Category Archives: Owls

The Atlanta Show January 2015 and Trends

Dennis and I  got home Sunday January 12th after being at the Atlanta show for five days. There was a really bad virus and cough going around and we both got it. Luckily not at the same time. So we were able to spell each other at the show. I still have it and it has has slowed me down. and since I am a bit late now to report on the show, I’ll write on some topics related to trade shows.  There is a lot of important things to say about the show (or any trade show you go to) . I am going to start with:   Trends  

How and where to spot them at the show. (At the end of this blog I will mention other good sources of trend spotting).

At the shows Look for trends that predominate and show up in at least 5 major showrooms and more. In Atlanta Showrooms like C & F , Manual Woodworkers and Evergreen are good for trend spotting.

 Check out the fashions you see in the halls and showrooms – We saw, of course chevron, animal prints,lots of patterns, and combinations of patterns. At the July show I am sure we will see lots of floral patterns.

         Check colors and patterns that appear in the showrooms- Seen were a lot of the warmer colors in the orange, pink and coral family. Also sunflower yellow. In the Cools   were, you guessed it Blues. Lots of Aqua, Cobalt and Navy. Lots of warm and cool grays combined with the blues and warm shades.

Patterns and bright colors

Patterns and bright colors

Spot recurrent themes – Foxes and owls still around. Woodland animals, deer, moose etc. are showing up. Not as much as was predicted a year ago. The little Hedgehog so popular in England didn’t live up to last year’s predictions. We saw some, but not enough to call it a big trend,.

  I saw  a good showing of black and white designs, patterns and black line art combined with watercolory butterflies, flowers. This last was starting to appear last year in gift wear fashion and tabletop.

Black and white line art with some color

Black and white line art with some color


LOOSER WATERCOLOR AND NATURE THEMES, especially birds and flowers
 Photos of two products in a line sold by by yours truly. This look on Home decor products has been coming about in the last 5 years. And you can bet I am happy about that. The products will be on the Overstock site in late February. Duvet Duvet



Looser Watercolor styles on Paper. This look has been popular on pillows for 3 or 4 years and is now appearing on other products.

Looser watercolor designs

Looser watercolor designs



Collage style inspirational art where the art is very stylistic. These two pieces by Kelly Rae Roberts and Lisa Kaus are good illustrations. Type is used in unusual and varied styles often looking like a snippet of typewriter type. Kelly and Lisa were among the artists that first developed this style around 5 or 6 years ago.By now I’m sure if you have been looking you’ve seen lots of other artists now doing this look. I remember seeing this style and the artists who did it for the first time in the Demdaco Showroom in Atlanta. Then it was new. Now there are many artists doing this look. It caught on and became popular. With artists and with the public

Kelly Rae Roberts collage style

Kelly Rae Roberts collage style

Lisa Kaus collage inspirational style

Lisa Kaus collage inspirational style

Some Themes that come to mind as always popular.

Coastal. I think that we saw a lot more than in past years.

Birds, florals and patterns. (I read in Gifts and Dec Accessories that florals are trending again this year in home decor.

Wine and grapes

Traditional Holiday

Other ways to follow trends:

Check the Pantone color reports for the current year. This is the palette I saw a lot of at the show. And it should be showing up more as Spring is being show in stores.

Pantone colors Spring 2015

Pantone colors Spring 2015

“About the PANTONE Color of the Year
The Color of the Year selection requires careful consideration and, to arrive at the selection, Pantone combs the world looking for color influences. This can include the fashion and entertainment industries – including films that are in production, the world of art, popular travel destinations and other socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from technology, the availability of new textures and effects that impact color, and even upcoming sports events that capture worldwide attention. “

This years color is marsala. It is the luscious rich red brown. Watch for it to start appearing all over!

I try to think of trends when I do my nature paintings. But don’t always incorporate them. If I am working on a collaged piece with Dennis then we are mindful of trends More decorative artists like Jennifer Brinley do use them in a lot of their designs.

Whether you choose to use these colors in your art or not it helps to be aware of them. Don’t feature colors that are out of date for that year.

 Some other ways that I follow trends are: Remember that,  The trends start in  fashion and apparel move to home decor rugs furniture and tabletop and then giftware. ) It can take a year or two for this moving along of the trends. It seems to me that they move from one market to the next faster now than say 5 years ago.

