Monday, 12 December 2011

Art & Craft Tutorial for Kids - Angel Decoration

I write an art & craft column for the fabulous family oriented magazine, NI4Kids. You'll find this project and many others on their website. You can alssee more creative project ideas by subscribing  to: and

Some of my favourite childhood memories are of making Christmas decorations with my family. We would listen to Christmas carols while we coloured, cut and glued our hearts out. Over the years, the Christmas box grew and grew with clothespin Rudolphs, toilet roll Santas and of course, what’s a Christmas tree without the angel? This lovely angel craft is easy to make and can adorn your own Christmas tree for years to come.

Supplies needed: white card, white crepe paper, wrapping paper, 1 gold pipe cleaner, craft stick, styrofoam ball (about 5 inches in diameter), fuzzy wool (in a colour that can be used for hair), scissors, glue, tape, pencil, black pen, felt tips, paper plate, stapler, tray for materials

1. Cover your work area with an old tablecloth and put your materials in a tray.
2. Draw a circle on the white card by tracing around the paper plate with the pencil and cut it out.
3. Fold the circle in half and press along the fold with your fingers to create a sharp crease. Cut the circle in half, using the crease as a guide.
4. To create the angel’s body, fold the two ends of the half circle inward, so that they overlap and create a cone shape. Be sure to leave a small hole at the top, then staple it together.
5. To form the angel’s head and neck, put a bit of glue on one end of the craft stick and push it into the styrofoam ball.
6. Use the black pen to draw outlines of the eyes, nose and mouth. Use felt tip pens to colour in the eyes and lips. You could even give her some rosy red cheeks!
7. Create the angel’s hair by folding the wool back in forth in about 20 centimetre lengths. You’ll need at least 20 lengths, but the more you do, the thicker your angel’s hair will be. When you have enough wool, use another piece of the same wool to tie a knot around the centre of the pieces.
8. Put glue all over the top and back of the angel’s head and carefully attach her hair. Work from the top of the head back, to make sure you have it covered everywhere. Use your scissors to trim and even out the angel’s hair if necessary.
9. Attach the angel’s head to her body by sliding the craft stick into the top of the cone shape. Use a few pieces of tape to secure it to the inside of the cone on the side that does not have staples. Do the same with the gold pipe cleaner, but secure it to the side that does have staples.
10. For the angel’s dress, set the unused half of the circle on the back of the wrapping paper to use as a template. Trace around it and cut it out. Wrap the paper around the cone shape and secure it at the back with staples.
11. To make the halo, twist the top part of the pipe cleaner into a circle.
12. Use the white crepe paper to create wings. Start with a piece that is about 40 centimetres long by 24 centimetres wide. Fold it in half along the length (making it 20 centimetres), then fold it back and forth approximately every 2 centimetres. This is called an accordion fold or a fan fold.
13. Wrap a piece of tape around the middle of the wings to secure the fold, then tape it to the back of the angel.
14. Now put on the Christmas music and get ready for some fun, because it’s time to decorate the tree. When you and your family are all done, ask your mum or dad to help you put the angel on the top of the tree for the finishing touch!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Art & Craft Tutorial for Kids- Make a Beaded Decoration

These lovely Christmas tree ornaments may look fancy, but they are quick and easy to make. When Christmas is over, you can use them to decorate your room, hang them in a window or turn them into charms for your school bag.

Supplies needed: beads, wire, wire cutters, long nose pliers and tray or bowl to keep your beads in. All of these materials can be found in a craft shop.

1. When choosing wire for this project, get something sturdy, yet easy to bend. I like copper wire because it’s easy to work with and holds its shape well.
2. Ask an adult to help you cut a bit of wire. The wire should be about 8 centimetres longer than the size you want the finished ornament to be.
3. Pour some beads into a tray or a bowl. This will keep your beads from rolling around and falling on to the floor.
4. Bend the wire to make a big loop at the top and secure by twisting the wire around itself a few times.
5. Slide beads on to the wire until it is almost completely covered.
6. Grip the end of the wire with the long nose pliers to create a small loop. This will keep the beads on the wire. You may want to ask an adult for help with this step as well. Now your ornament is done and ready to hang on the tree!

For a fancier version of this ornament, try bending it into various shapes. Make it wavy, turn it into a circle or you can even twist several lengths together to create a star.

