Sunday, August 19, 2018

What is it About Mice

Little Squeak says "Always take time to enjoy the Pansies"
I don’t know why a tiny rodent that is known to send some scurrying to a higher altitude while screaming as if they are an character in a horror movie can also be so darn cute.  I just love drawing these little beady eyed creatures and this week I filled a number of pages in my sketchbook with their sweet little faces.  Here are a few of the selected pages for your viewing entertainment.




Little Squeak enjoying some delicious Candy Corn
Little Squeak with some yummy sprinkle donuts



















I've been painting a lot of mice with donuts and candy corn on cowbells this past month so I thought I would just see how they would turn out using that same design in my sketchbook. 




A growing mouse can't always eat sweets



And finally, it is never too early (actually, I'm rather late) to consider Christmas designs.  This is the first one that came to my mind.  I think I can spend a little more time refining the drawing, but you can see the just of it and I think it is a super cute idea.



 


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Check Your Backside

Cow Art, Farmhouse Style, cows, Dairy Cow, Farm Art, Country Art, Since becoming the co-director of a small art gallery in the Downtown Las Vegas Arts District, I've noticed that many artists take very little effort to improve the appearance of their artwork.  They spend plenty of time creating the piece to just throw a wire across the back or even worse yet, do absolutely nothing.  Did you know, with just a little more effort and investment, you can really raise you art to the next level by taking the time to make the back of your canvases as pretty as the front. 

 So today, I thought I would just blog about the steps I go through when FINISHING my art pieces.  Here is what you need:

* A large roll of landscape weed blocker fabric- I know that during the spring and summer you can buy this at Sam's Club for about $35.  I've had my roll for years and so I haven't needed to replace it yet.  You can also go to your local nursery because they will sell it year round there.
* I LOVE my Scotch brand Advanced Tape Glider.  This thing is amazing.  At first I struggled with reloading it but I have that down now.   It lays down a thin strip of adhesive that is quite strong.  I buy the acid free adhesive refills since I want my art to be as archival as I can make it.  I use this for all kinds of applications in the studio but mostly for creating my greeting cards and when I attach the matte to the backboard mounting my prints and original drawings.  I bought my glider on Amazon but they carry it at both Michaels and Hobby Lobby.  I buy a roll of adhesive every time I visit one of the craft stores because I go through so much of it.  I make sure I use their 40% off coupon when I do.
*  Fiskar Fingertip Swivel Knife- This is the blade I use to cut the fabric off around the canvas.  It takes a little practice.  This knife can be pretty wicked so you want to take real caution when using it.  I bought this on Amazon along with a bulk package of replacement blades.  
* 3 Hole Protective Sheet covers- I use these to mount and protect my Certificate of Authenticity to each piece of art.
* Large cutting mat

Here is some of the art pieces that I needed to finish the other day.
I use my Tape Glider to apply a thin strip of adhesive to all four sides of the canvas
I then carefully place the canvas adhesive side down.  I try to get as close to the straight edge of the fabric as I can so that I'm only cutting around 2 or 3 sides. 

I missed getting a picture of my positioning my cutting knife to cut around my canvas but here is a picture of my framing tools and the knife is there on my role of hanging wire.  You can cut into your canvas very easily with this sharp knife, so I try to keep the knife at an angle that allows the blade to cut as near as I can to the edge of the art and all the time I am pressing the silver band on the canvas to use it as a cutting guide.  You have to apply some pressure and take it nice and slow as you work your way around the canvas.  If your knife isn't cutting through the fabric like butter, then it is time to replace your blade. 

Here I am making my certificate.  I just trim off the holes on the side and cut the sleeve in half so that it is just slightly larger than the certificate itself.  I then apply a stripe of adhesive to all four sides so that I can glue it to the back side of the canvas dust cover.  Once this is attached to my art, I can use the sleeve to slip in a business card or a thank you note to the buyer.
Even though the adhesive is really strong, art is so often moved from one location to another so we put a staple through it just for added security.  I want to work on finding either black staples or adding step to darken the color so they are not so noticeable. 
Here is my finished backside.  I think it is almost as pretty as the front.  I realize that professional framers can do an even better job and if you are a professional, please don't cringe too much but I think this little added effort goes a long way towards having a piece of art that I can feel proud to sell. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

It's the Little Things that Add Up

Handwritten thank you note...check,  I appreciate you free greeting card gift....check, lots of protective bubble wrap and tissue paper...check.  I guess I have everything ready to pack up this little sweet honeybee and ship him off to his new home in Pampas, Texas.

