Monday, December 17, 2012

Painting - Cutie on Tea Towel

Had some paint that hasn't dried on my pallet and instead of scraping it off, I did this small painting. Had to be kind of creative with my color choices because I didn't have all the colors I was used to. Anyway, it's a tiny cutie on a tea towel and the painting is like 4x5 or 3x4, I will find out when I get back home. Plus, I'll send out the newsletter <3

Sunday, December 16, 2012

All the Children of the World

Hmm. I was guilted into doing a large mural for a church nursery and the theme decided on was "All the Children of the World".

So now I'm doing a ton of research on cultural or tradition clothing for 43 different countries.

Then I have to decide on clothes and children to paint. And then I have to arrange and paint everything to look nice on a 20+foot long wall.

The hardest part of this so far has been the research. I can't stay on one thing, I get so distracted by the history and the fabrication and the meaning and how everything is decorated and where each symbol comes from and then how the clothing has evolved and...

... I am such a nerd and it's making this near impossible.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Art Studio Clean Out

Oh my God, I knew I had a lot of work, but honestly! I think it's multiplying. And I don't remember making so much crap. Okay, I lie. I remember making it. I just didn't remember how much of it was crap. I hope that means I'm getting tons better.

A lot of it is getting chunked, but some of it I'll post. And some of it I'll chunk or repaint after I post. I just have way too much... junk.

And look:  Landscapes

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Painting - Dried Pomegranate

Oil on Mat Board
7.25" x 5.625"

Started this one last night, but it was looking bad so I didn't finish. This isn't actually the "done" one, but I ran out of light to take a good picture. (It's pretty cloudy and late here) Tomorrow I will have a good photo as well.

I've started to put all my paintings up here:

Been trying to get out of working with PayPal. I've been having problems. Anyway, I think I'm going to write tonight. I've got painting going, and piano practice, and other things, but I've put off writing and other work. I'm going to do that now! Woot.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Painting - Blue Jar

Blue Jar
Oil on Mat Board

Just decided to do some painting and I had this little jar around and so I painted it. Also, I painted an artichoke. And a Styrofoam head. And a dried pomegranate. This is the only one that turned out semi decent. Yay. Anyway, plan to do more paintings. I finished up a ton of book binding too.

I'm going to be putting some of these on my website to sell. Soon I suppose. If you want first dibbs, just comment or send me a message.


Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Sketch - River

Pencil and Paper

I am going to be doing a painting of River and his mom Jessie, and here is a sketch of some practice River expressions. Omg, adorable *hugs*

Not the best drawings I've ever done, but they are drawings. Can't wait to start the painting.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Painting - Sari Lady

Lady in Sari
Acrylic on Paper

Okay, so it's really not giant, but it's much bigger than I'm used to working. Around 22 x 28, though I haven't actually measured it. I did it with left over walmart craft paint and some paper I had left over from some other craft project.

I've been suffering from insomnia pretty bad, and I've been doing this when my mind can't take any more coding. Apparently it can't take any more photographs either, but, eh, I'll work on that tomorrow! No matter how I hold my iPhone or prop my picture up, her head looks darker. Bah. Even a bit of creative post production didn't help it, not that I was trying that hard.

I keep looking at this going, "I wish I had a real model... " Photographs don't usually work for me, and that's all I had. Of course, even if I did have a model I don't have a sari for them to model. Although I do have a ton of fabric. I'm sure I could have rigged something up.

Anyway, I am pretty proud of the fact that I did a larger painting, even as just a reaction to not sleeping. When I'm done with my project, I'm going to do more I think!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Watercolor - Lara

Lara has to be one of my favorite models. She has excellent features, a great look, and she naturally stays still.

I did this watercolor from a sketch in my book. It doesn't really look like Laray, but I think the painting turned out as a good painting sketch. Might do something similar next, because I like this style. Sorry for the bad photos. I've been out of town and it's all iPhone, when I have anything!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sketchbook - Italian Sketch

This is a sketch in my sketchbook from Italy. I sat on the beach and painted the hills and houses, and I turned around and painted the mountains on the other side of me. I wish I could remember where we were, but we went everywhere and I pretty much just could not keep up.

Anyway, I'm doing a lot of coding for a project, so I won't have a ton of new paintings, but I'll try to post some things. Probably sketches from my Italy trip, or small things I'm doing around here.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sketch - iHop Sam

Sam at iHop
iHop menu size
iHop menu and iHop crayons

I had mentioned this in my "What I Do at Restaurants" post a couple of posts ago and I happened to have this on my iPhone. It's such a bad photo, and the drawing is off, but it's what I get for working from life using very hyper people as models. I miss Lara as a model, as she was so still, and had such great features!

This I did with the pen I always have with me on the back of the ihop menu. The color is from their crayons. You can do a lot of neat stuff with the crayons you get at restaurants. I use them whenever possible.

I keep reading, "If I only had good pens/inks/markers/crayons/colored pencils/computer software..." and I just have to say, if you can't do it with bad materials, good materials aren't going to magically make you better. They will make things easier, but not better! Having better materials wouldn't have made my drawings any better.

