Monday, January 31, 2011

custom painting 101

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do." Eleanor Roosevelt

When I was pregnant with Hannah, I looked at her empty walls in the nursery and told myself I should paint something on them. all big and round in month 8 I did. A tree, grass, clouds on ceiling (Daddy did that), birds, a window, picket fence, flowers. I never realized that her room would have opened up a door for me for the next 11 years in an art business. One person saw the room, then another, and then word spread. I have never advertised since. It has all been word of mouth. For 5 years I did wall murals when my Mom would watch the girls until I tuckered myself out without having any help, then moved onto doing a some shows, canvas, wood, furniture painting for a baby boutique in town. So here I am. Really blessed and happy to have had a part-time (although inconsistent at times), set my own hours job for the past decade or so. I am feeling like I lack in the business and administration part of everything, but I think that will come down the road when I figure out what ONE thing I want to market myself with. Not there yet.

I often think I don't have a solid, cohesive look or style. I've done mainly kids stuff because that's where I was in life when I started and where I still am. Starting as a young artist and then pursuing it in college a tad, I'm trying to embrace the process of growing as an artist and knowing it just might take some time to get where I want. I am continuing to dream about the next avenue I want to take. In the midst of learning, changing and balancing who I am- I'm still chugging along with custom stuff.

This post is a look at how I go about doing customized work. I always want to remember how I started. Whether it's been a simple name sign, frame, canvas, mural or furniture- this is how it goes. Here is a toy box that I have been working on. I haven't done furniture in awhile and thought it would be fun. A gal's father-in-law built it for her and she wanted it to be handpainted as a sweet heirloom piece. Super special and I was happy to cute it up.

Here is a basic 10-step way I paint most personalized items:
1. Sand and smooth out piece. Base coat with Kilz primer. Perhaps sand again.
2. Choose 3-4 colors to work with and base coat main colors. I mix within those for darker and lighter shades. It just gives a more uniform look and looks balanced to use only a few colors.
3. Using a good brush add texture freehand, work with stamps, painters tape, bubble wrap, foam blocks etc. Whatever inspires me. I usually use tone on tone (darker/lighter shade on top of the base coat) for this step.
4. Have a design or main concept to be the focal point. With this toy box, it was the bird and branches.
5. Work with fabric, magazine ideas, room decor, and sketch out some thoughts on paper. I get those from the client or on my own; usually bedding, rug, special request, room colors, etc.
6. Pencil in the main design and get started on the details.
7. Step back and really look at it. Walk away a bit. It's always looks newer the next day to work on.
8. Touch up and add final strokes with accents of brown, white, black or a dominant color to make the entire piece "pop".
9. Seal it with a water-based polyurethane sealant. This can be brushed or sprayed (with furniture- brush it on).
10. Voila! Too fun.
Here is the final piece. The client wanted it to have a simple-grow-with-her-daughter design. With the fabric and stuff she gave me I figured it was a "victorian-modern-potterybarnkids" look. I think that's the hardest part in doing this kind of painting. I always tell them to give me or share as much as they can so that I can paint what they are thinking in their head. Alot of clients just tell me "oh, I trust you- just do whatever you think".  Love that!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Greetings 2011.

Past: Give it to God. Present: Live it for God. Future: Entrust it to God.

My mother-in-law called today and mentioned that I hadn't blogged in awhile (she is a big blog fan of mine apparently :) Not much happening but finishing holiday orders, organizing, getting ready to list our house on the market again. Almost 9 months and counting. I did also think about summing up the past year and perhaps actually writing the resolutions down for 2011 that have consumed a small chunk of my brain. So here goes.

