Monday, November 30, 2015

3 Steps to the thrifty, yet sweet nursery! -Things I am learning on my own adventure

Now that we have baby number 2 on board, I am in full swing of the "nesting mode." Things that have been needing organized for years, are now getting attention they deserved. Hubby is getting an ever growing list of honey do's around the house. And most of all, my brain is buzzing of the nursery decor. Why is this little baby's dwelling feel so important? I think it is instinctual in a mother. Another thing that I think is on every momma's mind is keeping the cost down. You can go bananas going all out for your little one. When the realities of the hospital bill hit, your gonna wish you didn't take out a second mortgage for the perfect nursery. Here are some tips and ways that I have in the past, and plan in the future to use when creating baby boy's nursery. And so here we go!
As a mural artist, I paint a lot of main stream themes in nursery rooms. While there is nothing wrong with these, and I think they make beautiful rooms, I have always been one that likes to go off the beaten path a little bit. I am trying to come up with a room that has charm, and cuteness all rolled into one. I have researched etsy, houzz, and pinterest and am starting to build some great ideas. What does this look like? Well, I am no designer, but I think i need to start with an inspiration piece. Take CarynsYarnBasket, a cute little etsy shop I found, for example. She made this cute little fisherman newborn prop hat. My heart melted when I saw this, because hubby is a fantastic angler and the connection between father and son is priceless.
Find her at
After you have an inspiration piece, you are ready for the next step. Step 2 would be to find a color scheme. If you Pinterest search color swatches, the most beautiful color combinations will come up. You will be able to see how sometimes colors you never thought would work together, can actually form a beautiful, peaceful place for baby. The easy route is to go with the typical blue or pink. Step out and try something different! t will make your nursery stand out in the crowd and make it feel like your own.
Step 3 is to run with the theme! I like to do this step the thrifty way. For example, if we are going with the fishing theme, I would go the the thrift stores and find vintage fishing gear to decorate the room with. Keep in mind when you are searching for items, that this is a baby room. Avoid things that could have potential danger (-says mama bear :)). For this theme, I would search for some old fishing nets to hang together in a clump on an accent wall. Maybe I would collect a handful of different lures and put them in a mason jar on the dresser. Search etsy and support those handmade shops for art work prints and other handmade props.
There we go, we have the birth of a nursery idea. This is a cheap and easy way to start narrowing down the nursery creation process. We are still in the dreaming stage, and have no where near made a decision as to which direction we will commit to. No matter what we chose, I know it will be made with lots of love and hugs for baby boy! Anyone else have tips on how they like to decorate the nursery with out breaking the bank?
Special thanks to Carynsyarnbasket for letting me use your shop as an example

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Presence in Fall

Since my mailings I have had a great deal of "constructive" critisism on my art. I guess that is the life of an artist, to puit yourself out there and get ready for strong opinions coming your way. The post cards brought on a great deal of wonderful information and things to work on. The big kicker was attending a writer's/illustrator's conference. I had the amazing opportunity to have half an hour portfolio critique with a very established illustrator (who will remain unnamed since I wasn't a fan of his personality). The critique brought me to reality, in a very harsh way, that I need to push myself as an artist.

Well I am bouncing back with this piece and it was inspired by two of my favorite things. Jesus (who is obviously more favorite) and autumn. Andy and I went on a hike in the mountains during the peak season of the changing trees. It was breathtaking! The day was warm and crisp, the sky was blue, we were having a great time. That particular weekend, I had been studying a spiritual discipline called " practicing presence. The idea being through out the day, being more and more aware of God. The part that stuck out the most was paying attention to little interuptions. They may be God just letting you know he is near.

So there we were, walking back to our car, when WWHOOOOOSSSSSSHHH! A great big wind swept through and stripped gobs of leaves off the aspens. They danced and sparked as they flew over head. It was so beautiful, Andy and I just stood in awe for a second. Then suddenly, something clicked. Hey, this isn't just a random wind. That was God letting us know his beautiful presence. Instantly, I felt a closeness to him I haven't felt in a while and I will carry this moment forever in my heart.

