Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What if Elephants Could Fly

I am often amazed at just how diverse an artist life can be.  I can only speak for myself of course, but I always have a pretty long list of things I would like to paint or draw.  While I am retired from any real 8-5 employment positions, I still find that there are often times that I can go weeks before I am actually able to work on my own projects.  That is mostly because there is something taking my artistic attentions in another direction.

This week it has been all about flying elephants.  I know you think that I must be a bit crazy to be thinking of aerial pachyderms but my only daughter asked me to paint a special piece for her upcoming baby shower for her very first child.  There is no way I would not consider doing this commission piece.  What an honor to be asked to share just a little bit of my talent for this special occasion.  This little guy will be our eighth grandchild (we will have 6 grandsons and 2 granddaughters) and we are anxiously awaiting his arrival towards the end of November.

As my normal ritual, I first grab the pencils and pens and work out some concept ideas on paper before I crack open a new canvas.  Drawing the subject first helps you to understand and get a better idea of what your brushes will need to do in order to accomplish the composition you have in mind.  I guess it's a little like a road map.

Since my son-in-law is an active reservists with the Army and a Purple Heart recipient for injuries sustained in Afghanistan, I thought a touch of military flair might be to their liking.

She loved the concept but decided she preferred a more traditional elephant for the nursery art.  So back to the drawing board minus the Olive Drab Green and the AR15.  Trade those for a couple of cute stowaways and you get my final piece that I'm calling "Up, Up and Away".

With so much attention spent on this odd subject, I couldn't help myself but to jot down a few lines of a poem that kept rolling around in my head.  It's pretty silly stuff, but I hope you enjoy this little rhyme.
I have plenty of other crazy stuff and cool artwork on my website and you're welcome to come visit at  Drop me a message and say "Hi" or let me know what you think.

By Julie Townsend

Have you ever stopped to consider how crazy this world would be if elephants could fly?
That would surely change the look and beauty of the overhead sky
I was just wondering if they would fly solo or in a herd like flock?
And just how many elephants would it take to darken the sun or completely block?

Now maybe I shouldn't even go here and you might say I’m crazy to even think
I mean just the thought of what I’m thinking makes me shiver and takes me to the brink
So where do I run and take cover when from up above the urge of nature calls?
Believe me I don’t want to be anywhere near when that stuff from the sky falls.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Not a Creature was Stirring "EXCEPT FOR THE MOUSE"

Except for the Mouse
There is nothing like the chill that comes to the morning air in October.  I'm thankful that I have once again survived another hot summer of oppressive heat of the Mojave desert and blessed with a feeling of  renewed energy and creativity.

As an artist, I really should be working on my Christmas ideas in July but that is just so hard to do when all you're trying to do is to stay cool.  So here it is in October and I'm feeling the pressure of getting my Holiday designs down on paper.  My goal is to have four or five unique sketches created by the end of this week.  I have these two so far.

With both of these designs were so much fun to draw.  I found myself smiling most of the day as I added in the details of these furry little decorators.  

All day the words to the famous Christmas poem by Clement Clarke Moore, "Twas the Night Before Christmas, when all through the house.  Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse" kept rolling around in my head. The difference was that I would change the last phrase to "Except for the Mice".

Decorating Committee
These little guys are hard at work putting on the final touches of the decorations and you can see just how hard they must work to get the ornaments hung just right on the tree and this beautiful wreath so it can be hung on the door to welcome with cheer everyone that visits.  So I'm calling these "Except for the Mouse" and " Decorating Committee".

If you would like to check out more of my work, please feel free to visit my website.  I work hard trying to keep it updated with my new pieces but sometimes that is a challenge when you draw and paint as much as I do.  Here is the Link:

Sunday, October 9, 2016

ARTING AROUND and Art club week 2

Week 2 of my art club endeavor has come and gone.  After meeting the one student who signed up for this 8 week session and accessing her skills, having a conversation with the parents to learn their expectations,  I decided that we needed to scrap all those cute Pinterest art projects I have saved and instead cover basics and techniques.

 I pulled out the drawing pencils (from Darrel Tanks 5 pencil method of drawing) and watched the hour long video twice where he demonstrates his amazing pencil technique in shading a simple sphere.  Actually, there is nothing simple about shading a sphere and I was challenged by the exercise. The patience and control of stroke that it takes to smoothly blend the graphite to give the appearance of roundness and dimension.  Not using blender sticks or tortillons; not even a little smudge with a finger tip allowed.  Just layers of small tapered strokes working around the circle.  Transition from the 4H to the 2H and then back to the 4H. Repeating the whole process with the HB, 2B and finally adding just the smallest area of 4B pencil to the darkest part of the crescent shape that is furthest from the light source.

