Monthly Archives: July 2013

the elephants are finished.

For the past few months, I’ve worked on my Indian elephant painting. It’s been the subject of many past posts. It’s also very well documented on my business page. But after much detail work, it’s finally finished. And I love it.

IMG_2170The colors are even more vibrant in person. The blankets are detailed with metallic gold paint. Also, at the last minute I added some pink and blue ‘flower petals’ floating around everywhere. The finished painting makes me excited to move onto the next one in the series. I was going to paint a scene from Bali. But now, I’m thinking Thailand.

I’ll have the same process pictures of the next ones up on the blog soon. Happy Monday!

aka gallery re-opening

Last night was the big reopening at AKA Gallery on Paseo!

IMG_2160My family showed up to check it out and support yours truly. The gallery space looks incredible. It’s more light, bright, and open. The show for First Friday in August is a group show by FRINGE. It’s a group of women who create and promote their art. They hung their show early for our opening. MaryAnn and I also have several pieces on the wall for the month.

Our previous arrangement could be described as eclectic. Retail mixed with art and studio space. Now, we have a clearly defined retail space up front. The back is a clean gallery space, with plenty of wall real estate for a visiting artist.

It was so well received. Everyone who attended the soft opening gave rave reviews of the new configuration. We’re so excited to be a part of this new chapter with Ashley. It’s going to be great!

{Pictures of the new space coming soon}

 

the elephants have arrived

 

You may remember earlier posts that document the creation of my newest painting. These types of paintings are slow going. The background elements are several layers of paint. The details also take a while to incorporate. But the results are beautiful.

I don’t think I mentioned how the finished composition will look once everything is done. The idea is that all of my background elements are tone on tone of one color. In this case, it’s orange. Then, I add some sort of foreground element that’s normal, full color.

In this case, the foreground elements are two very ornately decorated Indian elephants.

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IMG_2132All of their details are blocked out in white for now. I want all of the colors to be very opaque when I paint them on. The blankets will be detailed with lots of bright colors. I’ll use metallic gold paint for all of the ‘stitching’.

The details will take a little while. But, now that the elephants are in, the finish line isn’t very far away. I have to take my time. Otherwise, I get impatient and really screw things up. Completing this one makes me excited to move on to the other works. The next countries up are Bali, Japan, and Taiwan. Japan and Taiwan will be modeled after pictures I took during a trip. My hope is to have a large travel series with each country in a different color.

This is the first time in a while that I’ve felt very inspired to paint. I don’t get to travel much these days. But I have in the past. I’m pretty obsessed with traveling in the future. This is kind of my way of going to those places….That is until I can actually go to those places.

friendship bracelets {all grown up}

A few weeks ago, I picked up an issue of Martha Stewart Living on a whim. The cover pictured a crusty loaf of bread, covered in heirloom tomatoes. The tomatoes formed a rainbow, from green to red. That’s pretty much the only reason I bought the magazine. In thumbing through the pages {to find the recipe for the cover photo} I stumbled upon a small article entitled: Friendship Bracelets, All Grown Up. The article featured an image of bad ass friendship bracelets. They were more refined than what I remember making. Some had gilded thread, others had small charms, and the colors were more sophisticated.

I was immediately inspired to make some sophisticated fabric jewelry. I figured if I was terrible at it, I would wear my own creations. But if they are beautiful then I can sell them. It’s a win-win. So, I set off to Michael’s to buy embroidery floss.

IMG_2097So many colors. The good news is: embroidery floss is cheap. The bad news is: You don’t get a ridiculous amount in one of those little loops. I just kept telling myself to try a little to see how it goes. I’m extremely impatient when it comes to my art…or anything that could make money.

I bought several colors…

IMG_2099And these are the results…

Keep in mind I’m just experimenting. I’m learning how to make my knots more professional. I would also like to master more ways of treating the ends of the bracelet. I want the ties to have the same artisanal treatment as the knotted area.

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You think to yourself: tying knots isn’t difficult. However, there are subtle nuances to making a bracelet look substantial. The kind of thread you use, the tightness of your knots all contribute to the perceived quality of a piece. I bought regular cotton floss. I also tried some satin floss. I tried to incorporate the satin with the more gritty cotton. It didn’t work very well. The satin unravels easily. The knots aren’t as solid either. Although this obviously wasn’t the best choice of material, I couldn’t resist using it anyway. Except this time, I would make a monochromatic bracelet of only satin thread…

I used the goldenrod color.

IMG_2117I LOVE the way this one turned out. That shiny, silky texture looks especially good as a solid bracelet. You have to work fast, because the knots aren’t as solid. Also, the end knots aren’t holding as well. I’m contemplating burning them a little with a lighter {that’s an old trick to keep pointe shoe ribbons from fraying on the ends}.

