Art Street!

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This is an art event that I just attended in Sacramento, CA and it will only last another few days through February 25, 2017. I love the concept – it’s an old warehouse building scheduled to be demolished (along with all the art that was created in, around and on it). M5Arts are the artists behind the project. They did the Art Hotel last year, which was also later torn down after that event. Art Street has about 65,000 square feet of space in which 100 artists and performers have turned into a unique art experience. And it’s free to the public! Art installations are hanging, sculpted, lighted, painted on walls and interactive with audio effects. Some need the viewer to actually engage with the art to experience it. There is even a giant kaleidoscope! My words can’t express as much as the pictures, so I will let them tell the story. After all, a picture’s worth a thousand words! But… to get the full experience, you will need to do that yourself in person and it will all be demolished soon!

The location is 300 1st Ave., Sacramento, CA  95818

The hours are M-F 3pm-9pm & S/S 11am-9pm

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Outside murals

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Finishing touches… mural on outside of Art Street building

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My favorite installation – I loved this! By Francesca Gamez & Shaun Burner

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By Bryan Valenzuela

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Light art by Robert Emerick & Rene Steinke

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By Jared Tharp

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Oil painting by Jeff Muser

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Masking tape art installation with under lighting

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Graffiti art by Hot Carl & PIER

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Wall mural by Miles Toland

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Hanging installation by Bailey Anderson

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Cyanotype by Melissa Uroff

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Cyanotypes by Melissa Uroff

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By Waylon Horner

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Installation by Lin Fei Fei

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Wall mural by Jose Di Gregorio

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Hanging geometric sculpture by Jose Di Gregorio

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Collage wall of found objects by Nathan Cordero

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Signs from Sacramento Women’s March To be archived in California State Library, SF. (Of course I had to pose with my hoodie!)

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Let’s create a Butterfly Effect on January 21st

Paper art butterflies

Butterflies made from maps, greeting cards, wrapping paper and painted watercolor paper.

Whenever I feel unsettled or need to express myself, I turn to my art. As an art therapist I know how healing art can be and it is usually the best way for me to express my feelings. Since the US presidential election I have felt numb and uneasy, as have many people I know. I am feeling a strong need to work this out through my art in some way and to involve others in the process; to unify our voices. So I am inviting everyone to help me create a “Butterfly Effect” on January 21, 2017 (one week from now corresponding with the Women’s March in Washington DC). The Butterfly Effect is the premise that the small fluttering whisper of a butterfly’s wings can create dramatic change halfway around the world by causing a roaring typhoon or hurricane. In theory it suggests that a very small change can have a huge impact.

Decorated art butterfly

Decorated wrapping paper butterfly with glitter glue outlines

Since a butterfly often symbolizes hope, healing and transition it is a perfect metaphor to use in a massive art installation. I am proposing that as many people as possible take part and make our voices heard – messages of hope, unity, kindness, peace and support. My idea is for each person to make a butterfly with a message and hang it on a tree or bush at one of the Women’s Marches around the country held on January 21, 2017. Anyone around the world is invited to do the same on that day joining in unity and peace. Imagine for a moment thousands of butterflies appearing in public, each with a personal message of hope, peace and unity. All our single voices (the flap of a butterfly’s wings) coming together to create a roar across the country (or world). Our voices may inspire those who sit in silence and it is a peaceful way to express our thoughts and feelings. Who wouldn’t take notice at the sight of thousands of beautiful butterflies?

Steps to make a watercolor butterfly:

The butterfly is simple to make and can be done by most any age 4 years or older (refer to photo for samples). It takes no more than 30-45 minutes to make. Using a marker or pencil, trace a butterfly outline (Google “butterfly outlines”) onto any kind of paper (see ideas below). Make the butterfly a little bigger than the size of your palm, approximately 4-5 inches wingspan. I traced mine right on top of my iPad. The light lets the image show through the paper. Cut out with scissors, then decorate with glitter glue, collage, paint, sequins or whatever your like. Use your creativity and imagination! I painted some on watercolor paper. I used the glitter glue to make the veins in the wings (see sample). You can draw a dark body in the middle of the wings or use a small piece of ribbon (like in the photo) or pipe cleaner instead. For hanging attach a string loop through the center and secure with a bead or knot underneath so it doesn’t pull through. Another option would be to attach it with hot glue to a small spring hair clip to clip onto a branch. Finally, write your message on the underside of the wings and add your first name or leave anonymous. To give some dimension, the wings may be slightly curled with your fingers. Take your butterfly to hang at a March location, or give it to someone who is going. Alternatively hang it in a park or public area in your community.

