Summer School, what’s gotten into me?

Just as my two boys will be finishing up the 6th grade and beginning the long and lazy days of summer vacation, I will be plunging into a new, intensive on-line course entitled Make Art That Sells, taught by one of the top art licensing agents Lilla Rogers.  Being an admirer of Lilla’s agency and all her wonderful artists for some time now, as well as being in the business of making art that I hope to sell, I simply could not resist such a course.  The class begins June 3rd (yikes that’s soon!) and it will cover all the most lucrative art buying categories (well lucrative if you can sell a lot that is;). Though, I’m familiar with some of the categories like bolt fabric and children’s books, I know I can always benefit with some updated knowledge. I’ve worked less in home decor, gift and wall art so I’m looking forward to learning more about those categories. Most importantly though, I really want to take this opportunity to push my style and take it to a new and higher level. I want to really tap into again the part of me that has fun and really enjoys the process. It’s hard to find sometimes as I can be a bit self-critical and get in the way of my own self. I often find that some of my art I like the best are things I have doodled almost unconsciously?! The challenge is to find that place while conscious and trying to complete an assignment with deadline (not that easy)! I also know that when you are pushing yourself there will always be those moments of frustration and fear, when you really don’t like what you’ve created.  I’m hoping to get through to the other side where I am actually really loving what I have produced and then, just maybe more sells will follow. As Lilla says, “people buy your joy”.  Well, I know I am in for some challenges and hopefully lots of fun.  I’m both nervous and excited to begin this course!

LilaRogersschoolofart2

Artwork by Janet Broxon                                  School logo by Suzy Ultman

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So Long Summer…..

Yesterday may have been my final swim for this year with the family at Middle Bay. Well it’s possible I’ll brave it a few more times before October. But probably the last really warm day where you feel like lingering afterwards to soak up the sun on the rocks along the shore.  By the time september hits in Maine, though still very pleasant, the air feels a bit crisper, the days noticeably shorter, the yard mostly shadows by afternoon, the last of my blackberry bush stems become shriveled and dry and the water is much colder.

I got my 6th grade  boys off to Junior high for the first time this week.  A transition I’d hoped to go a little smoother, but for some reason left us all feeling a bit frazzled and on edge all week. It’s definitely a change, an end to an era.  The beginning of a whole new parenting experience ahead of me. Which of course, no matter how much information I receive, advice I get or how smart I might think I am. I’m never really prepared for and will probably have to just resort to what I’ve had to from the get go,” just winging it”, and “learning on the go” none of which I admit are particularly strengths of mine. Oh well, in the end I hope we’ll all still love each other.

This “So Long to Summer” piece, which actually is officially titled “Belle Latitude” by my copywriter husband,Tom Mitchell, I finished a few weeks ago for The Brunswick 10×10 Annual Art Sale. The show raises money for Arts Are Elementary. An organization that sends artist into the schools to enrich the Arts education for students grade k-5th.

The piece was painted with gouache and pastel with some bits of collaged paper and fabric on Arches 140 lb. watercolor paper

“Gypsy wind” at the Fall Quilt Market

First I wanted to show the two paintings that inspired Gypsy wind, my most recent fabric collection. These were commissioned pieces for an educational publishing company to be printed on brochures, CD’s and other collateral. They had asked for purely abstract artwork with a Paul Klee feel. I was specially thrilled to do these since Paul Klee is one of my favorite artists.

I was equally thrilled when P&B textiles asked me to try a fabric collection with a similar idea and feel. Here is the original main print I designed for them. The artwork was painted with gouache and pastel. I then handed painted and inked all the patterns and textures and scanned them into photoshop as layers. Putting this one into repeat and keeping the colors down to 18 couldn’t have been easy but P & B textiles did a great job with it.

Below are some examples of the printed product made into some fun pillows and a quilt, displayed at Quilt Market.

The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef

On my recent trip to Washington DC, I visited several museums in hopes of bringing back a little creative inspiration to kick start another long Maine winter. One in which I am hopefully going to generate lots of new art work.

First touring the American History Museum with my boys and husband, we some how ended up in the history of war section for a good 40 minutes. While yes, educational and interesting, and my boys were of course fascinated, it wasn’t quite what I had in mind. For me, a little lacking in artistic inspiration not to mention that “warm fuzzy feeling”. I separated from them and headed over to The Museum of Natural History and to my relief stumbled right into The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef exhibition. Here it was a “warm and fuzzy” woolly wonderland full of color, texture and fascinating shapes, what more could you want.

Then, upon further inspection I realized this project was about much more. The project first started in the living room of two sisters, Margaret and Christine Wertheim in 2005, as a response to the declining great barrier reef of Australia, it’s since branched out and became a collective and collaborative work involving mostly women from three continents. The project bridges marine biology, higher geometry (modeling hyperbolic space), environmental activism, community and art, all through women’s handiwork.

Inspiration for Gems of the Sea

This is a watercolor, pastel and fabric painting I created about a year ago that became the inspiration for my new fabric collection with P & B Textiles called “Gems of the Sea”. This was a super fun collection to create because for one I just love sea turtles! Not to mention all the other wonderful undersea life like tiny delicate sea horses and dazzling fish.