Visiting the VMFA

I did something completely new, seriously, something I’ve never even tried before; I visited a museum, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. All by my self. No kids in tow. No husband. No one, just me, well, and the other people who chose to visit that day, but I wasn’t responsible for them having a good time. Sure, it was for a homework assignment, but I still did it, so there.

I’m taking an art history course online at a local community college, also something I’ve never done before. There are a series of assignments due for the course and they all revolve around a single piece of art that I had to select. There were many contenders.

Like this one.


And this one.


Oh, and this one, which is cool because the artist gives tribute to Richard Diebenkorn (the artist who painted Ocean Park above) via the stucco. Can you see it?


And this one. The big red ugly dumpster is sort of an elephant in the scene isn’t it? So big ugly and intrusive, yet no one will even acknowledge it’s presents. Interesting.


But the one I loved the absolute most was this beauty.


Isn’t it lovely? I certainly think so. The woman has a story to tell, and even though this painting was done in the early 1900s there something very relevant about it. Those assignments are going to be fun!


06. September 2013 by schristian
Categories: art, back to school, blog | Leave a comment



This is a self portrait, and I have not done one of these in ages! As part of one of my current classes I had to do a two-day practicum in a visual arts classroom. One of the teachers I spent time with had assigned her students the task of painting self portraits; however, she kept mentioning how she had NEVER done one and never would. I am not sure of the reasoning behind that decision, but her comments made me wonder when the last time I had done one and recall how difficult it was to paint what I saw rather than what I thought I knew. Sort of like the Dove Real Beauty Project.

I sketched my portrait from a photograph and then left it taped and unpainted for nearly a month. Finally, I got the courage to paint it, and I’m pleased with the outcome. It certainly is not as realistic as my last attempt at a self portrait was (I wish I had that example to share… or maybe not?), but I think this sort of impressionist version captures my essence well.

PS. Those lovely brushes and paints were my Grandaddy Bob’s, he picked up painting when he was in his 70s, and I’m pretty sure they’re one of the most special gifts I have ever gotten.


26. June 2013 by schristian
Categories: art, blog, watercolor | Leave a comment

Red Couch


Comfy red couch with an elephant ear. Watercolor.

5in x 7in


28. January 2013 by schristian
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Watercolor on Canvas

Painting on canvas has some advantages, such as, no framing, when the painting is done, it’s ready to hang! However, acrylic and oil painting are not strong areas for me, so I wanted to find a way to paint with watercolors on canvas. It turns out I’m not the only one who has had the desire to try this. A quick search revealed a product by Golden called Absorbent Ground that can be applied to canvas that creates a more, well, absorbent surface for the watercolors. I quickly purchased this miracle stuff along with some Gesso.

prairie flowers on canvas

I followed the instructions on the container and was pretty successful. As I painted, it was clear which areas I went heavier with the absorbent ground and which areas I skimped on because the heavier areas sucked up the watercolors like good ol’ watercolor paper and pooled slightly in the skimped areas. Needless to say, if you don’t want the “rainy day” look, make sure the absorbent ground is applied evenly!

The flowers in this painting were directly inspired by Prairie Flowers, overall the design transferred well to canvas.

24in x 18in



19. January 2013 by schristian
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Prairie Flowers

prairie flowers

prairie flowers

These prairie flowers were inspired by my oldest daughter who suggested I paint a Prairie Dog for her. Since the paintings were small I decided to do two so they didn’t look lonely hanging on the wall. These are flowers I imagine prairie dogs love to sniff out on the prairie.

5in x 7in

08. January 2013 by schristian
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My youngest daughter went through a phase were she was in love with robots. We have no idea where it came from, or how she even knew anything about robots. But, nonetheless, she had a love for them. She would point out imaginary robots in trees as we drove down the road, and there was a robot in our back yard at one point. So, I painted this guy for her, popped him in a simple frame and hung him in her room, she totally loves him.


Painted with watercolors.

8in x 10in.

03. January 2013 by schristian
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When we moved into a smaller home and had to move my daughter’s desk onto the back porch, the search was on again for a perfect desk or her. We still haven’t found it, but I think something modern would be perfect, since modern furniture seems to be made all-around daintier than most. The painting is inspired by the search, and features the type of desk I would love to find for her. As a constant reminder, this painting is chillin’ with the vintage rocker in red painting on our living room wall. A girl can dream.

Painted with watercolor.

12in x 12in.

29. December 2012 by schristian
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Vintage Red Chair

Another painting resulting from my girls being quietly emerged in their own creative bliss. Eames inspiration strikes again, this time with the Egg chair, and arching chrome lamp, and a wire-leg side table. This painting is obviously the same style as the Vintage Rocker in Red, with hand drawn lines and watercolor.



Painted with watercolor.

12in x 12in.


29. December 2012 by schristian
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Vintage Rocker in Red

I am always inspired by the classic clean lines of modern furniture, and especially the Eames furniture. I sketched this scene up while my girls were painting one day and I really like how the clean, yet shaky, hand drawn lines turned out. I would love to have this rocker actually in my living room one day, for now, I just have this painting hung up, patiently holding the place for the real deal.


Painted with watercolors.

12in x 12in.


28. December 2012 by schristian
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Teachers Desk

As my oldest daughter entered second grade, we braced ourselves for a new school year full of homework with a new desk. The prospect of a new desk had her so thrilled, and she loved shopping at the “junk shop” for the perfect desk. We settled on this small teachers desk. It’s frame is solid wood, making it crazy heavy and sturdy, and the top is nice smooth linoleum; perfect for all sorts of art projects, er, I mean homework. We also found the cute vintage school chair that was painted a hideous shade of brown. I will never understand why people paint wood brown, it’s so strange! She chose the paint colors, Raspberry Rush and Pleasing Pink.

As soon as we returned home with these treasures, the sanding began, and we painted the chair. The desk on the other hand, sat for a good while as I was having nightmares about a giant pink piece of furniture living on my home. I caved, and it turned out pretty cute.


The moral? Never second guess the design choices of an almost-second grader.

Flash forward two years, into a new house [with tiny bedrooms], the desk now resides on our back porch, too cute to get rid of. Sigh. 

03. June 2012 by schristian
Categories: done by me, Refinished | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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