Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Birthday Art & Riley Spread

***The artwork from my last post is still available as of Thursday evening! You know you want it...!!***

As I mentioned a couple posts ago, I try to do a piece of art every year on my birthday. This year was no exception. It has been a BIG year for me, and there was a lot I wanted to remember. There are few times in my life that I am just incredibly proud of myself, but this past year is one of those times. As many of you know, it's been a life-changing year for me. I got pregnant, signed a book deal, found out we were moving across the country, packed and moved, wrote a book, and had a baby, all while taking care of Riley. Everything that happened was positive, but that didn't take away from the fact that it was also incredibly difficult. In the future, I will look back at my 34th year and realize how strong I can be, and that's a nice feeling. So I wanted this year's artwork to reflect all of that.

I sort of separated each thing out, and made different sections within this sort of "tower". The top piece says "book" and "good job!", the second piece says "Baby's Birth", the third says "mother and father and two brothers" to signify the family I took care of, the fourth says "another place to live" and "35" since I turned 35, and the last has the date of my birthday. At the very top, above the arch shape, are candles (3 and 5 for 35) and the word "proud".

I had a hard time with the piece- in fact, right at the end, I sort of did a 180, and changed the whole color scheme! It used to be mostly pink! I should have taken a picture... But in the end, I really like it, and am happy with all that it stands for.

Then, I also did a spread for Riley. We have officially made the transition from crib to toddler bed with him, so I did pages to commemorate that step. Again, this one didn't come real easily. I swear, I'm in this weird rut right now, where I'm not liking a lot of my pieces. I hope it passes soon!

I used some vintage puzzle pieces and a photo of him sleeping in his bed for the first time. The photo isn't the greatest, which is one reason I think I'm not liking the page as well-it was a difficult photo to work with. But, oh well, the page is good enough, and at least it tells the story I wanted to tell.

We've been doing some painting and decorating in my studio, so soon I'll be able to show some photos of that...

Artwork for Sale-SOLD!!

Another piece of art for your buying pleasure! I am so in love with this one- it's hard to part with! But I will, so that one of you lucky readers out there can admire it in your own home! Boy, does that sound conceited or what?

Doing these pieces is sort of freeing to me. Since I'm not trying to tell a personal story, like in my usual work, it's much less stressful to execute pieces like these. I think it will be good for me. I feel somewhat in a rut right now with my personal art- the past several pieces I've done haven't come very easily. Hopefully, these pieces for sale will help free me up a bit...

Anyway, here are the particulars: It's 11x14, done on an artist's canvas, with fabric wrapped around the edges to "frame" it. I've used paint, papers (mostly vintage, some new), pencil, pen, and watercolor crayons. The price is $75 + $7 for shipping. If you're interested, leave me a comment!
I've also done a couple other pieces this past week (my birthday piece as well as a spread in Riley's book), which I'll post about probably tomorrow. Our computer's been down for several days, so I've gotten behind!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Some Art, Some Chairs, and a Cute Baby

Here's what I've been up to. I did a piece of Mother's Day art in Noah's book. I figured since it was his first Mother's Day, it should go in his book, even though Riley was part of the photo as well. I guess in the future, I'm going to have to start thinking about doing a family journal in addition to the boys' individual ones, since they'll both be included in a lot of the things I'll want to commemorate.

Anyway, this piece incorporates pieces of the card that the kids gave me. Jason made a stencil that said "We love you Mom" and helped Riley paint it, and then there is also the printed sentiment from the card as well as Jason's message, and some little flowers from the front. I'm having a hard time with a lot of these spreads lately though, because more and more, the colors I am forced to use are brighter than I'm used to. For instance, I needed to incorporate the bright yellow of the Mother's Day card and the bright paint colors in the card into the piece. And often, photos that I use have bright colors, because of course no clothes in Riley's closet are pretty pastels. But I guess it's nice to have a challenge. And it's kind of cool to see how even with primary colors in the focal images, the pieces themselves can still be toned down and more pastel-ly.

Then, I've also done a couple projects with little chairs. I found the first one at Goodwill- a perfect match in Riley's room! All I did was add a vintage-looking decal of a little dear. The second one is an old rocking chair that was mine when I was young. It originally had a dark brown stain on it. I painted it, aged it, and applied a little bear decal to it (can you tell I love vintage decals?) for another really cute chair. This one may stay in his room, or may go out in our family room.

Finally, here are some photos I took of Noah a couple weeks ago. What a cutie!
I hope to do another piece for sale sometime next week. My mother's been in town, so I wasn't able to do one this week. And tomorrow is my 35th birthday (YIKES!!). I try to do a commemorative piece of art every year on my birthday, so that's my plan. I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Artwork for Sale-SOLD!!

As many of you may know, I don't sell much artwork. Everything I do is so personal that by the time I'm done with a piece, I usually don't want to let it go. Which is why I like making the frames that I sell- there's not anything very personal about them, so they're easier for me to part with.

But I do get a lot of requests from people wanting to buy my work, and I feel bad that all I have for sale is some much older stuff, so I've decided to start making some pieces to sell! My sister and I have just begun trading off childcare one day a week, and I've decided that during my free day, I'll try to make a little money. I'll either make some more frames, or make some pieces like this one. I went into it knowing that I'd sell it, so I purposely didn't put anything too personal in it. However, it's still kind of hard to part with- I really love it!!

