The Blog

Catching Up!

Submitted by diana on Mon, 07/13/2015 - 12:02pm

Hello - welcome back to my blog.  My goals this week are to take it finish up pending orders, post the cat bookmarks I designed, work on my website, Etsy and Pinterest sites, create a proposal for a local animal hospital to offer the heart with paw print ceramic tile for a memory placque, publish new designs - gotta work on that!  Whew!  I'm tired just typing it!  Attempting to install another program for correcting photos, making them website ready, so to speak.  I used Picasa before which allows me to put my business name on each design, to prevent folks making a print of my original design.  Picked up my business cards last week from Velia - she reversed the hummingbird, made 200 for me - looks wonderful.  Now to get the photo from her so i can order more from Vista Print in time for the 2 big shows coming up in October and November.  We had to buy a new printer after all.  This HP Photosmart 2006 model finally bit the dust.  Now I have a new one which copies, scans, prints double sided - yay!  Just gotta install it and get rid of the old printer.  Found a place who takes old electronics - hopefully will get to drop them off before we leave on vacation in 2 weeks.  Have hubby's old Dell, the printer, a kindle, and a couple of cameras, plus cables and everything else.  Nice to get them out of the house/closets. 

This week it's hot hot hot here in Texas!  100 degrees isn't fun plus the ozone is doing it's thing as well.  It's a yellow day today & has been since last Thursday. I have breathing issues when the ozone is Orange, unhealthful for everyone one.  Last year, the Yellow warning which is for sensitive people started to affect me.  Long as I don't exert myself, do manual labor like walking in the cool morning air, work in the yard, clean the house, I'm ok.  As you have probably figured out, I have difficulity sitting still.  After my walk Saturday, I was feeling alarmingly tired, yawning, and couldn't get my breath.  Gues what!?!  It was a Yellow day and I walked = bad news!  Breathing treatments are devine! 

Ok - now for the artwork I'm doing.  I designed a cat bookmark - kinda cartoon like - cats with attitudes.  Posted it on Facebook and promptly got 3 orders!  Wow!  So now I'm working on designing a series of cat bookmarks.  Already got a request for a doxie dog bookmark.  Yay! 

As I told you quite a while ago, part of my earnings go to a local mission that helps the homeless.  Last week i was proud to make a large monetary donation, earmarked for winter coats for the homeless.  It should purchase about 70-80 coats (assistant director was able to find a site last year where the coats were about $10 each and VERY good coats!)  I was short about 20% but felt I could give that later in the form of backpacks which are like gold to a homeless person.  Garage sales this time of year are a great way to get gently used backpacks for a homeless person to have some dignity missing when using a plastic trashbag for belongings. 

Off to install picmonkey photoshop program!  Later!

Remember, a smile costs nothing.  Giving one to a stranger will make them smile back and lift up your heart!

Finishing Up A Stone

Submitted by diana on Tue, 06/30/2015 - 2:37pm

I'm pretty wordy today huh!?!  Feel so relieved about so many things that have fallen into place these past few weeks.  Ahhhh!

Today I'm finishing up the Angel in the Garden stone and perhaps the Ocean Waves stone.  Both are paid, awaiting completion and delivery. 

A friend painted a garden variety of a paver stone - the kind that folks use to build walls and such.  She painted it to look like a basket of flowers - cute!  Only downside is the durn things weigh about 20 lbs each, making the step stones feel like a piece of cake!  Oh well!  Intriguing, to say the least.  Can't imagine having to ship one though - LOL! 

Stay tuned!

Remember, you can't live your dream unless you keep on dreaming and working!

Surprise Call and Order!

Submitted by diana on Tue, 06/30/2015 - 2:30pm

Thought I would take a moment to share a wonderful surprise with you!  Saturday morning I got a call from a strange number, so I let it go to voice mail.  In this day and age, lots of random calls are being made, my take is that if the people want to talk to me they will leave a message.  This call did!

I called back after listening to the message - an order!!!  A lady was at Whiz Q Stone shopping for a painted garden stone with the saying "You Are My Rock" on it.  All they had were laser cut rocks, custom orders taking 6-8 weeks, and very expensive.  She wanted it Monday for her wedding anniversary.  Her inquiry inside the store led to her getting a copy of my business card, she called my number on the website and boom!  I was driving there to meet a customer!

The river rock was the size of a large person's entire hand - about 6" tall, and 5" across, very pretty.  She showed me what she wanted painted, we agreed on a price and delivery date, right then and there - yay!!!

Monday I delivered the rock.  She was VERY HAPPY and LOVED it!!!!  She works with teachers in a school district and was interested in my bookmarks as little gifts.  I gave her one of my bookworm bookmarks which she loved.  Stay tuned for this one!

A little marketing and PR goes a long way!  I was very happy and left 2 more cards with Norma at Whiz Q.  Ever so nice of her to remember me and give my customer the info! 

Doin da Happy Dance!!!!

The Journey of a Bookworm Bookmark

Submitted by diana on Thu, 06/25/2015 - 5:09pm

Hello All!  Don't you just hate it when you computer "goes to sleep" and you hit the refresh button only for the computer to shut down and you lose the long blog you finished about 20 minutes ago???  Oh well!  Starting over again is the name of this game, apparently.  In the meantime I got another 14 bookworms started painting.  A few customers want to know how long it takes to paint a bookworm bookmark.  Saying only 10-15 minutes seems about right however, when I break it down, starting from scratch - yikes!  Once I get the templates nade and the prototype painted and approved, THEN it takes about 6 minutes from start to finish.  "WOW!" I hear - "only that long and you charge $6! That's $66/hour!  I don't make that much!"  Well folks, it's a little more complex than that!  I never paint one bookmark at a time - always always always paint at least two of each new design.  One is the "artist proof" and the other is the "finished saleable product".  Here's what I do to start any new design - this one is Mr. Bookworm, the Bookmark. 

1.  Get request for new design, something avid readers and/or teachers would like to buy/receive as a gift.  Sketching on my sketchpad for a few days until I get the design I like.

2.  Go to Clipart to find a suitable reference to print and make as a template.  I always use free clipart as to not infringe on copyrights! 

3.  Print out design desired, cut out and trace onto lightweight cardboard that will withstand mupltiple useage.

4.  Trace outline onto cardstock bookmark.  The bookworm is a two template outline - the worm and the book - two templates to create, cut and use.  I outline the head and neck and tail of the worm, leaving the book area clean.

