Friday, August 18, 2017

I Love the SPOT HEALING BRUSH TOOL

Isn't that just the coolest name?  Wouldn't it be awesome if we had a SPOT HEALING BRUSH TOOL in our make-up bag.  Oh look at that wrinkle or giant lunch food stain that is prominently residing on the front of my blouse-  I could just pull out my SPOT HEALING BRUSH TOOL and presto...spot, wrinkle, pimple or stain BE GONE!

Yesterday, I spent several hours just quickly going through some past photos looking for something that would spark my Photoshop imagination.  It didn't take long for me to stop on this photo.  Absolutely amazing Nevada sunrise that is completely ruined by the heavy power lines.  I have always wanted to edit that photo to try to create that beautiful scene that I remember. 
That is where the "SPOT HEALING BRUSH TOOL" came in.  I'm sure there are a number of ways to FIX this photo but after a quick internet search I decided to give this tool a try.  Just a little Photoshop history on me....About 6 weeks ago, I knew absolutely knew nothing beyond cropping a photo. With determination I set aside a weekend and began painstakingly watching YouTube videos in an effort to learn how to do some simple photo editing.

My main motivation is my artwork.  I have for a long time felt that learning Photoshop was essential for me to take my art to the next level.  I'm pretty happy with my progress and am determined to become proficient.  Now, I also should mention here that I don't actually own Photoshop or whatever they are calling it these days but rather I own an old version 8 of Photoshop Elements.  The current version is 15 but I wasn't about to spend a dime to purchase another program when I didn't even know how to use the one I have owned for years.

I am happy to report that last night I noticed Photoshop Elements 15 was once again on Amazon Prime, offered at the lowest price I have found of $59.99.  Usually it is listed at $79.99.  Only one other time had I seen it that price and didn't buy it soon enough and the price jumped the $20 while it sat in my shopping cart.  I wasn't about to repeat that scenario, so I quickly made my purchase and can't wait to load it on my laptop when it arrives.

Now I had better get back to my whole purpose to this post and that is my sunrise photo.  The SPOT HEALING BRUSH TOOL did the trick.  It was a bit of a time consuming process because I had to keep going back over the lines before they were completely gone and there was no distortion left.  My patience paid off and I couldn't be happier with this edited photo.  

I was SO happy as a matter of fact that I decided to get a little silly and so I then edited this photo we took last spring of a street performer in Virginia City, Nevada dressed as an old prospector complete with his burro.  Here it is added to the sunrise photo looking sillier than ever.




Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Trying to Capture Silly With My Pen

Trying to capture humor and silliness with just a ink pen can be a challenge.  I'm working on some ideas for a solo show I have coming up in March 2018.  I'm sort of known for creating art that results in some smiles and sometimes out loud laughter.  For a theme, I'm considering calling the show, "I Dare You Not To Smile"

Now that is a tall order but here in the past 2 days I've picked up the challenge and decided I would share a couple of the pieces I have made. Let me take a minute and introduce you to my growing menagerie of silly creatures.


Claire the Cow



First off, we have Claire the Cow.  Created with mostly scribbles or stippling of my pen she has a rather long narrow face and blank stare that is sure to cause a chuckle.  Not to mention that double, triple, quadruple chin action going on there.

There is just something about cows.  Even though they are very large and rather intimidating, they have a sweetness about them. They have the largest brown eyes and the most interesting nose.  I LOVE drawing and painting their noses.










Rusty the Rooster


Next we have a feisty fowl that rules the coop.  Rusty the Rooster is one comical cock full of attitude.   Look into his eyes and you will have to decided if he is thinking either "What are you laughing at?" or "You had better get ready to run!"  He is lightly tented with colored pencil to show off his amazing comb and wattles.













Lily the Llama




The ink may still be wet in spots on my newest drawing.  Here is Lily the Llama.  What a funny face that llamas have. I mean I knew that they had goofy faces but it isn't until you start to study them to actually draw them that you realize just how goofy they really are.  Two large yellowed teeth protruding out from their bottom lips, giant bug eyes and hair sticking out everywhere.   Not the typical farm animal, but I have seen a number of them in pastures as I drive across rural ranch land so I decided to include her in my silly farm animal lineup.

