Faith and Art

Happy Easter

Yosemite Chapel

God is an artist – a creator and I love the gifts of creative HE has given us to spread colors of light and hope into the world.

History always has had dark times – but God has overcome the darkness through Jesus Christ and Easter Sunday.

The path wasn’t easy – God walked through all the difficulties and continues to walk with us on our journey.

While I am a Christian – God loves all of us and is calling you to Himself.

I love spending time with God while creating – I talk to God about story ideas and enjoy the quiet solitude of a hike in the mountains or by the beach.

God comes to use in the stillness and calls us to be HIS hands and feet in the world.

I love to create art and to write stories – so I hope that my art and my stories – even if they are imperfect bring you joy and remind you that there is LIGHT and good in this world.

When you look at a painting – even the masterpieces – they have an ‘ugly phase’ – where the colors look like mud or you wonder ‘should I keep going’ and yet layer after layer and stroke after brushstroke it comes together.

You are God’s masterwork and he sees the perspective – even when life feels like it is muddy and dark.

You are also called to shine light through kindess to others – sometimes it is saying hello to a stranger or a simple smile; othertimes it is sharing a meal with someone in need – or giving your talents to better the world.

Easter reminds us that failure is not fatal and God’s success in overcoming the cross and death has the final word.

Prayers for you all and keep creating!

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April in Art

April is one of my favorite times of the year. North Carolina bursts to life with gorgeous flowers and relaxing sunny weather.

I’ve added some new art to my Etsy page and wanted to share a few of the pieces I’ve worked on in the past week!

Old Well at UNC-CH

Please support my art journey by purchasing my work on Etsy – I keep my prices at cost (just covering supplies) because I want to spread hope through art.

Want to keep posted on my art journey:

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Art Blog

Spring Impressions – Playing with color

Spring is blooming in North Carolina and I have enjoyed playing with color in a series of impressionist paintings.

I love color and taking time mix colors and build layers upon layer of color.

If you take time to study nature – you’ll notice how the subtle colors of grass against clay and rock is real life impressionism.

As an artist I encourage you to not be boxed in by one style – you can find a style you love and lean into it – but don’t be afraid to try something new or paint in multiple styles depending on your painting mood. I love impressionism and the spring colors have me playing homage to Monet and fauvism (Matisse) – but I also enjoy taking time to learn how to build deep realistic paintings.

Whether I’m focusing on creating a realistic interpretation or impressionism/abstract style – I always lean into value.

Value defines how light or dark a given color or hue can be. Values are best understood when visualized as a scale or gradient, from dark to light. The more tonal variants in an image, the lower the contrast. When shades of similar value are used together, they also create a low contrast image

Value is all around us – and I encourage you to observe and take notice of different contrasts of light and dark and how colors appear in nature. Sometimes I paint something that seems counterintuitive to what I would assume because the reference photo has a different value. ex: I know the mountains are grey and green – but they appear blue so I paint a cool blue based on the value and representation of color in the photo.

Once you start studying value – you are also able to ‘auto-correct’ as needed based on the science of value. Ex: establishing where your light source is helps you to identify hw to build shadow and contrast in the image.

Ricky Allman does a great job explaining value and painting to value in his Great Courses class. You can sign up for a trial and He is AMAZING.

I always try to paint to the value – whether I’m being ‘wonky’ and colorful with impressionism or painting realistically because it helps to establish cohesive and attractive paintings/art.

Buy on Etsy

You can purchase all my art on Etsy or via my Facebook Shop

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Art Talk: Brushes and Paints

Whether you are a seasoned artist or getting into painting for the first time – making sure you have the best supplies to empower your art is important.

I’ve been actively painting with acrylics for about five years – and painting regularly (3 times a week) since the pandemic hit. I wanted to share lessons I’ve learned along the way.

It is important to recognize that art is a journey and while you can master certain techniques – artists are always learning and growing. We can develop unique styles and master regimens, but the best artists are always open to growth. Masters like Monet, Van Gogh and beyond – learned from making mistakes and developing their craft.

The most unique artists I’ve studied (including modern masters and YouTube experts) studied other artists and practiced techniques from past ‘masters’ to learn technique and open their vision from paint to palette.

