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Friday
Jun302017

Fashion Illustration - July-August

I started playing with Fashion Illustration when I was thinking of something new to do that stayed inside my love of painting women with beautiful patterns and textures. I enjoy working with the old photos I found in my family albums. My original attraction was the flowered dresses and aprons the women wore. I have so much fun experimenting with new ways to create beautiful pattern when I’m painting their dresses. Last summer I painted in my sketchbook a tribute to my mother-in-law on her birthday. She was such an intriguing woman, living on a tight budget and sewing her own better clothes to keep style in her wardrobe even on a budget. You can read about her here . Below are a couple of the sketchbook paintings of Jane in her fabulous hats.

Her coffee table had copies of Women’s Wear Daily, Vogue and Glamour magazine. She also had copies of Vogue, McCalls and Butterick pattern magazines too. She was always creating something beautiful for herself or her daughter. No cooking or decorating magazines in this house! As a painter, I knew about jeans and paint stained shirts. She really showed me a different world and it was girlie and fun! Ever since meeting her, I gave much more consideration to women's adornments.

My sister-in-law, Lynn, is a fan of vintage design. She and I watched our share of old movies, pointing out all of the beautiful dresses, hats, and coats. The movie subject was not always as importand as how good a star looked in a designer gown. Particular favorites of mine are the films like Funny Face and Sabrina that featured Audrey Hepburn in exquisite designer dresses, or Grace Kelly in It Takes a Thief or Rear Window. Jimmy Stewart was wilting in his cast, but Grace Kelly was cool as a cucumberin her gorgeous party dress. I'm think the movies were great but mostly we ate popcorn and talked about the clothes. 

I normally paint a face first to make sure it works before I make the painting. So much of my work is greeting card art, and I think the face engages to viewer. As I explored vintage themes, a lot of the models were the same person. Models were trained to look vacant, so I found their faces uninteresting and decided I didn't want the viewer to look there first. In fact how can I imagine myself wearing these clothes if someone else is wearing the dress? So - Off goes the head, well at least above the mouth, and that is where I started from.

I've painted evening gowns,

beautiful coats,

mod styles from the1960's,

and day wear, like pencil skirts and fitted dresses.

I enjoy painting these illustrations that celebrate both fashion designers and the photographers that created such lasting images of elegent mid century fashion. I've learned so much about these iconic artists, and encourage anyone who is fasinated with the dresses to read the history of them.

If you are in Colorado this summer, I have an exhibit of these paintings at Baby Doe's Clothing in Gloden Colorado the months of July and August. More than 40 paintings are available. It's a perfect environment for my paintings. You can also find the full line of my greeting cards there.

Cheers, Susan

Thursday
Apr062017

Pretty Maids All in a Row - April exhibit

 

More than 30 now paintings in this exhibit. Including painting above - Pretty Maids All In a Row.

Introducing mew prints of popular Quilted Women paintings.

Monday
Jan302017

Sometimes You Have to Embrace Your Inner Hippie

All of the paintings I make for my greeting card line are inspired by someone I know. Sometimes it’s a relative that lived before me or maybe a story a friend loves to tell about someone in their life, but by the time I make the painting, I know who they are.

In this sweet painting I was inspired by an acquaintance. Her name is Sue Ann and we met a few years ago in a painting seminar class. She was charming and chatty about all things painting. She was recently retired and embarking on a new sojourn into self discovery. I’m not sure she saw it that way, but like many of us; she had worked her career, raised children and was finding an opportunity to explore self. Painting was her love and she was having fun!

Over the years she has emerged to be not only an accomplished talent worthy of calling herself ARTIST, but she has also created quite a life story that I admire. Through the windows of facebook I watched her find love in both life and painting. I have seen her holding grandbabies, building a beautiful painting studio, painting her way around the world and welcoming a wonderful partner (Rick) into her life who shares her journey. Of course I was naturally drawn to her paintings in the beginning. I loved seeing her progress, especially her beautiful portraits, but as her pictures appeared in my feed I saw more.

I saw a woman dancing her way through life.

She celebrates her art, her love and her being, and it is written all over her face when she posts pictures of dancing. I don’t post pictures of dancing. I don’t post pictures of me. She does!

She has photos of painting in Giverny and other wonderful places.
She posts pictures of herself with family and girlfriends. Her tribe is large!  It is all fun to see.
But- the pictures that captured my heart are of Sue Ann dancing. 

Like these photosof Sue Ann and Rick dancing at concerts.

Or - how about this sweet picture dancing in Paris!

And my favorite.....

....dancing down the isle at her wedding.

This is real! And it’s joyful! It’s filled with happiness and celebration. And this is why Sue Ann inspires me. She is a passionate painter and artist, celebrating life in dance and paint. I’m going to keep watching because she encourages me to have more fun!

