Thursday, October 30, 2008

Framed art

I've decided to add a new feature to my Etsy shop which is a frame and mat upgrade for paintings and prints! I am currently offering this service for 4" x 6" and 5" x 7" sized pieces, but may offer if for larger works as well if customers decide to take advantage of it. Offering this makes buying and displaying colorful art even easier! Standard option include a black frame with a crisp white mat, but others colors are available as well.

I just love the way this recent painting looks matted and framed. So adorable and classy. It would look good in any decor!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Too Cute Tuesday

I don't know if it's the cold weather and the kitty that is perpetually on my lap, but I am in the mood for cute! First off, kitty in boa... isn't he handsome in red?

Next, I've added a few new pieces to my Etsy shop that I've really enjoyed creating. Mini-canvases on easels. I think they make an adorable package and a great gift idea. Hmm... maybe I'll start offering a gift wrap upgrade as well! We'll see how they do, but they were such a pleasure to make that I think I'll be doing some more of varying sizes. For now, a birdie and my favorite coffee cup.

And a new painting that I had a lot of fun with. I used a lot of different materials for me on this one including colored pencils and a metallic silver sharpie. Got a few more in this vein on the horizon as well.

"Will You Be My Friend?" 5" x 7" – watercolor, colored pencil and ink on premium Arches paper.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wine Devotion

I love wine. Yes, yes it's true. I love wines of all demeanor. I'm not the best with describing what I'm tasting or smelling but I can tell the difference between grapes and I know a special wine when I taste it. Mmm... getting thirsty just writing about it!

Here's some photos of one of my favorite spots in the house and one of our current favorite bottles, Don Miguel Gascon Malbec 2007. Affordable and YUMMY! I would love to hear some recommendations of favorites from fellow wine lovers!

In honor of wine, I've listed a new lovely lady on Etsy... my "Wine Goddess." She's in the same vein as the last few fantasy/mythology/female portraits I've been working on and hope to focus on in the future...

CSI, Akron

Ah, so here is my spooky creepy story for the Etsy Bloggers Carnival...

One day, back when I was working full time and living in the city of Akron, OH, I received an urgent phone call from my husband while I was at work. It was nearing the end of the day.

"I found a foot in the river."
"A what?"
"A foot, a human foot in the river... what should I do?"

Okay, so a little back story is in order. We lived in an apartment (Cedarwood Village if anyone is from the Akron area) right along the Cuyahoga River, and directly across from a golf course. My husband enjoyed walking down the bank of the river to collect stray golf balls from the less skilled golfers slicing across the river. On this particular day, he found more than a golf ball.

"Oh my g... really? Are you sure? Did you call the police? You should call the police. Maybe somebody dumped a body!"
"I haven't done anything yet. Ok. I'll call the police when you get home."
"Why when I get home?"

At this point I thought for sure there was some joke in store for me. My hubby is quite the joker and deadpan, but there was an edge of urgency to his voice. I hurried home.

When I got home he took me down the riverbank and I couldn't believe what I was seeing. About 12-15 feet out into water, less than a foot underwater (no pun intended) was what appeared to be a human skeletal foot. Needless to say we were both freaking at this point and the police were called. An officer arrived promptly.

Now, this was a big dude. A big, strong, young, tough cop. Think Denzel Washington in Training Day. But he was nervous. We led him down the river bank and when we got to the foot he looked totally freaked out. We told him how we didn't want to disturb it so we hadn't gone out into the water or tried to move it. He grabbed a long branch and waded out into the water... fished for it... and brought up...


I wanted to laugh so hard but with the cop still there I knew it would be inappropriate. He seemed relieved and a little annoyed. Hahhaah... he let us know we did the right thing and left us with a great story. I totally felt like CSI Akron :)

Courtesy of The Soup on Youtube:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Obsessed with Aqua and Red

Above image is by too fab Etsy seller yaelfran in her Tiny Art shop. I'm in love with all of the cute objects she has for sale! This particular piece falls right in line with my current obsession...

Yes, I am currently completely obsessed with a palette combining aqua and tomato red with accents of white and black. I am dying to do a layout using those colors for one of my design clients, but currently no projects quite fit the bill. So, in lieu of that, I'm painting my little heart away in that palette! These ACEOs and more are available in my shop. I start the process with a wash of lovely aqua paint, then just start drawing in ink and thicker watercolors, followed by white highlights. Oh, I also have to mention that I am IN LOVE with Arches 140 lb. cold pressed paper. I will never go back. It may be a little more expensive but it is so worth it.

