Whoa…Big News

…I’m moving…a long (ish) ways away! My family and I will be relocating to Virginia at the end of this month.

This is an exciting move as my family is spread out along the East coast from New York to Florida.

This is a daunting move as we’ve had a life here in Texas for 20 years and in our current home for almost 17 years.

The biggest immediate change for me is I’ll no longer be teaching (at least in Texas). Although I did have one of my adult students suggest we Skype a few classes!

I also have a lot of artwork to move. I’m a little nervous about that from a bad experience with movers 20 years ago coming from North Carolina to here (picture a guy twirling…yes twirling… one of my portfolios in the air with artwork flying out the sides!).

So I’m having a BIG sale to see if I can re-home some of this work locally instead of moving it across country. Almost* ALL of my artwork will be half-price until June 29th.art sale

To purchase anything you see on my website here  just email or call me.

To purchase small works on my Etsy shop, CBDArtStudio, here use coupon code MOVE50.

To purchase mixed media or collages on my other Etsy shop, CobaltBlueDreams, here use coupon code MOVE50.

*Please note that ACEOs and Commissions are not a part of this sale.

I don’t quite know what my art career will look like in Virginia…but I’ll always be an artist! Commissions are still accepted (with a slight delay at the moment.)

 

Etsy Shops…yes that’s Shops, plural

Short Story

Collages, mixed-media, experiments, ACEO/ATCs (Artists Trading Cards) – www.cobaltbluedreams.com (it directs to my Etsy shop)

Small works, studies for paintings – cbdartstudio.etsy.com

Large works – www.demolay.com/artwork

Sign up to be a Studio Insider to get a fabulous coupon for my artwork in April! Or see the end of the article below on how to get the coupon early.

Long Story

The hardest part of being an artist is getting your work in front of people. It used to be the only way to put your art ‘out there’ was to get into a gallery (or two or three!) or do art festivals…or both!

I did the art festival circuit for several years, but Texas weather is not very friendly to artists and their large paintings. Although I could probably weigh down an art tent to withstand hurricane force winds with all the practice I had!

I currently have my artwork in a gallery. The Wylie Art Gallery in historic downtown Wylie is a lovely spot in a former bank building. While being a part of the gallery is wonderful, I can only put a few (5-7) pieces in the gallery at any given time. Needless to say, that leaves a LOT of art stacked around my studio.

Fortunately, over the past 5-10 years there had been a revolution for artists…or maybe it’s evolution…with the growth of social media. With the ability to be be in front of almost anyone on the globe, artist can now take the reigns of their own marketing and sales…without dealing with the wind.

So…why two Etsy shops? Why even Etsy at all?

Much like getting your art represented in a gallery, art is best viewed when there is continuity in the pieces. It doesn’t have to be a series, but similarity in theme, colors, medium, etc is idea.

Moonlighting
Moonlighting, Acrylic, 36″x  24″

Well…I don’t tend to do art that way. I love learning so I’ll jump entirely into a new medium or technique or subject, then return to my beloved pastel and acrylic coastals. I’ve tried putting all my work together and it just looks chaotic (much like my studio most days!)

I decided to compartmentalize my art. Big works on my website. They truly are my portfolio pieces, my show pieces, etc. These paintings are usually on the larger side, more expensive and require information from the buyer on shipping so “Buy it Now” buttons are not appropriate.

Fall Harvest - Pomegranate
Fall Harvest – Pomegranate, pastel, 4″ x 6″

Smaller works are going back on Etsy (cbdartstudio). I tried them on my site but I don’t quite like the look. These are small pieces as well as studies and sketch works for larger pieces. If you like the artwork on my website, chances are you can find a similar, smaller (and for many, more affordable) piece on this site. Disclaimer: I haven’t moved all the artwork over yet. Over the next week and a half I’ll be adding to Etsy and dropping from this site.

Collages, mixed-media and experiments get their own shop on Etsy (cobaltbluedreams).

soar
Pocket Poetry – Soar, mixed-media. 7″ x 5″

I’ve actually had this site for years. I even have the url that redirects to the Etsy shop. This is my original Etsy shop that I listed all my small works and mixed-media on. Now I’m going to exclusively list my more experimental pieces. Although they almost always include some form of my ‘traditional’ artwork within them, they still don’t resemble my traditional work.


So why Etsy?
The main reason is I’ve had slow and steady sales without even trying. I started my first Etsy shop when I stopped doing the art festivals and went to graduate school. I couldn’t stand the idea of my artwork just collecting dust in the studio. Also Etsy is a fabulous and HUGE community of like-minded, creative people. I’ve always loved being a part of it, both as a shop owner and a buyer.

So in between and during all my traveling the past month, I’ve been working on the shops and adding artwork. I have enough I feel I can roll them out..but please visit more than once! I’ll be adding more of my existing work over the next week and a half. After that, I’m hoping to have more time in the studio to make new works (to then add to the shop)!

Big bonus…sign up to be a Studio Insider and you’ll get a great coupon for my artwork in my April newsletter. In fact…if you sign up (or are already signed up) and comment on this blog post or the Facebook post about this blog…I’ll send you the coupon early!

January Classes: A Little Old…a Little New

I’ve really enjoyed the ‘project’ classes that I taught in November and December. In January I’m going to try to do a hybrid of my usual Art Foundations and the project classes.
What’s the difference? Art Foundations is a true art enrichment program. I teach in a classical style using common art terms that your child will hear in their art classroom no matter their age level. If your child is not getting art as part of their education, Art Foundations will provide a full, art education experience. I teach from the Elements of Art and the Principles of Design and weave art history and appreciation into the lessons.  Each class will add to the previous lesson’s art vocabulary and artistic technique.

My project classes are equally as fun but the learning is kept to a quick lesson at the beginning. Lessons do not build on each other as they do in Art Foundations. Project classes are perfect for new students wanting to try out my teaching style and personality or the busy student who can’t commit to an entire session of Art Foundation Classes.

How will I blend the two? First, just like in project classes, we will complete a work of art in each class. And, like project classes, I’ll give a lesson, BUT now the lessons will follow my Art Foundations schedule instead of random lessons and projects. Although each class will build on the one before, it can also be stand alone if that is the first time a student is joining the class. As with both classes…art will be learned…art will be made…art will be FUN!

Please visit my Classes page for a complete schedule and to learn more about my teaching style. Since I’m adjusting my normal Lesson Plan, it will be a couple of weeks before I have the full lesson/projects  listed. Also click on either student artwork above or here to visit the Student Gallery.

top left, Pumpkins in acrylic on canvas by Kaylan A., age 11, completed during a Fall project class.
bottom right, Sunflowers in marker on watercolor by Gabriela T., age 12, completed during Art Foundations: Line, September session.

Beginning…again

Studio/Classroom 2008
Studio/Classroom 2008
Bodhi D., age 7-Spring06
Bodhi D., age 7-Spring06

The year was 2006 and the season was spring. I was teaching art at a local private school and gearing up for my last child to enter kindergarten in the fall. I decided to teach more ‘full time’ and turn my front rooms in my home into a studio/classroom. I started with 3 students: my son and two of his friends. They were all boys and in 2nd grade. We studied Art Parts (Elements of Art and Principles of Design) and created self-portraits with acrylic paint on canvas. It was an awesome beginning!

The teaching and my art sales business grew over the next 3 years. I taught in my home studio/classroom, afterschool programs at a local elementary school, Moms programs, MDO programs and homeschool coops. I guest lectured at local art groups, libraries and even Collin College. I loved what I was doing but always thought of making and selling art as the ‘main’ part of my career.

me grad

In the fall of 2009 due to the recession and some personal changes, I felt I needed a break from art. I enrolled in graduate school to study another one of my passions, environmental design. Three years later I emerged with a Masters of City and Regional Planning concentrating in Sustainable Development.

Art from Nature
Art from Nature

I went to work for a nearby city in their Environmental Education department. Somewhere in the middle of teaching preschool through adults on how to be good stewards of this earth, I realized how badly I missed art…especially teaching art! The light dawned on me while preparing an Art from Nature class I spent my entire weekend ‘off the clock’ prepping and coming up with more and more projects. I was very, very happy and looking forward to what I was getting ready to teach. That was my ‘aha’ moment and the beginning of beginning…again.

