Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Two-Day Trip to the Attic

So, apparently, this story started last Christmas, when our artificial Christmas tree broke. We have always had an artificial tree, because we do not believe in chopping down a beautiful piece of nature just to display it in our house for a couple of weeks, slathered in unnatural stuff, while it dies. We also do not have enough yard to plant an entact tree each year. Plus, our artificial one already has the lights attached. Sweet.

So last year, at some point in the Christmas season, our original little 5' tree went astray (or asunder, or a-something). One of the strings of lights refused to light and several of the supports for the branches broke, leaving it with a handful of floppy, unlit branches. After the season was over, I, at some point, decided that this tree was to hit the curb and we would buy a new one next year. This story is all based on a vague recollection and numerous assumptions because, well, I don't remember doing any of it.
That is probably why this year, when I ventured up into the attic of doom (don't ask, but suffice to say, the attic hates me) I took most of the boxes down, crawled around on my knees, hit my head, my knees, and my funnybone at least one time apiece, and found no Christmas tree where, to the best of my pathetic ability to remember, it should reasonably be. After the first day's searching was unsuccessful in producing a tree (but did elucidate an entact coffee maker, two steam irons, and a bunch of clothes that no one in this family has fit into in at least 7 years) I started to piece together what must have been my reasoning from last year. I did manage to find this tiny, 3-foot tree that I had used back when I was a single gal with an apartment, so, for the day, we decorated it with a few ornaments and garlands and sat it on the fireplace stoop. Plus, I found the magic Christmas shoe.

(Okay, the magic Christmas shoe is this spectacularly tacky ladies shoe I found on the side of the road in Winston-Salem, NC, and thought that, truly, the degree of tackiness deserved better than to be hauled around in a shopping cart by the homeless lady who collects the doll heads. It has wandered from home to home with me in storage boxes ever since.)

As proud as I was of having found all of this stuff to give to Goodwill, I realized that I had not found all of the Christmas ornaments. So, with considerably less enthusiasm than the first day, but with more resolve, I ventured up there again to head off into whatever corners I had not yet conquered. I should have brought the camera. I found all sorts of stuff that I had forgotten I owned, and some that I never knew anyone in the family had ever owned.

Amongst the boxes of stuff tat was clearly mine, I found a sheet of drawing paper that had been measured out and divided, in pencil, into 4" squares. Two of the squares had drawings on them! Here's one, completed, done in ink:

The other one was about 99% done, in colored pencil. I managed to discern what color was layered on top of what, and finished it. As such, I messily signed it '2009'.

Clicking on either picture will take you to their listing in my Etsy shop.

So those mysteries being resolved, I found the remainder of the Christmas ornaments, took a shower, and headed out to find us a new Christmas tree. After marveling at the $100-$200 trees in several stores, I went to Walmart (God bless 'em) and found a 6.5' pre-lit tree for $35. A few hours of decorating and shoving a bunch more boxes back up into the attic later, and we have a Christmas tree! Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Follow up on Streetnoodle's Blog Contest!

Okay, so I didn't win the Grand Prize, but she did send each of us (who made at least five qualifying entries) a free gift! I received mine today! It is her pretty, silky, beaded scarf!

This long, skinny scarf is made of a super soft, silky-looking yarn and has pretty little stone beads sewn onto each end. I had my husband take some pictures of the scarf on me, but it really isn't my color, so I gave up on that. It is, however, one of my stepdaughter's favorite colors, so I'm thinking I've got one more gift for her!

If you would like to check out any of her remaining crochet work, or some of her lovely jewelry, go check out her shop!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Check Out This Cool Giveaway Just in Time For Christmas!

I just discovered a fabulous giveaway on streetnoodle's blog, where she is giving away some beautiful jewelry, and perhaps some other items from her shop. Her jewelry has a bit of Japanese inspiration, a bit of Victorian influence, and overall is very creative and beautiful!

Here's her Grand Prize:
And, according to her blog announcement, if you make multiple entries, you can win even more cool things from her shop! Here's the link: Streetnoodle's Blog!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Print -- Corset of Arms

A few months ago, I wrote about a drawing called Corset of Arms. The original pencil drawing took a lot of time and I didn't feel like I was ready to put it up for sale yet, so today I decided to create a digital print of it. I took the original and gave it a touch of a sepia tint, in order to make it look old, and I think it came out pretty well!

So if you are looking for some fine art for gift giving this holiday, here's another print of my original artwork that you can get for under $20 with shipping! These prints are sold unframed, but I have tried to make them in common sizes so that they will be easy to frame. This one measures 3" x 5" with a small border around it for framing.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

New Christmas Card and Cleaning My Desk...

Not sure what the one thing has to do with the other, but they were the two subjects I took pictures of today. For years now I've thought that my electron micrograph (that's a photograph of something taken under an electron microscope) of crystallized stain reminds me of branches and the little globs in some places looked like berries, so I finally turned it into a Christmas card! Here's the original image: The original photograph was created on real film, creating this odd sized negative (something like 4" x 5") which wandered around the country with me for years and years before I finally got around to and found a place that could scan it and produce it in digital form. From the digital image, I was able to use The Gimp to colorize it a nice Christmas-y green, then I picked out some of the little clumps of dark areas and turned them into red berries. After printing it onto high quality photo paper, I mounted the photo onto a 5" x 7" card:

I have listed this item for sale in my Etsy Shop.

I have also been working on several other things today, even though it has been a relatively quiet day. I took a snapshot of my desk, because it was looking decidedly picturesque:

The picture shows the bunch of fall leaves that my friend sent me from Ohio, my Day Planner from an Artful Agenda, my buttercream scented, handmade soy candle in a hand-thrown pot from Mad Hatter Pottery, the return address labels I just got from Animal Humane of New Mexico (They spelled my last name right! I think I'll send them money!), my yummy, warm cup of coffee with sugar-free hazelnut creamer in it, and the drawing I've been working on, entitled "Miasmata." (For anyone too lazy to go to to look it up, miasmata is the plural of miasma, meaning the noxious exhalations from putrescent organic material, or a dangerous, foreboding or deathlike atmosphere.) I thought this photo made a nice little snapshot of my day, plus, I cleaned my studio the other day, so you can actually see the surface of my desk in places, which impressed the hell out of me, if no one else.
Oh yes, I took pictures of one more thing today, the adorable pile of mammals on the bed this morning--Mimi, Cassie and Sean:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Was Featured on the Etsy Top Ten List Today!

My recent listing, Argyle Beard, was featured as number 7 on the Etsy Top Ten list this week! Please go here to see the complete list. Much thanks to Tim Adam, a fellow Etsy seller who creates delightful steel sculptures, jewelry and other creations and is the creator of many online venues, including Handmadeology and numerous online sellers courses. You rock, Tim! I have already at least doubled the number of views that I started the day with!

I also grabbed an Etsy Treasury in Treasury West today, so I could feature some other people's work as well! Go check it out in the next couple of days!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

New Drawing for the Weekend -- Home

The drawing I started on Friday and finished a little while ago was inspired by another Etsy artist, Laura Berger. I had recently discovered her whimsical style and chanced upon this cute drawing. I really liked the roots of the house and how the smoke coming out of the chimney made a flower. So since I just couldn't help myself, I decided to take the same idea and do something with it myself. I hope Laura doesn't mind, since her style and my style are quite different. I'm not sure if I really captured what I was going for exactly, but it was an interesting first try. This image is drawn in black ink using my Rapidograph 00 pen, then painted using colored inks.

I have already listed it for sale in my Etsy Shop. Clicking on the image will take you to the listing directly.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Five Days in a Row of New Drawings!

I did not post anything to the blog about yesterday's drawing, so I will do a two-for-one today.

Yesterday, I'm not sure if the image was inspired by the song, or if the title popped into my head as I was drawing and reminded me of the song, but this one is called "Little Wing." You can go listen to the original Jimi Hendrix version here, or my favorite, the remake by Sting. Whichever inspired which, I really like that song. I'm going to have to get Sean to play it for me sometime.

So this drawing measures about 5 1/4" x 6 1/2" on acid-free drawing paper and was drawn using archival, permanent ink. It is for sale in my Etsy Shop already...

Today, I wasn't going to draw anything, I was going to get back to all of the other things I need to do. But, no, this image popped into my head this morning and refused to not exist. It is entitled "Argyle Beard" (and subtitled "Baxter," just to piss off my friend Baxter). For this one I got out my colored pencils and colored in the tweedy-looking argyle in his beard, as well as his swell purple shirt. He is also listed for sale in my Etsy Shop.
On a side note, a couple days ago, I watched this video on TED of a talk by Elizabeth Gilbert on genius. I found it quietly inspiring. I think my favorite bit was where she talks about separating herself from the creative process or "genius" as if it is a separate entity, and how it freed her to say to it, "You and I both know that, if this [work] isn't brilliant, that it isn't entirely my fault. As you can see, I am putting everything I have into this... if you want it to be better, you've got to show up and do your part of the deal... and I would like the record to reflect that I showed up for my part of the job."
So I suppose I have showed up for my part of the job, at least for a little while, every day this week. I'm not sure how many of those days my assigned genius came along with me, but we shall see.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Today's New Drawing! Two days in a Row! Nautiloflora

Yesterday, I finished a drawing I had started the night before and decided to list it for sale in my Etsy Shop. This morning I woke up early, saw the other half of the little sheet of paper I had drawn that drawing on and decided to start something new! Not only did I start it, but I finished it by around 10 am, scanned it and listed it in my shop by 11 am! I have been exploring this stream of consciousness thing and seeing where it takes me. I think it is fun to start with a general pattern and then vary each individual detail. It forces me to simplify my thoughts, rather than thinking of a grand, complex pattern, I find a simple pattern and vary it in the next set.

It is funny that I stumbled upon this theme this week, as I had just been talking to fellow Wooden Cow gallery exhibitor, Cindy Chavez, about the stories that go behind certain works and how often that is what compels one to buy the work. These three drawings (there's one more I haven't published yet) have essentially no story to go with them, they don't mean anything as far as I can discern, they are just artistic energy on paper. This drawing measures approximately 5.25" x 6.5" and is available in my Etsy shop for only $20 + shipping! Enjoy!

Monday, November 2, 2009

New Drawing!

I started this drawing last night while watching the Yankees beat the Phillies in the World series Game 4. Finished it around midday today and decided to list it in my Etsy shop right away, just to see if it would be a seller. It's priced at only $20! This is not some digital print, this is an original drawing here people!

This abstract knotty tree is perched on the precipice of the unknown, and appears to be dripping its heart into the great oblivion below. It was drawn in archival ink (Pigma Micron, 0.20 mm tip) onto off-white colored acid-free drawing paper. It measures approximately 5.25" by 6.5". It is groovy. Tell all of your friends. If everyone wants to buy it at once, I'll have to make prints. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Grown-up Girls

Seems awfully early to be talking about stocking stuffers, but since the folks have posited the challenge on Facebook, I thought I'd take a stab. Since my kids are mostly grown, I thought I would feature some of my favorites for adults--everyone needs something special!

Item #1:  The Artful Agenda

I had considered getting this for my teenage daughter, and I still might, but it is just too adorable to not mention. This 2010 daily planner features a plethora of talented artists--something different on every page.  There are month-at-a-glance views, pages for each week, and ample room for notes, doodles, or (oh yeah) appointments, with different themes for the artwork on each page. This is no ordinary stocking stuffer!

Item #2: Butterfly Tattoo Stockings

I have had these stockings in my favorites (and had to replace them a dozen times because they got sold!) for quite a long time, and one day, I may just have to have a pair for myself. In the meanwhile, let me suggest these classy, stylish and unique patterned stockings for the gal whose stockings you stuff. She could be Goth, glam, schoolgirl or not-really-a-waitress in these. They're gorgeous!

Item #3: BeautifulBridget's Hot Cocoa Scarf

While you might have trouble fitting this thick and luxurious scarf into the stocking, the title of this one says it all, doesn't it?  Made from super-soft acrylic, which is my personal preference, since it holds its shape, doesn't shrink, and doesn't make me itch like wool (I know not everyone is allergic to wool, but it is certainly nice to have the option if you are!).

So there's my three for the day! It has been a pleasure participating in this challenge! Please stop by and visit my totally-not-for-stocking-stuffing shop full of my Fine Art at Easily Distracted by Julie D'Arcy!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Newly Modified Work Makes Its Debut at the Wooden Cow Gallery!

Once upon a time, well, in 1994, I sat in my tiny, hot apartment in Rochester, NY, and drew this nude self-portrait:

I was pretty pleased with the result, had it matted and framed, and hung it on the wall for many years. A couple years ago, my husband, who is usually very positive about my artwork, but who never lies, finally came out and told me that he really doesn't like it. I accepted this opinion but never really considered doing much about it, I just figured that maybe someone else would like it and, oh, say, buy the damn thing. No such luck. So a month or so ago, I was possessed by an image in my mind about how words rarely hold as much meaning as actions, and often my best intentions of telling someone my thoughts and feelings don't seem to come out the way I intended them, and instead wind up falling like barely discernible little leaves into the air. So with this vision firmly planted in my head, I proceeded to take the frame apart, hoping that I had not trimmed all of the paper away from the sides of the original drawing. Upon getting it apart, I discovered that I had a good bit of space off to either side of the figure to work with, and I proceeded all the way through conception, planning and execution in about half a day. Here is the result: The original drawing was created by a reductive method (think of laying down a medium toned even color all over the paper, then erasing out the white parts and penciling in the dark parts) in pastel and pencil. I drew new lips onto the figure directly with colored pencil. The heart was drawn with colored pencil onto a separate paper and collaged on. The words were created with a graphics program, digitally blurred, softened and faded, printed out, torn out of the page, then collaged on. A few extra pastel and pencil details later, it was done!

A couple of days after finishing it, I read the announcement for the juried show entitled "Wordplay" at the Wooden Cow Gallery here in Albuquerque, and I thought to myself that it must be kismet or something, as this piece seemed perfect for such a theme. It must have been kismet, since they accepted the work, and now it will be appearing in the show in August.
For any local readers, the Wooden Cow Gallery is located at 7400 Montgomery Blvd NE in Albuquerque, and the opening should be on Friday, August 7 from 5 pm to 8 pm. Hope to see you there!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Corset of Arms

What if chicks had ruled the world back in feudal days? Now I know some would say that we would never have adopted the corset as women's wear in the first place, but I beg to differ. Women like being beautiful, no matter how much torture it is...

This pencil work measures approximately 3.5" x 5.5", which is the proper size to use as a master for a Gocco print. I have had a Gocco set for several years now, have gotten it out of the box, read the instructions, just have never pulled the trigger and ever tried to do anything with it. I will probably go to Kinko's and get a photocopy made of it, as I am not sure what might happen to my original if I use that to create my master. I have never done screenprinting of any kind, so this would be a whole new step for me...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Checking the Blue Corn Traps -- Finally Finished, Again

Drumroll please... I am not 100% positive, but I think this may be finished, again. This colored pencil work is one that I "finished" in 1999 (hence why the '0' in the '09' next to the signature looks a little like a '9') and have blogged about before. There is almost no space on this drawing that has not been drawn over now, but I think I like it. I have totally changed the color of the background, enhanced the original colors of the 'trap,' totally changed the color and shape of the corn, and punched up the little green, um, slug-thingies-that-are-doing-the-trap-checking. The most challenging part was the fact that this wasn't done on particularly heavy drawing paper, and erasing and colored pencils don't go together for a reason. I almost couldn't get the color to take on the last piece of corn for lack of a smooth drawing surface. I am still looking at it trying to decide if I missed any spots, or if I want to lighten up the corn a little, but overall, I think it looks okay. Pretty soon I will put it back in its frame and buy it new glass (found a place here in Albuquerque where I can get low-glare conservtion glass for cheap) and decide on a price! I appreciate any feedback from my readers so please, comment away!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Green Man--An Embossed Print with a Celtic Feel

"Green Man" is an embossed print I created in 1997 as an edition of 15. It was created by carving the three-dimensional design into a linoleum block, then running it through a printing press with a piece of damp printing paper. The embossed design stays in the paper pretty much forever, creating this beautiful texture of white on white in wonderful detail. I have sold about 1/3 of the edition so far.
The tradition of Green Man in history is unclear, but its origins are mostly European, and are represented by a relief carving or scultpure of a man's face with branches and leaves coming out of it. Green Man is generally considered to symbolize rebirth or rennaissance.
This particular print measures 6" x 9" on hand torn paper measuring 11" x 15". It is sold unframed in my Etsy Shop for $45 plus shipping.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Black Dog Friday