Painting - Poppies


I've been going through my phone and the photos that are on it and I have been doing paintings from my photos. Here are some poppies from when I worked at Lowes. Unfortunately, these were planted in our garden and they did not survive. I am not a horticultural expert at all.

Don't have much to say about this one I'm afraid. Just more painting practice.

Master Copy - Paint Chart

Here is what I meant by a paint chart in my last post. I recognized quite early that my normal methods and knowledge when it comes to color theory were quite useless when faced with these less than ideal paints. This is why you should always use the best paint you can buy whenever possible. Because good paint will actually work.

As you can see, these paints had a hard time greying down, and mixing doesn't always produce what you would expect. Doing a classical painting was a challenge. I had done some landscapes that turned out better, but I sold those before I could get a good photo.

Anyway, I'm off to paint more!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Master Copy

Here is a new painting I did using some cheap paint from walmart and some ACEO sized Bristol paper. It's really difficult to use bad paint because it doesn't mix as paint is supposed to. I did a large grid of paint combinations and used that to see how the paint would mix and that's how I worked everything out. Working this way does make me a bit more sensitive to color because I can't put my brain on automatic. I have to think about everything I'm mixing and how it will all work out.

Also, I like the challenge of using paint most people associate with terrible craft projects to create something nice. Plus, it's what I had left over from a project and I really didn't want to break out the oils for a bit of practice.

Mastercopy - WIP

So, what do I do with left over two dollar wal-mart paint in little tubs? That's right! Master copy time! This little thing is done after a miniature my friend has. It's not done, but I thought I'd post what I had.

I'm sorry I didn't post a picture of a blue dog copy I had done for my friend's second cousin who was visiting from jerusalem. I'll have to ask her to send a picture. That was the reason I had bought the cheap paint to begin with! Even though the cheap paint comes in horrible garish colors, you can if you are sensitive, get something really nice. Though truth be told I am not sensitive, I did a huge chart of the colors and how they mixed together. They do not act like normal paint at all!!

Monday, July 02, 2012

New Dress

I've always wanted to do a large knitting project, and so I decided a long time ago that I was going to knit this dress. So I had been trying for awhile, and I actually had to frog it twice. But after coming back from Italy I knew I had to finish. So I locked myself in my room and now this sucker is done! It's a cotton acrylic blend yarn and I put it in the washer and drier now in the hopes it will get a bit smaller. As you can see, it's a bit large for me. And that's after I changed up some of the measurements!

Hopefully it'll come out looking great and I can get back to painting! And cross this off my bucket list :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sketch: What I do in Restaurants

Lara Sketch
Paper Place Mat
Pen, Chalk, Watercolor

So, in Italy there were several places I ate at that had paper place mats. I always have a pen with me and I never can resist a chance to draw. I also had chalk and watercolor for this one. You can tell because of all the wrinkles.

At one restaurant, a waiter actually gave me a pile of place mats when we left! Best gift evar. He didn't speak English at all, and he gave the paper to Sachel at first, so we were a bit confused. But we got Christian to translate and it turns out he was giving 'em to me. I am deciding how I want to use them! I am seriously considering binding them into a sketchbook, but I'm unsure how I want to do it. I love the long format for drawing, but it would fold into a perfect sketchbook size. I'll look for inspiration, and if y'all have any ideas, hit me up in the comments!

I always leave my art at the restaurants. I have no idea why. You should see what I've left in ihop! I hope my drawings don't get thrown away, but you never know what will happen when you leave art out there. I'll actually start posting art I've done on place mats more often. They're becoming more elaborate... Actually, I'm curious. Does anyone out there have a piece of my art? I think that would be a cool way to meet people. Kind of a "message in a bottle" serendipity.


This is a sketch of Lara. She's my favorite model evar. Yes.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Guess where I've been!

If you guessed "Italy!" then you'd be right! Omg. I'm at the DFW airport right now waiting for a flight and I've been up since 4:00am. It's 12:56am (where I left) and after these last 10 days and being up almost 21 hours now, I am /tired/...

This probably doesn't make sense. I'm babbling. More art soon:D

Sunday, May 20, 2012

An Artist Statement

Though artists are visual creatures, they still have to deal with words and people. I keep hearing how art should speak for itself, as though that is some sort of justification to get out of writing anything about art. Unfortunately it has been my experience that art very rarely speaks for itself. I see it move people beyond words, but for people to talk about art and to fully understand, there usually has to be an exchange of words.

Pick any well known piece of art, and there will be a lot written on it. The writers of this information will pull from what the artist says about the work, usually from letters or journals. These artists have made a statement about their work, and that statement can influence how we study and perceive the work today. Some art does not have a statement by the artist associated with it. When people write about these pieces, the writers can come up with different meanings, based on their knowledge and their own experiences. For example, the Titian painting I've posted here has many interpretations associated with it.

Writing about your art can help people understand the meaning, or the reasoning behind certain choices you make as the artist. Not many people will study art in such depth as to notice a connection between your theme and your medium. Or the imagery you've chosen and the colors. An artist statement can help an artist understand your art and your choices. I find if people understand the art they look at, they have the ability to enjoy it more.

Even with the invention of tumblr or pinterest and other image based sites, the web is mostly searched through text. For your art to get found in the sea of google images, you have to make it searchable using words and descriptions. Even if you don't care how people read into your art, an artist statement will help with getting people to your art. Every artist wants more eyes on their work. And they should be the correct eyes, and writing a good artist statement should help with that.

