Art by Niki Hilsabeck News The latest news from Art by Niki Hilsabeck. en-us Wed, 17 Oct 2018 07:37:44 CDT Wed, 17 Oct 2018 07:37:44 CDT August 2018 Newsletter: A Great Way to Beat the Summer Doldrums <p>It&#8217;s summer&#8230;<em>again.</em>&nbsp; Every year it seems to get here quicker and drag on longer&#8212;although I admit that it may have something to do with fall in Southern California basically being a sequel to summer.&nbsp; If it were a movie, it might be called&nbsp;<em>Summer Part 2: Fire and Wind!</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img src="" width="500" height="316" alt="" />&nbsp;</div><div>Is it Halloween yet?</div><div>"The Old Black Cat" 5.5 x 9 pastel on drawing paper</div><div><a title="Click here to view large" href="">Click here to view large</a>&nbsp;</div><p>Today I stumbled on a little trick to combat the summer doldrums.&nbsp; Instead of thinking about how&nbsp;<em>hot</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>bored</em>&nbsp;everyone is (or at least how hot and bored they tell me they are, and by &#8220;they&#8221; I mean my children), I looked back at the week and thought about the new things I had experienced.</p><div><img src="" width="500" height="483" alt="" />&nbsp;</div><div>I got to ship this one to Austin this week-- pretty sure it's the first time I've sent a painting there!<br />"Prickly Paradise" Pastel on paper&nbsp;<a title="Click here to view prints and products" href="">Click here to view prints and products</a></div><div>&nbsp;</div><p>It started with my son, who asked if he could have some items from the mess I was cleaning out of my art cabinet to make a &#8220;work of art.&#8221;&nbsp; Holding a bottle of glue, he began to collect things and assemble his first real collage.&nbsp; I took a break from my own organizing to watch him as he delighted in assembling and gluing things together.&nbsp; Instead of looking at it as another mess I would have to clean up (which I&#8217;ll admit was my first thought), I began to admire his enjoyment of creating art in a new way.&nbsp; I began to think of some of the other new things that I&#8217;d experienced this week: my daughter and I tried making &#8220;Molasses in snow&#8221; from the&nbsp;<em>Little House on the Prairie Cookbook</em>, and my sister had gotten me to finally try kombucha, which I loved.&nbsp; I experimented with a bigger acrylic skins painting, which is now finished and waiting to be photographed.&nbsp; So even though it was a hot, seemingly monotonous week of summer, there were actually many new experiences to sit back and appreciate.&nbsp; My daughter was disappointed to discover that the molasses candy tasted too much like (you guessed it) molasses, but the experience was certainly worth the effort.</p><p>What new things have you experienced this summer? &nbsp;What did you learn from those new experiences?&nbsp; Even if they&#8217;re small events, new experiences can be a great way to get past those summer doldrums.</p><div>&nbsp;Another great way to experience something new is to create art!&nbsp; If you'd like to try any of my Skillshare classes, here are free links to each course:</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><a title="Create a Mixed Media Butterfly with Acrylic and Pastel" href="">Create a Mixed Media Butterfly with Acrylic and Pastel</a>&nbsp;<em>A unique way to create a textured painting, following a step-by-step demo&nbsp;</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><a title="Create an Easy Ocean Pastel Painting" href="">Create an Easy Ocean Pastel Painting</a>&nbsp;<em>A basic, step-by-step demo lesson on creating a simple ocean scene with soft pastels</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><a title="3 Ways to Play with Soft Pastels" href="">3 Ways to Play with Soft Pastels</a>&nbsp;<em>A great class for people who want to explore the various ways your soft pastels can be used-- dry, wet, and with other media!</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Please feel free to share these links if you know someone who would like to take online art classes!&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Is there something you'd like to see in an online art class?&nbsp; Email me and let me know!&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>If you're in the Fallbrook area, I'll be teaching a Paint-Sip at the library this August.&nbsp;&nbsp;<a title="Click here to go to the Fallbrook Library website." href="">Click here to go to the Fallbrook Library website.</a>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Here's to many new experiences for the rest of summer!</div><div><img src="" width="100" height="102" alt="" /></div> Fri, 03 Aug 2018 19:56:04 CDT What I Learned From Painting the Same Bird Almost 10 Times <div>A few years ago, I painted a Sandpiper with pastel and brushed it with water for a soft, calming effect.&nbsp; It was one of those times where I used art to ease my anxiety-- I painted the bird during a summer thunderstorm.&nbsp; Thunderstorms in cool weather don't bother me, but the ones we occasionally get in the summer can be stifling--with an added touch of electricity in the air!</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;<img src="/admin/../resources/img/blog_img/3713/Calm_WEB.jpg" width="400" height="283" alt="" />&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; "Calm" 9 x 12 Water-Brushed Pastel on Paper&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;<a href="" title="Click here to view large or purchase">Click here to view large or purchase</a>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I put the painting away, bringing it out a couple of years later so that I could frame it and bring it to a festival.&nbsp; One visitor passing by my booth got excited at the sight of the bird and asked what kind of bird it was-- I started to answer "Sandpiper," but she blurted out "That's right, it's a sand-peeper!"&nbsp; Her husband arrived shortly after, and she enthusiastically pointed the "sand-peeper" out to him.&nbsp; He agreed it was a nice "sand-peeper."