I decided to do a piece about this moment as a memorial. Here below is my method for creating the piece.

The first one is just blocking in the colors. This is just the base, setting the tone and the composition. It looks very bland at this point. One thing that I have done here with composition is adding some depth, something that was mentioned in the critique. My paintings before were very flat, but by adding the trees lining in the background, you get a sense of some different levels.

This one I added the sky. By applying a wet brush of blue on top of a very dried painting, I was able to add the sky while making it still look natural. I did this before I did detailing on the tree but after the first layer so the colors are more true to what I want.

This one , I have added contrast, shadows and detailing. You can see how things are really coming alive!

Last but not least, I add my signature, whimsy pen work and this piece is complete!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Promo Cards: A little update

Well, with one big breath, I sent out 70 promotional postcards for my illustrations. They were sent, mostly east coast, to publishing houses, agencies, and magazines.I prepared my heart as I have heard that the first few mailings come up thin with good news. You gotta start somewhere though. On Monday, my response cards, or SASE as they call it, started coming back. I opened with anticipation and to be honest a little fear. Out of about 20 so far, the responses have mostly been " not interested. " I have had a few "we will keep you on file" 's and a handful of wrong addresses. I go home every day now to find responses lying by my mail slot. If just one of the 70 come back with some promise, then I have succeeded in a Big way. I will keep you posted as to how the rest goes.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Get'n back at it

I have taken a long (too long) break from updating my blog. The last time I was on, I was blogging on the do's and don'ts I was learning about the art festival world. Well, this summer is a different story. I decided to take a break from the art festivals. Although, I am still selling my "Budding Beautiful" pieces ( you can find them online or downtown littleton in "Tres Jolie" ) I decided to use my time to actively chase my dreams as a children's book writer and illustrator.
What does this look like? Well, I cleaned up my Website portfolio. I had a lot of cobweb pieces lurching in the galleries. Some were dated 2006! Yikes! I have certainly gotten better than those study pieces from art school! I narrowed it all down. I have found that less is more. It is better to have a few of your strongest pieces, than have a whole heap of randoms. I am also just featuring my "style" of illustration any more. I found my way to my own brush strokes and am happy with it. This was step one.
Step two was to compose a contact list of potentials. Potential publishing houses, agencies or magazines that may want to work with me and like my style. Once I got this list, I made a post card to send out to this list. This promotional postcard will get my name, my style and my website out there. I chose a few of my faves to feature on it and all my info. I am happy with how they look and am awaiting them in the mail as we speak. ( If you are looking for a great quality print with a low price and quick turn around, Got Print is the way to go! )
The third step will be to mail those suckers out and cross my fingers. I hope to get a few commissions out of this mailing of 75 different places. If not, step four is to resend new work over and over again till I get there! I am excited for this journey and would love to hear from others on this same journey. Tips, struggles, questions... Send them my way.

I will keep you all posted in the up coming days!

Big Hug

Monday, July 5, 2010

Art Fair in Frisco- Moving on Up!

I write this blog with my feet up on the coffee table, post a big sigh of relief. This morning, we returned from a weekend in Frisco , CO where show number two for the summer took place. There were many things that were great about this weekend. Lets take a look at the highlight reel.

The first thing I have to report is the great success of my little pieces. If you are reading along, you may remember how I said I needed to create more affordable pieces for the average bear like me. So, I worked very hard in between these shows and produced 10 5"x5" paintings. These were cute little guys that were meant to not be framed. I wrapped the fabric all around the wood so they could hang as is. I had all sorts of flowers and colors in this size. I thought this would be a trail run to see how they do, ten should be plenty. By day 2 at 10am, a lady came by to buy my last four. Whoa! They went like candy! I was so pleasently surprised that people liked them. Now, I am on "backorder" making these pieces for people who missed out on the show. What a treat!

The type of show this weekend was the exact kind that I needed to be a part of. All the artists were high quality fine art creators. There was a gorgeous bronze sculptor next to me, along with some beautiful painters, photographers and potters. The traffic was very good and consistant and the people there were looking to buy art.

