Affordable Art Finds, Week Four

Nov 30, 2009

The gift giving season is now in full force.  We drew names on my husband's side of the family, and I got my dear father-in-law.  Although I should be shopping for tackle, Louis L'Amour novels, and new mens socks, here are some gift ideas for the artist in mind. 

1.  Artist Paola ZAkimi from Argentina likes to paint portraits.  On her Etsy shop, you can order a custom portrait of yourself or a friend for just $38!

2.  I have a thing for Japanese art and design.  Here's a handmade piece by Alma Pottery that I would happily add to my little bowl collection. $30

3. I just discovered Chicago-based artist, Leslie Jenner, this weekend.  You need to check out her shop here.  Talk about affordable, she has a couple of original works listed at $1!!  The work below is one of my favorites she just completed.  It's a 12" x 12" original drawing called Ocean.  $20.

Giveaway ends today!

Nov 29, 2009

Last chance to enter the art giveaway- drawing is tonight!  All you have to do is comment here on which piece you'd like to win.  The popular choice of art so far is One Red Paper Crane

UPDATE: Congratulations to Lisa from CA!  She is the giveaway winner, and she has chosen One Red Paper Crane as her favorite.

Artist Danna Ray and the great outdoors

Nov 28, 2009

Looking at Danna Ray's art is like camping without leaving the comforts of your home.  Deer in the woods, a canoe by a lakeside, and a couple sleeping under a canopy of stars are just a few scenes captured in Danna's beautiful illustrations.

One of my favorite pieces of Danna's is Constants of Motion, shown above.  I love the simple composition- the sparse, dark trees against the segmented and muted backdrop. 

To see more of Danna's wonderful art, visit her Etsy shop here.  There's also a great interview on Etsy with Danna.  Read about her childhood in the woods and her inspirations here

Two new works reflective of the natural environment around us

Nov 27, 2009

This week I completed two new pieces.  The one shown above, It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, is unique from my other works both stylistically and thematically.

Normally I work in oils on birch panel, whereas It's a beautiful day is watercolor, pen and colored pencil. I was away from my studio space this weekend, so this explains why I worked in these mediums- they were more portable!  Most of It's a beautiful day is done in watercolor, including all the fine details such as the stippling of the forest ground, the outline of the raindrops, and the grass blades.  A lot of it was tedious, but at the same time, relatively therapeutic.  It's kinda like handquilting for me.  Yes, there's definitely a much faster way to sew two pieces of fabric together, but the quiteness and repetitive actions of handquilting can be very calming at times. 

Although those around me can contest I am a very opinionated person, social commentary art is normally not my thing.  After drawing the houses and the trees in this piece, however,  I felt compelled to convey the message of man and the natural environment, specifically relating to industrial development in the modern age.  The chimney stacks with the plume of smoke are symbolic of emissions from factories that are detrimental to the quality of our air.  Acid rain falls from the polluted skies to grounds below that have been cleared of trees.  All the while, the sun is shining, the grass is green, and life is good in our little neighborhood. 

My other piece, Cathedral in French valley, doesn't have as deep of a message and is more typical of the kind of art work I have been creating lately.  Back to working in oils, I decided to also incorporate a drawing I had done just the week prior.  The drawing is of a cathedral in Saint-Rémy, which happens to be the town that Vincent Van Gogh painted many of his famous paintings.  The pastel colors I used in this piece remind me a lot of the natural stones and materials of the Provencal area.  After visitng Saint-Rémy many years ago, I can see why Vincent Van Gogh was so inspired by its charm and beauty.

Before I decided to use the cathedral drawing, I had outlined some block buildings in pen on the birch panel.  I like how some of these initial designs can be seen through the paint and pencil drawing.   The transparency gives the work a little more dimension.

Piecing together the old and the new

Nov 26, 2009

I'm about to embark on a new quilting project.  I picked up a great set of vintage squares (handstitched!) at an antique store and am trying to figure out how I want to piece together the rest of the top.

Looking for some inspiration, I turned to the internet and found these beautiful modern quilts.



Sherri Lynn Wood, Color Study 306, 45" x 50", 2008.

Dashing through the snow

Nov 25, 2009

Drove through a winter wonderland the other day.  It was spectacular.

Home Sweet Home

Nov 24, 2009

I just finished an art work this past weekend that features little, boxy homes (which I will post on Friday's art update).  This probably explains why I noticed all of these charming illustrations in the last 24 hours.  If these tiny homes had cheeks, I would be pinching them right now.

Emily Martin, The One Tree, 7" x 9" print, 2009.

Kate Pugsley, Tiny Village, 5" x 7" gocco print, 2009.

Corinne Dean, One Red Door, 5 x 7 print, 2009.

Affordable Art Finds, Week Three

Nov 23, 2009

 Another grouping of lovely art, all under $75. 

1.  Ana Raimundo, Amelia is not a child anymore no.14, gocco print, limited edition of 20, 8.3 in. x 5.9 in., 2009, $15.  Each print is uniquely handcolored with watercolor and graphic pen.

