Sunday, December 18, 2011

New Territory: Puppies & Fabric!!

If you've ever met me, you know how much I L-O-V-E my dogs. So why has it taken me this long to combine two of my passions- puppies and painting? I've recently started to experiment with painting bright, colorful versions of dogs on fabric. I choose the fabric first, then try to match the personality of the breed with the personality of the fabric. Here's what I've completed so far:

This is my younger black Lab mix, Bailey.

Super fun background calls for a super fun breed- a Boxer!

This was my first attempt at sewing pieces of fabric together. My amazing sewing machine has been neglected for about 4 years now, mainly because I had no clue how to use it. I decided now was the time to figure it out!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Shop Handmade. Shop Local.

15% OFF, November 25th-28th!

After your Black Friday run to the stores, consider buying handmade items from local artisans. Your friends and family will LOVE receiving these unique gifts!

Members of the Etsy Team in the DC area, CREST, have banned together to offer you a special discount from Black Friday (11/25) to Cyber Monday (11/28). Use the coupon code HOLIDAYCREST to receive 15% off your order at any of the participating shops below:

Bette's Bags - One-of-a-kind handmade bags, purses, totes, etc.

Earthen Knit - Sustainable Scarves, Hats, Washcloths, & Fiber Jewelry

EBN Art Studio - Contemporary Painting, Prints, & more!

Handmade Habitatupcycled clothes, handmade journals, functional bags, lovely toys for your cats, and more!

JenniferLynn Productions - Photography and Cards

Julie Rebecca Designs - Beaded Jewelry & Accessories

Maggie Sue Designs - Accessories for Fun & Function

Moon Blossom Designs - Beaded Jewelry

Peace, Baby! Batiks - Batik Clothing for Babies and Toddlers

Purple Clover - Eco-friendly Home Decor

RAM Jewelry Designs - Handcrafted, Beaded Jewelry

Smoking Haute - Modern Knitted Accessories

Taila Custom Designs - Handmade with Love Using Yarn, Fabric, & Ribbons

Twisted Cow - Handmade Collars for Pets & Accessories for People

Happy shopping, and thanks for your support!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Inspire Me 2011: Project Progress

So I've been working on the painting inspired by Monica's photo of fireworks. You may recall that she was the winner of my "Inspire Me" photo contest. Here's the winning photo:


I wanted to do multiple panels, and I decided to do 3 long, skinny floating canvases. I LOVE these canvases because the sides are angled, which makes them look like they're floating. After I prepped the panels with black gesso, I painted a dark blue on top of the black. I am super happy with the outcome of this color! The blue on black looks awesome in person, although it's difficult to see the real color from the photos. Depending upon the time of day, the background can range from almost a royal blue to an almost black blue. 

Once I finished the background color, I put on some upbeat jazz and went to town with my palette knife and some bright colors. So much fun!

I'm still not sure if I'm finished with the piece. Some say don't touch it, others say it needs more. What do you think?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Fall of Events

I don't know what happened to my last two months, but I do have some photos to prove that I have been busy! This fall has provided some great experiences for me, so I thought that I would share them with you.

Hello Etsy
Etsy graciously hosted a free event for Etsy sellers in several cities around the world. Washington, DC was lucky enough to be chosen as one of those cities. Etsy asked the local team (CREST) to help out, and CREST chose me as one of the featured local artists at the event held in the Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum! It was really great meeting other local artists face-to-face and sharing our experiences.

Autumn Leaf Festival
ALF is an awesome week-long festival in my hometown of Clarion, PA. Every day features a different event, and Friday was the arts and crafts day. This was my very first outdoor event, so I called for some reinforcements (my mom, sister, husband, and cousin Monica from MoniLeesA). It was so much fun seeing old friends and acquaintances while hanging out at my tent!

Falling for Handmade
This was the second annual arts and crafts festival hosted by CREST, the team of Etsy artisans from the DC area. It was great to make some more connections with other local artists and spend the day with my friend Susan from Arts a Blaise!

Next up......
Arts and Crafts Festival at La Grange Winery on Nov. 12th!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summery Artist: FlirtyGems

I've had the privilege of featuring so many awesome shops this summer- I hope you enjoyed them! Our last featured shop this summer is FlirtyGems. Alana of FlirtyGems has been featured in Brides Magazine, Parenting, and NBC morning news!

Tell us a little bit about your shop and how you got started:
I started my business 8 years ago when I had my first baby. I was looking for a creative outlet and really enjoyed making jewelry.

How does the ocean/beach inspire you?
I have always lived close to the beach and all my fondest memories are at the beach or summer memories. I am drawn to turquoise blue whenever I see a stone in that color I always buy it even if I am overstocked I can't resist.

What is your favorite beach destination? Why?
My favorite beach destination has to be Grace Bay at Turks and Caicos. It is absolutely stunning and all you see for miles is white sand and sea blue turquoise water. 

