Coming Undone

Abstract Acrylic Painting

Coming Undone

This is one of my favorite paintings, not because of its visual appearance but because of the joyful process of creating it. Having what I considered to be a lot of stress in my life at the time, I wanted to represent something that would exemplify how I felt. And, of course, the process did help to alleviate most of the stress altogether!

Coming Undone

Coming Undone

The beginnings of this painting were interesting, but, at one point, I had a sort of “blah” painting that needed some spicing up. Here is a photo that shows the painting in one of its early stages. It was, at this point, coming together, but still needed some work on the right-hand side. So I continued to add color and emphasis, using a small circular stencil to add the small dots you see within the circular shapes.

Coming Undone

Coming Undone, Displayed

When completed, the edges were finished and the painting was hung on my wall. Some photos were taken to show specific areas and the overall effect when hung.

Coming Undone, Closeup 1

Coming Undone, Closeup 1

Abstract Acrylic Art

Coming Undone, Closeup 2

Abstract Acrylic Art

Coming Undone, Edge







Though this may not be my best work, it certainly has meaning to me. It has the impression of being wound up (stressed), much like bobbins on a sewing machine, and then being let loose – becoming less stressed. Thus, Coming Undone!



My Artist Statement & Biography

Having had my blog for awhile now, I realized you might like to know a bit about me. This post, then, includes my artist’s statement and biography.

Artist Statement


Peace Train

My true feeling about art is that it is, as they say, “food for the soul.” Thus, my path to creating art has focused on filling that need for both me and the viewer. Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved artwork, both creating and viewing it. So I was inspired to not only create artwork, but to BE an artist. I love to share my artwork with others and hope they see something that sparks an emotion, a memory, or an idea.


Hunky Dory

My artwork is created with joy and love.  I strive to create expressive themes, focusing on design, line, shape, color and texture. Often music is an inspiration that helps me to exhibit emotion in the painting process. Though I do follow artistic “rules,” rules are made to be broken – within the limits of good design and what is pleasing to the eye. My goal is to create unique, interesting and eye-pleasing art that lights a fire within the viewer.

Pure enjoyment is awarded to me by when I am painting  emotionally and abstractly. I enjoy painting both expressionistic and impressionistic abstract artwork. Inspiration can come from the colors of a photo on a calendar, the shape of a shadow on an object, or something purely from my own mind. I never become bored with creating. Seeing my artwork giving others delight is the greatest gift I can receive.




My pathway to becoming an artist began in 2009 when I became inspired to paint watercolors. Over several years, I practiced painting, studying on my own and taking a few local watercolor and mixed media workshops. In 2015, I enrolled in a one-day Abstract Acrylic Workshop presented by Elizabeth Chapman, a nationally-known local artist. After being inspired by her work, I gave up doing watercolors and now focus on painting expressionistic and impressionistic acrylic abstracts. Recently, I have painted some small acrylic floral paintings, as well. But my main love is doing abstract artwork.




In 2012, I joined Studio 55 Fine Arts Guild where I am currently Treasurer. Studio 55 sponsors several exhibits, including yearly exhibits for Studio 55 members at the Botanical Center, the Nature Center, and the Library Center. The Senior Art Exhibit at Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts is held annually for all senior artists in the area. Studio 55 sponsors a Fall Exhibit and Silent Auction every year, as well. I have exhibited at many of these events, including a recent Studio 55 exhibit at the Sky Gallery at the Springfield-Branson National Airport. In 2015, I was awarded second place for my painting, Jubilation, an acrylic abstract piece, at Studio 55’s Fall Exhibit and Silent Auction.

My goal is to create unique, interesting and eye-pleasing art that lights a fire within the viewer. I want to give pleasure to others, as well as enjoy my own process of creating.

Little Florals – Getting Grounded

Since the beginning of April, I have been a bit uninspired to continue my abstract painting. Although I will never give up paintings abstracts, there are times when I feel a more structured painting would help me to become more creative.

