Monday, May 19, 2014

Follow me on Bloglovin'

Another way to make your life easer - Follow my blog with Bloglovin. Bloglovin' is a site where you can add your favorite blogs and discover new ones in one easy-to-track feed. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Introducing Mr. "Bloom"... and a Giveaway!

My latest linocut is of a slightly apprehensive broccoli guy encountering a bee. It comes in two different color schemes. I call the print "Bloom." Personally I think of him as "Mr. Bloom," But I don't want to be too gender-specific with a plant in case some people perceive him as a "she" or an "it." Maybe I'm overthinking it.

Anyway, back in 2012 after I successfully launched my Kickstarter campaign to produce The Golden Moth Illumination Deck, I had promised to create 96 small original artworks for backers who chose it in their reward levels. Here are some examples of artwork I created. You can see another vegetable-ish creature in the bottom right corner that looks like an asparagus!

I kept the paintings simple. Most started out with me just putting blobs of watercolor onto several papers at once, and then I decided what each blob should become. I kept some of my favorites, including this broccoli guy. Recently I decided to make him into a linocut, because I hadn't done any personal printmaking work in awhile.

He looked silly to me because he was so serious-looking. I added the bee to give him more of a relationship with the outside world.

For this print, I created a stencil for the green/pink portion of the print and rolled the ink with a brayer directly onto the paper. I made the stencil by taking a piece of computer paper and varnishing it on both sides so it was waterproof and I could re-use it. I chose computer paper because I thought that if I rolled the brayer of ink over something thicker like cardstock, the ink might not lay down close enough inside the edges of the stencil. 

I took this picture after I had already cleaned the stencil, so you can't see the mess of ink on the stencil itself. Also, the border part was printing weird, so I just blocked it out with tape and didn't use it at all. I cut out little right-angle triangles on the corners of the stencil so I could see through to my printing paper underneath and it would line up correctly.

It took me a couple proofing sessions to figure out the greenish-blue I wanted for the linocut. Then I took it to the etching press and printed the linocut on top of the stencilled part.

Ta-da! I also added the yellow to the bee with colored pencil.

If you like Mr. (or Ms.) Bloom and want him/her to be part of your world, please enter my giveaway!


I'm giving away one version of this print (either pink or green, winner decides) to one randomly-selected person who enters the giveaway. You must do the following THREE things to enter the giveaway:

1. Please visit my online shop, Sprout Head, and leave a comment on this post telling me both what your favorite item/s are in the shop and why, AND what you'd like to see more of (either something similar to what you see already or an entirely new product that you want me to make).

IMPORTANT: You must either adjust your settings to receive e-mails about replies to your comments, or send me your e-mail address - or else I can't contact you if you win! You may e-mail me at: good_old_fashioned_smell ( at ) hotmail (dot) com. You may also private message me on my Sprout Head Facebook page. In fact, head on over there anyway because you also need to do the following:

2. "Like" my Facebook page! If you want to be the first to get notifications on the Sprout Head page, also make sure that after you "like" my page, click on "liked" and scroll the drop-down menu to click on "Get notifications." Otherwise, you may not always see updates from my page on your news feed.

3. Share this giveaway with other people on Facebook by posting it on your page and/or sharing it on your friends' timelines. Here's the link:

OPTIONAL: Your name gets thrown in the hat for each additional OPTIONAL thing that you do. Make sure to let me know in your comment if you do the following things:

- Follow my blog - you can find options to do so on the right-hand side of the blog - Subscribe to my E-Newsletter here (I only send out updates 1-2 times a month)
- Follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway
- Blog about the giveaway on your blog.
- Pin an image of "Bloom" on an appropriate board on your Pinterest page. You may pin from this blog post, or from the Etsy listings here: pink and green versions.

REMEMBER, you must do only the FIRST THREE of these things to have your name entered once into the giveaway!


* P.S. Don't forget to contact me with your e-mail address or I cannot contact you if you win! *

Good luck!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Monster-Fixer, or, Everything is Unfolding as it Should

My best friend and I were talking about not wanting to rush so much in art and life. We figured out that some of our reasons for rushing and keeping busy were to feel that we were involved in important endeavors, as well as a way to allay anxiety by always being occupied.

