I’ve held my very favorite volunteer job going on two years now. It involved going to my local shelter and taking photos of the newly arrived critters so they can be posted on the “available” site, shown on Facebook and generally get some publicity as they search for their forever home. I’ve fallen in love multiple times and as a result now own two rescued dogs in addition to my rescued “studio cat” that’s been with us for almost 10 years!
I’m not sharing details on these images because they span the entire time I’ve been taking photos and, to the best of my knowledge, these cute critters have all found homes. If you’d like to see some of the wonderful animals in your area please visit the local shelter or it’s website. They are hard to resist, whether you’re a cat lover….
Or prefer the pooches….
It’s an awesome thing to share your heart & life with these babies that just want to be your friend. Furry love to you all,
Six months ago I travelled west and spent two weeks driving across, around and through Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota. It’s probably my favorite destination, this was my fourth trip to that area of the States. I took a TON of photos as we drove and have been ever-so-slowly getting around to sorting through and editing them. I thought as I get batches of them done I will share them here.
During the two weeks we visited Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, The Grand Tetons, Rocky Mountain National Park, Custer State Park and Mount Rushmore. To say it was a whirlwind would be an understatement – even after eliminating a few destinations from the itinerary! The landscapes were amazing, although all the wildfires did make for hazy skies. I think next time I’d like to visit in May, three of my four trips have been in the fall and one in the winter so Spring would be a nice change!
The last photo was repeated almost daily – we explored until there was no more light to explore in before calling it a night. I think this particular image was from a late evening in Yellowstone.
Last year, as I was preparing for a show of my mixed media batik art, I was also spending lots of time with my grandkids. Trying to mix the two I did many of the drawing layers of the art while they were busy coloring and drawing at the kitchen table with me. As often happens I got requests – “Gramsy, can you draw a fish? Gramsy, what about a bird? Maybe some flowers?” as those drawings began to unfold I unintentionally created a trove of tiny art pieces inspired by the requests! The original pieces were all small – mounted on 4×4″ wood panels when completed. Some just seemed to need a bit more space so 6×6, 6×12 and 8×8″ pieces were added to the mixture over the months.
As I continued to create these whimsical pieces I also began adding text and quotes to them. The ones shown below are all 6×6″ pieces on wood panels.
These creations fell right into my art motto of “Happy Art for Happy People”! Many of the pieces that feature flowers, nature, gardens, etc. are now available at Queen Anne’s Farmhouse & Flower Shoppe located in Greenwood, Indiana. You can also find a few of my handmade journals there too! Hmmmm….journals. I’m not sure I’ve blogged about those yet. Perhaps next post?
Shortly before Christmas I decided to try my very first “live” sale online at Facebook. I gathered up giftable items (including a large amount of the newly created jewelry), classes and other items I thought people would be interested in. Then I created individual posts for each and started promoting the event. Here’s a look at the flyer I made to generate interest:
I also created promo posts leading up to the event with the “Top 12” reasons to shop the online sale memes – some heartfelt, some funny and all true – and used them across Instagram, FB, Twitter, etc. I also added incentive for people to share the event – the more people, the more purchases and the bigger the discounts! Starting at 10% off all the listings I added an additional 1% for each sale, with a cap at 50% off. Below are the details of how an online “live” event can be set up on Facebook, if you’re wondering how it works.
The prep was actually more time consuming than any other aspect, making sure I had good images and accurate descriptions for each thing. I also designed trivia posts with prizes to keep it fun and interesting. Overachiever that I am, I had 45 posts to get online in one hour. Next time I’d aim for around 30, it was so fast and crazy trying to get all of that on the event page in just an hour! I didn’t feel like I had time to go back and reply to those who had purchased items or answered the trivia questions and I ended up running past the 9 p.m. end time by about 10 minutes. Since it was a holiday sale, this is a sample of one of the trivia questions:
Here are sample posts of items that were sold during the event:
In all I sold 38 items, meaning each person who made a purchase earned a 48% discount! Happy holidays to all of us. 😉 The bonus part of all this work is that I was able to use the image/descriptions of the unsold items to list them on my website – something that was already on my to-do list.
I am planning on doing another one of these online sales, what do you think would be a good time? I’m leaning toward late April/early May thinking people will be on the lookout for Mother’s Day and Graduation Gifts. Once I get that figured out I’ll be sure and share the details here on the blog.