I’m going to work my way through all my thread to make a few more bracelets. I’ll see where things are once I have a few examples. I’m always excited to add another craft to my repertoire. And who knows, I could access an untapped market of people just waiting to rediscover friendship bracelets, all grown up.

new opportunities

As I mentioned in an earlier post, big things are happening at my gallery. Yesterday, I went to check on the progress. Our new french doors have been framed in. The sales counters will be delivered today. Also, today: I get to set up my space! I’m so excited about the new possibilities on the horizon with our interior reset. I hung out with Ashley {my friend and gallery director} while she painted over the new sheet rock. In the course of our conversation we got on the subject of ‘First Friday’. {For those of you who don’t know, First Friday is our gallery walk on Paseo. More on that later.}

I’ve had some First Friday glory before. We did a group show at our gallery this past spring. It was a lot of fun, and certainly educational. However, I’ve always wanted my own show. What’s cool about waiting until now, is that with our new interior configuration, I’ll have two to three times the space I previously had.

Enter bacteria.

1013726_142322302635755_1632739760_nSeveral months ago, my friend Ryan approached me with an interesting commission. He is a periodontist. He has tons of images from his graduate work cataloging various types of bacteria found in the human mouth. He wanted four large paintings of his favorite slides. I accepted, of course. However, I was kind of nervous as to how they would turn out. Fortunately for me, and everyone else, they were a success. People loved them. Ashley loved them. So it was a no-brainer that my first, First Friday show should be an entire series of bacteria.

I quickly contacted my friend to see if I could use his images. I didn’t want to just copy some pictures off the internet. As an artist, I consider that a hollow practice. Ryan has some beautiful images. He worked hard to catalog them. He also paid me good money to paint them. I wanted to make him an offer he couldn’t refuse. He scored free advertising and some new work. I scored painting subjects, and one to two future commissions from him. I think that’s a win win.

The show will be in July of 2014. I’m going to spend the next few days mapping out wall space, buying paint, and ordering canvas in order to craft a proposal. We have our soft opening next week. Our grand opening is First Friday: August. I’m excited to see how people receive our new space. Beyond that, I’m even more excited to see what kind of opportunities arise as a result.

Happy Friday!

{You can check out the complete bacteria series under my recent commissions tab}

progress.

The background is almost done on this painting. I can’t get enough of it.

1016924_145869628947689_1044638295_nMy work on this has been sidelined a little bit. With all of the goings on at the gallery, my stuff is all tarped up. The work is supposed to conclude by Friday. So, I’ll be able to get cracking on this again. I also have a turquoise canvas prepped for a Balinese landscape. I’ll have a sketch for that up soon.

The next time you see this, it will be finished!

happenings at AKA Gallery

My home gallery is undergoing some big changes this month…

IMG_1977I’ve been renting here a couple of years now. The director, who is also my friend, is an awesome ‘landlord’. My rent is cheap, and I pretty much get free reign over my space. We’ve always had an eclectic mix of retail and fine art, usually in the same room. It was a few months ago, that Ashley {the director} decided to streamline this concept…a lot.

She’s decided to move all of the retail up front. We have an impressive collection of witty, funky merchandise, including: drinking supplies, t-shirts, and ceramic balloon dog bookends. All of the art will be relegated to the anterior space where wall real estate will be split between different artists.

My working space will become more communal in nature. I should mention I share rented space with an artist named MaryAnn Ceballos. She is a very talented and prolific abstract artist. She is an absolute joy to be around. We really love working together. Currently, we have two cubicles in the back. They’re decent sized. But, with the move, we’ll have one large cubicle to share. The working area will be much larger. Also, the wall will be oriented in such a way that we’ll face the front door….much more conducive to reeling in customers.

We hope to have all of the renovations done by our next first Friday in August. All three of us are so excited to get everything done and move into the new spaces. I’ll keep updating as major progress is made. We’re excited to be a part of this new chapter in the existence of AKA Gallery!

{AKA Gallery is located in the Paseo Arts District, at 3001 Paseo, Oklahoma City, OK, 73103}

cucumber, watermelon, and some arugula

As I get older I absolutely love my early mornings. Don’t think I’m one of those people who walks around going, ‘I’m so old’ all the time for saying this: but one of my favorite things is getting home early {like 10:30 or 11} from having a couple of drinks, going to bed, and waking up at 8am on Saturday morning to stare at my vegetable garden. I love to look at it. I’ve put a lot of work to make it produce. There’s also something so rewarding about growing your own food.

Until this point, stare is all I could do since I had no fruit. Now is not the case. We’re getting a good yield from the tomatoes so far. We’re finally getting jalapenos. I’m still waiting for the bell peppers to come on. They’ve taken a little longer than I expected. But, who cares. There is enough fruit all over the place at this point.

I’m excited about everything. But I wanted to showcase a few veggies that have been producing later than the tomatoes: cucumber, watermelon, and arugula. The cucumbers vine over the edge of the raised garden. I’d never grown them before, so I was skeptical as to how much they would actually produce. Fortunately, there was no need to worry. These ‘Elite 8’ cucumbers are producing like crazy. I picked three off the vine this morning, as well as one last week. They are a very mild, sweet flavor. They’re not a pickling cucumber. However, I’d like to make pickle slices out of them and can them.

