Today I had the honor of doing an "Artist Interview" over at Robin's "My Creative Peace" blog.  
If you'd like to read it, here's the link. Thanks for stopping by!

Have a lovely day...

Quotables: G. K. Chesterton

"Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere."

- G. K. Chesterton


Monkeying Around...

A few weeks ago I became an aunt again for the 20th time. (No, that's not a typo!) :o) Since I like to give homemade gifts as much as possible, I took a few hours to whip up a little something for my new nephew....

I had seen this pattern for a crocheted sock monkey hat on Ravelry a while back and had been wanting to make one. It was a fairly easy pattern and a fun little project. Here's how mine turned out....

The pattern on Ravelry actually suggested buttons for the eyes, but since it's for a baby and I didn't want to risk the choking hazard, I decided to do the crochet eyes instead.

Max in his new hat!

It was a fun project, and I love the pattern.... sock monkeys are classic. If you're interested in the pattern, you can find it available as a PDF download on Ravelry for $3.99. And be sure to look me up if you're on Ravelry - my user name is "artknitwit." :o)

I hope you're having a lovely week!


Back in business....

Well, it's been a busy few days! As many of you know, I participated in "Fine Art in the Park at the International Storytelling Center" in Jonesborough, TN this past weekend.

It was great to see some of you - thank you so much for stopping by my tent and saying hello....

One of the most exciting things that happened during the show was having people I didn't know walk into my tent, point at a piece hanging on the wall, and say, "Oh hey, I have that hanging in my    (fill in the blank)   ." I also visited with a couple I had met two years ago who said that they had been there looking for me last year and were so glad to see me back this year, so that was exciting....

At any rate, it was a beautiful weekend and a great show. Thanks to all of you who came out! Here are a few pictures for you.... (unfortunately, they're all of my own tent - I didn't really have a chance to look at anything else, which was a shame - there were a lot of other wonderful artists there).

I really love this tent - a very kind and generous friend gave it to me when I started doing shows.
I replaced the top this year, so it's still going strong.
If you're interested, it's called a "Show Off" tent.

Another kind friend stopped by and took some photos of me actually in my booth...
I'm usually behind the camera, so it's nice to be able to prove I was there! :o)
A customer doing a little browsing...
My prints and wall display. The print rack is an old laundry cart I found at a local antique market.
Ironically, the girl that sold it to me was set up in the booth next to mine selling her paintings... it was her first show.

My table display.... and for some reason, my iphone is plopped down right in the middle of it. Ooops.

There, that's better....

And the other wall....and more prints....

And who's that cutie sitting out there studying surgery???

Oh, it's Josh! The sweet thing brought his books along and studied during the show, watched my tent for me while I took a few breaks, then helped me pack up everything at the end.... and not pictured is my Mom, who helped me set up on Friday and Saturday, helped supervise the booth, and provided some tasty snacks.... (Thanks, Mom!)
And in other news, now that the show is over, I've had a chance to update my Etsy shop! Some of the new items you'll find are....

Multiple sizes of prints, greeting cards, and jewelry featuring my new collage, "Amazing Grace":

"Amazing Grace" - greeting cards; 5x7, 8x10, and 11x14 prints available

"Amazing Grace" - Large Necklace

Several pieces of new jewelry....

"The Golden Hour" - Large Necklace

"Love in a Mist" - Large Round Necklace

"Love in a Mist" - Small Necklace

"Mont St. Michel" - Small Necklace

Back in stock: "Reepicheep" - Large Necklace
.... plus much more!

Please stop by the shop and check it out!
It's the perfect time to start your Christmas shopping! :o)

Hope you're having a lovely week.....


I couldn't ask....

...for a more perfect day for an art show than today! Thank you to those of you who came by and said hello (and maybe bought a little something)!

{Here's a little peek into my tent!}

If you missed today, don't fret - I'll be back again tomorrow.
If you'd like to come by, shoot me an e-mail and I'll give you the details.

(Oh, and if you're looking for my Etsy shop, I have it closed just for the weekend while I'm at the show - it will be back up either Monday or Tuesday of next week... so please come back!)

Hope you're having a lovely weekend!


Something changed..... something changed!?!?!

That title might only make sense if you've ever watched the Brian Regan bit about moving sidewalks in airports (it's near the end of the clip in the link).... anyway... ONWARD - through the fog!

Just wanted to let you all know that my Etsy Shop will be closed over the weekend while I participate in a local art show. But don't fret - I'll be back open for business on either Monday or Tuesday of next week. So be sure to stop back by then.... never too early to start Christmas shopping! :o)

If you'd like to come see me and do a little shopping in person at the show,
shoot me an e-mail, and I'll give you the details....

