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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

An Art Card ACEO Commission

Last week I received a commission for an miniature portrait. I have been painting very small lately 3.5" x 2.5 known as collectible ACEO's (art card editions originals). The commission was from a man who wanted a portrait of his wife, and wrote to me the following:

"I am a family historian and have a lot of pictures and paintings of ancestors around and my wife always teasingly asks why I don't have any of her, so I thought this would be a fun birthday surprise for her!"

He sent me a photo for reference and I painted her from it. He also sent me an antique watercolor of a lady from around two centuries ago when miniatures were popular and asked if I could do is wife's mini portrait similar to it. The vintage portrait was in an oval frame so I suggested that I paint his wife's portrait on a larger piece of paper than the traditional art card size. The image I painted is still 3.5" x 2.5" but I painted it in watercolor on a 7" x 5" 140 lb. Arches hot press watercolor paper. That way if he wished to frame it with an oval mat he has plenty of paper.

News! I will be teaching art card painting classes.

Classes: Starting later in July I will be teaching Art Card classes at Local Colors of Utah gallery in Salt Lake City. Art cards are a fun affordable way to collect art, or you can trade them with your friends! The art card originally was created by artists to trade among themselves. Later an artist started the ACEO movement on ebay and artists were creating art cards to sell.

For more info comment below.

If you are in Salt Lake on July 4th, come visit Local Colors at the Sugar House Art Festival. I will have framed art cards in the gallery as well as a sign-up for my classes.  Local Colors is located at 1054 E. 2100 So. Salt Lake City.

If you are interested in an art card commission you can order one from Etsy:
Art Card Commission by Cathy Darling

Or if you are in Salt Lake City, You can order a commission through Local Colors gallery.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Wild Ride Horse and Gecko Prints

                               A Wild Ride

One Wednesday afternoon, sunny, not too hot, a horse was wildly galloping down the street. On his back was something green, small, but not too small. I would like to say it was an alien but it wasn't. It was your basic gecko. I think it was a jockey the way it rode that horse. But then I began to wonder when the gecko steered the horse straight at me. Needless to say I was a litte alarmed. Not sure how the gecko felt about it. All I can say is it was a wild ride and I lived to tell about it!

I am now offering prints of my original paintings on Etsy.

Click here for my etsy shop

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Very Inspired By John Salminen!

I was very inspired by John Salminen's lecture. I don't want to paint like him,
 but he motivated me to paint the best I can. 
Catherine Darling Hostetter

This past week, I attended the Utah Watercolor Society meeting where the guest artist was John Salminen. If you are not familiar with his work, it is very detailed and he is a fabulous watercolorist. Often times at our meetings, a guest artist will demonstrate by painting a piece. Because of the nature of John's approach to watercolor - often days of drawing first and then days of painting, he lectured on his work instead.

I suppose some people might have been disappointed that he didn't actually paint, but I was not unhappy at all with his presentation. Not one bit! He was very good at explaining some of his techniques and how he came to paint the way he does. It left me feeling very inspired. I love watercolor, but have often ventured into the less transparent medium of acrylic. For subject matter I have focused a lot of my art on the whimsical (as you can see if you've read my blog at all!) However, I love many artist's work and the interpretation of their world, which is a more realistic view than I often portray in my art.

I decided for my next project to paint more realistically and do it in watercolor. The last two months I have been focusing on painting very small - 3.5" x 2.5" art cards. It's been a good exercise, and I will continue to paint them. The lovely thing about John Salminen's work was how he rendered scenes that were realistic, yet very much displayed the beauty of the watercolor medium. He is a very talented man!

Yesterday I painted Mr. Sheep, a sussex sheep. It's not a street scene or detailed like Mr. Salminen's, but it is more realistic and very watercolor-ish. (Is that a word?) It is a start for me. I am not much of a landscape or street scene painter, I enjoy people and animals. So that's where I began. But who knows where this project will take me?

To conclude my last project of painting art cards, I am posting three that I recently finished.

"In the Iris Garden"
I painted these cards in watercolor and 
watercolor pencil and wc markers.

