Saturday, October 29, 2011

In the Studio... packing for a trip

New Hampshire are you ready?
Here I come!

Things get kind of crazy when I'm getting ready to teach. For every class there is a day (at least) of ordering, shipping, gathering, and packing supplies, printing hand-outs, figuring out inventory, and hoping against all hope that even though I've checked my lists ten times I'm not forgetting anything.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Something New - watercolor

Sometimes you need a change of scenery.  You need time away from "the usual" in order to refresh and reset. That's what vacations are all about right?

Sometimes I get so bogged down with deadlines that my usual art loses its joy. When everything I'm making seems to be class samples and things that other people want I feel that wonderful creative edge slipping away.

Time for something new - at least new to me. I'm taking a watercolor class through our town. Low key, I already have the materials. I admire the other artists here who do such interesting things with the medium and I've wanted to try it out for a while.
learning about washes
I'm pretty confident when it comes to playing around with new techniques. But sometimes I need the extra push of a class to force me to take the time to sit down and give it a try.

Learning how to paint a tree
My dad is a watercolor artist - so it's both fun and a little scary to pick up the medium he's so accomplished with. My long term goals don't involve becoming an accomplished watercolor artist, I still am in love with textiles and can't see that changing any time soon. But this is refreshing.

Trunk - by Lyric Kinard
I firmly believe we should all try something new once in a while. Play. Put unexpected things together. Let them foment and mash and mix up together and see what new thing emerges from that growing artists' brain of yours.

What things do you do when you are in the slump?
What kind of things are a refresher for your artists' soul?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Long View: Making Bad Art and Becoming a Good Artist

DREAM by Lyric Kinard
There are some things I'm good at, and some things I'm not.

I've always loved music and trained on French Horn with the intention to play professionally at some point. Eventually I chose to stay home with my children instead. I didn't come to art until after my children were born. My formal training in the visual arts is limited although in my chosen medium (textiles) I've done fairly well.

Thing is, I can work a textile piece from concept to finish without ever picking up a pencil. Drawing was always something my siblings did and I quietly envied.

I think it's taken a while, but I've finally grown up enough to realize that the things I'm not good at are simply the things I've put no effort into learning and practicing. I'm sure my horn playing in 6th grade was not a pleasure to listen to. It took lots of practice. Lot's of scales and arpeggios before I could belt out a Beethoven Sonata.

Each card with a face - each face a step on the road
Looking back over this year it's easy to understand that progress only comes when you are placing one foot in front of the other on the path you want to travel. You can stand by the side of the road and whine about how hard it is and how nobody ever offered you a ride or how tender your poor feet are. And you'll still be in the same spot you where when you started.

You toughen up your feet by walking my friend. Sure - it hurts and you get tired. But at least you're moving towards your destination.

bad art
As an artist - are you moving towards your destination or are you standing by the side of the road whining? I've been slowly walking down the path, one faltering step at a time. Perhaps a truck came barreling by and knocked me off the road for a bit and I needed a minute to catch my breath. 

getting better
An amazing thing happened when I turned around and looked down the path. That long view back over my shoulder surprised me. I've come a lot further than I expected.

We all have fear. The road to becoming an artist isn't easy and you don't get there in one giant leap. You plod along one step at a time. I'm an artist who wants to be able to draw. I've been taking one step at a time. I've made hundreds of little sketches of faces now - most are unrecognizable as the person I was drawing. But it's amazing, comparing my beginning sketches to what I'm doing now, at the progress. I'm nowhere near the destination - but I've come a long way.

Are you so afraid of making bad art that you haven't stepped onto the path? Realize that every ugly thing you make is taking you one step closer to your masterpiece. 

My article in the Sketchbook Challenge Ezine is about just this. You've got to make bad art in order to become a GOOD ARTIST!

