Friday, May 29, 2009

Creativity - A gift meant to be shared and celebrated.

How absolutely, positively wonderful!
An award for little ole me - and my little ole blog.

One of the greatest gifts that artist have, besides the obvious, is their enthusiastic response to the creativity of others. It is what fuels, encourages, and enhances their artistic growth. Since beginning my blog this past January, I have had the incredible opportunity to "meet" and converse with artists whose imagination and vision leaves me in awe. I love to visit their blog sites to see their latest works of art, to read their inspiring words of wisdom, or just to say hello. This process has opened up a whole new creative world for me and has enriched my own productivity. Therefore, I was delighted when Anna presented me with this "Lovely Blog Award". Anna is a mother to three grown girls, grandmother to four "gorgeous" grandchildren, and wife to one man for almost 40 years. You can visit her through her blog site Almost Precious or her Etsy shop Almost Precious beads and beading supplies.
Thank you, Anna, for this heartening award.
Now it is my good fortune to pass this award on to fifteen artists whose sites are a true artistic delight. Click on their sites to take a peak into their creative world ~ be prepared to be inspired!
1. Folk Art by Campbell Jane
2. Pecannoot by Jess Gonacha
3. Suzan Buckner: Mixed media and art journal artist
.4 Pfeiffer Photos by Tina Pfeiffer
5. A Field Journal by Livy
6. Annette Quirke : Mixed Media Artist
7. Artistic Accents by Darla
8. Cindy and Mindy: Children's Illustrations that tell a story
9. PVE - Design - a place to remember
10. Stephanie Levy: a studio with a view
11. The Artist Side of Vivienne Strauss
12. Simple Hue by Vicki Dvorak
13. A Fanciful Twist by Venessa Valencia
14. Studio Fuller by Beth Hannon Fuller
15. Vulture Peak Muse by Linda


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Illustration Friday

The word for this weeks Illustration Friday is...

Welcome Visitors
The door is cracked, come inside
Leave your cares behind.

In our humble beach bungalow, even though the school year is not yet finished and the official date is still weeks away, SUMMER has arrived!
kick off your shoes,
grab a beach towel and boogie board,
a glass of sweet tea,
or a cup of homemade ice-cream
and celebrate
the delicious
days of
Cheers to sleeping in, bike rides on the boardwalk, freshly made ice-cream, and sun-kissed skin.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Commissioned Painting - Portrait of Two Beach Babes

Picture of Two Sweet Babes on the Beach
A sister and brother, who are good friends with my son, have commissioned me to paint this picture of the two of them. The two siblings were about six and three when this picture was taken. That beach day is a just a pleasurable memory as the girl just finished her first year of college, and her brother is a sophomore in high school. The painting is to be a surprise mother's day/birthday gift for their mom. As you may imagine, I am pretty nervous about this painting, since I know it will be a true treasure for their mother. As I started sketching the picture onto canvas today, all I could think was "Lord, please guide my hands!" Here is the beginning ~ I drew it out with charcoal, and then used a paint brush and water to add value and shadows with the charcoal dust. I'll spray a fixative over the charcoal, followed by the acrylic paints. They want to keep the colors pretty true to the picture; so many more prayers are to come! :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hand built Pottery Crosses - Another day of Production

In The Art Studio:
A Day Of Production
Creating Hand Formed Pottery Crosses
My focus for today's production schedule ~ after putting away all art supplies from this weekend's art show ~ was to create hand formed crosses for a custom order.
I drew and cut out the cross shape then gathered together my supplies: fishing line, rolling pin, low-fire white clay, drywall board, 2 wooden strips, and a fine point "Sharpie" marker.

The drywall board is wonderful for wet clay. The clay doesn't stick to it, and it helps soak up moisture during the drying process. Fishing line is an easy, and inexpensive way to make a clean cut through the clay.
Unfortunately, I don't have a slab roller, so I made my own using 2 strips of wood (1/2 inch thick, and 2 feet long) and a rolling pin. The wooden strips act as a guide for the rolling pin, helping to give the clay a uniform thickness.
I use my "special cutting tool" ~ a martini pick :0) for cutting out the cross shape.
Once all crosses have been cut,
I smooth out the edges with my fingers and a wee bit of water.
I use the end of the sharpie marker to create a hole in the top of the cross.

