Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A new character... Mr. Fox

Ever since I saw the movie "Fantastic Mr.Fox" I've been loving foxes.. They are just so cute! I liked them as a kid too, but lately I keep running across these sly little fellows.

I looked up what it means when Fox comes across your path (not literally). And this is some of what I found:

  • Fox’s message and medicine is to playfully pursue your goals and objectives.
  • To get what you want out of life use humor and laughter  
  • There was also something mentioned about a "sniff" test, but I don't think that will be necessary lol!
Sounds like Fox knows I have some goals to achieve and is going to sneak along for the journey.
There was also something mentioned about a "sniff" test, but I don't think that will be necessary lol!

So today I begin doodling these little fox fellows and while they need some serious need of Fine tuning I think I will be able to create a lot of expressions as I refine them.  

Did you know that a Group of Fox are known as: a leash, skulk or earth?  An earth of fox seems like too many in my opinion ;)

Based on my other posts you know that OWLS are on my radar too ... but I'll have to save that for another post ;)

  • What Animals are crossing your path these days? What does it mean?   

Collections that Inspire the Whole Year Through

I don't collect too many things, well I guess that could be up for debate ... but for the sake of this post we'll say my collections are limited :)

Ever since I was in Kindergarten I have been in love with Nut Crackers. I saw "The Nut Cracker suite" in music class and I was hooked. I wanted to be Clara and ward off the Rat King with my slipper and listen to amazing music with a Prince by my side ... but ultimately it was the crazy uncle and the gift of a Nut Cracker that intrigued me.
Taken in 2009, and yes I also collect Victorian Santa's 
some of them are in the mix too. :) 

What a FUN present, something out of the ordinary and completely sweet. What girl wouldn't want a soldier to protect her?

It really wasn't until I was in High School that the collection started. Mostly I got them as gifts, I can only think of 1 that I have purchased and that was just a couple of years ago. 

They really come in all sorts and I have more then I can count! But the more Unique the better :)

He doth make me smile  :)

The real infatuation is hard to pin-point. Perhaps its because of my German heritage. My maiden name is Schraufnagel, and our ancestry is dated back pretty far ... Nepomuck Schraufnagel was the first of my ancestors to come to the United States with his wife (most of us Schraufnagel's are in WI/MN and yes we are ALL related). I wonder if Nepomuck would approve of such a collection?

A couple of these Gentlemen stay out all year and from them I gain a lot of  Inspiration! They always make me smile and I find myself humming music from the ballet all year round ... (did I mention that I collect different renditions of the Nut Cracker music too??  No? Well let's keep that a secret.)

My favorite Nut Cracker ... the ONE I have 
purchased  and I think the only authentic GERMAN made Nut Cracker.

Others make there appearance once a year during the entire month of December. They are loved just as much, but seem most content during the Christmas season. :) 

Some might say these Nut Crackers represent the things I like most in life, writing like Shakespeare or painting like Pierre.

Ultimately I think they carry that feel of whimsy and childhood wonder. When I look at these characters they take me back in time when houses were filled with family and traditions were held onto tightly.

If looking at this picture is puzzling after looking at the 
first picture, be not confused. This was taken today
the other picture was taken in 2009 before the wall color changed :)

My Christmas is different every year, and honestly that un-certainty is least welcome during the holiday season. My husband and I are both only children with parents who are not prominent in our lives. My extended family is heavily  relied on, but until we have children we kind of wander about trying to find where we belong.  Its not to say we aren't blessed and thankful, but our traditions are not set ... children and a piano are in my future. Why?  I've always wanted to sing Christmas Carols on Christmas with my family!  :)  

Ornament from my childhood

I guess you could say one tradition is decorating our house to the max with amazing memorabilia! The ornament above is something I remember from my very early childhood. I always remembered this hanging on my grandparents Christmas tree when I lived with them ... it was and still is my favorite ornament! When you pull the string his arms and legs fly out! When I was 17 my grandparents gave this to me and so I hang it on my tree now :)
Purchased this last year for about 4.00 , oh how I love this little gem 
my whimsical Christmas fairy!