5.  Select suitable paint color for client approval.  Once approved, I begin painting the "artist proof" for client review.

6.  Paint worm with acrylic lime green paint.

7.  Outline worm and book with super-fine black Sharpie pen.  Add eyes, hair, glasses, and scallopes to give the worm movement.

8.  "Color" in the hair and eyeballs with fine point black Sharpie.  The wider the tip, the better coverage of hair and eyeballs.

9.  Add red fine point Sharpie to create bookcover.

10.  Using super-fine black Sharpie pen, make 'pages' of the book to give more 2d effect.

11.  Add lettering using same pen type for lettering on bookcover.  In this instance, T.S. is one the left side and Sims is on the right side of the bookcover.  My signature, diana, with '15 will be under the 'tail'.

12.  Submit for client approval and confirmation in writing of order.

This process may take anywhere from 1-6 hours, and at times, more to perfect.  I have lots of "seconds" of bookmarks that didn't meet my approval, little imperfections. Yes, they are for sale!

Got it!!!!  Now that the order is secure, deposit received, I start assembling the blanks, paints, Sharpies, and start painting!  YAY! 

13.  Count out 80 bookmarks, begin outlining the 2 templates; the worm and the book.

14.  Cut ribbon for 80 bookmarks.  I have a large piece of sturdy cardboard where I have measured 12" for each ribbon.  I merely "wrap" the ribbon around until the spool is out.  Makes about 30 cuts at a time, if the spool measurement is true.

It will take about two weeks to finish up the bookmarks.  I paint in stages as not to burn myself out.  Now I have twenty-two 75% completed - need lettering on front, signature, and company name on back, plus ribbon. 

Remember, it only takes a moment to think up a "great idea/invention".  Then the long process begins of trial and error, research and development, design, rejection and approval.  Believe it or not, that process is what I love the most, besides the painting and seeing the satisfaction and look of delight on my client's face.

Hugs!

Diana

 

 

A busy and hot week - Wednesday

Submitted by diana on Wed, 06/24/2015 - 4:39pm

Hello!  It's been a short week full of adventures, surprises, and events.  The first "event" is my printer is out of black ink - with no warning, other than to just print 2/3 of the page and fade out.  Wow!  Will order ink, just black, this evening from place where hubby gets his.  This printer is from 2006, should be on her last legs.  Something tells me she is.  Oh well!  Part of the printer problem discovery occured when I tried to print a letter to Under the Stars to accompany my consignment contract.  Yup!  Decided to go for it and take a leap of faith, sending about 36 bookmarks across country to Ohio.  Once I get the letter printed, contrace and fee mailed, get a return contract signed, I'll ship off the bookmarks - coneflowers, bookworms and owls - 12 each.  Offering them for $6 which is what is on the website.  Gotta find a pricetag to adhere to the outside of the plastic sleeve, or a dangling one.  It's a stumper!

The "adventure" is that I have started on the 16"x20" canvas yesterday, after working on the Angel in the Garden saying for a while, and Jackson, the dog stones.  All 3 are coming along.  Guess my "style" is working on multiple projects at a time.  Delivered Flutter on Tuesday to my client.  She loved it, "it's more vivid that I thought it would be - love the colors of the flowers and the intensity of the yellow and black butterfly.  My friend will LOVE it!  I may keep it for myself!"  YAY!  Love love having a happy customer!  Also got paid for 5 bookmarks - $20.  My deposit should be almost $200 this time.  yay!

The air is still and hot = OZONE action days coming up.  Yuck!  I do have several things to keep my busy.  Nothing new in the que, except the 75 bookwork bookmarks.  After those are finished I won't have any orders.  I have faith, and pray i will get more orders.  Next week I'm presenting the $$ to the Mission for the Homeless Coat fund.  It won't be the $1,000 I had hoped, but very close.  I had registration expenses  for Arts Goggle, and A Taste of Northeast to the tune of $125.  Gotta spend some money to make money.  No worries, plus hubby said to take my art supplies out of our account and not mine.  He's buying me 12 fine line brushes, 12 step stones, gallon of sealant - all just cuz he loves me and what I'm doing. 

If not for this website and my artwork, I fear I would be very bored and unhappy!  One can volunteer just so much.  I get tired.  Oh yes, I fell into a box at the Mission yesterday!  I was backing up, getting out of the way from a co-worker, tripped and fell butt first into a boxed kit.  My head bounced off a bag of soft towels and sheets, fortunately.  Today I was sore and tired.  Wow! 

This evening I will deliver 2 ceramic tiles as fund raisers for the Johnny Nitzinger benefit on Sunday.  I'm not attending because Steve's grand-nephew Max is having his first birthday party and we are picking up our grandsons to attend the party aka swimming and eating cake.  Oh well!  Life gets in the way some times of our dreams

Tomorrow is lunch with my friend Natalie.  I want to contact the local vet a few blocks from here and talk to him/her about including my Paw Print on Your Heart ceramic tile as part of their cremation/memory package.  Selling it to them for $10 would be a nice touch.  Would love to type up a proposal but with the @#$%^ printer not working, I can't.  Maybe next week.  Grrrr. Well, I don't have the proposal done or an appointment set up, so I'm putting the cart before the horse, so to speak.

Friday, we are going grocery shopping early after hubby mows the grass, meeting friends for a in-house concert about 7ish.  Saturday is band practice evening so probably just stay home and veg out of the heat.  Sunday we are picking up Luke and Liam about 4 for the party in Arlington.  Then it starts all over again!

Life is short

Life is sweet

Don't go thru it draggin your feet

Get out of bed and embrace the day

You never have this chance at life again.

Hugs!

Never Give Up on Yourself

Submitted by diana on Wed, 06/17/2015 - 3:54pm

It's been about a week since my last blog post.  Had some terrible news about my recent painting of Angel Heart, or as I call it, the painting from he!!.  My last blog was of making contact for delivery of the canvas painting, Tuesday, before we left for a short vacation with friends the next week.  Really looking forward to getting away from painting and such.  Having a business is kinda like having little kids.  You love to get away and be normal, but miss them terribly.  Same for my painting.  Just walking away for a few hours makes all the difference in my perspective.  Fresh eyes!

