Friday, July 23, 2010

How About These Colors?

I dabble in painting, and I admit I am untrained, but I love, love, love to paint. I love messing around with colors, painting backgrounds, trying to make something out of it. I look for inspiration where ever I go. Lately, I've been drawn to graffiti. Not so much the gang names, but the scenes, with great detail. I'm going to leave you with a few shots I came across. Maybe they will inspire you to do some painting. These are all photos of graffiti that I found walking the streets of Asheville, North Carolina.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Flying ATCs

Here's how I interpreted the ATC theme of Things that Fly.

-- I started with watercolor paper cut to ATC size (2 1/2" x 3 1/2"). I use a 9" x 12" pad of paper, and i can get 9 cards to the page, with a little trimmed off.
-- I had some white tissue paper that had been painted with acrylics, then dried. I tore scraps and adhered it with a little glue.
-- I used a violet ink pad to stamp a dragonfly.
-- I colored the background with watercolor pencils, then dipped my finger in water to wet and smudge the pencil
-- when that was dry, the whole card was brushed with a matte gel medium so the scrap paper would stay on.
-- While it was still wet, I placed a few beads, adding a little more gel medium with a paintbrush to make sure they'd stick.
-- And finally, I signed the back.

When you're making a few cards (I made 18), you can do step one for a few of them, switch to step 2, and go back again while you're waiting for things to dry. My cards always end up slightly different -- I use different colors, different beads. But I still label them "1 of 18", etc., because they were made in a batch and are generally the same.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Just Finished Some New Jewelry

I needed to get back into some basic jewelry making. You know, going through your stash of beads, arranging colors, patterns. I'll give you a sneak peek, and I'll be posting these to Etsy later in the month. The focal beads are ceramic. I've found a few of these in different colors at bead shows. I've used brown and black glass beads and seed beads to accent them. The turquoise beads are ... turquoise? I'm guessing not for real, but they are beautiful.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Check Out This Artist

I've been meeting so many artists online through the e-course I took with Kelly Rae Roberts. These artists are from all over the world, so all kinds of art, and art at varying stages in their art careers. One of these artists is Carrie Schmitt, who writes a blog called Art & Soul. You can see examples of her paintings here.

I'm giving a shout-out to her because she is doing a giveaway on her blog. Giveaways are fun (especially if you win!) but also because you get introduced to an artist you may not have found before. Here's a link to her giveaway.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Altered Book -- Gardens

Here's my latest addition to a friend's book in an altered book swap. Her book's theme is Gardens. I decided to go old school, and I broke out my rubber stamps, glitter, and jewels. Sometimes the simple things work well. Her book is an old volume from a set of encyclopedias. I wish we still used those! I'd love it if my son had the experience of lying down on the living room carpet, pulling out a volume from the bookcase, and flipping the pages of an encyclopedia for an hour. What fun.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Baby Raccoon Update

If you remember my earlier post about our encounter with a baby raccoon, I'm here to give you a happy update. My son was sitting on the couch in our living room, by the big front window. The front of the house is where we have the two palm trees, one of which I suspect is filled with a raccoon family. He heard chattering in the bushes, and looked out to see -- the mama raccoon! Then the baby raccoon! We screamed with delight and excitement. We were so pleased to know that the baby is alive and well. We got many views of the baby climbing up the tree. And judging by all the chattering, we think there might be 2 or 3 babies. At one point, a baby fell off the tree. More screaming! The mama came back down and grabbed her little one by the neck, making sure it safely got to the top of the tree. We discovered that they climb up one tree, probably because it has a rough surface for clinging, then at the top they climb over to the other one. The next day we verified that they sleep in the one closest to the house when we looked up and saw the mama's paw sticking out from the fronds. Here are the amazing photos we took.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Interview with Kecia Deveney: Part 2

As I continue my interview with Kecia Deveney, I asked her if she has an artist statement. As artists, we try so many different media, we take classes, we share with other artists. At times it's easy to forget what our artistic goals are; an artist statement will clarify in your own mind what you are doing and why, and can give you a gentle reminder to get back to your roots when you feel a little lost.

