Thursday, December 17, 2009

just make art

Here comes a new year. I don't make resolutions. I refuse to make a resolution. I don't mind setting goals. Goals are good, they give me something to shoot for. So what are my goals for next year. Make art, send art.

Simple enough premise eh? Just make art. Keep drawing keep making, keep doing. I believe in order to succeed in any creative pursuit you must just keep making art. If you are a dancer, keep dancing, a poet, keep writing poems, if you are a performer, keep performing.

Often we get frustrated because we haven't gotten the big break. We haven't been found. But we can't get found if we don't keep it fresh and just keep making art. Hone your skill, stay current and keep making your art.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

calling all muses

I watch reality TV. There I said it. Ok, not all reality TV, but I have a few shows I like. One in particular is Project Runway. You have to give me some credit, it is artsy and ultimately creativity is the goal of the show and the reward goes to the most creative.

While watching the last season the contestants had to make a special clothing item based on their muse. Their muse being their model that they chose to wear the clothes they designed. Since that episode I have heard muse come up in various creative conversations. This got me to thinking about my muse.

I don't think I have one. Sadly. I have moments of inspiration that are launched from random beginnings. From the Crate and Barrel catalog with all its wine glasses that inspired me to draw whimsical and dainty wine glasses (seen to the left), to the 1970's enameled bowl I put my popcorn in with the funky line drawn mushrooms, to the estate sale I attended and saw a pile of old lace. I suppose my muse is life, being open to inspiration when it appears. Sometimes I am looking for it, sometimes it is looking for me.

Who or what is your muse?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Goal setting

Everyone is busy. I don't know a soul who is bored and has nothing to do. Except for my kids, and that is a whole other story.

When it comes to managing ones time and creating a place for oneself in an industry you can spend 24 hours a day working. Finding time to; social market, direct market, research, and follow-up let alone create art can eat up your day. After seven years as a freelance illustrator I find that I would accomplish nothing if I did not make lists of attainable goals. Let me say that again and I emphasize 'Attainable Goals'.

It is easy to make a to-do list, a daily, a weekly, monthly, yearly or more. But each list needs to be attainable. I have had goals that were so lofty that that item leapt from list to list without ever getting accomplished. What I have found is A) either take that goal off the table until you have either the time or skills to really accomplish it, or B) break it into smaller bits that you can actually do something with.

Currently I have a daily list of basic stuff that needs to get done. Then I have a more grandiose list of goals I am working towards. It has taken me years to realize that I cannot do everything I want, when I want. I know, seems pretty obvious doesn't it? However, if you have found yourself frustrated that you aren't doing all that you want career wise, I recommend a long meeting with yourself. Sit down and write everything down, then group, break apart and regroup until you have a concrete list of what you can reasonably achieve. Just the act of this may free you up to really conquer that never ending list of stuff to do.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Transition to Art Licensing

I have spent the last 20 years doing illustration. As many of you know, the way of an illustrator is wrought with rejection letters (or 'not now' letters), door knocking, mailers, ads in big books of art, portfolio sites and an agent or two. That has been my life as an illustrator, but that was the path of an editorial or advertising illustrator. Not the path of Art Licensing. As I am in the thick of a new direction artistically, I find myself learning all over again, learning what works, what doesn't, and what is expected.

The largest difference I have found with Art Licensing is that as an artist I have more in common with writers than I do editorial or advertising illustrators. When you make the transition to licensing you will find that you spend a LOT of time making art. Making and mocking up. Making and mocking up. And NOT getting paid for this time. This is a foreign concept to me. As a freelance illustrator all these years, I have gotten jobs, and created the work for the client. We go through sketch stage, revisions, final artwork, and voila, done. But with Art Licensing, get ready to work tirelessly, and then spend hours, days researching and sending your babies out into the world and hope one of them lands in the right hands, at the right time.

Do not get me wrong this isn't a bad thing, just different. I find that even as I migrate over to licensing, I am reorganizing the way I do art, and becoming more methodical in the art I make. I now spend time trend watching, identifying markets for my work, researching the visuals that I will put my spin onto, and then creating art. Once the art is created I have to put it on a product that I think the art is a good fit. I have spreadsheets of manufacturers, contact names, and I record what they make, and if I send anything I detail responses, what my follow-up is.

