Friday, June 23, 2017

Stamps and Stickers

This week I was watching a YouTube video on an Etsy Store Tips and I happened to notice that the girl had a custom rubber stamp that she used on post-it notes to attach to each of her orders that thanked them for their business. Crazy Fridays-Fran Meneses

I thought that was just a really great idea, so I placed an order for one of my own custom stamp to use. I liken this investment to the idea that "if you build it they will come." I'm stepping out in faith here and getting ready for the increase Etsy sales I believe will soon be coming my way.

I decided to support another local Etsy Business (Stampcouture) with my order and now I am so excitedly waiting for my own custom stamp to arrive.

Speaking of Etsy sales, I happened to do a search this week on what items sell the best on Etsy and was shocked to find out that this particular article listed STICKERS as the number one seller. Here is the link to the article if you want to check it out for yourself. What Sells Best on Etsy

I have been toying with stickers and talking about stickers for a few months now but when I took a look at the specific Etsy store highlighted in the article and consider the phenomenal sales, this 16 year old high school girl has sold over 86,000 sheets of her hand drawn emoji stickers since the store opened in 2016. That blows my mind. Go a head and check out her store and all her cute inventory. The store is is called: TheCoffeeMonsterzCO.

I can't help but think how I need to get busy turning my artwork into stickers that can be used in planners. I had some time today and worked up a few of these garden designs just to see how they might work as stickers. I LOVE the Pink Peony and the sun bonnets. This was a lot of fun today and I hope they can prove to be sticker material.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Teach Us to Number our Days

My goodness you realize that we are already one week into the month of JUNE!

This past week, as we quickly approach the 1/2 way point in 2017, I started feeling that I needed to really roll up my sleeves and getting focused on my art and what I want to accomplish as an artist. I'm determined that I will not work any more part-time accounting jobs.  The last job I had was a complete disaster and I probably could benefit from a few therapy sessions.  Brad says, "You're letting her live in your head rent free."  It's been a whole year and  I still can't bring myself to drive down parts of Russell Road.   No...I'm determined to make this ART THING work for me and have it supplement our retirement income while doing something I love!

I have always been someone with a dozen projects going and struggling to completely finish any of them.  Multitasking can be a very good skill to have in the business world but not it can be somewhat of a problem when it comes to producing art.  Or at least that is my current belief.

Hanging on the wall above my drawing desk is a large dry erase board.  I dug around and found some good dry erase markers and decided to write my goals so that I could have a visual each and every time I step into the studio.


This past week I happened across a wonderful website that had what I feel is a good example of a licensed art portfolio to use and an example.  I'm SO happy to find the art of Becky Schultea.  A fellow sister in Christ and artist that seems to be doing a lot of things that I want to eventually accomplish and she is doing it right.  I have already started jotting down some ideas for collection themes and makes the need of me learning Photoshop even more evident.  I was really struck with her style of making her images appear to be floating above the background almost like a sticker.  This is similar to my color pencil drawings when I apply a shadow line that results in giving the image a pop off the page or a more 3-D appearance.

I just might be a wee bit partial, but I really think my "Down Country Roads" art would look good on coffee cups, flags, pillows and stationary so I just have to convenience the corporate world of that fact.

So this summer I have a lot to get accomplished and I hope that I'm up to the challenge.

Mostly, I just plan to KEEP drawing and painting, like I have before but focus more on making collections with my sketching efforts.  Learn from successful artists already in the field like Becky Schultea of Plantersville, Texas.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Yesterday my small studio space just got a lot more crowded.  All the pieces from my solo show at the Whitney Library had to come home and now they are stacked up like cordwood.  My exhibition time was over and all that was left to do was to bring them all home.  29 pieces in variety of sizes, some framed and some not.

So much time, effort and hard work goes into putting on a solo show and I'm not counting the many hours of painting or drawing.  Pretty much a solid year of effort went into my "Down Country Roads" collection.  It may be exhausting, but it is so rewarding to see all your work hung in a gallery on display.  Today there is a variety of mixed emotions.  I'm happy to have all my work back because the past two months there has been a strain keeping up enough new inventory to have pieces of high caliber to display at the other galleries that I show at regularly.  

