Friday, November 21, 2014

A Love Affair w/ Jim Dale at the Night Circus...

I LOVE to read. There is no better feeling than that of a good book in your hand. Also, nothing makes you feel richer. I mean no matter if your pockets are empty there are always books available. The library is a marvolous place filled with endless adventures. The greatest gift a parent can ever give a child is a library card. Oh the worlds to can travel to, the adventures you can take!

Sadly my days of curling up with an actual book have beenpostponed till my wee ones are older. My reading time has been filled with other fun activities like giving out hand stamps after successful trips to the potty with my 2 1/2yr old and couch surfing with my 7mth old. 

So what does a mom do when she can't actually sit with a book? Well she reflects back to her college days when she used to listen to her english homework while painting her art homework! Yep, Audiobooks are SO amazing. And what makes it even better is when the narrator is a genius. I downloaded The Night Circus from my library using the Overdrive app and when I pushed play I was greated with the voice of Jim Dale! He was the narrator for one of my all time favorite (now canceled) TV Shows called Pushing Daisies. If you never watched it, run and find it now! I mean they work at a place called The Pie Hole! What more do you need to know? Anyways I digress. At first I was a bit worried as Jim Dale has a unique voice, a tilt towards the cheesy one might say but after listening to just a few moments I swooned with the genius of the decision to have him read. What a delight it was to listen to this unique and wonderful adventure called The Night Circus with Jim Dale as my guide. 
Can't recommend it enough. I HATE when people give spoilers so here's how I described the book to my mother when she inquired...

Two guys with real magical powers make a bet.
Two young people are raised and trained as competitors.
The Night Circus is the skeleton upon which a delicious cast of characters is hung. 


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Halloween Cozies are in the SHOP!

Halloween Cozies are here again!
I only have 4 left and then they are gone forever!

Visit the SHOP today to get them before they are gone!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Spark of Inspiration and a Tiny Watercolor...

Last week on Facebook I came upon a link to the AMAZING artist Lorraine Loots. You can read about her 2013 Paintings for Ants and her current project Postcards for Ants HERE

I personally can't stop looking at her work. Good thing there is a new one every day!

After soaking my eyeballs in her fabulous work the gears in my artist brain started a turnin'. I love all things tiny and detailed. I have a long history of creating photo realistic art be it drawing or painting. Inspired by Ms. Loots I have finished a tiny watercolor!
Though not nearly as tiny as hers, its a start. Working tiny in watercolor is a lot harder than one imagines. Acrylic I think would be easier. 

This was what my table art table looked like when I started. Tunes playing on my iPad thanks to Soul Shenanigans. I am lucky enough to have North Light in my studio so I arranged my art table in a way that the light comes in from my left as I am right handed so that there are no shadows cast onto my work from my drawing/painting hand! 

A limited palette of 6 Daniel Smith watercolors plus white gouache, some cheap tiny brushes I happened to have on hand, a dragon and crane for resting my brushes, a tea cup and sake cup for water and a pencil. 
The hardest part was choosing only 6 colors for my palette! I'm a color addict as you may imagine. 

The deliciously smooth paper I used for this painting. 

What it looked like after blocking in the colors.

I think she was pretty much finished at this point!

A close up detail photo for you. 

After she was all finished and to my liking I went in search of a frame. I found this one in a box in my closet. I purchased this beauty many years ago off the clearance table at World Market. It's been in a box and moved at least 2 times that I can think of. I think they go together just perfectly, don't you?

I am so pleased with how it turned out that it's currently sitting on my table giving me continued inspiration. I have been inspired and envision an even larger project sort of in the line of what Ms. Loots has created but with my own take on the idea. 
So look for more tiny paintings to come! As a mom of 2 kids, this is a project that fits my current life perfectly! I haven't been this inspired, this excited about an art endevour in some time!!!!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Oirish Tirsday...

I don't have a TBT Art Edition this week because I have a current little WIP or Work In Progress! Yay for being creative, right?

When I said a "little" WIP I meant it ;-) This little baby is only about 2 1/4" across and actually I think it's still a little too big. Crazy right? But it either just feels right or it doesn't, ya know?

It will get finished and framed and most likely hang in my hubby's office as this is his precious barn in our back yard. He practically rebuilt it by hand since it was in such disrepair.

He's an amazing man but we already knew that ;-)

I don't know about other artists but the creating goes so much smoother with some tunes. 

Every Thursday from 3-5pm EST I listen to a live radio show from Kiltimagh, County Mayo Ireland called "Soul Shenanigans"

The DJ is a very close personal friend of mine.