These are my arguments for having a good artist statement!

So how do you get an artist statement?

The first way is to write it yourself. This is the cheapest, and if you don't like writing, most frustrating way to go about this. But, the good news is, you are in complete control. This can be good and bad. Good in you can get exactly where you want to go, and bad in  that you could crash horribly in a ditch and never know it. Sorry for the extended metaphor there. If you knew that was a metaphor before I said it, and you can spell "metaphor" without looking, and you know that quotation marks should never be used for emphasis, you can go write your artist statement now. You'll do fine. As long as you remember it is "a lot" and that you probably shouldn't use it anyway, and you definitely shouldn't write a lot. Three to four paragraphs max.

But let's say you are uncomfortable writing. Especially about your baby. Another way is to beg one of your English grad friends from college or an artist friend who has writing ability to help. This is good because if they see your desperation and pouting lips, you can probably get a pretty good discount. They'll probably be grumpy because some evil professor is making them read A Feast of Snakes and all they really want to do with the book is bury it. Or someone is trying to get writing from them. Try and get a person that is aware of your art. Or someone you can make aware of your art. The trick usually isn't the writing. It's trying to get someone who actually understands a bit about what you're doing and why and how this fits into art history. Remember that they are like you! Don't you hate it when someone asks for free art? Try and barter if you don't have money! If they like your art enough to trade for their art (yes, writing is an art form!) then they should write something good about it.

Or if you really hate writing and all things English and you go out of your way to avoid literary nerdy types, you might want to or have to hire someone. Unfortunately this is a pretty specialized market. You not only have to hire a writer, but a writer who understands art. Just like with bullying a friend to do it, you have to bully the right friend, and here you have to hire the right writer. When someone googles, "Artist Statement Writer" they get a ton of sites and links to places that will help you with your artist statement by offering tips and ideas and even some how to cookie cutter scripts. All fine and dandy for people we left up there who wanted to write there own. Not so good for those of us down here. Finding a writer to write artist's statements is a little difficult to google.

So I went and I found Rachelle Nones. She's a writer with a background in art who writes artist statements. Yes! I have done the work of finding you a writer who knows art and writes artist's statements. Aren't I awesome? Her initial consultation is free, and you get a free e-book just for talking with her. You should go check her out, check out what she offers artists, and leave her some feedback. She doesn't just write. She offers consultations, editing, and even coaching. This is really awesome stuff for artists who need help with this whole writing thing! I think when I google Artist Statement Writer her site should come up first, which is why I'm going to link her site to that phrase!

Do you want an artist statement? Do you have a statement? Did you write it yourself? Did you get help from friends? Did you hire someone? Who did you hire and how did it go? Link to your artist statement and story in the comments!

I wrote my own, and I've got it on my website!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Painting - Star Lady 2

Star Lady 2
Oil on Canvas

So... I redid this one. I think I like this new one better. I've decided it's really hard to do figures and portraits so small. Even though I've been practicing (a lot) I don't know if I'm actually getting any better. I think I should start painting larger. This is either 5x7 or 4x6 (forgot to measure and now it's in the other room. I'm being lazy right now) and I'm missing working with feet, rather than inches. Although, there is something nice about saying "60 inch high canvas"

Also, I am super stoked about the Italy trip I am about to go on. Stoked and nervous and excited and worried and really happy and... I'm really just a big ball of emotion right now. Trying to get enough money to extend my trip and take a side vacation to CERN <3 The physicist in me would completely nerd out on that. And all I'm lacking is about $600.

Anyone need a painting quick? :D

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Painting - Star Lady

Star Lady
Oil on Canvas

Hey there, long time no blog. Must admit I've not been super busy. Just trying to do a difficult commission, get ready for Italy, work on this commission, get over a terrible cold, and get another computer that will connect to the internet. Honestly, I haven't even been doing cool drawings in drawsome. Just regular stick figures!

So far, the computer has been the big deal. Sickness I can handle, but I didn't want to head on back up to Memphis while sick since my cousin is expecting her little bundle of joy. However, my computer not connecting here, and deciding not to charge (I blame bouncing dogs pulling the cord out over and over. I'm so not a dog person) has caused my ability to upload images to just... diminish.

I've painted a bit, though for the most part I've been busy trying to do commissions that are difficult. this one wasn't that bad. There were a few places I had problems and had to restart, but it could have been worse.

The other portrait... wow. I can't even begin to list the problems I am having with it. It's always tough to work from a photo when you like working from life. It's worse when you've got about four bad photos and you kinda have to make something up! And it's for family. And they have their ideas. And you were supposed to have met the person and know what they looked like... when you were ten.

I have a feeling this painting is going to take a lot longer. Oh yes. I won't say the project is beyond my power, but my frustration is making it difficult.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Drawsome Addiction

I must admit it. I'm addicted to drawsome. It's this really fun app that combines apps and pictionary. I have been actually painting during the day, and doing actual work, but at night I stay up doing fun drawings like this one. I can't help it! I know all I have is this iPhone and my finger, but it's such a challenge to make something that doesn't suck!