This morning I am sitting here drinking my coffee and reflecting on the show.  I am also reading through the guest book comments that were recorded by the public during the two month of the show.  There were 10 pages of signatures and most were just a word or two.  There were lots of comments about color and detail.  A number of comments about my poetry and my sense of humor.  Several mentioned that the show reminded them of home or their childhood and some said I made them smile.  My artist heart is so touched by so many kind words. I thought I would share just a few of the quotes with you.

Channel- "Beautiful! Brilliant colors, put a smile on my face!"
Mary Ann- "I love your artwork; it brings happy memories of my childhood to me, thanks.?
Channel- "I had to bring my husband to see your amazing work!"
Unknown- "You brought so many memories back to my farm boy Vermont past!  Loved your talent!"
L.N.S.- "Very astonishing artwork! Mesmerized"
Unknown- "I love this work also I could feel the fishing hole, birds bugs and breeze.  Wonderful!"
Unknown- "Brilliant Poetry and lovely work."
Sydnee- "Ive never seen such beautiful art😀 Especially love the bunnies!"
Unknown-"Beautiful work & a great sense of humor!"
Martha- "Love your sense of humor.  So ably expressed in both words and art."

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Puppy Love x 2

This week marked an exciting event for me.  I received my very first Etsy commission request and I am beyond thrilled.  Etsy is an online marketplace that I really want to be part of for a while now and maybe this will be the start of some regular orders.  Building a reputation with customer satisfaction is critical to your success and I need to get a number of 5 star reviews under my belt.

I was contacted by a potential customer asking if I could change the composition my sketch of my granddaughter and her very large doberman to include her 2 little nieces, ages 4 & 6. Her brother had just purchased a doberman puppy and she thought this would be a perfect gift.   A few messages back and forth and I had several photos of the girls to use and a reference.  We agreed upon a price and I went in a created a special variation button to included customization.  To my joy she paid the price and placed the order right away.

After a super busy weekend, I was able to start working on it Monday evening.  Total drawing time was probably 3 hours I think.  Using several references photos of my 4 year old granddaughter I was able to combine them into what I think is a solid composition.  The challenge came in when I found out their doberman puppy doesn't have his tail docked or his ears cropped.  Finding a photo of the backside of a doberman to see the detail of the tail wasn't easy.  Actually, I never found a true backside view but I think I didn't do too bad of a job here.

The original drawing is much brighter and those pink sweaters just pop off the paper.  I have to figure out how to get a better scan of my drawings so the colors look more true.  Right now when I am working with a print of one of my drawings I usually grab the color pencils and my black pen and quickly go over some of the areas to brighten them.  I like the idea they are hand embellished but I have so much still to learn when it comes to the technical side of producing reproductions.

All that is left to do is to matte the drawing and get it packaged up for shipment.  This actually represents a new first for me too.  This package is being shipped international because the buyer lives in Douro Dummer, Ontario.  I looked that up and that town is sitting right on the border of the US and Canada but it is still international shipping so my usual USPS Standard Rate Shipping boxes won't work.  Yesterday just happened to be "trash" day and I was able to find several boxes that appear to be the right size that I can use to ship.  As I get busier with my shipping, I will have to find a good source of small shipping boxes that fit the dimensions of my artwork.

This image will soon be available as cards and magnets on my Etsy Store.  If you want to check out my artwork you can go to my website gallery at Julie Townsend Studio Gallery.  Let me know what you think because I would love to hear from you.

You can also visit my Etsy Store if you are interested in this image in a small print, magnet or greeting card at: Julie Townsend Studio on Etsy

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

It's Red Dots and Red Ribbons For Me

I think this is about the 4th or 5th year that I have been involved in the Helldorado Art Show and Auction.  It is really one of my favorite local shows at this point.  The art is amazing and so winning a ribbon there is really special.

I entered 4 pieces total and won a second place ribbon in the acrylic category on my painting, "Rise and Shine".  That piece also happened to be bid on and so I only brought home 3 pieces and this ribbon.  This piece was nearly the last painting I have completed.  I really wanted to enter it in my solo library show but didn't quite make the deadline.

The whole time I was painting this piece I struggled with it.  I had initially tired to paint a mottled background in blue but I struggled with that and especially with the foreground. It just didn't seem to work out the way I had it in my mind.   I loved how the rooster was progressing,  but I felt as if he was floating in the middle of the canvas and I didn't know what to do with his feet.  I was pretty sure I wanted a fence post with morning glories but things just didn't seem to be lining up right.  
The current and final background was actually my 3rd attempt of painting it over.  I'm so pleased that I just kept at it even though I felt that I might just scrape the whole piece.  I love the bright colors and the combination of detail and pop art together.  This will not be the last time I combine these two styles I am sure.  

