Inspiration behind a Starry Night Painting

Today, I wanted to share with you about my inspiration behind this acrylic painting I did called Starry Night.

It all started a few years ago when I was playing around & blending water colors. I was loving the effect I was getting and it looked like rain. At the time, I had just started playing around with ink & watercolor. I loved the contrast and the definition I could get from using ink, so I outlined a wave and filled it in with watercolor.

But there was something missing…

That is when I decided to fill in the wave with lots of lines to define the movement. I started a new drawing, as I normally draw first, then add paint. I was falling in love with the whimsical nature of the drawing.

The results and the original Starry Night watercolor painting:

I continued to explore watercolors, painting fun waves, sunsets and playing with color.

In the beginning of 2018 I took an adult painting class with a local well know artist and art educator. I had wanted to explore acrylic painting more. Honestly, I had always hated painting with acrylics, but being wiser and older I know that when you don’t really like something, that you find it frustrating, it’s more related to operator error then anything. I was correct. I found out in class that when using acrylics it’s important to use drying extenders, that adding gloss into your paint makes colors pop and there are so many tools to paint with other then just a brush.

Fast forward a few months, we had already embarked on our RV adventures and I was visiting my parents in PA in the fall of 2018. We ended up staying there much longer due to some RV repair issues that came up so I set up a mini art studio in my parents sun porch. I loved all the windows, the light durning the day was amazing!

I had been painting a lot of florals using my pallet knifes, but the cold winter had me missing the ocean, sand and sun. So I switched gears and started painting ocean inspired works using my pallet knifes and rubber spatula.

While in PA, the thought I should try to paint A Starry Night in acrylics. There were a few obstacles I needed to address. I had to try new things, figure out how to separate the sky from the water since using a pallet knife or rubber spatula makes the paint thick with lots of layers. I ended up taping off the area I was painting. This allowed me to have great texture in the sky and wave but also allowed the wave to be in front of the sky, so you truly got a 3D effect on a flat surface. The lines are painted on last using an oil based paint pen.

Prints of a Starry Night can be found here in my Ocean Inspired Art Gallery.

Which one is your favorite, the Water Color or Acrylic?

Aloha,

Kara

Sunset Beach Walk

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A sunset beach walk and a quick swim for the boys who couldn’t resist a dance party on the rock they swam to.

 

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I know they don’t realize it now but I hope once they are older they truly appreciate the experiences me & my husband have been able to provide them through our travels. That they truly see what a beautiful world God has created from the amazing sunsets in Hawaii to the breathtaking views in Zion, the gorgeous rolling hill, trees and farmlands that constantly change throughout the US and the monochromatic views of the deserts.
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Each area we have visited has its own beauty, with unique experiences. I hope they can draw on those moments as they get older & it will bless them with a greater success in life.

Removing the 30 yr old Microwave Convection Oven

I removed the old microwave convection oven because it hardly heated up water after 2mins and it was most likely giving me cancer 🤣🤣

 I love vintage stuff but a 30 year old microwave…. nope!

I’m totally obsessed with my Cuisinart oven fryer and it fit perfectly in there with room on the side for the cutting board and induction cook plate. I still need to figure out what to put over the front so it’s secure when I’m driving, but that will come another day!

I ordered a electric kettle for less then $20! This way I can boil water quickly which is really the only thing I use a microwave for anyway. I truly don’t like to heat up leftovers in the microwave because it makes food taste like rubber! Plus with cooking smaller I am hoping for less leftovers!

Boys room in the RV

2 twin beds really appealed to me once I saw it while scrolling through used RV’s online. With all of my RV shopping I had done I was always looking for a bedroom for me and bunks for boys and another bed- either dinette or over head bed for my daughter to use. But then I realized once I was envisioning the realities of living in such a small space and how I like my quite morning time I realized that having the kids in the living area would pose an issue. I could tell them to suck it up but lets be honest, cranky kids are no fun to deal with!

I on Demo Day I removed the oversized valence boxes and window treatments, painted the walls and cabinets and removed the carpet. I installed new Vinyl Plank flooring through out the RV.

I was going to add a bunk above one of the beds but I wasn’t 100% happy with design and I knew that it would pose an issue with making the bottom bunk. Once we decided my daughter was going to stay with my sister & attend High School the need for a 3rd bed in back was needed right away. I would still like to add one so she has her own space when she meets us on breaks or for summer travels. I’m hoping my dad can help with that when we come down to visit! He’s got a great workshop and loves making things!