To see more creative projects, subscribe to my youtube channel and the JolieArt Facebook page.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Art & Craft Tutorial for Kids - Snowman

I write an art and craft column for the fabulous family oriented magazine, NI4Kids. This project is featured in their November edition. Be sure to visit their website to see step-by-step photos of the project, as well as lots of other fun crafts to do!

With winter just around the corner, this fun snowman craft is the perfect way to start the season. The great thing about this charming character is you won’t get cold while you’re making him and he won’t melt if you keep him indoors!

Supplies needed: white card, orange construction paper, 3 pipe cleaners (2 black & 3rd may be any colour you like), 2 pom poms (any colour), scrap fabric, scissors, glue, tape, black felt tip, small paper plate, tray for materials

1. Cover your work area with an old tablecloth and put your materials in a tray.
2. Draw a circle on the white card by tracing around the paper plate with the felt tip. Place the tape roll on the card so that it overlaps the circle slightly and trace around it as well. Repeat this step at the top of the smaller circle, but trace around the inner part of the tape instead. You should end up with 3 slightly overlapping circles that look like a snowman.
3. Cut the snowman shape out and turn it over.
4. Cut a small triangle shape from the orange paper and round the edges slightly to make it look like a carrot. Glue it to the centre of the snowman’s head.
5. Draw two dots for the eyes and several dots for the mouth.
6. To make the snowman’s buttons, draw three big dots in a straight vertical line on the middle circle.
7. Cut a black pipe cleaner in half to make the snowman’s arms. On back of the snowman, tape the pieces securely in the middle circle
8. For the ear muffs, cut any colour of pipe cleaner in half and glue it around the edge at the top of the snowman’s head.
9. Glue the pom poms at each end of the pipe cleaner.
10. Cut a long, narrow strip of scrap fabric for the scarf. I used a disposable fabric rag from my kitchen, but you can use any scrap fabric.
11. Wrap the scarf around the snowman’s neck and tie it in a knot.
12. Cut a fringe at each end of the scarf.
13. To create “fingers”, cut a black pipe cleaner in half, then in half again. Starting a few centimetres from the ends, twist one of the small pieces of pipe cleaner around each of the pipe cleaner “arms”. Bend and twist the arms until they are in a pleasing shape.
14. Tape your snowman to the fridge or a window and enjoy him all winter long!

To see more creative project ideas, subscribe to: and

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Art & Craft Tutorial for Kids - How to Make a Halloween Spider

I write an art and craft column for the fabulous family oriented magazine, NI4Kids. Be sure to visit their website to see all of the step-by-step photos of this project, as lots of other fun crafts to try out!

There is nothing like a good old fashioned scare on Halloween and this creepy-crawly spider is sure to get a few hearts racing! It’s so quick and easy to make, that you can create tons of them.

Supplies needed: black craft foam, masking tape, double-sided tape, pencil, string, scissors, 4 black pipe cleaners and googly eyes.

1. Place the masking tape on top of the black craft foam. Trace around the centre of it to create a circle. Repeat this step on another area of the foam, so that you end up with two circles.
2. Cut the circles out and set aside.
3. Gather the 4 pipe cleaners together, with the ends as even as possible. Wrap a piece of masking tape around them.
4. Tape the pipe cleaners on to one of the circles.
5. Cut a long piece of string and tape it to the same circle.
6. Apply double-sided tape around the edges of the circle. It helps to tear it into small pieces.
7. Remove the backing paper from the tape and apply the second circle on top. Press firmly to make sure the circles are well stuck together.
8. Apply double-sided tape to the back of googly eyes and attach toward the top of the circle.
9. Spread the pipe cleaners apart. Bend and curve them until they resemble spider legs.
10. Hang your spider from the ceiling or a doorway and watch your friends jump! For an extra creepy-crawly effect, get some stretchable spider web decoration for the spider to live in.

Top tip: If you don’t have double sided tape, just fold a regular piece of tape and overlap the edges, so that it’s sticky all the way around.

To see more creative project ideas, subscribe to: and

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Art & Craft Tutorial for Kids - Autumn Tree Picture

I write an art and craft column for the fabulous family oriented magazine, NI4Kids. This article was featured in their recent autumn edition. Be sure to visit the NI4Kids website to see step-by-step photos of this project, as well as lots of other fun crafts to try!