It has a few short and simple exercises that will help you take a few steps along the road to becoming the artist you envision yourself to be. Take a look. It's crammed full of all kinds of fantastic articles and tutorials that will help you along this road.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

For Your Inspiration: Sailing

Last Saturday I got to do something I've wanted to do for ages - go sailing.

What I didn't know ahead of time was that it wasn't any old day on the lake - it was RACE DAY!
Here is Mr. Almost Perfect and Boy Child while we're tacking at the line up.

Early on we were in second place - until the jib sail ripped. Oops. 
(and apologies if I got the terminology all wrong)

I wish I could have gotten some sort of picture that captured the feeling of ripping around from one direction to the other, heeling (or is it keeling) all the way over as the spray flies alongside. One minute your seat is level several feet above the water, the next you're either almost sitting down in the water or way up in the air. I did a little rope work - and would love to learn more. Love the adrenaline rush. Love the wind and the waves and the water.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Artist Spotlight: Tracie Lyn Huskamp

The giveaway fenzy winds down today with the artist Tracie Lyn Huskamp who is giving away a copy of Bead It Like You Mean It on her blog. Read all about her here, then go there to leave a comment for your chance to win.

Tracie Lyn Huskamp is a product designer, workshop instructor, painter, poet, and mixed media artist living in Kansas. Her book, Nature Inspired (by Quarry Publishing), her fabric collection, Nature Inspired (by Windham Fabrics), along with her 2012 calendars, Nature Inspired Birds (by Time Factory Publishing), are in retails stores now. To learn more about her art and life, visit her website at

Tracie will be in Houston November 3-6, teaching at the International Quilt Festival. She's also teaching next year, September 16 - 22 in Orivieto Italy! Can I just tell you right now... I WANT TO BE IN THAT CLASS! 

Here is a list of all of the lovely artists and blogs that participated in the Bead It party.

Sep 15  Larkin Van Horn
Sept 16 Susan Sorell 
Sept 19 Kelli Nina Perkins
Sept 21  Sharon Chapman
Sept 23 Leslie Jennison
Sept 26 Carla Sonheim
Sept 28 Gloria Hansen 
Sept 30 Laura Wasilowski
Oct 3  Carol Sloan
Oct 5 Sue Bleiweiss 
Oct 7  Jill Berry 
Oct 10 Jane LaFazio
Oct 12 Tracie Lynn Huskamp

And if , even after leaving a comment on each and every review, you still didn't win - you can buy it here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bead It Like You Mean It - Jane LaFazio

Blog Hop Giveaway
is winding down...

Today the fabulous Jane LaFazio is reviewing and then giving away one of the last two copies of this hour and a half long workshop. On Wednesday Tracie Lyn Huskamp is giving the last one away. And then the introductory sale price of $19.95 goes up to $24.95.

I've introduced you to Jane in the past (read a series of posts here) - she's still one of my favorites. She's full of boundless energy and enthusiasm and is fearless about trying new techniques. 

Head over to JANE'S BLOG today and leave a comment to win a copy of Bead It Like You Mean It.

THIS is what Jane did after viewing my DVD.
Read the post about her project of fight Breast Cancer here. 
What crazy thing are you inclined to bead?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Faces on Friday: missing in action

January Faces

At the beginning of this year I decided it was time to stop whining about how hard it was to draw people. Faces especially. Time to practice what I'm continually preaching and do the work, develop the skill, learn to draw faces. (That first post is here.)

5 second faces, getting barely
a glimpse of the subject
You've gotta start somewhere so I started at the beginning. A face a day on a little 3x5 index card. Mostly it has been fun if I just enjoy the process. If I start worrying about getting it "right" it's no longer fun - it's frustrating.

The almost resemble the subjects!
And then for a while the pressure of having to do something and post it every week got to me - it was just too much to deal with on top of some of the family chaos of having five kids home all day over the summer.

Faces on Friday went missing in action.  I didn't stop drawing my faces but I did take a break from feeling that I MUST do them.

