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Thursday
Apr092015

Tutorial - Young Girl with Butterflies

My work in progress is always so confusing to the studio visitor. Here is a small tour of how I design a painting. Believe it or not - there is a detailed road map to this painting. I've drawn it on sketch paper. I've identified my composition, colors, and chosen stamps for pattern making. I've prepared my surface with under painting color and marks, then transfered the design on to the prepared paper.

I usually paint the face first. If I don't love the face I'll abandon the painting. Once that part of my painting is settled, I begin working on the background.  As you can see my figure is taped out to protect the surface from additional overpainting, and I've started to block in the field of flowers.

Once I have my flowers painted, I pull the tape. 

Then I retape to frame my dress and stamp a pattern on to it.

Here is a close up of the dress.

I lift the tape and refine the details of the face, hair and ribbon. 

A few more details will still be added to this painting: more flowers, butterflies and grasses.

And there she is, ready to become a greeting card, a coloring book page, and framed as a finished painting.

I'll be teaching my process in a workshop in May. If you are local to the Denver area check my calendar for workshop information. Happy painting!

Friday
Jan022015

Happy New Year 2015

That is how I feel today - pretty excited to see the new year start. Last week was not the same. Everyone in this house had a cold. We spent lots of time wrapped in blankets, lying on the couch and sipping tea with old Christmas movies to keep us company. Not a bad way to be sick, although the amount of work pushed aside so we could just be sick was staggering. Now that I'm recovered, I'm running to catch up so that I can be off to Atlanta on Sunday.


This is not a beer, 
but it is my favorite insulated mug filled with steaming hot Earl Grey, honey and lemon. 

 

These little birds were gifts this year but we were too sick to add them to the birdie tree. For now they look pretty sweet keeping my books company. Thank you Betty and Kevin!

 My new Quilted Women series is making lots of people happy. At first they were released as blank cards. I always knew they needed to say something. I must say, I really labored over the sentiments. It was important to me that they conveyed messages as uplifting as the paintings are. Finally, after writes and rewrites,  and finding a few inspirational quotes, they were ready for print. I can't wait for you to read them. I've just added the new greeting cards to my shop on the website and you can read the wonderful messages with them. I'm so pleased to add 9 new cards to my greeting card line. Below is a preview of one I've written for comfort.

Inside greeting: 

Just as quilts are pieced from the worn dresses
and shirts of our relatives, they are evidence of our own history, 
and provide us with soulful comfort.

May you gain strength and comfort from those who love you.

I'll be at the Atlanta Gift Show, America's Mart
Jan 8th through 12th
Building 3, floor 5, booth 1706

All of my new greeting cards, note cards and a few new ladies (shown above) will be in the booth each day. If you are a gift buyer please stop by and say HI! If you are a card fan, please show them to your favorite gift shop and perhaps they will carry the cards so that you can buy them locally. They are always available in the SHOP on my website.

And here is my motto for 2015! Remember reading Ann Lander's column? I started reading it in 7th grade and always looked for her sage wisdom. What a smart clever woman.  I'm going to follow her advise.

Happy New Year girlfriends!
                                                          
                                                                              

 

Wednesday
Nov262014

Knitting - Making Things With Purpose

I absolutely love to make things. I always have. I come from a family of makers. Sometimes I have been driven by practical reasons to create when the things I wanted would have been to expensive to buy.  I just looked at an item I admired and told myself, "I can can make that!" Over the years I've really come to appreciate my ability to be a maker, especially in a "mass produced" world market. There is a great deal of satisfaction in knowing how things are constructed, if they are well done, and what "some assembly required" actually means.

I make a lot of things - specifically greeting cards that you all know about. But I love to bake cookies, occasionally I sew and sculpt my dolls, and a lot of my free time is spent knitting. Knitting is my "time not wasted" activity. There are always a number of knitting projects in various stages of progress waiting for my interest to return. Almost everyone of them is a gift for someone. My Tuesday night knitting group often discusses the number of hours invested in this sweater or that scarf. It's a constant running joke that we would kill anyone who threw our knitted gift in the wash machine, or even worse - THE DRYER! There are labels that you can purchase to sew in a garment that say that very thing!

