Thursday, December 31, 2015

Feedom of Expression

Freedom of Expression

I was so bummed out over Running Eagle Falls I got a canvas and just let her rip with no destination in mind. Funny thing is, I love it! Freedom truly was my inspiration. It really felt good to do.

©Kinsey Barnard

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Running Eagle Falls

Running Eagle Falls

It was bound to happen, a gawd awful painting. My deepest apologies to Running Eagle a great Blackfeet warrior princes. This painting goes in the "What was I thinking" column.

Running Eagle Falls is one of my favorite places to go in Glacier Park. Over the years I have tried to photograph it but for some reason I've not been able to get anything that does it justice.You can check out a couple of my photographic efforts as well as the legend of Running Eagle on my adventure blog.

Anyway, I had this idea I wanted to paint my version of it and this is what happened. It's pretty gawdy as well as gawd awful.

I'm starting to come to the conclusion that larger canvases may be easier to paint. Detail work is tough in small spaces. The good news is, I continue to learn things and have had little "ah ha" moments. But, I'll need a lot more.

©Kinsey Barnard

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


I gotta really laugh at this one. I went way off the reservation. I guess I have to put this in the abstract category, maybe primitive abstract it's kinda mixed up. A lot like my imagination.

I actually had an idea of what I wanted to paint. But then I was interrupted by company for a few days and my ADD must have kicked in. By the time I got back to painting I had totally forgotten what I was thinking of and just started splattering paint on the board. I had no destination in mind which should be fairly apparent.

It looks like something that should have been painted for Easter eggs. I had no choice but to name it Crossroads as that's the only identifiable thing in it. Identifiable to me at least. Imagination is a wonderful thing, mixed up or not!

©Kinsey Barnard

Friday, December 11, 2015

Dome Mountain

Dome Mountain is my sixth effort. There may be a Dome Mountain somewhere but this one came straight out of my paint brush. The inspiration for the snow capped mountains came from the Whitefish Range in Montana and the foreground came from visions of Montana hay and wheat fields. A dome mountain is basically an old volcano. It's the color that makes this painting so pleasing to me. When I look at it I just want to smile. They say "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". Simplistic as it may be this beholder sees beauty here. Maybe it more pronounced at the moment because it is winter in Montana and color is not something we get to see much of. All I know is the bright colors brighten my day and make me feel happy.

 © KinseyBarnard

Thursday, December 10, 2015

David Hockney - An Inspiration

"The moment you cheat for the sake of beauty, you know you're an artist."

What a find! Until today I was not familiar with David Hockney and his work. The above painting and quote have hit me like a ton of bricks.

Hockney is a photographer turned painter. His use of color and imaginative designs are bloody brilliant in every sense of the word.

In my photography I prided myself that I did not Photoshop my images but relied on Nature to provide. I don't even own the program and have never desired to. But, I can't say I wasn't tempted to "cheat" by enhancing the color.  Sometimes I gave into temptation. By cracky I AM an artist!

©Kinsey Barnard

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Paint Mixing Magic

The other day I came across a video on how to mix paint. In my case, acrylic paint. I don't suppose there is any aspect of painting more fundamental or more important.

In this particular video, you can find it in my video library under color mixing, the instructor shows how every conceivable color can be derived from the three primary colors yellow, red and blue. From just those three colors wheels within wheels, a kaleidoscope of color can be derived. I haven't thought about primary colors since I was in grade school. After watching the video I think primary colors are magical.

My biggest problem is that I mix colors like I do everything else in my creative process. I just make it up in the moment. I've gotten some colors I really liked this way but the problem is I have no idea how I did it so recreating a particular color isn't going to be easy. My muddled mind finds it difficult to focus on particulars whilst I'm creating. When I'm done I can't remember what I did because I didn't pay any attention.

This happens to me a lot with my photography. People will ask how I got a certain result and I will tell them I don't know. I often feel they think I'm being selfish. That's not my intention. I really don't know. I just do what I do. I quite literally don't "know" anything worth passing along. Just like I can't be taught I can't teach either.

With painting I find I think a lot about what I want to create next. I spend several days with ideas swirling around in my mind before I have the courage to pick up the brush again. I liken my mind to a darter fish. It darts here it darts there and sooner or later settles. I get many of my best ideas when I am engaged in an activity totally unrelated to painting. Once I decide to paint I just do it without thinking much at all. It is what it is.

