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