Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Recent Interview by the Amazing Alisa Steady!

A couple weeks ago, Alisa Steady, the talent behind the Etsy shop "ArtByAlisaSteady", contacted me about interviewing me for her blog. What an honor! The interview was just posted last week. She asked some great questions that really made me analyze my creative process and think about why I do what I do.

Make sure you check out her blog and her Etsy shop too! Just looking at her art inspires me to pull my paints out. Right. Now. :)




Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Christmas Time Every Summer


At my last full time job as a graphic designer, I had the privilege of designing a company Christmas card every year. The best part was that my boss liked my watercolors and often encouraged me to do a new painting for the card. They planned ahead so much in their printing that I was usually working on new cards in July and August.

I left that job when I got married and moved to the Dallas area 4 and half years ago. But after 10 years of painting a Christmas scene almost every summer, I felt the need to continue the tradition on my own. The past few years though, I've painted more than one a year.

This past summer was no different. I added 2 new paintings to my Christmas collection. A cardinal in holly leaves and a snowflake.

 


Now if only I could get my personal cards done so early instead of waiting until the first week of December to get them ready! :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Bit Abstract

Studying about art in high school and college, I didn't like (read "didn't understand") abstract art. Maybe I feared it because I didn't get it. Therefore I said that I just didn't like it or it wasn't "my style." Now, I'm not going to try to explain abstract paintings here in this short post...don't know that I could. But I do want to help encourage an open mind to a different way of viewing this type of painting.

Out of nowhere it seems lately I have been drawn to abstract paintings. I notice them when I come across those pages on Etsy. I notice them when we're out and about, when they're hung in restaurants and stores. The more I've seen them, the more it's made me want to just try it. What I think I've been drawn to is the mood they evoke. Is it dreamy? Happy? Somber? I like trying to squint to see if I can find a tree or a building or a face in what was painted. I love it when I can really find a painting so interesting that it's hard to look away.

So why not jump in? What I decided to do recently was just go with a couple of the colors that had been of interest to me. My first try was in black, brown, and a touch of gold. A big step from my bright florals and my baby animals. At first this cityscape was only splashes of gray and tan. I told my dad it was a cityscape. Honest man that he is, he mentioned that he liked the colors but couldn't see "city." I added more definite shapes to my wanna-be buildings and for fun, I added some gold paint to the sky. (I LOVE gold watercolor paint, by the way! I just wish the scanner could pick it up better. :)



Well, a simple post on Facebook showed me that there are others out there who also appreciate the abstract style! What an encouragement to keep trying it!

For Fall, I painted a pumpkin. I love pumpkins, don't get me wrong. But looking forward to seeing real Fall colors when we visit family in Virgina next month, this is what I picture. Maybe I need a new one with a few mountains added though. ;)



Someone at church on Sunday told me that my abstracts are "throwing him for a loop." :) I like that. I don't want to be a one-trick pony. Keep 'em guessing, right? What next? I'm thinking a winter scene. Keep posted.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Craft Fairs!

Hey there! Remember me? Well, it's been a long time since I last posted. I have been super busy! May was an exciting month for me as I participated in my very first crafts fairs! Yup that was fairS, plural. I was in a small church fair about a half hour from my home on May 5. After all that preparation, it turned out to be pretty small. The organizers seemed to have everything in order. Where it didn't work was in the advertising and signage outside the church (minor detail). We just didn't have many people show up! But it really ended up being a perfect first show for me. With all the downtime, I chatted with many of the other vendors and got ideas about other shows and different kinds of table setups. It was such a nice group of vendors who were all willing to share ideas with each other, especially with us newbies.

Here's my first fair table setup:


I tried to get as much of my product visible and open on the table. I had a small old suitcase (in the center), where I tried to have paintings propped up for folks to flip through. It ended up being an awkward reach though. I did receive some nice feedback and gave my card out to quite a number of folks. I made a little over my booth fee, which paid for my gas and lunch to get out there. But of most value were the ideas for a new setup that I received from some of the other vendors.

For instance, another vendor was admiring some of the work on my table and just before she walked away, she noticed the book of portrait paintings (left corner). She said, "THAT'S your money maker." She then suggested I print out some of the portraits I've done of people, pets, and houses and get them up at eye level with a note saying, "ask for details on commission portraits." I had other ideas from vendors too that seemed really encouraging. So, regardless of how much (or little) money I made, this first fair was my training for the second fair three weeks later.

