The Lay of the Land

Last night I couldn’t sleep. My bad. She-who-has-been-eating-clean ate crap, lots of it. I won’t bore you with the details except to say that salty sweet popcorn was involved. And olives. And gluten free pizza. And watermelon. I know, in hindsight heavy on the ewwwww WHAT was I thinking???? factor. Enough so that when I climbed into bed my body said, “Mwaha-ha-ha, you’ve GOT to be kidding!” Then it ramped up everything internal that it could. Let’s have a bit o’ racy heart, shall we? And a rumbly tum. And maybe a bit of indigestion because those olives would rather be sitting up.

So I sat up. And since Mr. Spouse was out of town I turned on the light and grabbed the iPad. And since my legs were in front of me I decided what the hell, might as well photograph them. Because I’m easily amused at 2 AM and what’s not to like about bare nekked thighs?

So I photographed my legs, my bare nekked thighs and came to the realization I’d better art those suckers up because what if those olives were bad and I died and my kids went through the ipad and found those photos??? OMG, I would die of embarrassment if I wasn’t dead already. Or even worse–if they found them when I was alive–they would be merciless.

Little shits darlins’. 

I played with the photos in a couple of apps before importing them into Procreate where I played with them some more. Looking at those images dispassionately, studying them with an artist eye, I could sense a landscape waiting to happen. Bodyscape 2 And then another. slporter

And BTW, that’s not a blob of Cheeto fat living under my skin. I believe it’s my knee. Yes, we’ll call it my knee.

I thought I’d be super-artist and have an actual painting to show you by tonight, based on one of these studies. Uh-huh, right…. Three hours of sleep was not conducive to a productive day. Go figure.

Now I’m off to take more photos. Think I’ll focus on my feet tonight. This is already becoming a series in my mind, Bodyscapes. But I have a question–should I identify the parts or keep some mystery in the finished pieces? If you have an opinion let me know in the comments below.

And remember this my sweetums, always–



Tutorial Tuesday

Yeah yeah, I know–it’s not Tuesday for a good many of you but it is Tuesday somewhere in the world. Like down under thataway. And Tutorial Tuesday has such a clever ring to it I might decide to make it a regular feature…at least for this week.

So, with no further ado, I bring you this week’s tutorial. Drumroll please…ta da!!! A behind the scenes look at digital painting, how a I created Women in Red # 5 on the iPad.

And my very first adventure with iMovie.

I apologize in advance for the fuzzy text. Apparently it’s an iMovie thing, something I only discovered after redoing this three times, the answer discovered after a midnight search of the interwebs. And yes, the formatting cut off her head–damn you iMovie (shaking fist at sky). Did I mention the dog ate my homework too? What the hell, I’ve been playing with this sucker all day, now it’s late and I’m going to bed.

You get whatcha get…

And in case you don’t remember this Woman in Red and would like to see her with her head–


Women in Red # 5

G’night my sweetums. As I’ve been telling the poor dear (sans her head) up above, I shall remind you as well:


We all are. That’s why I know you’ll talk to me in the comments below. Because it’s been a loooong day and I could use some lovin’ from my besties.


My Not So Secret Garden

My Not So Secret Garden

Oh my sweetums, today I wandered in the garden. It was beautiful! Gorgeous! Came pretty close to being spectacular! The plants are poppin’. The temperature was perfect. And there were bunnies EVERYWHERE. Easter Jackrabbits en masse, reminding me again why it’s not a good idea to plant a vegetable garden.

Ever the multi-tasker, I had the phone with me and chatted with the kids while I was outside. Remember the days when phones were tethered to the wall, when you ALWAYS knew where it was? And when it wasn’t a camera?

Well, since I had my phone-which-is-a-camera with me, I not only noticed how the sun did magic things in the garden, I was able to snap a few shots.

And since I’m a painter I decided to throw them into a painting app and art them up a bit. Here they are:


Nothing says SPRING to me like a Dogwood in bloom. Nothing.


Except maybe Lilacs. I loves me my Lilacs.


This is my exhale spot, one of my favorite places in the garden.

Technical Info: All photos were taken on an iPhone 5C and digitally altered with Aquarella.

What’s your favorite photo app? I’m always open to playing with something new. Tell us about it in the comments below.


Plein Air iPad

Plein Air iPad

Today was an audaciously AWESOME spring day. Everything about it was PERFECT, perfect enough to sit out on the patio and do nothing but savor being alive. Sun on my skin, breeze in my hair, birds chirping, garden starting to pop…what more could you ask…

It was a day for landscapes. These are from my iPad. Studies for paintings? Prints? What do you think?

garden -painting-slporter

Garden: View from the Patio
2014 Susan Lobb Porter

I did this one today. Plein aire ipad. The sun and the shadows were intense, emboldened me. This piece has a totally different feel than the one I made yesterday (arrow pointing down).


