Monday, February 25, 2008

more ACEOs

I've spent an awful lot of time lately on making these little cards! They are quite addictive, and hopefully sale-able, so here's the latest. Doesn't this strawberry look yummy?
You can see the ebay listing here.

Maybe radishes make you long for spring gardening...

The ebay listing is here.

I also did a series of spring flowers

(ebay listing of one is here.)

And here is the first series of orchids. These are fascinating plants!

(ebay listing of one orchid is here.)

And after all that, there's more! Later in the week I'll be posting and listing another set of orchids and a full set of ferns. Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

couple new things today

As always, I've been busy creating some type of artwork in my free time, but it hasn't yet made it onto the blog. Lately it has been the trading cards known as ACEOs. I've got a whole big batch of them going, but I'm working assembly line style. Right now I'm painting them in the evenings and when I get the bunches accumulated, I will glue on the backs, attach the labels and scan them in to post here. Just let me say that I am getting better at this and I am excited to get the new ones posted.

Meanwhile, there have been changes at ebay. Just as I joined the ebay ACEO group to be part of the community that chats and supports each other on these little cards, ebay had changes in place to take effect on 2.20.08. Those changes are not particularly beneficial to artists and other small sellers on ebay and so a strike has been launched this week in protest. Even though I am new to the group, I did want to support the strike by not buying or selling on ebay this week. For more information on WHY the strike is happening, read this post at Mousewords. It is very complete in explanation as well as clarity and I plan to bookmark this site to read the excellent writing there.

In other news, I did sell some of my cards before the strike started and was pleased with my first efforts. Besides the ebay sales, one of my knitting friends, Hattie, was kind enough to purchase my first flower series, Alstromeria...

I am so pleased on several levels. One, Hattie is a young mother who is devoted to her family and who I know is on a limited budget. Still, she supports the arts and I couldn't be happier that she wanted my flowery art cards. Hattie is a proficient knitter that you can check out at her blog, Stitch Therapy. She also has an Etsy store, Yarnophilia, if you like yarn and roving. I am very fond of Hattie and enjoy following the masterful projects she tackles. Thanks for your support, Hattie!

So stayed tuned for more ACEOs. These little cards are addictive and I have oodles of ideas for them...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

ebay listing for the ACEOs

Well, just when I was considering listing my new ACEOs on ebay, a special came along. Today, for one day only, listing fees were reduced to 20 cents per item. Naturally, I had to snag onto that. And so, my listings are made for the recently created ACEOs. It has been a bit more work than I expected, but then again, I don't do anything half-way. I wanted good artwork, with good, sturdy backing, and I think I have a quality product to offer. If you like, you can check me out here. From there, you can click on "view seller's other items" and see the whole shebang.

Here I go again - off on yet another tangent...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

ACEOs for Leslie

OK, here is a post for Leslie. She asked me about the ACEOs and how I am mounting them and I want to reply since it is rather interesting information.

First of all, it was suggested to me that one can buy ready-made ATC/ACEO card-size paper. I knew that and may do it in the future, but for now, I am using up good watercolor paper that I already have. I am also cutting the paper a bit oversized by 1/8" to 1/4" larger overall so that I can crop it after the original sketch/painting is done. I know this is not necessary, but I feel like it gives me a bit of leeway to correct the composition in such a small format.

And so I have a little frame cutout with an opening of 2.5" x 3.5" to position over the original small paintings to mark where to crop. After I mark those, I get the card-stock backs ready.

So far, I've tried a couple of different glue-ing methods. I bought a small Xyron machine (2.5" capacity) that makes "stickers". (It was on sale at Michaels) I also bought pre-cut card stock in the 2.5 x 3.5 size and ran those through the Xyron machine. The card stock came out perfectly sticky and I attached it to the back of the watercolor paper within the crop marks I had made. I pressed the little "packages" between stacked books to cure.