I think the little details are important and you want to create an excitement when that cowbell box arrives.  This week I designed a 2 x 4 inch sticker that I can use to decorate my cowbell shipping boxes with.  It says "Spreading Joy Around the World One Cowbell at a Time".  That is perfect and you can see by this image it really stands out on that box.

When I shipped off my first set of 4 cowbells early last week, I scrounged around the house and found some boxes that I had stuck back.  One of the bells was a bit wider and so I actually emptied a case of K-Cups to find a box that it would fit in nicely. That is when I immediately logged onto Amazon and ordered a set of 25 shipping boxes that were large enough to handle shipping of 2 bells but yet small enough that the costs were kept reasonable.


My tips for you on shipping artwork- 1. invest in a postage scale.  I paid $20 for that one on Amazon  and it work GREAT!  2.  Create and account with Pirateship.com.  They allow you to purchase postage and print out the labels at a commercial rate that is lower than if you went into the post office yourself.  They a have been great so far. 

On Sunday, I was shocked when shopping at Sam's Club to see this set of 10 small white shipping boxes that measured 6 x 6 x 6 and cost only $4.98 each.    If I put the 7" cowbell in the box diagonally it fits very nicely.  I bought 2 sets of these boxes so now I'm flush for boxes.

Yesterday was the first bell order I filled using the new box and while the bell fit great, I realized that my usual free gift to show my appreciation didn't.  I usually pick out a greeting card that is similar to the artwork that they purchasing.  In this case they purchased a bee cowbell and so I wanted to send her my new honey bee greeting card.  The only hitch is that they are larger than 6 inches.  I put the card in the box but I'm afraid that when it arrives it will be bent.

Today, I decided the thing to do was to give a way a smaller note card.  Still a nice gesture and I know it will arrive unscathed.  Here is the 4 designs I came up with and I think they are very cute.

So as you can tell, my focus this week has been on painting, marketing, selling cowbells and shipping out cowbells. It has been so exciting.  I've made some great connections and added a few new friends to my little art group.  I'm blessed and humbled by how well these bells have been received.

So you might ask, "How do I purchase a cowbell?"  Well first, I would suggest that you like my Facebook Art Page @JulieTownsendStudio.  It is there that I post all my new work first.  Second, you might want to join my studio email list.  I periodically host drawings and giveaways and I'm pretty sure as we enter into fall, I will be giving a way a cowbell or two.  Just send me a message with your name and email address.  Third, and this is for those ready to give a cowbell a good home.  Message me with your zip code and I will give you an estimate of the shipping costs and with an email address I can send you an invoice that included the $60 cowbell purchase price and the cost of shipping and handling.  That isn't so hard.  The hard part comes in deciding which bell to buy.  I have one collector in Montana that has purchased 12 bells.

Let me leave you with the 2 newest bell designs.  I actually sold the Rooster bell today but I still wanted you to see it because I will be painting some more.  Each picture is showing the front and back off the bell.





Sunday, July 29, 2018

More Cowbells

It has been an incredible week here in my studio.  Last Sunday I posted a picture of 4 new cowbells that I had painted with my new design (I paint around the whole bell) and I've been talking about cowbells ever since.  I had the blessing of shipping out 6 bells to new homes in just the past few days.  They literally sell as soon as I paint them.  I've made a number of new cowbell friends and have seen my followers on Instagram and my Facebook Page @JulieTownsendStudio jump.

My new Cowbell motto:  "Spreading Joy Across the World One Cowbell at a Time".  I even created a cute sticker to put on the outside of each Cowbell box as I ship them out.  Here is a picture of the last 2 bells I sent off on Thursday.

The great thing about these bells is that they are all hand painted and each bell is completely unique. (Mostly because I'm a human and not a machine!)

Front view of the new bells
Honestly, it is so hot outside right now that I have no other choice (like that isn't where I would be anyway) but to hold up in my studio.  This result of this heatwave is a lot of painting going on and so I thought I would just quickly share the newest cowbell images that I accomplished in just the past few days.

Rear view of the new bells
If you like these bells and would like to discuss purchasing one of you own, you can message me and we can chat about it.  I am asking $60 plus shipping and handling costs.  I would suggest that you consider following me on Instagram or on my Art Facebook Page @JulieTownsendStudio because that is where I post all my newest work first.   






