Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Studio Sale Sneak Peak

I have been jamming for weeks now in preparation for my once a year big Studio Show and Sale. I like to show these before pictures so folks can see that I do in fact work in my little 12 x 20 foot studio. It took me 3 days just to clean, but it look so nice when I am finished that it is worth the effort.
It is so nice having my awesome daughter Kayla at home from college helping me. She is seen here painting my road signs, making them much more beautiful than I would have and her help is invaluable to me. This is my once a year Studio blow out meant to clear space for new creations in the coming year. That's why all of my paintings are 30% off. That even includes my very newest painting pictured below which is still in progress but will be finished for your viewing pleasure at the sale. Also new this year will be one of a kind pottery pieces (there is plenty more than is pictured here) and gift certificates. If you go to my website and sign up for my newsletter you can also get in on special savings on prints for newsletter subscribers only. I think this years sale is going to be lots of fun and I expect to see a lot of familiar faces. It is free and open to the public and everyone is welcome to just come and browse and have a glass of cheer and a nibble. I also have a free gift just for stopping by. With that, I bid you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and wish to say that I am very grateful for everyone who has supported my life as an artist especially my darling husband and daughter.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Down 'n Dirty with Clay

A friend reminded me today of where my head was at around last September. It wasn't a good place. I had had a very bad time with doing outdoor festivals. Much of it attributable to painful problems with my right foot. But also a general burnout of the show scene, coupled with a slow economy and a feeling that I was stuck in a rut with my work. While complaining to said friend, I mentioned that I felt that I had to change things up, that I was bored, that I felt pigeon holed into what I was doing. (My cow paintings) CREATIVE CRISIS had struck! Thank goodness I had a Christmas commission for a couch painting which allowed me some leeway and a break from painting cows. Don't get me wrong, I love my wild cowies, but I just wasn't feelin' it.
Come around December when my daughter began painting lessons with a friend of mine, I wandered into the clay studio to kill some time and fool around with throwing on the wheel, something I had never done. I think I got hooked the first time I got my hands and pants all dirty trying to center the clay on the wheel and do my first pulls. I had found that new challenge, that new outlet that I was yearning for. I had forgotten about my angry rants in September. I was telling my friend how I seem to run to the clay studio every free chance I get now and that's when she reminded me of the dreadful headspace i was in just a short time ago. Now, I am having so much fun learning so many new techniques and ways of making things. The coolest thing about clay is that it teaches a control freak like me to let go. Being a newbie, when I throw the clay on the wheel it often dictates to me what it will be. Sometimes it will bend to my will but often not. It teaches me to go with the flow. When I apply glazes, I can put colors together with my painters eye, but again have to accept what the clay and the glaze and the heat determine as the outcome, not me. So every Thursday, when the kiln gets opened, it's like Christmas or giving birth to something. Complete surprise. If you look through my archives, you will see the progression of where I started and where I am today. So much fun! In a few weeks, I will be having my Annual Holiday Open Studio. I have somehow managed to make pieces in the short time that I have been making pottery, that other people might like to own. (I know because I have sold a few already) Above is a sampling of some of my recent pieces that will be for sale at my Open Studio. Unfortunately, I haven't offered them for sale online due to shipping concerns. I can honestly say that each piece is one of a kind because I am just learning and wouldn't be able to replicate a piece if I tried. If you are in the area, I hope you will stop by my sale to see my awesome new pottery and my paintings and everything else I have to offer (including some great wine and snacks). I am sure I will continue painting. I rejoice in the knowledge that as a creative person, my life doesn't have to be just one thing. An artists life is a ongoing work of art, a creative process in itself which knows no boundaries. If you are thinking about trying something new yourself, I highly recommend it. Even if you don't think you are a creative person, spread your wings, try on something different and see what shakes out.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Learning to Draw and Paint