Just as I did with Rusty, I have tinted Lily with blue colored pencil to enhance the shadows of her face contours.

Now what shall I draw today...?











If you like my artwork consider checking out my Etsy Shop, Zazzle Shop or my Website.  All are available by just selecting the tab above.




Tuesday, August 15, 2017

NO LIMITS in Sight







Just Like in This Image....My Art is Now FREE TO FLY

I am on a SABBATICAL....well that is what I have been calling it but I guess it is more correct to say that I'm on an art vacation.  When I looked up the definition of sabbatical and I found out that they last usually a year.  I don't see me putting aside my other obligations for that length of time, but I am determined to make the most of this small window of time I have carved out to really produce more art and to improve my online presence.

I will be blogging regularly, showing off my newest art creations.  I will be working on making some holiday collections along with images for my March 2018 show..."I Dare You Not to Smile" that will be presented at the Boulder City Art Gallery in Boulder City, Nevada.

For the past month I have been learning to combine my artwork and digital enhancements using Photoshop.  I love the freedom that this program gives me with my artwork.  I can fix things, combine separate elements together to change up the compositions and add backgrounds or foregrounds.


Up, Up and Away
Digitally Improved


Here is an example of what I worked on yesterday using a painting I did a year ago.   Up, Up and Away was painted especially for my grandson Hunter.  His nursery was decorated in elephants and my daughter asked me to do a special artwork piece to hang there.  This painting was done on a 16 x 20 canvas in Acrylics.

Because of the way I had painted the balloons I felt that I wasn't really able to produce prints or add the image to cards and magnets as I usually do with my work.    Yesterday afternoon I pulled up the image onto my laptop and began working some Photoshop magic on it.  I removed the original balloons and the little mouse I painted hanging on the elephants tail.  I then downloaded some royalty free png file  images of balloons, a stowaway mouse and the blue sky background and I now have a great image that I believe very marketable.






Here is a mockup I created using my Up, Up and Away artwork. Mockups are made to help you visualize just how this image would look if place in the environment of it's intended use.  I think this is now such a cute image that your imagination doesn't really need the extra help to know that this little flying elephant would be perfect hanging in a nursery or child's bedroom.  If you are an elephant person I suppose that any room might work for you.   I have added this print to my Etsy Shop and it will be available for order at this link:  Etsy Shop- Elephant Print



I've added this image with different sayings to both a Child and Toddler T-shirt.  I'm planning on ordering them for my two granddaughters birthdays coming up next month.
 

Zazzle Shop-Elephant T-Shirt 
Zazzle Shop-Elephant Toddler Shirt 


Making the effort to learn just a little Photoshop has opened an ability for me to take my art to a new level.  In my heart I knew it would but each time I tried to learn to use the program for more than cropping the photo I grew frustrated.  I tried on several occasions to learn from my children, which resulted in...INSTANT FRUSTRATION!

What was different this time?  First I made a list of about 5 things I really wanted to learn how to do and then I started watching YouTube videos.  I know this may sound funny, but I have been fascinated with stickers for sometime and I really wanted to learn how to make them.  I watched several videos before finding one that made sense to me.  I took notes and then spent a whole day working on making a sheet of poorly done stickers, but I learned how the layers work.  This had always been the mystery to me and as you know if you know anything about Photoshop, it is ALL ABOUT LAYERS.

I have also been taking my edited JPEGS of my artwork and adding them to a number of products in my Zazzle Shop.  Mostly coffee mugs and T-Shirts at this point, but I think they look great and am confident that I will be earning some small royalties on these images soon.  Here is several examples of my coffee mugs and an easy to use link in the event you might just want to order one for yourself or to give as a gift.














