Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Bernie and other inspiring things

Sometimes I start to get a bit negative, and I have trouble seeing all of the great things about what I'm doing, and about the world around me.  This can be a bit of a negative cycle.  And the negativity can be about my biathlon experiences, my surroundings, or other things like American politics or global warming.  These negative feelings definitely make me less inspired to paint, race biathlon, or try to make the world a better place.  So I'm trying to focus more on the positives.

But here are some of the things that have inspired me lately in a few paintings and a few photos!

1.  First of all...Bernie!  I made this painting a little while ago.  I hadn't painted in a long time.  I think I was bored of landscapes and feeling uninspired, until I realized that I just had to look for inspiration in other places!  The Bernie painting is also the start of my revived interest in portraits.

Bernie gives me hope for American politics, and the enthusiasm for Bernie gives me hope for Americans.

2.  Great teammates!  I've decided to start a series of portraits of my biathlon teammates.  I am surrounded by really great, beautiful teammates who make my life on the road fun and rewarding.  I also want to get better at painting likenesses.  Its hard!
This is Maddie Phaneuf, the youngest member of our US Biathlon Women's team.  Maddie is one of the most mature and level-headed 20-year olds I know.  This isn't quite Maddie...but its close!  I will have to keep practicing. 

Me, Em, and Maddie.  I am on the same team as my sister, Emily!!!  This is the first time that this has happened since high school.  Em started doing biathlon this spring and has picked up shooting so fast, its really cool to see.   

3.  Beauty everywhere!  I just spent a week in Žďár nad Sázavou, in the Czech Republic.  It was foggy for most of the time we were there and Žďár is a bit of an industrial town with smokestacks and lots of concrete apartment buildings.  Not the most beautiful place in the world.  But it is also home to the Zelena Hora pilgrimage church, which is a UNESCO heritage site, and an absolutely beautiful building.  This is the third year I've been to Žďár and I make sure to make a pilgrimage to the church each time.

4.  Being in Ridnaun, Italy!  Ridnaun is definitely in my top 5 favorite biathlon venues. And we arrived to freshly falling snow!

The buildings here are all so beautiful and well-built.  Even the barns. 

I found a cool old outdoor wood-fired oven near our hotel.  I wish I could see it in use!

Friday, January 1, 2016


When I started this blog, I meant it to be something that would encourage me to do more art.  I figured I'd post often and that it would inspire me to keep making art, even quick little experimental, "imperfect" things.  Since then I've gone through phases of doing more and less art, more and less blogging of the art, and also more and less blogging about biathlon.  But I also started to be too much of a perfectionist about both art and blogging.  And as anyone who was trying to follow my blog over the last year could see...that became paralyzing!

But since I've made a New Years resolution to do more art, this seems like a good time to try to start posting more to my blog.  I did a little art experiment today, and it didn't go very least, not as I'd planned.  I'm not that happy with the outcome, but it was still fun and also quite fitting since so far my biathlon season hasn't gone as planned.  After an up and down but good year last year, with three different personal bests throughout the season, I had high hopes going into this season.
But then I dislocated my kneecap in our preseason training camp.  I got back into racing quickly, but my knee hurt and I shot badly and struggled to get my body into race gear.  In the last two races before Christmas I finally shot better, but still struggled to go fast on the skis.  Then I got a cold over Christmas and now I'm still feeling behind on the intensity training and just sort of slow...not how I wanted to be feeling right now!  But in the end I have to just enjoy the process and keep on trying.  I know I am still capable of better.  I will have to make another attempt at this painting-print idea too.  Today I tried painting on rubber with acrylic paint and then using that to print on paper.  But the acrylic dried too quickly and that made for lots of holes in the color on the print and also made me rush more than I'd like to to try to paint it before it dried, to no avail.  You get a better idea of the image from the rubber block itself.  I was trying to capture in some way the color and action of all the hundreds of skiers I saw today in Craftsbury, especially the kids.  I will have to keep trying to find a good way to capture that, its a cool scene.