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Daffodils for Maggie

Since I last wrote I had been spending a lot of time with Maggie our lovely 15 year old white tabby. She was dying of cancer and Dennis and I  knew that our time with us was limited.

I lavished her with love, play and attention whenever she wanted it. It was both a sad and a happy time.

Magnoia Rose

Magnoia Rose

Sadly almost three weeks ago she died from a very brief stroke. But she and I had almost two months to indulge in petting, loving, special foods and new games.

To back track, I had received an assignment form a client to do a watercolor for a  very large Daffodil flag. I was alone with the cats for four days while Dennis went to the Atlanta gift show. We usually go together but this time I stayed home with Maggie and Louisa and Buster.

I decided that I was painting these flowers for Maggie. That way I could be thinking about her while I painted and be offering these flowers as a tribute to how beautiful she has been in my life.

I did this sketch for the flag after looking at pictures of daffodils and made some decisions about colors.

pencil drawing for Daffodils

pencil drawing for Daffodils

My first go round was not great.  Then I tried another simpler approach

and liked these better. They were small (maybe 5″ tall) but simpler and I liked them.

small painted daffodil

small painted daffodil

Another small daffodil

Another small daffodil

I also did a swatch chart of all my yellows and then played with them to get used to how they mix, whether they were transparent or more opaque and how they layer.

Mixing is combining two colors while wet either on my palette or dropping a second color onto a wet layer of watercolor. Layering (also called glazing) is basically letting one color dry and then putting another layer of color over it. In all my years of painting I am embarrassed to admit that I had never really done this except spottily as needed. Always too impatient to get right to painting. I discovered how wonderful gamboge yellow is and also cadmium yellow light. They are both transparent and very versaitile. Gamboge has a more orange or peachy hue to the yellow and the cadmium yellow can go from very pale to bright.

Now I had been painting for almost three days and I sent the smaller daffodils to my art director. She liked them but needed to see everything painted injust like my sketch.

Finally round three I decided to paint the flowers really big and use my new # 16 brush. The small ones I used as studies at this point.

 And that was the perfect solution.   It was fun, and much easier I found than painting small. Also I could stay simpler with more ease.

These measured about 10 ” from stem to top petal. it also gave me a chance to stay loose and still do nice detailing in the ceter. Flower centers are truly amazing when you start focussing on them. That was what Georgia O’Keefe was about. Getting us to really see what was there.

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Yellow and orange watercolor daffodil

Yellow and orange watercolor daffodil

Yellow daffodil watercolor

Yellow daffodil watercolor

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After Dennis got back we sillouhetted the flowers and  I also painted some extra leaves. Then I sat with him as we arranged them according to my sketch.

Final flag design

Final flag design

I was tired but happy. Maggie was hanging in there and I had been successful. Painting yellow flowers had been one of the

hardest challenges for me and I had finally figured it out.

Maggie and Me

Maggie and Me

Our friend John took this photo about a week before Maggie left us. She looked like a ragamuffin but she was our ragamuffin and a totally loved cat.She was still enjoying life’s

feline pleasures including her new discovery. The joy of drinking water from the sink and tub faucets.

From now on I will always think of Maggie when I am painting flowers. And daffodils for sure will always be Maggie

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Filed under Atlanta Gift show, Cats, Daffodils, Flowers, Maggie, Trade shows, Uncategorized, Watercolor

Watercolor lesson 2 Spring flowers

It has been quite a while since I last posted. Sorry about this long absence. Too many things have been going on at once. Lots of time every day spent painting to complete designs by deadlines both self imposed and by clients. The other reason is that I have been devoting a lot of time to Maggie, our 15 year old cat, who has had serious health problems.

Maggie

Maggie

She now has a malignant growth and it means that her long wonderful life will most probably come to an end this month sometime. I am spending a lot of time just petting and talking to her and offering her treats and playing with her. She still has a sense of curiousity and play which is wonderful.. I want to make the most of this time with her. This is my apology for being so long absent.

I had painted spring flowers , tulips, poppies, gerbera daisies and daffodils to be used in a series of “spring bloom” designs. I now take photos as I paint so that I can see how the colors and values are going to show up on the computer and so I have a record both to share and to help me remember the process of painting.

Here is an almost finished painting of two Gerbera daisies. I ended up overdoing the end of the painting process, making the actual finished painting unusable.

But because I had taken a photo at an earlier stage I can use the flowers for a design. I just need to finish the center of the red daisy and brighten up the yellow, which can be done in photoshop.. I’m not happy with the leaves and will probably redo them.

Gerbera Daisies watercolor

Gerbera Daisies watercolor

Same goes for the leaves on the Red and White daisy. I would like them to be a bit more realistic to go with the style of the flower.

