Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Holidays! What is coming up on the blog

Merry Christmas Everyone! What is coming up in 2015

No blog post this Friday Dec. 26 or Jan. 2. Taking some time off to cook, have fun with the family and maybe paint a bit :-)

• I have another giveaway! Watch for it in January - This is so much fun for me! YAY! I dig free stuff :-)

• Join me in listening to the Thriving Artists Summit - It is FREE and I caught several speakers last year and really enjoyed it http://thrivingartistsummit.com/iloveart

• Photos showing some steps in a new collection of mine - based on visits, you all seem to like these posts :-)

• More artist spotlights already scheduled since this has been very popular!

• I will be rounding up a couple of patterns to giveaway in 2015 too :-)

If you want to be the first to hear about giveaways, be sure to sign up for my newsletter! (BIG purple square on the top right-hand side of this page with the cute ladybug :-) Do you have something you would like to giveaway? Please contact me and let's have some fun! anntroe@cox.net

THANK YOU! This blog doesn't happen without all of you! I really appreciate all the visits, comments, social shares, followers, suggestions - Let's make this a great 2015!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Artist Spotlight - Anna Ramsay

Hope you enjoy Anna's patterns and colors as much as I do!

Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self taught?
I have been running my own business, designing and illustrating since 2007. I recently started building my licensing portfolio and hope to work with more companies in the paper,  home decor and fabric industries.

I initially went to art school to become a painter but after being there a year my practical nature steered me to new paths where I eventually discovered and studied graphic design. Once working in the field I was introduced to illustration and started drawing again. Pattern and colour are two things that have always tugged at my heart. I love bright and bold but I also love intricate and interesting.

Do you work in just one medium? Several?
My background gives the ability to combine traditional and digital techniques. I love to experiment with new mediums and bounce back and forth between them. The medium I use most is ink, as it vectorizes well, and I spent some time this last year working on a series in guache paint called 'Back Yard Birding'.

What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
My interests in nature, gardening, history and craft tend to inspire my work the most, along with people watching and books - I listen to a lot of audio books while I work.

What are you working on now?
I am very excited to be collaborating with my husband on a line of ceramics that we will be launching in the new year. He designs and creates the forms and I create and apply the surface designs. The work can be found at www.ramsayceramics.ca

Are you an early riser? or night owl?

It depends on the projects I am working on! But I am mostly up with the sun.

What is your favorite food?
Anything we grew in our garden!

You can find Anna:

THANK YOU for stopping by my blog!
Do you want to be spotlighted? Send me an email: anntroe@cox.net
Make my day and follow this blog :-D

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Thriving Artist Summit

Click on image to view larger.

Hi Everyone - quick post in case you didn't see this FREE summit for growing your art business. Here is the link and you can check out the speakers: http://thrivingartistsummit.com/iloveart
I caught some of the speakers last year and really enjoyed it. I signed up so see what it is all about this year :-) Le me know if you do an we can compare notes.
Thanks for stopping by the blog!

Friday, December 12, 2014

When is it Best to be Yourself?

A peak into what has been coming my way lately

Happy Friday Creative Peeps! I have found myself saying lately to my (adult) kids and a couple of artists I chat with, "just be yourself".

Don't think that just cuz I am writing about this I have 'being myself' mastered. I certainly worried about it when I was younger! (I am 51 this Saturday - YAY!). — Thoughts like: Will they like me, will they like what I created... You know what, maybe not, but that is Okay! Here is why I think being yourself is the BEST way to go:

• Who you are is going to eventually leak out anyway. You want to be yourself so that you can team up with people/clients/etc. that are a good fit for you! If you are not yourself, the odds go way up of the relationship/business deal/etc. not working out.

• Dang, it is just easier to be yourself! - I think you get trying to be someone or something your not takes a WHOLE lot more energy.

• If you like who you are (and the art you create). So will plenty of other people! You just can't be the only person on the planet who likes the things you do.

