Friday, May 24, 2013

Latest Art Favorites!

Sorry for no update lately! I've been so busy with getting the word out about the latest art giveaway!! If you haven't entered yet, you can by scrolling down to the post following this one, and enter to win one of Emily Penso's fine art prints! 
So here are some of my latest art favorites. You can click the images to learn more about each piece. 






Thursday, May 16, 2013

Fine Art Print Giveaway and Interview with Artist Emily Penso!

Buy this piece here  

Hello everyone!! I am so excited because this is my first artist interview/giveaway post! I am honored to introduce the wonderful artist Emily Penso, and I hope you all enter the print giveaway at the bottom of this post and take the time to read my interview with her. Her story is quite interesting! Emily sells her surreal and whimsical artwork in her Etsy shop and when I contacted her after seeing her work she was very excited when I gave her the opportunity to be featured on my blog!  [The giveaway can be found at the end of this post!]

  • Can you just tell me a little about yourself; where did you grow up, go to school, what are you up to now?
"I was lucky enough to grow up in New Zealand, in the South Island city of Dunedin. It was 
a wonderful place to grow up and although it's quite a cold part of the world, most of my childhood memories involve sunshine and bare feet.  

I am the middle of three children, with two wonderfully loving and supportive parents  who shaped our world with a comfortable home, a love of the outdoors and an  appreciation of the arts – I remember many a boring gallery trip! But although at the time I would have preferred to be playing with Barbie or some other weird toy, there was always at least one art work that would completely mesmerize me.  

During my high school years (sweet 16) my Dad landed a job in Canberra, Australia. So my small world got bigger and we moved across the Tasman. It was a tough move for me, but character building, and definitely helped guide me into  pursuing art.  I ended up studying painting at the Canberra School of Art which was just  awesome and really changed my life. 

Now, curiously, I find myself living in Israel (which is another epic tale, but involves meeting a beautiful Israeli in India and marrying him in Cyprus).   

We live in a lovely village on a hill with our two completely gorgeous boys, and a white cat and a black dog. We have a small olive grove which we use for making oil, a small studio which I use for making art J and lots of little vegetable gardens. It suits us well."

Buy a custom drawing from Emily here
  • Your work is so surreal and whimsical, where did the inspiration for these types of works come from? Is there anything else that inspires you, just in general?
"I guess my mind has always been a bit of a peculiar place, and for as long as I can remember 
I have been fascinated by things that are out of the ordinary.  

My earliest surrealism influence almost certainly came from Rene Magritte.  My parents had a book on Magritte and throughout my childhood I loved pawing through the pages. It was entertainment that never got old, no matter how old I got, and every time I looked I would discover something new.

Buy this piece here
Another big influence would be dreams. I am a serious dreamer - day dreams and night dreams - but I am particularly inspired by night dreams as they are totally wild, complete raw sub consciousness, and always purely surreal.  

The world around me is also a major source of inspiration; Birds, insects, trees, people, land  forms and the interactions between everything that exists - I am constantly in awe of this world we live in. It never gets boring! It is a mysterious moving masterpiece that I love being part of. This spiritual connection that I have with life is also a bit of an influence. It is much easier for me to articulate what it is that I feel spiritually through drawing than words."

Buy this piece here 

  •  Do you have any advice to artists or future artists on how to promote their work or how to approach getting their work out there? Advice in general?
"I think not being afraid of self-promotion is something that many artists need to overcome, and is definitely something that I have struggled with, and still struggle with to a degree.

I guess I would advise emerging artists to think about what it is they want out of their art practice and use that goal to guide them in how they promote their work.   

In general, to get your work out there… approach galleries, apply for exhibitions, get help with submitting great proposals if necessary, collaborate with other artists, get involved in open group shows, exhibit as often as you can, enter art competitions, get the social media happening, create a website, open an Etsy store, take all the steps that you think are important for you as an artist. 

And of course…don't let knock backs get you down, because they will happen, and great things will also happen!"  
  •  A lot of your work looks like it has been sparked by unique ideas. What have been some your favorite ideas to explore with your art?  
  "You know, most of the time my work starts as a visual idea rather than a concept that I want to communicate (consciously anyway) but always through the process of making the work I begin to understand the symbolism of what I am drawing and mostly it's personal feelings, thoughts, experiences.  

I approach my work with intuition, but execute it in a very precise way! Some of my favorite visual themes have been playing with scale relationships between figures, mirroring birds, and using clouds as a very deliberate compositional device (with meaning!)

Clouds have been popping up a lot lately and they are beginning to take the centre stage.

I love clouds."


Buy this piece here  

  • Do you do anything fun/interesting in your free time? Any favorite hobbies or weekend activities?  
"Wow, free time is something that is completely foreign to me! My little boys keep me very busy! 

But, I do manage to squeeze in a little bit of yoga and any chance I get I am in the garden.  In my down time I have been known to play 'words with friends' on my phone ( I'm mildly addicted). If I had more free time I would love to make pebble mosaic stepping stones, sew stuff ,and I'd also restore all the shabby vintage furniture that I have collected.

When my boys are all grown up I would like to do my masters, it's a nice dream, and I'd love 
to learn more skills, like basket weaving and everything to do with textiles."

Make sure to click the links below to check out more of Emily's work! 

Emily's Etsy shop: StudioLavaan 
Emily's Facebook fan page: here 
Emily's website: here  

Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway! Here is the print that Emily will be giving away, it is titled "Pheasant Flight", and the winner is Audrey S. !!! Congrats Audrey. Come back soon for more giveaways, everyone!

The Prize: 

Buy this piece here 

  (The more entry points you have, the greater chance of winning!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway Currently one of Emily's favorite songs:

Asaf Avidan & The Mojos - Your Anchor

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Artist Jen Prox: Maker of Prints Bursting with Colorful Life

 Buy this piece here 
This piece was done while listening to this song here 

Hello everyone and thanks for stopping by to read my latest artist interview! This time I interviewed artist Jen Prox, who lives near Cleveland Ohio and has Etsy shops for both her jewelry and her art. Her prints are literally bursting with color and life! If you'd like to visit her Etsy shops they will be listed at the end of the post...and don't forget to leave a comment! 

Can you just tell me a little bit about yourself and how you started as an artist?  

I am a mom of an (almost) three year old, named Noah, and an (almost) five year old named Isaac.  I spend my mornings with my two boys, and I work as a custom framer at an art/craft store in the evenings.  I somehow manage to find time to make my jewelry and drawings/paintings in between all of this. My husband works the night shift as a respiratory therapist.  

How did I start as an artist?.....well, I've always been creative.  The bits of my childhood that I remember we're filled with making things.  I altered many of my toys....ripped off the stickers,  painted them, made them into something else.  I loved play-doh, tinker toys, Legos, and of course paint and crayons, and any other media like that.  I started filling sketchbooks at an early age. I found school boring, and was an average student with minimal effort.  After enduring k-12 required public school I went on the the local community college to discover my direction in life.  I started taking the regular requirements, and filled my schedule to the rim with electives.  I enjoyed college much more then k-12....I had more control over what I could learn.  I loved philosophy, psychology, theology, and anthropology and I thought that I would find a direction in one of these studies.  I was also taking some other courses in the arts, I think I did everything.  Drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, even some graphic design courses.  There was also jewelry and enameling offered at this school and I took all levels of each course.  It even got to the point that I was taking these classes beyond the point that I couldn't receive credits for it, and I was just an independent study creating my own curriculum.  This all took place in a three year period of time.  

At this point I had resisted my direction long enough. (I did not want to become an "artist") I understood how hard that would be, and longed for an easier direction in my life that would involve a simple 9-5, and a dependable pay check.  But, I discovered in those three years, that I am what I am, and it was futile to resist.  I live near the Cleveland Institute of Art, and I thought I'd apply, just to see what would happen.  I applied, and not only was accepted but received a substantial scholarship and was allowed to skip a year (it was a five year program back then).  So, my art school adventure began.  It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  To be immersed with so many talented and creative people was an eye opener, I was no longer the best at anything artistic....I was one of many, and so many more were better then me, which pushed me to new levels of creativity.  I finally felt like I belonged somewhere.  It was a lot of hard work, but it was never work I didn't enjoy.  I would get to school at 9am, and often stay until 2am working in my studio.  My major was in Jewelry Metals, and I minored in Enameling.  In 2003 I graduated in the top twenty of my class NS many of the amazing people I went to school with went on to have amazing careers as artists all around the country.  

Buy this piece here

I chose to stay here in Cleveland.  For five years after I graduated I traveled around within a 7hour radius doing outdoor juried art shows selling my jewelry.  I also entered my work in many exhibitions, and received many awards.  I have done a few shows with my paintings as well.  Life as an artist has not been easy, I had to work a "job" on top of creating to pay back a large student loan I had to take out in order to pay the portion of my tuition, and living expenses that my scholarship didn't cover.  I've worked for a jewelry artist, I've worked as an interior apolsterer of cooperate jets, and as a custom framer.  

In 2006 I was married to my wonderful hardworking husband, and in 2008 we had our first child and moved into our house.  After Isaac came along all my creative energy was poured into raising him.  My focus completely did a 180, and a new adventure began :) in 2010 we had Noah, and again my energy was focused on both my boys.  Now that they are a bit older and a little more independent, I have found my need for creating has resurfaced.  In 2012 I reopened my Etsy shop, set up my metals studio, and started working again, almost like I never had a five year break.  I started filling up my sketchbooks again, and decided to open up my Etsy print shop in 2013.  So here I am, a mom a wife, and an artist.   

Buy this piece here

Your work is so vibrant, eye-catching, and intricate, and a lot of the paintings are also reminiscent of the jewelry you create (or maybe it's vice versa?). Do they stem from the same inspiration? Is there anything else that has been an inspiration to your work?   

The drawings came first.  I have always been a doodler.  Like I said earlier, school was boring.  I remember geometry class.  This is when we were introduced to graph paper.  I remember sitting in class filling every square with a circle, then expanding the circles into other shapes guided by the graph paper, I would fill my graph paper pad with drawings of swirls, circles, spirals and they eventually started connecting and I started to develop a "drawing language" all my own.  I colored all these in with pens and then I developed my own "color language" I love color!  And I still walked away with a passing grade in geometry.  I eventually filled blank page sketchbooks with these doodle/drawings.  

