Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Fun!

Since I don't have much new to report in the art world or the green world (holidays and work are keeping me pretty busy these last couple of weeks), I figured I'd post something fun today.

A couple of months ago my grandmother was going through some things at her house. She found a box of a bunch of old drawings and artwork of mine, done back when I was a kid. It appears to be from the time when I was pretty obsessed with bees and potty humor, so let's guess 25 years old. Or, okay, 6 or 7.

A lot of times when I'd go stay with my grandparents in the summer, my grandparents would buy me a bunch of art supplies and other fun stuff to do- even if I was only staying there for one night! They had a pool and a huge yard and a million fun things to do, it seemed, but they always had art supplies around for me. Probably because it was something that wasn't dangerous and meant they didn't have to be around watching me like a hawk and could actually take a bit of a break, since I remember them commenting that I "couldn't sit still for so much as 5 seconds."

So here are a couple of the pictures she found.

Sadly I remember exactly what went through my mind as I was painting this one. Too bad the scanner has a hard time actually capturing fluorescent poster paint colors accurately. The bottom of the painting looks green here, but it's really a nasty pukey color. I think I was actually trying to paint something nice, but when it came time to mix a brown color for the dirt from which the tulip is growing, I got this awful puke color instead. And I got mad that my nice picture was ruined, so I labeled the ground "puke" since that's exactly what it looked like.

My discovery at this awesome puke color led me to create this next painting.

A big puking spider. Because I hated spiders, so they might as well be associated with puking and other disgusting things.

Ahhhhh, the beauty and wonder of crayola paintbrushes, a big pad of colorful construction paper, and fluorescent poster paints!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Feels so good...

to be able to call a project done. Really, really done.

I actually took the time to do something I don't look forward to at all: Scanning in a painting. Here is the final, finished painting!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Magical Mystery Tour is dying to take you awaaaayyyy....

.....Dying to take you away,
Take you todaaaaaaaaaaay!!!

Today I finally finished my Hawaiian Ginger painting!
But I have yet to find my camera..... still.
So for now, the final product will have to remain a mystery! Until I find my camera, find a good deal on a used camera, get a new camera, or scan in the painting. :)

Of course, this means I get to start a new painting- or, more likely, a new series of paintings. Sadly, I'm getting away from tropical for a bit. Living further north and having 90% of the weeks being overcast (and colder than I'm used to this time of year) makes me miss the tropics WAY too much to be staring at a tropical themed painting for months on end!

So I'm going with food. Everyone loves food, right? Especially me. And while I'm painting it, I'll probably be eating it... and drinking it- lots of it!!- in the form of wine, since my next paintings will be of grapes.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Product I'm So Excited About!

Check it out... Bio Bags!|BIOBAGS

No, these aren't biohazard bags or the bags you use to dispose of sharps. They're clear sleeves for art (or whatever else you want to put into them). What's so damn great about them is that someone finally made use of the biodegradable compostable plastic technology for the bags artists slip over their prints.

I had sought out a more eco-friendly option for enclosing my prints earlier this year, and clear plastic seems to be the only thing that makes sense to use. I researched compostable/ecofriendly plastic sleeves and found some- maybe made by the same company?- but I seem to remember the biggest size being offered was approximately a 5" x 7" bag. Now they offer them big enough to enclose a 16" x 20" piece of art. How perfect is that!?

Thanks, EarthFirst!
They are doing all kinds of great things with ecofriendly plastic films.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's not easy being green, Part 84748329

I'm almost all settled into the new place, which is a relief! The office- where I'm sitting now, and where all of my art supplies are also sitting, sadly, still in boxes for the most part- is still a disaster. I would love to post pictures of it for a laugh, except that I still can't find my camera!

Also on the list of things I have yet to find:

-My printer cable
-My Stargazer Lily painting (and canvas prints)
-My business cards (but who needs them, anyway?
-A place to dump the recycling around here

Yes, here I am, living in a city. I moved up here from a rural place. Though, truth be told, it was like pulling teeth, I still managed to get a recycle bin from Waste Management in my old town.

One might think in the city, you'd have access to tons of recycling opportunities. Aren't cities supposed to be all sophisticated? That's what they led us to believe in my hometown... Yet here I am, still throwing all of my garbage into one bag and tossing it like it's 1980 :(
It's so against what I've been doing for the last few years. I made about 30 calls last week, left messages, got a few rude people on the other ends of a few calls (which was just plain funny- one lady acted like "How DARE you call me and ask about residential recycling? WHO DO YOU THINK YOU AAAARE!?!?"), yet I still have absolutely NO idea where the hell to take my paper, cardboard, plastics, etc. It's starting to drive me crazy. How hard can it be? ...Seriously?

Some people acted like I should just go get a basket. Actually, that was a pretty universal response. Great, that's just what I would do, except that I've been told where I live, a basket is pointless because as soon as you put it outside, it gets stolen!? (Um... Probably because no one else can figure out how the hell they can recycle their stuff.) I am even willing to just bag up the recyclables- separately!- and just go take them to wherever they need to go. Folks on the phone acted like that's the most bizarre concept they've ever heard of.

