Friday, November 19, 2010

Xelias Aerial Arts Fundraiser Paintings

I am working on a series of paintings based on different forms of aerial arts that are taught at the circus school that I attend here in Mpls. The school is called Xelias Aerial Arts Studio and it is about a 10 - 15 min walk from my house in NE mpls. They are having a fundraiser this weekend to help fund their studio since it is a non-profit they depend alot on donations to keep the studio running. I love taking classes there and decided to volunteer my services as an illustrator and donate some paintings for an auction that they are having this weekend. I have not yet finished my series yet but I gave them the first painting so that bidders could get a taste of the whole series. I am doing a theme of elements for each painting, so the one pictured below is the "Air" painting depicting a women doing aerial silks on vines. I also have a "Water", "Earth" and "Fire"to be completed. Even if the paintings do not sell at the auction then I am happy I worked on this project. I tried a new technique of painting for me; using gouache on canvas. I used an absorbent ground made by golden, painting a thin layer over a gessoed canvas that I had bought. This created a layer that will take water based mediums such as gouache and watercolor, which I enjoy using much more than oil or acrylic. It was very enjoyable to paint on and felt very similar to the cold press watercolor that I usually paint on; the texture was a bit different but did not bother me much. The gouache was very vibrant and blended very well on the canvas as well. I hope to do many more paintings using this technique as I believe it makes paintings easier to sell. See the large sketch and (almost) finished painting below. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

"A Tale from Tailsville" is complete and for Sale on Amazon

A Tale from Tailsville was written by local MN author, Dan Drotzman; and it is a short chapter book for children and adults alike. It is a fun story about a town of dogs and their election for a new mayor. I painted the color cover art for this book as well as the interior black and white images. The cover I painted in gouache and the interior I used a new kind of paint for me: casein paint. Casein is a milk protein based paint that is water soluble. It worked very similarly to gouache for me so I may not be switching brands as of yet, but it was fun to try something new. I am very happy with the interior images; it was interesting to research and paint new breeds of dogs.(here are a few below) Another fun fact is that I have also illustrated two other dog books for different authors. See A Day with Bacchus on and see Is that My Tail? on

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Grand Old Day Fair in St.Paul

I participated in the Grand Old Day Fair on June 2nd this year and although it is supposed to be the biggest one day fair in the midwest I was sorely disappointed in my sales. I did a few craft fairs in CA and was somewhat successful selling my greeting cards and block prints but not so this time. I believe most of the failure was due to the fact that this fair was not exclusively an art fair, but an all around family day fair, including a parade as well as music stage with bands. So it seemed that most of the people there had not come to shop but to see the free events, such as the parade; which went down the art fair street for at least and hour, stopping all foot traffic past the sale tables. I also realized once there that most of my art is rather small and priced accordingly so next time I would definitely have a larger range of sizes and items to diversify my price points. Overall it was a learning experience of what to not do at large art fairs, and also a good lesson on what to bring. Sunscreen being top on the list, as well as lots of snacks as the food vendors were far away from my table, and more small bills for change than you think you need, as well as weights for my cards which kept blowing away. In the end I got a bit burnt from the sun but sold a few cards and prints, no original paintings, but gave away a lot of my new business cards.  Hopefully I will get some work from one of those business card recipients, that would be an added bonus to the learning experience. (see my table below-looking a bit too empty)

NAVS Art for Animals 2010- Contest Results:

Got the results from the NAVS contest and I received an honorable mention for my works (see below). My artwork will be used in their quarterly newsletter and also on their website! I am hoping to get a copy of the newsletter for my portfolio and will be posting links to the webpages when I get them. Glad I entered the contest and got some great pieces from the project. I definitely had to think outside of the box on this one.