I love how bright and warm it feels even though I used a cool color pallet! I saw this bedding at Target one day as I roamed the isle alone one day. (Seriously the best mom break ever!) I knew instantly the boys would love it. When we went back to get bedding they both saw it and instantly ran over and grabbed the blankets and started jumping up and down! You can take a kid out of Hawaii but you can’t take Hawaii out of them. They love the ocean and anything ocean related! The Shark pillows were so cute too! They had other cute ocean themed stuffed animals but since we have a huge bag of stuffed animals to deal with I just gave them the mom look and the put them back on the shelf!  They totally got past my “You can only take 2 with you” rule. How does this happen. Why are we over run with stuffed animals?!

There are a few small projects that will get done soon. I left the wood shelf that was behind the wood valence box I removed. I will add a trim piece to that and the boys can keep their small toys safely stored up there. I was going to replace the countertops when I did the kitchen ones but I think I will just paint them. That is defiantly easier and cheeper in the long run! I need to look online at  Target so I can find a new lamp shade for the light too, its a bit yellowed from time!

Decorating & Finishing Touches on Living Area

Before- Looking from driving seats towards back

Looking forward from hallway

One of my must haves when trying to find an RV to live & travel in was a clothes washer. I have two active boys, and boys are boys and get dirty.

But there are two problems with that: 
1- cost
2- bad reviews/issues.

Then I found a small portable washer that is gravity drained (no pump to break) a super fast spin cycle that leaves clothes almost dry and stellar reviews… kicker was it was about $100! 👊🏼

I knew I wasn’t going to use the dinning table so I took one bench out to install the washer and I used the other bench as a shelf and added butcher block counter above.

The distressed wall is actually peal and stick wallpaper! Its so easy to apply and if you want to take it down and change things up it won’t ruin the wall! You can find it in many styles and patterns here!

Metal Basket on wall are from amazon too!

The round circles on the fridge are peel and stick too. I used Rust-Oleum chalk board paint.

The curtains are from Target and are light block, which will help keep the RV cool! I trimmed the curtains to fit the length I wanted and used the extra and made a bed skirt for the jack knife sofa in the living room area.

Raised dog bowl was a great find at Target! Even though it takes up floor space, having it raised allows feet to go under it so it feels like it doesn’t take up so much room.

 

For the Living Room

I had this vision of a space full of color and mixing patterns. I wanted the small space to pop but also flow, ya know since an RV is the ultimate open floor plan!

Before sofa

Target is hands down my favorite store for decorating my house. Each year they never disappoint with their collections!  I bought the same curtains I had in my house because I absolutely love them.  I was drawn to finding a mauve cover for the sofa bed, originally I was envisioning a darker color but I fell in love with this jersey knit blanket ❤️

I scored a few things on clearance like the round blanket and long throw pillow. *Pro tip- check the end caps for discounted items! 👊🏼

I took some of the wood panel wallpaper off of the wall because I’m in love with one of my abstract paintings I did so I just had to hang it up! It pulls all the colors together in the space perfectly.

I can not wait to relax on my sofa after long days exploring the US on our travels!

Before

On the opposite side of the sofa are the boys chairs. One of the reasons I fell in love with this RV was these chairs. I wanted the boys to have seats with seatbelts to travel in and not just a dinette booth. Traveling for 4-6 hrs a day would not be comfortable in a dinette booth! We also have 3 seat belts in the sofa too. I really like sitting in them because I can prop my feet up on the sofa! The table in between the seats I found at an antique shop. I cleaned it up and put a clear spray sealer on it. I just need to get a glass top cut and that project will be complete!

There is a pull down twin above the cab. Kai has requested they use that as their “kid cave” I’ll figure out something to make it special soon but for know I just need to get a sheet on the mattress. It was still wrapped in its original plastic when we got it, the original owners never used it!

Boys hanging out while I worked on finishing the bathroom

This week my mother in-law will help me finish up the new front window curtains we are making. They slide on a track and will give us privacy and help keep things cool. One of the old ones is still hanging but only by a few snaps! My daughter broke off most them when she took them down so we could wash them. But when the sun is beating in the front window they are still useful!

Mountains & Marriage

My husband ship was participating in RIMPAC this year and although we knew ahead of time, I was not planning on going out there to visit. But we were really missing each other and my husband asked me to hop on a plane and come see him.

The only other time we have had time alone together was our wedding weekend and one other time I flew out to Chicago a few weeks after we were married while he was in school. The thought of heading out to Hawaii was a no brainer! Since I was staying at my in-laws it also gave me the opportunity to be spontaneous, especially since they thought it was a great idea. My FIL retired from the Navy, so they understand the importance of taking the time to be together.

