Sunday, February 17, 2019

Sharp as a Tack

It is no surprise that I love working in colored pencil.  I love the portability and just how flexible they can be as an art medium.  Keeping your pencils with a good sharp point is a whole other matter.  They are expensive and so you don’t want to unnecessarily waste them by over sharpening them or having the leads break.

I try to be careful but using a small portable sharpener is okay when you are creating art on the go but doesn’t make sense in the studio.  So I purchased this Mitsubishi KH-20 sharpener on Amazon for $24.77 when I saw it recommended by another local color pencil artist.  It arrived yesterday and this morning was my first chance at playing with it.  As I already knew to be the case, the box and instructions are all in Japanese and so I tried to figure it out myself.  That didn’t work so well so I then turned to YouTube.

I found a excellent video by Baylee Jae that answered all my questions.  I’ve included her link below if you decided to check out the sharpener in more detail.  As for me, I’m a happy girl and my pencils will soon be sharp as tacks.

I will leave you with a couple of cute little sketches that I have finished just this week.

KH-20 Instruction video

Saturday, February 2, 2019

and then there were T-SHIRTS!

Happy Saturday!  It is a rainy day here in Las Vegas and so a perfect day to work in the studio. 

I'm really excited about adding t-shirts with my artwork on them to my Etsy Shop listings.  I've had a number of coffee mug sales since introducing them and am looking forward to the possibility of selling t-shirts.  I'm planning on starting my own line of Christian t-shirts and greeting cards very soon. 

These are Hanes brand unisex t-shirts with sizes ranging from S-5XL and 3 colors to choose from (white, gray and pink)  Here is the link if you want to check out these and all my artwork available.

Julie Townsend Studio Etsy Shop

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Sound of 100 Cowbells

Something to Crow About
Can you believe we are approaching the end of the first month of 2019?  I mean most of us, if asked to put a date on something are still writing 2018 by force of habit.  How long does it take you to make that transition?  By now we have all probably settled into our new year routines and have more than likely already broken some of our New Years resolutions made in earnest just a few weeks earlier.

Rather than a resolution this year, I made the decision to embrace a “Word” that I want to define my 2019.  I wanted to choose just one word but a word that has significance when considered.  I have decided that my word for the year of 2019 is “Focus”.   Focus on my art business, focus on my health, focus on relationships and my walk with the Lord.  Focus is something I often find lacking in my life now that I am retired from the traditional workforce. I had a stressful, demanding job for years and when you have a career and face constant deadlines you must focus on the tasks.  I also kept notes and to do lists be it how sloppy they appeared they helped keep me focused.  Now that I am retired, I find myself sometimes struggling with creating the urgency to spend time in my studio.  There is no longer board meetings, inspections, audits, payroll or a million other things needing my attention, so staying FOCUSED at this time in my life has a new challenge to it.

There is also a real balance that I must maintain because I never want my art to become boring or a drudgery.  I don't want to loose the joy in creating but I must stay creating new art and plenty of it if I want to see growth in my bottom line.

#100- Cowbells Sold
Always Greener
Nothing ignites that creative fire for me like a few art sales and January has been on FIRE!  I have had the joy of parting with 4 original paintings and the sale of my 100th COWBELL.  What a month! What is amazing to me is that all of the 4 original art pieces that sold came from connections I have made directly or via Facebook and not from the assistance of a gallery.  Only the cowbell was sold with the aide of the Boulder City Art Gallery.  This is what I want to see.  I want to see more and more of my income generated from online or direct sales because after all, who better to promote me than me?

In closing, I just thought I would share a last look at each of the original paintings that I said farewell to in this month.

Morning Reflection

Edge of the Herd

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Rooster Wins

#3 drawing- the Rooster
I love the creative process.  From the idea to the sketch to the final composition.  Oh at times it can be frustrating but over all I find joy in "Pulling it all together". Often, I find myself becoming consumed with the process that I am working on.  You know, waking up in the middle of the night thinking about painting cows or a cute image popping into your head at the craziest times.

That is how this little fun project turned out.  I had seen a picture of three cows peeking out behind a barn door and I just couldn't help but think I wanted to adapt that concept into my own artwork.

#1 drawing of the cow
It all began as 3 separate and rather simple sketches in my sketchbook.  Oh, I could draw all 3 together but I like the freedom that I feel when I just draw separate elements.  Photoshop allows me to arrange my composition and clean up the little mistakes that a pen and ink sketch won't allow.  Now that I have it figured out I just might offer a colored pencil or painted rendition.

#2 drawing of the pig
It started with this little cow sketch I began on Thursday night and finished it up on Friday afternoon.  Since I was responsible for the art gallery in Boulder City all day on Friday I even had time to finish the pig sketch, the second sketch in the series.

Yesterday, I found myself in one of those "CONSUMED" moments.  My goal was to clean my house and I kept trying to stay on task with that goal but my mind kept wondering back to the fact that I needed a third farm animal. I knew it must be a feisty rooster that was in my head but I just hadn't met him yet.  Needless to say, the mopping just had to wait.   I didn't even take the time to take a photo of the rooster while he was still in my sketchbook.  The minute he was finished, I ripped him out and threw him on the scanner so that he could join his barnyard buddies in their digital PNG world.