I would love to see trees of colorful butterflies at the Women’s March. Let’s make our single voices roar together and create a Butterfly Effect to be remembered and inspire hope again! If you send me photos of your butterflies and messages I will do my best to post them.

Ideas for paper to use for butterflies:
Wrapping paper
Old greeting cards
Old maps
Calendar photos
Page of an old book
Love letter
Painted watercolor paper
Newspaper
Comic strips
Recycled paper
Construction paper
Child’s scribble drawing
Starched fabric
Magazine page
Origami paper
Handmade paper
Any colorful or interesting paper to decorate!

If you like this idea please share with as many people on social media or organize a group of friends to make them.  I can’t wait to see your creations!

The Sketchbook Project and My Suzie Q

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The Art House in Williamsburg, NY has a unique ongoing creative project called the Sketchbook Project where artists create sketchbooks that are housed in their Art Library. Thus far they have over 35,000 sketchbooks from over 135 countries for visitors to checkout & view. It began in 2006 and claims to have the largest permanent collection of sketchbooks in the world. It’s a great opportunity for artists to share their art with the public. The books all have a theme, which are randomly assigned to the artists that participate. Visitors check out and view the books on site, but can look at as many as they want.

The books are also available through a traveling library where the Art House packs up a large selection of sketchbooks and travels to cities around the US in pop-up libraries. It functions as part gallery and part library. You can go to their site to see where the next event is or to participate in the next sketchbook event. It doesn’t matter if you are an amateur or professional and the creator can “draw, write, collage, cut, print or photograph.”

You can get instructions on how to add a sketchbook to the collection by going to www.sketchbookproject.com. You can sign up for the current project until Jan. 17, 2017 and the deadline to send in the completed book is Feb. 14, 2017. The cost of the sketchbook and to participate is $25. Some of the current themes are, “A story worth telling,” “Guidebook to the past,” “Essentials,” “Half and half,” or “Clasp my hand.” To see a video of the project click here. The Art House also offers other art challenges such as a “Portrait Swap” or a “Print Exchange”.

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Two images from other “Friends of Friends of Friends” sketchbooks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I participated in the Sketchbook Project several years ago and was assigned the theme “Friends of Friends of Friends.” Many of the topics are humorous and a bit obscure, but that allows for many interpretations. It was fun to create the sketchbook, but I underestimated the time it would take to fill the 80 pages. As a watercolor artist I realized the pages would warp even if I only did one side. I could have glued in watercolor paper, but it would have made the book very thick and I wanted to avoid that. Although, once I saw the book collection at an event I learned many artists did exactly that. They added fabric and collage, fold out pages, cut up pages, removed pages, etc. Just about anything goes as long as the book can fit on the shelf.

So I decided it would be easier to use colored pencil, but that actually took longer than painting. I had to give thought on how to interpret the theme and fill all those pages. I decided to loosely link myself as a ‘friend’ to all my pets I’ve had and then link them to their ‘friends’ and then to the world at large. So it went from a very personal view to a more global view. In the end I began to have a hard time finding 80 (or 40) ways to tie it all together. I used the balance of the pages to make cut out paper dolls holding hands that encircled the earth.  It was the best answer for the fast approaching deadline. The result was a fun collection of my pets and a view of my relationship to the world via friendship links. The project was a good stretch of my creativity, problem solving and imagination!  Below are a few of the pages:

