Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Creatively Featured - Terri Stephens

Before we get to this week's artist, we have some slots open if you would like to be interviewed for Creatively Featured. Just send me an email and we can get you all set up! Also, don't forget this month's challenge!

Our artist this week is Terri Stephens of Morning Dewdrops. Thanks so much for sharing your heart with us Terri!

Tell us a little about yourself and the premise behind your blog? Hi, thank you for featuring me today.  It’s an honor and I appreciate what “Artists in Blogland” is doing for aspiring online artists. My name is Terri Stephens and I’m a mixed-media artist.  I enjoy painting whimsical characters, creating fabric art and journaling. My passion is to illuminate your soul with words of encouragement. My wish is to take you to the park in October on an Indian summer day to create, daydream and play. My blog is Morning Dewdrops, a place to imagine, create & illuminate.

Tell us about blogging and how it has worked for you? Blogging is fun and I like sharing ideas with other artists. Morning Dewdrops inspires others to create and they inspire me, so we come full circle. We are all creative and when we create; no matter what it is -- architect, apple pie or art, we transport ourselves to another place free of frustrations especially when we quiet the inner critic. When we act on creativity, our mind and soul open to new ideas whether we are aware of it or not.

Blogging is a reason to create. I don’t blog as often as I like, but when I post a blog, it’s got grit. Blogging introduces me to painters, crafters, fiber artists, art journalist, homemakers, designers and writers from Australia, Austria, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA.

Blogging makes me smile. I once posted a blog about sugarcane babies. I said in the post that you knew you were near their home when the sugarcane began to turn pink. Someone from the other side of the world said she didn’t know sugarcane turned pink. I laughed. Isn’t that grand! I replied, “..only in Blogland...”
So blogging keeps me young, keeps me entertained, keeps me inspired, keeps me focused, keeps me practicing art – Funny, the more I give, the more I receive. Let’s keep our communities growing by spending time in them like in “Artists in Blogland”.

What inspires or influences you artistically? Art inspires me. Van Gogh or Monet inspires me. A quilt at a county fair inspires me. Whimsical characters inspire me.  Nature inspires me. A good story inspires me.  Children inspire me. My family inspires me. I gravitate toward pastels and appreciate texture.  I enjoy soaking in a piece of art until it speaks to me whether artistically or emotionally.  I ask, “Why am I drawn to this piece?” My background in embroidery and fabric art plays a big role as far as influencing me.  I've taught sewing and embroidery lessons and I've had a needle in my hand since I was a young girl. 

Which aspect of your art do you enjoy most? When I find myself stepping on discarded papers, looking for my fabric scissors not my craft scissors, when paint, glue, brushes and palettes cover two tabletops as I sit at another with the smell of melting beeswax in the air, I’m at my best. When I’m in Photoshop Elements printing on Lutradur or Transfer Artist Papers, when I’m transferring newsprint onto organza or up to my elbows in a mixture of craft glue and water layering fabric paper, I’m at my best.  When I discover the ease of watercolor crayons, the creaminess of wax pencils, the forgiveness of acrylics and the magic of all mess-ups is gesso, I’m at my best.  When I’m burning fabrics masked in acrylics or melting craft felt inside cocoons with my heat gun, I’m at my best.  When I sit quietly hand-stitching or sewing on my machine or hear the hum of the needle felter while waiting on my modeling paste to dry, I’m at my best.  When I pull out bubble wrap, bottle tops, tomato netting and one-ply tissue, I feel like a million.  When I lift off the masking fluid, when I peel the foil away, when the water-soluble fabric dissolves to reveal magic, I’m enthralled.

I’m at my best when creating my passion and when my creation inspires others, I've met my purpose.  And because of that I am a better being.

Can you tell us a little about your methods and/or techniques? I’m experimenting with mediums I’ve not used before and it’s exciting, so I encourage people to try out new methods in their art. Apparently, I like creative muses with pastel-colored hair!  My blue muse is created with water color crayons, acrylics, spray inks & art markers.  She blends into the peacock background.  Whereas my pink muse is all about Prismacolor wax pencils and texture. Her hair is molded with modeling paste; her dress is embellished with glass beads and the entire surface is covered in bees wax.

Different texture and layering techniques also influence my art.  One of my favorite mediums is gesso.  You can put it on paper or fabric. Gesso is great for toning down bright colors or adding texture. A brown paper bag, Wonder Under and foil are the three foundation pieces used in creating “Molly Dolly.” Sewing on paper also creates more interest and depth.

I layer muslin, wrapping paper and tissue paper to create fabric paper and this is the background on which to lay my “cocoons” in a cloud of silk and wool roving. Pieces of hand-dyed scrim and yarns were also needle felted into the piece.  I fell in love with machine needle felting when I got a Babylock Embellisher for my birthday. The journal cover with the key hole is one of the first pieces I completed all on a machine that uses no thread or bobbin.