I have been blessed with a couple of happy, intelligent and talented art students. These girls came to me with a desire to learn to draw and paint beyond what they are getting in school. It gives my heart joy to see such enthusiasm in the kids. I really enjoy the one on one with them, so much different from being a classroom art teacher. There were plenty of kids who were there because they liked art and wanted to be there but unfortunately, there were several more who didn't and were constant distractions for the kids who had a real interest in art. I always felt bad that I often didn't have time to get to the kids who wanted to learn more because I had to deal with the kids who were acting out. Sometimes I could get those kids engaged too which felt good, but often not. Having kids in my studio is a real treat. I love chatting with them about their lives and seeing how quickly they pick up what I am teaching them.
I wish I could package the enthusiasm of 10 year old Mackenzie. Yesterday when we were doing a crayon resist drawing of a leaf and I told her to add some free form doodles around her leaf drawing, she got all excited and clapped her hands, and giggled and said "bluueeeee". (Her favorite color).
It never feels old hat for me when I make something new, there is an excitement and sometimes when I come up with something fun like my Oreos and Milk painting, I kind of tickle myself inside. But getting older seems to dull in many ways that unbridled joy that comes with being a kid, the discovery of a new technique, color, ability. Maybe that's why I've gotten so hooked on pottery now. It's a whole new playing field and each piece is a new challenge and opportunity to discover something new inside myself.

I am so pleased with Marlene and Mackenzie. They are very eager and pick things up quickly and it is delightful to see what they do.
We have a few more classes before the holidays. In January I may take on another student or two. I have room for maybe 1 more kid (age 10-14) and 2 adults. So contact me if you are thinking about taking on a new challenge yourself like my adult student Cindy, who is bravely stepping out there to learn something new.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Autumn Inspiration-ceramic pots

I love Autumn. It shows up in my paintings, my photos and now in the pottery I am making. These are a two new pieces using a wax resist technique. I painted with wax onto the bisque clay and then dip in the glaze. I love the natural theme and the way the glazes echo the theme in that they are not glossy or brassy. The larger bowl is in a glaze called Rob's Shino. The smaller one is glazed with mamo or spogemine. (forgot to write it down again :0( ) These will be available for sale at my Open Studio. If you are interested in purchasing before that or would like more information prior to that, please contact me :0)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Like Art? Like Wine? How About Music?

Sounds like the perfect grouping to me! Come on over to Paradocx Vineyard tomorrow- Saturday, Oct. 15th for Community Day. Look for these fine folks -Caryn, party maven extraordinaire and Dave, wine maker to the stars (that's you and me).
Enjoy the day sampling local artisan chocolates, cheeses and honey among other things. Of course I will be there showing my paintings, as well as Karoline Wileczek, who will offer her adorable felted sheep, along with hats and gorgeous knitted scarves. Kick back on the grass and listen to the free, (yes, I said free) music and enjoy what is supposed to be a beautiful day.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Walm-ART or Real ART?

With the holidays just around the corner, I want to challenge everyone to spend their gift giving money on America. Not just in American stores, but on truly 100% American made products from artists and craftsmen around the country who put their years of training and love of their craft into every item they make. Think about it: for every crappily made sweater that you spend your hard earned dollars on at Walmart, American Apparel, Kmart, Target or wherever, the result is the same. You get an inferior product made in Malaysia, Tawain, Bangladesh or some other sweat factory located around the world. That money that you just spent goes to another country and stays there. You are supporting a global machine that oppresses millions of people into working for slave wages so that you can have that inferior, cheap product that will end up in the bottom of someone's drawer eventually or in the Goodwill store. (But it did have a nice label didn't it?) And once that money goes oversees, it doesn't come back. That job that you lost recently? It's because too many folks are feeding the machine.
The solution? Start with buying American made art and fine craft. I bet almost everyone knows an artist or a jeweler or has attended a craft show in their neighborhood or on vacation. Start to think about the people on your shopping list and the kinds of things that they might like that would be a true treasure for them, that they would keep for years and years. Are you shopping at the box stores for low prices? Artists and crafts people have low prices too. They also have high prices. They can offer you all the quality, variety and pricing you want to fit you budget. You just have to look for the right ones to fit your budget.
The artists at Stormflight Designs have gorgeous American handmade silver and glass jewelry starting as low as $12.99 and up. Can you get that at Sprawlmart? NO!
Do you have an occasion coming up like a wedding, special birthday, or do you just like dessert? Should you run out to Target and get those mass produced ceramic plates that will chip the minute you put them in the dishwasher? Maybe you should visit Hulls Happiest Days Designs for your adorably customized serving plates, cups, platters and cake plates with items starting at $17.99 and up.
Do you still enjoy the art of letter writing? Would you like to encourage someone (maybe your kid) to write to you? Enjoy for yourself or give a subtle hint with the gift of hand crafted note cards by Bella Card Creations starting at just 3.95!!!!!! People, if you are going to spend $3.95 on a card, should it be on a massed produced generic greeting from Hallmark that 10,000 people in America are also getting????
Or do you really care enough to send the very best, something special and unique that shows that you thought about who you were buying for and wanted to give them something as special as they are? I mean how friggin cute is this card? This woman has had 3 kidney transplants so buy her cards!
Ok , almost off my soap box. Bottom line. Buying your stuff from American Artists and Craftspeople is just the right thing to do and here's why:
1. All the reasons stated above
2. Most people treasure handmade items and will keep them
3. Handmade items can be more affordable than you think
4. Artists who live in America will take the money they've earned and put it back into America buying goods and services that may be in the industries that support you, your husband , your kid or your neighbor. So go and buy from these people, the ones I've mentioned or the ones in the art fair around the corner or in the gallery down the street.