I've seen dumpsters back at home where they have different compartments for things-- can't we just get one of those? I just don't understand how, in an area where recycling is actually mandatory and required by law, it's damn near impossible.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wine Wednesday & Artwork Series: My first solo show! :)

Blue Wind Gourmet in southern Maryland is hosting a fundraising event each week for Patuxent Habitat for Humanity.
Each week, the gourmet store is featuring a different artist. I will be featured the week of November 5-11!
The Artist reception is from 5-7pm on Wednesday, November 5th.

I'm very excited to go and set up one week from today... I still have to actually finish unpacking my artwork though, and figure out which to bring with me!

And since moving.... I really do miss Blue Wind. I love their sandwiches and especially their pizzas, and I have yet to find anywhere comparable in the Burg. But since I'll be home once a month or so, hopefully I will get a chance to indulge then.
It's lunch time, and now my mouth is watering.... thinking about the cornstarch pizza crust... and made-from-scratch salad dressings...


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ain't That a Kick in the Crotch?

A play-by-play of the Neptune show in Virginia Beach last weekend.

I make two piles of art show stuff in my garage: Essentials that have to go, and a "Nice To Have" pile. I'm renting a car for the trip, and I prepare my piles in case I get stuck with a smallish SUV. I want to be prepared if there are some things that won't fit.

Drive to Enterprise. There is a mean looking black Dodge Caravan in the packing lot. It's awesome. I hope it is for me.
3:07pm: The Dodge is mine. I can't believe this bad-ass van is all mine for the whole weekend. This is a good omen. The weekend is going to be perfect. I can tell.
3:23pm: The Caravan is a blast to drive. I feel like I'm in a tank. What could be cooler than driving a tank? I'm ready to take on the world!!! Time to load up this bad boy!
3:25pm: Rain. Lots of rain. Back the van into the garage to fascilitate loading.

5:27pm: Everything fits into the van perfectly. I can bring all of my essentials and the nice-to-haves, too. AND I can even see clearly out of ALL the van's windows! Nothing can go wrong! I AM INVINCIBLE! Time for my mom and me to hit the road!
5:45pm: Huge rain storm. Soooo.... much.... rain. But that's okay... because I know that the rain will come tonight, and by tomorrow morning the weather will be PERFECT!
9:35pm: Arrive in Virginia Beach.
9:37pm: Arrive at our hotel and check in. Guess what? FREE UPGRADE! We are oceanfront!! I go move the van into the parking garage. The wind is INSANE and I return to our room to find I am now sporting a brand new 'do: Dreadlocks.
10:25pm: Lights out and time for bed! It's going to be a wonderful weekend!! I'm so excited!

I wake up. The sun is peeking through clouds, shining brightly into our room. I knew it. It's going to be a beautiful day.
7:50am: I look down at the boardwalk and see lots of artists setting up.... What the heck? We aren't even supposed to register until 9:00am. And we aren't supposed to be on the boardwalk without registering first. But now that I'm awake, I might as well take advantage of it and go set up, too.
8:15am: I move the van down near the boardwalk entrance. I make trips with the cart for my tent, panels, drop cloths (which I won't need because the weather will be amazing), tables, prints, and art to my designated spot. While setting up, I meed Beebee and Virginia, of the Hummingbird Candle Company, who have the space next to me. They are super sweet and have tons of great advice. Even better.... they have a ridiculous sense of humor. I love it. We are all laughing so much.
10:00am: I'm done setting up, so Mom and I decide to go register (oops) and get some much needed food. STARVING!
10:11am: We find the registration "tent" (actually a big truck with a red sign that is sitting in the truck, not out anywhere). I get my paperwork. I also meet my neighbor, Chris, of Aqua Exposure. He seems about my age, which is rare at shows I've been to, and he's super nice.
11:14am: I plan to head back to the room to shower and actually put some effort into my appearance... But while walking back, we realize almost all of the artists are open for business, even though the show isn't technically supposed to start until 4:00pm (late start due to the weather). But the boardwalk is packed. The weather is nice. I better get to my booth, even if I look like a bum.
7:00pm: The show is over for today. I close my tent and wrap the few things I leave behind in many, many drop cloths, in case of rain. But it's going to be a gorgeous weekend. If I make sure I protect everything, I'll reverse-jinx myself against rain.
8:15pm: Dinner.
9:35pm: Back in the hotel room. Weather check for tomorrow... Forecast: Questionable.
10:51pm: Another weather check. Still questionable.
11:12pm: Weather check. General yuckiness in the vicinity..... but I'm sure it will be nice tomorrow.

I wake up. Looks overcast outside. Looking out of the window I see.... puddles. Rain. Flooding. It's grotesque out there.
10:00am: The show officially opens. There are like 2 people out on the boardwalk. I walk next door and ask Beebee if I can peek at the radar map she has on her phone- I see this.

(actual screen capture. not enhanced.)

11:47am: The rain stops, a little. But it's still all misty and damp and cold. People slowly emerge out of their rooms and onto the boardwalk out of sheer boredom. Weather remains questionable most of the rest of the day.
2:37pm: Sun!
3:01pm: Sun? Yes it is... I think? Wait. Are those more storm clouds?
3:12pm: Are they coming this way? I think they are.
3:14pm: But there is blue sky right here. Now the sun is out. I see a shadow... Yes that's definitely sun. It's totally going to clear up out here.
3:15pm: Those clouds are definitely coming this way. Fast. Craaaap. Bring in the prints and secure the drop cloths.
7:00pm: Close of the show. Definitely a better day than yesterday, but sales were still not very impressive- especially with all the hype there was from other artists about this show.

