Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Nickel and Dimed

Tonight is the third and final night of auditions for my local theater's production of "Nickel and Dimed." I am trying out, but even if I don't get a part, I will be helping out a bunch with publicity. Here are two blog headers I'm playing around with. I did them in Photoshop because I'm still more comfortable in that program. I know I should try and challenge myself to work in Illustrator but Photoshop still feels like home for these projects.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Dinner (and a) Show

I started this project some time ago but it was put on hold while an organizer was found. In that time I started learning Illustrator so what was originally a Photoshop project is now becoming an Illustrator one.

The little faces at the bottom look like they are possessed and I just realized I'm missing some, well, words. (Details.)

It's fun to be working on a project in the right program...not that I totally know how to use that program but I'm slowly mastering polka dots. This sounds like a small feat but in my small personal design world it's huge.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Craft Cat Header

I'm currently working on April's Craft Cat (the craft newsletter I get to do for work). One of my favorite (but also most frustrating) parts is the header. It's my favorite because I get to play around in programs I love. It's frustrating because I am not a graphic designer by training and I'm never sure if what I'm working on looks quite right.

Here's the evolution of this month's header. Normally I'd fly it past Lynn (who is our graphic designer/co-CEO) but she and Jim are currently in New York hanging out with John Salminen and George James. (She said it was 80 there...which is a far cry from our 60 and POURING here!)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Illustrator Practice

I haven't been working in Illustrator as much as I'd like to but here is the first step of a current project. I did the original vectors in Photoshop and then exported them out one by one (it needs a batch export feature) to Illustrator. I then had to line everything up again because objects shifted greatly during their trip between the two programs.

Next I will start playing with design, pattern and color.

Also, I need to fix the floating issue. I just realized that it looks like someone has the ability to levitate.

(Thanks Anthony for reference photo image)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Conscious Creation

Quilters have known this for a long time: fabric is amazing. This is a medium I, as a non-quilter, have begun to use more and more in my artwork. I love the versatility of pattern and texture and find myself staring at people's sofas and bed coverings wondering, ''How would that look on a card?'' I'm not alone in this area. The fabric arts is a growing medium. But what is the impact beyond the art world?

The answers aren't pretty. If you stack all the world's fiber needs into one pile, half of that pile would be cotton. Cotton doesn't exactly step lightly. It lives on 3% of the earth's arable land and, from that not-so-tiny corner, sucks up more than its fair share of chemicals. From the ground to the bolt, this plant sees chemicals of all kind: insecticides, bleaches and more. Cotton consumes one quarter of all insecticides used in agriculture. The cotton t-shirt I'm wearing is responsible for 1/3 of a pound of chemicals...imagine what my craft cupboard stash is responsible for...imagine how many pounds of chemicals are present in our favorite fabric shops or the textile section of Joanne's.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spring Images

When the weather is good, Zach and I are able to ride to work. This week we will probably do zero of that in that Oregon's valley has been getting serious hail the last few days, but on one such non-hail ride I made him stop so I could take a picture. The geese migration is one of my favorite events every year. Unfortunately they cause complete HAVOC on the fields.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Hurrah! Produce!

Who's excited for spring? This girl! I thought Farmer's Market was suppose to start last week but apparently counting by sevens is more than my brain can handle and I was a week off. But the wait is over! It may be raining but my little town will be out in full force drooling over the fruits of our neighbor's labors. I'm hoping I'm brave enough to ask and take pictures of the produce for my vector work.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Workshop Announcement

You love Jacqueline Sullivan's DVD, now get to see her live! Jacqueline will be teaching two workshops at Art in the Loft in Alpena, Michigan next weekend. If you're in the area April 25-27, this is a great opportunity to learn great techniques from her DVD and also simple metal etching.

Want more information? Check out Art in the Loft's website or email:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This Week's Sales

Susan Bourdet is an acclaimed Audubon print and calendar artist. She has a background in biology as well as in art. Susan has made her living for the past two decades as an artist and author (two books in print). She is also a popular workshop instructor.

Susan's career as a professional artist didn't really begin until 1980, when she was raising her two children and needed to work at home. Trying to find her place in the art gallery scene, she joined a support group of nature artists and began to show her work in local galleries. In 1989, her paintings were discovered in a Portland gallery by Wild Wings. She now has over sixty limited editions and her work is featured in a yearly songbirds calendar!

In these two workshops, Susan takes inspiration from the nature around you. She teaches you not only how to paint birds and flowers but how to achieve various textures such as wood, fur and rust.

Check out, "Inspiration from the Garden" and "Bold and Beautiful: Backyard Wildlife in Watercolor."

Monday, April 14, 2008

Playing Around

Yikes! OK, yes, this does a number on the eyes. Too busy. I was trying something with not a lot of time to play. The profile is how I want it. Now it's just a matter of pattern/color combinations.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Flowers for Your Lens

There is an obvious point to product photography: to sell a product. ("Oh look, a candy bar! Yes please!") I get that. But some product photography, especially when the product is a piece of art, goes beyond just showing the goods. The marketing tool becomes a piece of art in its own right.

