Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I've Been Feeling a Bit Blue



That is probably due to the fact that my hands are speckled and splattered in a nice shade of cerulean blue Now you know that saying about a woman's prerogative.  In this case, rather than just changing my mind, I think it is more that I have discovered over the past year where I was wanting to go with what has turned into a series of paintings.  A series that I believe is helping define me as an artist.   With these first two pieces that I did I really had no idea how this was going to evolve and grow into what is currently 6 large 24 x 36 inch pieces and a number of smaller pieces.    All featuring the fence post with blue morning glories climbing on it.  

I have no idea where this theme is going to take me but I do know that painting them makes me smile.  That is also the common reaction I am told often by those that view the pieces.  I just tell them that is exactly what I want to hear.  After all, there isn't nearly enough smiling going on in the world these days.  

I have a solo show coming up and all my work in this series has to be delivered next week.  These first two pieces have started to really bother me because I feel that I have improved my skill and I want them to match the rest of the series.  The bright green background has really began to bother me.  At the time I painted them it looked good to me but now it separates them from the rest of the work and I really need them to be part of the series.

Sometimes it is actually easier to start all over than to make such massive corrections to a painting.  The task isn't for the faint of heart because it isn't no easy feat to change to color of the background while leaving the mailbox or the fence post untouched.  Believe me when I say that I used a large quantity of cerulean blue to cover all that green but now that I am done, I would say it was it so worth it.  The before and after pics below tell the real story.


Before
 This piece I call "Life at the Fence Post".  This was the beginning of what has not turned into a series.  At the time I painted I was trying to paint loose and colorful.  I choose a green background because it represented to me the stark contrast between being raised in the Missouri Ozarks and where I now live in the deserts of Southern Nevada.  Green is a color that I greatly miss and I guess I was trying to over compensate here.


In my redo of this piece I repainted about 1/2 of the canvas covering the background in blue. For some reason that I'm not completely sure of, I decided to reduce the number of bluebirds and double the mouse population.  In the end, I'm pleased at the changes and think that the piece is a bit more interesting than it was before the changes.



After






























Before
The second piece I painted in what is now my Down Country Roads series is called "Lunch Under the Mailbox".  This piece was also one that I really liked but grew tired of the green background.  I took the same approach and repainted about 1/2 of the canvas, getting rid of the green background and making it solid blue.  Other than just some brightening of the colors, the composition on this one remained pretty consistent.

The picture we took here I fear doesn't really due the piece justice.  It was the perfect overcast day outside but I think we waited just a little too long and we were starting to loose our light.  For the blog purpose I suppose they are sufficient for you to get the before and after effect.



After











If you would like to see more of my work, then feel free to check out my website at JulieTownsendStudio.com











Friday, March 17, 2017

Watching Carrots Grow

Watching Carrots Grow
I finished up writing a poem I wrote just in the last few days to go along with one of my illustration sketches that I call "Watching Carrots Grow".  I think it turned out pretty cute and so I blogged about it yesterday on my Embrace Your Creative Side Blog.  Embrace Your Creative Side: Watching Carrots Grow:

I know I'm probably crazy to try to maintain two blogs.  I mean it's not like this blog has gone viral or anything but I found that I really needed to bring more creativity into my life and not just me painting on a canvas or drawing a cute little bunny rabbit.  I need my surroundings to reflect my creativity too.  I also need to pass on creative memories to my grandchildren and that all takes planning.  Blogging about projects and ideas will help me stay focused on what I really think is important.  So I say all that to really trying to step up my game.

Don't Forget Your Vegetables
With Spring weather arriving and the Easter Season quickly approaching, I decided I had better pull out some of my bunny sketches that I did last year and maybe add one or two new furry friends.  Now is the time to get these guys making a gallery appearance in the form of magnets, cards and small prints. Combine that fact with me working like a crazy woman trying to get all the details worked out for my March 28th solo art show "Down Country Roads", I have a pretty busy week in store.