So I decided to take a “break” and get myself grounded once again. The way I do this is to paint something with a more realistic approach. Since I love, love, love flowers – there aren’t many who don’t – I decided to paint some small 12×12″ florals in acrylic.


March Tulips

First, I decided to do tulips. I remember my first trials at painting these seemingly simple flowers in watercolor several years ago. After painting “umpteen” tulips, I finally got it! So my first small acrylic is of some March Tulips. I painted these in warm colors to signify the warming of the earth as spring rolls ’round.

bearded irises

Iris Parade

Next, I painted my most favorite of flowers – the bearded iris. My challenge was to paint these in more or less of a straight line arrangement; thus, Iris Parade was formulated in my mind. I decided to paint them in cool colors since the first floral of tulips was in warm tones.

And finally, since there are no flowers without a few weeds amongst them, I decided to paint a milk thistle. Their lovely fluffy heads and oddly shaped tendrils surrounding them intrigued me. I loved using a small brush to paint multiple layers of magenta, ultramarine blue and white to create the flower head.


Milk Thistle

My foray into painting a few florals has now made me yearn to go back to working more expressively. Doing more detailed work impresses upon me how much I love putting my feeling into paintings. Now that I am “grounded” I can happily and eagerly return to creating some new abstract acrylic paintings.

Merit – Getting Inspiration from Everyday Things



Finding inspiration for an abstract piece of artwork can come from obvious but often unnoticed objects. You can find inspiration in the bark of trees, in the colors at a farmer’s market, in the shadows on the wall…almost anywhere your eye can wander.

The inspiration for my latest painting, Merit, was inspired by an advertisement photo of various colored ribbons on spools. In order to not break any copyright laws, I have not posted the photo and my painting does not show a realistic representation of the photo.

Merit, Starting Out

Merit, Beginning of the Painting

The layout of the advertisement was used as an inspiration and I revised it to fit the canvas and conform to what I had in mind. The colors are not inspired by the photo as I wanted my painting to be much more vibrant. The spools were transformed into rectangular shapes and colors for the background were chosen with an eye for continuity in the painting.

Some breaks between the rectangular shapes were created with softened areas to give a smooth transition and a path for the eye to follow. In other areas, shadows were added to the edges of the shapes to give them a feeling of depth. When adding the shadows, I kept in  mind that the light source was coming from above left. This helped not only with shadows, but with adding highlights to various areas.

A bit of stenciling was added to the curved shape to add a bit of texture and interest to the painting. A voila! Merit was complete!

Now, I challenge you to find something in your everyday life that inspires you to make a new creation, be it a painting, a quilt, fabric art or wearable art, a 3D structure, a collage, whatever you like. Happy creating!

Pizzazz (Abstract Acrylic Painting)


Pizzazz, abstract acrylic 20″x 24″

Finally the holidays are over and I am ready to begin painting in the new year. Since it is such a busy time of year for me, I have painted three smaller abstracts so far. But in this blog post, I am focusing on explaining my process for painting “Pizzazz.”

Acrylic paint
Pizzazz, paint applied


Starting out, I squeezed some random paint in the colors I wished to use for the painting. I chose white, turquoise, ultramarine blue and cadmium red. These were applied roughly in a pattern that I had in mind.

Pizazz acrylic abstract
Pizzazz, first layers

Then I spread the paint around with a large bristle brush, letting them mix and mingle. Using a small cup, I stamped some circles into the wet paint and used a wine cork to apply and/or remove paint from various areas. I placed these circles in a more-or-less cruciform pattern to assure a nice composition. Though I wanted circles to predominate, I felt the painting might become boring if this were the only design. So I decided to use a zig-zag stencil in some areas to provide variety.

Pizazz with stenciling
Pizzazz, with zig-zag stenciling

Though the painting was coming along nicely, I studied it and decided it needed more definition. Lines were added in a geometric pattern across the painting using a palette knife and black and white paint. Some, but not all, of the shapes formed were painted over with a layer of paint mixed in various shades of gray. All colors used in the painting were used to mix these grays. A paper towel was used to remove paint and let the background show through in some of the areas.

