Archive for the Acrylics Category

Light Shining in the Darkness

Posted in Acrylics, art, inspiration, Painting with tags , , , , , , , on February 17, 2018 by sebland

imageI believe that we all have seasons of the soul, just as nature has its seasons. As artists, we lie fallow sometimes, waiting for the time when a seed will fall into the cold soil, take hold and begin slowly to grow into something we can till and nurture and maybe even harvest.  Our lives don’t always run according to plan. Dreams die, friends grow old and leave us, bodies let us down, we lose heart and begin to doubt ourselves and even our own worth. I call those the dark nights of the soul. And then something happens. A friend offers an encouraging word, someone lifts us up in an unexpected way, even an encouraging word comes from a stranger, and we are up and running again. . John 1:5 says:”The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”  As a  creative person, you have that light within you. Look for it, because it is there, and the darkness cannot overcome it!

Coping with Commissions

Posted in Acrylics, art, How to Paint, inspiration, Painting, Watercolors with tags , , , on January 14, 2018 by sebland

To be really honest, I’m not terribly comfortable about commissions. I have enough trouble bringing my own ideas to the canvas, much less trying to interpret another person’s visions. This one, however, is quite large and I know and trust my patron’s faith in me, so I’m taking it on. The space is wide – six feet, but only 26″ tall, so we’ve settled on three 24 x 24″ canvases, side by side. She loves bright colors, lots of friends around her, and just lost her husband, so this one  must be a narrative of the joy of life and the way we love and support one another. My way to begin is to sketch with watercolor the feelings, the emotions and some of the things I know she’s looking for. Then I’ll prime and begin in acrylics to paint the panels. This triptych may take a little while and may undergo many changes. I invite you to travel along with me and we’ll see where this one takes us. I’ll bet the finished product will bear little resemblance to this first sketch!

The Angels Danced

Posted in Acrylics, art, How to Paint, inspiration, Painting, Watercolors with tags , , , , on November 30, 2017 by sebland

imageI received a gift once from a loved one on my birthday. It read:”The angels danced on the day you were born.” That touched me deeply. Now as Christmas is approaching, it troubles me that folks feel all frazzled and pressured, shoving others out of the way to find bargains, arguing over where to celebrate the Christmas feast, feeling inadequate when they can’t buy the latest toy being promoted on television, or stressing out over getting it all done. Whose birthday is it anyway? For whom did the angels sing? Who the shepherds rush to see? Whose star shone so brightly that really wise men came bearing gifts? Come on people, take a deep breath and try putting things back in perspective. I plan to make an effort every day to back away from the crowds, look for simpler pleasures, sincerely wish everyone I meet a Merry Christmas. If that offends you, Happy Holidays! I just want everyone I know to enjoy this time of year when for a little while, if we listen carefully, we may hear an angel sing, or spy an especially bright star in the sky. Maybe just for a little while we can put aside our differences, our striving for the perfect gift and just appreciate the amazing miracle that we celebrate. Sometimes I think the miracle of Christmas is that it happens, in spite of us! Enjoy this time of preparation, because it only comes once a year! Happy Merry whatever! P.S. Being the restless soul I am, I plan to paint a new image every day till Christmas, so let me know if you’d like a Christmas card designed just for you.

The Journeys We’ll Never Lose

Posted in Acrylics, art, inspiration, mountains, Painting with tags , , , , , , on November 4, 2017 by sebland

imageTo my dismay traveling is becoming more challenging with every birthday. Father Time has a way of reminding you that long journeys, if not impossible, are definitely more challenging. For many years, my lifelong partner and I would gather up the kids, pack a ton of snacks and head out in the camper at daybreak, enjoying long hours on the highways and byways and spending happy times in parks and campgrounds, waking to the smell of woodsmoke and bacon, swimming in creeks and lakes, making memories. When we retired, I packed my paints, many treats (because what you consume on a trip doesn’t count), and went West, Northwest, South and Southwest, Alaska, Sedona, Florida, Maine, and as many places in between as we could afford. I am so glad we did. When Uncle Arthritis comes to live with you, long hours on the road are simply not as much fun. I write this not to complain, but to encourage you to go now, as you are able. If you have always dreamed of seeing Alaska or the Southwest or any other part of our beautiful world, go! Go now and make those memories because when you no longer feel like making that long trip, your journey will live on in your memory. So many times when we’re sitting on our deck sipping a glass of wine, Dear One will say: “Do you remember that snowy night in Tennessee?” or “That sunset  in Oregon was pretty special , huh.” We live in an amazingly beautiful world. Turn off those electronics, get out and see those sights. They’ll be with you always! This painting is no longer available, but I hope you enjoy it and my memory.