This art and more is available on my Etsy Store. Check it out at:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/JulieTownsendStudio?ref=shop_sugg

WATCHING CARROTS GROW
By
Julie Townsend

Waiting and watching for Carrots to grow
Have you ever seen anything so painfully slow?
From the time in the spring when you place the seeds in soil
And don’t you forget to water, weed, sweat and toil

Then you jump for joy when you see that first bright leafy green
Looking like a plate decoration for some fancy cuisine
Remember with carrots the important part is growing out of sight
Deep in the ground without a single spot of light

For it’s the roots of the carrot that cause your lips to smack
Their crunchy sweetness is always a favorite snack
Patience is a virtue many will say
And you better have plenty because it takes many a day

Remember the saying “Good things come to those who wait”
Waiting you must do before that orange goodness is on your plate
There is an important lesson that you should take heed
Plant these words deep in your heart to grow just like a weed

I’ve read in the Bible that we should “fix our eyes on things unseen”
It’s not the outward appearance that makes you selfish and mean
But just like carrots that grow underground and out of our sight
It’s those invisible qualities of Love, Joy and Peace that makes you shine bright

And let’s not forget to save plenty of room
Because there is nothing so sweet when Kindness and Patience are in full bloom
Stand strong and guard the garden of your heart

The reward of that harvest will give your life a good start.












Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Stampede of Bovine Beauties






So I'm working like a crazy woman trying to get all my artwork together, framed, matted, printed, inventoried and yes, I'm still painting one last piece for my solo art show on the 28th of this month.  Today, I had to visit 2 different printers and drop off artwork at 2 separate galleries.  We put almost 100 miles on the car just driving around running all my art errands.  I'm so excited about this that I'm sure all this running around is going to be worth it.  


There is just something amazing about seeing all your work hung together in a solo show that makes you as an artist feel so happy.  It is kind of like having all your children home for the holidays or attending a family reunion when you haven't seen everybody for years.  I'm starting to line up artwork along the wall of my hallway and in my kitchen trying to maintain and organized approach as I have now less than two weeks to pull this all together. 





As I just walked past the hallway I couldn't help but notice just how many of my "Down Country Road" pieces feature cows.  It looks like a stampede of bovine beauties in my studio and so I thought I would share them with you.  And if I did the job I intended,  they all will         make you smile.


This is my newest painting and I just got it back from the printers and now am ordering a 24 x 36 inch giclee print made on stretched canvas.  Since this is the first time I have had a print made of my artwork,  I'm really excited to see how it will look.  So if you might be interested in owning the original or having a print of any of these beauties, just send me an email and we can discuss the details.  If you want to see my other works, check out my gallery on my website at JulieTownsendStudio.com

"Happy Cows"




"Always Greener"



"Fence Post Curiosity"
Who Needs a Tissue
"Good Morning Sunshine"













Friday, February 17, 2017

One Smiling Artist and a Couple of Happy Cows

I nearly finished this piece yesterday and I just couldn't wait to show it off.  When you have been working steadily on a piece for several weeks, like I have been with this one, there is a since of satisfaction that comes over you as you head to the finish line.  

I really experience so much fun as these paintings come to that completion stage.  This is when I decide on last minute additions to the composition that I think really add character to the overall piece.  In this case, I decided to add a spunky little male sparrow on the fence post and a small butterfly resting on yellow wildflowers.  The bright yellow and orange are a great balance to the signature blue morning glories growing up the old wood fence post.

As I painted on this piece, these last few days, I could almost imagine the scent of the sweet pasture grass, the sound of the birds in the distant trees and even feel the warm sunlight hitting my face.  This exact scene or a variation of it plays out over and over again across this big beautiful country.  If you have spent any amount of time driving across the middle section of this vast country, you know exactly the story I'm trying to tell you here with my paintbrushes.

Cows seem to be constantly grazing like giant grass machines. They are almost always curious to a fault.  I find that they will usually stop for a moment to stare back at you with their big brown eyes as they stand there trying to figure out what in the world you are doing.  Of course who wouldn't stare at you jumping up and down, flapping your arms in the air, and "Mooing" at them like a darn fool.

 I loved the challenge of painting the roan coloring of these shorthorns.  Mostly using a combination of Violet, Raw Umber and Burnt Sienna but if you look closely there are touches of Orange, Lavender and Light Ultramarine Blue and White making up the fur.  Between the bright colors and their comical faces this painting is sure to bring a smile to your face just like it did to mine.




I am titling this one "Happy Cows" because it is sure to make you happy!  This painting will be featured in my solo art show next month at the Whitney Library.  If you are going to be in the area between March 28th and May 30th, I would love for you to stop by the gallery there and let me know what you think.  My reception will be on March 28th and I will be there with several giveaways and drawings to make the evening special.  Here is an invite just for you.







Monday, February 6, 2017

A FREE Valentine Gift for you.

