Thursday, April 30, 2020

Baa Baa Bath Sheep

This is my newest drawing in my Wash Tub series and it is just in time to order for Mother's day if you hurry.  Up to this point I have only had one animal at time in the tub but it seemed fitting to include a ewe and a her brood of youngsters as we approach the month of May.

While I was working on this piece, I couldn't help but remember the process bath time was when my own 4 kids were babies.  It was akin to a well organized assembly line.

I would hand one baby at a time to my husband in the shower and then as he washed them and shampooed them I was drying and putting on pj's on the clean child he had handed back to me.  It was fun times and I miss those years when they were all small. Thinking about those times, so many years ago brought a smile to my face while I drew this piece.  Of course, to really personalize this drawing to match my family dynamic I would have had to add a 4th little black lamb to the group.

"Baa Baa Bath Sheep"
For me creating art is about creating an emotion.  There is just something about drawing that transports me to my happy place or sparks a cherished memory from my past.  Scripture tells us that  "A happy heart is like good medicine but a broken spirit drains your strength." Proverbs 17:22   A HAPPY HEART is a powerful concept and living a life full of happiness is a choice.  I find myself at times becoming overwhelmed with the negativity of this world that surrounds me and I just have to escape to my studio, turn on some worship music and grab my sketchbook. I sing and I pray while I am drawing and the stress and anxiety just begins to disappear and fades away.  God is so good! (I can even hear your replying back to me "All the Time.")

This piece is titled "Baa Baa Bath Sheep" and is one of 10 drawings in a new series I'm doing that I call my wash tub series.  I may be quarantined in my studio but I'm loving this whole process of drawing farm animals taking a bubble bath.  The series has been so well received and for that I am so blessed. 

If you would like to purchase a print or note card with this image then you can visit my Etsy Shop and here is the link.  Search "Wash Tub" and you should be able to find all the rest of the water logged gang there.     HAPPY ETSY SHOPPING!

Saturday, April 25, 2020

What is a SURFACE DESIGN ARTIST and how can I become one?

For a long time now, I've been wanting to adapt my artwork with the goal of creating a portfolio of collections that will lend themselves to a commercial licensing application.  Design is everywhere and there are products just crying for me to fill them with my Farmhouse Whimsy style.  Well, at least that is what I'm telling myself.  I'm going to blog about my journey into the world of surface design.

There is art surrounding you everywhere and you may not even realize it because we are so accustom to thinking that, for it to be art, it has to be confined to the surface of a canvas or paper.  Far from it. 

As I sit here, at my desk and look around me I find examples of surface art design everywhere.  My address book, the little box I put my notes in, my bill box, the clock on the wall and my drawer full of thank you cards and stationary are just a few examples I see immediately. 

An artist created all those designs.  Without artists, the world that surrounds us would be boring and naked.  Naked and boring are not good!  I feel it is my lofty calling and ministry to bring more color and smiles into this world. 

Raven and Roses Coffee Mug
My first step is to learn to adapt my art into collections that are both cohesive and complimentary.  To do this I need to just spend time with my sketchbook and just go crazy drawing things I LOVE.  Then I need to improve my Photoshop skills and possible even learn Adobe Illustrator.  That is the road ahead of me and I plan on blogging about my experiences in the journey. 

"Raven and Roses" art print

So here is an example of me playing with a concept for a collection.  I drew this "Raven and Roses" piece this week as part of a logo design job I got.  It is a farm in Georgia that grows both roses and lavender.  So I thought I would try to use the color pencil sketches to create a pattern.  I added some simple pen an ink flowers that I had done last month and combined them to create a repeating pattern.  I LOVE the contrast that pen and ink gives when added to a bright color and I think the raven lends well to that because his plumage is so full of violet and indigo blue.  I think this would be a great fall pattern.  Now I just need to come up with maybe 5 more corresponding designs that go naturally with this pattern.

I hope you decided to follow my blog and this journey.  I will do my best to make it both informative and enjoyable.  I know that is a tall order but I'm rolling up my sleeves and I'm ready to get creating!