Lastly, (shameless self promotion here) you can always buy from me. A signed copy of my children's book "Millicent and the Faraway Moon" is $17.95. It is 40 pgs, full color hardcover and priced under many kids books on the market. Newsflash here: A Scholastic Book that they push on you at your kids book fair is not necessarily better than my self published one. Yes, they do publish a lot of wonderful books, but mine is pretty wonderful too. And if you are in the market for something for the wall... you can always buy a print from me starting at just $30 or for the more elaborate gift for that special person in your life, an original ranging from $85 to $900.
Its all a matter of what you want and what you want to spend. I can almost guarantee you, that whatever your budget, you can find something made by hand to fit it. Something way better than anything they have in the mall or in the big box stores. Now go shopping! Do your part for the country and for the economy. It will make you feel good. It will make people like you :0)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Don't Let Anyone Hold you Back from Your Dreams!

Do you have a story brewing inside of you? Have you always dreamed of writing your story and seeing it in print? Is it there, alive, in your mind, with no place to go? If you are walking around , dreaming of the day that you will write it, or if you have it written and are dreaming of that day when a publisher is magically going to show up at your door and make you the next J.K. Rowling, we need to talk. Not to be negative, but someone online said something like, "It's so hard to get published. Like less than 5%. And it seems like you need to be published first to get published -- it's catch-22." It's not impossible, but very difficult, and requires persistence,perseverance and most of all-patience. That's something I ran out of a couple of years ago when I decided to take matters into my own hands and self publish, "Millicent and the Faraway Moon." Granted, I didn't shop my manuscript around too much, as I am a rather impatient person and when I have an idea for something, I want to see it happen.
So I began looking into self publishing. I looked through many self publishing company sites and at that time the one that appealed to me the most, was because I could create my book without a big giant upfront investment and since I had the needed skills to create my picture book, I took matters into my own hands.
I have to say that it as a labor of love, as it does take a good investment of time to go this route, but once it was done, I had the satisfaction of holding something that I created from start to finish and in my hands and had had compete control over it. What resulted, was a 40 page softcover picture book for kids, ages 4-9 and something that I was very proud of.
I took my book and sold it mostly at art shows where I was already selling my paintings, but I have also done book signings, school visits, and book fairs. By the time I had sold about 300 copies, I decided that the book had enough of a track record to invest in a hard cover printing which I did last year. My sales continue to flourish and I am proud to share the uplifting story of my blue cow Millicent as she tackles her self esteem issues.
I also look forward to sharing what I have learned on my self publishing journey in 2 workshops that I am offering at the Newark Arts Alliance in Newark De. on Oct. 3 from 6:30 - 8:30 and on Dec. 5 from 6:30-8:30. If interested, you should register for one or the other at the Newark Arts Alliance website . This is a link to the program pdf.
If you are someone like me who likes to take control over their own creative life and destiny- I hope to meet you at one of my workshops. If you live too far away or can't join me for any reason, please feel free to comment or contact me if I can help you with specific questions :0)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Newark Arts Alliance Fundraiser

Here's a really cool way to support a great arts organization in Newark, De. Go to to bid. There are some really cool hens to decorate your nest and its for a great cause.

The one I did is on view at the Flip Flop Shop on Main Street. You can drop by any time to see it for real before you bid on it and maybe buy some cool flip flops while you're at it :0)
Here's me at the shop with my hen.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Launching My New Website Today!

