Design - New Patterns

The above patterns represent a different direction for me. I have always shied away from character drawings. Getting the proportions and facial expressions "correct" was a source of intimidation, I was never happy with the results. To challenge myself, I embarked on a small side project to practice drawing subjects that are outside my comfort zone, with each attempt I found myself more focused on figure drawing. I hope to continue this new series called " Ladies Who..." So far I have developed "Ladies Who Swim" "Ladies Who Bike" and "Ladies Who Golf"
 
As a side note, my "Ladies Who Golf" pattern elicited comments on social media to the effect that my design was not racially diverse, my ladies were all white. It never occurred to me to draw politically correct figures, I draw what I know. I play in a golf league and I do not believe there are any women of color in our group - not by design, it's just the way it is.

That said, I am open to suggestions and appreciate feedback, the remark got me thinking..perhaps my designs would be more universally appealing if I were to include more women of color. My latest pattern, "Ladies Who Tennis" is the result of that experience.  

LadiesWhoTennis

Design - Screen Printing 101

I have long admired screen printing. I love the crisp image that results from the process. I love that by layering translucent ink, you create a third unique color where the original two colors overlap. Screen printing also allows for a consistent print result and multiples/volume prints are more easily achieved.

I have been feeling very "comfortable" with my block printing and decided I was ready to "take the plunge" into setting up my own screen printing space. The first challenge was how to make my own transparencies and how to burn my own screens (I do not have a dark room nor an exposure unit) After much searching I located a company that will handle both these steps - I send in my own original artwork, sized to the screen I want use for printing purposes and they send me back a fully processed screen ready for ink. I successfully pulled my first few prints and I am looking forward to doing more.

News - Uppercase Magazine Mention

I love it when creatives recognize and celebrate the work of other artists. Uppercase is a wonderful publication by Janine Vangool which is published quarterly.  The magazine serves up an interesting mix of subjects, each story lovingly told and often profiling unknown artists. Each page celebrates the artist and features stories about their work as well as their creative journey.

Janine sends out a weekly "All About You" email blast which introduces her readers to a "yet to be discovered" artist.  I was very fortunately to receive a mention in her latest email.  I'm so grateful - thank you Janine for taking the time to feature my #52weeksofprint project.  If you would like to learn more about my project, click HERE and HERE

Desktop Wallpaper - August

I wanted to share this FREE DESKTOP WALLPAPER. Rather than have several sized wallpapers, this series is available in the four most common aspect ratios for computers. The design is pulled from my year long project #52weeksofprint - a series of block printed designs.

If you are not sure of the correct aspect ratio for your computer simply find out your screen resolution.  For Windows this can be found on the Control Panel under Display.  For Mac click the Apple icon at the top left of your screen. 

To download, click on the appropriate image below and right click then set as desktop wallpaper.  If you have selected the correct aspect ratio your image should load without needing to be stretched and should not be blurry.  Enjoy

Aspect Ratio 4:3 800x600 1024x768 1400x1050 1600x1200

Aspect Ratio 4:3 800x600 1024x768 1400x1050 1600x1200

Aspect Ratio 16:9 1366x768 1600x900 1920x1080 2560x1440

Aspect Ratio 16:9 1366x768 1600x900 1920x1080 2560x1440

Aspect Ratio 5:4 1280x1024 2560x2048

Aspect Ratio 5:4 1280x1024 2560x2048

Aspect Ratio 16:10 1280x800 1440x900 1680x1050 1920x1200 2560x1600 2880x1800

Aspect Ratio 16:10 1280x800 1440x900 1680x1050 1920x1200 2560x1600 2880x1800

Inspiration - #52weeksofprint

When I first started my year long project #52weeksofprint, it never occurred to me that I would experience periods of boredom and would feel unmotivated. The month of July was a struggle to complete.

I've realized I was uninspired by this month theme "Shapes". Oddly enough I was excited when I first selected the prompt for the month but as I actually sat down to create, I felt nothing.

To combat this boredom, I found other more interesting creative projects on which to focus. I suppose it's normal to experience moments where ideas just flow and others where a blank page endlessly stares back at you. Make no mistake, I was plenty creative and was able to accomplish a lot however my energy towards #52weeksofprint was waning.  

In addition to not "feeling" this month theme perhaps to some degree, I have learned all there is to learn. That is to say, I've learned all I am able to teach myself.

I have been using a soft-cut rubber material for all of my carvings. I know there is only so much detail you can carve with this particular medium. I should perhaps as the project continues, look into carving more complex designs using linoleum. Linoleum will allow much finer detail plus I can explore new tools which are required to be successful with this type of block.

Finally, I am already beginning to explore screen printing and love it. I think I will redefine the original scope of my project by expanding it to include more complex designs using linoleum as well as screen printing. These two medium may require a bit more time to complete so rather than creating a new design every week, I will allow 2-3 weeks for each depending on the actual design and printing technique.

The beauty of creating you own project, is that you get to change the "rules" You can follow along on Instagram for daily updates.

 

Inspiration - Exercise Fail

I did not meet my exercise goals for the month of July - no big deal right? I've missed a few exercise "dates" before however for the month of July I did nothing! Zero. Zilch. So what happened.....

Truth, I got sick the last week of June, and was in bed for 4 days. I did not "bounce" right back into my exercise routing simply because it's something I do not enjoy doing in the first place. It's a constant struggle to convince myself almost every time to push thru and "just do it."

I had hoped I would have learned to enjoy exercise at this point, but that is not the case. I understand and appreciate the health benefits, and acknowledge I actually feel better afterwards, not just mentally for having finished but physically as well.

However I am at odds with exercise and have come to realize I will probably never like it.  The biggest irony of course is I was a "star" athlete all throughout high school and in college. I enjoy the teamwork and camaraderie, something which is lacking when you exercise alone.

I finally talked myself into getting "back on the wagon" and guess what...my elliptical machine is broken! I know...seriously I thought perhaps it needed new batteries for the display unit but that did not fix the issue. 

So what's the "fix"? Since I enjoy a team/group environment and my elliptical was starting to get a bit boring (and now it's broken anyway...) perhaps it's time I ventured into taking a class somewhere. It's been about 4 years since I last took a yoga class, not sure why I stopped but I'm ready to give it another try. For August I will find a yoga class that will allow me to drop in 3 times a week.

So what happens when you fail? For me at least, you try again. Figure out what was not working and adjust accordingly. You learn to forgive yourself and move on. Stay tuned for next months email newsletter where I will post an update.

 

News - #52weeksofprint I'm at the half way point!

I realized just the other day that I'm half way thru my year long project #52weeksofprint!

I'm beginning Week 26 and what better time to take a look back on what I've learned so far....

Staying Focused - At the beginning I purposely decided my project would require a start and end date. I had previously participated in other challenges, such as #100dayproject and #30dayproject, and found the schedule constraints kept me focused creatively as well as allowed me to better manage my time. I was able to accomplish my creative goals in addition to all my "everyday stuff"

Keeping It Fresh - To keep every month interesting, back in January I googled several ideas and suggestions. I had a list of about 30 themes which I wrote down, cut out, folded each piece of paper and placed them into a metal tin. At the beginning of every month I randomly pull a new piece of paper.  The monthly theme is always a surprise even though I selected the ideas originally I never know what each month will be until the actual drawing.

It's My Party, I'll Cry (Change My Mind) If I want to - So the best part about my participation in the project, is that it's my project and I can change the "rules" if I want to....I am only accountable to myself and decided not to feel guilty if I change some of my preconceptions about what/how the project should unfold. For instance....

Twice I did not "like" the monthly theme. At the time, I was just not "feeling it" so threw the piece of paper away and selected another one....Yay for being "The Boss"

I originally ordered (52) 4' x 6' carving blocks and my intention was to carve a full block each week. I realized some design print better at a smaller scale and are easier to handle.  Many of my 4' x 6' blocks were cut in half and I got two weeks out of one block...Yay for saving $$.  I'll have plenty of blocks left over for other side projects.

Repeating patterns....Most are but not all. Unless you are working with a very simple shape, continuous lines are hard to block print as the registration is challenging. Those blocks that did not repeat manually, I was able to digitally manipulate in Illustrator.

SoftCut carving block vs Linoleum - My biggest "complaint" is that the soft rubber medium does not allow for fine detail carving. It's very easy to carve and does a very good job holding up while printing. The blocks are solid and easy to hold. I often found I was not able to include as much detail as I originally intended and had to simplify the design to accommodate the limitation of the medium.

As the project continues to unfold, there will be new and different challenges. The project is a continuing work in progress so I expect to learn much more and will continue to expand/improve upon not only my design skills but carving technique as well.  You can follow me on Instagram for more daily updates.

News - My Samples Are Here

Woot! Woot! Earlier this week I received the scarf samples from my "Poppy Sketch" design which I had licensed October of last year. I'm still figuring out my way around the "licensing world" and have realized the production cycle from concept to an actual product (in stores) is a long process. Behind me you see some of my original sketches including some test prints of this design

News - It's Showtime!

FallShowSchedule

I purposely decided last year not to participate in any craft or fair shows. Although I enjoyed doing them the prior year, overall I found it a distraction to my main purpose of developing a larger portfolio of work to license.

That said, I recently have come to realize I actually miss doing the shows. I'm not ready to take on another full show schedule however I have decided to partner with my good friend Paula DeFranco on two shows this coming fall. More details on when, where and what we will be offering as well as our booth design/development