Febuary Artist of the month Aaron Coleman

I saw this artist work at the Lee’s Summit art fair last fall. His work seems to leap of the canvas. His technique creates a three dimensionality that is uncommon in the painting field. He did not want to discuss his technique, which is understandable, so I am just recreating his website to show you his work. I think this is one of my favorites.

I am reprinting his web page for you to read, he felt that would tell you about him and his art. This is his Biography and Mission statement.
Before embarking on this artistic endeavor, Aaron had the opportunity to work for one of Orange County, CA top landscape architecture and planning firms. It was here that Aaron was able to meet many great mentors and creative people.  He became a licensed landscape architect in California and was optimistic about a bright future in the field.  The collapse in 2008 shifted the sails as the construction industry became as dry as the southern California climate itself.  Aaron took a couple months to backpack Europe hoping things would quickly rebound.  They didn’t.  He then spent most of 2009 enjoying the California sunshine and developing his creative abilities.  In November of 2009 Aaron had to return to his home state of Missouri where he began fervently creating artwork.  Eventually his artwork began to take off as art festivals and local galleries took interest.   Aaron is proud to be an emerging artist, and hopes to inspire other people to follow their own passions.

Mission Statement


This work represents my official breakaway from the path that I had been indoctrinated to follow.  This linear path was shattered into a web of possibilities in August of 2008 when I got my now clichéd pink slip.  I was free; free to own my own mind, at least until that next job came around the corner.  Of course weeks turned into months and now almost two years of “owning my own mind.”  Some rewiring has occurred.  It turns out I’m an artist…damn it!  And not the kind of artist that you take and put through landscape architectural school and then expect to sit at a computer for a decade doing computer aided drafting until they can finally move up into middle management.  No!  You can’t tame this creativity and manage it into schedules and profit margins.  I’m a bonefide stay up all night, exhilarated-paint flinging, creative maniac.  You can’t cage this soul!  So I say thank you Mr. Goldman and Mr. Sachs, Freddie, Fannie, and Sallie, and the late Lehman brothers; thank you for helping forge the hammer that shattered my predictable path and reminding who I am as a human being.  I hope my work can be an inspiration to the viewer to follow their own passions in life; enjoy the ride.

His Art.

These are some of the pieces he has for sale on his website. If you are interested, be sure and take a look.

Andromeda Nebula

24″ x 30″ original mixed media painting.

Moonlight Through the Forest

24″ x 24″ original mixed media painting.

Emerald Pond

24″ x 48″ original mixed media painting.

A New Culture on the Horizon

24″ x 48″ original mixed media painting.

A Calming Resolve
24″ x 48″ original mixed media painting.

Dream Catcher
30″ x 48″ original mixed media painting.
When I spoke to Aaron he was busy on his Winter Sun Tour. If any of the shows are in your area, be sure to get out to see him.
2011 Winter Sun Tour:
Jan 8- 9:  24th Annual Boca Fest – Boca Raton, FL
Jan 15 -16:  22nd Annual Downtown Downtown Delray Beach Festival of the Arts – Delray Beach, FL
Jan 22- 23:  2nd Annual CityPlace Art Fair – West Palm Beach, FL
Jan 29 – 30:  8th Annual St. Armands Circle Art Festival – Sarasota, FL
Feb 5- 6:  10th Annual Hobe Sound Festival of the Arts – Hobe Sound, FL
Feb 12-13:  5th Annual Coconut Point Art Festival – Estero/ Bonita Springs, FL
Feb 19-20:  13rd Annual Downtown Sarasota Festival of the Arts – Sarasota, FL

2011 Raising Arizona Tour:
Mar 4- 6:  Carefree Fine Art and Wine Festival – Carefree, AZ
Mar 12 – 13:  13th Annual Litchfield Park Art and Culinary Festival- Litchfield Park, AZ
Mar 18 – 20:  Fountain Hills Fine Art and Wine Affaire – Scottsdale, AZ
Mar 25- 27:  Tempe Festival of the Arts  – Tempe, AZ

2011 Going Back to Cali Tour:
Apr 1-3:  Indian Wells Art Festival – Indian Wells, CA
Following shows are tentative
Apr 9-10:  California Desert Arts Festival – Palm Springs, CA
Apr 15-16: Downtown Burbank Fine Arts Festival – Burbank, CA

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January Artist of the Month David Beal

Happy New Year and welcome. My Artist of the Month is David Beal. David is a fine artist  that prefers to paint portraits. The reason is because he enjoys the challenge of capturing a person’s personality and attitude. He strives to tell a story about the person and get an emotional response from the viewer. For instance he told me the story of his son in this painting. He was waiting for them at the art gallery and David took his picture and painted it later. You can instantly tell by the look on his face he is ready to go. At first I thought the background was live people but David pointed out it is a painting he is standing in front of. After pointing it out I saw the second frame. Both frames match, I thought that was a nice touch.Painting of his son

David prefers a live model and his sons made perfect candidates. You will notice several portraits of them in his body of work. One of my favorite story’s he told me was of him painting his son. He started out the setting with a happy look but it eventually got to the point of the look he captured. The look he came to recognize as yes Dad, I get it, While dad was handing down advise. This look also became the I have had enough look. What I liked the most about this story was that David was able to capture this look and the emotion that came with it as it transpired at the end of the setting. He changed the emotion of the setting while the work was in progress. Another testament to his skill as an artist. The second portrait of his son has quite a different look on his face. Both paintings masterfully done.