Now, my art is 'the product'. I manage the art similar to a small business person manages their creation. I have to find people to sell it to, just like any other manufacturer. So in many ways, my client and I share a lot in common. Art Licensing is very much so both 'business' and 'art'.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

color stuff

Ok it has been a long summer. Full of camping, road trips and inspiration. Now school is back in session, my youngest is finally in full-time school and I can get back to work.

Getting back into the groove included an informative session this morning at the Oregon Convention Center for a presentation on the Spring/Summer color forecasts for 2011 by PeclersParis. It was fun to see the textures, colors and vision proposed for fashion. For any of you other artists out there looking for color forecasts, I thought their site was a bit challenging, but if you have the opportunity to see their presentation it is worth the 20 bucks.

Another item I am in love with is the new Pantone color app. I should rephrase, I am in love with the concept. Just saw the info in my inbox yesterday so will download it today and take it for a test drive. Anyone already have this app and have an opinion? What looks so awesome about it is that you get the matching system for coated, uncoated and matte, a well as the fashion and home for paper and cotton libraries. It allows you to capture colors from your photos and snap to closest Pantone color. Yes the list goes on and on.

Color seems to be an ongoing challenge. How to see what is hot, what will be hot and then apply it to your own work. Another resource I have used is Mpdclick. Great spot to check out high end cool, and get inspired by some wonderfully fun palettes.

I would love to hear what sources you use for color forecasting (besides general home goods shopping). It can be expensive to buy the forecast books, so tell me if it is worth the cost. Or if you can do just as well without them.

Monday, May 11, 2009

thanks mom

We all have people who have helped us along the way. Helped us develop as an artist and a person. I want to take a quick moment to thank my mom for being my biggest fan. 

My mom always encouraged me in every endeavor. Choosing to be an artist is NOT something that every parent embraces. Many parents would caution against pursuing that career. But not my Mom. No, she did everything in her power to give me what I needed to be an artist. She bought all the supplies, she went to every art show, she loved every piece of art. And when I said I was going to a small art college, she said 'Great!'. She never said 'Oh that is going to be really hard', 'Are you sure you want to do that?', or 'You will never make any money'. Instead she always said 'You can do anything you set your mind to'. I heard that so much that I believed her, and still do. And although I have not accomplished what I want to accomplish, I feel confident that I will. That confidence comes from her unwavering support, love, and encouragement. 

As a parent I try to channel my Mom. I try to say the words that she said to me, knowing that her words have allowed me to embark on a career path that most would have discounted long before college came into view. When my sons express an interest in anything I tell them they can do it, I tell them I believe in them, and yes, that they can do anything they set their minds to. Hopefully, they will have heard those words enough growing up, that they too will believe them, and accomplish great things.

Thank you Mom, for your devotion, encouragement, and absolute love.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

staying positive

Boy do not listen to the news. I wish I could ignore it. But alas I read and stay current. Which makes me think 'How can I stay positive?'. One thing is, I am so grateful the economy sucks as the weather improves. It would suck just that much more if we were heading into winter. Now we will most likely be heading into winter in 6 months with the economy still tanking, but for now, the flowers are bursting forth, the peas I planted are climbing, and the sun comes out ever three or four days. 

One upside is that I am creating loads of new art. Heck people may not be buying right now, but I will have a trove of art to show once the buyers start buying. And yes, I am optimistic that someday the buyers will buy. It is the making of new art that keeps me positive. Often I am too busy to work on the new ideas, I am too busy keeping projects moving and doing the bread and butter. But right now the sketchbooks are stacked around my screen and the scans are being colored feverishly.

Another upside is my yard looks GREAT! No weeds, and the flowers are happy, and I planted a cherry tree, a new berry bush and am planning more raised beds. So if all else we can feed ourselves. 

Thank God for spring, sunshine and dreams of future opportunity. I can't afford to feel down when so much is down around me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

how gardening is a lot like building an art career

I am a novice gardener. I have spent the last 10 years and two houses developing a garden, or garden style. Both my first house and my second house had little to no landscaping and decent sized city lots. As I was working in my garden over the weekend, it occurred to me that creating a garden is a lot like building an art career. 