Time for a reset. The oldest is off to college (and thriving!) The youngest started kindergarten. I'm slowly adjusting to my new schedule. So here we go again.
The ones on the left - worked over about five minutes.
On the right - very quickly.

And guess what? Maybe taking something of a break can be a good thing. I have enough distance that I can see improvement.  Actual progress.

All the faces so far.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Artist Spotlight: Jill Berry

Sketchbook Artist, Jill Berry is recently returned from three fabulous weeks of teaching in Italy. 
I can't wait to hear more - I SOOOO want to do that some day.

Her book, due out soon, is called Personal Geographies: Explorations in Mixed-Media Mapmaking. I can't wait to see it, having a personal attraction to maps - and art that explores maps and plans. Maybe it's my (long ago) studies of architecture, maybe it's just that Jill's work is gorgeous. You can pre-order it here.

She has a review of Bead It Like You Mean It on her blog and is giving away a copy. 

Head over to her blog to leave a comment for your chance to win. 

Remember that the DVD is on sale only for the next few days. On October 12th the regular price will go into effect, so if you want it for $19.95 buy it soon. I think you will really like it. If you want your local shop to carry it please have them contact me!

Carol Sloan and Sue Bleiwiess also still have giveaways open so you can try your luck there as well.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

For Your Inspiration: Apples

In honor of Steve Jobs.

Vinyl sticker on Etsy

Print by JoyStClaire on Etsy

cupcakes by hello my sweet at Etsy

Apple cozy by BesoDelSol at Etsy

Print by Lisa Russo Photography on Etsy

Artist Spotlight: Sue Belieweiss

Sue Bleiweiss is the brains behind the Sketchbook Challenge - a group of artists that has taken many of us on a fantastic journey for the past year. I have learned much and made wonderful friends over there, and it has been a great pleasure to work with Sue.

Fabric Collage II by Sue Bleiweiss
34" x 24"

Sue's work speaks to me - it is both richly textured and yet it is controlled and meticulously detailed. Love it.

Sue says: "I am fascinated with the challenge of creating texture both real and implied to a piece of fabric by using dyes, paints, and stitch to manipulate the surface of  the fabric.  My goal has never been to create a perfect and flawless surface. It is to create something that delights the eye, feeds the senses and fires the imagination." 

Sue also works in various media - I've loved her sculptural works and especially her hand made books for a long time. Beautiful stuff.

Sue has posted a review of my DVD, Bead It Like You Mean It on her blog and is giving away a copy. Please head over to her blog and read what she thinks. Leave a comment to win. 

Carol Sloane's giveaway is also still open if you haven't left a comment there.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Artist Spotlight: Carol Sloan

I'd like you to meet mixed media artist, Carol Sloan. I have truly enjoyed getting to know her through the Sketchbook Challenge. When I was reading her biography I was drawn to her lists. I like lists. I'm going to share her list with you.

In 2008 I started a blog, began teaching and submitted artwork for publication in two books.
I was on my way to achieving some of my lifelong goals and dreams: 

Be an artist. Be an author. Teach others to celebrate their creative spirit.
I have artwork in four books, with a project coming out this fall (I hope) in an e-book with Lark. I teach nationally and plan on teaching internationally soon. 
I want to write a book about mixed media book making. 
I love to teach. 
I love to see the spark in my students eyes that they can create beautiful art. 
I love to hear other people say that I helped them to look at the world in a different manner.
If I'm not knee deep in water, kayaking with my husband, then I am elbow deep in paint, paper and fiber, creating art that tells a great story.

(Do you love her list as much as I do?)

Carol has also reviewed Bead It Like You Mean It

Leave a comment on her BLOG 
if you'd like the chance to win it.

Here is a little recap of the reviews so far - and the upcoming giveaways
Oct 3  Carol Sloan
Oct 5 Sue Bleiweiss 
Oct 7  Jill Berry 
Oct 10 Jane LaFazio
Oct 12 Tracie Lynn Huskamp