 "Poppy Garden Girls"

"Waiting For a Party"

For the next couple of months, I will be posting my "Inspired by John Salminen" watercolor project, and I hope you will come back and comment. If you would like to know more about John Salminen here is a link to his website: John Salminen

It will be interesting to me to see how this project will influence how I paint. Life is about learning and changing, improving and enjoying! 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Another Small Painting

Painting art cards is a challenge. The 3.5" x 2.5" canvas makes it difficult to get the detail you are able to get with larger painting surfaces. I have been trying different mediums so see what gives me the detail I would like to have. Yesterday I tried pen and ink and watercolor. Still not satisfied with the results.

 As I paint these art cards, I've been drawing from my head without reference. I think the artist is the biggest critic of their artwork. That's me for sure! I find I am not satisfied not only with the way I am painting but I am not happy with just painting what I see in my head. I am going to keep going with my experimentation with art cards until I am satisfied with what I produce. Anyone want to join me painting art cards? It's a great exercise that I think will benefit my larger pieces.

"Planting Seeds of Faith", pen/ink and watercolor.
My critique is that it is too cartoony for my taste :-) I like it for what it is however,
and it was fun to try. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Painting Small

The last week of March and throughout this month I was away from home for a little over three weeks. Because of different restrictions I packed up the smallest amount of art supplies I could. This has led me to working on a series of art cards (mentioned in my previous posts).

Painting small or perhaps 'miniature' is a better description - brings a whole lot of new challenges. The main challenge for me is what medium best expresses what I want to accomplish? I have tried pure watercolor, acrylic, acrylic with colored pencil. Today I will be working on a piece with watercolor and pen and ink.

My 3.5" x 2.5" paintings have been divided into two main subjects, portraiture and whimsical illustration. I have enjoyed doing the portraiture in watercolor - even though the 'canvas' is small, it is big enough to get the detail in that I enjoy. Doing a little illustrative scene is a whole other story. To get all the details in you have to paint VERY small. I am not sure I am satisfied with what I have come up with to this point.

I am going to post a couple of recent illustrative pieces and would appreciate your critique of them.

"Bunny Serenade" is done in acrylic and colored pencil on paper.

"Catching Falling Stars" is watercolor and watercolor pencil on paper

"Little Red Riding Hood" (SOLD) Mixed - watercolor and acrylics on paper.

I would appreciate any comments. If you want to see more of my art cards, visit 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Painting in Portland

I am in Portland to help take care of my grand-daughter Lily. A couple of weeks ago a dog bit her in the face. :(
I packed up the biggest suit case we had. Not just for my clothes, but for the inflatable mattress. My daughter had just moved to Portland the month before leaving her furniture behind. We were worried my suitcase would go over the 50lb. weight limit, but it weighed in at exactly that... 50lbs!

I came out on Jet Blue and they have a policy of no oil or water based paints, so I packed up my watercolor palette (dry) and brought along mini watercolor paper to paint art cards. An art card is 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" so I could pack a lot of them!
So far I have only painted 2 cards, they are in my whimsical style.

 This one (above) is titled "Breakfast at Tiffany's, 
Pupper's and Miss Pretty Kitty's. 

This art card is titled "Finding Spring". 

It is fun, experimental and a good exercise to paint this small. I will continue to paint while here in Portland. It rains a lot and often cancels my daily walk... I thought my waterproof windbreaker would be sufficient but I was wrong... so I will happily paint when it rains.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Arches Watercolor Paper Disappointment

A few months back I moved. Which means I was forced to go through and organize all my art supplies. This past week I needed to paint a watercolor to enter into the Utah Watercolor Society Spring Show. This year we have the amazing John Salminen to jury our show.

Determined to use some of the supplies I had in store, I found some Arches 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper. I haven't used Arches for several years now but my memory was soon refreshed as to the reason for that.

Starting the painting with the first couple of washes was fine, but then as I applied more layers of color, the paper acted very weird and the colors would not blend properly. Frustrated, I kept on going; I had a deadline to meet and no time to start another painting! If you have read my blog at all you may have gathered that I tend to procrastinate painting for shows til the last couple of days before it's due.

The painting ended up ok, but I wasn't pleased with the face of the girl. Painting skin tones can be delicate work, and this paper would not let me blend the colors as well as I wanted. *sigh*.

The title of this painting is "Then It Dawned On Her". Kind of a poetic tribute to why I will never buy Arches again. Yes...

NOW I remember why I switched to Fabriano WC paper.