Sunday, September 14, 2014

School Week 3

Totally crazy week- 3 paintings due in a row- and sadly I didn't finish any of them.  I REALLY need to learn to paint faster.  Granted my 'not finished now' is WAY above where I was in my 2000 level classes... but it isn't to where it needs to be yet.

I wanted to share where I got with the paintings BUT I forgot to take pictures- so hopefully I'll have them back next Saturday so I can post them as well as the process on the new ones I've been assigned this week.

By the end of this semester I will have done 32 large paintings (4 of which will *technically* be mixed media drawings; but honestly- they'll be more like paintings when I'm done with them)  I hope that out of those 32 pieces there will be some that are good enough that I can put in my portfolio for this spring.  On top of all of those I REALLY need to get some personal projects done as well.  We'll see if I have time for that :P

This is a short post- mostly just to keep up posting weekly on my blog.

Here is digital painting #2:

It was supposed to be a high-key image based of the illustration friday word 'radio'.  I went with kind of an Edgar Dega theme... but I didn't really get the same kind of beautiful brush strokes that he pulls off.  I painted this one on my ipad in the app Sketchbook Pro.  I fully intend to go back over it this week and bring it to a higher level of finish- and fix a few of the compositional issues.  (Ballarina's are to short, Radio is to big and to far forward in space, the baby doesn't have as much grace in her form as I'd like... stuff like that.  In general I feel like it is really flat.)

See ya later!

Saturday, September 6, 2014


I couldn't come up with a post title- so that little emote will have to suffice.  It is now the end of the second week of Fall Semester- and already this has been one of the most stressful semester ever.  I don't even know where to begin.  Until yesterday I had no idea what my schedule would be- crazy things kept happening.  I had a few classes drop.  One class I walked into and after sitting through the whole class realized I was NOT where I needed to be artistically to do well in that class- so I had to drop it- then came the fun of trying to find a class to replace it.  Which I have.  I have a VERY full schedule right now- 15 credits.  Of course adding on my cute kids, the portfolio that I *HAVE* to finish this semester and the fact that I really do want to do Salt Lake Comic Con in April (though that is a lower priority at the moment- but it sure would be nice if I could fit it in) and of course keeping our living space in some form of repair.  Oh yea- and I do want to exercise.... The fact is I am BUSY.  However- I'm pacing out my time and so far I'm ok.  Hopefully that continues to be the case.

So one of my courses is Digital Painting 1- I've never painted digitally.  It's a very new thing for me.  This:
Is my first ever attempt.  Honestly I had a lot of fun doing it- more fun then I thought I would painting digitally.  It is clearly not a finished piece- though that is the level of finish I got it to to turn it in.  The more I look at it the more I see wrong with it, but it was a start in a new medium.

Anyway- I'm going to update this blog at least once a week.  I'm going to attempt to do sketch dailies and upload them to my social media accounts; also I'm going to try to be more active on instagram and twitter specifically this semester.  I hope to have links to my social media accounts on this blog soon.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Looking forward to Fall 2014 Semester

Summer is over- and despite my goals; I pretty much did nothing but unpack and clean over the last four
Painting by Michelle Mia Araujo-
I just needed something to add some color
to this post :)
months.  I mean that literally.  The bright side is that outside of normal apartment maintenance- I don't have a huge house related project hanging over my head.  This is the first time in my marriage that I've had our home unpacked and clean.  It's kind of a big deal for me.  Also for the first time in our marriage- and consequently the first time since I started college- we have stability.  Which is to say we are not moving.  Considering I'm closely related to our current landlords (as I've stated before- living in the basement apartment of my parents house) we don't have to worry about being kicked out because the landlord is selling the place, the rent going up randomly, the house being sold because they are going to bulldoze it and make it into a parking lot or any of the other reasons (all out of our hands) that we've had to move in the past 6 years.

Basically- even though this summer I only did one painting and 3 sketches- I'm feeling good.  I don't have to unpack or do any major projects (well I do need to empty our storage unit- but honestly; that place is pretty organized- so it's mostly going to be moving box from storage there to storage here).  I can focus 100% on art.

Other positive news- my kids (4 and 2) are old enough now that they need a lot less mommy attention.  Not that I'm going to be ignoring them- but the three of us can actually sit down and essentially schedule our time.  For the most part they stick to the schedule (we've been practicing over the last month) AND they both go to bed on time.  THIS IS THE FIRST TIME SINCE I'VE BEEN IN SCHOOL THAT I DON'T HAVE A BABY!! (Babies are awesome- but take SO much time; toddlers and preschoolers are more awesome- specially when they get along and play together)

This next semester also marks my first full time semester in years.

