Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Creative Process

I am always interested to know how people create their art, so I thought I would start by sharing mine.  In the comments, please share how your process is the same or different than mine.

  My process for creating an acrylic painting begins when I am sleeping.  My dreams are typically set in fantastically beautiful locations.  I've been underwater, in space, amongst fantastic creatures, and most recently a peach orchard!  These adventures are born of late night conversations and books I fall asleep reading.  My dream life is really quite incredible, and I love those first moments after waking when I can actually remember what transpired.

  When I wake up, I like to write or sketch what I have just experienced.  I set it aside for a little while so I can eat and do all that other boring but necessary waking life stuff, then come back to it with rolled up sleeves and a positive attitude.

   The Hotjavva Studio is where I create all of my art.  Its a wonderful little corner spot in my house where I am surrounded by all the materials and inspiration I need to get to work.  Magazine clippings, doodles on scraps of paper, photos and children's books populate my space.  There is always a fair amount of glitter dusting the bookshelves and drying station.  Paintings in various stages of completion hang on every bit of wall space, waiting for their final brushstrokes.  A broad spectrum of paint tubes stand ready in a loosely organized fashion.  I try to keep it clean, but when I am in full creative mode I am like a whirling dervish and before long I have to be very careful where I step, sit, or lean.

  I gesso my canvas, then choose a few colors to wash the background with.  I like to just barely mix them so the results have a streaky rainbow-like effect.  Drying time is dancing time, laundry time, make a call time, or work on another painting time.  Depending on humidity and the size of my piece, it takes a few hours to a full day for my canvas to completely dry out.  After 2 coats of background, I am ready to add a simple outline of my subject with pencil or a very fine point marker in a shade similar to the paint I will be using for that object later so it won't show through.

  Now I can start blocking in color for my shapes.  I like to work wet-on-wet, meaning I don't let the base color fully dry before adding highlights, shadow, and additional color.  There is always extra paint left on my palette, and I hate to waste so I find ways to use that paint.  I add details to my other paintings (even the ones I thought were done), paint base coats on canvas paper or mini canvases.  Sometimes I even smear it on my face.  Word to the wise, this blue stained and I am glad I did not have a job interview that day!

  Days or weeks go by before I have a finished piece ready to sell.  I like to work on at least five different projects at a time because its more enjoyable, not to mention more economical (better use of time and paint).  When I finally decide something is finished, I coat it twice with varnish to lock in the color.  This is my least favorite step because varnish is stinky, it takes a long time to dry, and unless my area and brushes are completely free of dust I get an imperfect looking glaze.  Can you imagine how that feels to have irreparable damage happen to your work after all the time you've invested?!

  I keep myself motivated by remembering that I am almost done and ready to share my work with the world, and my favorite and final step is fast approaching!  The last thing I do is add sparkle to my paintings with glitter, crystals, pearls, and iridescent liquid acrylic.  I love the way a little bit of sparkle catches the light just right and allows my work to really shine.
<----  Here's an example of one painting I embellished with opal glitter, pearlescent liquid acrylic, and crystals.  To see more, please visit my Etsy shop

*Next week I will be featuring shops that celebrate reading.  I am a reader and have many readers to Christmas shop for, so this will be a nice way to promote reading-related gift ideas for holiday shoppers.  
If you would like to be featured in my blog next week, please do the following:
1.  Comment on this blog.  If your shop name differs from your blogger ID, please include your shop name.
2.  Go to this  Etsy Forum Thread and share your shop item that celebrates reading.
3.  If your item is chosen, I will contact you.
Thanks for participating!


  1. This was so interesting to read! I love how you posted pics of your studio and process, genius!

  2. Thanks, I hope you do the same in your blog I would love to see it!

  3. Very cool to see works in progress. I've been reading about H.P. Lovecraft lately, and was not too surprised to learn that a lot of his stories came out of dreams too!

    I usually get ideas in the car or while doing something else that is boring. Then it drives me crazy when I can't get strait back to my studio to make it real!

    Thanks for the interesting post!

  4. Very interesting blog - love seeing the progress of your creations.

  5. I loved this post. I too usually end up dreaming something or waking up and thinking, how could I do that in glass? And I love to read, so I've recently made some beaded/glass bookmarks. I've got one listed in my Etsy shop right now.

  6. love the dreams leading to creating. we just opened a store and I dream how to arrange things-or what to make for it...

    great blog...

  7. oops-my shop is

    full of wonderful quilts, afghans, beadwork, scarves-come visit

  8. This was a wonderful article. I've never read a tour thru someone's art and artspace before and I found it very interesting! Thank you!

  9. For those who like to write their thoughts, I make nice fabric notebook covers that fit any composition notebook.

    Custom orders welcome!!!

  10. sparkles are awesome

  11. you really know what you're talking about. i like your style. it's so nice to hear you put into words the magic that i see you do everyday. much love dearest