7:56am: I wake up to a bright beam of sun shining on my face. It's going to be a wonderful day, better than yesterday. It HAS to be, right?
10:00am: The show opens. A surprising amount of people are out and about for a Sunday morning.
10:12am: It looks like it might get nasty out here.
10:25am: A little shower moves through.... but seems like it will pass quickly.
11:00am: Weather is stilll questionable. Damn.
5:35pm: Most artists are packing up. The show ends at 6:00pm today, and it's going to be a nasty rush for everyone to get everything to their cars, I am sure.
6:00pm: And so it begins. Take down.
6:45pm: I take down my artwork first to haul up to the van (still in the parking garage). I actually manage to get all of the artwork, on the hand cart, up the steeeeeeep hill of the parking garage without slipping and falling and having the artwork and handcart run me over and go cascading down the ramp. Amazing.
6:47pm: It's pouring rain again. Neptune manages to get in one last kick to the crotch. I have only just begun to load up the van and luckily, somehow, the artwork manages to not get ruined.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

About Artsfest 2008

Artsfest was wonderful, just as it was last year!

"Palmera Del Coco" & Me

I love this show. Now that I've done two other sizable outdoor shows and have something to compare it to, this one might still be my favorite. I also love being in the woods! You have about as much room as you want to spread out all of your things! ...If the weather cooperates of course. And the weather was absolutely perfect, so there were lots of people about.

I should have gotten this nice man's name.
We were talking about CCD and bees,
and he recommended
the book "Robbing the Bees" to me-
which I received in the mail yesterday!

This year they gave us coupons for free cups of coffee in their new Cafe--- Awesome, and the coffee was even good!!! Who ever heard of a GOOD cup of FREE coffee!?

I even sold my original Red-Eyed Tree Frog painting! I'm so excited when I sell an original. For lots of reasons... of course you have to price them higher than just a print. So it's really flattering when someone loves a piece that much, that they want the real-deal.
Also, it's less crap for me to have to carry back home.
And in a way, I feel like it gives me an excuse to paint something new.

I think I can hear thunder outside- so I'ma go ahead and post this, and--- oh looky! I just got the pics from my dad, so I'll add em, then post. He took lots of pics, which was great, because now I have a more accurate booth representation when I submit my Booth Shot for an art show application.

My sweet husband, probably contemplating how the hell
to get out of helping me take everything down
and get it back home

Ok for real. thunder.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Advice for Arteests: Part 1

Scoring, Folding, & Cutting Cards

While I'm in the mode of doing 2 art shows back to back, I'm doing a lot of preparation. I figured as I'm doing so, I should write it down- first of all, so I don't forget how to do it next time, and second of all, because maybe it will help someone else who needs some guidance.
Me giving guidance? Eh, despite what you may think, hell has indeed not frozen over...

So, here is how I scored, folded, and cut out all my cards for Artsfest, and how I will do so tomorrow night in preparation for Neptune this weekend.

Supplies- You will need:
  • Paper cutter (mine was around $90, you can find them at a reasonable cost)
  • Hard, flat surface and something thin and flat to protect that surface- like a magazine
  • Non-serrated butter knife
  • Rula
  • Something somewhat rounded that you can press down the crease with, that won't damage the card- I used a measuring spoon
  • Good music to listen to
  • Recepticle for card trimmings, preferably your recycle bin!
  • Your cards, silly
  • Probably a glass of wine or two, at your own risk of course *
*Consuming alcoholic beverages and using a paper cutter might not be the most intelligent combination known to mankind.... However, there wasn't a warning on the bottle or anything, so it must be ok.

Now you're ready. Chug your first glass of wine and let's begin. Yes.. At your own risk.

Step 1: Lay down your magazine on a kitchen counter or other hard surface. Place your card on top of that. Align your ruler so that it's touching or very close to touching the graphic on your card- if your graphic doesn't have a full bleed, it's going to be a little more tricky, obviously. So in my example I'm using a card with a full bleed cause it's easier to 'splain.

Step 2: Now take your non-serrated knife and run it along the edge of your ruler. Hard. Do it back and forth a couple of times- hard enough to get a good, straight crease in the paper. If you start seeing dust and shreddings of paper flying about, you did it too hard and your card is now rendered useless- but no worries, continue on with this card as though you did it correctly the first time and use it as your guinea pig. (Is PETA going to be pissed that I said that?? ....Cause we're going to cut it up in a minute.)

Step 3: Now fold your card along the crease you just made- you can lay it down on your flat surface and just press down on it with your fingers. Next, pick up your blunt object
Not that.
Put that away till you're done with your cards.

Pick up whatever round/blunt tool you chose for pressing on the crease. Run it firmly along the crease a couple of times and get it nice and flat.

Step 4- Now for the fun stuff! Place your card on the paper cutter and cut off all the excess paper around the edges. I line up one of the graphic edges with the paper cutter edge and lop off an extra 1/16" or so- no one'll miss it. Then repeat that for the other two sides.