My client was a lesson learned, the hard way.  Several things - 1) never asked for a deposit, 2) asked and never received adequate pix, 3) client said to "use your artist instinct, I trust you." and 4) had agreed via message to a canvas.  We set up an time, place, and date, agreed payment would be in cash or credit card using Square account.  All good to go, or so I thought.  She asked/demanded a pic of the kitty, even though I told her the pix don't do the colors justice, even when taken outside in bright sun/shade.  I sent her several pix I had taken just that day, one is on this website.  Imagine my SHOCK and dismay reading her saying she hated it, didn't want it, didn't like it, never agreed to a canvas, and I "didn't capture Angel Heart's sweetness.  You made her look like a mad old cat!" 

I was stunned!!!!  The only, read this again, ONLY picture I had was taken the day the kitty was put down, in a lot of pain which you could see with here eyes.  How could I capture "sweetness" from one pic and knowing nothing about the deceased cat?!?!?!?!  I spent over 12 hours on the painting, numerous revisions, and grew to want it done.  Perhaps that was my error.  She was demanding to have the painting and I was trying to please her.  It would have been different had I had $$ up front, to soften the blow, so to speak.  Nope!  Nada, zip, zero, nuthin. 

I am sad to say this rejection at first resulted in anger, dismay, and then depression and doubting myself and my artistic abilities.  I looked at the cat painting so many times, I was seeing it in my sleep!  I did post it on facebook of my being dupped, wanting sympathy and pats on the head.  Little did I know, these were forth coming plus constructive criticism, and a "snap out of it!" statement.  Posting the painting for sale was the only way to recover at least my dignity.  Today, it sold!  Wow! 

I felt sooooo good about it, I finished the Flutter stone, ready to be sealed this week, background on 2 other stones, received payment for 2 stones, started a 3rd stone of ocean waves (Father's Day tribute), started painting 75 bookworm bookmarks - all in one day!  And it's not over yet!  Well, it will be soon because we are heading out to meet family for dinner and there goes to light. 

Tonight I'll trace templates of the bookworm on another 24 bookmarks.  I painted 24, 2 are rejects or 2nds because the brush didn't cooperate.  These are ready for the red and black outlines, ribbon and ready for making female or male.

Tomorrow is another day!  I feel good about myself, very proud of this ocean wave step stone, learning to not rush painting.  Ya know, when you mix ultramarine blue and yellow oxide you get a muddy green!!!  Going with my gut feelings usually works for me, plus a lot of prayers.

Also, I'm mailing off 24 bookmarks to be sold in the Ohio store, Under the Stars.  One has to take a leap of faith now and again.  Also

NEVER GIVE UP ON YOURSELF!    After all, if you don't live your dreams - who will! 
hugs!

 

 

Final Post for Angel Heart

Submitted by diana on Sun, 06/07/2015 - 12:16pm

It has been quite the journey painting Angel Heart.

The photo showed a kitty obviously in either pain or just "don't bother me"! mode.  I painted the eyes straight across, owner said no, so I fixed the eyes to be more friendly. 

Learned a lesson on this one for sure - have 3-4 photographs to work with, get a 50% deposit of price up front, allow only 3 changes, agreed on last change as final product.  Seal and deliver - done!

I've changed this picture 6 times, not having bright sunny days didn't help any either.  I paint what I see, not what the customer remembers seeing.  Tough!

Have a few more inquiries of the painting cost and how much time.  This one was $75 and took over 10 hours.  Working on delivery set up now. 

Off to lunch then start on the 2nd step stone, some bookmarks and catching up on this never-ending laundry!

 

Sunday - Picture and Updates

Submitted by diana on Sun, 06/07/2015 - 12:07pm

Morning all!  It's getting hotter and muggier by the minute today.  At least the sun is bright and shining - yay!  Didn't go for my walk this morning - restless night plus had breathing problems yesterday with the ozone action day.  Boo hiss!  Funny story - my printer woulnd't work yesterday!  Besides hubby working on the wireless and the router, turning it off and on, I was trying to renew my driver's license on line.  Almost got it complete once, and boom!  no internet connection.  He fixed that quick!  ha! ha!  Finished it all up, hit the print button - nothin!  Hit is again!  Screen says printing/printed/job complete - ok...... where is the temp license I'm to carry until my renewed license arrives in the mail 45 days from now????  Frustration set in plus I really needed a nap.  Abandon those things that are inanimate objects - nothing you say or do will hurt them!

This morning I took my pix of the completed commissioned art to load up on the website, share with customers, Pinterest and my Etsy site.  Yay!  Cropped, rotated, posted, reviewed and done!  It wasn't until I plugged in the camera that I saw the PRINTER CABLE had been unplugged!  Note to self - ALWAYS check the printer cable when the printer "won't work"!  Duh!!!!  Once I plugged in the cable, out popped 3 copies of my temp license - one to carry, one to lose, and one for the shredder!  Oh well!  Made life exciting and lesson providing as well!

Here, as promised, are the pix of Angel Heart, a work in progress.  I FINALLY finished it, declared it so, contacted the owner and made delivery/payment arrangements.  I'll delivery and collect on 2 commissions on Tuesday!  yay!  The Daisies in a Pot are very popular, pic of it attached as well.  It's on a step stone, the paw and heart prints on ceramic tile, and Angel Heart on canvas.  See!!!!  I'm Not Just Canvas! 

Week should be about "normal" for me.  Received another commission for a step stone of a dog, national champion Jackson.  The stone is prepped and ready for me to start.  I started putting grout on the stones to 'pre-seal' them prior to painting.  Six years ago when I started painting on stone, the step stones weren't near as divot-riddled, rough surfaces that literally eat my brushes as I purchase now days.  The grout makes for a smoother surface.  Never fails - the place where the worst divot/crater is located is always always on the dog's eyeball!  The grout took care of that! 

Remember the bookmarks for the Teachers Association?  Got confirmation for the order of 75, all bookworms, with T.A. on the left cover and Sims on the right, '15 by my signature on the front.  I can start on them pretty soon - assembly line style.  The male/female ratio will be notified later, easy fix to add earrings or hair on each one.  The only paint is the bookwork, the rest is pen and ink.  Several steps for each one.  I'm only gettin $2 each which leaves my profit margin smaller but I'm glad to paint these.  teachers work so hard for so little, it's the least I can do as a welcome back to the grind!  Besides, since this association likes my work, I maybe commissioned for the end of school year little gift as well - yay!

