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Day 2 – Owl »

Well, these aren’t great, but I think I’ve improved some.  Why is this so tough?  I’m starting to believe I’m best at painting that which I am in close contact with regularly.  Gardens, trees, flowers .. all things I am near everyday.  I’m not often near barn owls.  I’d like to be, though!


Sketched out first.

Cursing Squirrels. »

Well, nobody can blame me for not challenging myself, because I’d consider the first day of this project A FLOP!  I put in a silly amount of hours in today painting squirrel after stupid squirrel.  And the results? Pretty bad.  Let’s hope the owl tomorrow goes a little better.

At first I did a quick sketch just to get acquainted with the squirrel, and that went fine.  But once I started painting, and trying to do something creative, as opposed to something just realistic and boring, things went.. badly.  Painting creatively, (while still painting well) is TOUGH!

Don’t give up on me!  I’m determined to get better at painting animals!  And sorry for these.  Yikes!


New Project! Ten Animals in Ten Days »

New Project!

Now that I’m nearly caught up on all my commissions, I need to spend some time thinking about where my work is going next.  While I think, I want to get a little practice in painting animals.  Want to help?  I’m going to start a project: Ten Animals in Ten Days.  I’ve decided Day 1 (beginning on Nov 5th) will be a painting of a Squirrel, because, well, they’re all over my yard right now, and driving me nuts. No pun intended.  Give me suggestions for Days 2-10!  Each painting will be 12×12 or 11×14 and $125 each.  I’ll post the paintings each day on my Facebook business page and on Instagram (#jillvansickle). The cat piece I painted a few days ago on National Cat Day (below) already has a home!

A Blog About My Blog »

Hey all!

Just a quick note to let you know that you can now sign up to get notifications when a new blog has been posted!  It’s right there  ———–> .

Please sign up!

Big thanks to my awesome webpage genius, Letitia!

PS – You’ll get an email to confirm your subscription.



Moonlighting »

I admit, I’ve been working on my commissions during the day, and in the evenings I’ve been moonlighting as a amateur interior designer.

My sister and brother-in-law recently got an opportunity to purchase a house at a very reasonable price.  The timing of it was horrible (they had just had their first child) but they couldn’t turn such a good deal down.  So, they found themselves with a new home that needed everything (I mean everything) repaired, repainted and refinished.

I offered to completely decorate and furnish the guest bedroom, IF they allowed me to have complete control (I admit it, I’m the bossy big sister).  Really, I just wanted it to be a surprise.

So, they agreed to the project as long as I didn’t paint the woodwork or doors.

With a tight budget, I worked with these themes in mind:

1. My sis and her hubby had very special relationships with their grandparents, so this room would be dedicated to those lovely people.

2.  My sis tends towards happier, more playful colors than I do, and I would need to remember that.

3. Neither of them would want a particularly feminine, trendy, or over-decorated space.

I did the grunt work first; painted the walls and the closet, installed lights and dimmer, replaced outlets, polyurethaned the baseboards, washed the windows, and installed the blinds.  Then I got to the fun stuff, furniture, window treatments, and finally, the artwork.

Ohhhh, the artwork.  Being that I am a gosh dang professional painter, one would think this would be the easiest part!  But no, it wasn’t.  I’ve found that making a piece of artwork for someone you know and love is much more difficult than one might think.

My sister’s favorite colors are those I would associate with India.  Bold jewel tones, exotic, sophisticated and energizing (too much so for a bedroom .. which I believe needs to be a calm space).   Her tastes in art are whimsical, and ethereal.  Then there is my Bro-in-law, who, even being an engineer, is freakishly artistic.  Mention the works of Titian, and he can comment without a hitch.  Both of them have artistic tastes that are incredibly refined and educated (did I mention my sis also has a degree in art?).  So, making a painting for this space was a huge challenge.

Overall, with my tight budget, I’m proud about how the space turned out.. and good news!  They like it too.  :) As far as the painting I made for the space, it only took me four tries.  I let them choose between the two best.

(Side note: I’m still busting my bum on commissions, 16 down and a mere 6 to go!)




I extended this full sized head board (that I bought for $6) to a queen sized one by adding some fancy base boards to each side (then painting the entire piece).

The Grandparents

The two paintings I let them choose from (of the four I made for the room).

All Dutch homes must have wooden shoes.