Category Archives: Surtex

What to do when the Show is over

There is a bit of a let down at the end of Surtex. Once more we are back in our studios alone.

I am presently working on a watercolor of a  Thanksgiving turkey. He is not as loose and free as I would like, but I think I am okay with what is coming out. Sometimes it takes a few days even a week to see something differently.

I found myself thinking while I  followed thru on design requests: What did I want to do next? Thinking and thinking didn’t help. So I began googling because you never know where you are going to end up. What I found was very much in synch with my thinking. If we tune in to ourselves we will find what we are seeking.

As my mind was going through its litany of “you should do this and you should do that”………I began to imagine and feel that what I wanted  was to free up and loosen up even more. And not just in terms of style, but to let my thinking and creative mind be more open to all sorts of possibilities. It’s not necessary, I realized, to box myself in to one style, one subject etc. The creative process is a discovery and a searching and that cannot happen in a box. It is an exciting process because when you give over to it you never quite know what is going to happen next. And you begin to develop a way of working that allows for this process.

So, I am going to do the paperwork, the follow thru and all the not so fun stuff. But I am going to look at art that inspires and begin to doodle and scribble.

Luli Sanchez

Luli Sanchez

I found a wonderful textile artist, Luli Sanchez whose work and sensibility I find very inspiring and exciting.

Kaffe Fassett designer

Kaffe Fassett designer

I also discovered a wonderful artist, textile designer, quilter, knitter named Kaffe Fassett . I read about his book , Dreaming in Color and ordered it right away.

Journal roses sketch

Journal roses sketch

Journal sketch Wish fairy doll

Journal sketch

I also got out ten of the  journals which I have been keeping for years. They include sketches, cartoons, ideas as well as recordings of events and feelings. Looking through these helped remind me of the creative person I am. I found, among many others, a drawing I did for a Wish Fairy doll I wanted to make and a lovely sketch of June roses.

Here’s one more thing. When I find myself feeling discouraged, feeling that nothing is going to come of the show and why am I doing this, I pull out my cognitive thinking book, Feeling Good by David Burns and find a chapter and exercise that relates to what I am thinking. In a very short time I am back on track again because I see that the self-defeating pattern will get no positive results. Have something you can turn to when your thoughts get gloomy.

And Stay happy.

Advertisements

6 Comments

Filed under Artists, Cognitive Thinking, Creativity and Fun, Surtex, Trade Show

Surtex 2013 Part II

Of course we go to the Surtex Show to meet with Clients, meet new manufacturers and generally get our new work seen.

Equally  important and enjoyable is networking with our fellow artists. Each year is a glad reunion with old friends and a chance to make new friends among our colleagues.

Part II of this Surtex Post will be photos and brief descriptions of these encounters. I was not able to include everyone I would have liked. Either time or space ran out. There are just too many wonderful artists at this show.

Our first reunion was with our good friends Andrea and Dan Tachiera. Andrea is a wonderful licensing artist who is now represented by Donna Westman of DSW designs. Andrea and Dan and their sons  live in Berkeley Ca and we don’t get to see them often enough. Andrea’s wonderful sunny watercolors reflect her sense of design and whimsy whether she is painting animals, flowers or rain boots!

Andrea and Dan Tachiera

Andrea and Dan Tachiera

Andrea's bright colorful watercolor flowers

Andrea’s bright colorful watercolor flowers

Then of course there was our “neighborhood”, our small aisle of five booths and our friend Lucinda Wei just across the aisle who has become a part of the “neighborhood.” (More about Lucinda later)

Sue Zipkin

Sue Zipkin

Across from us is our friend and wonderful artist Sue Zipkin. Sue’s colorful, zestful and lively art is a treat for the eyes. She is very successful in the business and is always fun to have nearby. Her husband Bob is there to help her and last year her son Max helped out also.

Ingrid and Kristin, Nutshell Designs

Ingrid and Kristin, Nutshell Designs

We look forward each year to seeing Ingrid Slyder and her sister Kristin set up in the corner booth next to us. Ingrid is another art licensing veteran and her finely painted, somewhat whimsy illustrations are a joy to see. She also has a neat wicked sense of humor and we love looking at her humorous card designs. We missed seeing Ingrid’s husband Duane this year.