Just in the event that you would be interested in purchasing a print of my "RAVEN AND ROSES PRINT"   or my new RAVEN AND ROSES COFFEE MUG I decided I would make it easy on you and give you the links to both of listings on my Etsy Shop.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

The Gang is all Here

What an exciting week I have had. Even in the midst of this isolation, I am rejoicing.  I don't mean that I am happy about the virus that has made many sick or that so many people have lost their jobs.  No those things weigh heavy on my heart but I am thankful for my new focus on important things and the reduction in the amount of distractions I have right now.  I appreciate the added time given me to ponder both the creative process and my relationships. Relationships with the Lord and with my family.  I miss them all and just can't wait until we can hang out together again.  I'm going to so enjoy having all those grandchildren climbing on us and wanting to sit next to us.  Facetiming just doesn't REALLY get it!   

On a practical note, this week I have gone a long ways to getting my studio inventory room all organized and slowly the studio itself is taking shape and I'm feeling that I can enjoy the creative process once again.  That makes me excited.

I very much feel that creativity is a gift from God.  He was the first Creator and has instilled in all of us a desire to make things.  Some of us, just seem to have a bit more bent towards that direction.  I guess that is why it is called a gift.  My desire to create art has been there inside of me for as long as I can remember and I feel that it has become my ministry to others.  I know that might sound strange to some but I receive comments almost daily about how my art has brought a smile, lifted someone's spirits or was a bit of  "light to the dark spots".  I am humbled and in awe of this. My prayer is "Lord, please allow my art, in some small way, to point them to Your love and joy."  I pinch myself daily because I'm really doing this art thing.   

You might not know this about me, but I actually have a business degree so I pretty much always have to talk about the numbers too.  This month, I made the decision to pull out of the local galleries, at least for the next 6 months and put all my efforts and attention into promoting my artwork online.  My online audience has grown leaps and bounds this past year and I am finally seeing the fruits of that in my increased sales.  Brad and I are so BLESSED!  We just look at each other and shake our heads.  This past week, I broke both my daily Etsy sales record by having 8 sales in one day and my weekly sales record with a total of 16 sales this week.  In February I had a total of 22 sales and in March 23 sales.  Both months were a record for me.  This month for April, I have 35 sales and we are just barely half way through.  That so motivates me to get into the studio and get busy. 

"Goat Soap Bubbles"
I contribute some of that growth to popularity of my newest series of art that I have started creating.  Last month when this whole Covid-19 thing became a real "THING" for most of us, there was so much emphasis on hand washing.  Videos and memes galore.  The idea popped into my head to draw a pig in an old galvanized steel wash tub taking a bubble bath as a bit of a joke.  You know, "EXTREME HAND WASHING".  Well, that drawing was a hit and I haven't stopped drawing that washtub since.  I'm have now finished my 8th drawing in the series and it is of a little goat. 

I really have no idea when I will be done with this series because the number of farm animals and wash tub compositions that I have rolling around in my head seem to be endless.  One thing is for sure, "I'm having a blast!"  Friday night, I decided it would be fun to line them all up and use that as my Facebook banner.  You know, like a "WASH TUB PARTY" and that image got so much response that I decided I had better create a new listing on my Etsy Shop and I call it "Wash Day".  I couldn't really get them all to fit on the standard size paper having them all in a row like this image, but I did form a bit of a circle with the tubs and the end result has been a real winner.  Here is the link to my ETSY SHOP  (or you can just hit the Etsy Shop tab on the menu bar above) if you want to check this listing and all my other bazillion cute farmhouse art listing that are available there.
Here's the WHOLE GANG!

Friday, April 10, 2020


Since time is something we all seem to have plenty of right now with the quarantine and all, I have set out to freshen up my online image.  I think it is good to do a bit of cyber spring cleaning once in a while and the really great thing about it is that you don't even have to get your hands dirty! 

If you are like me then the year past has brought about changes in your style or maybe you have new favorite artwork that need to be incorporated into your marketing materials or online banners and logos. 

I've noticed that many websites and blogs have changed from having dark colors to almost white minimalist feel.  I like that look so I've been changing over all my sights so that there is uniformity and cohesiveness across my cyber domain. 

I've done a lot of painting this past year and while most of them were smaller pieces, they can really add a mighty punch when used in as part of your marketing materials.  What can show people what you do then to give them pictures of what you do?  Does that make sense?  So this past few weeks I have redesigned my banners for my Etsy Shop, my Facebook Studio page, Twitter and Instagram.  Let me know what you think of my NEW LOOK.

