Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Story Behind the Art-Going With Your Gut

Normally the first Wednesday of the month is dedicated to a fellow artist who shares the Story Behind Their Art
Well, this month I messed up the schedule and ended up without a story. Since I had a spot to fill I thought I would share a story of someone who has totally inspired me. 

There is a lot of talk about "Following Your Passion" but I prefer to call it "Following Your Gut" and that's exactly what Robin Davis, my therapist (lol), guru and bestie is doing.

About a year ago, she announced that she was no longer going to pursue licensing her art (which by the way, she was pretty darn successful with) and was instead, going to get back to making things. 

She turned down work that just didn't feel right and concentrated on the things that made her happy. In other words, she followed her gut. I like to imagine her leaping out of bed in the morning and running down the stairs to get to work. 

When we chat, she is so happy and excited about what she is working on that it makes me happy. And it's contagious.

Look at these awesome things she is creating!

Found Object Robot
Robin's found object Robots

Found Object Robot

Watching her follow her path has encouraged me to take a step back and examine the kind of work that makes me happy. I do still love working on licensing projects for clients but I miss making things with my hands. 

This past month, with no deadlines looming, I have been experimenting with different media and just making things for the fun of making them and it's been a real treat. The plan is to settle on a technique, stick with it, and see what happens. 

Hopefully while on this little creative adventure my gut will speak to me because I will be listening.

Thanks for stopping by!

Want to know more about Robin? Just follow the links.

Website-Robin Davis Studio

Follow her on Instagram

Check out her Blog

She has a Facebook page
Robin Tweets

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Giving Yourself a Permission Slip

As far as I can remember, this summer has been one of the more hectic ones. 
Between the 14 + houseguests (some were "checking out" as others were "checking in"), traveling and several unexpected work related projects, I  took a leave of absence from my blog.

In addition to that I also said no to a couple of projects, and more recently (yesterday as a matter of fact), I threw in the towel on a personal project that I had been working on for a couple of weeks.

None of these decisions came easy and some required extensive phone sessions with my friend Robin Davis. We are always able to talk each other down from the ledge.

I am not one to give up on something. I'm that person who sits all the way through a horrible movie and reads a book to the end even if it is boring me to tears. 

For me, giving up or turning work down comes with a lot of guilt and feelings of failure, but sometimes you just have to do it. And you know what? After you make that decision, it feels pretty good.

What I learned from all of this is this:

When I took the summer off from my blog the world didn't end and there were no people screaming in the streets in fits of hysteria. I doubt that anyone even noticed.

When I turned down work and worried that I was losing out on the income, something else more lucrative and creative came along.

When I pulled the plug on that personal project that I had been struggling with for a couple of weeks, it felt like the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders. I also figured out what it is that I would rather be working on. 

In short, I had to give myself a permission slip for each of these decisions. One to take time off and enjoy my summer, another to turn down work that just didn't "feel right" and one more to abandon a project that I had a good deal of time invested in. 

Is it hard for you to give yourself permission to say no? Feel free to share your story in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Story Behind the Art - Sue Zipkin

The Story Behind the Art - Sue Zipkin

Hello and welcome to the tenth installation of 

If you are new to my blog, The Story Behind the Art will take you on a little journey into the STORY behind a particular piece of art or collection created by one of my talented friends from around the globe. The stories are posted on the first Wednesday of each month.

Sue and I met many years ago on an icy (and sandy) winter's night when I had an artist gathering at my studio. We have been friends ever since. I am also a big fan of both her and of her beautiful work. Sue is one of the most sharing, giving people I know, and is always there with words of encouragement when needed.
Thanks for sharing your story Sue!

I am so honored that Paula invited me to share The Story Behind my Art.
Being dyslexic, the written word is always a challenge for me but hopefully this will make sense! 

I work in a few styles so my head is spinning in so many directions!  
When I’m creating, I need to think about the market, what clients I will be showing my artwork to and the different product categories that it could be used for. I am grateful that I earn a living from licensing art.  

I have been designing dinnerware and ceramics for many years, if you do a Google search you can find samples of my older patterns. Some I am proud of and others scare me! 

At times I create art that I feel would look good in my own home and others homes. 

My dinnerware collection, Tunisian Sunset came about because
I thought it would be fun to have some dinnerware with medallions in deep jewel tones to match some furniture I bought.
Having always been inspired by mixing and matching icons and patterns as well as my love of Indian motif. I layered in pattern, garden floral’s and some unexpected surprises.
Tunisian Sunset

My calendar for a well-known spiritual teacher, Ram Dass, came from similar inspiration.
Ram Dass

A few years ago I started to experiment with mix-media. I love that it is all about getting messy. I am good at that!  I got out my acrylic paints, canvas, textured papers and some of my own patterns to explore the technique. (I had already been using a lot of textures and layers in Photoshop.) At the time I was thinking I needed to expand on what I can put into the mix media. I started to look for sources to find handwritten ephemera in the public domain. My friend Kathy Alpert (coincidentally she is also the brainchild of bringing my artwork together with the Ram Dass teachings in the calendar, thank you Kathy!) has been a collector of ephemera for years.

One day she shared an ephemera society trade show on Facebook.  I met up with her at the show and I was forever hooked. I love the stuff so much I purchased some to download’s from Paula's etsy shop!     