Now, I am NOT saying to be inflexible. If you are creating art to sell (in a gallery, on a product...). The person selling/buying the art knows what they want (and what is selling for them). As the relationship builds - they will be open to your ideas. Give it time and let trust develop. Put yourself in their shoes. You both want to make money off of your art :-)

Question: do you like this "Ask Ann Landers" kind of post? I like being reminded of things now an then, especially when I am worried/over thinking things.

Now go be your creative fabulous self!

Looking forward to all your comments! Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Artist Spotlight - Joy Hall

Be sure to click on Joy's images to see them larger - there are wonderful subtle textures!

Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self taught?
First of all, I want to thank Ann for inviting me to do this interview.

Like so many others, my first love was art. A coloring book and crayons were never far from my hands. Even though I had this early love for art, I can’t say that art loved me. At least not art teachers. So, by college, I shifted my focus and received a B.S. in Business. Upon graduation, I landed a job with Xerox Corporation. No longer having to worry about a career path, I slowly allowed art to come back into my life. I found myself volunteering for various art related projects. I was returning to my first love.

It wasn’t until marriage and a cross-country move that I got the opportunity to go to art school. I enrolled at the Art Institute of Atlanta, and totally loved it! I knew I was where I should be. I began to freelance in graphic design. Somewhere along the way, I began to study the art in calendars and on greeting cards and decided this was for me.

At that time, it was very hard to get into art licensing. The Artist’s Market book was about the only way to find contacts. I would make copies of my art, pack them up and send to the different companies listed in the book. And then wait….. and wait…. and wait. And sometimes, never hear back.

Little by little, the art licensing world started to open up and so did the internet. I think my first contract was with Ceaco for puzzles followed by scrapbooking, quilting fabrics, greeting cards, calendars, tableware, garden flags and all sorts of fun things.

What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
Nature, movies, interesting color palettes, fashion…..

Do you work in just one medium? Several?
Even though I was traditionally trained, I have worked digitally for the past 8 years. However, I’m beginning to return to watercolor after taking a botanical illustration/watercolor class at Longwood Gardens. Now I can have the best of both worlds!

What are you working on now?
At this time I have several projects on the table including new art creation. The Atlanta International Gift show happens in January and my agents need fresh art to share with the manufacturers that have showrooms.

In between projects, I LOVE to work on my blog. I think you can learn so much more about someone on their blog than you can on a Facebook page (which I also have). It’s like visiting someone’s home, instead of a quick greeting on the street.

Anything else you want to tell everyone?
If you have dreams of licensing your art, you need to develop a thick skin. Be ready to make changes to your art that you don’t necessarily agree with. The manufacturer knows their customer and has learned that your chosen shade of red won’t sell.

Also, take advantage of information available online today. Blogs such as this one are such a gift to the aspiring licensing artist.

Are you an early riser? or night owl?
Definitely an early riser. My creative brain is fresh and at it’s best before daylight.

What is your favorite food?
I don’t think I have a favorite food, but I do have a favorite drink…. coffee!! I’m not sure if it’s the taste as much as it is the ritual. To me it says “morning… the start of a day filled with opportunity!”

I seldom use a coffee maker, but prefer hand crafted coffee using either a French Press or a poor-over (Chemex) style system.

You can find Joy / see more of her art:



THANK YOU for stopping by my blog!
Do you want to be spotlighted? Send me an email: anntroe@cox.net
Make my day and follow this blog :-D

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing all of you who celebrate Thanksgiving a happy one!

Posting early again :-) On Friday when I usually post, I will be making a salad and whipping up the cranberry ice (sorbet) in preparation for Thanksgiving - we are celebrating on Saturday so everyone can make it.

I am grateful for the connections I have made through this blog and social media and look forward to make more!

I am grateful for the wonderful advice and comments from all of you who follow this blog.

I am grateful for all of you who click on the affiliate links. This little bit of income helps support me and the time it takes to blog <3

Thank you!, all of you amazing creative people!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Artist Spotlight - Dan DiPaolo


You have seen Dan's work in stores! His chefs are some of my favorites of his work.

Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self taught?
My BFA is from the Cleveland Institute of Art, 1984. Major in Painting, minor in Drawing.

What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
I am inspired by so many things… mostly from my surroundings here in Wisconsin. I live and work on a small farm. I grow veggies, raise chickens and goats and have a beautiful old stone farm house. The studio is in an 1840 Log house. My work is influenced by the seasons here, the animals that live here and the simplicity of quiet life. There is a sensibility that comes from being rooted in a place and feeling connected to it.

Do you work in just one medium? Several?
I work with watercolor paint for Calendar images, wood and metal for sculpting, photoshop for digital images, textiles for soft goods.

What are you working on now?
I make 5 calendars every year for Andrews McMeel Publishing so that’s 60 paintings, I also create art for 17 other licensees. A new company, Whiskey Mountain, will launch an extensive offering of signs and other decor items in January 2015.

Anything else you want to tell everyone?
Hmmm…. Life is great! I guess the only advice I can offer is to enter the licensing arena without expectation. The business of licensing is a collaboration between artist, manufacturer, production, materials and salesmen. It doesn’t always come together, sometimes it does… the process may not live up to your standards or it may surpass your dreams.

Are you an early riser? or night owl?
Definitely NOT and early riser.. It takes several hours for my brain to activate. COFFEE..

What is your favorite food?
Well, I love to cook so I love to experiment with ingredients. I love to invent dishes using ingredients that are fresh form the garden..

You can find Dan:

THANK YOU for stopping by my blog!
Do you want to be spotlighted? Send me an email: anntroe@cox.net
Make my day and follow this blog :-D

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Fabulous FREE call with U.S. Copyright office!

If you missed it - don't worry!

Editors note 5/29/16: The link below is now through ArtLicensingInfo.com. Same call, Tara sold her business to them :-)

Hi Everyone! Posting a day early :-) Tara Reed set up a great call with the U.S. copyright office.
Click here to download it for FREE: United States Copyright Office Call

This link will let Tara know you found it through me - I don't make any money on it - just FYI :-) but thanks for using this link!

The call cleared up for me questions about registering collections and several collections at a time. It also pointed out benefits I hadn't thought about that you get by registering your work. It gets into some legal aspects of copyright. Oh Heck - just go download it! 

THANKS so much Tara for setting this up!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pumpkin Carving Contest! AKA I am going to win this year :-)

Happy Halloween Everyone! - Calling this one early - "B" won by a landslide! That is my daughter's pumpkin :-)

I won't be posting this Friday, cuz it is Halloween! Last year was the First Annual Troe Pumpkin Carving contest between myself and my daughter ( she is 18yrs old, freshman in college). I LOST by a landslide last year!!! Not only was I out $25 bucks but I had to do the pumpking carving walk of shame for a year... SO, No pressure, but vote for your favorite pumpkin carving design above, I am really counting on you! :-)

Voting can be anonymous (choose that option in the comment section below). My favorite vote from last year even though it was totally biased AND completely unfair, was from an anonymous voter: "Gram and I each cast a vote for our grand daughter's pumpkin ~ Gramps." I am going to see if I can block this voter this year ;-)

THANK you for playing along AND helping me keep my $25 bucks! I will post the winner on Wednesday Nov. 5th.

Friday, October 24, 2014

8 Useful Sites for Art and Creating

Happy Friday Creative Peeps!

I have come across more useful websites that I thought you might be interested in. Let me know what you think AND if you know of any other great sites!  - thanks :-) More on my Useful Stuff blog page.

http://www.morguefile.com/ FREE reference images. I would contact the photographer if you are going to use the photo, give them credit etc. Read more here: http://www.morguefile.com/about

http://artistsnetwork.tv Art Workshops - I know of several artist who like the workshops - I have not taken one - have you?

http://artjournalist.com/ LOTS of prompts for art journaling. You may get inspiration for a new art collection here! Chelle did a FREE year-long Art Journal Workshop for 2014. I have emailed her to see if she will do it again this coming year (2015). It would be good for both ideas and art practice. —don't miss the Holiday Idea Prompts.

http://design-seeds.com/ Color palettes. I think many of you know about this one - but just to be safe I am listing it. AWESOME color palettes! 

http://paletton.com Create a color palette here - I really like it for monochromatics.