Anyway, I'm going to post a few drawsome images every once in awhile, and if you want to play, please start a game! I'm Violinagin there, and though I can't promise a good picture every time, it'll be fun!

I've been getting a lot of starwars words as of late....

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Painting - Colorful Lemon

Colorful Lemon
Oil on Gallery wrapped Canvas

Normally I do my paintings using indirect north light, which I love, but for some reason today, I saw this lemon sitting by itself in direct light and I really liked it. It kinda looked a bit introverted too, which is always a plus. I usually paint very outgoing fruit. So I decided to paint it as it was. It was very, very colorful, despite its shyness! And the light kept changing. A lot. But I do like how this came out.

Also, I have great news! I get to show my work at a local restaurant here in Memphis. Very, very cool. The Trolley Stop Market is one of my cousin's favorite places to eat, and I decided to bite the bullet and ask if I could display my work there.

Yay! I can! So if you are in the area and want to see my paintings up close and personal, in the next couple of days I'll be setting up. Actually, I just finished painting and saw the email that they like my painting. I have to go answer it now @_@ (yes, I'm doing this a bit backwards... But I figure I'll put all the exclamation points here, and try and be more professional in the email :)

Probably... Maybe. :P

Monday, April 09, 2012

Painting - Dog

Oil on Mat Board
2.5 x 3.5

I thought this was one of the cutest little dogs I've gotten to paint yet. It fit perfectly with my tiny painting theme I've been working with. I was a bit worried that the colors were going to be too, well, blah, but I think I hit a good medium with those.

I've been working more with my vermilion paint, and I have to say I love it. I kept using cad red light here, and the color kept being way too intense for this painting. So I used the vermilion and it toned down beautifully! Not too orange, and not too brown. It hit that sweet spot I like to paint at just perfectly.

I'm about to start work on the faces of a new portrait commission, and I'm very excited about getting to use vermilion in actual skin tone. I've been working it in a few paintings, but I haven't had many portraits to do. I'm actually really excited about the whole commission. It was really fun to design and it's turning into something really fun to paint. I hope I'm still in the painting mood tomorrow. I plan to do some more daily painting along with this commission!

As long as I get the commission done!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Drawing - All That (And a bit of Painting Advice)

All That
Carbon Pencil and Chalk

Yay, a new drawing. Sorry for still not posting some of my commissioned paintings. I've got two that I want to post, one is in Baton Rouge right now, and one that I'm in the middle of working on. So I thought I'd post this one, which I think turned out pretty good.

Hopefully I'll be done with my second commission painting today, perhaps tomorrow depending on how the painting goes. The one I did before I thought was going to take me a day. Nope. It took me /forever/ and I was not a happy camper. Or a trailer, or an RV. I was just not a happy anything! I don't know how y'all paint when y'all are in a bad mood, but with me, I paint badly. Horribly. And the whole experience is a meltdown of epic proportions if I have to continue painting while in a bad mood.

Like when I'm on a deadline. And I'm on the 12th rub out of the poor kid's head. I start to wail and cry and gnash teeth and say how I'm going to go back to retail sales and live a life of quiet, hopeless, desperate mediocrity because, well damnit, I can't paint one kid?! How did I think I was suppose to be an artist???

Usually this only lasts for several hours and somehow I usually manage to create a piece of art that doesn't suck as bad as I imagine while painting it.

The only advice I can give to artist who experience this to make it better? I have no words of wisdom. I tend to blow up and have a meltdown, work through it, and then go back to art creating. So far I haven't put in an application to a retail giant yet, so I think I'm doing good.

How do you get through those days where you really don't want to paint, but have to? They don't happen to me a lot, so I really don't have any good advice except it's going to suck and work through it. Does anyone else have something more helpful? I mean, aside from copious amounts of wine or whiskey... :P

Friday, April 06, 2012

New Auction!

Well, I finally have the art auction up and running! I had some commissions to do, so I had to put off figuring out exactly how the auction worked, but I finally got a bit of time tonight to get everything done. If you want to go see, it is here:

For this first auction, I have it set to run for a week, but after this, I will be posting the auctions daily with my paintings. And if you want the paintings delivered to your inbox, sign up for my newsletter! (It's over there to the right...)

I wanted to post my commissions, but they are for birthday presents and I want to make sure the presents are handed out before I post them on my blog. I never know who reads my blog!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Painting - Cat in a Window Box

Oil on Mat Board

I have received several commissions and I'm very excited about this! Unfortunately all three of them are on a deadline and this has pushed back my website auction fixing time. I'm not complaining though. It's allowing more people to sign up for my newsletter.

This one was a smaller commission. I've not done many scenes with cats. Mostly close ups. This was quite different. I might revisit it. The cat was such a strange color. A sandy, dusty color with some weird, brighter undertones.

Maybe it was the photo.

Anyway, I've two portraits to do. Technically three, as one of them involves two people. And one involves a small baby, who is adorable,  but needs to have a bit of lazy eye fixed. Anyway, I'll post that one here. I might post the other one. Possibly.

And good news! I may be teaching a drawing class! I am very excited about this. If you live near the Memphis area and would like to be apart of it, please leave a comment or let me know through Twitter or Facebook. I'm trying to stir up some interest, and meet new people around here. Moving and making new friends is a bit hard when you work at home. I'm sure my roommates (Hi Melissa and Neill!) would love it if I suddenly developed a social life :D

Especially since the post office people suddenly don't like me any more. Sadness!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Painting - Baby Blue Eyes

Baby Blue Eyes
2.5 x 3.5
Oil on MatBoard

This baby is sooooo cute! I was really afraid when I saw the photo because it was just too cute and I wanted to make sure it was painted /right/ ya know? I didn't want to have one of my bad painting days with this one. And luckily I don't think I did.

I normally don't do portraits this size. Actually, the idea of it really scares me, but I saw this little baby and I wanted to paint! Which is very odd for me on many, many levels.

I've started doing these little ACEO paintings for not much. I don't post the link here on my blog, but every once in awhile when I don't want to come up with my next painting, I'll post a link to twitter @Violinagin so if you are interested in having a tiny commission done, and really don't want to break the bank follow me on twitter! I'll probably send you the link if you send me a direct message there too. :D

New Website is Almost Ready

I knew that I would run into some problems while trying to do this site. There always will be problems when I try to work with any sort of website, which is why I turned the site over to someone else to get it all set up. Well, as soon as it was turned over to me, I don't know what happened. But suddenly the gallery wasn't linking to the right post pages. My gallery just decided to link to its own pages that it decided to make. Weird, no? If it was just straight html, css, the like, it would have been an easy fix for me. Unfortunately the is wordpress. With a theme.


I know I should have just called my computer person right away and said, "help..." but unfortunately I decided to frustrate myself. He managed to get it fixed. The images look a bit different, but, eh, it's /working/ now! If you would like to see:

Let me know what you think so far! I'm still getting work to add, but I think the design turned out how I wanted.

I have not set up any auction yet. That is what I'm hoping to do today and have it scheduled to start at midnight. Maybe. I'll send out a newsletter the moment it starts, so sign up! There probably won't be a blog post about it until tomorrow after the auction has been going on for awhile.

Now, I have to go figure out how to get my card to work to pay the nice IT guy :D
And post a painting.
And go to the post office.
And buy milk.
And paint.
And set up the first auction.
:D Exciting!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Site Update!

First off, a big THANK YOU! to everyone who signed up for my email newsletter yesterday. It was great that so many people were interested. Everything is still up, you can go to the last post, or I added a slimline version on the side bar so more people could join the fun. If you think anyone else would like to join and get paintings and art in their inbox everyday, please let them know about it! 

I just wanted to update and let everyone know that I am going to be working on the site at three today, and hopefully by Monday or Tuesday I'll have the first paintings and auction up. I'll know after three when everything is going live, and send a tweet, facebook post, and post here about it! But the newsletter people will be the first to know!

The paintings will be in a range of sizes, mostly from ACEO sized up to 8x10", and they will be oil on mat board, or masonite, or canvas board or canvas. I will make sure that information is in the newsletter, the paintings page, and the auction description so you know exactly what you are getting. Right now, everything is through paypal, but I'm going to talk with the person who set this up for me and see if we can offer other checkout options as well. 

Hold on to your hats, this is going to be fun! 
(I'm so excited, this is me before my coffee... maybe I should lay off for today ;D)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

New Website and Newsletter

I am really excited right now!

I actually just used 'bold' because I was so excited. What am I so excited about? I am about to launch my new website, where I will be posting daily paintings, and selling them through an auction! I am also offering a newsletter where you can sign up for the daily painting emails, a weekly blog digest, or both! I've been working on this for awhile and I am finally starting to see the end of the tunnel. 

Every day I am going to be uploading new art pieces to my site. Normally I upload my paintings to Etsy, or sell them to random people who happen to see them on this blog. But I thought I would try something different. I am going to put each of my daily pieces up for auction on my website and let the price go where it will. I was tired of using eBay for an auction platform, and wanted my own thing. 

Where is my site, you ask? It is still under construction right now, but should be ready in a few more days. Until then, I have a sign up form for the daily newsletter. The people who subscribe to the newsletter will be the first to know when my website is up and running, and the first to have the links to the auction where you can buy the piece. Also, pretty art work to look at daily once it begins in earnest!

At first, I'm going to be linking to art that I've posted to the blog. So if you've been interested in any of the pieces, sign up and watch for that auction!

If you know someone who likes daily paintings or art blogs, send them here! This is just the start and more is yet to come! Sign up! I only require your email address, and I will never give it out!

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The Newsletters
Email Format

Painting - Winter

Oil on Mat Board
2.5 x 3.5"

Here is one of my newest paintings. I really like how this one came together. I sort of saw it in my head before I put it down. I didn't even need a reference, which is a very strange experience for me.

Today I finished two paintings, started a third, and I have one more I have to do before I get back to daily paintings. I've also started a newsletter that sends a weekly digest of my blog posts out, and even one that will be sent out daily of my daily paintings, with links to their auction.

I'll be writing a post about that in a second!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Painting - Something Violet

Oil on Mat Board

Loved how this little one turned out! I'm on my way back from Galveston so I can't type much... I don't do backseat as well as I used to.

