Monday, December 29, 2008

Etsy Bloggers Featured Artist

This months featured etsy blogger is Spotted Cow Soaps. Check out her amazing shop and sweet blog.

I love how friendly her shop is and all of the wonderful products offered, from soap and body scrubs to bath fizzes and guy friendly gifts. And Spotted Cow Soaps even offers gift baskets!

From the shop description: "All of our soaps are manufactured with Fragrance & Essential Oils that are phthalate free. Come on in and make yourself at home. We offer great homemade soap, crochet bath accessories, soy candles and more. All of our bars of soap, unless otherwise indicated, weigh no less than 4 ounces each."

I'm sold! Actually, as I type I'm drooling over some of these soaps and body scrubs! Seriously, can you believe how how yummy this?! I want to eat it!

Oh oh! Or check out this sparkling champagne body lotion parfait:

Monday, December 08, 2008

More characters

Well, this weekend I went nuts with the felting. It was super snowy and cold, so it was pleasant to cuddle up on the couch with the furrballs and my felting gear while watching movies with my favorite fellow.

I just love making up little stories to go along with these little sweeties. Click on the images below to find out more about my new friends.

Shelby the Giraffe


Seamus McBunnersons

Yin Yang Kitties 2, the sequel (I loved the first little guys so much I had to make another, only this couple are larger and brightly colored)

Friday, December 05, 2008

A pleasure to paint

I ventured into a local vintage store called Friendtique (all proceeds go to benefit area hospice and palliative care) yesterday and found a fabulous score of sewing and craft magazines from the 1960's. The illustrations, photographs and advertisements are just priceless. I was particularly drawn to the illustrations of the dresses for the patterns in each issue. Such a great style! I needed some inspiration and that was it.

Thus, I've begun a new series of paintings. I'm sort of starting my artistic new year's resolution early. I'm going to try to focus my work and develop a more cohesive style. I feel like I've just been all over the place since I've been back in the studio and not really feeling like I was pushing myself to grow and improve. Not that there won't be some oddballs now and again, but I just feel like taking a style and running with it. So here we go! I'm excited to see where this takes me and how I can refine and edit myself. It's not so easy to work in an artistic vacuum!

Here are the first three pieces:

Thursday, December 04, 2008

More felt action

Introducing 3 more felt creations...

Oscar the confused weiner dog:

Stan the Man:

And the Yin Yang Kitties:

And a quick peek behind the scenes! I just love all the beautiful colors of wool and the fact that such a simple raw material can be transformed into anything the imagination can conceive. Next time I'll give a little more background into needle felting as a technique and the process I follow with each creation.

Winter Flowers

Snow drop, watercolor, acrylic, ink and pencil, 2008

As the snow settles in and the ground freezes here in Ohio, flowers are hard to come by. I find myself painting more colorful compositions as the days become grayer. The above painting is actually from October, when there was still color to be found in the woods.

In addition to seeking color in my own work this time of year, I find myself drawn to colorful and vibrant work of other artists. The beautiful, meditative watercolor flowers of Karen Faulkner are a perfect example. They exhibit such beauty in simplicity and form with a sweet subtlety of color. I can almost feel her brushwork in each flower. Just lovely! Check out her blog and shop for a beautiful selection of flowers to brighten the gray days of winter. Here are a few of my current favorites!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Needle Felting Robert

Well, I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving and remembered to actually think about what you are thankful for! I took a few days off to recharge the battery and spend time with family. Now that I'm back to work, I wanted to share my sweet potato mouse with you all... Sam the Yam Mouse. Haha. See his little tail and pointy nose?

So I've been hitting the needle felting pretty hard. My husband came up with a great idea the other night when I asked, "what should I felt?" "Oh, you should make a little Robert Smith doll!"

Wow... what an epiphany! I've seriously always thought Robert would make an awesome stuffed animal, and needle felting the boy seemed like a great idea. Thus, I share with you my ode to the Cure cutie:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Simon the Snowman

Okay, I am officially hooked. I find myself making up little stories/backgrounds for these guys as I create them. Meet Simon the Snowman...

Monday, November 24, 2008

New work

After a small hiatus from creating due to an influx of design work, I've been able to get back in the studio and make some stuff.

First, a new painting! This piece is a combo of a stylistic direction I've taken as of late combined with the ladies I like to paint. I love the candy colored, citrus hues. I'm having a lot of fun just letting the watercolors take over and blend together in these sweet circles.

Next, I've decided to try my hand at needle felting and so far I am absolutely enchanted. It's so sculptural and fun. The wool fibers give it an automatically endearing texture. Plus, I just love cute, tiny, fuzzy things. Here is my first striped bunny creation, Marvin:

I can't wait to work some more with this fabulous medium... I think I'm just getting started. For now, I will have a few creations in my shop, but I may open a new shop devoted strictly to this art. Stay tuned!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Featured Etsy Blogger: Storybeader

I am always amazed at the variety of amazing Etsians that are members of the Etsy Bloggers Streat Team. There is so much talent there, one will never tire of exploring all the amazing artists. This month's featured artist is jewelry maker and haiku writer, Storybeader. Check out her shop here, and her blog here.