For example, both take planning, based on what you have to work with. If you have a flat lot with lots of sun you will plant differently than a sloped lot all in shade. As an artist, if you have loads of talent with drawing characters and people you would focus your attention differently than if you are fantastic at landscapes. 

Over the past 10 years in my garden I have nurtured plants, moved them, pruned, divided, and flat out removed ones that were not fruitful or didn't belong. My art career has been very much the same process. I have experimented with styles and with disciplines, seeing which would bear fruit. Some styles were pruned, portfolios were divided, and paths were abandoned. 

I have planted many many seeds both in my garden and my career. Some never germinated while others flourished until I tired of them or they evolved into something else. All the plants in my garden require some attention. Either to help nudge them along, or to ensure that they have the nutrients they need to succeed. Career wise it tends to be the same. If I am not creating the art, I am promoting, marketing or working on how to bring about big bountiful blooms. 

As I look out at the clouds and the rain today, I know the weather is making my plants happy. Inside as I chip away at new works of art, fine tuning, adding, deleting and planning who to send them to, I can't help but long for the sunshine. Both for my garden, and my own state of mind.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

deflation and what that means to me

I was reading the newspaper yesterday and read a small article on deflation in Spain. I knew what inflation was but quite honestly didn't know about deflation. For any of you who don't know, it is when prices drop rather than rise like inflation. Doesn't sound bad at first, paying less sounds good right about now. However, it is bad, it is downright terrible. The obvious downside is that if prices drop, businesses make less, pay less, hence workers make less, buy less and everything starts to circle the drain.  I don't know about the rest of you, but I have been seeing deflation creeping in over the last 6 months, I just didn't know what it was called. 

For me deflation is the project I lost because someone underbid me. It is the customer who asked for a discount, who negotiated a slightly lower rate due to the recession. Yes it is the projects I get calls for that pay less than they did last year for the same amount of work. Obviously deflation is bad news. And deflation is here in all of its glory. For how long no one knows. The part that really concerns me is how do we get our fees back when things start to turn around?  

Monday, April 13, 2009


If you have ever heard of the movie Rudy you know that it is a football movie. But if you have seen it, you know it is NOT about football. For the record I LOVE the movie Rudy. I have seen it enough times that I don't even need to see the whole thing, I really just need the last 4 minutes or so. 

As I said it isn't about football. It is based on the true story of Daniel Ruettiger, and is about determination. In a nutshell, Rudy wants to play for Notre Dame, and all the odds are against him. Through hard work he manages to play on the practice team for Notre Dame and gets beat up for years, never making the real team. Finally in the last 10 minutes of the movie, he gets to dress for the last game of his senior year (see here). And through the respect of his team, against the wishes of the coach, he ends up playing two plays in the last few minutes of the game. He manages to sack the quarter back and is carried off the field. 

Of course Rudy is an inspiring film. It is supposed to make you cry, make you feel good that his hard work paid off. You're supposed to get teary eyed (I do). And every time I watch it, I find it relatable. No I never wanted to play for Notre Dame, but really making a living as a professional artist, that is not what your average high school counselor advises you to do. It is a dog eat dog profession where talent is as important as timing and good luck. But beyond talent and timing, is sheer will. Because any artist can tell you, there are countless occasions to give up. Between the first 'Thanks but no thanks' letter, to the next 'Thanks but no thanks" letter. It takes an immense amount of dedication and desire to get up, dust off and keep moving forward. 

I think every artist needs to have the last 4 minutes of Rudy saved on their desktop. God knows we need to remember, never, never,never give up.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

sunny days and staying on task

I love working from home. I love being an artist for a living. But man when the sun comes out it is so hard to stay motivated. This is how I manage it. 
Rule number 1) Get up and get to work when the weather is crummy. Just hunker down and work like crazy. This means you can take a slow start or an early departure when the days are nice. 
Rule number 2) Give yourself deadlines even if you are working on pieces that have not been bought, yet. This helps you to accomplish things to again justify the sunny day enjoyment.
Rule number 3) Do allow yourself to sneak out for a peek of what is to come. This lets you get a taste of the sunny glow to keep you motivated to finish whatever it is.

