Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Art of Fleur de sel

Happy Tuesday!

When I think of fleur de sel ("flower of salt" en français, or French sea salt), I think of it as a vital food ingredient.  I add a sprinkle or two to almost everything I cook, be it roasted vegetables, soups, or chilled dishes like salads and the bodacious burrata plate in the photo below!  Without fleur de sel, I must confess...my cooking would be a lot less tasty.  Fact.

A divine afternoon snack that I crafted with my foodie friend (& fabulous lifestyle blogger, Molly from DreamsinHD) at her home in Indianapolis
At an art critique several months ago at The Dahl Arts Center, I learned about the use of "resists" in watercolor painting --- certain things that you can add to your piece (before/during) that literally "resist" the watercolor itself to create a unique texture or appearance.  Some examples include glue, wax, oil pastels, rubber cement, tape, and salt.  As I strive to keep experimenting with my art, I decided it was time to expand my resist repertoire, so I used something I had on hand in the kitchen: Trader Joe's fleur de sel :)  



After letting the salty paintings dry, they turned out like this....

Ta-da!  Loving this new sparkly textured look :)

I call this one "blue sugar cookie"
The textured red reminds me of coral

Looking forward to experimenting with other salts and different resists! 

Today's musical selection is the sountrack to the new show "Master of None", starring the delightful Aziz Ansari (& his real-life parents!).  Highly recommend firing up your Netflix and watching it...all.  Just watch it all in one sitting.  I bet you can't not ;-)

>> CLICK <<


Monday, November 16, 2015

The Art of the Home Studio

My bliss: Fresh white everywhere, a sunny window, a wide window ledge for assorted collectibles, & (literal) cat naps
Hi there!  Happy Monday.  Today, let's explore the art of creating the home studio...or truly any artsy space in your home that is not dedicated to sleeping, cooking, lounging, or doing laundry.  Need a space to sew, scrapbook, bead, blog, or collage?  I encourage you to make a home (in your home!) for that space today.  

When I learned we were moving back to Minneapolis, I was thrilled, but I wondered how I would continue painting creatively without a studio outside of the home.  I had grown pretty accustomed to my weekly painting routine of working in my charming historic studio in downtown Rapid CityI was worried I wouldn't be able to stay as focused or creative in a home studio, and I wondered how I could find enough space for all my supplies.

I'm pleased to announce that the whole home studio thing is going great.  I tried to set up the new space as closely as I could to my old space in an effort to get the same vibe.  It also helps that the new space is all white, like my other space.  I placed my easel in the same location relative to the window to mimic the light I was used to, my favorite antique desk and upcycled chair are within close painting proximity, my giant drying shelves that house all my in-progress paintings are nearby, and fresh flowers are pretty easy to find ;)  Fresh flowers inspire a lot of my painting colors, and I need to have something organic/living in my creative space.  

The ultimate color inspiration

I also have a sink right outside my studio door, as I did in my downtown space which was near the break-room kitchenette.  This is great when I need to quickly freshen up my murky water or clean up a paint explosion (which are known to happen!).  The home studio space may be smaller, but it doesn't feel that way.  I have everything I need, and now I have the luxury of frequent visits from the cat (Cider).  He loves to take little naps on top of the paintings I leave on the window ledge.

Sleepy Cider

I am now more confident in my ability to create a productive studio space, whether it is in or outside the home.  By figuring out the essentials for my creativity, I was able to re-create the feel of my previous space.  Success :)  I suppose I use a similar process each time we move homes as well.  I have found that it's a great opportunity to re-appreciate the things that make a certain space feel just right.  Moving is also a useful time to consider what things have lost their utility, be it for function or decor.  It's refreshing!   Gather only the essentials that "spark joy" -- a massive kudos to the KonMari Method for explaining this concept to me.  I highly recommend her book to anyone who has an upcoming move to prepare for, or just wants to live a tidier life.

The process of setting up my home studio got me curious about the home studios of other artists.  I found some lovely photos of famous artists in their special spaces.  Some studios are messy, some are clean, but they all exhibit the signature essential that I also need: gorgeous natural light.

