Saturday, May 28, 2016

ODE to SPRINKLES



One thing that my 3 year old curly headed grandson always asks me for when he comes to visit is SPRINKLES.  You know the colorful little edible spots that you can buy by the jar or the tub in the cake decorating section of the grocery store.  We actually have to buy our sprinkles in a larger quantity like you get at bulk stores just to keep up with his frequent requests for the little delights.  

I have been telling him for a little while now that I was going to draw him with sprinkles on his face. He always gives me his cute little smile and you can just see the wheels inside his head turning as he is trying to visualize how that would look.   So to be true to my word, yesterday I came up with this little rough draft sketch.

I am still working out the details of how I want the sprinkles to look but I wanted to share with you this morning my rough draft and the little poem, "Ode to Sprinkles" I have written so far to go along with the concept.  

I though this blog might just add a little COLOR to your day and hopeful a smile to your face.








Ode to SPRINKLES 

      by
Julie Townsend

Let me sing a song about SPRINKLES
On the roughest days you smooth out all my wrinkles 
I love you and all your tasty brightfulness 
Like magic tiny rainbow sugar pills of delightfulness 
A spoonful of SPRINKLES before I get out of bed 
Helps me think more clearly in my head 
SPRINKLES with my lunch 
Just for color and added crunch 
Give me more SPRINKLES   with my supper meal 
There is really no denying that my love for them is real 
Give me SPRINKLES by the spoon 
I like to eat SPRINKLES by the light of the moon 
Or SPRINKLES in a bowl
SPRINKLES before my evening stroll 
SPRINKLES are perfect anytime of the day 

Give me more SPRINKLES!  Are you listening to what I say? 


First Rough draft that I did.  I added to my artistic Journal page


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Art Journaling


It was an epiphany!  My fascination with calendars, organization and art journaling, none of which I do very well could all be combined into one.  I never considered it until just now.  I have a dear friend, Victoria Thatcher who has always been so crafty and has really beginning to get noticed for her graphic creation of her lovely planner stickers.  I look at her stuff and while I love all of it, I just don't see me successfully keeping up with "THE HAPPY PLANNER".

How do you balance the technology the calendar on my tablet offers and the beauty of an artistic journal.  Even on my tablet I can't find the perfect calendar that allows me to both journal my day, have a to do list and document all my appointments. It is also so cold and sterile looking.  Certainly nothing to get excited about.   I don't think there is a perfect app out there so I'm just going to have to embark on a journal journey.

Every year I buy a new Marjolein Bastin planner, not because I just love the way the planner is organized but because of the beautiful illustrations she has done and the feel of an artistic journal that it has.  Her notes about the illustration printed on each page.  To be truthful and honest, I barely use the planner during the year but love to look at her amazing artwork.

I usually carry with me a portable sketching bag that contains several small sketchbooks and a "Creative Journal" but I hate to admit that both are sadly neglected.  I'm turning 55 this summer and what am I doing with my time!  I want to record my thoughts, special things in life and yet I just don't do because I"m so worried about it looking perfect or not having the "RIGHT" book with me at the time.  

NO MORE!  I'm turning over a new journal leaf and creating a gallery to document my discoveries. If you see me, you are not going to see my "LIFE JOURNAL" far away.  I read this blog yesterday by Hali Karla  and I love her quote
"An everyday {art} journal – one that you carry with you as much as possible – is a way of keeping track of the breadcrumbs in your life – you know, the little shimmers and synchronicities that vibrate in a moment but can be so easily forgotten as the moments move on."

I came up with this design this morning and snapped a quick picture of it with my phone as I ran off to work.  The pressure comes in when later I have to fill it with something that I hope is inspiring because 2016 is almost half over.  

A Blank Page in my Journal-ready for me to record my day

Monday, May 23, 2016

Seeing Double....Not Quite


So my last blog post from Saturday, I shared about this particular sketch I was working on that included  two bluebirds and a nest.  I included this photo that showed examples of how I would scan and then print out copies of incompletely sketches so that I could have a opportunity to experiment with different backgrounds and colors.  Yesterday, I went on printed one more copy out of my artwork but this time I printed it on my nice Bristol, acid free art paper and used the good printer.  I then finished the pen work on the incomplete nest on both the original and the copy.  Last night I began coloring them in using my colored pencils.





