Sunday, December 7, 2014

Learning to Write

So a funny thing happened last week.

I have been going back and forth to Dallas to do showroom set up for Midwest/CBK and I arrived there Sunday night. For whatever reason, I started thinking about how I have been wanting to write or start journaling.  Lately I have been waking up, making breakfast and turning on the television or heading straight to the computer; two nasty habits that I have been wanting to break.

There is a lot spinning around in my head, career wise, and it seems like a good idea to get some of these thoughts on paper. I also have a couple of children's book ideas in my head.
While I was walking back from picking up dinner I thought, " Well, why not start tomorrow morning?".

My new plan is that I get up and have to write for 15 minutes before I can do anything. It's amazingly easy.

Now for the funny thing.......

The great writing experiment (what I am calling it) started in my hotel room in Dallas on December 1. I ate breakfast, wrote in my journal and went down to the lobby to check my email. The first email that popped up was from Beth Nichols/Do What You Love promoting a new Winter Writing Workshop and it's FREE! Frances Booth author of "The Distraction Trap" is the workshop leader.

It seemed like a sign so I signed up. You should too.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Charlie Brown, Dean and Billie Spille

The other night the husband and I were just finishing dinner when "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" came on. It was a double header, "This is America" came on next. Needless to say, we watched them both.
When the credits were rolling I was reminded of the time I was in France at Les Soeurs Anglaises and had the pleasure of meeting Dean Spille and his wife Billie. The husband was impressed.

Dean worked as a color stylist on many of the Charlie Brown specials and, having grown up with Charlie Brown, it was like meeting royalty. His wife, Billie, is also a talented artist. They are two of the kindest, most sharing people I have had the good fortune to meet.

At the time they were living in a village near Bordeaux and touring their studios and home was magical. To mark the occasion I purchased one of Billie's works on paper and I think of that visit every time I walk by it.

I just read that although "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" is now 41 years old, it managed to tie "Survivor" as the Number 1 program of the night. I couldn't be happier.

Here's to you Charlie Brown!

The sign on their front door.

Their home and the entrance to Dean's studio.

Billie at the kitchen table talking to Katie of Les Soeurs

The piece that I purchased.

The living room.The spiral staircase on the right......

is also pictured here and leads to a cozy little room.......

filled with goodies. We could have looked around in here all day.

I was happy to see that Mary Engelbreit's Ann Estelle was present.

Dean in his studio with Katie.

Dean's work area.

Some fun inspiration, I wanted those birds bad.

Ephemera and one of Dean's cartoons.

Friday, October 31, 2014

My Love of Bad Movies; Special Halloween Edition

To know me is to know that I love bad Science Fiction and Horror movies; the badder the better.
As I write this I am watching "War-Gods of the Deep". Vincent Price is engaged in an underwater battle with some people that he was holding captive in his castle (of course). I'm not exactly sure what's going on because I tuned in in the middle of it, but it doesn't matter, I'm not moving from the sofa until this is over.

As a kid, I loved vampire movies and before I decided on an art career I wanted to be a vampire. I could never understand why a person wouldn't want to be a vampire. You had a rich, handsome vampire husband, you lived forever (in a castle), got to stay up late and you got to wear really stylish clothing. What's not to love? Sure there's that pesky drinking blood thing but I figured if you're rich you could just buy blood. If I remember correctly, my vampiress name was going to be Carlotta.

Fortunately I had a mother who indulged this obsession and would let me stay up late to watch these movies. Come to think of it, she probably liked them as much as I did.

I was also devoted to shows like "The Outer Limits", "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "The Twilight Zone". In a funny way, some of these shows made me think that anything was possible and that has stuck with me to this day.

In honor of Halloween, there are a few channels who are running these movies all day. I'm pretty sure I won't be getting much work done.

Here are a few of my favorites.

"The Brain from Planet Arous"
A battle between two floating brains.

 "The Uninvited"

"The House on Haunted Hill"
or about anything with Vincent Price

and I would be remiss if I didn't give a special shout out to
"The Ghost and Mr. Chicken"

Monday, October 13, 2014

ArtBiz Jam 2014

This years group.

Well another ArtBiz Jam is under our belts and it was just as fantastic as the first, if I may say so myself.