I now let the clay sit out for 48 hours allowing time for the moisture in the clay to evaporate. Once this step is complete, I'll bisque fire it in my kiln.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Awesome Projects From Around the Web

I've scoured the web, borrowed ideas from other web sites (all of which are given credit) to bring you amazingly cute and fun project ideas.  Just click on the title underneath each image.  Enjoy and feel free to e-mail me a photo of your finished handiwork.

Photograph courtesy of You are my Fav

 Glass Sand Bottles with Shell Toppers

 Fused Plastic Recycled Gift Bags 

Recycled Plantable Paper   

 Colorful Tiered Trays 

Recycled Cardboard Notepads 

 Coloring Book Images to Click and Download
Just left click on the image then copy, paste, and print. 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Edward Hopper Inspired Painting - Rooms by the Sea

Oil on Canvas
Edward Hopper considered one of the significant realist painters and print makers of the twentieth century is known for his use of deliberate, disciplined sparseness. His paintings, simple and bleak with an ongoing theme of loneliness, also address nostalgia for values of the American past. His carefully calculated compositions paid particular attention to geometrical design, and the effect of light and shadow. As a mature artist, he lived and worked in New York City and spent most of his summers on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. His painting, Rooms by the Sea, is based on the view out the back door of his summer studio. While the composition was suggested by this view, the image effectively portrays Hoppers theme of solitude and silence more so than serving as an actual record of this room.

A wonderful friend of mine used to live in a condominium by the sea. This picture was taken looking out her porch door.  I've always loved this image, probably because it is very "Hopperish" in style. This week I decided to paint it, using "Rooms by the Sea" as an artistic guide.

Day One~ Trying to get the lines, colors, shadows and a surrealistic look onto my canvas.

Day Two ~ Adding a little more color and detail into the scene.

Day Three ~ Using a picture of "Rooms by the Sea" as a guide, I added more detail, color and shadow. I liked the red chair cushion, so I carried that color around the painting ~ using more of it in the flowers, door handle, door hinges, and in the shadows on the door and porch roof. Tomorrow I'll be setting up for Stockley Gardens Arts Festival, so this painting might be finished.....we'll see!

 Update - The painting wasn't finished in time for the show, but that was a good thing as it is now hanging in my wonderful friends new home.  What do you think ~ Have I sufficiently channeled Hopper??? Artistic critiques are always welcomed!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Shop Indie Online Feature Article Today is about.....ME!

Shop Indie Online
Shop Indie Online is an online shopping directory begun and promoted by artists/ business owners. The site is dedicated to supporting independent artists/businesses with unique, high quality items and customer service. It is their belief that as artists and independent business owners we can accomplish more by promoting our indie products as a whole ~ in one location ~ verses on an individual basis. Featured here you will find a wonderful selection of handmade items such as hand painted pottery :), paintings, bath and body products, jewelry, photography, fashion, cookies, etc, etc, etc.
I want to thank Chris for his feature on me and my products; and for bringing attention to the wonderful items being produced by independent artists and businesses. We truly appreciate Shop Indie Online!
****~~And now off to create~~****

Monday, May 11, 2009

Illustration Friday....Thanksgiving Day Parade Painting....

Thanksgiving Day Parade ~ Featuring Snoopy.
Acrylic Painting on canvas
Every year my husband, two children, and I plan a trip to somewhere special for our Thanksgiving Holiday. It is a tradition which we started when our daughter was in kindergarten and our son in third grade. Two years ago when our son was a senior in high school, he got to choose our vacation destination. His choice ~ New York City. This trip ranks as one of our all time favorite Thanksgiving Holiday Vacations.
I created this painting after our memorable visit.
Who could resist Snoopy?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day...

Happy Mother's Day
Before I was a Mom
I stayed up late
I drank pink martini's with my girlfriends
I wore all the latest fashions and
went shopping on weekends.
Before I was a mom, my house was clean
and quiet.
I could read a book without falling asleep.
I slept in on Saturdays and didn't feel guilty.
Before I was a mom, I never held a newborn
baby and
cried because it was perfect.
I never grew delirious over the sound of
I never knew I could be so proud of someone
gaining weight,
or smiling,
or reaching out to be held.
Before I was a mom I never experienced the
overpowering love
one has for their child.
Or the incredible desire to instill in something
so small a sense of
security and happiness.
Before I was a mom, I never knew how much
joy I could have
because I was a mom.

