//Art in Progress

Art In Progress: Love Who You Are

Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

I started the background of this piece a while back and had it hanging around my studio until I was inspired to finish it.  That happens a lot–I get on a tear of making a bunch of different backgrounds and then have to circle back and finish each one with the sentiment and character I want.

Sometimes it’s a matter of thinking of just the right saying, other times I find some collage pieces that would be a perfect fit for the colors I used for the background.  I try not to rush it and just go with the flow when inspiration strikes.  That’s why I’m always working on a few pieces at a time!

Here is the first two layers:

Love Who You Are 2

The next layer includes some more colors, filling in some empty areas and adding stamps and accents.  I love the blank space in the middle left, it gives the eyes somewhere to temporarily rest.

Love Who You Are 2

When I was happy with the background vibe, I was ready to create the girl.  I apply a layer of gesso on top of the background so that the colors don’t show through in the face.  If I just paint a face on top, sometimes you can see tones of the background color underneath.

Love Who You Are 3

Next I painted her hair and found her dress.  I like to contrast the colors + styles when I’m collaging; it’s fun to put things together that wouldn’t normally go.

Love Who You Are 4
Here’s a close up of the stamps I use and some of her face details.  *swoon*  I’m falling in love with her.  (That happens a lot.)

Love Who You Are 5
Love Who You Are 6

And here she is all done!   I named her Olivia, which is my sister’s name, because I thought about her a lot when I was painting this one.

Love Who You Are

This print available in my shop here.

We’re all a work in progress, so no matter where you are in your life, love who you are.

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Art In Progress: Love Who You Are2018-03-29T20:23:11+00:00

Art In Progress: Kindness Is The Way

Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

 

I’ve been thinking about kindness a lot lately, especially around the holidays; my personal mantra has always been ‘kindness, regardless’ because, well, you never know what people are going through/feeling on the inside and it actually takes very little effort to be kind.  The world can be tough, and I don’t want to add to anyone’s suffering.

And yet still, I have my moments of forgetting the mantra (oops).  Even though there are times I’m not so great to myself or others, somehow I always come back to this thought as my touchstone.   I find that if I ultimately stay focused on kindness, it gets me where I need to go.

So I was really psyched when the sentiment of this piece popped in my head as I was painting.  I think it had to do with the soothing colors + the gentle overall tone–it was fun to experiment along the way.  And this painting was a great learning experience for me–the process gave me the faith + confidence to stick with my gut until it felt right, even when I got frustrated for not getting there sooner.

Here is the first pass through where I’m just getting some colors, textures and layers down.  At this point, I try to stay loose and enjoy the free-style painting:

Kindness is the way 1

I added in some lines and stamping, just to mix it up a little.

Kindness is the way 2

Then I felt like the girl was ready to appear–I experimented and used gesso for the first layer of her face, just to see how it made a difference.  I usually  paint with a flesh color right on top of the other layers. (Turns out this was a great idea!)

Kindness is the way 3

I added her dress, feeling tentative about the colors of it but went with it for the moment.  Again, checking in with my gut.

Kindness is the way 4

When I added her face and hair, it dawned on me that the dress was all wrong.  I was feeling my way through the process–rationale doesn’t have a huge role in my decision making while painting.  I try to stick to how it feels, no matter what.

Kindness is the way 5

So after I added the butterfly and leaves to her hair, I tore off the dress and used some turpentine to remove it from the canvas.  This isn’t a fun process because it’s stinky and can stretch the canvas a little, but it was well worth it.

Kindness is the way 6

Once I went with the different color dress, it all fell into place.  I loved the way it looked!

Kindness is the way 7

Here’s a close up of her sweet face with the sentiment: the gesso helped to make it a true flesh color.

Kindness is the way 8

And here’s the finished product:

kindness is the way final

 You can find prints of Kindness Is The Way  in my shop here.

We all need kindness in our life, friends.

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Art In Progress: Kindness Is The Way2018-03-29T20:23:13+00:00

Art In Progress: Be Gentle With Yourself

Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

This week I’m highlighting a piece I called ‘Be Gentle With Yourself’.  When I started this one, I wanted to create something with a little bit of a lighter feel because sometimes the colors can get so intense on the canvas when I’m painting!  I wanted to create a background that was a little calmer and more soothing.

Here is the first layer:

Be gentle

I liked where the background was going and decided to place the girl into it right away.  As I was flipping through papers to use, I saw the pattern of her dress and immediately loved it!  I added the ‘belt’ details, complimenting some of the colors of the background to bring it together.

Be gentle

(Sorry this first one is blurry–not sure what happened when I took the picture, but you get the idea.)  She is coming along with her pretty hair and hooded lids…

Be gentle

Be gentle

Next, I added in the sentiment and the two little love birds.  For some reason, birds seem gentle to me–maybe it’s how fragile and small they are?  I was on a walk with Chris not too long ago and there was a finch calmly hanging out on the sidewalk as we strolled by.  I reached down and pet her, then she flew away–that gentleness of her trust stayed with me for days.

