August 2, 2019

wood slice botanicals






Wood is such an amazing canvas to work on! I especially love wood slices. Oh, how I love wood slices!! Normally, you will find a lot of wood burning done on these wonderful slices of heaven, and although I enjoy that, too.... I especially love to use the unexpected tools such as pen & ink, watercolors, and gouache on my wood slice. What I have found, though, is I prefer to use them directly on unfinished wood. No prepping other than super-fine sandpaper. There is something special about how the watercolor is absorbed and is dictated by the grain of the wood. Some of it is in my control. Most of it is controlled by the tree. It becomes a marriage, of sorts. I respect the tree. The tree respects me. We come together, work together and, God willing, create something beautiful together.






July 27, 2019

the season of art shows

Life sure does get busy when you spend your days chasing and catching your dreams! What an adventure it has been!! Art shows, Vendor shows, Pop-Ups and the like. There was a lot to learn as I searched out what type of shows and events were best suited for me and my work. The outdoor events were the toughest. Here in Florida it can really take everything out of you. Even in the fall or winter seasons, it still feels like summer. My wearable art really received a lot of attention which I don't think I was expecting. I even had to replace a couple batches of earrings which I usually do in batches of around 100. It was definitely busy.




This past season was exhausting and exciting all at once and I look forward to the next one ahead. Not sure if I'm ready yet but there is still time. Sadly, I had a bad auto accident several months ago so this summer was spent just putting it all back together again instead of the intended and much needed painting and creating I needed to do. These kind of things can be so overwhelming sometimes and can really change the dynamics of your life as it shifts the order of importance on your list. At the same time, these bumps in the road can put things in perspective and force you to recognize what is most important at that time. As much as I craved picking up a paintbrush or an ink pen in the midst of all the chaos, I had to put it aside temporarily. Just temporarily.

But now it's time to get busy again. For I am an artist and no bumps in the road can change that!


November 9, 2018

living the life I imagined


I have always known I was an artist. Since I was very, very young I knew! If you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would always say "an artist". I really didn't want to do anything else. I spent every extra hour sketching and painting and creating and I always received such positive feedback from everyone! Well, opportunity changed in drastic ways once it was time to decide to go off to college and begin the artist life I was destined for. Let's just say things didn't quite turn out like I had assumed.

Fast forward thirty-plus years after a lifetime of friendships, working as a nurse, having 2 children and raising them as a single parent, quitting everything and putting myself through school for graphic design, working in the field for many years and then one day telling myself "Lorrie, it's time you follow your dreams and work as an independent visual and design artist for a living". Not, 'do a project, event, or creative job here and there', but full-time, all day, every day! It was finally time to follow that dream I would build and create in my mind during all of those years where something else always came first.

This year has been quite an eye opener with everything that is happening in our country. Very concerning for sure! It really puts things in perspective, doesn't it? As we witness so much ugliness, hatred, verbal bullying and chastising, vulgar prejudices and one senseless tragedy after another it becomes acutely aware that it is time to live your life right NOW! Do not wait until tomorrow!

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.”
Proverb 27:1

I love this ride I am on now, following that dream I had all the way back to when I was a little girl. Living my professional life as a full time independent artist! It's never too late you know! I mean Laura Ingalls Wilder didn't write and publish her first Little House book until she was 65!!

Maybe now is your time, too!

September 4, 2018

diy: build your own light box


I have needed a photo light box for quite some time now. Actually, much too long especially now as I am taking my work more serious, and since it has been raining almost non-stop lately here in Florida, well, that has now forced me into full buy it or make it mode! So let me explain...

I have been using my backyard as my photography studio so I can optimize the most perfect lighting that I have available to me at this time. My indoor space & studio just does not have ample enough natural light or the space to maneuver it. Of course, even outdoors, the perfect lighting window of time is very limited each day and even more-so when it's raining. 

So, I usually drag a table or stool outside to the backyard during that golden hour for photography and take several trips back and forth to collect all the supplies and art I will need for my little photoshoot set-up. I will admit it can get pretty challenging and even comical, at times. Such as when my back was turned and the neighbor's cat decided to jump onto my display bringing everything crashing down into the grass, or when a gust of wind decided to explode into the yard unannounced and scatter small pieces of art everywhere, or recently when it's sunny one minute and the next I am screaming at the top of my lungs in full panic-mode for the kids to come out and help "save the artwork" as rain comes pouring down. Welcome to Florida.

So, yeah, it's time for a light box!!

Anyone who knows me also knows that if it's an option, I will most often make it rather than buy it. There are a lot of tutorials out there for building one of these using everything from a cardboard box to pvc piping. The important thing for me was function, storage, durability and if possible, I wanted to use what I had on hand! 

My motto is and always will be
UPCYCLE - RECYCLE - REUSE

As I searched throughout my studio and garage, I knew a cardboard box just wasn't going to be sustainable for me. I wanted something that would LAST and would be easy to store away, too!

The one thing I do have available as an artist is tons and tons of student-grade, back-stapled canvases that I use to teach with or try out new techniques and so on, and I realized the wood frames would work perfectly! If you don't have these just laying around like I do, you can get these at your local craft store for just a few dollars. They are generally very inexpensive.

So let's get started....

YOU WILL NEED:
Three 16"x20" Student-Grade, Back-Stapled, Stretched Artist Canvas (used or new)
...you can use larger sized canvas also (I do believe that will be in my future, too)
Foam Core/Board
Poster Board, White (choose according to what you will be photographing)
15" or larger Parchment Paper
Two 8.5" or larger Utility Clamp Work Lights with Aluminum Reflector
Two Natural Daylight CFL Bulb's (Compact Fluorescent Light not LED)
4 Large Binder Clips
Duck Tape
Clear Package Tape or glue
Utility Knife, Scissors
Pliers
Sandpaper

First you will need to strip the canvas material off the wood frames using a utility knife. You can remove the staples that remain on the backside and sand the wood lightly.





Now it is time for construction. I thought I had some hinges in my toolbox and would have preferred that, but just couldn't find them, so duck tape was used instead. Laying two frames side by side joined at the 16" side, tape them together. Then 'fold' them into each other, like a book, taping the backside of the fold. Remember you want each side to fold inward eventually like a box, so make certain you are not taping both sides flat. Then, tape the remaining frame to one of the 16" sides.



The openings now need to be covered with a white material that will help diffuse the light coming from the lamps onto the item being photographed. There are a lot of options out there suggesting what to use, such as tissue paper and even old bedsheets. I decided parchment paper was my best option, I had it on hand, and it would have a bit more durability in the end. Cut three pieces that cover the openings of the frame and then glue or tape them down. I used clear packing tape.


We're almost there! Just a few more steps to go.....

Next you will need to cut a piece of foam core/board the size of the squared opening that remains at the top once it's set up (19.5"x20" for mine) and using 4 large binder clips, 2 at the back, and one at each front corner, you can sit the foam on top of one of the handles of each clip. There is also an option of creating a wood plank for the top with a cut-out circle in the middle so you can take photos from above, but I will show that construction at a later time.

The construction is basically done at this point, except for the lights and the backdrop.

LIGHTING

The lighting I use are a pair of 8.5" utility clamp work lights with aluminum reflector (you can find these for under $10 almost anywhere) and most important, the bulbs should be a Natural Daylight CFL - compact fluorescent light (not LED). I clamp my lights onto a couple blocks of wood I had laying around.





INFINITY CURVE BACKDROP

There are a lot of different options for the backdrop. Generally, I prefer an infinity curve backdrop so I get an ultra-smooth background with no corners or angles and since it doesn't have any corners, shadows won't gather in the background.

An easy and inexpensive option for this sized light box is poster board and it comes in a wide range of colors and prints. I love the faux wood planks poster board I found and can't wait to use it. Hang your backdrop from the 2 binder clips in the back, letting it curve down so it lays on top of the table and you are ready to photograph your product!!


August 29, 2018

insects and botanicals: bee

My studio is filled to the brim with years of collecting surface substrates in every imaginable material and size just waiting for its due transformation! Many times I have found these fantastic 'canvases' in the bottoms of bins, at garage sales, on the side of the road, or end of season sales and often they aren't even intended to be used as a canvas at all. My family and friends can attest to this crazy obsession of mine, and although they don't always see my vision at the time, once I do my thing I usually get the thumbs up. 

When I found these smaller blocks of wood at an end of season sale, they had little mass-produced messages printed on them....but I LOVED the wood. The wood was real. The color of the wood was a-ma-zing! And let's just say they were marked way, way. way down!! Ultimately, they came home with me, the messages were sanded off, and there they sat waiting their turn for transformation.

Late the other night I decided to grab one and just try something a little different. I really didn't want to add color this time and kept the palette black and white to allow the wood grains and tones to dominate. 

I honestly didn't have a plan in place (which is more often than not the case in my creative world) but once I began, it came together perfectly. I love, love, love how the ink and paint stained the wood, and once the illustration was designed it gave it a bit of a retro-grunge feel. So....very....cool!

I can't wait to do another! and another!! 

Looks like a new series has now been birthed for these remaining blocks of wood: Insects and Botanicals. Stay tuned for more!

August 27, 2018

the message of the spirit owl

Spirit Owl - 8x10 - Wood Canvas, Watercolor, Gouache, Ink. Sealed w/ UV Satin Varnish
 "Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire!" -Unknown

As I had a few weeks of health issues recently, I ended up with quite a bit of quiet time in my world. And it got very quiet around here. So very quiet!

It's funny really, when we beg for some 'quiet time' in our lives, to just be left alone for a little while, and then, all of a sudden when it arrives, you realize how precious your life is with all of the chaos and interruptions and friends and family. It was good though. It was.

It gave me a chance to have some serious heart to heart, uninterrupted conversations with God. It gave me opportunity to step back and just breathe and rest. And it gave me moments to clear my mind and allow inspiration to come forth like a firestorm. I came to realize I cannot just sequester these ideas and pursuits away, especially when fed by fear. There is no room for fear in my life!

I am so thankful for the quiet time and even more thankful for the chaos! I am definitely thankful for the chaos! And I love this sweet little forest creature born in the midst of it all. A strong and beautiful spirit owl filled with wisdom and intuition. And when his spirit guides you, you can see your true reality, all while offering guidance to explore your unknown and the magic of life.

Magical!







August 9, 2018

blue

Blue - Approx. 5x4.5x0.5 - Wood slice, Watercolor, Gouache, Ink. Sealed w/ UV Satin Varnish
 “The bluebird carries the sky on his back” Henry David Thoreau

As many times as I try to use more subtle colors when I create, I often find myself these days drawn back to the vibrant color family of blue. It's ironic really because growing up, I hated blue! I mean really hated it. It's actually my birthstone, Sapphire, and I received a lot of gifts surrounded by the color blue or my birthstone. A lot! I thought it was dull and blah! I was jealous of my sister and her green Emerald! I mean, wow! LOL

Too funny because I wear a lot from the blue family, my home is decorated with a lot from the blue family, and I have created a LOT of artwork where blue and all of it's relatives are a big part. I am not sure what changed other than my love affair with earth. Whatever the reason, blues and greens and everything in between, make me smile!



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