Dabbling in paint. – life+running

Dabbling in paint.

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably have noticed a lot of art in my feed lately. I’ve gotten the bug to create, and for once I’m not creating functional items — I’m creating for the sake of creating. I’m by no means an artist. I’m a graphic designer, which means I am an expert in typography, symbols, shapes, and color — not art. Some of these elements translate nicely into artistic mediums, so I can fake being an artist when the mood strikes. The mood has struck.

I visited Mark last week in Minnesota, but he worked most of the time. So in my spare time I cleaned his room. I won’t detail all the things I found in his room since he lives with his parents in the bedroom he’s had since he was little, but I will share that I found a good amount of art supplies that he promptly donated to me. I bought a mixed media sketchbook, and have since been experimenting in it with paint and a few different types of tools that can be used for application.

page from my sketchbook // lifeplusrunning.com

watercolor play // lifeplusrunning.com

The previous image is watercolor, and I don’t love watercolor. It takes too long to dry and I like being able to layer my color without things getting muddy. Read: I have no patience. Watercolor aside, I did finally figure out how to use acrylic paint. It turns out that acrylic paint is probably the easiest type of paint to use, as long as you work fast. Unlike watercolor and oil paint, acrylic paint dries really fast, which allows you to work in layers of color in a short period of time. Each layer is sealed once it’s dry, which allows you to add more layers without the paint getting muddy, as it would if you were using watercolor. You can thin out the paint with a thinning medium or water or slap it on really thick to get some fun texture going. I’ve not worked much with acrylic paint because I never did the research about how to properly use it. Now that I’ve done some experimentation, I will likely use this medium more often.

playing around with acrylic paint // lifeplusrunning.com

messy palette // lifeplusrunning.com

I don’t have a plan for any of the stuff I’ve created, but I’m sure some of the experiments will end up in my design work at some point.

I may not be a real artist, but I have plenty of friends who are. I frequently mention my friend Amanda who is a ceramic artist, but I haven’t talked much about my friend Molly‘s or my friend Kim‘s artwork.

My friend Molly Nagel recently graduated with a Master of Fine arts from Iowa State. We met as undergraduates in the graphic design program at Iowa State. She used to paint animals and landscapes in her spare time, but realized she was really good at it, and enjoyed art more than design, so she went back to school for art.

I have the privilege of owning one of the works Molly created for her thesis show. She made six hummingbird paintings, each with a different pose and slightly different coloring. I knew I had to have one of these hanging on my wall.

hummingbird painting by artist Molly Nagel, MFA // lifeplusrunning.com

Molly’s hummingbird fits in quite nicely with my decor, but this isn’t the bird’s final location.

hummingbird painting by artist Molly Nagel, MFA // lifeplusrunning.com

After I bought Molly’s painting, I decided it would be nice to have a mini gallery in my bedroom that is full of artwork by my friends — sort of an adult version of my college dorm room: instead of inkjet printouts and Johnny Depp posters I will have actual art on or in frames . I asked my friend Kim if she could contribute. Kim and I have been talking about her a painting me something for ages. Kim is one of my best friends who I met in 2002 at our short stint at Wartburg College. Kim is the catalyst that helped me realize that I am responsible for my own happiness in life. She’s had to remind me of this so many times in the last 12 (!!!) years, but ultimately, I wouldn’t be where I am today if we never met. I have a longer version of this story that I’ll share soon since I just found a bunch of photos from the trip we took to Chicago that made both of us want to change career directions and schools.

