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.
I was inspired (and invited) to do an art installation at our local church for Advent this Christmas season. I had three amazing ladies that volunteered to help with the project, which was awesome! After learning more about the meaning of Advent, the coming from the darkness into the light, I knew that I wanted the project to both “wrap around” the little country church sanctuary and change its appearance by getting brighter each week. The church has three sets of windows on each side and a wooden “rail” across the front near the altar. Using some wooden easel displays that fit in the windows it began with a very dark blue yard wrapped abstractly around sets of three easels. These were placed in the very back windows. The middle windows had a slightly lighter blue, the third window had light blue sets and across the rail were sets of three white yarn-wrapped easels. The lighter ones initially had some random black yard wrapped over them as well. The team was awesome with the help wrapping all that yarn! There was a single easel on each side of the railing that had tiny lights wrapped around it, signifying the light of Jesus that would be coming soon.
After the first week the very darkest yarn-wrapped set was removed and the progressively lighter ones were moved toward the back of the room and another set of light-wrapped easels were added to the front. The following week the mid-blue colored set was removed (as well as the extra black yard from the white set) and, again, more light-wrapped sets were added in the front as the light spread through the church. The Sunday prior to Christmas the entire display had changed to all white lights, all of the darkness was gone.
For the Christmas Eve service the final part of the art display was added…we created different line drawings of the nativity on glass panels that were placed in front of each easel/light set so they would be illuminated from the light behind them. They were a beautiful part of the celebration that night with the darkness outdoors and the lights dimmed in the sanctuary!
Next up? An interactive art project for the congregation and visitors on the topic of redemption and deliverance. I’ve also got sketches for a “fruit of the spirit” project and the construction of a cross with each person adding a piece to it. I feel blessed to be able to share my creativity and use it to inspire and build up others!
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.
On schedule for the month of April? Batik Art on Paper, presented at three locations so you can choose which one works best for you! To reserve your seat in one (or more) of these classes please go to THIS PAGE of my website. With locations in Carmel, Martinsville and Nashville Indiana you’ve got a nice selection to choose from.
Please note this workshop is limited to a maximum of 6 people so you’ll want to reserve your place early!
Each year I pick a word (or words) that will be my inspiration, goal, good intention for the year. For this year the word “STRENGTH” has been coming at me from all directions so I’m going to claim it and run with it. It is something I can apply to so many different areas of my life!
After spending many hours the last few months creating hand made journals (I guess I need to post about those soon, hmmm?) I’ve added to that interest the idea of writing styles, script and other artful lettering. I’ve always loved to add words & quotes to my art but have never been particularly fond of my own handwriting. I’ve just been doodling around with pens, etc. for now but have an intro to hand-lettering book that should be delivered later today.
Here are some of my scribbles in one of my journals over the past week. Perhaps as I progress and become more skilled I’ll be able to use these words and thoughts in my artwork! I hope the new year blesses you with inspiration and passions to pursue. I love that feeling of hope a new year brings with it. Who knows, I might even blog more regularly this year! We’ve got another 362 days to find out!
So I thought today I’d share a couple recent pieces that I finished and show a bit of the stages it went through along the way. Both these pieces are currently hanging in the gallery at the Blackford County Art Center in Hartford City, Indiana in my show titled “”Cairns & Other Repurposed Treasures” – along with another 26 pieces that are part of my “Wood | Stone | Metal” series. The beginning inspirations were a set of rocks that I painted last month:
In addition to those larger, detailed pieces I also had painted several batches of smaller, colorful, messy, drippy, watercolored stones:
Deciding on the composition is a trial and error process for me, first one layout, then another, tweeking the arrangement and inclusion of stones and material as I progress. This shows an early layout vs. the final version for each of the two pieces.
The third rock in the set is still in the studio, waiting for inspiration to lead me to it’s final destination, who knows where it will end up!
I’ve had the pleasure of being able to spend a few days in the studio this week! As of yesterday I completed five “in progress” batik pieces that I have been working on for the last few weeks and also completed painting 12 stones that will be incorporated into new mixed media art pieces for an upcoming show. Here is an image of one series of stones as they progressed throughout the day:
A different set:
If you are interested in creating some painted rocks, or just playing in the paints I’ll be having open studio play dates next week! The cost is only $10 for a 2-3 hour session and this month all the fees are going to be donated to HDSA. You can read the details in THIS POST.
Here is one of the batik pieces, almost finished:
I tried my first stop-action film while working on the finishing details on this piece but it turned out slightly blurry and a bit too fast. It was a good learning experience none the less. My second attempt was in focus but my camera battery died mid-recording. Now I’m out of works in progress to film! I’ll get it done eventually though, it’s one of those things I’ve wanted to do/learn. There are so many!
Now I’m off for a few more hours in the studio…I wonder what will be created today!