Original Artwork- "Nesting Bluebirds"
One original with realistic tiny blue eggs in the nest and a second original with 2 small red hearts.  My plan for the second piece that has hearts in the nest is to be able to use it as a gift for weddings and anniversaries.  I can customize it by lightly adding initials or names to each heart to make each piece of art personal and unique.  I will also hand embellish each piece to maximize the contrast and color.

What a great artcard or small print to give someone as a gift to mark that special day.
Original Artwork- "Love Birds"


June is almost upon us and June has always been considered the wedding month so there are plenty of weddings and anniversaries for all of us to remember.  If you are interested in ordering a matted original customized artwork from me, just send me an email message.

My prices for all my art cards are $5 each, 5 x 7 (matted to 8 x 10) are $25 and 8 x 10 (matted to 11 x 14) are $45 + shipping.  Message me if you are interested in putting in an order.


This past month I have been trying to write a little poem for each of my pieces of artwork and so I started playing around with a couple of verses about bluebirds.  Here is one of the rough drafts so far.  


Good Morning Mr. Bluebird
             By
     Julie Townsend

You are a wee little bird all soft and fluffy
I'm in love with your bright orange belly all puffy 
And your azure blue feathers are far from stuffy
Sitting there singing in my tree all huffy

I could sit in this chair and watch you all day
Please, oh please don't fly away
For just a little longer won't you stay
Because watching you is pure joy I say













Saturday, May 21, 2016

Two Little Birdies Sitting in a Tree


Work in Progress -"Pair of Nesting Bluebirds"
Most of this week I have been focused on sketching a pair of blue and a little bird nest in a tree branch.  I thought that this concept might make a good gift for a wedding or anniversary.  In my first sketch I have left it incomplete at this point because I could either include eggs in the nest or I thought putting two hearts in the nest might work well for the gift idea.

One thing that I really think is important and I have learned this lesson the hard way.  I know scan my sketches when I have finished the pen and ink work and before I begin to apply any color or consider background treatments.  I don't want to ruin my original and regret a decision later which will result in my having to start all over again.
Trying out different mediums and treatments-One is Watercolor and the other is Colored Pencils
The first copy I did was on a piece of letter size card stock.   I took that copy and applied an abstract watercolor background and finished off the nest by hearts.  The second one is again copied on card stock but I printed it as a 5 x 7 which made it smaller than the first.  This one I used Prismacolor Premium Pencils and added a ink background of small circles.  I really liked the colored pencil one but I felt I had made the nest too dark.  So when I do get ready to finish the original sketch I have a much better I idea of how I want to handle it.


Bird Nest with Eggs- Pen and Ink only
I started a similar sketch just this morning while enjoying my coffee.  I just find bird nests to be so fascinating and the detail pen work is a real challenge.  I really like how this one is turning out even if there are no birds to be found in my composition.  

I had some struggles with the first nest sketch of the week.  It wasn't until after I had it drawn it all out I began to realize that most bluebirds build their nest in holes it seems.  Here I have them building their nest on a branch.  This is what comes from depending on reference photos and not have live subjects to study.  While the Mountain Bluebird is the Nevada state bird, they must only be in the mountains up north as I have never seen one down here in Southern Nevada.  The Mountain Bluebird also doesn't have the orange belly feathers that we see in my most recognizable bluebird species.  They are still magnificently blue and therefore beautiful but just not as stunning as the ones with orange feathers.

So this nest is just a nest with two tiny blue eggs. That of course leads to the question, "What type of bird lays blue eggs?"  Well surprisingly there are a number of species.  Of course the robin is well known along with the bluebird but there are also starlings and mockingbirds and cowbirds to name a few. 

Either way, no matter why exact species of birds nest this is that I'm drawing, I hope you enjoying my sketches this week half as much as I didn't drawing them. 