I hope inspiration is buzzing about you this holiday season!! HUGS!! 

What collections do you have?

What gives you inspiration during the holiday season (the rest of the year?) and what traditions do you love?

What traditions do you want to have?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Completed: Amelia Owl-Hart... takes flight!

Over the last 5 weeks I've been in Juliette Crane'sHow to Paint an Owl e-course working on my Parliament of Owls and have been enjoying the process so much!! There have been times when I was frustrated, but I got through it and I think I am a better artist  (yeah, I'll refer to myself like that for the sake of this post) for it! 

I've learned more than was taught ... if that makes sense. I've learned things about myself on and off the canvas. Mostly about letting go and taking risks. Its freeing, especially when creating and I love it :)

It really is okay to not like something and start over, or at least get to a point where you can be happy and pick up again. Its amazing how many emotions you can experience while working on a single painting, but mostly it is a love-hate relationship  :)

I find that my creativity has a shelf life and when its open I have to use it or I lose it. Which also means when its done for the day, its done! Sometimes its an hour and sometimes its 6! 

Where that creative journey will take me isn't always clear. There are times when I have an obvious goal in mind and times where I am doing loop-de-loops over the same parts. That is generally my clue to move on to something else. 

When a project is sitting in the wings waiting for me to return it is never really out of my mind. I revisit it often always wondering what my next move will be.  I have a list of things I love and that make me smile. So when in a slump I can literally pull out my list of loves... Scarfs ... Check!

Once on a roll, when I'm really in "The Zone" I'm working on a sub-conscious level. I move fast, with ease and nary a doubt in mind ... I just seem to make things happen. Does that make sense?

Before you know it, its all fallen into place ... all of these parts make sense and tell a story ... if you care to hear my version of it and how I arrived at this finished piece then ask away! For now my heart is soaring over the completion of this; Amelia Owl-Hart.

I think everyone should take this course and see where the journey takes you. Keep in mind that you do not need to know how to draw or paint ... you will learn. Juliette has the best techniques and teaching style so you feel like you are getting one-on-one instruction from the comfort of your own home! She's always there to encourage you and help you if needed and is only an email away. :)  

I know prior to the course I was very leery about (avoided) labeling myself as an artist, but after this class I could get use to the idea. I've definitely gained confidence and have a new perspective on how I approach my work. I for-see great artistic things in my future, very exciting!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Winter Dreams and Amelia Owl-Hart

With Thanksgiving coming to a close and my heart filled with many blessings I am again thankful for re-connecting with my artistic self.  I get such joy and fulfillment when I create something, especially something I really like that represents a true emotion of myself.
As an only child with first divorced parents and a dad (technically a step-dad) that passed away 3 years ago; I hold family close. This year, just like last year my husband and I went to my cousins on my step-dads side. While not blood related its never been a question of our relationship and my placement in the family, though I will admit I was scared I would lose them when my step-dad died.
I was devastated with the unexpected loss and the long grieving process because he was MY dad. We were very close, much closer than I was/am with my own mother. He just GOT me and yet would set me straight when it was needed. I was known as "Junior" with his work buddies and treated as though I was his own child.  I'm terribly sad he is gone, but I am 10x as thankful for having had him in my life! :)  I am still just as close with that side of my family which is a joy for me!
My step-dad loved winter, he dreamed of it all year long. The snowmobiling, launching mini-rockets on the lake up-north and sledding ... he enjoyed it all!  I love aspects of winter such as the first snow especially the large detailed flakes that fall in clusters, Christmas music and Christmas Trees (I lived on a X-mas tree farm for nearly the first 10 years of my life)!!