After a day or so, I took out the glued "packages" and trimmed them to size. I used a purchased punch to round the corners of each card. However, the glue seemed to come loose on some cards and the edges would separate. Bummer.

On the next round, I used YES! Glue for attaching the card stock backing. When I opened the pot of glue it was much thicker than I was expecting. I used a palette knife to swipe some glue onto each piece of cardstock and then spread it to the edges with a disposable craft brush. I placed the back onto each hand-painted card and pressed them between heavy books to dry. This glue seemed to make a better and more permanent bond and the cards came out nice and flat. I then trimmed them to size with a rotary cutter on a self-healing mat.

Meanwhile, I made a WORD document of my general info for the back of each card. It turned out to be easy to cut up the word doc and feed it through the Xyron machine (sticker maker) so that each card has the essential information on the back. Naturally, there is enough free space left for an original signature and date.

So it remains to be seen if these little pieces of art will sell. My main interest is in making a quality piece of work that will be worth the purchase price. I want the artwork to be on a good surface and have the piece secured to an acid free backing that will preserve it. So far I am happy with my efforts and will try to get the ACEOs listed on ebay later this week.


I recently discovered "ACEOs". These are an offshoot of "ATCs" (Artist Trading Cards) and stands for "Art Cards, Editions & Originals". The difference is that ATCs are based on an old tradition of artists exchanging original cards with one another and they are never made for sale. Rather, they are given to other artists as a representation of their personal work. BUT. One innovative artist, Lisa Luree, known as Bone Diva on ebay, started a movement in 2004 to sell ATCs. That required separating from the purist "trading" group and ACEOs were born. Today, more than 3000 artists list ACEOs on ebay. I am about to become one of that number.

For the past week and a half, I've been researching ACEOs and what it takes to make them. First, they are a specified size - 2.5" by 3.5". Other than that, there are no rules. They can - and are - made of anything an artist can conceive of.

Me - I'm just sticking with what I know, and that is painting. There are a lot of BAD ACEOs out there. When I see good ones, I see that they sell. People love to collect real art and this is an amazing venue for small scale, affordable, real art that you can collect and own. What is not to love about that?

My first series is a group of lemons.

and then there are some onions and some sushi - which was remarkably hard not to eat while sketching!

and flowers, of course.

It has been quite a process figuring out how these things are made. First, you paint on good watercolor paper. Then you mount the small painting to acid-free cardstock. The piece gets trimmed and a label with all the relevant info gets attached to the back. A real signature on the back along with real initials on the front completes the piece.

Now, I will list these on ebay when time permits. Hopefully I will sell this first batch and recoup my investment! Other artists can probably relate to my dilemma - I get so interested in new projects that I spend what I might have made upfront just getting involved! Yikes! Hopefully, ACEOs is a hobby that will pay for itself...

latest sketches

This sketch is from last Saturday. It was on one of the "prepared" pages of my moleskine and documents a trip to a favorite market.

On Sunday evening I watched a bit of TV and drew an EDM challenge - #156, Draw a Sandwich. I was so hungry that I ate it before I was finished drawing and had to use a bit of imagination....

postcard exchange

Recently, I engaged in an original art post-card exchange with an EDM member in England. It was so exciting to compose a postcard to her and wait for one in return. I sent mine off a couple weeks ago and today - I finally received hers! This is it! Anita checked out my profile here and found that I do love my lipstick and so that is what she drew for me. It could not be more perfect! I love love love my lipstick and even carried it in my fanny pack when I used to walk marathons. So this is a lovely, thoughtful and cherished post from a fellow artist across a mighty ocean from me. How fun!!

And this was my postcard to her a couple weeks ago. I looked for something unique to draw for her and decided on this sterling cucumber spoon from my collection. Others seemed fascinated by it, as well as unfamiliar with such a thing. Well, guess what? I also have a tomato spoon! It is a bit larger on the rounded end.