Beth Logan Art Stuff

Beth Logan Art Stuff

Beth Logan’s booth is next to us on the corner. Not only is Beth fun bright and easy to talk to, but her art is whimsical, imaginative, cute and beautifully painted. She is a  popular artist and creates many fun fabrics for crafters. She wore a skirt each day made from her own fabrics – reversible too!

Kate Spade from Edinburgh

Kate Spade from Edinburgh

It’s definitely a pleasure to greet Kate Knight and her mother Jeanne who come all the way from Edinburgh. Kate’s beautifully designed and colorful florals are always a lift for the spirit as are both Kate and her mother. They thoroughly enjoy the Surtex experience and being in NY and we all enjoy them. It’s a pleasure to listen to their Scottish accents.

Lucinda Wei

Lucinda Wei

Lucinda Wei is fairly new to licensing. We met a few years ago in Atlanta and have become good friends. We walk a lot of the shows together. Her color sense is divine and she is a wonderful designer and illustrator. She has also been climbing the steep curve of art licensing very rapidly. Keep going Lucinda. Her sister Belinda was helping her out in the booth. It is nice to note how many family and friends pitched in to help.

Now we start to walk a little further afield. This is what I did every time we felt one of us could leave the booth. I stopped and talked to friends, looked at art,  took pictures and met new friends.

Elizabeth Golz Rush and     Lazarr

Elizabeth Golz Rush and
Barbara Lanza

My friends Elizabeth Golz Rush (on the right) and Barbara Lanza (middle) were sharing a booth with a third artist, Pamela Bishop who was unable to make it to the show. Mandy Hawes on the left pitched in for Pamela. Pamela’s art is whimsical and character driven.

Elizabeth’s work is so incredibly fine and detailed. Just a treat to look at. Her side interest now is in fairy doll kits which she makes and the fairy doll workshops that she does. I’ve bought several from her and helped my friends grandkids put them together.Check out her blog,

Barbara Lanza’s work is also very involved with wonderful magical fairies. Barbara started out as a fashion illustrator and now does children’s books as well as her fantasy art.

I was very happy to find Caleb Gray was here this year with his partner Connor Lynch.

Caleb and Connor

Caleb and Connor

Love that lunch box

Love that lunch box

Caleb Gray is the Artist and his partner Connor is actually in a scientific profession. They work wonderfully together in the booth. Caleb’s work is at the same time clean and modern and very retro. I feel like I am walking onto a 1950’s kids television show set (the aprons made from Caleb’s fabric do help the image). It’s a very unique look and he’s doing well.

 Rose Mary Berlin

Rose Mary Berlin

Rose Mary Berlin and her husband Rick are long time friends. As a matter of fact there were students of ours when we were teaching a course on The Business of Illustration for the Graphic Artists Guild. Besides being a mom Rose is a wonderful children’s book artist who has now branched out into licensing.  She paints “good” whatever she does, but her animals are spectacular. We always look forward to our time spent with Rick when he comes on the last day to help pack up. He is one of the world’s greatest schmoozers.

Alex Columbo and Paul Stout

Alex Columbo and Paul Stout

Alex Columbo and I met over the internet before the show via one of the many social networking groups we belong to. We’ve been in touch since and almost met in Atlanta in January. This was our first time meeting face to face. Her designs are whimsical colorful and charming as is she. This is her first Surtex and I believe that she had a great show and a wonderful experience. I also had the pleasure of meeting and talking to her husband Paul Stout who is involved in the business part-time.

Patti Gay

Patti Gay

Patti Gay is an extremely versatile artist who can work in many styles and media. In her career she has published many adorable and beloved childrens’ books as well as having been an art director at Portal Publications. In addition to her regular licensing art she has created an imprint called Two Can Art. Here she publishes art that she has done in collaboration with her son Noah who is 21 and autistic. His love for color and textures has been incorporated into her designs. She and I also got to know each other first on Facebook before we met at Surtex.

Another wonderful reason for being on facebook is networking with your colleagues.

                                                                                Martha Collins in her booth with Caleb Gray
Martha Collins in her booth with Caleb Gray

Now here is an artist whose work I love. Martha Collins. She herself is sunny, bright and interesting as is her artwork. She is very diverse in her styles. Her floral watercolor paintings are my special favorites. When I first noticed her work at a Surtex some years back I was so very impressed with her style and all the chances she took to continue being different and new. After that I wanted to move in a new direction too. Thanks Martha.

Give yourself a treat and take some time to go to each artists’ site.

