10.31.2011

The List that Never Ends: #451-460

Happy Reformation Day!

I don't do Halloween at all, so I always like to take this day to remember the movement started by Martin Luther when he nailed his 95 Theses to the Castle Church door on this day in 1517 in Wittenberg, Germany, and thus launched the beginning of the Protestant Reformation - a much more appropriate thing for Christians to celebrate than ghosts and goblins, in my humble opinion...You can read more about it HERE.

Anyway....

Thank you for all of the kind words and wishes for my art show last weekend. It went very well, and I have a lot for which to be thankful....

And so, without further ado, my list for the week....

Today, I am thanking God....

451. ... for Martin Luther and other Christians who stood up for truth, even at the risk of personal injury or death, and who helped make God's Word accessible for the common people.

452. ... for a beautiful weekend for the art show, and for lots of friends and family members who stopped by and said hello!


453. ... for lots of sales lately - thank you all!

454. ... for a few extra days out of school for Josh this past week - a nice surprise!

455. ... for my friend Keri, the super accountant lady, who always helps me out with my tax questions... (my least favorite part of running my own business!)

456. ... for a reunion with some childhood friends...

457. ... for down time this past week, and the opportunity to get a lot of pesky jobs out of the way.


458. ... for a sweet little surprise package that arrived from my friend in South Africa, Jenni C.



459. ... for encouragement and prayers from church family.

460. ... that I am not the Holy Spirit, and that He does just fine doing His job without my interference...


I hope you have a lovely week.....

Linking up at:

10.25.2011

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.....

10.22.2011

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!

10.21.2011

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!

10.17.2011

The List that Never Ends: # 441-450

And I continue to count....

Today, I am thanking God....

441. ... for the feeling of getting into a sun-warmed car on a cold-but-gorgeous autumn day...


442. ... for my new nephew, born yesterday.


443. ... for a nice weekend with Josh.

444. ... for lots of things checked off my to-do list, and several days left to finish the rest of the things I have to do before the show!

445. ... for split pea soup and the convenience of a crock pot.

446. ... for Sunday dinners with family.

447. ... for a wonderful small group we meet with twice a week for Bible study.

448. ... for the ability to communicate a message visually.

449. ... for encouragement from complete strangers (and friends and family) here and elsewhere...

450. ... for God's grace... (yet again)... still amazing.


Linking up at:

10.15.2011

The Weekend Gallery of Miscellany

Howdy, Friends,

So apparently nothing inspires me to start doing random, excessive blog posts more than having a show coming up in exactly one week and having a million other things I should be doing instead of blogging about lots of bits of nothing, which is basically what you will find in today's offering. Such is life...

And thus, without further ado, I present today's Gallery of Miscellany for your perusal....

Exhibit A. On Sunday I was driving to a small town about 45 minutes away from where I live to eat lunch with my family at my Mamaw's house, which is our family tradition. On the way, I noticed a policeman with his lights flashing heading toward me on the opposite side of the road, and shortly thereafter, I realized that he was leading a funeral procession. And, being a good Southerner, I dutifully pulled over to the side of the road to wait in respectful silence while they all passed. (Does everyone do that, or is it just a small town thing?) At any rate, I was sitting there, somberly watching the cars pass, and feeling bad for their loss, when suddenly, a car IN THE PROCESSION passed by me sporting this little number.....

{photo source}

Yes, that is indeed a mustache.....
....on a CAR.....
"Wha? "

I realize that mustaches are apparently all the rage in graphic design, photo booths, and drinking straws, but do we really need them on our cars now too? This is definitely one of the strangest trends that I can remember seeing... But apparently at least one person has bought this item.... Odd. You'd think they would have taken it off for the funeral, at least.... seriously.

Exhibit B. I'm in love with my new bicycle. Having working gears makes such a HUGE difference on the enjoyment factor of riding a bike, especially when there are hills involved (which, of course there ARE here in east TN). I've named it Louis. No particular reason.


Exhibit C. Everybody looks dorky in a bicycle helmet. Which is really unfortunate, because the bicycle is so cute, and then there's this dorky helmet person on it. Oh well. Better dorky than dead, I suppose.

Exhibit D. As I mentioned above, I will be participating in an art show next weekend. If you are local and interested in coming by, please shoot me an e-mail and I will give you more info. I don't like to announce things like this to the world in general - too many crazies out there.... (If you are a crazy, please don't e-mail me. Thanks.) On a related note, my Etsy shop will be on vacation mode while I'm at the show, but don't fret - I will have it back up the following week. It's the perfect time to start Christmas shopping... <eh hem>

That's all I've got....

Have a lovely weekend!

10.14.2011

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:

StudioJRU

10.13.2011

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!