Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Girl from Ipanema

It is crazy around my house today, so I will just leave you with this little nugget of inspiration. I love this song, and this excerpt from the movie "Get Yourself a College Girl" which I will be adding to my Netflix que like, pronto, is making me love it more. The fake snowy backdrop, oversize lamps, fuzzy cardigans, ladies knitting in bathing caps? Who could ask for more?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A new print: Love in a Trash Can

For so long now I have been dying to just make prints about things that live inside my head. Before doing the freelance designer thing this is what I did, and I loved it, and people seemed to love it back.

So, I'm slowly getting back into the swing, and this is my first print! It makes me happy.

It is a bit harder to talk about what this print "means". Basically, it is based on the song by a group called The Raveonettes. I've loved this song for many years - and when I hear it, this is the image that goes through my mind. Is it a commentary on "one person's trash is another person's treasure"? Does it mean that even when things are in the dumpster you've still got love? Or is it about free and easy, down and dirty lovin'? I guess that is for you to decide.

Limited edition, 18" x 24 " Giclee print available over at my etsy shoppe!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Love the process

This past week my kiddo made her first painting, ever. It was a moment that filled me with so much pride I can't stop thinking about it. This year we joined a super cool neighborhood co-op preschool, where I'm required to be there one of the two days we go. On this day I was lucky enough to be stationed in the art room when my little one decided it was time to dip into the jars of thick, wonderfully bright tempura paints. I had to pull in the reigns of my excitement for this particular first; I stood back to let her have her own moment.

The painting is a huge and wonderful mish-mash of swirling, hot pink, yellow, and orange with thick drips oozing down the sides. I love it, and I'm pretty sure it will be going in a frame. Besides it being her first painting, it means so much more to me. It is such a pure and honest expression of doing something just for the joy of doing it.

The online class I am taking posed this question last week: Do you love the process of what you are doing? And the question couldn't have come at a better time for me. I thought about it as I watched my girl, and many of the other enthusiastic kids in the art room. How is it that we get so far away from expressing ourselves in this way? Just letting ourselves do what feels good in that moment? And more importantly, how can we get back to it?

As far as my current process goes, I love a lot about it. I sketch things in my sketchbook, draw them into the computer, work with textures, colors, and get to move things around without redoing the entire thing. I love that I can make my stuff on the couch, in my studio, in bed, or even outside. I love that I can just fold up my laptop and it is all inside. I love that with the click of a button and a little dinero, I can order 250 replications of what I made at 1 a.m., and they arrive at my doorstep a week later smelling of delicious inks and perfectly trimmed. I've worked long and hard (with many pitfalls along the way), to find a process that works for me and is also doable in the time I have to dedicate to it at this point in my life.

At the same time, I do miss making art with my hands. Working on the computer can leave me feeling pretty far removed at times. So, while I am not willing to reinvent the wheel right now, I'm going to be thinking of ways I can be more connected to my process. Whatever that means, I'll be sure to let you know.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Craft Report: Crochet Cropped Cardigan

Hi friends. I'm working on a longer post for next week, so I thought I'd give you a short craft report in the meantime. My sister in law just graduated from Bastyr University as an N.D. (Naturopathic Doctor). I wanted to make her something extra special to celebrate all her years of hard work towards such a huge goal. We are all so proud of her.

I found this wonderful (and free) pattern by Monica Brown. I liked it because it had a vintage look without being fuddy duddy. It worked up quickly in Cascade 220 Wool, and was a great first garment to attempt in crochet. I found a perfect Bakelite button for it as well. My sister in law is much smaller than I am so I was worried how it would fit - as I wasn't able to try it on during the process. But, it looks wonderful on her! I was super happy it turned out so well.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Santa's Workshop

For the first time in my life pretty much, I've started thinking about Christmas early this year. I'm working on getting my etsy shop all stocked up for the holidays, like this sweet note card that will be for sale soon. I'm placing orders, making lists, and checking things off just like Mr. Claus here (minus the beard, of course). I have many more ideas than I have time to produce - maybe I need to find some nice elves to give me a hand?

I'm trying so hard to keep up my energy and enthusiasm for this project of getting ready for the holidays online. But, somedays I just want to look away, go eat a dozen cupcakes and hibernate until spring. Maybe it is because I only can work on stuff in little 1 or 2 hour chunks before I have to walk away for a day or more. Some weeks, designing a simple greeting card can take up to three weeks to complete, and after all that time it just doesn't feel exciting anymore. Does anyone else have this issue?

This life as a mom, artist, designer for hire, cook, married lady, and friend etc., can feel so sporadic. It sometimes feels like living in a bento box (yes, another food metaphor I know - bear with me). It is full of wonderful and tasty variety, but there is never a lot of any one thing anymore - and sometimes you just want to eat a whole platter of tempura.

