Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Since taking Mindy Lacefield's Paint Your Story workshop, I've been playing around with creating backgrounds. I've been loosening up, letting go a bit more, learning to cover my mistakes, and getting lots of do-overs! Being a "recovering perfectionist" this has been a huge leap for me, and I thought I'd take you on a little journey of what my brain thinks when I'm on such an adventure. So, here we go!

I think the house was standing out too much, having black in it... so I outlined the clouds and numbers in black oil pastel to balance it out. And, after watching a marathon of American Pickers and seeing Mike Wolfe trying out an old-timey highwheel bicycle... well, I had to add one in my painting...

Whoa! What the heck happened here? Well, the clouds were looking a little too childlike for me. Too cute, I guess. So I tried to cover them up. But they were actually created using bleeding art tissue paper (new to me too!), which — as their name suggests — bleeds through the layers and layers of paint you put over it! So first I tried scribbling in the clouds with black oil pastel, which worked. But I hated it. So I just found the darkest color I could that wasn't black, and masked out everything but the rainbow. I added stars into the new night sky. I kind of liked it.

Well, damn, if I liked it... what the hell happened now? Sheesh! I "pulled" the blue paint down into the white section that led up to the bicycle and the house. I tried to lighten the navy by overpainting some lighter blue over top. But I didn't like that and expressed my frustration across the whole sky, writing with red oil pastel! It says, "this is so hard for me. I just don't get why I'm having such a hard time making backgrounds. But I'm not giving up yet." I also changed the orange dots on the left to red, and the red dots near the bottom to pink. Okay... I like that. But that big blue spot under the rainbow...

Hey! Now what? A skull? Yup. I was so angry at how things were going that I thought I'd make a skull right there under the rainbow. Didn't like that at all. Not sure why... but it just didn't go. So I tried to cover it with red paint and that didn't work. So I let my primitive brain take over and just made marks and lines down the side and a cool banner thingy across the top. Okay, well that stuff I like. Now what to do with the sky?

Yes! That's it! I'll just cover the whole thing up! I didn't mean to. But I used my fingers to add a lighter bluey-aqua paint over top. I had to add several layers because it was so light over that dark background, but I love the way it still shows through. I balanced out the bottom by bringing the pink all the way across and added a few stars in the upper right corner for visual balance. And I haven't touched it since, because I love it just the way it is. But I'm still not sure if I'm done.

This is my brain on art.


  1. lOVE PROCESS !!!

    Brava for letting go.
    And idea ? Scan in the piece as you go. Then you have a copy of background you loved and can work with them again later.

    Happy Playing, Awesome One !

  2. Wonderful work. Loved hearing the progression of events leading up to it. Love it.

  3. Loved seeing and reading about this progression Michelle --


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michelle renee bernard