Sunday, September 29, 2013

So cute.

After I write this post I think I have to have a 24 hour hiatus from the internet. I cannot watch Breaking Bad's finale until tomorrow night and I'm terrified of it getting spoiled. There is always that jerk on facebook who writes something that completely gives it away.  I am sort of relieved that this show is coming to an end because no other show has stressed me out like this one.  I'm not sure how I would like to see it resolved, I just hope it's done well. 

In lighter news, my rabbit has taken to hanging out on this table.  She's so cute I can't even deal with it.    

I finally got my studio mostly clean. It's at least functional now.  I have been wanting to work on some mixed media painting/ drawings and I finally got time to sit down and do it.  My work used to always be very angsty. People saw the bright colors and the little doodled hearts and they immediately pointed out how happy my work was but if you really studied the imagery you could see how sad it truly was.  I created landscapes that were inhabited by strange creatures that were usually crying and seemed very isolated.  I made cemeteries for friends who had passed away way too young.  It was all very heavy so I used bright colors to make it not so heavy-handed.

Here is an example. Click the image to see it larger.  I made this while I was in grad school. See the ghost on the right? He is the saddest. But those mountains are pretty lonely and sad, too. Kind of weird, I know...

So now when I think about the work I want to make it's weird to be in a completely different state of mind. As previously noted, I feel pretty happy. I feel lighter, less anxious.  How is that going to effect my artmaking?  There's the cliche of the tortured artist. I do not feel super tortured.  Knock on wood... If I am tortured about anything it's about how to make art. It feels like it's been so long since I made work that I don't know how to do it anymore. I sat at my desk and filled up tons of paper with these little washes but I don't know where to go from here. Sometimes when I'm still figuring out content it's hard for me to make serious marks.

Yesterday my husband showed me a park I had never been to before and it was so beautiful and peaceful.   It made me think about how many wonderful moments there are in life.  I tend to dwell on the bad stuff but why don't I dwell on the beautiful park I visited?   So I'd like to make work that is a place for all the good to go. I am so in love with many beautiful things and I would love for my art to be shrines to all that beauty.  I am still unsure how to do that but getting these thoughts together and getting something onto paper seems to be a step in the right direction.  Tomorrow some girlfriends and I are going to go explore Chicago and try to find as many beautiful things as we can.  I hope to come home with a few little treasures that will inspire this new series of work.

I'll end this with my bunny still being so cute. I can't stand it! I wish I could carry her around all day in a bag. I wish she could talk so I could know if she actually likes me.  

I hope you have sweet bunny dreams!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Little Bits

I have been the sleepiest girl lately.  It's almost nine o'clock and I am ready for bed. Okay, I'm actually in bed. As soon as I'm done writing this I plan on falling fast asleep. I'm afraid I'm at the early stages of a cold which I absolutely do not have time for. No, I did not mean to reference the "nobody got time for that" lady but seriously, she's right. 

I may just be sleepy from a busy week and still trying to get used to a new schedule that involves going to work soooooooo early! Eight o'clock is a wonderful time to be up and about but only after a good hour of sitting and drinking coffee and reading blogs and eating a yummy breakfast.  Now my routine involves eating while standing and quickly doing hair and make-up and rushing out the door. If only I could wake up at 5:00, then I would have those luxurious mornings that I dream of!

Diana Behl, who is the bee's knees,  was in town as a visiting artist at the print shop. I was able to spend some time with her in the studio one night and have a nice visit over a meal.  I loved seeing her process and asking her questions about how she works. I've admired her artwork for a really long time.  You may even remember Diana and her equally talented beau Andrew from when they were featured as a dreamy, artful couple. You can see that interview here. I wish my schedule had not been so busy this week because I would have loved to ask millions of more questions and learn lots of new things.

Last night I met up with a few pals and celebrated a birthday party at our favorite haunt. I brought little wrestler finger puppets for party favors and made sure the birthday girl wore embarrassing birthday adornments.  That's what friends are for.

I got some new garlands in the shop this week.  I can't quit making pom poms. These color combos are killing me lately. I love this grouping.

Stella Pom Garland

Pom Pom Garland

And now it's time for sleeping!  Sweet dreams, y'all.

Monday, September 23, 2013



I was so serious when I said my studio is a disaster.

That is my table! Above and below... that is where I'm suppose to sit and work!

The table below doesn't even belong in that spot. I moved it there temporarily to practice styling and then an overflow of stuff landed on it!

This is why I have not gotten anything done. Where do I sit? Why is there a tee shirt draped over that chair?