And now I will have to watch for others who want to trade artwork - it was quite fun to do and I love Anita's card.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Thursday evening

Tonight I rushed home to play with the new gouache. Flowers again.

And a page in the moleskine

the gouache came!

I was excited to find my gouache order on my doorstep on Wednesday after work. I couldn't get in the house fast enough to unwrap it! I don't have an official palette yet - I want to make one out of a small tin, so I squeezed out the three primaries and the three secondary colors into a small divided porcelain painting dish to get started. Oh - and white in the center section. Out came the onions again. The paints felt new and weird and before you knew it, I had worked the first onion to death. Even the white gouache couldn't save it. What a dark and muddy onion. Oh well...

So I flipped the onion over and tried again. This time I remembered that less is more and quit before the cause was lost.

Still wanting a top view, and by now being very familiar with this particular onion, I did another version. This time I felt more comfortable with the paint and was pretty pleased with the rendition.

Back to the kitchen to see what else I could find. Aha! A leek!

The Schmincke colors are quite brilliant! Maybe not quite as brilliant as they show on the computer screen, but very clear and bright. Very intense. I think I will like these a whole lot. And... I know that watercolor purists strive to save the white of the paper on the page for their highlights, but I just never did very well at that. I admire it when I see it, but I have to admit that I like the opaque white gouache for letting me go back and lay in a very rewarding highlight. Yum!

love that pizza!

A sketch from Monday night's dinner decision:

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

another onion

Well, I had to do this onion twice before I got loosened up and it still isn't loose and sketchy like I wanted it to be. It seems like my drawing is good and strong, but I definitely do not have control over the water paints. I start off fine and before you know it, I'm working too tightly and losing the lights. Drats.

I guess that's a case for practicing more. I'm looking forward to getting the gouache to see if I can work better with a more opaque medium. Watercolor was never my forte.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Sunday evening drawing

While the rest of the world watched the Super Bowl, I plugged in a movie and sketched. Here is EDM Challenge 141 - Draw something with Bristles

and EDM Challenge 92 - Draw a Paper Bag

Then I raided the kitchen for subject matter and painted these on Arches 140# paper with W&N watercolors:

and Onions:

I'm loosening up! I ordered some gouache paints this past weekend, so that will be something new to look forward to. Now, off to sketch.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

beginning February

A new month has begun! I sketched some fresh flowers on Arches watercolor paper. The drawing doesn't flow as much as I would have liked, but, oh well...

I had some errands to run late today and called my daughter to see if she could go with me. She almost never leaves her little ones but today she did and we had a great time - shopping and eating!

an EDM Challenge (Draw a Lemon) but I forget which one...

Saturday, February 02, 2008

wrapping up January

January has been quite a productive month! After barely sketching last year, I somehow got motivated by the EDM group to get going again. I got a goal buddy - Ann - and wrote to her that I would like to get six moleskine page spreads done in the month of January so as to get sketching again. Well....

With these two sketches, done on the last day of Jan '08, I actually did 29 moleskine page spreads and a good bit of knitting! I am very pleased (and surprised!) with this output even though I am looking to change direction a bit and breathe some new life into my artistic endeavors. Oh, and by the way, I was working that pesky full time job all the while this month. Doesn't making a living just totally get in the way???

I recently started a new moleskine and I did "pre-treat" some of the pages with paint and collage a la Roz. This one had a cutout of some African-inspired fabric, so I did a bit of research on little African birds who might enjoy such a landscape. Isn't the Ostrich a hoot?

Yesterday I popped into a shop and picked up a cool magnifying glass with a gorgeous ceramic blue-striped handle. The beauty of that purchase is that I really need the darn thing!

For February I hope to expand even more. I have spent a couple days researching new art supplies like gouache (with the help of Laura) and beautiful Leather Journals (on the recommendation of Bill) so hopefully, new things are in store.

Stay warm and keep sketching/knitting/posting dear friends.