Monday, January 27, 2020

Popping in to say hello!

Newest art sale ready to ship!  Brown cardboard package in my hands.
Hello from the studio!  It's been a long while, I know.  I have been going in so many directions, not only with art studio activities, but with home and family as well.  There's so much to be done in this off season...and the weeks are flying by.  By the second half of March, I will be returning to nannying full days and that lasts until September.  With my most recent art sale, just three days ago, the buyer mentioned she enjoys my blog.  Well, the blog has been so far off the list, it's nearly fallen off.  Thank you, Julie for saying you enjoy reading these...this one's for you!

Art studio back counter holds artwork in progress.

The past two weeks have been surprisingly busy with artwork sales.  To those who enjoy my work enough to purchase...a big thank you!  Each piece brings me a huge amount of pleasure to paint.  The fact that someone else is so attached and purchase a piece is a big deal.  It's an investment in my time and passion, an added little bonus to the supplies fund, and the hope that I can continue for years to come.  Some days, I confess, I wonder if I will run out of space to store the artwork.  My husband says not to worry.  He says to keep painting, even if I never sell another piece.  I love that man more than I could have breath to tell!

The art room looks much the same, but there's quite a bit of new artwork collecting on the back counter.  I have moved most of it from here to the next steps in completion.  The paper takes on some faint buckling by the time the artwork is finished.  I have a process for flattening it before I sign it.  This time, I counted over 50 total.  Many are miniatures but still quite a few 4" x 6" and 5" x 7" in the mix.  Beyond those, I am finding maybe a dozen more that are close to being finished with a few brushstrokes.  I have one art commission project in progress, to be finished by the end of February.  At this point, my goal is to finish up the steps needed to list this great amount of artwork by mid March.

So much artwork waiting to be completed.

Preparing to flatten artwork under weight of heavy art books.

My workspace in all its messy glory.

Our snowy season began earlier than usual, with first snowfall in September.  By Thanksgiving, I had lost count of how many times it had snowed.  On Thanksgiving day itself, we were on day 2 of a snowstorm that was more hefty than expected.  We had the whole meal ready and only my husband and I at home.  The value of a 4-wheel drive vehicle cannot be impressed enough.  We were well stocked for supplies and power and heat stayed on.  It was a memorable holiday for sure!

Thanksgiving snowstorm seflie.

We paused from our shoveling to take a photo.

In a moment of pure silliness, I challenged a friend to do a free fall into the snow.  This snow was so light and powdery.  We were out often to shovel...again.  I had my husband's help as I shared this on Facebook Live.  My friend took the challenge and soon she was free falling though I think the ski goggles might be counted as a cheat.

I free fall face first into the snowbank, a challenge to my friend, Heather!

I guess it's obvious by now that there's been no shortage of inspiration for snowy winter landscapes.  As January is drawing to a close, I have got to say...I am snow over it.  (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)  I have a collection of gorgeous winter watercolors to share now.  I enjoyed each one.  They were a relaxing way to spend cold days indoors, with hot tea, and lovely music playing in the background.  I spent two afternoons hosting a winter landscape workshop here in the studio.  These were completed around that same time.  There are probably more, but this gives a good peek at what I've finished so far.

Winter landscape artwork 2019.

Winter landscape artwork 2019.

Winter landscape artwork 2019.

Winter landscape artwork 2019.

Thank you to Cath for the nudge to try this one.  She took my winter landscape workshop...she was the one who requested a workshop.  She asked for some tips during our time together.  She was wondering how to paint snow on branches.  

So as the ladies painted on their projects, I headed outside to get a few photos to work from to demonstrate.  I took the photos on my phone, later shared them in a google album online, and began this painting.  I was able to show how to quickly sketch the basic details, lay down a first wash of color, use masking fluid to save whites/lights...and then after laying down the second wash of color, our time was up.  

They asked for me to finish it and share a video.  It's been a while since I have saved and posted a video.  On the day I was ready to finish this piece, I set up my phone on a tripod and recorded my process.  They were able to go online and watch this with a link.  My skills are improving a bit at a time...both artwork and technology wise.

I think I have fallen in love with this one.  I love all of the work I create but sometimes there is a painting I think cannot go anywhere.  This one needs to stay put here, hung on my wall for now.  In 2020, one of my goals will be to add more paintings larger than 5" x 7" so we'll see how that turns out.

My favorite of the winter landscapes from 2019.

My favorite of the winter landscapes from 2019.

I am sure many readers have wondered at where I had gone.  It's been such a long time but not to worry.  While I may not be sharing the in-depth posts with how to and recommendations for products, I am still actively creating artwork.  My time is limited and I am using it with painting the watercolor artworks.  I will soon be at the one year anniversary of my website launch.  My plan is to have it updated with quite a few new artworks in the next month or two.  I am very active on Instagram because it's become so familiar with the use of my phone camera.

