Artists at work

Aug 31, 2011

I finally took advantage yesterday of the movie setting on my camera.  Here's a 30 second video of me working on my latest mixed media piece.

One day I might try a fast motion time lapse.  I recently discovered this video of artist Mary Ann Wakeley at work.  And then there's this incredible video of French artist Jean-Pierre Blanchard painting a oversized portrait of Roger Federer in 4 minutes!  [I have to say that the orchestral rendition of St. Elmo's Fire makes the video even that much more entertaining.]

Blanchard's painting sold for $20,000, all going to charity.  Maybe I should take up speed painting. 

my creative week

Aug 27, 2011

There really isn't enough time in the day to do everything that I'd like to . . . but I try.  Here are some projects- small and big- that I tackled the last week and a half.

drawing on ceramic chimes with a sharpie // latest beach collection of rocks and shells // 11 x 14 At the Beach print // adding a bit of inspiration to vintage school chairs in the girls' study room // new stationary // notecards made from image transfer onto vintage index card // progress on a 18 x 24 wood panel painting

giveaway! succulents eco-journal by Jill Bliss

Aug 25, 2011

I love this sweet journal by Jill Bliss.  It's filled with beautiful illustrations of succulent plants [224 pages!], and it's printed on 100% recycled paper with soy ink.

For a chance to win this lovely notebook, just leave a comment below.  One entry per person please.  

A winner will be randomly chosen (using this Monday, August 29, at noon PST.  Shortly following the drawing, I will send the winner an email and post their name below.  So make sure your name links back to an email address.

Thanks again to Jill for a wonderful giveaway and interview.  Check out all of her fabulous journals here.

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Giveaway winner- congratulations to Alex!

Studio visit: Jill Bliss

Aug 24, 2011

[All photos by me. Art images, Jill Bliss]

I have known artist Jill Bliss for several years now, since first meeting her at my Portland shop.  She had recently moved from the Bay Area and had setup a studio space in a classic Portland foursquare house.  Since then, we've had many meetups and run-ins, talking about art and our other shared fascinations- Prairie Underground clothes, the Asian culture, and good food. 

Jill's nature-inspired art goods can be found all across the country in little and big shops, an admirable feat for a one-person business.  Unfortunately, a hand injury this year has hindered Jill's drawing routine.  Being the resourceful and dedicated worker that she is, Jill still manages to stay very busy.  I paid Jill a visit at her home studio a couple of weeks ago to hear about her latest projects as well as give all of you a glimpse of her wonderful creative space. 

Jill at work, and her sweet 11 year-old dog, Lucy. 

What is one of your most prized possessions in your studio?

My vintage scientific wood drafting table. It's huge, it fully disassembles, it has two drawers underneath and footrest bars that perfectly hold my flat files. I will have and use it the rest of my life, and possibly request it to be used as my a funeral pyre when the time comes! Ha!

Jill's drawing of California Poppies is still one of my favorites of hers.  Every year they spring up in her garden.

What inspires you to create?

Learning about ecology - all the little pieces and how they fit together! So inspiring!

What are the things you love most about what you do, and what are the challenges?

I love creating visual reference guides for all the things I've learned, which is what my work has become. I love being my own boss, and I love interacting with people who appreciate and use my work. Current challenges are all related to not being able to draw as much or as quickly as I used to, thanks to aging and overuse, and the expense and stress of trying to maintain what's left. 

An artist can never have too much storage.  The wall and window ledges are perfect for Jill's smaller collections.

If you could change one thing about your art space, what would it be?

I would make one whole wall floor-to-ceiling cabinets with doors for storage to eliminate the visual clutter in here! And the other wall floor-to-ceiling windows to enjoy the garden view.

The insanely detailed work of Jill's Anima series. 

What art project or accomplishment are you most proud of?

I love my Anima series as if they were my own children, and I'm very protective of them! Unless things get really super dire around here [I'm eying my pile of medical bills] you will never see my anima babies on mass-manufactured-in-china stuff!

Enjoying tea in Jill's sweet kitchen.

If you had a spare hour in the day, how would you spend it?

Meeting a friend for coffee, tea, or happy hour.

Clipboards are an easy way to organize loose papers.  The chair rail is a perfect spot for Jill's clipboards.

Staying organized is a challenge for many artists.  What are some simple tips that have helped you?

Clean as you go and put things back where they belong as soon as you are finished with them - easier said than done!

Jill makes business cards from recycled prints and stationary. 

What advice would you give to an artist starting out?