What have you done this past year? I’ve learned not to be scared. If a technique inspires me, I’m going to give her a go, so I discovered I can draw.  Maybe not a Rembrandt, but that’s not what I’m after.  I love whimsy and I’m developing that aspect of drawing.  My inner critic died somewhere along the way this past year. I post characters on Morning Dewdrops whose eyes aren’t just right or whose lips are too big, but I post them all the same. Why not I say, blogging makes me bold.

I’ve learned to listen to my spirit, to create what inspires me and I’m surprising myself.  My article entitled “Does your creative muse show you kindness?” was published in the April issue of Sprout, an online magazine, and included an art journal page of a creative muse with pink hair.

My fabric art collage was published in the first issue (April 2012) of a in a print magazine entitled Featuring: Art Journaling, Mixed-Media & More.  I’m featured in the Theme Gallery – Cheering, Stomping & Applauding.

Rather daring, wouldn’t you say! Blogging played a big part and it can do it for you, so keep DREAMING, THINKING AND CREATING BIG!

How do you see your future work and style developing? I see characters I’ve created coming to life.  The Way-Word Girls have their own stories to tell that uplift girls between the ages of 9 to 12.  Lydia, LizBeth, Abigail and Joanna are college roommates who form a club called, The Way-Word Girls. My prayer is that their stories captivate the hearts of young girls and help them not to suffer victim mentality in all its forms – depression, eating disorders, abuse, etc.  I’m collaborating with a technical team to present them in story or script form to a Christian Film Festival.

I’m also writing a children’s book about “Molly Dolly.”  Molly Dolly is the little doll with a heart of soul. Soulful Molly was found at the bottom of a mother’s closet and had no arms because she’s old; can you still love her?  Can we get past her handicap and see her, I mean really see her?  I think we can and if we can in a doll, surely we can in people.  

I love to write. I just didn’t realize I’d be doing it through characters I’ve created and painted.  I love to edify.  I just didn’t realize I’d do it through my pen. 

I started Morning Dewdrops with no agenda, but I believe it’s created a life of its own and together we’re still evolving.  I encourage each of you to create, to daydream and play and if your heart’s telling you to blog, then don’t delay. --Blessings Terri

Friday, May 18, 2012

Show and Tell Saturday #26

I love seeing all of your creative artworks that you have linked up!  I have been so busy these last few weeks.  As a teacher, we are winding down the end of the school year and I've been finishing the yearbook, writing grade reports and finishing up art projects with the kids.  Phew!

Show and Tell Saturday Rules
Add your link!
Please visit at least 3 other artists and put a link back to Artists in Blogland, so other people can find us.  Also, feel free to visit my personal blog for a JUST JOURNALS link party--- for scrapbooking and art journaling!
Thanks for participating! Are you doing anything exciting? Hosting a challenge? Conducting a workshop? Tell me about it and I will write a post to put on Artists in Blogland. Grab a button for your page:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May Challenge

Welcome to May's challenge! I'm looking forward to seeing the fabulous creations you come up with. Use the phrase for the month as inspiration in any way you like. All mediums are welcome... no rules.  The theme for the month is...

Abundant Joy

Please enter a direct link to your blog post by May 31st (if you need help with this just contact Heather). Voting will begin June 1st.

**If you are interested in providing a prize for this month, or any future challenge, please contact Heather.**

Creatively Featured - Alicia Araya

Hi everyone! Today we are getting to know Alicia Araya. She has some fascinating projects to share. Also, she is offering a Spring Cleaning in her Etsy shop till June 21st - coupon codes are SPRINGKLEEN and SHIPSHAPE1.

You can find Alicia at her art blog, design portfolio, Etsy, and the Epic Painting Project.

Tell us about blogging and how it's worked for you. - I am still trying to figure that out, even though I technically been blogging since 2006! I never knew much what to do with it, though, for the longest time, save have an ad hoc, wordless sort of online portfolio. A breakthrough for me came earlier this year, when I discovered your blog, Sunday Sketches, Creative Tuesdays, and other online co-ops and places where creative sharing is really happening .... now blogging is an active, alive & enjoyable process, as opposed to a random thing to do ad hoc, just because you feel you have to.

How did you discover your favorite art medium?My father was an oil painter, though for some reason he has not painted in years. He's living in another continent, and painting was a passion, a hobby, something he did not pursue - he was a Navy man, then a lawyer, as well as an artist. As well a self taught electrician, carpenter, etc. Interesting chap. But yes - I learned how to oil paint at the age most children are still using crayons - sure, I used crayons as well, and to this day, but you know what I mean...

How do you see your future work and style developing? - I feel like I am heading more & more towards realism, in some form or other. I started out in an inchoate, sort of untrained way. I then got tired of what I was capable of producing (or NOT capable, as the case may be) and attended art school. What I have always adored for reasons I can't entirely understand or articulate are the look and plain old capacity to render things in a realistic way. Thus, I hope to become hyper-realist. I hope to paint like Vermeer, you know, sort of to say I CAN, partly - though the real reason is the indescribable absorbing sort of joy that comes from translating a piece of reality - with its true colours, light conditions, shapes, etc - into a perfectly rendered piece of art. Warts & all. Since I'm not certain whether art would ever become any thing like a full fledged career for me I cannot say how much beyond that it would go, though I assume there's something beyond realism... if not the past 300 years or so of art history would not have occurred.

How do you manage your time? - for some really bizarre reason, I have gotten into a psycho late-night mode. Am currently undertaking a rather ambitious 3 month painting project and I find myself really only able to work between, say, 9pm at night and 5AM. I have even tried to artificially switch this around  by going to be early (before 1am at least) so as to get up early and begin painting at a sensible hour - no hope - still would wake up after 11am and get nothing done. I've resigned myself! At least until the end of this project, I officially have the Graveyard Shift in art for Madison County, North Carolina. 

Have you exhibited work or taught classes? - I have exhibited work in Atlanta and now Asheville, NC, where I currently reside. 

Can you tell us a little about your methods and/or techniques? Though I work in many mediums, etc, I want to briefly describe oil painting. I begun with straight up alla prima painting - wet on wet, I believe they call it - and then came to LOVE glazing techniques, thanks to that last oil painting class I took at college, where i learned both the technique & the mediums/chemicals used. Now am developing hybrid styles mixing glazing with wet on wet, as well as, in an ad hoc sort of way, developing ways to achieve different sfumato effects & specific hues & whatnot through sheer persistence as opposed to actually doing the reasonable way and reading up about various techniques, etc. Experimenting - that's it, in a word. 

What have you done this past year? 2012 has been an excellent artistic year for me! I begun by selling my first commission for $500 and shortly thereafter managed to fund my Kickstarter Campaign, 90 Paintings in 90 Days, AKA the Epic Painting Project, which has allowed me to complete, as of this writing, 80 or so oil paintings. These are reinterpretations of the ouvre of the incredible landscape Romantic era British artist, JMW Turner. These are done on prepped wood panels - not traditional wooden panels, but pieces of driftwood rescued from local waterways. The shapes of the canvases very directly correlate to the subject matter and the composition itself - an effort with which my husband, photographer and artist in his own right, assists me with. He can view each piece of wood chosen, we consult the JMW Turner book of images we have, etc. One painting a day. Intense.

What are your artistic highlights?This Epic Painting Project has been a highlight, both in a creative and business sense. Being able to Kickstart (as it were) a project of this length and effort is an achievement I, even 6 months ago, could not have fathomed bringing to fruition. It involved more promoting, advertising and selling than I've ever really done in my life, and gave me a look into what arts fundraising is like. Some confidence in terms of future projects will come from that, no doubt. Artistically, of course, the effort is legion. I address many of these matters in my blog but, in a nutshell, doing this has allowed me to stick to an artistic discipline, exploit & explore the medium, learn style from a master, and provide me with a cohesive portfolio group of works - something I've never really had in the past. 

What artistic plans do you have for the coming year? - wow, lots!  Firstly, I always have felt I have not come into my style yet, my 'voice', as it were. I still feel too pulled in many directions - from freeflow abstract/expressionistic to hyper realism attempts to surrealism - in so many mediums as well - oil, acrylic, mixed media, charcoal, at times glass & sculpture & digital. It's the sort of hodge podge output that would have been cured by a good stint in an MFA program. It is, for whatever reason, something I strive for, a personal voice, a cohesive set of work. So I undertake projects (such as the Epic Painting Project) with a view to force myself down certain pathways - in this case, exploit the expressive possibilities of oil painting. Other goals include experimenting with different mediums and techniques - something I'm also building into my project. By the end of the year in a more practical sense I would also love to successfully market and place my Project in a gallery - already talking to some local organizations about that - and promote & facilitate the sales of what I do so as to better imagine a future where I might do this long term. I'd like to concentrate on creation vs sales this year however - I have all these raw materials hanging about the house - would like to spent this year producing, and next year really promoting, hitting crafts sales and so forth.

Would you like to be interviewed for Creatively Featured? If so, please contact Heather.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

April Challenge Winner

The votes are in and our winner for April is Michelle Mathey from Pigment of My Imagination! Congrats Michelle! We love your work!

We don't have a prize this month, but we have created a badge for your blog.

Thanks so much everyone for submitting your beautiful creations. The next theme is coming up soon!

Artists in Blogland

Friday, May 4, 2012

Show and Tell Saturday #25

Welcome to our 25th Show and Tell Saturday. Use the link below to show off your artwork! Please visit at least 3 other artists and put a link back to Artists in Blogland, so other people can find us.  Also, feel free to visit my personal blog for a JUST JOURNALS link party--- for scrapbooking and art journaling!

Grab a button for your page:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Voting for April Challenge Begins

It's that time! Please vote for the two entries that you feel most fit the theme of the challenge. All of our followers and readers are encouraged to vote. You will have until May 6th to vote, with the winner announced on May 7th. The new challenge will go up at that time too.