I feel like I am still stretching and growing a ton in all of this show biz. There is so much to learn. Like last show here are a few things I learned ( and am still trying to figure out)

1) Always check that you imprinted all numbers on the credit card slip- Oops.
2) To label, or not to label. That is the question. - At first I had all of my titles and prices hanging next to each piece. After observing the show, my husband noticed that no other artist was displaying the prices. I thought there may be something behind that, so we took them down. This created a lot more interaction with the viewers. I also got to see who was really interested and feel people out. The bad part about this is, I think people thought I was trying to be shadey and switch up the pricing per the person. I got a few negative remarks. I don't know the right way. All you reading this blog, I need your imput please!
3) No overhead is good! We stayed at a friends house and packed in lunches. This makes the profit greater. Duh!

Well, I have got to get to painting. I am going to fill a whole panal with those small suckers. I can't wait :) I will keep you posted on my progress

Until then,
Big Hug

Friday, June 25, 2010

One Down, Two to Go!

I just am recovering from a very long weekend at the Glenwood Springs Strawberry Days Festival. What a weekend! This was my first official art festival. I was so nervous coming up to it. There is SOOO much that goes into these things and I was just sure that I forgot something. Luckily, I didn't really find anything that I was missing. There were some lessons I took away from this show. Here is that list

1)I have a very supportive group of people that love me very much-expanding on that...My wonderful husband, three beautiful sisters, and future brother in law all came out to help and make sure everything ran smooth. My whole family are my biggest fans. My tent was supplied very graciously by my uncle (also a artist-very talented one). And I have friends that cheered me on through out the weekend. That helps big time! So thanks to all my homies :)

2) I don't believe that I would enter into this show again. Although it is a beautiful town, with great people, it wasn't the show for me. This show is Art/Crafts fair. That "/Crafts" part really changes the demographics. There are a lot of people looking to buy bbq sauce and lawn decor and not so much paintings. Noted

3)People want to be approached but not sold to. There is a fine line here and I think it may take a while to master this. I am no sales woman, so any tips people may have would be helpful. Even if your not into sales, let me know how you would like to be approached in this situation (maybe not at all). I want some feed back on how this looks best.

4)I don't like the way my pricing labels look. I used foam core, and Avery labels on top. They looked a little Janky. Is there anyone out there that has a better solution? My wonderful hubby hubby suggest black foam core with gold pen hand written. Not a bad idea! What else we got?

5)Set up early. If they give you the option to set up before, do it. They had asked if we wanted to the day before actual set up was scheduled. I told them no, I would just do it in the morning. We got there in the morning and my tent space had totally been surrounded by other tents. Booth set up is a lot harder without some elbow room.

6)Have a wide variety of priced items. I needed to make some pieces so people like, well me, can buy art.

Over all, it was a great first show. I sold some stuff, I got some commission interest, and some other great contacts. I feel so great about moving forward to the next one. Glenwood Springs is such an amazing town that I will be back soon, with or with out the festival. Now it is time to paint. I have lots of work to do before show number two. I will keep you posted.


So here I am, 26 and a professional colorer (as my husband Andy likes to tease me). Although my professors tried their best to scare us about our future, I don't think any art school in the world could prepare you enough for what's ahead when you chose the path of an art career. I knew that it would not be all cupcakes and gumdrops. What I didn't know, was that my post college would consist of working with high schooler girls at a cupcake bakery, doing punching in to unload palates at midnight at a frame store, or checking patients out after they got their carpal tunnel checked out. I worked at a plastic surgeon's office for a year and a half with no medical experience (obviously)and loved it. I have discovered that there aren't a lot of places for us right brained free thinkers to find a 9-5. I have been sort of a roaming nomad in the career department, and have just stumbled upon whatever job I can find.

Although this has been fine for the time being, and I am VERY thankful for every job that God had provided me with, I am ready to seriously pursue that dream job that is just right for me. Not the one just right for right now. I know that God has created me to create, so create I will. This blog is the story of my adventures in shooting for the moon. Come along for the ride with me. If you pray, pray alongside me for my journey. If you don't, just enjoy traveling this road with me. I would love to hear any feedback along the way, so feel free to voice any comments. Thanks for sharing with me!