Here are the pix of Angel Heart - steps to show the paint progress.  Wonderful gift for a heart-broken human to have their fur baby with them forever!

Remember - beauty is in the eye of the beholder - just take the sunglass off first and put the glasses on!

Friday - where did the week go?

Submitted by diana on Fri, 06/05/2015 - 10:54am

Morning everyone!  Thank you for stopping by my website.

I have news!!!!  I have registered with the Arts Council of Northeast to participate in their 16th annual Taste of Northeast!  Quite the honor to be asked to join.  The fee is a little more than I would like to pay however, the table and covering are furnished, it's all inside in the beautiful Hurst Conference Center on Campus Drive.  I gotta get busy painting gift bags for Christmas, order more business cards, paint note cards - the list is growing as I type!  I managed to get my 30 minute walk in this morning - felt good to be outside, even with the heat and mugginess.  Being humid here is Not what is normal!

Angel Heart is finished!  I'm declaring her completed and am contacting the owner to make delivery and collect payment.  This was quite the journey!  I learned my lesson - ask for several GOOD pix of the pet, not one or 2 fuzzy ones.  She was a tortise-shell cat - very difficult to "get it right".  I adjusted the eyes 3 times alone!  Oh well!  Always learning keeps me sharp - I'm razor sharp these days!  ha! ha!

Attached is a pic of her - still the work in progress.  have to download the pix taken yesterday and take the official pic tomorrow when the light is good.  Today is an ozone action day, so no outside activities for me at least those strenous! 

Received another commission for a canvas - a folk art painting of a home.  Took pix to get started yesterday, purchasing the 16"x20" gallery wrapped canvas this weekend, and a large sketch pad.  My little one doesn't work out as well for bigger scale canvases to get the porportion correct.  My price quote was low - she's a retired teacher friend.  I want the experience so she benefits.

I did paint my Daisies in a Pot original on a step stone for a dear friend.  Showed it to a few people and I may have another order.  The step stones sold now days are very pitty so I seal them with wet grout to smooth out the surface.  Otherwise I'd spend a fortune in brushes and paint.  It will be on the website by tomorrow. 

We've done a lot of "rat killing" today - bulk trash pickup is next week so we cleared out the garage of the wet cardboard, ruined rugs, old yard chairs, garden stuff.  Waiting for a call from the tree trimmer guy to come haul off all the brush/limbs some folks wanted us to keep.  After a month of rain, they no longer want it plus they have been traveling a lot of late.  And we have a large pecan tree limb touching our roof.  It's an old tree and can't withstand the trauma of removing the limb completely.  Just lighten the load, so to speak.

Canceled my Ancestry.com account - now that I'm busy again, no time to spend searching for family.  Renewed my driver's license on line - yay!  Printer wouldn't print out my temp license - boo! 

Today I'll finish up the Daisies in a Pot step stone, start on the dog step stone, contact Angel Heart's owner for delivery, contact Muffin's owner for delivery.  The coffers are getting slim with all the upcoming shows fees.  Yikes!

That's all for today!

Have a good one and remember - art is in everything you see, feel, touch, taste, and hear.  Take time to smell the roses

Hugs!

Monday - Fresh Eyes and Sunshine

Submitted by diana on Mon, 06/01/2015 - 9:54am
Paw Print Memory Tile

Morning All!  So glad the sun is out and we are able to be OUTSIDE in the sunshine!  yay!  It's a little cool aka good walking weather which I will do in a little while.  I'm starting week 3, so proud of me!  Painting is very sedentary so getting up and moving around, besides here in the studio, is best for this artist!

This week will be pretty busy art wise!  I now have 5 solid orders to work on - step stone for Flutter (yellow and black butterfly), step stone for Daisies in Flower Pot, step stone for Jackson (beautiful dog), step stone for Ocean Waves and step stone of Angels Dance in Garden.  The last two aren't paid for yet so those have no work done other than background.  Customer can't decide which ocean scene she likes.  Oh well!  No worries, I have lots to do!  Posting beginning pix of the first two are attached to this blog  so you can see the multiple steps it takes to make a beautiful work of art for your garden.

The canvas for Angel Heart is coming along - I had to take a 2 day break due to the weather (cloudy dark days mean no canvas painting) and fresh eyes needed.  Once I start painting, I usually keep going until almost finished, take a long break to get the image out of my mind, and look at it with fresh eyes.  This way I can see the "mistakes" and changes that may be necessary.  Great technique!  I will post my journey in pictures of Angel Heart.  The kitty was hard to paint in that a tortist shell has many colors.  Her eyes were hard as well because the photo shows hooded eyes with the unmistakable stare of "just take the photo!".  Customer wanted the eyes changed to show more compassion, which I did.  This canvas has enough paint on it to stand alone!  Goal is to finish and seal it this week AND make delivery. 

I finished the Paw Print with Heart memory tile for Lori, putting finishing touches on the Horseshoe with Bluebonnets tile, then sealing this afternoon.  Lori will take delivery this week!  Pix attached as well and on the website.

Registration this week for Art Goggle on 10/10, so I thought!  The events chairperson, Megan, pushed it to next Monday.  No worries!  My booth partner bailed on this. She's a little shy and very particular where her ceramic beads and pottery is displayed.   A Taste of Northeast registration is first on the To Do list.  Mark your calendar for 11/12, info on the website.  Learning as I go how to add upcoming shows and their flyers to the website.  Best write the steps down as adding a flyer is tuff unless it's sent to me via email.  My wonderful website creator, Jen, always available to assist.

Best start painting.  These stones are harder to paint on than I remembered - ha! ha!  Canvas keeps paint, stone absorbs it!  so layers and layers are on it. 

Remember - art is all around us, even in the puddles of water left.  It's our choice to either walk in the puddle and get our feet wet or stand aside and admire the reflective beauty.

Have a good un - see ya later this week!  Calendar coming!

 

 

Tuesday - Angel Heart

Submitted by diana on Tue, 05/26/2015 - 5:10pm

Afternoon all - looks like rain is coming again!  Sun has disappeared and it's very still.  Uh-oh!  It is so humid I can't seal the step stones! Oh well, in about 30 days, we will be crying because it's so hot! I did get my walk in again today - yay me!  Thirfy minutes - took the pink umbrella so drivers can see me plus it kept the sun off my widdle head.  Felt good to take care of my walk and exercise.  I can already tell a difference in some clothes. 