Painting of his son

David named this painting “Knowing Jacob”- because Jacob is saying ” I know Dad, I know!” with his eyes. Jake had reached a stage in his life where he thought he knew it all…and didn’t want anymore wise, fatherly advice.Happy portrait of his son

I first viewed his art at a Hallmark weekend show. I was instantly impressed. I met with David in his studio and visited with him about his art.  I personally like realism and his paintings are very real. What impressed me the most about his portraits is the depth. The deep contrast between shadow and color that make the subject come alive. I asked if he had a favorite pose and he said no, the light was more important than anything. He said his style of painting lends itself to the shadows. He paints the background and the darkest tones first. Then he removes the paint from the canvas where he will later add color for his subject.  After the background he adds his shadows. This is directly related to his education and the people he has studied with. His education is clearly explained on his website so I hope you will visit his site for more information. From the paintings in his house and studio these are my favorites. To me they look like they could move at any time. I think the shadows give them life.

David works in oils. He likes to slow down the paints drying time because he likes the paint to blend together. This takes longer for the paint to dry so he usually has three canvases going at one time. He goes back and forth working on one while the other dries. This is a picture of his pallet. This is as much his skill in blending the colors to get what he wants as is the depth of shadow that he uses them to create.

Pallet of paintsThe painting he is working on now is a self portrait from a photo taken in Chicago. He is working on using patterns and contrast in his paintings. His goal is to create shapes and patterns from the background that shift into the subject. You can see the intriguing study of designs in some of his paintings. His goal is to create  mystery and tell a story. He wants the people that look at his paintings to relate to the people in his paintings.

work in progressI like that the figure on the left is not as far along as the center subjects. This is because it is a work in progress. He is working on the detail of the wall tile now. Bringing the tile design out in the shirt to blend it together. This is a large canvas. I am sure it will be amazing when it is finished. He works full time for Hallmark Cards so he is limited to nights and weekends in his studio. This is another reason he works from pictures but says he prefers a live model. Here is a picture of a piece he has just finished.

portrait he has just finishedMy pictures don’t do justice to the original portraits. He has two shows coming up where you can see his work in person. The first one will be at the Truman Medical Center at Lakewood at 7900 Lee’s Summit Road Kansas City, Missouri in the lobby starting the 8th of January 2011 and running for three months. The second show will be at Leedy Voulkos Gallery, 2012 Baltimore Ave. Kansas City, Missouri from the 4th  until the 26th of February 2011. I will list some of the pictures I took. Some of these will be in the show so be sure and see them in person if you are in Kansas City.

Portrait of woman

Portrait of boy and man

Complete portrait of woman

His website is run by A Stroke of Genius Portrait Artist. The artist with this group were juried in after submitting their work. There are only two artist in Kansas City area. One in Kansas and one in Missouri. So please show your support and visit Davids website and his shows. If you would like to commission David for a portrait in oils and he is also available for portrait drawings.

portrait drawingportrait drawin2A special Thanks to David for his time. Remember to visit the shows. All images Copyright David Beal 2011.

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Artist of the month follow up

I let the artist of the month run into December because I was a little late posting him for November. I would like to thank all my artist this year for their time and inspiration. I hope that next year brings more great work from all of them. Since it is December I thought it would be best to show you some of Michaels winter theme work. He is proficient at creating snow flake designs. I think that the delicate lines of the snow flakes lend to his artistic expression.

snow flake glasses

These glasses made it to the front page of Etsy. They would be perfect for anyone who celebrates the winter season.  To make it to the front page of Etsy is to be recognized for his work. I think he deserves a pat on the back for all his hard work. For those who like the winter months would like his snowman design.

snow man designHand Engraved with ‘Snowman And Floating Flakes’ surrounding the glass. Perfect for your holiday party, bringing a beautiful glow to any environment. A unique gift, housewarming, Christmas, weddings, anniversary, birthday, camping, or outdoor celebrations. Tea lights glow best.

fir tree designBeautifully hand engraved with ‘Fir Trees’ wrapping each glass. These elegant candle holders are perfect as gifts, for winter weddings, favors, anniversary, or on display. Fitting for any outdoor or holiday celebration.

These are some of my picks for the winter season. Please click the link to visit Michaels Etsy shop to order and get more information. He has several seasonal designs for you to look at. So be sure and stop by his shop today. Have a great Holiday season and we will see you next year.

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Artist of the month daydreemdesigns

My artist of the month is Michael from  daydreemdesigns. he is an engraver. The great thing about engraving is that he can completely do the whole wine glass, stem and all. Please visit his shop daydreemdesigns. I will be doing a follow up and we might give out some discounts for Christmas so stay tuned.

