Sunday, December 19, 2010

What's UP in the Studio- Switching Gears to a New Painting......VERY LONG!

I am almost ready to go back to my tulip painting, after studying it for a bit I think I know where I want to go with them.  It's funny or weird that as an artist, I'll focus on working at one kind of subject or style, only to find myself moving beyond it to other things.  When I started painting again 3 years ago, I didn't want to paint people, I wanted to paint flowers!  We'd been living in the Caribbean for 7 years and tho' there are many charms of living on an island, tropical flowers really don't do anything for me!  So I was obsessed with roses, and pansies and oh the TULIPS.......and so, that's where the flower thing came from.
At this point in my life, I'd also kind of forgotten HOW to paint so I needed an easy subject that I could paint over and over again as I relearned how to "see" the colors and textures and shape relationships.....
This was my first attempt and though you probably can't tell what kind of flower it is; it was during my "Moonflower obsession".....I can definitely see a difference in where I was as an artist at that point.  These pieces are much "flatter" than what I do now.  I suppose at that time, I was looking to create exact replicas from my references.  Not very creative, but I felt it was useful for what my goal was at the time- remembering HOW to paint, create good compositions, and building a body of work.
I think I've come a ways in my color choices- this remains my least favorite of any painting I have EVER done!

In my mind, this Nasturtium piece was where the "lights came back on" for me and I really turned a corner with the quality of my work.  I was finally seeing some improvement!  Even though, I was still not making progress with creativity at this point- I was getting closer to my goals :)
These two, were a bit "daring" for me at that point in that I started moving away from matching exact color palettes to my references and began using my own color choices whether they were part of the reference or not.   It's also where I became a bit more abstract in my comps- less concerned with the flower being recognizable as what KIND of flower it was and more interested in the shapes, colors and inflections of light.

This is probably my favorite of my flower paintigns.  It's also the last flower I did where I was completely inspired to DO a flower as my subject.  BUT I was at a loss as to what direction I wanted to move towards.  And for me, it's really important to paint on a regular basis, whether I'm inspired or not.  So, I kept doing flowers, and more flowers, always waiting for inspiration to lead me where I wanted to be- even though I didn't know where that was!

One of the reasons I joined my Etsy team, Inspiration Avenue was in hopes of being guided towards new areas in my paintings......I was still feeling so uninspired.  I knew I wanted to change, but HOW?
This was from an IA challenge, and the first painting that sparked a glimmer of recognition that I was moving in the right direction for me- it felt RIGHT and poured off the brush onto the canvas.  I wasn't worried so much about detail- I just knew I wanted light and movement- the suggestion of a garden....

After that, I went back to more flowers, and more flowers......and some MORE flowers- always waiting for another inspiration.  Then IA's theme was coffee or tea- something along those lines.....I wanted to do a lady, and I wanted her to have lime green in her face and this reminded me of Matisse's portrarait of his mother which I decided to use as a reference....which led to my "Mocha Mama"
And I knew that THIS is where I want to be as an artist.  
I felt like I was finally figuring out how to "spark the muse"  And I now know that it won't happen every time.  It's important to keep painting and to keep loose.  I've come a long way, and still have further to go.  But I'm (slowly) getting there, and that gives me a measure of peace :) 
So, here's my new painting, I'm not done with her, but I'm VERY happy with her!  She was inspired by a Klimt painting, and I tried to follow what I did with Mocha Mama in taking inspiration and then going my own direction.......
So there you have it- I really didn't plan to write a novella this morning, it just kind of poured out.  So if you've stayed with me for this long, I must thank you for your patience and promise that my next posting will be more along the lines of "short and sweet"!
Have a bright and beautiful day!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Decking the Halls.......Part 2

This is one of my favorite ornaments made with a footprint, 2 handprints and a thumbprint for the nose
The last thing I did before getting sick was to start decorating my house for the holidays. Actually, that should have been my first sign that I was going down, because this is usually one of my favorite things to do! And it wasn't. At least not at the time. But I've been tweaking here and there, and it's finally about where I want it, or at least at that point where I can say, "Good enough!"

So here's your mini holiday tour of my home.......
I always try to make a new wreath- this one was actually a Summer wreath centered around a HUGE sunflower head- I just added fresh berries, greenery and a favorite ornie.... 

My little antique mannikin always shos up in my seasonal decorations- so here he is sporting his yule tide offerings.....
That's all for now-

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Decking the Halls- Part 1

This is our Christmas Angel that Emmie made with a self portrait and handprint wings when she was three-
today is her 15th birthday- yes, her "golden" birthday :D
This is actually the second posting I've done this morning, but due to technical difficulties with Blogger's photo editor, I've given up and set it up as 2 separate posts........
Here is some of the "Holly and Ivy" I've added in around my house.  I haven't been quite as enthusiastic this year with everyone being sick and all, but at least I've got *some* green and glitter around...enjoy :)
I love this Father Christmas- he is so magical to me!

