Sunday, March 30, 2008

Happiness Part III : An Inspiration Notebook

In an effort to get started in the spring-cleaning groove, I decided it was time to go through the massive shelf of magazines and catalogs I own. Domino, Blueprint, Vogue, Communication Arts, InsideOut, Anthropologie...they all wound up on the floor in a nice pile. I was tired of having so many of them, and they were certainly taking up a lot of valuable space. So, out came the scissors.I was ruthless. I only kept the images that I felt connected with, that inspired me in some way--be it color, pattern, overall aesthetic, etc. Nothing was too sacred. Anthro catalogs were chopped up, Domino photos cut out, pics and illustrations from Communication Arts back-issues were taken from their bindings and the ones I liked were kept. Everything else was recycled.Each keeper was glued onto paper and neatly tucked into clear page protectors in a white binder and now, instead of a shelf of about 50 messy magazines, I have one clean binder full of inspiration. The best of the best. No words, just a pure visual feast for the eyes.

And that makes me very, very happy.
Lots of coffee and painting on my end. I would post pics of the progress so far, but it's a piece for a very dear friend who happens to read the blog quite regularly. And I want her to be surprised to the max! :) That's just the type of person I am.

Cheerio, kiddos!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Happiness Part II : Fabric Piles

A month ago, I decided I would try to make my very own quilt. I'm not very good at sewing--it's one of those skills I wish I knew, but don't--and more importantly, I don't own a sewing machine, which means the entire quilt will need to be hand sewn. Oh yes, I'm expecting plenty of tears and mistakes--but I'm hoping they'll just make it that much more special once completed.
Now, after a month of buying different fabrics in my favorite color scheme (red/aqua/yellow), I have a wonderful pile of patterns and colors.
Seeing all these fabrics together in a stack like this makes me oh-so-very happy....which is also part of the reason why I haven't started digging in and cutting everything up (that and I'm a major procrastinator).Here's to the weekend! I'll be working as well as locking myself away to paint. Plus, taking lots of coffee breaks. :)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Little Bit Of Happiness

The urchins crept into the shop this morning and are currently resting until they get snatched up. I must say, seeing them all lined up together makes me way happier than it probably should.

And this little one I think may now be my favorite of the lot (not to worry, little red urchin! I still love you too...).
I'd like to try a little something different.

Over the next week, I'm going to make some blog posts of random things in life that are making me happy at the moment. Little things. Often forgotten things. Experiences. Inspirations. You get the idea. I've been taking lots of everyday photos of inspirational bits and bobs that I'm surrounded by for fun--ranging everywhere from clothes to fossils to notebooks. Quite random. Spring is here and though I love Winter dearly, I have this burst of happiness and creative energy that only comes from the start of a brand new season.

So today I have a couple of different things to share with you that are making me very happy indeed...

First, PBS aired the Hansel and Gretel opera performance at the Met Absolutely amazing! My favorite scene was this creative and simple adaptation of the forest (turning it into a dining room):

How insanely clever. A long dining table (not yet shown in this particular shot) served as a representation of the forest pathway, and just look at those wonderful leaf-wallpapered walls! Unfortunately I missed the last 30 mins. of the show (egads! how terrible of me!) because of a coffee date, so I need to re-watch it again. Which I would love to do.
Also, I've started collecting vintage scarves from the thrift stores and am majorly loving them. I've been using them to tie back my messy hair, wear around my neck to jazz up an outfit, and hang on the wall as instant wall-art.

I just realized that in most photos of me online I am wearing this hat, which is actually kinda funny because I honestly don't wear hats that often. Hmm...But you *can* see that sweet little ivory rose brooch on my favorite jacket, which brings me to another small bit of happiness. It belonged to my grandmother many many years ago, and I can't help but create little 50s housewife scenes in my head whenever I wear it. It's actually one of my most cherished accessories.

So...what's making *you* happy at the moment? Sunshine? Teacups? Hikes in the mountains? I'd love to hear and/or see them if you decide to do some "Happiness Posts" as well! :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Teeny Tiny Urchins

Hey, gang! I hope everyone enjoyed their Eastery weekend. I spent Sunday drinking coffee, watching movies, and generally lounging about (followed up with a bout of guiltiness for doing so). The best part though? The after-Easter candy sales. Oh yeah. I have stomach cramps from eating too many jellybeans, but how can anyone resist a huge bag of jelly bird eggs for only $1.50? Not I.

I'd also like to give you all a sneak peak of some new mini tag paintings that were completed just before the weekend hit:
It's an entire multi-colored urchin collection--8 in all. I bought some fabulous urchin dangle earrings from Etsy seller staroftheeast last month and ever since have been doodling urchins in my sketchbook.
I'm planning on doing a bit of a
shop update with these guys on Thursday. They'll go live at 10am PST (1pm EST) en masse and at very affordable original art prices. Hoorah!