Less then 24 hrs latter I was landing in Hawaii. I had so many mixed emotions going back. It was the first time I was going as a “visitor” and not just flying back “home”.  Although I didn’t grow up there as a child, it’s the place I grew up the most, that I had the biggest life changes. I originally moved their to attend college, I fell in love there, had all my babies there, I met my best friends there. But I had not been back in 5/6 years since we moved off the island.

I was so surprised as how much has changed since we had left. So much growth and construction!

My husband knew one of the things I had not had time to do when we lived there was hike so it was on first to do list. So we headed out to Koko Head the next morning. Man I knew it was a lot of “stairs” but these were not even stairs. They were uneven, unlevel and you had to watch every step. I know I’m not in top shape. It’s something I have struggled with  the last few years. But hiking that Mt. It was like a slap in the face. But I was not giving up, I was going to make it to the top no matter how long it took me. Hiking that mountain reminded me that this journey was a good analogy for our marriage. We jumped into something thinking we were ready, we were excited, as we started out it was easy….

but then the uphill climb took our breath away, you see the top and question weather it’s possible to make it there, but you continue on taking it one step at a time.

Reaching the top of Koko Head was so hard, but amazingly rewarding, just like the good times in our marriage. I don’t think I could of appreciated the beauty of looking down from Koko Head if I drove there, and I feel the same way about our marriage. If everything was easy and perfect we could not be thankful for the good times, we could not truly appreciate the love we have for each other.

Amazingly beautiful and worth every step!

We both knew marriage was not going to be easy, but we are committed to this journey knowing we have many more mountains ahead of us, and I could not be happier to have him by my side… or ten feet a head of me! (He did run up 1/2 of Koko Head in slippers, aka flip flops as I was huffing and puffing behind him!)

So windy!

Once we were done the only place I wanted to eat was Nico’s at Pier 38, which is by far the most amazing food on the island. There are plenty of fancy places but if you want perfectly done food every-single-time, and not break the bank, then go to Nico’s! I ate lunch there almost every day! Its that good!

 

We hit up all the tourist spots the next day. At the request of the my daughter I had to get her favorite treat at the Swap meat, an ice cold coconut! It was so refreshing!


Next we drove up to the North Shore. Haleiwa town is completely different! It has more friendly shopping and a bunch of art galleries! I was totally in heaven. Even the classic Matsumoto’s  Shave Ice has been redone, although it’s in the same building.

Matsumoto Shave Ice, Ichiban Special

We enjoyed time with friends at the beach, shopping, eating out and hanging out on the sofa watching TV. It was the best few days together.

My husband’s ship had to head out so I had a few extra days to hang out and see a few friends, spend time at the beach, meet for lunch, paint by the ocean and get a hair cut!

I have not had very good hair cut experience over the years. I’m not sure why it’s so hard to cut curly hair, but ask a girl with curly hair and I’m sure she has a few stories to tell you. But once we moved to San Diego I was in desperate need for a cut and put my trust into one more person who said she could cut curly hair. She herself has curly hair so she understood why I was asking, so I was optimistic! I fell in love with Heather and saw her multiple times over the two years I was there. She has been the only person I went back to! I let her play with my hair and do fun color, she always made it look amazing, plus she’s a blast to chat with! When I found out she was moving to Hawaii I told her I was going to have to fly out just so she could cut my hair. So of course she was one of the first people I contacted and said I was coming! I seriously planned my week around getting an appointment with her! If your in Hawaii & have base access your in luck! Find her on Instagram here.

I have two best friends from college and one still lives on the island. Having time to hang out with her was the best few days, and most certainly not long enough! I truly wanted to stay longer, there might of been begging on her part and me trying to get her into my suitcase to join me at Mall of America the next day for Keanu’s 7th Birthday, but unfortunately that didn’t happen!

 

Heading to the Beach or Hawaii? Check out my post on Toxin Free Sunscreen

The Great Purge

I can not tell you how freeing it is to get rid of so much stuff. Why do I need 100 towels? Paperwork from 6 years ago? Dishes I never use? Bath & Body stuff long expired? Toys that never get played with? Stuffed animals! Can we just stop with all the stuffed animals please!? Ugh!

I challenge you to clean out a draw, a closet, a room. Find things you don’t need and donate them or sell them for extra cash.

How close are your kids?

If my kids ever complain about the RV being to small I’m saving these because this is how they have been sleeping (yes that’s a twin bed!) and sitting on the sofa.

Since they have all been Homeschooling I’ve noticed all of our stress and anxiety levels are way down and we have all become closer. I never realized how much getting up and out of the house along with homework was effecting us all!

I will say this over and over again: I never expected to be the mom who homeschooled. I didn’t think I had the patience nor was I capable. I was so wrong. If you have any doubt, forget it. Dive in head first. You will discover things about your kids and yourself, you all will become stronger and better together!