I watched a video on abstract painting where it was a team effort. The man painted whilst the woman mixed the colors. I think not mixing my own colors would take half the fun out of painting. For me mixing color is part of the adventure. At this point my color mixing is kind of a Forest Gump box of chocolates thing. I never know what I'm going to get. With experience I may learn do do it on purpose. That would be good. Meanwhile, I have created some gorgeous colors quite by accident.

I'm lousy at determining how much paint to mix. More often than not I make too much. In order to save paint I have been putting leftovers in capped cups. I save everything. I'm pretty sure I'm going to come up with many more accidental colors.

Paint Saving Cups

 Here's a quote from Michele Theberge at which I think is worth repeating.

"There’s a delicate balance we artists ride between doing and being.

Too much “being” can be a disguised form of avoidance. Too much “doing” and our creative well dries up because it is never replenished."
There’s a delicate balance we artists ride between doing and being.
Too much “being” can be a disguised form of avoidance. Too much “doing” and our creative well dries up because it is never replenished.
- See more at:
There’s a delicate balance we artists ride between doing and being.
Too much “being” can be a disguised form of avoidance. Too much “doing” and our creative well dries up because it is never replenished.
- See more at:
There’s a delicate balance we artists ride between doing and being.
Too much “being” can be a disguised form of avoidance. Too much “doing” and our creative well dries up because it is never replenished.
- See more at:
There’s a delicate balance we artists ride between doing and being.
Too much “being” can be a disguised form of avoidance. Too much “doing” and our creative well dries up because it is never replenished.
- See more at:

There’s a delicate balance we artists ride between doing and being.
Too much “being” can be a disguised form of avoidance. Too much “doing” and our creative well dries up because it is never replenished.
- See more at:
There’s a delicate balance we artists ride between doing and being.
Too much “being” can be a disguised form of avoidance. Too much “doing” and our creative well dries up because it is never replenished.
- See more at: watched another video on abstract painting where a man painted and a woman created the colors. I think not mixing the colors would take a lot of the fun and adventure out of it for me.Here's a quote from Michele Theberge which I think is particularity insightful. "
©Kinsey Barnard

Monday, December 7, 2015

Jackson Pollock - Following the Bread Crumbs

I was sitting at my desk pondering what I wanted to be when I grow up. More like what style of painting was likely to be my bailiwick. It really doesn't matter and I'm way to new at this to even be concerned about it. One thing I know I'm not very good at is controlling where my mind wanders. The "darter fish mind" does what it does.

I had been studying my portfolio of paintings which currently stands at five pieces. Now that's one heck of a body of work. I have put them on a wall so I can maybe learn from them, what I like and what I don't. As I examined them I decided where I'm  headed is primitive abstract impressionism.

My Complete Body of Work LOL!

I was curious to know if there was such a thing as primitive abstract impressionism. In typical ADD fashion, when I entered my search in Google I typed primitive abstract expressionism. I have absolutely no idea why I typed that. Anyway, my mistake led me to a MoMa video about Jackson Pollock.  (The video is in my library under Jackson Pollock)  

The video is a demonstration of Pollock's painting technique. I found it an interesting and informative video. Clearly, Pollock also enjoyed reckless abandon. More than the painting itself, I was struck by the fact Pollock used acrylic house paint to produce his creations.

I'm still struggling with my paint drying out. I'm doing all the conventional things but I'm still not happy with my paint. I'm beginning to think it has something to do with the climate in my house. In winter I keep the thermostat set 67 degrees during the day and 62 at night. The humidity is around 30%. It may just be too cold and dry. I'm perfectly comfortable.

After watching the Pollock video I wondered if mere mortals could paint on canvas with house paint? Seems to me house paint is a lot more fluid than the tube paint. I Googled the subject and found a painter, Skye Taylor, who says yes you can. Skye's video is also in the library.

I went from putting the wrong parameters into my Google search to finding Jackson Pollock to learning you can paint on canvas with house paint. I'm sure some purists might turn up their noses at such an idea. As far as I'm concerned, if it's good enough for Jackson Pollock it's certainly good enough for me. I bet anyone who would sneer at the idea never sold a painting for $140,000,000 either. Jackson Pollock did. Photo below.

Jackson Pollock - No. 5 1948
I can hardly wait to get some house paint and try it out for myself. It may not work for me but who cares? This painting thing is such a exciting adventure! I'll probably never sell anything for even $140 but I'm going to have a million dollars worth of joy following my art (heart).

