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|House of the Bishop by Ellen Beier, from Les Miserables|
Production in the studio has been slow.
That's not to mention all of the cool stuff that's happening behind the scenes!
So let me fill you in with one biggie.
We're moving into our first house at the end of March!!
Yep, my husband and I were finally given the gift of buying our first home, and that means packing it all up. The whole month of March has been preparing and packing, and now we're at the tail end called "crunch time".
This also means working in the studio towards art has been placed aside. Artist cap off, homemaker cap on. Although, picking out paint colors has rambled our design heads a bit. ;)
I'm very excited to be moving into our new home, and the new studio (eeee!!!), and I can't wait to show you! Until I can, here is the before and after of my current studio...the after being where it's at today. Just so you can get an idea.
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One month is unlike another. Sometimes I receive many letters and many comments; then lean months may follow. February produced a good harvest (“February fill the dyke,” as they used to say), and I can glean a bagful. Perhaps I should choose a special title for my gleanings: “I Am All Ears” or something like it.Add a Comment
Hello out there in LJ land. Just a quick posting (perhaps we will number it.)
1. I have one week left to complete two critical essays, 20-40 new pages of writing, a quickee autobiography and a sincere letter of progress to the awesome Sharron Darrow. Everything is started, nothing is finished. (I'm starting to grind my teeth at night again.)
2. My Maine homecoming has been absolutely awesome. I've managed to connect with so many people who are welcoming us home with open arms. I feel so thankful to be a part of this community (and I love being in MY house again.)
3. If you are close by, you are invited to our first once a month potluck. We all say we are too busy to make time for each other, but friendships are what life is all about. Email or comment if you need more info!
4. I've had the DVD "Penelope" on my counter for over a month from Netflix (even in Maryland) so I finally watched it tonight. LOVED IT. It has that weird super saturated art direction of Pushing Up Daisies.
5. So here's the awful part. "Penelope" is rated PG, I thought my kids would love it. I'd never seen it before. So we're watching and there is this one part. Takes about 3 seconds, when the smarmy rich guy (who saw Penelope once and got scared and thought she was a monster) re- imagines Penelope as a monster with fangs and scary eyes and a boarish face. He sees this monster in his imagination through a car window in the dark. OMG my boys (10 and 8) shriek and scream and start to sob like someone is coming after them with a chainsaw. They run to my chair and hug me and sob and shake (for what seems an eternity but was probably all of 10 minutes) and all I can do is apologize over and over and hold them and love them and validate their fear. Now they are in my bed and I'm stuck sleeping with kids who are each almost 5 feet tall.
Okay so that's five on Wednesday. I'll be back after my deadline is past.
OSH. Orchard Supply Hardware. I've been there three times in the last 36 hours. All three times I returned something that didn't fit or work. Lesson learned: Buy two things that look like they might fit, then return the one that doesn't. Good thing OSH (smaller than Home Depot, but definitely more approachable; being a green homeowner, I'm all about approachability). I now own these things from OSH:
Stylized vector illustration with a rough edge, for an article about leaving your house safely behind during vacation.
You're invited to sevensheaven.nl for an extended impression.
When the dust has settled on the electioneering frenzy of these final days, 2010, the third “change” election in a row, will better be read as an equilibrium restoring election.
In the Senate, Democrats are about to hand back just over half of their recent wins (5 seats in 2006, and another 8 in 2008) to the Republicans. Most predictions for the number of seats the Republicans will pick up in the House hover around 50 because there are currently 49 Democrats occupying seats in districts that voted for McCain in 2008, and they are about to relinquish these seats. Put another way, Democrats picked up 31 seats in 2006, and another 21 in 2008, and they’re about to return just about every one of them back to the Republicans.
This is not coincidence. It is the revealed majesty of the Newtonian system that the Framers of the Constitution set up, and our subliminal internalization of its logic. The Founders weren’t too fond of waves of popular passion, which is why they applied “a new science of politics” and created institutions arrayed alongside each other with the specific principle that “ambition must be made to counteract ambition.”
