A sparrow's journey through this crazy, beautiful life...

Monday, September 30, 2013

Soul Food Meet and Greet: Susana Tavares



We are now offering payment plans in either 2 or 4 payments  You can read the details next to the PayPal buttons on the SOUL FOOD page.


Watch a fun little promo video for SOUL FOOD HERE.


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Today we are welcoming Susana Tavares! After you read her interview, be sure and stop by her blog and enter her GIVEAWAY!!!





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Check out our new class coming December 30, 2013! Join 39 artists over 6 months for a mix of art and craft projects as diverse as the different personal styles of our instructors: cool mixed media techniques, art dolls and other sewing projects, jewelry making, handmade journals, abstract art, portraits, sculpting, works on canvas and in journals. Find out more!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Soul Food Meet and Greet: Patti Ballard



We are now offering payment plans in either 2 or 4 payments  You can read the details next to the PayPal buttons on the SOUL FOOD page.


Watch a fun little promo video for SOUL FOOD HERE.


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Today we are welcoming Patti Ballard! After you read her interview, be sure and stop by her blog and enter her GIVEAWAY!!!





Tell us about you and your art journey.
I always loved to draw. Mainly cartoons i copied from tv. I couldn't stop. I drew constantly. So much I never paid attention in school and was always in trouble. I was especially drawn to faces. I eventually gave art up when I got to like boys and dances. But later as I became a parent, I  enjoyed watching the cartoons my kids were watching and always noted the expressions and styles of drawing. "Madeline" and Disney, both had a particular influence on me. I began drawing realistic portraits for my family. I would copy family pictures  as a hobby but never seriously. When I got laid off my full time job in 2007, my teenage daughter interviewed by phone pretending to be me for a job doing murals. She knew I would love it but didn't have the confidence to go for it. She came and told me I had a "tryout". I began doing murals but although I loved it, it was back breaking. So, I later went to work for Disney World doing caricatures, then, other forms of art. I really loved it, but again not making a real living. I started creating my own art even during my slow times at work and started selling it on eBay. When I realized people liked my art, it was all I needed to run with it. I experimented with all mediums, coming to the conclusion that I wanted to use all the mediums I could find. I never really liked Scrapbooking but I had tried it and had lots of paper lying around. I'm also an avid old book collector, so I started using papers to enhance my paintings. As of January of this year, I decided I would pursue my art career as a full time business, doing art shows. Luckily I have a supportive husband and family who have encouraged me along the way. I have never looked back and in my heart I know that I made the best career move of my life.  

What are some of the things that nourish your soul? How do you decide what to create - where do your ideas come from?
I am not quite sure where all my ideas come from. Some from just silly things I think about, some from a dream or a quirky situation. Some come from just doodling away mindlessly.  Some pattern or color on paper. Sometimes a poem or story makes me wonder what it would look like as an illustration, so, I begin to draw it but it may turn into something more quirky.

What is one piece of advice that you’d like to share with other artists?
Create everyday ... even  if you're not feeling it . The more you create the more ideas you get.

How do you re-energise yourself or your muse if you have a creative “dry spell”?
I do it anyway. I just start doodling coloring cutting and pasting and eventually my muse comes back.

How have the “rough spots” in life affected your art?
I thank God everyday that I got laid off  my job. It was the best thing that happened to me because it forced me to do what I needed to do. I found a lucrative venue that fulfilled me in a way no job could ever do.

Tell us about the first piece you created that you felt really proud of.
I guess it's the very first piece I sold on eBay... A mermaid in watercolor.

When you’re creating something, how do you decide when it’s finished?
I just know that if add one more thing it would look overworked. That's when I know it's done.

What was the nicest compliment you’ve ever received about your work?
I have received a lot of sweet and nice compliments but the best compliment is when someone buys my art. They are willing to spend their hard earned money on a piece of art that I created and even better decorate their home with it. That's so flattering.

What drives your sense of validation or legitimacy as an artist?  
What validates me would be the acceptance and demand for my art.

What are some recurring themes/subjects in your work?
Love is my driving force. I believe that the greatest and purest of all sentiments is love and I love to reflect that sentiment in my art, but recurring themes... Anything whimsical, mermaids, bunnies and forlorn girls with hearts and sentiments of love or quirky messages.

Do you have a signature set of colors? Show us some examples in your work, pretty please!
Yes, I love light aqua, avocado green, clay reds and ochre brown together. I almost always use these colors in my paintings.

What are some elements that make your work “yours”?
Most people tell me the eyes and the overall feeling of my art.

Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?
There's is not much I haven't tried. So I can't think of any at the moment... lol!