1-butterfly      2-me

13-tire-swing       14-clouds

18-earth-people       19-earth-people

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That was over 5 years ago now, but the reason this project comes to mind was because I was notified that someone checked out my book. I had actually forgotten about the project and now as I recall the theme it brings a smile to my heart which replaces my tears of grief. You see, one of the first ‘friends’ drawn in my sketchbook was my beloved dog “Suzie Q” to whom I recently had to say good bye. She was a rescue from the shelter, a mix of Chow and Great Pyrenees. I got her when she was about 8 months old and she lived a good long life of 16 1/2 years. She was a beautiful fluffy golden white color, very sweet, but shy. Sadly there is never enough time with a beloved pet. I miss her terribly and have so many fond memories of her. She was with me through some tough times and brought a lot of joy to my life. She often looked like she was smiling with her mouth open and her spotted tongue hanging out. Below is the image I used of her in the sketchbook. I was able to get her to pose with the book before I sent it off to Art House. I love that photo of her sitting with her portrait. As I think of all the fond memories and feel the hole in my heart I am grateful that she is memorialized in my Sketchbook with my many other ‘friends’ before her…and on this Thanksgiving eve I am thankful she was in my life.

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Taking Flight

My intentions after coming back from the New York watercolor show and after completing my big commission were to spend the summer creating many new paintings for the upcoming studio tour and make some blog posts.  But…the universe had other plans for me.  Just as Spring was ending I broke my wrist, which made my summer plans nearly impossible. I had to give priority to healing if I was ever to paint again.  Now that I am on the road to recovery (but not quite up to painting) it’s a little easier to type, so I decided to share my inspiration for my paintings with you.

I have always loved the beautiful patchwork of the quilted farmlands and delta area of the Sacramento, California area.  The meandering river across the agriculture and the velvety rice fields as seen from the air are amazing.  I started painting this view to capture the feelings it evokes for me; a natural beauty that is fragile and ever changing depending on drought, season, time of day and human influences.  I sought out small aircraft pilots to take me up so I could gather photos to paint from.  I’ve had some wonderful experiences and met some interesting people.  Taking flight is almost more fun than creating the actual painting!  I have had some memorable flights in some historical planes including a  1940’s Piper Cub.

Piper Cub

Piper Cub

 

Aeronca Champ

Aeronca Champ

Recently I flew in an Aeronca Champ, which was a WWII training plane, owned by a family of pilots.  It was originally purchased to commemorate a family member’s 60th birthday who had flown the same kind of plane in WWII.   I heard some wonderful stories and family history as I flew with the pilot, and felt honored to be a passenger.  I learned that during the war the tandem passenger seat behind the pilot was often removed so that an injured soldier could be slipped feet first into the tail and transported to safety.  To think that this very plane may have saved a brave soldier was very humbling.

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The tops of those radio towers were fascinating to see from that perspective!

We left out of a tiny private airport on the Sacramento delta late in the day so that I could get the long shadows that add some drama to my aerial paintings.  My task was to get some good photos to use for a large commission I was starting.  The challenge was that the ranch I needed to photograph was below five tall radio/TV towers.  We needed to carefully fly around the towers and their many wire cables.  I was also trying to include the river, small town of Walnut Grove and the iconic landmark, Mt. Diablo.  I had to put my trust in the pilot that he would get us back safely and just enjoy the ride.

Town of Walnut Grove

Walnut Grove, CA

We flew over the Sacramento River, the towns of Walnut Grove, Locke and Isleton, farmlands, pear orchards, marinas, bridges, dairy farms, wildlife preserves and breached levees.  The vegetation was beautiful and varied.  There were rows of trees and crops, manicured homes, gardens, fields, wild delta areas with patterned islands of cattails and marshlands.  There were labyrinths of man made duck hunting ponds and sloughs choked with beautiful water hyacinth.  There was a lone boat gliding past a string of tiny delta islands shaped like teardrops floating like gems on a necklace.  All the while Mt. Diablo was watching us.  It’s no wonder pilots love to fly over the delta – the view is breathtaking!

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Oxbow Marina, Isleton

One of the many memorable sights was the Oxbow Marina in Isleton.  It is a big loop on the river where there is a marina of boats and a resort.

Pear pool

Pear shaped pool

Nearby was a home with a pear shaped pool!  The steps into the pool was the stem of the pear.  It was obviously owned by a pear farmer.

Bridge to Nowhere

Bridge to Nowhere

A surprising sight was the “Bridge to Nowhere” where long ago the levees were breeched. The land was allowed to be reclaimed by the river and is filling in with marshland making beautiful colored circles of vegetation in various sizes.  The bridge once led to other farms, but now it’s a dead end to the water if one attempts to cross.

Sacramento River

Sacramento Delta

Bridge on Steamboat Slough

Bridge on Steamboat Slough

I captured some great photos from that flight, which allowed me to complete my commission (shared in an upcoming post).  My painting that was accepted into the American Watercolor Society Exhibition was from the same flight.  If you look carefully in the lower right corner of that painting you can see the little airport I flew out of.  The painting, “Diablo’s Delta” is currently touring the US for the next year in the AWS Traveling Exhibition.  View my “Upcoming Shows” to see if it’s coming to a city near you.

Many thanks to my winged friends who share their passion with me and let me take flight with them so that I can share my passion with you!

Note – all photos are copyrighted by the artist and may not be used without permission.

Buddha “Bunny”

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Buddha Baby is all ears and ready for the Easter Egg Hunt!  Since he’s a chocoholic he loves all the chocolate eggs.  He also likes the licorice jelly beans.   As you can see he’s ready to do the bunny hop with his peep marshmallow friends.  Did you know it would take 43,000 Peep Bunnies to span the Golden Gate Bridge!  For more fun facts about the little yellow Peeps go to this link.

Buddha Baby has been filling my posts while I finish a commission that’s due.  I will post about it soon, since I hope to be done this week!  It’s been quite an endeavor!  It’s an aerial view for a local rancher on the Delta.

Happy Easter!

Buddha Baby finds the Pot o’ Gold

FullSizeRenderThis St. Patrick’s Day in California is a beautiful Spring day after the much needed rain. Buddha Baby is dancing a jig because he found the pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow. He’s got his shamrocks and green hat on ready to dance at the Feis with the leprechauns whom he feels akin to due to their small size and folklore. They always have a festive time together!  He’s looking forward to enjoying the traditional corned beef and cabbage for dinner. Maybe his “stone” character will disguise him as the Blarney Stone so that he can steal a few kisses. Meantime Buddha Baby is hoping the luck of the Irish will bring more rain and rainbows.

What are your St. Patrick’s Day traditions?  For the last 50 years in Chicago it has become a tradition to dye the river green on St. Patrick’s day. Watch this time elapsed video of the event.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Third Time is a Charm!

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This is my painting that I entered into the American Watercolor Society‘s 149th Annual International Exhibition. To my delight it was accepted, and because it is my third time, it means I will receive the coveted Signature Status, allowing me to add “AWS” after my signature on my watercolor paintings. A signature status means that an artist has met the required standards of an art organization signifying a high skill level and achievement in a specific medium. The American Watercolor Society (AWS) is the oldest watercolor organization in the US and had their first annual exhibition in 1867. A few past distinguished members are Winslow Homer, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Edward Hopper, William Merrit Chase, Thomas Eakins, Samuel Colman, Charles Burchfield, Gladys Rockmore Davis, Childe Hassam, John LaFarge, Alphonse Mucha, Edward Potthast, Mahonri Young and Andrew Wyeth. I feel honored to be accepted as a signature member and follow in their footsteps!

A few years ago I earned the signature status in the National Watercolor Society (NWS), which is only half as old as the AWS. It has a similar requirement/process. I was just as excited at that time because for both shows I had been rejected for many years and I was ready to give up entering. My persistence paid off! So now I have the status for both of the largest US watercolor organizations. For the American Watercolor Society, the criterion is to get accepted into the annual International Exhibition three times. This is a very difficult accomplishment since getting in just once is a challenge! Each competition has 1200-1600 entries from around the world. The artist may only submit one image for review, there is an entry fee and entries are submitted digitally. The entries are viewed independently by 5-6 jurors, who must all concur (without discussion). Approximately 140 – 150 paintings are selected to be in the exhibit, so jurors must continue viewing the entries until they select the designated number of paintings. The original art is then shipped, at the artists cost, to the show in New York. Then the art is reviewed in person by an awards jury, who are three different jurors from the selection jury. Any artist qualifying for the signature status is judged separately and must submit two paintings to be juried.

The entire process is quite extensive. As I commented in a previous post, jurors must be exhausted after reviewing art because if they view each image for 30 seconds that would be about 12 hours for the first round of screening. It gives one a better understanding of why it is so important to submit a good photo of your art and the painting needs to be exceptional. An image only has a few seconds to catch the juror’s attention, so it needs to stand out. There are also size requirements and media limitations to be mindful of (no collage or non-water based medium). Also, entries must be from an original source, painted in the past 2 years and not shown in another national or international competition.

The accepted painting, “Diablo’s Delta,” is from a flight I took with a local pilot.  Look closely at the lower right corner, far side of the river and you will see the hangar and little air field we flew out of. We flew late in the day over the Sacramento Delta and you can see Mt. Diablo in the background. It was an amazing flight in a very special plane. I will add more about the flight and plane in a later post.

If you are in New York City be sure to see this great show. You won’t be disappointed! It’s at the Salmagundi Club, 47 Fifth Ave., NY, NY 10003 from April 4-23, 2016. Selected paintings will then travel around the country to about 8 cities in the next year. Catch the 2015 traveling exhibit at its last stop here in Sacramento, CA. It is at the Sacramento Fine Art Center through April 9, open daily 10-4. The location is 5330-B Gibbons Dr., Carmichel, CA 95608.

Leap Year Baby

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Today I discovered Buddha Baby has a Leap Year Birthday! No wonder we didn’t know his birthday! He only has a birthday approximately every four years, so that explains his young spirit with an old soul. He is born of terra cotta clay from the earth. As you can see he really celebrates with all the fanfare since he has to wait four years. We’re not sure how old he really is (does one only count the year with the actual date or count the actual years?). He could be 25 or 100 years old depending on the way it’s counted.

Leap day is full of superstitions, folklore, traditions and myths. The most common tradition is that it is the only day a woman can propose to her beloved. Also, it is not advised to have a wedding on leap day because it means bad luck and may not be considered legally binding (not to mention few anniversaries to celebrate!). Sadie Hawkins dances are often held near leap day when a woman can ask her partner to the dance. Obviously most of us would consider these to be outdated. To learn about more traditions and folklore go to answers.com. Leap year isn’t always every four years. There are three criteria for a leap year according to the Gregorian calendar. Check out this link about leap year for more info about leap year information.

Do any of you have a leap year birthday?  How do you celebrate?

Note: If you are new to my blog you may be wondering, “Who is Buddha Baby?” Check out the “Adventures of Buddha Baby” to find out! He occasionally makes an appearance here as a creative advisor.

Pillows – A perfect showcase for art

For my last gallery show I was searching for a secondary market item for my art. I like to offer a few ways that patrons can purchase my art. I have printed note cards for a long time, but the profit margin is minimal and writing cards is “old school”. Few people send hand written cards any more and many gift shops won’t carry blank note cards because they no longer have a market for them. I also offer signed limited edition Gicleé prints of my art, but I like to have another price point that is affordable to patrons who want an image of my art. Also, some patrons just don’t have any more wall space. So I decided to try pillows.

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My idea was to print several art images on pillows through an online site. I found a site that offered the product I wanted in several sizes. So I ordered a few test pillows. I also had some nice cardboard tags made with some info about myself and my art. I attached each tag with twine using a small brass safety pin. Finally I hand signed each pillow in gold acrylic paint on the back to make them extra special. I offered them through the gallery at my last show and at my studio tour. They were a hit and flew out of the gallery! I sold a lot at my studio tour too. Patrons found them fun, different and affordable. I plan to continue printing a selection of images for each show.