Here is an example of what making things looks like!

Inside these baskets is the promise of a winter hat, a baby sweater, afgahn squares, at least three new scarfs and a gift exchangew for my knitting group. I'm going to be bold and tell you that cedar chest is full of more projects. 

From the beginning cast on there is so much promise in those first stitches. Of course there is the delight in what the fiber looks like when all that beautiful color is knit. And then there is the complexity of design, not just in the pattern you choose, but in the very idea that you can just make little loops and turn a long strand of fiber into - "Something, Anything!" That's pretty glorious in it's self, but now add in the joy that comes with giving something you created.

As makers, we all know that until the gift is given, the project is not complete.

I know I've shown you this before. It's titled "A Knitty Christmas"
from Left is Uncle Bob, husband John, Aunt Margie and John's mom, Jane - all sporting hand knits from me.
They were funny to see all lined up for a photo but they were worn for many years!

 I'm wishing all of you, my friends, a Happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful holiday season!
May all of your hand made treasures be loved and appreciated for many years to come! 

                                                                                                                                                       Cheers,

 

 

Thursday
Oct022014

Little Wonder Woman

I took a beautiful photograph of my niece, Rebecca many years ago. We were was getting ready for her 3rd birthday party. She was so excited, busy overseeing all the party preprations and anticipating an event about her. I thought she was just adorable in her wonder woman underwear and sponge curlers. When I decided last year to begin adding some younger women into my card line, I simply fell in love with this photo again.

I'm so happy she granted me permission to use the image in one of my greeting cards. She is an awesome adult - educator, wife and mother with her own little wonder woman (and son!)

Little Wonder Woman is a perfect encouragement card for any woman, young or old.

Find this card at retailers who stock my greeting cards, or in my shop

                                                                                                                Susan

 

Sunday
Aug102014

Quilted Women series

I am just beside myself with pleasure over these new greeting cards. I've been working on this series of paintings for a very long time. I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted to present women in an artful and joyful way. Actually I made lots of written notes with my early sketches. Women as icon was writen on the first joural sketch. So many cultures have celebrated women in iconic styles that everyone is familiar with them: 

  • Goddess in flowing Grecian gowns
  • Native American women wrapped in tribal blankets
  • Japanese women in beautifully embroidered robes
  • Gustav Klimt's exquisitely patterend Venetian women in his paintings

 All of these images represent a reverence for women through culture, and give the artist an opportunity to create beautiful design in the garment.  I truely believe you must paint what you know and therefore I needed to make more a contemporary presentation. If you read my blog or follow my art, its pretty clear hown much I love color and pattern. Because I have quilted a little bit, I am always happy to cut patterns up and reassemble them. I do it with my paintings all the time, always thinking the reassembly is exactly like making a quilt. 

 

THIS IS A SWEET LITTLE PAINTING THAT IS A REASSEMBLE FROM A MUCH LARGER WORK CUT UP IN TO 3 INCH SQUARES.

The quilts from my family are assemblages that represent the women who made them. They have bits of older dresses, or beautifully embroidered squares incorporated into them They are made with care and love of fabric, and they are a pleasure to hold. I just can't imagine how anyone could not feel the love and connection to the quilter when presented with one of these beautiful treasures.  I wrote about them in one of my first blog entries when I began my series series Women I Might Have Known here 

THIS IS A CLOSE UP OF MY BEAUTIFUL QUILT MADE BY ONE OF MY GRANDMOTHERS

Once I was certain I would be using the quilt, I had an image in mind right away. One of my favorite "quilt" books I have read is How to Make An American Quilt by Whitney Otto. It is about the quilters who assemble to make a wedding quilt. I remembered the young bride walked in the early morning wrapped in the finished quilt, enveloped in the love and comfort of others. It was an image that returned to me when I started the sketches in my journal. 

There are many more images of women seeking comfort, warmth, and protection that came to mind and filled my sketch books. All of them featuring interesting patterns and layers of color. I made lots of petite paintings from these ideas. LOTS OF THEM! I made bigger paintings and picked 5 of my favorites to feature as greeting cards.

And here they are, girlfriends! TA DA!

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did making them. 

They are all 5 in my shop right now where you can order them. 

Susan