I do not even know where to begin with all this stuff.

Please send help.

Meanwhile... instead of cleaning I'm sitting around listening to this song because I love it so much. So much.

Sweet dreams!

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Hi, remember me?

Flower Toppers in my shop.

I worked at new job for a week and I am still trying to figure out a routine. This weekend I had grand plans of working in my studio and trying out some new stuff.  What did I do instead?  I cleaned my house, rearranged my living room, got in some great chats with several great friends, squeezed in a round of mini golf, and made a batch of chickpea burgers for my lunches this week.

Fancy Toppers here.

Okay now that I lay it all out like that I realize I had a pretty smashing weekend despite not being able to get some studio time in. I may have been slightly avoiding it anyway.  Also, my studio is sooo completely wrecked that it will take at least a couple of hours of cleaning to finally get in there.

Cupcake Toppers in my shop.

I just had a thought.  For so long I have felt like this ball of anxiety from worrying about never finding success whether it be from my shop or blog or in the so-called art world.  I always feel like I'm running out of time which makes me even more anxious. And then it feels like everything is resting on my latest project so when things feel like they fail the failure feels colossus.  I spoke with my friend Jane today who I haven't talked to in a long time and while we were both catching each other up on our lives we both realized... we're happy.  And that's all that matters, right?  And with that I let everything go, Well, I'm beginning to let everything go.  No more anxiety over feeling like everything has to work out right this second.  I do need to clean my studio though. I will get to it.

In my shop here.

Yesterday I had a wonderful chat with a friend who is at a new beginning of something wonderful.  She is working on starting a new business and may be in the process of becoming part of an exciting partnership.  To do what you love... that's all you can ask for. Take a minute today to send out good blessings in the world for her.  She truly deserves it!

Sweet dreams!

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Day In the Life of... Maren Munoz

It's Friday so it's time to check in with an artist and see what it's like to spend a day in their studio.  This week is unique because I met Maren Munoz because of this project. I am so glad I did because I love her work and am happy to add her to my list of artists whose work I need to definitely keep an eye on!  Today's feature walks you through the step of doing an edition so for those of you who are not super familiar with the print process this may be a bit of an eye opener for you.  Check it out!

My life is in a state of upsidedownness at the moment, so it was really fun to have a studio day in the midst of all the craziness. I just finished grad school in May, and now, I just live in Madison, Wisconsin like a regular person. I was watching all the college kids the other day and thinking about "back to school" stuff, and then I realized that this is the first time in about 20 years that I won't be going back to school! But it's high time, and I am very excited about the change.

Now for my studio day....

7:30 AM

Trying to get back on a normal schedule in the event that I actually get a job. My first move is to make coffee. I'm house sitting, but I brought my own coffee set up. I also have a half of a peanut butter and fluff sandwich for breakfast. Marshmallow fluff is one of my vices, and I'm definitely too old to be eating it. I wasn't allowed to eat it as a kid (rightly so) and now I'm making up for lost time.

I like getting up early because it's really peaceful around the house, and I can get a few things done. Since I'm printing today, I spend my morning time cutting rubylith stencils that I will need early on in my work day.

My boyfriend gets up, and we watch an episode of Project Runway Season 9, which seems like a bad idea as far as productivity goes, but it is actually good because it gives me time to drink 3 cups of coffee. I am a super slow drinker of beverages.

10:30 AM
I'm printing in the UW Madison print shops today. It's Labor Day and school hasn't started so I pretty much have the place to myself. I'm trying to get the whole edition done today because A) it's already late and B) I want to be completely cleared out by the time classes start tomorrow. I was invited by two up-and-coming lady printmakers named Lisette Chavez and Nyla Hurley to participate in a print exchange portfolio called Women of the West (I am a native of Colorado.) It was due on the 1st, so now I'm hustling to get it to them. I actually had a finished edition but decided to scrap it because I hated it and just couldn't have it going out into the world as a representation of my work. I guess my standards are getting higher!

For this print, I'm doing all the colors using screen print with a linocut over the top as the key image.

Burning my rubylith stencils into screens. This part always bends my mind a little bit making sure that everything is facing the right way so that the registration will work correctly. I have to concentrate really hard for a second to make sure it's all right.

All set up and ready to start printing. I have learned the hard way, from many incredibly painful printing sessions, that it pays to really take the time and have everything prepped so that printing goes as smoothly as possible.

It also really REALLY helps if you listen to the 90s R&B station on Pandora while you print. Hit after hit after hit!

First color run. Love this blue so much. It has a hint of shimmer. I love this layer all by itself actually - the shapes are cool.

The edition size for the portfolio is 20, so I think I have about 34 prints total, which gives me some wiggle room if anything gets screwed up, which somewhere along the line, it usually does.

Yellow is the second color run. My colors are very transparent, so they layer up to create another green, which saves me from doing a whole other run.

Light pink is the final color run, and it also layers up to give me a few more colors.

5:00 PM

I need a little pick me up at this point before I go in the relief lab and start printing the final layer.

One of the professors at UW is out of town this week, so I'm covering his first classes, which means making copies of the syllabus. It takes such a long time that I get it going and then run for coffee. I am all about the multi-tasking.

Mixing up my ink - decided to make a dark brown instead of black. I absolutely love black but I've found that sometimes it can be too harsh.

Pulling a proof on newsprint.

Pulling an actual proof... Holding my breath and keeping toes and fingers crossed.

Looks pretty damn good! This part is always very exciting... Assuming that everything lines up. It can also be soul shattering.

Things are starting to go wrong with the printing (filling in, ink weirdness, pressure issues etc) and ordinarily, I would stop for the night but I have to get this done, so for better or for worse, I just keep going. Sometimes that's my philosophy anyways. Just get so sick of working on an image and I'm ready to move on to the next thing.

9:00 PM
Finishing out the day with a little gluttony. I feel like I deserve it though! Pizza, wine, and more Project Runway rounds it all out.

11:00ish PM

Thank you so much, Maren! Be sure to check out Maren's website to see more of her work.  Find her here.

This is the last week I have scheduled for studio features.  As I receive more I will post them. If you are interested in documenting your day please get in touch. You can see past days here

Have a great weekend!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

About Me

I don't know why I think I can sit down and edit about a million pictures and list them in my etsy shop and it's going to take about an hour. I'm almost three hours in and I'm only halfway through editing. I have eaten cinnamon toast and had Portlandia playing in the background. That could have added more time? I never learn.

My blog is usually dedicated to showing the work  that I'm doing in the studio with the occasional whiny post about what I'm doing wrong.  I also do everything I can to promote other people in this space because that's a super important thing to me. Life is hard enough as it is, can't we all help each other out when we can?

So for the sake of doing something a little different I want to share five things about me that do not fall into the aforementioned categories.  Ready? Here goes!

1.  I am quite possible the biggest klutz that ever walked (when not falling) the earth.  There is nothing graceful about me. We have had a heavy fan at the end of our hallway for the last part of the summer and I dread every time I have to walk by it because I know I will somehow get myself tangled up in it. I  trip over it at least 8 of 10 times that I walk by.  My ankles are forever bruised.  Falling in public no longer embarrasses me because I'm so used to it.  Here's my favorite anecdote:

When I was in high school I went on a group field trip to see a musical in Nashville.  It was Annie Get Your Gun.  It was almost time for everyone to go into the theater so the whole audience was packed into one room. I fell walking while down a three step staircase and the WHOLE ENTIRE AUDIENCE made that noise you make where you see something bad happen but you can't do anything about it. I can't even try to type it out but you can imagine. After that moment there is no longer any reason to feel embarrassed.  

2.  I'm a crazy worrier.  I will worry myself sick over anything and everything.  When I have the rare moment where I realize there is nothing to worry about I start worrying about what is around the corner.  I wish I could get over this like I got over my embarrassment of falling in public but it's not as easy to have a good sense of humor about that.

3.  When I get an idea for a new project that I'm super excited about I will do everything but work on that project. Maybe it ties in with my worrying but I will come up with a million different reasons for why I can't work on exciting new project in exactly that moment. Suddenly I'll realize that I should vacuum or do a load of laundry or go through my computer and delete old files.  It may come down to my fear of not doing well at exciting new project that prohibits me from actually working on it. This is a thing I would like to fix immediately.  As soon as I dust my whole house.

4.  Having rabbits as pet is totally new to me.  Up until I got my first rabbit I only ever had fish. They still make me a little timid and I'm alway afraid I'll get bitten.  And I always feel like Rue is giving me the stinkeye so I'm not sure how much she truly likes me.

5.  This may sound like a teen girl thing but I love friendships.  I have so many close friendships with so many amazing people that I consider myself super lucky.  I have had very few bad friendship/frenemy moments in my life and after hearing a lot of people talk about so many friendships that went sour I know I can count myself among the lucky.  I am the type of person that calls lots of people best friends and I genuinely think of them as my best friends.  For my wedding my mom was worried I was going to have so many people in my bridesmaid group that there would be no one in the audience but I didn't care. If the whole audience was standing next to me that would be amazing.  I still feel like there are people I left out.  I love all my girl friends and guy friends so much and I know that our friendships will stay intact regardless of geography or how much our lives change as we grow older.  There... friendship is magic! Unicorns! Teen girl for life!

