The Daily Westin- Art Edition

Hello friends,

So, I did a thing.

If you read my last post, which talked about things I wanted to accomplish and listing numerous reasons why I haven’t, you know I said that one thing I wanted to do this year was to paint a picture. Well, I did it.

Now, before I show you this, I want you to understand that this is my first ever painting in any medium, given that you don’t count watercolor as a kid, painting rocks with the family, or painting model cars. Well, technically it’s not my first, but it’s the first I am willing to show you. A few days before this one, I began one on canvas board and, truth be told, I have no idea what I was going for so it looks like absolutely nothing. Also, it’s nowhere near finished and I don’t think I will be finishing it, mainly because I have no idea what to do with it. So, I chose to give myself a mulligan and actually made a painting that at least looks kind of like something.

Like I said, I am a brand new painter, so keep that in mind. While I do know what needs to happen to make a painting more realistic, I haven’t quite figured out how to make it happen yet.

First, I’ll show you the picture I took the moment I realized I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing, or rather how to do it. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you have seen this already.


On the top of my easel, you will see the very grainy reference photo. I wanted to have it printed out just so I could have an idea of the shapes. When I wanted to reference colors, I went to the high-res photo on my laptop.

You can see, at this point, that I was not really headed in the right direction. It’s like I had zero spatial awareness and zero depth perception. Not to mention, zero idea how to lay the color down. To be honest,  I had this idea that I would block out the shapes and then go back and highlight them later. So that’s what I was doing.

Here is where I ended for the day:


Not too much changed. I added a little bit of depth to the clouds, added a muddy bank, some rocks, and moved the stream. Not to mention it’s hella abstract. But ya know what? I actually kind of like it.

Right now, it’s drying and I had planned on going back and adding at least one more layer but I don’t know. I don’t know if I want to mess with it anymore, not for the sake of being tired of it, but for the sake of not wanting to make it look absolutely hideous. It actually doesn’t look too bad. Maybe I am just telling myself that, however.

I don’t plan to be an abstract painter, but this painting is just that, and it’s fine. If I choose to leave it alone, I will just hang it on the wall as a reference to where I came from. I truly believe that painting is a natural born talent, which I wasn’t blessed with. However, I also deeply believe that anyone can learn how to paint. All you have to do is grasp a basic understanding of drawing and learn how shadows work. That’s the thing with painting. It’s a game of shadows and highlights. Yes, your colors are important too, but that all plays into shadows and highlights.

Something I did last night after finishing this painting, because I was in a hyper creative mood and wanted to paint but without the mess, was to play with my Copic(Blick’s version anyway) markers. I bought these just after Christmas when I really began to want to create art like this. Believe it or not, alcohol based markers are really good for getting some of the same foundations you need for painting down. I’ll show you what I am working on:


It’s clearly not finished just yet but, if I’m being honest, I don’t think it’s that bad for only having 24 markers to work with, only a few of which are actually usable for landscapes. With alcohol based markers, it’s kind of hard to maintain consistency throughout the picture when you are trying to fill a large area. At least with the Blick Studio brush markers I am using. So, that’s something I have to figure out, but so far I think I am doing okay. I definitely think I did better with depth and scale, at least as far as the barn and, well, most of it up to the horizon line where I began to fail.

So, that’s all I wanted to share with you all today. I hope you enjoyed this little change of pace. Again, I am a writer and I will always write, but I needed to explore some other creative outlets and it really felt nice. One day, when I get better at painting, I really want to paint a series of scenes from my book, The Liberty Chronicles. Or, rather, scenes from what I believe the world could look like during or after the time of the book. It is my goal to tell stories through art and my painting isn’t quite ready to tell stories yet. But just wait!

If you stuck around, thanks so much! I hope you all have a wonderful week!