And thanks to all the wonderful artists at Surtex. There wasn’t time to capture more for my blog but they all helped make it a very fine show.

I might as well mention our websites. They are linked to each other and the Andrea Brooks site has more of painted designs and Dennis site is more graphic and whimsical.

Andrea Brooks

Dennis Kendrick

The two of us

The two of us

Well, I like this photo of us in our booth. It’s a rarity to get a photo where we both look good and happy. Thanks again to our friend Tom Cathey who also baked the marvelous cookies. Hint, hint Tom.

Back in our studio, I’m in fighting the cold that I held at bay during the show. But that’s what is great about working at home. I can still get up every day and do our follow through and we continue to work together. The cats are so happy to have us at home.

12 Comments

Filed under Children's Books, Flowers, Javitts Center, Licensing, Surtex, Watercolor

Surtex 2013 part One

      Another Surtex has zipped by. The months of preparation and the excitement of the three days at the show is over. Now we are back in our studio and this is what we call “follow up” time. This is when we send artwork to clients we met with at the sh0w; schedule new art that was requested; enter new contacts into our data base and generally take an overview of how the show went.

Surtex 2013 at the Javitts Center

Surtex 2013 at the Javitts Center

I am going to do this post in two parts. The first is about our show experience, Part two will be about artist friends old and new who we saw at the show.

The two of us

The two of us

Overview of the aisle

Overview of the aisle

  Although the show got off to a slow start on Sunday by Monday it got much busier and continued that way through the end of the show on Tuesday.

We’ve become a good team when it comes to putting the booth together.

Bird Song series

Bird Song series

Amaryllis Rejoice

Amaryllis Rejoice

Parisienne Collage

Parisienne Collage

HALOWEEN CUPCAKE WITCH

HALOWEEN CUPCAKE WITCH ANDREA BROOKS STUDIO

PEONY BOTANICA

PEONY BOTANICA

BOOTH WITH CUST0MERS

BOOTH WITH CUSTOMERS

We had two ipads with our complete portfolios to show to manufacturers. For those of y0u who are not familiar with the show this photo of Dennis with two customers from Unique shows the set up. Our booth is a 10′ x 10′ size booth.  We’d love to have a corner booth since these have two sides open to the public. But that would mean moving from our “neighborhood of five booths” that we are happy with.

Our friend Tom Cathey came by and dropped off two days worth of fresh baked delicious cookies. Thank you Tom. Everyone raved about them.

Making Selections

Making Selections

Dawn Kirschner and Merry Cassino from Unique looking through our library of designs. We were glad that we had saved last year’s posters. It turned out there was an empty wall opposite us which we  split up with our neighbors. Those are our cupcakes in the backbground,.

Lindy is here

Lindy is here

Lindy of the Lindy Bowman company, Rachel Katz, Kathy Lorczynski and Ellen Birckner his right hand gals.

Randy Fritz of Carsons

Randy Fritz of Carsons

We had a good meeting with Randy Fritz  of Carsons Home Accents in charge of Flag production.

We saw many other manufacturers, but didn’t manage to get photos of them all.We thank them all for taking the time to meet with us.

I am also happy at how much more smoothly Dennis and I have become at working together. I had to let go of a lot of artist ego and realize that Dennis is a wonderful designer. My forte is watercolor. So now when we work together to create a design from one of my paintings I do the most minimal amount of art directing. In fact it is so much more relaxing. That’s one of the secrets too to a good companionable marriage. Lean on your partners strengths and vica versa. Let ego go.Not easy. but worth it when you succeed.

We were in the same little aisle as last year. Our neighborhood as we called it. Five booths with a cross aisle at either end.

I will be doing a part two to this post about the artists in our “neighborhood” and others throughout the show.

A hopeful sign at the Javitts Center

A hopeful sign at the Javitts Center

When we emerged on Monday the hibiscus in front of theJ avitts Center were all opened up. A lovely surprise and a hopeful sign.

We finished off the day by taking our gear home to the west village, feeding the cats who were happy to see us  and having our ritual show closing and celebration. A beer and a burger at the White Horse Tavern.

Our ritual end to Surtex

Our ritual end to Surtex

Stay tuned for Part two of the Surtex show in which you will meet some of our fellow artists who exhibited.

