3 colors: a weird way to get better at drawing

Colored face

A lot of people are natural artists, and don’t even have to try to make an epic drawing. This can send a false message to the people who see it happen: that the ability to make art is exclusively innate. Making art is a skill that can be practiced, learned, and improved. I’ve known people who rely exclusively on natural talent and often end up stuck in ruts, and I’ve also known people on the other end of the spectrum who give up before even giving themselves a chance, saying, “I’m not an artist.” I wouldn’t go so far to say … Continue reading

New original Christmas song (free download!)

Beartooth pass: Laura and Jeffrey

For Christmas 2014, Jeffrey and I collaborated on a Christmas single. The original song is free for you to download! The Christmas song is a Jeffrey Kranz original, called “Hey Wise Man.” The arrangement is entirely a cappella, from the bells to the kick drum: a total of eleven parts.  For those of you curious about the breakdown of the arrangement, here are all the parts: Melody: Jeffrey Soprano harmony: Laura Alto harmony: Laura Soprano bells: Laura Alto bells: Laura Rhythmic alto: Laura Bass: Jeffrey Hi-hat: Laura Snare: Laura Toms: Laura Kick: Jeffrey We had a lot of fun making the recording; we … Continue reading

Time lapse surreal landscape painting

20141212-Holes and a Gap

Getting art ideas for me often feels like tripping on some obscure object someone left on the floor. I’m just walking along, minding my business, probably trying to get somewhere. Then suddenly my plans are disrupted as I stumble over this . . . thing. I’m sitting there, disoriented, and there’s this thing on the floor that probably belongs somewhere else. And now it’s my problem. Metaphors aside, often I come up with these ideas by unintentionally combining elements. In my opinion, the concept of creativity is misnamed. Nobody’s really creating anything at all; we just combine things that already exist. These combinations of elements comprise sentences, music, paintings, … Continue reading

The Drink of Death Acrylic Painting Series

Drink of Death I (acrylic painting)

In 2010, I created a series of seven black and white acrylic paintings called “The Drink of Death.” I bought seven 16″ x 20″ canvases and simply used a tube of black paint and a tube of white paint to create the whole thing. How I got the idea for the art series I don’t know how common it is for the things that disturb artists most to end up popping up again and again in their work. That’s always been the case for me, and I’m not entirely sure why. The process is kind of cathartic. Ever since I was a … Continue reading

How Firm a Foundation Drawing Series

Back in May of 2014, I started picking up an appreciation for typography. I found myself admiring graphic artists and designers who wielded letterforms well.  The brainstorming began: I wanted to start a meaningful project that would help me work on my typography skills. Hence, the How Firm a Foundation drawing series began. Choosing How Firm a Foundation as my text This old hymn has been one of my favorites since I was young, so it didn’t take me long to choose it as the text for this illustration project.  The hymn not only leaves a lot of room for … Continue reading

Art print giveaway has a winner

earth holds back 1

Last week, I took a small print of one of my favorite art pieces I’ve created, called “The Earth Holds Back,” and set it aside for one person to win.  If you’re subscribed to my email list, you probably heard about it, and maybe even entered! Note: this giveaway was only made available to people signed up to my email updates. If you want to get in on the next one, make sure to sign up! About the original drawing For the original, I took a piece of 11″ x 14″ vellum, sketched out the concept lightly with pencil, then … Continue reading

Bible author portrait series is complete!

Back in October, I started a series of charcoal drawings: one for every author we know about who wrote the Bible. The Bible authors series idea came from the work that Jeffrey Kranz (my husband) is doing at the Overview Bible Project. He did the research and created an article that outlines facts about every single person we know about who wrote words that are in the modern-day Protestant Bible. Searching out and compiling all that information has got to be a lot more difficult than drawing pictures of what you imagine these Bible authors might look like. I’m not complaining.  Thanks … Continue reading

Tip: learn new skills without school

The information age is pretty awesome. So much knowledge is available to us if we know where to look. If you’re anything like me, you’re more interested in acquiring skill than acquiring a piece of paper that tells other people that you put in the money and time to get that piece of paper. You might also, like me, be jaded about the education system in general (I probably gave away my stance above). Don’t get me wrong—some schools and professors are amazing, and certain types of learning should definitely happen in academia.  But don’t think academia is necessary for … Continue reading

Change the world: don’t reward bad email marketing

This time of year, we’re all inundated with commercial messaging. Personally, I’m not a fan.  I understand that I can’t control billboards, radio ads, and all the papers that show up in my mailbox (which I immediately transfer to the garbage), but I should be able to control my email inbox. I used to run email marketing at a decent-sized company, so I subscribe to a lot of email lists to learn about how other companies market. There are some really clever emails I get from time to time, but more often than not, all the emails seem the same: noisy people … Continue reading

New Bible-art prints available

Making art has always felt like a self-indulgent way to spend my time. Making it feels great, but at the end I have this object that I’ve become strangely attached to, yet don’t know what to do with. I knew I was good at drawing when I was a kid, but for some reason I never accepted that it could be a career.  Maybe it just seemed like too much fun to be work. Instead, I went to school for music composition—so much more practical, right? Why I became an artist When I dropped out of college due to an illness, art became … Continue reading