Monday, February 28, 2011

Springtime is for goals, aspirations, and love.

 Welcome, March. 

Springtime is always a time of renewal for me. Renewal of goals, renewal of energy, renewal of hope. I always seem to be more productive and creative when the daylight hours are longer, and I am excited about the warming weather. Though I was disappointed today with the lack of thunderstorms the weatherman told me I was going to get! I love thunderstorms. They remind me of when I was a kid and we didn't have AC in the house. So I'd lay in my bed, lifting the fresh linen sheets up and down for a breeze, listening to the rain and the thunder roll through my open window and into my damp, warm, rain-smelling bedroom. It was a peaceful time, and a place I always try to think of when I'm feeling stressed. Do you guys have any memories like that?

Spring this year carries with it lots of new goals I am hoping to achieve. 

Firstly, my Etsy 1 Year Anniversary is coming up on March 13th and my goal is to hit 100 sales! (I am at 91!). If anyone would be so kind as to link my shop to friends who might be interested in jewelry, or who are in need of some lovely gift ideas, that'd be marvelous, and I'm sure there'd be a special coupon code in it for you ;)

As many of you know, I have applied to grad schools MICA, Pratt, and SCAD for Fall 2011 admission into their respective Illustration Master of Fine Arts programs. Motivating myself to produce artwork has been a year-long journey since I've been freelancing, and though I enjoy it, I am really excited to get back into an academic environment and have some outside sources of inspiration and motivation. Plus I'm a huge nerd and love school! The coming weeks will tell whether or not my completed applications have landed me a spot.

Finally, personally, I feel springtime is a time where I can be more hopeful about my relationships. The quote at the top of this post is from Terry Goodkind's "Chainfire". Having taken some time for myself and having been "officially" single for almost 3 years has taught me so much about who I am, and also about what I want (and don't want!). But I also feel, with the barrage of all of my married friends, that I am probably ready to meet "that" person. More than that, I'm just missing the feeling of "complete, simple, extravagant attraction." It's a good feeling. Especially for the spring.
Saw this and had to link it up - amazing tribute to Gustav Klimt, one of my favourite artists.

"The Hand" by Bill Sienkiewicz

And the original, "The Kiss" by Gustav Klimt, 
one of my favourite works of all time.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

FEATURE: Lighting Masters

...and Friday has come and gone without our little Friday Feature. I had contacted several people, but it seems everyone had a busy week! That's okay! More interview-like features comin atcha this week!

SO. I figured we'd tackle a feature of a different kind: LIGHT.

If any of you are painters, you know that light can be an elusive, elusive beast. I wanted to feature some works from artists that I consider lighting masters; and whose works continue to educate and inspire me. Hopefully you guys will find them helpful, too!

First up, we have Nanya.
While I'm a big fan of fancy fantasy lighting as much as the next person, can I just say holy crap? This is a painted still life! Sometimes the best lighting is amazingly subtle. Someday I hope to be this epic:

Next up, we have MarcSimonetti
Not only is this guy totally amazing with architecture (aka, the bane of my existence), but his lighting is dramatic, deep, and super-detailed.

And who doesn't know and love Wakkawa
In my opinion, his gorgeous figures are always breaking the mold and pushing the envelope, and much of it is in part because of his great sense of lighting. Here is a great example of how he combines the figure and light in a stylized way: 

Then we have Kuroitora.
I always love his work because of the super-saturated and undeniable lightsources, and the drama and action that is captured in his works. I love to do commissioned characters in back-lighting, and Kuroitora is such a master of the epic backlit figure:

Finally, we have Tahra
One of my favourite things about Tahra's work is his use of texture in combination with lighting. Check out this amazing environmental piece: 

So have you guys soaked up enough awesome yet?! 
Go check out Nanya, MarcSimonetti, Wakkawa, Kuroitora, and Tahra and give them some love!

Friday, February 25, 2011

If you undervalue yourself, others will think of you as cheap. So don't.
GunnerRomantic - advice from their teacher.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

10 Things To Remember As You Go Through Life

If you know anything about me, you know I do not handle corny, cliche sentiments very well. HOWEVER, I thought I might share a few snippets of an interesting chain-email I received from my mother (who doesn't know that I mentally groan everytime I receive chainletters!)

Written by a 90 year-old woman, so she's been around the block once or twice ;)

1. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
2. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree. 
3. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about. 
4. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful. 
5. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer. 
6. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special. 
7. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?' 
8. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need. 
9. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up. 
10. Yield. 

Life isn't tied with a bow, 
but it's still a gift.  