In April I had taken this piece and entered it into the Clark County Fair and Rodeo in Logandale and I received a very positive response with it.  I actually won 2nd place in the show with it.  Of course the competition wasn't as stiff as it is with Helldorado.

Ribbons are wonderful, but art sales are the true compliment paid to an artist.  Well unless you win BEST OF SHOW ribbon.  I'm guess that ranks up there pretty high.  I will miss this piece, but I am happy he found a new home where someone appreciates him enough to pay their hard earned money for the privilege of hanging him on their walls.

Now even though I have sold the original painting, there is still prints and merchandise available that can be ordered with this image.  I personally turn most of my artwork into small prints (4 x 6, 5 x 7 or 8 x 10), 4 x 6 art magnets or stickers.  These are all available on my Etsy store.

I've included just a couple of images that shows just how great this image would look on products such as prints, book bags, sweatshirts, mugs, shower curtains or phone cases.  You can click this link and it will take you right to this image to place your order.  What a great gift for any "Rooster" lover on your list.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Blogging about Carrots

I've been a little over the top these days about carrots it seems.  It was just a few weeks ago that I jumped in and got really messy trying my hand at paper mache' and made some large carrots as part of my Easter entryway decorations.  They make me smile each time I walk through my front door.  These giant vegetables added just the right amount of color to my display.

This little sketch I did last year of a bunny sitting among a whole bunch of carrots is a favorite of mine.  I call it "Don't Forget Your Vegetables" and I love the contrast created by the black and white of the bunny against the bright orange and green of the carrots.

This week I had a few hours that I had to be away from my studio.  I'm part of a co-op gallery in the downtown Las Vegas Arts District and there are afternoons that I must take a shift to keep the gallery open during their scheduled business hours.  Sometimes I lug my paints down there and sit up a table, but this week I just took my small sketchbook and my travel pencil bag.  I decided to draw and I think you can just guess what the subject of my drawing was...You got it!  A Carrot!  I really wanted this carrot to have obvious bunny chew marks on it and I'm pretty happy with how the end results came out.  I decided to add some text so one of my digital files of this sketch has "Some Bunny Loves You" on it.

 I love when I can just sit for a short time and do something that I absolutely love to do and then take that effort and turn it into a potential income source.  I thought these two sketches made a perfect pair and so I couldn't wait to work on a sticker sheet that focused on these drawings.  Besides stickers the carrot sketch makes a beautiful magnet or gift card to give to someone special.  I have this full sheet of cute carrot stickers available now on my Etsy Store and will soon be adding the magnets when I get some good photos of them.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Traveling Down Country Roads

I lived the best years of my childhood on a dusty dirt road surrounded by trees, flowers, wildlife and farming.  I love old farm houses, gardens, livestock, barns, porch swings, old mail boxes, barbed wire fences and fence posts covered in morning glories and banks of wild flowers dotting every dirt road and 2 lane highway across this amazing country and they are my inspiration as I approach my senior years. 

When the world feels like crazy is becoming the normal,  I have to only return to my roots to find that this country is still full of good folk that appreciate the freedom to work hard and get their hands dirty, to raise their families and take care of their neighbors. This series of paintings is my tribute to that way of life and looking at them.  My goal with this series is frankly to, if only for a moment, take you back to your childhood and make you smile.

My artist motto, "Telling Stories with My Paintbrush" has never been more relevant in my life.  So I'm stuck on painting farm animals and standing along barbed wire fence posts   Cows are such curious creatures and will often watch you as drive by, especially if all your children are hanging out of the windows yelling, "MOO."  

I just can't help myself and found that I have a strong compulsion to paint these giant creatures with their sweet curious faces and large eyes.  Maybe they are just chewing their cud or engaging in the disgusting habit of licking their nose with their over sized tongues.  No matter what they are doing, cows make great subjects for my stories. Pair that with the consistent theme of blue morning glories and tall green grass you have all the elements of a great composition.  

I have painted 6 large feature works and several smaller pieces for this theme and hopefully all of them tell a story of life "Down Country Roads".  

I hope you enjoyed my little trip down memory lane.  All of these images are available in prints at Fine Art America or as 4 x 6 art magnets on my Etsy Store- Country Magnets or Etsy Store- Cow Magnets