Holiday Promotions Have Begun

Yes, it is that time of year again. Time to buy a little something special for your loved ones and a little something special for yourself too!
So in the spirit of the holidays I have a new holiday promotion.

Buy any of my print packs. Either the 5x7 Print pack or the 8x10 print pack and get a free print. ANY size. You can read all the little details in my shop announcement on Etsy.

Lets Talk About Art in 5 Simple Steps

One of the things that I have noticed from doing art shows all these years is that you have a very small group of people that know and love to talk about art. Then you have the majority, who love art, but really don't know how to talk about the art that they are viewing.

Talking about art doesn't have to be complicated and full of art-speak. I actually find art-speak extremely annoying. Ha! But what I do like, is talking about art in simple, everyday language, that communicates what each individuals experience is to the piece that they are viewing
So today I would like to give you 5 easy tips on how to talk about art.

1. What is your immediate feeling about the piece? Are you intrigued? Repulsed? Happy? All of the above? (you can read my post on immediate responses to art here). Now ask yourself, what about this piece is making me feel this way? Is it the color? Subject Matter? Texture?

2. What is the image doing? Is it telling a specific story (like the image above) or is it abstract and a little more unclear. The most important thing to notice is what stories are popping into you head at the moment. Does it remind you of something you have experienced?

3. How does your eye move across the page? Do you find that your eye following a certain path each time you look at a piece? Why do you think that is? Or maybe your eye is focused on one area of the image. Ask yourself why that particular area is attracting you.

4. Notice the use of color, texture and line. Are the colors cheerful, muddy, or multi-layered?
How thick is the paints texture? Are there any unusual materials that the artist used that are creating an interesting texture?
Are the lines in the piece thick or thin? And how is this effecting the piece?
Is the piece unusually large or small? How is this effecting how you respond to the work?

5. This tip is the easiest for the beginner. Ask the artist what their process is. How did they create the piece? What are the materials they used? Why did they make that particular image? You can learn a lot about the piece (and how to talk about art) and maybe even have a new reaction to the work after hearing what the artist has to say about the work.

Talking about art shouldn't be scary or difficult. It's mostly about communicating what part of the piece you are having a reaction to. Be it color, texture, subject matter, or maybe even the size of the work. What sort of feelings, memories or stories is the piece bringing up in you and share what you feel comfortable sharing.

Gift Boxes For The Fellas

I just created these four, little,  wooden, gift boxes just in time for Christmas. You can find them here.  They are just big enough to hold a watch, or rings or other small gift items.

Starline Gallery 4th Fridays

I will be exhibiting at the season finale of the Starline Gallery's 4th Friday Masquerade Ball in Harvard, IL this Friday, Oct 25, 2013.
I will have the two pieces below on exhibit. These will be the originals, all matted and framed and ready to go.

What a Mess
The show is one night only.  Oct 25, 2013 from 6-10pm. Costumes are optional and it's $10 to get in. The gallery features local artists and beautiful artist studios set in an old industrial building. It's really a beautiful space!

Introducing Multi-Print Bundles

Now available in the shop are multi-print bundles. Perfect for holiday gift giving.  I have print packs available in both 5x7" prints and 8x10" prints.

Fall Diddly Craft Fair

I will be exhibiting at the Fall Diddly Craft Fair at the Boone County Fairgrounds this weekend. This is one of the shows that I do with my mother. Collectively we are known as SoJoy Studios.
I have all the info for the show here if you would like to check it out.

Lake County Art Show

Come see me at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Grayslake, IL this weekend. I will have all sorts of fun items that I don't have in my Etsy shop, like this skeleton art doll and other Halloween and home decor items.
You can get all the information on this show and any of my upcoming shows in the "Shows" tab at the top of this blog.

Keep Your Head High

I created this piece on the day I learned that someone who I went to high school with had passed away. I knew of him, but unfortunately never really knew him. Based on all the loving comments posted about him on Facebook, I am sorry that I did not know him better. 

The blessing in death, is that it serves as a reminder to us who are still here; to live a live our lives happy and with love because we don't know when we will get the chance to do so again.

