so they headed to the hospital. After her water broke labor got very intense very fast, she was contracting with barely a break in between, and the contractions were very strong.

      Baby struggling.

      As soon as they got to hospital, the doctors realized that baby wasn’t handling these intense contractions well. My daughter was dilated to a 6 when she arrived, and had managed to progress almost to an eight, but still not enough to start pushing. Yet with every contraction the baby’s heart beat dropped drastically. The doctors felt that if they waited, the baby not might survive. So they took my daughter in for an emergency c-section. I arrived at the hospital just in enough time to see my daughter rushed by on a gurney. Now, the hospital we were at normally leaves a woman in the same room for the entire labor and delivery, so the fact that they were moving her was an obvious sign of trouble, but at that time I didn’t know what the trouble was, I did deduce that she was probably having a c-section, but didn’t get confirmation on that until my son-in-law came by all gowned up. I asked him what was up and he gave a quick summary before rushing off.

      The Blessing Arrives.

      A few minutes later, the baby was out, and thankfully was fine. The umbilical cord had been wrapped around his shoulder, and was both holding him back, keeping him from descending and pushing against the cervix, and at the same time the cord was being pinched between the baby’s shoulder and the pelvic bones with every contraction. Later the doctor confirmed that without a c-section a live birth wouldn’t have happened.

      My little grandson Julian
      My little grandson Julian

      I am so thankful that we live in a day and age where the medical technology exists that can avert such tragedy. Because of the access we had to medical care, my daughter and my grandson are both healthy and doing great. Because we have access to this kind of medicine, what could have been a disaster turned into a minor bump in the road to great blessing.
      I am so thankful.

  6. Thursday Thoughts – A Plan and a Painting

    • First a Painting From Chiropractor’s Wall to Collector’s Wall You might remember me telling about a painting that I reclaimed from my chiropractor’s office because I felt it wasn[...]
    • First a Painting

      From Chiropractor’s Wall to Collector’s Wall

      You might remember me telling about a painting that I reclaimed from my chiropractor’s office because I felt it wasn’t being displayed satisfactorily.  While I put it there in the hopes that someone waiting for massage or adjustment might see it and decide to buy it, it was never hung in a very visible place.  The place it was displayed was only being seen by people on their way for x-rays, which at a chiropractor’s office is usually only for your first visit.  Well, I reclaimed the painting and put it up in the studio where everyone who came in could see it, and it finally sold. Only it didn’t sell as a result of being seen in the studio.  It sold from my etsy shop to a collector in California.

      This was great encouragement for me, because while I’ve sold prints and T-shirts, cards, and hand painted glassware.  It has been a while since I sold an original painting, and it was making me wonder if it was ever going to happen again.

      Koi fish
      My Koi Pond is off to its new home.

      I just packaged this painting last night and got in the mail today, it should be arriving at its new home next week sometime.

       

      Next, a Plan

      Log it, track it, write it down and add it up.

      So, in my last post I shared about how I didn’t keep track of financials as they happened, and it is causing much delay in filing my business taxes.  Well, I am not making the same mistake in 2017, I am keeping a running ledger, so I will always know at a glance what shape I am in financially.

      While I don’t plan to make up for previous years’ losses, I don’t want losses in 2017.  So, unless the expense is unavoidable, like a bill that is due and can’t be delayed, I will not spend money on my art, or classes, or studio, unless I am in the black.  I have a pretty good start to 2017 already, January I came out $25 in the black, and now with a sale in February I am looking to probably ending February in the black too, by at least as much as January, so the two will accumulate to being at least $50 in the black for the year so far.

      Now of course if I am in the middle of a painting and need a certain color of paint I’ll probably buy it regardless of financials, but a lot of my spending in 2016 were not things I needed right then, a lot of it was because this store or that one was having a great deal on canvases or paints that would likely come in handy later.  Since I didn’t really know I was operating in the red, I went ahead and bought things that I didn’t even really need for a project right then.

      Well no more.  From now on if it is discretionary it will only be purchased if my art business is in the black by enough to cover it.  My goal for 2017 is to at least come out even financially in my art business.  Now, that might not seem like much of a financial plan, but its a start.  Sure it would be great to turn a nice profit, but I love doing art, and if all it does is pay for itself, I will be pretty satisfied.

      One good thing about all the supplies I purchased in 2016, I have plenty stashed up to start 2017 without spending much.  Yes, there may be an occasion here or there where I need something specific, but for the most part I have enough supplies to do almost any art project I might want to do.  If I buy anything at all in the coming year it would likely be paints as I run out.  I have canvases everywhere. I might have to buy more of the economy canvases for my classes at some point, but not right away, and as for the canvases for my personal use, I have more than I think I could possibly use in one year.

      So, I don’t think curtailing my spending is going to curtail my creating of art at all.