Zazzle Shop- Online Dating Sparrow Mug







Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Some Days Chicken, Some Days Sparrow Feathers




This past week I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off getting my artwork ready to hang at the Art House LV Gallery for the collaboration show "Fur, Feathers and Fins".  I don't think I had one fish or reptile on display, but I sure had plenty of Feathers represented on my wall.

Both of these sparrow pieces made their public debut at the show and I couldn't be more pleased at how they looked hanging there among the whole display.  I find myself more and more opting for my color pencils and ignoring my paintbrushes.
This little grouping of sparrows that I call "Early Morning Flock Talk" is drawn in color pencil and measures about 6 x 15 I think.  When I started drawing this, I already had the frame and that is the reason for the long narrow size.  I didn't really consider how I was going to make matted prints of it though.  I usually steer clear of odd sizes when painting on canvases or matting my drawings.  It just isn't very cost effective to have to have framing specially made.   It turns out it has been a popular piece and so I had to figure out a way to make this long and narrow drawing into a more standard size such as 5 x 7 or 8 x 10.

So, today I turned to Photoshop for a little help.  I downloaded some grass and wildflower pictures from my new favoritest website ever-Pngtree.com.  I lengthened this size of the fence posts and then just layered the grass and flowers in front of my drawing.  This gives both height and depth to my drawing.





So here is the final result.  I think this will be a print that I will sell often and the image will look great on other merchandise.










My second sparrow piece is one I call "Online Dating" and features both a male and female sparrow sitting on a clothesline surrounded by wooden clothespins.  In my final drawing of the piece I have light blue background that I colored in and I decided to add a butterfly and two yellow and green stripped wash rags to the pins.
As a child we never owned a clothes dryer.  One of my household chores was to hang the laundry out on the line.  I don't have memories of beautiful butterflies floating overhead but rather giant horseflies dive bombing me as I struggled to hang the wet laundry and secure it on the clothesline.  This drawing is 8 x 10 and I have it matted to 11 x 14.  So it is a nice size.


I did decided to take the composition and change it up a bit digitally.  I extended the clothesline and added a couple more clothespins.  A bright digital background and I think my little love birds really pop now.













One more piece that I worked on this week still focused on birds but not sparrows.  I started with a sketch of a rooster that is probably classified a zentangle.  Primarily in blue, teal and purple ink, this guy is not only colorful but has an air of superiority to him.  Much like the for real breathing variety.

I knew right away that I was going to have to draw him a cute chicky girlfriend.  Since they both were separate sketches, I had to turn to Photoshop to create a romantic scene.  What says romance more than a field of beautiful wildflowers?  I suppose if I had thought it through, I would have them wings outstretched and running towards each other. (Maybe this should be my next masterpiece).

I love adding a dropped shadow behind both the rooster and the hen.  This gives a more 3-D appearance and they actually seem to be resting above the surface of the background image.

I'm just having so much fun combining my artwork with digital modifications.  Gosh...I LOVE my job!







As a grouping, these chickens sure make an adorable trio that would look great in any room and go with any country or farm decor.






All of these images are available as glossy matted prints on my Etsy Shop and are in a variety of sizes.  You should just hop on over they and take a look.  Julie Townsend Studio- Etsy Shop




















Sunday, August 6, 2017

Making Mockups Almost Like a Pro

It has been a very busy time in the studio as of late.  I've been jumping around like a chicken with my head cut off just trying to stay on track.  I find myself the week of my combined show where I am 1/3 of the art exhibit and even with that load shared it is a great deal of work.  Our theme is "Fur, Feathers and Fins and it is turning out to be a really fun show.

Besides all of that flurry of activity I have spent a great deal of time on my computer working to improve the product pictures on my Etsy Shop.  I developed about 4 room templates that allow me to showcase my artwork framed and hanging on an imaginary digital wall. I can adjust the frame orientation and size because they are all separate layers in Photoshop.  Having these templates created are half the battle.   Now I'm sure there are more professional images out there but I'm pleased with the outcome of these mockups and wanted to share them with you.