A quick note

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hugo Cabret, Flickr and Fun Little Bits

First, I wanted to share the book I am currently reading with everyone, called The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It's a fabulous integration of illustration and storytelling creating a new take on the graphic novel. To quote the description from their website: "This 526-page book is told in both words and pictures. The Invention of Hugo Cabret is not exactly a novel, and it’s not quite a picture book, and it’s not really a graphic novel, or a flip book, or a movie, but a combination of all these things." It's a great escape from the everyday and something I find quite inspiring.

Next... my favorite puppy dog. My doggie-in-law, if you will, Chamois. Sleeping dogs are so peaceful.

I've also started a Flickr photostream to share more from my work, my hikes and the beautiful and strange things I see every day. And don't forget Twitter! Check out the bar to the left to follow me.

And finally, some new work in my Etsy shop!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Four Day Hiatus

Last week I decided to take a 4 days to myself to paint without any goals, without any directive to list the work on Etsy, without any obligation to anything internet based.

Well... my addiction to reading other blogs and checking out other fabulous hand made goodies on Etsy won out and I did spend some time online. In my meanderings, I discovered a few "new to me" artists that I've added to my list of creative lovelies. Others I've added I have been enjoying for some time. Please take a moment to check them out: A Beautiful Party, Karen Faulkner Art, and Jessica Torrant.

Bunny Girl by A Beautiful Party

Gourd Love by Karen Faulkner

The Great Shift by Jessica Torrant

Sharing the Blog Award Love

A big thank you this morning to A Beautiful Party for this sweet blog award!

Here are the rules: List 6 things I value and 6 things I don't and then pass this award on to 6 people.

I truly value these 6 things:
1. Doing the best to make those around us happy and safe
2. Creativity in all aspects of life
3. Simple pleasures such as cheese and a fabulous glass of wine
4. Honesty
5. Education
6. Trust

These six things make my stomach turn:
1. Willful ignorance
2. Hurtful behavior
3. Fear Mongering by the Media
4. People who are inconsiderate at public laundry facilities (don't ask)
5. Pretentiousness and Affectations
6. Abuse

And the folks I pass this along to these creative folk favorites of mine:
1. Dirty Footprints
2. Cause for Concern
3. Ian Oliphant's input/output
4. Karen Faulkner | Original Art
5. off-the-cuff collage
6. Get Outdoors

If you've done this before don't feel the need to post again just think how awesome you are!

cheers all!

Friday, October 17, 2008

More Autumn Loveliness

I just can't get enough of the woods right now. We took a truly butt-kicking couple of hikes recently. What's so fantastic about the woods near our home is the variation in terrain. There are meadows, fields, pine groves, a great twisty creek, ravines, cliffs, slate walls, huge hills to climb and trees galore. And the critters! Woodpeckers, deer everywhere right now, chipmunks scurrying to get ready for winter, squirrels like acrobats in the tree tops, and the sounds of birds singing all around you. Sometimes, when I'm there by myself, especially early in the morning I feel like I'm in Ridley Scott's Legend. I've yet to spot a unicorn though. (And thankfully Tom Cruise hasn't jumped out of any trees near me either.)

From 6castor6 on youtube.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hedgie – I Just Want Something I Can Never Have

I have to laugh at that title. When I was in high school, Nine Inch Nails was all the rage (well, amongst my group of friends anyway) and I used to spend many long hours pining away for... for what? I don't know, teenage angst I suppose it was. But Something I Can Never Have got played far too often.

So what does that have to do with my newest painting? Well, I will tell you sir! As most folks close to me know, I have always desperately wanted a hedgehog. This obsession started in 7th grade due to a biology class in which we had to do an extensive report on an animal. I've been in love ever since. If I ever got a hedgehog, I would not hesitate to name him (or her) Nigel.

Thus, I bring you my hedgehog painting. I had such a blast with this one. Enjoy!

New Ladies

A work in progress and a new piece. The completed painting opened up a new working method that I am enjoying most thoroughly. Gessoing watercolor paper before painting. Amazing smooth texture! I'm working on a hedgehog painting I am quite excited about that I will share with you soon.

