Christmas Ornaments

These ornaments all started with the idea of joy. Each December I am reminded of decorating the tree with my family and how wonderful this time of year is. We have ornaments from every year since we were born and reminisce through the moments of time. My sister loves having ornaments with dates on them to remember the year and this is why I dated the back of each ornament I made this year. I wanted to bring the excitement and happiness I share with my family every year to each of your homes. I decided to paint woodland animals, farm animals, and desert animals as well as desert scenes. 

Raccoons are fun and mischievous as well as scary at times. They are cute but also have that mask for a reason. This animal can tend to be little thieves so I tried to show this in each ornament. The raccoons all appear to be helping decorate the tree but they can also be stealing the ornament off the tree. Perspective is an amazing thing and I love how we all look at the world a little bit differently. I would implore you to look at these like the animals are helping to decorate as this is the season for kindness, sharing, and caring. The bears have come out to climb the trees with their strength and mighty claws to help decorate. The mice are doing their very best for how small a creature they are. Foxes are having fun and some are just laying around trying to stay warm after working tirelessly to make everyone smile.

The Burro is just being cheesy and the Big Horn seems to be more hungry for the Juniper Tree than a help. The Jackrabbit and Deer got into the lights and tangled themselves into a mess. They are trying their best and we have all been there with the lights. Getting those strings untangled can be quite difficult but they will not give up until your homes are bright and cheery this holiday season. The owls are hooting around and flapping through the trees. They are the wisest and have many clever ideas on how to get the job done. Last, we have one burro just walking along in the desert under a beautiful purple night sky. This ornament reminds me most of my mother’s manger scene she has lit every year. This has always calmed me and I put that energy into the burro ornament with subtle lights from the night sky, and a softness on the fur of the creature.

I have a limited selection on the website for people who do not live locally and shipping/packaging is included in the price. The rest will be available at Tivoli Village in Summerlin on December 19th from 10am-4pm. Please contact me for information if you need it. I have really been enjoying creating these treasures. Thank you all for your interest in these. I hope your holidays are blessed and bright. May you all have a magical season.

-Karen Hilliard

Witchy Acres Prints and Originals

The owner of Witchy Acres Farm in South Carolina was kind enough to have each Original Watercolor scanned for Prints!! All 10 paintings are available to purchase as 5” x 7” prints on the website. I also have some bags available with the farm images on them. The series finished with Number 9 and 10. The last two paintings were of the animals on the farm that are special to the owner. The chickens in Number 9 were very challenging to paint.

This painting had many birds involved with various activities in the photograph. I picked and chose a composition to add as many chickens as I could in a 4” x 6” Tiny Painting space. I wanted to show only certain positions due to the title of, “Who Just Clucked?” The painting has no sketch prior to the paint being applied. The main focus point of the hen in the middle was done first and then the chickens in a direct line behind her were completed next. The birds to the right of her and the background hay color was then applied. The bigger chicken to the left came after the floor color and the three ladies in the back were last. This painting took way longer than I had planned and I finished it after 8 hours.

Number 10 ended with his beautiful goat and her long horns. She was just relaxing on the leaves in the middle of the road. The goat was created in an impressionistic style combining the colors of her with the floor covering. If you stand back, the painting becomes more clear and the goat pops forward. She was painted very late at night with a low lit lamp but I am very pleased with how it turned out. I wanted the background trees to appear wispy and light and the shadows to remain in the road. Developing her horns were difficult, as I worked with the negative space, to bring them forward. I hope you all enjoy this series and know how much time was put into each of these Tiny Paintings.

Thank you for reading. Please email me with any questions especially if you would like a larger print of any painting. Anything is possible and I am here to make sure you get what you like. 

I will always try to help in any way I can!

-Karen Hilliard

Climbing Experiences

My watercolor paintings are mostly inspired by climbing, camping, and hiking adventures. Trees and rocks have intricate lines that are molded and shaped by wind, rain, and time. I have always loved climbing and bouldering yet found challenges while trying to complete problems. It is very important to climb with like minded people who have a similar vibe or it can ruin the experience. I had no idea how wonderful climbing truly was until I climbed with encouraging people regularly. Now as I climb, I become filled with joy and see more images in the rocks which I later use for my paintings. 