With love and Mother's Day Wishes to my mom, my mother-in-law, and
to every woman who has been blessed with the precious gift of a child.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Duck's Cottage Coffee and Bookshop in Duck, N.C....

This is one of my families all time favorite hangouts ~ A delightful coffee and book shop located on the waterfront in Duck, N.C. The coffee shop opened in July of 2002, but the house itself, although renovated, has quite a storied past. It was originally built as the Powder Ridge Gun Club in the 1920's by a group of New York sportsmen. Visitors came to hunt the areas plentiful array of waterfowl - hence the towns name. The house was built on a point making it the perfect location for these sportsmen.

In the 1940's the house was bought by Duck and Betty Braithwaite who used it as their private residence until 2001. The house was then moved to its present location, renovated, and is now a hunt club for coffee and book lovers.

Duck Cottage is my son's respite and dream. This is his "gotta go to" place when we're in Duck visiting my in-laws, and his idea of blissful ownership. A coffee shop like this is the perfect business for a Starbucks-loving book connoisseur. So, in order to remind him of this stress-free spot while he's away at school, I combined two pictures:

This photo of my son studying Russian (notice the coffee cup!) ~ taken from U.Va's "Week in Photos" website along with the picture of Duck's Cottage

and ~ wala ~ his perfect visual study spot!

The story continues....

I started this painting last summer and this is how far I've gotten. I was having a tough time getting the colors exactly how I wanted I set the painting aside for awhile, periodically glancing at it, and thinking "I need to get back to work on that!" Well.....a few months back I hosted a "Girls Night Out" glass slumping art party at my house ~ (to view pictures from that night, click here). Lo and behold but who should be here, and looking at my painting, but the wife of Duck Braithwaite's grandson. She looked at the painting and said "I know that place, it belongs to my husband's family and that's where we got engaged!" She gave us the history of the house and the painting - although unfinished - came alive through her storytelling. Life is funny sometimes - and you have to love it when a moment like this happens.

I am really hoping to have this painting finished in time for Stockley Gardens Arts Festival next weekend ~ May 18 - 19.

So, off to paint

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How my husband celebrates me getting one year older.....

I'll start out by admitting that my birth date is 2 weeks and 2 days before my husband's - same year, same month, just a little bit earlier. For the next two weeks, I am officially much older than him. Therefore, even if it's only for a short amount of time, I am officially a "cougar". So, in order to keep his older and wiser wife satisfied and interested, my much younger husband went all out in planning my birthday dinner.
Dinner Menu:

Cocktails ~ Fresh from the garden Mint Mojitos
Appetizer: Barbecue shrimp with cucumber

Salad: Fresh Greens with melon and craisins

Main Course:
Lobster grilled with garlic and paprika
Scallops sauteed in white wine
Caribbean Rice with pineapple
Fresh broccoli
And to top it all off ~
Delicious Chocolate Cake with mounds of Chocolate Frosting!!!!

The Result:
A very happy cougar wife.
Yup...I'll keep him!
Cheers to all cougar women who have an energetic younger husband whose sole intent in life is keeping their older, but still sexy :) wife happy!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Hand Painted Pottery Plates - Glazed and Ready to be Fired.

Hand Painted Pottery Plates ~ Custom Orders and Sample Pieces
This has been a very busy week, for which I am thankful. The numbers for the Garden Show and Sale on Wednesday were down, but as a first time vender, I was pleased with the contacts I made and the custom orders I received. I have not participated in a Craft Show since my sixteen year old daughter was two, so it was great to be in the company of fellow craft artists again. The pieces in the picture are custom orders for a birthday party, and sample pieces for a local children's boutique, Busy Bee's ~ and for listing on my etsy site. I drew the designs and started painting them yesterday. It is my plan to finish painting and adding the top coat of glaze today. Since I have another show this evening ~ Virginia Beach Town Center First Fridays Art Walk ~ I'll have to wait until tomorrow (my birthday :) to fire them. Unless, of course, my husband plans on whisking me away for a much deserved ~ happy birthday, I love you so much honey ~ vacation. If that dream happens, the pieces will just have to wait until Monday to be fired. Hmm...Maybe I should go get my bag ready....just in case.....