Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cards For Every Occasion

A bit of show and tell here, of six cards I made last weekend, all with birds, and all from scraps. This view omits the wonderful texture they all have, of course, and the gloss finish each of them have makes them look very professional. The biggest one (the one with the tree) measures about 5x5 inches. To get a better view, remember that you can click on the image. Which one is your fave?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Blog Button

My friend Tara (of Tinkerfrog) has organized an online quilting bee, for which I volunteered to make a blog badge that people could put on their blogs which would be hyperlinked to the project's blog. I thought it would be a neat project for me to try out. I don't know anything about graphic art, and our computer has yet to have Photoshop installed on it (oh what a dream that will be when it happens!). I thought I'd create something I could make in my art room, scan in, and resize to be the right size for a blog. One night recently as I was falling to sleep, an idea for it entered my mind: gessoed base with visible brush strokes, light green, then rectangular "patches" made of paper and fabric, and stitching. A couple days later, I gave a couple hours to it, and here's how it turned out:

I love it! I wish you could see it in real life--its colors are so vibrant, and the texture is wonderful. It measures the same as the little painting in the post below, about 7x10 inches. I added the blue border once I scanned it in... the actual piece stops with the green background.

So I sent it to Tara, and she wrote back right away to say she loved it!! I was so pleased. We talked about using the image not only as a button that people could have on their blogs, but also as a header on her quilting bee blog! How cool is that? I provided instructions for her to give to her quilting participants, and we called it a night.

Well, the next day, I was clicking around her blog and to blogs of the participants, and I TOTALLY FLIPPED OUT!! Four or five of them had added MY ART(!!!!) to their blogs! Heck yes, my art is out there in the world! Isn't that just fabulous?

Be sure to visit the quilting bee blog by clicking here. And if you want to see the badge on other people's blogs, you can click on their names. Angie, Elizabeth, and Melina for sure have it.

Bonus: last Wednesday, while arting away in my room and listening to the radio, I dialed the radio sation's number when the DJ announced a chance to win, and I was the requisite fourth caller!!! I won two tickets to see To Kill a Mockingbird at the local theater on September 29th!

A great week, plus more arting today...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Developing My Own Style

Having a day off a week is affording me the time to practice a lot, which is so good, as it means I can finally begin developing my own style. I mean, I think I have a style, but a lot of it feels borrowed from other people. So I'm working on it.

Last Wednesday, I was inspired by this photograph my sister took of one of her friend's daughters, as well as one of Kelly Rae Roberts' newest paintings.

©2009 by Ashley J Hamrick (visit her blog here to see more)

Brave In All Things by Kelly Rae Roberts ©2009

What I liked about Ashley's photo of the girl is that she has such a unique expression. Is it curiosity? Contentment? I-love-being-the-model satisfaction? I'm-starting-to-get-impatient? Whatever she was thinking at the time, she sure is darn cute, and carrying an expression that is intent and interesting. Brave in All Things inspired me because of the background. Be sure to visit Kelly Rae's blog (post from 8/31/09) to find out more about the painting and meaning behind it, but be sure to notice the depth of texture and color in the background. On the sticky note I had in front of me when I was first looking at this painting, I wrote a list: stamps, cut-outs, cursive, circle blots. I also noticed the colors, the bold black line separating the top and bottom, and the woman presented in the foreground.

While I worked on this for most of the day, I listened to NPR and, in the evening, Obama's address to the joint session of congress regarding a vote for his health care plan. While I understand the expense and the many complex details still to be ironed out, I am generally for the plan. It is somewhere to begin, and I so strongly believe Americans should be looking out for one another. That a plan should be passed, so that all of us (not just the privileged) can be cared for in our various times of need.

And thus, For All of Us by HLM ©2009

Painting measures 7x10". Click on the image for a closer view.

Last night I dreamt I met Kelly Rae, and that I had a chance to ask her about her techniques and painting style. I promise, I am not obsessing over her! But she is really present in my thoughts these days. So this morning I bought her book, Taking Flight, online (probably the closest I'll get to actually meeting her and having that discussion). I can't wait for it to arrive!

Please be sure to vote in my poll to the right regarding the name Follow Studio, if you haven't already!

Back to the studio...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Just over one year ago, I started this blog, shortly after I took a class with Lynne Perella at the Artist's Nook. After the class, I resolved that it was time to truly start taking myself seriously as an artist. I gave myself a deadline to work with: 5 years to see if I can get where I want to be. Make art a priority in my life, envision and work toward what it is I want out of this journey, eventually have a studio where I can exhibit and teach, have a website, sell stuff. Over the last year, I've talked more about art and created more art than I ever have. And since returning from Europe, I have to say that I've felt a real shift in myself and attitude. I feel that I've come a long way in my first year. I've committed to this blog and felt a responsibility to work that I've never felt before. Not obligation, just responsibility. I've held myself accountable, and I've trusted that every bit is an important part of the journey. And I've learned so much, just by pushing myself to try new things, and practice, and be patient, and not be lazy!

Today was my first "art day." That is, September marks my first month working at my day job 80%, so that I can have a day a week devoted to creating. Just getting to the point of having such a day seems like such a triumph in this last year! Being in an work environment where I could even ask for such a thing, let alone being in a financial position to cut my wages in exchange for time makes me so grateful. This week, I came up with a great way to frame the whole thing: in exchange for getting paid less, I'm receiving approximately 52 days more off a year!

And today, I relished every single minute. I woke up early but without the alarm, and after a bowl of cereal, plopped myself down in my room, switched on public radio (great music during the day!), and got to work. I painted and cut and glued and colored with my Prismacolors. I can't post what I worked on for most of the day quite yet, because of technical hiccups with our scanner and new computer set-up, but I hope to soon. And after I completed that piece, I decided I had a couple more hours in me and figured I'd finish a project I started in concept over three years ago. Here it is!

This is a wall hanging that measures about 3x2 feet. I was inspired by a couple of quilt shows I attended, and motivated to make something for some friends who'd recently been married. I found the purple-blends-to-orange fabric at the fabric store one day and was so inspired I got right to work on the quilt design. I knew it had to be properly quilted to have the effect I was after, so instead of laboring through that myself and probably not getting it right (it's never been my favorite part of the process), I bartered with a friend's mom who owns a quilting machine. I exchanged 10 handmade cards for her excellent quilting. She and I worked collaboratively on the quilting design and thread colors, and she also suggested that I use the orangey-pinky-purple batik as a background. I hadn't thought at all about that. Her quilting made the piece, and by the time I got it back, I knew I would have to keep this one. I had to think of something else for my married friends! This piece has been hanging unfinished on my wall for a year, and so today I trimmed up the edges and sewed on the binding, and now it is beautiful and finally complete.

At the risk of babbling on and losing your interest in reading this overly-long post, I wanted to let you know that I've been working on brainstorming a name for myself other than Art by HLM. I think that if I want to have customers, I need a brand of sorts, something that is a little catchier and not as abstract (which is then hopefully easier to remember). I've thought and thought and recently I came up with Follow Studio. I'm sitting on it for a little while, but so far I like it. Follow your heart, follow your bliss, follow me on this exciting journey of art! What do you think about it? I'd love your opinion, for better or for worse. Please vote in my poll to the right, and if you don't like it, leave a comment to let me know what you think.

Lastly, I just want to thank you for being such loyal friends and family to me through this. That you read this blog at all and support me in your various different ways means a lot to me. I don't think I'd have made it this far without your love and encouragement.

Here's to another fun year of art and moving forward toward the dream!