Thursday, September 29, 2011

This week has flown by.

I'm thinking this week's Illustration Friday may be unfinished by tomorrow.  This is what I've got so far.  It's penciled in, and the background is blocked in with paint, but none of the details have been worked.  I've got lots of non-art stuff I need to get done, so I'm thinking it will be next week before I get to work on it again.  So that's that.
The prompt was 'ferocious,' which I think boxing matches are.

I also got the neatest thank-you gift from a customer who bought some of my bee-themed prints earlier this year.  She sent me a jar of honey from her own bees along with a super nice card.  It was the neatest package I've ever received.  It was yet another reminder that I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be.  I love that this is my job!
Super duper awesome thank you gift.
It'll be quite the miracle if I get my to do list finished.  I just figured I'd hop on here and write a quick post so it wouldn't seem as if I disappeared.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

IF Mesmerizing.

For my second Illustration Friday I went with what my idea of mesmerizing would be.  The first thing that came to mind was the high-diving horses that used to be showcased at various piers on the east coast.  I think that would've been quite the sight to see, and I imagine you couldn't pull your eyes away as a thousand pound animal falls gracefully from the sky and into the water.  I wanted the illustration to resemble the advertisement posters from back then.  I really like how it turned out.

Lower right detail.

Lower left detail.

Lower right detail, again.

Full image.

Center detail.
It is an acrylic painting on hardboard.  It's 16 1/2 x 21 1/4 inches.  I hope you like it.  It's for sale in my Etsy shop here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Portrait Detail.

Got a minute to work on the detail in the corner portrait tonight.  It's coming along.

Another Painting Update.

I plan on getting to work on this some more tonight after my darling, sweet, and wonderful husband takes over watching Joelee.  The lettering and a bit of background work on the lower image is all that I got done today during her nap.  I've got lots of detail work left to go, but I'm really liking the way it's turning out.

Tell me what you think.  Like I said in my previous post, I'm going for an early advertisement / poster look.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Illustration Friday Work in Progress: Mesmerizing.

This week's prompt is Mesmerizing.  I started thinking about all the attractions and sideshows that used to be everywhere.  Something I wish I could've seen was the high-diving horse act.  Heck, I wish I was part of the act.  The fact that a 1,000 pound animal would willingly jump from a platform carrying a rider, well it looks like it would've been amazingly fun.  So, anyway, my idea was to paint a art-deco-esque advertisement for a diving horse act.  I hope it turns out as great as what is in my head.  Here is what I've got so far.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Another New Painting.

I wanted to make another painting today, but I knew I'd be pressed for time (only during Joe's nap), so I decided to try a landscape/light study.  Just a simple white farmhouse.  I really like the way it turned out.  I also like the fact that the hardboard is visible around the edges.  It gives a nice raw feel.  I'm really enjoying this practicing every day thing.  I could really get used to it.
White Farmhouse Study.  5x7 on Hardboard.
It's listed on Etsy here.  I doubt it will sell as fast as "Loretta" did, but that's quite okay.

Monday, September 12, 2011

IF: Boundaries.

This week's Illustration Friday prompt was "Boundaries," and all I kept thinking of was a woman with a shotgun protecting hers.  Perhaps some 'bad man' was trying to take her farm, or maybe she is just really pissed off at the world.  Either way, I really liked how it turned out.  I used acrylic paints on a piece of 5"x7" hardboard.  I'm especially excited because this is the first time I've painted anything in almost two years.  

My first ever Illustration Friday Submission.  This one is for the prompt "boundaries."
I think I'll call her Loretta, and if you want to buy her she'll be for sale on Etsy via my shop, here.    The original sold within 15 minutes of my posting it to Etsy, but I plan on having prints for sale soon.

Can't wait until Friday for the next prompt!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Jumping into Illustration Friday.

I'm so excited.  I've been letting my art kind of sit by the wayside, and I work on it when I have time.  I have kept up with my photography, but my drawing and painting skills are kind of getting rusty.  I just wasn't feeling creative (it's been lurking over me for quite some time), but all at once I've been feeling more creative than I have in years.  I guess my slump is over.  I wanted a sketchbook that made me want to use it.  Our local library has an ongoing book sale (a quarter a piece or five for a dollar).  I went and found some of the biggest hardbound books.  The one I chose for my first sketchbook is over 800 pages.  Yep, high ambition.  I taped the spine and added an apt title.  I also gessoed some of the pages, but I think I'm going to just tape paper in over the original pages.  I think it will work splendidly, especially when you consider 'real' sketchbooks cost about ten bucks a piece and I now have a huge one for less than a quarter.  Now that's being economical.  

A goal I've had for awhile is to participate in Illustration Friday which gives prompts to draw every week, and more recently to participate in the Virtual Paintout which uses Google Streetview as a resource for their monthly locations to paint.  I figured if I got in the habit of doing them, then I'd get in some much needed practice for my drawing and painting.  I've already got some sketches for this week's IF prompt, and I'll be looking for some usable views for this months location too.
My new awesome sketchbook, made by me.

Home by Novogratz had a buck-deer-pegasus a few episodes ago, I really liked it, so I did a quick sketch.

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is "Boundaries."  All I could think of was an old woman sitting on her porch with a gun defending her land.
So, that's that.  Wish me luck on filling up my 800 pages with lots of wondrous sketches.  I'm thinking it will be a challenge, but a fun one.  Plus, be on the look out for new non-photography works in the shop.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Interview An Artist: Judith of Printmistress888.