This Day Doesn’t Count

Posted in Acrylics, art, inspiration, Painting, PLEIN AIR PAINTING with tags , on October 26, 2017 by sebland

imageIt is my sincere belief that a day spent painting outdoors does not count against your allotted time on this earth. I believe the Master Timekeeper just smiles and turns your clock back a day when you spend it in the shade of a huge old cypress tree on the bank of a Texas Hill Country creek. Today my friends and I loaded up our paints, some crackers, salami, apples and cheese (and a few M & M’s, but who’s telling?) and headed out to the Blue Hole in Wimberley. This lovely little park right at the edge of town, is exquisite! With the kids in  school and the water too cold to swim, it’s the perfect spot to sit and reflect, if you’ll pardon the pun. We spent a delightful few hours just enjoying the quiet and the peace. I hope you like my little study. It is available online at:

A Little at a Time

Posted in Acrylics, art, How to Paint, inspiration, Painting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 17, 2017 by sebland

One of the most valuable exercises I’ve ever learned was how to grid. If you can draw and draw well, you are fortunate. For the rest of us, this little technique can take you places you never thought you’d go. It helps you to paint in proportion, and it’s almost like working a jigsaw puzzle. I’ve taken a 4 x 6 inch postcard and made a 4 x 6 foot painting using this technique. It’s simply done: find a print or photo you like, divide it into small squares, say one inch squares. My reference photo was 8 x 10, which I divided into one inch squares. My canvas was 16 x 20. I used a ruler to divide my canvas into two inch squares.  I numbered each square across and assigned letters on the left margins on both my reference photo and my canvas. I then started to replicate square by square, i.e., A9 would be dark orange, A7 might be cream colored. Paint the easy squares first and save the more complicated squares until you get comfortable with the process. As you move along, the images seem to magically make sense. When you finish all the squares, voila, you’ve reproduced a work you never thought you could do, one inch at a time.  I hope you’ll try this technique. Obviously this painting is not for sale. It’s not my original work, but it was a great learning tool!

Standing Tall

Posted in Acrylics, art, How to Paint, inspiration, Painting, Southwest, Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 6, 2017 by sebland

imageI’ve often thought when I see a tree standing alone, could a tree be lonely? When all the leaves have fallen off  and there’s nothing left but a dead branch or two,  does it feel the loss? Standing alone in the middle of a field, do memories of sweet green new growth make that tree yearn for days gone by? Or does that tree just bask  in the freedom to stand tall, feel the wind and the sun and rejoice in the knowing that despite it all, with roots reaching deep into the good earth,  the tree still stands. This painting is available on my new gallery site:

Learning to Paint a Wave

Posted in Acrylics, art, How to Paint, inspiration, Painting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 5, 2017 by sebland


There’s an old saying that goes: “You can’t teach without learning.” I think that is true.

A while back I was teaching at a local crafts store and one of the students asked me how to paint a wave. Knowing that I had a lot to learn, I visited a number of instructional sites and found there really was a formula for how to paint that wave breaking. I won’t fill up your time with a step by step, but I will advise you to do a search and find some good how-to’s on line. This one came out pretty well, and my students enjoyed the exercise. So did it! So, if you want to learn something try teaching. There’s always more to art than you ever imaged! Just show up and you’ll find something new, all the time! Thank you, Lord, for the internet! By the way this painting is acrylic on watercolor paper and is available at my new gallery:



The Journey

Posted in Acrylics, art, How to Paint, inspiration, Painting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 3, 2017 by sebland


It seems to me in all the chaos of this world, the differences of opinions, the way we deal with one another, that we have lost something very precious: our civility with one another. Though we come from many different directions and our skins are many colors, our faiths, or lack thereof may be oceans apart, still one fact remains. We are all on the same journey. No matter from whence we come, or where we end up, we will travel together. Wouldn’t it be nice if on your journey and my journey., we might walk together, pause a while, and become friends? That’s my wish for you today, my fellow sojourner. At the end of the day, we will face the end of the journey. Let it be in peace. “Sojourners” is available on my new web site:

Something About A Sunday

Posted in Acrylics, art, How to Paint, inspiration, Painting with tags , , , , on October 1, 2017 by sebland


The sun is going down over my green valley. I’ve been to church, made the customary visit to the nursing home where my brother in law resides, had a nice long nap, and now that Sunday evening feeling is coming to visit.. You may know that feeling – not exactly sad, but a bit nostalgic for what was and is no longer. Memories come flooding back, thoughts of people and places that have meant a lot to me, and I feel grateful for what has been, but also a need for just a little bit more. Ever had that feeling? As the birthdays pile up, I realize how really blessed I have been. I’m also greedy. I want just a little bit of a second servicing. When that feeling comes over me, I usually put on some music, pour a cup of coffee or glass of wine and dream. Today the dream is to make one more trip – maybe take some buddies, pack up my easel and go – to paint beside the ocean, watch the sun go down and appreciate the beauty that is our homeland. Come along with me, if only in your dreams! This large painting is available at my new gallery: <a target=”_blank” style=”padding: 5px; font-weight: bold; color: #1e477a;” href=”″>Buy with PayPal</a>

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