I have even begun learning about marketing on Pinterest and how to brand my art by designing cool pins and getting followers to my boards.  I'm excited at the possibilities for growth there and certainly will be sharing more about that in the future.
2018/19 Banner Design

My new and improved 2020 look
These three little sweeties are actually from paintings I finished in January and February of this year.  I LOVE their faces and I think they are the perfect representatives of my "FARMHOUSE WHIMSY" art.  Don't they just make you want to run up and pet them? 

Now that I think about it, all three of this original artwork pieces are available for purchase on my Etsy Shop.   I would have thought these would have been sold right away because of their cuteness.  I will give you the link to each of them if you want to check them.  Remember, there is only one original and when it's gone it's gone.


"Her Goatness"

"Little Sweet Pea"

"Emmy Lou"

Besides my new "Wash Tub" series I have been drawing, I had to take down all the artwork that I hung up as the featured artist for March in Boulder City.  I think it hung up for a whole 2 weeks before the pandemic shut everything down.  So yesterday, I started really organizing my studio and and creating an actual inventory room. That is code for "It looks like a tornado blew through and tossed the joint."  I'm the kind of girl that loves to have a place for everything, but I never can really decide where that place should be.  Are you like that?

One great thing to report is that in the 2 weeks my art was on display at the gallery for "Life on the Funny Farm" show,  I was able to sell just over $400 in artwork and my March online sales were once again record breaking for me.  I feel very blessed about that. 

I also saw my goal of 5000 likes to my Facebook Page realized and even now a few weeks later I'm up to 6600 likes.  That blows just really blows me away.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

3rd week of QUARANTINE

As I approach the 3rd full week of confined isolation and this government orchestrated lock down, I feel the challenge to keep my spirits and those of my family lifted up.  I strongly believe that we should always be wise concerning our health but I'm reminded that in 2 Timothy 1:7 we are told that "God hasn't given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind."  So I wash my hands and am barely sticking my nose out the front door.  Of course the pollen count is so high right now that I don't need government persuasion to stay inside.

To help me with that whole "sound mind" thing, I have made the decision to limit the amount of news coverage that I listen to and try to surround my thoughts on happy things and stay busy.  Rome may or may not be burning around me, and while I can't play a fiddle, I can draw cute little cows in wash tubs.

This series of drawings has really blessed me, as I hope they have brought others in my social media circles a smile or two.  I had a record month for March with 2.5 times my normal Etsy Sales and I can directly attribute that to these little bathing beauties.  I have to pinch myself every morning, because I am actually making extra money and still having this much fun.

One thing I have done here in the studio to help with this scary time is to have a giveaway each week.  The first week, I gave away a set of 4 "Wash Tub" note cards, week 2 was a t-shirt with my "Wash Tub Diva" art on it and this week I'm giving away a mouse pad and coffee mug with my newest drawing "Moo Updo".  I'm just trying to keep the focus on fun and sharing smiles.

I promise we will get through this and hopefully life will return back to normal so we can have the best 2020 summer ever.  I read that this virus can't take the HEAT, well the HEAT here in Las Vegas is coming, as it always does.  This maybe the first summer in 42 years of living in Las Vegas that I actually want the 100+ temperatures to get here.

So to enter this contest you must subscribe to my VIP Studio list by Sunday, April 12th at 8 PM (PST) but honestly anyone on my VIP list is automatically entered into many of my regular studio giveaways.  So it's a great win, win.  You stay informed about my studio stuff, you get to see some art that will make you smile and you have a chance to win some fun art.  Have I convinced you yet?  How about I give you the link to my website where you can go to sign up?  Or even better yet, you can subscribe to the list just by using the SUBSCRIBE form right here on my blog.  Sounds like a good plan.


Let me also give you the ETSY link if you would like to purchase either of these newest listings I have added to my shop.  Here is the "MOO UPDO" mouse pad link.  Isn't she just adorable?  I've ordered myself one and honestly I'm so excited for it to arrive.  Pink isn't my color of choice usually, but she rocks that pink.