What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
I don't think I have any.

What hangs on your walls? Do you collect work by other artists?
Lots of art. Some mine and mostly other artists... I love to collect other artists art!


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Check out our new class coming December 30, 2013! Join 39 artists over 6 months for a mix of art and craft projects as diverse as the different personal styles of our instructors: cool mixed media techniques, art dolls and other sewing projects, jewelry making, handmade journals, abstract art, portraits, sculpting, works on canvas and in journals. Find out more!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Soul Food Meet and Greet: Dana Christiansen


We are now offering payment plans in either 2 or 4 payments  You can read the details next to the PayPal buttons on the SOUL FOOD page.


Watch a fun little promo video for SOUL FOOD HERE.


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Today we are welcoming Dana Christiansen! After you read her interview, be sure and stop by her blog and enter her GIVEAWAY!!!






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Check out our new class coming December 30, 2013! Join 39 artists over 6 months for a mix of art and craft projects as diverse as the different personal styles of our instructors: cool mixed media techniques, art dolls and other sewing projects, jewelry making, handmade journals, abstract art, portraits, sculpting, works on canvas and in journals. Find out more!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Soul Food Meet and Greet: Alisa Steady




We are now offering payment plans in either 2 or 4 payments  You can read the details next to the PayPal buttons on the SOUL FOOD page.


Watch a fun little promo video for SOUL FOOD HERE.



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Today we are welcoming Alisa Steady! After you read her interview, be sure and stop by her Facebook page and enter her GIVEAWAY!!




Tell us about you and your art journey.
Oh, where to begin? I guess the best way to start is by confessing that I was absolutely clueless about the direction my life was taking until I turned fabulous forty, when the fog lifted and I could see clearly that I wanted to live my life as a bright creative light. My art journey started when I was a kid, playing with crayons, markers and silly putty. I was artistic all through school, and eventually landed in art school. But I didn’t truly embrace myself as an artist until I became fierce and forty!

What are some of the things that nourish your soul? How do you decide what to create? Where do your ideas come from?
It all begins with eyeballing a blank canvas. Then a color scheme will come to mind, and as I am painting the background, the subject matter makes its appearance. Lately I’ve been experimenting with abstract concepts and mixed media. I guess what I decide to create is based on how I’m feeling (not very original, but true none the less!). The idea for a painting may come from something I saw earlier in the day or even just a conversation I had.

How have the “rough spots” in life affected your art?
I battled depression for several years, and with that came lack of desire to do anything but get through the day and go to bed. When I think back on those dark days, I am so grateful to have made it through as a stronger, and more determined person who stands up for what she believes in. As a result, my work is always bright with strokes of delicious bold color. A celebration of finally embracing who I really am – an artist!

Tell us about the first piece you created that you felt really proud of.
I remember having a one or two pieces when I was kid that I felt warranted a couple fist pumps, but the piece that comes to mind that made me really proud of was a poster for Ravinia (in Highland Park, IL) I did while I was in art school for an upcoming program / outdoor concert. It was an assignment for class that was also a city-wide competition among the other art schools. I designed my poster with dreams in mind and executed it with vinyl that sign makers use. It won fourth place and I was invited to a very schwanky restaurant by the selection committee to celebrate with the other four winners. Pretty cool memory.

What are some elements that make your work “yours”?
Ever look at a painting and just know who the artist is? An artist’s work is as unique to that artist as their handwriting. In my work, the giveaway is the bright color palette and the use of contrast with light vs. dark surrounding the color. I use a lot of texture in my artwork, and I write pretty personal things into the canvas. I guess it’s what someone calls a personal style. And that style can change as the artist grows over time, but the ‘handwriting’ never changes.

What hangs on your walls? Do you collect work by other artists?
My studio has some of my paintings hanging, but I’m growing quite a collection of artists I love! I believe in being surrounded by the muse of other artists and the passion they convey on their canvas. It gives me a sense of comfort, awe, and inspiration. If you don’t collect art / prints, I highly recommend it! There is nothing more thrilling than having eye candy at your disposal.

What drives your sense of validation or legitimacy as an artist?
My sense of validation and legitimacy as an artist comes from making painting every day a priority. I fantasize about art supplies and having coffee with other artists discussing gel mediums, techniques, and favorite subjects. I eat, sleep, breath art, artists, and art supplies. It’s annoying, really. Not for me, but for anyone who’ll listen. I could talk a blue streak about art stuff if you let me (and if you do, I promise to buy the coffee).