Music has always been an inspiration to me.  I listen to all genres, and always have something playing while I'm creating.  In my high school/ college days I had many musically inclined friends, they would get together in basements, or coffee houses (after closing time) and have these amazing jams sessions.  I would bring my sketchbook and "draw the music" (I didn't have any musical talents of my own). I would frequent open mic nights, and shows around town.  I would be there in a dimly lit bar or coffee house drawing, drawing, drawing.  I have a crazy pen/ marker collection.  I still draw draw draw.  Now I put on a record and sit with the kids, and they draw with me.  Or If I have down time at work I'll jot down a quick idea.  Or late at night when the boys are in bed I spread out on the dinning room table and draw/paint.  

My religion is also an inspiration to me.  I'm a Catholic.  Catholicism is steeped in tradition, beauty, and symbolism.  I know that being raised surrounded by this has influenced my artistic interpretation of this world.  The theological challenges Catholicism presents to me on a daily basis satisfy my mind body and soul, and it helps me come to terms with my role as an artist in this world.  

Symbols also fascinate me (their anthropological origins, and inter connectivity throughout the world). 

The enamel/jewelry technique of cloisonné just fit into my already established drawing style, and even my non-enamel jewelry pieces are a reflection of my drawings. 

See this on Flickr 

What are your plans for the future in art or just life in general?   

All I ask of the future is that I'm able to continue to create, and raise my children to be beautiful human beings, and keep them unharmed in this uncertain world.  

It is my hope that my artwork can help support my family financially.  My artwork has yet to provide any sort of income for me.   

One of Jen's jewelry pieces: 

Buy this piece here 

Thanks for reading, everyone! Here are some of Jen's links, please like  
her Facebook and check out her shops! 

Jen's print shop: here 
Jen's jewelry shop: here 
Jen's Facebook fan page: here 

Glosoli - Sigur Ros

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Monday, May 6, 2013

The Beautiful Artwork by Artist Alana C. From The Little Leaf


Buy this piece here

I'd like you all to give a warm welcome to Alana C! Her artwork is uniquely beautiful and I hope you love it as much as I do!   
  • Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and what got you started with being an artist? 
I am originally from the South Island, New Zealand, but I have been living in Queensland, Australia since I graduated from a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2006. I always took Art as a subject through out school & went on to study it at University. At Uni we got to dabble in everything, I tried sculpture, life drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, art history & photography. I went on to major in printmaking & for my final year explored close ups in nature.
When I moved to Australia I went for years with no art in my life until a good friend Bec introduced me to the world of blogging. After a couple of days I started to be creative again, drawing, painting & taking photos regularly. After 6 months of blogging I finally started selling my drawings on Etsy.  

Buy this piece here 

  • It is clear from your amazing work that you are very inspired by nature. Are there any specific things about nature that inspire you, and do you get any of your inspiration from anywhere else?  

All my artwork is inspired by the patterns, colours & textures in nature & my drawings surround the subject of flowers & leaves.  My leaf doodles were actually where the name The Little Leaf originated from. 
To keep me inspired I visit various Botanical Gardens around my home to capture new imagery with my Macro Lens. These photos help me to generate new drawing ideas for my Etsy store. I have also recently found a new love for Copic Markers. When I first started using them I had no idea that Copic Markers have blending qualities & I was hooked. My work is created with either Copic Markers or Watercolour & majority of the time I also use a thin black pen in my work.  
Buy this piece here 

  • Just for kicks, what's it like living in Australia? Just for all the people who would love to visit but may never get the chance!  

On my blog I share photos from being out & about in Queensland Australia, the weather here is mostly beautiful. I share images of our beaches, the hinterland & our wildlife.  I also always find myself capturing amazing cloud formations from my balcony at sunrise or sunset. There are plenty of photos I share on my blog that I think are must-see places for someone that is coming to visit Australia. 

Make sure to visit Alana at all her sites!!! 

Her Etsy shophere 
Her website/bloghere 
Like her Facebook fan page!here  
Follow her on Bloglovinhere 
Follow her on Pinteresthere 

Alana is also having a sale in her Etsy shop!!!  Use code HAPPYMOTHERSDAY 
at checkout for %20 ! 

Don't forget to leave a comment letting Alana know what you think of her work!

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

What Are You Doing With Your Day?


If you haven't seen this amazing video of Turkish artist Seyit Uyugar carrying out the Turkish marbling paper art called ebru, now's the time to see it! It's really relaxing to see the way this guy can turn a piece of paper into a work of art in such a unique way. I'm going to be studying for exams all day, and then everyday this week will be the same except Thursday. Exams exams exams. What are you doing with your day? 
I hope it's something better than studying for exams. 

Be sure to watch out for the next couple of artist interviews (and possibly art giveaway!), they're in the making as we speak! I won't tell you who the artists are, but one of them has some really unique surreal art that you won't want to miss out on seeing. 

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