A Beautiful Autumn Weekend

This weekend was just beautiful here in Ohio. Low 70's and crystal clear. Everything seems sharper somehow and the colors are amazing. Here are some photos I want to share from my trip to the Secrest Arboretum in Wooster. I couldn't believe how many flowers were still in bloom and how lush everything is in mid-October. They just recently built a lovely natural "amphitheater", seen in the third image below.

I'm excited because this week promises more terrific weather, leaves at their peak coloration and an evening hike every day! This is just what the doctor ordered.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Featured Etsy Blogger – Mama's Magic Studio

As part of the Etsy Bloggers Street Team, I'm proud to announce October's featured blogger, Mama's Magic Studio! Jen, (Mama herself), is an amazing woman with two Etsy shops Baby Friendly Beads and Mama's Magic Studio. Not only this, but she is a poet with a woman's studies degree, a jewelry designer and stay at home mom. Wow. What an inspiration!! Yes you can be all these things!

I love the Baby Friendly Beads concept and I covet many of her wonderful designs. To quote her shop statement: "Baby Friendly Beads are beautifully functional nursing necklaces and bracelets. Breastfeeding jewelry gives baby something else to focus on and play with, instead of pulling mom's hair or pinching her skin. Reminder bracelets track nursing sessions."

My favorite necklace is so cute, who would know it was functional too! Check it out in her shop:

And even though I'm not a knitter or crocheter, I love love love these cute earrings, she calls "fraternal ":

Keep at it Jen! You are total inspiration to myself and many other lovely ladies!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A little R&R

One of the most challenging aspects to working from home is knowing when to stop and finding a way to relax in the same environment in which you work. I know it's important to keep my work to my office... but I really love being in my studio office too!

So then, how do I relax?

1. Hiking... now that it's autumn I'm excited to get out and be among the earthy smells and gorgeous leaves. Here's another photo from my favorite local hiking spot (taken by my honey):

2. Reading: When I get the chance I like to pick up a book. I'm a bit of a fantasy geek. Pretty much anything Neil Gaiman will make me smile and take me worlds away. Right now I'm enjoying a very intriguing book by Nicola Barker called Darkmans. It is just the sort of surreal, funny, complex story that feels right this time of year.

3. Baking cookies... mmm... cookies...

4. Petting my cats, such a simple thing, but it can really lower my blood pressure and bring me back to center to hug the little (or not so little as the case may be) furrballs.

5. Painting... I know, I know, this is supposed to be about relaxation, but it IS relaxation for me. See, also being a freelance graphic artist, that is the part of my day that feels like work. Painting is MY time, it is a moment I can look inward, express myself, play, act like a kid, get messy, and sometimes something lovely happens in the process.

6. Hugging my husband. Can't get enough of that! ;)

Beautiful Rainy Morning

What a beautiful grey and rainy morning here in Ohio! There is just something I find inspiring in autumn rainy days. It reminds me of being in school and particularly of trudging across campus to Siegfried Hall listening to something moody and dreamy (cassette tapes even! boy does that age me or what?!).

I dreamed about painting last night. Now, I also dreamed of baking garlic bread in a high school locker, but dreaming about painting, waking up and being able to feel the brush in my hands and making dabs of color on the paper was fabulous. I fell asleep last night imagining what I would work on today and my surreal as usual dreams led me there.

Here's where I left off yesterday that led to the dreams...

P.S. I've been tagged by my dear creative friend Connie over at Dirty Footprints. Eeek! It may be a few days until I put that together. Stay tuned...

Monday, October 06, 2008

Murderer of Crows

"Murderer of Crows", 8" x 10" watercolor, acrylic, pencil and charcoal

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds represent some of the moodiest, most wonderful music to paint to. Well, at least it floats my boat! Particularly for the narrative aspect. I don't interpret narrative lyrics directly into an illustration or painting too often. No, in most instances the story of the song, the images the song creates in my mind directs an associated image. Sometimes it's a small symbol and sometimes it's more obvious.

This piece was in part inspired by The Carny which I've always found to be a terrific song for this time of year. My roommate freshman year at Ohio University said it reminded her of haunted house music. That made me smile. I like that thought.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

New abstract gesture sketches

I've been trying to continue in the "loose" mode. I am enjoying it and hope to fine tune this direction. Here are some more examples... they are quick 30 minute limit sketches. A few I really like a lot. Also, I'm working on a new bird lady piece (I don't know what else to refer to these as! Fantasy fashion portraits?)