The invisible constitutional hand appears to be working. Now that Barbara Boxer has pulled ahead of Carly Fiorina in California, as has Joe Manchin over John Raese in West Virginia, it is likely that the Democratic firewall will hold just enough to prevent a Republican takeover of the Senate. To take over the Senate, Republicans must take the seats in CO, IL, NV, PA, and WA. Indeed, because Republicans are polling ahead in each of these last 5 races, a nearly perfect partisan equipoise is likely to occur in the Senate. That means the 112th Congress which starts business on January 3, 2011, will likely see a slim Republican majority in the House, and an even slimmer Democratic majority in the Senate.
Another way to think about this election as equilibrium restoring is to observe the net neutral effect of the Tea Party movement. In some places, Tea Party candidates are giving seasoned politicos a run for their money. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul now look like shoos-in for the senatorial seats in Florida and Kentucky, and Sharron Angle is in a statistical dead-heat with Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada – which means, given the enthusiasm gap in favor of Republicans this year, Reid has a mountain to climb in the next two days.
Other Tea Party candidates, however, have turned out to be poor candidates. Principally, they don’t know how to handle the media and the rough-and-tumble of electoral politics. Some, like Joe Miller, think it’s OK to hand-cuff journalists; others, like Christine O’Donnell failed to realize that telling us “I’m not a witch” does not kill a rumor but sustains it. Others who have been inducted into office, like Scott Brown from Massachusetts, have long since forgotten their patrons. Like all third party movements since time immemorial, the Tea Party movement – now a flick of sunshine on a strange shore – is not likely to last more than one or two more electoral cycles.
All told, the Republicans are going to regain the seats they lost in 2006 and 2008. But, the electoral tsunami would most likely not be enough, as it was in 1994 or 2006, to flip both houses of Congress. And because of the truncated constitutional calendar, this year’s wave will stop short of the White House. The greatest prize of them all will stay in Democratic hands (a prize that will become especially valuable now that the Vice-president’s tie-breaking vote in the Senate will likely be activated in the months to come.)
A tsunami which converts half a branch is, arguably, no tsunami at all. For this to be a really significant wave that is more than equilibrium restoring, Republicans would needAdd a Comment
So I'm totally in love with this Dutch artist, Jane something (her last name is not anywhere! I have come across it, but can't find it now. Starts with an 'S'. Schouten? Anyway, find her HERE). Is she even Dutch? I don't know. Maybe she just lives in the Netherlands. You see, I know nothing. But check out this colorful wonderfulness:
(Love this pillow. And there's a how-to for these vases here.)
Wonderful: modern chairs and stools reupholstered in vintage blankets that she has embroidered and appliqued. WANT.
6 Comments on More pretty :-), last added: 11/9/2010
The book is arriving soon. Really soon. Before you know it, I'll be asking you to fork over some of your hard earned cash to read it.
Until then, here's some free stuff.
Last month the good people at the Montana Skatepark Association invited me to create work on a skate deck for their annual fundraising gallery show called ON DECK 7.
The money raised will go towards construction and maintenance of Missoula’s MOBASH skatepark. The art decks will be displayed on May 4th, at the Brink Gallery in Missoula, MT where they will also begin the silent/online auction. So lookout for that come May! Visit the MSA website for more information.
Anything that keeps us active and off the streets is A-OK with me!
I was super psyched to be given the opportunity to create work on a skate deck since I’ve never worked on a surface like this before. Prior to receiving the skate deck I had a few ideas in mind but nothing sounded as fun as creating a tree house and possibly a place where Animal Chin lives! (Special thanks to the BF, for telling me the Legend of Animal Chin.)
Here’s the fun process of finding Animal Chins House:
Step 2: I painted a thin layer of gesso on top of the sketch.
Step 3: Laid out some color for the grass and painted layer of green as an underpainting for the tree.
Step 4: Started to lay in some actual color for the tree trunk..There goes my boss…micromanaging.
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Step 6: I started to work on the stairs, and the little look out point on the middle left making sure to use a slightly different wood tones for the stairs so the tree and wood wouldn’t blend.
