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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: studio, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. A Bear on a New Stair

Each year I do a painting for a charity called The Willow Foundation. It goes towards a project called Stars on Canvas: a London exhibition and on-line auction to raise money for seriously ill people and their families, providing them with much-needed, special days out to remember. 

The charity send out 20cm square canvases to all sorts of people, some of them artists like myself, many of them celebrities from all sorts of fields. Everyone creates a piece of art on exactly the same format. 

Last year I did a painting based on Class Two at the Zoo:

The first year I did it things started well, but then I got into all sorts of problems because I didn't really have the right tools for the job. These days I have acrylics, so it's much easier. 

This year I thought I would do Bears on the Stairs, because the little bear would fit the square format rather well. 

Acrylics are still an unfamiliar medium though, as I have just not had enough spare time to get to grips with technique. This little canvas has been a good way of helping me learn how the paint responds. It's very different from watercolour or pastels of course. I enjoyed playing around, trying to get the effects I wanted, without knowing for sure what I was doing. 

This is how he looks, hot off the press:

I wanted to identify the book the character had come from so, like last time, I used the side of the canvas to write the title. The opposite side had a good space for  my name. It was very tricky and fiddly doing the text though - in many ways the hardest bit!

If you would like to make sure you get the chance to buy the rude little bear, or want to see some of the other canvases that will be for sale, here's the info you needAlso, if you are a painter, illustrator or celeb and would like to have a go at doing your own canvas for the exhibition and auction, the deadline is not until August, so there's still time if you're quick.

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2. Needed eraser

Needed eraser

Original post by Brian Bowes via Emergent Ideas: http://ift.tt/1fH30uh

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3. Arabian Nights layout #2

via Emergent Ideas Arabian Nights layout #2

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4. Arabian Nights layout #2 Looking for an expression that combines...

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5. Arabian Nights layout #2

via Emergent Ideas Arabian Nights layout #2

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6. Arabian Nights layout #2 Puzzle pieces slowly coming together.

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7. Arabian Nights layout #2 Puzzle pieces slowly coming together.

Arabian Nights layout #2 Puzzle pieces slowly coming together.

Original post by Brian Bowes via Emergent Ideas: http://ift.tt/1cXSbSW

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8. Arabian Nights layout #2

Arabian Nights layout #2

Original post by Brian Bowes via Emergent Ideas: http://ift.tt/1erEigJ

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9. Arabian Nights layout #2

Arabian Nights layout #2

Original post by Brian Bowes via Emergent Ideas: http://ift.tt/1eC7Rrh

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10. Arabian Nights layout #2 Looking for an expression that combines...

Arabian Nights layout #2 Looking for an expression that combines awe and delight with a touch of reticence.

Original post by Brian Bowes via Emergent Ideas: http://ift.tt/1eC7RHP

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11. Health in the Studio

I welcome 2013 with open arms and submission. 

Do you ever sit down to plan and organize your work week but find that you enjoy the organizing more than the doing? That's me in a nutshell. It's taken a decade to realize this, but I'm grateful that I have! And this is why 2013 is going to be different!

First my health. Last year was all about my mental health and figuring out my identity. This year it's about my physical health...and that includes stress levels. 

I'm a highly active person, not in the sports or adventurous aspects, but I'm always moving, thinking, and analyzing. Can you relate?

To bring the stress down, I reorganized my studio into "sections". I had this before, but not so broken down. When we move I will break it down even further. I have four sections: Office, Create, Process, and Craft.

Your typical office desk, makes me feel like I am somewhere else other than my home. I have created a place for all of my mail, charity, financials, receipts, and project logs, and so much more. It is be cleared off at the end of the day and no more piles of papers! Everyone has a place. I always have piles and piles of papers that build up...nothing more stressful knowing I have to go through them and then never do. 

This is the happy place, where I create my work. I reorganized adding to the amount of mugs, laying out all my art materials instead of hiding them in drawers. I want to be exposed to the options for creating this year. Notice no chair (must get a stool though). 

My husband, Brian, started a "movement" if you will at his work about standing at your desk while working. He did major study upon it, and now stands all day. His testimony declares how much more he's motivated and energized to work...especially through those grueling afternoon hours. I have always sat...so didn't think much on it except to pat him on the back.

I got the 2013 Artist's and Graphic Designer's Market book and there it was! An article about standing in the studio to stay healthy. Well there ya go! I decided to make the move and have found the results quick and awesome. I can definitely work longer hours without becoming tired or even creatively numb. My imagination and creative juices run longer. 

I'm very excited about this, but if you go this route be sure to invest in a stool for frequent short sits (that's a healthy thing to do too), and a padded mat or insoles for your shoes to help your heels get through the change. I use a small step stool to alternate my feet.

I needed a place to process my Etsy orders, make promotional items, or even mat and frame work. It's daunting to place a table in the middle of my small studio, but necessary. It hasn't gotten in the way yet! 

Part of my office desk problem last year was the use of office work slash processing. It got cluttered very fast, I felt like I was working in a box that was too small, and I was suffocating without knowing it. This has been extremely helpful!

I am a collector of all decorative papers, and with my little side hobbies of jewelery, bird houses, ornaments, etc., I needed a place to store all of it. A small little section of my studio is devoted to this, and I'm happy to say it's a piled up mess, but thankfully it can stay that way. 
All of the crafts were getting lost in my art materials, and it became frustration overload. Amazing what a small little change can do!

Caffeine and Sleep
The amount of caffeine I take in has changed, instead of consuming all the way up to when I go to bed, I cut off no later than 4pm.

Sleep is hard for me to get enough of, but my hope is with the stress levels low and the calm of knowing that the Lord has my life in His hands, I will be able to get the rest needed. Getting to bed before midnight is a change that has started for the best. A goal to get 6 hours minimum. 

What do you think of these changes? 
Have you heard of any of these before?
What are you doing differently this year?

1 Comments on Health in the Studio, last added: 1/8/2013
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12. New studio snaps

'Mollie Makes' calendar with the clean, fresh sheet of January beckoning.

One of Jack kangaroos, before he was boxed off and sent to America.

Some of our peeled hallway wall seen beyond the door.

 Much nicer - treasure.

Toy making books and badger skull.

 Lovely  1920's cocktail cabinet, perfect for displaying the 'Puddletown Tales' toys.

Everything piled up because there is never, ever, enough storage space.

Favourite cards and ephemera.

I am having a work overdrive, so watch this space for more shop updates, new designs and news of my March workshop in the forest of Dean (or click here for more details).

24 Comments on New studio snaps, last added: 2/4/2013
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13. Working Catch-up

I've been quiet on the blog of late, in fact all social media, largely due to work on my latest picture book, Jane Sutcliffe's renaissance non-fiction The Stone Giant - Michelangelo's David and How He Came to Be. It's been an involving project in the pipeline for quite a while, with several interruptions (like an unforeseen house move!) but I'm happy to say the art work is now complete! Currently awaiting final approval before posting the art off, I'll be able to share some images shortly. 

Desktop debris, in the middle of wrestling with Michelangelo!

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14. Sorting out the Books

The bookshelves in my studio were getting a bit crazy, with things stuffed into all the wrong places or flowing out onto the floor. I am not one of these people who can live in chaos. I don't mind a bit of untidiness, but I have a threshold, then I can't concentrate until things are more neat and tidy.

So I took a little bit of time this morning to sort it out. Much better: 

I am showing you, because I know I am nosy to see other people's studios, especially their bookshelves. 

The top shelf on the left is older sketchbooks (the brown paper package is to protect a couple of big ones from my art college days, which are over 30 years old). The shelf below is new, unused sketchbooks and below that is used ones from the last 10 years. Below that is sketching gear then, below that, all my 'in progress' sketchbooks are on the right (I always have loads on the go: different sizes, different papers, ones I leave because they don't have enough free pages to last a whole train journey etc.).

While tidying, I pulled out some sketchbooks and found this piece of paper scrunched up underneath. It's biro drawings, obviously done on a train. I must have forgotten my sketchbook and pencil-case one day, so drawn with what I had on scrap. I thought I'd share it with you before I throw it away:

Back to the bookshelves, in case you're interested: the bottom left is stock of my own books, for selling, plus books of my writings done on Electric Tomato nights, and the bottom right is visual reference books (which, if I'm honest, I don't use much anymore, now Google Images is so quick and easy). The hardbacks of my picture books, which I use for events, are above the reference and, above that, are other people's books, bought as inspiration (or because they are so gorgeous, I just can't help myself!). The rest is reference, or design books.

I love books. I can't imagine not hoarding them. E-books are just not the same. I have loads more bookshelves downstairs for other stuff:

Right, back to work...

5 Comments on Sorting out the Books, last added: 2/16/2013
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15. Tools of the Trade

Ever wonder what I work with?
I am always curious to see other artists' studios, the tools they use, even down to how they brush the paint on. It fascinates me.

I'm working on a project right now that has forced me to look closer at what I work with and why I work with it.

You can find commentaries on blogs, forums, and Facebook about how one artist will voice their favorite pencil, while another artist in the same field will swear by another brand. Call it the sport of art if you like (I'm sure there's an artist out there with a rabbit's foot).

Most of my tools have a story or memory attached to them. 

The oldest tool I've used every day in the studio is my kneaded eraser.

My dad is an art teacher most of my life, so I grew up with this wonderful tool laying around his art studio coiled up or made into small pyramids. Something to do while thinking or working. I was introduced to it very young.

The next tool oldest to me is a retractable Tuff Stuff! The moment I discovered this eraser years ago I fell in love and haven't gone back. It gets into the little spots and is always a clean erase. I don't go anywhere without it!

My pencils are newer to me. I have worked with mechanical pencils for at least 15 years now, but the one I used as a teenager...well....was great for a teenager.

Two years ago I did some research and tried Pentel GraphGear 500 on a whim. Love them! Great body weight, good lead selection, amazingly priced! The green Pentel is their most standard. Pentel P205...still a great drawing pencil!

Sketchbooks are personal, in every sense, like a diary. I have always favored the large Strathmore or Canson spiralbounds, 9x12 inch. I have several moleskines too that are smaller....and I adore them, but I like space for my hand when I draw, this allows it.

Color Theory wasn't around in the beginning for me, so I just picked colors that worked to my eye. This did not help in finding the best palette for me, or how to lay it out even.

All of my palettes up to several years ago were rectangle and felt rough to me. Nothing progressed fluidly for me, only manageable.

There was a teacher of watercolor where I work (The Des Moines Art Center) who had a round palette out during one of her classes, and I was introduced to the Stephen Quiller Palette. A circle! Imagine color on a wheel!

I took her class, several times, and have since learned how to better use my palette effectively.

The paints I use are a blend of  Daniel Smith and Winsor Newton.  I always have a messy palette, it's cleaned maybe once every two months. I also paint on primarily Arches Hot Press and Cold Press 140lbs. It's a comfortable inbetween weight and their brand is one of the oldest. I'm open to other papers, but I'm a snob about Arches. The brushes? Cotman series 666.

If you know my work you'll notice my use of white. This started in the phase of trying to keep the white of the paper and failing. I taught myself watercolor, so I turned to problem-solving (an illustrator's best trait).

First it was FW liquid acrylic. I would brush it on, but it cakes easily. Nowadays I usually water it down.

The other partner in crime is the white gel pen. Discovered this while watching watercolor videos on YouTube. Genius! I don't think I use the best one, your basic Gelly Roll, but will be ordering a UniBall gel pen and I'm looking forward to seeing how it works!

Last but not least, the infamous indigo colored pencil. 

I started using this prominently last year while working on Tangerine. I was first introduced to Verithin Colored Pencils by Prismacolor a couple of years back. They're fantastic because of the harder lead with less wax. Because I'm not a colored pencil artist, this worked great for sketching!

The indigo was an accident. I was sketching with it, and as I added color (without thinking of the muddiness it could create) I noticed how it's more dulled tone worked. After Tangerine I continued to sketch with it. The hue is attractive to me, mixed with graphite or color. It helps to provide me my shadows.

Although indigo can create mud very quickly (it's not for the inexperienced), it does create a more earthy visual of color hues in the painting. I trust it so much I paint with indigo as well.

I try to sharpen always with a blade so that I don't go through the pencil as fast (taught by my dad), and the electric eraser was a gift to me. Never knew I would have a need of it until I discovered it erases the indigo colored pencil wonderfully!

Do you have a favorite pen or material that you use a bit religiously?

6 Comments on Tools of the Trade, last added: 2/14/2013
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16. Boris

We have a cat Boris that always keeps me company in my studio,  he hangs out under the window and the squirrels love to tease him. Very fun to watch.

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17. Drawing People on the Train (Again)

March is the busiest time of year for authors and illustrators who do school events. It's all because of World Book Day on March 7th. I've already visited children in Pinner, Telford, Leamington Spa, Sheffield, Manchester and Barnsley. Next week I am part of a 5 Schools Project here in Sheffield where I'll be performing in a theatre!

Because I am hardly in the studio at all at the moment, I don't have time to tell you about the specifics of what I've been up to, but anyone who reads this blog at all regularly, will know the kind of thing I get up to

They will also know that all this travelling around has of course generated more train sketches

I love showing them to you - it's so much better than just closing them up in my sketchbook and storing them, unseen, on a shelf in the studio. Since I've been on the move, John has been back at base-camp, scanning them in for me.

Mostly I am still using my watercolour pencils and waterbrush, though the black and white drawing is done with a 6B graphite stick, which I would recommend for it's lovely range of marks.

Having John working with me is invaluable at this time of year. If I'm not in the studio for days on end, I need someone to answer the emails, buy my train tickets, send out the invoices, tell me where I'm going next day and, most important of all, make me a nice cup of tea when I get home! Thank you John :-)  

If you are interested, here are some of my hot tips for drawing people in public. There is also a short film about keeping a sketchbook on the film page of my website.  

3 Comments on Drawing People on the Train (Again), last added: 3/10/2013
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18. Friday Studio Links!

The Studio of Gail Maki Wilson


Since I've been spending so much time in my studio and it's been so long since I did a post just about me, I thought today I'd link you up with some previous posts all about my studio! I hope to someday get all the photographs from when we built the studio organized and show the construction, as well as the construction drawings I drew, to build this little piece of paradise.

My very first post - Studio Tour 
An Adventure in Spring Cleaning - Really? Hmm, looks like I'm need of another one of those!
The Heat is On - At least I can keep those studio doors open for a couple more months.
Spring!- Just because they are about to blossom now.
Clearing Thins up- OK. Just because it's something I have to admit to.


2 Comments on Friday Studio Links!, last added: 3/11/2013
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19. Studio Move Out

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.

I still have a mini work space for painting and basic office work since we're still in the apartment for two more weeks, but everything else is getting boxed up and ready to haul.

My wee shop is going on vacation Wednesday March 20th until April 15th, that's the longest time on vacation since I opened the shop 5 years ago.

Beginning April 15th thru April 19th everything in the shop will be 35% off to kick off the new studio! Mark your calenders for this sale!

More details will be on Facebook along with sneak peeks of the new studio as I get it all put together.

Want the first peek? The studio is through those doors...

2 Comments on Studio Move Out, last added: 3/18/2013
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20. Spring! Cometh!




Winter is on the way OUT!  I say this as a huge storm is coming into Colorado right NOW!!  No, I did not go to the grocery store in freak out mode stocking my cupboards. Instead, I spent a bit of time today digging in my garden resisting the urge to acknowledge the storm at all!  ha!

Alas, tonight I will hunker down with my pens and paper and continue to work towards deadlines for up and coming trade shows. That is the good thing about storms!  They keep me focused.  I wonder how many artists are like me?

I have one problem.  I can’t seem to go out to my studio to work.  It’s covered with papers, receipts, file folders etc.  It is my new book-keeping system in progress. Eeeeek!  My friend is helping me set up my Quick Books program.  She entered all my checks, deposits etc, and sent me the disk. I bought the program, installed it, imported my files… … then I went to reconcile the two bank statements that my friend did not add and suddenly I am thirty dollars off!  What on earth?  What could I have done?

So, I did what I do best,  I locked the studio door and went in the house. ha!  My right brain is not in the mood for numbers!  Happy Spring everyone!


6 Comments on Spring! Cometh!, last added: 4/9/2013
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I think if you really believe in something, you must do as much as you can to eliminate the barriers preventing you from taking it seriously. Even if it means converting the spare bedroom closet into a quiet place to write. Which is exactly how I spent yesterday afternoon.

