I'm excited to say that I have been leasing a studio in downtown Greenville at Art Crossing (studio 201) for over a month now. I am finally finished with the hardest part which was dividing my home studio in half practically and transporting supplies and art from one studio to another. I had to reframe almost all my glass to non-glare which was not only costly but also ended up in an awful cut and trip to the emergency room. I've invested a bit more than I'd planned but I'm comfortable there now which is important. I have a small space and I share that small space with another artist so we can have more flexibility in time we are required to spend at the studio. My studio mate's name is Teri and she makes gorgeous hand-woven fabrics and garments. She keeps a loom at the studio and apparently has a huge monster of a loom still at her home. We make a good team. She has a great sense of humor and a great laugh so things are always hopping when she's around.
Now that both kids are in school full 5 day weeks, I have been catching up on a lot of things that have been sitting on the back burner for quite a while. I've been offering note cards that feature my silhouettes for a few years now. I get such positive feedback from my enthusiastic customers that I'm really anxious to take it to the next level. So that has meant putting in tons of hours to transform a lot of old illustrations into new silhouettes or creating brand new silhouettes. My inspiration is definitely my 2 children. They are more than used to Mommy having them pose in mid action sometimes so I can record the moment knowing that I'm not the only one who would appreciate it. I'm hoping that other mothers will recognize their own children in the silhouettes which is what makes silhouettes so wonderful in my opinion. They are just enough information for your mind to "fill in the blank" and come up with a beautiful image. A silhouette sort of jogs the memory of moments in time and leaves out all the unnecessary information.
Anyway, I am working away as fast as I can hoping to get my silhouettes out on note cards and prints. I'm also trying to increase inventory and organize and tweak in an effort to meet the holiday rush in the best position possible. In the mean time, I can't wait - I'm going to place a sample of a silhouette that will be featured on my note cards very soon. I'm posting it in a few varieties to show how versatile they really are. It only takes a moment to change a hair style, or switch a dress to overalls, or a teddy bear into a doll. These are great for personalization!
Last week I had an incredible opportunity to attend a workshop in Philadelphia at Studio Incammanati. This is THE place to study painting these days in my opinion. It was founded by Nelson Shanks - he painted Princess Diana's portrait as well as numerous other well-known portraits. He teaches how to see the right way - we learned about seeing the form of a person in planes and masses rather than lines and contours. We were taught how to construct a portrait with the proper foundation so we can build upon the most accurate structure as we paint the portrait. It was really fascinating and I want to go back and learn more. I attended a museum school of art and we were never taught these centuries old methods. I'd never done a color study before and wasn't even sure what it was. Now that I've done one (two - but I failed at the first one), I can think back to the many portraits where I may have filled in a background or pillow or whatever over and over hoping to achieve just the right value, tone and hue. A color study would have been a great aid for that. I have a list of books to read that I'm planning to invest in. I'd read a few already but there were some great ones that I know will be very helpful.
Today I'm very excited about a new possibility. I've been speaking with people about getting involved somehow with the art scene in downtown Greenville and it looks like I might get to have a cart and sell work on the sidewalk at River Place! If all goes well and this all comes to fruition, I will focus on silhouettes (people, pets and scenes) and also black and white line art. I'm already working on a few art pieces that feature scenes I've observed around the park and downtown area. I'll post those as soon as I can. For now, here are some very rough sketches of a cart. We'll see how close the actual cart comes with my ideal version.
Now that both kids are in school full 5 days, I am busy pursuing some of what has been waiting on the back burner for a long time. I've been presenting products featuring silhouettes for a few years. I always get such great feedback from customers that I'm very anxious to take the paper products and prints to the next level. Opening the Etsy store has been a great way to get my feet wet and gain even more feedback and requests that spark more focused ideas. When I am in the studio downtown (if all goes well with the lease signing), then I'm hoping it will really take off. So I feel very rushed to get the groundwork in place and buy enough supplies to have a good stock in place so I can fill orders as the holidays approach.
I am so anxious to get my own silhouette figures available for note cards and prints! They are all based on my own illustrations - no clip art. My illustrations are inspired often by my own children. They are very used to modeling for Mommy while holding a pose in action. By basing them on my own children, I get so enthusiastic about the outcome because each silhouette reminds me of such personal experience. I'm hoping other mommies will recognize that and fall in love with the silhouettes. Best of all, since they are not clip art, I can easily make changes for personal requests. I can change the shape from a girl wearing a dress to pedal pushers. Or I can turn a short bob into long curly hair. Two big brothers can become 2 big sisters with a few brushes of the stylus in photoshop.
I can't wait to download the new products to my shop. In the mean time, here is a sneak preview.