What is the one piece of advice you’d like to share with other artists?
My advice would be don’t get caught up comparing yourself with other artists. You must realize your journey is your own, and something to nurture and be proud of. Everyone’s story is unique to their own life experiences. Commit to your passion for creating, and enjoy the process of getting to where you ultimately want to be. You will be amazed by the opportunities that come knocking on your door.

How do you define success, and what keeps you going?
I’ve learned the meaning of success is different for everyone. Once upon a time I thought success for me meant lights, camera, action – world domination and fame! But, I’ve realized that for me, that is not what success means. For me it means being able to paint every day, and push myself into being the best artist I can be. And if it means a sale on a painting, then that’s just the cherry on top of a really great sundae. Once you define what success means for yourself, it gives you the freedom to enjoy the process of achieving your dream – big or small.


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Check out our new class coming December 30, 2013! Join 39 artists over 6 months for a mix of art and craft projects as diverse as the different personal styles of our instructors: cool mixed media techniques, art dolls and other sewing projects, jewelry making, handmade journals, abstract art, portraits, sculpting, works on canvas and in journals. Find out more!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Soul Food Meet and Greet: Jodi Ohl



We are now offering payment plans in either 2 or 4 payments  You can read the details next to the PayPal buttons on the SOUL FOOD page.


Watch a fun little promo video for SOUL FOOD HERE.



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Today we are welcoming Jodi Ohl! After you read her interview, be sure and stop by her blog and enter her GIVEAWAY!!

Tell us about you and your art journey.
My journey is just that, it’s been a journey, it’s been about finding myself and answering a calling that I never really knew was there even though of course it was all along. I’ve gone from the corporate world of banking and management to living the dream so to speak, that is that I now work full time as an artist and instructor, writer, and a maker of happy things!  October 2013 will be my two year anniversary and I don’t regret for a minute making a choice that wasn’t easy because the sane side of me is a big worrier at heart and practical in nature. The dreamer side of me was saying, if not now, then when?  Why can’t you? Can’t shouldn’t be in your vocabulary, you can do anything you set your mind to.  I love what I do, I love meeting the people I meet and I love seeing something that feel or dream of in my mind come to life with my own two hands.   When I hear from customers or admirers of my art and how I in some way impacted them with inspiration or hope, well…that makes this all worthwhile. I also think I’m teaching my boys some important lessons in life by following your dreams, and about working hard, sticking with something, and most of all, believing in yourself because you can do what you envision (and most of the time even more).
What are some of the things that nourish your soul? How do you decide what to create - where do your ideas come from?
It’s funny because what nourishes my soul is what I do for a living  now full time so I need to be careful to incorporate activities that nourish me in other ways, and almost all of those activities involve spending time with those I love and connecting with others outside these 4 walls.   It’s not always about balance because true balance is a myth and you will drive yourself crazy trying to achieve it. It’s about not saying no to the things that drive the reason you are working for. Family, friends, and life experiences. Taking time out to get your toes wet in the water and feeling the sand beneath your feet even if you have a deadline tomorrow.    If I’m honest with myself, my best ideas come after a period of relaxation and nourishment. When I’m tired and been on a long streak of working without a day off, my inspiration dries up for awhile and all I want to do is sleep rather than create. The beauty of it is that I can sleep. I can rest. I can make time for those I love…..I have the power to do it, I just need to keep my priorities straight. The other thing that nourishes my soul is to create just for the sake of creating.  No deadline to meet.  No class to prepare for or show to exhibit for…just a few stolen moments and to just make cool sthtuff! :) It doesn’t happen very often but I hope to incorporate more ‘filing the well’ days into days into my schedule or hours at the very least.
What is one piece of advice that you’d like to share with other artists?
Just make things. Create. Paint, Play.  Don’t wait for the perfect idea or for when you’ve perfected whatever it is that you do to put it out in this world.  You’ll have far more ‘masterpieces’ if you continuously create rather than obsess over that one piece that just isn’t right.   We are often our own worst critics and can see everything that is wrong while overlooking all the things that are right. The other piece of advice is to stop making excuses. I know it sounds harsh but we all have the same 24 hours in the day.  So yes, you can carve out 20 minutes to create or make whatever if you really want to. It may require you saying no to something or not today, or getting up an hour early or staying up an hour late (or hush my mouth, staying off the computer for a bit and eliminating distractions), but you can do it. Life is about choices, art is about choices…when to do it, and what to do once you get started.

