As my artist's statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance. -- Calvin and Hobbes

Monday, June 22, 2009

Peachy Deals!

Fresh from the Georgia Etsy Street Team!

June 21 - 28th!

Come on by and check out all the great items these hard working handmade Etsy Artisans have crafted just for you!

It's a great time to buy Christmas presents even! I love to shop a little all year long, it helps the pocketbook pain in December!

You all know about Etsy by now, but if you don't, then go check out the world's largest online selling venue of all things handmade!

Support artists, artisans and craftspeople;
they MAKE the world!

Have a great day!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Graphic Designers, step away from the Mac and start sketching!

"Peach Crate"
I painted this 6x9" canvas board for an ad background. The ad is for one of my Etsy Teams.
We are having a Summer sale next week called "Peachy Deals", fresh from the Georgia Etsy Street Team!

We hope you'll visit Etsy June 21-28th for the Peachy Deals Summer Sale, with great deals in all things handmade, including bath and body, fiber arts, fine art, home decor, jewelry, handbags and so much more! Search for the GaEtsyTeam or come back to this blog and click on the links! My store is Smelly Rhino Studio, naturally.

I've been reading a lot lately about graphic designers and how they would benefit by taking a step back from their graphic drawing tools and spending more time with a pencil and paper or paintbrush instead. Once you come up with your background, then you can layer your Type and other graphics on top, making for a groovy, very "now" ad! The graphics were performed by my partner in crime on this project, graphic designer Maria Allen, who also has two great Etsy shops, Kartu Graphics (for great custom graphics and cards), and Maria Luna, which offers jewelry and fine art photography.

I hear from many of my graphic designer friends that they don't really paint or draw much other than using their talents with an electronic stylus and a mouse, so I guess pairing with a painter for projects is a good thing for fellow artists!

Just as we art bloggers talk about regularly, you gotta use it, and use it every day, and if you're not accustomed to sketching or painting on a regular basis, then I challenge you to get a sketch pad and just draw something every day. Maybe while you're on the couch at night (one of my favorite places to draw). Draw everything in front of you. Use pencil, colored pencil, ink, conte crayon, kids crayons, watercolor, whatever! The more you do it, the easier it gets. Your design skills will improve too. And don't be shy, this painting isn't even done!

Leave your Mac for a while and just sketch something. Millions of dollars are being made by stick figures and doodles, so what do you have to lose?

If you really wanna play, buy a pack of cheap canvas board and start painting. It's fun to start with a grungy background. It's in and it is a nice backdrop to layer your graphics on later.

Here's some easy directions for glazing the antique color shown above:
Tools: acrylic paint (titanium white, yellow ochre), glazing medium or water, any brush will do, but the wider the better.

Prepare your board by mixing some white with yellow ochre (about 10%) for an antique white look. The more ochre you add, the dirtier and more golden your board will look. Cover your board using a large brush.

Once dry, you can glaze. Mix straight Yellow Ochre with glazing medium. If you don't have that, then moisten with water just so it runs if tipped but not watery. I use a liquid creme additive for glazing. Liquitex also makes a glazing medium product.

Apply with a brush covering the canvas, then wipe off as desired while the paint is still wet with a terry towel or cheesecloth.
Glaze begins to set up in a few minutes, so make sure you wipe with the direction you have in mind! Wipe in circles for a general dinge! For a foggy framed look, wipe off leaving less in the center, where your image will be. You can always reapply later, but you can't take away! Also, you can wipe off lightly and then wait until it's really starting to dry, then wipe it off with a heavy hand to create a very dry brushed look, leaving color stuck in the weave. (Beware, you it's easy to wait too long!)

Don't reapply glaze on top of a drying coat of glaze because your second layer will chemically 'open' the first, and actually begin to remove that layer, which can be frustrating! So, let it set up a bit before adding more dirt!
Once you're done glazing, keep in mind that glazing medium remains tacky for 4-24 hours, so a hairdryer might be needed if you're in a hurry!

Now go doodle!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Matriculation in the society of undoneness.

Woke up with a very strange feeling today, like I had been suffocating in my sleep and my instinct of self-preservation, the one that usually wakes me up from those innocent attempts on my life, was not quite kicking in. Reminded me of my mortality.

I am still thinking about a book I finished a few days ago, Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott, where the author says to let go of your inhibitions about how others will perceive you and "write as if your parents are dead." I know she didn't mean any harm by it, but I could tell you to write as if you know your parents will never read it...kind of like how porn stars must think.