A little background into the meaning of the imagery in this piece:
The stars or balls of yellow light are memories or spirits of the people who have passed.  The tightrope that the bear is walking on is a metaphor for the delicateness of life. The buntings are the distractions; the petty, the things that distract us from our purpose. And the bear is strength. You can find more information on the meanings behind my work in the post I did here.
Have a good day everyone!

A Felt Witch Hat Tutorial

 Today I would like to share with you how to make your very own felt, witch hat.  This hat is small, measuring in at about 5" tall.  You can easily adjust the size of the hat once you get the basics on how one is made. So lets begin....

Supplies Needed

 A witch hat template. You can draw out your own, or use mine here.
A glue gun and glue sticks.
A stapler.
Felt in the color of your choice.
Needle and thread in the same color as your felt.
Black paper (optional)
Stuffing -batting, old newspaper or scrap felt works too.
Step 1 
 Begin by cutting out the triangle and the circle shape of your template. I used white paper because it's easier for you to see how I am using the paper, but black paper works nicely too and can give you a more seamless look.
Use your template to cut out the two shapes of your felt. Save your triangle template cut-out. We are going to use this as support for our hat.

Step 2

Here I took my cut-out triangle template and made a cone shape. This is going to be the point of our witches hat.
Staple the cone at the base. The cone doesn't have to line up perfectly, this is just serving as a base for our felt.

Step 3

Line-up your template with your cut-out, triangle felt piece and cut-off any extra paper that is at the base of your cone.
I know that I want my witches hat to have a slight bend at the tip, so I roughed up the tip of my template a bit.

Step 4
Add a line of glue down the center of your felt and place your paper cone template on the glued felt. Wrap and glue the felt around your paper cone and add more glue as needed.

Your hat should look something like this. Cut away any extra fabric or paper. Don't worry too much about open seams at this point.

Step 5
Make four small half to one inch slits around the base of your cone. Cut through the paper and the felt.

Your cone should now look something like this.

Step 6
 Now take your circle felt shape and fold it over into a taco shape. Cut a very small hole in the center.  This is going to be the base or rim of your witch hat.
*Tip* make the hole small! You can always go larger later. This is where we will attach the cone to the base and we want a very tight fit.
 Your felt circle or hat base should look something like this.

Step 7

 Take the felt circle you just cut and place it over the top of your felt cone (through the opening you just made).
Your hat should look something like this.
If the fabric of your cone is wrinkling, cut a slightly bigger hole into your circle felt.
Step 8
 This is what the under side of my hat looks like. I am going to tear away any excess paper and then glue the flaps of the felt to the underside of my hat.
Don't worry if you remove the staple. It's no longer needed anyways.

 Now I will glue the flaps the under side of my hat.

Step 9
 Next take your needle and thread and sew the very tip of the hat closed. Then wrap the thread around the tip of the hat and secure it every few rounds with the needle.
You can also just sew the seam closed if you wish. I just liked the extra texture of all the string. Just make sure to secure the string to the hat often.

Step 10
 If you want a bent tip to your hat, just simply bend the tip over and secure it to the hat with needle and thread.

Your hat should look something like this. 
If your hat needs more support, stuff the cone with batting, newspaper or scrap felt. 

Step 11
I like to rough-up the edges of the hat by simply pulling on the edges of the felt with my fingers. This gives it a rough-up look.

You have just created a felt witch's hat!

Keep Trying

We all have those days when it just seems easier to do what everyone else is doing. To live according to someone else's ideal. Maybe it's the 40 hour a week job. Maybe it's getting married, having kids, going to school, buying that house...
Hard is following your inner voice and living by your own ideal. You will fail sometimes. We all do. Shoot you'll fail if you follow someone else's ideal too (maybe even more so).
Keep trying and hopefully we will all find OUR way.