What was the nicest compliment you’ve ever received about your work? What drives your sense of validation or legitimacy as an artist?
Your work makes me happy or that I’ve inspired them in some way.  Often times I incorporate words, quotes, or my own phrases based on whatever it is I’m feeling in the moment as I create the art…and more times than not, THAT person….in the world who needs to hear the message finds me or the art finds them. I love hearing the personal stories that my customers tell me or why it is they are drawn to what I do. It seems that when I question if I’m on the right path in life, should I really be doing this full time or should I go back to a more practical career choice, I’ll get a message or an email from someone that lets me know how they’ve been affected in one way or another by something I’ve done or taught them and it’s then that I feel re-validated. Yes, I am on the right path after all.

Do you have a signature set of colors? Show us some examples in your work, pretty please!
Oh goodness. I love color and that is evident to anyone that sees my art. I try to tone it down from time to time but that never lasts long!  My signature colors almost always included Teal,  magenta,  assorted blues,  lime green, purples, oranges, and hot pink along with black and white.   I’m trying to expand my palette and have every color under the sun but I keep going back to those colors.
What are some elements that make your work “yours”?
I think my work is known for its whimsical compositions, bright happy color combinations, texture and infusion (for better or worse) of words and phrases into almost every piece. I like to create the illusion of depth without adding a lot of bulk to my work..  I also incorporate a lot of drawing material into my work, lines and shading done with pens and pastels or charcoal.  A lot of my themes tend to revolve around family, love, community and a sense of belonging, even empowerment shows up from time to time.  I am a big believer that what you put out into the world comes back at you three fold. I hope I’m putting out enough good things so that we can continue to live a life of happiness and flexibility.
Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?
I’d like to try working with cold wax , I’ve seen some really cool pieces in Asheville and in Raleigh (NC) at various galleries and it looks like a cool medium to work with. I love texture so it fits right in with what I’m doing but may take it to a new level! Other than that,  I’d like to try to write a book. Maybe an e-book to start with, and then start pursuing publishers for a few ideas I have.  I’m hesitant to take on another project right now  so I’m going to ease into it by doing something on a regular basis to achieve my goal without putting the pressure on to meet a  hard deadline when I may not be ready for it.  All in good time.  2013-2014 for me is going to be about evolving my processes and doing more of what works, and letting go of things that are not working as I thought they would (or perhaps not in line with what I’m doing anymore).  Back to question 1. It’s all about the journey. :)
What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
Must have coffee to perform at all! :)  I don’t’ really have any rituals and truthfully, I am kinda all over the place with the way I work now. Having gone in a lot of different directions between teaching, doing shows and exhibits, writing,  having an online shop, and filling galleries…all good things but not very good for my organizational skills.  I do try to clean up and start fresh when I start a new big project but so often everything overlaps, sometimes I just have to call a time out and just clear away the clutter.  As I write this, I just got a knock on the door from the Fed Ex guy delivering more art supplies. EEEK.  All good things but man oh man, I need a bigger studio!!! My other ritual (hence the reason for the order) is that I put 10-20% of my profits back into my business by ordering more supplies,  business cards, post cards , whatever and always always always new canvases.  That way I have the tools necessary to keep on going forward.





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Check out our new class coming December 30, 2013! Join 39 artists over 6 months for a mix of art and craft projects as diverse as the different personal styles of our instructors: cool mixed media techniques, art dolls and other sewing projects, jewelry making, handmade journals, abstract art, portraits, sculpting, works on canvas and in journals. Find out more!

Friday, September 13, 2013

29 Faces: 5 - 12


Face #5; 6 x 8 inches

Face #6; 8 x 8 inches

Face #7; 8 x 10 inches
Face #8; 6 x 8 inches
Face #9; 6 x 8 inches

Face #10; 4 inches diameter
Face #11; 4 inches diameter
Face #12; 4 inches diameter




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Check out our new class coming December 30, 2013! Join 39 artists over 6 months for a mix of art and craft projects as diverse as the different personal styles of our instructors: cool mixed media techniques, art dolls and other sewing projects, jewelry making, handmade journals, abstract art, portraits, sculpting, works on canvas and in journals. Find out more!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Soul Food Meet and Greet: Joyce van der Lely




We are now offering payment plans in either 2 or 4 payments  You can read the details next to the PayPal buttons on the SOUL FOOD page.


Watch a fun little promo video for SOUL FOOD HERE.



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Today we are welcoming Joyce van der Lely! After you read her interview, be sure and stop by her blog and enter her GIVEAWAY!!






Tell us about you and your art journey.
My name is Joyce van der Lely, I am a Mixed Media artist-illustrator-designer and tutor, but also a mum to a 12 year old boy and a 9 year old girl. Originally from the Netherlands, I emigrated to New Zealand in ‘95 and after the earthquakes from 2010 and 2011 I moved from Christchurch to Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty in 2011.