Today at the Mission we made just 4 start up kits - quite the drop from 22 last week, remember!  Holiday week, end of month, and folks aren't ready to move just yet.  No worries - we got a lot of cleaning kits, hygiene kits, and silverware kits made up plus Mary Sondae made up 10 extra start up boxes that only lack detergent, sheets and blanket.  We do that often when we have supplies to get a jump on the following week, or if a social worker drops by with an emergency pick up the Mission folks can just grab a box and the 3 other items needed.  The donations are coming in again - yay!  Sure helps the budget not to have to buy sheets, blankets, towels, pots and skillets, dishes, mugs, glasses, and silverware. 

Painting update - didn't start on the bunny painting today or yesterday as planned, storms rolled in and it was too dark to paint on canvas.  Canvas needs natural light, not overhead due to shadows.  That's is why you see a lot of studios with northern exposure - purest light.  Mine faces east - can't move the house around! 

I did start the tortise-shell cat this afternoon - she was multi-colored with a distinctive hard black line of fur down her nose and over one eye - like an eyepatch.  Pale grey and green eyes.  Her name is Angel Heart, went over the rainbow bridge March 30th this year.  Her owner and I met at Prairie Fest in late April.  I'll post a pix tomorow of the progress.  Definately a challenge.  She's getting her $75 worth for sure!

Plans for tomorrow are home most of the day, working on Angel Heart, finishing up the doggie paw print tile for Muffin, hopefully getting to work on the horseshoe with bluebonnets. 

This weather is depressing - I just don't know how folks in Seattle or other rainy parts of the world survive without some sunshine every day! 

Thank you for reading my art journey!

Remember - a few drops of rain are delightful until you have to wade thru water just to get to the front door!

Hugs!

Diana

Week of May 25 - May 31 Calendar

Submitted by diana on Mon, 05/25/2015 - 11:56am

Hello again!  It's quite the wet May here in Texas - our lakes are brimming, flooding everywhere, and NOT typical of May here!  This week it's supposed warm up to about 85 - yay! I've spent a while getting rid of all my websites that I "pinned" to my desktop that Internet Explorer supported.  Had to open each one and bookmark with Mozilla Fire Fox.  Much better!  Remember how many problems I was having uploading pix to my website last week?  Ta daa!  I did it all myself!  Yay me!  Ok - enough bragging.  I made chicken meatballs last night, with wheat pasta, marinara sauce, toasted bread with basil, butter, and parmasean cheese.  Yummy!  Hubby had lunch for today, and me too!

As you can see, it's gonna be another busy week.  I walked again this morning - 30 minutes, give or take a few :-).  So far I've only missed 2 days out of 7 which isn't bad.  Hard to walk in the lightening and rain.  I sleep so much better when I do walk.  Those 2 days without it I had trouble sleeping! 

Hubby and I are marathon watching Game of Thrones - wow!  Those people were brutal - very bloody and disturbing.  It was horrid to live during those Medieval times!  Addicting though!

Here's this week's calendar aka To Do List

MONDAY - Walk!  add Denton County Fall Garden Fest to website, finish up laundry, send email/messages to inquiring customers - Hazel, Joan, Martin, Roberta re status, start sketch of bunny painting (i'll attach a pic I took of a small bunny we saw while walking yesterday).   Post sketch here in blog, and Facebook.  FInish up 10 more boots bookmarks.  Send out Book Klub email - review Blood Bones and Butter book at June meeting or review Left Hand of Darkness. 

Accomplished - added Denton County Fall Garden Fest to website, finished laundry, sent out Booklub email.  Didn't Accomplish - sketch of bunny painting, finish boots bookmarks

TUESDAY - Walk!  Mission 8-noon, lunch, errands - Home Depot for sealant, Town Talk for ground chicken @$1.99 lb, take 1 package of chicken to Judy, text meat is there!   Work on bunny painting, start Roberta's cat canvas. send her a sketch, garden, mail Daniel's birthday card.

Accomplishments - Mission, lunch, errands, Town Talk out of chicken, started cat canvas - worked 2 hours, walked 30 minutes.  Didn't Accomplish - Home Depot for Sealant, no bunny sketch or start, no gardening because of rain.

WEDNESDAY - Family Day, lunch or dinner ??, Target, grocery store, farmers market

Accomplishments - Thrift Stores, lunch out, home, dinner at Fuzzy's in Keller, short walk - hubbys feet hurt.  Messaged Roberta re payment for canvas.  Didn't Accomplish - farmers market

THURSDAY - Walk!  Send Daniel's 43 birthday!  Meet Natalie for lunch at Lotus Cafe at 11 a.m.  Finish up 6 ladybug bookmarks, take pix and post to website.  Post progress made on bunny painting.  Design new paw print with heart.

Accomplishments - texted Daniel re birthday, Walked 30 minutes. Natalie for lunch, review Etsy account, worked on cat painting again, texted Hazel re ocean waves, made changes to old Etsy site.  Worked on design for Nitzinger benefit - guitar pix on small rocks.   Non-Accomplishments - didn't finish ladybug bookmarks

FRIDAY - Walk!  post pix of Angel Heart painting progress, text to Roberta, research and sketch Fighting Cock for Nitzinger Benefit June 28th, seal paw print, take pix and post on website, Etsy site, and Pinterest. Too wet to seal, light bad so no paint

SATURDAY  - Walk! meet Daniel for birthday breakfast and give check/card, download camera to post progress pix.  Cloudy and rain, couldn't take pix

SUNDAY - gather items to register for Art Goggle 1st thing Monday morning - Get info to post to website!

Looks like the bunny picture will have to wait - I took the pic with my phone, zoomed in, could NOT see what I was taking but it turned out wonderful!  I had over 30 likes of the bunny, with the light reflecting thru her ear.

Remember - today is a gift, not to be taken lightly or just having bar-be-que.  Those who fought for us gave a part of themselves so we could live in peace and know we are safe.

 

Finally Friday! Etsy Shop Open!

Submitted by diana on Fri, 05/22/2015 - 12:12pm

Hello again - thank you for stopping by!  Drum roll ../././././././././././././././././

The etsy shop is now open, as of 6 pm last night!  YAY!  Please take a look www.etsy.com/shop/notjustcanvas15 - YAY!!!!!  I did it!