So here are the details. (SORRY-SOLD!) It's 9x12, done on an artist's canvas, with fabric wrapped around the edges to "frame" it. I've used paint, papers (some vintage, some new), pencil, pen, and watercolor crayons. The price is $65 + $5 for shipping. I'm "listing" it here first, and if it doesn't sell for a few days, then I'll put it on Etsy (I don't have a shop there yet, so I'll set one up). If it looks like there's a huge demand for my art (wouldn't that be cool?), then next time I'll let you know in advance of when I'm going to list so that everyone has a chance!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

New (Big) Piece

I spoke a few posts ago about wanting to do a larger piece. For one, just because I'm looking for a bit of a challenge, and also because there is a spot on my wall that is empty. The piece is 24"x24"- not huge, but certainly larger than my normal stuff.

So what do you think? I'm still trying to decide myself. It's sort of a case of having looked at a piece for so long that I can't "see" it anymore, you know? It was definitely difficult-working larger requires so much more thought and work! Most of my imagery is smaller, so it takes a lot to fill a large space. But I'm happy with my balance of negative space and focal imagery. And I like the layered feel of the background quite a bit. And I really love the color palette... Hmmm, I guess it appears that I do like it, doesn't it?

My sister saw it and said, "What happens if you have another baby?". I remember a personalized Sesame Street piece we had when I was young that my mom had to take back in to have "re-personalized" when my youngest sister was born! I don't think that's an option with this one... oh well, if I have another baby at some point, I guess I'll just have to do a new piece!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Mother's Day began having personal meaning two years ago, when I was pregnant for the first time. What a wonderful feeling to know that I would soon be a mother myself! But that paled in comparison to last year, when Riley was seven months old and brightening my life every day. And now, looking back at last year, I realize that even that pales in comparison to the way I feel this year, because I have yet another beautiful child to give meaning to my life. What an awesome gift we have as mothers, to be able to nurture our children and watch them develop into their own unique, amazing individuals...

Here is the spread I did in Riley's book last year for my first "official" Mother's Day- it's one of my absolute favorites. I'll try to do another one this year in Noah's book.

And here's what I made for mine and my husband's mother- frames that say "We love our Grandma!" Hey, Mother's Day is about being a Grandma, too!

Happy Mother's Day, everyone! Even if you're not a mother, do something nice for yourself today!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Roll Over!

Noah surprised us by rolling over a couple weeks ago, about a week before his three month birthday. Riley didn't roll until five months, so Noah's getting a head start on his big brother! So I decided to commemorate the milestone with a journal spread, obviously.

I have to tell you though, the was one of the hardest spreads I've done in a very long time. I came this close (imagine me holding my fingers really close to each other!) to chucking the whole thing in the trash, because I was just hating it. But this really goes against my whole art-making philosophy. For the most part, I don't necessarily think hating your art is a bad thing. Hating a piece will often push you to a new place and force you to try things you may not have tried otherwise. And so I literally never give up on a piece-I can't even remember the last time I threw something away- I always work through the problem I have until I like it.

However, in this case, I really did come close to giving up. Something about it just was not working for me, and it seemed everything I did made it worse. The book I'm working in is a little larger than Riley's books, and I'm having a difficult time with the size.
But anyway, after a couple hours of struggling, I finally got it to a place where I like it. I'm glad I didn't toss it, because I really would have felt guilty about that decision for some reason. It's certainly not my favorite piece, but at least it got there on its own volition, if that makes sense!
Oh, and by the way, thanks so much for all the support for my Flickr page! I'm loving all the comments and the "favorite-ing" going on!! Once I learn my way around the site a bit more, I'll start taking a look at all your pages, too!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

New Flickr Page

Well, I've finally broken down and decided to start a Flickr page. Seems like all the cool kids are doing it! It just is nice that people can comment on individual photos, which is more difficult to do on Picturetrail. I'm not sure if I'll close down my Picturetrail site or keep both open, but I'll start adding new photos to both for the meantime. I've put up all my photos of my kids' baby books to start with (a few of Riley's are missing at this point, but I'll add them soon), and if I get real motivated, I'll go back and add in some other older artwork, but if nothing else, I'll add all my new stuff in the future.

Be patient with me though. I'm a Flickr newbie, so I'm not real sure the ins and outs of it, and how it all works yet. Hopefully through some fiddling around, I'll figure it out. Anyway, take a look and make some comments if you so desire, so that I feel like my hours of downloading photos were worth it!!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A Love of Art

Recently, Riley has begun developing an interest in "doing art". I have a set of the Crayola Color Wonder markers (that only write on special paper) and a whole pile of those foam stickers that are so popular (if you've got kids, you know what I'm talking about, if not, take a look next time you're at a craft store- they've probably got a whole aisle devoted to them!). Anyway, his version of doing art is to scribble with the markers, then put about 20 of those foam stickers on the page and call it done. Really, about every "piece" he does looks about the same, but I love them anyway!

I just can't tell you how excited I am to instill a love of art in my children. I just think it will be so wonderful to grow up in a house with an open-minded attitude toward, and a love for, art. In my own childhood home, I was certainly encouraged to be creative, but I wouldn't consider our family to be terribly "into" art. We didn't have a variety of artwork hanging on the walls, a space devoted to making art, or an open-minded attitude as to what art is. I just hope that being in a home with these things will nurture my childrens' artistic souls even more.

I'm terribly worried that my kids will rebel and not want anything to do with art, since their uncool mom likes it. But hopefully, by not pushing too much, I can avoid that. I guess only time will tell...

So anyway, here is a spread about the beginning of that journey for Riley: