Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Art Club Without a Name

About a year ago my friend Chad (Barrett) and I decided to get together on a regular basis and
compare notes on licensing, networking, painting techniques and maybe even work on a few projects together. We called ourselves "The Super Secret Art Club" because it sounded like a name that two mischievous children would give a club and because it was so stupid. I think we got together twice (for actual club activities) and then we forgot about it. We did enlist each others help in a variety of projects from time to time and would pretend that it counted towards a meeting but deep down we knew that it didn't.

In April I attended Mary Engelbreit's artist workshop and was amazed at how inspiring it was to work in a room with other creative and like minded people. That experience inspired me to take action and fly to Cincinnati to work on a project with Lori Seibert. This was something that we had talked about for some time but never did. That was also a great adventure and I told Lori that when I got home I was going to start a weekly "craft night" or something of the sort. She was jealous (he, he).

Well since this is my "summer of doing things I keep saying I am going to do" I did it.
I emailed Chad (awesome illustrator), Jeanne Flint,(a fabulous maker of jewelry and other things), and my husband Tom (kinetic sculptor extraordinaire). I could have walked in the other room and just told Tom but I felt like the email made it more official. We meet every other week and will add more people as soon as we have a better idea of what we are doing. As soon as we have a name we will have a blog so we can post the goings on, techniques and advice; this is where you come in.

WE NEED A NAME.........
Super Secret Art Club is cute and funny but, ehh.
We all bring different skills to the group that we plan on sharing with each other.
Breaking out of our comfort zones is a goal.
Something like "Mix it Up" is a thought, but again, ehh.

If you have a suggestion please leave it in the comment section. If we use it we'll send you a little something that we all worked on together.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Philadelphia, New York and Beyond

My husband Tom, creates kinetic sculptures and had completed a piece called Epiphany for a collector who lives in upstate New York. This piece was going to be rather difficult to ship so we decided to make a road trip out of it. Since two of our most favorite people in the world live in Philadelphia, the decision was an easy one. We've know our friends Ernie and Brian for sometime now. They are both super creative, talented, funny and are easy to just hang around with. They have a line of custom furniture called Groundwork Group.

Tom was also meeting with a gallery in New York so we spent a couple of days in the city. While there, we got to see Mark Ryden's latest show "The Gay 90's, Olde Tyme Art Show" (which was fabulous) and walk around and act like tourists. I am usually working when I'm there so it was nice to have a chance to do most of the things that I never get to do.

A few of the highlights...........

I needed to organize my paintings and was considering a flat file but they are expensive, heavy and take up too much room. What I really needed was a bakers cooling rack that I could make shelves for. The city of Atlanta must have had a mad rush on these racks because I couldn't find a single one at any of my usual sources. Saunder's Restaurant Supply in Philadelphia had plenty to choose from. I also found a few other goodies.

This is Ernie and Brian's place just outside of Philadelphia. They have the best of both worlds, a place in the city and a country home 20 minutes away.

Lately I have had an obsession with moss so I loved this planted filled with several different varieties.

The kitchen at Port Royal outdoors and housed in an old chicken coop. We had a potluck Memorial Day dinner. It was hotter than blazes until the sun went down.

Tom at Stumptown Coffee Roasters in the Ace Hotel in New York. We needed a caffeine fix before heading to Tinsel Trading.

Vintage trim and ephemera at Tinsel Trading Co. We were like kids in a candy store. Tom found lots of trim for his carvings. I was too overwhelmed to buy anything.

The beautiful High Line in New York.

We managed to go to Frenchtown, NJ and see "Two Buttons", Elizabeth and Jose's amazing store. They import beautiful handmade objects and sculpture. This is also home to "Lovin' Oven" where you will find some really good eats.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Well here they are, in order of creation. While these appear to be quite a departure from my current work they actually go back to where I began. I always thought that what I did was "too cute" or "whimsical" and wouldn't be taken seriously. After all, I was trained as a "fine artist". I have always loved text, pattern and texture but as my painting got better and more refined those elements began to go out the window. Well it's back and I plan on doing more collage. The one on the far right is my favorite and the direction I plan on taking when time permits.