Fall Brooches

Fall has to be my favorite time of the year. I love Halloween, pumpkins, pumpkin flavored anything, the changing of the leaves, and the cooler weather.
With the cooler weather comes sweaters and jackets and the need to adorn those sweaters and jackets with something cute!
It seems that Fall is the only time that I wear brooches. In the Summer, my clothes are just too light-weight. In the winter I'm usually wearing a heavy coat or don't want to ruin my brooches by wearing them on my winter coat and exposing them to the elements. Fall just seems to be the most appropriate time of the year for brooches.
With that being said, I have made sure to post all of my available brooches in the Etsy shop so that we can all look our best this season.
Happy pumpkin picking everyone!

The Process of Making a Collage Image Using Photoshop


 So today I thought I'd share with you a little about my process of making a collage image. I create my collage images mainly two different ways. 1). Traditional cut and paste. Meaning I create and assemble images completely out of paper or 2) I use a combination of paper and Photoshop.
Today I am going to show you my Photoshop method.

The Photoshop method that I will show you today actually starts out much like regular cut and paste collage. I usually begin with a quick sketch of the image that I would like to create.  In this case, I have been working on some Halloween images and have drawn a witch and her broom riding cat.

I then redraw my image from my sketch. I like to use a mixed media paper which allows me to use a variety of mediums with ease. In this case, I have begun to draw the witch's face and have used watercolor to add color.

I don't usually redraw the entire image. Instead I redraw it in pieces. Below we see all of the completed pieces of the witch.

These pieces will now be individually scanned into Photoshop and then digitally collaged together. What I like about this method is I can reuse any piece of this witch for another project or resize different pieces to get the exact look and size I am looking for. I also like that if I made a mistake on her hat, I don't have to redo the entire piece. I just remake the hat and move on.

 I can also easily change backgrounds, change the image to silhouette and even add text if I like.  And best of all, this image can now be used in many different, future compositions.

I'd love to hear your thought and any tips you have with using Photoshop.

So What Does It All Mean?

When we look at art we all know on some level what sort of meaning we derive from what we are seeing. It usually begins with a feeling. That piece caught my attention because I loved the color or it made me smile. Or that piece caught my attention because it made me feel curious, etc.

Then when we look closer at the work we begin to notice the texture and imagery and all the details of a piece. Sometimes the imagery reminds us of something from our past (good or bad) or maybe something that we are going through at the moment.

Once we have had our response to the piece, we often wonder what the artist was thinking when they created the work. We wonder if our response is what the artist intended or was it something totally different?
Today, I thought I'd share an image key that I have put together to help you the viewer better understand the meanings behind the imagery I use.
Below is the image key that accompanies all the work that I do.
*You can find the most up-to-date image key in the About tab above.
Image Key
Cats- mischief, magic                                   Dots- mindfulness, meditation
Birds- The heart or Love                             Men- Confidence
Rabbits- naiveté, ego                                   Women- self, nurturing
Bears- strength                                           Clouds- aspirations, future
Elephants- whimsy, happiness, wisdom         Houses- ssafety, acceptance
Dogs- friends                                               Balloons- hopes and dreams
Butterflies- freedom, choice                       Girls/Boys- innocence, innocent self
Whales- wisdom                                           Ships- dreams, future
Fox- mischief, calm, contentment                Stars- memories, spirits
Victorian Figures- Society, Culture, Values
Flowers/Plants -growth (physical, spiritual, emotional)

I Live in the Blue House

I have a new original nursery art painting to share today.  The piece is titled, "I live in the blue house". It's a mixed media collage painting and is a one-of-a-kind piece. No prints have been made of this!
I created this piece by first painting and paper collaging two small canvas boards. Then I attached them to a cradled board which I altered.  I finished the piece with a painted, yellow, wood flower.
The result is this whimsical piece of original art with a little dimension! You can find this elephant painting in my Etsy shop.

Whimsical Jewelry

I have revamped my blog. You will notice that I now have new tabs placed at the top for easier navigation to all of the good stuff including easy location of all of my tutorials.
You will also notice that if you click on the "Shop" tag it will take you to my website where I plan to add more work soon.  You can still find me on Etsy as well.
The below three pieces can be found on my website.
 Here are three new jewelry pieces that I have just completed. Above is a pendant necklace with a cute bird on a pear.
This abstract brooch is one of my favorites.
And last but not least, this adorable blue bird scarf pin.

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Linkie ♥