I am so proud of myself. It took me weeks to complete, but my new, completely overhauled website is now up and running in fact -you are already on it! I felt after 6 years, that it was time for a fresh look and I wanted to create a seamless experience for people visiting my website to also visit my blog and my new website-, a site created just for "Millicent and the Faraway Moon" under the moniker of House of the Rising Star Publishing. I hope you will take some time to look around. I have created not just a site, but a whole gallery catalog of my work created from around 1985 and onward. Many people only know me through my cow paintings, but now folks can get to know all facets of my artistic persona. In the galleries, prints are instantly available for purchase and originals are offered, just inquire for pricing. There is also a link to Cafe press where notecards, mouse pads and even Christmas ornaments with my work on them is available. I will really appreciate if you would comment here with thoughts about the new look and feel of my site, especially if there is something I might have overlooked.
Thanks for reading, for looking around my site and for supporting me as an artist!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Longs Park? Save Your $10 Admission! Two Art Shows

This weekend I will be showing my art in two wonderful places. The first is Saturday at Woodside Creamery in Hockessin. They have some of the best ice cream I have ever eaten and you can use the $10 admission you would spend at Longs Park by coming to Woodside for free and eating lots of ice cream. The show runs from 11-5. please find me in the Party Tent on the hill to the left.
On Sunday, I will be back at Paradocx Vineyard where I have recently been bestowed the honor of Artist in Residence. Party down with great wine and Atiba Caribbean Steel Band from 5-9. Bring a blanket, some grub and the kids, cause there's a moon bounce and fields to play in.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I've Come a Long Way baby

Back in January, Istarted throwing clay pots and totally fell in love with it. I began veryhumbly, creating little pots. The clay and myinexperience, totallydictated to me what I was going to make and the result was never very big, tall or exciting. Iwas proud of what I did, but I think Iam progressing very nicely. I have begun making some very cool pot bellied vessels with lids, that are still evolving. some bowls, that are a nice
size, some vases... the list goes on. I still love my paintings,but look forward to when the clay studio reopens in September. I have already made a list of things I am going to make for Christmas gifts and to sell at my open Studio in the Fall. I love the challenge of the new medium and the camaraderie with other artists in the studio. Below are some examples of my new pieces. Some are already sold, which really blows my mind since I just started. Thanks to those of you who have been buying both my ceramics and paintings.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Double Art/Author Night

I had a wonderful time last week at Petey Possums Hangout in Oxford, Pa.. Its an adorable little children's bookstore on the corner of Rte. 472 and Old Baltimore Pike. I had a reading with the children, signed copies of "Millicent and the Faraway Moon" and answered questions about being an artist and author from 6-8 pm.

From 5-6 I enjoyed the company of my fellow artists and patrons at the Opening of the Oxford Artists Connection members show where I displayed 4 of my paintings. I wanted to show that i do other things beside the cow paintings so my people on the couch paintings took up their place on the wall right along side them. It was a very nice show with lots of variety from the other artists. It was also very well attended.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Painting Demonstration

Every artist has their own certain style and way of painting. I have often been asked about mine and I thought that it would be nice to share how I do a painting, more or less step by step. This is a Blu Hen cutout given to me by the Newark Arts Alliance for a fundraiser they are doing now through September. Please go to my Facebook page for bidding info.

After applying gesso to the plywood cutout, I draw my images with a light pencil. I start by mixing acrylic emerald green with a little cadmium red for a deep green background and paint in around the images. Next, I mix that same cadmium red with a transparent rose and white to lay the middle tones for the flamingos


Next, I mixed a little ultramarine blue into the pink and red to paint in some of the darks on the flamingos and some cadmium orange light into the beaks.

Next I mix a little viridian with yellow and start painting in some background leaves

overlapping the flamingos in some areas.

From this point I start working the painting back and forth.

I mix some emerald green with some cadmium red to create dark darks in the back ground that will give depth to the painting. I mix cadmium red with the ultramarine and rose to get deep shadows on the Flamingos also adding to the depth and creating a 3 dimensional feel. The transparent rose is just that, so I mix it with some white and go over the flamingoes to get them to give them a solid pink .

Next I go back into the leaves, having mixed highlights with cadmium yellow light and viridian. I start to add flowers, overlapping them in places with leaves and flamingos approaching them in the same manner as the entire painting. Lay in the middle tones, add the darks, then the highlights. I want the flamingoes to kind of glow, so I go over them with a thin wash of the transparent rose a couple of times.

The last thing I do is add the little details of the eyes. I painted the whites, let them dry and used a black sharpy to draw them in, then added the little reflection with white paint. Voila! Done and done! Please let me know what you think of my painting and ask any questions you might have :0)