 Adorable Turquoise Bow Ring by Mirilovelove (me!) on Etsy
Felt like I made particular leaps and bounds on this commission, so I wanted to share it here :)

"Artemis" by Erin McManness (c) 2011

Saturday, February 19, 2011

“Painting is the most magical of mediums. The transcendence is truly amazing to me every time I go to a museum and I see how somebody figured another way to rub colored dirt on a flat surface and make space where there is no space or make you think of a life experience.”
Chuck Close

Friday, February 18, 2011


This Friday I have the honour of introducing Krista Dunaway, an illustrator and fellow Florence+TheMachine lover whose strengths are gorgeously smooth skintones and beautiful aesthetics.

 "Rabbit Heart" by Krista Dunaway

Here's our Q & A ~

Q. Tell me about yourself. What's your background in art?
A. I've been drawing for as long as I can remember. I mainly drew horses and oddly shaped heads that looked almost like potatoes. I've always been interested in art and took 2 art classes in middle school. In 2008-09, my senior year in high school, I decided that art was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and took an ap art course which proved to me how hard the field can be. I started painting digitally around that time also and love the medium. I consider myself self-taught in the digital media aside from reading tutorials here and there.

Q. What are your inspirations? Favourite artists? 
A. My main inspiration is music. Especially anything by Florence + The Machine, Muse, or Coldplay. My favorite artist is Alphonse Mucha, while I extremely look up to and admire Jason Chan, Charlie Bowater, Jace Wallace, Marta Dahlig, Lois Van Baarle, and Bao Pham.

 Poster, 1896, Alphonse Mucha - via google images

Q. What's your favourite thing to paint/illustrate? Least favourite?
A. I love painting females. It's definitely something I need to do less of, but it's in my comfort zone. My least favorite thing to paint at the moment is environments and males.

Q. Your work is so detailed and polished - about how much time do you typically spend on an illustration?
A. I spend quite a bit of time on my work. I'm a perfectionist when it comes to art. I can spend anywhere between 20-60 hours on a painting.

 Contest Piece by Krista Dunaway

Q. What is your intention for communication with your viewers? Why do you make art?
A. I make art because I enjoy it and it's very relaxing and therapeutic for me. I hope that by making art someone out there will enjoy looking at it as much as I enjoyed creating it.

Q. What are your long-term goals for your work? Any special secret plans you can share with me?
A. There are so many goals that I'd like to reach! My main goal would be to improve and become a professional in the field. I will definitely keep working on improving and drawing from life as much as possible!

A big thank you to Krista for answering all my curious questions and sharing some of her work!
Be sure to check out Krista around the web! Deviantart // Tumblr

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

If I had a theme song, it would be  
Waltz of the Flowers 
from the Nutcracker. 

I like this version better, but it wouldn't let me embed it :(

"Music is no illusion, but rather a revelation. Its triumphant power lies in the fact that it reveals to us beauties we find in no other sphere; and the apprehension of them is not transitory, but a perpetual reconcilement to life."


My first installment of "Tutorial Tuesday", where I dive into my huuuuge bookmarked list of great tutorials from around the web and share with you so you can bookmark away!

I've really tried to discipline myself the last few weeks with drawing gestures and studies of the human body (almost) daily. Last night, I spent a few hours with my best friend, the Gesture Drawing Tool, trying to capture the main shapes of the body, primarily the torso.

In that vein, here is an incredibly knowledgeable (but simple) tutorial for breaking down large portions of anatomy in the human body by the fabulous Sakimichan. Full link to tutorial here, though you can also just click the image to enlarge. Go give the artist props for such a splendid tutorial!

Now go get drawing! :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

How to Become a Better Artist

I posted this about a year ago, but I feel like it needs to be reiterated, for myself and others :)

Click the image to enlarge and read. {via ImagineFX}

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Life is either a daring adventure 
or nothing.
Helen Keller

Friday, February 11, 2011


My very first Friday Feature introduces artist Devon Edwards, of "With Love by Helina Mae" on Etsy. Her whimsical style and resurrection of vintage pieces are lovely, feminine, and unique. 

