Thursday, October 30, 2014

Etsy Shop Now Open!!

I could not be more excited to announce the launch of my Etsy shop, Mac & Lucille!



The best part is this is only the beginning. I have started by launching a set of 10 black and white sketches done with marker on sketch pad. I plan to keep adding to the available work. Be sure to keep following the blog to see what I'm working on and get a peek into how this crazy artist mind works.



Sunday, October 26, 2014

Doodling

Yeah that thing you do when you are staring idly at a page. Either ignoring things that you need to do or worrying about something. For the first time today I sit down to write and I just feel like doodling instead. What it really means is I'm getting restless. My desire to do decorating projects is pulling at me. Halloween is coming up and I feel like I should do more than just put a couple of mums on the porch.

My Pinterest is blowing up with fall DIY projects. Most of that stuff I'll pass on. We live at the beach and in the deep south it just doesn't seem to make since. Our trees are dripping with spanish moss, perpetually ready for All Hallows Eve, but not one orange leaf to be found.

Instead I decorate for football season. The Georgia Florida game surpasses the creepy holiday every time around this house. And that's what I'm itching to do today. I have to do a couple things to keep me moving toward opening my Etsy shop, but I've got a great idea for my over sized chalkboard and I just have to do it!

Chalk board signs and fonts have be everywhere for a while now, and I do love having a big one in our kitchen that I originally made for our wedding. I love changing it out for the seasons. It's like it's own rotating art.



So here's my process:

#1 Find you Subject:

We are Georgia fans in this house so I thought it would be cool to find a great Larry Munson call (the famous voice of the Dawgs for many years) from a past Georgia Florida game and put that on our chalkboard. I had fun reading through the top 10 looking for the right one.
Here is where my project is a bit different that most chalkboard signs. Instead of a short quote I wanted to use a much longer one so my design is less about design elements and more like putting poetry into a new visual format.

#2 Format & Design:

Once I decided on the call I just went into Word and typed it up making sure to format it just the way I wanted it to look on my chalkboard. Of course you could use a better program like Photoshop for the design process, but it is not necessary, any program that lets you play with different fonts will work.

This is the real creative part. Change up the fonts make some words bigger than others. I used those tools to emphasize certain parts of this call. The fonts I used here were Made with B, Zig Zag and Austi Bost. You can down load those here. You can also do a search through Pinterest and find great fonts. I thought this post on Yellow Bliss Road was the best. She also gives some great advice on designing your own.



#3 Execution of your Design:

Now that I have the text lined up the way I want, this is the hard part.

Have patience. 

Copy down the design created in Word onto the chalkboard. Of course I decided to do this on the spot so I wasn't prepared and realized I had one very small piece of chalk to work with. Oh well a lack of supplies has never stopped me before. I'll make it work.

Draw yourself light guide lines across the board to help you line up your text I recommend a line for each line of your text and then one down the middle to center everything. Use those as your guide lines and keep a wet paper towel handy to adjust as you go. I like to work from the center out on each line to give me the best chance to get things centered.


And voila....



Based on my lack of preparedness I was pretty happy with the result. It's always a plus when you do something that you know your husband will enjoy as well. I may be spray painting some pumpkins gold this weekend so that one will be all for me!

Happy Fall / Football Season!!!





Friday, October 24, 2014

Henri Roussea and I

Lately I've been spending a lot of time working on the tech side of the business, but not as much on the art making side. It's time to change that. When I'm excited about something I'm at 100%. I can work my tail off until I'm satisfied, but that sort of full force energy is not helpful in art making.

I need to feel relaxed, open in heart and mind. I will get so worked up that it is hard to relax and think clearly. I had to take a deep breath. So I went to a used book store.

There is nothing like combing through the art books in a bookstore to both calm me down and open my mind. I have to keep reminding myself that you can not create new things in a vacuum. You must observe more things to create new things. It's easy for me to start feeling like I need to make my own art without looking at or being influenced by anything else, but that never really works.

I had great luck. I came away with 3 books on Henri Roussea, Gauguin, and Matisse. The Roussea really spoke to me I had to read this one first!

Exotic Landscape by Henri Roussea

I had one of those great inspired nights on the couch slowly reading through the book on Roussea sipping my tea and taking notes. It doesn't make me want to copy a Roussea, it makes me want to paint my own jungle! Then I move over to the laptop and start a Google search for Roussea; pinning images and doing some reading on the man's life. He didn't start seriously painting till he was in his 40's!
It's just magic the way this sort of research starts to expand and suddenly I'm wondering how this could be made into a children's art lesson, then about photography in the late 1800's and on and on.