Recently on a walk around the neighborhood with my boyfriend, I started yelling and arguing with him. He threatened to walk away and said how much he disliked the way I got like that on walks. I asked him why he thought that was, and he replied something to the effect of "You're out of your element and your brain needs to be constantly occupied about something. You need to be fired up at all times."

I thought that was pretty accurate.

I've been slowly evolving the way I do and think about things. One value that I want to hold to myself these days is taking things at my own pace. With my art, I like to work slowly sometimes because I like to spend time and respond totally to it, and I think that also extends to the way I experience life. I don't enjoy rushing around and feeling like I have to do everything at once. When I think back to important moments in my life, there were times when I had to act quickly and intensely, for example when my apartment caught fire and I had to move out and prepare for a conference that was coming up soon. In some ways I felt rushed, but more so I felt it was necessary action.

There's a difference between seizing the moment and rushing. There was a freedom in making a decision quickly that I felt right about, and it released the energy I needed to get things done.

When it comes to long-term goals, I've decided to pace myself. I am much more trusting of life and its timing. If something doesn't work out, I trust that it wasn't necessary. And things that I really want to work out, like creating and earning a living income from my art, I know (not hope or wish) will happen one day. Whatever is right and true will happen because I am seeking/gravitating toward it and incorporating it into how I think and do.

These days I find ways to to do the best I can with what I have... to not always seek the most rushed or difficult way to do things... and to just have some faith that everything is going well.

I've always had a very active mind and imagination. As a child, I worried about EVERYTHING. My fearful anticipations felt like realities. I believed that the worst would happen, and felt so relieved when it didn't. I'm still like that. My dad would always tell me "Your fear isn't real" but it didn't help me. It was like telling a child that the monsters under her bed that she was terrified of weren't real.

Here is a drawing I made in college called "The Specialist." For me, it's about a person with a very specialized job who goes into monsters to fix them. There's a door on the monster for him/her to get out, so there's no need to worry about being trapped. At the time, I was going through a lot of emotional trauma. Creating this piece was a way for me to make my monsters more objective, less scary.

These days I'm facing some monsters. They come in the forms of the anxieties of running my art businesses in a very active active and directed way. I am afraid of making mistakes, of angering people, of not living up to what I promise, of being unsuccessful. I'm reading a lot of books/articles/blogs about how to organize myself and about the different art industries I'm interested in. Learning about these realities, as well as realizing that I don't have to do things perfectly or even well at first, has helped me feel more at ease and happy in my life.

It's an amazing confidence booster to try to get better at something that I was afraid of or thought I could never be good at. It makes me feel more whole, if that makes sense. And it reminds me that life is a constantly unfolding process, not some race from start to finish.

I'll leave you with some inspiring words by Max Erhmann. I used to have a mug with the second part of this quote written on it:
"You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Studio Two Three and Quail Bell Posts

Sometimes I'm horribly late about updating news and info, so I apologize to Studio Two Three and Quail Bell Magazine for not posting these links earlier.

Here's an interview with Studio Two Three about my work. Be sure to read the other interviews with S23 artists.

Here's a Featured Artist post from Quail Bell Magazine about my printmaking process, as well as two posts with my "Return" show fiber artwork and accompanying poems: Moon Girls and Heishi.

Make sure to check out more of the Quail Bell website as it has lots of great writing and art. From their site: 
Quail Bell Magazine is a social and artistic experiment in the imaginary, the nostalgic, and the otherworldly. Our readers are curiouscreative, and compassionate fairy punks who are citizens of the world....We are not attempting to produce a magazine that is purely literary or purely journalistic, but, rather, somewhere in between for results that are inspiring and informative.

I've Gone All Social

So I'm a bit of a luddite at times. I love being able to use the internet and my computer, but I get scared of becoming too attached and distracted by technology. However, after some thought I came to the conclusion that in order to grow my art businesses, I need to embrace the current trends. I'm on my way to getting a smartphone (hopefully in the next few months) so I can join Instagram and easily take/upload photos for this blog and other social media. I think it's going to make my life easier in many ways, but I will try hard to exist in the here and now, and not stay glued to my phone!

Without further ado, here are my new Sprout Head Art social media links:


And I've already been a member of Pinterest for some time:

Hope you'll join me on the web!