Folding your card before cutting it means no little white edges peeking out from the sides of cuts that weren't too straight-and if you are having wine or anything, or if it's 2:AM, or both, you need all the help you can get.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Not easy being green... part 2

But not impossible, either!!

In part of my efforts to make my artwork/prints more eco friendly, I ordered a big ol' box o' paper from Neenah. I ordered Neenah Environment Paper PC 100 White in 80lb cardstock. I chose this paper because it's acid free and archival, which is important for artwork. 80lb is a nice, heavy weight for prints or cards or original work. The best part? It's also 100% recycled and 100% post consumer recycled fibers, which is really hard to find in acid free/archival quality and in a color other than "natural" or something pigmented. This is very, very white, wonderful paper!

**It's also processed chlorine free, FSC Certified (I know there are mixed viewpoints on that, but with this paper and the other credentials it seems like a good thing), and Green-E Certified. You can read more about the benefits of Neenah Environment Paper here!! **

After the Seawall Art Show, I was surprisingly low on note card/greeting card inventory. I was trying to figure out the best option for both my wallet and the environment, since at the moment I just can't afford to get all of my cards from (although I would like to, eventually). I decided to take my Neenah over to the local Staples and have all of my cards printed on it. Before placing the order, Staples printed one example proof and I loved it- so I have been able to replenish my whole inventory of cards. Seeing as how there aren't any local printers (that I know of) who would be able to print with solar or wind power and soy inks, I think this was the next best option. I was able to print on the best paper I could find (eco-friendly-wise), and have it done quickly and locally- no shipping!- and the cards look great.

Of course, that also meant that I had to cut, score, and fold the cards myself, and I'm still looking around for recycled paper envelopes. But I figure the energy I spent putting all the physical labor into the cards burned some extra calories for me, Yay!, and had to have saved energy from some machine somewhere that would have had to do it otherwise.

Ok... Back to the cutting/scoring/folding now.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Favorites!


Here are my two favorite paintbrushes. Aren't they the best?! Look at them! They're so perfect. (and by the way, is there any flower that exists that's more perfect than a Dahlia? Seriously.)

The brush on the left, that's one I got fairly recently. I got it sometime this past summer to help me with Palmera Del Coco. I needed something firm yet flexible, skinny and straight: Behold. I think this paintbrush, with a little help from me, painted every single palm frond on that tree.

The one on the right, that's one I have had for 10- yes, TEN- years. I got that one back in college. Back when I was totally poor and couldn't afford most of the nice brushes- as in, for me to consider it unobtainable, it would have to cost more than $10.
I remember I was back in good ol' Design I- AKA the make-or-break class for art majors. We were doing a project known as "The Color Chart." I had gotten this big, thick, fluffy brush and the thing was pretty much useless for The Color Chart, so I knew I had to go find a new brush.

The local art store has a history for totally ripping off the college kids, as it's the only one in town. That's gotta be the norm for any small town with an art college and ONE art store, I guess. I went over there wondering how I was going to be able to afford a new brush and for some reason, this one had been marked down. The little plastic sleeve that goes over the bristles for protection was missing and maybe that was the reason for the markdown? No matter, it was $6 and it was coming home with me!

Thanks to that brush, I was able to get an A on The Color Chart, and an A in the class.

Thanks, paintbrushes!!

Today, to show my appreciation, we'll go tomato harvesting!! Yum! Look at those beautiful Romas!

And some butterfly watching this afternoon. Ohhh, so pretty!

Maybe the two of you should get together. Wouldn't that be nice? We can have a paintbrush wedding for you, since you're so perfect together. You can start a little family.... Make some little baby brushes... Take family trips together outside to paint Plein Air...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Look familiar?

I started a new painting yesterday! ...Sort of.

This is actually the same painting as a drawing that I did a couple of years ago....
But how can that be?

Soon after I finished this drawing, "Hawaiian Ginger," I decided to order enlarged prints of the original drawing. I ordered most prints on paper, and thought I'd try one on canvas. Usually when I enlarge my colored pencil drawings onto fine art paper, they come out looking like pastels- each pencil stroke becomes enlarged and looks like a pastel stroke- a tad bit softer and lighter, too. It usually looks pretty nice.

Not so much with canvas.

I am not sure what went wrong, but the drawing on canvas came out nasty, darker, hard looking... Really awful.
I was so disgusted with the canvas print that I threw it into the back of my art closet. I had no idea what to do with it, but I wasn't going to just throw it away, since that's a waste of money- and prints on canvas and mounted on the stretchers aren't exactly cheap. I thought maybe one day I'd just paint on top of the ugly pigmented canvas and enhance it somehow. But I had my doubts about that. Helping the monstrocity seemed impossible. It sat in there for over a year.

After finishing the palm tree, I was taking a bit of time (eh, a couple days) to figure out what I was going to paint next. I kept thinking about that canvas sitting in the back of the art closet- so yesterday became "one day."

I figured I'd change some things, as there isn't really much sense in me having two original pieces of art that look exactly the same. The most obvious thing to change was the background: A blue sky, instead of the white that it was in the original photo I took (it was overcast that morning).
Then I started working on the leaves.