1. How did you get interested in engraving? I became interested in engraving when I was probably about 10 yrs old. My older sister was a glass engraver. Engraving mostly names, dates, fonts and such. This was about 25 yrs ago. When I was 12 I spent some time with her and she allowed me to pick up her Dremel engraver ( no flex shaft ) and go to town. I started drawing when I was able to hold a pencil. Forever it seems. Pen and pencil sketches is how everything got started. Murals and airbrushing t-shirts followed. My twin brother and I had an interesting tie – dyed/ airbrushed t-shirt business going on back in our pre teen years. I knew at an early age, I was able to make some money from this passion of mine. I look and see and learn from what I see. I create what I think and feel from what I live and experience everyday of my life. Its funny, I often refer to “not being able to create my own personal work”(what I feel and want to create). I guess the reason is because I am always in need to produce product to make money. I am always forced to create what other people want. Glass, portraits, murals, band albums, signs, and t- shirts etc.
2. Did you start out etching glass or engraving? My engraving started about 5 yrs ago. I have always loved the idea of creating an image freehand on a piece of glass.
3 .I get the feeling you freehand your patterns from memory, is that right?  I do not trace anything. I never have and never will. I explored and played with etching, sand blasting and acid stencils, and was not very happy. I felt like I was working on an assembly line. My pieces are created free hand using a high speed rotary tool at speeds of only 45,000 – 55,000 rpm and a flex shaft. I sometimes use a pneumatic rotary tool with speeds up 400,000rpm. The pneumatic tool is not my first choice by far. The high speeds of 400,000 rpm limit my freedom. My next goal is to sand blast by hand, no stencils, more like airbrushing freehand.
4. Have your patterns evolved in time? If so, tell us how. My designs have evolved over time and are evolving continuously. In my opinion getting better all the time. But I guess you can say I/the designs will never be finished. I am always trying to make my designs just right or perfect. Everyday (literally) I learn something new. I am completely self taught.
5. Have you had formal training in art or are you self taught?  I have had no kind of formal training. Some lessons in high school and support from family, friends and my fiance’.
6. What is your favorite part of your business? Its hard to say what is my favorite part of this business. I honestly enjoy every aspect. The fact of knowing the harder I push the happier I can be, keeps me going. I strive to make every customer as happy as I possibly can. Knowing the client/customer has received there piece and is pleased, is all I need. And when I receive those emails telling me just how happy they are.
7. How do you decide what products to create?A lot of thought and planning actually goes into deciding what products to make. Most times too much thought and planning, considering when I start the engraving process, I’m engraving what I feel is right. Most times everything comes together perfect. Then I think to myself, was all this prep and planning worth it?  Planning and preparation becomes crucial for custom pieces.
8. Do you do custom work and monogramming?  I take custom requests. Lettering, monograms, portraits, and well, anything. Murals, and woodcarvings.
9. Your carved candy cane is awesome. Is wood carving and glass engraving similar, or totally different? Wood carving and glass engraving are very different in some ways. Some of the diamond burrs used for glass engraving can be used with wood carving. But the big difference comes into play when I am creating a piece of 3 dimension into wood. Just about the same safety precautions and equipment is used. Goggles, respirator, dust collector, leather vest and gloves. I have a few different rotary tools for different jobs. When the knives and chisels come out, all things change. Believe it or not I enjoy wood carving more than glass engraving, but I do love glass engraving. I thoroughly enjoy working with wood, the smell the sound of the wood being carved, and the fact of never really knowing what lies beneath the bark. I will many times find a piece of fallen branch and just start carving. Wood Spirits are my favorite. There’s a little spirit inside every piece of wood. I just have to look for him. I grew up in the Pocono Mts. And my father has worked with wood his entire life, that’s probably another reason I am partial to the wood carving.
10. Do you have any advice for some one starting a Etsy shop? Some advice I can give to anyone creating an Etsy shop is. Be prepared. Know what you want to do and go do it! Never ever give up. Always try to learn something new. Get advice and try to come up with unique ideas. The second you stop and think, is this all worth it? Give your self a light slap and say, yes it is. If your heart was never in this adventure to begin with, you will never get to where you want to go. I’m a go strong or go home kinda guy, but not every second of the day. I learned pacing yourself is important, but sometimes an artists life just doesn’t work that way. I find myself up for 24 hrs strait working and working. That may not be good advice, but sometimes you just have to keep going. Having a partner in life and business is a very good thing. Aimee’ keeps my head strait and helps out more than you could imagine. Helping with the books, customer service and the never ending trips to the post office etc. Another good tip for someone starting an Etsy shop is having good images.  Aimee is our photographer.  She dedicates allot of time into taking the images.  New techniques and strategies are always a good thing to keep in mind.  Keeping your item as the main focus in the photograph is important.Long stem glassesCandle holder

Wood carving

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Artist of the month Java Jane Designs

This months artist of the month is Java Jane Designs. I found her Etsy site and was impressed by both her designs and her success. Please stop by her site and check out her work. I will let her tell her story…

I am a full time photographer and designer.  My Alphabet Photo Art™ collection features a line of whimsical but striking architectural photographs that resemble the letters of the alphabet, as well as Vintage Sign photographs of eclectic historic and vintage diner/cafe signs, which are artfully arranged together to spell a name, a word, or an idea.  I began creating my custom alphabet photo keepsakes to for customers celebrating some of life’s biggest moments (weddings, birthdays, new arrivals, housewarmings, etc.)

