With Thanksgiving arriving tomorrow, I've continued to think about what I'm thankful for. There are so many moments that warm my heart. Without them, my days would be dull. I am thankful for my family, which includes my pets.
Hershey, our newest addition, can be a handful. He is very high energy, yet the happiest chocolate lab that you will ever meet. One of his bad habits includes jumping on the windowsill to observe our neighbors passing by. He also will wait by the window when one of us leaves. After all, there's no place like home. Especially when it's filled with cuddly dogs and a cat.
This 8 x 10" drawing is completed in soft pastels on smooth, white vellum. I have been working on this piece in between work shifts since September. It probably took me about 2 hours total to complete. Lately, I've only had a few minutes at a time to draw. I'd like to change that!
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Since I haven't gotten a chance to update my site, I figured I would post this notice to my blog. I am taking a break from doing custom pet portraits for a while. I've just received a promotion at my day job & am adjusting to a new schedule. This makes it very difficult for me to devote the time needed to my custom work.
I will still be selling original pastel drawings, exhibiting in shows, and selling my giftware. My Etsy store will remain open as well. When I am ready to begin working on custom projects again, I will post to my blog & site.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
I will have a booth at Art In The Park at Ashuelot River Park in Keene, NH this weekend. This is one of the area's largest art festivals for fine artists. There is always a diverse selection of work to view! Please stop by my booth to say hello. I will be selling original pastel drawings, as well as greeting cards, nightlights, and jewelry featuring my artwork. Hope to see you there!
Information can be found at http://www.monadnockareaartists.org/
Thursday, July 16, 2009
On July 20th, I am hanging a new art exhibit at the Chesterfield Library in Chesterfield, NH. I've named the exhibit, "It's Raining Cats, Dogs, and Frogs". This seems appropriate, considering the wet weather that we have been tolerating lately. I would much rather experience a shower of dogs than rain any day!
The exhibit will feature my charcoal and pastel drawings of cats, dogs, frogs, and other critters. I hope that you can find time to view the exhibit and purchase a drawing or two... or more. Each drawing in the exhibit is available for sale and a price sheet is included at the library if you are interested in buying a piece (yes, yes you are!).
The address of the Chesterfield Library is:
524 Rt. 63,
Chesterfield, New Hampshire 03443
Monday, July 06, 2009
This handsome fellow is Ace, an adorable boxer. Ace belongs to the mother of one of my classmates from high school. Erica commissioned me to draw her mum's dog for Mother's Day. I'm quite pleased with the result. Who can resist those boxer eyes!
Ace's portrait is 8x10" in size and drawn in pastels on smooth, white vellum.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Every once in a while, I'll be in a conversation with someone when the topic of how I took the leap into art will come up. It seems that there are many people out there that feel imprisoned by their 9-5 jobs & fantasize about pursuing art or another passion full time. The current state of the economy also makes this transition even more of a challenge.
I am not an authority on the matter, but can only relay my own personal experience. I would never have been able to take the leap into art full-time without another line of income. I am fortunate that my husband has a steady full-time job and supported me in my decision. It was a tougher leap than I anticipated. Because I was working from a bare-bones budget, I had to really research marketing and promotion to grow my business. There are many helpful books to help you get started. I will write about them in a future post.
Everyone's situation is different. I have found that adding a steady office job to my daily routine has helped me grow my art business substantially in the current economic climate. When I left my previous job, I never really thought about returning to work for a company, but it has been the greatest blessing. Having a steady source of income has helped me buy better materials and afford more promotional events than before.
My operating budget (pre-day job) was on a shoestring. I could afford basic materials, but found that I was having trouble affording adequate promotion and marketing tools. I took advantage of every free and low-cost marketing tool that I could think of, word of mouth being the best tool for reaching custom portrait clients.
With my day job, I can now contribute more to my family income and also afford to take part in more art shows. The more art shows that I have attended, the more local patrons that I have been able to reach and networking connections that I have been able to make. Art shows boost word of mouth advertising exponentially.