My little mannikin always makes it into the holiday decor....

Emmie's Baby Foot Reindeer

When Caroline was in Pre K- the teachers did a bulletin board of "What they wanted to get Mom for Christmas" 
I very happily removed from the display for my own keeping :D

My art teacher and her sister made this Santa for my Christmas Ornament wedding shower- it is one of my FAVORITE things!

You might recognize this painting- I like to keep my favorites close until they sell- that way, I'm able to part with them....after spending so much time with them, they become almost like on of your chldren!

A bejeweled pomegranate and some mini ornies to accessorize my Lady......

Can I blame the cord showing on the fact that I had a high fever when I was on the ladder hanging this?

O.K. that's by far enough (probably too much) but I have to say in my defense, after fighting with blogger and the image editor so much lately, I finally caved and did it through Picassa- SO much easier, civilized and there was NO teeth grinding occured in the process.  Picassa- I LOVE you!
AND, now, I'm feeling much more Christmassey- maybe even enough to get the ladder out and fix that cord.......:)
Have a bright, blessed day!
I'm off to start my Victorian-ish piece......

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Just Checkin' in.....

Hello all, I can't believe how long it's been since I posted anything!  The flu hit our house and hit HARD.....first my daughter got sick and was out of school for three days at the beginning of last week, then my son got it and was sick from Friday through the weekend.  I managed to to pick it up somewhere between the two of them, and I'm sure, those of you who are Mom's remember how hard it is to stop "doing" and rest even when you're sick. So I pushed and pushed over the weekend, managing to get little things done and crashing by the middle of each day.  Real smart right?  Anyway, I am finally on the mend and only one kid left home sick- my oldest succumbed on Sunday.  I HATE the flu!
I did manage to hold a paintbrush for a little while yesterday and attempt to finish my tulip this point it could be technically called "finished" but I'm not listing it on Etsy until I've had it set aside for a while, 'cause I'm just not happy with it.  Could be the remmnants of fever instead of the actual painting tho', so I'll wait. 
Meanwhile I have a lady in my head calling to be painted......I watched the Titanic on Sunday, nothing like a reaaallly romantic tragedy while you're tucked up in bed sneezing, fevering and all the like :)  Anyway, the "vision" of Victoriana (hope I'm in the right era:)) has stuck in my head, so that's where I'm going next.  Hopefully getting moving on a new painting will get me out of this funk I'm in- something has to!
It doesn't help things that this isn't the best picture- there's a lot more detail in the white tulips than shows up

I am happy with the red tulip- "Rose Red" and the leaves.....

So that's my "check in" just so folks know I'm still around.  I've been managing to visit some blogs- if I haven't made it to yours yet, I promise to stop by soon :)  
Have a great day!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Finally got a bit of Christmas on my blog!

I had planned on having a "Christmassy" background on my blog on the 1st. But with life being as crazy busy as it has been, I only managed it this morning. But I LOVE it! Sharon at Plumrose Lane has several gorgeous FREE blog backgrounds available. She also has the matching side bar buttons if you so desire to have them. And, last, but not least, she offer beautiful banners for ALL her background designs in her Etsy Shop. Go check 'em out!

Sharon also shares MANY tutorials on various blogging topics such as changing your background from a two column format to three and the ins and outs of Google Analytics.
Have a great Monday!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Weekly Challenge- "Once Upon a Time"

Whew, I didn't think I would get something in here on time! But here is my entry for this week's challenge at Inspiration Avenue- "Snow White- Rose Red". The theme was "Once Upon a Time" and it led me to think of fairy tales. And since I've been having a tulip craving of late, I decided to do a tulip painting featuring a group of tulips most white except for one you go:

Granted it's still a WIP, but hopefully ya'll can get the general idea of where it's going.  While you're at it, go take a peek at Inspiration Avenue to see what everyone else did.  It always ends up being a wonderfully diverse collection!
Have a great day!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Acrylic Painting: "Midnight in the Garden"

I finally finished my new painting- "Midnight in the Garden" it seems like it took forever;  between working all last week on my Thanksgiving dinner and all the other little incidentals that came up.  But here it is- for better or worse, finished.  As always, I can see other things I'd work on if I let myself, however, as I've said before- the hardest part of painting is deciding when it's complete.  So. This. Painting. Is. Now. Complete...!
For more pictures, check it out in my Etsy shop.
Thanks for bearing with me :)
I'm off to start working on the IA challenge for this week.....maybe I'll actually have a finished piece for this week :D
Ya'll should check it out too- we have a GREAT theme this week, "Once Upon a Time".  Click HERE for more info.  Cheers!

Monday, November 29, 2010

My Friend LuLu is having a Giveaway!