I'll admit it- this scares me a little bit.

Also- we converted one of the bedrooms into a studio for me.  While this isn't the first time I've had a studio (the last apartment I kept moving my office- but I always had a space that was mine) This is the first time that I've had everything unpacked and accessible- which follows naturally from my announcement about having the house unpacked.

I'm excited- I'm excited that I will actually be able to focus on my classes and my personal art projects with a lot less of the stress of previous years.  The only thing I don't have done right now is a perfectly planned out meal plan. I'm going to tackle that this week as school begins to wind up.  My husband and I have discussed what we'll do for meals- so it won't be that hard to finish up.

I'm not putting out my Fall Semester Art goals at this time- I need to see what my professors have in store for me before I start making my rather absurd goals.  So maybe tomorrow night I'll post what I'm thinking of.

I make these impossible goals, not to overwhelm myself- but because I tend to reach farther when I have them.  I always grow- even if I don't reach my goals; and that's the point I think :)


Saturday, August 9, 2014


So as far as the internet is concerned I almost literally fell off the side of the planet this summer.  Good news? My home is almost clean.  I'm not going into that any father because I tend to babble a lot about such things on my Decidedly Nikkie blog.

The weirdest thing about being gone so long and then coming back is that apparently I've picked up some followers.  Granted- they seem to be the same people who follow my other blog; but I'm not complaining :D

School starts in 2 weeks.

I've got a lot of work to do in the next 2 weeks.  The two big things on my list are to go over my A-Z entries and re-draw and finish some of the sketches that I did for that, and to do as many of the exercises from Keys to Drawing as I can.

Right now I'm going to bed- but thought I'd check in.



PS- wow- forgot how sad the design of this blog is; maybe I'll make that a priority and try to make this a little more amazing before school starts.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

an art-related post

If you really want to know how my cleaning is going you can check out my other blog Decidedly Nikkie to read about it.  It is my 'everything' blog- and I want to get this one back on track to art.

So I'm going to share in more detail one of my goals this summer.

If you remember I have a ridiculous amount of sketchbook pages that I want to fill by the end of August- and to keep myself from just drawing random things in my sketchbooks I've actually got a plan.

One of the first things I'm going to dive into is 'Keys to Drawing' by Bert Dodson,  I've started this book before and done the first few exercises in it; but I've never really gotten through the whole thing before.  I don't know why- and for whatever reason I've been really dragging my feet on starting it again.  I know it will help improve my abilities; I don't question this.  But for whatever reason Mr Dodson, who is a fantastic artist chose to fill the book with what appears to be half done scribbles with no regard to the finished product.  I'm not sure why he made that choice.  I suppose so we can see the rough sketch that eventually becomes a finished piece?  But that really doesn't make sense for all of the examples he has in the book.  I don't know.  In any case my point is this: I find the book hard to look through because judging by the art alone- it will not help me grow.  HOWEVER I've spoken with multiple people and professors who have all recommended the book- and I have no doubt that reading it and going through the exercises will help me.  I just need to do it.

That was a long paragraph to pretty much say- I'm going to be starting with this book to fill up sketchbook pages.  I'm excited to tackle this project- because I know by the end I will have grown as an artist- and that is exciting.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Making Progress!

No pictures- sorry; but I'm to lazy to take them.  We have the furniture re-arranged in the living room and it is now completely cut off from the kitchen; which is good- because with both the opening from the hallway and the opening from the kitchen it felt more like a large extension of the hallway and less like a room you'd actually want to watch TV in.  Office is unpacked and put away- and is now full of boxes to go through again.  This is a good thing- because that means that the living room, while still full of boxes; is empty enough that I can actually WORK in there.  At this point I've done all the heavy lifting (well; my second youngest sister helped a lot with that) so all that is left is sorting and putting away.  The good news? I actually have places for just about everything- so yea- it's going to be a lot of work- but it should feel faster because in general the space is more organized.  Well got to get back to work!!


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Alicia- where have you been??

Ok- so at the beginning of this month I set out a bunch of goals.  Then a week later I modified all of them.  'Cause I sat down and figured out the amount of time I wanted to spend on everything I need to do this summer; then I added all those times together and compared that number to the actually amount of hours I have this summer... AND- well; I'd need 3 summers to accomplish everything.  So yea.


I've been away from blogging for a week- and I was going to have all of these awesome sketches and stuff that I'd be showing off to all of you.

I don't have any.

Not to say I haven't been sketching- but the bulk of my time has been spent on another project.