The point – don’t be afraid to try different styles of art and take a tutorial on how ‘Van Gogh’ painted – creativity is part orignality and part collaboration. You can learn a lot through online tutorials or putting your own spin on historical paintings (just reference the original artist when you are done). Ginger Cook (YouTube Acrylic Teacher ) has a great series of how to paint the masters on her channel.

Also don’t be afraid to test out different styles of art. I personally love to paint landscapes, but recently I’ve tackled abstracts. Within my landscape portfolio I try different views on the same landscape – from impressionism to abstract to expressionism. Sometimes I fail and it’s okay – it is only paint! You can paint over a canvas if you mess up! I always learn more from mistakes than successes in painting. Work with the process.

  • I work fulltime in software sales – but art is my passion. I try to block out time to paint daily – but let’s face it – life happens. So what I recommend is blocking off your calendar for daily ‘art’ time – even if it is watch a tutorial or combing through an art book.
  • Notice your surroundings – how light touches trees at different times of the day…how shadows and light play together in regular daily settings. Observing light and values in day to day life will help you become a better artist
  • Invest in materials

The biggest advice I can give from my experience in art is it is worth investing in quality supplies – especially if you are a beginner. While the buy one = get ten free sales at Michael’s on student paint seems tempting – in the end you will waste time and money by ‘saving’ cost upfront on student paints.

Why? I used to buy fifty paintbrushes for $10 on sale -but they were impossible to paint with. I had to use tons of extra paint to get it to stick to the canvas – not to mention tons of paint hairs would wind up on the canvas stuck in the paint.

Cheap canvas? They can be redeemed with gesso but a cheap and ineffective canvas can be like sandpaper on your brushes…unable to keep paint on the canvas and leaving blotchy spots.

  • Gesso can help with this to provide better binding – but if possible invest in quality affordable canvas.

Paints – while there are some decent student grade paints -most are watered down and have less pigment so you end up using a tube of paint just to finish a painting. The mixing quality isn’t as good.

I’ve tried lots of different paints, brushes and supplies over my art journey and continue to test new products. The standbys I always invest in are listed below – they provide the best value for the investment and help me to provide the best art to my clients and continue to improve as a painter.

Acrylic Paints:

I recommend investing in your primary colors first and then adding on specific specialized colors that are harder to mix (magenta, dioxinade purple, etc…)

Invest in a color wheel and mixing guide so you can make more colors from less tubes of paint.

  • Golden: I love Golden Paints – their heavy body paint is thick and easy to blend and spread. Golden is my go to for specific colors like ‘Light Phthalo Blue.’ I love this color because it provides an ideal sky blue or is a good blending blue. I spend $20.00 a month on this color – but it is worth it!
  • Liquitex: Liquitex Basics is an awesome quality starter paint that I continue to use 90% of the time. Liquitex also has professional series from soft body and heavy body paints. The heavy body is great for thicker landscape/strokes and the softbody is good when you want a more flowing stroke (from my use anyway 🙂 Liquitex also has great glazing and acrylic additives.
  • Soho – Jerry’s Artarama brand – I use it for primary colors – quality affordable paint
  • Windsor and Newton – I love their Naples Yellow and Mixing White
  • Lukas – I like their blues and yellows – good price and quality paint
  • Sennelier – this is a favorite of paintings – Van Gogh and Monet used Sennelier paints for oils. Their Abstract paint is great for mixed media!

Brushes:

I spend a lot on brushes and have also saved a ton of money and time by doing so. A quality brush is essential to painting – from beginners to professionals.

I recommend Silver Brushes – they are my absolute favorite – especially Ruby Satin.

However, I also supplement with Soho (Jerry’s Artarama), Princeton and Raphael

I order from Jerry’s or The Brush Guys

Canvas:

  • I like Creative Mark for affordable quality canvas
  • Jerry’s and Blick both carry lots of quality options with great sale prices.

I’d love to get you feedback on what products you love

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Spring into Painting

March is one of my favorite months of the year – changing of the seasons, gorgeous blooms (or winter freezes depending on your location) – college basketball…(Go Heels)

I’ve been spending March digging into painting – I’ve been painting daily and working on building my art business.

I am also working on some creative writing that will launch on Adele Lassiter Creative soon (Icing on the Cupcake series)

I wanted to take some time to update the blog with pieces from my latest collection.