11 Comments

Filed under Carsons Home, Javitts Center, Lindy Bowman, Manufacturers, Surtex, The White Horse Tavern, Uncategorized, Unique Industries

All ready for Surtex

We finished the last design for the Surtex Show on Saturday. It is called Amaryllis Rejoice and I wanted to show it here. Our posters are now being printed by  Mega Print who we have used for many years and highly recommend.

Andrea Brooks Studio Amaryllis Rejoice

Andrea Brooks Studio Amaryllis Rejoice

Dennis also just recently finished a new series on the theme of Paris and I will show a few pieces here. He is now working on a collection based on these pieces for Robert Kaufman . I love the entire collection so far. It would make a gorgeous quilt, dishes, trays. wall posters among others.

Andrea Brooks Studio Parisian Vase and Flowers

Andrea Brooks Studio Parisian Vase and Flowers

Parisian Parfumerie

Parisian Parfumerie

I have been making calls for the last month or more and am expecting a good turnout. The minute we finished the last design I came down with cold and am just grateful that it is happening now and not the end of this week. And although I am all painted out for now I can’t wait to get going again.

I’ll post again right after the show and let you know how it went and what happened. In the meantime enjoy the lovely weather.

Don’t forget we are in booth #614/ Come and see us.

6 Comments

Filed under Paris, Surtex, Trade shows

Working on a new project, Botanical Garden

Surtex is almost a month away.

But creating art continues until the last possible minute. There is nothing like facing a show to inspire creativity and productiveness.

I have been painting new flowers and birds for several weeks. And now I am finished except for painting backgrounds. Then I turn it over to Dennis and we sit in front of the computer and create the new designs. The inspiration this time are antique botanical floral and bird designs. I am doing an updated version working inthe loose watercolor style that I have been developing. I have had many sources of inspiration, including but not all, sumi e painting, Janet Rogers watercolor tutorials and my own way of putting thngs together.

Here are a few of the florals  that I am happy with.

The newest peony

The newest peony

Red Poppies

Red Poppies

Azalea

Azalea

Blue Poppies

Blue Poppies

I’ve painted about twelve different flowers. There are a few rejects.

I’ve done a number of birds to go with this style, but only like one so far. I’ll wait before I post it. Always good to wait a few days and then look again.

I thought that the Azaleas had gotten too heavy handed right after I finished painting. Two days later I looked and made a few alterations and thought “hmmmm these are nice,I like them.”

I hope to have at least one of the new designs called “Botanical Garden” to show here soon. In the meantime I have to come to terms with the birds and then a few insects. I’ll include a bee, butterfly and dragonfly. Maybe even a little grass hopper.

11 Comments

Filed under Birds, Botanicals, Flowers, insects, Surtex, Trade Show, Uncategorized, Watercolor

Surtex 2012—A great show experience

We came back from the Surtex show at the NY Javits Center in May to find the tulips all  blooming in the park downstairs.

Greenwich Village, New York City

Our urban village

Our home in Greenwich Village is a renovated former GE factory dating back to the 1920’s. The scene is lively and colorful and at the same time very peaceful. We call it our urban village!

Maggie and Buster napping

Louisa May Allcat

Our three cats Magnolia (a white and orange tabby), Buster (a grey and white tuxedo cat) and Louisa May (a tortoise shell calico) were happy to have us back. We were at the Surtex show for three full days. They’re  used to hanging out with us all day.

Andrea’s workspace

My office and studio is in one half of a  very large space way in the back of our loft.It always gets messy when I am in the middle of a project.

The other half of the back space

Our bedroom makes up the other half of the back . Decor is a combination of antique and Pottery Barn!

Dennis’ workspace

 Dennis’ workspace is at the front end of our loft. We had it designed by a company in New York called Techline. I can’t wait to do my space.
Usually in the morning, we have a business meeting in his office. Then it’s back to our studios until lunch.
Dennis designed great wall posters for the walls in our Surtex booth:
Dennis Kendrick and Tom Cathey at Surtex Booth

Floor to Ceiling posters for our booth

Eiffel Tower, Peony and Bluebird

Tuscan Pasta Design

We had over a thousand designs displayed on our two Apple ipads. The Show was lively and very upbeat. There was a general spirit of optimism and good spirits.

Rainy day at Surtex

Monday morning it rained heavily and the Javits Center’s roof leaked onto our exhibit hall. It was especially bad in our aisle. We were cordoned off and no foot traffic was allowed. We spent the morning gawking at the cherry pickers repairing the ceiling. No meetings that morning! Penny Sikalis the show manager handled this mishap with speed and thoughtfulness.Our spirits were not dampened!