My dog Mick was the best climbing buddy when it came to bouldering. He would wait at the bottom of a problem or he would meet me at the top if he was able. I thoroughly loved when he came with me and I miss him everyday. My cousin is also a very amazing climber and person who encourages my paintings with her own ideas. She is a joy to rope climb with and keeps everything calm. My husband is wonderful, and supports every aspect of my life. I now have a deeper connection to nature and joy for life that I did not know I was missing.

Today he and I woke up and ran, I went climbing while he was at work, then Spector and I went on a long hike. The dog’s first time coming to the boulder field with me was today and he did fantastic! These people and animals have touched my life in such a wondrous way for which I am forever grateful. I am excited for the new creations of rock formations and trees that will be flowing out of my paintbrush soon. There are so many lovely structures to see on this Earth and I look forward to enjoying them with these amazing people. Happiness sparks the fire of my creativity and enhances the colors of my palette. The next climb, camping trip, kayaking adventure, hiking experience, or travel excursion is going to be stunning and I cannot wait to see what will be created.

Thank you for reading. I hope you all have an awesome person or pet to adventure with. My goal is to encourage others to go outside and see this spectacular world.

-Karen Hilliard

Red Rock Canyon Greeting Cards

Hiking Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas Nevada is one of my favorite things to do. I have traveled around a lot, and out of all the places on the planet, my mind always wanders back to these trails no matter where I have moved. The desert paths are filled with pinecones from the Pinon Pine Trees along the trails. These pinecones are lovely and sometimes have pinon nuts inside them if you can get to them before the ground squirrels. They are a type of pine nut and have a different flavor. The Native American Tribe, Southern Paiutes, used to forage in the desert for these very nuts. I love the way the pinecones look as they open. I zoomed in on the inside of the pinecone and focused on the scales, and the sand particles that blew on their surface.

I started both pinecones in this series with darker colors and then painted the lighter ones all while leaving the whites untouched. I turned these two paintings into greeting cards because they reminded me of winter and the holidays coming up. I thought these cards would be perfect for Christmas. Along with the two pinecones, I also found the Juniper paintings quite fascinating. The trees resembled the pine trees of Fir forests and the Juniper cones looked like Christmas ornaments when I was finished painting them. I especially liked blending the colors of Cerulean, Windsor Blue, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, and creating violet colors. I love the soft blend of the berries with the intricate lines of the pine needles.

The last painting of the series that I added to the Greeting Cards of Red Rock Canyon was the Yucca Plant. This painting was one of the first that I created with a time lapse video. I used Windsor Blue and Burnt Umber to create a dark brown, almost black, color. This painting started out looking like an ink drawing and then I slowly added in the green pigments. Olive Green, Hooker’s Green, and Lemon Yellow were used to show the plant leaves. I also added Burnt Sienna for some spots and shadows in the green to show the plant was aging. The whites were left to represent the fine fibers of the Yucca plant. I painted the negative space around where I wanted the whites to show. This was very difficult and took a steady hand. I stared at the photograph while I was painting the negative space.

This whole series was wonderful for me because these paintings came from my husband’s and my favorite trail which brought back many happy memories. I hope you enjoy these cards and sharing your memories with loved ones.

-Karen Hilliard

Woodland Greeting Cards

This series of paintings started out with an idea to draw forest animals in my sketchbook. The idea slowly evolved into watercolor paintings in my watercolor sketchbook. As I painted, I added wispy strokes of purple to give each animal a winter feel. I wanted the paintings to look as if the animals were in snow on a cool winter day. When I finished this series over the summer I decided to just leave them all in the book. As the holidays are rolling around, people are liking the card series, so I chose to put these animals on cards for everyone in case they wanted them for a Christmas Card set or a gift. I hope you enjoy them!

The Fox was especially fun to create. He went through many transformations before I found him nuzzling into his tail to be the look I wanted for this composition. I love when our dog curls up on cold nights and covers his nose with his tail. I recreated this experience with the fox and added blue with purple to show the cold wind blowing through his fur. I closed his eyes to show how he was snuggling in for the night to stay warm. Another animal in the series that went through many transformations was the deer.