To get back to the point of this post... Do not underestimate the value of additional income. I encourage anyone who is interested in pursuing an art career not to wait. Start researching the business of art while working a day job. Build your art portfolio in your free time. Don't wait until the right moments come together to start pursuing your passion. You can take the leap at any time. The choice is not black and white in nature.
Monday, June 29, 2009
This adorable boy is Bugsy, who may be part Maine Coon cat. According to his owner, Jane, Bugsy has a large, very fluffy tail, and tufts of fur on his feet which make them very soft. He's also a love bug. He's got great long whiskers. He is part dog as he likes to fetch things and bring them back so you can throw them again!
Bugsy is drawn in soft pastels on smooth, white vellum. This portrait is 8 x 10" in size.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
I love the Tom Jones song, "What's New Pussycat?" In fact, I love singing it to my own cat, who cringes when she hears my terrible singing voice. Enough of my babbling about my lack of singing ability. The purpose of this post is about what's new in my studio.
The blog has been stale lately. I apologize for that. I'm in the process of balancing my day job & drawing. It is an interesting challenge. I have been able to complete my custom portrait orders without a problem. I will be posting my latest work soon.
I'm also working on vintage-inspired jewelry, featuring my artwork. This probably sounds confusing, but I actually am making custom cabachons, featuring my drawings and mounting them on brooches and pendants. I found that I love vintage jewelry and would love some pieces that resemble cameos with animal artwork in them.
I've also decided to upgrade my custom magnets. Currently, I slide prints of my artwork into plastic photo-holding magnets that are already assembled. They are cute, but I would like to use better materials. I ordered some glass tiles on etsy.com and magnets. The plan is to glue my prints to the glass tiles & mount rare earth magnets on the back. The result will be a cleaner, upscale look and a better hold on your fridge!
I will also be using the same tiles and process to create keychains featuring my art. All in all, I'm working on expanding my options and ways of creating prints of my work. In doing so, I'm trying to think out of the box a bit, beyond your traditional matted art prints.
I also want to add more designs, because it's always good to freshen things up. I'm ready for some new portraits!
Monday, April 20, 2009
Saturday's arts & craft show was a huge success! I met so many wonderful animal lovers and fellow craftspeople! My booth was at the Artisans @ Mt. Monadnock show, which I advertised in my previous post. The show ran from 10 am - 4 pm.
I would like to thank everyone who stopped by my booth! I even saw my high school art teacher, Mrs. Smith. It was nice to show her that I am still drawing and thank her for her guidance in high school.
Also, one of my fellow vendors has posted a link to my site on her blog. Golden Illustrations is featured on ClothPaperStitches blog. Please check out the fabulous work of Missy Blanchard at http://www.ClothPaperStitches.com & http://www.ClothPaperStitches.blogspot.com. It was nice to meet a fellow NH Etsy seller!
Monday, April 06, 2009
I will have a table at the show above with my fine art greeting cards, magnets, nightlights, and prints. This is a fantastic opportunity to support your local artisans and find a unique piece of country craftsmanship. I hope to see you there!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
The portrait above is a very special drawing. This lovely chocolate lab is Truffle, who belongs to my friends, Mike & Kira. I've known Truffle since she was an adolescent and she quickly became my golden retriever's doggy girlfriend. Sunny and Truffle loved to saunter together on walks. They were gentle friends.
A few months ago, I snapped some reference pictures of Truffle (and Belle, her black lab companion) while I was visiting Mike & Kira. Truffle has this favorite spot on the brown leather recliner. It's just the right spot in the sun & she looks like she is in absolute heaven when she's napping in this natural spotlight. I found my favorite picture and drew the portrait above from the reference photo.
Truffle's portrait is 11 x 14" and drawn in soft pastels on smooth, white vellum paper.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Wow, it's been a while since I've posted artwork or random musings on my blog. In the time that I've been away, life has sort of completed a 180 degree turn. A month ago, all was quiet on the art front. I was a bit unsure of which direction to follow in my downtime. I was offered a fantastic job at MoCo Arts in Keene, NH. MoCo is a performing and visual arts company that holds fun & inspiring classes. I am a Front Desk person part-time and absolutely love my day job.