In the coming weeks I'll be photographing my work and put it up on etsy. I'll let you know when they are available. After that, this Santa is going to be taking herself on a well deserved holiday!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Illustration Friday: Germs

I went through a phase starting in 5th grade where I thought boys were plain nasty. In 4th grade, some of my best buddies had been boys. But something switched in that year right before middle school. I think it had something to do with the very dated sex-ed filmstrip (yes I said filmstrip) we had to watch. It had a scene in it that scarred my brain, permanently. Picture a really bad 60s style outline drawing of a boy in nothing but his birthday suit, who in the space of about three seconds grew 5 times his size, sprouted copious amounts of body hair, and for lack of a better word gargantuan 'man parts'. We were mortified. In my mind at least, my once unthreatening pals suddenly had this power, through something the film called 'puberty' to erupt into freakish man sized werewolves at any minute. Something had to be done.

In my small class of about 20 or so kids, the girls were outnumbered. After the horror of the sex-ed filmstrip had settled, I found a bottle of near empty "Bianca Breath Spray" in our medicine cabinet at home and had what I thought was a brilliant idea. I rushed into my room, got out my art supplies and went to work. The next day at school I proudly unveiled my "Anti-Boy Spray" to the other 5 girls in our class. I was positive that with a little label repurposing I could ward off "Boy Germs" and that horrible, lurking thing called puberty with a simple mint scented spritz. Every time a boy would touch my desk, they'd get a blast from that near empty Bianca bottle. Approach me at recess? Spritz. Tap my best friend on the shoulder? Spritz. Ask me for a pencil? Spritz. Ask what was in my lunch? Spritz. And on and on and on.

The Anti-Boy Spray didn't make it to middle school, although there were times I wished I had it. The powers of puberty were too strong, despite my very best intentions. The Boy Germs got to me, and just a few short years later I found myself wishing I could develop a spray with the opposite powers.

Monday, October 5, 2009

All of me

Hello friends. I'm here to report a very exciting merger. Today two worlds collided as I merged my older personal blog "The Flying Pencil" with this one. If you dare, you can now read all my posts from April 2007 to present. From now on I'll be doing all of my blogging from this address.

Why the merge? Well, I'll start out by saying it is due time for a little house cleaning and getting back to basics. As you might have noticed my blogging has been suffering from a serious case of the blahs. It started happening months and months ago and I felt genuinely sad about it. At first I blamed it on Facebook - it felt like 'microblogging' was sucking the blog juice out of me like a thirsty virtual vampire. As compelling as all the status updates, pointless quizzes, and name generators are I sometimes question what all this has done to my attention span. Suddenly reading - let alone writing - a blog post felt kind of pointless. And, I really started to believe that blogging was dead.

As a tonic for my anemic online persona I enrolled in Marisa Haedike's online e-course called In The Fishbowl: Life as an Artist Online. And thank goodness I did. Marisa is a wonderfully talented artist, who has been making her living by selling her art online for a few years now. If you are not familiar with her work or her story head on over to her website Creative Thursday, pronto. She is such an inspiration, and as I get to know her better through her weekly online classes my respect for her unique knowledge just keeps growing.

Our last class dealt with creating (or improving ) your online presence. In the class Marisa urged us to be authentic in our blog writing - reassuring us that this is what people really want to hear from an artist or any creative person for that matter. Mulling over this brought up something I hadn't thought about in a long time.

One of my biggest peeves in back in art school was being required to listen to some old fart with a Ph.D. (and a fake English accent) proclaim with absolute certainty to us what all the artists were 'thinking' when they painted this or that masterpiece. This used to drive me nuts. How I wished that I could have just asked the artists themselves. I spent a lot of time doodling in my art history classes under the dusty glow of the slide projector; daydreaming up conversations with Van Gogh and the like. 15 years later, I got my wish (no, not a beer with Vincent). I now get to peek inside the lives of many of the many artists, illustrators and writers who inspire me. This whole blogosphere is a huge gift, especially for people like me who work in solitude most of the time. Through blogs we get to know something about what goes on behind the scenes in an artist's world, first hand.

I then had what I like to call a "chocolate and peanut butter moment" like this:

Back when I started Pixel & Post I thought I should have a separate blog to write about my business journey. I thought I'd just keep all the business stuff on this site, and my personal stuff on the other site. The minute decided to keep these two things separate, I stopped being excited about blogging. The business blog felt like homework. I felt like I had to come up with some insight about being a
successful artist and business person. This time it was me with the fake English accent. My little Facebook updates were the only place where I was being myself online, so of course that is where I've been hanging out (and learning really important stuff like what my Garbage Pail Kid name is).

Giving myself permission to be me - all of me - here feels pretty freeing, and for the first time in a long time I feel excited about blogging again. Combining these "two great tastes that taste great together" feels pretty good. I hope you'll enjoy what I'll have to share in the coming weeks: the business stuff, the personal stuff, and all the stuff in between.