Link #1: 100 Famous Artists & Their Muses in Their Studios 

Link #2: 10 Famous Artists' Stunning Studios 

Link #3: Famous Artists and Their Studios 

Link #4: WARNING- this is a Pinterest link.  *Everything* is swoon-worthy. Clicker beware ;-)

On this rainy Monday, let's celebrate the joy of natural L I G H T, and enjoy a (local!) tune about sunshine :)

 "Sunshine" by Atmosphere via YouTube

Friday, November 13, 2015

How to Spot an Art Scammer

(meme image credit)
Welp, it happened.  I was officially the target of an art scammer. I went from feeling flattered to being completely disgusted in a matter of moments; not a fun way to start the day.  But, I'm over it (!!!) and now I want to walk you through how I discovered it in the first place (it wasn't the obvious Nigerian prince scam with a fake online bank account) and how you can protect yourself and your art.

Step 1:

If you receive a message that looks like the one below...go to Step 2...

Hope this message finds you well. I saw these creative works on your
website and I will like you to get back with more details if they are
still available for purchase.

"Cayman Brac, I"  , "Golden Pines, IV"  and   "Freedom"

I will appreciate an urgent reply.

Best Regards,
Stephanie Bawcom.

*note: I found it especially creepy that the scammer specified my three paintings by name and wanted an "urgent" reply.  You'd think if they urgently wanted the artwork, they would specify why.  The thing is, a lot of art scammers DO add extra info about why they want your art, etc. and this is simply used to play on the hearts of the artists...don't be a victim. 

Step 2:

Hover over the email address, and note if the name associated with the email is the same as the one associated with the address.  I actually discovered this by accident (thank goodness), but as soon as I noticed that the two names didn't match up, I got suspicious.  Chances are the person contacting you is using a fake name (in my case, they used "Stephanie Bawcom") and when you hover over their email address a different name will pop up.  For example, the name associated with the email above from d.broke014@gmail.com belongs to someone named "Donald Johnson".  Plug the email address into this handy search tool of blacklisted art scammer email addresses.  There are also "anti-art scammer" blogs out there with message boards and posted emails of known scammers.  Give those a look-thru and see if any of the reported messages, names, or email addresses look similar.

Step 3:

Have enough evidence?  Stay calm, sleuth.  You're almost done :)  Report the scam here, then give yourself a pat on the back.  You have successfully avoided an art scammer. 

Step 4:

Read up! 





I sincerely hope this little tutorial helps someone out there avoid an art scammer.  Let's enjoy a Lily Allen tune in honor of this very special occasion:

F*ck You by Lily Allen via YouTube

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Meet the Abstract Giraffes

A beautiful giraffe enjoying some breakfast at Giraffe Manor  (image credit)

Hello!  Happy Thursday to you :)

Every now and then, I discover a new painting style or design that I become OBSESSED with, and I find that I simply must keep painting variations of it over and over again because I love it so much and want to perfect it.  I feel slightly possessed during the process, but also very focused and creative.  It's kind of beautiful, and when it happens, I just go with the flow and enjoy the unique freedom of my art.  

So, with that said....let me introduce to you my newest creation:  ABSTRACT GIRAFFES.  They are a fun fusion of asymmetrical shapes, my signature OJD drips, and a flair of giraffes.  Are the giraffes riding on escalators?  Are they standing staggered at a rock concert?  Are they watching a football game?  A hidden layer of abstractness, I suppose.  I like that they look like they're on the move :)

>>Coming SOON to the shop at www.olivia-j-designs.com<<

Copyright Olivia J Designs 2015

Copyright Olivia J Designs 2015
Copyright Olivia J Designs 2015

I was unable to find a giraffe song (I looked, believe me...most were kids songs or reaaaaally weird), so let's do a different type of music video today.  Last week, I stumbled upon this gorgeous mini documentary of Florence Welch (from Florence and the Machine) giving a tour of her home.  It's so dreamy.  Enjoy!

"My First Apartamento: Florence Welch" via Nowness

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Winners of the #skyscapesturgis Contest!

Hi, hi!

Thought I'd give a little update on the results of the #skyscapesturgis contest that I had going during my month as Artist of the Month at The Sturgis Center for the Arts...because my 3 winners requested some super cool custom painting ideas!

 Check 'em out!