Are you sure you want to do this?! Just kidding- well, only a little. Hold on to your day job or other source of income as long as possible, and be prepared for lots of compromise - either your integrity or a normal lifestyle! Very few artists get to have both.  Many artists doing mostly self-generated work aren't paid well enough to afford all of the comforts of typical middle class life. Generally, self-generated work doesn't pay as handsomely as corporate work, and corporate work can be full of artistic and moral compromises. No matter what type of work you choose to do, even if your art is popular and paying all your bills now, there's no guarantee that the popularity will last. Have a back up plan/ career just in case - especially if you have or want to support a family! Nothing lasts forever!

Thanks Jill for a great interview! To see the plethora of art goodness from Jill, go to her website here. Jill has also launched a kickstarter campaign this month.  Pledge $25 to her new Anima project and receive a 16" x 20" poster of your choice!  Read more about it here.

And, once again, we'll be throwing another art giveaway, thanks to miss Jill.  See what's up for grabs tomorrow!

Free shipping on Etsy orders

Aug 19, 2011

To do my part in spurring the economy, I'm offering free shipping on all Etsy orders received thru Thursday, August 25th.  This includes international orders, too!  All you have to do is enter the coupon code FREESHIPPING at checkout to receive your discount.  Click here to start shopping.

artists I like: jon jay cruson and sally cohen

Aug 18, 2011

When we were at the beach recently, my husband and I visited a local art gallery in Lincoln City.  I came across two Oregon artists whose works resonated with me- Jon Jay Cruson and Sally Cohen.  Both artists paint sweeping Oregon landscapes.

Jon Jay Cruson, Farm Country, acrylic, 48 x 48 in., White Lotus Gallery
Jon Jay Cruson, Landscape 5, acrylic on canvas, 42 x 32 in. and Landscape 6, acrylic, 41.5 x 31.5 in., Hanson Howard Gallery

I'm absolutely in love with these bold, patterned paintings of rolling fields.  Reminds me of another great American artist that I like- Grant Wood (1891 - 1942). 

Grant Wood, Young Corn, oil on masonite panel, 1931. Cedar Rapids Museum of Art

Sally Cohen's painting of the cyclist on the open road captivated me at the gallery.  The sharpness, contrast, and simplicity is striking.  Even though the scene captures a rural Oregon setting, many Portlanders would agree that the cyclist adds a familiar local element to the painting. 

Sally Cohen, On the Road to Silver Lake, 30 x 40 in., Freed Gallery

Sally Cohen, Summer Daze, oil, 36 x 48 in., Portland Art Museum

new work

Aug 14, 2011

first snowfall
It's the middle of summer, and I'm painting winter scenes.  Go figure.  Indigo is one of my very favorite colors, next to turquoise, so the colors don't really lend themselves to warm landscape paintings.  Cooler colors just suit me, in my paintings and in fashion.  If you look in my closet, you'll pretty much find the same colors as what are in these paintings. 

As a gift for my sixteenth birthday, I had my colors done.  Very '80s, I know.  I'm a "winter," which means that rich, gem colors in cool tones look best on me.  The thing is, I can remember favoring cool colors even as a young child.  Knowing this, I try to break from the tradition of working in this palette from time to time, but, ultimately, I find my way back to what is familiar and preferred.

In addition to the two smaller works above, I finished this custom painting this week.  I also added to my Etsy shop two originals that were part of my show at Tilde in July.  I'm ecstatic that I sold 12 of the pieces, the funds going to my Ireland trip coming up!  Thanks to all who went to the show or took a peek online.

evening fog

giveaway: an 8 x 10 art print by Callie Thompson

Aug 9, 2011

Enter a chance to win one of the following limited edition prints by the talented Callie Thompson!


To enter the art print giveaway, all you have to do is visit Callie's Etsy shop here and then leave a comment below about your favorite piece(s).  One entry per person please, and make sure that your name links back to an email address so that we can contact you if your name is picked.

The winner's name will be randomly drawn this Friday, August 12, at noon (PST).  Shortly after the drawing, I will send the winner an email and post their name below.  Winner will receive their choice of Bat or Storylines

Good luck to all!

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Congratulations to Kim D. for winning the art print giveaway!

artist interview: callie thompson

Aug 8, 2011

[images: Callie Thompson]

Austin-based artist Callie Thompson has been making art as far back as she can remember.  She grew up playing in her mom's art studio and went off to college to study art at Dartmouth and Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan.  I first came across Callie's art on Etsy a few weeks ago, and there was an immediate connection to her work.  Callie paints beautiful abstracted landscapes and patterns, and recently, she has translated some of her designs into a new textile line. 