I appreciate the support as I continue to build my creative business.

To thank you I am offering Adele Lassiter Creative fans a 20% discount to my Etsy shop. Redeem here

Also, we’re on Facebook – join here

And be sure to follow my travel blog: American Nomad – adelelassiter.com

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Fresh Art- March Collection

This spring I am continuing my ‘Painting the National Parks’ collection as well as adding in fun floral prints and abstracts. Fresh art is being added to Etsy weekly.

Please support a working artis by purchasing through Etsy or via direct message.

My goal is create beautiful, fun and relaxing art that is affordable and accessible to art lovers.

Montana Sunset – available on Etsy
Hayden Valley Yellowstone on Etsy
Rocky Mountain National Park on Etsy
Flowers in Bloom on Etsy
Flowers in Bloom on Etsy
Painting through the National Parks

Painting the National Parks: Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen National Park – painting available on Etsy

Next stop on Painting the National Parks – Lassen Volcanic. Located in northeastern California, Lassen Volcanic is home to steaming fumaroles, ambling meadows erupting with wildflowers, crystal mountain lakes and numerous volcanoes.

Volcanic sites like Mt. St. Helens and Yellowstone National Park have always fascinated me. As a person of faith, I see it as a natural display of how even the most volatile situations an yield a resilient beauty. The geology behind parks like Lassen and Yellowstone dare us to wonder and to also recognize our human limits. Nature is a dangerous beauty – wild and to be explored, but carefully.

Lassen is on my bucket list. I hope to schedule a two week California National Parks trip once COVID has calmed a bit (Omicron go away!)

NPS has a fantastic website so you can ‘virtually’ visit Lassen safely at home. Click here to explore more about Lassen

I studied many photographs of Lassen and while I would like to paint the steamy fumaroles in the future, I wanted to focus on the picturesque Manzanita Lake on the edge of sunset.

This painting was all about layering and building out soft colors to reflect the bold sunlight and the soft reflection on the water.

I love painting mountains because the scenery is ever changing. Depending on the weather and time of day you have a completely different masterpiece of natural art. I love playing with colors and mountains have a depth and mystery that the artist in me loves to explore.

This painting and others are available on Etsy

Fall colors around Manzanita Lake
from NPS
Painting through the National Parks

Painting the National Parks: Sequoia Roots

Sequoia Roots buy on Etsy

This week I continue my art journey – painting through America’s National Parks- I decided to paint Sequoia National Park.

I planned a trip to Sequoia prior to the pandemic that was cancelled. I planned the trip over several months so while I’ve never been to Sequoia I feel as though I visited the park (at least in spirit).

I will be blogging about ‘Sequoia’ soon on my sister blog American Nomad…in the meantime check out this awesome factsheet about Sequoia – the land of Giants

Painting Sequoia was challenging because the trees are towers of ancient forests – that converse with the sky. Building perspective when the tree cannot fully fit on the canvas was difficult. I studied numerous reference photos and decided to create my painting as an ode to the forest – focusing on the reddish/brown hues and thick trunk with distant trees in the background.

I started this painting with an grounding color of unbleached titanium (one of my favorite blending colors) and raw sienna and burnt umber.

A grounding color does several things:

  1. A blank canvas (with gesso): When I first started painting I would sketch out my image with watercolor pencil then start painting the colors directly on the canvas (as they appear in my reference photo). This always was a struggle because the paint wouldn’t adhere well with the first coat to the canvas. I’d end up using lots of paint and it would be clumpy -not a great look. I tried adding more gesso, but that could make the canvas texture too thick.
    • I learned from Ginger Cook that acrylics bind well to one another, so a grounding layer helps to build your painting.

2. It also ensures that you don’t have any ‘white gaps’ underneath your painting that appears unrealistic.

From there I began to build the ‘King’ Sequoia, layer after layer – constantly looking at the lighting and values in my reference photo.

Details are important, but in my current art journey I really am looking at the values (light and dark); color quality and trying to match that and adjust as needed.

This painting took about 3 hours to complete. A common misconception new artists (or non artists) think is that just because a landscape or painting is impressionistic or more open with brushstrokes – it is simple to paint.