The watermelon are planted in a large ‘pot’. When I say pot, I mean a huge aluminum light shade from the oil field. They make awesome planting vessels. I’ve never grown watermelon either. I figured they would fruit. But my main concern was planting them a proper distance from the cucumber to avoid cross pollination. I guess we’ll find out if it worked soon enough….because the vines are busting out with little tiny, baby watermelons. They’re a ‘Sugar Baby’ variety. The melon is small compared to normal sizes like a ‘Crimson Giant’, and very sweet. If all of the fruits get to full maturity, I envision a lot of chilled watermelon soup, watermelon ceviche, and watermelon gratinata in my future.

Last, but certainly not least: arugula. I planted a small patch next to the tomatoes. I harvested all of it this morning because the tomato plant is so huge, it’s blocking all of the sunlight. I love arugula. I love it in salad, I love it as pesto, I love it on sandwiches, I love it. That nutty, mustardy, spicy flavor, goes with anything. I’ll kind of let it be for now until fall. Once we take our tomatoes out, I’ll plant a giant row if it as well as other greens. I see things that need improvement for next year. But, for my first attempt at a very large raised bed, I think this has been a pretty good yield.

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make one hundred dollars today.

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I had some branding work done a couple of years ago by the very brilliant ladies of Braid Creative. My mind was kind of all over the place. They systematically boiled all of my crazy thoughts down to a concise business concept. I’m still making my way through implementation of their recommendations. Sometimes that’s a little tough. However, the framework they provided me with always helps steer me back in the right direction. If you’re in need of branding advise, please don’t hesitate to give them a shout.

Ok, I gave that shameless plug in order to tell a story. As a result of my dealings with Braid, I signed up for an email to receive Letters for Creatives. These are just little tidbits of advise and information intended to guide people in the operation of their business. A few weeks ago, I received on called ‘Make 100 Dollars Today’. Obviously, it was an email about making money. However, money was part of a broader observation that creatives have a tendency to spend more time learning and less time doing.

This made me pause a bit. I feel like I’ve made positive steps in the direction of making money. I consistently work on art, in a studio in an art district. I also have a blog that functions as a website to sell art. But, I realized in that instance, there is so much more I could be doing to generate sales.  I needed to spend less time letting ideas marinate in my head, and more time putting these ideas into practice. This email challenged me to sell some art, or write a blog post, anything that could help make money.

So I did. I created a Facebook page just for my art. I got seventy-some likes, which in turn means a decent reach when people share information from my page. Also, out of that page, my friends’ mom was actually moved to come by the studio to check out my art. She was intrigued by the image {pictured above} of India. This painting happened to be out of her price range. But, she is going to purchase a smaller piece for $300.00. So I actually made $300 that day. As a bonus, she plugged her appointment with me in a status update, which was shared with all of her friends.

I’m excited to see that it doesn’t take much in terms of putting yourself out there to see who bites. Other parts of my business model are still in progress. That email showed me that I’ve spent too much time researching and thinking about them. If you are in an artistic business, I implore you to do the same thing. It can be as simple as a blog post, or creating a teaser of new work to send out to returning clients, or creating a Facebook page.

If you’ve been spinning your wheels reading about what everyone else is doing, take a short break to put your own business into practice. You’ll be very happy with the results.

fourth of july vacation

Well, I’m finally back after an extended Fourth of July vacation. My family has a lake house right smack in the middle of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. It is hands down, one of my favorite places….in the world. It’s a large area. I’m not sure how many square miles are included in the park land. Be assured, there is no shortage of natural beauty. We frequent the main attraction, Lake of the Arbuckles. But, the area also has tons of waterfalls, freshwater springs, and mineral springs. It’s really a jewel of a place.

We go down there quite a bit, usually for weekend trips. This was the first time we spent almost a week at the cabin. I would say it was fun, overall. Unfortunately, we had a few foibles that really threw a wrench in our plans. The biggest of these was the boat. A few months ago, our dry storage was broken into. We had a several things stolen: lawn tools, ropes, five gallon buckets, stuff like that. Although it was annoying, it wasn’t that big of a deal compared to what could have been stolen. Little did we know, it was actually a lot worse….

When we got the boat to the cabin to load it, we discovered that a couple of life jackets, our ski ropes, snorkel gear, and competition ski gloves had been taken. Upon further inspection, dad also realized the fuel lines to the motor had been cut AND the gas had been siphoned out. Seriously. So, we installed new fuel lines, hoping the boat would recover. No dice. It started, but sounded like crap, smoked, and died any time you would give it any gas.

Needless to say, the boat was taken directly to the shop. We were left to make the best of it….which we did. We spent one day at a drive up beach without the boat. The next day we took our canoe out. I’m accustomed to punting at the lake. If you’ve grown up around motor boats, like me, you know that sometimes they don’t start in the best of circumstances. It’s all a part of having no agenda, and rolling with it.

Having a cool family helps, though. We had a great time together, despite the mishaps. I can’t wait to do it again soon.

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