Step 7: I was really planning to keep the natural wood exposed for the finish but it was looking too brown and very monochromatic. (Boo.) So I placed some contact paper on the tree hou
I always thought that writing a series would be the easiest thing in the world–it isn’t. When I wrote Longhorns and Outlaws it was with the intention of producing a book year set in the wild, wild Canadian West (there really was one) with adventure after adventure rolling off the … Continue readingAdd a Comment
Wow, its been as while since my last post! Looking back, its odd that my last post was about a lull in the workflow. I certainly don’t feel like things have been moving slowly! To start things off, I’ll talk about some “business” aspects of the past month.
Taking advantage of the downtime, I implemented an income/collections/taxes tracking system. Basically, now I know roughly what I’ll need to pay in terms of federal taxes come April. I am keeping this estimated amount in its own savings account. In conjunction, I’ve also revamped my deduction-tracking technique so that its a lot simpler and easier to process come April.
Another administrative task I’ve been tackling as of late is collecting on invoices. I have learned that the end of the job is never the end of the job. Its can get pretty hairy and confusing. I’ve learned that folks process invoices immediately, at the end of the week, at the end of the month, or after publication. As such, I never know what going on with the invoice after the job so I have to email to follow-up. With the new system, its been easier though. Upon invoicing, I’ll now simply ask the client when they process their invoices so I can project a rough estimate of when I should be looking for a check. Then I can contact clients as needed after the date passes. I don’t know how other people feel about this or how they work, but I can get spacey on these matters when I’m concentrating on artwork. So instead of randomly hoping for checks when I open my mailbox, I am being more active and organized in collecting. Working in this manner, I now know where every invoice I have out stands in terms of processing and delivery. Sadly, some payments have been sent to my old address (long story) so I assume they will be forwarded by the always-punctual postal service.
What else has come up these past weeks? Ah, another thing taken into account since the last post was communication i.e, talking with other artists and illustrators. With Aliyah starting her graduate classes, it has been a very difficult solitude. Having just moved to the town of Beacon, I barely know anyone. After exhausting my trips to coffee shops and running errands, I have started posting on blogs to meet other artists. This also exposes me to a lot of new art. Recently, I was featured on thelittlechimpsociety.com as the “Editor’s Pick:”
Pretty cool. Also, that feature bumped up web traffic at chris-whetzel.com for a bit. I have been told that a lot of the members of that site are art directors so I see it as free promotion. Thanks to the guys at The Little Chimp Society! I look forward to posting more, and I tend to check out the blog every day or so. Similarly, I was invited to join sugarfrostedgoodness.com this week. I know that none of this is a big deal in terms of moneymaking, but I really feel that posting on these blogs as well as chris-whetzel.blogspot.com and theautumnsociety.blogspot.com really keep me motivated. As lame as it sounds, it fends off the lonelys :) And the bonus is that links from these sites increase chris-whetzel.com’s search engine ranking. Cool.
And the final thing I would like to say about blogs is to simply mention a helpful one: cedricohnstadt.wordpress.com. This blog is awesome for anyone freelancing. Its basically years and years of one guy’s experiences in the field. He also posts so many links that are illustration-business related. Great blog! One gem I found (of many) was the freelanceswitch.com podcast. Very cool. If you like the ICONIC podcasts, you may enjoy these. However, the Freelance Switch panel focuses on the BUSINESS of illustration by discussing a show-specific topic and answering questions about everything from contracts to etiquette to networking. And its all handled in a fun and light-hearted manner! This podcast also comes in handy when working long days alone and you just want to hear human voices! Its like being in a roundtable discussion!
Ah, discussion. I am jealous to hear Aliyah talk about class discussions. I miss it. I’m kind of disappointed that my friends and I never really got a collective together. I tried to establish “drink and draws” patterned after Dave Johnson’s group, but it never really took off. Its cool that Philly has The Autumn Society, but I’m in New York! Granted, I had a great artistic talk with Joe Game last week, but its not the same as sitting around looking at each other art, having crits, etc (and he totally guilted me for not blogging). However, I’m finding out that the artists in Beacon do meet; I just have to find out how to get involved. I was working at a coffee shop last night when a group formed next to me. Not really paying attention (I listen to my ipod when working outside the apartment), I noticed they were discussing art in between songs. Turns out they meet to just talk art, tell what they are doing, and pass on opportunities. This is awesome. I wanted to talk to someone in the group after the meeting, but I had to leave before they disbanded.