Femme Exotique by Henri Roussea

Monument to Chopin in the Luxembourg Gardens by Henri Roussea

AND THEN I found this GREAT quote from Gide Roussea.

"The imagination imitates; the critical mind creates."

Yes! Explosions in my mind! Of course the critical mind....you must have as much to pull from as possible. I can no more be held back by the idea that looking at someone else's art will turn me into that other artist or change the validity of what I make. It will only enhance my own singular voice as I add richness of experience to my understanding of the world!




Sunday, October 19, 2014

Office Space

So far I have been working at the dining table or in the kitchen, but I want to have my own space. Even if it is just a carved out little corner to work on this blog. A longer term goal of my own studio is much further down the road. Our guest room could serve two purposes easily, so I'm plotting to take over a corner.

You can follow me on Pinterest to see everything that I'm currently loving, but the idea of a home office has sent  me on binge of home office inspiration.


I of course love the gold accents and leopard print in this first office, but the big real life 'pin board' and the comfy chair are what I really need to invest in. The post were I found this image had great ideas about styling a desk for the different stages of life/career. I feel like I could borrow from all three.


It's hard not to love the brass lamp and shelf brackets, but its' the coordinated storage boxes that really make this a super useful space. I need magazine boxes like these to free all my Veranda and Traditional Home mags from under the bed. It's a lot...


Okay so I'm not a super girly person so this styling is not quite me, but I LOVE this desk! Clean lines, bright white and hidden drawer storage. The Lucite and chrome chair is also very cute!



This may just be my favorite! The modern desk with a traditional chair and the print on those curtains are timeless and brighten the whole space! My desk will also be in front of a window so I love the idea of framing it with fun curtains.

I see a DIY post or two in the future, but for now I'll sit in the kitchen and work away.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Where You At!

So I've talked a lot since I started this blog. I didn't realize I had so much to say. I started telling my close friends and family about my little venture and it made me feel better to say it out loud.
Part of me wanted to keep it locked up until it was all ready to be revealed, Etsy shop, blog, Facebook page, everything. BUT I can't keep my mouth shut. I'll just share a quick post about where I'm at so far.

Now I'm waiting to get my first set of prints back from the printer and I just can not wait.
In the mean time I am working on getting ready and set up for product photography. This may be as much fun as making the art itself.

I've turned a small space in the garage as a little work area. I bought a lighting kit and I've been playing with props. I LOVE props! House plants, candles, vases, books, cool rocks, yes I said rocks.


This is fun! I'm giddy just thinking about it. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Work It


While I love interiors, art and all things beautiful does anyone else feel like creativity has been hijacked? It has been turned into a sparkly and glamorized version of itself.
It's become about having the perfect Instagram image or a home straight out of Pinterest, the most glamorous stylized everything.

But it isn't perfect and it's never done. You never set the perfect table for a dinner party and it just stays that way for days. You don't bake a gorgeous desert while wearing a perfect outfit. It just doesn't feel real, and it in no way feels like my life.
I still love those perfect photo's and like to dream, but it doesn't tell the whole story of what it takes to make things beautiful or to make beautiful things.

Being creative and actually getting something done takes work. All those lovely stylized shots also take a lot of work. I guess I would feel better if someone did a little reality check on how hard it actually is to pull it all off. My husband and I don't have kids yet and I worry even now that once that comes around my little dreams may pass by the wayside. As it is with a husband, house and full time job I'm busy. Cramming in time to work on a blog much less get any painting done is hard.

I try to get in 30 minutes of blogging before I get to work and I have to wait for a day off to really focus on painting or drawing.

I did find a little reality one day literally while in an airport bookstore. I saw this funny little book with a black and white cover by Austin Kleon. It had a title that stopped me in my tracks "How to Steal Like an Artist".
It is full of realistic, yet hopeful advice about having a creative career on the side.
I check the blog every so often. I liked this post about question & answer sessions he hosts on Tumbler.


Then in my search for more creative realities I found an older post from one of my favorite blogs. Coco+Kelley was the first design blog I started reading back in 2008. It made me a little sad, but also reassured to read her contribution to a series called Things I'm afraid to tell you. Then I realized that somehow in 2012 (perhaps because I got married?) I missed this whole movement that tons of great blogs jumped on board to show that being creative also means getting real.
I've now spent a good bit of time reading these posts. Somehow it makes me feel so much better. It's just good to know other people are struggling to do it all, but it doesn't stop them from trying!
I found the list of posts here and I really loved this one here since it's about an artist as well.




It's hard, this journey I've set out on, but its supposed to be.

It may take me longer to get things done, but the satisfaction of working on something I really love is worth the work. It doesn't all have to happen right now, but I have to keep going.