Anyway, Kim sent me this beautiful painting in the mail. The dimensions are 42″ x 22″, and it covers the space on my wall that I’ve set aside for my mini gallery of friends’ paintings, which is amazing because I never told her what size I wanted. She must be psychic.

painting by Kim Kullmer // lookalittlecloser.com

Kim is also a fantastic photographer, so I borrowed the photos that she took of the painting because my photos would never do it justice. I think my favorite part is the glitter she added because she wanted the painting to sparkle like me. She left me a sweet note on the back of it (and here is where you get to see what I mean about my photography skills).

painting by Kim Kullmer // lifeplusrunning.com

painting by Kim Kullmer // lookalittlecloser.com

painting by Kim Kullmer // lookalittlecloser.com

painting by Kim Kullmer // lookalittlecloser.com

painting by Kim Kullmer // lookalittlecloser.com

painting by Kim Kullmer // lookalittlecloser.com

painting by Kim Kullmer // lookalittlecloser.com

painting by Kim Kullmer // lookalittlecloser.com

Here’s to creativity and long-lasting long-distance friendships!


Do you paint, draw, or do anything you consider to be creative or artistic? If so, what do you do?

I love gathering inspiration from other creatives so if you do anything at all creative, please share (images are great!).


11 Comment

  1. I’ve picked up a spray paint hobby about 5 months ago or so. With such a topsy-turvy life, it’s given me an escape from it, and way to express myself. I may end up becoming a ‘graffiti’ artist just yet.

    1. calee says: Reply

      I saw a few of your pieces on Facebook and they’re really good! I seem to remember you being really into art in high school?

  2. I love it! We used acrylic paint for the paint + wine night I did with my sister a few weeks ago. It was fun, but that’s about the extent of my artistic abilities. 😉

    1. chimes says: Reply

      You’re more creative than you give yourself credit for — you work in music and you blog.

  3. Mom says: Reply

    Watercolor was always my favorite medium. As far as you being a Graphic Designer and not an artist, I beg to differ.

    1. chimes says: Reply

      I thought about sending you some of my “weird art” for your fridge. I’m sure Kevin would like some too.

  4. All of those colors!! I so want to learn how to paint!! Dave’s grandma used to paint a lot and a landscape she did with lots of pinks and blues and greens makes my soul happy when I look at it.

    Feel free to send me one of your paintings. 😉

    1. chimes says: Reply

      You could so learn how to paint. It’s not that hard. Step one: buy supplies. Step two: apply paint. 🙂

  5. kim says: Reply

    Aww girl, you are too sweet. I just saw this post! Thank you for your kind words. I can’t believe it’s been that long since we’ve been at Wartburg. How strange! And I’m a little nervous to see your Chicago photos! haha!! Oh How life changes! But I am so glad we’ve remained friends.

    Also, you ARE an artist, so stop with that b.s.! You have an amazing eye for color and are great at just diving in and trying new mediums. That’s fabulous! So don’t sell yourself short.

    ♥ you!

    1. chimes says: Reply

      hahaha they are GREAT photos. I’ll have to see if I can get them scanned. I found a large-format scanner at the college of design (wish I knew it existed earlier!) so I may just bring my photos to work with me and scan them quick there rather than using my tiny scanner.

  6. I LOVE THISSSSSSS! Omg, I was just saying the other day how I really want to get back into more artsy type activities. I feel like as I’ve gotten older, I’ve forgotten how to use my imagination. I used to have so much fun and just totally lose myself in my high school art class. I actually thought of taking some art/design/photography classes in college, but the level-headed (read: stupid) part of me decided that it was a “waste” of money. Yeah, insert eye roll here.

    I don’t know much about technique…and honestly, a lot of what I know, I’m only remembering from high school, but I’ve worked with acrylic and oil pastels quite a bit. Never watercolor…for the same reasons as you, but that second picture! Wow. Just WOW!I love the whimsy feel of it.

    I actually bought a bunch of canvases about a year or so ago when Hobby Lobby was having a big sale…and some acrylic paint. I was going to put them together and make one really big picture for the main wall in my living room (that is HUGE) over all of the canvases, but umm, yeah…they’re still sitting in my closet completely untouched. #fail You’ve definitely given me a bit of motivation though…and now I’m thinking I may need to go back to the store for some glitter before I get started! 😉

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