Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thoughtful Thursdays: Not Enough Memory!

After years of using the internet for my website, blogging, shopping, yahoo groups, and the like... I got tired of trying to remember all my user names and passwords in my head... or looking for them on their little scrap pieces of paper scattered everywhere. So I made myself a Web Log!

I got this cool alterable journal awhile back and it was the perfect size and shape. I painted it with Adirondack Paint Dabbers, swirled on a little bling with Stickles Glitter Glue and even added the vintage plastic index tabs, colorized with Adirondack Alcohol Inks! Now I've got all my information in one book... and I know exactly where to find it!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Charmed, I'm Sure!

Last week I got to work on my very first custom jewelry commission! I originally met with my client over coffee and baked goods while we rummaged through her multi-level jewelry box! She had no idea what she wanted, but as she came across an item that was special to her she would tell me the meaning behind it.

My mind started churning once all these items began to pile up in front of me... and I immediately thought of the combination you see above. I turned her ID bracelet into a necklace and used a sentimental ring and heart pendant she loved as focal points for the piece.

She also had a bunch of charms that she had held onto for decades.... and I squealed with glee as I realized they could all be whimsically combined into a cute charm bracelet! I interrogated her further on favorite hobbies, colors, events and memories she held fondly... and incorporated some of my own charms into the bracelet based on her answers.

My client also had an old unicorn hologram pendant she loved and really wanted to bring it back out into the light again. I wasn't sure how I would accomplish it, but I knew that I wanted to mimic the color of the hologram somehow. I struck gold when I found these iridescent butterflies in perfect matching shades. They kind of look like little bows... which I think makes this necklace super adorable!

I'll be meeting with my client this week to show her what I've come up with, and I'm so excited. The most important part of all of this is that these lovely, meaningful mementos will no longer be stuck in a box and will become awesome conversation pieces.

If you'd like to see more of my custom work or to have me make stuff from your stuff... check out the jewelry commissions page on my website!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thoughtful Thursdays: Paint Like A Child!

About a year ago, I discovered this exuberant young painting prodigy via a video on YouTube about her first solo exhibition in New York City. I immediately fell in love with the thoughtful innocence of Aelita Andre. Typically adorned in a tutu as her painting attire, she has not yet been stifled by the words, comments or discouraging remarks that many of us have experienced in our lives that have kept us from creating freely. I hope to one day be this innocent and free again. Now where did I put that tutu?

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."

Coincidence? As I was looking up this video to post on my blog, I found that Aelita Andre is having another solo show at the Agora Gallery in NYC which started on June 6th and runs through July 3rd. I may just have to check that out!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I Love Painting... No Bull!

I've been painting a lot of backgrounds lately, being inspired by the process and just really getting into the details and having fun. Suddenly, between the pasted papers, oil pastels and brush strokes there emerged a face of sorts! And... no bull... I knew just what I was going to make of it!

Combining recent discoveries from workshops by both Mindy Lacefield and Jesse Reno — as well as my own tried and true techniques — I created this primitive yet whimsical pretty pink bovine piece.

I really enjoyed getting into the details and puzzling out how to make the painting work as a whole. I was loving the battle of chaotic elements inside and outside the figure and used different techniques to balance them out. I brought the face together with a light wash of pink. I added red to some of the feathers, but kept some of the imagery in others...

I'm very fond of that seredipitous peek-a-boo stuff! And I love all the texture that was created from the many layers beneath. Rubbing out the oil pastel outline really helps emphasize that.

The body was a little trickier. I wanted it to be pink, not just because the face was... but because it was also a nice contrast to the blues and teals of the background. But the pink looked really dull and plain. I had taken a soft shade of blue to re-paint some of the flower elements inside the bull and it gave me an idea... to fill the body with scribbles, doodles and graffiti of the same shade! I now love this technique and will definitely use it again!

The elements outside the bull were the perfect contrast and so I didn't mess with them very much. Adding a slight dark shadow around the animal was all it needed to stand out against these delicious, obnoxiously bright swirls of color!

Alternating shapes on the painting — like these squares here —really helped balance out the overall piece. I definitely have a tendency to go on and on and on with a single shape and try to break out of that habit whenever I can.

I am overly ecstatic with this piece and wish I could make another one just like it! But my process is so organic, I don't know if it would ever come out the way I intended. I guess I'll just have to play around and see if that ain't no bull!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thoughtful Thursdays: Me... and You!