Here is Kecia’s Artist statement:
Creating is my key to another time. It unlocks the gate to my secret garden; it is my refuge. It takes me to another era where things were simpler and I find the process soothing to my soul.

Lemoncholy’s Studio began with my fondness for vintage items. Searching flea markets, I find items long forgotten, sometimes damaged, but still purposeful. They just need some love and attention. I want these found objects to tell a new story, have meaning and to be inspiring. I have a vision for them to begin again.

Intuitively I combine elements in an enchanting way to provoke a narrative response that alludes to something we seek without knowing it. Often, it is a reminder of our childhood.

My jewelry is about craftsmanship and virtue but not perfection. By removing perfectionism, I free my imagination to play and ultimately, this freedom results in whimsical pieces of grace and beauty.

I consider my art more “trouble shooting” versus technique. Usually I know how I want something to look and then I set about figuring out how to do that. I know for fact that I often do things the hard way. But what I’ve come to learn is that this search has resulted in my own unique look.

I think artists now are realizing that they can’t rely solely on selling originals of their art. I know you do a lot of teaching. What other things do you do that add to your creative business income?
Due to my situation at home (I am the mother of a severely disabled child), my time is very limited. As his caregiver, it can be stressful and exhausting so I create to cope with these feelings. So mainly I spend my time either creating, teaching or taking classes. I am also the newest design team member for, so my time is pretty much spoken for now! I find it hard to keep up on my etsy listings, which I really need to start dedicating more time for. So little time, so much to do!

What is your favorite location for teaching and what would be your ideal class size?
I really enjoy teaching in Connecticut for a venue called Art-is. They are beginning their 4th year. I attended as one and this year will be my 2nd year teaching. It is a smaller venue, yet more fulfilling and intimate. I've developed some wonderful friendships. I'm used to teaching big classes, so I don't really have a problem with any size of a class as long as there is plenty of room for me and everyone to work. This year I will also be teaching a class at Artfest, (Port Townsend, WA) which is another favorite venue that I have attended. I am very excited to be a part of it this year and very much looking forward to it.

Is there a direction you’d like to spend more time with, such as teaching or writing?
I'm not so much interested in writing. I have several people suggest I write a book, but I find the concept overwhelming; probably due to my home life. I've heard it's a good year out of your life and very stressful. I think I already have enough stress! I would like to continue teaching at the right venues, as I really enjoy it. Another modality that I would really like to explore is drawing and painting. My drawing skills are very limited and I am always inspired by mixed media paintings. I'll see something and find myself wanting to go home and paint. And I have painted before, but it's usually something that I was inspired by, versus an original idea. I have ideas in my head to paint, but can't get them to come out! So I'd like to eventually take some drawing classes.

You seem to have worked hard to cultivate an online presence as an artist. I see that you have a blog, which is more like a website, you’re on Facebook, and you sell your art through Etsy. How else are you connected via the internet? What do you think each of these connections do for your artistic business?
Yes, I do them all, blog, facebook, twitter, flickr and I do have a website as well (which is being revamped at the moment). Trying to sell off of etsy and a website became too much of a burden for me. So now the website is more of a homestead about me and where to find me on facebook, etsy, flickr, twitter, etc. I'm trying to simplify things so that the website is more self sufficient. For me the biggest two areas are my blog and facebook. I started a fan page on facebook where I list classes I am teaching in my home, or upcoming art retreats. My blog is real time. you can find my current work posted immediately on my blog. I'd actually like to get to the point of selling right off my blog.

Where do you make your art? Do you have a dedicated space in your home, or different spaces depending on the art that you’re making?
I have a few dedicated spaces. Upstairs in my room, I have a small area where I create jewelry and do my computer work. I have screened it off with a huge rattan panel so that I can't see the area when I lay in bed. It is important to me to be able to put down a project and still have a tranquil area for rest or relaxation. I don't feel pressured to keep the area clean since I can't see it from my bed. Then across the hall is another small room where I paint, do mix media, mosaics. I also set up a certain area when I sew. It is easier for me to keep all the areas separate so that I don't start feeling overwhelmed.

Thank you, Kecia, for opening up your artistic life to us. You are an inspiration, and a true talent!