There will be a lot of other wonderful artists there too... including my good friend, Ginny Wall.

Have a lovely weekend!


Amazing Grace in Progress

Hey there.
I've often been asked how I create the hymn collages. Yesterday, I showed you the final version of my latest piece, "Amazing Grace." Today, I'd like to show you a step-by-step slide show of how one of these comes together....

The first thing I do is come up with an idea, which then becomes a sketch. Once I'm happy with it, I outline the main lines with a sharpie. As you can see, I draw a grid over top of my sketch. This is to carry on the "quilt" theme that I've been using on all of my other hymn collages.

The Sharpie lines make it easier for me to transfer the sketch onto my watercolor paper. I use Arches 140lb CP paper... I usually just hold mine against a window to transfer it (lightly, with a pencil), but you could use a light box if you have one.

Then I pull out my box of ephemera and my collection of scrapbook and handmade papers... I find bits that go along with the color scheme I have in mind, and narrow down the collection until I find the combination I like. My little studio usually looks like a bomb just exploded in a paper factory during this part of the process...

At some point during all of this, I hop onto my computer to work up a background in Photoshop. I either scan an old hymnal page or download an image from the web, then I manipulate it and create a bunch of layers of the sheet music for the background. I suppose if you had access to a bunch of old hymnals or sheet music, you could cut them up and and collage them individually.... but the thought of cutting up books makes my eye start to twitch....

So, back to the watercolor paper.... Once I've cut out my ephemera, I glue it into place with this fantastic product called "Yes! Paste." Good stuff.... it doesn't cause the paper to bubble up like some adhesives do.

Next, I pull out my watercolor palette and mix up some colors. Then I start to fill in the squares of the grid. I try to make each one distinct so as to keep the quilt pattern clearly defined, but I also try to make is so that the whole picture is cohesive-looking, if that makes sense...

Sometimes I'll paint a bit on top of the ephemera if I need to... For instance, I painted shadows over the "tomb" section above in order to create the illusion of the door opening. I also added some mottled shading and mossy looking splotches in order to make it look like mossy stone.

Above is a little glimpse of my palette and my crowded desk...

 Once I get the squares filled in, I start working on the details.

I add shading here and there, and beef up some of the colors/vibrancy with more washes...

If you're wondering how to achieve that speckled look that you see in the green grass and the golden colored patches in the road and on and outside the wall, you sprinkle table salt onto the paint just before the shiny-wetness disappears. As it finishes drying, the salt crystals soak up some of the pigment and leave the mottled starry pattern behind. Once the paper has completely dried, you can gently scrape the dried salt crystals off with a stiff piece of plastic - an old credit card works perfectly.

I continued filling in the details - painting in the clothing, the ropes on the burden, etc. 

My final step in the painting part was simply going back into certain areas and defining them more - creating "stones" within the wall, shadows here and there, beefing up the color and vibrancy in some areas, etc.

Once the painting was completed, I carefully cut out around the top part of the image. After doing a wash to create "mountains" and a sun on the music paper, I glued the watercolor paper down with more of the Yes! Paste. Once the glue was dry, I took my pen and ink and sketched in some outlines to define the main elements...

After that dried, I decided that I didn't like the sun just sitting up there like an orange in the sky, so I decided to go back in with my watercolors and add some sun rays.... I then took some acrylic gold paint and dry brushed lightly over the sun rays, the sun, the cross, and some "highlight" areas on the road and his hair to give it a little sparkle. I also gave him some gold belt buckles with the acrylic ink.

So, there you have it.... I hope you enjoyed the little journey. If you have any questions, feel free to ask, and I'll do my best to answer them!

As I said yesterday, I will be introducing prints and jewelry featuring this piece at the art show I'm doing next weekend (E-mail me for more info on the show). After that, I will have them available in my Etsy shop! So be sure to either come by the show or check back the following week for the shop update. Thanks for stopping by!

Linking up with Jennifer at:



Was blind, but now I see....

Well, after weeks of delays, I have FINALLY completed the latest in my hymn-inspired series of collages.
This piece is based on the hymn, "Amazing Grace," by John Newton.

Here it is:

Now, to explain a little of what's going on here....

First of all, you might recognize the above imagery as a scene from the classic book, Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, an allegory describing the Christian life as a journey from "the City of Destruction" to the "Celestial City." Here's the passage that describes the scene above:

Now I saw in my Dream, that the highway up which Christian was to go, was
fenced on either side with a Wall, and that Wall is called Salvation. Up this
way therefore did burdened Christian run, but not without great difficulty,
because of the load on his back.

