I never seem to have a shortage of things to do. Whether I am filling orders, designing, or just working on things for myself, I always have many different avenues to follow a creative path to one place or another. I find that my biggest problem – and sometimes the thing that ironically stops me from creating – is not deciding what to do, but what to do first. My creative brain is often pulled in several directions at once so that I remain fixed in the middle of it all, not knowing which project to start with because I have multiple ideas of doing designs in multiple types of media. Even if I definitely choose a subject, I then need to decide whether I want to paint it, draw it, or embroider it. Then follows the sub-decisions of the type of paint (acrylic, watercolor, etc.) or pencils (colored pencils, pastels (soft or oil), watercolor, ink) and so on. Finally, I choose a surface (wood, paper, canvas . . . )
I guess it is times like this that I realize that I am what some refer to as a “Multi-Media Designer and Artist”. It would be difficult to argue otherwise.
I used to look at that term as someone who did a lot of crafty-type things. What my friend Cari and I used to refer to as “Macaroni and Glitter” crafts. But that was many moons ago when our children were very small and we were just beginning our crafting journey. We came up with many kid-friendly projects to entertain the little ones as stay-at-home moms did. In the meantime, it gave us exposure to a variety of creative materials and for myself, it was the continuation of the creative journey that I had been on for most of my life. I would have never thought that nearly 30 years after my days with Cari and the kids I would be an artist for a living. We never know where some of those early paths may lead. Looking back, it was a fun journey so far and hopefully, I still have a long way to go.
So I had caught up with my production work this week (finally!) and I had the chance to do some creative things for both my personal and professional pleasure. I kept thinking that I would write a post here ‘tomorrow’, as I didn’t want to get overwhelmed and have too many things to talk about in one post. That often happens, too. I create in so many directions that it is difficult for me to keep up with myself in documenting it to you. Then I abandon the idea altogether, as it gets too overwhelming. But there is too much good stuff to share, so I decided there was no time like the present to sit down and show you all I have accomplished this past week. It was a lot of fun and is snowballing into a lot of fun possibilities for myself and my little business. I hope you enjoy the tour. I will try to stay on point and just show you what I have for you to see.
The first new and exciting thing is that I decided to reproduce some of my fine art paintings. By this, I mean original pieces that I created for myself – not to teach in a pattern – using high quality, archival supplies. I had been contemplating doing this for a while now, as I had prints of my artwork created over 10 years ago and had sold them at a local farmer’s market. I had ordered them from a company in New York and it is kind of a big deal for me to set things up and invest in the cost of getting things rolling. I feel that in the past 10 years, my ability has improved and I have a wider audience – mostly online – that have expressed interest in purchasing cards or prints of my paintings and drawings. So I chose six designs for cards and five for reprints and I am going to see how well they do. If they are successful, I will do more. If not, I will know that it isn’t an avenue that I will continue to follow. But as they say: “No risk, no gain.” So I took the plunge and prepared the files and set up the cards and sent everything in for processing. These are the pieces that I chose for the first run:
I think there is a decent variety of styles, mediums, and subjects there (they aren’t ALL cats!) and it will be a good way to gauge what may be popular. They will take a few weeks for me to receive everything, but I will surely let it be known when they are available. I am both excited and admittedly a bit nervous. But we will see . . .
The next thing that I did was also business-related. I began designing and painting the next building in my North Star Village series!
This one is a bakery that I am calling “Le Macaron Rose” (The Pink Macaroon). Like the other buildings, it will have overlays and be filled with fun little details. You can see the blank overlay pieces are already thought of. Can you guess what they are going to be? I promise you that they will be sweet and yummy! I have the building pretty much done as it lives in my head. But I still have to think of the final logistics of some of the elements. But that is a normal part of the process and I find it fun and exciting to see each little detail emerge. I will be showing more photos in my Facebook group – “Let’s Paint (and Create) with Sheila Landry” But, of course, I will be updating things here as well.
For those who haven’t seen the first two buildings, they were the “Toys in the Attic” toy store and “The Enchanted Florist”.
Both are available as patterns and wood kits in two sizes on my website: Tole Painting Designs (www.tolepaintingdesigns.com) I am hoping to add two to four new buildings per year (Yes! I am being realistic on this!) and can see this project ongoing for several years to come. I am using DecoArt acrylic paint and mediums for this entire project. It has been really well-received so far and that encourages me to keep going. I like taking my time creating them, as then I won’t get burned out and will be able approach each one with fresh excitement. So far it seems to be working for everyone. The anticipation of the next building is much of the fun!
So that brings me to some personal projects.
Yesterday, my dear friend and mentor Peggy Harris offered a free pattern for spring on her website (www.peggyharris.com) called “Home Tweet Home”. When I saw the design, I knew I just had to paint it! I have done many of her “birdlets” (as she calls them) in the past and they are always such a delight! This time, I thought I would create it using my Mission Gold Watercolors and Dr. Ph Martin’s India Ink. I had just received some amazing Windsor/Newton Series 7 sable watercolor brushes and I was dying to try them out. (I will blog on them later on – after I use them more). I also used my Silver Black Velvet brushes, as the Windsor Newton set I got consisted of detail brushes. I love the Black Velvet brushes and they are my ‘go-to’ brushes for watercolor, and these Series 7 detail brushes will round out my watercolor brushes very nicely. Here is my little painting:
Isn’t it CUTE? I can see making several of these for some fun spring greeting cards. Or as Peggy suggested, print them out on card stock after you painted one for more efficiency. (I prefer to re-paint them. Practice makes perfect!)
And finally, last night I decided to work with my Faber Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolor Pencils. I purchased the full set of these at the end of last summer and I really want to try to use them more. They are brilliant, lightfast colors and are convenient and fun to use. Since I wanted to do something pretty ‘colorful’, I chose a lovely flamingo photo from Pixabay and thought it would be fun.
This took about an hour and a half and was many layers. I was watching Netflix while painting, so I didn’t use a dryer to dry in between layers, or it would have gone faster. I used my Paul Reuben’s Watercolor Paper Block because frankly, I was too lazy to tape a piece of better paper to a board for painting. While I like the paper in general, I should have probably used some of my better stuff.
You can kind of see on the close up that there is still a little ‘grainy-ness’ visible there. I was hoping for a smoother finish. I am not sure if I should attribute that to the paper or the fact that I didn’t force dry the layers. I do admit that I added more pencil on top of what I will call ‘damp’ spots, which caused things to be a little grainy. I will have to try these pencils on some of my Fabriano paper next to see if there is a difference. I know that the Albrecht Durer Watercolor Pencils are the best quality I can get and they really have preformed a lot better on other papers. It just goes to show that you have to think through every step in the process. But this was really only what I will call a practice piece, so I am not bothered by it at all. I may take some of my Mission Gold watercolors and wash in the background a bit better. I may add more pencil. I haven’t decided yet. That is what learning is all about, isn’t it. I like this no-pressure experimenting. I think it is necessary to really get to know the media you are using.
Well, that is where I am today. Didn’t I tell you there was a lot going on? 😉
I am torn between finishing up the flamingo and putting it ‘in the books’ and working on the bakery. I am leaning toward the flamingo because I have the stuff out here on my desk (I told you I am lazy!) and may as well finish it up. I can post a blog on the final picture if you guys would like. Let me know in the comments what your thoughts are on that.
I hope you enjoyed this little peek into the creative part of my head. I can assure you that this is just a small fraction of the projects that I am thinking about on a daily basis. It is really busy and crowded place lately, and the ideas are all jostling each other around trying to get to the front of the line. (How wonderful is THAT?)
Thank you for stopping by to read. I love hearing from you as well. I hope you are all staying warm and safe and finding ways to be creative and stay happy.
Until next time . . .