Adding the number 15 will pull up the correct shop with 3 or 4 boards.  The other shop Im trying to close has the notjustcanvas name, minus the number 15 and only has a horsehead painted on a ceramic tile.  Changing the browser to Mozilla Fire Fox cleared the way to add items to the website, brose easier and faster.  Yay!  Apparently Internet Explorer is a bad search engine!  No wonder I had hours/days of trying to add pix and items to my website!  All fixed now!

Hubby is off today so we went out to breakfast.  He has to start practicing for his band practice Saturday evening - the Weed Wackers.  They have a potential gig in about 2 weeks for a graduation party of a co-worker.  Yes, they have a set list and are already to go.  Brushing up on certain songs is always best.

It's still cloudy and cool - 61 degrees at noon today - and it's NOT typical May weather for Texas.  Should be about 90, sunny, and a little humid.  I should be working in the gardens but here I sit, in my winter pjs, hot cup of camomile tea steeping while I blog and blog.  Breakfast didn't agree with me - tummy is a little upset so I may just curl up with a blankie and good book for a little while.  

Have 3 orders to start painting - 3 step stones and one ceramic tile. 

More later today!

Remember - The Arts are treasured in the hearts of many notjust  one.

Rainy Thursday

Submitted by diana on Thu, 05/21/2015 - 11:30am

Hello again!

We got 2 1/2" of rain early this morning - wow! was the thunder clapping LOUD!  Now it is almost cold - 56 degrees at 10 a.m!  Braved the "cool", donned sweatshirt hoodie and walked for almost 30 minutes - yay!  Got my walk in for the day.  I'm a little sore from all this "exercise".  Sitting for hours at a time painting, working on the computer, makes for a plump artist! :-)/  Hubby and I are trying to eat healthier - lunch yesterday was homemake chicken burgers on a wheat bun, with mushrooms, cilantro, and diced garlic chives, homemade red potato salad and boiled eggs.  Delicious!  Plus hubby had a burger and fixins for his lunch today - me too!  I made iced tea using the ginger lemon blend we bought at Enchanted Forest - loose tea - wonderful flavor! 

I had scheduled painting of the 3 step stones but it's too dark.  No sun makes it the light off when it comes to painting.  Natural light is best - my studio faces the east and gets a LOT of morning sun.  So, I'll work on the Etsy site.  I only have one item up.  Will have to start all over.  This store too will be named Diana Dupre with a link to the website.  Makes it easier than having multiple sites named Not Just Canvas all over the place - don't you agree?

Later!

" It is better to be a lion for a day than a sheep for all of your life"  Elizabeth Henry

 

Different Wednesday - Square Account Issues

Submitted by diana on Wed, 05/20/2015 - 2:46pm

Hello all - good to see you are following me!

This morning I got a text from a customer I met at Prairie Fest.  She wants two concrete step stones - ocean waves and Angel in the Garden.  She had requested a sketch to be sent to her but "life got in the way", and I didn't.  After the text, I quickly made a sketch in pencil, took a pic & sent it back to her.  Good thing I didn't start because she wanted a calmer ocean with multiple breakers in the distance instead of the stormy giant waves I had submitted for her approval.  No worries - paintbrush and paint hadn't engaged with the concrete just yet.  She gave the go ahead to start the Angel in the Garden stone which is now on schedule for tomorrow, may get the background painted today - pale tan to make the lettering and leaves and vines stand out, instead of the gray.  The "check is in the mail". As always, once I get the payment, I start the painting. 

I don't have a multitude of concrete step stones hanging around - believe me, stubbing your toe on one of these babies HURTS!  Six blank stones at a time is all I have storage for in the studio.  Outside once the stones are wet, they won't totally dry out until hot August comes, and will get that lovely moss green patina.  Yuck!

Hubby is spending the afternoon and evening with his kiddos and grandkids.  It's good to have time alone with your children, without stepmom around - no worries!  He's been working long hard hours and deserves spending time with his son seeing a movie I wouldn't enjoy at all.  So, I encourage it!

Tidied up the studio again today - seems I'm always doing that!  Being too organized has pitfalls at times ya know.  I did get another step stone order, from a fellow volunteer.  Think I already wrote about it yesterday. 

Still having Square Account issues - every time I try to load a pic of my product, Square says to "rediscover page" or "close".  At least now, I have the bluebonnet bookmark on the website and other stuff deleted.  Still working on the monarch butterfly ceramic tile pic.  Next up is to create another category for the step stones.  I really don't like shipping them out - each one weighs 12 lbs, requiring tons of bubble wrap, newspaper to keep it from moving too much in the package.  After mid November, I stop shipping stones - had too many get broken upon delivery and had to repaint.  Oh well, that is what mailing insurance is for!  And yes, I made a few claims - very easy.

Leaving in two hours for a birthday party for 2 ladies I met long ago at church in a singles class.  Best get moving on working again on the Pinterest site.

Later folks! 

Remember - art is all around you, even in a pile of ironing ;-)

 

Square Giving me Fits!

Submitted by diana on Tue, 05/19/2015 - 3:29pm

Afternoon all!  It's humid and sticky here in Fort Worth.  I am thankful for the a/c!  The picnic yesterday afternoon was sticky and hot.  A nice cool shower never felt so good. 

This morning we had 22 start up kits to make for the Mission, normal is 8-12.  A start up kit I'll explain in another blog - basically it's helping folks going from a shelter to a more permanent place & giving them dishes, skillet and a pot, linens, food, cleaning supplies, hygiene kit, silverware kit, shower curtain.  All in all, the kit is designed to have pans to cook a meal served on their own dishes, make their own bed with fresh sheets, take a shower with "new" towels, clean their place, and themselves.  I have been volunteering 3 years now, working with the homeless and the startup kits.  Like I said, more on it in another blog.  It is near and dear to my heart.

This afternoon I'm busy pursuing one of my goals for this week - putting the pix I took yesterday onto the website thru Square.  Unfortunately, Square is having issues today.  So there will be duplicates. Grrr!  Oh well, on to other things like Pinterest!  Sunday I created another board named Bookmarks, I think, or was it Gift Bags.  Oh well, will work on adding the pix I took of both items for the Pinterest site.  Have you taked a look?  Still learning how to add people and pins. 

I think the pix turned out pretty good.  This computer has a wonderful edit feature that is very easy for this computer challenged person!  YAY! 