Remember when I mentioned we 'crash moved' back in November? Well- we've been trying to get the house livable; and as I've mentioned before I've made great progress unpacking our apartment overall.  Except for 2 rooms.  My office and the living room.  Below are the 'before' pictures.

my office- view from my desk to the hall

view from the door to my desk

from my drafting table to the window
Didn't take a picture of my drafting table- but it was just as bad as the rest- and then; the living room...

view from the kitchen into the living room

view from hall into the living room- standing on tippy toes so you can see into the room

the main entrance to the living room (from the hallway)
Scary huh?  I assure you the mass of boxes isn't this bad anymore- I have the office unpacked and just need to put everything away on shelves (currently everything is organized into those cute cloth cubes- but I'm not sure where everything is going yet).  The living room is still nearly as bad; but should un-pack and put away fairly quickly once I finish my office.  My hope is to have most of this done by tomorrow night.

I also am going to try to get my website going by the 31st- which gives me 4 days to finish all of this.  I want to start June off with everything put away and life functioning in some semblance of order.  Then I can focus on Art stuff, Family and weight-loss (so I can have more energy for art!).

So that has been my consuming project this month.  My only consolation in taking this month to do this is that we are not moving for another 2 years.  So I have some time before I have to pack it up and start over again (we've crashed moved like 8 times in the past 6 years- 4 of those were during our first year of marriage. :P)

Anyway- Not art related today- but there you have it; that is what I've been up to.


Also- quick apology to anyone who follows me on google+ you're pretty much going to get the same post twice from my other blog.  They normally don't overlap much- but have a lot this month for whatever reason.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Totoro 2

So I spent much of day working on this painting- below is as finished as I got it for the invitations; the painting itself doesn't have the words on it of course.  I plan on working on it a bit more to finish off the edges and some of the other things that just aren't finished yet.  The other image on here was a quick sketch that I did for the inside of the invitation to put the text on.  


Monday, May 19, 2014


not the greatest illustration in the world; but I think it gets the
'ah cute' reaction- which is what baby shower invitations really need.
I haven't done any work in my sketchbook today- largely because I spent the first half of today fighting with my computer and silhouette cutter trying to print out a design for a baby shower I'm helping plan.
To back up a little; I had this cute little design ready to go and no way to print it or color it.  I don't have photoshop right now and I have no idea how to use Corel Paint Shop for anything beyond VERY basic edits; so I gave up on painting it digitally.  I decided instead it would look really cute as a paper craft design.  So I spent most of the week last week looking for my power adapter- I didn't find it until Saturday evening and that was of course AFTER I'd ordered a new one.  In any case I needed the invitations done by Monday morning.  So I went from deciding I was going to have to go a different direction to thinking I could do the paper crafting style.  SO sunday I found the rest of my stuff that goes with my Silhouette machine... and attempted to start cutting paper and assembling the invitation.  (thinking to do one and then scan it in and print flat copies of it)  This attempt ended up being an epic fight between me and the machine.  I just couldn't get the settings right; and the farther I went with the attempt the worse it looked!!  My machine was shredding the edges; so I have one of two problems either my blade is gong dull or I just kept getting the settings wrong.
you can see all the jagged edges I was getting; I kept going over
things with an exacto knife to smooth it out.  It didn't help as much
as I would've liked
Clearly I stopped trying after awhile.  I still like the idea of doing the baby shower invitation this way- but until I have more time to play with my machine- I decided to move on.

This was the point where I was like 'why don't I just draw it out and paint it' something I had thought of doing earlier but I had hesitated in committing to this avenue.  Why?
1> I frankly have no confidence in my work
2> I think it is tacky when sub par artists use their work for things as if they are professional
3> I thought it would take more time than the other things.
Well... tacky or not I drew it out this evening after all the rest of the fighting with my computer (it is the image at the top of this post).  I really am glad I made the decision to paint it- there were a lot of things that were wrong with the original vector drawings- chief among them being that I have little skill in drawing anything on the computer.  Drawing it out by hand I was able to shape the lines better- and am enjoying the picture more.  It's not really an original drawing by any sense- it is drawn from a screenshot of the movie itself; just simplified a bit.  I don't think I can claim this as anything but really cutesy fan art.  BUT I like the way it is going- I hope my friend does as well... we'll see I suppose.  I'm going to spend the rest of the night painting it- hopefully it comes out well.

Lots of words- but I felt like typing.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Summer Goals!

I'm FINALLY getting to this.  Before I jump into the goals I have *most* of my home unpacked and
organized- my adjusted goal for the timeline of being completely unpacked is May 31- so I'm going to do a little bit of organizing and unpacking every day until I get it done.  'Cause- I've got a lot of other things to do, overall though our little apartment feels pretty pleasant.  Just need to finish unpacking 'the lost city' of boxes that occupies most of our living room...  we just ignore that room right now.