Here are my current mockups and I really like the country flair of the barn wood frame and the potted red geranium.  Makes my Rooster painting, "Rise and Shine"Rise and Shine a perfect fit.  I couldn't have found a better mockup design for my giraffe painting "Reach for the Sky"Reach for the Sky then this little stuffed elephant on a distressed turquoise chair.































For my line of art magnets I decided to create a mockup of a refrigerator surface with a number of my images attached to appear as magnets. When I was showing all the templates to my husband mostly because I feel that I have to justify to him for all the hours I have spent sitting in front of the computer screen in the past 4 weeks since learning anything Photoshop, to point out to me that magnets wouldn't attach to a stainless surface.  REALLY!  I do know this, but you are supposed to focus on the beautiful artwork not the refrigerator.

Both of the originals of these two paintings have been sold but the good news is that I can create fine art prints of both of them and I offer them on my Etsy Shop up to an 8 x 10 matted to 11 x 14 size.  Prices range from $5 to $50 depending the size of the print and if you want it matted or not.   For larger sizes you can contact me and we can make arrangements to have one printed and shipped to you.  My collection of 4 x 6 art cow magnets are also listed there on my Etsy Shop and are priced at $6 each.  Cow Magnet Collection

I encourage you to spend sometime looking at my shop.  I regularly add new artwork there and am working to build a nice inventory of handmade gifts that feature my artwork.  To see more of my artwork you can hope over and check out my website gallery by selecting the "My Art Gallery" link above or clicking this link Julie Townsend Studio.

I would love to hear from you, so Go a head and leave me a comment below.











Saturday, August 5, 2017

Beets are a Beautiful thing


Awe....The Beautiful Beet

I am pretty excited to combine both my artwork and what most would call a quirky sense of humor all on the front of a blank t-shirt.  I love puns and I can think of a number of puns when considering these beautiful root vegetables of beets, turnips and radishes.  Now carrots are a different story.


I am at a loss for anything cute and witty when it comes to carrots.  They seem to have me stumped currently and I would love to hear any clever phrases that you can come up with that I could attach to these long, sweet and beautifully orange produce.

There is my very first t-shirt design and I am just pretty excited so I just had to share it with you this morning.  Here is the link if you would like to order this cute shirt for yourself or to give as a gift

My Zazzle Shop 





I made this magnet to give to my hairdresser just yesterday when I arrived for my only 2nd visit in 2017.  I so appreciate how she can take my limp and lifeless and WAY TOO LONG hair and transform it into something that actually has sparkle.  Thank you Heather for making me feel so good about myself.  I felt like I looked great last night at my show opening of Fur, Feathers and Fins and it is all because of your creativeness.

I'm thinking that this might make a cute t-shirt directed to those hardworking and often under appreciated hairdressers of the world.

Hairdresser or not, you need to keep checking out both my Zazzle and Etsy Shops as I add new products often.

Link to my Etsy Shop

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Art Licensing in a Tiny Nutty Shell


Art Licensing 101 presented by Jodi Pedri- I'm on the front row.


Last week I had the great pleasure of attending a mix between an informal presentation given by artist Jodi Pedri of Working Girls Designs about her experiences in the field of art licensing.  Let me first say that I met Jodi maybe a year and a half ago when she dropped into the @Arthouselv gallery one afternoon when I just happened to be there.  The meeting might have been chance and lasted only a short time but it was like she was speaking straight to my goals list.  I immediately found her on Facebook and sent her a friends request because I just felt she might be an excellent  resource and an inspiration to me down the road.


If you check out Jodi's work and read her bio you will realize that she is very successful as a licensed artist.  Here are my big take aways from the evening.
   
Button that is now on my website Home Page




Most important is your portfolio. This portfolio should be easy to locate on your website home page. I made this button and I now have to right on my home page of my website.  Of course I'm still working on the portfolio page and have it currently "UNDER CONSTRUCTION" right now.