While creating my series of Intuitive Abandon mixed media paints I often tend to crop and frame smaller sections of the work, leaving strips of painted, marked and colored paper unused. After collecting a small boxful of these pretty scraps it finally came to me how they could be re-purposed – wearable art! That is when the fun began. 🙂 I will say that my first attempt at these little beauties (shown below) was a big, big failure! Oh, sure, they LOOK pretty but I tried a new type of resin on them and none of them set up properly. I was the proud owner of 16 pieces of sticky art jewelry. Sigh! At some point I may be able to scoop all the goo out of them and try again but at the time my heart just wasn’t in it.
Not to be outdone by some stickiness I put that setback behind me and pulled out some other jewelry making supplies, these came with shiny cabochon to place over the artwork instead of using resin. Ta-da!! Success. My first creation was a bracelet – one of six that I ended up creating.
Now I was off and running! Selecting and cutting the art pieces to fit the templates was a fun, but thoughtful, project. I’d get several sets ready and then spend time attaching & sealing the art and applying the cabochon over to seal them in. I was very prolific in a short amount of time, with all different types and sizes of jewelry!
If you’d like a peek at the current inventory I have created a page on my website where you can view, select and purchase the pieces that I have available. I’ve stocked up on supplies, as well as creating more mixed media art to select from, so I am guessing it won’t be long until I feature some new pieces!
If you’d like to learn how to create your own jewelry similar to this I am available for instruction here at my studio or most any location nearby.
One media I explored last year was resin! Initially it was to use the resin as a protective, shiny coating over my mixed media batik artwork. Of course mixing up the exact amount of resin is pretty rare and I tend to err on the side of excess. The excess became a playground for me to experiment & manipulate – with some successes and, of course, some “learning opportunities” as well.
Eventually I was mixing and blending inks, pigments and other materials in, on & around clear resin and manipulating it to form organic designs. Some of the creations are on a wood surface, some on acrylic pieces. The ones shared here are all on flat 10″ round wood panels, which I added wood pieces to the back for hanging making them appear to “float” on the wall. They are currently for sale at B3 Gallery in Nashville, Indiana.
Although there is much exploring left to do I’ve not created any new resin art pieces lately…I am sure at some point in my random creativity I will return to it! Below is a close up detail of another resin piece…I love looking into them, it’s almost like looking into another universe!
After neglecting my blog for the better part of a year it’s more than a bit intimidating trying to figure out what to jump back in with! I’m fairly prolific so the choices are numerous and with several shows and exhibits last year that is probably an understatement. I finally decided to just start writing about what is currently dear to my heart, a series I titled “Intuitive Abandon”. Then, within that body of work, I found these pieces, aptly titled and begging to be shared. Perfect!
Something that’s been on my heart for several years is the desire to merge both my art and my faith, to feel like my work is more inspired and led than just merely decorative. I can kind of put it in “auto-drive” and make art that is pleasing to look at but when asked what it means, well, nothing really. I tried just referring to it as “Happy Art” (which it is) because so many people commented on the colorful and happy content. That, in and of itself, isn’t a terrible thing – I am a fan of happiness and if I can give others joy with my art that’s pretty darn cool. But I wasn’t satisfied with just that anymore.
Enter my favorite, most “mountain top” experience each year called “Gathering of Artisans“. 2018 was my third year in a row to attend/participate in this event and I cannot recommend it highly enough! And, yes, although I’d classify it as a mountain-top experience no matter where it is held, it happens to actually be held in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Each year I’ve attended I’ve grown and deepened my life in ways I couldn’t imagine. In addition to the most powerful worship I have ever experienced, 2018 led me to classes by two different instructors, Aeron Brown & Amy Smith, both of whom had an amazing influence on my artistic and spiritual path. I finally feel like I am stepping into my desire of combining my faith with my artistic expression.
These newest explorations are full of freedom, mark making and lively conversation. After some prayerful quiet & meditation these pieces start with mark making – my thoughts, prayers, song lyrics, text randomly scribbled with charcoal/pencil/graphite on the canvas/paper/wood substrate. In the case of these pieces, 12×12″ canvas. From that place I try to listen quietly until I get a feel for the initial colors. Once the painting, scraping, stamping and marking begins I try to not think at all! Often I get so lost in the process that, unless I stop to take progress pictures, I have no idea how I got from point A to point B. The freedom to create this way is so very freeing.
Currently I have close to 40 pieces created in this manner – on canvas, wood and paper. They even inspired another artistic endeavor! I’ll be sharing more as I continue to blog but if you just can’t wait to see them you can CLICK HERE to visit the web page where they are featured.