Then came the Etsy Denton Summer Bazaar. Oh. My. Goodness. Before I get to that, here's my table setup:


I got my new banner in time to hang in front of the table for this show. Although, I'm not sure how many folks saw it. I brought along a Japanese screen where I hung a number of paintings behind the table. I used a new basket (my husband found it for me at Home Goods) to keep the cards a little more upright and less likely to slip onto the floor. I ditched the suitcase idea and my dad made a stand on which I propped some Christmas cards and 8x10 prints. On a side note: I couldn't believe how many folks buy Christmas cards in May! I was so glad I brought them. :) Anyhow, these organizers sure knew what they were doing. I heard this was only their third show to organize, which was surprising!

The Etsy Denton Bazaar: We vendors were given an opportunity to participate in a coupon book for the show. The first 30 people in line would get a coupon book for freebies from participating sellers. We were still setting up and heard about the line that wrapped around the building! Then the doors opened. I waited. waited. Then the mob gradually made its way back to my corner... It was non-stop customers from 11 a.m. when we opened until about 2:45. We closed at 4. For that last hour I still had a number of customers though! The organizer got on the microphone to let everyone know we were shutting down, and I had a woman run back to my booth to buy the beagle portrait. It was AMAZING. I was exhausted but very satisfied with it all.

I had heard about a magic number to call a craft fair a success. Some folks say a successful show is when you make 10 times your booth fee. I almost made it to that (mine was more like 8x)! It was so fun. It was so encouraging to have people buy my work who truly appreciated it. It was so encouraging having numerous friends and coworkers come out to support me. Some even purchased from me!

I could never have done it, were it not for my supportive and encouraging husband. He's amazing! I'm so grateful also for all my supportive friends.

Now it's the month of June and I thought I'd take a rest from all the excitement. Well....then I found out about a couple more commission paintings I get to do. :)

But for any of you who have a craft to sell, I strongly recommend trying a craft fair! Especially if you're a people person, you will have fun. It's such a learning experience and it's so great meeting the people who enjoy what you do. The next Etsy Denton show is November 3. If I get in to that one too, anyone want to come see me?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

He is risen!


"He is not here; he is risen, just as he said" (Matthew 28:6).

I'm excited to be part of an arts group that was recently started at my church. The purpose of the group is to find ways to use our God-given abilities in fine art, poetry, music, video, etc. to encourage the church members. This latest assignment was fun for me. This Friday, Good Friday, we will have a room at the church available for prayer time. Our group is in charge of supplying art, written words, and music to this room to help encourage the believers there to focus on Christ and the true meaning of His sacrifice on the Cross.

For my contribution, I chose to do a painting of the empty tomb. It was truly amazing that Christ died for me the horrible death that He did for the remission of my sins. But it didn't end there! He conquered death by His resurrection! True victory! So the excitement of Easter morning is there because my Savior lives and defeated sin and death!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wild Critters

Painting, painting, painting. :) I guess it keeps me out of trouble! Well, I wanted to share what I've been up to over the last few weeks. After doing a couple pet portraits, I started to get requests for some wild animal paintings. Some of those requests were from you, fine readers. :) First I painted the bunny rabbit, then the owl, fawn, hedgehog, and squirrel!
I combined them as a set for the larger notecards in my Etsy shop. Some of the original paintings are available for sale too! What do you think? Next, I think I'd like to start getting ready for the summer (I know, it's not even spring!). Any suggestions? I was thinking about seashells, fish, jellyfish, starfish... Any other ideas? Thanks!



Monday, February 6, 2012

Shih-tzu Portrait


Yay! Another dog portrait. A shih-tzu this time. :) Instead of a step-by-step of how I painted this one, I thought I'd show what I worked from. Sometimes it's a random snapshot a person had lying around. With pets especially, as long as the eyes aren't too over exposed, I can often work with it.

What do you think? I hear there are lots of shih-tzu-loving people out there. Should I print the new painting onto cards to sell in my Etsy shop? I think I may need to start painting other animals too. What animals would you like to see painted and printed onto cards? Maybe I should take a stab at something different!