This sweet birthday card  and lots of other new cards are now in the shop . Head on over and find some great cards to celebrate life and friendship!

Susan

Thursday
Jul212016

Motivation

One of the interesting things about making paintings is the emotional response I have to my art.  Different themes flow through my brushes but they are all intimately linked to me as a person. Sometimes it is a quirky little road I've traveled to bring an idea to fruition,  but I get there because the theme speaks to me. Sometimes it is a relentless gnawing that wakes me up from sleep and sometimes it's a rapid fire idea that requires pencil to paper immediately. Eventually I get somewhere with it but I will have you know there are several themes in various stages that you haven't seen yet. Don't you just want to know? Something is always cooking! Some of the themes are very old friends of mine and will always be with me - my love of women's life stories, birds in trees and of course, my Quilted Women series that I'm sharing in this writing.

Beyond working in a theme, each painting requires its own unique story. Even if I have found a new pattern or concept for a painting it still must have a message that is compelling.

 This painting is so large, certainly for me. I spent several weeks making it. I became very emotionally involved with it, saying hello every morning and stopping reluctantly each night. I began by carving a stamp that allowed me to paint blocks of rosettes. After placing the stamped images I needed to find a color story for my painting. That takes me to my close painting girlfriends - The Friday Painters. I really love the pallet of my friend Diane Calkins and thought I would use her colors for a challenge. I started out calling this painting Diane. I painted a few colors in some of my blocks. Each time I mixed a new color I put a stroke of it on the top. Gradually I found my own colors.
 While I'm in the studio I listen to podcasts, books on tape or music. This day I was listening to oldies and a couple of old Todd Rundgren favorites played. While I was making my rosette quilt squares the music was pretty up lifting. And- it was moving my painting along in a beautiful rhythm.  Pretty soon I began to see a story to this particular painting. My Quilted Woman is standing humbly with arms wide open ready to comfort. And then I wrote my title.
That became a mantra while I painted. 
 Throughout the weeks that I have worked on this - LOVE was my underlying theme in each rosette square I painted. Of course I'm still attentive to all of the other things I know must happen in a painting, color transitions, patterns mixed with solids, good value and composition. But with love as my mantra it was easier to shine light on my figure and create a rich glow.
My finished painting - Love Is the Answer, 36 x 48 inches frame added
Stop by my booth, #102 at the Golden Fine Art Festival to see it. 
Sunday
Jul102016

Walking with friends


 

I used to walk with my friend, Barbara. We were neighbors for many years, and we went for an early morning walk a good number of those years. Her husband made us a cup of coffee every day that I totally appreciated as we started out.  We set our empty mugs on the curb at the end of the street and picked them up on our return. She was an outstanding walking pal.  On those walks we solved all of our problems. We planned craft shows where we shared a booth. We planned events for our families. and neighbors. We talked about our jobs, our kids, our parents and of course, ourselves.

In all of the years I have been a daily walker, I think having someone to walk with is a grand way to start the day. First - there is the commitment to get up and go, because someone is standing outside waiting for you.

Second, it grounds you because a friend who walks daily with you is going to be a good sounding board. They will let you know you are being silly or perhaps flat out wrong about things. In fact - giving your ideas a test run by your walking partner before you take real action is probably smart. I know it has kept me from doing and saying a lot of stupid things. She will remind you she told you so!

And third - its makes a day have purpose. I always come home from a walk feeling like I have achieved something. It is so much easier to head to the studio if I have a couple of miles on my day.

A terrible picture but a great memory. This is me with Barb on a road trip we planned to the winery in Herman, Missouri. Did we do "we shouldn't be doing this" things? I'm not telling.

 In the case of my friend, Barbara, we benefited from all of the above,  and we planned lots of things that provided us with ample laughs later. We always walked just before light because we had early morning starts for work. At certain times of the year we walked in real darkness. We were nearly run over by a shocked neighbor who could not believe we were outside ibefore daylight. We were met out on the street by a gentleman in his bathrobe reprimanding us about our volume as we walked by his house. We crossed paths with a "wanted  man" coming up from the creek where he had been sleeping. Later in the morning we saw an alert for him on the news. (That was actually scary.) We found money on the street. Sometimes we visited with other neighbors who were coming outside to collect newspapers or start their own daily walk. We admired gardens and house additions. Mostly we just shared our lives with each other. Walking with Barbara has provided me with memories that will sustain me forever.

You really should find a pal to walk with. And in honor of that friendship, and the other terrific women I've had the pleasure to share daily walks with, Carol, Connie, Rennie, and Sara, I made this card. Where else are you going to plan your life's adventures? Card is blank on the inside. No doubt you have your own great stories about "things you shouldn't be doing"to share inside! Enjoy.

Susan