Thursday, February 26, 2009

H'ARTS Charity Auction

The annual art auction Event supporting the Arts Council of Snohomish is HERE! During these difficult economic times, a lot of areas are getting help and being spotlighted, but the Arts is usually last on this list of priorities. Private donations and community commitment is more important than ever. Making arts a vital part of your community helps everyone - from the children who find new and creative ways to express themselves to the revenue it can bring to business. If you are in the Everett area, I hope you will consider joining me at this very fun (and yummy) event! Look for these TWO pieces (by me!) being auctioned off as well!

Hope to see you there! And if not... if you can find a way to donate your time or dollars to your local arts group (as well as the foodbank, or other charities in need) - let us all do what we can to help each other!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Lambs are Here!

Yes, the OSU sheep center is open to the public and showing off their little baby lamp collection! Visitors are welcome from 9-2. When we visited last week we saw about 20 new babies only a few days old. More babies are on the way! If you are in the Corvallis, Oregon area - check it out!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Whimsical Birds... Paintings from the Heart

I'm looking forward to my first weekend show of 2009 at a new venue for me - the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon (just a short hop west of Portland). This 16th annual FOOD and WINE festival is a great outing for wine and art lovers and a great way to welcome in the Spring!

NEW EARLY DATES this year: MARCH 13 - 15th!

While I am excited to get my new work out there and at the show, I'm also excited to be introducing my latest venture at the show - a NEW BOOK, "Whimsical Birds, Paintings from the Heart". Filled with bird drawings and paintings, I don't think I could've have picked a more suitable subject to share with you with my first book - my favorite little backyard friends! For those of you who have been collecting my birds - paintings, prints, cards, and calendar - I hope you enjoy this latest addition to my bird collection. I will have available signed copies of my book at the show. If you want to be sure to get a copy, please come early! It should be a fabulous show full of great art, food, and even a spaceship or two! It's also a great time to check out the entire museum complex, home of the famous SPRUCE GOOSE airplane.

I hope to see you there!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Different Perspective

Kids are amazing. I once had a professor at art school who would tell us all the time that we are our most creative when we were 5, and then adults slowly suck that creativity out of us until we too are adults trying to be as creative as we were when we were 5. (I don't remember his exact words, but that was the point he was trying to make). I only understood his proclamation at a very surface level at the time (heck, I was only 20). I am now 40, and I have that creative little person in my life. And wow, if I could only be as creative as she is. But is that really what it is? Are we really having our creativity sucked out of us or are we just learning to be less random. Are we losing the spontaneity and thinking too hard about what we do instead of just DOING - regardless of our own prejudices? I try to openly approach my canvas, but I always let the less random, organized part of my brain take over at some point and attempt to give me the value, color, and composition I think is important to a good painting. This brings up all the abstract art critics who like to showcase the paintings done by an elephant, monkey, donkey... fill in the blank, that art critics couldn't distinguish as not being from a professional, trained artist. Primitive art? Abstract art? What meaning does it have then? Well, I would submit this: The meaning is in the ability for an adult to repeat these organic, random, and primitive lines and brushstrokes after having gone thru the long and arduous process of becoming an adult. To reclaim childhood, and as a result, spread that freedom and joy of expression to everyone willing to look.

On a similar note - I always thought I could be a great photographer. How hard can it be? Well - it's hard. And what's worse? My 6 year old daughter takes MUCH more interesting images than I do. I will do my best not to suppress it! Check out a couple of her images from our last walk...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Trading Cards...

No - not the Pokemon kind (although I must admit I may have been spotted at a Pokemon tournament with my son this weekend - wow that's crazy!)

After taking a little hiatus from creating these little gems (basically they are art of the trading card size to make them easy to collect and share using trading card supplies), I have started creating them again (first up - see the seed pod drawings from my earlier post). This time I continued with the pencil drawing and acrylic paint technique to bring a couple birds into my ATC folds. Here they are - Bird Study in Peach No 1 & No 2. I am so enjoying this new method of drawing/painting that I'll get getting out my charcoals and some larger paper to work on this week. Here's the basic steps involved:

1 - Gesso paper with white gesso
2 - draw image with pencil
3 - Spray paper with fixative (which will keep the pencil/graphite/charcoal from getting smudged or brushed off
4 - Lay some paint down to fill the background
5 - Spray some water over the whole image and use a dry cloth/paper towel to pull up some of the color, leaving a more mottled splotchy effect
6 - repeat paint and water bottle process until I like it!
7 - Spray with fixative one more time

It's an old sketch book technique we used to do a lot in art school, but I just haven't been doing it much lately. How fun to start playing with it again as more than just for a sketch book! Give it a go and have some fun!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Please support the NEA!

Congress is currently looking at the funding for the National Endowment of the Arts. Funding of the arts is critical. Among many other things, the arts brings jobs to their communities. It's an investment, and one with a great return. I have already watched in dismay as arts gets cut from schools year after year. Just as it is slowly making a comeback as an important part of our communities again, I see funding being taken away... again. Please contact your local media or congressman/woman TODAY at ARTSUSA.org. We're counting on YOU!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thinking of Spring and Cherry Blossoms!

My latest little painting "Amongst the Cherry Blossoms" (available on ETSY) is a celebration of Valentine's Day with a bit of Spring - with pinks and reds showcasing a little Sparrow in a blooming cherry tree. This piece originated as a colored pencil drawing, but as it developed I added graphite pencil, the pink and red acrylic paint, and finally a little India Ink embellishment.

Looking forward to the blooms on this dark and dreary day!

I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

More Whimsical Birds... and Ravens?

I received my first bird book from my parents when I was 9 while we were camping on the Oregon Coast. We watched the Ranger program on local birds and even though we didn't have much money, I was so excited about bird-watching that my parents bought me a birding book. I still have that book with all its checkmarks showing which birds I found over my childhood. It's falling apart - missing the back page and being held together by a rubber band, but it is still well loved. I can't thank my parents enough for giving me this childhood treasure which has since inspired such a staple of my artwork. I don't necessarily paint specific birds, but pull from the different shapes, movements, and colors of the birds I see to make my own whimsical little versions. While in college I drew and painted many ravens, but since returning to art after several years in the computer/business "real" world I favor the little backyard birds that I enjoyed as a kid - chickadees, goldfinch, wrens, sparrows, robins, and so many more. I think the dark brooding raven side of me was left behind with my old job! Although those ravens may be calling... they just appear to act so human. I'm intrigued again.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Little Bits of Nature

I have always been fascinated with seeds - especially the cool big pod things that come off of really big trees (I'm not sure what these ones were - I'm still getting familiar with the trees in Corvallis. They're not horsechestnut, though, I do know that). This week I've been working small (returning to the fun of the ATC format - basically an "art trading card", 2.5 x 3.5 inch size as is standard with other trading cards). A couple years ago - has it really been a couple?? - I did many of these cards and enjoyed getting new ideas from using such a small format. They often lend well to becoming larger paintings because you are more focused on the design of the space than the objects themselves. The subject I decided to try small this time?.. the little bits of nature that I find as I walk the paths of Corvallis. And lately, that means some really cool seed pods. Here's a couple.You can find this pair available for sale at MY ETSY STORE. I hope you enjoy, and take a moment to notice the seed pods along the way of your next trip outdoors.

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