So I turned in my notice last summer, dealt with a very serious health issue which resulted in a surgery in the fall. While recovering, I plotted and planned. By spring of this year I had redesigned my website, started painting again and got my artwork hung in a local gallery. This summer I partnered with the gallery and taught summer art camps for ages K-8th grade.

While hauling my many supplies up and back from the gallery, I realized it was time…the front room needed to be a studio and classroom again. So we moved out the exercise equipment and moved in the tables. My excitement has grown over the past month as I’ve moved supplies down, reorganized the bookshelves and planned the lessons. This time around has been different. I still paint (and love it!) but I’m more excited about teaching. This time it isn’t about me and my art, even though that is a deep part of me, but about sharing what I know and love.

Even with different goals, I have had a weird since of déjà vu during this process. That same child that was getting ready for kindergarten is now in high school. My little 2nd grade son will graduate at the end of this school year. Yet, today I’ll welcome in three new students. They are all girls and way past the second grade (8th actually). It will be the first time I’ve taught classes and not had one of my own kids in at least 1 or 2. But I’m so ready to begin…again!

Studio/Classroom 2015
Studio/Classroom 2015

Review: The Cottonwood Art Festival

This past Sunday my husband and I visited the Cottonwood Art Festival. This has always been one of my favorites in North Texas and this spring it was the best year yet! This is one of the few festivals that offer both a Fall and a Spring show. Most of the time the same artists are in both, but applications for each show are separate.

This spring show seemed to have a larger amount of new artists than I had ever seen at the Cottonwood. I have visited this show either in the spring or fall (or both!) for the past 7 or 8 years. I was thrilled to see so many new faces this year.

Why do I keep returning to this festival year after year? It has a large selection of high quality art, including jewelry and glass. I have a few favorites I like to visit each year including Betty Robbins, Niki Gulley and Jo Moncrief. One of my husband’s favorites is C.J. Bradford. Even better is that all four of those artists live in North Texas. Not all the artists at the Cottonwood are local but it feels good to support those that are!

This is great festival to take your kids (even the furry ones are allowed!) Artstop is the children’s area with several hands-on projects including pottery and painting. These activities have a charge but it’s very reasonable.

We don’t tend to go for the music or food (typical fair offerings…corn dogs, kettle corn, etc) but it’s worth noting there is a ‘beer garden’ area around the small stage. One of the artists told me the music was definitely a step up this year.

Oh…the best part? Admission is free! Worst part…parking can be a bear. There is a shuttle but even the website doesn’t say where to park to ride the shuttle. We usually find parking around the high school located just to the northeast of the park or in some of the local businesses along Coit to the west of the park. Mark your calendars…next show is this fall, October 3rd & 4th.

I didn’t think to take any photos of the show so I’ll leave you with, Magnolia, one of my latest pastel paintings from the 100 Challenge.

Magnolia
Magnolia

Challenge Accepted

I came across the 100 Artworks Challenge while browsing other artists’ Instagram photos a couple of weeks ao. I went to the author’s blog, Artist.Writer.Dreamer and decided this was just what I needed! I’ve been doing great with the business side of my art in 2015 but I’ve spent too few hours in the studio. By accepting this challenge (and I LOVE challenges/goals/etc.), this would force me to get behind the easel and get painting.PicsArt_1426426951702

The parameters for the challenge are to create 100 works of art with the same medium, size and subject. I’ve chosen to revisit my pastels, work with a manageable 8”x10 (or 10”x8”) format and go a little loose with the subject matter…still lifes. I think I would get completely bored doing the same or similar subject 100 times so still lifes gives me some flexibility. I’m going to *try* to work from life instead of a photo, but if subject matter is scarce…I may look through my photos archives.

The object of the challenge is to see growth over the 100 paintings. I’ve been feeling a bit rusty lately so I’m hoping I will see progress. At the very least, I’ll get some painting done.

This also forced/inspired (isn’t it the same sometimes?) to learn how to integrate Paypal with my site. I normally put all small works up on Etsy for ease of purchasing. Paypal has this nifty little tool called the ‘buy now’ button. I don’t have to work with any type of shopping cart application, you can just hit ‘Buy Now.’ It will take you right into Paypal where all major credits cards are accepted and protected by one of the biggest sites for online payments. For now I’ll just have the smaller works, larger work require more shipping issues.

Below is the first painting of this challenge, Sweet Peppers. As of this writing I’ve completed a grand total of 3. Only 97 more to go!

