Busy like a bee

It’s been a busy two months here. Lots of things happening. So much so that I’ve barely had time to paint! Things are going to continue to be busy throughout November and December (weddings to attend, commissions to complete, and other interesting projects), but I’ve wrapped up my show schedule for the year and can finally settle back in with a paintbrush.

A quick thank you to those of you who came out to see me at shows in Orlando, Oviedo, and Destin and may be finding this blog. I got some wonderful compliments, met some great people, and had an all around good time. I’ll be certain to apply again next year. And because I’m so pleased with it, here is a photo of my new set up:

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My previous set up involved more tables and a cumbersome wooden wall. I’ve cut it down to one table, print bins, and light screen doors, making it much more open and airy. It’s quick and easy to set up and quick and easy to take down and I’m very pleased with it.

In other news, I’ve finished a second Christmas card:

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I would have liked to work on this one a little longer, but I wanted it to be finished for these shows. Despite everything, I’m rather pleased with it! I have a weakness for little animals in Victorian dress, obviously.

Last but not least, I’ve finally gotten some of my more recent acrylics photographed. These were completed months ago, but only recently photographed for prints as they are quite large paintings:

Some of you may recognize the building in the nighttime painting. It’s Bettys Cafe Tea Room in Harrogate. Its appearance has changed in recent years, but this is how it looked when I was small and living in Harrogate. It’s my dream to go back to the area to live someday, but for now, I will be sending the cafe a print which they have graciously accepted.

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year…almost. Bit early.

From one season to another, all in the span of a couple weeks! These past few weeks have been spent finishing up some projects and preparing for my upcoming art shows, which includes brand new Christmas card designs. My goal is to have three designs ready for my November shows, but we’ll see what happens. Time may get away from me yet. Here is the year’s first one, featuring a very naughty rabbit stealing from a poor, innocent snowman:

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These are available in my etsy shop now, which has also been restocked with two of last year’s card designs.

Am I the only one who wishes top hats were still socially acceptable to wear on regular outings, by the way? I love them very much. I would like to have a very large collection of them.

Something else I’ve been working on recently is trying to get a bit more comfortable with working digitally. I’ve worked with photoshop for years and years and understand how the program works, but doing any extensive digital artwork has always been frustrating and unenjoyable for me. I prefer to work traditionally and use photoshop to tweak my work if need be, but I decided to take some time to try out a few new things. Like a little repeating pattern:

bun repeat

This was more of a test than anything, but I’m pretty pleased with how seamless it turned out! I may try another pattern out with traditionally painted components later on. Until then, it was nice to figure out how to do something like this.

Finally, as a bit of a personal project, I also did a little typography piece, inked traditionally and adjusted and bedecked digitally:

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This is a quote from an English translation of Victor Hugo’s classic, Les Miserables. It’s one of my favorite quotes spoken by one of my favorite characters, Grantaire. Given what a poetic and beautiful quote it is, I was surprised that I couldn’t find a typography illustration of it already. It doesn’t look perfect but it was a fun, different project to work with an I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.

Painted Cats & Painted Cups

Happy first day of autumn!

Here’s a quick little illustration I did for the sake of doing something autumn-related before I jump right into my Christmas card designs for the season. Here in Florida, we don’t really have proper autumn weather until late November, so it was nice to make a cup of tea, paint this picture, and pretend for a moment. autumncatsmallGouache with digital elements

Another project I’ve recently delved into is the world of hand painted mugs. Here is my first attempt:

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I used a dollar store mug, Pebeo Porcelaine 150 China paints, and just a little bit of oil-based sharpie for some gold metallic accents. It’s been run through the dishwasher multiple times and has held up incredibly well. Well–except for one thing: the cup originally had a golden handle. Whoops.

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You’ve likely seen the method for permanently drawing on mugs using oil-based sharpies on Pinterest (this blog offers some good information on it) and it absolutely does work, but not when layered on too thickly. In order to be completely covered, the handle of this mug required multiple layers of sharpie–much more than the smaller golden elements on the mug which have held up beautifully. Bits of the handle just flaked off every time the piece was washed or handled extensively. In the end, I just scraped the handle clean. It had been a nice touch and I would have liked it to stay, but the cup still looks pretty nice without it. I think most people prefer to drink their tea without having to worry about sharpie coming off on their hand anyway.

