Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Track Your Progress

I have been sorting through all the pictures of my artwork that I have taken since 2010 when I stared my Etsy shop.  If you don't regularly take pictures of your artwork, I highly recommend it if for no other reason than to track your progress.  Now, camera phones make it easy to take a quick shot, but back in 2010, it was a "point and click" that had to do the work.  This was one of the VERY FIRST collages I ever made: 

It was 4" X 4" and I remember how proud I was of it.  I had forgotten about it, but when I saw it again I decided that the concept was still relevant to today (who doesn't love a bird silhouette) and I decided to give it another go.  Here is what I came up with:

These past four years have made quite an impression on my work.  I can't wait to see where I will be in another four years. 

Take pictures of everything.  You never know what might inspire you today or later down the road.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

It Was Just Wrong

"Step back - WAY back and take a look at it."  That is what my drawing teacher used to tell us in class.  Sometimes I forget those basic lessons.  When you are right on top of your work for hours you start to loose the "entirety" of the piece.  That is exactly what happened to these poor little grapes.

I thought they turned out pretty good until I hung them on my wall and started to look at them - from WAY back.  They were flat - dull - uninteresting.  So, down off the wall they came.  I added more paper in different values and added highlights to give the grapes more dimension. I like them much better now.

I also found a new button in my Photoshop Elements software.  The "tint" button.  We are quickly becoming best friends! 

"Step Back" - I wrote it on my work table so I wouldn't forget.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Lesson in Patience

I was so impressed with Jim Carrey's commencement speech in May 2014 to the Maharishi University of Management that I wrote several of his quotes directly on my work table so I could see them everyday.  Here is one of my favorites: "Let the Universe know what you want and work toward it while letting go of how it comes to pass." 

Rewind to several months prior. In October of 2013, I took a licensing workshop online and got so excited about the prospect of having my art on "stuff" (mugs, journals, wall d├ęcor, fabric, greeting cards, etc.) that I stared sending out emails to every licensing agent I could find.  Most were kind enough to reply with a few words of encouragement and the ultimate "not at this time" dream buster. 

Fast forward to May 2014 and the Jim Carrey speech.  I took his advise and repeated a positive mantra while I walked the track a few times a week, worked to build my portfolio, and waited patiently for someone who would find my work and say - "Hey, that would look great on a __________.  I want to represent her."

The Universe is not in a hurry, but she eventually delivers!

Where did this agent come from?  From the emails I sent out over a year ago.  The timing was right for both of us.  So happy!! 

If you have not had the opportunity to see the Jim Carrey speech, it is worth the time.  It is 26 minutes in its entirety but here is a clip that starts 10 minutes in.  Listen for my favorite part.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Background Fix Up


Have you ever completed a project and then wished you could change something about it?  For me, this little chickadee is one of those projects.  I never did like the background.  My color teacher would say this piece has "background fatigue".  It's all the same, doesn't have any interest, doesn't allow your eye to move through the piece, it's dull - blah, blah, blah.  So, I decided to try to "fix it".
Here is what I did.

I took a piece of deli paper and created a mask by tracing and cutting around my subject matter.
I then took a handmade stamp I created using fun foam and a plastic placemat and determined which section I wanted to use.  The placemat is pretty big so I only needed to use a small section which I painted blue and printed on to the background.  The deli paper kept the chickadee safe from blue paint and allowed the stamp to appear to be continuous behind the bird.


I added Christmas postage stamps, glass dots to the holly, and small circles cut out of tissue paper.  Much better! 

Lesson learned - If you don't like it, find a way to fix it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

DIY Christmas Tree Collage

I have built up my art inventory enough that I feel more comfortable applying for art shows.  As some of you may know, booth fees for these shows can range from very reasonable to quite expensive.  For the past few shows, I have created a small, inexpensive product for the sole purpose of covering the booth fee.  What better project for my upcoming December Art Market than a few Christmas tree collages.  Here is how I made them.

In an effort to use my "stash" of odds and ends canvases, I created these trees on 9 X 12 flat canvases that I already had on hand. I sprayed the canvases down with water and used two different blue inks to create the base background color.  After the ink had dried, I splattered and dripped acrylic paint to complete the background.
 I painted a quick guideline for my paper collage to help me gauge the tree shape.

 I collaged the trunk of the tree with a variety of brown papers.  Next up, I took my green papers and began to tear them into slightly curved strips of different lengths. When I had a nice pile of green "pine needles" I started to place them individually using soft gel as an adhesive starting at the top of the tree and working my way down to the bottom overlapping papers and filling in blank spots as I went along.  Adding Christmas postage stamps, glass dots, scrabble tiles, and paper stars completes the look. 

Fast and fun!


Monday, October 6, 2014

A Dream for Nola

One of the wonderful things about being an artist is the creative community you can develop right in your own backyard.  When a fellow creative told me about her granddaughter, Nola Carter, I knew I had to do something to help.  Baby Nola has a rare, terminal disease called Sanfilippo Syndrome.  Sanfilippo is a genetic disorder that causes progressive damage.  Many of the children affected with this disease will not live beyond their teenage years.  While some parents dream their daughters will become productive adults with adventurous hearts, Nola's parents dream that she will speak their names, run with other children, and live to be the woman she was created to be.

Because her disease is so rare, funding for research is slow in coming.  Nola's parents have taken on the momentous task of raising funds for a clinical study of Sanfilippo Sydrome that will begin late in 2014.  Nola is the youngest child ever to be diagnosed with Sanfilippo and her participation in these trials could be life altering.

I created this collage for Nola that will be auctioned at an upcoming fundraising event in November.  Prints will also be available in the near future with all proceeds going to Team Nola.  Learn more about how you can participate in Team Nola fundraising by liking Team Nola's Facebook page here.

Here are a few detailed views of the finished piece: