For quite awhile, I have been using Square to accept online payments and send invoices. I am happy to announce that I now have an online store where you can securely and easily purchase many items including my Birmingham notecards, Alabama art, and custom commissions. Visit my online Square store today by following the link below!
Archives For Christmas
One of the main reasons I began using pastels was to loosen up.
In high school and early college, I was the queen of minute detail. I loved teeny tiny brushes and sharp pencils. I had a huge callous on my right middle finger from squeezing the pencil so hard to get every last dot on paper.
I still love detail, as I adjust the picture next to me to the best angle and spell check myself as I type. I’m sure it drives my husband crazy, as I settle in on the couch each night, needing the correct lamps turned on, my blanket just so…the list goes on. I will spare you, even though he is trapped. I attribute this desire for order and quirky detail to my father (hi dad!), who must have his lunch of a sandwich and chips on a paper plate every day, with a Mountain Dew of course.
But I digress. My oldest daughter, to whom (poor thing) I’ve passed much of this down, calls us “noticers.” We notice things. I’m good with that.
But when it comes to art, it can be FRUSTRATING. Especially on a portrait. Sometimes you just have to let go; you have to loosen up. So I grab a big piece of chalk. Still getting good detail, the large pieces keep me from over-detailing, from stressing and focusing on minutiae. It has helped me take the leap from tight drawing to something closer to my favorite style of Impressionism.
Using big pastels is like having a third child.
You have to loosen up, or you won’t survive. It just won’t work. You have to learn and train yourself to go with the flow, to notice the important things and pass over the stressors and tiny dots that just distract. You can more easily see the beauty that stands out, and enjoy it, record it, embrace it.
We have busy minds. We are always in the process of becoming. For better or worse, our thoughts, actions and choices move us forward, or maybe backward, along the line of history and personal quest. I frequently get caught up in the existential throes of being an artist, of trying to be the best person I can be for the time I have on earth.
One morning I was thinking about fear,
how to overcome it, how to lessen the fear around us. I realized that most cruelty, most fear comes from us, from humans. We humans, more than any other species, threaten each other – with hate, with guns, with war, with irresponsibility, with greed and robbery, with anger and disregard for human life. Recently two young boys that I count as nearly my own had a gun pointed at them while they were simply playing near their porch, and this in a safe neighborhood. There was no cause or prompting, just a quick move by a man with unknown motives. It causes fear. Fear that must be overcome daily.
May we live with more peace and regard for each other. May we treat each other with love and loyalty, as members of the human race, members of creation.
In my garden, I witness a microcosm that balances and cooperates to bear fruit. Insects, bacteria, nutrients, soil, water, sun, roots, leaves…it all works together to form food we can eat, beauty we can enjoy. And I get to be a caretaker, to guide and protect the process. May we do the same in our everyday lives, care for each other, guard the process of becoming.
At this point, I hear Mr. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life, waving dismissively, “Sentimental hogwash!” Maybe I’m laying it on a big too thick. To bring it a few steps down from mushiness, I hope we can be more like our dogs. Our pets love us, even when we act like jerks, when we ignore them or forget to buy dog food. They are loyal and forgiving, and their love is constant. We are the ones who complicate things.
Here are a few furry friends that now have their portraits painted, a testament to their worth and value, and their loyalty to a fickle race.
Sometimes it’s so hard to choose a piece of art for a friend! Or you want to commission a portrait for a family member, but you’re not sure which photo they would like. If you’re stuck, I have an option for you:
Gift Cards for artwork!
Gift cards can be purchased in any amount and are redeemable for commissioned or available pastel paintings of chosen value. From pastel portraits, to ink doodles, to watercolors…so many options available for your friend or family member to choose from!
Gift cards will be written for the amount paid & purchase intention noted (ex: 5×7 framed pastel; 8×10 unframed portrait, etc.). Gift cards will be signed by the artist for authenticity. Those receiving gift cards may upgrade to higher-priced artwork by paying the balance.
A portrait is a wonderful way to create a lasting memory of your pet…any pet! Either in black & white or full color, I so enjoy creating a true-to-life painting to bring out the personality behind the photograph. With each detail captured, from the glint in the eye to the many hues in the fur, these portraits can be valued for generations. I’ve drawn everything from fish and dogs, to cows and chickens, to rabbits and cats.
Pet portraits make wonderful gifts…in order to ensure completion for Christmas, contact me today! firstname.lastname@example.org
Pet Portrait Pricing:
8 x 10″: $175 ink or charcoal, $225 color pastel; add $90 for each additional subject
9 x 12″: $200 ink or charcoal, $260 color pastel; add $100 for each additional subject
11 x 14″: $250 ink or charcoal, $325 color pastel; add $125 for each additional subject
16 x 20″: $400 ink or charcoal, $465 color pastel; add $200 for each additional subject
18 x 24″: $550 ink or charcoal, $625 color pastel; add $275 for each additional subject
24 x 36″: $750 ink or charcoal, $850 color pastel; add $400 for each additional subject
Prices for other subjects and sizes available upon request.
Introducing my new series of Birmingham doodles… I’m happy and surprised to say they are going fast! Ranging from $25 – $45 for original drawings, to $20 sets of notecards, these make great gifts for the holidays. I enjoy capturing the iconic landmarks of my wonderful city, and sharing them with YOU!
These doodles will make their debut, along with my pastels, at the Mountain Brook Art Association Holiday Show, open December 5th – December 19th at Brookwood Mall. Hope to see you at the opening reception December 5th from 6:00- 8:00!
While busy with commissions before Christmas, I have also been busy with art shows. Here’s a quick recap of the Mountain Brook Art Association Holiday Show.
On Christmas morning, the family is gathered round the tree, sharing thoughtful gifts and making memories. We’re all there, my mom and dad, my three kids and husband, my sister, brother-in-law, my little niece and nephew. We’ve spent time and effort choosing meaningful gifts to share and enjoy.
Some of us may or may not be wearing some wonderfully horrible pajama shirts from the 80s, recently recovered from the attic. Some of us may or may not be wearing spectacularly tacky (and award-winning, I might add) Christmas sweaters. Some of us may or may not have received man-sized superman jammies, and home-made ties.
Let me pause a moment.
Yes, we are very silly. We had a jolly good time. Merry Christmas!
This year we introduced “Granny gifts.” You see, my Granny – whom I reference quiet often as passing down art and so much goodness into my life – she gave some terrible gifts. I mean it. One year, “the year of the beret,” she gave almost every girl a red fleece beret. It was a little weird (somehow I was overlooked..whew!). In her memory, we decided we would sneak in a Granny gift here and there, and you never know when it’s coming.
Switch back to the serious, sugary Christmas experience:
My sister is opening a small watercolor of her son on his tricycle. “Awwwww…” Then she opens a watercolor of her beloved Golden Retriever. “Ohhhh…Eloise!!!” Then a sketch of her baby girl. “Ooooohh, so cute!!!”
Then BAM. The Granny gift. A large, obviously framed, picture-sized gift awaits unwrapping. I can hardly contain myself. Snickering and rocking back and forth in my Christmas sweater, I watch her warily tear the paper.
What’s new pussycat?
It’s an ink and colored pencil portrait of my sister and Tom Jones – that’s right – riding a unicorn with a backdrop of rainbows. Boom.
I’m sure you have your share of inside jokes, and I’m sure my Facebook have been unable to avoid my sister and my “obsession” with harassing each other with Tom Jones. It all goes back to her move to Savannah, when she met her neighbor, the non-singer Tom Jones.
Upon hearing the name, I belt out in “She’s a Lady” and “What’s New Pussycat,” to her confusion and horror. She had never. heard. of. Tom. Jones. Flabbergasted, we first call mother and let her sing a few tunes, proving I am not the only weirdo around.
Then we proceed to google Tom Jones.
The wealth of questionable pictures readily available on the web sparked a flood of fun. We text and post and share awkward Tom Jones photos with our own captions like there’s no tomorrow. You should try it, it’s fun. And if you’re looking for a treat for the eyes and the ears, just take a peek at this video (give it a minute, you won’t be sorry):
Anyway, back to my story. I mean, how could I not create and give her such a treasure?! Oh, Tommy, what fun and joy you bring to our little lives.
After a few weeks of intense commission completion, making sure the fur moved correctly and the eyes sparkled appropriately, I was ready for a few doodles.
The first doodle to share with you is a 5×7 watercolor of Jerusalem, a gift from my family to some friends who travelled with my husband to Israel last Spring:
My sister was the Christmas recipient of several watercolor and ink doodles to adorn her new built-in bookshelves. When I say “doodle,” I mean I didn’t take time to sketch first, or stick strictly to detail. I give myself more freedom and relaxation as I doodle away with a brush or pen!
Oh, but there is one more special treasure coming…stay tuned for the grand finale of doodles…
While I’m parading pet portraits, here’s one more I did as a Christmas commission. In this pastel, I put two friends together from separate photos, two beloved pets who passed away recently. I was touched to hear on Christmas day that the gift was treasured, thoughtfully given and happily received!