As I began painting, I had the same brush in hand that got me through all of those palm fronds. It worked great for the sky, but I put one coat of paint on the leaves and it just wasn't happening for me, so I took a break. Today, I picked up my absolute faaaaaavorite brush- the one that got me through Design I in college. Ahhhhh....
I found that the leaves came much more easily. Maybe having a coat of paint already on them helped. Maybe the fact that this brush holds 10x as much paint as the other REALLY helped. I am much happier with the blending, and it seems like the painting is progressing much faster now! Since I changed the sky, I decided to go a different route with the leaves, too- I added more yellow to them and brightened them up. A lot.

In the photo of the new painting, the sky is just about done. The flowers have not been touched at all, and you can probably see that they have a much rougher look. The green leaves all have one coat of paint, some have two, and you can probably tell the difference there, too. The leaf on the far left side, in the middle, really shows the "before" paint, and the leaves around it are all "afters." I still need to perfect some of the blending here and there, but so far, I'm happy with this!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Seriously.... It's done now.

Talk about taking forever! I signed it though, so unless I decide not to frame this, then it's done. If I decide not to frame it, I need to paint the sides of the canvas...

So now I'm sitting here uploading this, and will post a poll on my blog about the frame- I'm not sure if I should leave it unframed, frame it in white, or frame it with wood. So if you're reading this, check out the poll on the right and let me know with a vote :)

I'm leaning toward white. White looks good with everything.

Now I sit and wonder what I should paint next. I got some GREAT pictures at the Chicago Botanic Garden last weekend, and feel a little overwhelmed and am not sure where to begin. I have a canvas with a Hawaiian Ginger started- it's the same as my drawing actually, but I got it printed on canvas and wanted to make a couple of changes. I took some pictures of banana trees, similar to this palm tree. I also have pictures of some great tropical leaves, and a whole bunch of grapes, too!

Friday, August 29, 2008

More about the Seawall show in Portsmouth

Actually I don't have much else to say, my summary was probably it. But do you want to see my display?

Of course I fuzzed out my name. But here's what my booth looked like at the beginning of the show- I did fill in some of the blank black space with more artwork. This is how much display space 4 and a half ProPanels will get you. And an old plastic shelf that you painted black.

And some sweet shutters that your stepdad and Sexy Engineer Mac N Cheese Man Husband made for you. They are excellent for displaying cards! Even in the wind, my cards didn't blow away. Surprised? I was.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Seawall Art Show in Portsmouth, Part 1

This post is just words, not so fun, but may be of use to other artists looking for information on the show :)

I haven't uploaded any pictures yet, and sadly I left my camera buried in the car the 2nd day so I only got a few pictures the first day, but figured I'd write a post about the Seawall Art Show this past weekend in Portsmouth, VA.

Before I did the show, I hunted around on Google to learn more about it and didn't find a whole lot, so hopefully another artist who may be applying to the show next year will find my blog about it and find it helpful. As long as they don't apply to the show and end up getting in and taking my space. Heh.

The short review in a nutshell, and the things they don't tell you about the show before you go (at least I didn't see this info anywhere, maybe they don't publicise it because then 4732897 people will want to do the show, hehe):
The Pros:
-You set up on Friday evening, and there is security at the show on both nights. How cool is that? Not only do they have security, but I was told by another artist that the police are actually volunteer police- so they're people who genuinely enjoy being there and take the job seriously. That was a HUGE load off, to know I could unpack just about everything and not have to worry too much about it, although I still didn't leave my original art there on either night because I'm paranoid like that.
-Saturday morning while everyone is there doing their final set-ups before the show, volunteers are walking around with coffee and OJ. That was a really nice surprise. Turns out they also do this on Sunday morning while people are setting up!
-Both days, volunteers are walking around with carts and bottles of cold water. Another huge plus!
-There is a parking lot nearby the show and while you can't leave your car there during the day, it's really convenient for loading and unloading. You can pull your car into that lot, and unload everything there, and it's pretty close to almost all of the show spots, too.
- The kettle corn was stellar, and Starboard's Coffee was phenomenal (they had coffees and smoothies).

The Cons:
There really weren't any.... I will say that the food there was just meh. I'd suggest packing a lunch to eat- a PBJ or something that won't spoil, or else bring a cooler for meat sandwiches. Next year I'd pack PBJ's and veggies to snack on and take that with me, plus it saves a little money, too.

It was a really nice show and I hope I'll get to do it again next year.

My costs for doing this show- I'm not usually one for throwing around numbers, but these are just the matter-of-fact numbers and not subjective, and may be useful to others considering the show:
Application fee: $30 (i think)
Booth space fee: $150
Rental Car (our cars are WAY too small to fit everything in them): $40 (we had it for 3 days, Friday at noon till Monday at noon, but my husband had a coupon for a free weekend which took 2 days off the price)
Gas: $38 + $38+ $20= $96 total
Hotel: $0, we stayed with my grandparents
Food: $59 total ($10 burgers on Saturday, $17 sandwiches on Sunday, $3 kettle corn, $7 iced coffee & a smoothie, $22 dinner at Cracker Barrel on the way home)
Toll on 301 bridge- $3

for a grand total of $378ish dollars.

I'll make another post about the show when I upload a couple of pictures from my display, and include the more fun stuff there :)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Aw, heyll yeah!

I might finish this painting after all!

