Friday, April 21, 2017

Curling Up to Enjoy a Good Book

So I finished this little piece today and I thought it turned out super cute.  I framed it in a 5 x 7 shadow box and decided to add some tiny bits of paper along with a crumpled piece in the mouse's hand.  I'm calling this one "There's Nothing Better Than a Good Book".

This isn't the first piece I have created that featured a little mouse enjoying a book snack.  The other two pieces have all sold and so it must have struck a cord with other book lovers around.   They both had traditional frames so I'm hoping the shadow box doesn't distract from the actual artwork.  The sketch is 4 x 6 inches and the outside matte measurement is 5 x 7 so it is actually a lot smaller than my usual drawings.  I think it turned out cute and I anticipate it selling quickly.  I think I will be on the hunt for more shadow boxes in the future.  

I don't know if you can tell from this photo but I actually used a copy of the dictionary page that contained the word MOUSE.  You can see it down there on the bottom right corner.  This is the first time that I have tried to decorate the matte and I really like how that turned out.  In this case, it really adds to the story and I'm sure I will be doing something like this again soon.

Here are the other two sketches that I told you about.  This first one actually has in tiny print excerpts from John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" written in pages.  that was a little bit of a challenge but so much fun.

I also think this will make a really cute sticker or magnet so as soon as my sticker supplies arrive I will be adding stickers to my Etsy Store and Website.  My magnets are 4 x 6 and I sell them for $6 each.  I think the stickers will be priced around $4 each.  

Go a head and check out my website at or my Etsy Store.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


This past week I had the pleasure of attending the Clark County Fair and Rodeo.  My favorite part of the fair of course is checking out the art exhibits but I really enjoyed my time walking through the small animal exhibits. 
The exhibit hall is a bit smelly, dusty and noisy but there is so much to see.  There were baby pigs and goats that were only 2 days old. There were loud crowing roosters and fancy chickens in all colors and sizes.  There was plenty to look at as I enjoyed strolled through each isle. 

One particular cage made me stop in shock!  Inside was the biggest rabbit I had ever seen. The cage label said he was a "Flemish Giant" and that was NO exaggeration. This bunny was HUGE! I just shook my head as I tried to imagine the havoc those giant incisors could wreak on any garden, flower bed, fruit trees or backyard vegetation. This guy could easily reach anything growing up to 3 feet or more off the ground with little effort.
This photo isn't my photo and it isn't the actual rabbit that I saw at the fair, but he looked just like this all stretched out in his cage. This would be TOO much bunny for me! I will just have to enjoy my little fluffy friends drawn on paper.

Not my photo- just one borrowed off the Internet to show what a Flemish Giant looks like

Monday, April 17, 2017

When the Ribbon is Bigger than the Artwork

I've reached a point this spring that I realize that some of these art shows I am able to participate in have actually become a distraction to what it is that I really need to be focusing on.  What is it about the month of April?  It appears to be the most popular month to host an art show and I must have 5 or more possible venues that I could paint special entries for.  The themed ones are even more distracting when you are trying to find a niche that your art fits into.  Right now I have 3 days that I could paint a piece that fits the theme of "Zeal".  That is not going to happen.  The Lake Las Vegas Gallery summer show whose deadline is coming up soon is themed "Casting Shadows".  There is a show for artists over 50 called "Celebrating Life" and a Western themed show that the Elks Club puts on every May that I really enjoy.

2nd & 3rd Best of Class
Frankly, it is quite stressful to keep up with it all.  Add that to the fact that I have 29 pieces tied up in a solo library show until May 30th and you can see as an artist you have to paint consistently to keep up with the demand.  These shows are great if you have time and you can win.  They are excellent additions on your art resume but I'm not so sure they are that helpful if you are strapped for time.  One of the hardest challenges I face as an artist is to stay focused on my goals. (Like painting more COWBELLS!)

Directors Choice 
One show I do enter every year and that is most likely a waste of my time and resources is to enter the art show portion of our county fair.  You have to consider that there is a 55 mile drive one way out to Logandale, Nevada that has to be be done two times.  Not to mention the day I actually attend the fair.The Clark County Fair and Rodeo has been for many years a family tradition.  We drive out with our camper for the day and enjoy visiting and seeing the exhibits.  The grandchildren love riding all the carnival rides.   I really look forward to when attending the fair as a family. Having my own artwork exhibited is like a cherry on top.  They do give out nice ribbons and the judges give you a little critique on each piece.  Beside there has been some really nice art displayed in past years.  Besides, my "Down Country Road" collection that I have been painting on for the past year and half is a perfect fit for that venue.