I am thrilled to announce that Ganz just introduced a new line featuring this style of artwork. It is on wood items and the wood marries well to the withered feel of the art. That’s the other thing I love about this style, I get to mess it all up. I love withered paint!  Sometimes the ephemera dictates my art, it speaks to me.  I wonder about the person who might have created it and think about all the history in it. I love repurposing it and using it as background textures. At times I end up painting over most of it. You might have to look close to find it!


Lately I have been inspired to create very loose watercolor paintings of flowers so I search out beautiful flowers to paint! I also paint some of the flowers I’m growing in my garden.  Painting from life is so much fun because you can really get a sense of the individual flower you’re painting, how it grows; they all have their own personality.  I have a passion to paint them. I’m not really sure where this art will end up. So far some are on some greeting cards. Sometimes you just have to break away and create things just because it feels right without a clear direction of the market.  If you would like to see more, please follow me on Instragam 

Sue zipkin

If my memory serves me correctly, the beautiful handwriting in the background is one of Paula’s ephemera downloads.  
You can find out more about Sue and her work by following these links.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Typically when I take on a new project, the first thing I do is research. After 25+ years in this business I have quite an extensive portfolio, so I typically start there. It's always fun to look back at what I have created along the way.

There are images that I totally forgot about, others that make me say "Wow, I did that"? and then some that make me cringe and say "What was I thinking"?

Recently I took on a project geared to children, which I have to say is one of my favorite kinds of projects. It is always a nice challenge to create something for a child that appeals to the adult that is purchasing the item.

While I can't share the new art, I can share some of the images that I came across in some of my older portfolios. As with all projects, each one required a different style depending on the client. They know how to keep me on my toes!


Childrens art

Children's illustration
These Fairies were done for wall art. They are made of printed and painted paper, fabric, stitching and buttons. Although they were created years ago, they remain two of my favorite pieces. I still have the originals and keep thinking that I need to frame them.
I believe that they are still available as prints at AllPosters.

Children's Illustration

Children's Illustration

These two were created for a calendar I did for Lang. Both were based on my own childhood memories. (You can read more about that on an older blog post if you are interested). Both images were made from cut paper.

Children's Illustration

And then sometimes I get asked for line drawings. I loved doing these because the line drawings were what got me into licensing in the first place. These images were done for onesies.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Story Behind the Art - Joey Heiberg

The Story Behind the Art - Joey Heiberg

Hello and welcome to the ninth installation of 

If you are new to my blog, The Story Behind the Art will take you on a little journey into the STORY behind a particular piece of art or collection created by one of my talented friends from around the globe. The stories are posted on the first Wednesday of each month.

This month I am happy to introduce you to Joey Heiberg the mother of dollymamas by joey. Joey and I were introduced via e-mail through our mutual friend Ronnie and it was love at first email (at least for me). Although we haven't yet officially met in person; I am almost certain that we were separated at birth.
I loved reading her story and I think it's one that many can relate to.
Enjoy your trip to Joey World!
Dolly mamas

The story of my art…oh where or where to begin!  My dad said I came out of my mom holding a crayon chasing boys. That pretty much sums it up!

I started making money (with my art, not boys) about 18 years ago when I created the dollymamas.  It was a lazy accident with a pencil and margin of the newspaper that was near by.  I was never trained and was clueless at what I was doing. ..but it worked.  Google wasn’t around so I had nothing to compare myself to and that was good by me!

Dolly Mamas

I manufactured my mamas for years until I was asked to license these ladies.  Boy did life hit the happy fan!  I made lots of money and companies flew me all over the country for artist signings.  I was wined and dined.  There weren’t many of us and I was at the top when it came to making fun of women!  Years of living in the most colorful and dysfunctional family came in handy! 

Dolly mamas

In my fantasy head (thank you black and white movies), everything always work out in the end, sometimes even in a half hour. . . thank you Brady Bunch!
dolly mamas

The economy crashed and my world as I knew it started getting smaller.  The Stationary Show was half the size; the companies I made millions for went under.  The licensing industry had changed, the world had changed, and everyone was blogging, twittering and facebooking.  I could barely figure out how to turn on my computer! Years ago you would create a piece and sent it off to the manufacturing fairies, a year later, Waa Laa. . . your product was in the store and checks showed up at your door.  Now if you can’t design the product, create the packaging and make a manufacturing template for China you won’t have a job. So I learned Photoshop.  Pretty impressive huh?  I know, for a girl who doesn’t know how to tweet or twitter or whatever they call it.  Here’s the thing. . . I know what I know from experience, hard work and a ridiculous amount of mistakes.  I also know that sitting here complaining about what isn’t and what used to be is starting to create havoc inside my 50ish year old brain!  I have enough to deal with just trying to remember my name!  So as I write this, it occurred to me that the dollymamas were the first part of my so-called grown up life (my alter ego) now because they are all the things I have become (chin hair, droopy boobs, misplaced brain).  It’s time I bring out the new me, not sure what it is. . .but I’m thinking it will be pre-pubescent – As I like to call it . . The Barbie years, when my biggest problem was getting a pimple!  Oh, I still get them, I just can’t see them!  So there you go . . .my artist life in a nutshell. . . makes you want to become a lawyer!
You can see more of Joey's work on her website.