That's right I spent several hours shading spheres, cones and cylinders so that I could then demonstrate with more confidence and draw along with my students.  It takes patience and discipline to slow down and not jump into the dark areas too soon.

I was told by a very accomplished artist friend of mine that I would learn so much more about my art by teaching others than I would every learn on my own.  That is so very true.  What a joy it is for me to be in a place in my life that I can now start to give and hopefully inspire others to create art.

So this morning as I sit here, drinking my 2nd cup of coffee and contemplating my week almost ended, I realize just how much art has become a major focus of my time.  I had the Boulder City event last weekend that was  so exciting and equally exhausting.  First Friday event last night that I put so much energy into.  A week of sketching as I worked on some Christmas designs and then preparing and teaching this young lady some techniques that hopefully will help her achieve her goal of acceptance into the art academy.

Yes, I'm feeling tired from my First Friday late night arting (Did I just create a new word? As tired as I feel today it surely has to be a verb!) but oh so blessed!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Weekend of Art Overload

What a fabulous weekend I had participating in the Boulder City Art Gallery's "Painting on the Patio" event that corresponded with the much larger "Art in the Park" event.  The small town of Boulder City was packed to capacity with visitors, collectors and art enthusiasts; some of which stopped by my display and gave me an opportunity to talk about one of my favorite subjects, MY ART.

What was especially exciting about this weekend to me was that it marked the very first outdoor festival that I have participated in that I actually sold something.  I have attended a number of other events in the past few years and came home after each one with exactly the same amount of art stacked in crates as I had started with.  That is discouraging when you consider just how much work it is to pack up, set up, tear down and repack.  Not to mention just being outside all day in the sun takes a toll on you.  But this weekend was very different.  I was tired at the end of the second day, but it was a good tired.

I loved the interaction with everyone that came up to my display to talk with me about a particular piece.  I was really encouraged and energized to see that my little sketches that I have so much fun doing garnered a great deal of positive attention. It was an affirmation to me that I need to just keep improving on my color pencil and sketching skills.  

I passed out a number of business cards and talked to a few that might be interested in starting painting lessons in the future.   As I sit here contemplating my journey as an artist I can say that on October 4, 2016 that things are starting to fall into place.  Sitting at my easel, I may not be able to do much to change the course of moral decline in this country, decide who the next president of the United States will be or solve the homeless problem in Las Vegas but I do know that 2017 is looking to be a GREAT art year!  I just have to keep picking up a pencil or a paint brush and try to get you to smile.

Collage of small pieces that found new homes along with a number of cards and magnets I sold

My display on Sunday morning looking colorful and inviting

Saturday, October 1, 2016

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas...

Well, not so much yet. Today is the 1st day of October and that fact makes me happy even if it was still 95 degrees here in Las Vegas.  I had the joy of being part several artists who got to display their work and to paint today outside of Boulder City's Art in the Park event.  I've participated in a number of these outside festivals over the past few years and as an artist and have until today gone home with every piece of art that I back breakingly hauled out.  Today was different. I actually sold a couple of small pieces and I am ecstatic about that fact.  I met a lot of great people and even finished a little piece that I started the night before that I'm really happy with.  This little mouse, complete with little red paint paw prints makes me smile.

I took along my acrylic paints and a WIP piece I'm working on of an owl along with me today.  The plan was that we were to stage painting demos throughout the day to draw attention from the public as they walk past on their way to the park.  Acrylic are tricky in hot dry weather.  They just dry so fast that I find myself just fighting with them to blend the paints before they are completely dry.  So I decided instead to work on a little sketch I had started the night before of a little Christmas mouse.  All day the words to the famous Christmas poem by Clement Clarke Moore, "Twas the Night Before Christmas, when all through the house.  Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse" kept rolling around in my head. The difference was that I would change the last phrase to "Except for a Mouse".  This little guy is hard at work putting on the final touches of the decorations and you can see just how hard he must work to get those Christmas balls painted just right and hung on the branches with such care.  I believe that will be the title for this fun little drawing "Except for the Mouse".

Have a blessed October 1st.  Take time to be Thankful, Look at Beautiful Art, and enjoy the Fall Leaves in what seems like a very crazy world at times.  

Here are a few other furry little rodent sketches I thought you might enjoy looking at. For more of my artwork, please check out my website at and please leave me a message.  I would love to hear from you.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Beginnings of an Art Club

I'm excited and a wee bit nervous to meet a couple of new students this afternoon that are signed up to join me on our first meeting of the MVCS A-Club.  I made this poster to hang on our door helping parents and staff know where we are.   My plan is to just do a lot of drawing in this session and use the book written by Kathryn Temple called "Art for Kids Drawing" as a guide to our drawing discussions.  It is a great book that covers all the basics.  

 Today's lessons plan:  I hope we can get this all covered during the one hour allotted me.