The larger 12x12 Mixed-media on canvas I finished a couple of days ago
(and previously shared), the smaller 5x7 I was did in an HOUR! 
Coffee makes me really jittery and gets me going! 
I made the smaller one for my cousin as a hostess gift for today. 
I hadn't thought of a name until the little one was finished. 
Winter Dreams ... seems fitting :)

Here's a close-up of the small one:

Here is the progress I've made on Amelia Owl-Hart

To see how Amelia Owl-Hart Started click: Here

If you want to learn how to make owls of your own check out the fabulous artist/teacher Juliette Crane and the e-courses that she offers, I highly recommend it!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Change is In the Air

This weekend was a whirlwind of emotions and events beginning on Friday afternoon. New beginnings are on the horizon and with that I was highly inspired and suddenly I began throwing paint down on canvas with no real direction .... then suddenly an Owl was there.

Its no secret that I am in Juliette Crane's e-course; How to Paint an Owl, so I have three owls already hooting to be finished ... so for yet another owl to transpire I was surprised. This went incredibly fast and the sky, ground and owl were finished in 2 hours. I was in the zone and things were just moving, I wasn't thinking, I was doing. Then I was exhausted, but pumped up at the same time... :)

Saturday morning I was at work and the first snow of the season started to fall ... I always LOVE the first snow. I was delighted to see that after listening to Christmas music on the way to work and I was enjoying a tasty cup of coffee, things were going well until my second call (VRS) of the day.  I was sent to a place I've never been  in my 7 years as an interpreter. The emotional journey was heart wrenching and I was shaking and warding off tears. Normally I can separate myself from the emotional aspect and go through the motions, but not this time.  You never know the things people have gone through by just looking at them.

I was able to recover enough to finish work, drive in the crazy weather and buy MORE art supplies! I then rushed home to make a birthday gift and then head out celebrate :)

Today, this owl needed to be finished, I knew what I wanted to do and Low and Behold the Newest owl has emerged and has been completed in just over 24 hours. While he may not be as complex on the outside he has many secrets about his life on the inside ... a True Owl ... mysterious.

I love Christmas so I made the head of the owl a Christmas
ornament! The part where the hook comes out is actually silver
and the whole white part is covered in glitter, which doesn't show-up
very well in the picture. 

I really like this and am SUPER happy with how it turned out ... I have 3 other owls that need to be finished this week and 2 commission pieces to finish before Christmas AND  I am hosting our  family Christmas on Dec 10th!! Oh and I need to make gifts for family/friends too!! Tis-the-Season!

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Argyle-Argowl and Amelia Owl-hart :)

I have made a lot of progress in the last two days with my owls!! If you are looking for a burst of creative energy then I recommend the online e-course "How to Paint an Owl" !

I am having so much fun with this, especially recently with my epiphany about art! I love art (duh). When I go to museums there are pieces I can stare at for hours (if allowed to). So I began thinking about why I am so fascinated with certain paintings or sculptures and not others.

I realized that while skill was appealing that wasn't what held my interest, but rather those things which cause me to think. Paintings which told me "PART" of a story are my favorite ... I get enough information to grasp my attention and yet not its not overly detailed to force opinions on me. I get to add in the details ... and wonder, ponder and dream about the characters as well as the artist and what their perspective was.  I think about the artists life and what they were thinking, wearing, eating etc when painting, I wonder if they struggled for weeks or months on a painting or if it was effortless.  I like to think about their friends and family and if their talents were appreciated or laughed at. Then I drift back to work and think about the characters life before and after the painting, made up or not to me they are all real and we are just getting a snapshot, a single moment in time ... I just like to think about what I don't see :)

Now, with all that said ... I'm still learning, but I a sense a shift of clarity (that makes me giddy)!

All I knew about his owl was that it was full of 
Attitude ....

I'm not gonna lie, I LOVE how this is turning
out!!  It seems like this fellow has a lot going on
and yet it works ... I am going to adjust the 
Argyle so that it is more the BELLY and not the body, 
then I can add the blue to the body and tie it all in.
I can relate to all of my owls now, I know them and I like them!

In the beginning ...