©Kinsey Barnard

PS: I learned something else whilst writing this entry. I heard a crash in the living room and went to scold my dog for getting into mischief. Turned out the one painting I had done on a canvas board had fallen off the wall. The fall crushed a corner . Moral of that story; don't try hanging canvas board with masking tape.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Blog Name Change

Today I decided to change the name of this blog. The original title was Dairy of a Would Be Painter and so it is.  But as I have been writing posts I see that this painting adventure is giving me all manner of introspective opportunities. After writing I Just Learned What I Already Knew it occurred to me this blog is going to be about more than just painting. The new title, as you can, see is Learning to Paint: A Journey of Self-Discovery. I've always been an advocate of self-knowledge. I have a feeling learning to paint, along with writing about it on this blog, is going to be a journey of self-discovery making it all the more fun.

Since I started this project I have been reminded just how thoroughly unteachable I am. It doesn't mean I can't learn. It means I have to teach myself by observing what other people do, not what they say, and then figuring out how to do it in a way that makes sense to me. My thought process is so different from most peoples I simply cannot grasp how to do a thing as explained by another. The way things make sense to others is totally bewildering to me.

I was a terrible student. I believed I couldn't understand things because I was stupid. In grammar school I had to take piano lessons. The nun, Sister Ruth, used a little black wand. She kept time to a metronome and tapped the piano in time with it. Every time I struck a wrong note she would strike my knuckles. In the end, I was the only child in the history of the school who couldn't play in the recital because she couldn't learn even one simple piece. In high school it was so bad I was suicidal. My IQ was revealed to me in hopes it would help with my self-doubt. Turned out my IQ was 136. No Einstein but not stupid either. It did help with my self-worth issues but not with my frustration. The point is, my inability to be taught started a very long time ago.

I'm watching lots of painting videos. I watch more than listen. I'm watching for those AH HA moments. Times when I see the artist do something and think "Oh wow, that's how that's done!" I'm saving all of the videos that give me one or more of those moments in my Acrylic Painting Video Library.

In addition to being unteachable there is a bit of a rebel in me. Since I've learned I don't think like other people I find I don't want to do things like other people. I am a square peg in a round hole world and learning to live with it has been a journey unto itself. My life's theme song is I Did It My Way, mostly because I had no choice. I have no doubt painting is going to be a continuation on that theme.

Pajaro - Kinsey Barnard

For anyone reading this please understand, this blog is primarily for my personal edification. I only make it public on the off chance that something I write might be useful to another. I'm way too old to care what anyone may think of me. As far as I'm concerned life isn't a popularity contest. Good thing too as square pegs don't generally do well in that type of contest.

©Kinsey Barnard

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

I Just Learned What I Already Knew

I've just had an epiphany. Strange as it may sound, I just learned what I believe I already knew. When it comes to art I am not interested in painting what I see outside myself. I am far more interested in what I see inside myself.

It was right in front of my face, within my photography. My stated objective with my camera was to paint with it. Not using Photoshop but capturing Nature in those naturally rare moments when she reveals just what an artist She is.  Images that, to my eye, were Nature's most unusual and unique works of art. Things that so few people ever notice. I found many, but, to my never ending frustration very few seemed to appreciate Nature's abstract expressions.  People have made a great fuss over images that, to me, are little more than pretty pictures whilst ignoring what I thought was the most incredible art I have ever seen. Images like Ice Puppets is not my art. It's nature's art. I was nothing more than the conduit. The two images below illustrate what I mean.

Tobacco River in Autumn

Above is a very pretty photo that has been popular amongst my photography fans. I don't mean to be glib but to me its just a pretty picture, a suitable model for a landscape painter. Below is an image that lights my fire 10,000 candles. It's just the kind of thing I would like to paint.

Ice Puppets
Although, if I were to flip the Tobacco River photo upside down and crop everything out but the reflection I might have something that would have appeal. But then, who needs to paint it? Nature already did.

Nature paints the water.

It's dawning on me that there may have been a reason for me to be able to see and photograph subjects such as Ice Puppets. To me that image was an opportunity to look inside Nature's imagination. How often does one have the opportunity to do that?

It's clear. I am not drawn to realism when it comes to art. Over the past 14 years, in Montana, I have spent thousands of hours and hiked thousands of miles with a near obsession to photograph the unique and imaginative within Nature. I have never known why. Perhaps this sudden interest in painting is not a new beginning but the continuation of a journey already begun. Just the thought of it excites me no end. I am such a loon.

I believe every cloud has a silver lining. In my case the silver lining is realizing nothing really matters in the grand scheme of things. That's why I'm going to enjoy painting. It just doesn't matter what I paint as long as I enjoy myself doing it. If I stop enjoying it I'll stop doing it. It doesn't matter. I stopped taking myself too seriously long ago.

©Kinsey Barnard