Here is the link to the actual winners of the contest below.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

NAVS Art for Animals Contest 2010

Here are my entries for the National Anti- Vivisection Society contest "art for animals".(logo is theirs) I was working on them till 2:30 am the night before they were due- a throw back to my old college days of procrastination! But I am happy with the results. Lesson learned: Hand painting tiny letters over and over is not as easy as you think.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Painting for CBIG show at MN Book Arts Show

This is my final painting in the frame, taken with my phone camera since my real camera is still not working at the moment. (need to get a better pic when I get it back) The theme was "Exploration and Creativity" it opened on April 8 and runs thru June 20, 2010. I unfortunately missed the opening because I was back in MA visiting family. The show is being put on by Minnesota Children's Book Illustrators Guild (CBIG), which I am now a member. The show is at the MN Center for Book Arts in downtown Minneapolis. You can find some pics from the opening on the CBIG blog.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Silly Spring Sign for Store

I made this sign while working today at The Green Goober, the eco-friendly toy store I work at. I wanted to get into the feeling of spring, even if the weather today is cloudy and cold. So I made a display of some of the "spring" products that we carry - recycled plastic handled jump ropes, grow a sunflower in a pot kits, as well as some other flowers in a can. I threw in some cheesy rhymes to complete the cheery theme of the signage, about some of my favorite wood products: a tree swing made of a slice of a tree, (bark still intact), and also a nice birch wood sling shot with real leather ammo pocket. I may be getting a tree swing for my backyard just to welcome spring in. Gotta work on that whole gardening thing too.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A new meaning for CSA: Community Supported Art

Springboard for the Arts and, two great organizations for artists based in Minnesota have joined forces to create a project that uses the abbreviation of CSA in a new way. Many of us local agricultural enthusiasts have come to use this term in reference to vegetable boxes delivered to your kitchen from local farms. Now we can use CSA in a new way to describe locally supported art; the project entails the creating of 50 pieces of art by each artist in the program. Each artist will receive a stipend for their time in creating these pieces, and copies are allowed. The call for artists to submit work just ended yesterday, and I managed to add my submission to the ranks. The call for art was open to musicians, performing artists, and writers as well as visual artists. Part of the application process was to write a proposal of what you would do for the project if you were accepted, green or environmentally conscience proposals were encouraged. I realized after writing my proposal that the idea of doing eco-conscious art is what I have been trying to do with my craft projects, but I have not yet incorporated into my paintings. I do intend to write some environmentally inspired children's books but have not finalized many of my ideas yet. I think I will just start working on my 50 pieces of art anyways as a portfolio project for myself. I wanted to create pieces on the subject of organic and sustainable farming practices. I see some paintings of heirloom chicken breeds coming in the future. To find more information about the CSA project goto their website posting here.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Illustration Friday - "Clumsy"

Here is my entry for Illustration friday from a few weeks ago.. finally finished. I am happy with my "Clumsy Skunk"- thinking of making it into a short story or children's book someday too!

Friday, February 19, 2010

MIA Show Opening was a Mad House!

Went to the show opening last night and had a lovely wait in line for 45 min to get into see all the artwork. There were almost 5,000 individual artworks from local MN artists. There were three rooms lined with artworks from floor to ceiling. It was a great show to go to even with the long line just to see the diversity of work on the walls and sculptures on the tables. See some of my favorites pieces below and one of mine. They do have a database so you can search for who the artist is while at the show, as there was no room for names on the wall.


Mine is in the middle there - squeezed in..

Sunday, February 7, 2010

"Foot in the Door" Show at MIA

I entered the "Foot in the Door" show today at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The show is named as such because your piece has to fit into a 12" X 12" box in order to qualify for entry; (luckily I work pretty small anyways). I entered the piece below that I just recently finished for my self promo postcard. I had to quickly mount and frame it today since I just heard about the show yesterday and the final day to enter was today. Looks like I will be exhibiting with thousands of other artists in MN as the show is open to all artists in the state. The show only comes around every ten years so I thought I should catch it this time around. The opening will be on February 18th from 6 - 9 pm. I am looking forward to it already as it should be a great time to see other artists in my new home state.

"Blackberry Jam" 

(click to enlarge)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

New Name Painting Finished

This is a name painting I recently finished for a little girls birthday present. It has her name in it with the letters integrated into the nature scene. I made another one for a friend in the past and decided to try another one. I had fun painting the scene with some really bright colors using gouache paint. Lately I have been straying from using my old favorite of watercolor and moving on to gouache paint. The paint being a blend or acrylic and watercolor is easier for me to get great bright colors that are more opaque but I can also water it down and get a wash look as well. I enjoy getting more of a contrast in my pieces then before when I would just use light tones in watercolor. But I still enjoy using cold press watercolor paper as the texture is great.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Working on self promotional postcard this week..

Here is the pencil drawing that I am painting this week to create a self promo postcard to send out to publishers. I will post when finished. Also working on an illustration for Illustration Friday.