Really three rules. And I think these rules only apply to people who live above 43ยบ latitude. Ok, maybe only to those of us who live in the ever so rainy Pacific NW. For the record it is really lovely out right now, and the rains are coming back tomorrow so I have to finish the post and go soak up a little Vitamin D.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

artful communication

I was just looking at my son's recent essay and saw he had gotten red marks for several small grammatical errors. My husband and I explained to him that it may not seem like much, but he needs to slow down and reread his essays better to avoid typos. I also explained that I reread every email twice prior to sending. This led me to thinking about my post a few weeks ago on neatness and presenting your art. 

Personally I think it is very important to send typo free emails. But what is more important is how to communicate well about art. Here are a few tips that will help you create a blissful, telecommuting relationship with clients.

#1) When sending my first rough sketch I always include a detailed email describing the item I am delivering, my objective, how it achieves the goals of the project and any questions that have come up. 
#2) When writing about a visual element, it's crucial to be simple and clear. For example, it is not clear to say 'the shape on the left'. It would be clear to say, 'the large blue square shape in the upper left corner'. It may not seem like much of a difference but, if you aren't in the room looking at the art with the viewer, trust me they can get confused and may not be looking at what you think they will be looking at. 
#3) Before I do revisions to a file I send an email and clarify what I understand the changes to be, and exactly what I am going to do, and when. This simple email, written with precision can save me time later. 

My point is, when you communicate to your client over email, take a moment to digest the goal of the conversation, then carefully detail 'What', 'How', and 'When'. Really easy stuff. Not only will it save you time, it will make you money because your client has clear expectations, and you can churn through the work and get onto the next project.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I recently started working on some fun new surface design for a sock maker, Sock It To Me. They are a Portland, Oregon sock manufacturer and make some really fun stuff. As I started designing I found it was so much easier, and yet more difficult. The easy part is that the artwork needs to be simple shapes and vector. The manufacturing process, knitting, colors = knots and obviously more colors is more money and more work. I also learned more colors means a tighter sock since you have more knots when more colors are used. Less really is more! 

Now for difficult. It is funny to me, how often what is the easy part, can also be the hard part. Creating simple work turns out to be challenging since you must reduce ones concept to simple, digestible bits, that are tiny. Sort of like designing 'favicons', little bits that are easy to read. I find that I design with loads of color and often with odd angles. But this project required flat, straight on views, or profiles of items at the most obvious angle. 

Example to the right >>

The designs will be in Sock It To Me's next sock release so visit the site and buy some groovy socks!

Monday, March 16, 2009

mom was right

Yes it is true. Mom was right. I don't know about you, but my mom was a stickler for nagging us kids about working neat. She had to nag us because we didn't really listen and were sloppy, in a hurry and thought the mess would clean itself. I remember being a late night baker and she would get so mad at me for not cleaning up my mess as I worked, and for leaving a pile of slop in the sink with the slop covered bowls and utensils used to bake my treats. 

Now working neat seems obvious to me now as a grown up. I nag my own kids about being neat in the kitchen and cleaning up their slop as they make things. Of course they don't listen well, hence why I nag. 

This same principal of working neat in the kitchen is every bit as important, more so even, to working neat on art/files you wish to sell, or are contracted to make. I wouldn't have thought of making a blog post about this if I hadn't recently been reviewing some student work. The work was clever and fun, loved the concept and the style. But if I had been presented it as an Art Director I would have looked at the artist in shock. Granted it was a student, (albeit college) but the art had been shoddily put together with markers to cover up mistakes, and edges ripped. The work was finished work, it wasn't a study. What this made me realize is sometimes artist's don't realize that neatness, and presentation really counts. I am not saying you can't have a messy studio, paint and chalk dust everywhere. But if you want to give a finished piece to an Art Director, it better be labeled, clean, and ready for reproduction. The art should look like a professional made it. Otherwise, who will perceive you as a professional and want to pay you a professional wage?

Working neat doesn't stop for painting, drawing and the like. As a designer I hate picking up someone else's files to work on and not have layers labeled clearly. I can tell you a Photoshop file with 100 layers, just floating around, none labeled, none in groups, is a big, stinky pile of rancid poor workmanship. So, while you are thinking about clean papers in your portfolio, think about that digital file and make sure you are organized, and tidy before you hand it over. If not, you waste people's time, and no matter how good you are, whoever is having to clean up your mess will gladly trade you for someone else as soon as they can. 