Can't wait to launch my site! It's almost done :D

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Painting - Scottish Landscape

Scottish Landscape
Oil on Mat Board
2.5 x 3.5"

I love how this little tiny painting came out. I don't know why, but at this point I was in the painting zone! I had done a couple of other small paintings.

I still can't paint the ocean for some reason. Guess I've gotta practice!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Painting - A Bowl of Beans

Bowl of Eggs
Oil on Masonite

And here is my bowl of eggs! I love the bowl. It was a small one I made in pottery class and it has a wonderful shino as a glaze. Obviously it's one of my earlier attempts at a bowl with a very unstable base. I will definitely be using the bowl again, but I think I would prefer white eggs. With white eggs I feel I can really play with the colors.

I've got to work on the eggs some more, but overall I like the painting.

I'm about to go painting on the beach! If you're in Galveston, look for the person with a french easel wearing jeans!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Craft - Handspun Hat

Well, I've gotten all of my handspun yarn used up, and that little ball of what is left will not finish up my hat. Luckily, my friend Rachel (woolgypsy on Etsy - I'll post a link once I'm home) came to the rescue and she is carding me more fiber to spin! I couldn't find non-dyed yet already carded fiber in the small amounts I needed. If you know of any good fiber shops, lemme know in the comments:)

And in the background, I'm set up for painting! I'm painting eggs! I'll post that tomorrow.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Artist - Alex Ruiz

I don't have a painting or a drawing I can show today, and I'm still not done with my hat. So, I've decided to share a work that I stumbled upon and I just love it.

This makes me happy. I love van Gogh, and I love Doctor Who's van Gogh episode, "Vincent and the Doctor" and for some reason this piece reminds me of that. I'd love to buy a print, but I'm saving up money for my trip. If any of my friends and family are reading this and looking for gift ideas for me, a greeting card is only 5 bucks!

I'm inspired to go paint now...


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Craft - Spinning

Here is my spindle, complete with new yarn on it! Sitting on some fiber that will become yarn tomorrow. I did a few commissions today and sometimes I don't get to post those, which is okay, but I wanted to blog about something! And this fiber has just been sitting there.

I'm hoping I have enough to make a hat! I have some other yarns I spun as well, but they are in browns and grays. I think it won't bother me to mix these up! Especially since these are my own hand made yarns.

Truth be told I want to make a slouchy hat, and I have this pattern, but I don't think this yarn will work for that. Maybe it will? It's a fairly even width, bit it does get thicker and thinner in places and I'm not sure how it will work since I've never even knitted with yarn I haven't bought at the store!!

I need to work on being brave so I think I will just go for it! Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Painting - Onions

Onions and Jar
Oil on Masonite

This is my newest painting. I had done a few more that just weren't good enough, so, I didn't post them. Even this one took me two days and a lot of pain an misery. But I think working through the pain paid off. I am actually pretty happy with this. The onions are going into my casserole tonight, and the pot was handmade by a friend at Louisiana Tech. I actually really liked painting it because of the thick texture and color.

The onions were another story. I didn't think they would ever looks right!

This will be available on my website once it has been finished. Follow me on twitter @Violinagin and on Facebook (ViolinaginArt) to be the first ones to know when they go to auction!


Friday, March 09, 2012

Painting - Handmade Cup and Lemon

Cup and Lemon
Oil on Mat Board

I'm a bit embarrassed showing this one, because the cup itself is lopsided, and the painting of it makes it even more so! I'm having to end this painting as is for right now, but I'm going to finish it sometime later. I just have some work that needs to be done pronto, and I can't spend all day worrying that the mouth is too wide. Which it is. Horribly.

So, two commissions to finish, then, it's back to this one!

I will probably post another repaint tonight :)
Until then!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

For Sale - Book!

Hand Bound Book
4" x 10.5"
paper size - 3.5x9"

I just wanted to let everyone know I put this book up for sale in my Etsy shop!

This is the link^

I hope it goes to a good home, because I just love it!

Painting - Pear

4 3/4 x  6 1/4"
Oil on Mat Board

Here is my newest daily painting! Unfortunately I painted this right before the downpour that is happening now and the light was very, very low. Not much value contrast, but I think I like the  nice, soft color transitions.

I wanted to paint lemons today, but my pear didn't look like it would survive another day and I was getting kind of hungry. It's really delicious. The lemons however, look like they'll last several more days before I have to throw them in food or make lemonade from them. So pear for today, lemons tomorrow! Or artichoke. I am not sure whether I should cook it now, or tomorrow. I managed to keep one so long it dried out. Not sure I want to do that again! I'd rather eat 'em. Maybe I'll paint the dried one and eat the good one :)

Also, I've been trying to make my facebook page a bit more active! Having more followers would definitely inspire me, so if you could like my facebook page and maybe follow me on twitter I would be so in love! Plus I tend to post more deals and sales for my art there. Here I pretty much just show the paintings.

Anyway, I'm off to do more art! Ciao!! (Did I mention I'm going to Italy? Gotta practice the Italian more)

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Painting - Lemons

Oil on Mat Board

I picked out these lemons yesterday because they have great color and personality. They look like they belong to the same herd. One is organic, and one is your basic grocery store lemon. I took off the stickers so I can't remember which is which. 