Red and White Gerbera daisy

Red and White Gerbera daisy

One of the things I am really focusing on is learning the difference between the more opaque and the transparent pigments and how and when  to use them. I am finding that this makes a big difference. I find it better if I work with the transparent colors first and then add the final details in an opaque. Transparent colors let light pass through and have a lovely glow when you layer them.

Next I worked on a red poppy. You will notice that I am using a watercolor style for these spring flowers that is not as loose as some other paintings. I wanted these flowers to be lush in color and fairly detailed in form. I start out loose and watery and then let the paint dry, rewet areas and continue to paint. This is just another way to approach watercolor. It is an extremely versatile medium and that is why it is always interesting and engaging.

 Here’s a close up to better see the watercolor. It is a bit blurry but I think it shows the loose style at this stage.

Start painting loosely

Start painting loosely

Now here is the finished poppy watercolor. Notice the details I added as well as the darks in an opaque crimson red. Again same goes for the leaves.

d I went on to finish the poppy.

Finished red poppy watercolor

Finished red poppy watercolor

One last spring flower  and the one that I worked on the longest and hardest, is the daffodil. I will show you that in the next post and how I got to the one I was happiest with and painted very large. I’ll also show you my chart of yellow swatches which I found very helpful in really knowing the personality of each yellow.

It is a sun filled and cooler morning today. Maggie and I had a long cuddle and she ate well.

Thanks for being patient and hanging in there with me.

Let me know if you are finding these watercolor lessons interesting. Your comments are always welcome.

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Sunrise Roosters the completed designs

In my last post I showed you  how I went about painting a colorful Bantam rooster. Now I can show you the final designs.

Why did we choose a square format?

Because initially we were thinking about square dessert plates; or paper tableware, or wall placques and graphics.

As we get interest from manufacturers of other products  we can reformat the designs to work on their products.

Initially it helps to have one or two products in mind. That gives a focus for you to work with when creating.

Voilà here are the four Sunrise Roosters.

Sunrise  Rooster Bantam

Sunrise
Bantam

Bantam is a very colorful Bantam Rooster

Morningside Rooster

Morningside Rooster

The Morningside Rooster is a Wyandote.

The Dorky Rooster

Peck’s Rooster

Peck’s Rooster is a Dorky.

Sunny Day Rooster

Sunny Day Rooster

Sunny Day is a Black and White Bantam.

In addition to dessert plates we can see these as a set of wall graphics; trivets and coasters. As time goes by and we get feedback from our clients I am sure that we will be able to envision the Sunrise collection as numerous other products.

Our fabric client liked our roosters and asked Dennis to do a repeat pattern using the background and stamps, but not the type. Dennis is the one who can do the repeats on the computer.  He worked closely with the design director at the company and together they came up with this final design for the repeat.

Sunrise Roosters repeat design for fabric

Sunrise Roosters repeat design for fabric

I could see this as a kitchen textile in dish towels, oven mits, potholders and apron.

Would love to hear what product ideas you have.

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Filed under Birds, Uncategorized

Easter Sunday

Easter was not a religions holiday for us. We were a jewish family and Passover was our religious observance, but it was a kind of custom to celebrate Easter.

Easter morning when I was a child we always got a wonderful Easter egg .

On the outside it looked like a wonderful confection with flowers and icing. Inside was an easter scene. It was called a Spun sugar easter egg. You didn’t eat the egg but kept it for as long as you could!

Spun Sugar Easter Egg

Spun Sugar Easter Egg

My sister Pat and I always got a new Easter hat. I know I have a photo of us on the Atlantic city boardwalk wearing our new easter hats and Spring toppers but I just can’t find it. This pink bonnet is very much like what we wore.

My bonnet was like this one

My bonnet was like this one

And we always got easter baskets. Marshmallow chicks still around called Peeps. Candy eggs filled with a cream, lots of chocolate bunnies and eggs and more.

easter candy

easter candy

I could go on, …………..

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

But mainly I wanted to wish you all a very happy Easter and Spring.

Easter was

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Watercolor lesson: Painting a Colorful Bantam Rooster

Sorry for the long silence. I haven’t posted in over a month. This wasn’t my intention. I got all involved in painting roosters for a new project.

But I am crowing again!

Consider this post a watercolor lesson as I show you step by step how I painted this very colorful rooster. I used my chinese brushes , my favorite 1/4 inch scrubber (my name), a few smaller brushes (see photo) and a new favorite brush that is squared off but also rounded (the black and tan handle)

It has a wonderful rich feeling, thicker than most flats with a rounded edge.

my favorite brushes at the moment

Some of my favorite brushes

Once I found my reference (after looking at many photos) I  did my drawing and was ready to begin the really fun part, the painting.; But first I found a diagram of the feather groupings which are very complicated in roosters. This was extremely helpful.Once I studied them I could go to town and just have fun.

Feather Diagram

Feather Diagram

I found a wonderfully colorful Bantam photo.I named him Chuck just to keep it personal.

A prize Bantam photo

Firs I laid down loose washes for some of the major feathers. I would love to see a rooster preening and curious as to how long it takes to do a good washing. LOL no pun intended!

 Washes

Washes

I added the head and some feather details and the lucious dark brown body feathers.

Details and delicious darks

Details and delicious darks

Took this stage a little further with more feather details and added some pastel. It was so much more fun to use the pastels with the watercolors. I can’t wait to add more mixed media to my painting.

Finessing

Finessing

Then for the finishing touches.

Voila

Voila

Rooster Palette

Rooster Palette

My palettes always have this look I call it messy. But that’s the way they always end up. Everyone has a different looking palette. It’s kind of like a thumb print!

I always have great company while I am painting. Louisa May is truly a painter’s Cat.

Painter's cat

Painter’s cat

The 4 rooster paintings (finalists) and the designs that Dennis and I came up with are now complete. My next post which is coming on the heels of this one (or the spurs!) will be out very soon.

And I have earned another feather in my cap!

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Filed under Amia, Bantam rooster, Birds, Evergreen, Manufacturers, Nature, roosters, Uncategorized, Watercolor, wildlife and birds

Happy Valentines

What nicer way to say thank you to our readers and followers than to send a special wish today.

You are very much appreciated and here is a special valentines for you:

A valentines for you

A valentines for you

 And a flowery botanical .

Flowery botanical

Flowery botanical

And Amore Italian style.

Amore Italian

Amore Italian

From me to you

From me to you

Have a wonderful valentines!

 

 

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The Atlanta Show January 2014

I had hoped to get this posted sooner ……..but……..after the show we went to visit our good friends Pat and Arthur Ginsberg in Palm Beach.Where it was…..you guessed it warm! It was a good chance to relax and chill out. While there we visited The beautiful and serene Morikami Gardens

 Zen Garden Palm Beach

Zen Garden Palm Beach

Relaxing in Palm Beach

Relaxing in Palm Beach

It was a welcome mini vacation and time with dear friends, light and sun.. Then back to the Arctic freeze in NYC.

TIP: Make sure to give yourself rewards for a job well done.

Having fun and relaxing is an important part of it all!

Since we’ve been back a week we’ve just devoted ourselves to the show follow thru. This is a very important part of the process. Don’t neglect any detail. Send what you have been asked and on time, early if possible.

TIP: Plan ahead on your calendar for follow thru time.

This may very well be the most important part of the process.

We had set up 6 meetings before we left  NYC and in three days at the show we ended up having 15 very good meetings with manufacturers we had wanted to see. And…….lots to follow up on. Designs to send out from our portfolio, revisions and additions to existing designs and reformatting for specific products.This time we also came back with some resin figurines to design. No contract yet but not a reason not to follow thru!

TIP: Stop in at the showrooms you’d like to have a meeting with.

If the art director is there request a meeting.

If he or she is not free then set up a time to come back and meet.. Sometimes there is someone who can see you on the spot.

More than 50% of our meetings happened this way.

Autumn melody mocked up as tableware

Autumn melody mocked up as tableware

One of our mockups is for the Autumn Melody design.Showing dessert or salad plates and mug designs.Again no contract yet but very important to follow up on specific requests for reformatting designs.

 By the end of this week we may be finished with most of the the follow up. Give as much time and thought to this stage as you did to planning for the show.

TIP: Follow through also includes making updates in your contact files.

Entering information about Manufacturer’s schedules for the year to come.When will they be looking for what and what the cut off dates are. Get your submissions in as early as possible.

We also saw some of the products and collections that came out of our show meetings in January and from subsequent mailings. This is such fun.

Dennis sends out our new designs regularly to our manufacturer and client base. One of the new contracts that resulted from this kind of mailing are the new Peacock coasters and trivets for Thirstystone.

TIP: Have a system for getting your new designs to clients.

Show them off on Social media, blogs and mailings!

In my previous post I showed how the peacock design came about. I got great feedback on this post. I love to read about how a design was done.

This was a team effort. And the other half of my team is so important to our designs.

Dennis Kendrick was a great gift and came into my life 33 years ago. He is a terrific designer/illustrator and very knowledgable on the technology side of things. My best friend (in addition to my sister Pat), smart, intellectual, funny and so solid and down to earth. Without him to anchor me I would be in outer space much of the time!