I love the intensity this has ...
The colors are oddly distorted  in this picture
they are actually just as bright as the top beginning pic.
  I still have a lot to add with the hat/goggles and the
addition of some silver paint and a few other  touches ... 
This is Amelia Owl-hart :) 

I love what I am learning and creating with these owls ... an animal I've loved for a long time and I'm finally uncovering the mystery :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Commission work

I would never have thought people would like my work enough to buy it, not yet... Not when I'm still trying to find my style. Then a couple of weeks ago I was approached by a co-worker. She said she was looking at my work on FB with her daughters and they all loved the "Behind the Mask" mixed media piece I did (and the other stuff too). So she asked me to do two mixed media pieces for her daughters for Christmas!!
I don't think I can express how honored and excited I was/am... Not to mention nervous!
I asked a million questions about their likes, interests, eye and hair color etc. so I could make something tailored to each girl.
I finally got started and I'm just loving this process... When I know my art has a home to go to so much more heart goes into it. :)
So yes, I've been working and creating, but not being able to share is killing me... So I'm sharing a little preview for AEDM (its cropped so you cannot see the whole thing)!
I tried something different with this one and I really like it so far! Rather then just have the character standing around I am working on having them be in different poses... Since I'm very visual I pose the way I want my characters to look and have my hubby take pics on my IPhone then I can get the proportions and angles correct. Kind of strange, but totally works (great for facial expressions too)!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bouquet of Book-markers

I have not been very creative the last few days. I have been experiencing severe muscle spasms in my neck and shoulder which is not only painful, but frustrating.
I really want to get my owls done, but when in the company of a muscle relaxer my brain is foggy and my reaction time is delayed.
My doctor suggested Massage Therapy which I've had good results with in the past. What I am most excited about however, is my acupuncture appointment on Monday... should be interesting!
Aside from doodling I made these book-markers... Gifts for my younger cousins (made a couple for myself too) along with a gift card from a book store.
At least I got something finished :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Owls: You're a Star

AEDM #8  ... back to my owls and making their personalities shine! I've already decided on the title "You're a Star"!  I kind of feel like this owl is a representation of me and all the work I've put fourth in really being true to my-self.
One of the things that is unique to me is my style. I feel most comfortable when dressed in the clothes I love. I gravitate towards fun t-shirts or floral cardigan sweaters, and my red and white polka-dotted keds or my black and white saddle shoes. I like fun socks and leg warmers and I love scarfs!! Its can be the middle of summer (in GA when I visit) and I'll be wearing a tank-top with a fun scarf around my neck!
My career as an ASL interpreter doesn't always allow me to wear the fun stuff I desire, but I manage the fun socks and crazy shoes ... my clients usually get a kick out of it! Oh and I always have a scarf (in black, grey or deep purple)  :)

I'll show you how this little star formed and how it has progressed:
The background

In the beginning with the basic concept

I don't feel like she's transformed that much
but maybe that's because this is how I
always knew she would look (not really though).
I think I might add a couple more touches with the gold
and I need to adjust her feet! he he

If you'd like to learn how to paint some awesome owls visit: Juliette Crane's blog or visit the online e-course "How to Paint an Owl"

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Getting the Junk Out (and some questions for you artists)

I've got to admit that I did NOT want to post this, but being apart of AEDM I wanted to show that I did create today despite having some strange muscle spasms holding my neck/shoulder hostage. Grrr. Seriously, 32 is a little young for having muscles/joints that can predict changes in the weather! LOL

Needless to say I had planned on excusing myself from creating anything. Then I got a burst of inspiration and so I decided to throw down a simple sketch using only a black pitt-pen (which I've been obsessed with using lately).  

I really don't love this at all, but I feel like I need to draw this JUNK to make room for the Good stuff :). I will say that I like parts of it; the hair and the mouth.  What it comes down to is the use of the pitt pen (leaving me with zero options for softening the eyes and making a more cohesive look) and the limbo between whimsical and real, that doesn't sit will with me.   
Her name is Penny.
Her smile is a little contagious isn't it?