I particularly like this art business resources page.

http://www.posemaniacs.com/ - I Love that is is free and more life like than my little wooden mannequin

Let me know of any site that you really like! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Artist Spotlight - Valerie Hart



I met Valerie online first - then saw her fabulous booth at Surtex this year! 

Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self taught?
I was one of those kids that was always drawing and writing. I remember my Mom telling me “a lot” to get my head out of the clouds. I had the title of class artist during grade school. I dreamed of going to art school, but, unfortunately being an artist was not something my parents could wrap their heads around. So I studied business in college. I took a couple of art courses as electives and it was in my graphic design course that the teacher said to me one day, "Valerie, I don't know why you're going into business — you're an artist!" The validation from that teacher changed the direction of my life. After college I got a job at a small publishing company and went onto a 30 year career in advertising and marketing. I worked my way up from a graphic designer, to art director and then creative director. I got to be creative every day and get paid for it. It's only been over the past four years that I started painting, illustrating and developing my style.

What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
Everything seems to inspire me. I love cats, dogs and all animals. I’ve always been a very conceptual person. And being a creative director in advertising, it was my job to come up with ideas. I also love looking at other artists work, being out in nature, shopping, store displays, interior design, surfing the internet, Design Seeds, Pinterest, blogs, and driving around. I never seem to be lacking for ideas or projects to do.

Do you work in just one medium? Several?
I started painting in acrylics about four years ago and I've used watercolors over the years. About a year ago I started to work on my “digital style” because I’m targeting the art licensing market. Even though I had worked on the computer for years it was more of a design tool for me. Using it to create art was a different approach. I thought that my style wouldn't translate but it has and I'm building up a good portfolio of images. I first started drawing and scanning in my images but now I can create right in Illustrator and Photoshop. I still do a lot of drawing and painting too. And I’m working on my hand lettering.

What are you working on now?
I’m still working on my art licensing portfolio and reaching out to manufacturers after my Surtex debut this past May. I dreamed of doing Surtex for years and I decided to finally make it happen. And it was an amazing experience! The commitment to do Surtex was certainly a motivator to create art. I’m also adding items to my Etsy shop for the upcoming holiday season. I recently moved across the country to Abiquiu, New Mexico from NH. It was a little magical the way it happened. I’m new to the art licensing world, so I’m still following up and reaching out to potential manufacturers with my work. So many people have told me my art would be perfect for art licensing, so, here I go!

Anything else you want to tell everyone?
It takes a lot of courage to be an artist. If you are interested in doing creative work, you need to start where you are. If you're not currently self-motivated, take a class! I kept taking art classes at night all during my advertising career. You have to make time for yourself and for your art. Your style will emerge and your technique gets better. And I sincerely appreciate everyone who supports my art and has followed my journey.

Are you an early riser?, or night owl?
Definitely a night owl. Woot woot!

What is your favorite food?­­­­
I kind of go through food trends. Right now I’m into oranges, egg strata, animal crackers and this fabulous banana nut bread recipe I recently found!


THANK YOU for stopping by my blog!
Do you want to be spotlighted? Send me an email: anntroe@cox.net
Make my day and follow this blog :-D

Friday, October 10, 2014

Joined Artistic Designs Group!

Celebrating with my art licensing friends!

I am beyond EXCITED, PROUD as punch and oh so tickled pink to be joining Artistic Designs Group. http://www.artsdg.com/gall_at.html. They are amazing!

You can tell that I am flyin' high! I do have a small problem. While my family is wonderful and supportive - they just don't get it :-)

SO, I am hogging a bit of blog and social media time to celebrate with my wonderful art licensing friends! YAY! I promise to resume to normal programming next week :-)

ALSO A BIG thank you to all of you for commenting, sharing - HELPING with ideas. This blog etc. is a success because of all of you. 

