Zazzle Store: http://www.zazzle.com/
Fabric Designs: http://www.spoonflower.com/
Fabric Designs: http://www.spoonflower.com/
Blogging has been a lot of fun! I have had a regular website for a long time, but it felt like I could only post my best ‘portfolio’ of work. With young children, I often don’t complete a lot of finished pieces, so I wanted a place to post works-in-progress, sketches, new artistic interests and experiments, etc.
I started my blog a little over 3 years ago and can’t believe I now have over 200 posts. I absolutely love seeing how other artists work and what they use for inspiration, so the blog lets me contribute my piece of that to the online world. It also helps me connect with other ‘kindred spirits’ doing similar work. I’ve met so many wonderful people through my blog!
I absolutely love pen and ink. I was in graduate school (library science) back in the mid-1990s here in Ann Arbor and had gone to a remainders book store on Main Street. I found this book by artist Frank Lohan called “Pen & Ink Techniques” and decided I wanted to try it out. I bought a fine point cartridge sketching pen and just started copying drawings from the book. I was hooked! I couldn’t believe how much I loved working with pen and ink and how satisfying it was to see a drawing come together in black and white. It’s still my favorite medium.
What inspires or influences you artistically?
Nature, nature, nature! I just love trees and flowers and natural objects. I have been plugging away at botanical illustration for the last 5 or 6 years and would love to do more of that. And I find that in my bracelets , I am taken with stone beads (semi-precious and others) and earthy colors of rich browns, reds, mossy greens, and intense blues. Fun stuff!
Which aspect of your art do you enjoy most?
I love the sense of accomplishment that I get when I complete a piece, whether a drawing or a beaded piece or handmade journal. It feels wonderful to have the concrete expression of my creativity in front of me.
How do you go about the design process? Do you work to a design or theme or just go with the flow…or something else entirely?
I don’t really think of myself as having a design process. I tend to illustrate things that I see such as a live plant, flower, leaf or seed, so I draw what I see in front of me. Or, for home and pet portraits, my style is a realistic rendering that is accurate and detailed, so again – trying for a realistic, but artistically attractive rendering. For my recent jewelry creations, I really just go with whatever colors or shapes speak to me at the moment, which actually is a fun departure from the realistic illustrations.
Is/was there a significant turning point or defining moment in your style of work?
I have always had an interest in natural science illustration, but I think a major turning point for me was when we were living in Maryland and Brookside Gardens began offering a botanical illustration certificate course. I never thought I would be so interested in plants! I was able to take the first 5 classes in the program before we moved here to Michigan. It really gave me a good base of skills to build on and a love of botanical subjects that I have been pursuing ever since.
How do you manage your time? Can you tell us a little about your methods and/or techniques?
My creative time is very much done in fits and starts, whenever I can squeeze it in. I might have a quiet ½ hour to start a plant sketch or to sew some beads to a bracelet. I tend to just grab my materials (sketch pad, pencil, kneaded eraser, or beading supplies) and start working at the kitchen table or standing in front of a plant outside. For my drawings, I always start with pencil sketches to get the proportions down and details finalized. I also can play around with composition a bit. I take a LOT of reference photos so that I have something to work from later. Once I get a good pencil rendering down, I often take my fine point technical pen (.25 size, usually) and do some light pen work to give the drawing form and definition, maybe a bit of shading. Sometimes I stop there and sometimes I decide that I want to add some color, usually with colored pencils (Faber-Castell Polychromos are my favorite).
For my bracelets, I have recently discovered that I am enamored with the button closures! I have to decide on the right button with the right beads and go from there. If I can’t find the right button, I can’t start!
What have you done this past year?
I have been working on a lot of different things! Drawing is always on the creative desk, but I also love working with my hands to create things and have had an interest in bookbinding and beading for quite a while. I am excited to have finally opened my Etsy shop in January of this year and look forward to continuing to develop that.
Have you exhibited work or taught classes?
I have not done either! I have some submissions in for the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators annual show, but won’t find out about acceptance until May. I would love to have my drawings included in an exhibit at some point in the future.
I would very much like to continue building my Etsy shop with handmade items. I am really enjoying the bracelets and will continue those (recently added some great buttons to my stash!), but would love to do more bookbinding of both small journals and larger items. I also want to do more drawing! I have some wildflower sketches that I started at an art retreat last year and would love to get those into finished form to have some additional pieces completed that I can incorporate into handmade items for my shop, fabric designs, prints, cards, and more.
Thank you for the opportunity to share a little about myself and my creative process!
Would you like to be interviewed for Creatively Featured? If so, please contact Heather.