LuLu creates the gogeous pieces and among these is her collection of Faux Cakes- Truly things of beauty!  Right now she's hosting a giveaway featuring this one- isn't it amazing?  Do pop over to her blog to enter!

Sorry I haven't been around much in the last week.  Been busy prepping for Turkey Day and then recovering from all the prepping.....

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Weekly Challenge- "Incognito"

Since I've spent all week working on "Midnight in the Garden" I didn't have time to create a new piece just for this week's challenge at Inspiration Avenue. But after looking at my garden angel, I've decided that he has enough mystery to fit the theme of incognito so, here is my entry for this week:

"Midnight in the Garden".

Be sure to see what everyone else has been doing for the challenge at Inspiration Avenue - as always, there are a ton of varied pieces that folks have been working on!
Have a wonderful day!

Black Friday a few days early.......

Etsy just added a wonderful new feature for their sellers- coupon codes!  So, because I'm so excited about it, I decided to start my Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale today!  From now till November 30th, you can get an additional 10% off all of my paintings by entering the coupon code: BLACKFRIDAY2010 at check out. 
I'm also offering a BOGO special on all my altered books and journals- buy one and get the second half off!

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What's UP in the Studio- Just a bit more on Midnight in the Garden......

Dontcha love my sloppy desk?

Since the weekend is upon us and my kids will be home until the Monday after Thanksgiving, I will probably only have snippets of time to paint. But, sometimes that's a good thing. Right now, my painting is at the point where I need to leave it alone and consider what it wants in order to be finished. It's also at that point where if I just jump in, I'll make a LOT more work for myself by overoing it. I have two pictures for you guys today- the first one is before I started painting yesterday- the reason I'm showing it is because I like the horizon line in it better than where it is now. Not being a landscape painter, this is the kind of thing I struggle with. A lot. So I need ya'll's eyes and suggestions- right now it's too harsh. Do I just blend it in with the suggestion of a horizon or do I have the leafy bits drape over the existing line? Seriously, I need any suggestions, prompts, etc.! Thanks!
Oh, and the colors in the first one are more accurate.  The second one was taken before sunrise with a flash and with my decrepit camera that I'm hoping Santa will replace :)  So please bring on the suggestions- I AM happy with the far background and the statue tho' he still needs a few more highlights.
Have a wonderful Saturday, whatever you choose to do with it!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Art Makes a Wonderful Holiday Gift- All of my Paintings Have Been Marked Down by 25% or more

O.K. so here I go......maybe it's a good ole Southern girl thing, but I HATE promoting myself. I was taught to not toot my own horn but wait for it to come from others- a "good old Southern value" indeed, but not so great for business purposes.......Even though I really believe in my work, tho' THAT took a long time to accomplish as well.   So here's the first in a series of postings sharing my holiday specials.

In addition to all paintings being marked down for the holidays I am also offering:
Free Shipping for all items in my Etsy Shop
Black Friday~ Cyber Monday Special
All Journals and Altered Books are BOGO- Buy One Item, get the Second at Half Price!

"Metamorphois 02- Becoming" Regularly $65.00 ~Holiday Special $55.20

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Have you marked down your prices on Etsy for the Holiday Season?

"Feminine Mystique" 40% off until January!

You might notice that I did not use the word "sale" in my's because of this post I read yesterday in the Etsy forums:
which starts with a quote from one of the admins,
"We're making these changes to make it easier for sellers to use Etsy On Sale. However, yes, it appears that even having the word "Sale" in an item title may negatively affect Google Shopping search results. So, sellers should choose their titles wisely."

I scheduled a holiday sale on Etsy On Sale and the first thing it did was rename all my listings to begin with "Holiday Sale". At the time, I thought that was a good thing until I read this post and all of the comments that followed. I would have thought having the word "sale" in your title would HELP I Googled myself with the terms "stefny68 holiday sale" and the only relevant results I got were from blog posts- mostly from LAST Christmas!

SO, I used Craftopolis' handy little bulk editing tool to remove those pesky terms from all of my titles and now, when I Google myself, it does pull them! I DO still have all my items tagged with Holiday Sale and Free Shipping which evidently is not problematic! I'm quite confused, but SO glad I ran across this, because I would really like to have a nice Etsy season like I did last year!
And just to warn you guys, I probably will be doing a posting featuring my holiday specials- I hate self promotion it feels all "look at me, look at me...." but, evidently, a lot of people find Etsy stuff through Google searches and I want to make sure that they are linked!
Cheers and some Wednesday love to all bloggy friends,

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What's UP in the Studio- A Bit More Midnight in the Garden

Here's a little more, I was only able to work for a couple of hours yesterday due to the constraints of domestic duties......however, today is ALL mine for painting- at least until 3:30! So, perhaps, I'll get close to finishing today- I'm really ready to work on making the statue all old and mossy :D

Please excuse my feet in this one ;)

Here's to having a creative, upbeat kinda day!