Each and every piece of jewelry in her shop has a story behind it – a story that is presented in haiku form, giving each piece a life of it's own. I love this concept. Here are a few of my favorites:

The workers shot large
Cannonballs into the hills
To draw out silver.
- storybeader

Running barefoot through
The grass, she rushed to put the
Flowers in water.
- storybeader

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Boys, Matisse and Picasso

"My boys" pen and ink, Nov. 18, 2008

A few nights ago, my husband and I watched a great documentary program about the relationship between Picasso and Matisse. It was a very interesting look into how these two artists influenced each other throughout their lives, how they relied on each, and how they competed with each other. Their personalities were such opposites, as was their way of approaching their creative work. Very interesting indeed! (It was on Ovation if anyone gets that channel, I highly recommend this program).

Afterward, I found myself in awe of Matisse's work in terms of color, line, rhythm and composition. I've always admired his style, but this reawakened my interest. His work appeals to both the painter and graphic artist in me. And don't even get me started on his Chapelle du Rosaire in Venice... it's heartbreaking in it's beauty.

A few of my favorites via Wikipedia's gallery:

And in line with all that lovely color, I was just included in one of my favorite watercolor artist's treasuries on Etsy! Thank you Karen!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Snow Cat

We have our first official snow coverage and it is beautiful. The first snow (or dozen) usually are. It's the February/March slush that starts to get dirty, ugly and tiresome. But for now, I'm loving it. And so is my snow kitty. The neurotic little guy loves to go out on the porch to eat snow and roll around in the sun. Ah... for life to be so simple!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Daniel and Jill Pinkwater

above photo credit to Jon Wolf from this site.

In honor of his birthday on Saturday, I want to share with you one of my all-time favorite authors, Daniel Pinkwater. If you are not familiar with his work I would recommend exploring his web site for a day so, and in particular to check out his podcast. You may just find yourself mysteriously wandering off to the youth section of your local library.

I am huge fan of children's and young adult literature and my love of Pinkwater goes all the way back to first discovering The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado Death & The Snarkout Boys and the Baconburg Horror at my library some 20 odd years ago (ahem...).

Since that first discovery I've been an avid reader, and now listener. I love his sense of humor and the absurd combined with his wonderful ability to address a myriad of issues – morality, family, being different, being true to yourself, loyalty and loss. His stories can be touching, but mostly, they are FUN. Unabashed fun. I can't help but think that much of the fabulous children's lit of today owes a lot to his realistic language and off-the-wall adventures, so often set in rather banal locations like Hoboken, New Jersey. He combines chickens, werewolves, UFO's and moose, cows and outsider kids to create memorable stories that will make you laugh out loud (I sound like a dust jacket review!)

I'm also a fan of Jill Pinkwater's illustrations (seen above in the Baconburg Horror cover and below for more). Her quirky style perfectly sets the tone for her husband's stories. These stories and illustrations have played a huge part in my inspiration as an artist.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Retro Goth Concert Fiasco

This summer, I had the pleasure of experiencing some amazing concerts. The Cure twice, both in Atlanta and Cleveland, Radiohead at Blossom, and Peter Murphy at House of Blues (that man's voice still amazes me). I also missed opportunities to see a few other favorites – Nick Cave (again, sigh), Magnetic Fields and My Bloody Valentine. I suppose that's why it was so disappointing to close out this year's concert season with Sisters of Mercy.

Now, I didn't go into this performance expecting too much. They don't tour often, Andrew is notoriously stage-shy, there was to be no live drummer, and the reviews of earlier shows on this tour were not optimistic. However, I didn't expect to be so very, well, bored. I felt embarrassed for the band and particularly for Andrew. I tried to dance, to be enthusiastic, but it just felt so awkward.

Luckily, I was with some of my favorite people in the world, we had a fun dinner before hand, and I ran into other friends and colleagues at the concert and enjoyed some good laughs.

I leave you with the fun that Sisters of Mercy can be.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

BlissChick Interview

BlissChick is amazing. And today I have the honor of being the featured interviewee on her blog, amongst a long line of truly amazing women I admire. I can't say enough about what a pleasure it was to answer Christine's questions and really look inward as to what my Bliss is and what drives me to pursue it. Her description of me is so sweet! I now wear the badge of GeekChick with pride.

I came to Christine's blog through Connie over at Dirty Footprints (another amazing lady and long time friend I've featured here before). Now, I am an avid reader and Christine's writings bring happiness and a feeling of "Wow, I've been trying to express that but couldn't put it into words" on a daily basis. If you haven't read her blog before, I highly recommend that you check it out. Now. No really, read back a few days and you'll see what I mean. It just glows.

Thank you BlissChick!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Weird Fishes and Aliens


Alien species discovered in my living room...

It's been rather cold, gray and rainy and I've been busy with design work so I have been itching to paint and add a little color to my day. After staying with my nephew and observing how free kids are, I'm trying to get back to a sense of creative freedom and being true to myself. When I was studying fine art at Ohio University my work was loose, symbolic and stream of consciousness with color, shape and line forming the basis of my compositions. Snowmen and rockets, ghosts and buffalo, there was always something strange and wonderful going on and once I set out on a piece I never knew quite where I would end up. It was more about the journey. These were large pieces, wall-sized, and trying to recreate that loose, freeform quality is tough on a smaller scale, but I'm trying to get back there, one little step at a time...

Here are two colorful pieces to start that journey: