Thirty Days Hath September

Thirty  Twenty-eight paintings. Thirty days.

California Impressions # 28-30.

Hey, considering the size of this puppy–3 by 4 feet–I figure taking two days is okay. Four, actually, ’cause it’s not finished.

It would’ve been finished if I’d been happy just making a larger version of this. But I paint like I cook, which is NEVER the same way twice. I was this close (pinch thumb and index finger 1/8 inch apart) this close when I decided it was time to throw some paint on and see how far I could push it.

I’m still ‘sperimentin’ but here’s where it’s at as of this evening.


work in progress

work in progress

I’ll post a photo of it when it’s finished, should be in the next day or two.

And then I really have to clean things up for Open Studios. It’s coming up this weekend and next.

OMG–clap hands over ears and run in circles shouting, “Holy crap–gots me LOTS to do!!!”

Back in a couple of days. Until then–


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—





All This And No Caffeine

All This And No Caffeine

Oh my sweetums, something has come over me. Once upon a time, like last week, I was totally disorganized. Disorganized as in scattered, running around like the proverbial chicken sans head.

Like these folks.


Sigh of relief. You didn’t think I’d show a dead chicken video, did you?

The point is, I was running around flapping my wings and squawking (yes, squawking) about doing S.T.U.F.F when in reality very little stuff was getting done. Except the squawking. I’m good at that.

And then Alyson Stanfield, the Art Biz Coach and author of I’d Rather Be in the Studio, began having her way with my bad habits via her ecourse Organize Your Art Biz.

BTW, it’s a great book and no one’s paying me to say that. Buy it.

Back to being somewhat organized…I now have a office separate from my studio. And a clean inbox. And files, both electronic and paper that are shaping up and starting to make sense. Best of all I have discovered the elephant in the room…Evernote. And I am in luvvvvvvvv.

I will not go into all the details of Evernote here. Let’s just say it involves NOTEBOOKS! OMG, do you know how much I love notebooks? And those legal pads? I bet there are at least four on the kitchen table right now. But my EN notebooks are free from coffee rings and kitty puke because they only exist in cyberland. You can have as many as you want, give them each their own names, group them in related stacks and fill them with things you clip from the internet. Or notes you write. Grocery lists. Everything syncs between desktop, cloud and mobile. So if you’re out and about and want to save someone’s business card but don’t want to clutter up your wallet, take a photo with your phone and file it instantly in the right notebook in Evernote. And you can have Evernote send you reminders when something is due. So far my art ‘stack’ has notebooks for expenses, inspiration, artists to follow, ideas for classes, reference photos and submission deadlines. The notes within these notebooks had previously been all over my desktop and archived in email. Which means they were all but inaccessible. Forgotten.

Especially submission deadlines. I can’t tell you how many shows I’ve missed because the call to artists disappeared somewhere in the belly of the beastly laptop.

But not any more!

One of my newfound notes was a call to artists for large scale figurative paintings. Bingo! Some of those Women in Red that I did back in January on the iPad have been begging to live large on canvas. Well, now they will. 

Which brings us to today’s work-in-progress. Ta-da…  It’s a big puppy, 4×4 feet. This is early days, just blocking out the shapes.


I started with a canvas that already had some preliminary layers. I sketched out the figures with charcoal.


Then added the first of the color. Acrylic. Got a long ways to go but it’s a start. 

Love to hear your thoughts on this. Have any great apps or productivity tips you want to share? Let’s get a discussion going in the comments below.

Meanwhile, remember this:



It’s turning into my new signoff, like Roy and Dale’s Happy Trails. 




Work in Progress

Work in Progress

You may have noticed things look a bit different over here at Arty Life. You may be thinking to yourself that woman changes the look of her blog more often than she changes her underwear. And you’d be right, sort of. I mean, about Arty Life. But as for my personal hygiene, well…I’m NOT gonna discuss that on the interwebs.

WOOT! So once again Arty Life has a new doo. She is an ever evolving work-in-progress. Be sure to click the home tab up above–that’s where the change is more dramatic. Like red shoes dramatic. It’s still not completely finished, still has some quirks but I’m getting there.

Meanwhile, here’s what I did in the studio this week–besides all the cleaning, sorting, putting away/throwing away I’ve been doing under the fierce organizing-your-art-biz whip of Alyson Stanfield, that is. Yes, I made time to paint. To finish a few small oils.

Remember this?



I showed it here a few weeks ago. Well, maybe it was the country playlist blasting from itunes today that inspired the change. This is what it looks like now that it’s done.


Southwest Impressions # 1 oil on cradled wood 10″x10″ 2014 Susan Lobb Porter

YEE-HAW! Back in the desert again, the place that feeds my arty soul. Oh my sweetums, there’s something about the light, the color and the harshness of the landscape that gets those creative juices flowing.

Today’s work was completed via palette knife. I like the way they smoosh the paint around. And they’re a heckuva lot easier to clean than a brush.

Got a couple more little works-in-progress to show you. These are little bitty things, 6×6 inches.

works in progress

works in progress

All of these will be for sale soon on my big girl I-am-an-ARTIST!!! website. That’s also a work-in-progress but it’s next on the list and coming along.

As always, I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments below. And if you like what you see, please share with your friends.

Most of all, remember this…because it’s true!



Landscapes in Progress

Landscapes in Progress

Oh my sweetums…last week I showed off some landscapes I created on the iPad. I said I might use them as studies for, ahem, real paintings.

Mwa-ha-ha!  Squealing like a guinea pig as the tears run down my cheeks.

What I neglected to tell you is I have, ummm…difficulty doing the same thing over and over. I get bored.

Let me explain with pictures. Okay, I decided to start with this one.

garden -painting-slporter

Garden: View from the Patio
Susan Lobb Porter 2014

The original studies were fun, I could do them all day. But doing them again in a different medium? Meh–I couldn’t get past the ugly teenage phase. The part every painting has to go through before it turns out okay. Kids too.

The ugly teenage phase

The ugly teenage phase

Well if this painting has been a kid, he’d be in jail. That’s all I can say. Or I’d be in jail for killing him. Because that’s kinda sorta what I did. My heart said screw this acrylic shit…BRING ON THE OILS AND COLD WAX!!!


Ta-da! Not done but so much better in my head for this. Except why the hell am I HOLDING it for the camera? 

Note to self: Don’t do that again. And clean up your language. Quit saying shit and hell and screw. Or don’t. Damned if I care.

Back to the technical stuff. I mixed up way too much color–I always do that, so I decided to slap the leftovers on another painting I didn’t like. I don’t like wasting paint and it was a sucky piece anyway. I didn’t take a ‘before’ picture. Didn’t want to embarrass myself. Let’s just say they were Aspens in Autumn. And if I was eight years old and they’d been on paper my mother would’ve hung ’em on the fridge. Maybe. If she really loved me.


Here’s the ‘after’, still a work-in-progress. I rather like where it’s going, even if I don’t know where that is yet. The painting underneath adds so much depth and texture. Makes it much richer than if I started with a clean board. These are all cradled boards by the way.

I had another board to recycle and more paint. Turquoise. All that turquoise.


Another work in progress

Another landscape. Imagine that!

So that’s all I’ve got to show you for this week. Any thoughts? Leave ’em in the comments below. I’ll give you a puppy if you do. Or a pony.

As always–