I think I want to cut them open and paint the juicy fruit tomorrow. I feel in the zone, so I sort of want to paint more, but I have two drawings I'm working on, and I think I can get them done today. It's only two! It's so weird when I finally manage to get up early. Everything seems just a little off. 

I've also got to do some writing for my new website. Well, I've gotten some done, I just hate it. So I'm redoing it. 

Also, I've been doing more with my Etsy shop: Still have a few more things to upload there! Feel free to pin and tweet and all of that fun jazz! All right, I'm going to go work now! 


Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Painting - Artichoke II

Oil on Mat Board

Well, I thought my last artichoke painting turned out pretty good, so I thought I would try it again, this time under slightly different lighting conditions. Namely, natural light. I think I got a lot more color and contrast with that change.

I have to confess I really wanted to paint an aanar. Or a pomegranate. But those are out of season. I might try the artichoke again tomorrow, but I also got some beautiful lemons. No, really, I went through each lemon trying to find ones I thought were pretty enough to paint.

This painting hasn't been sold yet, and I'll be putting it up on my website soon, once it gets done. I think it's a good painting to start off my painting a day site on. I'll post a link here after we get it done, so watch for that!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Sketching - Drawing from Life

So, I haven't posted any sketches from my sketch book recently, so I thought now would be a good time to show where my brain is. I've been having to do a lot of paintings and drawings based on photographs, and to counter balance this, I've been trying to draw more from life in my daily sketching. I think you can really see the difference. The top one was done from life, the bottom one from a photograph.

I'm more partial to the one done from life. Both of them were just sketched off pretty quickly though.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Painting - Night Stroll

Night Stroll
Oil on Illustration Board

I hope everyone is having a good weekend! I did this from a photograph for a commission. I really like how it turned out.

Anyway, I'm working on adding some more paintings to my Etsy Shop as well as the books I made! I should have everything up in a few days. If you liked them, but didn't want to make your own, I will be selling them and ones like 'em there! You can also send me a message about getting your own painting commissioned.

Until next time!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

How To - Bookbinding - Post Bound Book

Hey look! It's my book again! Except instead of me posting about how much hard work I put into making it, I'm going to walk you through exactly how I made it. With pictures! I've started a new book, and I started photographing the whole process. I'm not going to be able to give you measurements, but you should be able to make up your own. A lot of the measurements I do give will be "an inch wider than the width of your paper." That way, you can choose your own book size. If this type of book isn't your thing, I also still have these posts with links to paperback bookbinding and hard binding books!

But, if Post Bound Japanese style books are what you want, continue on!

Materials Needed
  1. Paper for pages
    Think about what you're using the book for, and what type of paper you like using. Best part about post binding books is, you can use any type of paper, it doesn't really matter. 
  2. Paper Cutters
    I use a personal paper trimmers, an exacto knife and ruler, and scissors for different steps
  3. Book Board
    Get the good acid free stuff if you can. The thickness doesn't bother me one way or the other, so go with what you like.
  4. Sand Paper or sanding block
    It's for the book board and paper blocks
  5. Book Cloth
    You might try making your own (Google it if you don't like that process, there are 1000 more!)
  6. Decorative Paper
    For this project I used Japanese origami paper from Joanne's for the cover of the book and some handmade rice paper for the end sheets.
  7. Glue
    PVA is the best, but it has no give. It sticks. I bought something called "Professional Acid Free Glue" from Hobby Lobby and it works well for my purposes. I got it on sale. You can even try to make your own!
  8. Press
    If you have a bookbinding press (can I come live with you?) use it! If not, I use book clips, clamps, and pieces of wood. Let me tell you, if you have a book due for class the next day and you don't have access to the book press, you get /very/ creative.
  9. Screw in Posts
    These are sold at Lowe's. Unfortunately, no one who works there will have a clue what you are talking about. Look in the hardware section, in the drawers. It'll be under "Specialty fasteners"
  10. Rulers
     I have one that's clear, and one that has a metal edge for cutting. The one with the metal edge was like, 50 cents at walmart. I do have a love affair with the clear one though, it makes a lot of jobs so much easier.
  11. Cutting board
    Or a table you don't mind screwing up. It's easier to work on a nice table though. Really think about the cutting board.
  12. Time, Attention to Detail, and Anal Retentiveness
    No, I'm not joking

On with the Tutorial!

1. Step One - Cut out your paper.

I like to do this first, and then measure everything else off the paper. For this, I just cut a regular letter sized piece of paper (8.5x11") into thirds. For Japanese binding and post binding a book, a longer, thinner page works great. Here is a picture of my paper cutter. It's cheap. And it works. :)

2. Step Two - Measure out the Book Board you will need

It will need to be about half and inch wider than your paper. This will allow for a 1/4 of an inch lip around the pages of your book. I took a long piece of book board and cut the width I needed in a really long piece.

3. Step Three - Cut one inch pieces of book board out of the long piece you just cut
These are where the posts go, and the space between the one inch piece and the main piece of book board creates the hinge. More on that later.