My original sketches are 8 x 10 draw on Strathmore Bristol acid free art paper and are matted to a standard 11 x 14 for easy framing.  I will also have matted prints in various sizes available.  I will be adding these drawings to a collection of greeting cards that feature birds if you are interested they are available on my country store gallery on my website at JulieTownsendStudio.com

"Bird Nest with Blue Eggs"- Pen and Ink w/Colored Pencil













Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Veggies are the Bomb Diggity

This past week I have found myself busy and distracted so not much art has really gotten done.  I did manage to write this little poem (which I hope you read at the bottom of this post)  to go along with one of my favorite sketches that I have done this year.    There is something just so cute about this little bunny sitting among a pile of fresh carrots.

This weekend I was blessed to be invited to attend a baby shower for the grandson of a dear friend.  I purchased a couple of very cute outfits to give the new mother as a gift but at the last moment decided to also include this piece and my sketch of a calf licking his nose.  I printed them out on acid free art paper, matted them and signed them.  I also included the poem I wrote for "Who Needs a Tissue". (To read that poem just scroll down to my May 7, 2016 post)  I think that these two prints make wonderful nursery art or would look great hanging in a country kitchen.

So this got me thinking about the holiday weekend coming up and so I decided to put together a blog special offer.  I usually sell these 8 x 10 matted to 11 x 14 inch prints for $45 each but for the next two weeks (ends May 31, 2016)  I am offering a special package to my online blog and website visitors only.  Both numbered and hand signed prints, along with a copy of both of my poems for $50 (plus $13 shipping in the good old USA). Here is the link to my Down Country Roads Gallery.  Just click on the Paypal button located at the top of the gallery to make your purchase.  While you are there, please feel free to checkout my other gallery tabs for my other works at JulieTownsendStudio.com.


"Don't Forget Your Vegetables"













"Who Needs a Tissue"






Don't Forget Your Vegetables
By 
Julie Townsend

I don’t understand it at all when I say
There are people I know that are not at all keen
To eating anything that is leafy and green
It is perplexing to consider the price they may pay
For eating our veggies is one way to stay
With your body fueled and your muscles lean

Packed full of good stuff with very long names
Plenty of essential acids, vitamins and minerals galore
All vital and important items needed to fuel your core
I’m not joking, pulling your leg or making false claims
This is for real and I’m not playing games
Eating the colors of the rainbow will help you soar

Red is good for your heart
Blue and purple work wonders for you brain
Green is packed with essential minerals so you don’t feel the drain
Filling your plate with lots of bright colors will get off to a good start
To keep your eyes healthy and reading off the chart
Orange and yellow are the colors for vision that will bring the most gain

All that about color just to say
Don’t forget to eat them 5 times a day
The
 Incredible
Very Digestible,
Always Sustainable,
The tasty and edible
Yellow, Orange
Purple, Blue
Green and
Red
V
E
G
E
T
A
B
L
E





Leave me a comment below to let me know if you like either the artwork or my feeble attempts at writing poetry.  Catch you on the next blog post.



Friday, May 13, 2016

I Might Be What You Call Obsessed With Downton Abbey



This past week I have found that my easel has been neglected but my sketchpad has taken much of my attention.  I had come with this little idea of a mouse dressed to the nines with a top hat and black bow tie.  Actually, I have been watching the Downton Abbey series and was struck with the wonderful costumes that each of the characters wear and how formal and proper the upper class were during that era in time.  It is hard to fathom individuals who actually needed assistance daily just to put on a jacket or to brush their own hair.
Make Everyday a Black Tie and Tails Day

I find myself thinking often about the show and so I thought I would create my own Downton Abby scene using cute little mice.  I drew this piece first and I'm calling it "Make Everyday a Black Tie and Tails Day".  I was so pleased with the outcome that I knew this handsome little guy needed an equally classy gal by his side so yesterday I started my 2nd drawing.










Milady
When it came to drawing my little girl mouse, I actually spent sometime looking at images of the beautiful Lady Mary Crawley and derived my inspiration for her hat from those images.  Long silk gloves, a blue feather boa and a tube of bright red lipstick finish off the piece that is titled "Milady".










