Smol Flowerz

In winter 2017, I had a bunch of 4″ square canvases to work on, and decided to paint imaginary flowers that do not exist in nature. The light source is deliberately…just wrong. Each petal has its own light source. I was envisioning these more as mandala-esque coloring book pieces than any sort of realistic thing. I gave them pretentious names using a Random Name Generator, names like “Ear of Torches” and “Cleavertrumpet.” Then I promptly sold half of them last October at a Craft Show. Here they are for your amusement:

 

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I painted an American Flag

usa_flag_painted_by_alyssa

I believe it’s time to take American patriotism back from the right. Toward that end, I have painted an American flag, complete with 13 stripes and 50 stars, using acrylic paint on a wood panel. I then photographed and uploaded it, so you can get your own American flag stickers for your car, or t-shirt, or whatever. Now you can purchase patriotic merch and have your money go to support progressive values!

The return of the infamous “Knife, Bread, Toaster”

kbt2cropped

I painted this concept originally in oils many years ago, at the Fremont Fresh Art festival and it sold at auction for $50. Years later I was bummed I didn’t have a high-res photo of it, so I did what any sensible artist would do: I repainted the thing. Now you can own your own copy, or have it printed on a t-shirt, skirt, or other fun stuff, by the nice folks at RedBubble.com.

Child’s Desk Makeover

My tween’s desk has been a source of parental horror for me ever since I caught her eating a bowl of soup directly in front of the laptop keyboard. Banning soup from the area isn’t enough though. I mean, look at the photo below. She doesn’t have any real space to do her crafts while watching endless sessions of PopularMMOs on the laptop screen. I’ve been telling her for months that we just need to raise the lappy up on a platform, push it back aways, and add a bluetooth keyboard which we have kicking around, but she recoiled every time I brought it up, apparently unable to convince herself that the effort of moving her little bins of whatsit back there were going to be worth it.

"Before"

“Before”

So while she was at school one day last week, I decided to take matters in to my own hands, aka, “saving her from herself.” It’s a power technique all parents need to have in their toolkit when raising a stubborn child.

Once I got past stripping away layers of garbage and out of place materials I began to notice some shrewd transformations my child had done:

Clever use of pencil sharpeners to hold those silly little golf pencils

Clever use of pencil sharpeners to hold those silly little golf pencils

 

Cheap windchime kit ingeniously morphed into a mobile with straws, paper clips and little paper shapes.

Cheap wind chime kit ingeniously morphed into a mobile with straws, paper clips and little paper shapes.

Once there was room, I moved all the little bins and put in these cheap plastic shelves from Daiso and then arranged her stuff. Lappy went up on a riser with the keyboard tucked underneath.

See how much better it looks? Well, it’s not Pinterest-worthy but still. In my house, this counts as serious progress. Especially since the kid loved it.

"After"

“After”

Yarn Dying Time

Every Easter, after the egg dying is complete, I snatch up some of the leftover egg dye, pour it over wet wool, and nuke it until the water runs clear.

This year I tried both a natural dye from PCC Natural Markets and the usual chemical ones (by Dudley).

You can probably guess which is which!

Easter egg dye can be used to dye wool

“Realistic” Painting

When I was in fifth grade I got a valuable lesson in what makes art realistic. A boy in my class challenged me to a drawing contest: which one of us could do a better drawing of war time, as judged by our teacher. I got out my markers and drew a pretty, colorful cartoonish drawing of a tank and stuff. He drew a scribbled pencil sketch that to me, looked like a huge mess. Who won? He did. The teacher said his drawing, drab and chaotic as it was, represented what war was really like, more so than mine.

Which of these two paintings do you think better represents “war”?

Francesco Goya, “The Third of May 1808”

 

Watercolor by Kenneth Wootton

People occasionally ask how I get my paintings to be realistic.

Close up of "Dance" by Alyssa McFarland

Close up of “Dance” by Alyssa McFarland

 

I always say: Paint what you see. The trick is in the seeing.

Let’s look at a so-called realistic painting. What makes it seem realistic?

I would argue it is because most everyone would agree, “that’s what it really looks like.”

 

Hyperrealistic painting by Patrick Kramer

 

Now take a subject where the painter has taken a bit more creative liberty. This may be exactly how this painter sees the world, but not with his eyes. He’s filtering what he sees through the lens of imagination.

Noah’s Ark by Thomas Kinkade

 

What about stuff that doesn’t even look like it’s trying to be “real”? Well then you’ve got a case of the painter perhaps trying to express a new way of seeing:

“Weeping Woman with Handkerchief” by Pablo Picasso

 

Your thoughts?