Our team

Our team

I was so excited to see the products at the showroom and to meet with Thirstystone again. This was another wonderful company that we met with at the July show. Totally unusual for me. I take so many pictures.

At the Dallas Gift show just after Atlanta The Dallas Arboretum picked up the design as a name drop for trivets. Name drop I found out means that The

logo of the Dallas Arboretum will replace our french label. We haven’t seen it yet but it seems like another good placement. We are keeping our feathers crossed that our peacock gets good placements and lots of them.

Our Peacock

Our Peacock

We also found out at the show that Custom Decor, a flag company will be doing three of our Christmas designs as flags, mats and mailbox covers. We’ve been designing borders for these products.I won’t show them until they debut at the July Atlanta Show. Custom Decor was a company we met with in Atlanta in January and we are very pleased to have them as a new licensing partner.

Seeing our new stained glass “Trellis” collection at the Amia Showroom was so exciting. There are around 15 or so different and beautiful products in this collection. I found it difficult to take photos because there was so much reflection from the lights on the stained glass and the mirrors on the shelves. And I wanted to take one of the Artist in front of her noew collection shots.  But the shelf was too low!

Here are the best shots from the showroom. We’ve been so busy since we got back that there hasn’t been enough time yet to unpack all our lovely samples which arrived just before the show.

Some of the Amia collection

Some of the Amia collection

One of our favorites

One of our favorites

And in between meetings we had lunch, coffee or met colleagues in the showrooms or hallways and always stopped to chat. We had dinner with our good friends Ingrid and Duane Slyder of Ingrid at Nutshell Designhs. That was a highlight of our visit to Atlanta.

TIP: Networking is very important.

And fun too!

It is social and enjoyable. Then too it is a way to compare notes or ask questions, get information and share the joys and tribulations of being a licensing designer.

We saw five of our designs in the Jelly Bean showroom. Two of them are coastal themes. JellyBean does very nice quality area rugs. The cats are going to love our new Jellybean area rugs and so will we. The one with the feet requires a special order!

Jellybean Lighthouse Rug

Jellybean Lighthouse Rug

This one has legs!

This one has legs!

Shell design Jellybean

Shell design Jellybean

 I have been reading Joan Beiriger’s three part posting on the Atlanta show.

“Licensed artist Joan Beiriger is widely regarded as an expert in art licensing. Her popular blog features informative articles designed to educate those interested in the art licensing industry and attracts hundreds of readers each week.” Joan’s maintains a web site, Joan Beiriger’s Art for Products,http://www.joanbeiriger.com/JoanBio.html. Her blog,  is always full of wonderful information and is a great source material for all of us in the industry,joanbeiriger.blogspot.com/ ‎Thank you Joan.

“One of the points she brings up that I have found so helpful is asking lots of questions. Talk to the sales reps. They can tell you what is selling well and why. Ask questions in your meetings to get to know more about the company and its needs so you can target designs in their direction. Exchange some personal information. Remember you are forming a relationship not just looking for new licensees. I am a  people kind of person and love finding out about clients families, pets, what their life is like etc. A friendly and well meaning Yenta maybe!

TIP: Make notes of these conversations too and when you get back to your studio enter this info in your contact data base.

This information will help you to develop a more personal relationship with theCreative Director and give you more of an understanding of what his or her lifestyle is like.Find out about them on social media. What is their professional background?

It is much more fun to be sociable. I do this not only with our licensing partners but with our friends and family. Don’t expect to keep it all in your head.I like to keep up.

Another very good point that Joan makes is; ” Also notice what products the buyers indicate to showroom reps they want to purchase. Every bit of knowledge leads to insight on the art that buyers think their customers will buy. And, that will help you decide on the art themes to create that will have a better chance in getting licensed.”

Talk to and listen to gift shop owners. I have found that I can get valuable info on trends and best selling products from these talks. At the show and when you are in gift shops. Talk talk talk.

TIP:Remember that February is “cabin fever” month

Plan fun things to do, not just work! It’s a good time to send a bright and cheery message to your clients. We all have missed the sun!

And a happy New Year to all. I missed my New Year’s post so here’s my wish for you now. Enjoy life as much as you can. Laugh every day. And spend time doing what you love to do!

My painters cap is on again and I ready to rock and roll again.

My Painters cap is on again

My Painters cap is on again

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Filed under Artist Studio Space, Atlanta, Atlanta January 2014 show, Custom Decor, Dallas Arboretum, Gardens, January 2014 Atlanta show, Morikami Gardens, Thirstystone, Uncategorized