Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Gallery Show Opening, Saturday, November 2nd!

I'm so excited! The date has been set, and I'll be gathering up my art for Saturday's Opening Reception. Stop by and see my latest works of art... whimsically playful paintings, drenched in bold, fun colors, with layers and layers of paper, paint, pastel, vintage ephemera and modern day embellishments. It's a mashup of visual texture and playful characters... with a few surprises thrown in! If you're around, come on down and enjoy Asbury's First Night gallery crawl festivities, and stop by to see what I've been up to!

The Art of Whimsicality
featuring mixed media creations by me!
at The Paint Place
605 Cookman Avenue
Asbury Park, NJ
November 1 - December 31

Opening Night Reception
First Saturday, November 2nd
6:00pm - 9:00pm
Light refreshments

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

One Year Ago Today... Oh, Sandy!

One year ago today, Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast. The devastation was simply mind-blowing. So on this anniversary, I thought I'd give you a look back at my own personal view of the after-effects of one very scary day and one terrifying night...

I've been absent for quite awhile because Hurricane Sandy swooped in and devastated parts of New Jersey! But, wow! We made it. We’re safe. We’re so, so, so, very lucky! Hurricane Sandy hit the New Jersey shore on Monday, October 29th and she was relentless. I’m sure many of you saw the destruction she caused on TV. It’s really heartbreaking. 

this gazebo is from the OTHER side of the lake!!
I live 3 blocks from the shore and 2 blocks from a lake and the Atlantic Ocean actually came up to our front steps!

I had some damage to the third floor studio. . . an entire piece of wall caved in during the height of the storm! 

And it was just me bracing myself against it at the height of the storm with 70mph winds, while I tried to drag a dresser over to keep it from completely caving in! Then we found a neighbor to help us batten down the hatches and as he was putting the last screw in.... Poof! The electricity went out. And stayed out for 11 days. Yes, 11 days. It was cold. I was cranky. It was a whole new world. An Amish life. It was like indoor camping. Not only that but our cellphone towers were knocked out. So there was no way to communicate with friends and loved ones for quite a few days. 

We're back up and running now and I'm trying to catch up on 2 weeks worth of life, work and sleep! I could tell you all the stories I heard, but I'm sure you all saw more than me on the television (that we were without for nearly 2 weeks!). So I'll just let the pictures tell most of the story of our little square mile that is Ocean Grove... which was lucky!

Neighbor's gigantic that did not hit our house!!

Lots of fish on the streets and sidewalks.

End of pier and fishing house gone!

The debris and cars just floated everywhere. This is a few blocks in from the beach.

And so is this!

Bulldozers piled all the sand from the roads back up toward the beach before another Nor'Easter hit only days later!

The boardwalk actually has so many peaks and valleys now... that it looks like a roller coaster. But the funny thing about the shore and the people that live here is that they were walking on it like nothing ever happened. We're just like that. We live at the shore. These things happen. We stay strong and we rebuild. We work together and help each other. Neighbors helping neighbors. And that's the beauty that comes out of something like this. Amen!

Update: So other than the third floor damage you saw in my post, we had flooding in the basement and plenty of roofing issues with the high winds from the hurricane. After lots and lots and lots of conversations with the insurance company and FEMA, all the construction and replacement work has finally been completed. Our tiny town of Ocean Grove is actually back up and running. But I cannot say the same for others. In times of distress we really do help each other and work together... but the point of all this is to remember that's the way it's supposed to be all the time. So let's not forget it. Let's not make it take more disasters to remember. We are all in this thing we call life... together. So let's just help each other out all the time.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Let's Party!

So I was painting my little heart out these past few weeks... having been invited to be a featured artist at a local Asbury Park gallery next month! I was so ecstatic when a graphic design client of mine came over to pick up a job I did for her... and was enchanted by my most recent slew of paintings. She said, "these are awesome... now paint more!" And I did.

This week I'm busy getting all my art together, creating some marketing materials (that graphic design background really comes in handy!), and coming up with ways to promote the event. And I have to admit... I'm getting kind of excited! We're still working out the exact opening date, but I can tell you that it's right around the corner!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What Does A Deer Dream Of?

I had this idea to create a painting featuring a deer girl character and needed something to fill the open area over her shoulder. I put out a Facebook poll and got lots of fun answers like: clover, butterflies, romping in the sun, ancient elk, bejewling their antlers, several eating-the-flowers-in-my-garden references, and few deer-hunts-people suggestions, including a twist on the old "Hunters Stew"! But in the end, I decided that my cloven-hoofed girl was dreaming about a pair of pink Mary Jane pumps. Sometimes we want what we cannot have!