Perhaps, one day I will figure out a great and simple method for staying consistent with blog posts once again.  Thanks for stopping by and hoping you enjoyed a glimpse of what I have been doing creatively.


She must make art.


Thursday, October 3, 2019

Taking Time To Stretch In The Art Room

Taking time to stretch in the art room by Christy Sheeler Artist.  Artist stretching with arms linked above her head.

What I should be doing every day.

It's one of my biggest challenges.  Stretching and taking care of my body is definitely important.  Too much sitting and concentrating takes a toll on my body.  Lost in thought, intently focused on a painting, I don't want to stop for anything.  Is there any chance you know where I am coming from?  Why do we do this to ourselves?

Today, it might be a good idea to focus on how you and I can take better care of ourselves with some body stretching breaks.  I've got some tips.  Let's talk about taking time to stretch in the art studio.

To be honest with you, I am needing to take my own advice.

Where are you affected most?

When I am working at the art table, my neck and shoulders can become tight and sore.  Whether I sit or stand to paint with watercolors, my focus is on the painting in progress.  I get in the zone.  I don't want to quit.  At the end of the day, I am feeling it physically.  So where is a good place to begin?

Let's think about the areas of the body most affected by the creative work.

Hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, neck, upper back...and on from there.

Once you know your target areas that need some TLC with stretching, you can begin looking for stretches.  I did a Google search for stretches for neck, shoulders, low back, and hips.

Here are a few for starters:

6 Stretches to Relieve a Tight, Sore Neck from
16 Simple Stretches for Tight Shoulders from
Hand, Wrist, Neck, & Shoulder Stretches & Exercises for Artists with Ask Dr. Jo on YouTube.
12 Hand Stretches For Artists: Hand and Wrist Pain

Sheets of paper with my favorite stretches, a quick reference I like to use.

What will work best for you?

Think about what method or plan would work best in your daily art practice.  I created several pages for myself by copying and pasting into Publisher.  I selected the poses or stretches that appeal to me.  This gave me my own cheat sheet of stretches and yoga poses as a reference when I take a stretch break.

You can create a Pinterest board to save your own favorite websites for stretching and yoga poses.  YouTube is a great source for stretching and yoga videos; make yourself a playlist just for this purpose.

How can you focus on follow through?

For me, the best way to be sure I stretch is setting a timer.  A timer app set for 30 minutes helps me to work without having to watch the clock.  When the timer goes off, I take 5 or 10 minutes to do some stretching.  With a printed copy of the stretches I am using, I can do a few stretches per break.  If I choose a video instead, then I can stretch along with the video for 10 minutes and then pause it until the next break.

On YouTube, Yoga With Adriene is my favorite account to follow along in relaxing yoga sessions.  She has a large collection of yoga videos to choose from for all ability levels, target areas of the body, length of sessions, and many different purposes.  She has yoga for neck and shoulders, yoga at your desk, and yoga for your lunch break.

Also on YouTube, search for DoYogaWithMe.  Yoga for hands, arms and shoulders would be a great regular routine to follow.

Consider what gear might help with fitness.

Over the years, I have purchased the gear that helps me keep my body stretched and feeling better.  The exercise ball is helpful for stretching out my back after too much sitting.  The green curved foam form helps stretch the low back.  I use the rolled towel to give my neck a bit of traction as I lay on the floor.  The curved black S Backnobber, the two small Yoga Massage Balls, and the blue hard plastic tool all help with knots in the muscles.  (The last of those three came from a dollar store!)  The purple strap helps with many stretches.  The two black rollers on the left help with rolling out deep tissues.  I have a yoga mat and yoga blocks which I forgot to include in the photo.  It's worth investing in the tools that make stretching more effective especially if it becomes a daily routine.

My fitness equipment used at home.

A word of caution.

If you are currently experiencing pain and discomfort, ignore all this and go see a doctor.  I have injured my wrists and hands in the past.  I made sure to see a doctor, benefited from physical therapy, and I have stretchy wrist braces to help when I am sore.  Be cautious when you stretch.  It should not be painful.  Don't push through and ignore the pain.  Take extra care to be sure you are not doing more damage to your body.  In the long run, a break from art for self care is just smart.  You would not want to be taking risks that would cost you the ability to be creative for a long period of time.

There's art to make so the body needs to last.

There is no way our bodies will be able to continue supporting the creative pursuits unless we make it a goal to care for our bodies at all times.  I didn't really consider this when I was younger.  Now, I understand that my body can't take the abuse for long without feeling it.  I find that extended time at the computer affects my hands and wrists most noticeably.  The rest of me feels the strain, too.  This is a hard task for me to develop a better habit of caring for my body.  I have not mastered it and realize it's going to be an ongoing process to continue improving each day.

Do you have insight or tips to add?  What steps have you taken to help take care of yourself so you can be able to continue your creative pursuits?  Please comment below so we can all make this a better daily habit!

