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Monday, January 11, 2016

Happy New Year - and a new painting

Happy New Year!! I know I'm slow. Guests and a flurry of activities over the holidays had me hit the pause button on the blog for a bit. We had a great Christmas! I challenged our family to give hand made gifts, and one of my boys really took me up on that! I'll share what he did in another post soon.

Right as the new year rolled in, I had a commissioned painting to finish. A friend wanted to surprise his wife with a lettered and illustrated quote. I love working on these surprise gifts - I like to make it extra special and think about including details that the recipient would love.

Here's the finished product:

(I'm convinced every house should have a turquoise wall - it makes every piece of art I hang on it look fantastic!)



I used thinned down acrylics for the lettering. Bouncy, quirky letters are so much fun to make. There are endless options for curliques and loops to dress it up. 





And my daughter thought I should have a picture of myself with the painting, ha. I admit, I love how this turned out and had a hard time parting with it!

The verse is from a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson:
    YOUTH AND LOVE - I
    ONCE only by the garden gate
    Our lips we joined and parted.
    I must fulfil an empty fate
    And travel the uncharted.

    Hail and farewell! I must arise,
    Leave here the fatted cattle,
    And paint on foreign lands and skies
    My Odyssey of battle.

    The untented Kosmos my abode,
    I pass, a wilful stranger:
    My mistress still the open road
    And the bright eyes of danger.

    Come ill or well, the cross, the crown,
    The rainbow or the thunder,
    I fling my soul and body down
    For God to plow them under.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Getting messy in the studio

The last few months I put the blog on hold, but I'm ready to come back and show everyone what's been going on around here!

Christmas is looming near, and with it all the anticipation and preparation. Each year I think I'm going to keep it low key, but then find myself getting giddy with excitement like a child! It's great! I've had a lot of fun making tons of new product for my shop, like theses zippy pencil pouches.


Not a new idea, but I love breaking free and doing some messy painting. I find it relaxing to not worry about straight lines and creating a "perfect" painting. These pouches are where I really get to play with color and pattern! To my surprise, colors I thought I didn't "like" have become some new favorites. I'm also learning to use new tools - like stencils, brayers, hex nuts, coffee cups - whatever I can apply paint with! The dots below were made with my fingers, then I used a cup to stamp the larger circles. Other favorite tools are bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard, and paint pens.



Most of these zip pouches traveled with me to my first ever craft fair! Yay! It was a small event and not very well attended, but it was still a great learning experience. Creating a booth and displays made me think about my art in new ways. I'm ready to find a few more shows - but after the holidays!


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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Forever Flowers - Coloring Page

Another coloring page! This one is called "Forever Flowers" - pollen-free too! LOL

 Download this coloring page!


I'm having a great time making these illustrations and hope to do a few more. Get this download over at my Etsy shop, Domina Design.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Coloring Pages for Grown ups

My art "career" started with a coloring page - at the tender age of five I entered a department store's coloring contest. The picture had airplanes flying around a frame, and I colored them purple and yellow. I still remember my mom remarking how odd those colors were for airplanes - but I was not to be moved! Some time later I found out I had won the contest for my age group and got to have the joy of seeing my picture taped up in the front window of the store! The prize was a gift certificate to the store (not exactly what a five year old hopes for), but since then I've been hooked on coloring!


And so I'm offering my own coloring pages - to spread the love of coloring to all! It's so relaxing to sit down and get lost in filling in the spaces. I love using colored pencil and layering colors to add depth and dimension.

I have two coloring pages available for download over in my shop - and hope to add more in the days to come. You can get the "Rainy Garden" above, or perhaps some "Space Bubbles" are more your speed,


All downloads are high res and sized to fit an 8.5x11" paper. Watermarks will not appear in the purchased file. 

How will you color yours? Leave a comment and pic to share!

Friday, July 24, 2015

In my Sketchbook

School is back in session for us - the July heat and humidity are too much for doing anything outside, so we take the opportunity to get a jump on our school year. Yes, it's painful - but we will thank ourselves next spring! School feels different this year - the kids are older and do much more on their own, checking in with me a few times a day. I have a high schooler, two middle schoolers and a fourth grader. When did they grow up?? Starting the school year is very labor intensive for me - there are lists to make, last minute books to buy, school supplies to procure and color coordinate (yes, each student has their own color. I love organization), lists to double check, and finally we enter the tentative first day. To keep my sanity in the midst of starting a new school year, I try to find a few minutes every day to doodle in my sketchbook.



Nothing jaw dropping, but the exercise of getting out the paints and putting pigment to paper keeps my mind moving. It's a discipline of finding inspiration in the everyday things around me. The picture above was an embroidery pattern on a woman's shirt - I secretly painted it while sitting poolside waiting for the kids to finish swimming lessons.

And some quick lettering before turning in for the night.





And lest you think every page is something I love, here's proof that some days are just a disaster. I just roll with it and use the page for lettering practice instead. 



Now that our school routine is settling down, I think I will have more time to work on some bigger art projects.

Like this one.

Can you guess what's hiding under the sheet? 

A very large (and boring) painting - the walls in our garage. This is NOT pretty, but trust me, our neglected garage looks much better than it did a week ago! It is barely large enough to drive our mini van into, but not quite big enough to open the doors and exit said van. I have no idea who designed such a tiny parking area - someone who drives a motorcycle, perhaps? So the garage has become a catch-all for our STUFF (no basements in our reclaimed swamp area). I finally took everything down and patched and painted the walls. I plan to use this space as an art studio where I can create and hold classes! This will give me much more room when I have painting students, and nobody will have to worry about spilling paint in the house. A long table, a comfy chair, and we'll be ready to create some art!



Saturday, July 18, 2015

Painting Houses

This week I've had the *joyous* task of painting my garage. It's been hot, sweaty, dirty work involving lots of spider killing. As I write this, there still remains one wall to paint - the one that has all my husband's tools hanging on it. So think of me this afternoon, taking down all those screwdrivers, pliers, and millions of peg board hooks!

In the middle of rolling on acres of white paint, I needed some excitment! So I set up my easel (which just happened to be in the garage) in the driveway and started painting. I think using a big roller on the walls caused me to swing to the other extreme - I found myself grabbing my tiniest brushes! The house across the street made a great model.


This is the house right across the road from ours. I look at it a million times a day, so I figured I might as well paint it! When we first moved in, we secretly called this the Haunted House - it was not well kept and we didn't think anyone lived there. But we eventually met our neighbor and he has done a lot to transform the spooky weedy mess into a lovely home, don't you think?



In the process I discovered I really like to paint outdoors, even though thunder was rumbling and dark clouds threatened overhead. A bright green dragonfly visited me often, landing on the top of my easel to oversee my progress. I didn't mind him flitting about because I knew he was eating the mosquitos that were eating me! Next time I paint outside, I'll wear long pants.

And painting in my driveway had another bonus - I could grill our hamburgers at the same time! OK, maybe that wasn't such a great idea. I got a bit wrapped up in my work and may have burnt them a bit.

Here's a quick photo of the house I snapped a couple days after I finished my painting, just for reference.


Friday, July 10, 2015

African Violets

Grocery store flowers get a bad rap, but when I saw these beauties for only $5 I had to snatch them up. Their boring plastic containers are hiding inside the (much prettier) ceramic pots. They've been in my kitchen for over a year, happily blooming - as long as I remember to water them. I sit in my favorite chair next to them every day with a cuppa coffee and a book - sometimes my sketchbook comes too.

Grandma frequently had African violets in her kitchen, too. These remind me of her, puttering about with her oven-singed wig and quick to offer her latest baked yummies. Sometimes when we'd be running errands she'd drive way out in the country to the violet whisperer - a farmer's wife who propagated and sold violets from her garage. I was very young and don't remember much, but I imagine every windowsill in her house was crowded with pots of flowers, violets on top of the washer and dryer, pots over every surface of her patient husband's workbench - all trying to catch what little sunlight the Michigan winters offered. A little sunlight makes me happy too!