The Fawn was drawn and painted several times before I settled on this look for her. She was a beautiful and curious deer. I tried to capture this expression with cool and warm tones in her face. I wanted to show the variations of color in her fur and capture her white spots before her colors change in the winter. The whiskers off her face were an afterthought and I like how the whole painting comes together. Her eyes are big and beautiful to show the look deer give when they first see you and pop their head up. The other 2 animals are a badger and a possum. They luckily flowed out of the paintbrush on their first try!

I hope these cards bring joy to you or whoever you are gifting them to.

-Karen Hilliard

Witchy Acres Mushrooms

This beautiful farm in South Carolina is filled with life. A herd of goats and flocks of chickens roam the grounds. Along with the animal life on the farm, there are mushrooms growing out of logs placed up against trees. These logs have spores on them and create a great environment for the growth of certain fungi. For the next painting in the series, the owner wanted a close up of the mushrooms growing out of the bottom of a log, and the side of another log. He cropped the images for these paintings personally and is happy with how they turned out. More of his photography can be found on his Instagram page @freakishy_green.

Number 7 in the series took a very long time to paint. Over the course of 2 days, I did not even clock the hours. This painting has so many layers of paint, texture work, and many hours of time spent on it. The white mushrooms were brought out by painting the negative space behind them in order to keep their soft texture. I used Cerulean for a light blue shade to emphasize a shadow on the fungi. The Burnt Sienna color at the top of the vertical painting was used to represent the pine needles along the forest floor. Painting these was challenging and exciting so I decided the next painting would be a mushroom piece as well.

Witchy Acres Series 1 Number 8 is a zoomed in version of mushrooms growing on the side of a log. I love the contrast of color in this piece. To bring out the mushrooms, I used Cerulean, Windsor Blue, Burnt Umber, and the red used was Permanent Alizarin Crimson. I mixed the red and blues to create light violets for shadows as well, and focused on creating the negative space around the mushrooms with darker colors to enhance their white glow, and soft features. Each painting is unique in their own way and both were a joy to create. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did painting them. Thank you for reading!

-Karen Hilliard

Arch Rock and Tiny Paintings

Today I picked up a framed print of Arch Rock and dropped it off at Dam Roast House in Boulder City, NV. This sweet coffee shop and bookstore hung up one of my larger prints and has a basket filled with my 5×7 prints by the door. I am very excited for this opportunity and for people to view my artwork while they are having a cup of coffee and conversing with their friends. I am also pleased with the selection of 5×7 prints displayed at the store as well. I chose the large print of Arch Rock to hang in the shop because it is a rock formation from Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.

Arch Rock | Original Watercolor | Karen Hilliard Art | Nature

This Nevada State Park is 45 minutes from Las Vegas and many people who live in the area like to visit this wonderful park. Valley of Fire is filled with sandstone rock formations ranging in color from red to white. Arch Rock is on the park’s map as a stopping point and has a little hike around the arch. It is a great place to take pictures and explore. In the heat of the day, the top of the arch is white washed by the sun and the bottom is shaded which brings out it’s marvelous variations of orange color. I tried to emphasize these color changes in the painting while creating soft clouds in the background of the Arch.

When I was finished dropping this print off at the coffee shop, I drove home, and had to relax for several hours. Then, I started working on the Tiny Painting Series from Witchy Acres Farm. Number 7 in the series will be a painting of mushrooms growing from the logs shown in the Number 2 painting with the cat. The mushrooms are growing at the base of the log with pine needles at the bottom. The mushrooms are being shaded with Burnt Umber and Windsor Blue and will be highlighted with Cerulean to produce a light blue effect. I am excited to finish this painting and will post it in my next blog. It was an interesting day for my creativity because I had to shift my mind from the sandstone of the desert to the damp forest floor of South Carolina. A very fun day indeed. Thank you for reading!

-Karen Hilliard

Oreo and the Chicken

Oreo the goat was very fun to paint. I really tried to emphasize his goatee and the light wispiness of the hair on top of his head. I added light around the goatee to show color variation from his fur to bring out the chin hair. I started this painting with the goat’s left eye and did a time lapse video of half of the face. This painting took 2 days to complete because I needed to allot for drying time in order to add many layers to create the appearance of black. I used brown and blue paint mixed together to create the dark features. I chose to put the goat on hay for the background and added a blue sky.

