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. FREE reference images. I would contact the photographer if you are going to use the photo, give them credit etc. Read more here: Art Workshops - I know of several artist who like the workshops - I have not taken one - have you? 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. Color palettes. I think many of you know about this one - but just to be safe I am listing it. AWESOME color palettes! Create a color palette here - I really like it for monochromatics.

I particularly like this art business resources page. - 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:
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. 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:

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:
Make my day and follow this blog :-D

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