Another step stone order was placed this morning - Flutter - for a July birthday.  I'll get it ready to go by the end of this month.  Most of August we will be on vacation so no painting being done, just sketching and taking lots of pix of items to capture in paint!  Now I have 4 stone orders pending, 2 completed awaiting delivery, and a few inquiries - cool!

These little bookworm bookmarks are a hit and fun to paint!  Even with all this digital reading, folks still love bookmarks as opposed to turning down pages - no!!!!

Waiting for the contract from the shop/gallery owner in Ohio to arrive, via email.  I am excited about this - going out of the State of Texas - being interstate!  ha! ha!  Shout out to Natalie and Cindi for being sounding boards and giving valuable input.  A co-volunteer/friend is a retired retailer/buyer for a major store has helped a lot as well.  She asks questions and fortunately, I have most of the correct answers.  Sending my product "out there" is as scary as leaving your child the first time with a sitter.  You love the freedom but worry about your child and if it is ok. 

Having problems with both email and computer for some reason.  Yesterday I got an update thing from Yahoo saying my email wasn't sincing with my computer and nothing was going out or in.  Funny - I get and send emails with no problems.  I canceled that update and quickly did a malware scan.  All is ok!

Hubby installed a new wifi thingee, plus Apple TV.  Been having trouble ever since!  Annoying to work so hard uploading and making changes only to have it NOT be there when you look. 

Best get on with the Pinterest updates. 

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of "Not Just Canvas" aka what is Diana up to now??!!!

Hugs!

 

Taking Pictures on the Front Porch

Submitted by diana on Mon, 05/18/2015 - 2:12pm

Hello again - so nice to see you here!

This morning the sun was playing peekaboo with the clouds, perfect day to take pictures of my products outside - yay!  After talking to Natalie about websites, Pinterest, and artwork in general, plus tidying up the studio,  upon hearing her hubby was ill, we both decided it was Picture Day aka get off the phone!  Don't you love having a phone you can walk around and do stuff and still talk!  Well, I grew up with a land line attached to a wall - let me tell ya, having a long curly cord was a luxury! 

Picture Day - gathered up all my things - tripod, camera, gift bags, props, bookmarks, white roll of paper for backdrop - headed out to the front porch.  Had to sweep it off - wow!  lots of leaves and such not pleasant to sit on!  About 10 I started setting up - trial and error.  Discovered my old ladder back chair worked beautifully as a prop and to hold up my background paper and such.  Then!..... I thought of using actual books to feature my bookmarks - whadda concept!  Using a set of old books as a prop!  Then came the problem of getting the bookmarks to stay in place and not slide off.  Problem solved with putting the ribbon inside the book, with the bookmark dangling down the spine.  I chose my old Pearl S. Buck books as background.  I am please with how they turned out, on the camera!

It's noon, time to get lunch and take a break.  Laundry calls but then so does Taco Casa for a quick soft taco for lunch!

Lunch was nice - Taco Casa soft tacos rock!  Unfortunately, she gave me a sweet tea - don't "do" sweet tea - yuck!  Oh well, I need water anyway!

Finished up taking pix of the gift bags.  I pushed a pin into my old ladder back chair, from my grandmother, and hung the brown bags from it - looks pretty cool I think!  Lots of background with focus on the bag.

Signing off to download the pix and pretty them up.  Never again - I hope -will I take so many pix of so many product at the same time - it's a LOT of work! 

Remember - art is all around you in nature - look at the shading on the trees and leaves - wow! 

Hugs!

Calendar for Week of May 18-24

Submitted by diana on Sun, 05/17/2015 - 10:13pm

Thought you would like to see how I block out my time for various "duties and tasks" making Not Just Canvas work, and make folks happy, plus put a little heft to my wallet!

Monday - 7-9 am - Busy morning!  household chores; laundry, dishes, ironing, tidy up, finish letters to Aunt Bitty and Marcia

               9-noon - take pix of bookmarks - owl, bookworm, coneflower, yucca, rose

                Lunch - pick up concrete sealant from Home Depot

                 1-3pm - seal two stones, take pix of gift bags

                 3-4 pm - download pix from camera, touch up, start uploading to website

                  6-8 pm - Neighborhood Association Picnic in Oakland Park, take deviled eggs and small table, blog

      Tuesday - 8-noon - volunteer work at First Street Mission, FUMC; lunch with friends, errands

                 2-4 - continue uploading pix to website, create board for bookmarks on Pinterest and load, blog

      Wednesday - family day with hubby! Blog

Thursday - 9-noon - finish and tidy up boards on Pinterest, start work on Etsy site

                 1-2 - seal two stones, bluebonnet and golf, for Sally, arrange to deliver, blog

                 6:30-9:30 - Book Klub!  yay!

Friday - 8-10 - check on Pinterest and Etsy sites. blog

              Rest of the day with hubby, friends and family

Saturday and Sunday - rest, garden, relax

Pinterest Update!!

Submitted by diana on Sun, 05/17/2015 - 10:01pm

This morning didn't work out as planned - a dear friend called and invited me to go to "a" estate sale - four hours later I am the proud owner of two silver and jade and abalone rings, a pair of silver & various turquoise earrings, gardening stuff, acrylic paint, a springform cake pan, and an empty wallet.  It was fun to leave this for a while.  After all, isn't retirement doing "stuff" at your own pace!?!  Good break as well with good company!

This afternoon I did finish the boards I started, added 2 more boards, Note Cards and Such and Canvas Paintings.  The latter has nothing on it yet, will in the morning.  I pinned to my heart's content - it was fun to find similar interests.  Like most of us, I could spend hours on Pinterest!  Felt good to finally understand what I am doing plus I FINALLY figured out how to use the photos from my iPad - just use the iPad.   Fascinating to see how it all popped up on this computer screen later!  Technology is amazing!  Love it!

Tomorrow I'll finish household chores between finishing adding to the Canvas Paintings board I started.  I only have 3 canvases with good photographs.  The other pix are from a few years ago, so forgiveness is being asked for not so good pix, k?  My Etsy site only has one pic - the ceramic tile pic of Honey the Beautiful Horse. 

So, the goals for this week will be on a seperate blog post.  That way you can follow me and see what progress, or not, I've made.

Take a look and leave comments on my Pinterest boards.  Remember, it's under my name, Not Just Canvas!

Hugs!

Pinterest Up!!!