This year I was a bit disappointed because there just didn't seem to be very many adult entries.  That was a bit embarrassing because while my art I feel was very well done there just wasn't enough competition and I wound up winning most of the ribbons.-2nd best of class, 3rd best of class, directors choice, 5 judges choice ribbons, 5 blue ribbons.  It was a bit crazy but my grandson was really impressed!

The response I received from the public and from the volunteers for the show was very encouraging.  I think I have found my niche at this time as an artist because these pieces seem to bring a smile to many faces.

The fair can serve as a little trial run because several of these pieces will be soon entered into the Helldorado Days Public Art Show and Auction and I'm certain that the competition will prove to be a bit more challenging.  To win a ribbon at the Helldorado Art Show is something all together different.  I'm hoping also that I can also enjoy a sale or two!


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Paper Mache Carrots Are Classified as a Sculpture...RIGHT?

Have I mentioned before that I absolutely LOVE being an artist.  I have to reminding myself that being in my studio painting is just like work and if I want to succeed in supplementing our retirement income I need to stay busy creating.

I of course prefer fine art and today much of my time was spent doing more of what I would consider crafts but it was still fun and it did involve my paintbrush and paper mache is a form of sculpture.  So there you have it.  

Several weeks ago I had purchased this very large rabbit from a Ross Dress for Less Store to use as part of my entryway spring display.  A can of Kono Brown  Glossy spray paint was all that was needed to him transformed him into the largest chocolate bunny I've ever seen.  He REALLY looks like he made of solid chocolate now.  This was so simple and yet so adorable, I decided to spray paint a couple of wooden eggs I had stowed away in the studio and give them a simple painted design.  

I then got the creative idea that I needed to add a few carrots to complete my decorations.  I looked around at Michaels and Walmart and not a fake vegetable on the shelf to be found.  I decided would take matters into my own hands and get MESSY with some paper mache!  

Here I am applying strips of flour paste soaked newspaper to my carrot base made of sticks and tin foil.  I did buy the foliage and attach it to the stick using floral tape.

When I managed to get all 4 carrots finished I then took them outside and hung them up in my tree to dry.  

The following day I decided that another coat of paper mache was necessary and so I repeated the process for each carrot.  I probably could have added several more coats to smooth out some of the more bumpy areas but I was getting pretty tired of all the mess I was making in my kitchen.  Two layers was going to have to be sufficient.

True to my opening paragraph, there was actually painting going on with a real paint brush in the studio today.  I think it is time to change my palette paper don't you?   

As usually you can see that I have been a rather busy artist this week.  I gathered up a number of items that all needed a coat of varnish applied.  This actually included 3 cowbells and 2 small cow paintings shown below that I didn't remember about until after I had taken this picture.  I guess when you look at them all together I've been kind of preoccupied with cows of late.

Those three cowbells in the picture happen to already be sold.  Next week I'm going to paint a cowbell a day so that I can get in front of the demand because as I am typing this blog right now I have someone asking to buy one on Facebook.  These little cows are very popular!

These little paintings are really cute too and are painted on 8 x 8 wooden panels.  I call them Nose Licker 1 and Nose Licker 2.  I plan on taking them to the Boulder City Art Gallery at the end of the month if I haven't sold them before hand.
Nose Licker 1
Nose Licker 2

Here you can see my carrots hanging out to dry for the last time.  The varnish really takes very little time to dry but because they were wet all over, hanging was really the best drying option.

All in all I like my end results and am happy that I decided to take the time to make my own decorations.  Even though the photo is just a little bit dark here you can see just how lovely all the pieces go together.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

My Art Marketing Tip

If you know me for any time at all you know that I LOVE Facebook and the potential it has to brand you and your art.  I'm no social media expert and I don't try to pretend I understand how it works.  What I do know is that you can have art sales and plenty of them using social media. 

So I wanted to share with you my FREE Facebook Marketing tip- 

Recently, I joined a Facebook group that has over 19,000 members.  The whole focus of this group is country decorating. This group is amazing and I really enjoy seeing all the posts.  Another great thing about this group is that most of my artwork is a perfect fit there and the cherry on top of the whole thing is that you are allowed to sell items on this group page. That's right...I can show a picture of my most recent cowbell creation and sit back and be flooded with comments and likes.  Now in the three weeks I have been part of the group I have only had inquiries about my prices and no sales yet...and that is a giant YET! I also notice that I'm getting friends requests from other members of the group.  