I actually find my landscapes with their open brushstrokes take longer than some detailed paintings just because you really lean into the layers and details of the colors and you are constantly adding small touches.

Landscape painting is like a walk through Sequoia National Park – you don’t need to rush. It is meant to slow you down and be relaxing.

Paint supplies: I use a variety of paints and brushes in my paintings depending on the subject.

I’ve said this on a previous post but you must absolutely invest in quality supplies – yes I understand the cost of supplies is a lot for a beginner – I learned the hard way you’ll spend way more if you start off with cheap supplies. Why? The paint is watered down -so you will have to use a lot more paint to get the same results – so you will run out of paint quickly.

  • The brushes are key – I found my early paintings key have stray brush hairs) and no matter how much paint I put on the brush it wouldn’t spread on the canvas.
  • I had to purchase new brushes at least twice a month – they’d die a quick death – even with good soap and water.

For new painters(and seasoned pros):

  • I really love Liquitex and Liquitex Basics
  • Jerry’s Artarama Soho Paint does well for foundational and accent colors
  • I also love Golden, Lukas, Windsor and Newton Paints, Amsterdam for day to day professional use.
  • There are lots of great brands, but just make sure you are purchasing professional paint.
  • Your local art supply store can help – or watch tutorials by Ginger Cook and The Art Sherpa who break this down in some of their tutorials.

Brushes:

I typically use Silver Brushes – they are may favorite because they smoothly cover the paint and I have good control with the brushes. I also like Princeton, Raphael and I use Soho (Jerry’s)

I usually purchase from Jerry’s Artarama or The Brush Guys; Dick Blick is recommended too

Helpful resources:

Art Sherpa and Ginger Cook great online videos and resources

Thanks for supporting Adele Lassiter Creative by purchasing my art on Etsy

Painting through the National Parks

Painting the National Parks: Utah Canyons

Bryce Canyon Impression

I’ve continued my journey this week Painting the National Parks. I’ve continued in Utah Country focusing on Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef.

The otherworldly landscapes of Utah’s Canyon country are so vibrant and indescribable I struggled in narrowing down my compositions. I decided to be very impressionistic here – capturing the essence of the place – the vivid colors, unique topography and focusing mostly on shapes and values.

One of my biggest influences is Cezanne – who I often find leaning into (I also have a cat named Cezanne – photo at the bottom of this post), because Cezanne’s paintings use blocks of shape and impressions to capture the moment. I could paint the canyon country of Utah over an over again and constantly find new ways to pain the same scenes because the topography is so unique.

Bryce Canyon:

To learn more about the park, I recommend checking out the NPS park page

Bryce is one of my favorite parks to visit. I first traversed the amphitheater of hoodoos in college and returned years later with my mom. Every moment is every changing. The shadows of light and dark – the seasons of snow and sizzling heat.

Bryce sits atop the Colorado Plateau and is carved by erosion – wind, heat, ice, rain and God’s careful breath in time. It astounds in hues of orange, reds and yellows and burnt umber browns. As a story teller, I imagine this being a gateway to a fairytale world or how the ancient civilizations live (more on the NPS page about the interest history of the human habitation in the park).

The image I captured on canvas is a hoodoo called ‘Thor’s Hammer’ from the Norse mythology. It is one of the quintessential views of Bryce.

This painting demanded a lot of layering and detail work. Looking at the broad brush strokes this looks like a effortless impressionistic painting, but it demand several hours of layering browns, oranges, yellows and details.

One of my favorite teachers, Ginger Cook (check out her page) – always talks about layering in her tutorials and is so true. One lesson I’ve learned from painting is that the best painting (even if they look simple) are a result of time spend blending, layering and paying close attention to values.

As a painter I’m not focused so much on realism as the color values and essence of the moment. Eventually I’d love to advance enough to be a photorealist painter – but at the end of the day art is meant to be an impression and unique. My style leans into focusing on the color, shapes and values and building detail from there.

I will paint Bryce again in the future and share it with you.

Capitol Reef:

One of my favorite adventures was spending the night camping under the moonlight in Capitol Reef. One of the lesser known of Utah’s Big Five National Parks – it is just as elegant and wild as Zion.

It is a remnant of a geologic water pocket fold giving way to extraordinary landscapes from a reef like wall of rock to towering monoliths of orange and browns.

