Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tugging at Heart Strings

I've only been painting seriously for the past 3-4 years, and during that time there have been several pieces I have painted that have evoked a strong personal emotion.  Usually they have been pieces that I have created that focused on my father who passed away 4 years ago today.   

I recall that shortly after his death I tried to do a piece that focused on this favorite cowboy boots.  It was still very painful but somehow putting my feelings on a canvas helped with my healing process.  Since then, I have created 3 more pieces that show him as a young cowboy on the professional rodeo circuit.   It is difficult to explain the emotional experience you feel as an artist when painting something so very personal.  

Riding the Buckskin
This is the last piece I painted of my dad in 2014.  I call it "Riding the Buckskin" and it is painted from an old black and white newspaper photo taken probably in 1959 or 1960.  He is young, strong and full of life.  I wouldn't arrive in his life until 1961 and he wouldn't leave mine until 2011.  

This week I had that same emotional experience as a painting I started for a Hearts and Carnivale themed art show for a local gallery that I am associated with.  The piece just morphed into something so much more.  I had the image of a silver heart painted on a web of ribbons in my mind and that was what I was thinking of when I started to paint on this 12 x 16 inch canvas.  

At some point, I realized that rather than painting just a simply silver heart, I really needed paint my treasured puff heart pendant that once belonged to my dearest Aunt Marilou and was at that moment hanging around my own neck.  

My relationship with my aunt was close throughout my whole life.  She was my only aunt; my dad was her baby brother and she was my dad's only sister and they always enjoyed a close special relationship.  Some of my fondest adult memories are of those two together and the stories they would tell.  Both had a great sense of humor and could keep you in stitches for hours.  

I often admired her silver puffed heart necklace and she wore it often.  Now it is around my neck just as frequently and I love hearing my little grandson hold it gingerly and say in his sweet two year old voice, "Pretty heart."  Maybe someday one of my granddaughters or granddaughter-in-laws will proudly wear this simply necklace and remember me in the same way.

Heart Strings- An Original Acrylic on 12 x 16 stretched canvas

For more of my work, please check out my website at julietownsendstudio.com

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Stumbling over Cow Bells

Sometimes in life you just fall over an opportunity that becomes obvious and I think I have just had that experience these past two weeks.  I remember reading an entry a while back from a blog I follow by Xanadu Gallery owner, Jason Horejs referring to finding a "Bread and Butter" work that propels your art like nothing else.  Mr. Horejs states, "Sometimes this bread and butter work is smaller in size and sells at a lower price point. Sometimes there is something particularly bold or unusual about the work that captures the attention and imagination of potential buyers.... Often the bread and butter work sells as quickly as the artist can produce it."  Reddotblog.com

Last month I happened to be walking through a store and noticed a small display of cowbells.  I looked at the bells for a moment and being the country girl that I am, I thought to myself, "Wouldn't that look cute if I painted a little chicken, a cow or a barn on it?"  I bought one bell and it set in my studio for several weeks.  Finally, last week I talked to my husband and he prepared the surface for me so that it would be easier to paint on and I painted my first little rooster on it.  Within minutes of posting the first image on my Facebook account, the bell had sold and I soon had requests for three more.  This week I have orders for a total of 10 bells and I'm still painting chickens trying to keep up with the orders.  My plan is to have them available on my website and on display at all three galleries that represent my work ( City of the WorldBoulder City Art Gallery and Janas Redroom ), but right now I'm just trying to keep up with the Facebook requests.

Today, I had a brain cell and decided to check the competition on the cowbell market and found other sights selling very similar items for $75-125.  Who would have thought.  I'm seriously considering my new pricing structure.  I do believe that I may have found my "LOAF OF BREAD" and it looks like I may just have fallen into a popular niche.  Cowbells will soon be available on my website at JulieTownsendStudio.com.  I will be creating a gallery options dedicated just to this type of art.

Here is a picture that I snapped last night with my phone of my most recent feathered flock pieces finished this week.  3 bells and one original painting on a 6x6 gallery wrapped stretched canvas.