Hello blog readers!  Today I'm introducing you to one of my favorite printmakers on Etsy:  the artist behind Printmistress888.  She's agreed to answer a few questions in order for all of you to get to know her better.  So, here we go.
Racehorse Lithograph.

1.  Where are you from originally, and what was your childhood like?

I’m from Brookfield, Illinois-home of the zoo! Quiet and suburban, for the most part. A lot of time to myself-to let my mind wander-play imaginary games-read. I often wonder if children are left to their own devices enough these days. Then, again, they are entirely different organisms!

Nervous Housewives Etching Monoprint.

2.  Were you always an art kid, or did you stumble upon it later in life?

OH! I was always gluing glitter to objects, salvaging things from the trash.  At school I enjoyed all the art projects--My mother saved many of my early creations--I had a little bit of humor in my work even then.  Fun for me to see now!

3.  What style of printmaking is your favorite and why?

That's a tricky question for me.  Many of my prints incorporate various techniques.  An easy answer would be whatever suits the work in question.  I do have a fondness for linocut, lately.  I'm using this in some large pieces on fabric (panels measure 5' by 6').  I love the distinct lines-and the strategies I have to create while carving to create shades of 'grey.'  It becomes and intellectual exercise.

4.  Your subject matter is so varied.  What do you use for inspiration or how do you generate ideas?

I am a blessed artist.  Inspiration has never been a problem for me.  I often wake early in the morning with a mass of ideas--I call them "downloads!"  My issues are editing and order of precedence.  I have kept notebooks of ideas for many years.  Sometimes the ideas coalesce into a project years later.  Often I ask the big question:  WHY?  I know I can make certain pieces but is there any good reason for doing them?

5.  Walk us through your creative process from idea to finished project.

This process really varies.  When I get ideas, they usually fall into existing projects of mine.  So, if I get an idea for one of my Natural History monoprints, I enter the idea into a notebook.  Then I look to see if I have any printed color etching backgrounds that seem to match the color emotionally.  Then I look through my "vocabulary" of printing plates, and papers to choose and build the visual aspects of the piece.  Next, I write and edit the language of the print.  The phrases must be pithy, humorous, and SHORT!  Then I create hand drawn fonts.  The last step is to hand print the language to the print.  I use a technique called trace transfer monotyping.  It is a direct drawing process that deposits the ink to the paper of the print.  I always design and monoprint the language in my home studio.

6.  What is a typical day in your life?

I am a creature of habit. I get up early. Feed the cats, parrots. Check the computer for the day’s surprises. Now. I spend the mornings on etsy work. Taking pictures, photoshop, writing listing descriptions, listing items, connecting. I made a resolution this year to put in the time to learn as much as I could about etsy and social selling. Also work on art submissions and other business in the a.m. Afternoons are for creative work—sometimes into the evening. I find that when I follow a routine I have more directed energy for artwork. I cycle down the day by watching TV and reading. The creative portions of the day are so wonderful they flavor the rest of the day. 
Natural History-Carrots.

7.  What do you think draws you to other people's work?

Easy! When I have an immediate response to something I’ve never seen. Materials used in a new way-or a better way. Things that make me laugh with the perfection of the work. AND IDEAS! So much artwork is so safe. I appreciate skill-but then ask myself: “WHY?” Is this work different in some meaningful way? I tend to lose interest if it isn’t.

8.  What are your interests/hobbies?

I love to read-especially books set in England. Opera. Ballet and modern dance. Elvis Costello, Eric Clapton, Beatles. Dr.WHO. Many of my hobbies have turned into artwork, for example: needlework. The Cubs! 

8.  Is this your full time job, or do you have a job out-of-studio?

This is it!

Natural History-Emerson.

10.  What is your favorite piece you've ever made and why?

Usually the one I’m working on at the moment. Once I finish some project, I am emotionally removed from it. Time for it to fly the nest. So, my favorite artwork right now is a 4-panel fabric and linocut construction called: “The Man Who Couldn’t Hear Orange”. The panels measure 5 feet by 7 feet. The premise comes from one of my father’s stories about a man in his childhood neighborhood. In brief: what is “normal?” and how much does it depend on time and place and other social considerations. I’m telling the story in a then and now framework. I’m using linocuts on fabric to carry the story line. (Is this a graphic, graphic novella?).

11.  What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

Don’t follow trends. Never ask yourself: “Will this sell?” Keep a journal. Meet other artists. Join Groups. Leave Groups. Stay away from all people who don’t believe in you. Keep making art. THINK BIG! Listen to your inner voice.

Summer Vintage Fashion Linocut.

12.  Did you face any setbacks on your path to being an artist?

Yes. I have had health issues since childhood. At times, this has prevented me from working. On the other hand, it has also prevented me from making some really bad art. And, to paraphrase Monty Python, on the other, other hand, it has been blessing! It has prevented me from living an “average” life. What could be a greater gift for an artist?

13.  What milestones, goals, or achievements are you striving for right now?  (I'm sure being featured on my blog was a big one, ha)

Exposure. Sales. International representation. Critical Acknowledgement. Undying Fame. The usual….

14.  Lastly if you weren't an artist what do you think your dream job would be?

This is my dream career! 

Thanks so much Judith!!

If you'd like to see more of Judith's work, then please check out her website and shop.