In honor of the big independence vote today, the show itself is all Scottish so please tune in!

Can't listen live?

Keep those toes tappin' and do something creative everyday, even if it sucks!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Throw Back Thursday, Art Edition...

Back in 2004 we set off on an adventure. We were young, debt free, had no children and decided to move from Frederick Maryland to Carson City Nevada! Yep, that's quite a story but that's for another time. 

This week's TBT Art Edition takes us to November 2005.

One morning on the way to work Mr. AB called from his cell phone to tell me to walk down the street to see the fabulous morning fog laying in the valley. I grabbed my shoes, my camera and off I went. 

The scene was amazing! There's nothing more magical or erie than a foggy morning. 

Photo of the Sunridge Golf Club in morning fog.

This is the photo as it looked after I played around with it. To me, this was the moment when it demanded to be a painting. 

This is the finished 5x7 watercolor painting. I LOVE how it turned out.
What do you think?

I wish I still had this painting but as usual I gave this one away as well.

These TBT posts really have me going down memory lane as I look though photos of old art. There are so many things I've done and given away as gift that I have totally forgotten about. I probably could fill a museum with all the art I've given away.

I sometimes feel like I'm not an artist anymore because there's hardly any of my work in my own home. I really need to start keeping my own stuff. 

But it just feels SO good to give it away and make others happy!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Throw Back Thursday, Art Edition...

TBT again already? My does time fly when you're havin' fun!

So this week's look back takes us to circa 2008. 
Living in Virginia at the time, the hubster and I enjoyed exploring the many parks in our area. While we were walking one of our favorite trails  I was taking photos as usual and I got an idea. An idea to illustrate a little set of post cards and send them to the children of some friends! Yeah, sort of a post card version of serialized books. 
This would give the kids not only the joy of getting mail but also something to look forward to!
Who doesn't love looking forward to more fun mail?

This was the first one and it set the scene. Since I lived in Virginia and the children I was writing to lived in Ohio, I made it seem like I was writing about a far off magical place. Well to a child who had never been, it may very well be just that.

#2 was trying to instill a sense of wonder. Trying to illustrate that if you observe carefully, you can find wonderous things everywhere!
My mother taught me this :)

#3 speaks to the communities of tiny animals you may find!

#4 tried to illustrate the point that being still in nature is important. Some things can only be observed and enjoyed if you are patient. 

All together a cute little group I think.

I'm SO happy I thought to keep a set for myself.  Most art I create and send in the mail is lost to me foever as I rarely ever even photograph most things. Truly creating and setting art free into the world for those I love to enjoy.

The backs of the Post Cards. 

 I hope to work on some new Mail/Serial Story Project soon. 

I'd love to hear any thoughts you have on what kind of story adventure you'd like to get in the mail!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

August is Pink?...

I like my months to be assigned a color. Usually August is orange but this year it's pink and I think I like it that way. Anyone else like their year broken up by different colors?

Anyhoo...It's the first monday of the month and while I am amazed that it's AUGUST already, I love it when I flip the page to a brand new month. 12 times a year I get to start fresh. How exciting is that? For me that fresh feeling everyone gets when the calendar year changes is nice but short lived don't you think? The moment you step on the scale and it's not going as you hoped or the first birthday card you forget to send can derail your new sense of freshess. But for me, I prefer to make it a wee bit more manageable. So 12 times a year I get a fresh start. New ideas start rolling in and things seem easier to manage. 

How do you break up your year?

And yes, I hand draw my calendars. I have for years now and yes,
 it takes time but it makes me so happy! 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Throw Back Thursday, Art Edition...

For those of you who are fellow Facebook Addicts like myself know about TBT or Throw Back Thursday where you post a picture from a time gone by. I've really been enjoying everyone's posts. I mean what is more fun than being given permission to look through someone's old photos?

I thought I would do a TBT "Art Edition".
Here's one of my favorites from 3years ago.
(why does it feel longer than that)

 My first real portrait done in acrylic. It was quite a challenge let me tell you. 
If years from now some art historian were to analyze this painting they will see no less than a BILLION layers of paint as I tried over and over again to get the skin just right. 

 Here is a photo of the finished product with a can of Coke just for scale.

This is a portrait of my dear friend David Cassidy.
The concept was to design a "wine label" utilizing info about his weekly live radio show.
How did I do? 

Every Thursday from 3-5pm EST he does a live radio show from Kiltimagh, County Mayo Ireland!
Can't listen live?