 How do you let the creative process rest and not stay up all night drawing and painting until you have something that makes you feel content?  In other words how can I learn to be satisfied more with the process and less with the outcome? Is that possible?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Art in Flight

Well this is AEDM #6 ... I didn't post yesterday, but I did paint! I actually went to an art event and saw the art of 140+ artists who own their studios in Minneapolis. It was a GREAT time and I bought a fun Robot piece that will be hanging in my home studio for inspiration :)

Here is another owl that I am working on based on the techniques I've learned (so far) while taking the e-course "How to Paint an Owl".

This was inspired by my dad, John (step-dad), who died unexpected 3 years ago. He was a pilot (for fun) and we owned a Cessna 182 while I was growing up. Whenever I hear or see single engine air planes I know/feel that it's John, saying hi and letting me know he is watching over me. :)

I was ready to toss in the towel at one point, but I just got out the white paint, and started over ... its going much smoother now. I think its going to change a lot in the next couple of weeks. All the detail will really help to add the dimension and relationship between the parts of the plane to make them not so flat and confusing.   Stay tuned ...3 owls will be transforming in the coming weeks. I'm really excited!

Friday, November 4, 2011

AEDM Day 4

Its day 4 of AEDM and all I have for today is a doodle ... I worked all day and am headed to dinner with friends, but at least its SOMETHING!!  Tomorrow more owls and then off to admire some professional artists work and maybe purchase something at Cache at the Casket! :   Take note of WHO wrote that blog post ... ME!! Does that make me a "professional blogger" being I get paid?  So looking forward to this event. Oh my doodle ...

      Ha, ha you can see all my silly LONG legged bird sketches from the other page!
 I bought my first pitt pen a few months ago and  its become an extension
of my right hand.  I also love gel pens, seems like I rarely use a pencil these days.
I've been trying to practice EYES, I'm not sure she looks like shes winking.
Looks more like she's got a black eye!
Eh, I tried ... back to the drawing board :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Painting Owls is a hoot!

AEDM (Art Every Day Month) day 3!! And in honor of that 3 pics of a mini evolution of an Owl ... I Do love me some owl art and making my own is pretty fantastic thanks to the e-course "How to Paint an Owl" by Juliette Crane!   I really love this guy and while he is void of sight at the moment he is full of snarky, sparky, Owl-a-tude!  Can you see it?  He is rather cheeky and full of himself and I like that!!

I took this pic, thinking I was done for the day
then I saw that bare spot, above the beak on the left.
Yep, its annoying to you now too! I had to fix it.

As you can see I didn't stop at filling in the bare spot
Again thinking I was done for the night I noticed I left
him with nubbin feet ... well how can I sleep knowing
I left this owl with nubbins?

If you are going to add cute feet, better refine the beak 
too! I have a feeling more brown will be making its way into 
this owls feathers ...

Of course this is no where finished, but it has the making of a spunky fellow ... Its funny, but I new his soul without eyes and now I gotta figure out how to give him the eyes he deserves (eyes challenge me).  On my first owl (still a work in progress I had the eyes before I got to know who she was/is (we're still getting acquainted).  Sometimes when I work on something I need there to be eyes for me to move on, then I need to sit with it, look at it, think about it and even talk to it... yes I've been talking to my other little star owl, asking her what she likes, what she wants then I can add to her and give her the physical attributes she should have.
I never would have thought that these owls would have such personalities, never knew I could paint "personality" :)    Yes, painting these owls is a HOOT!

Backgrounds to Owls

Can you believe it is November 2nd!? I remember being in GA so vividly and yet that was 4 months ago (in June) ... I visit family there when I can and in someways feel like GA is my second home. The south is like a drug and once its in your blood you are hooked. I crave going there, it has stolen my heart.