As of today I have 102 days until school starts again- which sounds like a lot until I start to break down what I need to get done between now and then.  I've got two fairly large projects coming up this next year- both of which occur during the beginning of fall and spring semester.  Thing #1- happens September 4-6; I'm going to be participating in the artists alley at the Salt Lake Comic Con.  Honestly I'm kinda terrified- this will be the first time I will be displaying my art work publicly and will be attempting to sell some.  It is not a 100% for sure thing; I still need to reserve a table at the Con- BUT I'm going to be doing my best to get stuff together for it.  More on that later.  Thing #2 is getting together my portfolio to officially apply for the BFA-Illustration program at my school.  That isn't due until February 2015; which may appear like a lot of time- but once Fall semester starts I'm going to have precious little time to work exclusively on it- since I'll be working like crazy on stuff that is due in class (which I can put in my portfolio).  On top of all of that I have a lot of personal improvement drawing-wise that I need to make.

So- my goals for Summer 2014
not my drawing-
but I thought it was appropriate

#1- Spend at least 500 250 hours drawing and improving my drawing.  (that sounds like a lot; but it only amounts to about 5 2.5 hours a day of drawing- and since this is supposed to be my job; that is a pretty good work day!)
#2- Produce 1 5x7 painting per day (ok- so that bumps me up to an additional 2-3 hours a day at least)
#3- Create 1-2 large (minimum size 12x18) finished paintings per week.

All in all it probably amounts to about 10 7.5 hours of art work a day- plus taking care of my kids, plus taking care of my house, plus taking care of myself.  The goals are steep- and I've tried to make big goals like this in the past but have had a lot of real life get in the way.  For the first time since my husband and I have gotten married I actually feel stable, which is to say I don't think our landlord is going to sell our home out from under us again (this has happened to us 3 times now; I think we're cursed!) or any of the other big issues we've had in the past.  So I feel like I might actually be able to achieve most of my goals.

I hope so anyway.

For accountability I'm going to be posting at least one drawing/painting a day to this blog starting on Friday the 16th Monday the 19th.  If I get lazy and all I do produce this summer is that one drawing or painting each day- well that'll be at least 100 drawings closer to being amazing.

Well; that is all I have to post today.  I've got to dive in and get started on all of these goals if I'm going to complete them.

So see ya this Friday!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I'm not dead!

So last week I was going to post my goals for the summer- and as I'm sure you can see- I haven't done that yet.  The reason is simply this: after finals I pretty much slept for two days and since then I've spend most of my time trying to find the floors in my house.  As some may be aware- we moved in a rather rushed way mid semester last October- and I haven't really had time to unpack the apartment.  SO it's just gotten incredibly messy over the last couple of months- living half out of boxes has taken its toll.  So I'm trying to get our apartment to feel like a home by this Saturday.

I just thought this illustration was pretty
and the post felt kinda empty without a picture

I've made a lot of progress- the kids room is pretty much organized and done (just need to find a place for all of the stuffed animals we have), the bedroom for my husband and I is now clean and organized and the Laundry Room/Kitchen is nearly clean (it is just full of laundry to wash- which I should have done by tomorrow afternoon) and the bathroom will be done after I scrub the shower this evening. The last 2 rooms are the hardest of the group; and the ones I've been avoiding the most- my office and the space we've been using as a workout room/living room.  The living room is literally a large pile of boxes going from the floor to the ceiling- and I'm dreading cleaning it out.  My office... really isn't to bad- but I don't know where anything goes right now- as soon as I get it organized I'll be able to start clearing out the living room...

Seriously- probably more info than I really need to share- but it helps me know I'm accomplishing things when I can see it written out.

Well I'm going to get back to work now- later this week or early next I'll post my goals for the summer and start making art again! I'm excited- I have a lot of cool things in mind to do over the next three and a half months; but right now house cleaning is taking priority (as it has to sometimes)


Thursday, May 1, 2014

A to Z Reflections

Ok- so I just finished the A to Z challenge- and am happy that I managed to make it to the end.  Not every post was on time or as well written as I would've liked- but I DID start it last minute and I had all the stress of finals at the same time... in any case I finished it!! I have decided that I'm going to do it again next year- however I'm going to do something different and plan ahead and have the posts more ready to go so I can spend more time focusing on school and visiting other participants blog.  With that said I still hope to visit as many of the blogs on the list as I can (for as long as it is up) and am very grateful to everyone who stopped by and left a comment on this one!