I always loved art as a child and the art and craft classes at school. In high school I had two really amazing art teachers. One that told me that you really didn't need talent to be a good artist, but a lot of curiosity, a good eye and lots and lots of practice. The other that really explained  and encouraged teaching art, to make it possible to have a life with art . I made a sidestep and went to fashion academy where I learned everything from concept design, pattern making to executing runway garments . It was loads of fun and I still enjoy creating clothes as well, but I came back to painting and making art on paper, wood and canvas when I discovered Mixed Media. Because it gives me the freedom to choose whatever medium fancies me at that moment or for that particular project.

I have always felt a little bit an outsider, never really met many other artists in real life. People always make you feel that art is not a serious business, that it's some kind of play and time waster. That's how I ended up finding like minded souls on-line, people that actually encounter the same things. It's been really great making these new friendships. And I still treasure them.

On-line I am also known as Miss Pippi (she's my alter ego, my muse, I used to dress up as Pippi as a child and loved watching her on TV)
What are some of the things that nourish your soul? How do you decide what to create - where do your ideas come from?
Alone time nourishes my soul, people and interactions in public drain my battery, but are a necessity in everyday life, so just being alone with my thoughts, that replenishes me. I think my ideas come from memories and thoughts that are awakened by a smell, a place, a song, a quote.  Then these thoughts start to build like an avalanche and I will have too many to handle, I can get over-inspired. I have to make a choice and store the other inspirations for a later time.

What is one piece of advice that you’d like to share with other artists?
Go with your gut, work hard, never feel afraid of change. There are good days and bad days, never give up. As an artist you just have the huge advantage of having this "job" that makes it possible to pour your heart and soul into and that that actually makes your work better and more interesting.

How do you re-energise yourself or your muse if you have a creative “dry spell”?
Beach walks help, I love the beach, I have always been drawn to the oceans, maybe I was a mermaid once (I am an Aquarian) I also seem to art-journal a lot more, that always helps me. Just doodling away on the waves of dreams….

How have the “rough spots” in life affected your art?
They made my work more meaningful, more honest. To me at least, I hope it shows too.
Tell us about the first piece you created that you felt really proud of...
Hmmm, I usually feel pretty happy straight after finishing a piece, but that disappears after an amount of time. I start disliking certain elements and end up only being able to see those. I have a few older pieces that I still like though and maybe because they no longer live with me I cannot study their imperfections. One is “Hope” I made her to raise money in an art auction for the earthquake survivors in Haiti. At the moment I am (still) happy with “Sanguine”
When you’re creating something, how do you decide when it’s finished?
I have a hard time doing just that. I have to say enough is enough, or somebody will tell me that it is okay like that.  Or when another idea is just pushing its way forward too strongly, then I will call it quits with the previous one.
What was the nicest compliment you’ve ever received about your work?
It was a commission piece. The person that commissioned me had it made as a gift for someone else. I got a few little hints of what needed to be in the work. The person that came to pick it up was speechless and very pleased and rushed away to gift it. The person it was made for was lost for words and even questioned how much I had known about her. I must have felt her while creating, that actually made me feel all warm and fuzzy.
What drives your sense of validation or legitimacy as an artist?
I cannot live without art and I am okay with calling myself an artist, so I feel legit. What drives my sense of validation is that I have a never-ending belief that "my time will come" That there will be people that will understand my work for what it is and agree that I am an artist.

What are some recurring themes/subjects in your work?
Portraits, animals and Angels

Do you have a signature set of colors? Show us some examples in your work, pretty please!
Not really, I like different colours at different times. I  buy the same paints, so they will emerge throughout my works and I love natural kind of colours.

What are some elements that make your work “yours”?
Eyes, I like eyes and I like to try and make them speak. I also try to bring emotion into my paintings. They need to speak to me at the very least, I like to talk with my paintings.

Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?
Sculpture, woodcarving

What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
I need to be alone and not disturbed. I can close myself off from the surroundings, so I can be alone in a room with others as long as they don’t interrupt me. I think I meditate, it feels as if I go into another dimension, I travel with my thought, that’s when it happens

What hangs on your walls? Do you collect work by other artists?
A very large framed print of a pond with goldfish by Lee Man Fong (my mother in law used to own the original and before she sold it, we photographed it and all the siblings had a full size print) and some of my own art and the children’s. I wish I could collect other artists work. I will need to sell more of my own before I can do that though.


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Check out our new class coming December 30, 2013! Join 39 artists over 6 months for a mix of art and craft projects as diverse as the different personal styles of our instructors: cool mixed media techniques, art dolls and other sewing projects, jewelry making, handmade journals, abstract art, portraits, sculpting, works on canvas and in journals. Find out more!