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 greenerprinter.com (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!