&nbsp; I dutifully held in my laugh until they moved on to the next booth.&nbsp; &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>So, I feel I have some history with this bird.&nbsp; When I began to create my third online class for Skillshare, I decided that the&nbsp; bird would make a nice, easy subject for exploring different methods of using soft pastels.&nbsp; I decided to go ahead and use this painting for my class demos.&nbsp; I re-created a simpler version of it with dry pastel, water-brushed pastel, over acrylic, on oil pastel, and on a torn paper collage.&nbsp; Add in the several drafts I created throughout the filming process, and I think I painted the bird at least 8 or 9 times.&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>By the time I got to the final painting, I was of course a bit tired of re-creating the same composition over and over.&nbsp; I did find, though, that it was a good experience for me to try it with the different techniques.&nbsp; The one that surprised me the most was the collage!&nbsp; You can see some of the various outcomes on the cover image I used for the class:</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img src="/admin/../resources/img/blog_img/3713/3_Ways_to_Play_Cover_WEB.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="" />&nbsp; &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I've often read that painting the same subject over and over yields a new understanding of it.&nbsp; I have a hard time doing this on my own (I'm always afraid I'll get bored, which I know is a sad excuse), but approaching the same subject repeatedly with the different uses of pastel was less tiresome than I had been expecting.&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>If you'd like to try these activities yourself, here's my free link to the class:&nbsp;</div><div><a title="3 Ways to Play with Soft Pastels" href="">3 Ways to Play with Soft Pastels</a></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>You can post your own samples in the "Projects" section of the class once you've tried the exercises!<br />&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I'm not sure now what to do with all those extra "sand-peepers"&nbsp; I painted-- they'll probably be turned into new paintings somehow when I'm feeling creative.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>If you like ocean-themed art, check out my&nbsp;<a href="" title="&quot;By the Sea&quot; gallery on this website!">"By the Sea" gallery on this website!</a>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Sat, 16 Jun 2018 20:11:22 CDT Overwintering (Newsletter March 2018) <p><span style="font-size: 13.5pt;">Do you go dormant in the winter?<img src="/admin/../resources/img/blog_img/3713/Bit_of_Moonlight_WEB.jpg" width="500" height="326" alt="" /></span></p><div><span style="font-size: 13.5pt;">"Bit of Moonlight" 3 x 5 inch pastel on paper</span></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.5pt; line-height: 115%;">I've written before about having developed a gardening habit-- and that it's something I struggle to do successfully.&nbsp; Having had so much rain last year, I was looking forward to a "normal" winter this year, with slightly less rainfall.&nbsp; We ended up having repeated bouts of heat and Santa Ana winds, and have just now had episodes of rainfall in the last few weeks.&nbsp; I finally decided to just let everything rest, and keep the plants watered and trimmed as needed until the weather became a little more consistent.&nbsp; This probably sounds funny if you live in a climate with real seasons, but in Southern California it's tempting to just keep planting new things all year round!</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.5pt; line-height: 115%;">This year, I experienced something similar with painting-- January and February were busy teaching months, so I decided to focus on preparing for classes rather than painting new things.&nbsp; I enjoy teaching art as much as I enjoy making it on my own (sometimes more!)&nbsp; I have a friend who has been regularly giving me nice new sketchbooks.&nbsp; To stay connected to drawing and painting, I decided to turn one into a "family album." Using watercolor pencils, I've enjoyed making small portraits from old family photos.&nbsp; This is a great activity to practice capturing likenesses-- for me, it's also a chance to really focus on some faces from my childhood-- faces of people I don't get to see anymore in person.&nbsp; If you've been missing people from your past, this is a great activity to feel closer to them again (and as a bonus, you'll have a unique piece of your history to add to your photo albums!)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.5pt; line-height: 115%;">I did catch a pretty sunrise with the moon glowing above the trees one morning this winter, which meant I had to paint it:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><a href=";ga_search_type=all&amp;ga_view_type=gallery&amp;ga_search_query=niki%20hilsabeck&amp;ref=sr_gallery-1-20" title="&quot;Morning Moonset&quot; 9 x 12 on Etsy" style="font-size: 13.5pt;"><img src="/admin/../resources/img/blog_img/3713/Morning_Moonset_WEB.jpg" width="500" height="356" alt="" />"Morning Moonset" 9 x 12 on Etsy</a><span style="font-size: 13.5pt;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.5pt; line-height: 115%;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.5pt; line-height: 115%;">Now that it's spring, it'll be time for the warmer weather, art shows, and of course watching out for snakes&nbsp; (they show up every year with all the weeds!)&nbsp; If you've got some time on spring break and would like to take a free online pastels class, I'm including a link to my first class on Skillshare: Easy Ocean Pastel with Soft Pastels.&nbsp; The link is good for the first 25 people who use it before April 8th!&nbsp; This is a step-by-step class with demonstrations for each stage.&nbsp; If you enjoy pastels (or want to try them out), this is a great way to do an easy project in the comfort of your own home!