We had meetings with our clients and new manufacturers. If more than one customer appeared at the same time we had two ipads (dueling ipads) ready to go into action. I have fallen in love with technology, my iMac, iPad and now my iPhone. Stay tuned, there is more to come.

National Stationery Show banner

 Surtex ran at the same time as the big National Stationery Show. This is the big show for stationery and giftware manufacturers. It’s held in New York every May.
Holiday Paper Tableware for Design Design

Joy Tote Bag, Design Design

I went over to the DesignDesign booth at the Stationery Show to see Dennis’ new collections of paper tableware: Leaves of Autumn and Joy. We also have a beautiful collection of greeting cards in their line. Dennis is a wonderful designer. F0r him, “Less is always more”, my modus operendi is “Everything and the kitchen sink”. Another way we make a good balanced team.

Tom Vituj and Susan Birnbaum of DesignDesign

We had a great time withTom Vituj and Susan Birbaum of DesignDesign when they visited us at our booth. This Family-owned company is a manufacturer and distributor of gift and stationery goods. Their look is innovative and ranges from the whimsical to the elegant design. Their focus is on “celebration”.

Lindy in a serious mood

 Lindy Bowman President of the Lindy Bowman Company met with us. His company specializes in gift bags and boxes for holiday and all occasions. The products are beautiful and Lindy and Ellen Birkner, creative and product development manger, are fun to work with.

Libby Embry and Maxine Burton of Burton+Burton

We were very happy to meet with Maxine Burton, owner, and Libby Embry, Creative Director, of Burton+Burton. Maxine and her husband Robert started the company as Flowers, Inc., a balloon division of a wholesale florist company and since then it has grown to become one of the largest suppliers of balloons and gift products. Isn’t it wonderful that this year they are celebrating their 50th anniversary in business!

Savannah Afternoon collection, mug mockup

They will be showing our newest collection, Savannah Afternoon at the July Atlantas’s Gift Show. It’s a lovely set with mug, fabric, tote bag, frames, stationery and wallpaper. I’ll be going to Atlanta in July and am excited about seeing my painted sunflowers show up all over these products.

Mary Jo Hull of Dreamworks and her daughter, Abigail

It was great catching up with Mary Jo Hull of Dream Works Design who came to the show with her lovely daughter Abigail who I had been looking forward to meeting. Dream Works Design is a division of Wally Packaging. They do gift bags for holiday and all occasions. Mary Jo is a wonderful illustrator, mother of two and now a creative director at Dream Works.

Dawn Kirschner of Unique Industries didn’t mind

Not all our clients wanted to have their pictures taken. Dawn Kirschner of Unique Industries didn’t mind! Unique Industries is another family run business that has just celebrated it’s 50th year in business. They do wonderful paper and party goods. The business was started by Jeff and Ann Marie Novak and eventually passed on to their three sons Everett, Gary and Craig. Dennis and I enjoy being in the tradition of family owned businesses!

Thinify my new PR photo

In between meetings, our friends Tom Cathey and Joana Miranda visited and helped us take new PR photos. This one is called “Thinify”. This is one of the special effects you can play with on the new Lumix digital camera.Check out all its other features. This is next on my wish list.

Joana Miranda, photo by Tom Cathey

I have Joana Miranda to thank for teaching me about word press and how to set up a blog. Not only is she a wonderful and patient teacher, but an extremely multi-creative artist. Make sure to check out Joanna’s blog called A Talent for Design.

Our dear friend Tom Cathey

Tom Cathey introduced us to Joana. He also gave me mega help when I was green and starting out in Licensing on my own. Then when Dennis and I teamed up Tom was very supportive and forthcoming with help and advice. Tom is an artiste extraordinaire who was highly successful in licensing. Now he is a blogger. His site, Tom’s Eye View is a colorful, amusing and ever changing photo journal of New York places and events. Thanks Tom.

The City that Never Sleeps

Dennis and I love to travel but we are always happy to come home to New York—this fabulous, energizing, whirlwind of a city. Take a walk through New York at night and you will find out why it is called “The city that never sleeps.”

The Smiling Cat

We’ve come to the close of this post. I think I’ll end it just for fun with an image that Dennis did that I love and that always makes me smile.

8 Comments

Filed under Art and Design, Artist Studio Space, Licensing, Surtex, Trade Show