So now you know I'm a worrying, klutzy teen girl who is afraid of failing and getting bitten by her rabbit.  I should put that sentence on my business card.

Tomorrow (almost today... eek!) I'm going to start a mini stint as a full time temporary secretary. I'm so nervous about it but am looking forward to it, too. This is not me giving up my work at home follow your dream craft business. I'm just taking a quick break so I can pick up a regular paycheck and be around creative folks.  Unicorns!

Sweet dreams!

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Day In the Life of Katie Drum

It's Friday! That means it's time to see what a day in the life of a working artist looks like.  I'm excited to share the day of Katie Drum with you today.  When I met Katie and she told me she was a painter I was excited to see what kind of work she made. I was immediately blown away by her paintings. Her imagery and mark making really spoke to me. It was exciting to realize that I live in the same town as this artist!  In April I did a post about a show Katie had, you can read about it here.  I also did a post on her work back in 2011 so needless to say, I'm a huge fan.  Here's a look inside Katie's day...

Hello, my name is Katie Drum. A big thanks to Ann for featuring me on her A Day in the Life…  Like most artists, I struggle with managing my day job, spending time with friends & family, running errands, keeping my house in order, and of course finding time to be creative. 
During the week, I usually squeeze some small moments of creativity somewhere between dinner and sleep. But when I get a full day to myself that is when I truly feel happiest. Today is one of those days:
I usually sleep in, but thankfully that is still before 9 a.m. I wake up pretty early during the week for my day job running the store at Heritage Prairie Farm.  So sleeping in on my days off is essential. Sleep is the great healer, and I love sleeping so hard that I barely remember my name when I wake up. 

Upon waking, a huge pot of coffee is a must. I often immediately go sit on my porch and greet the morning.  We have a great wrap around porch at our home that I am very thankful for, porch swing and all.  It takes me a long time to wake up, so often times I will sit for a whole hour, watching the wonderful morning shadows creeping through the leaves and waving at the neighborhood dogs.  

I then do the usual tasks of answering emails, checking up on blogs, etc. the weather (today will be sunny & warm, yay!) read my horoscope, and go over my daily affirmation.  I am a big nerd for the power of positive thinking. Today’s affirmation, “In the Infinity of Life where I am, all is perfect, whole, and complete.” Thank you Louisa Hay.  

I make a late breakfast.  Today was just crispy bacon with an omelet: fresh farm eggs, purple garlic, green peppers, and red tropea onions with a little parmesan. And then Jason (my husband) and I watered the yard/garden and decided to take a walk to a nearby yard sale. There wasn’t much going on there, however I did step in some gum along the way. So we decided to play a game on our walk to distract me from my sticky foot, picking out our favorite houses that we’d buy if we actually had any money. 

Jason’s birthday happens to be Wednesday, so his mom popped by to say hello. We ended up going out to the shoe store to get Jason some new digs, and then out to a sort of late lunch/early dinner at a place downtown.  Finally getting home… it’s time to make stuff!

My studio is in our extra room in our house, which I rather like. It’s fairly large, hardwood floors, and has the best light in the house. I fiddled around with some watercolors for a bit. But I recently purchased a digital drawing tablet, which I hadn’t gotten the chance to mess around with yet. A Bamboo Pen & Touch to be exact. I was pretty apprehensive about getting one… But I must say, I love it! Weird at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty amazing.  Believe me, I am all for making the real deal paint on paper art etc, but I am very inspired by this new way of image making. New to me at least. My goal is to do more freelance illustration on the side, and this device will help me create more quickly. I’m also excited to use it to sketch out future painting ideas.  
Here are three portraits I made over the course of the evening, using my new tablet: 
Mohair Sweater
Old Man in Triangle Sweater
Girl in Lace Collar Sweater

Not sure why I chose a sweater theme…I must have Fall on the brain.  I take breaks, but often I will stay up late working on whatever until I’m silly tired, usually around 1 or 2 a.m. I love it though, I wish every day was like this.  My ultimate goal is to be a self-employed artist fulltime. 

Thank you for sharing, Katie! I love the new work. I am someone who is terrified of going digital so I always admire when someone can figure it out and make beautiful things.  See more of Katie's work at her website here.  Now I'm going to go make an omelet! Happy weekend!