Number 6 in the series is a wonderful Wyandotte chicken possibly silver laced. I chose this chicken because of it’s feather color and pattern. I loved that I would be able to use the blue and brown mixture to create an ink like painting and then add color later for texture. I also started with this animal’s left eye and worked the rest of the painting from there. The regal look of the chicken impressed me and I chose to take the owner’s horizontal photograph and crop it into a vertical version focusing on the bird’s posture. I love how she looks out at the audience and sparks the imagination.

Each brown and black stroke of paint was mixed differently and can be seen, on the original, when closely looked at. I added cerulean to bring a light blue shade into the whites of the feathers to show movement and contrast. The background of the photograph had grass, leaves, and dirt. I chose to simplify this to small grass patches and dirt with particles. I love that a painting can be an interpretation of a photograph and each is a capture of a moment in time. I am very grateful for this opportunity to paint Witchy Acres Farm. It is very nice to paint Tiny again. Each of these paintings took 2 days and a lot of layering. I hope you enjoy them!

-Karen Hilliard

Napoleon and Oreo

Two goats on the 12 acre farm in South Carolina are named Napoleon and Oreo. Napoleon is a brown and white young goat with a great personality. In the photo he is looking through the fence, smelling, and being quite curious. I started this painting with his nose to have it be the main reference and worked the rest of the piece from there. The nose has many colors such as Winsor Blue, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Permanent Alizarin Crimson and a violet mixture. I used a pointillism technique and 4 layers of color to bring out the details of texture in his nose.

Number 4 from the Witchy Acres small works series was a joy to create. I loved focusing on the goat’s eyes and trying to get the whites perfect to show his curious demeanor. He ended up looking a little sad in the painting but animals do look a little confused when they are trying to understand something. The whites in his neck were left and later filled in with a watered down burnt umber to show the muscle definition. The lower background is filled with hay using Yellow Ochre. I decided to use green for the background at the top of the painting under the wood fence because the photo had a little green behind Napoleon’s head.

Number 5 in the series will be a painting of Oreo because the owner of the farm really loves the goat’s fur on top of his head as well as the goatee. I have not decided whether or not I will do a side profile or a frontal painting of the goat’s face. A side profile may be better to fully show his amazing hairdo. This goat is black and white and the colors will be darker and more rich than Number 4 and Napoleon. I am told this goat is very bold and in charge so the palette will fit perfectly to his personality. We shall see how he turns out!

Thank you for reading. 10% of all profits on this small works series goes back to Witchy Acres Farm in South Carolina. If you have any questions you can contact me from the website. If you are interested in any of the paintings, they can be purchased right from the website! Have a great evening.

-Karen Hilliard

Mushrooms and Goats

The 12 acre farm in South Carolina is filled with forest, mushrooms, and many loved creatures. I am enjoying the opportunity to paint these large white mushrooms because each one has a different range of color. Most of the mushrooms are white and large oyster with hints of yellow, shades of purple, brown, and blue. The vast experimentation with my color palette is very exciting. The first mushroom painting I chose to do had a cool blue and light purple mix for the gills.

Witchy Acres Series 1 | Number 1 | Karen Hilliard Art | Tiny Paintings

Number 3 in the Witchy Acres series had yellow hints of color touched by the sunlight reaching through the trees. The mushroom log resting on the tree had shades of purple, blue, brown, black, grey, and specs of yellow throughout the bark. The mushroom was blown up on the tiny painting space of a 4” x 6” piece of mixed media paper. I chose to zoom in on the mushroom to show the contrast of its softness compared to the log and tree.

Witchy Acres Series 1 Number 3 | Original Watercolor | Tiny Painting | Karen Hilliard Art

Another aspect of the farm I am really looking forward to painting are the goats. Two goats specifically on the list are Napoleon and Oreo. Napoleon is a brown and white young goat and Oreo is black and white and very assertive. I look forward to painting farm animals again and am reminded of the goat paintings from my previous series of Four Mile Farmstead. Goats are very fun to paint because their eyes are never what or where you expect them to be. 

Number 1 and Number 2 in the series of Four Mile Farmstead show a mother and kid snuggling and a single goat with wandering eyes. I love how these animals can steal my heart with their sweet and kind dispositions. They also have very different personalities. I was lucky to have met the goats on the farm at Four Mile Farmstead. I am told that the goats on Witchy Acres have unique personalities and great character as well. Thank you for reading this blog and stay tuned for the animals of Witchy Acres.

-Karen Hilliard