Lately, I've been doing a lot of reading and I find myself consistently retreating into the second bedroom to do so. It's bright, cheery, comfortable, and sparse, with a lovely big window that gets great daylight--the complete antithesis to my basement studio. I've definitely been craving the ability to work in the sun and I decided it was time to create a place where that can happen.

Little did I know that perfect place would be a closet! The idea came to me spontaneously as I was cleaning it out. It occurred on me that the small folding table already set up in the bedroom would probably fit in there rather perfectly. Turns out it does. Though, I had to fold it up and open it once it was in the closet, but it could not be a better fit. I can even close the doors and hide the whole thing if need be! (But I like to think that the doors will always be open, encouraging and inviting me to return day after day...yay symbolism.)

Once I got the desk set up, I brought in my writing books and clipped two super bright LED lights to the shelf--and VOILA! Suddenly it became a bright, clean, inspiring little set up. I found a white shadow box mirror at Target and hung it so that I can stare straight ahead into the reflection of the windows behind me. Almost as good as having a desk by the window. Then I pinned up some inspiring quotes from my favorite authors so their words can guide me through this exciting but wholly unfamiliar territory!

Today was the first day really using the space, and I must say, it was quite nice.  I tacked up a couple of beautiful illustrations to inspire me as I write, along with dozens of handwritten notes with important or inspiring key words and phrases that I want to remain in the forefront of my mind as I write. Today was also Day 1 in attempting to follow "The Artist's Way." I'm hoping to use it as a way to sort out my priorities, overcome my fears and inhibitions, and open my mind to new learning experiences.  

I flew through my three written "Morning Pages" and could have gone on for hours, but being that I've got 84 more days to write my heart out it's probably best to save some for the rest of 12 weeks. Writing things down is just so darn cathartic. I'm truly hoping that all this free writing will evolve into free thinking, which in turn will feed the idea generator... At the very least, it gets me into the habit of sitting in my chair with pencil in hand, letting my hand capture my thoughts! That's writing, right???

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22. Oh man. #studio

Oh man. #studio

Original post by Brian Bowes via Emergent Ideas: http://studiobowesart.tumblr.com/post/61129767792

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23. Lauren Mulkey pays a visit to #Studio Bowes Art with her #2...

Lauren Mulkey pays a visit to #Studio Bowes Art with her #2 pencil socks!

Flickr: http://flic.kr/p/fRQecx

Original post by Brian Bowes via Emergent Ideas: http://studiobowesart.tumblr.com/post/61277824310

0 Comments on Lauren Mulkey pays a visit to #Studio Bowes Art with her #2... as of 9/15/2013 3:22:00 AM
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24. Tracing-Up, Ready for the Artwork

I have started my pastel artwork for The Jungle Grumble. I am only doing 2 pieces of artwork at this stage, to be taken to the Frankfurt Book Fair by my publisher. I have just enough time to get it done. Because things are tight, John has been helping me with jobs, like cutting my pastel paper to size: 

I generally work larger than the actual size. On this book I am doing my drawings at 120%, although one of the 2 images the publisher has chosen for their Frankfurt presentation is the very complex 8th spread, so I'l be doing that at 140%, so I can manage the detail:  

Another job is getting the prints-outs of the roughs ready for me to trace. We only have an A4 printer. By the time the line-work is enlarged to the scale I am going to work at, the image is pretty big, so we have to print it out in several bits and then stick them back together again. The image above was in 6 pieces! To get them to line up accurately, we use the light-box:

I then have the extremely tedious job of tracing the illustrations up onto my pastel paper, again on the lightbox. I have to turn out the lights and pull the blinds, to make it dark enough to see through the pink pastel paper, which is about as thick as watercolour paper. If you want to know why I use pink, read this post, from when I was at the same stage with Dragon's Dinner.

Next job: pastels!

6 Comments on Tracing-Up, Ready for the Artwork, last added: 9/18/2013
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25. Jamming on producing some Black and White work at the #studio ...

Jamming on producing some Black and White work at the #studio (at 17th Avenue Studios)

Original post by Brian Bowes via Emergent Ideas: http://studiobowesart.tumblr.com/post/61459389011

0 Comments on Jamming on producing some Black and White work at the #studio ... as of 9/16/2013 11:54:00 PM
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