The Happy Couple
Now the challenge to me is to learn enough Photoshop that I can take the elements of both pieces and combine them into one piece.


Since Photoshop isn't mastered overnight and I just had to come up with another piece that featured two overdressed rodents I took matters into my own artistic hands.  This time I drew a large 8 x 10 piece that includes a bride and the groom along with a festive cake.  I decided to leave the heart blank in the center of the cake so that I could personalize it with the monogrammed initials of the happy couple.  I actually have both a bridal shower and a 50th anniversary gift to purchase this week and so I plan on putting this piece of art to personal use right away.






I just uploaded these images and so if your interested in prints, art cards or art magnets you can check them out on my Website or on my Etsy Store.  If you are interested in a personalized print or card of the "The Happy Couple", just send me a message and I will be happy to work that out for you.





Enjoying the Classics
I thought I would end with one last Mouse sketch that I have recently done.  This one features a hungry little guy enjoying a piece of John Steinbeck's novel "Of Mice and Men" in a way that most book lovers would be horrified at but I thought it made a cute composition.










Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Think Big- Poem and the Illustration


Think Big
This is probably the first real example of a colored pencil sketch I did in the early part of this year.  The original drawing is 8 x 10 and is drawn on 300 series Strathmore Bristol Art Paper.  I used my Prismacolor colored pencils along with their pens for the details.  

This morning I decided to write a little poem for the piece that I call "Think Big".  It's still a bit rough but I was able to jot down the majority of my thoughts while enjoying my morning coffee.  Let me know what you think.  I would love to hear from you.

If you are interested in this original image, prints, cards or art magnets you will find more information on my website at Julie Townsend Studio along with all my other works.  


THINK BIG

What a cute little chap
Short, stubby and with your fine black cap
“What is it you have there?” 
It is quite big and you are so small in compare
I must ask again “What treasure have you found?”
It looks like a ball of string in red just lying on the ground
Forget the stick, twigs and grass
With that yarn your nest will be first class
Beaks will flap and feathers will ruffle
With this you’re sure to cause quite a scuffle
This will make you the talk of the flock
And your little Chickadee girl bird will be in shock
Sometimes in life you just have to forget the mundane
Go for the gusto even at the risk of being thought insane
It’s worth the effort to derive a plan
From the ground to your branch is quite a span
It will take some hard work and a great deal of thought
But the rewards in the long run will be worth the plot
My advice to you is to drop the twig
Go for the creative and just THINK BIG!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Ladybug-Maybe Not a Lady or a Bug

It was only about two weeks ago that I did this 8 x 10 Pen and Ink/colored pencil sketch of a ladybug resting on a dew covered daisy petal. It is actually a piece that a couple of my painting students are working on and I worked out the details a head of them.  I thought I might add a few more embellishments to the composition.  Perhaps some leaves or a stem but I got busy on other projects and commitments and it sort of got buried.  You know how that goes, "Out of sight Out of mind" kind of thing.  

Well I had to pull it back out on Saturday to show my students so they could start working on their piece and that was when it hit me I should try to write a poem for this sketch also.  I scribbled down some notes and began formulating a rough draft on my computer.  I took a printout with me this morning to work on during my morning coffee ritual.  McDonalds once again proved to be just the place for the creative juices to flow.  I managed to pull the piece together and I'm rather happy with how it has turned out.  I hope you also enjoy it.

Please leave me a comment and if you like what you see, check out the rest of my work on my website gallery at Julie Townsend Studio



Excuse Me Sir For Calling You a Ladybug
By
Julie Townsend

There is much about you that is quite confusing
From your little black spots to a bright red coat so assuming
I find myself puzzled and scratching my head
Maybe you're no lady but rather a boy bug instead

I suppose you can see the dilemma I face
As I try to grasp how this may impact the whole human race
So with my naked eye with certainty I can not speak
Only with the aid of a microscope to take a peek

So no matter if a he or she you are called
I'm rather surprised to find that you're really no bug at all
But instead a beetle in the family of Coccinellidae
While no entomologist I claim to be, so who am I to say

But I could have swore that beetles and bugs were one in the same
I stand here and hang my head in shame
For this was a belief I have held onto since my youth
Now my eyes have been opened to the shocking truth

While you are an insect, to call you a bug isn't proper
It all comes down to your wings and the shape of your chompers
A friend to the gardener of roses, veggies and fruit
For many other helpful insect aren't nearly as cute


I hope you find my garden and decide to stay
You have such an appetite and will keep all those aphids away!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

In Honor of Mothers of SNOT Nosed Kids Everywhere!


