Category Archives: Art

A-Z Challenge: Rings (A Painting)


It’s been too long since the last painting. Fortunately, this afternoon has been a lazy one, so I’ve finally been able to create something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

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A-Z Challenge: Cats (A Doodle)



S.B. Roberts 2017


Did you expect the “c” to be anything else?

Ever since we adopted the cat, I’ve become a fan. At first, I would have just told you, “I like this cat.” Now, I just like cats in general.

Not long after we adopted him, I took to doodling him. Whenever my mom and I are at teaching conferences and meetings, I end up doodling this little representation of my cat in my notes. Or hers. Whichever are closer at the moment. Sometimes fellow fun-loving colleagues return to find one on their paper too.

I drew these ones in my planner during a recent Skype meeting. They’re not the best. None of my doodles are. But they’re a fun way to release some creativity, especially when it’s feeling a little stifled in a meeting.

A-Z Challenge: Bestie (A Painting)


S.B. Roberts 2017

I’ve been on a major painting spree lately. At least once a week, I’ve taken over the dining room table to make it into a makeshift studio, and I’ve been loving it.

This last painting was different than anything else that I’ve done so far in two ways.

First, it’s a hybrid of things I learned in the book and experimentation. I wanted to paint a dear friend of mine looking out over the ocean for a special occasion. At this point, though, I don’t have any experience with painting people. The best way to get around that: paint just the back of her head.

I started with the same ocean techniques I used when painting “The Deep Blue Sea” and lots of paintings of hair on Pinterest. Then I just went for it.

It’s hard to see all of the different shades on the hair, but in person, there’s a lot of texture. As I finished, I felt that something was missing. It was my husband’s idea to add some black (which I then went back over with the auburn, red, and orange shades) to add some dimension.

The second thing about it is that I actually painted it over three days instead of in one sitting. The blue of the ocean had to dry before adding the red hair, so those were two separate occasions. The third was for touching up since some of the dark blue was thinner than I had hoped for and the sky didn’t look good as just one color.

So there we are. The first painting in which I did something mostly on my own and I really liked it. Now on to the next adventure.


Why I Believe in the Oxford Comma and a Tidbit on Van Gogh

Today’s post feels very random, but these two links are too fascinating to pass up so why not post them together?

The first is on the importance of the Oxford comma. While some prefer to drop it (and I don’t judge), I prefer to use it for its clarity. As it turns out, the use of the comma has been helpful to some dairy drivers get overtime pay. Read more about that here. (Warning and apology: There’s a smidge of language in it.)

The second is about the Impressionists, specifically Van Gogh. If you thought “Starry Night” was a cool painting before, you’ll never be able to think of it quite the same way. It appears to capture fluid dynamics in action. Read that article here.

And since the video mentioned in the article isn’t linked, it’s here.


What do you think of the Oxford comma? Are you a fan of “Starry Night”?

The Artistry of Breath of the Wild

It’s been a little over two weeks since The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild came out, and I’ve been loving it. There are so many things that I could talk about — and most of them, spoiler-free — but there’s something that really struck me as I was playing last week: just how beautiful the world is.

Now that I’m learning to paint, I have a new appreciation for the aesthetic. To date, all of the games have had things about them that are beautiful, but the way that this world comes alive is so different than anything I’ve experienced before. The environment changes with the weather and time of day. The animals respond to my footfalls when I get too close. The sky is as dynamic as the real sky.

The most stunning moment I’ve had so far was atop a cliff. I had to gather arrows and take a picture of an enemy down below. (One that killed me several times with one hit! Thank God for all the auto-saves.) Then I had retreated to safety above. It had been raining lightly, and the rocks had even gotten slick.

I turned around to see if the monster below had chased me, and I found the most dazzling sight instead.

A double rainbow and a sunset.



A picture of an in-game picture hardly does justice to the original beauty of the moment.

I’ve never seen anything like it in a video game. It was absolutely stunning. Once I’m more proficient in painting on my own, I want to recreate this.

This is one of the coolest parts about Breath of the Wild. These sorts of beautiful moments aren’t a rarity. They happen all the time. It definitely is the most beautiful video game I’ve met so far.


Adventures in Art: Daily Bread (or, The Doubleheader)

Burnt sienna has arrived, which means I have a new world of possibilities at my fingertips.

This weekend, I decided to go back to the first lesson that required the color: bread with butter. I had every intention of just painting it, but my weekend soon turned into a doubleheader.

Evidently, I haven’t really talked about painting, so even close family didn’t know that I was doing it. When my mom saw the poppy, she decided she wanted one of her own. Needless to say, I enjoyed playing with those colors and shapes again.


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Adventures in Art: Remembrance (Or, In Flanders Field)

It’s been nearly a month since my easel has had some use, but last weekend, I grabbed it and my art book. While I wait for a tube of burnt sienna to come in the mail, I decided to skip ahead a couple of lessons to something that didn’t require it: a red poppy.

At first, I thought about skipping this one because it seemed unremarkable, but I’m glad I didn’t for two reasons: 1, because I had forgotten the poppy’s importance in remembering the fallen of World War I (and in some nations, other wars as well), and 2, because it was an eye-opening painting experience.

If you aren’t familiar with its connection to World War I, it all started with this poem, “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae. In parts of Europe, poppies grow on the battlefields, which inspired the poem and their significance. It’s a beautiful tribute to the brave who lost their lives.


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