1. I see that the people who are successful selling their art, are the ones that are the most original. Your art is probably the most original I have seen. How did you come up with the idea of using pictures for letters?

My first alphabet photo design was actually created as a gift for our realtor about 3 years ago.  I wanted to find a special thank you gift for her that was fun and different but I wasn’t able to find anything commercially that interested me.  I was looking through some of my recently taken digital images and remarked that one image of wooden wine rack would make a great letter “X”… And so the hunt was on to find the rest of the letters I needed to spell my realtor’s last name!  After that, I began searching out images to complete my first set of alphabet letters.

2. Does it get to where everywhere you look you see letters?

Yes, it can become quite an addiction!  I am much better now, but when I first began hunting for letters I couldn’t walk 10 feet without asking my husband, “Does this look like a letter K to you?”  It’s actually a great educational activity for children as well as an interesting social experiment on men and women as I’ve learned that the sexes tend to “see” and interpret my letters very differently!

3. Do you carry a camera everywhere you go?

I carry my camera absolutely everywhere I go!  I can’t even go to the Post Office without bringing at least one of my cameras to ensure that I can capture something that catches my eye along the way.  I’m lucky to be able to travel with my husband almost every month, capturing new images and inspirational elements to bring back to my art studio.

4. Do you display your pictures that you don’t use in your art.

Some of my photography from my travels can be found in my other shop, MidnightFarm.

5. For the tech people, Tell us about your camera. Which one you use and why you picked that one and which camera you started with.

The camera that I currently use (and started with) is a Canon EOS Rebel XSi with a 17-55mm f/2.8 lens.  I like it because it is very lightweight and easy for me to handle, especially if I am out for hours on end.  It takes wonderful images, but I am already saving up for a Canon EOS 7D.

6. Are you evolving your work to include other products that you can tell us about?

I have way more ideas that can ever be put into practice, but yes, I have a few new products that will be coming out very soon.  My newest item is a collection of individual 4×6 number photos that can be mixed and matched to create custom date collages to mark life’s important milestones (see attached images).  But for now, we’ll keep the other projects under wraps!

7. Have you created multiple alphabets with your pictures that you use, or do you create each custom sign to find pictures that spell each name on a as you go basis?

After 3 years I have over 1900 images in my collection!  You can view them all at  JavaJaneDesigns.blogspot When I am creating a name I normally will pull letters from my existing collection.  On occasion, I have photographed completely new alphabets by request, although it is too time consuming to do all the time.  My favorite is a name collage for McCOY commissioned by a Harley Davidson fan.

And sometimes a simple request turns into a completely new product line for me, such as my vintage signs collection (PIKES/ LUCAS):

8. How do you decide which photo’s work well together?

When I am creating a name collage for a customer the composition is very important to me.  I work to find a nice balance between light and dark, as well as ensure the style of letters blend well together.  Of course, I do tend to have my favorite images and over time I’ve sort of developed my own personal photo font!  Oftentimes my customers will request a certain style of images to be used: rustic, urban, ornate, beachy.  Most people prefer images that are very clear and easy to read, while some prefer a collage that is maybe a little more challenging to interpret.  I try to accommodate my customers’ requests as best as I can.  In general, my design philosophy is less is more…beauty in simplicity.

9. I am guessing that this is something you are passionate about. Could you tell us a little about how your travels brought you to your Etsy shop.

It was by accident that I happily stumbled upon Etsy.  I was searching for a local jewelry artisan that I had purchased from several years ago.  I discovered that she no longer sold directly from her website and had since moved her shop to Etsy.  I instantly fell in love with Etsy and spent countless hours searching through the fabulous creations.  The best part is that I had also been searching for an online platform to feature my alphabet art and Etsy was very easy to join and be a part of.

10. How did you get started in this line of work?

Believe it or not, I never planned on doing what I’m doing today.  Before starting my business on Etsy I had worked the previous 12 years in financial consulting, marketing, strategic planning, human resources, and event planning. I managed the finances for a $7M organization, wrote tutorials on successful operations, and presented award-winning workshops on goal setting, strategic planning, and project management. In short, I was a Professional Perfectionist!   I was considering a new career as a professional organizer, but before I could get things going, I took a happy detour with Etsy and opened my first shop, www.JavaJaneDesigns.etsy.com, which catered to my creative side.  In the end, all of my previous experience helped me immensely with the start of my own business.

11. Do you have a brick and mortar shop?

I don’t have a brick and mortar shop myself, but I do sell my artwork locally as well as in gift shops and boutiques across the country.  Selling my art strictly online and through other retailers has really allowed me to spend more of my time doing what I love.