Submitted by diana on Sun, 05/17/2015 - 10:22am

Thanks to a pair of very dear friends, one who talked me thru the maze of setting up a Pinterest acount and boards - I'm THERE!  Look for me under Diana Dupre, instead of Not Just Canvas.  I feel that folks should get to know me as a person and the business. 

So far, I have 2 boards - concrete step stones featuring 5 step stones called Unique Yard Art and More.  Once I figure out how to take my sold step stone photos off my ipad and phone, I'll load even more, like pets, whimiscal frogs and flamingos.  The second board is called Note Cards and Such featuring 2 note cards and a lot of pins telling you how to write sympathy motes and other notes.  Cool huh!

I got an inquiry late Friday from a gallery/shop in Ohio, wanting to sell my bookmarks and other paper items on consignment in her place!  Still working out the details, who pays for shipping, track inventory, liability, etc.  The split is very nice at 30/70 however, I would like to wholesale my product at 60% instead.  That way she can set her own price and just contact me for more product.  Either way is a win win for both of us.  She found me on Painted Garden Stones, a facebook page I hadn't updated in quite a while, being busy painting and selling. 

Alert! Alert! Alert!  Starting today, I will have the calendar of my daily/weekly/monthly activities posted to assist you in seeing how the painting/purchasing/blogging/designing/selling process is indeed, a work in progress.

Please read this blog and share!  My next designs are animal print bookmarks, motorcycle themed bookmarks and giftbags, and start sketching a fighting cock for a benefit donation, on a 10" square ceramic tile. 

Off to work on taking better pix of my bookmarks to add to my website, and other exciting details! 

Take a look at nature - the beauty is free for the looking and always available - no cable tv payment!

Hugs!

Diana

 

 

Monday Monday

Submitted by diana on Mon, 05/11/2015 - 10:24am

Good Monday morning!  I have been working on entering info on Square for inventory purposes, inventing SKU numbers, trying to keep it simple.  One section says to copy and paste to website - where?  Will text Jen. 

Reorganizing while taking inventory, packing up for transport as well, for shows and ease of filling orders is today's main goal.  And minor goals are 1) finish the bluebonnet and memory golf stone for cousin Sally, seal while humidity is low, arrange for delivery, 2) paint horseshoe with bluebonnet for Lori, 3) work on mother and child painting, 4) paint 12 boot bookmarks, 5) start designing items for benefit 6/28.  That's enough don't you think?

Canceling my attendance for the Denton show this Saturday.  Its outside in a field by the Denton County Fairgrounds - will be a sea of mud and low attendance.  Its 2 hour drive in heavy traffic due to construction.  Don't like missing but I would be even more disappointed making no sales, sitting in pouring rain in a sea of mud.  May weather in Texas is always iffy at best - either broiling hot or very wet. 

The Main Goal this week is to set up Pinterest store and add to Etsy store, link to website as well.  Week isn't too busy - tomorrow is Mission work, lunch with Natalie, Wednesday is lunch/dinner with spouse's daughter and grandchildren.  Meeting with customer on Thursday to pick out background paint for her late tiger stripe/calico mix cat.  Friday - Sunday - "free time"!  Is this a job??? Nah...... go at my own pace!

Talked to a customer last week about 2 step stones - one of ocean waves and 2nd a saying about angels and gardens.  We agreed on a price.  She will send a money order today, advised I won't start painting until I get payment.  Another customer wants a hummingbird stone - just talk now.  Stay tuned.

Off to get started on inventory and such.  It's cool out, feels nice to have the house open and the breezes coming in. 

Later!

SugarBoy - Photo used as Reference

Submitted by diana on Sat, 05/09/2015 - 2:05pm

Photo provided by owner, Judy and Johnny Nitzinger

The light on the left cast shadows on SugarBoy's right side which I incorporated in the painting.

SugarBoy Pencil Sketch and Eyes - the beginning

Submitted by diana on Sat, 05/09/2015 - 2:03pm

May 9, 2015

Here is the pencil sketch on a black background where I started the eyes.

The black smear above his left eye was a paint brush flying out of my hand :-)

SugarBoy - His Story and How Paintings Begin

Submitted by diana on Sat, 05/09/2015 - 1:58pm

May 9, 2015 - about 2 pm

SugarBoy painting came about as a barter for a professional photographer, Judy Nitzinger, to take pictures for my website.  We met in late January here in the studio.  Judy furnished the 11" x 14" canvas and a photograph she had taken of SugarBoy, about the same size.  He is a white cat, at the time, was very ill and thin.  At first I thought, uh-oh!  A white cat is a challenge and I have so much to do!  Judy was in no hurry and understood the importance of getting my website built, designing and painting new product, talking to customers, registering for shows and Square Account - you know - getting a business started is more than merely unlocking a door to a building, or in my case, turning a guest room into a studio!  I made my goal of getting SugarBoy painted after Prairie Fest,  my first major show in a few years, was over.  Tuesday of this week, "the day" arrived.  Did you hear the brushes rattling?  The paint bottles opening?

As with most paintings or designs, I don't plan on exactly when to start, just have an idea and sketch it and/or paint it.  At that time," it" begins - my focus is on nothing but that design or painting. 

I will attach the sketch with the eyes and the photo I used as reference in a later blogs 

The Eyes

In painting pet portraits, I always work to paint the eyes first.  I feel the pet coming alive under my brush, seeing those eyes on canvas or concrete step stone.  After all, the eyes are the windows of the very soul.  The nose and mouth are next.  From there the painting grows and comes to life under my brushes. 

The History

SugarBoy was painted over a period of 3 or 4 days, from sketch to signature.  My taking multiple breaks gives fresh eyes to see mistakes.  I sent iPad pictures to my artist friends for input.  They have been great support during this journey.  Corrections or adjustments are made and I move on.  I'll have to say my hubby is my best critic.  He is NOT artistically trained but then neither am I.  He looks with eyes that are very fresh and offers much input and suggestions.  Love it!

This morning, I sent a picture of SugarBoy to Judy who showed it to her husband Johnny.  I didn't know the dark red afghan I painted in from the photo was a favorite of Johnny's.  His late mother had made it and it is very dear to him.

The painting will be displayed at Johnny's benefit June 28th.  Look at my website for upcoming shows for the information on this benefit.  Johnny is a Fort Worth native musician and is ill. 

Off to start another painting - this one a step stone of a pot of daisies.

Later!