I really wanted to have it for the Seawall Show next weekend. I had hoped to finish it long before now (so that I'd have time to get it scanned and made into prints), but with everything else that's been going on, there have been times when my painting sat on the easel, lonely, for weeks at a time, untouched and neglected. :(

I am ashamed of myself.

I was looking through my blog and realized I started this painting back in February. FEBRUARY!?

That means this year I've done two paintings and two drawings?! What a disgrace.

On a more positive note, I am happy with the progress of this painting this week, and if I do finish this today or tomorrow as I am hoping, I'll update this blog-thing and post the pictures of it in progress all in a row- I always think that's fun to look at :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Deez.... Palm Nuts!

I am so excited to think that I may possibly be done with the palm branches on this painting. I think once I fill in the middle parts, I may add some more various colors here and there, depending on how everything looks when it's done. Maybe more green to the nuts, maybe more yellow hues in some of the fronds....

I began painting the nuts yesterday, so some of them only have 1 coat in this photo, but the ones on the lower left may be just about finished here.

Unfortunately I REALLY would like to get this painting done this week so I can bring it to the Seawall show with me on August 23. I am not sure if that will happen- I will have to bust my behind, for sure.

Friday, August 8, 2008

It's not easy being green..... :(

In my last blog post, I wrote about ordering some business cards from . I'm very excited about them, but it also got me thinking about what else I can "green." Especially related to art.

Sure at home, I recycle even the tiniest scraps of paper (to the point it probably drives my husband a little nuts). I compost veggie/fruit scraps, coffee grounds and filters, drier lint, and sometimes tissues- with the amount of tissues I go through, I could never compost them all as I'd end up with about 80% of the compost pile being nothing but tissues. I'm pretty sure the compost dwelling roly polies and worms would not be amused. (And we can't have a yard full of displeased roly polies and worms.)

With artwork, it's a little tougher. Until recently, it was really hard to find archival paper that had any recycled content (and I still hear artists debating, "can it REALLY be acid-free?!"). When shopping for paper, I find myself going in circles, asking:
Which is better..... To buy non-bleached/chlorine-free (is that the same thing??) paper with 100% post-consumer recycled content produced by only wind or solar power?
Or buy all new archival acid-free paper made from organic free-traded cotton or bamboo or hemp- or any of the other plants they're using now?
Which is the BEST option?
IS there a best option?

And then there is the printing.

I looked online for a company to order some greeting cards from. Ohh, look, such-and-such a company will offer solar and wind powered production and 100% post consumer recycled cardstock and use soy inks.... and you have to order at least 500 cards (of the same design) at a time.
...For only $250!
Plus artwork set up fees and shipping and handling and did we mention tax and don't forget to add extra if you want the cards cut to the proper size and if you'd like them folded too, please include your first born with payment thank-you-very-much.
(While that's a great deal and all, when you've got 20 or more designs to have printed, that just isn't practical in most cases.)

Would you like envelopes with those?
Organic free traded cottonhempbamboo blend, or 100% post consumer recycled content?


And-- why do they have to cost that much if the production is being handled by wind and sun? Huh? Huh? Aren't those FREE??

::peeks outside::

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Been busy, but...

I did just order my new business cards from . YAY!! I have been perusing the samples they sent me for at least 6 months now, and since I've got at least few shows coming up, I figured I better hurry up and order some. I can't wait to get them!

The samples I have from greenerprinter are gorgeous- great paper and great inks, I love everything about them. The cards I ordered are 100% recycled and printed using soy inks.


When will they make soy inks for my home ink jet? WAAAAANNNNNNT!!!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Tentative Calendar

A lot of art shows go on in the summer and fall, huh?

So far this year, I'm doing:

The Portsmouth Seawall Art Show, August 23-24

Artsfest at Annmarie Garden, September 20-21

and have applied to:

Art Fair on the Square, August 31st & September 1st

Neptune Festival Art/Craft show, September 26-28

Art on the Avenue, October 4

I'm still waiting to hear back from the other 3. So, this could prove to be a VERY busy fall... or a very relaxed one :)

I've been making changes and improvements to my booth setup since last year. Before, I wanted to be unique and stand out and all of that good stuff. Then after going to some art shows and seeing what I thought were some really great booths, I realized that there is probably a reason most artists do not have brightly colored booths. Sure, for jewelry and all it's wonderful. But most of the booths with paintings in them looked simple and organized to put all the emphasis on the artwork.... obviously.

I need some kind of a shelf or desk, and just can't bring myself to fork over $250ish for the ProDesk from Pro Panels. It's shelves covered in carpet! Surely I can find something for less that will work just as well!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mmmm, stage 2008. Done.

Crazy that this past Thursday night at about 9:00, I was saying to my husband, "Oh, man! This time tomorrow we'll be all done setting up!" As in, I was looking forward to it- because it's always SO much work and there is just so, so much that goes into it that I end up with a ton of anxiety, worrying that something will go wrong or be forgotten......