12. Do you have any formal art training or are you a natural?

My only training was a photography class I took in high school over 20 years ago!   I feel that I have a natural aptitude for seeing things in different ways.  I’ve had a love of photography and architecture my whole life.  In fact, many of my photos were taken years before I ever decided to create my name collages.  As a child, I would go exploring in abandoned hay barns and down lost country roads, usually with a camera in hand.

13. Do you have a favorite place you like to go and take pictures?

My inspiration comes from many places.  I am equally drawn to elements that are rusty and weathered and those that are delicate and ornate; there is beauty to be found everywhere. In particular, church architecture and forgotten downtown buildings tend to capture my imagination.

14.Do you have a destination in mind for the future that you would love to go and take lots of pictures?

A romantic whirlwind trip to Europe is in the works!

15. Do you enjoy creating new art more or do you enjoy getting out and finding new photographs to take?

That is a difficult question but I think I am pretty well balanced between enjoying the art of creating as well as traveling and discovering new images.

16. Do you stage pictures that you think would work well for you?

In my collection of over 1900 images, I can’t recall staging a single one.  I think that’s part of the fun in finding letters as they are found naturally.

17. Do you use photoshop to create new designs or just straight photo’s?

The photos I take are the way you would find them naturally.  I use Photoshop for cropping and lighting adjustments.  I mainly use Photoshop to create my name collages and add personalization details for my customers such as incorporating first names or a wedding date.

18. How have you evolved as an artist?

I think any artist will tell you that they are constantly evolving, honing skills, learning new ones.  For me, I still have a difficult time calling myself an ‘artist’ since this was not my background.  But I’ve found that when I spend my energies on creative efforts, I seem to be more creative in all aspects of my life.  I will see patterns, color combination’s, or even textures that will give me an idea for something completely unrelated.  I still have a lot that I want to learn…I am a terrible portrait photographer!

19. How do you strive to be the best at what you do?

I’ve always been very focused and driven with everything I do.  My inner drive comes from challenging myself on a daily basis to do the best I possibly can do for that day.  Of course, making mistakes and taking detours along the way is part of the process.  I’ve always bounced back from every setback and used what I’ve learned to make me a better artist, a stronger business leader, and ultimately a happier person.

20. Is there anything you would change about you career path if you had it to do over?

I wouldn’t change a thing!  I am a firm believer that everything you do in life prepares you for what is to come.  One of my favorite quotes is, “Doing your best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”  I believe if you follow this guidance daily, how can you ever go wrong?

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Artist of the month David Baldwin

This months artist of the month is David Baldwin. David is a tile installer. You might think that I am really reaching here, but after you see his work you will call him an artist. Most of his clients call him an artist when they have worked with him. I spoke to him by phone this morning and asked him some of the following questions.
1. What tile do you like working with? The natural stone is his favorite. He goes through the tiles to pick out the different shades. He then finds out from the home owner the preferred shades and then works them into the design.
2. Do you have freedom in the designing process? Most of his clients have an idea of what they want and what kind of tile they want to use. Most of the time he can tweak the placement and the shades of color to get the best look for that job. The clients have pretty specific ideas but he can make little changes.
3. When working with different shapes and shades of tile, how do you decide where each piece goes? He works with the client and lays out the tile in the best possible way. He likes the meticulous kind of work with the smaller tiles and multiple shades.
4. Have you done any work with glass tiles or back painted glass? Yes the glass tiles are becoming popular for accents and borders. So are the natural stone. It takes some special precautions when working with the glass tiles but he likes the flow better with corners. The smaller glass tiles can be fit around corners better than the larger tiles. Borders at eye level are very popular among his clients. He did a shower for a client that wanted a earth, fire and water theme. They used a tumbled blue tile for the walls. The tiles were different shades of blue and made the walls look the ocean. It fit the theme perfectly.
5. Do you like to work alone? No. He said he likes to work with other people. Sometimes it is best to have a master mind group to bounce ideas off of. The collective experience that it brings to the table helps to avoid mistakes. He can bring his experience from other jobs to get the best fit. Knowing the things that have gone wrong before helps him to avoid problems with new jobs. He said that he sees things in graph style. This allows him so see how the tiles will fit before they are on the wall. He enjoys the harder jobs with smaller pieces. It gives him more satisfaction on the meticulous jobs.
6. What is the most important thing about a job? It is the focus. Where does the client want the focus to be. It could be the floors or the walls around the sink or the shower. He had a client bring him some old bricks that he used on a back-splash. He said it turned out well and looked like a wall from a park in Europe. The overall tile job in a house full of tile takes more planning if the focus changes for each room. Some tile jobs are the same tile through the entire house. It is the opinion of the writer that it lacks both creativity and focus.
The most interesting thing came not from a question but from a comment. He said that people are going to far off vacation spots and then remodeling their bathroom to resemble the spas and resorts they have visited. The first photo and the reason for this interview. The home owner wanted his shower to have a spa feel. I have installed 100’s of showers and this is the coolest one I have seen. I liked it so much I had to make David my Artist of the month. The skylight over the shower makes a huge difference. The natural light shines directly on the shower. I think this makes a difference. The last photo was taken with the lights off. The natural light on the tile design grabs you the moment you walk in. I think the home owner should feel like he is stepping into a “spa”. Take a moment to look at the Hudson and Rolf website. If you are interested in a tile shower in the Kansas city area, you can contact them directly. The shower door was installed by Hutton Glass ProductsClick on the photos, Then click on them again to see full size. For back painted glass, check out my web site