*Alana is offering 20% off all items in her shop with coupon code FRIEND!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Exhibition- Artists in Dialogue 2: Sandile Zulu and Henrique Oliveira

I hope you've been enjoying this series on summer exhibitions. The last featured exhibit returns "home" to DC. The National Museum of African Art has a really intriguing idea for their Artists in Dialogue exhibit.

Sandile Zulu

What a cool concept! Two artists create new works in response to each other.

You have until December 4, 2011, to check out this constantly-changing exhibit!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Summery Artist: KiwiTiniCreations

Adorable cards and confetti! Check out Kathy's shop!

Tell us a little bit about your shop and how you got started:
My shop sells handmade gift/favor tags, favor boxes, cupcake flags, confetti, mini cards.... I create colorful and bright items with a nautical or flower theme.  I started selling on Etsy because I like the idea of being in a creative community where you can learn and get or give support to others.

How does the ocean/beach inspire you?
 I love walking at the beach and finding or seeing treasures such as pebbles, shells, crabs or birds.   I use these creatures or treasures in my designs.
What is your favorite beach destination? Why?
I have been fortunate to have gone to Maui.  I got on a plane in a snow storm and arrived in a tropical paradise.  It was surreal. 

Anything else we should know?
I  live near the Rocky mountains and enjoy camping and hiking with my family, but I miss and would love to live near the ocean one day.

*Kathy will be offering 10% off all items in her shop with coupon code EBNArt!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Exhibition- Shared Intelligence: American Painting and the Photograph

Is using a photograph as a reference for a painting "cheating?" Is photography just a shortcut? This exhibit at the Georgia O'Keefe Museum is trying to show viewers how painting and photograph help enhance each other.

Georgia O'Keeffe, Series I White and Blue Flower Shapes, 1919, Oil on Board, 19 7/8 x 15 3/4 inches, Gift of the Georgia O'Keeffe Foundation, ©Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

The exhibit, of course, shows Georgia's work. But it also includes several pieces from Georgia's contemporaries.

Exhibit ends September 11, 2011. Check out the video above for a glimpse!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Summery Artist: Jennifer Kistler Studios

I love Jennifer's simplified jewelry designs! Check out her shop and blog!

About my shop and how I got started:

I have always loved making things. Nature is my favorite subject, I am inspired by its beauty, from horses to flowers to the ocean. Years ago, when I didn't find much horse jewelry I would want to wear, I 
thought it would be great to be able to make jewelry with my own designs. Then I learned about metal clay and realized that would be a great medium to accomplish that. I quickly added other nature theme 
designs, I could not resist! I started my shop on Etsy a few years ago, and now I am working hard to add more items.

How I'm inspired by the ocean/beach:

I love the ocean, a combination of beauty and power. When I was young, I spent three summers in southeast Alaska on my parents' small commercial trolling boat. It was an experience I would never trade! I 
have felt a strong connection to the ocean ever since. The ocean is dynamic, always moving and changing, and can be calm or dangerous. It is so beautiful, and also a great reminder of the humbling power of 
nature. I haven't been on the ocean very much in recent years, but the coast is still a favorite place to visit, whether it's a sandy beach or a rocky viewpoint. Being near the ocean feels peaceful, 
refreshing, exciting, and powerful all at once. I like painting seascapes, and have brought a simple version of a seascape into jewelry design. I hope to add other beach and sea theme designs in the future.

My favorite beach destination:

It's hard to choose a favorite beach. Last year we were able to go to Maui for a week, and it was great to be near the ocean so much, and the beaches there are so beautiful. I really enjoy our local Oregon 
coast beaches, though, even though they are often cool and windy. I welcome a trip to any of the beaches near Lincoln City, Newport or Seaside, and to the Peter Iredale (a wrecked ship on the beach) at 
Fort Stevens State Park near my hometown of Astoria. I like beaches when they aren't crowded with people or activities, where I can just enjoy walking along the sand, and take in the sight, sound, and smell 
of the surf. I also love beachcombing. My favorite find is a small, worn glass float from a rocky beach in Alaska, which I still have.

Jennifer has been kind enough to offer a coupon code for my readers! Enter code SUMMEROCEANFREESHIP for free shipping within the US on her Etsy site!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Summery Artist: SuzanneBag

Suzanne makes really fun handbags made from vintage fabric! Check them out at her shop!

Tell us a little bit about your shop and how you got started:
As the owner and designer of SuzanneBag, I use vintage fabrics and buttons to create one-of-a-kind handbags that are bright, colorful and far from ordinary.

After spending 20 years working in the legal industry in the Dallas, Texas area doing a job that was incredibly stressful, tedious and soul-robbing, it was actually a relief when I was laid off in 2009.  It gave me the opportunity to enter a new phase in my life.  I have always been considered creative, but have never used that particular talent as a career choice until now.

