Apr 21, 2011

Perched at Dawn

"Perched at Dawn"
{watercolor & colored pencil  © 2011}

Pretty pleased with the turn out, but it's taken some adjustment. Is it just me, or are my paintings becoming muddier?! o.O

Limited Edition Print available soon on Etsy.

Apr 12, 2011

Two love birds...

...sittin' in a tree...
painting finished > view final HERE!

What a fantastic 48 hours this has been. I went and visited my friend Natalie and we sat most of the day yesterday at her dining room table. Talking, eating great food, taking walks, and best of all, drawing!

It is very fulfilling, for me, when sitting with a great friend and creating artwork for hours upon hours on end. The day flew by but we didn't care. Natalie finished...what..four paintings?! And I got two brand new drawings ready for paintin'.

I'm titling them "Love Birds" as a pair. 

Not sure what they're individual titles will be. After I drew the girl first, her face reminded me of..well...me. So after much consideration and ponder with Natalie, it was agreed upon that the partner piece would be a boy...and yup, it's Brian. :)

Each is 5x8 inches, drawn in brown colored pencil on hot press arches 140lbs watercolor paper. I'm lovin' the arches block!

These are drawings I find scary to paint. 

I struggled with them. I only had references for the birds so the figures took some thought. After working so hard on them, and loving the sketches, I'm afraid I'll screw them up in paint.

Do you think any of the old master painters ever felt that way about a piece? I sometimes wonder that...

I also want all of you to welcome Natalie to the blogsphere. 

Please visit her blog Meadows to Grove, view her work and her progress leading up to where she is today, and follow. This girl is going somewhere great! Let's go with!

Oh and to finish off the night...

Brian and I went for a walk, to the store, rented "Tangled" and watched a movie together eating ice cream. On top of that, he did dishes afterward! What a FANTASTIC husband! :)

Apr 8, 2011

Local Bindery Saves

After Struggling with D.I.Y. postcards, they came to the rescue

Who sells the best paper for D.I.Y. postcards?

I have gone through many different papers, spending lots of money, and now have stacks that I probably will never use, just to find what's right for postcards.

I've been determined to save by making my own, but to purchase cardstock strong enough just isn't possible without spending loads of money.

I gave in and just started to make them with the best quality matte paper I could find. Unfortunately customers found this paper still too flimsy. So I moved on to the idea of having them professionally made.

Who can provide the best price for the best product?

I went to overnightprints.com, zazzle.com, vistaprint.com, and yet I couldn't find a deal that allowed me to continue charging the price I had in my shop. When I broke down the numbers, it was still too expensive...and I wasn't going to charge $7 for one postcard. You crazy?!

I almost came to just settle with the fact I would have to undercharge and pay extra to offer postcards.

Who came to my rescue? 

Bindery 1. Enough said. They're a local printer here in Des Moines, ran by the lovely Renatta and her family. Name sound familiar? She also runs Lotus Moments Event Center where I just recently had my Artist Reception.

Most large binderies and printing companies probably wouldn't bother with a small business artist who needs a handful of postcards. What a waste of time and money! They're accustomed to thousands to be printed off for one client.

Bindery 1's passion to serve everyone, large and small, makes them unique. I had a couple hundred postcards printed for the artist reception and was impressed with the price AND the quality! Not to mention the turnaround time.

After many questions and her patience, I plunged and ordered 500 postcards. HUGE order......for little 'ol me.

I can now offer professional grade, strong, vivid, and affordable postcards to my customers while staying local! Who knew a business would be so willing? The new postcards will be offered soon. :)

The Bottom Line:  
Don't be afraid to approach your local binderies and printers and get a quote from them. There might be someone out there who is willing to do the small run to support you, and in turn it will support them! And if you can't find anyone, contact Renatta at Bindery 1!

Apr 7, 2011

Well Huh.

I've been encouraged for years and years to submit my work to sci-fi fantasy conventions.

Of course, I submit to Demi Con every year, for over 10 years now. But as I'm making my list and checking it twice, I have noticed a common theme for all art shows:

The Display Art is only for originals or limited editions. 