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Artist of the month Janet Hill

August Artist

I found the artist of the month on Etsy. I liked her hanging creations. I hope you enjoy the interview and please visit her shop. Thank you very much Janet for your time and trouble. Dean

1. Do you draw your designs on paper or do you create on glass?

I actually do both. Certain designs will require a pattern, such as a hummingbird or a piece that has to fit in a certain size frame. But I create quite a bit of my work using pieces of glass left from other projects. I love this method because I really have no idea what the outcome will be. It’s like putting a puzzle together without knowing what the picture is!

color in motion
Wizards Window

Color in Motion was Janets first Etsy sale

2. Where does the inspiration for your designs come from?

I find inspiration all around me. In the color and texture of everything I see in nature, other forms of art, and even pictures in mail order catalogs. To see what I mean, check out this blog post.

Rustic Art Panel

3. Do you change designs as you go?

Unless I’m doing a custom piece that has to meet specific criteria, changing a design in the midst of making the art is pretty much a part of the creative process. That’s why I enjoy making my own designs. I do use patterns from books for things like dogs and birds. Sadly, I’m not that kind of artist. But when I do use someone else’s pattern I usually modify it in some way to make it more what I want.

4. Do you have a process for choosing glass types and colors?

That’s an interesting question. When I have a design on paper, something somewhat traditional, I choose the glass based on the design. But a lot of the time I create the design based on the glass that appeals to me at the time.

Fly Fisherman Pencil Holder
Dimensional Butterfly Ring

5. Do you prefer the freedom of creating your own designs or do you prefer doing custom work for people?

I really prefer the freedom of creating my own designs, but there is also a lot of satisfaction in pleasing someone by fulfilling their vision. I’m fortunate in that much of the time I do custom work where the client gives me some idea of what they want,

but they don’t have anything concrete. So I still have quite a bit of freedom. And at the best of times I’ll get a client that just wants “something” which can also be a bit daunting. Recently a lady sent me a pile of dirty and broken old stained glass with the request that I make something new with it. You can see the dirty pile and the finished piece here.

Church Glass Adventure

6. Do you prefer small pieces or large windows?

I guess I prefer smaller pieces. I must have a desire for instant gratification. I have done some larger pieces, but they worry me. Also, I have a limited work space that really does inhibit my ability to work on anything very big! If you’d like to see my studio..

My Studio

7. Most of the calls I get about stained glass are people wanting repairs, do you do that kind of work?

I have done repairs, both on pieces I originally made for someone and pieces that were not made by me. It is satisfying to complete a repair job and also a challenge.
I try not to make it a habit, as my time is very limited and I would rather be making something new!

8. How long did it take to perfect your art?

I think I’m still in the process of trying to perfect it! But I’d say that it probably took a couple of years, working at it on the weekends in my spare time, to feel some real confidence in my abilities. And it continued from there.

9. What piece are you most proud of?

That’s a tough question! I have some favorites, but I guess the one I’m most proud of is the Braddock Church glass that I referred to in question 5. Not because of the visual effect of the art, but because of the story behind it, and how much it meant to the people there.

10. What effect would you like your artwork to have on people?

I want my artwork to be pleasing, to stimulate your visual sensibilities. I want it to add to the beauty of your surroundings, to give you visual pleasure each day. I really want you to think it’s cool, like I do!

Moon Dreams
Tiny Window

11. Tell us how you got started in to stained glass.

In 2002, I was itching for some new creative outlet. I had been doing needlework, making jewelry, and whatever other crafty things I could find to do. I looked around for classes in any medium that I hadn’t tried. It came down to stained glass or throwing pottery, and the pottery thing seemed like it would get pretty messy. I took a beginning stained glass class at the local shop, bought the basic tools, and started my most excellent adventure! Then, 7 years later, my sister told me about Etsy, where artists and crafters have the opportunity to open a shop to sell their work. I opened my Etsy shop on the last day of August, 2009. It’s been a challenge to work at Fed Ex full time, and maintain New Moon Glass, but I have a five year plan that I hope will allow me to retire and pursue my passion in glass full time.

