I am so inspired by trees, aren't you? It's Earth day today and I can't think of a better way to celebrate than to share my new painting "You and I". 
"You and I", Acrylic and Ink on 12X12 gallery wrap canvas. Available for purchase.


This was done as an abstract background first, a lot of fun mark making - finger painting, stamping, swirling and splashing. I even pulled out my trusty blow dryer and blew the drippy paint around! Then I used a white piece of chalk to draw my tree trunk and leaves and then I painting in the trunk and branches with black chalkboard paint for a deep matte finish. Next I painted the outside of the leaf shapes, this is what is commonly referred to as negative painting. The fun part is embellishing everywhere with dots! Oh, and I really loved using some gold ink on my tree! Wee!

I was asked to teach a paint party class for a family group of ten this weekend, my favorite type of class! She asked for something summery and chose a cattail painting I found online as a sample.


The painting had a radial gradient sky with a big sun and black silhouetted cattails in the foreground. Now I used to think that sort of painting was easy for beginners but after having taught so many I know better. I decided my painting would leave out the sunny blend. Why? Well, inevitably new painters have a hard time painting long thin lines and they wind up having to repaint the background to fix their "fat" lines especially with trees, etc. It's not very freeing for a new painter to tense up at the thought of painting a thin black line, especially when they spent all that time painting a sunset background first. The impending doom settles in, I have seen the terror on many faces. They panic at the thought of having only one shot to get it right and I don't blame them!

So I got my paints out, grabbed a canvas and painted this in about 45 minutes. If it takes me any longer than that, I know it will take my students three times as long, and I try to keep my paint parties down to 2 to 3 hours. I am going to show you the three photos I remembered to take while I was painting. 


My thought process was to make it as free and loose as possible when I laid down my initial layer. I used a limited palette and painted a pale puple to green background and while it was wet I laid in my vertical cattails and grassy lines starting at the bottom of the canvas and going all the way off the top. I had fun mixing different colored grassy lines in teal, purple, blue and muddy green as I planned out my composition.


Once I had the cattails in position I let the canvas dry and then I added in this pinkish yellow background.


I decided to push back the pinkish yellow with white and then as a final touch I darkened my cattails. I have to say that I totally enjoyed painting this and I know it will be a fun one to share with new painters. I can hardly wait for the weekend! I love painting freely like this. The key is that if I make a mistake on my cattail, I can always paint around it with a background color (this is called negative painting).


If you would like to paint freely with me, please contact me!

I'll Not Fade Away, Agnes Friedlander, 24" x 30", Available

It's Friday, another cold day with the promise of hot weather this weekend. I drove my hubby to work this morning with Barney in the back. Barney barks when Mark leaves the car, and it hurts my ears. Back here at home where I work, it's casual Friday every day. More and more of my clothing has paint splatters on it. I don't really care any more. 

It's been a bit of a challenge lately, actually painting. I mean painting "for me" kind of paintings. Paintings that come from that deeper, hidden place. The kind that make you want to be an artist in the first place. And it's not because of the weather, it has been cold and dreary enough to want to stay in and get things done... it's because of my other business. My paint party business is booming - which is great - but it has a tendency to take up all of my time.

So what really matters? And how do I do more of that?

I get it, we are all busy, we're all being pulled in so many different directions. But if you have stuff inside of you, stuff you've been carrying that needs to be expressed... well, you've just gotta let it out. Some how Some way. Your stuff may be what someone else needs to see or hear. Or maybe it's not that heavy, maybe you just need a little bit of playtime. Just a few minutes of creative messing around. Let go of something. Find balance. 

Surely we all have little tricks to allow for those moments to occur. Do you have any? I have one or two, if I may. Now you don't need a lot of space, but you DO need some creative space. Even if it is just a small corner table with a few markers or crayons, stamps, paper, brushes, whatever. It doesn't matter really. As long as you have a designated area, a visual space to remind you to sit and just draw or paint or think. Sounds overly simple but try it. Claim a spot for your hidden self to become more human.

Its about time, its about space... I have an entire basement studio that I can go to. Yes, I am very blessed. Yes it's taken my entire life to finally have such a space. But there is still the issue of making the time. So, yes.... I actually schedule it into my calendar. And I set a reminder alert. It works. But you may have to do something else, figure out what will work for you and your life! Because, after all you're never going to know where your passion can lead you unless you nurture it. It can all be very magical. And you might meet so many wonderful people along your path.

Be open-minded, just make something. Even if it's ugly, it's part of your process. Every ugly bit teaches you. All creatives make a ton of ugly. Nobody tells you that. For the dozens of lousy pieces of art I've made, I have managed to make a few beautiful pieces. It's not easy being an artist, we really do have to be fearless and you really do need to keep pushing even when you don't feel like it.

I recently took an online painting class. I couldn't keep up with the rest of the class because I had so much going on. But that's okay, I went back and completed each assignment when I was ready. That's what is so nice about online classes, especially when you are allowed access to the content for a year or sometimes even for a lifetime. (I hope to develop a few classes to offer withing the next year.)

I loved this online class so much that I signed up for a few more. Now I'm really busy juggling my paint party business with all of the lessons I want to get done. I probably have 15 paintings going right now. But that is part of my process, I think it is good to set a painting aside and come back to it.

Here is my latest painting, "I'll Not Fade Away" and there are several more paintings I will do from this online class. But I am pretty happy with how this one turned out. If you are interested in purchasing this painting please contact me here.

“... to be human
is to become visible
while carrying
what is hidden
as a gift to others...” 
― David Whyte


Tattered Heart

12X12, Mixed Media on Gallery Wrap Canvas
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February is heart month. I painted this mixed media painting today in my studio. I used Golden fluid acrylics and played around with some modeling paste, stencils, stamps and even a sprinkle of magic glitter! Boy was that fun, yes I have to say that making art heals my heart. Best way to take care of your heart is to limit saturated fat. Do it! I had to have two stents put in to my coronary artery because of blockages from coronary artery disease and I don't want it to happen to you. If I can change my diet, anyone can.

Sunflower Friends

16X16, Oil on Gallery Wrap Canvas

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Painting in oils is such a great thrill for me. This is part of of online class I'm taking and I must say that I am really enjoying it. Thank goodness what I have learned painting in acrylics all these years transfers over into using oils, its just different getting used to dipping in the medium and the names of the pigments. 

Windswept Poppies
16X16, Oil on Gallery Wrap Canvas

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I love the richness of reds and blue greens together in a painting. These poppies were such a joy to paint!


Fertile Blossom
16X20, Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas

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I counted the paintings I have on hand (my demos from the classes I teach) and I have over 150! So I decided to go in and rework a few of them... well a lot of them. This is my favorite thing to do, it's so much fun to add a bit more to a painting that's pretty much completed already. Be on the lookout for many more of these to come!

Shine Bright

12X12, Mixed Media on Canvas Panel
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I had the urge to paint a face today. I've been getting into collage lately, blinging out my paintings with all kinds of stuff. This girl is actually luminous (the photo doesn't do her justice) from my Blue Interferenze paint by Golden Fluid Acrylics. She had jewels and flowers and an organza ribbon. Shine bright my friends and never never never give up!