I am still working on portraits and giftware. It is my passion and is not going anywhere. I will be printing a new design for spring in the coming weeks. My bunny portrait will appear on cards and magnets. It's the perfect time, with Easter on it's way!
Also... we have a new addition to our family. We adopted a 22 month old chocolate lab named Hershey! Hershey found us through a co-worker of my father's who was fostering him. He is absolutely sweet and gets along perfectly with Sasha. We are still working on introducing him to the cat slowly. He's absolutely polite and ignores her when we are holding her. However, once she is loose, he is very interested in placing the chase game. We've read up on how to introduce a new dog to the family cat and are taking our introduction slow and with patience. Molly, in the meantime, is enjoying her vacation on the top floor of the house and is spoiled with extra kisses and love.
I've posted some pictures of Hershey above. There will be more posted in the future (and of course lots of portraits)! Hershey is my first labrador retriever and I am loving every bit of his personality!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Do you ever find the same messages repeating themselves in your life? I have noticed the theme of "letting go" popping up in various places. I've been having trouble falling asleep and decided to listen to some meditation podcasts on my ipod to help me drift off peacefully. The "Letting Go" meditation seemed to say, "Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!"
Then, we had take-out Chinese for dinner and I ended up getting one of those preachy fortunes. This was the kind of message that teaches a lesson, instead of describing the fabulous period of abundance that you will soon be entering. Once again, the "Letting Go" message popped up on my fortune cookie. I ate the cookie and didn't think about the message.
Today, I received a forward about a "Thought For The Day" from a friend. Can you guess what the theme was? Of course, it was about "letting go".
Since this theme keeps popping up over and over again, I've decided to reflect on what this means. I think that my meditation podcast sums it up well. Letting go isn't always about letting go of a feeling. It can be about releasing a thought that is occurring over and over again in our head. Sometimes, our minds start playing the same soundtrack on repeat. We want to relax and we keep worrying about our job interview or the laundry that needs to be done. Letting go sometimes means releasing an experience that we keep holding on to. Some of us may keep replaying a happy memory over and over again until it is an obsession. If we could just let go of the experience, we would open ourselves up to more cool experiences.
The same thing applies for the dreams that we really want to live. We may really want to travel to Peru. If we wish it and then release it, we leave the experience an open possibility. If we worry about how the trip will manifest or our crummy finances, we create a roadblock for realizing our dream.
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
The drawing above was a holiday commission for my lovely friend, Nancy Downs. This adorable girl is Gracie, the Miniature Schnauzer. We decided to draw Gracie on her favorite chair in charcoal. The wicker of the chair proved to be a challenging texture, but I honestly love a new drawing challenge. It helps me grow and I feel confident drawing wicker texture now! The pattern of the upholstery was very fun to draw. Floral prints translate very well in black & white.
Gracie is drawn in Conte brand pressed charcoal crayon on smooth, white vellum. The drawing is 8 x 10" in size.
Monday, January 26, 2009
This adorable fellow is Goofy, a black and tan coonhound mix. Goofy's portrait was one of my Christmas commissions. This portrait was a delightful distraction from the December ice storms! I finished drawing Goofy just before power was restored to my studio in Jaffrey. I had taken my portrait commissions on the road with me to NY, which was a savvy decision. Had I left them to work on in NH, it would have been days before I could finish them (due to the power outage).
Goofy is drawn in soft pastels on smooth, white vellum. The finished portrait is 11x14" in size.
Monday, January 12, 2009
I hope that everyone had relaxing holidays. I've been offline for a while, spending time with my hubby and family. Now that the holidays have passed, I can post some of my commissions that were presented as gifts!
I'll start with this pastel portrait that was given as a gift to my in-laws for Christmas. This particular piece has meaning to them, as they belong to a hunting and fishing club in Pennsylvania. The club has a few tame rabbits that wander the grounds and children are offered 5 dollars teasingly if they can catch one. The rabbits are released if they are caught, of course. I thought it would be fun if I captured three of the rabbits in a portrait. I think that the club owners owe my in-laws 15 dollars!
This drawing is 11x14" in size and drawn in soft pastels on smooth, white vellum.