I loved the networking and am going to investigate and see if there are more challenges I can join like the A to Z thing- it was nice to have something to post about every day- even if I did get behind....

SO summer has started- I've been done with school for 2 days and so far all I've done is finish unpacking my kids room, built a futon for their room (for the nights that I have to stay up all night holding a sad/sick child- now I have a bed in there so my husband can get better sleep! I feel so smart) and cleaned out the fridge.  The remaining list of household chores is extensive- but I plan on having everything in order by this time next week.

As of today I have 116 days until school starts- I've got a lot to accomplish and very little time to do so. I'm going to post a list of my goals later today- I mostly just wanted to give my 2 cents on the A to Z thing I just finished.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z is for Paul O Zelinsky

I found Paul Zelinsky recently and accidentally- my kids and I were checking books out of the library and grabbed a Rapunzel book off the shelf.   I'm not sure how we ended up with it- my kids are young (4 and nearly 2) so sometimes books are just grabbed off the shelf and I don't see where they came from and the child doesn't necessarily know why they grabbed it...


So we read the book and I found that while the art had kind of a primitive feel to it (which is to say that it didn't feel like the artist had any academic training) I still enjoyed it- so I looked at the cover and found my artist for Z!  Now I've looked through more of his art in order to make this post- and have found that Zelinsky is very very good at stylizing- what initially looked a bit primitive- was intentionally done.  I like most of his older illustrations better than his newer ones- I'm not really a fan of a lot of the poorly done art that you will see in children's books these days- and much of his newer stuff seems to be within that style.

anyway- here are some of my favorites:

This first one has a few images from the Rapunzel book that we checked out:

the next two are from some of the other books he's illustrated

And with that I made it to the end of the A to Z challenge!!


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y is for Yarrow Cheney

Yarrow Cheney- another amazing illustrator- if you look at his Portfolio and his Blog you'll notice that he worked on Despicable Me- if you scroll past all of that you'll get to see some of his other work.  It is all pretty amazing and kinda whimsical (I know I use that word a lot but it tends to be pretty appropriate more often than not)


Monday, April 28, 2014

X is for Xia Gui

Xia Gui is an artist from the early 1200s according to Wikipedia he was a landscape painter of the Song Dynasty.  Now I chose him in part because I was having a hard time finding an 'X' and looked far and wide and decided to look at Asian painters.  The other part of the reason I chose him was that I really really like the way he used line and tone to create these beautiful paintings.  I want to do more research on this particular painter because I am very intrgued about what little I have read about him on Wiki (which is a nice reference but hardly an academic)

Anyway- here are the pieces I found:


Saturday, April 26, 2014

W i for William Whitaker

Another portraitist- beautiful figures, beautiful paintings.  Once again another one of my art heroes that I hope to be like one day.

Head to his website to check out more of his amazing art:


Friday, April 25, 2014

V is for Lois Van Baarle

This girl is absolutely amazing- I could write paragraphs talking about how wonderful her art is.  I'm not going to though- go check out her website: to see more examples of her art.  As usual I'm just sharing a few that I really love below.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

U is for Adriaen van Utrecht

This painter is rom the Flemish Baroque period and lived about 1599-1652.  He's one of those painters that doesn't get taught a lot (but to be honest- unless you are in a college level art history class no one talks about anyone beyond Van Gogh, Da Vinci, Michelangelo or Rapheal...) Adriaen painted incredibly detailed images in oil.  They are absolutely beautiful- I hope to be able to paint as well some day.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for Will Terry

I've been lucky to have Will Terry as a professor for the last few years and I've learned a lot from him.  He does primarily children's book illustrations- and has recently (over the last 2 years) has been branching into children's book apps for ipad.  He also teaches classes online- he is incredibly busy.  I love his painting style- it is so fun to look at.  The ones I'm sharing are a few that  I've seen him paint in person.  Or at the very least I've seen him working on them at various stages.



Ok- I need to catch up for this week; I will be doing that tomorrow- So 4 posts all at once. I just finished most of my finals today (YAY!!) my last one is due on this coming Monday.  SO I'll be able to start visiting other blogs and stuff- thank you to everyone that has continued to visit despite the fact that I haven't been visiting back! Right now I'm going to take the night off and relax before the final sprint to the finish.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S if for Charles Santoso

 Charles Santoso is an illustrator I found recently.  I don't know a ton about him- but I love the way he draws.  His draphtsmanship is at a level that I hope to reach some day- I love the way he renders his imaginitive characters.

Check out his website: for a whole bunch more of his awesome work; below are some of my favorites.