I began by creating a two-toned sky using a funky number stencil. I figured she'd be dreaming about numerous pairs of fun shoes.

I created the impression of flowers, grass (and clover) by using layers and layers and layers of all shades of green paint, applied with foam stamps from Claudine Hellmuth's Studio collection (my all-time favorites!).

Then I transferred my image onto the completed background. I confess that many times I'm still not brave enough to draw directly on the canvas. I don't want to mess it up! This method suits me just fine though, and now I have a template to create lots and lots of deer, dreaming of lots and lots of other stuff.

A layer of white insures that whatever cheap acrylics I paint over top will keep their color integrity without a lot of wrestling with tons and tons of layers.

The faces always intimidate me and I end up working on them somewhere in the middle of my painting process. She was the first girl I did in this style with her eyes closed and it really came out very dreamy looking. Hooray!

My favorite shoes are Mary Jane's and they make an interesting-looking illustration as well. Making them obnoxiously pink... well, I couldn't resist!

A few swirls of pink in the flowers to pull it all together and a few dots of white on her body to create more texture and the painting is complete. I'm totally in love with her. And hey... if I were a cloven-hoof girl, I'd be dreaming of high heel shoes too. And maybe a few bucks. Oh, deer!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Art To Die For...

This past weekend was the Zombie Walk in Asbury Park... which inspired me to break out of my cute girl mold and paint something creepy and gorey. Yay! I mean.... Grrrrrrrrr.

Asbury's annual event brings thousands of walking dead to the city by the sea, and this year there were more than ever! In fact, they won back their Guinness Book of World Records title with 9,592 walking dead!

There was no lack of inspiration for my own zombie girl. Yikes! These dead are pretty scary!

So for my creepy creation, I started with some coffee stained kraft paper as my base and loved the splotchy-ness of it so much, that I decided to keep that as the background. For the day of the event, Asbury Park becomes Zombie Park and so I had to incorporate that into my piece. And an underlay of some Frankenstein green was the perfect beginning.

Working from dark to light, I wanted to really make the girl and the words pop off the drab background. I think she's actually starting to glow!

One of my favorite parts of this piece is the legs in chains as the A in PARK. I'd love to say that I am just that creative and this was totally planned, but it was a happy accident. As I was placing my original sketches over the words, I realized that the girl's legs fell right where the A was. So I added the chains to complete the hint of the letter A. Love it when that happens!

I have to admit that adding the blood was super fun! I watered down the ugliest, darkest red paint I had, blobbed it on the canvas, and then tilted it slightly to make all the wonderful drips!

Channeling the perfect zombie patina was a challenge that I really enjoyed. A deep dark mossy green, lots of blues and teals, a little pistachio and a touch of gray. And the illusion was complete!

Thanks to "Zombie Park" I have a brand new piece of art... which will actually be for sale in a gallery in Asbury this month. But now that I'm finished I feel a little hungry. Hmmmm.... what do I want to eat? Oh, I know... More brains!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Can I Peak Your Pinterest?

I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of computers, social media, web surfing and blog reading. They tend to just suck you in. You'll just go see what so-and-so is up to.... oh, what's that link.... hey, this is a cool article... hmmm, an ad for cat raincoats... better check that out! And before you know it, hours have passed by. And it may seem strange coming from someone who's job as a graphic designer had her on the computer 8 hours a day for more than 15 years... but when I get home from work, the last thing I want to do is sit in front of a computer. Until Pinterest, that is!

With a name derived from a "pinboard" of "interests" this site lives up to and exceeds the idea of a vision board. It's the one place in this world of social media that is pure inspiration. And it's so much bigger than that cork board over your desk. I mean... just look at all this amazing inspiration! Every time I open my Pinterest newsfeed, it's chock full of yummy eye candy. It really is addicting... but I don't mind. It inspires my art and my life. It's all good.

I can"pin up" an unlimited amount of ideas in as many categories as I like, and organize them however it suits my fancy! I've got sections for inspirational art, stuffies, dolls, collage, journaling, circus-related items, personal imagery, mark-making and scribbles, food, travel, home decor, organizing, studio ideas and so much more!

Since I've been on a quest to define my own personal style, Pinterest has been very helpful for me. I just click on one of my pinboards and voilà! Here are all the things I'm inspired by... with notes about what in particular I like. It's just so exciting... it makes me want to get off the computer and make something!  I feel like it's one of the most valuable tools in my art box!

You can find me on Pinterest at SideShowShelly. Check out my boards and see what inspires me. You never know what may peak your interest!