Think clean, organized and professional. And call your mom to tell her thank you.

Monday, March 9, 2009

skills I have learned from my dog

Often I find myself thinking how lucky my dog is. He gets fed, he gets to go for walks, he gets someone to rub his back, I mean really? I was pondering his life, and how he sees the world and realized he had a lot to teach me about being. 
1) Never stop thinking this is your lucky day. Oreo never loses sight that today might just be the day. The day for what I don't really know, but he knows today could be it.
2) Be loyal to those who have always been there for you. Loyalty is paramount to being a dog, and to being true to yourself and those that help you be you (and what artist hasn't relied on someone to help them learn or evolve?).
3) Celebrate every meal. Ok, well maybe not the meal per se, but every success. It's easy to overlook the small ones sometimes, but they deserve a good nod.
4) Never give up hope that someone is going to give you attention. C'mon every artist wants attention. We all want to get noticed and get some deserved attention for all our hard work.
5) Don't be afraid to take a break from it all. Now my cat is the master at this, but this is about the dog. So, take a break. 
6) Be happy. Even though the kibble is monotonous, life is pretty good after all.

On that note, I think I will go make a fresh pot of joe, and go chill for awhile.

Monday, March 2, 2009

control z

I have to share a life experience that sort of frightened me. When it comes to illustration I split my time 70-30 digital work to traditional. The percentage has been migrating digital for some time but has spiked in the last year. 

A few months ago I was working on a series of traditional paper and paint pieces. I had been struggling with the color for awhile and kept revisiting one section of a painting. Not being pleased I decided to shake things up and scraped off the paint, then lathered on a new layer. The new color was just so wrong. So completely wrong. As soon as I saw what a bad choice I had made, in my head popped this, 'control+z'. At first I didn't connect what I had thought. Then it struck me. Yes I had actually thought that I could use a key command to fix something in the real world. I was mortified. The lines had finally blurred. I sat for moment amazed then I started laughing at how ridiculous it was. I truly couldn't believe that I had a hot key moment in the real world.

What does this teach me? Oh, maybe I spend too much time on my computer. But it also made me think about how we use tools. I love my computer, I love painting digitally. And I love the freedom. I love that I can use Control Z, and have a 'do over'. It isn't the death of real painting but digital work has a real place. The flexibility is dreamy to me. And the speed. Digital painting is akin to using a kitchen tool to make your work easier. I am going to keep doing my digital work, interspersed with traditional painting. And hopefully I won't try to hot key my way out of a corner. 

Monday, February 23, 2009


I met with a surface art representative over the weekend, Diane B. They specialize in surface art, sweater knit downs, antique textiles and embroideries. Now being 'renewed' to licensing and surface art, I had forgotten how much I enjoy the learning. For so long I have been doing custom work and haven't had to spend hours at the library researching bugs, or plants or airplanes. But after meeting with Diane B, I got to hop on down to the library and pour over stacks of books. I have books on the history of space exploration, wood shop tools, bugs of South Africa, desserts, and heavy machinery. I spent last night looking through them then doodling fun images. I love scanning the pages, love exploring the library stacks for just the right book. This is the fun part. Pencil on paper scratches, before they are anything. Just ideas, loose thoughts that have made it from inspiration to something more concrete. But not finished yet. Sometimes I end up loving the sketch more than the finished piece. I am so excited I just want to go get more books on more subjects. 

Next, the sorting after the art is drawn.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I met with my favorite professor from college last week for a cup of coffee. My instructor, Elsa Warnick has supported herself through art for the last 40+ years. She was a fine artist for the first 10 or so, then migrated over to Illustration as she had a knack for the narrative. Her work is light and airy, delicate watercolors that let paint play on paper. They are not complicated, they are approachable and kind. For years Elsa had a busy phone, ringing with projects. Her mailing list was extensive and the Art Directors in publishing knew her well. However, with the advent of stock art, a cheap substitute for custom art, her phone started ringing less and the mailing list was met with fewer responses. As we discussed the state of the current economy Elsa was quick to admit she is a dinosaur. That her contemplative style of delicate paintings, drawings that tell the story in one stroke, is all but lost in these new times. 