Happy Creating Everyone!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Artist Spotlight - Claudine Hellmuth

Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self taught?
I'm a full-time illustrator and I create whimsical cupcake boxes and packaging for baked goods and sweets treats!

In my 14 years as an illustrator, my work has been featured in The New York Times, on The Martha Stewart Show, HGTV, HSN and The DIY Network. My books and gift product designs have been sold in retail stores such as Michael's, Target and TJ Maxx. I’ve been thrilled to illustrate for companies like Smart Car, Capitol Records and publications such as The Saturday Evening Post.

I live in Washington, DC with my husband Paul and our very spoiled pets. When I’m not covered in paper, glue and cupcake sprinkles, I’m walking our dog Maggie, reading a book or enjoying an afternoon nap with our very fat cat, Mabel!

How I got started:
After I graduated in 1997 with my BFA. I didn't know what to do at first. I started working in web design (this was the early days of the Internet) I knew I didn't want to do this work forever, so on the side I kept building my work and adding it to my teeny tiny web site. After awhile I found yahoo groups about collage and mixed media and I enjoyed posting on there and talking with other people who did mixed media. Someone mentioned Somerset Studio magazine and I had never heard of it. On the way home from work that night I ran into the craft store to pick up a copy. I couldn't believe all this great work inside that was all mixed media. It was so exciting to me. I submitted my work to them (on slides! This was 1999 after all) and then they wanted to do an artist profile on me. After that I was asked to teach at workshops and shortly after that I started shopping book ideas around to publishers.

In 2001 I signed my first book contract with F+W  Publications for my first book, Collage Discovery Workshop and from there I found the craft industry and attended my first CHA show in 2003. It was very exciting! I never knew a show like that existed with all the art and craft supply manufacturers in one place!

And the rest is history! I've done lots of things in the craft industry, and also for licensing: I've had scrapbook products for the Home Shopping Network, a craft line with ranger, designed embroidery kits for EK Success and had a couple of rubber stamp lines, blankets, dishes, coasters, and so many other items too!

What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
I am always inspired by retro 1940s and 50's advertisements. I love how over the top the women are depicted getting excited about their washing machines! I love polka dots, old cars, fun dresses and the colors red and teal.

Do you work in just one medium? Several?
Currently I work with a mix of drawing by hand, and working on the computer

What are you working on now?
I am developing a new area of my business to create custom cupcake boxes and packaging for small businesses like cupcake shops, food trucks and bakeries. I haven't even officially launched it yet and I even have a couple of clients! Here's a link to my web site: customcupcakeboxes.com

Are you an early riser? or night owl?

I'm more if a middle of the day person! I do my best work from around noon-6 or 7pm, before noon I'm pretty useless and once I get to 8 or 9pm at night I'm all worn out!

What is your favorite food?
Red velvet cupcakes! Yum!!

You can find Claudine:

THANK YOU for stopping by my blog!
Do you want to be spotlighted? Send me an email: anntroe@cox.net
Make my day and follow this blog :-D

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Painting Class - What is coming up!

Pumpkin Delight Painting

Quick post - I will be teaching this painting "Pumpkin Delight!" 10"x20" Acrylic on gallery wrapped cotton canvas. It is a 2+ hour class. Painters should show up early so we can get started right away (several steps to this painting :-) Thursday, October 16th, 6:30 pm.

Visit ItsYoursPottery.com for registration - Can't wait to see you there!

BYOP - Bring You Own Pumpkin!

Bring in a pumpkin (we recommend a smallish one) on Saturday October 25th, 1:00 pm We have the supplies! Let your creativity out! You can paint any design or face that you like.

Visit ItsYoursPottery.com for registration - Can't wait to see you there!

I have more ideas cookin' sign up to get Its Yours Pottery's emails so you don't miss a class! You can also follow me on social media - I will announce what I am doing next :-)

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