* Talk about the importance of the Artistic Journal- I have sketchbooks to give them that they can use and decorate  

* Stress these points from page 9 of the book    
       ~There is no right way to draw    
       ~Don't compare your artwork to others    
       ~There is really no messing up    
       ~Practice and then practice some more    
       ~Don't stress about showing your art to people  

*I'm going to then show them my favorite drawing and sketching materials-Pen, Pencils, Prismacolor Pencils and my Tombow Markers I have created a zentangle pattern work sheet to practice from and a blank sheet that they can fill with their own created zentangle patterns.

*Finally, I have prepared a blank art page that has nothing more than a circle drawn on it from which we are going to start our own zentangle artwork.  I will post pictures as we progress through the next eight weeks.  I'm hopefully to find areas around the school and venues away from campus that we can display the art we create.  I pray to encourage their creativity and passion for art and at the same time, lay a strong foundation of sketching basics.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

I Want to be a MOOver

I have been giving a great deal of consideration to what steps I need to take to MOOve or propel my artistic goals forward. 2016 is rapidly approaching it's end and am I really further along than I was on January 1.  I know I was determined to take strides to make this year the year of my art.  So besides creating art, I've been considering some of my accomplishments this year.

In April I sold almost $800 worth of art during my solo show "Down Country Roads".  One piece broke my personal sale record for a single piece of art.  So I guess I can state that this show was pretty successful and has pushed my art down a path towards a style that is uniquely my own.  I've heard the word "Whimsical" used a number of times when describing my little country scenes. Also I have heard the reaction that my art makes them smile or reminds them of their childhood.  This is such a compliment to me because it is this exact emotion that I am trying to achieve.  I find myself smiling at my own work often.  You can stop worrying at this point because while I may smile to myself, I don't talk the animals in my paintings!

2016 has seen me adding some poetry to my creative collection.  Again my humor always takes over when I'm trying to be creative and my poetry is far from a serious collection.  One of my favorite pieces I wrote this year is called, "Go Grab a Tissue Please" and corresponds with several of my paintings and sketches that demonstrate the nasty habit that cows often participate in of licking their own nose with their super long tongues.

Go Grab a Tissue PLEASE
Julie Townsend

Picking or licking your nose is a bad habit I say
I promise you will regret that you did it some day
When all the other calves are playing, jumping and having fun
You will be too embarrassed to join them to rumpus and run
So when the hay fever strikes and won't slow
And the snot runs free like a steady river flow
When that fountain is turned on and you have the urge to sniff and snort
And even though God has given you a tongue that is far from short
Please! Oh please! Go grab a hanky or better yet, a wad of tissue
To handle the problems of your snot and dripping green issue 
Blowing your nose is so much better than using a tongue to lick

Be considerate of those around you for you will surely make us all sick

You can read more of my poetry on my website at Julie Townsend Studio-Poems

One of the biggest goals that I wanted to see 2016 MOOving me towards was that of licensing my artwork.  I know that I need to create a portfolio of consistent work that reflects images that are in demand and marketable for merchandise.  I established both an Etsy store and uploaded images to an my newly created account on and on  A couple of tiny sales so far but as always things must start slow and build.  

Last week I received a message on Facebook from a woman that was not my friend nor a mutual friend connection.  She asked if I illustrated books and then when on to talk about a story of a little calf that wanted to be a PBR rodeo bull.  My heart jumped.  My dad was bull rider in his younger days on the professional rodeo circuit and so this was such a perfect story line for me.  Let's not mention that fact that this year I have painted or drawn cows more than any other subject.  To my disappointment, her deadline was not something I could see myself accomplishing as she shared she needed 30 images in just 30 days.  I've not illustrated books before but that timeline seems a little unrealistic to even me as a illustrating greenhorn.

BUT...I'm always the optimist and so I asked her how she heard of me.  She shared that she just did a Facebook search of western art and really liked my work.  So rather than being disappointed about not getting the job, I choose to take the whole transaction as a compliment and confirmation that my art is headed in the right direction.  It will be only a matter of time before I begin to receive offers for commission and illustration work.  I'm confident of that fact and resolved to keep on practicing.

So since this blog seems to deal primarily with my bovine creativeness, I thought I might just aMOOse you with more of my cow artwork.

These are two of my "Cow Licking" pieces that I had great fun creating.  All my works is available prints, art cards and art magnets.  In some cases the original artwork maybe available.  Just message me if you are interested.
Always Greener

Fence Post Curiosity

Morning Roughage
This is a colored pencil sketch I did just this week of a sweet Jersey cow enjoying some pasture grass.

Resting Before the Rodeo

This is another sketch I did this year of a beautiful Brahman Bull.  What impressive creatures these animals are.

I just through this mouse and pumpkin sketch in because it is almost October 1st and I think it is cute.
Harvest Mouse