My last trip there was pivotal in my journey to becoming the best me, I can be. I am always finding out new things about myself or re-discovering old passions, which has been amazing!  I've wasted too much of my life comparing myself to others and in essence lost myself in the process. I was trying to figure out what others wanted of me and mold myself into THAT ... well after a few years of seeing a life-coach (everyone should do it) I realized I hadn't gone anywhere, but just need some dusting and mild repair to make myself shine again. :)

It was in GA (4 months ago) I learned to paint, or rather discovered I could paint. In the past painting on a canvas freaked me out ... all that white space was a wall that blocked creative activity. NOW that wall is screaming to be filled with graffiti! :)  This newest artistic journey has taken be through the world of mixed-media and has once again fired the artistic flame that had been lit as a young child. I used to tell people I was going to be an artist ... and while I don't feel I can place that label on myself ... I'm excited to see where this takes me!

Monday started week 2 of the How to Paint an Owl e-course and I LOVE it! So far the most amazing thing I've learned is that if your painting starts heading into a place you don't like, then just re-do it! Seems so simple, but I seriously used to get exhausted attempting perfection. Juliette Crane says if we can create something once, we CAN do it again.  SO true!

So here is what I have been working on :

My first background, I was channeling the 80's!

My second background, yes I like pink :)

My third background, I love the brown with pink.

The beginning stages of my first owl, on my first background
It will be fun to see this evolve.

Today also marks the SECOND day of  Make Art Every Day Month.
So make some art!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween, Past and Present

I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the costumes I've worn over the years ... 
So lets turn the clocks back ... *chimes*

If you lived in Minnesota (or the mid-west) in the 1980's 
you know that winter was in full swing by the time
Halloween rolled around, thus your costume had to fit
OVER your snow-suit making climbing the stairs impossible!
My friend (since the age of 3) Dacia, is the bunny.
I'm the Care Bear (Tender heart) age 5

I hated these stupid plastic costumes, but back then
that's all we could afford. I was a Wuzzle 
(Eleroo, half kangaroo and half elephant).  Age 6

We lived in Florida when I was in 2nd grade. 
 Punk-rocker!! We went to a Halloween carnival
which was a blast, I loved wearing lip-stick. Age 8

Jump several years to my early 20's when I was
Little Red Ridding Hood who never made it to 
Grandma's house. I think I was 24.

Dressed as a clown, mid-20's

Finally I get creative and become Smurfette  using footless tights 
stretched across my back for the arms and of course 
worn as normal for my legs.
I had to buy the tights and make the hat, the rest I owned :)
  Age 28

Punky Brewster Age 29 ...  1 of 2 costumes this year
and yes I owned all of this, cheap costume!

I made the skirt, and the saddle shoes I bought
on-line and wear all the time!! (still 29)

 Me and the hubby before heading to Up-town/ Minneapolis

Gosh I love the 80's more then I thought! I only had to buy the shirt 
(and the hair color).  This pic is missing my black lace gloves and 
pink/black chain earrings. I took advantage of my pixie hair cut
and finally got the mo-hawk I've always wanted :)  Age 30

My most favorite costume: Amelia Earhart! 
She is one of my favorite people, so amazing. 
I grew-up in an aviation family, so flying has always 
been apart of my life.  I made the  hat and bought the 
leather jacket at good will for $14.00.  Age 31

Here is a shot of the complete look :)

Here is a pick of my hubby last year, I love this costume!!

When your name is Julie and one of your BFF's name is also Julie
you naturally become  " Julie 1 and Julie 2 " being Thing 1 and Thing 2
would be too common :)  I bought the wigs and made the shirts. I wish
I could say I found a great template, but nope ... I totally winged it. Didn't even 
measure the placement. I used a Golden medium GAC 900 (I think) which 
when mixed in equal parts will turn your acrylics into fabric paint! 
These shirts were heat set by placing them in the dryer for 30min.
I gotta say I'm happy with how they turned out, I'm sure these will be
making random, non-Halloween appearances!
Next time we stand on the correct sides... oops!
I am Julie 1. Age 32. 

And to complete the Dr. Seuss trio, my hubby
Chad in the Hat! 

To top off the Halloween season here is a little 4x4 
canvas painting for the hosts of this years party.
The background techniques I learned from
Juliette Crane, as I am taking the e- course: 

Hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane!!

*What is your favorite costume or Halloween memory?*