Wednesday, March 31

How doing the business stuff makes me a better artist...

Artfest Epiphany #37

Doing the business stuff I hate makes me a better artist.

After talking with her on our 2 hour drive to from Seattle to Port Townsend I realized a bunch of stuff about the business side of art that I hate so much.

a.) It pushes me out of my comfy clothes, my little box, and into something a little scary. I keep running up against these fears. And I have to walk through them in order to do what I really want to do: make art. It's good practice.

b.) It forces me to go places I don't want to go and do stuff I don't want to do (i.e.figuring taxes out)which makes me realize that I can really go there. wow.
which translates to confidence in all areas ofmy life. hmmmm. deep.

c.) It makes me think differently, try different things, find new solutions, which is essentially what creativity is:finding different paths, no making different paths to who knows where...

and to grow as an artist I need to practice stepping outside of my comfortable place and risk failure. failure with paint and failure with gross business stuff.

So, isn't that so typical? The stuff I avoid is usually the stuff I need the most...

So, what are you doing to make yourself uncomfortable these days? I'd love to hear what you are thinking about.

Don't forget to sign up for the giveaway from the last post.

Tuesday, March 30

Luscious trades & a giveaway!

So, when you go to art fest people make hundreds of artish stuff to trade for other random artish stuff and everyone gets free stuff all over the place. This one was one of my favorites made by her.

Here are some of the delicious trades I got from artfest.
So, a trade can be anything. really, anything. from a piece of fabric to a paper mache heart on a wire to a poker chip. really. anything.

And what is better than getting free stuff... um. nothing, of course.

So, in the spirit of trades + free stuff fun, I'm having my first ever giveaway on my blog. You will win a matted, archival quality 8x10 print of yoru choice from my etsy shop right here. You win. You pick.

All you have to do is leave a comment on the best thing you've ever gotten for free. That's it. I'll pick a winner on Friday, so hurry up and comment already. Art is at stake here.

Monday, March 29

Artfest 2010

5 days of nonstop making, creating, relating, learning, and more making...
where do I even begin?
the people. the making. the conversations. the setting. pure bliss.

My favorite photo of the trip: a log on the beach filled with rocks. Fort Warden is on the beach. unbelievably beautiful.

Here are the dorms and the campus. It was cold and drizzly, perfect weather for coffee-sipping & art-making.

I met her in Seattle & shared a car to Port Townsend. Complete stranger who became a fast friend. I know I will see her again.
Here we are on the ferry going over to Bainbrige Island.

My first class was making prayer flags with her. I have her books. I love her style. I tried not to be too star struck. She's great + approachable, and guess what... a mere mortal, like a good way.

I took a drawing + collage class from her. I heart her. big time. she is one of the best teachers I've ever had. ever. she helped me think about my work in a completely new way. She has this online class that is on the list...

Stayed up way too late every single night talking + laughing + creating with her and others. i loved this part because I am so used to making alone. isolated & in my zone. so to share this experience with like minded soul sisters was really cool. and pretty hilarious.

And I came home to this guy. yet another shamless pic of the booboo. i can't help it, okay?
here he is watering the orange trees and refusing to wear pants. can you blame him?

if you ever, ever, ever have the chance, just go.
it was life changing... it was a gift to me and I know that one day I will go again...

Monday, March 22

Mixed Media Background Tutorial

3 Reasons to use this tutorial:
Reason #1: It’s fun.
So fun. There’s no wrong in making backgrounds, so the gremlins kind of shush themselves.
Reason #2:Really, anyone can do this.
Anyone. There’s no right or wrong to backgrounds. And I’m not lying just to make you feel better. It’s true.
Reason #3:You are important.
The act of taking time to feed your creative self is important.
Every time I forget how important this is, I read this post again and I remember. (She’s my life coach, only she doesn’t really know it.)

So shush all of your lame excuses and just join me in this. If you are reading this within a 50 mile radius of my house come join me at my kitchen table and we can drink coffee and have a play date. For big kids.

Stuff you'll need:
A quick note on materials: use what you have. Don’t spend a gazillion dollars on new supplies. Everything I use is inexpensive and works great. I’m hard on my brushes & I binge on paint, so I just use them up or throw them away and get more.

Wood block or anything else to paint on
Old book to rip up
(I use dictionaries, atlases, an old hymnal, the phone book, anything really.)
*Mod Podge. A lot of it. I like the matte kind.
Old paint brushes. Nothing fancy. They’ll get ruined pretty quick. Acrylic Paint. Cheap. I use the cheapest I can find at the end of the aisle in Michael’s.
Paper towels.
That’s it.

Step #1: Cover your wood block with text

Grab your Mod Podge* & a cheap paint brush. Coat the edges of the wood with glue and apply a dictionary page. I like the air bubbles that make it all wrinkley, so I just slap it on, but if you want it to be flat start gluing from the center & go out.
*Mod Podge is my life saver because it is SO darn cheap. I go through a big can of it about once a week. Don’t spend a lot of money on this stuff. Trust me. Plus the smell reminds me of the paper earrings I used to make is 8th grade. Anyone remember those?

Step #2: Tear up pieces of patterned paper & glue them randomly with ModPodge.I start big and then move into smaller pieces. Go fast. Don't over think this. Don't judge your work, just keep moving.

Step #3: Apply paint randomly with a paper towel.
Squeeze your paint onto a paper plate, squash up a paper towel, dip it in water and squish it around the painting. I add a lot of white to mute the colors. Dip your paper towels in two colors and see what happens. Don't over work it, so the colors blend. When the whole piece is covered, squash up a wet paper towel and wipe away some of the paint so that the paper shows through.

Step 4: The details
Use bottle lids to stamp your collage. Any lid will do. I used the top to my Mod Podge & my water bottle. Dip it in paint and twist it around your painting. That's it.
Rub an ink pad around the edges of the wood. I used Tim Holtz's brown distress ink. I love the way it brings out the texture in the paper.

Step 5: If you love it, you’re done.
If you don’t, keep adding paper & paint until you do. That's it.

Other Stuff:
I do these in batches because I like to flit around from piece to piece, otherwise I tend to obssess about one piece and drive myself crazy. It also gives me room to make bad art & quiets the gremlins.

Friday, March 19

New toys & trades...

My art toys that I ordered for Artfest just arrived. Stuff I've wanted for a while, but really couldn't justify getting:
new stamps
watercolor crayons
gel pens
good colored pencils

Now I just need to think of 100 little doodahish trade things to make before I leave Wednesday.

what to do, what to do? Any suggestions?!? I'll let you know what I come up with...

Sunday, March 14

7 days until artfest.

7 days until artfest in Port Townsend, Washington
I feel like this could be life changing. really.

This is a gift from the Lord.
I see this picture of God's giant hands reaching
down with this humongous gift for me.
My name is on it.
He just really knows what I need.
what my soul is thirsty for.
and he provides for me.
He says,
"Here Erin."
Have fun.
Live life.
Shine, like I created you to do.

So, my dear friend Kristi hounded me to go to this women's retreat for forever
and I was skeptical. I gave her the wholoe gamut of reasons why I couldn't.
and finally I gave in and went.
and, of course, it was exactly what I needed.
once again...

something hit me this weekend.
the speaker talked about eve.
doubting God's goodness.
his faithfulness.
like God was holding out on her.
like he was keeping all these good things from her.
so she had to go grab them herself.
And I felt like she was talking about me.

Monday, March 8


I just read this post from one of my favorite blogging friends in the world and it made me smile... as her stuff always does.
Ginger at wiener dog tricks...
i realize that i often like the romantic notion of things more than the reality.

Case in point: our beagle.
i wanted a dog so, so, so bad.
i wanted the idea of a dog.
but the reality of a dog.
different story.
the poop in the yard.
the dog hair in my fridge.
the brand new expensive things that look like chewed up hell two days later.
worst of all, the great big sad pleading puppy dog eyes begging for attention that i just didn't have to give. i just didn't have anything left.

she really was the most adorable dog I think I've ever seen. but too much.
so we both had a good, hard weekend of tears and found her a good home.

my whole point is, now i ask myself...
is the reality that i want, or the fantasy?

because the blogs i love the very most are the ones that don't make me feel small or big, but the ones that make me feel known. and that requires some vulnerablitly and some failures, which take courage, and being okay with that.

Brene Brown at ordinary courage has some great things to say about this too...
that's all...

Sunday, March 7

More exciting news

I just found out that these two pieces will be in the May/June edition of Somerset Studio Magazine.. Wahoo. Can't believe it. My first time in print. I'm beside myself(obviously).

I'm getting my mojo back with the new issue & the big news & the trip. I have lots of ideas swimming around and I can't wait to play around & get them out...

I just took a little walk around the blogging block & I'm inspired. and a little overwhelmed. and intimidated. There's so much great art & ideas & inspiration out there. sometimes I need to force myself to turn off the computer & go create... here i go.

take care friends...

Monday, March 1

My Dream Come True!

I have some really exciting news for you.
well, actually, it's for me.
exciting news for me.
Life changing.
Before you read any further, think about the best email you could possibly get.
I got it:

Hey Erin. I just received an email from yet another person who cannot come and is gifting her registration to a lucky recipient. Thank goodness I went through and chose the top 3 winners and kept the emails. You were number 2 so I am happy to say you can come for free. need to pick some classes.

Who is it from?!?
Teesha freakin' Moore.
The art journal goddess Teesha Moore.
ya. that teesha moore.

so, my first thought was...
I'm going.
my second thought was...
I can't leave my 18 month old booboohead for that long.
my third thought was...
I can't even afford to buy a new covergirlmascara, let alone a plane ticket...
my fourth thought was...
I'm going.

and guess what?
I'm going.

Port Townsend, Washington
March 24-29