SuzanneBag allows me to seek out and find vintage fabrics and buttons that many people might overlook because they are perceived as “old” and present them in a fresh new way.  I focus on Hawaiian and mod fabrics of the 60′s and 70′s because of their amazing colors and textures; you just don’t find gems like these anymore.   Fortunately, I have been the ability to visualize how these fabrics will look in the form of a handbag before I ever cut the first piece. 

How does the ocean/beach inspire you?
The beach draws me in ways I find hard to explain.  Growing up in a landlocked state, I now crave time spent near the ocean.  The trade winds, the endless ebb and flow of waves, the constant changing color of the water, I can spend hours on the beach and never tire of the ocean's beauty.  
What is your favorite beach destination? Why?
Hands down, my favorite beach destination is the island of Kauai.  It boasts more beaches on that one island alone than all the other Hawaiian islands combined.  More specifically, my favorite beach is Ke'e Beach, which literally means at the end of the road.  It is the last beach on the north shore where the road ends and the Na Pali Coastline begins.  The island, as well as it's beaches, is relaxed, uncrowded and pristine.  The water is clear and perfect for snorkeling, with a tree line that allows for shade.  It's simply perfect!

Anything else we should know?
My husband and I were married on Kepuhi Beach on the island of Kauai nearly six years ago.  We have also been privileged enough to visit the island on six separate occasions.  By far, it is our favorite place on earth.  This inspired my use of vintage Hawaiian muumuus of the 60's and 70's to create many of my handbags.  The barkcloth used on the dresses has such great texture and design, it makes wonderful handbags.  Our love of the island has also led us to learn more about the Hawaiian culture and history.  We even chose a traditional Hawaiian wedding ceremony, which is conducted partially in Hawaiian and partially in English and also includes chanting.  It was absolutely the most beautiful way a couple could be married on a white sandy beach in Hawaii.

 will offer a 10% discount storewide, coupon code: BLOGPROMO. Check her out on Etsy, her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Exhibition- Pittsburgh Biennial

I, of course, have to give a shout out to Western PA in my Summer Exhibitions 2011 Series. The Pittsburgh Biennial pays homage to artists who either currently live or work in Pittsburgh, or once spent a period of time in the city.

T. Foley

Several venues are participating in this celebration of the arts- Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, The Carnegie Museum of Art, the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University, and The Andy Warhol Museum.

Ed Eberle

The exhibits at the different venues begin and end at different times this fall/winter, so check the website for details before attending!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summery Artist: Cassias Garden

Kelly wants you to smell fresh and clean! If only I could make scratch-and-sniff blog posts.....

Tell us a little bit about your shop and how you got started:  
Before settling down, getting married, & raising a beautiful daughter, I had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout the Asian and Pacific Rim countries, where the beauty of lush tropical flowers and exotic beaches now inspire my creations.   I love to bring that aspect into my products.   I am an avid gardener and lover of all things luminous, natural, and fragrant.
When we bought the home of my dreams 6 years ago, the main features were the front porch that extends the length of our home (there's even a porch swing there!),  the tropical backyard, and my dream kitchen;  a 16 x 40 that has a 10' ceiling, a beautiful garden window with view to backyard, and about 100' feet of counter top space!  It was perfect for cooking and entertaining, but also making my creations to sell.   I learned how to make beautiful aromatherapy soaps and candles, and spa products for cranky babies and tired mamas.   The obsession began and has continued until today!   I have always had really dry, itchy and irritable skin!  Since making my all natural and luxurious soaps and emollient body products, I can no longer say that dermatitis and eczema are on my list of maladies!   It is so much fun and the possibilities are endless in how you can create beautiful, fragrant soapy creations that are also good for you and the environment! 

How does the ocean/beach inspire you?
This is what I wrote in my descriptions for my Thundering Surf Soap:
Fair "surfer", if you don't know me by now, then you wouldn't have had to listen to me rave about growing up right beside my beloved Pacific Ocean.  Who needs therapy, when you can at any time, day or night, sunset or rise, rain or shine, winter spring fall or summer, walk down 1,000 steps and into a dimension of thundering beauty. The solace, the deep calling unto deep inside my being...the endorphins, the shimmer of sun or moon shining a silver or golden trail that follows my sauntering, sinking footsteps. Oh, the glory.

What is your favorite beach destination? Why?
I have been to beaches all around the world, but still, my favorites are southern California, The Strands Beach, just north of Dana Point Harbor, with the neighboring Salt Creek which has often been mentioned in Surfer Magazine.....and of course Northern California.   They have all the jagged rocks and you could really get hurt surfing there, but the thundering crashing waves is therapy alone.....just travel Highway 101 northbound and pick a beach!  Then check into a tiny bed and breakfast, after sipping a glass of wine....and sleep really really deeply!

Anything else we should know?
Yes!  Wear sunscreen!  Take care of your precious skin!   Drink plenty of water, and eat whole foods the color of the rainbow and walk along a beach!   You'll feel so much better!

Don't forget to check out Kelly's shop and blog!