All paintings for this adventure can be found in my Artwork Gallery here.  Etsy shop for small works CBDArtStudio.

Sweet Peppers
Sweet Peppers

Gifty Creativity

12finalThis blog is going to be a celebration of creativity of all forms, not just ‘formal’ art. I think there is an artist deep inside everyone and it expresses it self in many different ways!

I get the urge at Christmas, as many do, to try to make something to give as a gift. Whether its a portrait of someone’s beloved fur-baby or a plate of cookies, there is satisfaction in giving something you have created.

This year I combined my environmental side with my crafty side and made candles. The receptacle was the ‘green’ side…aluminum cans and the decorative yarn…yard sale find!

This was my first time making candles so please consult other sources for the basic how-to’s and safety guidelines.

Selecting the Wax

I wanted these candles to be eco-friendly to burn as well as make. I chose a soy wax and metal-free wicks. I did choose3waxbag fragrances to add, however, but no dyes. I bought all my supplies from the friendly folks at Southwest Candle Supply in Mesquite, Texas. I went into their shop and they gave me a lot of tips on what to buy and how to use it!

Setting up the Containers

1straw
Use a straw to center and press wicks into containers.

As I mentioned, I used aluminum cans for the containers (most were BPA-free, a few I was unsure of) as well as some glass tea lights I had bought and then cleaned after burning the original candles. I set up the can by putting a wick-sticker on the bottom of the wicks and using a straw to firmly push it down in the cans (one of the nifty tips from the Southwest Candle lady!).

Another handy tip was to use hair clips to hold the wicks in place during the pour and cool. I found the larger, plastic ones at Wal-mart and the smaller, metal ones at a local grocery store. Note: Do NOT pull too firmly on the wick to straighten after you have poured the wax…the hot wax can get under the sticker pretty quickly! I learned (and re-learned) this the hard way!

Melting and Pouring

To melt the candles, I measured about 2.5 lbs of wax into an aluminum pitcher (bought with coupon at Michaels). Since I have a glass, flat-top range, the 7meltcandle lady said I could put the pitcher straight on the burner. The thought of that made me nervous so I used a pot with a couple of inches of water in it. I also read a trick to put a metal cookie cutter in the bottom of the pot to elevate the pitcher and make it more like a double-boiler.

4readytopourAfter the wax was completely melted, about 5-7 minutes, I waited for the temperature to reach about 180°. Then I removed it from the heat and added 1 oz. fragrance for each pound of wax. I used a clean paint stick to stir the melting wax and stir in fragrance. After stirring in fragrance, the temperature drops enough to pour immediately.

Dressing it Up

I kept the labels on some organic Pumpkin cans and filled it with…you guess it…pumpkin spice. The plain cans I filled with either pumpkin or creamy vanilla. Decorating was the creative part! I had found a box of specialized and decorative yarn at a yard sale the previous summer. It was mainly just little balls or leftovers. I decided that was the perfect dress-up to the plain, aluminum cans.

I simply used a glue gun to squirt a short line of glue in the middle and wrapped yarn tightly around the cans. On some cans I added another layer to the center of that yard. I then raided my buttons and small, seashell supply and glued those on top of the yarn. I’m pretty pleased with the results, had a ton of fun making the 9finalcandles and got a lot of positive feedback from the gift recipients. Added bonus…I learned a new creative skill…candle-making!11final

Did you do any creative gifts this past Christmas?

Hello, again!

When I decided to update the look of my website, I debated long and hard about bringing over my old blog. Reading through several years of posts…there were some good ones (and not so good ones!)

In the end, I wanted this site to be fresh and new and so I decide the blog should be fresh and new as well. I’ll do the ‘usual’ art posts of how-tos, new paintings, upcoming events, etc. but I’d also like this to be a site that celebrates ALL creativity not just traditional ‘art.’

I may share a few old posts now and then, sort of a ‘best of’ style, but for now…out with the old and in with the new!

Fall Harvest - Pomegranate
Fall Harvest – Pomegranate

 

Uh-oh!

Oh no! Where is Charlotte’s beautiful artwork?!? Don’t worry…it will be back soon. I’m updating my website and hope to be very quick about it. Feel free to bug me to make it happen even quicker!