Here are some other examples of my artwork.  I think you can see why a group that is dedicated to Country or Primitive Decorating would be a good fit for my style of painting.  You can check out more work and my poetry too on my website at

I also add my images to make prints, greeting cards and art magnets

Here are my most recent paintings and cowbells done just this week

Thursday, April 6, 2017


Last night turned out to be pretty exciting for me.  My feeling is that any day that has an art sale in it is a good day.  This past week I managed to finish my rooster painting that I have decided to call, "Rise and Shine".  That piece had been on my easel for almost a month because I have been so busy with all the details of my solo art show.  Along with finishing the painting, I was able to whip out a total of 3 cowbells.  One cowbell was given away as a prize at my art reception.  Last night I got a Facebook message from a woman I had met briefly last fall while at an outside art event.  She wanted to buy both of the remaining bells.

It's been just a little over 2 years since I painted my first cowbell.  I just had no idea how really popular these would become.  I would estimate that during those 2 years, I have painted almost 100 of them.  I know that just thinking about that many cowbells blows me away too.  The reality is that I'm not really so fond of painting on their hard metal surface, not to mention the limited space I have to work with.   I sometimes find the process frustrating but I have always approached each cowbell as a unique piece of art and try my hardest to make the end result be something to be proud of.

There are several upsides to cowbell sales...1.  Look at all the practice painting that I have gotten.  I think my style has become a little more loose and colorful.  I chalk that up some to all those cowbells.  Practice makes perfect they say and I've gotten a LOT of practice!  2.- Sales of any kind are a good thing to your bottom line.  Be it cards, magnets, prints or 100 cowbells, it all adds up.  I had a conversation yesterday with an artist who said he didn't want to fool around with selling cards.  I say "Yeah for card sales!"  If I could sell 100 or 1000 cards a month I would be a pretty happy artist.  It is a way of enlarging your fan base and as an artist I have to face the reality that while many people may like my work, most won't see the need to invest in an original piece of art.  I dream of the day that my original paintings are in demand but until then....I will be excited for every cowbell and greeting card I sell.


Monday, April 3, 2017

Getting Up to Paint Morning Glories in the Morning Before the Chickens

This colorful guy has been perched on my easel for WAY TOO LONG!  I had initially started this piece almost a month ago and even had it listed on my inventory sheet to be part of my "Down Country Roads" library art show but ran out of time with all the distractions and obligations that sprung up on me in the past few weeks.

It also didn't help that I really struggled with the background composition.  Oh I had the rooster nailed down right away but everything I tried for the background, sunflowers, tall grass or a mottled paint treatment just didn't seem to make me happy.  I actually painted over it 3 times.  And that isn't easy when you have a giant feathered chicken in the middle of your canvas.  Honestly, I came upon this idea of having a very colorful and almost pop art feeling background just yesterday.  Combine that with my normal style and I think it really makes this guy pop!  I even woke up earlier this morning than I needed to just to start working on those morning glories.  

I guess at this point I need to make one more confession about this painting. I'm sure I am the only artist that makes glaring (no pun intended) mistakes and paints the sun in the wrong location.   I had the background perfect and was so excited in how it was looking when I took my normal position across the room where I can take in the whole painting from a distance when I realized that silly me had painted the sun in front of a much larger row of beautiful purple mountains.  The sun was actually rising between the grass and mountains and I hadn't even thought about how impossible that would be.  For just a brief moment, I considered leaving it and chalking it up to artistic license but mixed up some more pthalo blue and purple and so my mountain range shrunk to half its original size along with the bottom portion of the sun.  Pop art or not, it still needs to make sense.

This past week I had the amazing experience of seeing the whole of my "Down Country Roads" collection on display at the Whitney Library.  Here is a picture of me taken the night of my artist reception standing in the middle of all my focal pieces.  Even with the Pop Art background, this piece stays true to the rest of my collection and really shines with the bright blue morning glories finishing off the foreground.  I can visualize it right now hanging right along side the rest of them.

As my usual practice, I do a sketch in preparation for starting a new painting.  This helps me greatly with understanding the details I will be trying to achieve even before I grab a paint brush.  My sketches are usually in colored pencil and ink and are often available for hanging.  I matte them and hang them right along side of my other artwork.  This particular sketch I called "In All His Morning Glory" and I found it especially helpful when it came to painting all those tail feathers.