Pizazz Closeup
Pizzazz, closeup

In my eyes, it was still not finished. I dipped my small cup into white, blue and light blue acrylic paint and added more circles to the focal area, as well as a few smaller circles made by dipping the wine cork into these same colors. Being satisfied with the results, I considered the painting finished. It reminds me of spunk and determination; therefore, I named it “Pizzazz.”

Serenity – Did I make a mistake? (acrylic, abstract)



Above you see my abstract acrylic painting entitled “Serenity.” As I tell you my process of painting this, I ponder the fact that I may have made a mistake. Woe be to me! But mistakes are to be teaching mechanisms, so I’ll chalk this one up to being a learning experience.

Not to be discouraged, though, I am okay with how this painting turned out. It does give a feeling of serene peacefulness, which is what I was trying to say.



Serenity – First Washes

My first washes were horizontal and vertical, using cool peaceful shades of blue, green and mauve. I eventually added some darker shades, a mixture close to black, to enhance the composition.Penny-Bantle_Serenity_Collage-Placement

Some collage pieces were placed over the painting at this point to see what effect they might have.

Used dryer sheets are often employed in my paintings to create interesting texture. Placing the sheets onto wet paint, then scraping with a palette knife, can soften areas as well. I had saved some of these used dryer sheets with dried paint on them. They were cut into some interesting shapes and placed over the painting.Penny-Bantle_Serenity_Closeup_Collage

This is perhaps where I made my mistake. The collage pieces do seem to add some dynamism to an otherwise boring composition. I contemplated gluing them down and adding more paint to integrate them into the painting.

But my goal was to describe serenity and peace and I felt the collage detracted from those feelings. Had I used the collage pieces, I may have displayed a different emotion altogether.

So often, our decisions are based on emotions you have at the time – at that very moment. They are influenced by your surroundings, events taking place in your life, and how you, as an individual, are feeling. How you express these emotions is what makes you who you are.

My final painting expressed my feelings at the time. Looking back and regretting the process can only make one feel depressed, inadequate even. So next time, I will delay my decisions until another day when I may have a different goal in mind, a different feeling to express, and perhaps a better painting to post!

UPDATE 5/28/16: I did paint over this one. It just didn’t see to have that zing that I strive for. It did make a wonderful base for my new painting though.


Seeds of Joy (Abstract, Acrylic)

Abstract, Acrylic

Seeds of Joy

Since I was feeling a bit blue and stressed, I decided to paint a joyful abstract. I felt it might cheer me up a bit – and cheer me up, it did!


Seeds of Joy, First Wash

A quite colorful first wash was put onto the canvas using a large palette knife. I used bright yellows and reds, which always evoke a feeling of happiness within me.


Seeds of Joy, In Progress

Next, I began adding some ultramarine blue and used the bottom of a foam egg carton dipped in paint as a stamp. To make it more interesting, I also dipped the egg carton in red paint and added a few more stamps. This added some texture and the egg carton created the circular marks you see. I also used a small round stencil in various areas that may be difficult to see on the large photograph. A closeup photo is included to show these marks, as well as some of the circular marks made by the egg carton.

Seeds of Joy, closeup showing yellow stenciling

Seeds of Joy, closeup showing yellow stenciling

At this point, I assessed the painting and decided it appeared to look as though flowers or grasses were bursting, ready to spread their seeds. Seeds of Joy as a title came to mind, so I let this theme take over. I continued, deciding to add some white to depict the bursting of the seeds as they were being spread into the wind.Penny-Bantle_Seeds-of-Joy_Final-Touchup

At this point, I took a photograph and viewed it on my computer to see if it was finished. I decided that it was. All in all, the process of painting and the resulting joyful abstract changed my emotions from “down in the dumps” to “Seeds of Joy.” I hope it brings some “Seeds of Joy” to you, as well.