Art, landscape paintings, Uncategorized

The Truth about Happiness- “Looking Onward” Oil on 12″ x 9″ Panel

Looking On 2 watermarked.jpg

I wanted to keep this painting simple, but I also wanted to  capture the viewer’s attention–making you feel as if you were present.  I use to focus on every little detail when I painted, but I’ve learned that being subtle is sometimes just as powerful.

I always try to post some sort of reflection along with my artwork, and my reflection for this piece relates to time. Sometimes we stay focused on the past and re-live the negative situations in our heads that keep us from moving forward. In reality, there are just things we cannot control and there are mistakes we have made. Accepting all of these things as a part of the human condition is necessary for us to move forward into a better place. Our past memories can be used as a learning experience or simply as a reminder that all  people are flawed. It is also important to remember that the perceptions we hold about ourselves and of others are not always correct, and that is okay–we are all complex individuals made up of many different experiences and ideas. It is impossible to know everything about ourselves and about others.  Like art, language, is symbolic and so our perceptions formed about what others have said is never the same. There is beauty in this!

Happiness is not composed of the  constant need for a dopamine induced euphoric moment, because that is not how humans are built–despite what our capitalistic driven society tells us. The idea of being happy all the time can cause us to think that something is wrong with us mentally when we don’t feel happy and make decisions that can negatively affect us.  Of course, we should do what we can to put ourselves in better situations or remove things in our lives that negatively affect us, but the obsession with finding this false notion of happiness is detrimental to our being. Instead, we should move beyond that way of thinking and realize that most people are not “happy” in the way we are made to believe–despite what we see on TV and social media. We should instead seek to be content and at peace with ourselves. Unlike the dopamine fueled feeling we receive occasionally that leave us feeling empty afterwards, this feeling is long lasting and leads to a healthier mindset and well-being. Once one understand this, the decisions one makes and the habits one forms follow suit, leading to true personal fulfillment and a better understanding of what happiness means.

Art, still-life, Uncategorized

Grisaille Painting- Still Life

Grisaille Apple and Orange Feb 7 2019.jpg

Grisaille Apple and Orange Feb 7 2019 cropped.jpg

I have not worked in grisaille (black and white) for quite some time, so I decided to do this little practice for my upcoming workshop. Doing this reminds me of the importance of values. I tend to get lost in colors when I am working alla prima.  I will be doing more of these small studies this coming week.

Art, Portraits, quick sketches, Uncategorized

Painting Sketch: Week 1: Oil on Canvas Paper

As stated in my last post, I committed myself to painting outdoors at least once a week, so I forced myself to choose something in my backyard. I used an old lunchbox and made it into a pochade box. This week I decided to do a quick mini sketch of my husband reading a book outside. I liked the way the sun shine glistened on his figure–so poetic, right?  And, I did add the chair afterwards. I really had good results with painting on canvas paper, so I took the rest of my paper and cut them into smaller pieces for these mini-paintings.

quick sketch 1.jpg


Art, Uncategorized

Interview and Art Show at JEA Gallery

I feel awful for taking so long to post on my blog, but I have been busy preparing for my upcoming show which I will hang this afternoon. I am really excited and I hope to see some of my friends as well as some new faces! The show will be on display for the entire month of December, but the opening reception is on the 9th.

I was also invited by the Savannah radio station WRUU 107.5 FM for their segment “Art on the Air” to speak about my art and the upcoming show. You can listen to the interview here:

If you are in the Savannah area, please stop in!


Instagram: @vanessawithun_art





Art, still-life, Uncategorized

Oranges Alla Prima: Oil on 11″ x 9″ Canvas Paper

Oranges Still Life watermarked.jpg

Primed canvas paper works great for painters who paint frequently, like me. I did this study using Strathmore Canvas Paper 200 series taped to a board with two coats of Gesso. Although it is not required, applying extra coats makes a difference.

Instagram: @vanessawithun_art

Art, Nature, Uncategorized

Cloud Study with Oil on 12″ x 9″ Panel

Clouds Study 2.jpg

I decided to try painting clouds in plein-air, but the clouds were on the go most of the time. It was fun trying to catch the feel of the clouds also working on understanding the subtle value changes. Will definitely be trying this again soon! I also love leaving visible texture on my paintings.