Case in point: Rosenow Floral Design in the Bay area. This lovely company has some of the prettiest arrangements and photos of those arrangements I've seen. The owner, Erin, comes from an art school background and there is an eye for design in all aspects of the company (check out some of their cool vase options you have for example.)

Enjoy these lovely photo's, check out Rosenow's website and have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Does art have to be hard?

I often feel caught between the type of art I feel I should be doing (or think I want to be doing) and the type of art I actually enjoy doing. The latter is present moment:I enjoy doing it in the now. The former is future-oriented: if I work hard enough maybe someday I will be able to use acrylics and draw free hand (for example). I often distinguish between the two also on ease of process. If it's easy (still time consuming but I don't get hung up in technique) then I somehow discredit it because the art I think I should be doing isn't easy for me ergo if the project is easy, it must not be what I think I should be doing.

Does this make sense? To me neither.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

This Week's Sales

Two great DVD workshops go on sale this week. The first is Urania Christy Tarbet's, "Landscape in Pastel: Reflections of Monet's Garden." If you are wanting to learn how to do landscapes- especially waterscapes with the trickiness that is reflection- you might find this workshop really useful.

The second workshop on sale is Craig Nelson's, "Drawing a Duotone Portrait." Craig has done five workshops with us here and there's at least one more in the works. I'd never met him until he came out last fall. He was such fun to film. He's also an incredibly good teacher and just rolls with anything. He's sort a living-breathing art reference book (one with lots of personality). You can ask him anything.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Not Child's Play

Sometimes it takes several times back and forth across a lovely rug before I notice that I am walking atop art. Then, somewhat awkwardly, I stand in one place and just stare down. Art and history come together to create amazing beauty.

Unfortunately, this beauty comes at a cost to the tune of 300,000 child laborers often working in terrible conditions through out South Asia. The United States is the largest purchaser of rugs worldwide and many of our rugs came with the sweat of children.

In 1994, RugMark began changing the way the rug market does business. With backing from groups like UNICEF, RugMark certifies rugs to be child labor free. So the next time you or a friend are out looking to buy a beautiful piece of art for your floor, look for the RugMark tag. Your conscious can rest easy and you can help let the industry know that there is a demand for child free rugs.

To learn more about RugMark and the amazing programs they support, visit

(all pictures used with permission of RugMark)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Monday Update

I love being TV shows on DVDs. I also love sleep. Those two things are not mutually compatible.

Today I'm back at Carla O'Connor's lovely workshop. I learn something every time I make a pass on the material (I'm on pass 4). What I'm learning though isn't simply technique, it's how to think about the work as a whole. How to weave together the parts to create something tighter overall.

On a work note: I think I'm getting better as an editor and that excites me. You know how sometimes you plateau and then you'll feel a little improvement bump? I got a bump with Carla. I'm learning to approach the material in a different way and it will make the workshops better as a whole. (Also, it will help make life easier for Z as he does all the editing work after me.)

(Image from Carla O'Connor's Workshop from Creative Catalyst Productions)

***Update*** Check out Carla's DVD workshop!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Sherri Haab's "Resin Jewelry"

After two absolutely beautiful days here in Oregon (including one day where Zach and I rode our bikes the 10 miles to and from work!) we are back into rain. On days with rain the answer is clear: resin!

Here's the trailer for Sherri Haab's "Resin Jewelry."

Thursday, April 03, 2008

This Week's Sales

Oops. I forgot to put this up earlier in the week.

We've got some big sales going on right now at work. This week we bring you Cheng-Khee Chee Vol. 1 and Martha Saudek's "Sunlight on Oak Creek."

Chee filmed 6 workshops while he was here at Creative Catalyst Productions. All deal with different styles of watercolor.

Martha works in oils and in her workshops talks a lot about source material, finding the right canvas shape for your subject matter and then walks you through her entire painting process.

More next week!

Quiz: Toyota's Previous Life

Before becoming the world's second largest car manufacturer, Toyota produced:

A. polymer clay
B. looms
C. pastels

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Somerset Submission Guidelines

Want your work in the pages of your favorite magazine Somerset Studio? Check out page 121 of the March/April issue. They have three upcoming themes.

Vintage Halloween
April 15, 2008
Apparently this is a continuation of of the 2007 Halloween theme. They are making it a annual tradition so you all must have done something right! They are calling for vintage Halloween artwork and suggest you "Think elegant and sophisticated, romantic an timeless as you sort through your collection..."

Special Holiday Projects
June 15, 2008
Once you get your vintage Halloween in it's right on to holiday crafts. (Who says it's too early to start thinking Christmas?!) Somerset writes, "We look forward to projects made with paper, rubber art stamps, calligraphy, an d mixed-media that will add sparkle to our traditions of giving thanks, rekindling our faith, and reconnecting with family and friends."

August 15, 2008
Here they challenge you to take on two big fundamentals: black and white. Whether you try your hand at modern or classic, use the this dynamic duo in your work and perhaps see it in the pages of Somerset Studio Magazine.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Well Hello Lisa Engelbrecht

Lisa Engelbrecht's name is front and center in the March/April edition of Somerset Studio magazine. Inside there is a beautiful full page image of Lisa's Collage of Hope and an article to accompany. She discusses some of the inspiration for her piece including Emily Dickinson whose quote sits prominently in the piece.