1. Cover your work area with an old tablecloth or newspaper.
2. To create a picture frame, place a piece of A4 paper on the centre of a piece of white card. The card should be several centimetres larger than the paper. Carefully trace around the paper with a crayon.
3. Starting from the centre of the card, cut toward the edge and stop at about a centimeter before the crayon line. Turn the scissors and cut out a rectangle, using the crayon line as a guide. Make sure you always stay about a centimetre inside the crayon line, rather than cutting directly on it, as this will make the frame fit the page better.
4. Starting at the edge of the card, cut a wavy line all the way around. Use the crayon line as a guide again, but this time cut on the outside of the line.
5. Randomly cover two A4 pages with autumn colours, such as red, orange and yellow. Using the sides of the crayons will help to cover a lot of area quickly, as well as create a smoother application. Go over the pages several times, letting the colours overlap.
6. Crunch the pages into a tight ball to create lots of wrinkles.
7. Flatten the pages out and rub the side of a brown crayon all over them. 
8. On another A4 page, draw a brown tree with lots of branches.
9. To create leaves, tear one of the autumn coloured pages into loads of small pieces and place them in a tray. 
10. Use a glue stick to apply the leaves to the tree. Overlap them, just like on a real tree.
11. Tear the second page into large pieces and cover the entire frame, using the glue stick to attach them. 
12. Turn the frame over, fold the excess paper and glue it to the back of the frame. You could do this on both the inner and outer edge of the frame if you like. I left the outside edge alone because I liked the way it looked rough and leafy.
13. Set the picture face down on top of the frame and attach it with masking tape. 
14. For a little extra pizazz, you could use the tip of your finger to rub a tiny bit of gold paint all over the frame. This is optional and your picture will look great with or without it!

Top tip: If you would like a detailed background, colour it in before you add the leaves. Originally, I thought I wanted just the autumn colours of the tree and later decided I would like a blue sky. It would have been much easier if I didn’t have to colour between all the leaves!

To see more creative project ideas, subscribe to and

Friday, 29 July 2011

Christmas in July Sale - Final Days!

My Christmas in July sale is almost over, so be sure to grab a bargain while there's still time. From today through 31 July, take 50% OFF all tree paintings in my Artfire shop. To take advantage of the offer, follow the link to the paintings in my Artfire shop and  copy and paste coupon code WW-TDOCIJ2011 during checkout.

To find out what other offers are on and to get the coupon codes, be sure to check out the event on my JolieArt Facebook page.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Ciara's Jewellery Making Birthday Party

Yesterday, I had to pleasure of teaching Ciara and her friends how to make beaded bracelets and earrings at Ciara's 8th birthday party. The girls were absolutely lovely to work with and did a fabulous job on designing their jewellery. I hope they had even just half as much fun as I did, because I had a blast!

Don't forget my Christmas in July sale is still on for a few more days. From 27 to 28 July, get $100 OFF this whimsical portrait painting from my Belfast Beauties series. To take advantage of the offer, follow the link to the painting in my Artfire shop and copy & paste coupon code BB-BCG-TDOCIJ2011 during checkout.To be amongst the first to hear about special offers, be sure to "Like" my JolieArt Facebook page.


Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Christmas in July Sale - Day 11 & Jolie's Bead Boutique

From 26 to 27 July, get $100 OFF this whimsical portrait painting. To take advantage of the offer, follow the link to the painting in my Artfire shop and copy & paste coupon code JACQUELINE-OP-TDOCIJ2011 during checkout. There's still a few hours left to take advantage of yesterday's 50% OFF deal too! See yesterday's post for details. Christmas in July lasts for the rest of the month, so to be amongst the first to hear about my daily Christmas in July deals, "Like"

My Bead Boutique and jewellery sale is only a few days away now! From Thursday, 28 July through Saturday, 30 July you'll be able to drop into my studio to shop from a huge selection of beads...I'm talking HUGE! Just a few of the choices are chip bead strands, some gorgeous Indian bead mixes, and some kits to make your own jewellery. If you're not into making your own, I have about 200 designs that I've created in every style and colour under the sun. You can find details on my JolieArt Facebook page. 

Monday, 25 July 2011

Christmas in July Sale - Day 10

From 25 to 26 July, get 50% OFF this painting of Northern Ireland's Antrim Coast. To take advantage of the offer, follow the link to the painting in my Artfire shop and copy & paste coupon code ANTRIMCOAST-TDOCIJ2011 during checkout.