The sharpie method is still great and easy, but if you’re good with a paintbrush and are interested in painting some mugs of your own, I definitely recommend the Pebeo paints. Just paint them on, let them dry for 24 hours, and pop into a cool oven set to 300 F for 30 minutes. All the colors are mixable, can be thinned with water, and they have an almost enamel look to them when dry. You can find a very affordable set of small 20-millileter paint bottles on Amazon if you’re unsure but would like to try the product out anyway. I used quite a light touch myself, but the paint seems to go a long way. Expect to see more of these mugs from me in the future!

And now for something completely different

A blog update?

Apparently these aren’t going to happen very regularly, but I’m determine to update at least once a month. Aside from trying to get over an annoying little head cold, I’ve been putting work into a few different things over the past month. Commissions, personal projects, and just the work involved in getting ready upcoming shows in October and November. To kick things off, here is my newest piece:

terracottabunnysmall8″ x 8″
gouache on watercolor paper

I was really inspired to do this piece after seeing a few other beautiful pieces by other illustrators, such as Emma Block’s travel drawings and Hannah Holmes’ surface designs.

I liked the idea of doing a nice garden scene with some plants in terracotta pots, but I really loved the thought of seeing them from above: a slightly unusual angle. And of course I had to throw a fat little rabbit in there as the star of the painting. I’m actually ridiculously proud with how this turned out, and when I compare it to my earlier pieces, I think it’s especially telling with how far I’ve come.

Something else (again, completely different) I took a bit of time to work on was this design:

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I applied for a job as a designer at a local screen printing shop and was given a design challenge to complete. Basically, I was meant to create a t-shirt design for an imaginary restaurant in an imaginary town, incorporating tropical elements and a feminine, vintage look. I was limited to three colors, plus the base color. They mentioned they liked my design very much, but I unfortunately did not get the job. It was interesting to create something so different than my usual, though, and I may recycle the border for something else later on.

Last but not least, in a quick bit of news, I have joined together with my cousin to work on a childrens’ book based on my postman rabbit. He’ll be writing the story, I’ll be illustrating. He’s been given complete control over the story, and I’m really looking forward to what ideas he can churn out involving this character. I’ll be sure to keep the updates on this endeavor coming!

Oh deer, oh deer.

It has been long suggested by family, friends, and every illustration help site out there that I start up a blog documenting my artwork and all the other stuff involved in making it. So here I am.

I don’t ordinarily have a whole lot to say so this could turn out to be dreadfully dull, but it’s worth a shot. I might get the hang of it, but If it doesn’t work out, I can always rededicate this blog to ridiculous A Song of Ice and Fire theories (have you heard the one about Roose Bolton being an Other? I can dig it.) It isn’t like there’s hundreds of those out there, am I right?

Anyway, if you’d like to get a grasp on who I am and what I do, please refer to the “about” and “porfolio” links on the menu above. This is what I’ve been working on over the past few days:

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9″ x 12″
gouache on watercolor paper

My cousin will be getting married this coming November and asked me to create something to incorporate into her invitations. She’s going for a rustic sort of feel with lots and lots of sunflowers in her decorations. She was fond of a deer that I painted early last year and requested something that included just two things: a deer and sunflowers.

I personally really like compositions that use an oval or circular composition. I’m not sure why. They just always look nice to me. I thought something like that would look nice and work well topping an invitation. So I did some thumbnail sketches for her (which i have unfortunately misplaced), allowed her to choose and tell me what she wanted added or changed, and wound up with this:

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I knew that I wanted to make sure this was bright and colorful so the details would be bold enough no matter how small she needed to make it for the invitation. All she requested was that the background behind the deer be gold.

For the sake of this blog, I also documented my progress (or tried to):

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I didn’t really have a whole lot of trouble with this piece. The sunflowers took awhile, about 4 hours in all, but everything else went pretty smoothly. My cousin loves it and says it fits what she imagined perfectly, so that’s good. A success!