Be gentle

In all,  I think I succeeded in keeping this one pretty simple; sometimes it feels good to strip it down to basics.  The calm vibe of this sweet girl (her name is Bella) is just what I was looking for.  You can find her in the shop here!

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Art In Progress: Be Gentle With Yourself2018-03-29T20:23:13+00:00

Art in Progress: Bloom

Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

I was inspired by a color palate I had seen online and wanted to create something that felt light + hopeful.  I can sometimes get carried away with intense colors and forget to leave light space in for a place for the eye to rest and chill out. (It’s a good metaphor for life, too.)  I gave myself the challenge to stay light with this one and it was a fun task to remember along the way.  The first layer or two was fast + easy and included some tissue paper.

Bloom 1

I added some objects early on, which I don’t normally do because it limits what I end up doing for the final product.  I usually turn the canvas around a lot and try different viewpoints, but when I put an object in, it anchors the piece a specific way.  Oh well!  The colors were calling out for some flowers.

Bloom 2

I couldn’t resist my nagging urge (ha!) to darken it up a little with that purple.  So I added in a little white stencil on the side to balance it out and added more light objects in the bottom left corner.  I’m starting to like it at this point because it feels light, but like my individual style, too. (I feel like I’m always finding my style and changing it up.)

Bloom 3

Here’s a close up of that bottom corner before the purple, I love the colors together!

Bloom 4

And the flowers.

Bloom 5

I added a few more small accents and I’m done.  That space in the middle bothered me at first, but then I remembered my challenge was to stay light and there it was!  It was a perfect place for my sentiment–we all need space to BLOOM.

Bloom

Prints available in the shop!

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Art in Progress: Bloom2018-03-29T20:23:14+00:00

Art In Progress: Take It Slow

Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

This piece, “Take It Slow” actually started by me throwing some leftover color from my art class palette on a canvas.  I hate wasting paint so sometimes I just start a new canvas quickly at the end of class to use it up.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but I liked these colors together this time.

After I put the color on, I used matte medium to ‘glue’ the collage piece at the bottom.  I started loosely sketching the face out, too.  Suprisingly to me, this was all done in the first session; It reminds me that sometimes working quickly works out better and not to do too much deep thinking, just let the paint speak through the painting….

Take it slow 1

Here is a peek at some other pieces I was working on at the same time.  I try to keep a few in rotation so if I’m waiting for one to dry a little, I can work on another one.  Momentum is my friend 🙂

Take it slow 2

This next phase shows a little more color, some stamping and a sketch of her face.  I added some objects in to inspire the eye to move around the painting.  I love these colors together!

Take it slow 3

Up next: the eyes shine through.  There’s always something magnetic to me when the eyes surface–almost like she comes alive!  So to bring her more to life, I added a little collage piece in the upper right, a flower in her hair and a collar.

Take it slow 4

Stamping in the sentiment gets me so excited–it’s a finishing touch that brings me a lot of joy.

Take it slow Final

This sweet girl is one of my favorites lately, not only for the color scheme, but for the reminder.  You love her too? A print of her is available in my shop.

Be gentle–It’s always good to take it slow.

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Art In Progress: Take It Slow2018-03-29T20:23:15+00:00

Art In Progress: Be Kind To Yourself

Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

This piece is my recent favorite.  I think because I experimented with some different color combinations and in the end it came out quite different than when I started.  I didn’t totally love it and then…wham!  It worked out.  That’s always a good feeling.

Here’s the first pass through–just a simple throw on of some paint.  I just try to get the brush moving and forget about expectations; letting go is so important in this first phase.  I try to follow the flow and have fun.

Be Kind To Yourself 1

I had sketched out a few objects that kind of called to me in the moment–a lotus-type flower, a feather and wheel-like objects.  Can you see them?  I’m not sure where the inspiration came from for those particular things, I just try to go with what feels good.  It’s like my subconscious is talking to me through my brush.

Be Kind To Yourself 2

As I keep layering colors, it warms up the original palette.  It’s a good reminder that things evolve and change as we go.

Be Kind To Yourself 3

The girl was added during this next phase.  I was trying to resist the urge to overdo the background with colors, so I forced myself to stop; I wanted to focus more on the feel and warmth of the piece.

Be Kind To Yourself 5

As you can see, I changed her dress a little.  Hello collage!  I didn’t love the sash, so I tried something else.  I’m always open to changing + moving + switching it up so that I don’t get too rigid in my ways.    It’s easy to get attached early in the process, but I find when I do that, it jams me up creatively.

The softness of her eyes inspired the sentiment for me.  I just think it’s so important to be reminded: we all need to be kind, especially to ourselves.

Be Kind To Yourself 6

I added in some accents: feathers in her hair, flowers and a little stamping.

Be Kind To Yourself 7

I love how she turned out! I may add some small collage pieces around the border and accents to her hair, but I’m going to live with it like this for a bit.  In the meantime, I’m going to hang her up and listen to her sweet wisdom.

Prints now available in the shop.

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Art In Progress: Be Kind To Yourself2018-03-29T20:23:15+00:00