Yesterday on Facebook, one of the major craft companies posed an interesting question....

What is your favorite thing in your art studio?

And the first answer I thought of was... me! I'm my favorite thing in my art studio! Because without me, all those tools and supplies and paints and mediums really wouldn't mean a thing. It's the way I hold my brushes, and the way I push paint around on the canvas, and the way I combine the colors that makes what I do fun and unique. It's the papers I choose, and the way I carefully tear them, and the way I place them onto my substrate that makes what I do different from anyone else. And it's the junk I collect, and the potential I see in those objects, and what I turn them into that makes my stuff.... well... my stuff.

And whatever it is that you do, it's the way you do it that makes you special. And don't you ever forget that!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Happy Anniversary To Me!

I cannot believe that 2 years ago I quit my job to become a full-time artist! It seems like just yesterday that I took the leap of faith to make a hand-made life for myself.

In that time, I've written 198 blog posts, sent 3,648 tweets, finally joined Facebook, set up a YouTube channel and a Pinterest account, updated this blog and my website, vended at 14 art shows (including one burlesque show!), and sold 253 items in my Etsy Shop! Oh... and I've made a lot of art!

I created more than 120 pieces of one-of-a-kind jewelry, 125 Knock-Down Dolls, 50 Carnival-style Assemblages, played around with freaks at the circus side show, and even started a brand new line of folk art style rag dolls! I sold my art in over a dozen retail stores, got 9 pieces of art into juried gallery shows (even won an award!), and created lots of individual pieces of all shapes and sizes.

I distracted myself with refinishing furniture, giving birth to twins (dolls, of course), going to lots and lots of flea markets, yard sales and antique shows, as well as taking workshops from several very talented mixed media artists that I admire. Oh... and my other paying job... freelance graphic design!

I even partnered with my mom to launch Creativity By-the-Sea — a seashore art retreat right here in my home town — which attracted more than 75 attendees and plenty of high praise! It was such a great success that we're doing it again next April!

But it hasn't been a piece of cake, either. There have been lots of "almosts" too. A very unique copywriting job that fell through. An opportunity for online teaching that didn't work out, retail stores that never sold a thing, a licensing opportunity that I was turned down for, and dozens of other tiny losses. Add to that a stagnant economy and I have to say that these hand-made times are tough. In fact... I'm probably going to have to get a job (so, ummmm... let me know if you hear of anything!).

Being your own company means you do everything.... leaving little time for laundry, dishes, or vacuuming. Making money means spending money... also very scary, as your outcomes are never guaranteed. Working hard means lots of days exhausted and spent. But doing something you love certainly helps. Now to just find a way to keep doing it!

Despite the difficulties, I am amazed at what I've been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time. I learned a lot about myself... about selling in the real world and a social media world... about what works and what doesn't... and I've changed directions as many times as I have categories of art that I love!

So, I'm still learning and changing and growing.... and trying to be very gentle with myself. Because... that's what we should do when we follow our dreams.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thoughtful Thursdays: Serendipity!

Life imitates art. Or is it art imitates life? Whichever one it is... I love when serendipitous things happen in either arena! Recently I cut a neat graphic out of a magazine and added it to a collage I was working on. And although I loved the bright orange color and the retro font, it was the sentiment that caught my attention. Lately, I've been asking myself that very question... What do I want to do?

And when that happens, I usually go back and re-read some of my motivational books. Well, imagine my surprise and delight when I ran across the same title in the book I was reading... Manifesting Change! And do you know what it said?

Follow your heart.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Flea Market Weekend...

This weekend was Ocean Grove's annual Giant Flea Market... and giant it is! With over 300 vendors showing their wares, it takes me several hours to peruse all those wonderful pieces of vintage goodness.

You never know what you'll find at this particular mart... like this vintage gypsy wagon serving cart here. That was a first!

And of course there's always those items of rusty goodness that are a little out of my budget... like this antique kiddie car from an old amusement park. Loving it!

I typically shop for things to repurpose into jewelry, collage, assemblage, dolls, and mixed media art pieces... however, I didn't buy too much this time out. My brain kept saying, " you already have something just like that and you haven't used it yet!" And although my brain says that a lot... this time I had to agree with it. I do have lots of awesome finds that I need to upcycle. Guess I know what I'll be doing this summer!