I think we are all in the frigid, post-holiday wish-I-were-at-a-beachy-location state right now. Winter has finally hit Texas- and everywhere else I hear. We had a whopping 2 inches of snow this past weekend and this is where you would have found me (and other sweet souls who joined me at times). Toasty in front of the fire, good book, sketch book, hot cocoa, dreaming, catching up on my snoozing. Can I say, aaaaahhh.
Since it is the second week of January, I figured I would put down some of the dozen things or so that I resolve to do this year. Many that know me well know that I am a dreamer and wisher...and...but we all have to start somewhere right? (in random order)

- Have a faith-walk in every detail to come this year.
- Go on individual "dates" with the girls.
- Bring rainbows of color, pattern in the decor of our next home and my wardrobe. Mix it up.
- Continue (and enjoy/be okay) with my journey as an artist.
- Keep conquering the icky gremlins that creep up and steal the good space in my head and the day. (I would mention what those are- but TMI)
- Keep it organized, simple and mindful.
- Eat fresh. Stay active.
- Quiet times. Among my stack of books to be read, a devotional book (luv it) that I got from a forever friend will help with that.
- DO Dave Ramsey's book. Not just READ it again. (Wanna read this too. Getting carried away here.)
- Linger in the small, simple moments that bring happiness and are rich in love. As a "still growing up and trying to figure all this out" adult I realize it's these moments that matter the most. Not much else matters in fact. (aka: this weekend: freeze tag bundled up outside, sweet chats with Hannah on the floor of our closet, breakfast in bread from J, dancing to good music, snuggly get the idea.)

Goodbye 2010. You were good. Full of love. You were filled with uncertainty and "we'll see" and "I dunno". You were hard. Delightful. Fun. A roller coaster. I feel like I have grown/learned, laughed/cried, had chaos/peace, was strong/weak, fearless/scared, full/empty, confused/getting it, excited, content, positive, negative, thankful, quitting, patient.

Blessed with a happy fine-tuned, well constructed God path of about everything this past year.

Bring it on, 2011.

"Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling."-Margaret L. Runbeck

Monday, January 3, 2011

Colorado Christmas 2010

We seem to be the traveling family these days. Not just the holidays, but Josh has certainly put some miles on these past months. What's a few more? We decided to drive to Co. for Christmas, had a little family celebration here, "packed up like sardines" in the car and J needed to work a couple days out there, so we tagged along (without an inch to waist!). It was super fun. Delightful. Busy. Lovely. Sweet. Blessing upon blessing once again.

I have something like, 176 pictures. Hey, we were busy but I won't bore you. Here is a quick glance at the week:

1. A Santa Claus outing. Tristan cute-d up (oooh, he is a sweetheart!) in an adorable outfit for him and my girls weren't too sure about the Santa-thing.
2. Christmas Eve service was lovely in so many ways. At a church my Mom/Josh were going to a bit and I felt an immediate "this could be our church home" feeling.
3. Happy Birthday Jesus! Gifts. Brunch. More gifts. Chillin'. Laughing. Teary. Eating. Loving.
4. Santa hats tradition.
5. Went to Boulder. (loooove it.) Shopped, ate at a chic tavern, tried to hike to some beautiful falls.
6. All bundled up we went to see pretty holiday lights displayed beautifully at Hudson Gardens near Denver.
7. Colorado Springs! Went to old, famous Broadmoor Hotel. Ate at old, famous Golden Bee Pub. Went to old, famous "Cave of the Winds" to tour the most awesome cave. It was all old, famous and too cool.
8. Shopped a tad. Okay- the malls around there ROCK.
9. Happy 40th Steve! You ROCK! Downtown Denver celebration at Denver Chophouse.
10. Bison Park to run, jump, chase. It ROCKS too.
11. Home-bound. Up around 4am and we outta there. A big snowy storm brewing. Although tempted to stay and have fun in it, we opted out.
12. Drove 16 hrs. straight through. Made it, but got a bit "car craaazy" at times. The "packed in like sardines" part when we left...yeah, even worse coming home.

There you have it. A Colorado Christmas. Now you know and now I have it all in here so that our family will forever be remembering it. We have all of 2008, 2009, 2010- journaled via blog form. Joy, Joy! (Bloggers out there: use this to put your blog into a book.)

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