       

  7. Tips on Tuesday, Keep Track as You Go

    • Book keeping nightmare. I’m late filing my business taxes this year.  Why? Because I saved all the figuring until the end of the year.  I saved receipts to track expenses, but didn’t add t[...]
    • Book keeping nightmare.

      I’m late filing my business taxes this year.  Why? Because I saved all the figuring until the end of the year.  I saved receipts to track expenses, but didn’t add them up month to month.  That means I had to get them all added up in the month of January, with my husband’s help I managed.

      The Department of Revenue wants a lot of detail.

      Then there was income, some sales through etsy, some through the co-op, some independently, some parties/classes through the studio, some independently.  Etsy keeps a good record for me, the co-op told me how much I made through them, but didn’t divide it into sales and classes, which I need to know apparently.  The wonderful bookkeeper  for the co-op is looking into it for me, and soon I’ll know what I need to know.  You see, every painting I make and sale has to be reported as “manufactured goods”, every sale I make through etsy or independently has to be reported as “retail sales”, every sale I make through another entity such as a consignment shop or co-op, my share of that income gets reported as “wholesale”. On top of that I need to know which of the sales I made myself apart from the co-op were made locally or out of state, through etsy.

      This isn’t for income taxes, this is to pay the sales tax on the items I sold at retail in state, and the Business and Occupations tax, and the out of state sales have to kept track of separately in order to not be charged sales tax on them.  Income taxes will be another monster to tackle down the road, but getting the report on taxable income from this first business filing is necessary in order to file my income taxes.

       

      A Ledger would have let me know what I could afford.

      Another thing that keeping track as I go would have told me is that I was spending too much.  I thought maybe I had actually shown a profit this year, but I didn’t.  I spent far too much on supplies.  Now, a lot of those supplies are still usable this year, so maybe next time around I’ll see a profit… but if I started keeping track month to month, I could try to make sure that there was a balance happening, and curtail spending when a profit wasn’t likely.

      So that is my tip for this Tuesday, keep a ledger as you go!

       

  8. Friday Feature – Free Starry Night Over Seattle

    • Its time for a Friday Feature on this blog, those are the posts where I Feature something of my choice on my blog. Sometimes the feature might be one of paintings I want to draw attention to, other ti[...]
    • Its time for a Friday Feature on this blog, those are the posts where I Feature something of my choice on my blog. Sometimes the feature might be one of paintings I want to draw attention to, other times it might be a fellow artist that I want to give a shout out to, a guest blogger, or a great YouTube video I find.  Basically, whatever I want to put in the spotlight on that particular Friday.  This Friday, I am featuring a giveaway.

      Win a Free Print of Starry Night Over Seattle

      One of the most popular painting is Starry Night Over Seattle.  Originally, I was painting this for myself, but I posted some work in progress photos on social media and right away I got offers.  I sold that one before it was even finished, and someone asked me to paint another.  I wanted to change it up a little, so I made some minor changes and additions, and did a second version.  I still didn’t have one for myself, and I still don’t, but I do have prints.  The prints of this painting have sold better than any of my others have.

      For the month of February you have a chance to win a print of this painting.  To enter the drawing all you have to do is subscribe to this blog and then comment on this post telling me to enter you into the contest. That’s all there is to it.  I will put all of the entries in a hat, draw one out, and that reader wins an 8×10 print of this painting, you can choose whether you want the print to be signed or unsigned, or alternately, if you don’t want the 8×10 print, you can request a blank-inside greeting card with this image on it.

      Enter to win a free print of Starry Night Over Seattle Click To Tweet

      I’ll repeat those steps here, there’s just two steps.

      1. Subscribe to posts from this blog.
      2. Leave a comment on this post saying, “Enter me in the drawing.”
      You could win a print of this painting! To enter the contest, just subscribe to this blog, and leave a comment on this post saying, “Enter me in the drawing”.
  9. Cartoon Faces-Way Back Wednesday

    • Art from High School The best art class I ever had was in Junior High School, in that class the teacher actually taught us to draw.  However, in my High School art class we were given assignments with[...]
    • Art from High School

      The best art class I ever had was in Junior High School, in that class the teacher actually taught us to draw.  However, in my High School art class we were given assignments with very little instruction, and we completed the assignments independently, mine was a continuation school, basically a last ditch effort to get troubled kids a diploma, so I don’t think excellence in art instruction was a priority, rather we were there to do our time and get our elective credit.  There were a few students that the teacher took under her wing and gave more instruction to, but I wasn’t one of them.

      One of the assignments I was given was on cartooning, we were given a chart of all kinds of different facial features for cartoon characters, and we could put them together to make our own characters.  We were also free to invent our own features.  We were told to complete six characters. I based the first four on people I knew, most of them were people I knew from outside of school.

      cartoon faces
      These were my six characters, I based the first four on people I knew. Ignore the brown spots all over, I don’t know what it is, but it is on a lot of my old art.

       

      Be sure to check in Friday for information about February’s giveaway drawing.