Monday, October 13, 2014

Focus


I am starting to feel overwhelmed again! How do you know what advise to take and when to take it?

Should I own my own domain name already? I'm thinking that I should go for it and make sure it is mine. I certainly don't want to change my business name if I get to the point where it is necessary to have one and find out it's gone.

It's scary somehow. Why does it feel weird to own a domain? I've always felt that the internet was a thing that people contributed to, but didn't own. It seems so abstract to me. But it cost $15...
I would drop that in a coffee shop without blinking an eye, yet owning a domain is much bigger than a coffee and a muffin.



I think I just read this article before I had my coffee today and it made my head spin a little. It is a pretty intense reality check about blogging. Not so friendly as other advise I've seen. And then I moved on to this article on the same site and I'm thinking so am I a blogger or an artist?

I guess I have to be both?

*deep breath*

*focus*

*work*

In the space of time it took me to write this post I've registered my name at EasyDNS.com. So I may not have a website, but I own the domain www.macandlucille.com.
This is when it would be nice to have someone to high five with...downside of working for yourself at home.



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Photoshop

Oh my gosh photoshop! I mean it can do everything and I feel like I know nothing! I knew that when I started this process I would have to learn Adobe Photoshop and I'm enjoying that part of this more than I thought I would. How did we learn how to do things before You Tube?

I have about 10-12 images scanned in and with their basic edits done. I'm starting with black and white sketches so that part isn't too hard. I still went through some basic tutorials on the Adobe website just to get started.

Then I realized that to put these images online to sell them I would need a watermark so they couldn't be so easily snagged off the web. I found help from this video from Jen Swedhin. She had another great video about adding texture to fonts as well. I may have to play with that one for some promotional things.

Photography by L Dunn

This I created from a combo of A Beautiful Mess and then I added my business name over it as a watermark in Photoshop. I may not be a landscape designer, but it kind of looks like a cool business card for one. I just loved all the colors in these photos. Seems like fall in St Simons does not take on the same color scheme as it does in the rest of the country.



Monday, October 6, 2014

Zen Perfection

I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance about 6 years ago. It was one of those great books that changes how you think. All this time later and I still think about it, a lot.
One term that he uses a lot in the book is 'gumption trap'. I love it because it seems to be the answer for so many things.
From Wikipedia: "gumption trap is an event or mindset that can cause a person to lose enthusiasm and become discouraged from starting or continuing a project."

For me it came to mean anything that keeps you from thinking clearly and having the right attitude.
I have learned that with learning so many new pieces of technology I need to make sure I don't fall into any gumption traps along the way. Start at the beginning, know what your goal is and methodically follow the steps to get to that goal, most importantly don't let set backs throw you off track.

I hate to admit it, but I need to be reminded of this even in making art. When I get in a hurry to be done with something I am never ever happy with the result. However when I go slow and carefully observe my subject and my tools I am always satisfied.

Yes this is part of my bookshelf organized by color! Pretty right?


There are a lot of good and very long quotes from this book that can be found on GoodReads, these were just a few that I liked.

"Anxiety, the next gumption trap, is sort of the opposite of ego. You are so sure you'll do everything wrong you're afraid to do anything at all. Often this rather than laziness is a the real reason you find it hard to get started."

"You want to know how to paint a perfect painting? Make yourself perfect and just paint naturally."

"The more you look the more you see."

-Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

A little painting of mine & my favorite pitcher



Friday, October 3, 2014

Watercolor World

In my quest to navigate the world of blogging I have found lots of great sources for information and inspiration. My favorite find so far is, The Creative Market. You know that feeling when you walk in a store and you are just so overwhelmed by beautiful things you almost get dizzy. Well my first trip to this website was like that.

This is were I found the blog template that I decided to use for Mac & Lucille. There are so many great digital files you can download for fonts, templates and website, that I may be changing this blog every few months just so I can download something new.

What I really love are all the watercolor graphics and fonts that you can down load. But I guess the question is who isn't in love with watercolor right now? This one I have had on my pin board for months.
Watercolor Letters- Clip Art by Angie Makes on Creative Market

My only regret is that I didn't find this website sooner. I got married 2 years ago and when I couldn't find the stationary I wanted, apparently I was a bit ahead of the watercolor curve, my soon to be husband said, "You can do that babe."
Well he may as well have just dared me to do it. I set about a journey of painting, scanning, editing and printing that would have made most people give up and order the expensive invites from Minted.
I would have, but you know budgets get in the way of the best laid plans. So anyway I ended up with custom invites courtesy of LDunn.


I was pretty happy with the results and I guess it was good practice for my current venture, which definitely includes way more scanning, editing and printing. Thanks babe!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October


Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
-Frost


Photo by: L.Dunn