Trust me, he'll keep your toes tappin for 2hrs straight each and every week!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Chair as Inspiration...

If you have an August Birthday and are on my Birthday Card Mailing List 

Rember the Green Beauty I got last weekend?

Yeah, she's so awesome I had to draw her!

A continuous line drawing in my X-Large Moleskine Cahier Notebook. 
It turned out so well that I couldn't stop looking at it.  I loved it and felt the need to share it with others. 

So a set of 14 was begun!
Each month I make Birthday Cards for Friends, Family and Loved Ones. August is a HUGE Birthday month with 12 people on my mailing list.
These will be used for my August birthday cards!

A little watercolor using some of my favorite greens and a splash of Quinacridone Gold! 
Man I love that Quinacridone Gold. 

Sorry August Birthdays. I'm so excited about these that I just couldn't keep it to myself. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sweet Finds = New Studio Additions...

Over the weekend the studio adopted some new furniture! A local photographer and owner of the former Ginger and Spice Marketplace (it closed in November 2013) posted that she was opening her warehouse and selling everything inside. I was intrigued. Then I spied in one of the photos she posted this lovely green beauty. I'm a sucker for a good green. 

The Muse LOVES to help so she eagerly grabbed the mini shop vac and got to work. 

While snagging the Green Beauty at the warehouse sale my heart fluttered over this couch sitting unloved against a side wall. It was covered with hat boxes, misc items and had a sticker price of $40. Yep, you read that right...$40. 
Be still my heart!

At least you can say I have consistant taste as the newly snagged couch matches PERFECTLY to the chair my sister-in-law passed along to me nearly 4years ago now. 
She still can't understand what I see in that chair but I LOVE her! 

A little rearranging and the studio is becoming a real place to hang out! There's nothing I love more than grabbing a cup o' joe in the morning and walking into my studio to find Mr. AB and The Muse elbow deep in Mess Free Coloring Books or lost deep in the pages of a book. 

I can't express enough how lucky I feel to be in my mid thirties and realizing a vision I've had for so long. A studio filled with love, laughter and creativity not just for me but for my family. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Stolen Moments and the Evolution of a PostCard...

As anyone with children knows, moments alone are rare and moments alone doing something creative are even rarer still. So when I woke up this morning and it appeared that both kids were choosing to sleep in just a little later than normal I stole some moments for myself. I have a little travel art set at the ready for just such an occasion! 

One of my all time favorite cup cozies The Giraffe Cozy was just begging to be drawn. So, I got out my new Uni Pin pens, one of my favorite Fabriano Medioevalis Cards and I was off and running! I loved how it turned out so much that I decided to add some color. 

What better way to add color to a Giraffe patterned coffee cozy than to paint it using real coffee?
I haven't painted with coffee for some time so it felt great to get back into it. 

As I worked I got more and more excited!

The decision to call it done is usually a hard one but this time I think it was easy. 

I was very pleased by the results. 

And it smells wonderful!

A pretty good likeness I think!

I have a hard time keeping most of the art I do.  I had originally intended for this to be a postcard for some lucky person but once it was finished I fell so in love with it that I don't think I can let it go!
Or at the very least I'll hang on to it for a while till I get a new favorite! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Getting Back into the Swing...

It's been a while...
How have you all been? Still there? I wouldn't blame you...

Quick update:
I redesigned my Logo, refreshed my Blog and Facebook Page, spent some months being too exhaustingly pregnant with baby #2 to actually post anything, had baby #2 in March, now getting enough energy to be inspired and finally get back in the studio! 

I'm having that wonderful problem where the ideas are just streaming into my brain but I can't seem to keep up with them all. You know how you can sometimes do your best thinking while in the shower? Well I seem to do my best thinking while I'm stuck in a seated position with my son stuck to a boob nursing and the pen and journal are out of reach! AHHHH! That is always so frustrating. I've yet to learn to just leave a little notebook by the couch. Duh, that would solve all problems but do I learn? Nope!

I do take my notebook with all it's juicy notes to bed with me. Though I'm usually too tired to write at the end of the day. Brownie Points for trying though right?

A peek into the studio from my side of the baby gate. Half of my studio is for me and the other half is for the young ones. The Muse has half the studio that she now has to share with her little brother. Though he doesn't take up too much space, yet anyway. 

Creating while taking care of two little ones is challenging but fun since the studio is always filled with creativity of one form or another. 

There's no greater inspiration than the laughter and giggles of children.