Who Needs a Tissue- 8 x 10 Pen and Ink/Colored Pencil
So I just had to share the little poem I wrote this morning to accompany the sketch I did earlier this year that I call "Who Needs a Tissue".  The subject matter may be a bit on the gross side, but it just fits perfect with my drawing.

I had so much fun writing this little verse that I think I might just start writing something for each of my sketches.  Who knows...maybe this will turn into a book for the grandchildren of sorts.





I know all mothers of small children can so relate to my poem and so I've decided to have a MAY 2016 MOTHER'S DAY GIVEAWAY.  I would love to send you a 4" x 6" art magnet of my "Who Needs a Tissue" along with a signed copy of my new poem.  Here's what I need you to do anytime this week Mother's Day Week between May 7-14th:


  1. Go to my website at JulieTownsendStudio.com and find the answer to the following question: What issue of Gold Prospector Magazine featured a 2 page article on my artwork? (I have the answer in a number of places so just open some of the tabs and look around.)
  2. Send me an email from my website contact page giving me the answer to my questions and your full name and mailing address. (Sorry United States Only)
  3. And finally, leave me a comment or a shout out on this blog entry below just letting me know you were here and if you enjoyed my blog.

Go Grab a Tissue PLEASE
by 
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 big 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 them sick




Friday, May 6, 2016

Make Everyday a Black Tie and Tails Day

My husband and I have been enjoying the PBS show, Downton Abbey.  We have tried to watch one or two episodes each day while eating our dinner.  Last night we started watching season 5.

Never in my life have I experience watching a TV show from the first episode all the way to the end of the show.  I would always hear people talk about their "Show" is on tonight but I have never watched TV like that.  I've always been a hit and miss kind of viewer.  Never really having a favorite show or even knowing the time or date a specific show was airing but Netflix has changed all that.

Like so many other households,  3 years ago we canned our cable TV subscription and joined Netflix. Maybe a year ago I got involved in the show "Lost" and I was hooked.  Now we have watched every episode of NCIS, Longmire and Sherlock.  I find the experience much like reading a good novel.  I find myself getting involved with the characters and caught up in the story line.  I had watched lots of episodes of NCIS but now, having watched them in sequence, everything makes much greater sense because you know the history.  

I knew I would love Downton Abbey seeing as how I am completely in love with anything Jane Austin.  The only problem I faced was that Downton Abbey isn't on Netflix so I had to pay for a subscription to Amazon Prime to start watching the show.  So far I'm happy with that decision and since many of my art and business supplies are purchased on Amazon it makes the $100 expense a bit easier to deal with.

My Little "Downton Abbey" Mouse Sketch
I suppose I had better get this blog back on track since my focus isn't on critiquing TV shows but talking about my artwork.  The whole Downton Abbey influence is evident, at least to me, in my most recent sketch that I'm calling "Make Everyday a Black Tie and Tails Day".  I was thinking the other day about how the Crawley family often dress so formally just to eat dinner.  Their chauffeur turned son-in-law Tom complained about having to wear a tuxedo to dinner each night.  They put such stock in whether to wear their black or white bow tie.

So my little "Downton Abbey" mouse here is getting all dressed up for a special evening.  His top hat and bow tie are ready and he has just dipped his tail into the jar of black India ink to finish off his formal attire.  He was so much fun to draw yesterday.  I had a number of people watching me at McDonalds in the morning as I started working on the pen and ink work there.  I already have plans on starting a sketch of his date and perhaps I will let the influence of the beautiful "Lady Mary" help me with that one.

The original 5 x 7 matted sketch along with prints, art greeting cards and 4 x 6 art magnets are available in both my Etsy store or on my website