To Sparkle in the Morning Sun

I came across these words in my little Bob Ross desk calendar…

“Let’s put a few little highlights in here to make them little rascals just sparkle in the sun.”

I loved those words, especially sparkle. And sun. Both of those words have been playing through my head and my heart. It’s been a beautiful weekend with lots of warm weather and sunshine — quite unusual for November — and we celebrated my husband’s birthday on Saturday with lots of calls and visits from family.

I’ve been in a cheerful mood, yet also a thoughtful one. With all that’s going on in the world around us, I suppose it’s understandable to have mixed emotions. I feel exuberant, yet somber. I am excited for the future, yet concerned.

When I came into the studio on Sunday morning, I felt overwhelmed in many ways — not so much by art, but by all the different thoughts and emotions I’ve experienced. But, yes, art has felt a little overwhelming lately, too. I’m learning so much, reading about so many different artists, exploring so many different techniques. I’ve loving it all, but at the same time it’s a bit of a challenge to put everything in its proper place, so to speak, to prioritize, to sort through all the knowledge and determine what I like and what I don’t like, to figure out what I want to use and what I’d rather discard. The process is a pleasant one, so please don’t feel I’m suffering or struggling. Let’s just compare it to having too much of a good thing, sort of like getting more than you wished for. I may be overwhelmed, but in a good way.

So. Sunshine. Sparkles. Morning light, bright days, and emotions whirling and dancing all around me. How to convey all of it with a paintbrush and canvas? No idea, so I simply jumped in and did whatever I felt like doing.

Morning SunHere’s what I painted. “To Sparkle in the Morning Sun” is, I think, a painting that won’t neatly fit into too many distinct categories. Unlike most of my paintings, this is done in acrylic, not oil.

Whenever I’m in the mood to paint intuitively with no plan in mind, I tend to reach for my acrylics, I’ve noticed. They’re inexpensive. I don’t feel that I’m wasting precious paint when I spill them out on a palette or brush them onto a canvas.

Working with acrylics gives me a sense of playful freedom, a willingness to do different things. It’s fun. Although I say so often that acrylics and I aren’t friends, we’ve been getting better acquainted since I began doing mixed media work and learning about art journaling.

So, I created this painting — it’s on a 8 x 10 canvas panel — and it’s both abstract yet still a landscape painting, I think. There’s a bit of sky there, a bit of grass. There’s sunshine and maybe those are autumn leaves, much like the ones that are falling across our yard.

And, although you can’t see them, there are sparkles in the painting. Real sparkles. Just for the fun of it, I added a smidgeon of glitter gel to my acrylics and had great fun brushing it here and there, watching the colors sparkle in the yellow sunlight I’d created.

As with so many of the paintings I post, I had problems getting the colors right in the photograph. The painting is brighter and cheerier than it appears. I used my Paint program to add a black background here in hopes that the colors might look truer. It helped somewhat, but it still doesn’t show the actual brilliance and sparkle of my Sunday morning painting.

Yes, Sunday morning in the studio has become a time for playful art games, a time to try things that would sound very silly if I wrote about them, a time to take all my thoughts and dreams and moods and emotions and just throw them into the creative mix. I never know what will come out, but sometimes I like what I get.

Today, I love the idea of sparkles in the morning sun, and I hope you enjoy seeing my painting and hearing a little about my creative process.

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