We changed things up a little this year and worked on putting a coastal collection together. After-all, we were at the beach. A separate workspace was added and everyone made artist trading cards to exchange. An ArtBiz Jam theme song was written by some especially talented people (you know who you are) and, thanks to Willie Green-Aldridge, we all learned about Gelli Plates.

Much like last year, the laughter never stopped.

Special thanks to Ingrid Liss from Demdaco for being this years guest speaker. Everyone agreed that her talks about licensing were informative and insightful. There is nothing quite like having someone as talented and creative as Ingrid right at your finger tips for several days.

Having these gatherings always reminds me of what a special, giving, caring and silly group the licensing and illustration community is. Putting something like this together is hard work but being with such a wonderful group of people makes it all worthwhile. We are already talking about what next years will be like.

Thanks to all who attended and made ABJ 2 a success!

 The fearless leaders of ArtBiz Jam.
Me, Ingrid Liss, Phyllis Dobbs, Lori Siebert and Chad Barrett

 Some of the Artist Trading Cards

Willie demonstrating the Gelli Plates.

Chad being, well, Chad.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Originals for Sale

It seems that spring has finally arrived and, once again, I have the itch to go through and sort things.

While going through some older art work I found images for a travel calendar that I did for The Lang Companies, back when I was a full time staff artist for them.

The title was "Around the World" and it was produced in 2011. The original concept called for a vertical format and two versions, European and US cities. The European version was produced but switched to a horizontal format. The US version was never made.

I distinctly remember these images being a real challenge in a positive way. My grandfather traveled for business and I incorporated some of the postcards he sent to my sister and I as well as other personal pieces of ephemera. And although my style has changed a bit over the years, these images remain some of my favorite.

That said, I have decided to sell some of them. I would rather they end up in a place where they will be displayed and appreciated, rather than in a box on a shelf. Some of them have already been purchased and I have hung on to a few for old times sake but the rest are up for grabs.

If you are interested, please visit my etsy store or check out my Pinterest page.

In the near future I will be adding the US cities and originals from the "Girlfriends" calendars I did from 2007-2011.

Thanks for stopping by!

The Calendar

A few of the images.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Postcard From Germany

My postcard arrived from Germany!

It was created by Karene' Wedekind and I LOVE it. The colors, the message, the stitching. Oh so nice.

There is something magical about receiving a card created just for you that you can hold in your hands. I really liked that this came as a postcard without an envelope, the stamps and postmarks added to the final image.

The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap is put together by Do What You Love For Life. I encourage you to sign up for next year, I know I will!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap

I have been waiting to post an image until my card made it to Germany. I just hated to ruin the surprise.

And here's the back, I left room for a message.

You can read more about the swap here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Paper Love Blog Hop-Why I love Paper

The PaperLove Blog Hop is a celebration of all things paper! Follow the links to discover more bloggers who love paper and use it to inspire and delight. And if you want to explore a whole world of paper, and stretch your paper passion further with a host of creative projects, why not join the innovative new online course PaperLove (starts March 31). Led by book artist Rachel Hazell, PaperLove is a five week creative adventure for paper lovers. Find out more here.

As part of this blog hop I have been asked to write about why I love working in paper. 
Hmmmm, I never thought much about why paper has almost always been my go to. Naturally, as an illustrator, I have drawn and painted on paper but what really gets me going is cutting, pasting and stitching paper. 

Pieces of paper have always been incorporated into my illustrations, usually in the form of old book pages. Over the years the paint was slowly replaced with snips of patterned paper. Typically I build a pattern in photoshop, print it on nice paper and then cut, tear and stitch it into whatever it is that I have in my head that day.

I also have a thing for scraps of paper with handwriting on them. My studio and home are located in the heart of downtown Atlanta and I walk around the city quite a bit. If I see a list or note that someone has dropped, I HAVE to pick it up. I bring it home and add it to the box of bits of paper. Eventually it will come out and make it into an illustration. 

I realize that I still haven't answered the "Why" here, but all I think we need to know, is that I love it. Making the switch from paint to paper snips has brought a joy back to my work that has been missing for some time. I can't wait to get into the studio and get to work. I really just love what I do these days and I believe it's because of my old friend paper. 

