Take My Hand

I have been experimenting with a few new techniques recently, but in this painting I decided to push them a little further.  I first prepped my canvas with texture and a bright underpainting. Taking the composition, subject, and color into consideration during this stage was an important step in preparing the tone of the piece.  

I began by "texture painting" and planning the major shapes and movement in the composition.  Because I had already prepared the canvas, I wasn't dealing with a blank slate (so to speak), and blocking in the major highlights and shadows over the warm underpainting served a new purpose.  I usually paint these in the planning phase, but here I considered how the subsequently painted layers would interact with the underpainting since the texture and glaze allow for much of the underpainting to peak through. After blocking in the highlights and shadows, I focused on the brighter colors and then eventually toned parts of those down with midtones.  

Once the painting was nearly complete, I flipped the canvas to study the composition and realized the painting took on new meaning.  Unable to decide which interpretation I liked the most, I decided to sign the painting a little unconventionally and left the directional decision to the viewer.  The challenges this painting presented allowed for a lot of organic moments in the that I truly loved.

6 ingredients (or less) Mashed Potatoes

I am always on the lookout for baby-approved foods, and mashed potatoes are a tried and true staple that I know will always fill that little belly.  This go-to recipe is so simple that I know I will always have ingredients on hand for it.  I'm including some substitutes that I've tried in the past when I don't have just the right mixture available.  


  • 6 potatoes
  • 1/2 pint whipping cream (substitute sour cream or Greek yogurt depending on what you have available)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • milk
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • chives (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add potatoes until they become fork tender.  Let potatoes cool enough to be touched.  The potatoes skins will peel off easily using just your fingers to rub them off.  Take as much or as little off depending on your preferences.  

Pour cream in with potatoes and mash away! Add in butter and a little milk at a time depending on how creamy you want them.  Taste for optional salt, pepper, and chives.  

Taste testing is our favorite!

Taste testing is our favorite!

Tampa Outdoor Artists- Rivercrest Park

After my last plein air adventure, the Adobe Sketch app had some pretty significant updates.  Brushes now have more customization and allow you to use a few features also available in the desktop app.  Brushes can now be fine tuned in their opacity, stroke direction, etc, but the layers can also now be adjusted and reorganized as well.  Still waiting on layer effects to be implemented, but I'm really happy with the updates Adobe is making for their sketching app.


I took some reference photos (since the little man can only handle watching me draw trees for so long) and brought the start of my plein air sketch into Photoshop when I got home to go back into the piece in further detail. I played around with some high contrast saturation texture layers, more detail in the moss and bark, and masking brushes.  I'd been looking at a few digital artists which made me realize that the piece lacked a strong focal point so I tried a few more attempts at texture painting to rectify that. I love the possibilities Photoshop has and now that they're giving their app more flexibility the possibilities are even more attainable.