Saturday, March 29, 2014

As April Approaches

Things have calmed down considrably after the launch of Aurora Wings Challenge Blog for the digital stamps/crafting community.  I feel I can once again redirect my energy more towards creating.  And I do have a lot of ideas just keep coming.  One thing I'm never short of is ideas and inspirations.  No such thing as an art block with me (well, so long as people don't send me weird requests for commissions LOL).

"Buddha & Willow" ACEO in ink & watercolor on bristol vellum (140 lb.)
Just finished this commissioned ACEO for one of my biggest digi customers and active members of the Stamps by Aurora Wings group, Fernanda.  She rescues dogs and these are her fur babies Buddha (pitbull) and Willow (American Eskimo).  It's supposed to be a present for her special someone.  I was glad to be able to finish it in plenty of time.

I believe these guys are my first dog images. XD  Everyone pretty much knows what a Crazy Cat Lady I am and I'm quite comfortable around cats and drawing cats is easy.  Although I'm perfectly comfortable around most dogs, I can't say I can draw them with my eyes closed... ^^;  So I'm pretty happy with the way these guys came out for this digital stamp/ACEO combo.  I actually had more fun than I anticipated ("Dreaded" may be more accurate a word for this scenario...?).

Other things that were sort of tucked away on the upper shelf at my work station are two sprites. ^^;

Sprites Sketch -  "Bamboo Shoot" and "Easter Lily"
I scribbled these guys on two pieces of scrap paper (Once a doodler, always a doodler.) while I was taking a break from some of the more tedious aspects of life as an artist (like getting files ready for copyright filing... that sort of stuff... fun fun).  It's spring, so I was thinking about gardening and weeding ... the general 'green thumb' things.  And these guys just popped onto the paper.  I'm particularly fond of the bamboo shoot with a baby brother on the back.  These guys are always fun to draw.  And they are popular both as digi's and ACEOs.

In the next week or two, though, I'd love to be able to work on a larger pieces of pure fantasy.  Haven't  been able to do that in a while and I'm starved for it! :D

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Floral Masquerade

Started during the Sketch Fest of January 2014, this little piece (3.5" x 5"/ 8.9 x 12.7 cm) did not get the first wash of color until February 6.

That's even slower than my usual pace even for me. XD  I've been so busy since the end of December with business-related work (revamping of the web site, getting ready for a challenge blog launch, all sorts of digital editing on images), I haven't really had a chance to do a whole lot of painting.  I really miss working on larger pieces purely for my own pleasure. ^^;

I finally got this one finished yesterday.  Lots of interruptions - not the way I'd like to work.  I sometimes miss the period in my life when I was single and didn't have family members to worry about and just paint all night if I wanted to.  The last thing I want to think about when I'm feeling "the flow" is what I'm going to cook for dinner. ^^;  But that's a luxury I don't have any more, and something I can get around with with a better time management and planning ahead.

The little original looks so much better than either the photo or the scan, but that's just mechanical limitations.  (I just feel human eyes are vastly superior when it comes to seeing and appreciating all the subtleties. I always complain about reds and greens. LOL)

Got the digital stamp version listed at the shop already.  I will be getting the prints ready for ACEO and a few sizes larger, too.  Still have a few things I have to get out of the way before I can tackle a larger fantasy piece to my heart's content. T_T  The sooner I get these things out of the way, the sooner I can get to what I really like to do. :D

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Another ACEO Commission

One of my favorite types of commissions is my Sprites series. :D  Whimsical and adorable, the small size of the ACEO fits perfectly with these wee ones from the plant realm.  I love the creative challenge it brings to the table.  Some flowers are more easily incorporated into a humanoid design than others.  I love brainstorming the character design when the shape and nature of a particular type of plant makes it a little difficult -- like tulip, broccoli, and corn.  But I'm happy to say that I've had fun with them all.

This new commission was for another active member at my "Stamps by AuroraWings" FB group.  She had asked me to create for her a Petunia Sprite.  Petunias are one of my favorite annuals for their bright colors, reliable performance throughout the season, and ease of care. :D  Really, they bloom day after day for a prolonged period once they get going.  I think I've had petunias in my garden or window boxes for as long as I've gardened.

"Petunia Sprite" ACEO in ink & watercolor on bristol vellum (140 lb.)
They come in an amazing array of colors and new varieties are developed constantly.  My client asked for red and purple scheme.  And this little baby was born. :D  I originally drew her in a flower dress, but thought a tunic and the pants would be cuter. (I love these pants I put some of my sprites in!)

Since my client was a stamp enthusiast (both rubber and digi), so I asked if she'd be interested in the digi version.  Of course, she was.  And a permission to make the digi available in the shop was obtained.

Partially colored sample/preview of "Petunia Sprite"
I think this baby will be so much fun for colorists to play with.  I would love to do some variations on a theme myself.  I've had a beautiful pot of soft yellow petunias that I adored, and fuchsia, purple, and soft lavender are also my favorite petunia colors.   We are so ready for the spring and warm weather, and FLOWERS!!  Once my garden starts to have spring blooms, I know I'll be bitten once again with the urge to draw more of these Flower Sprites. ^_^

Saturday, March 1, 2014

ACEO Commission

Due to the shifts in my art business' focus, I have recently closed all commission requests on all of my sites (my main art site, deviantART, requests coming via FB, etc.) indefinitely, except for the commission listings on Etsy.  I can no longer take large commissions or commissions of a series of images because of the time commitment they require.  I've come to a point where revenues from this type of commission no longer make much financial sense (far overshadowed by my shop's performance).  In the past few months, I've declined so many commission requests, if this was me from a year ago, I would have been saying, "You're nuts!".  

It's undeniable though, that there is something so empowering about being in a position and being able to afford to say 'no' to work that does not interest me or would have little to no consequence on my future (or my family's) ...or my wallet.  I am no longer interested in signing licensing contract for various products, either, for that matter.  It was fun while I was new at this, but I've come to realize the obvious that no one can push you and your products harder than yourself.  

I will, however, continue to make small (and therefore, quick) commissions, such as ACEOs, available at my Etsy shop for those who are interested.  They're not inhibitive in terms of cost, and they're a great way for a new art collectors to begin their collection of originals.  

My most recent ACEO commission was from a big fan of my digital stamps and a very active member/contributor at my Facebook group.  She loves my mask series of digi's and has a collection of porcelain masks herself, and she wanted to have an original ACEO of her own.

"Harlequinade" commissioned ACEO in ink & watercolor on bristol vellum (140 lb.)
The communication is always smooth with this client. :D  She sent me photos of the Venetian mask, rose, and lilies for me to base my ACEO on.  The rest was left up to me to play and have fun.  I always enjoy when a client leaves me with plenty of room to breathe and play. (I will decline any commission request that are so crammed with crazy details that stifle my creativity.  Honestly, I do not know of any artist who likes this.  I also decline any request to draw something that is just not my taste.  In another words, if I feel reluctant to put my signature on the concept described, I will not take it. ^^; )  The whole process goes smoothly and quickly.    It took me a while to set a time aside (with so much going on in my other projects), but once I sat down to focus, it was all smooth saling.

And when I asked her if she would like a digital stamp version of the line art made (since she is an avid papercrafter), she said "yes".  So I was able to add this pretty work to be offered as a digi in my shop.

Digital stamp listing image for "Harlequinade"
Available at my Etsy shop.
She loved both the ACEO and the digi, and told me how it was in honor of her mother, who loved and collected these beautiful masks.  I've done a lot of commissions over the years, but the most special ones are those where the pieces are being done in the memory of our loved ones.  I always feel honored to do this type of work.  :)