But hopefully, an opportunity to chat will present itself as I have been asked to take part in a show at that very coffee shop! After speaking with Nate (the manager) today, it seems the show will be November-ish. He really liked my drawings enough to ask a price on one! So it will be my “artsy” drawings as opposed to digital prints. He said he is still looking for illustrators who specifically have drawings to show. If you would like to be considered, drop me a line and I'll give him your website.
Striking off on a tangent, I was recently asked to attend the Baltimore Comic Con as part of The Autumn Society Collective. This was a great honor as I really respect the art of the other collective artists taking the trip: Joseph Game, Peter Wonsowski, and Craig Parillo. Good guys who make good art. What sucks is that I can’t go. Financially, I just don’t feel comfortable spending a lot of money to travel, for space, etc to promote to a field that probably can’t use my artwork. Plus I'll have a big expense thi smonth that I'll discuss later. I REALLY tried to rationalize going as I am a hardcore comic fan and I just wanted to be a fanboy for a weekend, but logical-me won the battle. Best of luck to the guys attending! Wish I could be there!
And so, being proud of my willpower, I have decided to commit to an ispot portfolio this month. I am worried about spending the money but its deductible, and I really think I’ll get some work from it. Dave Tabler at the ispot has been very accommodating with my hesitancy. It turns out they have a payment plan so that assuaged the fear a bit. And as a bonus, it turns out that ispot and Adbase have a deal where ispot members get a discount at Adbase. Cool. Next year, I hope to take advantage of it!
Another reason I decided to go for the ispot portfolio was that work picked up. August has been a super-busy month. It was sad to leave a personal piece unfinished to start new jobs, but I hope to have it done next week. Anyway, on to new work!
Ok, so the first commission came via email from Houston Press. This paper was a new addition to the mailing list so that was a good sign that the new card wasn’t such a bad image choice after all! The job was four spot illustrations for their “Best Of” issue due in a little over aweek. The budget was lower than I could afford, but we negotiated a budget that worked for both of us. Awesome. I can’t discuss the subject matter or post images until after publication on the 25th of September. But these were a lot of fun, and I think they add a little diversity to the portfolio. I’ll post them, sketches and all after the 25th.
Although fun, the period of working on them was a little crazy as while sketching them, I got a call from the art director of Retail Traffic who needed a quarter page spot by that Tuesday! Awesome, but the tight deadline was a little intimidating. Nevertheless, I knew I could do it so I accepted (just sleep less). He sent me a version of the article titled “Taking On Water.” It was about the California budget crisis and how its affecting the housing economy. It was an odd subject matter, but I enjoyed the challenge. Pushing back the Houston Press sketches, I ripped out these three sketches:
I like them all for different reasons. I assumed they would go with the first one of the house sinking on the chart, but he surprised me by choosing the house with the life preserver. I also like the "stormy weather" one, but we both agreed its more of a full-page image as everything is so small. The final:
This isn’t my greatest piece, but I like that it shows I can think outside of figurative work. Originally, I left off the “S.S. California,” but I was really happy that they asked me to put it back on the life preserver. I took this piece a little farther in terms of color as I want to push for more color in this graphic style.
One interesting aspect of this commission was that Retail Traffic is a magazine published by Penton Media, the same folks that commissioned the 10 portraits for Registered Rep a few posts back. My first return customer! Sort of. I worked with two different art directors but whatever. I count it.
So our big news is that we've just put the house up for sale. AND given that it's up for sale I can say that we're pretty much done renovating! So coming up soon I'll be showing all the final before and afters for the house.
If you've ever sold your place before you know it involves a bit of staging. In our case it meant moving a few things out to make things as spacious-looking as possible. I don't think it's very misleading in our case as most people probably don't have a couple of china cabinets filled with yarn and fabric respectively.
So now the house is very clean and tidy and the lack of clutter is a bit weird. But I'm finding it very relaxing now that most of the work is done. There's been a lot of finishing loose ends, such as finally putting in the finishing panels in our kitchen. I'll be posting that and doing a final assessment of puttting in an IKEA kitchen.. thanks for asking James!