&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.5pt; line-height: 115%;">If you do try the class, please let me know how it works for you in the reviews and feel free to share a project.&nbsp; I'll be adding more classes, so if there's something you'd like to see me teach in the near future, send me your suggestions!&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.5pt; line-height: 115%;">Here's the link:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.5pt; line-height: 115%;"><a href=";teacherRef=212866&amp;via=free-enrollment&amp;utm_campaign=teacher-discount-1081352727&amp;utm_source=ShortUrl&amp;utm_medium=teacher-discount" title="Easy Ocean Pastel Free Access">Easy Ocean Pastel Free Access</a>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.5pt; line-height: 115%;">Happy Creating!&nbsp; &nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.5pt; line-height: 115%;">Niki&nbsp;</span></p> Fri, 23 Mar 2018 18:07:16 CDT An Artist's Guide to Cataract Surgery <div>I don't really have a bucket list, but if I did, cataract surgery would <em>not</em>&nbsp;have been on that list!</div><div><img src="/admin/../resources/img/blog_img/3713/His_Own_Path_WEB.jpg" width="192" height="278" alt="" /></div><div>"His Own Path" pastel on paper&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It started with &nbsp;cloudy vision in the lower half of one eye--which quickly progressed to the whole eye. &nbsp;I went in, had my eyes dilated for the first time ever, and within a couple of hours was scheduling surgery for a cataract in one eye. &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;<em>No big deal,</em>&nbsp;I told myself. &nbsp;It's one of the oldest and safest surgeries to have. &nbsp;I would be in and out within a couple of hours. &nbsp;Even Monet had cataract surgery! &nbsp;I spent a fair amount of time looking up what other artists experienced with cataracts, and the consensus seemed to be that cataract surgery would be a positive move.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>As my vision continued to worsen, I tried to cope-- stopped driving, stopped painting, focused on gardening and sewing (I've spent so many nights up late sewing, I can actually do it with my eyes closed at times!) &nbsp;I taught a wonderful children's class on writing and illustration, which pushed my surgery back a couple of weeks. &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Since I love to paint, I always figured that nothing would stop me from painting. &nbsp;I was wrong. &nbsp;It was so distressing not to be able to clearly see what I was doing with both eyes, I put it away. &nbsp;I told myself that it was because I knew this would be a temporary hiatus, but deep down I was worried-- what would I do if I had permanent vision loss? &nbsp;My eyesight's always been terrible, but I see fine with glasses or contacts. &nbsp;Not being able to see bright colors, light and shadow, my children's sparkly eyes-- I hadn't realized how dependent on these small joys I am until this summer.&nbsp;<img src="/admin/../resources/img/blog_img/3713/Blue_Morning_WEB.jpg" width="133" height="251" alt="" /></div><div>&nbsp;"Blue Morning," pastel on paper-- the last piece I attempted before the surgery (went back and finished it afterward)</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>As for the surgery, it was quite manageable-- they used twilight sleep instead of full anesthesia, and I didn't feel any pain. &nbsp;My vision adjusted each day (I was a little afraid the first day, as the colors were intense enough to give me nausea!) &nbsp;Within a week or so my vision was about the same in both eyes again. &nbsp;If you wear contacts, you do have to wait a month or two before you can put one in your eye again. &nbsp;The prescription drops are expensive and annoying (several times a day the first week!) &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I began drawing and painting again within a couple of weeks, but waited almost a month to use pastel because of the dust. &nbsp;I'm still adjusting to my vision changes (you basically have to decide on up-close or distance vision, unless you choose a multi-focal &nbsp;lens, which also comes with vision changes!)</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>My vision will never be the same as it was before the cataract, but I feel like it's close--since my cataract wasn't age-related, I'm guessing I'll get to go through this experience again later in life. &nbsp;In the meantime, I'll be diving back into painting and teaching-- and learning to enjoy some hobbies that don't leave me quite as dependent on my eyes.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>One last tip: have the person driving you to your post-op appointment the day after your surgery check your outfit. &nbsp;I didn't realize until I had been sitting in the waiting room for a while that my shirt was on inside out.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>If you're in the area and would like to come to an art workshop for the whole family, check out our schedule: <a title="" href=""></a>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Click here to see my gallery Daily Paintworks!</div><div><a href="" title=""></a>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Wed, 02 Aug 2017 22:21:48 CDT Welcome Art Friends! <div>Welcome! &nbsp;Please feel free to browse my blog posts, check out new work, or sift through my galleries to find something that connects with you.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>If you are inquiring about workshops, paint-sips/coffee-paints, or private lessons, please email me at</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I am also available for in-home art instruction for kids and teens (great for home-school families or students who are tired of shuffling around!) &nbsp;Please email to see if I am able to travel to your area and to inquire about hourly rates.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter for regular updates on new work, available classes and workshops, and upcoming events!&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 19:27:24 CST