I asked how she was getting by, and she told me little projects still came and went, but she lived mostly off of an IRA that was quickly diminishing. In listening to Elsa, and thinking about how she has managed to persist, it made me sad that her skill-set was going away. The same as the typesetters. I don't think she can reinvent herself now. She is an old dog that doesn't know how to begin learning new tricks, and is the first to admit it. She is an artist, she bleeds paint. Like almost everyone over 65, the computer is non-intuitive and elusive technology.

After I left our coffee, we both gave one last look over our shoulders at one another. I was met with mixed emotions, one of sadness for my friend, and one of gratitude that I embrace technology and try to utilize it in my art, hopeful that this will keep me from becoming a dinosaur someday.

Monday, February 9, 2009

stuck and unstuck

I have been working on some new art, as well as experimenting with different techniques. I don't love the almost finished product. I feel like I am at a stuck spot. In the past when I worked in Caran d'ache I would often get my pieces to a point where they looked terrible. Then I would keep pushing to the other side until they came to life. It was sort of like resuscitating a hapless victim. The piece would be laying there, sad and lifeless, then with stroke after stroke of color, it would start to lift from the page alive. I find that the digital pieces I am working on right now need some of that love. But how do I decide if it is the technique I don't like, or that the pieces just need more love?  Do I keep pushing until I either kill them altogether or do I see if they start to breathe? With all these years of painting and drawing, stuck and unstuck , this is what I have learned on how I move on when my illustrations seem stagnant:

1) Turn the piece upside down. For some wacky reason the change allows me to see the flaws more clearly, and the successes. Ok, so I will rotate my canvas.
2) Exercise. I choose to run, but whatever get's your heart pumping, and endorphins coursing should do the trick. I find that it really helps my mind get clear and I feel less bound by my normal constraints.
3) Step away from that illustration and start something else. Just taking a break and coming back to whatever I am stuck on often helps me return fresh.
4) Go crazy on it. Add colors I don't love, do some wacky line treatments, really shake it up. Now if I am working traditionally, this is a real commitment, but working digitally this isn't scary if you save the new piece as a new named file. 
5) Drink a glass of wine. Ok this works if I am working in the evening, and as long as you like wine. But sometimes just loosening up a bit is all it takes to let go of the vice like grip on stodginess. 

I think I will start with number 4 today. I am feeling brave and in my heart I think I just need to shake things up. If that doesn't work, I will run with a glass of wine.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Google alerts

Ok so who has time to just read every cool thing on the internet? I wish I did, but do not. Therefore I am in love with Google Alerts. First you have to make sure you have your Google page as an iGoogle, which essentially is personalizing  your Google home page. Which can be fun and time consuming if you get sucked into all the features and additions. I go fairly minimalist but have feeds to my favorite blogs, the weather, John Stewart quote, and news. I avoid the 'daily art' and anything that just sucks my load time. Now the Google Alert is simple really. You login to your Google account, then go to Personal Settings, Alerts. When you select Alerts you are taken to a simple interface where you type in the key words you want Google to scan for and send you updates. I get daily updates on things such as Manufacturers Licensing Art, Illustration, Karyn Servin (to see if I pop up anywhere unexpected) and a few other industry specific terms. Then once a day I get a handy email for each of my alerts with links. You can drill down in your Google Alert to only search for types of reference, be it video, blog, news, groups etc... I choose comprehensive to be more encompassing for my needs. This is a great way to find interesting articles, insight into what is happening elsewhere and expand your connections. As a busy Illustrator, I don't have time to read every blog, that's why I let Google help find content that is relevant. Of course I still love reading my favorite blogs and make sure to find time for them!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Illustration is art

I know my posting isn't super timely, but better late than never. Andrew Wyeth died a little over a week ago. His death while not a huge news item brought up an argument that has plagued me my entire art career. 

Many artists claimed Andrew Wyeth was an Illustrator, NOT an Artist. Ok, I am just sick and tired of the blah blah blah of 'Artists' professing Illustration is NOT art. It is about creating vision, it IS personal, it IS inventive, it IS smart. Yes, it entails solving a visual problem - for someone other than yourself. Illustration is aesthetic, it is about creating something visually appealing, but it also is about telling a story or conveying a message. Whereas Art as is often defined is purely aesthetics. So by that reasoning, I feel Illustration is more cerebral, more evocative, more compelling. More importantly, what bothers me most is that being called an Illustrator is a put down. As though being an Artist is so much more prestigious. Illustration is an honorable path and I for one am proud to be an Illustrator.

