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.


Painting Like A Woman Possessed

Painting Like A Woman Possessed


Heads up, y’all. I’m giving away some art. But you’ve got to indulge me and read the post first.

Fair enough? Okay, then start reading.

Once upon a time I had this blog (yes, THIS blog) and I wrote a post every single day for something like a year. Every day. Whack me upside the head, I did little else. I wrote about art and the family and food and all sorts of crap good stuff.

And then life got in the way. Art. Web design (how many new looks has Arty Life had recently?)  Eventually I started slacking off. Three days a week. Then two. Then one. And then…(drumroll please) three weeks rolled by without ANY posts or any excuse. The site wasn’t down, the internet connection was up–I just was doing other stuff.

I was PAINTING. Like a madwoman, a woman possessed. Mornings before work. Evenings after work. Taking vacay days just to hang out in the studio and slap paint around. 

And then I painted over everything I did. More. Than. Once. I was ‘sperimentin’, going through a heckuva lot o’paint. It was all part of the learning process as I took a class with Pauline Agnew, SEE. FEEL. PAINT. Great class, great teacher and tons of challenging content. I’m not sure whether it was Pauline, the energy of the other students or the self imposed challenge to push myself but I became damn near manic.

A good creative shake-up, something every artist needs once in awhile.

I ended up with a few finished pieces, several works in progress, a whole bunch of ideas sketched out on the ipad and new life given to some old canvases. But most of all, I ended up with a passion for contemporary landscapes.

I’ll give you a sneak peek at one. Just one. The rest I’m going to dole out in future posts.


Autumn: Lake Harriet, acrylic on canvas 24 x 24 inches
2014 Susan Lobb Porter

This is taken from a photo I took last autumn at a little oasis in the Nevada desert. If you’re familiar with my work you’ll know that I’ve painted a lot of abstracts with a landscape feel. But I haven’t taken an actual for-real landscape and abstracted it. Much to my surprise I found out it’s entirely different.

And a whole lot harder. But I’m getting there.

And now about that arty giveaway I mentioned up above…it’s something I first read about here, via Michele Bergh’s blog. She found out about it from someone else who found out about it from someone else who found out about it from someone else. Get the picture? Here’s how it works, paraphrased from Michele (who got her info from Deborah Weber):

I promise to send a small work of art to the first five people who comment on this post and say, “YES, I want in”. You must in turn pay it forward to the first five people who comment on your blog. If you don’t have a blog, a facebook post will do. The rules are simple: it has to be your work, made by you, and the recipient must receive it before 2014 ends. It can be anything art based: a drawing/painting/photograph/knitted item or however else you express yourself creatively.

I’m going to add print to the list because maybe I’ll send a print. Or jewelry. Or something.

This will be fun! I can’t wait to send my little gifts out. Remember, if you want in you have to say so in the comments below. First five who say, “Me! Me! Pick Meeeeeeee! Pretty please!!!” will get a little something from moi.

And in case you haven’t told yourself this today—



Studio Fun Day

Studio Fun Day

Woot! Had some quality PLAY time in the studio today. A landscape was calling my name.

Or maybe it was calling me names, I dunno. I had my R&B list playing and this is what happened.

landscape painting Susan Lobb Porter

work in progress Susan Lobb Porter


Not a bad painting I guess.  But not terribly exciting either.  Ho-hum. Yawn. BTW, I think the photo is a bit heavy with the yellow. Can’t say for sure because once I got this far I decided the R&B was too…safe for the mood I was in. Which was (drum roll) a badass paintin’ mood.

AKA, a GREAT mood. Seriously, there is NOTHING better that a badass painting mood. Nothing. And if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time (and I sincerely hope you have) you’ll know that a great painting mood (GPM) calls for high octane rock.  Da Boss. Loud.

And adventure. All GPMs call for risk taking. So while Da Boss was blasting working class angst and the speakers were positively vibrating with passion, I took the tube of white and squeezed it directly in the middle of the sky. And then I took my hands, one of which is pictured above, and smooshed that paint all over with my fingers.

Note to self: Next time wear gloves. Or barrier cream.

There was No. Going. Back. And I didn’t want to, I was having waaaaaay too much fun.

landscape painting

Valley View, acrylic on canvas. 24 x 24 inches.
2014 Susan Lobb Porter

 This is where it stands now. It’s a completely different painting, one that I personally find to be more interesting. Is it done? Maybe. Everything in the studio is fair game. Nothing is ever considered done–or safe–until it belongs to someone else. So there’s a chance you’ll see this one again…with more improvements.

So what do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

And meanwhile, remember this:


As always–






You know sometimes you hear something and it resonates as an AHA! lightbulb moment and all of a sudden you UNDERSTAND? You know what I’m talking about?

Well, I had one of those AHAs! today.

It revolved around the work-in-progress I showed you last week.


This puppy. It’s a big canvas, 4 x 4 feet. The image is based on an iPad painting I created back in January for a 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. I let it sit all week because I was busy. And when I made it to the studio yesterday, I found myself having way too much fun with landscapes and oil pastels. That canvas was soooo last week.

And today there was FaceBook. And e-mail. And all sorts of interesting stuff on the interwebs. And Facebook again. And all the other stuff I had to catch up with…including an online interview between Catherine Just and Rita Rivera Fox about being connected with ourselves. And how we find distractions to keep from feeling what’s really going on.


So I sat and asked myself if I was really hungry for those chips. And my body said, Hungry? Helloooooo– you’re just scared shitless of that painting. What if you screw it up and it isn’t any good?