Last week I ran a contest for my other blog that I have started called "Embrace Your Creative Side" and the response was so amazing on my Facebook page that I decided I had better share this with my Julie Townsend Studio followers too.  Of my five Valentine designs for 2017, this one that I call "Puppy Love" won the most votes.  So to show my appreciate and to say Happy Valentines Day to all my friends, I made this image into a FREE printable PDF file.  There are two (2) 4 x 6 " postcards to a page and all you have to do is to click on the link below and it will take you to that blog post.

Let me know if you actually decided to print out the card and add it to your Valentine Gift Giving.  I would love to hear about it.  This image and many more are available in my Etsy Store or you can contact me directly by email.


Embrace Your Creative Side: My Free Valentine Gift to You





Am I Ready for the BIG Leagues?


 

"Reach for the Sky"- Commission Piece painted for Walter Johnson Jr. High School- 18 x 24 Acrylic 

In the past two weeks I took a step in my art career that has been one I have wanted to take for some time but was hesitant.  Then this painting came along and I decided to have my most recent painting "Reach for the Sky" professionally scanned and digitized so that I could have the ability to have quality giclee prints made in the future.   I felt this particular piece was one that might have a greater appeal to a pretty broad audience and so I took the plunge.

On the recommendation of a good artist friend of mine,  I contacted Joyce Kasprzyk at Max Art Production here in Las Vegas.  Joyce was so awesome and I immediately took a liking to her.  She wound up taking me on a tour of the entire facility.  Every room we visited was full of the biggest printers and scanners I had ever seen.  Of course she had to show me the large print job they had just completed for the actor Jim Carrey.  Who knew he was an artist but just looking at that giant print made me feel like I had just been moved up to the major leagues.

The process itself was a wee bit expensive but I'm hopeful to recoup my invest many times over.  I was very pleased a week later when I arrived to actually view and approve the proofs.  The one proof you see is the one that I didn't take.  I was very pleased with the color and the clarity.  Of course this photo is taken only with my cell phone camera of the original artwork and with the proof laid on top. 

Usually we take a photo of my artwork outside in the shade with our Canon camera.  This works okay but sometimes I notice there is a flat spot or a little color distortion.  I make sure that I take have the picture taken before a coat of varnish is applied but even so often there will be a slight reflection that is difficult to deal with.  When I look at the two photos below and compare the images side by side I can see such a difference in clarity and color.  Perhaps if we knew just a bit more about our camera we could improve on the quality of the pictures we take but it is hard to image that we could get them as spot on as Max Art Productions did for me.  


Here you can judge for yourself:
No Edit - Photo taken by our camera
Photo using auto correction feature on Photoshop Elements

WOW-Professionally scanned image

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Why is RED the color of Love but You See RED When You're Angry?

Here is a little Valentine Joke for you....Q: Why do melons have to get married in churches?   A: Because they cantaloupe!




This past week I have been frantically working on some designs specific to that lovely holiday that shines a bright spotlight on sweethearts.  You know the one where large masses of pink and red bouquets of hot house flowers clog the entry way of nearly every retail store and the smell of chocolate can be found wafting in the air.  Yes it is soon to be Valentines Day.  I'm frantic because not only do I have just a few weeks before THE day arrives but coming up with designs is the just beginning of the work.  I have to make the cards and market them.  I'm afraid that I have already lost the war but maybe I can win a small battle.  Next year when ghosts and pumpkins fill the shelves I am going to be seeing only pink and red!

Country Girl Valentine







First is my Country Girl Valentine.  You might be able to take the girl out of the country but you sure can't take the country out of a girls heart.  I had so much fun filling this heart with comical little chickens.  I plan on at least having a cow version of this design by the end of the weekend. (Fingers crossed and behind my back)

















If you have followed my work at all you know that I have a soft spot for both mice and chickadees.  That soft spot has once again made its way to the surface to combine with a fun Zentangle heart design.  I had so much fun drawing these and I think they will look great printed out as cards.  At least that is my hope and I will be working hard this weekend to make that happen.  Cards will soon be available in both Boulder City and at City of the World just in time for the 14th.  








I took a few minutes just to put together a couple of cards so that I could show what I had in mind.  I had purchased a pack of gingham craft paper a few weeks back and I think the pink and red will be perfect for this project.  I just grabbed a few items off my Valentine decoration from my entry way to stage this quick little photo session.  Lighting this time of the evening isn't the greatest but I think you can see just how cute these designs will work.




If you like my work and want to see more of it, please check out my Facebook page at Julie Townsend Studio or my website at JulieTownsendStudio.com.  I can also be found on Instagram and at my Etsy Store.  Thanks for spending a few minutes of your time with me.