Take care and I'll be back with another post related to being a creative adventurer!

P.S.  I am done with the nannying season for another year and that means more time for creating and selling artwork.  There are more than 30 smaller pieces that need to be finished up.  For several, it means deciding what size will be best and cropping the artwork.  I have miniatures, 3 1/2" x 5", 4" x 6", and 5" x 7" in the stack.  I will try to share more in the next week.  If you haven't visited my website yet, I would love for you to see so go check it out next!


She must make art.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

My Big News: My Website Has Launched!

Website is Live,

My Website is Live

I'm doing a happy dance!  One of my big art goals is now reality.  It's been a test of my courage.  I hesitated as we do so often, afraid of the unknown.  Feeling out of my element and knowing that I am running out of time for this to happen, it would mean a lot of hard work.  It wasn't as scary as I made it out to be.

Will you share 30 seconds with me and go check it out?  I would love for you to see my artwork.  While you are there, sign up for my newsletter!  I'll let you know when new artwork is added.

  There are several collections and I'm already planning one or two more for spring and summer.  I will continue adding options to the website such as matting and frame offerings.  

I am off to paint more for the next collection to be added soon.  Stay tuned!


She must make art.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Is it time to begin selling my art online?

Artist Logo for Christy Sheeler, Watercolor Artist with watercolor mountain landscape in the background.

My time is running coming.

It's nearly spring and that means I will be returning to my other job (joy, really) as a nanny.  Spring through fall, I have a dream position caring for the three children of a local family.  As the time approaches, I am carefully taking stock of what I would like to accomplish with my art career.  With just a few weeks left, I am looking over priorities.  I am preparing to debut a website of my own for my watercolor artwork.

Artwork is being photographed to show in its best light.  Over time, I have been building my body of artwork.  I am not sure whether I am 100% ready but that cannot keep me from moving forward.

My word for the year: courage.

I believe this blog will be continued on my new website.  Whether this blog remains as is for art tips and techniques written for other creatives...I have not figured that out yet.  As this all comes about, I will be sure to post information here so that you can find me at my new location.  The new website blog may have my thoughts and insights about upcoming artwork for collectors.

Thank you for your encouragement and interest in the next chapter of watercolor journeys as I continue with my goals.  Please be sure to keep in contact.  I know there's so much more to come!  I look forward to seeing you there!

My online gallery of original watercolors:


She must make art.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Artworks in Progress

Can I create a short update?

Is it possible?  I'm not sure how long you've been hanging out here at She Must Make Art, but it shouldn't take long to notice my posts are usually lengthy.  I am giving myself a new challenge to stick with this year.  There's a lot happening with my 2019 goals, including working toward a new website.  I've got new work completed and in frames, now displayed in my art room.  I will host a photographic tour soon.  Today, I have a quick look at some of the new work that's in progress or just completed recently.

Watercolor in progress. Christy Sheeler, artist.

The watercolor artworks are smaller, what some would call "littles" and I am able to finish them more easily.  My hours spent on art are broken up often with life's meetings and appointments not to mention family time.  These artworks are loosely based on photographs.  I am stretching myself to be more willing to paint intuitively.  That means that I am seeking to paint without being held tightly to what the photo is describing by itself.  

 Watercolor in progress; waterfall.

I have new pigments and brushes so some time is needed to become more familiar with those new supplies.  Pigments have their own qualities of transparency, granulation, warm vs. cool and how they mix with other pigments.  It takes time using new brushes to feel more confident in the marks they make in my hand.

New watercolor tubes and brushes.

I've got several new artworks just recently completed but today I am sharing only two of them.  I'll have more to share soon.  These are smaller which is so nice for shipping off to new homes.  They are easy to package up safe and snug, even in a frame, and much less worry in the process.  I pick up about 4 frames at a time.  I've found where the style of frames are well suited to my liking and affordable, too.  It's a wonderful thing having artwork framed and on display where I do the creating on a regular basis.  These two are now in frames so I'll add a photo of them at the end.  Hold your mouse over the photo to see the titles and sizes of each one.

"As Water Finds Its Way" Baring Creek, Watercolor of view from Glacier Nat'l Park, 3.5"x5" by Christy Sheeler 2019

"As Water Finds Its Way" Baring Creek, Watercolor of view from Glacier Nat'l Park, 3.5"x5" by Christy Sheeler 2019

 "Soakin' In the Warmth of Sun" Sunflowers in watercolor 4"x4" by Christy Sheeler, artist 2019.

 "Soakin' In the Warmth of Sun" Sunflowers in watercolor 4"x4" by Christy Sheeler, artist 2019.

Framed original watercolors displayed in my art room.

Framed original watercolors displayed in my art room.

Okay, so that's all for today...thank you for dropping by to see new watercolors and be sure to stop back again soon.  I'll be here, painting away and thinking about what to share.  Have a great rest of your day!


She must make art.