Art in motion: Sunshine piece.

Aug 14, 2012 | My Creative Practice

With Art in Motion, I share the visual journey through the life of one of my paintings — from the blank canvas, to the first splash of inspiration, all the way to the finished piece. Enjoy to the fullest!

Click here to see all the posts in this ongoing project series.
Hello blank canvas! Here we go.

Blank canvas. It’s bigger than my usual … 20×20. Starting out, I didn’t have a vision except that this painting would be for personal use in my home, not for commercial use. I wanted to write a love note to John and True.


Layer #1 with paint drips (achieved with a water bottle) and paper towel texture (blotting wet paint with a flat paper towel). Super fast – anything to get color on the canvas. No thinking, just moving.

  A quick note to myself between layers;) 
Layer #2. Lots of paint splatter and working fast. Added some paper – glued down with gel medium. I painted this quick message to myself between layers as a reminder to be free and work fast. The faster, the better, the freer for me – especially in the beginning stages of a painting.


Next layer. Wiped away my message to self. Added more paper, more drips, more paint. Used my hands and no brushes. Moving, quickly. Not making any real choices, just picking up paper and paint and adding them to canvas. Lots of rubbing, dripping, wiping, mark making. Also turning canvas about every five minutes – a great trick I learned from my pal Flora.



Next layer – added lots of white. I was feeling the bright white. Went with it. Also chose an orientation for the canvas – what would be top, what would be bottom. Used gel medium to glue on some vintage lace.


I am liking where this is going. 

This is what emerged about an hour after starting the blank canvas. Lots of layers in there involving stenciling, gluing papers and fabrics and lace with gel medium, oil pencils, spray bottle drips, spray paint, paper towel textures, and more using several of my favorite supplies
I chose to make something out of the flower in the upper right that was peaking out of some paper that I glued on. Kept working with that, adding pieces of fabric and drawing and collage elements around it until it felt like it was an icon of some kind – an anchor for the painting. That specific part of the painting began to feel and look like a sunshine flower so I added some more flowers around the entire canvas with white and gold paint. This is what I love about working fast. The painting begins to reveal itself to you and you don’t really have a plan in mind – trusting that it will unfold. 

The finished piece. A love note to John and True. This one will go in our home…it’s been a long time since I made a piece just for me, for us, and not for specific commercial use. Feels good. More to come! 
How I left the studio earlier today. #creativemessesrock
PS: Here’s what my space looked like while creating this baby.

Sending much love,

Show/Hide Comments (21 comments)
  1. Karen C

    Wow! Seeing the process behind the work makes me love your work even more. Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. Anonymous


    Can you share what kind of easel you are using? I'm trying to find a sturdy one myself to do paintings standing up.


  3. Ashley

    Just beautiful. Can you talk more about how you do your lettering? Are those different size stencils? Thank you!

  4. Dee

    I love your process posts (and the videos). It is awesome to really see the art being created. I especially love that your message to yourself is on the work, under the layers – that message sort of seeps into the canvas and stays with it even though no one can see it anymore. Fantastic. Looking forward to the rest in this series.

  5. Monica

    I hope you'll show us it in your home. Surely it'll bring sunshine in.

  6. The Keen Eye

    Thank you so much for sharing your process. The result is beautiful.

  7. Shelly Penko

    What fun to see your process in this tender, beautiful piece! I love Flora too, and that turning the canvas different ways is truly a game changer! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Peggy H

    Thanks for sharing. So many great tips just with this one project. Love the lettering? are those stencils or stick on letters or are one of those 🙂 who have that ability to letter free hand?
    Too bad you won't market this. And really that's the only mess you made? amazing!

  9. Kelly

    The painting looks beautiful. Love seeing it in progress. Thank you for posting this!

  10. Sleepandhersisters

    So often you see images of spick and span studios, it is a breath of fresh air to see the reality. Really lovely to see the steps in this painting.

  11. Dena Crownover

    Oh, love it! Love the process and the fact that you shared it!


  12. Renee!

    Love it! Thanks for sharing…

  13. 505whimsygirl

    Thanks for showing us your work in progress! I just love it, as I'm sure John and True will also.

    It's been fun to watch you over the years.


  14. the turquoise paintbrush

    love love love this. the process, to me, is just as beautiful as the finished product! i love how you wrote yourself an inspirational message amongst the layers. super awesome.

    thank you for sharing!

  15. Shelley

    I love seeing the creative space you have….Its a jumble of stuff just like mine! Love your art. Shelley

  16. Jen @Sadie Inspired

    Beautiful!! So extra special too because you made it with your "Loves" in mind. I love this series. It is so inspiring to see the progress of your work.

    PS I am reading your book again and it is just as FABULOUS the second time around! 🙂

  17. Joyce

    Love love this…what a beautiful message to share with your family. Thanks so much for sharing the process, supplies and the magic you create!!

  18. Lisa Graham Art

    Kelly, if I had to choose one artist I have learned the most from, it would be you. Your willingness to share everything is almost unnatural and I mean this in the kindest way. You are a true gem in the online art community. I tweeted this today.

  19. Danielle

    Loved watching this progress…just beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  20. Tina Gilmore

    Amazing and i'm so glad your work space looked like that afterwards, i see so many "tidy" studios i was beginning to wonder if i was the messiest person around. xx

  21. Carmen

    Thanks for sharing, great stuff.


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Hello + welcome!

I’m Kelly Rae Roberts

Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my creative whispers, and today I’m an artist & Possibilitarian. I’m passionate about creating meaningful art and experiences that awaken and inspire our spirits.

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