Thursday, December 31, 2015

2016- The Art Year

I have several times spoken about the influence that artist Tim Gagnon had on me in regards to starting my art journey. I thought, on this last day of 2015,  I would just remind everyone of his contribution and how his online lessons helped restore my confidence and enabled me to pick up a paint brush after nearly 30 years.

It was back in 2010 and I had just taken a drawing 101 course at the local community college with my youngest son.  I wanted to keep that momentum going by taking a painting course.  I stumbled upon Tim's 12-week online painting lesson while searching for alternative options to taking a painting class at the college.  My interest has always been with landscape painting and I figured that in a traditional college setting I might not be able to learn techniques needed to paint in the style I was interested in.  Not to mention the travel and time involved with attending classes.  Tim's online landscape lessons were perfect and I have been a fan of his work ever since.

Today, I saw that he was declaring 2016 The Art Year and was starting a new blog just for that purpose. He was saying exactly what I have been thinking in my own pursuit of art.  I have been doing a lot of questioning about where I want to be and how am I going to get there.  I've been doing a great of thinking about co-op galleries, art licensing and self-promotion.  What is been effective in advancing my art and what are actually distracting me from pushing myself towards my goals?

 I believe that I too am going to take up Tim's challenge to make this year MY ART YEAR and spend more time pursuing creativity and personal change in my life.  This blog that I have been contributing to since early 2011 will also be getting a complete makeover.  I encourage you comment about what 2016 is going to bring for you and to follow this blog.  Be sure to check out Tim's new blog at Tim Gagnon.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

You Want to Build a Snowman?


That is what my painting,  "First Snowman" was awarded at City of the World Gallery this past week for their annual JOY show.  This show certainly wouldn't be classified much of an art show, but it didn't deter me from putting my heart into this piece as I painted.  

This painting is very personal for me because the little models are actually myself and my younger brother.  I used a reference photo taken in front of my Grandmother's house in Swedeborg, Missouri probably around 1967.  I remember the day because my grandmother took the time to actually help us build this fine snow sculpture.  On our own we were way too small to accomplish the creation of such a magnificent looking chap but she did what Grandmas are supposed to do and that is to spend time with their grandchildren.

 I can even remember going through her button box to find the perfect buttons to complete his blackened stare and his sweet cheery smile. You can see just how happy we were on that day as we posed for the picture.  Bundled up warmly in our coats, gloves and snow boots we don't that a care in the world.  All we have in mind at that moment was loving our grandma and being so proud of our very first snowman.   Even today I find myself humming the "Frosty the Snowman" song as I think about that cold Missouri day.

I might have moved to the Las Vegas desert way back in 1978 but you just can't take the Missouri out of my heart.  Painting is a way for me to clear my mind of the insanity of the world I find that I am now living in and tell a story where for just a moment I can capture a memory or a feeling.  I guess that makes the term "ART FROM THE HEART" clarity.

"First Snowman"- 18x24 Acrylic

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Designated Drawing Spaces

Just in these past few weeks, I discovered a new artist friend that I have found to be very inspiring.  It is Katherine Thomas and her whimsical drawings immediately caught my attention.  She is also an successful blogger and uses a number of social media platforms to promote her art.  I find that combination very cool and something I want to work to improve in my own quest for self-promotion.

Last week I saw a picture that she posted on Facebook of her sitting at her drawing table and that was when I decided I needed to reorganize my studio and make a designated drawing area along side of my easel. Drawing has always been my first love in art and I passionately believe that you are a better painter if you spend time actively drawing on a regular basis.  

So, I spent a good portion of my day on Sunday organizing and cleaning the studio and  I am pretty happy with the ending results.  Even though it was getting late in the day when I finally finished and I was a bit worn out, I just had to try out my drawing table and do some sketching.

Here are the results of those efforts. My subject for my sketch was a little selfie of my husband and I.  Portraits are always a challenge and drawing a self portrait compounds that challenge.  I drew this on Canson 96lb Bristol paper with my Prismacolor Fine Line Markers and Prismacolor Colored Pencils. 

Looking at my little sketch makes me smile.

I guess you could say I'm a Prismacolor girl since obviously  I own so many of their products.  

Thursday, December 3, 2015

New Custom Cowbell Design

I just wanted to show off several new hand-painted cowbells that I have completed in the past few weeks.  I'm rather excited about these new feathered friends and how they have turned out.  I've actually painting my 3rd eagle cowbell in the studio right now.  It is turning out to be one of my more popular designs and who can resist a spunky little hummingbird?  

The Nativity scene and the Cardinals are a bit more challenging but they are SO perfect for the Christmas Holiday.  

You can see some other Cowbell examples on my website gallery on the tab  Cowbells & Country Store.  The pricing and ordering information is listed there too.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A Chip off the Old Block

Titling this post a CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK is probably not as accurate as referring to it as a SLICE OFF THE OLD LOG but I thought it made a catchier title for today's blog post.  I actually picked up this slice of wood at a local art and craft supply store a number of months ago and it has been lying around my studio ever since.  My initial thought was to try my hand at some wood burning or what they call pyrography but hadn't yet taken the time to seriously get that project started.  I opened it up several days ago and have had this blank raw slice of wood sitting on my easel just crying for me to do something with it.  

Monday of this week turned out to be a perfect day to spend some extended time in the studio.  My initial intention was to paint several cowbells but as I walked in I had the strong urge to paint something on that slice of wood.  I selected a reference photo for inspiration and about an hour later this is the results.

I did find it a bit of a challenge to blend the acrylic paints on a surface that is soaking up the moisture so quickly but after several coats I was able to get the blended effect that I was looking for and am happy with the ending result. This was my first attempt at painting a landscape on a piece of wood but I don't think it will be my last. It was a easy composition and yet I feel it turned out rather striking.  I am especially pleased with how the light draws you into the center of composition, while in such a small area I am able to still able to maintain the feel of a dark shadowed forest along the sides. 

This photo was taken from my cell phone before a coat of varnish was applied.  We finished the piece off by installing a hanging wire and have already hung it on my gallery wall at City of the World all in the same day.  Not too shabby.  

This piece is available for purchase along with many of my other paintings that I have done.   I also do commission work and paint a lot of custom cowbells.  You can contact me if you are interested in this piece specifically or check out my website to see my other work at Julie Townsend Studio . Emailing me works good to at

Snowy Winter Scene painted with acrylic on a slice of wood