Autumn Ring
Swirling Heart

At the time of this writing Janet has 40 items for sale on her etsy site. Please take a moment to look at her wonderful art glass. Janet’s Etsy Shop
All photographs Copyright Janet Hill 2010

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Artist and teacher Burne Hogarth

This months artist is Burne Hogarth. He was born in Chicago December 25,1911. He died January 28, 1996. He was best known for his Tarzan comic strip. He was a teacher and wrote many books about drawing. Dynamic Anatomy in 1958, Drawing of the Human Head in 1965, Dynamic Figure Drawing in 1970, Drawing Dynamic Hands in 1977 about the figure. He wrote Dynamic Light and Shade in 1981 and Dynamic Wrinkles and Drapery, my favorite, in 1995.
The reason I chose Burne for the artist of the month is because the shading techniques that he taught when used in glass etching, creates a 3-dimensional look in the glass. His study of how fabric would look both slumped over something and blowing in the wind is just awesome. In his book on drapery, He has drawn many figures with flowing drapery and wrinkled fabric. The techniques can be used in glass etching in several ways. 1. Carving the glass. The wrinkles in the fabric can be deeply carved. Each one pulling away from the last. He taught how to recreate the folds in drawing to make the fabric look real. Carving is the most dramatic way to recreate life. It actually creates a 3-D in the glass. 2. Shading the glass. Shading is done by using the glass as the darkest shade and solid etching as the lightest shade. This technique can be used on safety tempered glass and has a wide range of uses. The darkest part of the fold would be left clear and then the lighter parts of the fabric would be etched in shades to recreate the folds of the fabric. 3. Using carving and shading together. In recreating fabrics, using both techniques produces even deeper looking shadows and textures. This allows even more versatility in designing a project.
He taught the study of drapery and the study of wrinkles. You might not think of this but when etching some ones face in glass, the wrinkles on the face and the muscles of the body are what makes it look like them. If you remove all the wrinkles and laugh lines from the face it becomes harder to recognize. His skill in drawing faces was as brilliant as his skill in drawing fabric. When teaching the different wrinkle forces, such as kinetic forces. He showed us the different wrinkles and how they were caused. Direct thrust wrinkles, bend wrinkles, crossing wrinkles, compression wrinkles, fragmentation wrinkles, swag and hanging, trap and closure, passive, inert, lying wrinkles and my favorite, flying wrinkles. He would draw shapes and figures from memory to show us the wrinkle effects.
He is one of my favorite teaches and his work and teaching will live on to inspire countless generations of artist.

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Artist of the month Alphonse Mucha

Alphonse Mucha is the artist of the month this month. He was born July 24,1860 in southern Moravia {part of the Czech Republic today}. When he was 19 years old he got a job as a painter, painting theatrical scenery in Vienna. He worked there until a fire burned down the theater and put him out of work. He roamed around the country to avoid his family’s concern’s and sketched landscapes and portraits. He also painted drop curtains for local theater’s. He made enough of a reputation to get commissioned to paint murals at Emmahof castle and Gandegg castle.
In 1885 he entered the Munich academy of art where he studied for two years. In 1887 he moved to Paris and entered Academe Julian. He studied there until 1889 when he ran out of money and began making a living illustrating books and catalogs. While working as an illustrator he began to take photographs of his models and catalog them with detailed notes.
It was by chance that he designed a poster for Sarah Bernhardt. The printer didn’t like it but Sarah loved it. This made him famous. He had a flare for designing very ornate and detailed pieces. The posters for Sarah had a huge amount of detail. He was paid well to create poster for Sarah’s plays. While working on the poster’s he was flooded with orders for advertisement illustrations. Most of the commissions he received was for calendars, posters, champagne posters and biscuit boxes.
Art Nouveau became known as the Mucha style. He worked with a printer named Champenois who printed his decorative panels on paper and satin. The panels where sold to people to use as decoration in their homes. He died July 14, 1939. This information was taken from the book Mucha by Arthur Ellridge
The reason Mucha is the artist of the month is because his design style is perfect for glass etching. If you pay attention to the borders around his subjects they are sometimes more intricate than the subject. He also did drapery in most of his advertisements. Most of his work featured women with flowing loose garments. The study of drapery is one of my favorites when it comes to glass etching. The long flowing gowns with all their folds and curves where sometimes very detailed and sometimes very simple. He was a very good illustrator. His imagination was very strong when designing the posters of women and the ornate borders. He would often add flowers in their hair.
Art Nouveau has lost it’s flare when it comes to decorating but I think it is very important to study the work he did when it comes to etching. When you add a design in the middle of the glass, if you study Mucha’s work, you can add a huge amount of flare by adding a very ornate and detailed border. Glass etching has always been about flowers. It is my guess the most etched theme. The old style copper wheel engravings where almost always flowers. Mucha’s style included flowers in the borders and in the flowers in the backgrounds and in his models hair. I think Art Nouveau has a place in glass etching forever. I would like to see the Mucha style live forever.
Mucha was in my opinion one of the great masters when it comes to imagination. His flare for adding a design in the background instead of just the solid color. This idea would work well with etching by way of adding detailed designs in the background by blasting through things like lace or screen or even blasting the background on the other side of the glass.
Mucha is one of my favorite artist and an inspiration in my glass art. Let his work be an inspiration to you as well.

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Artist of the month Diane555

This months artist of the the month is Diane555. Her art is on Istockphoto.com. Her work can be seen at her Portfolio page. Everyone should check out her illustrations. I was impressed by the diversity and the amount of work she has created. She was very kind to answer my questions so we could all be inspired by her art. The biggest question people new to glass etching ask is “where do I find designs?” So if you are an artist or simply a home owner looking for the perfect design, please check out this months artist of the month.