Now it's been about 24 hours since we did finish setting up.
Once again, about 10 people and 10 straight hours of work. It is A LONGASS DAY, but well worth it in the end. But my body is still ridiculously sore- especially the fingertip parts (from ripping various types of tape all day, etc.), so I won't write too much- but I'll share pictures of the [nearly] finished product. :)

Ohh look, it looks like the kids are enjoying themselves (wearing the shirts I designed for this year in the opening number)! In this picture, the stage is about 99% done. There is a random chair and a few other things around, but for the most part, this is it. You get the idea.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

"The Busy, Busy Bees!" (CCD Awareness Honeybee painting)

That's the name of my new painting!

I created it for the May Plant Parade Challenge on WetCanvas. The challenge was to create a piece using both cherries and cherry blossoms. I did a lot of thinking about what I wanted to create, and since a concern of mine has been honeybees, I worked that into the concept as it seemed so obvious. Show the flowers, show the delicious product that we get from them- thanks to honeybees. Obviously you'd never actually see flowers and cherries on a branch like this at the same time, but showing it this way seemed to be the best way I could illustrate pollination.

The painting is 12" x 9" acrylic (big surprise, right?). I haven't gotten a proper frame for it yet- I think I'll get a white linen liner with a white frame.

I've also got this as an 8"x10" print on Etsy and as with all of my 8"x10" prints, $10 from the sale of it will go to, part of the CoEvolution Institute, toward bee research.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Bee Month, Part Deux

I had originally planned to do lots of bee related drawings and art this month. I do have a painting I'm working on- and tomorrow I'm at Old Towne Crafters all day, so I'll have lots of time to work on it. It's so little (9x12 I think), so hopefully it WILL be done soon.

But in the meantime, instead of working on drawings, I've been working over on Etsy...
While browsing around the site, I found other artists on Etsy who are concerned about the honeybee crisis and who want to help by raising awareness or donating proceeds from sales, or both!

Etsy has a great community and part of that community is Etsy Teams. Teams are groups of artists and crafters with something in common- whether it's location, or type of craft, or nationality, or- pretty much anything!

I contacted some of the other artists who expressed concern about the bees to guage interest. Since everyone seemed enthusiastic, I created the Etsy HoneyBee Helpers Team. Along with that came the Etsy HoneyBee Helpers Blog, which has information about Bee Team artists and their news, what we're doing to help the bees, what related things are going on over at Etsy, etc.

I know things will probably start out slowly, but I'm really hoping we can all come up with some great ways to raise awareness of CCD and the importance of bees and maybe actually make a difference.

Friday, May 2, 2008

May = Bee Month

Incase you may not already BEE aware, there's a honey bee crisis going on. You can read more about it on , , and . It's a very, very sad thing for someone who loves bees as much as me, to hear about them being in such a bad way and no one can really pin point just one reason why- yet. But it's also a very bad situation for humans in general, as a lot of our food supply depends on honeybees, and food prices are getting higher as it is.

I've wanted to do a series of bee drawings for a while now, so this seems like a great time to start that. With the flowers in my garden starting to bloom like crazy, I might be able to get more inspiration there.This month I'm hoping to get a small painting done, and as many small drawings as I can- I'm looking to sort of challenge myself to do a bunch. I've seen some teeny-tiny drawings and paintings in little frames (I'm talking 2" x 2" here) and they are ridiculously cute. So I'd like to try my hand at some of those.

If I do a few this month in my spare time- especially since drawings generally don't take that long, and if I do a small painting, hopefully that won't take too long either- I can put those up in my etsy store. And if I sell anything, I can donate to one of these bee research charities.

I've loved bees since I was about 6 years old (when I was known as "the bee girl"... Ask my family... I'm sure they loved hearing how their kid was a bee-loving-weirdo). And now that I'm doing a lot of flower and bee (and bugs in general) artwork, it seems only natural that I should make some contributions to help out the bees that I've loved so much for most of my life.

Friday, April 18, 2008

It's getting there...

The palm tree painting. It is a pretty tedious one, with having to paint each individual little frond and everything. But I hope to have it done relatively soon! I'll be on travel this upcoming week for work, and I won't be bringing this painting with me like last time I was on travel- it's just too big. But the colored pencils and some paper will be accompanying me, so maybe I'll get to work on something nice while I'm away, if I get any ideas between now and then!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Yay! Seawall Show in Portsmouth!!

I found out a week ago that I was accepted into the Seawall Art Show in Portsmouth, VA, this August. I'm so excited! My first official show of the year! :)

Now that I'm officially actually doing a show, I guess I should start the mat cutting process again, and put together some prints... While that's not my favorite activity, once I put my mind to it and get into the swing of things- and devote an evening here, an evening there to it- it goes pretty quickly.

I'll probably also participate in this year's Earth Day celebration in Leonardtown, too- a smallish show to kick off the year.

That's all for now... but if I get a chance sometime today, I'll post a picture of my palm tree painting and how that's coming along.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Finished the Butterfly Drawing...

I was nervous about how the background was going to come out, but I went for it and I'm happy with it.
It's nice to have another piece I can call done! Now I just need to find a nice frame for it.

The palm tree painting is coming along, slowly but surely. I hate having a painting on the easel for months at a time, so I really would like to finish it soon. Seems like on the weekend I find myself saying "After I clean the kitchen, then I'll sit and relax and paint." or "After I'm done eating lunch, I'll get a chance to sit down and paint." or "After we clean the entire house, do the laundry, put away the filing/bills, sort the mail, frame these two prints, check the weather, sort the recycling... then I'll finally have some time when I can paint. Oh look, it's almost time to start dinner. Guess I'll wait till after we eat, and clean up......."

