Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hang Onto Your Hats

Me with the portrait I've started of my great great aunt taken from a photo from this time period:
Women's hats, 1887.

Yesterday I started another portrait from that same photo, of my great grandmother, Zillah Camp.

Agh, this is getting too polished and tight. Must rough it back up. And that hat! What a challenge!! I'll be working on these again tomorrow. At least it's charcoal. I can keep on changing and changing the drawing without killing it!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Puzzling Fabric Design

I was talking to my daughter Kaitlyn yesterday about fabric designing, and my recent head scratching about how to create a borderless, continuous design, using a more complex composition of Lisbeth's mandalas. Kaitlyn reminded me of one of her high school art lessons in which she had to create a tessellation.

Tessellations! Of course! M. C. Escher created so many dizzying, magical examples of these...

Oh, but the math!

No! No crazy math needed! There are many easy methods to make your own tessellations! Check it out!

Now I just need to stop chasing my tail, get on Photoshop, and start designing! Ooo, bop bop ooo.....

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Business Questions

I need feedback! I am developing a line of textile items to sell on Lisbeth's Etsy shop, using her cut paper designs. After reading an Etsy Better Business Guide, my head is spinning. I am not a business woman. I have a difficult time narrowing things down, and sticking with them. I'm more of the idea person. But I have to adopt some of these good business strategies if I'm going to make this thing work! One thing I read is to keep the shop simple - don't have too many different items in one shop. Hmmm. I already have tee shirts, stationary, framed mandalas, and now I'm going to add textiles. It is suggested that one open another shop for additional items...argh, I'm not ready to do that. But as far as the textiles go, I want to start with table linens - napkins, table runners and tablecloths. Pictured here are some napkins I made yesterday with the fabric I designed on Spoonflower. One thing I know is that I need a new sewing machine. I have a 50's Singer that does not even have a zigzag stitch. Just a straight stitch. It's a great machine and I've sewed a thousand and one dolls on it, and clothes for me, my husband, and my kids - even my wedding dress. But if I am going to be sewing these napkins and tablecloths, I need a serger. Otherwise, I will be painstakingly measuring, turning, ironing, and straight stitching all the edges, which takes a loong time, and even then, it's never perfect. Not that it has to be perfect, but hell, if I can get a machine that just zips around those edges, that's the way to go. (Besides, my sister is engaged to a guy who collects and repairs sewing machines - I am certain he can find me a good deal! It's about time I stepped out of the dark ages...)

Another thing that the guide suggests is that I put my ideas out and ask for feedback. So here goes!!! Please visit Brainstorm Studio and let me know what you think of the shop so far - the banner, the intro, the profile, the items, photos, etc. Tell me what you think works, and what could use work. I am ordering a bunch of new shirts for summer this coming week - tank tops and tees with colored mandalas, and some of the mandalas will be smaller than the ones you see printed on the current shirts. And I know I have to offer a wider range of sizes.

Also, what do you think of the new fabric pictured here? And what about the napkins? I want to sell an assortment of six different colors and designs, because my favorite color is rainbow, but I think that I should offer sets of 4-6 napkins of the same fabric for people who are more matchy and may not like as much crazy color as me...

The white on blue piece is going to be a tablecloth. I'm getting to keep this piece because it had some irregularities and Spoonflower is re-printing it for no fee! They are terrific!

Eventually I would like to open a separate shop to just sell yardage of the fabric. These are only my first tries at designing. I have so many more ideas for new fabrics using Lisbeth's mandalas!

And so many ideas of what to make with that fabric - pillows, curtains, shower curtains, bags, clothing, quilts, etc. But I do not want to be sewing for a living. If this takes off, I can hire people to sew.

Well, thanks for letting me air this all here. And thanks in advance for any constructive criticism and feedback!!! Happy Weekend, All!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Who's Next?

My great grandmother, Zillah Camp...

...are all waiting in my portrait queue. One will be started today, plus I have some sewing to do! Check it out!
What are you creating today? Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

And Sometimes?

Sometimes a drawing can't be rescued and must be put out of its misery! I tried to resuscitate it. I had to do major surgery to reshape the face and move an eye. But we're talking pastels and pencils, not paint! It became way too overworked. It was already teetering on that edge, and today it toppled all the way over. It's ok. I feel glee when I finally decide a drawing is not working and I get to scribble all over it. And sometimes I even do this...

Not to worry - I will soon start another portrait of Cecilia from another photo...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cecilia in Progress

I'm working on this portrait of my granddaughter Cecilia to give to her father, my son Eben, for his birthday. Hmmmm...eyes are too far apart, mouth is funky, face is not the right shape - she looks a bit like Bjork at this point. (I prefer the preliminary sketches!) Tomorrow I will work into it with some prismacolor pencils. I think that I can loosen it up and reign it in...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lady With Big Marshmallow Hat

She has a marshmallow hat, and I'm toasted. Worked on this all afternoon in my studio. It's almost there, but not quite...

Time to make the rainy drive home...

One of The Women

Back in my Portland studio - started this portrait yesterday of one of the women in the Camp family photo and plan to finish it after teaching today. What the heck is that hat made of?? Fabric wrapped around and around...looks like a giant frosted cake...

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Plunge

I've taken it. Yesterday I posted on my Etsy shop that I DO COMMISSIONED PORTRAITS from LIFE and/or PHOTOS. There. It's done. Feel free to spread the word. There's no need for me to be ashamed of this (I keep telling myself, I keep telling myself...). I need to make a living. I like to draw. I like to draw people. People like my drawings of people. I create something that brings people some joy. It's as simple as that. I may never wind up in the art history books. Who cares???????
We'll see where this takes me.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Stylin' Like There's No Tamara

Baby you can drive my car...

Brad Gailey commented in my last post that my work reminds him a bit of Tamara de Lempicka. I know very little about this artist's work and enjoyed finding these images on-line this morning. Recently I wrote about my concern of becoming too stylized. Wow. Tamara had no such trepidation! Her work brings to mind the paintings of Diego Rivera and Thomas Hart Benton.

I have always struggled with a confidence in my artistic voice. It's good to look at other artists who just forge ahead with their style.