Here are a few tips if you plan to try it with your art:

  • Do a test sample first to make sure the product is what you want.
  • You will need a very high quality photo so that the pillow image looks good. I only had one side printed and the back was a plain matching color. I kept the backing the same color on all my pillows for continuity.
  • I added my signature to my pillows with metallic acrylic paint.  I tested lots of fabric paint and markers, but didn’t find any that were truly metallic or opaque. I finally found Golden  Irridescent Copper Light (fine) acrylic paint to be the best to use for my signature. It is #2452-1/Series 7.
  • Once you make an order online most sites offer specials so you will use them again, so wait for discounts and coupons to place larger orders. I found that Cyber Monday (after Thanksgiving) offers good discounts, some sites up to 60%.
  • Some sites have a free shipping plan if you sign up and pay a one time fee. It’s worth it if you plan to make a lot of orders.
  • Many sites will offer additional discounts if you rate your order satisfaction. Take advantage of this.
  • Some sites allow you to post your image publicly in your own store or collection so others can buy the product and you get a commission. The site takes care of the order and shipping.
  • Make some nice tags to make the pillows retail ready and suitable as gifts.  I included a photo and some info about my self with my website info.

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Signature in metallic paint

 

Be aware that even with a test order quality control isn’t always consistent. I started with Zazzle, but found their quality control very poor. In several orders, half of my pillows came with the zippers sewn in upside down or on the side. They had to be sent back and reordered. It was a hassle to send them all back and they said they couldn’t guarentee that the zipper would be on a particular side (bottom).  I missed a few shows/sales because of this issue. Also, they sewed some seam allowances crooked, showing the white edges. Other pillows were returned because the print was washed out or the fabric was inferior. I did order my tags from them and was very satisfied with those.

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Gift tags

Due to the above reasons I am searching for another source, but plan to continue marketing this product. The other source I found is Spoonflower. They offer over 16 different fabric choices. You can upload your image and have fabric, wallpaper or wrapping paper printed. Its possible to have a repetitive pattern with your images or to make a mirror kaleidoscope image. This is really fantastic if your work is more abstract. The site program lets you try it out and you can have a 5″ X 5″ sample printed. You can also scale the image down so it repeats in a smaller pattern or do a brick/alternating pattern. You are given a 10% discount when you order your own fabric designs. There seems to be better quality control and more options, but the downside is you would either need to make the pillows yourself or find someone to do that for you. (I’d rather be painting than sewing pillows!)  Spoonflower also offers fabric that would be perfect for scarves. Abstract art would be beautiful as a scarf!  I know an artist that does this and they are very unique.

I recently discovered another site – Society6. There are many other sites out there, but I caution you to do a test run and only choose one or two items so that you don’t over market or devalue your original art.  There are many other product options besides pillows and scarves. There are skateboards, phone covers, serving trays, bedspreads, blankets, playing cards, T-shirts, and more!

So have fun and try a secondary art market!  Let me know how it works out or share the sites and products that have worked for you.

Inspired by Norman Rockwell

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Norman Rockwell was an early inspiration for me. My mother introduced his work to me when I was very young. She purchased a wonderful book showing all his art, and as I turned each page I was in awe discovering each of his illustrations. I couldn’t imagine how he painted so realistically. I loved how he captured so many expressions in his subjects and I was fascinated to learn that he often posed his subject on a stool and then turned the pose upside down to recreate “a fall”. It was also fun to learn that he often used neighbors, both adults and children, in his art. So I was thrilled when the Crocker Art Museum featured a show with his work. They also exhibited every Saturday Evening Post cover that Rockwell was on. I went to the exhibit twice and took my photo in his famous self portrait pose. The museum set up the exact same scene so visitors could pose at his easel. It was fun to reenact that painting! I found his art to be even more amazing in person.

The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts has over 900 pieces in their collection and has ongoing traveling exhibits across the country. Check the website nrm.org for upcoming exhibits or plan a trip to see the museum. If an exhibit of Rockwell comes to your area it is definitely worth a visit (or two)! What artists have inspired you?