You can meet Kecia in person by taking one of her classes throughout the U.S. In addition to this list, she teaches classes in her home in New Jersey. Watch her blog for notices of any upcoming home classes. Click on any of these links below to see the details.

Art in the rough - Aug. 13-16 2010
The Creative Connection (vending) - Sept. 16-19, 2010
Art is...You - Oct. 7-12, 2010
Artfest - April 6-10, 2011
2011 schedule will be up Aug. 1, 2010)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Inspiring Artist: Kecia Deveney

As I progress in my artistic life, I realize that so much of my inspiration can come from admiring other artists’ work, and getting to know those artists. I have made jewelry and created some kind of art or craft my whole life, but only recently have I ventured beyond the four walls of my home to the world of artists that is out there. In 2007, I made a bold move and signed up for a mixed media art retreat called Art & Soul Retreat, in Portland, Oregon. I signed up for six classes, and jumped right in, not knowing a soul.

I read in the online Art & Soul Yahoo group that participants would be trading charms, ATCs, and little art supplies. I busily made 50 ATCs and 50 charms to bring with me. Now that’s the way to meet other artists! Since then, I’ve joined other groups, attended other retreats, visited hundreds of blogs, and I have “virtually” met dozens of artists from all over the world. My way of thanking these artists for inspiring me is to feature some of them in interviews on my blog.

The first artist is Kecia Deveney, a jewelry artist (and so much more!) from New Jersey. She lives by the shore with her husband Jeff and their two sons, Tucker and Dillon. I first met Kecia when I joined the Charmsters yahoo group for swapping. We met online, but didn’t meet in person until we both attended Portland Art and Soul a year later in 2008. In that time, and through her blog, I’ve seen the beautiful jewelry that she creates, her assemblages and altered art, and the artistic way she decorates her home and lives her life. She has also been teaching classes and has been published in some art magazines. It is my pleasure to present to you this interview with Kecia.

How would you describe yourself as an artist? Do you give yourself a title?
I like to describe myself as an indie craftepreneur; a mix between crafter, artist, photographer and businesswoman. I tend to do my own thing, make my own rules and try to be eco-responsible at the same time.

Can you give me a timeline of how your art has developed over the years?
I've always done some sort of crafty thing. There were always the handmade gifts at holidays because I found them fun to do and got more pleasure of creating them versus shopping for them. To decorate my home, I would buy stuff from flea markets, thrift stores or take stuff off the side of the road and then re-purpose them. I love to decoupage so a lot of big furniture items were done using magazine pages and decorative paper napkins. One day I decided to try and decoupage a vintage purse the same way I did my furniture. From there I started decoupaging old tool boxes, vintage jewelry boxes and other items. I gave a lot out as gifts and then people started to suggest that I sell at shows, which I did. I gained a small following and after meeting a nice girl at a show, she suggested I look up the term, "altered art" on ebay. I had never heard the term, so I did and I was amazed that there were others out there doing similar art to mine (altering items). It opened up a whole new world to me. Then I discovered that there were magazines and even retreats where you could go and take classes. I started a blog, joined a few art yahoo groups and attended my first retreat, which was in Columbus, Ohio. There I met my very first art friend, Kim, who was very encouraging about my art. She was a wealth of knowledge about all sorts of things that I still was very unfamiliar with and she'd always point me in the right direction with resources. Slowly I developed a blog following, started sending things to magazines and was published. From there I started submitting teaching proposals. I'd say the whole process from shows to teaching has been about 4-5 years.

Did you try many things before you developed your current style?
Yes, I tend to get bored quickly, so I like to do a variety of media. When I get tired of one, I'll do something else for awhile. I also think it helps keep things in perspective and always from doing the same thing over and over.

What type of art do you spend the most time doing?
These days I mostly make jewelry, but I still like to mix it up a bit. I think a booth with a variety of different items will attract more viewers.

Through what venues do you sell your art? Which type of venue has been the most successful for you?
I don't do many craft shows anymore. They are a lot of work, which I started running out of the energy to do; especially if I have to do it alone. Mostly I like to sell at Art Retreats because it is a captive audience, they know my work and they are into similar things. Locally around where I live, they aren't quite sure what to make of my stuff, so really the right demographics is key.