Do you prefer to create on canvas or on computer?
I work both in traditional methods and with my computer. Some things have a more organic ‘feel’ to them if I sketch them out on paper first. I also continue to work on paper, canvas, create collages and with textiles.

Do you have a favorite kind of computer?
Although I used a pc for many years, I switched to a Mac two years ago and it has been the best choice for me as it seems to handle some of my very large detail oriented vectors with ease where my pc would have frozen and crashed.

How did you come to vector art?
My brother gave me Illustrator 8.0 back in the 90s because he wanted me to learn digital art. I was almost immediately hooked on the gradient mesh tool! I still love using it today.

How do you vectorize your art?
Much of work work is started with a hand draw sketch using my own photos for reference (when needed). I then redraw the entire thing in Illustrator. I don’t use the auto-trace option unless I am making a texture because the lines aren’t clean enough. I think you need to draw them from scratch to get nice line-work. I try to work with lots of layers and sensible groups so that editing is a bit easier for buyers.

Do you create art for vector or is it other art you have created from other mediums?
I do both actually but more often my vectors are created as vectors. Sometimes I come across an old watercolor or marker drawing that would make a great vector but more often I collect source materials and references that fit something I want to make in vector. For instance, my sparrows and cherry blossoms series was all created for vector.

Do you draw on the computer?
I do. I have a large wacom tablet that I have learned to use. Two years ago I was still drawing entirely with a mouse so it can be done but I can’t imagine using anything but my tablet these days.

What computer program do you use?
Adobe Illustrator CS3 for drawing. Adobe Photoshop for cleaning up and/or creating source materials for textures.

Where do you get your design ideas?
Everywhere around me actually. I try to be aware of advertising and popular items in stores. My main inspiration really some from the things that matter to me. I care about the environment, I love birds and nature. For many years I worked in Horticulture so that is probably where the love of nature came from.

Did you get formal art training?
No, I have had very little art training. I was working full time before I was twenty so I never went to college, although I think that I might have learned some things faster had I gone to art school. In recent years I have taken advantage of the ever-growing list of online training that is available. So many artists are willing to share their amazing knowledge with others.

You have a very large body of work. Has it taken a long time to create?
Although I joined iStock in 2006, most of my portfolio was created in the last 2.5 years. It does take time to create vectors but I make art for a living now so I am very committed and very self-disiplined. I am lucky to do what I love every day so it isn’t hard to find motivation.

You have a very diverse portfolio. How do you create such diverse themes?
I am interested in everything. I think even everyday objects are fascinating in it’s unique shape and form. I try to pay attention to what’s happening around me and in the world and draw ideas from those things. I have books filled with ideas that I can never find time to draw. So many artists talk about having ‘artists block”. I can’t even imagine it.

Could you tell us a little about where you live in Canada?
I live in a small city in South Western Ontario that is surrounded by rich farmland.

Do you have any pets?
Yes, just one cat at this time but I have had many pets in the past.

What are you passionate about?
People, nature, wildlife and the environment.

What do you want to be remembered for professionally?
That’s a tough one. I hope that I am remembered for being unique in somehow. I love diversity and hope that shows in my artwork.

What advice would you give a young art student?
Never say you can’t do something, try everything and most of all believe in yourself regardless of what anyone says.

Where do you think art will go in the next decade?
For many years people didn’t consider digital art and ‘real’ artwork. That has changed. Maybe we will see more blending of the two.

Do you spend a lot of time cleaning up lines in vector files?
No. I don’t use auto-trace unless it’s for a texture so and I want those to be rough. Because I draw from scratch using the pencil, brush or pen tool I can control the line quality.

What do you like most about your profession?
What I love about my profession is that I do what I love every day. I wake up every day looking forward to new challenges.

What do you like least?
Sometimes there are too many projects that need completing in a single day but I try to remind myself how blessed I am to have problems like this.

How do you envision your art touching peoples lives?
I hope that some of it makes people think about our environment or growing something wonderful in their yard. But I’d be really happy just to know that it makes someone smile.

How has sites like istock changed the way you work?
iStock has given me the freedom to spend more time making art and leave the marketing and agent work to those more qualified.

Has technology made a big difference in your art?
The internet has made it possible for artists like myself to work for clients all over the world so our opportunities are only as limited as we make them.

Is there a artist or person that has inspired you or your art?
Please explain?
I have been inspired by so many over the years but Claude Monet, Édouard Manet and Robert Bateman have remained some of my favorites.

Do you have a hobby or is it your art?
I enjoy sewing, woodworking (when I can find the time), baking bread, all kinds of artwork and gardening.

How is most of your art used?
Much of my artwork is used in advertisements and in items for resale such as T-shirts, greeting cards and wall decals.

How would you like to see your art used?
I am happy to see my artwork used in almost any fashion but it’s always fun to see it in a surprising way such as on a book cover.

Have I asked too many questions?
haha yes, I do believe you have!

Is there any thing you would like to say to the world?
I am very thankful to those who have used my artwork in their own unique way.

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