Well, logically speaking, that’s not a big deal. Screwups happen all the time in the studio, I just paint over it. Not worth eating that whole bag of potato chips over.

So I said, Hey fear, here’s some breath for you. Then went into the studio and painted. Spent a few hours putting paint on, scraping paint off. One step forward, two steps back in search of the creative voice this image wanted

I couldn’t find it but I wasn’t eating chips either. 


Just when I was getting ready to stop for the day, I said what the hell and began smooshing the paint around with a rag and my fingers. And got just the look I didn’t know I was going for.

Rough. A little edgy. One hundred percent listening to my gut, not my head.


It’s a start. Perhaps there’ll be a finished painting to show next week. And if not, that’s okay, da Muse is happy and life is good.

Even without potato chips.

(But I didn’t say anything about chocolate!)

As always, I’d love to hear what you have to say about this in the comments below. And remember—





Paintin’ Pants

“I see by your outfit that you are a cowboy painter.

I see by your outfit that you’re a cowboy painter too.

We see by our outfits that we are both cowboys painters.

If you get an outfit you can be a cowboy painter too!”

Smothers Brothers with a little ad libbing by moi.

Today I wore my paintin’ pants. And shirt. And sweatshirt. And because I was dressed for the occasion I painted. Or maybe I dressed for the occasion so I could paint. It’s one of those universal mysteries like the chicken and egg thing.

paintin' pants

This is a most flattering selfie, don’t you think? It’s the real deal, complete with pockets stuffed with tissues. A boatload of tissues. No, no, more than that–a shitload of tissues, which is A LOT. Because I have a cold and I draw the line (cliche AND arty pun in one sentence, 2 points!) I draw the line at wiping my nose on my sleeve. Unless I have to.


God bless me, I’m sneezing as I type this.

By the way, that’s Bean up there. He wants you to admire his Mom haircut. I relieved him of a good three inches of curly poodle fluff last night, proof I should not be left alone with scissors. DearDaughter says he now looks like one of those shivering waifs-in-a-cage in a 90 second Humane Society guilt-a-thon. I do believe she’s right.

I took Bean to the studio with me, along with his sister Sophie. They lasted about five minutes before I realized that was NOT a good idea. I could either paint or I could keep dogs out of trouble but I couldn’t do both. So I took them back home where they still got in trouble but I didn’t have to witness it…just clean it after the fact.

I decided to work on the piece I started last week. I wrote about it at the time and you can see the earlier work-in-progress photos here.

CONFESSION: I did NOT want to paint. I wanted to draw on the iPad. I LOVES me my iPad!

REVELATION: But once I actually began painting I remembered WHY I do this. Simple, really . . . because I can’t NOT do this. This. Is. Who. I. Am.

work in progress

And this is the painting where I left it last time. FYI: It’s acrylic on canvas, 24 by 24 inches.

work in progress

This is where I left it today. It’s still far from done but the open medium slows the drying time and I needed things to set up before I could do more layers. The light was changing, the painting was in the awkward middle stage and I had a cold.

It was definitely time to wash the brushes and close up shop for the day.

So I did.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Or maybe next week. This puppy needs to sit for a little while, till I stop whining and sneezing and get my paint mojo back.

Da Muse is telling me this might be a landscape. Who am I to argue….

What do you think? I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments below. And if you say something somewhat profound, like hello, I might even come over and chop your dog’s hair off groom your dog. (Rubs hands together with a maniacal cackle)

Or I might just sit here and type a reply and eat chocolate in your honor.


Lesson: Digital Layers

30 Paintings 30 Days, Day 20

I took some screenshots today to give you an idea of how I created today’s painting.


How this (arrow pointing up) became this (arrow pointing down)


Women in Red # 20 2014 Susan Lobb Porter

 Disclaimer: I’m not going to show you all the layers and all the tools I used to make marks. I go back and forth with tools and colors so much it would make you dizzy. And there isn’t enough room in cyberland for all the screenshots that would entail.

First thing I do is choose the size canvas and resolution I want to use. It’s always white and the next thing I do is change the background color (first photo). I never paint on white. I. Just. Don’t.

After that I use a variety of digital ‘brushes’ as I scribble, erase, smudge and have a good old time making marks, just like I do when working on a real canvas.


As you can see from the screenshot, I did this in a couple of layers. I do that so I can erase into the later work and not lose all those lovely scribbles.

When I’m satisfied with all the scribbles and texture I merge the layers into one. Then I rotate the canvas iPad, looking at it from all directions to see if there’s a painting in there waiting for me. 


Aha! I saw the shape of a shoulder and an arm. I opened a new layer and did a rough sketch.


Blocked in the composition.


And stuck with it during the ugly teenage stage when digital death was just a click away. Trust me, it was tempting. 


But some refinements, way too many app crashes and half a bag of Pepperidge Farm to die for Coconut cookies later, Women in Red # 20 is done.

This screenshot shows the final open layers. You can see that there are three for the composition. The early layers have already been merged with the original color blocking.

The reason I open new layers as I’m working? Experimentation. If I want to try something, even a major shift in the image, working on a new layer allows me the freedom to protect what I already have. Because sometimes experiments don’t work. And when that’s the case, I can just delete ’em.

So there you have it, the condensed version of Drama in Arty Life: How I create My Digital Paintings. For those of you who have been following this blog for any time, you’ll see that the tools and technology are different but my painting technique remains pretty much the same.

That should give you a general idea of the process involved. Thoughts? Questions? Have at it in the comments below. You know how I loves me my comments!


Technical info: This was created on an iPad 2 with the Procreate app.