If you were making art solely for yourself, not for sale, what would you make?
Hmmm, knowing myself as well as I do, I have to say, I'd get bored only doing one thing. So I'll say that I would probably do mixed media sewing, make art dolls and jewelry. I love creating jewelry just for myself and usually these are the pieces that are most sought after. So there must be some sort of freeing pressure to only create for oneself and not for a potential buyer.

Can you talk about your art friendships you’ve met online, how you’ve cultivated them, and what they mean in your artistic life?
I did not grow up in the area where I currently live and I don't have family here. So needless to say, I don't have many friends here. My home life tends to keep me isolated. Also, I'm originally from California and grew up in the navy. I've traveled my whole life and I am a bit of a gypsy/nomad. I'm extremely independent and sort of my own island. With that in mind, I tend to be a bit different from the average mom in this area. I like to say that I stick out like a sore thumb. But to me, that is a good thing. I hope they see me as the interesting and creative person that I am, but I often suspect that that is not the case. I've lived here 12 years and in that time, I developed maybe 2 or 3 good friends. But these are people I rarely get to see, so to answer your question, yes I have a lot of online friends. These are friends that I have made at retreats, through my blog, yahoo groups or on facebook. There is a core group that I see often at retreats and we email regularly or text. Then there is the group that I communicate with via internet only and then the facebook crowd. My true good online friends are extremely important to me. I can call them when I am upset. They understand my trials and tribulations and are there for me when I need support. An important quality to me in a friendship is to be friends with people who will be there for me as I am there for them. They support and encourage my art.

Do you still participate in art swaps with other artists? If so, what type, and if not, why not?
I don't participate in big swaps any more as I just don't have the time. I like to do one on one swaps with people as it is more meaningful to me. It was fun at the time and I'll never forget hosting the 50 participants Valentine's swap with the Charmsters. It took me 9 hours to sort everyone’s stuff. That one will go down in history! Currently there is a group of 6 of us who will be swapping in September. I need to get going on that one!

Thank you, Kecia! Stop by tomorrow when I will be posting the second half of my interview with Kecia. For now, check out her blog and see her latest creations. Here is where you can find Kecia Deveney, craftepreneur (just click on the links to go there):

Her blog, Lemoncholy's Flight of Fancy
(post her a comment and ask her how she came up with that name!)
Her Etsy shop
Flickr (I like this photo here)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Halloween, Part 2

It's the beginning of July, 85+ degrees out, and once again I'm thinking of Halloween. (You can see my other June Halloween post here.)

Recently we added quite a few new tropical trees to her backyard. We have a mango, an avocado, lime, lemon, and a new grapefruit tree. We've been in this house for 18 years, but due to hurricanes, we've lost quite a few trees. Let's scroll down an inventory:

-- 1992, Hurricane Andrew: the hurricane brought in with it a Cuban fly, which attacked our grapefruit tree. We babied it back to health, had some output over the years, then it petered out.
-- around 1994: Heavy rains and a low spot in the yard that frequently flooded finally made us rip out all the banana trees.
-- 2004, Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne: We lost a huge oak, coconut palm, and Queen palm. All were heart-breaking. Why didn't it take any of the trees we didn't like?
-- 2005, Hurricane Wilma: It did a number on our tangerine tree.

Maybe we're tempting fate, dooming ourselves to get a big storm this year, but we have been adding a lot of trees. The papayas are doing well.

We have four pineapples that will be ready to eat in a month or so.

Which brings me back to Halloween. A few months back my daughter was eating a grapefruit. She noticed one of the seeds was starting to sprout, and asked if we could plant it. Being the indulgent parents that we are, we said sure, we'll put it in a pot, not thinking for a moment that it would grow into anything. Fast-forward a few months, and we had a grapefruit tree big enough to transplant into the ground. We added a few shovels-full of compost we've been working on all year, and found a good spot for our new grapefruit tree. And now here's the weird part. Another plant is growing from the dirt around the grapefruit. And it looks distinctively like a pumpkin plant. I guess the pumpkin guts we threw in the compost pile last Halloween stewed and simmered, and grew. Here's hoping we have a nice pumpkin we can carve for Halloween.