Yes, I know it is May Day, and Friday, but I decided today is Black Dog Friday. I was playing around with my digital camera on the SuperMacro setting and the Kids & Pets setting (I actually do know how to work a real camera with lenses and f-stops and whatnot, we just don't have a digital camera with all of those un-automatic features). My teenager is out in the back yard with his airsoft rifle, or else I would have gone out there for some natural light. Oh well.

So my three black dogs are all as terrible as models as I am a photographer, so if any of these pictures are worth a darn, it defies all odds.

First we have Mimi, the Doberman Pinscher, prima dona, Star Pilot and Alien sent here to protect mankind from itself.

Isn't she pretty? I know, everyone says that about their dog. But in the case of Mimi, if I don't say that, she will kill me in my sleep. Or so she tells me. I also got a shot of one of her pretty brown eyes:

And a great closeup of her nose...

Then, there's Axel, a Black Lab mix. He hates to have his picture taken, as if it is going to steal his soul or something. But I did manage to pull off a couple nice shots...

This one I especially like, because he wasn't looking at me, so he didn't seem so scared.

Then, there's Cassie, the Australian Shepherd. Everything I've read about the breed talks about how smart they are, but I swear Cassie was dropped on her head as a puppy, because she's really pretty dense... I couldn't even get her to look at me in response to her name today. But she is pretty photogenic.

So there's the three black dogs. Maybe I'll get better pictures of them oneday, which means I'll probably be a pretty good photographer by then.

Here's a drawing of Mimi I made from a fabulous photo I managed to get of her...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Work in Progress! Checking the Blue Corn Traps

I thought I would post an update on my latest work in progress "Checking the Blue Corn Traps." This colored pencil work was already finished, matted and framed and hanging on the wall. It looked like this:

After looking at it on the wall for about 8 years, I finally decided that the lavender background makes me want to barf. The image itself I still pretty much like. So I took the thing out of its frame and started erasing the purple background and punching up the orange and red strands in the foreground...

I did manage to get most of the background ickiness off of there without damaging the paper. I decided to replace the background with an intense sky blue. Only problem now, was that the three pieces of 'corn' sort of disappeared. Time to do some more erasing.... So I have almost totally re-colored this picture, and am in the final stages of bluing up the corn:

Sorry if the pic is still a little blurry. I am working out some kinks in my new camera...
This does give you a good idea of what it will look like.
For some finished colored pencil works, go here to see my original drawings.

Friday, April 24, 2009

New Juried Show in Albuquerque at The Wooden Cow

I haven't blogged in a while, but I thought I should mention... My work is going to be in a juried show here in Albuquerque! The show is called "Eye Candy" and is being held at a gallery in the Northeast Heights called The Wooden Cow.

The show is called Eye Candy with the intention of providing a colorful feast for the eyes. I submitted three colorful works, but I think they probably picked the best one--"Sacred Heart--Cosmic Scale" shown at left, is a colored pencil drawing I finished early last year. I had recently broken the glass on it, so I had a good excuse to upgrade to glare-reducing conservation glass. As a side note, after calling around to several frame shops for quotes and getting prices from $28 to $52 for a 13" x 16" piece of glass, I found out where they all buy their glass from here in town is O'Malley's Glass, who wanted $13 for the same piece of glass! They were totally fine with just cutting one piece of glass, too. Believe me, I will go back to those guys!

So the show at The Wooden Cow will run from April 29 - May 30, with an opening on Friday, May 1st, from 5 pm to 8 pm. The show will feature the mosaic tilework of Meg Butler (having seen some of her work in person already, I can say it is worth going to see just for that), the colored pencil work of Wendell Unzicker, as well as many other colorful artists from Albuquerque. The gallery is located at 7400 Montgomery NE, Suite 20, in the Mossman Shopping Center, just east of Louisiana on Montgomery. Call them at (505)999-1280 if you have any questions.