Here's our little Q&A ~

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself. What's your background in art?
A: Well, first off I’ve never been good at condensing what I want to say—I’m very wordy. So forgive me if this gets incessantly long! I am a 22 year old college graduate living in Cannon Beach, Oregon! I was born in Seattle, WA and raised in Gig Harbor, WA for my entire life (until now). Art has always been present in my life, from drawing on the walls as a child to painting a mural in my living room! However, I was never formally educated in art until I went to college. I took no art classes in middle school, high school, or outside of school for that matter! I taught myself everything I knew until I decided to go to school for art. This past December I graduated from Seattle University with a bachelor’s in visual art! Now I’m trying to find a way to establish myself as a freelancer, while not having to live off of food stamps forever! I suppose some would say I live life a little on the edge—but what artist doesn’t? ;)

Q: What got you started in jewelry making, and what was the catalyst for opening up shop on Etsy?
A: The desire to make jewelry was always there—from the moment I began to accessorize as a child and discovered that no one had what I wanted to wear. However, I am and always have been kind of a dark horse when it came to art and “doing” art. Half the time I spent telling myself that I shouldn’t venture into those areas that I wanted to because there were others who were better and “professionals”, so what made me think I could do it? This also led me to not pursue a lot of artistic endeavors that I’m throwing myself into lately. I’ve come to the realization that you simply have to do what makes you happy—and this makes me happy. So I began MAKING the jewelry about two years ago, and even more passionately about a year ago. As for the Etsy shop, I had opened an account long before I had the notion that I would use it to make money for jewelry or my art. I simply created an account because I just had to have the most amazing pair of boot spats that I had ever laid eyes upon. Rest is history!

Photo courtesy of Devon

Q: I love your recycled/upcycled jewelry - what is your inspiration for that?
A: I’m glad someone does! The idea was actually instilled in my brain since I was a little girl, believe it or not. When I was younger, I would always find broken pieces of jewelry that were mine, my sisters, or even my mother’s, and I just hoarded them. I figured that someday I could make something spectacular out of them instead of throwing them away. Although back then I hadn’t really put that plan into action, I continued to hoard all discarded and broken pieces of jewelry. When I finally put my idea into action, it was due to a class I took in college (History of Costume Design). We had an entire days lecture on “Green Fashion”, it was so eye opening that it changed how I look at clothing and the fashion world today. I realized then, that although not everyone can buy environmentally sustainable clothing (including myself), that I had to do something to contribute to this philosophy (I have my university to thank for that). As soon as I had that idea, I realized that I had already had an idea along those lines a looong time ago with jewelry! Thus, the inspiration and creation of my jewelry began.

Q: What is your favourite piece of jewelry you own?
A: Well, it’s kind of trite, but my favorite piece is a handmade choker. It’s made with garnet colored glass beads with a one cent Indian head penny. It’s sentimental really, but my dad was an avid coin collector and after he died someone made necklaces for my sister and me out of his one cent coins. I love it to death.

Photo courtesy of Devon

Q: Do you work in other mediums besides jewelry-making?
A: OOOOoooooh yeah. Far too many. I consider myself a mixed media artist simply because I just can’t stick to one medium. I believe that an artist shouldn’t be restricted by medium nor be defined by one. If you have an idea that one medium can express better than another, do it! I work half digitally and the other half as a hodge-podge. Currently I’ve discovered this fiery passion for paper cut outs meshed with anything and everything (I love me some cut outs), such as acrylic paints, colored pencils, markers…and glass.

"Strawberry" Illustration by Devon

Q: Any big plans for your shop that you're willing to divulge? ;)
A: Oh definitely! First off I am vigorously trying to get people to take me seriously! That is my first and foremost plan. Besides that, I am working on a more consistent “thank you” card for people who purchase my items. I’ve been sending thank you cards, but they’re all those kinds of cards you get with stationary sets (nothing that I’ve made or anything). So I would love to get those going somehow… but with a nonexistent budget it’ll be interesting! Lastly, I plan to introduce earrings and more pendants (without the jewelry ensemble, just the chain and pendant). Pretty cut-dry and simple though!

 Photo courtesy of Devon

A huge thank you to Devon for being my first very guinea pig in my Friday Features ;) I invite you guys to check her out around the web! 

Etsy Store: With Love by Helina Mae
Blog: Musings of an Artist
Like her on Facebook! Art of Devon Edwards

Thursday, February 10, 2011

This guy has all the answers.

I usually don't like to post stuff like this on my srs bsns blog, but this is so hilarious (and true!) that I just couldn't resist.

Watch. And be enlightened.
My former boss, XimenaValero, introduces her new TRUE LOVE GOWN. 

I had the pleasure of working with Ximena as her Executive Assistant and Project Manager in Los Angeles in 2009-2010. Her designs focus on transformable quality - any dress can be worn in tons of different ways!

That gown up in the photo? 1 gown. Not 7. Amazing.

I miss LA so much! Especially in all of this snowy, icy weather! Besitos to Ximena - her fashion designs are truly works of wearable art!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Discovered these amazing shoes on Etsy; from tlccreationsuk

"The greatest happiness is to transform one's feelings into action."
Madame de Stae

Last Minute Valentine - A Gift Guide

Print from TheBigHarrumph

Valentine's Day is almost here. Luckily for me (maybe? who knows?), I don't have to worry about the tricky task of finding that perfect gift for your man that says just-enough-but-not-too-much. You ladies know what I'm talking about. ;) 

Because I actually really DON'T enjoy all of the pink-red meshing colours of Valentine's Day, I have decided to feature some non-traditionalist turquoise Valentine's Goodies. Oh look, my favourite colour! 

For Ladies:
Because we all know who this day is REALLY about.

Ring from SilverCrush, I've been DYING to get my hands on one of their amazing pieces!

Earrings from Carolina'sCreations.

For Mom:
Because she's the most important lady in your life 
(okay okay gents, aside from your wife - just don't tell mom)
Bowl from MarciG. I absolutely adore her ceramics!

Art Print from LaBerge.

For Gents:
Because you're the hardest to shop for, and we're obligated. ;)
Especially if we want our flowers, chocolates, and a nice dinner!
Letterpress Card from SweetDee.

Personalized Mug from LynnCardwellPottery.

Screenprinted illustrated tee from ShockNRoll.

Hope these gifts sparked some Valentine's Day spirit and possibly helped you with a last-minute-gift dilemma (or at least some inspiration)! 

This Feb 14th, I will be making homemade chocolate molten cakes (my mom, little sister and I will be having a Girl's Night), and snuggling up to my white fluffy puppy, Rufus, who is the most loyal man I have ever had the pleasure of knowing :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"Welcome to My World" by FiftyThree5353

This piece just blew me away - like a vibrant, delicious mix of Harry Potter and Miyazaki films; its perspective and detail are just gorgeous. 

Let's Get the Ball Rolling!

 2011 is the year of my Pursuit of Radness. 

I'm really good at figuring out New Years Resolutions like, months into the new year (better late than never, right?); and one of my resolutions is to do more stuff with my blog. As the weather starts to warm and the 11 inches of snow we received start to melt, my mind inevitably switches into spring mode. I watch the weather every night, hoping my local weatherman will say that magical number: "50's". And this Sunday? He rewarded my patience with a firm prediction of "55 and sunny". Ahhhhh. Time to break out my sundresses and boots.

Spring is on my brain. And you can tell from my Etsy Shop, I am currently obsessed with bright rainbow-coloured florals. I've been reading lots of trend forecasts and fashion blogs, and have been sketching new pieces like a madwoman. Last year I created a small series of rings that I affectionately refer to as my "Funky Flower Collection". They sold so well that this spring I am introducing an addendum to that collection! I have done some searching, and feel I can confidently say that these are pretty darn original. I have not seen any other flower accessory like them on the web!

I've been a busy bee. But let's open the floodgates of my humble little blog! Over the next few months, I want to start featuring some talented lovely-people that deserve some more spotlight, do some product reviews that are relevant to my jewelry-making process (and will hopefully help you!), and do a pretty sweet giveaway sometime later in the spring.

I am hoping and crossing all my fingers that I am able to land an Artist Alley table at Otakon, Baltimore's summer convention, and that I can start gearing up for that and sharing some stuff with you guys as well. Hopefully vlogs to come (once my face clears up, it's that week - pimples, aggggh!), inspiration photos, reblogs, stupid stuff, sketches, works in progress, life updates, clever quotes, go little blog, go!

I am hoping to bring you the very first artist interview by the end of this week... stayed tuned ;)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

TrueLife: I Had an Affair...

...with tumblr. (and completed my hipster transformation, I think)

Yes, I admit it! I'm sorry, blogspot, will you ever forgive me?! I was easily seduced by the shiny templates, and the ease with which you could reblog posts... it really wasn't my fault!

And while I love all of those things about Tumblr... I don't get that it's the type of srs bsns place, and part of me is serious... most of the time. And I actually want to tell you guys stuff, not just reblog funny gifs (as hilarious as they are, and I really do enjoy them). I probably will keep my tumblr and post stupid stuff there sometimes, and I will probably reblog stuff from there onto here, but I really think I want to keep the main part of my blogging here. After all, it's been over 3 years (surprisingly - I just looked and was like "Whoa"). My last few relationships have ended suddenly and tragically, with guys bailing without warning. Dear blogspot, I cannot do that to you. I will not do that to you! Do not despair!

Here's a little of what was missed:

I am in the process of a huge spring update in my Etsy Shop; hooray for the rainbow!
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