Sunday, May 30, 2010

Summer? Already?

I think we are going to skip Spring altogether this year. Two weeks ago we had snow, and yesterday we had to put on our shorts! I was looking forward to several weeks of shirtsleeves and jeans, but at least this means we can get our garden going. Mr Right bought me some new rosebushes for Mother's day, and we managed to squeeze them in. Maybe today I'll tackle the crowds at the garden center.

So, of course, now that Summer is here, it is time for me to stop painting summer images! It is rather difficult to get used to, but in this business the clients always work a long way ahead, because it takes so long to get the products to the marketplace. My clients are starting to think Fall and Winter and I need to paint accordingly. It is so hard to paint a snowman when you are hot and wearing shorts! And to paint snow in general when you are surrounded by the brightest flowers that are just begging to be captured in watercolors! I still have a few clients who will be asking for summer scenes for a couple more months, but many have wrapped up their summer catalogs.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Quilting Fun

Blogging has been very sparse lately, I know. I have been taking some days off work to spend time with my dear mother. Mum is a talented quilter, so she was very excited to get my very first fabric collection, "Purrfect Garden".

Isn't she lovely? I am supposed to save the quilt for my first grandchildren, so I'll need to make sure I store it carefully, rolled up in a pillowcase.

Here it is draped over another heirloom; the rocking horse my brother made. He's a very good woodworker and even made his own boat! I sure seem to come from a clever family. I am very sentimental and love surrounding myself with things made by my loved ones.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pretty Bird

Look at this pretty dove that I got from Michelle Palmer! (her blog link is at the right). She has been making these sweet little drawings on vintage linen. Don't you love the eggy border? Now I just need to figure out how to frame it. Does anyone have an idea of how to mount it onto acid-free matboard without damaging the linen or having any adhesive show through?

It has been like Christmas around here. In addition to Michelle's dove, the postman also delivered a big box of samples, yay! Just in time for my mother's visit. I hope she has plenty of room in her suitcase to take some goodies home! These are just a few of the items from the line, which is called Fruit Stand and is made by Highland Graphics. I couldn't resist using some of them to serve treats at Bunco last night. Getting samples always makes me fired up to paint extra hard, so I can do some more fun products!

(Does anyone know why Blogspot tends to move things around in my posts? I'll get all the pictures placed, and spaces between my paragraphs, but when I click "publish post" everything seems to shift on its own accord!)

Thursday, May 13, 2010


This past year has been a time where I have faced a lot of challenges, both professionally and personally, and I feel like I am growing stronger as a result. One task I set myself was to learn how to use Photoshop, and I am so thankful that I persevered! I am a bit of a techno-phobe, and I am sure my friends got tired of me calling and asking advice and whining about how intimidating it all was! But I really think now that if you want to be involved in Licensing, a basic knowledge of Photoshop is a must. I am still using Photoshop Elements, which is so much cheaper than the full edition, but it has everything I need. And thank goodness, because today I have a new challenge. A client has asked me to design the display where my products will go, and I have never done that before!

On another note, this is a small portion of a painting I recently licensed. The client, however, didn't like the wren (he does blend in a little bit, but I do love wrens!)

Thanks to Photoshop, I was able to change the wren to this bright Blue Jay, which the client liked. A book I would recommend to someone who isn't experienced with PS is "Art and Design in Photoshop" by Steve Caplin. It is very visual and easy to follow.

Now I just have to hope the snow melts (yes, more snow!) because I am having a sample sale of my products this weekend. Wish you could all stop by!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Teacup Tuesday and Love Letters

This is my first time participating in Teacup Tuesdays sponsored by Artful Affirmations(, so I chose my absolute favorite teacup to show you. This teaset belonged to my grandmother and was left to me by my dear father. Aren't they so delicate and lovely? The little milk jug and sugar basin are so tiny, I just love them. They are from Royal Doulton and are very rare; I always look in antique shops for more pieces, but have struck out so far. The only ones I have been able to track down have been in Australia!

I also just have to share this wonderful book I got yesterday. By "Love Letters" I meant that I have really gotten into typography lately (lame pun, I know). I think it stems from my collecting antequarian books. My favorite period is the late 1800s-early 1900s. This book is from 1906.

This is the frontispiece. Look at how decorative and gorgeous it is! These days I think most publishers think it would be cost-prohibitive to pay an artist to create something so elaborate. Maybe that is one reason that vintage designs are so popular: people appreciate the time and effort that an actual person spent creating something lovely.

And here is one of the alphabets that I thought I would post for you to share. The German alphabets always seem to be very ornate! The book has a great variety of alphabets. They will be such fun to use in my collages!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Birds are Back!

Does anyone remember the old Far Side cartoon where the people are looking at their garden and saying, "The slugs are back, the slugs are back! Yay, it's Spring!" Well, I kind of feel like that. The birds are starting to come back to the yard again. Redwing blackbirds, gold finches, house finches, hooray! And our apple tree has blossoms on it for the first time ever. I will be so excited if we actually get some fruit.

All of a sudden there are blossoms everywhere. Yesterday I got a call from a client saying they needed a promo photo. Well, I think I am terribly unphotogenic, but decided that I would see if we could take some that weren't too frightening. Ian does a pretty good job with the camera, so we found some trees that were in bloom and gave it a shot in between gusts of wind. Oh dear... well, at least I have a good personality!

And boy, was it windy the other day! We had gusts up to 100 mph. The roofs of both the rabbit hutch and the beehive blew off, but fortunately the residents stayed inside where it was cosy.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

More Mess!

Its official, the basement is starting to overflow, so it is time for another sample sale (and sale to try to shift a bunch of other stuff too!) I really need to get to the basement and organize and price everything. I wish I had bigger folding tables!

These are just a few of the puzzles stacked up. I probably do more puzzles than any other category, and I usually get six samples of each design, so they add up really quickly!!

There are boxes and boxes of cards-way more than I could ever send in my lifetime! (and not just because I don't know that many people!)

And let's not forget the flags! These are just a few. I have about twenty designs, and I get samples in both large and small sizes. They are in very slippery plastic wrappings, so they are difficult to stack and usually end up sliding off the shelves onto the floor. (Someday I'll get a hanging rack.) I tend to give the proceeds of selling samples to charity, so I need to decide where to send it this time. Last time I supported Wounded Warriors and felt great about that, so I will probably just continue to do so.

So I will be spending my Sunday downstairs, where I hope the spider population has diminished somewhat over the winter. At least it is supposed to be a rainy afternoon, so I won't feel too guilty for being indoors!