Here is the front and rear view of the last bell I painted yesterday featuring a mouse with a cupcake.  I'm having so much fun painting these little mice with a BIG sweet tooth, that I decided I had to paint a canvas piece. (10 x 20 with Acrylic)  You can see my work in progress standing up there behind the bell.  I've already blocked in 2 mice and have a 3rd one sketched it.  It should prove to be a really fun piece when I am done.  Well at least that is the plan. 

Have a blessed rest of your day and remember what we all need, and I quote Christopher Walken here is "MORE COWBELL!"



 





Thursday, July 26, 2018

I Have a Fever- A Cowbell Fever!



This week here at JULIE TOWNSEND STUDIO has been absolutely AMAZING!  I am just stunned at the response I have received in the past few days on my newest cowbell designs and they have been flying out of the studio as fast as I can paint them.  Not only have I sold 6 bells in the last 3 days, I have increased my Facebook page audience, my Instagram followers and added a number of new email addresses to my studio email list.

From a marketing standpoint there is no way to access a value to this benefit.  Yes, these cowbells are helping me get my name out there as an artist and while I would rather be painting and selling canvas art, I guess I will take sales in any form I can get them.  I just need to embrace that fact that these little 7" bells are my "BREAD AND BUTTER".  Maybe that will change down the road, but for now I just need to count my COWBELL BLESSINGS!

What is exciting to me about this new design is that I actually have a much larger painting surface and that allows me to be much more creative.  Just look how beautiful these bells look.  The white background just makes the design "pop"!

This new found cowbell creativeness has taken a silly direction with my last 2 bells I've painted.  As you can see these little mice have quite the sweet tooth.  I still catch myself smiling at them each time I look at them.  Both have found new homes and will be sent out tomorrow to Florida and Kentucky.  I'm just spreading joy around the world, one cowbell at a time.

If you like my artwork then you might consider liking my Facebook Art Page or following me on Instagram @JulieTownsendStudio.  I post all my newest work there first.  I also have a studio email list that I periodically run drawings and offer giveaways through that you are welcome to sign up for.  I would just need you to message me your name and email address.

Front view of my "SWEET TOOTH" bells- Donuts with Sprinkles & Corn Candy
Back view of my "Sweet Tooth" bells

Friday, July 20, 2018

July Freebie Offer



It is hot and humid here in Southern Nevada so I've decided it is time to have some fun.  I'm going to start having monthly Freebies and Giveaways for my Blog readers.  You know something just to help me pass the time indoors.  So tonight I'm starting a July Blog Post Drawing Giveaway.







Here is all you need to enter the drawing to receive this cute 5 x 7 inch matted print of "You Had Me At Cheese."  




1.  Shipping is free as long as you are in the good ole USA.  Sorry but I can't afford international postage.
2.  To enter the drawing all you have to do is to leave a comment below and be sure to include the name of your favorite cheese.
3.   I will reply to your comment if you are the winner and then you will need to email me your mailing address information.
4.  Drawing ends 10:00 PM (PST) on Monday, July 23rd

If you have questions, please feel free to email me at JTownsendStudios@gmail.com.  If you like my art, than follow me @JulieTownsendStudio on Facebook or Instagram or stop in and check out my ETSY SHOP or my WEBSITE 
Print will be matted to frame in a standard 5 x 7 frame






Busy as a Bee

It started last Friday.  I spent a number of blessed hours in the studio listening to uplifting worship music and a paintbrush in my hand. I managed to paint several cowbells, a funny cow on a 12 x 12 canvas and 2 cute Holsteins on a small 6 x 6 canvas.

I’ve tried to keep up the momentum each day and while I haven’t produced as many pieces as day one, I have steadily added to my collection of new works.  Yesterday, I painted a number of small 4 x 4 inch canvases with cute little bees on them.  I just had to share them.  I love the sepia background that is so easy to create but gives it such a richness.

Chips Ahoy
Cheese Crackers Anyone?
The rest of the week has seen me finish a sweet bunny peaking out of a hole, three small mouse paintings and a brand new cowbell design that I just love.  Besides painting, I have also completed 3 watercolor/pen and ink sketches that features some adorable mice.  All in all I have been pleased with the amount of work I have turned out this week.  I find myself looking forward to studio time.
I See You


My mind is now busy considering what to paint next   I’m certain I will be blogging more about that in the future, but in the mean time...I’m heading back to the studio!

You can find more of my work on my Website or on my Etsy Shop