Get your work copyrighted.  This can be done periodically in collections.  She copyrights her work quarterly and includes all her drawings as a collection for the one price of around $55 at the  Copyright.gov website.  Intellectual property is automatically protected but manufacturers require that the images be officially copyrighted before they will issue a contract.
 
Building a contact list is extremely important.  Jodi suggests that as you walk through a department store that you pick up products that you are drawn to and flip it over to find the name of the manufacturer.  Make a note and then try to call them and get the contact information for their Art Director.  Build an email/phone list so that you can start sending out your newsletter to the appropriate individuals keeping them informed of your new projects and artwork.

Jodi also confirmed what I already knew that learning a program like Photoshop was key.  Even if you are 100% producing standard artwork using traditional mediums you will need to be able to resize and clean up the images.  She passed around some of her change orders that she gets from the manufacturers and the ability to have your artwork in layers only makes sense.  This gives you the ability to move elements of the design around as well as remove or add images.  Using Photoshop and keeping your artwork in layers is a must.  I'm starting to think differently when I sit down in the studio.  Rather than full compositions, I'm doing more of drawing separate elements that I can then bring together.  Here is an example where I took two existing sketches that I drew sometime ago and embellished them with autumn themed elements to create a completely different composition.


Create mockup images of your artwork on products that you are trying to target.  For example, a paper manufacturer would need to see your images on gift bags, party plates or napkins rather than on a piece of wall art.  It helps those in the decision making capacity to quickly see how well your images will work for their application.  Here is one mockup I put together to showcase my fine art.  It goes perfect with my Giraffe piece because of the stuffed elephant in the chair.   I want to create a mockup that has more of a country flavor because so much of my work is country influenced.

Mockup to showcase my artwork
Banner I created this week for my Etsy Shop using my artwork and Photoshop.  

Social Media Sign to add as a photo to each of my Etsy Listings





Thursday, July 13, 2017

This Week is all About Vegetables and Feathers


Just a typical week in the studio drawing all sorts of vegetables and then entertaining myself coming up with cleaver sayings and puns to go with them. These fine specimens are certified organic and GMO free and perfectly suitable for every member of your household. They are also guaranteed to make you laugh, which in this day and time is a really good thing.


The week prior to this, I had designed a set of stickers that I called "Life Began in a Garden" and these larger beet and turnips stickers evolved from that theme.  I'm no expert on the field of stickers or the organizing planner market, but I feel that if I just keep designing art that I find appealing that that I must be headed in the right direction.  Of course, I am still here waiting for those Etsy Shop sales.

I love the complimentary colors of green and shades of red.  I couldn't be more pleased in how they turned out and have already made them available for download on my Etsy Shop. I invite you to click the link below and check out all the items that I have available in my shop.
Julie Townsend Studio Etsy Shop-Crazy About Vegetables









At this point,  I do have turn my attentions elsewhere and get focused  on creating some new art for a really fun show that I am blessed to be part of.  Recently rebranded, th ART HOUSE LV, operating as a department of City of the World, Inc that has been operating in some capacity in Las Vegas for over 20 years.  The gallery is housed in an old 1940's railroad house, which really adds to it's charm and is located in the heart of the 18b Arts District in historic Downtown Las Vegas.  



 The gallery is also non-profit cooperative gallery and is a perfect place for emerging artists to come and grow and learn about the art business.  It is the first gallery I was involved in when I started painting and I have been actively involved there or going on  5 years.  Besides being the Treasurer and having my artwork on display,  I have also recently been promoted to the volunteer position of gallery director.  Well, there are actually 3 of us that share the work load and there is quite a work load to be had.

For August, it was decided that the 3 of us would put on a joint show and take the main gallery room as the featured artists.  We all have diverse styles and mediums that we use but we did decided that a constant theme in all our work is often that of animals, birds and fish.  So with that we decided to call our show "Fur, Feathers and Fins".  I put my newly acquired Photoshop knowledge to work and created this marketing postcard to advertise the show and the gallery.

If you are in the area in August, you would make plans to stop in and check out the show and all the fantastic art that hangs from the walls.