So here are a few of the final images all put together.  I arranged them in reverse order of the usual "Farm Animal Stack" we see.  The cow, then a pig and finally the rooster on top.  I even played around with adding a mouse in there but decided that it made it too busy and beside it breaks the hard and fast rule of odds. (Odd numbers are more interesting than even numbered subjects)

I used the images to design not only a poster but added a greeting card and sticker to the lineup.  I've already made them available on my Etsy Shop for purchase and they will soon be showing on my Website Redbubble (this site allows you to order all kinds of products with my art on them) and EBay, hopefully later today.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Trying to Smile When My Heart is Breaking

There are days that I just want to fall down weeping as my heart breaks for this country.  I can't even  imagine how grieved our Heavenly Father is.  We have turned our backs on God as a nation and run blindly to every foolish whim and distraction. Lifting up evil and mocking truth.  Worse yet, we sacrifice our children and call it "a beautiful public service", with cheers, celebrations and standing ovations.  My heart is sick.

What can I do as one individual in a sea of madness? I wish my written words just flowed smoothly and persuasively, causing all those that read them to pause and give reflection to my concerns.  I know I can pray more and help point those around me to the truth.  I can vote for the best political candidates at each election even though that has seemed a futile effort lately.

One thing I do know, that we all grew up hearing that a "Picture is Worth a Thousand Words" and so with that in mind I've determined that I'm going to use my talent and creativeness to bring a smile and maybe just a moment of happiness to this very dark world.  I know, it is probably just a pipe dream, after all it is just a little mouse with a donut drawing or a painting of a cow licking her nose.  I have no earth shattering revelations that can cause hearts to change but if I can make you smile, even if it is just a little smile, I feel I have done something positive to counter act all the negative.  It doesn't feel as if I'm doing enough to make any real kind of difference in the world but I must remind myself that "While it may seem small, the ripple effects of small things is extraordinary." (Matt Bevin)

This is one of the reasons that I've started in 2019 to bring together my artwork with scripture or impactful quotes that can be used as shareable memes.  Of course, marketing and branding of my artwork is also a motive for me but I'm finding my own day is improved greatly as I consider what my next meme will look like. 

This one is my latest meme and the title of this piece is so apropos to what I've been talking about in this blog post.  I call this painting, "Casting Out the Darkness".  Isn't that a perfect title to go along with Psalms 12?  "I lift my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth." 

If you like my artwork, please consider following me on my Facebook Studio Page or visit my website gallery.  There is a tab above that will take you to both of these sites.  Visitors often turn into friends and that makes me HAPPY!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Bluebird of Happiness

A happy little bluebird graphic I found
I drew this little bluebird below using my colored pencils just a few days ago and I couldn't help but think about how amazing all of God's creation is.  From the sunrise in the east to the sunset in the west and everything in between, this world shouts of His amazing gifts to us. 

It doesn't take an artist eye to see and appreciate the creation but I do think that the fact that I am an artist adds a unique perspective to my vision.  I find that I view things in more detail now that I paint.  I'm always thinking about what colors I would mix, how to paint the areas of darkness and light or what makes the perfect composition.  I find myself mapping out the process I would take to paint it as if it was the subject of my greatest masterpiece. 

The colors of blue and orange are so striking and beautiful on these little birds that I'm reminded in James 1:17 "Every GOOD and PERFECT gift is from above".  God has given us such beautiful things that surround us, make us happy and brighten our lives.  I am blessed just sitting here thinking on these things. 

I thought it was a prefect verse to use today and pair it with this little guy.  I pray today will be a Happy Day for you.  Find something to be grateful for and let your Father of heavenly lights just how much you love all your "Good and Perfect Gifts". 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

He Owns All the COWS, BIRDS and the BUGS too!

Psalms 50:10-12- Verse of the Day

Every once in a while it does us good to go back to the scripture and put things into priority.  We spend so much of our time acquiring, collecting, managing and maintaining our earthly possessions that we loose sight of the fact that ownership of things of this world is a farce. Yes, I might have the title to the car I drive and the deed to my home is in my files, but when I graduate this life, those slips of paper aren't coming with me.

The things we think we OWN are just that, THINGS and they don't really belong to us.  In Psalms 50:12 God tells us that "for the world is mine and all that is in it."  That is a lot of cows!

There you have it... We are just borrowing all this stuff (and some of us have a LOT more stuff than other).  The world is here for us to enjoy and take care of.  We are kind of like the "STAFF" helping take care of the estate.

Me holding "Happy Cows" right after it was finished
The artwork here on the "Verse of the Day" meme is my original acrylic painting called "Happy Cows".  I made a few edits and added a some digital flowers here and there.  I felt it fit the verse perfectly.  If you are interested in owning the original artwork or a print than you can check it out on my website at I also have a Facebook Studio Page @JulieTownsendStudio that you can follow.  I post all my newest artwork there first.  Feel free to share this meme with your friends.

Sold at the Boulder City Art Gallery
One other exciting piece of news this week that also is "COW" connected...I sold my 100th cowbell yesterday at the Boulder City Gallery.  It has just been 4 years since I painted my very first cowbell and here I am hitting such a milestone.  I am so blessed by this.  Here is that very special bell that I just finished a couple weeks ago.  I'm so glad she is off to a new home.