Meadow with Pond
2014 Susan Lobb Porter

This was from a photo I’d taken a few years ago of a nearby meadow (not my meadow). The photo was washed out and I think that influenced how I approached the painting. I remember the sky and pond in real life as being quite blue. The Scotch Broom was in bloom, bright yellow and the meadow was thick with purple lupines. I think I’ll do this one again in the style of the first just to see how it comes out. Check back next week and see.

Do you have a favorite? I’d love to know…we’ll call it market research. Let me know in the comments below. 

Until next week–


Monkey Business

Monkey Business

Oh my sweetums, today I’m going to share a SECRET with you. A bit o’arty advice. Pssst…come closer. I don’t want ADOBE to hear this but…unless you’re a fancy pants designer or uber photographer, you DON’T need Photoshop. Or even the elements version. Seriously, want some cool effects? A photo collage, some text? A file big enough to print or small enough for the web? Well, grab some bananas and head on over to Picmonkey. It’s free unless you decide to upgrade a few choices and go pro. Then it’s a whopping three bucks a month. I’ve been using it a lot lately, redesigning the websites. The header you see up above? Picmonkey. The sidebar dodahs–Picmonkey. Well, not the mailchimp button, that’s something else. Which reminds me, I’ve finally got Arty Life set up for email delivery to your inbox every week. Don’t leave here without signing up.

I’ll know if you do, I’m a mother, I have magic all seeing powers. 

But back to Picmonkey. Let’s play with something, okay. And by the way, this is an unsolicited review. I’m not an affiliate and get nothing but good mojo from sharing this with you.

woot.jpgThis little gem took all of 5 minutes to create. Yeah, yeah, I know it looks like it but I wasn’t going for art here, just wanted to show the ease of creating a little graphic using the program. And I didn’t have any idea what I wanted to do. My indecision took up at least half of those five minutes. You can import your own photos but I just played around with one of the stock backgrounds. They have a lot of them. I’ve never even seen this one before. And they’ve got special effects too. And tons of fonts. You can make photo collages, facebook headers, posters and anything else your heart desires.

Let’s play with it some more.

Woot 2

Is that cool or what–a FRAME!

Picmonkey, to sum it up:

  • It’s free unless you upgrade. The upgrade is cheap but you can do fine without it.
  • Large or small files, you decide
  • No download to clog up your hard drive. It’s a web based photo editing thingie.

If you haven’t tried it yet run on over and check it out. Be sure to tell us about it in the comments below. And if you have another favorite photo editing program tell us about that one too.

As always–




I Gots Me Some Art to Do

Art Alert: Yes, there IS art on this post. Scroll down if words are not your thing. I won’t be offended. Honest.

A long time ago, like last week or something, I declared to the WORLD (or at least the readers of this blog…but then again you guys are the world to me) I declared that I would devote 15 minutes every day (no more, no less) to getting rid of the crap clutter in my life.

And I would blog about it every day. With pictures. Proof and accountability. Really, some people will do anything to get a clean house. Like broadcast their slovenliness on the interwebs for everyone to see.

And thus began the Clearing Space Challenge.

But you know what? Writing those tidy-girl posts every day was a stretch. I mean, how many ways can you list piles of crap and make it sound interesting? 

So now I’m switching things up and changing da rulz. I can do that, it’s my game. The 15 minute daily de-clutter practice will continue because the difference it’s made in my house in just 10 days is amazing. I mean you could drop in unannounced (please don’t) and I wouldn’t be embarrassed about the mess…because there is NO MESS, at least in the living room, dining room, kitchen. But bedrooms, closets, drawers…(shrug) well, that’s another story, one I’ll share with you as it unfolds but I won’t blog about it every day…cause I gots me some art to do!

Drumroll–now to the art!

I was watching an interview on a DVD when I was struck by the colors of the set and the clothing. There was a bright yellow sofa involved. Turquoise clothing. Dark walls. Colorful flowers. 

sketch 2_07

So I did a quick little sketch, some arty shorthand to imprint the image on my mind. Then I pulled out the iPad because it was too dark and cold and rainy to work in the studio, not when I had a lovely fire in the woodstove and a couple dogs who wanted to snuggle. I hadn’t gotten far when da Muse popped in and added her two cents.

She didn’t like the dark walls. So I changed them.


River City 2014 Susan Lobb Porter

As usual, she was right.

This is the piece as it stands now. I’ll be offering it as prints soon. I’m also considering it a study for a larger piece. In fact I’m heading out to the studio to work on it right now. Because today is bright and sunny, a perfect day for all those studio skylights and windows. 

I’ll take photos of the process. Come back tomorrow and check them out. And take a minute to say hi in the comments below. I’ll eat some chocolate for you if you do. And maybe some cheese. Happy face emoticon here.