*Sigh.* Hopefully I will dedicate more time to it, especially seeing as how American Idol is now on for 16 or so hours a week, and only requires listening, not watching, to get the gist of what's going on.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

New Drawing!...

Since I'd like to do a little more with local subject matter, I decided to start a drawing yesterday that I had the idea for some time ago. Sadly, the area where I live doesn't much loan itself to tropical subject matter... Although tropical flowers are my favorite subject matter and I strive to share that with people- especially people who may not otherwise get to see such things (or think to look). But I would also like to be able to share things with people that they may see on a daily basis- and give them a chance to see those things in a new light.

So, here we have the Maryland state butterfly (a Baltimore Checkerspot) taking a sip of nectar from the Maryland state flower (a Black-Eyed Susan).

I don't really like it like this against the plain white background. But I'm also really happy with how the flowers and butterfly- the main focuses- look right now and I don't want to add in a background and mess the whole thing up. YUP, I'll admit it: I'm scared.

So I decided to blog instead of working on the background tonight.

I generally think my paintings come out infinitely better than my drawings. But drawings are nice to do once in a while, too. For one thing, colored pencils, paper, and reference photos are so very easy to pack up and carry with you somewhere- on an airplane, outdoors, work (in this case, at the craft store and not my "real job"). I also tend to draw smaller than I paint in most cases- I have a pack of 9" x 12" paper that I use for a lot of my drawings. This means I can finish one much faster than a painting. I can get a drawing done in 8-12 hours most of the time, so it's a good weekend project. I can also easily grab my stuff and sit down at the coffee table in front of the TV, which is sometimes a little easier than hovering over an easel in every position imaginable like I did most of the night on Thursday.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

There will be a treeeee...

On this canvas one day! It's slow going though, that's for sure. Although perhaps the palm fronds won't need as much detail as I'm anticipating putting into them.

I had to start off painting the sky and some clouds for the background.

Next, I painted all the parts of the tree white, so when I add the color- the blue in the background won't show through and make the colors look too dark. The white behind them will, hopefully, keep the colors bright.

I picked up some "hooker's green" (you laugh?)which is a really great color... except it's pretty transparent. That's frustrating because I've had to put multiple layers of it down on the green parts I've painted so that the fronds don't look like a complete mess! Then the green gets too dark. I'm going to have to go in and add some yellows and white and brighten it up now.


In this picture with some green added, you can see that the bottom branches are a lot darker than the ones above them. The bottom branches and fronds have 3 coats of green, while the others have only one. I like the color of the paint with just the one layer of it, so I'm going to keep that in mind. I like finding just the right color, then perfecting that color, so I can keep it consistent throughout the piece.

....Not that plants need consistency, of course.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Writing an Artist Statement

YAWN........ Seriousleh.

It's one of those things that every artst is supposed to have. Some artists pour a ton of work and thought and emotion into them. Others just quickly throw together a couple of paragraphs to say that, yes, they have an artist statement, and conveniently, they do it just in time for some looming deadline. I'm not actually sure how I went about mine- so that's probably a huge red flag that it's time for an update. It was a few years ago- so, yes, definitely time for a change.

I decided I better go ahead and write one now, as opposed to waiting for a time when I suddenly NEED the thing, and end up effortlessly throwing something together... again. If I start one now when I'm not in desperate need for it, that'll give me plenty of time to organize my thoughts, write drafts, edit them, really take my time and be able to step away from it for a while- just like I have to do when working on a painting.

I found a couple of websites that have some great tips on helping you get started.

That's the main one I used to begin brainstorming. Filling in the blanks and writing general words and phrases- that was the easy part. I did that earlier this week. Last night, I started thinking of other concepts and ideas that I want to get across to the reader, too.

Problem is, I don't consider my art very deep. There's no meaning, just look at it.
It seems like artists who want to convey emotions and feelings would have an easier time writing an interesting statement and explaining the thoughts and feelings they're trying to evoke. I am supposed to write 3 intelligent sounding paragraphs just to say, "Um. It's a pretty picture? Of a flower? I like nature." Stand by for.... procrastination.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

And... on to something new.

Red poppy painting is done! Yay! I love completing a painting. I may leave it for a month or so and go back and fix anything as I see fit... But for the most part- yeah, I'm going to call it done.

I'm happy with the poppies, and I didn't strive to make this painting look photo-realistic, for once. It's taken me a few years to really get away from doing that. Because, really, if I wanted it to look like a photograph- and if the
composition is something that I am taking from one of my photographs- then why not just print the photograph itself?! So I'm striving to make things look realistic from far away, but up close, making sure that it's obviously a painting.

It was hard to get a good picture of it without getting some kind of a glare (this was the best I could get)... so, once I scan it in, it'll be uploaded into my online gallery.

Then I can figure out how I'm going to frame it, and that's always fun, too. That sense of finishing something feels like such a huge relief, and accomplishment.

But I admit, sometimes the only reason I really go out of my way to finish up a painting is that I have another idea for a painting that I just can't wait to start. And so it was with this one. So today, I started my palm tree painting. Or is it a sea anenome? ...Only time will tell.