I did not realize that. Shoot.

I have a few originals left that can be hung up...but that doesn't help with sales. Very rarely do I sell an original at the con.

Secondly, I don't have limited edition prints. :/ I mean I do, like 4, from like...6 years ago. That's it.

So, if you go to the shows, don't look for my work on the display panels, I'll be over in the shuffle of the pile...in the print shop.

Apr 5, 2011

Supporting Local Animals

Both of my cats are from our local shelter. Now I can give back!

I got an email from Brian this morning informing me about about the ASPCA's 100k Challenge. I would like to share what it says and then ask you to give back simply by clicking your mouse (no pun intended).

Giving Pets a New Leash on Life!
The Animal Rescue League of Iowa Could Win $100,000 But Need Your Help TODAY! 
....and each day through April 15
Over the past few weeks, the Animal Rescue League of Iowa has been participating in a series of qualifiers to be eligible to compete for the ASPCA's (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) $100,00 shelter challenge.
We've made it to the qualifying heat.
Now, we need your help!
There are 95 shelters across the country in the running and the top 50 shelters to receive the most votes by April 15 will move on the full competition.

The competition is simple - the shelter who increases their adoptions the most during 90 days this summer over the same time last year wins the $$$!

We plan to use the $100,000 to fully fund our spay/neuter outreach programs CatSnip (for owned cats) and PitStop (for owned pit bull terriers).  These programs provide FREE spay/neuter, microchip, and rabies vaccinations for those who could otherwise not afford it.  These are the 2 types of animals that we see the most of at the ARL, so we are working to reduce the numbers through these 2 programs.  We will also use the money for our Emergency Veterinary Fund for specialized vet needs - this is the same fund that was used to pay for the care that Duke received when he was found paralyzed and with a gunshot wound.

Remember, you can vote once a day (starting today) through April 15, so please vote today and every day so we can provide needed services to these animals!  Spread the word to everyone you know via e-mail and Facebook.  THANK YOU!

Right now the ARL is in the lead! They just got a new facility and it's because of their work that Madie was rescued from an alley and put into my warm arms. It's because of their work that Talor found a home where she could get the personal attention she requires.

They even save horses, pigs, and exotic animals! 

To learn more about the ARL please visit their website: http://www.arl-iowa.org/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1

This is something that is heavy on my heart. I would adopt and adopt these animals if I could. This is a way I can give back to this wonderful organization.

Apr 1, 2011

Art for April

Two new paintings using professional grade watercolors.

Finally she is finished, a difficult one to complete.

"Lady of the Field" has taken what feels like months to complete. She was put on hold to prepare for the art show/reception then afterwards...eh...just didn't feel like finishing her. The painting was in that awkward phase of painting. Nothing looks right, hard to see where it's going, etc.

And I have to be honest, I hated the mushrooms! I think I still had the mushrooms from "Lady of the Forest" in my head intending these to be the same.

Duh, they can't. They're a different kind of mushroom.

What I also discovered through this piece is that painting will take some getting used to now. I feel like I'm learning watercolors all over again....except this time actually learning from the books. Watercolor has always been self taught for me, really.

So when I got my new palette and paints, I hesitated. 

I felt like I was going to mess up and just couldn't afford to. I felt like a senior in high school thinking ahead. Thinking that the piece I'm working on MUST go into my portfolio, therefore I must NOT screw it up. Heh, watercolor always screws up...it's what you do with that screw up that makes the difference. In my opinion.

I had to remind myself that I did know what I was doing...and that I do understand watercolor. Then Brian said something profound "Babe, just use purple for the shadows." ...like I always do.

There's a difference between following the book word for word, and reading the book, then applying it to what you already know.

She finished pretty quickly after that stressful night. 

The next piece I worked on went much quicker, smoother, and my head didn't feel like it was going to explode trying to equate color mixing. Although "April's Diamond" did have it's challenges (limited palette + composition) it didn't pertain to the paints or color mixing themselves.

If you paint in watercolor and you haven't done the "multiplication color chart" (as I'm calling it) please do! It's an awesome reference, even if it's just trying to pick out a palette for a painting. :)