Painting a monolith isn’t as easy as you’d think with perspective so I really spent time looking at the shadows and colors and trying to emulate it. This paining has almost a montage like feel, but rock often looks that way as it comes from layers and layers of time and shifting stone.

This is a winter scene. Nothing is prettier than snow on the wild rocks of Utah.

My favorite memory of this park was seeing the Native American Petroglyphs

To learn more about Capitol Reef

You can purchase these on Etsy and I will donate 20% to the National Parks Foundation. Please spread the word

Cezanne the cat

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Painting through the National Parks: Utah Dreaming

Arches National Park impression(above)…If you like my art you can email me or go to my Etsy page

Utah is a land of dramatic vistas, tantalizing colors and otherworldly landscapes that invite travelers to explore, relax and experience God’s artistry. Utah is home to the ‘Mighty Five’ – five stunning national parks including: Zion, Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef.

I am grateful to have visited all of Utah’s national parks multiple times. I first traversed the wild landscapes in college during a cross country road trip. My favorite memory is sleeping under the stars at Capitol Reef National Park.

My mom and I spent two weeks in Utah during a road trip in 2014. We loved camping at Zion National Park (in March) at Watchman. The campground is in the shadow of ‘The Watchman’ near the entrance of Zion Canyon. We also spent time in Bryce Canyon at Ruby’s Best Western.

When I got my job at Qualtrics – a key motivator was the ability to travel to the Utah office (I’m based in NC) periodically. I loved the fact Qualtrics included the outdoor philosophy into their business model and experience management focus.

This weekend I am enjoying a NC snow day ‘Painting through the National Parks’ focusing on Utah’s Mighty Five. I started off with impressions of heavenly Zion National Park and Arches National Park

*I will be blogging about Utah Parks in on my sister site (adelelassiter.com – Travel Blog) in February and sharing my favorite stories and tips about Utah’s Mighty Five.*

Arches National Park:

Located just outside of Moab in eastern Utah, Arches National Park has the distinction of having the largest concentration of natural arches in the world – more than 2000.

Arches is one of my favorite places to paint because i love the bright colors – vibrant hues of oranges and sand yellows, against the cool blue to mud colored jagged La Sal Mountains. It is an otherworldly place – you imagine God hand carving the canyon and ancient peoples living in the shadow of the arches.

This is my latest painting of Arches Delicate Arch. This is a winter scene. I love the snow contrasting the orange red of the rocks.

This painting took roughly 3 hours to complete. I started with a grounding color (ultramarine+q magenta+unbleached titanium). I then built the arch layer by layer. When I paint I focus on values. As a perfectionist I used to get frustrated when paintings don’t come out exactly like the realistic picture – but I’ve learned to let that go and focus on painting what I see – even if it seems irrational. If the snow looks blue – add some blue. If you mess up it is okay! Play with the paint and learn.

A big tip I have in my painting journey is that even beginner painters need to invest in the right materials. I used to use student grade paints because they were cheaper and the colors looked good – but they are hard to paint with an you have to use an entire tube practically for one painting. Same with brushes – using a cheap brush means you brush hairs get on your paintings and will break. I now only purchase quality brushes and they last.

My favorite brushes: Silver Brushes (they last forever if you clean them and are ideal for my landscapes); Raphael – just discovered this brushes and they are great for grounding the paint (painting the background); Princeton; Jerry’s Artarama Soho brushes.

Best places to purchase: Amazon (of course); Jerry’s – great paint store; The Brush Guys

Arches National Park

Zion National Park:

Located in southwestern Utah – Zion is ‘heaven’ on earth. Words won’t convey the majesty of Zion. The canyon is glorious and mysterious – a canyon of wonder and adventure. To learn more about the park click here.

My mom and I visited Zion in March – the offseason. In the summer Zion is so crowded they have a ticketing system and limited vehicle traffic (visitors rely on shuttles). If I return it will be in the off season because it was quiet -and I could really explore the hiking trails without congestion.

The only issue of visiting in winter/early spring is it can get cold. But the dry air and bright sun keep it manageable during the day. If you are camping (we were) – just make sure to have a negative zero sleeping bag. It got down to 17 degrees and I still felt warm.

No photo description available.
My photo from our trip