How would you describe your work?

My current work is a combination of reductivist landscapes, biomorphic shapes, abstract patterning, and a heavy use of white and black. I would describe it as contemporary, meditative, minimalist and optimistic.

Studio mate, Bodhi, is relaxing on a pouf that Callie made.

What does your typical day look like?

Until this summer I worked full time at an Austin HIV/AIDS non-profit, now I work part time for a land conservancy. When I get home from work, I immediately go to my vegetable garden in the front yard to decompress. I don’t usually paint after a work day, so after dinner I fulfill orders.

Listening to 'ambient grooves' on pandora while I paint the abstracted landscapes is my painting nerdery secret. When I’m doing more pattern-y work, I like more energy like La Roux or Cults (Pandora stations).

What artist/tool/material do you love using at this moment?

Sumi-e ink is my all time favorite. Nothing matches its luminous, full black. It can cover anything and moves like silk. I also love using hearty cotton-linens and lightweight silk in my fabric line.
Now that your textile collection, BEAM, has launched, will you be focusing more of your energy on textile design and production?

My paintings lend themselves intuitively to repeating patterns, so textiles are a logical next iteration. I’m still in the early stages of launching BEAM, so yes, I will definitely be spending more energy on it in the coming months. I’ll be releasing more items and also offering larger quantities of items for wholesale/consignment.

Callie, her dog, and a few favorite objects on the desk- an old hinge, driftwood from the Sonoma coast, a Japanese figurine, and pottery by Eli.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I’m proud of four years spent with my girlfriend, Eli. I’m always learning about myself and how better to be in relationships.   

What inspires you to create?

Spending time in deserts anywhere in the Southwest. The physical expanses of the desert inform my work. The openness, the wide spaces.  I’m inspired by friends too: my next door neighbor Cheyenne Weaver, Brian Crumley, Natalie Davis, Adrienne Brabham Butler, my mom, Harriet Huss, and Eli’s mom, Delia Robinson. And finally, GOOD MUSIC: Lovers, MEN, King Tuff, Big Freedia, Jean-Eric, Missions, Ava Luna, Arcade Fire, the Luyas.

What advice would you give to an artist starting out?

Think less. Do things that will get you into feel. The more connected you are to your work, the more authentic and strong it will be. Keep doing what you do with dedication. The artists that affect culture most have created their own aesthetics over the years. They create those aesthetics through pure persistence. You can make a whole new rubric just by making what you make confidently and abundantly. Allow your work to evolve, each piece informs the next. At 28, I’m definitely just starting out myself, so this is what I ruminate on.

[image source: West Elm]

Your art is currently featured in West Elm's fall catalog. Can you tell us a little bit about that experience? 

West Elm found my work through a collaboration with Etsy. There are items from five Etsy sellers in the current fall catalog. It has been a huge amount of exposure for me, which has been wonderful. And, every Etsy and West Elm staff person I’ve worked with throughout the process has been exceptional.  (Look for my prints “Storylines” and “Ice Mountains” on pages 24-26!)

To see more of Callie Thompson's most recent work, visit her website here and her Etsy shop here.  Five percent of all profits go to Florida's Eden, a non-profit working to document and preserve Florida's natural environment.

And check back tomorrow for a giveaway of one of Callie's art prints!

why i love the oregon coast

Aug 5, 2011

We were in the mountains last weekend, and this week we were at the sea.  Destination- Siletz Bay.  On our arrival we were greeted by a group of sea lions sun bathing on the sand.  Okay, "greet" may not be the right word.  There was a lot of staring and barking involved. 

The sunset was so beautiful that night.  Sea lions and people alike were entranced by the orange glare.  I love taking pictures at this time of the day.  The golden tones are always so flattering and the shadows are dramatic.

Whenever I'm at the Oregon coast, there are a few things that are routine-  partaking in fresh smoked fish and salt water taffy (not necessarily together), collecting a rock or shell from the beach, and visiting antique stores and used bookstores

I didn't pick up any used books this time around, but I did get another stereograph.  This 1873 photograph is of a canal in Mexico City.  It's amazing how a photograph intended for the curious nearly 140 years ago can still stir adventurous hearts today. 

things I'm fond of today

Aug 4, 2011

whimsical drawings by hiromitsu t.okra

rural industrial landscapes
painting by a.ortiz // photo taken by me at the gorge

mountains painting by ida

pinch pots handcrafted by sonia powell of pinch me ceramics
no surprise i love the hand carved designs

a colored pencil and graphite drawing by william crump
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