Winner #1 wanted a rainbow trout-inspired painting!  I love it!  I'd never done a fish abstract, so it was a new experience.  Luckily, rainbow trout are beautiful, so I had a lot of gorgeous colors to work with :)
Winner #2 wanted a matching pair of paintings that looked like sunshine :)  Who doesn't love working with a sunny color palette?  I played with peaches, oranges, golds, coral, and a pearly light pink for these.
Winner #3 wanted a trout-inspired painting!  (Winners #1 + #3 are avid fisherman, can ya tell?) The fish "model" for this painting was mostly green with black spots, so I played around with the different green hues.  

Congrats to the winners!  In the spirit of winning....let's rock out to some Mr. Mayfield :)

"We're a Winner" by Curtis Mayfield via YouTube


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

For the Love of BØRNS

Garrett Borns from the band BØRNS (photo credit: Windish Agency press photo)

A few weeks ago I was contacted regarding a cool new contest through Talenthouse to create artwork for the band BØRNS.  In celebration of the band's October 16th release of the new record Dopamine, the group is looking for artwork inspired by the band, song titles, vibe, etc.  Fun, right?!  Plus, I've been in love with the song "10,000 Emerald Pools" since it hit my ears months ago.  Not to mention "Electric Love" was the song of my Summer.  This band is the perfect combination of gorgeous grooves, eclectic visual lyricism, and poignantly emotional rock-romance.  Does that make sense?  This band gets me swooning with obscure adjectives, but I can't help it.  Most of my favorite bands are hard to describe in simple terms because their music is just too brilliant for words.  Beyond the music, I officially became a *super fan* after I listened to Garrett Borns' interview with 89.3 The Current's host Mary Lucia in March.  Check out the interview and performances -- Mr. Borns is a candidly charming human being.

A Pinterest "mood board" was created for inspiration for this project, and after giving it a look, I definitely knew which way to go.  An organic visual that represents a combo of my watercolor works, some type of emerald green color (as a nod to "10,000 Emerald Pools"), and a cactus flair.  Ta da!  Wish me luck ;)  [Link to my Talenthouse submission]

Additionally, I had NO idea about this local concert (probably because it was sold out before we moved back to Minneapolis a few weeks ago), but for you cool cats who can find a ticket: BØRNS is playing at Coffman Union on the U of M campus Friday (yes, THIS Friday).

"10,000 Emerald Pools" by BØRNS  via YouTube


Monday, November 9, 2015

A New Space!

Hi there!  Whoa.  What a month!  As you may have noticed, I have not blogged since early October...welp, I've been a bit busy relocating back to the Twin Cities!  

Besides the obligatory packing (ugghh), I would have to say that the toughest part about leaving Rapid City was clearing out of my downtown Rapid City art studio.  I made so many great memories and paintings in that tiny space, and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to spend that time (albeit short!) in a cozy corner of a unique little city.  Not to mention my studio was right next to Tally's, a greasy spoon-type restaurant that has the best breakfast special on the planet.  And strong coffee.  Two essentials. 

I will miss The Black Hills for a multitude of reasons.  The gorgeous sunsets and the stunning vistas were all integral parts of the inspiration behind a lot of my paintings over the past few months.  Plus, the local arts community in both Rapid City and Sturgis were just amazing to work with for feedback and networking.  I learned so much through attending a great creative workshop at the Dahl Arts center and their art critiques were invaluable to me for feedback, new ideas, and the confidence to try new thingsI was motivated after my first critique to enter a local winery's art contest, and....I won!  I participated in my first live painting art auction for charity, and I even had my first "Artist of the Month" art show at The Sturgis Center for the Arts, which was so much fun!  Cheers, South Dakota. Its been real :)

Now...with that said....I am SO HAPPY to be home.  I missed the Twin Cities a lot, and it feels great to be back.  Here is a little sneak peek of my NEW space here in Minneapolis.  I cannot wait to share my new work with you :)

My colorful canvas tarp made the journey back to Minneapolis :)  Can't wait to fill it with new drops and spills!
The new studio space <3  Love the white.  Really love all the storage ;-)

Stay tuned for new creations and artistic adventures :)

In the spirit of returning, let's jam out to some Elvis.  This is why I love YouTube...

Return to Sender (reggae version) by Elvis Presley via YouTube