Trade Magazines. Especially Gift and Decorative Accessories

Watch QVC on TV to see what is trendy in fashion.

Visit local gift shops. Talk to the shop owner and see what they are considering hot trends.

Check some of the trendier stores on the internet: ex: West Elm, Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, Pier One

Go to other trade shows. There are so many around the country.

I  was going to make this a short post. Ha ha lol.

It is a cold night in the big apple and I smell Apple and Butternut squash soup from the kitchen.  Let me know about other trends you are spotting.

So I will end here. Stay warm and if you are in a warm place

enjoy it!



























Filed under Atlanta Gift show, Owls, watercolor birds and wildlife

The New York Gift Show at the Javitts Center

In years past the New York Gift Show at the Javitts Center was a great place to meet and see some of the larger paper goods and giftware companies like CR Gibson, Boston International, MeadWestvaco and Enesco to name a few. This has been changing over the last five years as more and more of these companies no longer showed here. The reasons had to do with the downturn in the economy . As products other than paper goods (such as jewelry) began to sell more and as Business

has been changing and the Gift show was no longer the right place for them to make their sales. Many moved to the Atlanta Show.

Gift Show Divisions

Gift Show Divisions

The show was divided into sections. For example the General Gift, Tabletop, Accent on Design and Children and Baby and personal accessories.

At the Gift Show

At the Gift Show

The Accent on Design section was a bit of a disappointment. I remembered it as being an exciting, innovative and inspiring part of the show with booths from all over the world and varied product lines. This year it seemed to me to be a bit lackluster.

The weather outside was .....well wet

The weather outside was …..well wet

Despite the rain and snow the show was well populated which was encouraging.

Dennis and I were very surprised at the overall change in the show. We found very few gift and stationery companies in the Gift Division. There were more companies that sold pillows and clothing. Many more companies that sold the kind of giftware that would fit in with some of the categories I names above.For the most part not the kind of products that would require licensed artists for the designing.There were lots of big publishers like Penguin, Chronicle and Workman to name a few. More companies that sold Judaica and body care products. In the tabletop division most of the companies that have always shown at the gift show were there.

Despite these drawbacks (from our point of view as art licensors) we enjoyed walking the show. We made new contacts and did some trend spotting. Of course owls everywhere. We also had a good meeting with a potential client. We returned to the studio and began working on a few presentations for this company.

Tonight I was remembering advice that was given to us when we were first starting out as illustrators and we took a wonderful course offered then by Elaine Sorel which truly gave us a legs up on our journey into the world of illustration and commercial art. Elaine beside being the wife of Ed Sorel the well known illustrator and one of the co founders of the Push Pin Studios was a thorough professional and very knowledgable person about how to do business as an artist and succeed at it. She had been an artists agent for 15 years representing top people in creative fields. She began doing the workshops when she stopped being an agent. One of the things she told us that I have never forgot (and I paraphrase). “It’s important to genuinely enjoy the people that you are doing business with.” Don’t fake it in order to get work. You are much more likely to get ahead if you form relationships that are mutually enjoyable by all.” I was reminded of that today as we had our meeting. She also said, and again I paraphrase ” Don’t show your work with the expectation of getting work. Show it because you are proud of what you do and want to share your creativity.”

Stitchery illustration by Margaret CusackImport

Stitchery illustration by Margaret Cusack

I also have the pleasure of knowing Elaine’s very talented artist and teacher, daughter Madelaine Sorel. Madelaine and I are both part of an illustrators lunch group that was founded and kept alive by the efforts of Margaret Cusack, who is both a wonderful stitchery artist and a world class promoter. It was difficult picking an image to use in this post as Margaret has many varied and wonderful stitched art that has been used in editorial, advertising and gallerty exhibits. This lunch group has been meeting once a month for lunch for over 20 years. It has been a life saver and thriving sharing creative community for those of us who have been regulars.We share business, art and our personal lives at these monthly meetings.

And once again Dennis and I are back at work doing what we love most. Designing and painting and dreaming about our next project. Top priority is finishing the two remaining Halloween cupcake designs.

Whoo knows

Whoo knows

Art licensing is a risky and exciting business to be in. Whoo knows where it will lead us next.


Filed under Art and Design, Artists, Halloween, Holidays, Javitts Center, Licensing, Manufacturers, NY Gift Show, Owls, Trade shows, Trends