My 2015 Tres Chic calendar for The Lang Companies

An image from my set of coasters for Studio M
They are titled "Kick Up Your Heels"

 I LOVE making paper shoes, dresses and handbags. They are quite time consuming so 
I don't get to make as many as I would like to. You can see more here.

"Suzanne" paper dress made from vintage paper
You can see more dresses here.

Thanks for stopping by and make sure to visit these other paper lovers. 

Majo Bautista / Tona Bell Louise Best Cathy Bluteau / Jennifer Bomgardner / Giova Brusa / Lindsay Buck / Beka Buckley / Joanna Caskie / Jonathan Chapman (Mr Yen) / Halle Cisco / Sarah Clare / Cathryn Clarge / Dawn Clarkson / Rhiannon Connelly Jenny D'Fuego / Molly Dhiman / Ian Dudley / Ayisatu Emore / Akmal Farid / Monika Forsberg / Claire Fritz-Domeney / Louise Gale / Chrissy Gaskell / Julie Hamilton / Emma Hawman / Rachel Hazell / Holly Helgeson / Claudine Hellmuth / Kim Henkel / Sarah Hoffman / Joanne Hus / Paula Joerling / Beth Kempton / Julie Kirk / Eos Koch / Katie LaClair / Kristy Lankford / Michelle Manolov / Doreen Marts Rosie Martinez-Dekker / Tori Mears / Maria Mederios / Lise Meijer / Debbie Miller / MaryJane Mitchell / Suzy Naidoo / Grace Noel / Hannah Nunn / Camilla Olsson / Jo Packham / Rachelle Panagarry / Monette Pangan / Melanie Paul Nicole Piar / Jen Pitta / Liz Plummer Julie Reed / Michelle Reynolds / Lisa Rivas Angee Robertson / Natalie Ryan / Aisling Ryan / Elisabet Sapena / Kyrrha Sevco / Jamie Sprague / Elizabeth Steele / Terri Stephens / Juniper Stokes / Mary Tanana / Maike Thoma / Linda Tieu Gabrielle Treanor / Tammy Tutterow / Deborah Velasquez / Jordan Vinograd Kim / Cat Whipple / Brooke Witt / Katie Wood Amelia Woodbridge

Monday, February 24, 2014

Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap

Well it's that time of year again. The days are getting longer, spring is right around the corner (THANK GOD) and The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap is back!!!!!

I can't tell you how much I love this event organized by Beth Nicholls of Do What You Love . People from all over the world create a stitched postcard based on a word, this year the word is CREATE and the cards travel over land and sea to reach their destination.

This year (the 7th) TGBGPS has teamed up with Anchor, part of the worldwide Coats group to offer a giveaway.

So RUN, don't walk on over to The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap and register. You have until midnight GMT Tuesday, February 25th.

Here are a couple of my cards from previous years.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Souvenirs From the Atlanta Gift Show

Well another Gift Show has come and gone and I have almost recovered.

I live just a few blocks from the mart and my home and studio have become the meeting spot for after show antics. You never know who will show up.

This show was a little different in that my fellow Art Biz Jammers and I decided to host a dinner party for all of the wonderful participants in our first Art Biz Jam retreat that we held in September. Somehow it turned into dinner for 30 but who's counting?

Here are a few highlights from the evening.

 Phyllis Dobbs, Lori Siebert, Chad Barrett, Anne BrownRobin Davis and I were the evenings hosts. 

Lori and Robin were house guests and we decided to have Dan DiPaolo over for breakfast.

I thought there would be leftovers but there weren't. The Rum cake disappeared too.

I can't tell you how much I love seeing all of these wonderful artists.

 Several people wandered into the studio for a "draw off". The rest of us stayed in the house and continued drinking and eating.

This is how it worked. Paper was folded in half. One person drew a body and passes it to someone else. That person had to draw a head without looking at the body. When everyone is finished, you open the drawing and hilarity ensues. 

Clearly there was some real talent here. 

Lori, Chad, Phyllis, Anne and I will be holding another Art Biz Jam in October of this year. Head on over to the ABJ site for more information. Hope to see you there!
Oh and studio mate Chad Barrett isn't in any of the photos because he took them all.