There's still a few hours left to take advantage of yesterday's 70% OFF deal too! See yesterday's post for details. Christmas in July lasts for the rest of the month, so to be amongst the first to hear about my daily Christmas in July deals, "Like"

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Christmas in July Sale - Day 9

It's day 8 of Christmas in July and I'm offering a truly spectacular deal! Follow the link and take 70% OFF the listed price of this large abstract painting by copying & pasting coupon code WW001-TDOCIJ2011 during checkout. I created this painting using many, many layers, so there is tons of texture and depth. This small photo doesn't begin to do this justice.

Christmas in July lasts for the rest of the month, so to be amongst the first to hear about my daily Christmas in July deals, "Like"

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Christmas in July Sale - Day 8/Bead & Jewellery Sale

Through tomorrow, get 50% OFF Northern Ireland landscape painting, Belfast Lough, Holywood. To take advantage of the offer, follow the link to the painting in my Artfire shop and copy & paste coupon code BELFASTLOUGH-TDOCIJ2011 during checkout.

Hey ladies, you'll want to check out my Bead Boutique next week. I've got thousands of beads, featuring hundreds of designs at great prices. If you're just a beginner, you can take part in my drop in workshop and learn a few beading basics while you're there. It's only £8 to make a bracelet and earrings or £12 to make a necklace and earrings.  

Jewellery making not your thing? No problem! I've got lots of finished jewellery as well! Pop into JolieArt at 21 Belmont Road, Belfast, BT4 2AA (above Sweet Thing). The Bead Boutique runs from 10AM - 5:30PM on Thursday, 28 July - Saturday, 30 July. RSVP on JolieArt Facebook page to get a FREE gift during your visit! 

Friday, 22 July 2011

Christmas in July Sale - Day 7

Through the end of 23 July, get 50% OFF Fancy's Fields, a whimsical landscape painting inspired by the Wizard of OZ. To take advantage of the offer, follow the link to the painting in my Artfire shop and copy & paste coupon code FF001-TDOCIJ2011 during checkout. 

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Christmas in July Sale - Day 6

Today's Christmas in July offer is Buy any 2 prints, Get 1 FREE (free print must be of equal or lesser value). You don't need a coupon code for the deal. Simply purchase 2 prints from my Artfire shop  and tell me which 3rd print you'd like in the checkout comment section.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Christmas in July Sale - Day 5

Through tomorrow get HALF OFF this huge 20 x 30 inch landscape painting. To take advantage of the offer, follow the link to the painting in my Artfire shop and copy & paste coupon code FF007-TDOCIJ2011 during checkout. Normally $640 (about 390GBP), so you'll be saving 320 bucks!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Christmas in July Sale - Day 4

It's day 4 of my Christmas in July sale and I have another great offer on. The normal price of this semi abstract landscape painting is $155 (about 95GBP), but through tomorrow you get $55 OFF  (about 35GBP) when you copy and paste coupon code SUMMERSEA-TDOCIJ2011 during checkout. You'll find the painting in my Artfire shop.  

There's also still a few hours left to take advantage of yesterday's 70% OFF sale. Be sure to take a look at my Christmas in July event on Facebook to keep up to date with all the lastest offers.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Christmas in July Sale - Day 3

Today's discount is 70% OFF this original floral painting. Normal price is $105 (about 65GBP). With the discount it will only be $31.50 (about 20 quid) for an original! I feel like I should be doing one of those commercials where some guy shouts, "C'mon down to Crazy Larry's Auto Parts for some craaaaaaazy good deals!" Seriously though, I'd love for someone who has been wanting one of my pieces, but who hasn't had the budget for it to finally have a chance to pick one up.    

Through tomorrow only, copy and paste coupon code FC038OP-TDOCIJ2011 during checkout to get your discount. Only one coupon may be used per item. To purchase, follow the link to the painting in my Artfire shop.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Christmas in July Sale - Day 2

Today's Christmas in July discount is $15 OFF (about £10 off) an A4 size hand embellished canvas print of "Ruby". Normally $40 (about £25). Through tomorrow only, use coupon code RUBYCP-TDOCIJ2011 during checkout to get your discount. To purchase, follow the link to Ruby in my Artfire Shop.

I'm offering daily discounts through the end of the month, so be sure to "Like" my JolieArt Facebook page to stay up to date with this event. 

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Christmas in July Sale

It's that time of year again, so I'm having a massive studio clear out to make room for new work. From 16 - 31 July enjoy huge savings at my annual Christmas in July sale. Keep an eye on my FB page for daily coupons and discounts from 30 to 70% off. 

I ship worldwide, but if you're in Belfast, Northern Ireland you can save the postage fee by arranging to pick your purchases up at my studio. For additional information, contact Jolie via phone on +44 (0)7575 366899 or email

To launch the sale, I'm giving you  50% OFF all floral paintings in my Artfire shop from 16 - 31 July. Copy and paste coupon code CHRISTMASINJULY2011 during checkout to take advantage of offer.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Poem in Your Pocket Day on Thumbs Up Thursday

I have never been a fan of poetry. I truly appreciate the skill and passion it takes to express one's emotions through the written word, but can only remember actually being moved by two poems in my entire life. The first time was when Ponyboy recited "Nothing Gold Gold Can Stay" by Robert Frost in the movie, "The Outsiders". I had a massive crush on the stars, C. Thomas Howell and Ralph Macchio, so to be honest, I can't even swear it was the poem I was moved by. It's entirely possible it was my 13 year old hormones talking!

The second time was tonight, while I was speaking to my best friend over Skype. Today is "Poem in Your Pocket" day and Alec, her 9 year old son, wrote an original poem and decorated his own pocket during class today. He showed it to his mom, who in turn read it to me. My heart fluttered! It actually fluttered for poetry! Alec profoundly said so much in such a simple, succinct way and I gotta tell ya, I was impressed! He wrote the poem all by himself. His mom helped him to change it from paragraph style to a line for each sentence, but the poem itself is all him! If only we were all as wise as Alec. I think the world would be a far better place. Anyone who can move me with poetry definitely gets a big thumbs up!

by Alec, age 9

Imagine when Time is as fine as sand
As smooth as a stone and as peaceful as a dove.
Imagine when Martin Luther King Jr said, "I have a dream."
Imagine the peace-makers of tomorrow.
Life can be as dreary as a foggy day, or as boring as a rock.
But all you have to do is think it, and you're there.
Just imagine when everybody will know how
To make Peace in the world.

  Written for
 'Poem in your Pocket' Day
  April 14, 2011

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Castle Mall and Antrim Schools on Thumbs Up Thursday

I've been privileged to be the artist-in-residence at Castle Mall for the last 5 years. I was there last week facilitating their Art for Schools programme, which is part of an on-going initiative to foster creativity, confidence and freedom of expression in local children. Over the course of the week, I taught approximately 250 kids from local schools in a series of 2 hours painting sessions done right on the mall.

The budding young artists worked from a reference photo to create a still life floral painting on canvas. They began by looking for simple lines and shapes, rather than the more complex whole. They identified and sketched only the most important details of the photo (top and bottom of the flower pot, overall shape of the flowers, etc). They were encouraged to use the reference photo as a starting point, but to make their own decisions about what to put in or leave out, such as whether they wished to draw the handle (or add an extra one on the other side).

After their sketches were complete, students added texture with collage before ever adding any paint to their pieces. After tons of prep work, they mixed their own colours from the primary colours (red, yellow and blue), as well as white and completed their masterpieces. The mini Monets showed amazing creativity, patience and focus as they worked. They definitely deserve a big thumbs up!

Of course, Castle Mall deserves a big thumbs as well up for supporting kid's creativity! They'll be displaying the works of art until around Easter, so make sure you pop in to have a look at the exhibition if you're anywhere near the area. I'll be adding lots and lots of photos to the Art for Schools album on my Facebook page, so be sure to stop by and show the kids your support by liking it!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Top Ten Romantic Comedies on Thumbs Up Thursday

I'm a sucker for romantic comedies. They get a big thumbs up from me, especially my all time favorite, "While You Were Sleeping", starring Sandra Bullock. I'm not exaggerating when I say that in the 15 years since it was released, I've probably seen it at least 1000 times and I never get sick of it. There are days in my studio when I just play it back to back all day while I paint. Every time "This Will Be (an Everlasting Love)" starts to play, my heart smiles. I can recite every line along with the movie. I still cry and put my hand to my heart every time I hear the clink of the ring dropping into the token collection thingymabob (I'm pretty sure that's the official term for it. Go ahead, look it up in the Chicago Transit Authority Handbook). I just love the movie that much.

I thought long and hard about my favorite romantic comedies...really! I had such a difficult time narrowing it down to just 10. That was hard enough, so I can't possibly place them in any order of preference, except the first one, of course!

My Top 10 Favorite Romantic Comedies 
  • While You Were Sleeping
  • When Harry Met Sally 
  • You've Got Mail
  • French Kiss
  • Sleepless in Seattle
  • Pretty Woman
  • Princess Bride 
  • Just Like Heaven
  • The Wedding Singer
  • Just Friends
While I doubt the rest of the list combined comes anywhere close to the time I've spent watching "While You Were Sleeping",  I have seen these movies often enough to be able to recite a lot of the lines along with the characters. Just for fun, I thought I'd make a game of matching up a line with the right film. If you know an answer, put the name of the movie followed by the line that goes with it in your comment. Please match up only one movie, so that lots of people get a chance to play. Honor system here...if you don't know it, you can guess, but please don't Google it! 

Quotes From My Top 10 Movies...Can you match them up?
  • Dinkelman's goin', down!
  • I'm 99.9 percent parched here. Could really use a cola.
  • Know her? I'm dating her.
  • Hey, I kissed her, but it didn't mean anything. I just brought her the jacket.
  • Anybody want a peanut?
  • Oh, that's not my dad, that's my nephew.
  • We are just going to be friends, OK?
  • Talk to her, Dad. She's a doctor.
  • It was so good I almost peed my pants.
  • No, don't say it! Stop that rocking! Stop the rocking! SPASM! SPASM!
So what's your favorite romantic comedy? Are you thinking, "I can't believe she didn't mention (insert your favorite here)!" or do you agree with my list?

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Whirlwind of a Week on Work in Progress Wednesday

Go ahead...say it 5 times fast! I bet you can't! I tried, but I was already tongue tied by the second time.

Getting work photographed, edited and ready to post in my JolieArt shop is a never ending work in progress. I've been taking advantage of the rare appearance of the sun and have spent hour and hour shooting thousands of photos of my mixed media jewelry and artwork. It's been a whirlwind of a week, but I've made a lot of progress! Unfortunately, the aftermath of taking each piece out of its box has left a bit of a mess. Such is the price for progress!

Do you have a favorite tongue twister or would you like to try mine? I think they're always good for a giggle! You can record your tongue twister attempt on and post a link in the comments.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Discovering New Musical Talent on Talk Art Tuesday

I like karaoke as much as the next guy, but I doubt anyone's going to be singing (pun totally intended!) my musical praises any time soon. So nope, it's not my own musical talent I'm talking about discovering, but that of Youtube artist, Dani AKA MusicalMedicine. I stumbled across her karaoke version of "Mama Who Bore Me" and am totally hooked on her voice. I'm so excited that she has another 145 videos for me to listen to, most of them show tunes...and I do LOVE show tunes! Do you have a favorite Youtube musical artist that you would like to share?

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Preparing Art for a Show on Work in Progress Wednesday

All week long I've been working morning to night, getting ready for the first ever Home Souk, which takes place at the Europa in Belfast this Saturday, 5 March. I want to make sure and offer something for everyone, so I'm making lots of hand embellished prints on canvas, as well as bringing original paintings and wearable art.

"Stephanie" is one of my most popular prints, so I'm making 
sure to bring a few in different sizes. Here I've already hand embellished 
her and am getting ready to attach the print to canvas. 

I was so pleased to discover that I had some gold organza! 
It makes such a lovely finishing touch for display.

I'm not sure of the set up and whether or not it will be practical for me to paint on site, but I plan on bringing my paints with me just in case! Any requests for what type of painting you'd like to see me demo?

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Hey! It's Solve it Sunday and I thought I'd give you a bit of a challenge by using a picture that doesn't have an identifiable image. If using an abstract piece weren't enough to make it interesting, I've also selected a Tetris style cut. Don't worry though, if it has you tearing your hair out, you can reselect your own cut and difficulty level. Don't forget to come back and post your time in the comments!

Click to Mix and Solve

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Jammies, Quality Time and Pizza on Simply Saturday

Today was a great day for lots of reasons. I woke up feeling refreshed, the sun was out and there was nothing that absolutely had to be done. I've been working super hard on a project that I'm both excited and passionate about, but I needed some time to recharge. I decided today would be a lazy day, so I spent it in my jammies, watching TV with my hubby, reading and chatting with my sisters. I even took a nap!, a person who finds it hard to shut down...a nap!