Somehow, this all made me think about everything that gets started and never gets finished. I think that may be the process of an artist. Someone used to tell me I had too many irons in the fire. Then, it could be that I also suffer from the problem that I can't leave something done. Although I think I suffered from this malady much less in my earlier years, it is clearly not showing any improvement with age. DaVinci did say that work is seldom finished, only abandoned. Someone else, probably Ward Cleaver, said, "Leave well enough alone."

I'm a matriculated student of the perfectionist society (synonym: takes a while to finish). Problem is, I also have anxiety. This is why I have very little to show you from day to day, and then suddenly I have a lot all at once! --those are the culmination of many moments of focus coming together over time.

I have someone here at home helping me with certain issues relating to my craft. The fact that I didn't want to do anything this weekend except lay around on the sofa, he remarked, could mean that maybe I'm treating my painting like a job now! ROFL "But", I often say in angst, "I can't force creativity! It's either not there, or it's there at 2 am, and that's when I need to work." So be it.

Being still relatively young on this Earth, I am still learning, still wondering if effectively managing my time has anything to do with wisdom. Could be that you just slow down and enjoy the moment more and that helps you focus.

I have brilliant episodes of focus, periodically.

I remembered being more single-minded in my 20s, and I could really get something done. I want to de-clutter my mind so that just that little act that I want to focus on right now is the ONLY thing in my line of sight, physically and psychologically.

When this happens to you, isn't it just the most incredible moment of productivity?

So, I will go about my day today, with a list, again, trying to recreate that moment of zen, single-minded focus on that one item on my list. After all, a show of promise is better than no plan at all, I suppose.

I hope you enjoy this piece, a commission for a friend.

PS. Hi Mom!

POST BLOG UPDATE: From a comment mentioned hereafter, you can de-clutter your home and apparently, your mind with some help from a couple of ladies. Good luck to all: I'm going to read some more. Magpie Girl's Blog on the fix

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Remember, even a loving dog's kiss comes after licking the butt

Time for some cartoon dogs. Dogs are fun, dogs are cute. We personify them. We really want to feel that they are just like us, only single minded...(as if). I could do some serious portraits of dogs, but so many people already do that and very well. I pull these out of my head. It's my fun release while sitting on the couch watching Law and Order marathons. Hey, everyone has to have some time like that. I knit too, when I'm very fidgety.

Sometimes, when I'm drawing a dog, I imagine it talking to me. I wonder if he thinks I party too much, eat too much, or if I should stop drinking because he has an instinct to know if some thing's wrong with me.

Maybe, he's just observing me because there might be a treat involved. Or, at the mention of the word, "walk" she'll be ready to go. This is why they follow you around. Not for companionship or some kind of pack animal mentality, but so that they wont miss anything!

If your dog could be an actor, observing from the ethers, much like Gary Oldman in Dracula, he might look like this. Does he secretly want to be mysterious? If dogs knew how much a hat does to uncover a personality, they would always want to wear one.

We know they dream, but do dogs have aspirations of, well, anything at all?

You know, they really have a good life, especially at my house. Lying around all day, being lazy, waiting for some belly time and maybe a little leftover breakfast on a plate. I can tell you they love eggs and toast, bacon (duh) and potatoes. My dogs loiter whenever they hear eggs cracking. In fact, the egg carton tells them they might get something.

But, it's true that just by uttering any sentence with an ascending pitch will make the ears pop up. "You want to be beaten to a pulp today?" or "is that a kitten?" Really, you can say anything in that tone, and they'll get excited about the prospects.

I can tell if they're happy, sad, or embarrassed. The eyes give it away, personifically speaking. (I just made that up.) Are you still reading this?

I think if dogs could talk, they would probably say, in the words of Gary Larson, "Hey, hey, hey, hey!!" or "you haven't given me a treat in a while. Is now a good time?" or "I have to poop!"

Or, remember Bloom County? "Tomorrow, I'll get to poop again!"

This talking dog reminds me a little of the story teller in the Dukes of Hazard...I can hear him with a southern accent really spinning some tales and suggesting in retrospect how you could have done that differently to avoid getting into trouble.

I wonder why it's so important to sniff butts..that really isn't a human trait, is it? But, again, if you look at it from their point of view, it makes sense. After all, it's like asking, "Whatcha been up to?" Furthermore, my dogs like to find places in the yard where some animal has died or something, and then roll in it for a little perfume action. "Eau de Carcass". I think they do it so that the next meeting with a friend there will be a 'tale' to tell...

Dogs who sit and stare at me can make me a little nervous. One of my dogs must have some Border collie in her, because her ability to sit statue still for 20 minutes while staring at me is menacing and creepy..I have no idea what she might be thinking, but if Hitchcock could offer suggestions, I suppose he might say, "Always make the audience suffer as much as possible."

Things to Ponder

Don't pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches. -Andy Warhol

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
-Walt Disney
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