Of course I will still illustrate the way I have been illustrating but it will be interesting to see how making these collages will start to influence my current work.
To my friends "cute" and "whimsical", clear your schedules, we'll be spending more time together

Friday, June 11, 2010

Trying Something New

Since this is "My Summer of Trying New Things" (it's much more official if it's in quotes don't you think?) I decided try my hand at collage. This isn't an entirely new field for me but it's one that I has been put on the back burner for awhile.
Here's the shimmy.......

Prior to licensing I was making personalized name frames using color copies of my original art as well as hand painting growth charts and pin the tail on the donkey games for The Warm Biscuit Bedding Company, a wonderful children's catalog. All of this was done in acrylics.

When I started creating art for calendars and cards I used fabric and applique because I loved fabric and pattern and I hated painting. The thought of it seriously depressed me.
After a few cards and a calendar my art director told me that if I wanted to be a successful licensor I needed to paint. I thought I might die right there on the spot. Sensing my frustration this wonderful friend invited me to his farm and demonstrated several technics in water color that I had never seen. I was hooked.

I came home and went nuts, painting like a mad dog and LOVING every minute of it. I would email him images with subject lines like "Who Did This?" or "Who Am I" and, if I was feeling especially delighted with an image, "I'm Awesome". Missing the fabric and patten I began to incorporate paper and fabric into the pieces. Truthfully this was also a crutch because I was still a little bit intimated with trying a new medium.

Eventually I became less afraid of the paint and as I learned how to use it the paper and fabric disappeared.

I miss it and that's why I want to start making collage pieces.
Again, I'm intimated to begin.
What's up with that?

Well last night I began. I needed a few thank you cards and since I like to make these myself I decided that this was a good time to try something new. I find that a hand-made thank you card is appreciated even if it's a horrible mess. There isn't the pressure to create a sellable or licensable image and, in my case, it's just fun to let loose and see what happens.

That's exactly what I did, let loose.
It was fun!
I liked it and am going to make more.
Can't wait to see where it leads.

I will post photos when I've made a few more so you can see the evolution.

The art directors name was Dan DiPaolo, he is a dear friend who took me under his wing and I am forever grateful. xo Dan

Monday, June 7, 2010

Flying Lessons:

Kelley Rae Roberts started a 5 week online course, Flying Lessons: Tips + Tricks To Help Your Creative Business Soar. It began May 30th but I was out of town (more on that later in the week) and couldn't start until this morning. So far I'm loving it!
My friend Robin Davis introduced me to Kelly's blog and I was impressed with her willingness to share her story of success as well her contagious enthusiasm about her work.

Even though I am a fairly successful illustrator I have always felt a little artistically congested; like I could or should be exploring more arenas of creativity but wasn't. I decided that this was the summer that I was going to do all (well as many as I possibly could) of the things that I always talked about doing. So far I have done three.

1. Take a workshop.
2. Collaborate with Lori (we had been discussing it for ever).
3. Enroll in Kelly's class.

Three more are happening this week.

1. Every other week I am getting a few friends together for a craft/art night. We will explore different technics and ideas, make stuff and discuss what we're working on.
2. Improve my sewing skills. I am lucky to have Whipstitch Fabric Lounge right up the street from me. They teach classes for all skill levels and have great guest artists.
3. Start journaling.

Also on the list.

1. Start teaching classes.
2. Write books.
3. Start an Etsy shop
4. Inspire and encourage other's to pursue their dreams and figure out what it is that they want to do.
That last one is the toughest but the most important.

In addition to blogging about my general goings on I will keep you updated with my summer of trying new things.

Feel free to hang on and ride the roller coaster with me!