Lazy days and pizza go together like Simon & Garfunkel or movie theatres and popcorn, so of course for dinner, we ordered from our favorite place. Pepperoni on my hubby's half and black olives on mine. I didn't think to take a before picture, so you'll just have to take my word for it that it was amazing! The crust from my hubby's pizza is all that's left.

What toppings do you like on your pizza? Eat the crust or leave it behind?

Friday, 25 February 2011

Abstract Nude Painting for Fresh off the Easel Friday

Several years ago, my sister and I visited Venice. With its spectacular architecture, gorgeous bridges, warm people and of course, the view from the Grand Canal, I couldn't help but adore the city. Over the years I've often joked that it's such a romantic place that I was nearly tempted to hold my sister's hand! It's a magical city and I have never been anywhere else in the world that I have loved more.

One of my favorite places in Venice is the Guggenheim museum. I spent hours there, exploring Peggy Guggenheim's home and completely lost track of time standing in front of Modigliani's portrait of Frank Haviland. I have always appreciated Modigliani's work, but only fully grasped the true depth of texture and color by seeing it in person. Peggy was the former wife of painter, Max Ernst, and entertained many now famous artists in her home. When I sat on her original white leather sofa and imagined all the artists who might have sat in the very same spot, I cried.

I returned from Venice feeling inspired by its history, grace and charm. I began to paint curvy abstract nudes, influenced by the gentle flow of the canal, the arched bridges and quite frankly...the ridiculously beautiful women Venice seems to be filled with! It only seemed fitting that the women in this collection be graced with Italian names as a reflection of my experience there. This piece, tentatively called Ilaria, has been sitting in a box in my studio, half finished for I don't know how long. It's the only piece in the collection I used collage on, which might be the reason I got stuck and wasn't sure what direction I wanted to take her next. With fresh eyes, I began working on her again and as it turns out, she was nearly done when I packed her away. I only added another layer over the collage, making it a little more subtle.

What do you think? Do you like the name Ilaria or do you have a different suggestion? Is she perfect just the way she is or would you like to see me make the collage a bit more subtle?

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Artists Helping Artists on Thumbs Up Thursday

A few months ago I discovered the podcast, "Artists Helping Artists" on Blog Talk Radio. The show, hosted by artists Leslie Saeta and Dreama Tolle Perry, manages to be entertaining and down to earth, while providing incredibly useful information. Each week, Leslie and Dreama, along with some fantastic guests, tackle subjects crucial to any artist striving to make a living with his or her passion. If you need to know anything, from how to get into making the best of social building a popular blog, you'll probably find a podcast about it. If you don't, you can always visit the Artists Helping Artists blog and make show suggestions. I'm seriously addicted and definitely give it a big thumbs up!

Listen to internet radio with Leslie Saeta on Blog Talk Radio

So now that you know what I'm excited about today, what gets your thumbs up? Doesn't matter what it is...could be the musical your kid was just in, the fact that your car started in the cold or a new business venture. I'd love to hear!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Starting Fresh with a New Plan and a Time Lapse Painting

It's been a long time since I blogged. Though my blog had a consistent format, I made a few mistakes when planning how to execute it for the long term. There was a theme of the day, 7 days per week, which should have been easy peasy to maintain, right? Afterall, once you know what you're writing about, the rest falls into place. Sure!...except when something unexpected happens. All it took was a bout of pneumonia to knock me off track. It was easy to think, "It's only one day, nobody will miss it for one day." But then another day passes...and another...until finally, it's been months since a new blog post appeared. I just didn't know how to get started again. I finally decided I just have to dive back in.

So yes, I'm back, but with a better plan. First off, I'm going to create blog posts in advance and schedule them to post automatically. That way, if something unexpected happens, I'm not letting myself, and more importantly, my readers down. Second, I'm going to re-evaluate my format. Do I really need 7 posts per week? Should I keep my current daily themes, but alternate them with 4 one week and 3 the next? Should I change the subjects I'm writing about altogether? I'm not sure yet, but I think that's OK. Every plan needs to evolve and adapt, so I'm just going to roll with it.

So without further ado, here's my first Work in Progress Wednesday post in ages! The video below is a time lapse painting of my Packer Fan series. This is Part 1 of 5, but you can find the other 4 parts by following the link to my Facebook page. I'd love to know what other types of videos you like to watch. What would you like me to make and post next?


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