2. Blanca Gomez, Drop Bird, collage, 6 in. x 6 in., $28.

3.  Betsy Walton, Components, limted edition of 5, 8 in. x 8 in., $45.

4.  Jill Bliss and Brittany Powell, The Califoregon Meadowlark, limited edition of 20, 9 in. x 12 in., 2008, $40.

Squid for dinner and your walls

Nov 22, 2009

Squid is one of my favorite things to eat, especially when it's cooked with spices in a stir fry.  (Check out this recipe here.)  I have noticed lately a more popular interest in squid, especially in the area of art.  I'll be the first to admit that they are not cute creatures, but there is something so intriguing about their form and movement.  Whether you can stomach them on a dinner plate or not, consider trying them on a wall.

Mary Carlson, crocheted squid, 2001. Bill Maynes Gallery.  Source:

PistolesPress, Giant Red Squid, woodblock print, 6.5 in. x 6.5 in., 2009.

Max Estes, Strawberry Squid, 2008.

Zoe Keramea, Squid, paper and thread, 2002.

Trees and seasons of Portland

Nov 21, 2009

summer, fall, winter, spring

Busy as a bee

Nov 20, 2009

I've been working on multiple projects this week.  Here are just a few things that have been keeping me busy the last few days:

1.  Creating more art- yeah!  Here are two new pieces I added to my online gallery:

I actually have two more mixed media pieces almost done; just trying to track down the typewriter for one last detail! 

2. Closing down Olio United's webshop, which is why things like a typewriter have been misplaced or boxed up.  My business partner and I have been fulfilling and shipping some of our last orders.  Although our shop page will be taken down in a couple of weeks, we're looking forward to connecting with followers through our new blog on sustainable living.  Will post more about this soon.

3.  Started a DVD project for a wonderful montessori school in my neighborhood.  I recently finished taking portraits of all 25 kids.  Phew- that was a task!  But, so fun to be around little ones.

4.  Crocheting like a fiend.  About half way done with a baby blanket I'm making for a friend.  Up next- a kids hammock!

I want to also remind readers to enter the new art giveaway this month.  You get to choose the prize! All you have to do is comment here.

Painted landscapes representing the idyllic American life today and in the past

Nov 19, 2009

Grant Wood, Stone City, Iowa, 1930. Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska.

The American landscape has drastically changed in the last century.   In many parts of the country, what was once rural has become urban.  Grant Wood is noted as being one of the first American painters to address the theme of rural preservation.  In a time of tremendous industrial growth and hardship (the 1930s), Wood's romanticized landscape paintings of the mid-West became images of hope and idealism for many.

Laura Von Rosk, Untitled, oil on wood, 14" x 12", 2009.

Fast forward 80 years later, there's a new economic crisis and an American artist creating beautiful scenes of lush and fertile landscapes.  For the last decade, Laura Von Rosk has been painting images of expansive lands and waters.  She states, 

By using elements of the landscape I hope to create a kind of new reality, where memory is mixed and intertwined with an emotional response, to produce a different psychological experience, and a new interpretation of place.

Like Wood, Von Rosk focuses on form and pattern to create dimension and distance.  The use of bright, saturated colors are also used by both artists to enhance the dream-like qualities of their paintings. I've arranged the works below to show the similar stylistic compositions of both artists.

Grant Wood, Near Sundown, oil on canvas, 1933.

Laura Von Rosk, March Hills, oil on wood, 12" x 14", 2005.  

Grant Wood
, Young Corn, 1931. Cedar Rapids Museum of Art

  Laura Von Rosk, Untitled, oil on wood, 10" x 12", 2008.

Grant Wood, Fall Plowing, 1931.

Laura Von Rosk, Champlain Valley, oil on wood, 12" x 12", 2002.

Giveaway- you choose the art!

Nov 18, 2009

Giveaways are just plain fun, so I'm running another one.  This time, you get to choose the prize!  Just browse my art shop here, and leave a comment below on which one you like the most or where you would hang the new art.  Here are some more details on the giveaway:

1.  If you're old enough to vote, you can enter.

2.  Only one entry per person.

3.  The prize is one available art piece valued at or up to $65. 

4.  If you live in the U.S., the art work will be shipped to you for free.  A partial shipping fee will apply if you live outside of the U.S.

The drawing will take place on Sunday, Nov. 29th, 11:59pm EST through  The winner will be notified by email.

And while we're on the topic of giveaways, there's a new L Letterpress Combo Kit (valued at $149.99) up for grabs at "I Do"-it-Yourself.  Drawing is tonight! Go here for details.

Amy Ruppel's photo documentary of travels abroad

Nov 17, 2009

Portland favorite Amy Ruppel is best known for her paintings of birds and other cute woodland creatures.  In the past couple of years, you may have seen her designs on Target holiday commercials and Converse shoes.  Although most of Amy's art work is concentrated on painting, illustration, and computer graphics, Amy's creative mind and skills spill into other areas of art, such as photography.

When I was browsing Amy's site recently, I came across her collection of travel photographs.   There are many beautiful photos of historical architecture and cultural centers to look at, but my favorite images of Amy's are those of a more mundane subject, like a public bathroom wall,  the interior of a commuter train, or laundry hanging from a line outside of a hotel.

 I look forward to seeing more of Amy's travel pictures.  Up next- Alaska!

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