Friday, January 16, 2009

personality of the talented

My family and I were watching American Idol last week with our Turkish exchange student. She likes to sing so we thought she would find it entertaining, and well we often find the auditions entertaining too. While we were watching the show, my husband pointed out that you can tell the people who have talent as they enter the room and speak their first sentence. There are traits that are fairly consistent. Now if you have watched the auditions, or seen the trailers you know that some people who try out are awful, no terrible. Some come in with brazen attitude and are 'ok' or maybe they suck. But the ones with the real talent, the ability to shine come in with no fan fare. The tend to be 'real'. They enter with a calm self-assuredness. Not easily rattled, not visibly nervous, and often with a slightly humble air. The cocky, the flamboyant, the trash talkers, the beggars, the nut jobs, they are so obviously faking, pretending to be talented. So what does this tell us? I think we can apply this art as well. When you go to an illustrators site that feels forced, over the top, contrived, self-ingratiating, it feels awkward and the art feels amateur. But when you go to a calm site, with purposeful art that is not boastful, you can tell this person knows what they are doing. Letting the art speak for itself, thereby letting us see the artist as the art.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

sketchcrawl rocks!

Yippee! Yesterday was my first 'SketchCrawl' and it was a great time. I met fellow artists, and spent some quality time drawing. I remember when I was in college and used to survive on public transportation to get around. The best part were all the unsuspecting victims on the bus and train. I have page after page of innocents, sketched on their treks, the business man reading the paper, the tired mom with kids, the skater boys, the girlie girls, oh yes the down trodden and the bored, the drugged out, the hipped, the oblivious. I love those sketches, I remember almost everyone, really I do. 

SketchCrawl reminded me to slow down, watch the world go by and of course, make a permanent record of it! My thanks to the Portland group, Alanna Randall you kick much butt. And to Antoine, the subject of my first sketch. 

Looking forward to the next SketchCrawl.

Monday, January 5, 2009

sketch crawl

Calling all fellow Portland artists. This Saturday is 'Sketchcrawl'. Come join me and my groovy new friends at Pioneer Place at 10am, this January 10th. Just bring your sketchbook, pencil (or whatever it is you sketch with) and meet us at the downstairs Starbucks for some coffee and drawing of randomness. Should be fun!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

losing friends

Goodbyes. It seems we don't often get to say goodbye to the people who have helped form us along our path in life. Twice in the last year I have lost important souls along my artistic journey. Both came without warning, both I stumbled upon the news. 

I knew Terry Toedtemeier in the mid 1980's. He was a photography instructor at PNCA and the curator of photography at the Portland Art Museum. He was such a genuine and robust soul that his persona was deeply magnetic. Terry was quirky, passionate about his art, a gear-head, fine cook, and always seemed to have time for anyone with a heart. He was a very good friend of my college boyfriend so I got the good fortune of getting to know him better (being that I was an Illustration major, and my boyfriend was a photography major). I enjoyed going to his house, crazy trips into the desert, and learned a deep appreciation for basalt and geology of Oregon - specifically the Columbia River Gorge. My boyfriend was not only a talented photographer but also a talented carpenter, so I found myself at Terry's often as Terry was remodeling his home with my boyfriend doing much of the carpentry. The time I spent with him was punctuated with laughter, unbelievable quantities of obscure facts, and penetrating artistic vision.

Terry taught me about many things. But most importantly he taught me to be passionate, patient, true to oneself, and to love life. His loss will be felt for years to come. I am grateful that I was so blessed to spend time with him, to learn from him, to share a bit of his beautiful life.

Friday, January 2, 2009

another cupcake of love

Here we go, the last of my half dozen cupcakes! I would love feedback so please send me your notes and suggestions. Not sure I love this one. Sometimes I love them, sometimes I don't. The funny thing about art is that the ones I love most, are not necessarily the ones others love. I love the sketch, but just not sure about the finished piece. I will start on repeats after I have posted all my art to the Podgallery. Need to get that up there to start the new year!