Then there is this adorable 15 oz ceramic mug.  (I can't stand the little wimpy 11 oz cups) I have this curler wearing cutie positioned on both sides of the cup so no matter which hand you use to bring it up to your lips you will have her helping start your day out right.  The text in the center of the mug says "Good Moo-rning" and this way even if you are not "THAT MORNING PERSON",  you are giving out a cheerful, positive greeting to all those around you without even saying a word.  I had fun creating this design.  Here is the link to the MOO UPDO COFFEE MUG

Sunday, April 5, 2020

What's a Girl to Do with ALL THESE RIBBONS

I blogged once before about this topic, but I thought it was timely to revisit this studio decluttering tip now that we all HAVE SO MUCH TIME ON OUR HANDS. 

I realize that this post might sound just a bit boastful or bragging but often when you enter any type of art show you have the potential of earning some beautiful ribbons.  Let me just state here that I care way more about what my collectors think of my art than some judge in a little art show so please don't think me puffy.

I know immediately, when your mind thinks of winning ribbons you think 1st (BLUE), 2nd (RED) and 3rd (WHITE) place.  I can see why you would think that, but did you know that in a typical art show there is "BEST  OF SHOW" and then 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each category class.  So for example, acrylic painting would be a class on it's own, as would watercolor, oil and so on. That is a WHOLE bunch more ribbons to win.

In some art shows I've participated in, each judge in the show can hand out a JUDGES CHOICE ribbon to a piece that they particularly liked.  The prettiest ribbon I've won is that of the DIRECTOR'S CHOICE.  In this particular art show, the director of the show awards a ribbon for her favorite piece.  You can see here just how beautiful it is in all it's giant pastel rainbow of colors.  So it really comes down to the fact that you can win several ribbons on just one piece of art.

I of course prefer cash prizes but you don't want to toss away all these pretty ribbons either.  My ribbons were stuffed in a drawer in my studio for quite some time until I decided that enough was enough.  I wanted to display them but just didn't have a clue what the best way to do that would be.  I have a really small studio space and I'm already a pack rat so I needed to condense them down.  As you can tell in the photo, these ribbons are at least 12 to 15 inches long.  Some of them have the information on them but as I went through this pile I realized that I had not done a very good job of recording them on my website resume or even making notes as to which piece won what.

It took about 3 hours that day, pouring over old photos to figure it out which artwork went with each ribbon.  Funny thing was after all that I still wound up with 1 extra judges preference ribbon that I couldn't identify. 

To give me ideas, I turned to the best source for creative ideas out there and that is Pinterest.  What a amazing visual search engine and tool.  Within just a very short time, I had found the prefect solution for me and my ribbon debacle.  My answer was a SHADOW BOX!

I headed straight down to Hobby Lobby, the best store in my opinion to purchase frames.  Every other week they are 50% off so you can always find a bargain.  I found the perfect shadow box and it even had a barn wood style finish to it.  I chose the 16 x 20 inch size and purchased 2 of them.  With the 50% off it only set me back about $25.  That is WAY less than I had estimated I would spend.

I just randomly placed each ribbon rosette face down on the glass of the open shadow box and tried to pull the long ribbons in behind so they didn't show.  I can see that right in the middle I failed because there is a green ribbon showing.  I will probably fix this even though it was a bit difficult to get the shadow box back securely fastened down.  As you can see by this photo, I already have some ribbons to add to the 2nd shadow box but I will plenty of room to accommodate future ribbons.

So I have one little area in my studio now under control and I'm going to use this forced isolation time to get lots of cleaning and organizing projects done around the house.  Now I just need to figure out how to display my most prized award won.  Let me introduce you to my "PAHRANAGAT MAN" trophy that was awarded to me for winning the People Choice award one year at the Lincoln County Memorial Day Art Show one year.  That sucker weighs over 6.5 pounds and could do some real damage if you dropped it on your foot. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020


"Moo Updo"
I had a lot of requests from my Facebook followers to include a Holstein cow in my new "Wash Tub" series and I am to please.  Here I present to you my 6th design- "MOO UPDO".  I spent some time trying to think of a clever title using a cow pun but then I decided to focus on the curlers.  I've never had an UPDO myself personally but it rhymes really well with MOO so there you have it.

She has a bit of a shy look on her face.  Maybe she is a tad modest and is uncomfortable with all the new attention she is receiving.  Whatever the emotion, I'm sure she will bring many smiles to all the faces of her fans.  Right now we need plenty to smile at so here at Julie Townsend Studio, I am doing my part to help you through this COVID-19 crisis.

This gal along with her 5 friends are all available in prints, note cards and magnets on my ETSY SHOP.