I'm a bit partial to this wee red one ("Number 6").
In other news, Susan (aka Art Kitten) has put up a wee feature about little ol' me on her blog. I adore her paintings and frequent her blog and etsy shop quite regularly. You can see said feature right here.

And her mention of me being a Wes Anderson nut totally reminded me that I found out Darjeeling Limited will in fact be coming out to Criterion Disc in the Fall sometime this year! Rejoice! I'm so happy. Ever since it came out on standard dvd last month I've had a very hard time holding back from snatching it up.

As a completely unrelated side note, I am quite embarrassed to say that my tiny Christmas tree is still hanging out in the living room. With ornaments. And lights (but I must say, I haven't lit it since December, so that's a plus). I am now freakishly ashamed and will hopefully be packing it all up before the weekend.

I'll see you all on Thursday! Enjoy the week!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Snail Trails

Can you believe that this coming weekend is Easter? It always feels so odd when it lands in March. Very peculiar. I'll be working most of the weekend, but have plans to do some painting and movie watching on Sunday. Maybe eat some chocolate and make egg salad sandwiches...
I got a nice surprise in the mail this past week...postcards!
I thought this painting would work awesomely for postcards, and sure enough, I'm mad about them. I have visions of these snails flying into the mailboxes of uber conservative folks all over the country. Grandmas! Grandpas! Really weird and reclusive uncles and aunts!

They've just been loaded into the shop in packs of 5 and come along with luscious red envelopes. Yum yum!

I was also surprised to get a notice from Anne of A Thing of Beauty that I've been included in the 100 Great Artists at Etsy list which she's compiled. Wow! What an honor! If you haven't taken a peak at the list, I seriously encourage you to do so because it looks beautiful. She did a wonderful job laying it out and there's so many splendid artists on there--both of the famous and lesser-known variety.

I think I hear my stomach growling, so lunch is in due order. Cheerio, my good friends!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Gold and Aqua

Just a quickie post before I head out the door to do some highly-needed grocery shopping. Grocery shopping is my least favorite thing to do. It takes much planning and meditation on my part to get it done. My kitchen has been quite barren for a couple weeks now, and yet isn't it funny that the only thing that motivates me to go to the store is the fact that the cat is now running low on kitty litter. I see who's really the head of the house now....

Anyway, I thought I'd share a wee sneak peak at the beginnings of the 8-Legged Man circus sideshow painting (a biggun for me at 11x14").
More gold leafing, lots of awesome antique newspaper with some pretty neat headlines, and some intricate patterns. There's lots more to do to it. The background is still quite incomplete (needs stripes!) and then of course, it's missing the main character...
And while at the mall last week, I spied these amazing flats in the shoe department (a death trap for me).
Look at how similar these look to my painting so far! It was meant to be.

I forgot to mention in my last post that, unfortunately, the tote bag screen printing deal kinda fell through into oblivion. And I even bought a nice handful of these amazing EcoBag totes (I love them--they're shopping bag sized so you can fit *anything* in them + there's a handy little pocket inside for your phone/keys/ipod/coin purse). Here they are, after a nice wash, and getting all ironed up.
I was going to do some heat-set transfers onto them, but wasn't digging how those turned out. So, they'll have to lie around until I come up with a use for them. Who knows? They may end up getting painted/stenciled on.

Away I go! More painting to do tonight, if I can make it back from the grocery store alive...
Enjoy your weekend, gang!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Full Circle

Gee wiz. A banner. Finally. A bit pixelated, I see, so I'll need to go back and tweak that a bit, but I'm so happy to be rid of the boring black. Yay!

Lots to show and tell!

I love trying out new surfaces to paint on, as you well know, and so last month I picked up some killer neat engraved bone beads from the bead store. One side of the beads is blank, the other is engraved with a playing card design to make these little gems look like mini playing cards! How swell is that? So, thought I, I wonder if I could paint on that blank side and turn these little things into something marvelous.

Here's the result...Neat, no? A couple of drippy earrings picturing circusy tents and bowler hats, what could possibly be better? I went all out with these to ensure the materials are all top-notch, so all the wire and ear hooks on these is sterling silver.

You can see the backs of the bone card beads in this photo:
Both pairs of earrings will be uploaded into the shop on Monday for eager ears. These were quite labor-intensive and completely, utterly, one-of-a-kind. Replicas will not be made (I would like to try this idea out again at another time perhaps, but I won't be painting the same designs again to keep everything fresh). *Edit: The circus tent earrings are now sold! Thank you!*

I'll be back with another post on Sunday!