     He ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending, and upon that
place stood a Cross, and a little below in the bottom, a Sepulchre. So I saw
in my Dream, that just as Christian came up with the Cross, his Burden loosed
from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble, and
so continued to do, till it came to the mouth of the Sepulchre, where it fell
in, and I saw it no more.

     Then was Christian glad and lightsome, and said with a merry heart, He
hath given me rest by his sorrow, and life by his death. Then he stood still
awhile to look and wonder; for it was very surprising to him, that the sight
of the Cross should thus ease him of his Burden. He looked therefore, and
looked again, even till the springs that were in his head sent the waters down
his cheeks. Now as he stood looking and weeping, behold three Shining Ones
came to him and saluted him with Peace be to thee; so the first said to him,
Thy sins be forgiven: the second stript him of his Rags, and clothed him with
Change of Raiment; the third also set a mark in his forehead, and gave him a
Roll with a Seal upon it, which he bid him look on as he ran, and that he
should give it in at the Coelestial Gate. So they went their way.
Below are the lyrics to "Amazing Grace."

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we've been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

The thorns on the bottom left represent the "many dangers, toils, and snares" through which Christian has already come... And if you look closely at the tomb, I've included a nod to the history of John Newton, who had been the captain of a slave ship prior to his conversion to Christianity:

The tomb is made up of ephemera that shows illustrations and diagrams of slave shackles, ships, and plans for arranging the "human cargo." Horrible stuff... I wanted to use these images for the tomb to show that Christ took ALL of our sins (and Newton's) to the grave, and that we don't have to bear them any longer when we repent and put our faith in Him...

Grace is indeed amazing.

I'll be back tomorrow with some photos showing the whole process of making this collage....

If you are interested in a print, greeting card, or piece of jewelry featuring this piece, I will be have them available at the fine art show next weekend (e-mail me for details), and after that, they will be available in my Etsy shop... So stay tuned....

Thanks so much for stopping by!


What a knitwit...

Well, amidst all of the show-prep chaos going on over here, I was able to finish up the hat I was knitting for my brother's birthday present over the weekend. Here it is:

And, modeled by yours truly:

Forgive the slight blurriness and the fact that my neck looks like a piece of beef jerkey in this photo. I blame the unnatural position required by taking a picture of the back of one's head with an iphone camera that requires two hands to operate.

This hat is obviously meant for a guy, so I don't particularly like the way it looks on moi... But I love the cables, and I think it will be great for my brother....

I got the pattern for free off of Ravelry, quite possibly the coolest knitting/crochet site. EVER. If you aren't on Ravelry, you should be. If you sign up, look me up! My username is "artknitwit."

In other news, yesterday I spent the day helping two of my nephews design and paint signs for their new businesses. They called me up on Sunday and asked for my help, and since I'm all about encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit, I signed on.... (pun definitely intended). Here's how they turned out....

They came up with the wording and basic elements they wanted on the signs, then I worked out the details and did a little design work in Photoshop... We used my art projector to transfer the designs to their plywood, and then painted them in with black latex paint. We were all pretty happy with how they turned out....

Incidentally, if you're local and want your car detailed or your headlights polished to a squeaky shine, let me know. I know two lads who'd be happy to do it for you... :o)

I hope you're having a lovely week!


In my own little world(s) today...

As you may know,
my birthday was this past Wednesday....

One of the gifts I received was a set of little ceramic houses from England -
a gift from my parents...

Mom and I found them in a little local antique store,
and the lady gave us a great deal on the whole set.

I'd been wanting to make a little miniature garden/landscape ever since finding some on Pinterest,
so Josh took me to a local nursery to pick out some tiny plants...

I found baby's breath, several different herbs (such as rosemary, creeping thyme, wooly thyme, etc.), and a few different little groundcover type things to use for my "tiny trees, shrubs, and grass."

I also did a little exploring in the woods and found some tiny saplings (I think it's privett?) to be little trees,
and some moss to fill in the "grassy" areas...

My brother, who used to be into bonsai, loaned me some of his old bonsai pots...

So yesterday I spent a delightful morning figuring out how to arrange everything, digging up plants,
potting everything up, creating tiny pathways with aquarium gravel, and generally getting my fingernails very, very dirty....

Boy howdy, it was fun.

And I couldn't resist sharing my little landscapes here with you today....
I figured I'd better photograph them right away,
because there's always the very real possibility that I might kill everything.

 But I'm really hoping they make it....
I think they're so terribly cute.

Not a bad birthday, huh?
I'm liking 31 so far....

Have a lovely weekend....wherever your path may lead...