Step 4 - Cut the large piece of book board
This is a bit tricky, but it usually works out. The trick is, there needs to be a 3/8ths inch space between the inch long board and the larger board, and there should be a quarter of an inch lip around each side of the paper. So that's an extra half inch. So it should be the length of the paper, plus 1/2 an inch, minus 1 3/8ths inches. I just do it by sight, lining up the boards, measuring out the spaces, and marking where I need to cut. Cut out two of them!

Step 5 - Sand the book board down
I'm sure you've noticed by now that when you use an exact knife, or a box cutter to cut the book board, it leaves you a nice, thick burr on one side of the board. The best part is, it works like a wood board. You can sand that sucker down! A sanding block works wonders, but all I can afford is some sand paper. I'd suggest doing it out side because the dust is obnoxious to all things sinus. I tried to get a picture of the burr, but I think it just looks like a shadow.

If the boards are just a bit off, sanding them down would be easier than cutting them as well.

Step 6 - Book Cloth Time!
Get out your book cloth and measure out what you will need. You can use book cloth in four ways.  

The four different ways to bind a book are, using book cloth for the whole book. There will be no decorative paper on a book done this way. Another way to do it is book cloth each side, leaving a space to put paper. (Remember, the paper needs to over lap the cloth to keep it from unraveling, don't give yourself too large a space if you only have a certain sized paper!) You can also use book cloth on the hinge edge and just the corners. Or, you can just choose to use the book cloth for only the hinge. 

You need to use book cloth at least for the hinge side (the inch piece and part of the larger main piece) because when you open and close the book it will wear away at that point. Paper is not as strong as book cloth, and will break down much faster. When you are spending this much time on a book, believe me, you want it to last for a very long time! As you can see, I went with cloth on both sides. This is called the half cloth method. I think it looks nice. I decided to make both sides equal, but I'm kind of regretting it now. You have to really think about balance and design, and one side is going to have hinges, breaking up the balance I was going for. 

Here is the back of the book cloth with everything measured out. You need a half an inch around the edge, and 3/8ths of an inch space between the two. I like to pencil everything in so I know where to put the board once I have glue all over it. It really does help. I don't have the other end piece of book cloth, it just has the half inch edges marked out. Remember! if your book board is four inches wide, you need five inches of book cloth. it's half an inch on /each/ side. 

Step 7 - Let's Glue

Here is a picture of the glue I use! I usually brush it on. I keep water and a rag near by as well, since it dries that quickly.

Step 8 - Clamping and Pressing
I've been using two pieces of masonite and book clamps to hold things flat while they are drying. This step is important, because without it, things will dry with lumps and divits and waves. Here I show how I am lining up the two pieces of book board with a strait edge, and how afterward I'm clamping everything down.

After the main part dries, put glue in the corners and fold, and then put glue on the sides and fold over again. I press it after I glue that as well, but it dries pretty quickly.

Step 9 - Decorative Paper
Here is the two pieces of book board with the book cloth glued on well, and there is also the paper I chose for this project. Now, the size of this paper should be an inch larger than the width of the book board (1/2 inch for each side) and enough to overlap the book cloth by about an 1/8 or 1/4 of an inch. Since I will be embellishing this with another paper, I made it almost the exact length of the opening.

After you cut it out, glue and press.

Step 10 - Embellishments
I cut out gold strips of paper to glue on, and took a photo of the back of the board. You can see how everything is folded over, and how you can see the hinge. Next comes the end sheets!

Step 11 - End Sheets
As end sheets are supposed to be decorative, you want to choose something different than the paper you are binding together. I chose this really nice handmade rice paper with all sorts of little speckles in it. you want to cut it out to be the same size of the paper you're binding.

To glue it in, I glue the board, and the brush glue around the edge. This makes it much easier on me. You may find gluing the whole paper is easier for you. 

My paper was very thin, and needed a lot of clamping.

Step 12 - Putting it all together

This part angers me, and I have no trick for it. I am very anal retentive and it has to be perfect. I can spend a whole bloody hour trying to stack the paper and book boards together. I'm still working on this right now.

Step 13 - Drilling the holes

I am using a regular drill, but a drill press is where it's at. The bit I'm using looks to be about 3/16ths of an inch. That way those posts can fit through the hole. The first time I drilled, the first hole worked out okay, and the second hole became wonky. To try and counteract that, I'm drilling a pilot hole first. I just picked out a thin drill bit to run through my marks first. This drilling is a pain in the butt, because until you figure out exactly what works for you, all your hard work can go up in a whirl of torn paper and tears with the push of a button. :'(

Step 14 - Screwing the posts in (hehehe)

If you get holes drilled, this is pretty easy. It takes smaller posts than you might think. I always keep an assortment on hand.

Step 15 - DONE

This is the part where you take your book to another person and go, "Look! I made it!" Or blog about it. Or start journaling. Or looking at it and wondering if you could ever use such an awesome book. Or you can start on your next one. Or, you might be having to take it into class where the teacher will break apart everything you did into bite size chunks of guilt and shame as he points out every drop of glue, every pencil mark, every bent page, and ever wrinkle.

That might have just been me though @_@

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial! If you have any questions let me know and I'll be happy to answer them. I know I didn't cover everything (like the difference between paper corners and fabric corners and how bookboard thickness affects the process) but if you run into problems, drop me a line and I'll do my best to help!

Happy bookbinding! (Believe me, you'll need the reminder)