Monday, March 28, 2016

Paranormal Art

Meet "Aquatic Abduction" and "Street Spirits"


Every now and then, I create a painting that  What's ironic, is that sometimes they actually freak me out a little, because my drip lines can appear a little ghost-like if I don't control them quite right. In the past, I would rework these paintings or throw them away if they were really bizarre, but lately (and thankfully!) I've been keeping them in hopes I could use them down the road.

Well, well, well...guess who found a Paranormal-themed art exhibition? !!!  I will be submitting three pieces that feature my signature drip lines, but they're waaay creepier than normal.  Paranormal, indeed.

Chunk of "Walking After Midnight"

I won't find out if my pieces will be part of the exhibit til the end of May (oh, the waiting...), but that's alright.  I'm still pleased with myself that I actually hung onto these paintings for this particular opportunity.  

Today's musical selection is a tribute to Dana Scully:

X-Files theme piano & strings via YouTube



Wednesday, March 23, 2016

"Spring Showers" (20x16 on canvas)

Close-up chunk of "Spring Showers"


I have finished my piece for the local "Spring-inspired" gallery show!  I had full intentions to go mixed media (I even bought some fresh pens!), but alas...after the paint dried, I decided it was best to leave it as a watercolor/acrylic work.  I think I've just been itching to do some more mixed media that will likely be my next outlet for awhile :)

Anywho, back to the painting -- It's my impression of Springtime's two most lovely aspects: gentle rain that makes the grass grow and the abundance of flowers that pop up out of nowhere.  I wanted to capture these two things, because they truly signify what Spring means to me.

For the rain and green-ing grass part I incorporated my painted drip lines and for the flowers I used flowing color orbs to create gobs of floral goodness.  I'd mentioned in my previous blog post (here) about using the J.Crew Italian cashmere sweater colors as my palette...indeed I did!  I also added coral, however, because I'm still mildly obsessed with using coral in everything.   

More about the gallery...
The show is called Bloom! and it is hosted by Tres Leches Art Gallery in Northeast Minneapolis.  I'll share more info about the opening, reception, etc. shortly.  I stumbled upon this opportunity (again) from Craigslist of all places.  I'm thrilled to be part of this show and really looking forward to meeting the other artists and seeing this gallery in person.  The Northeast Minneapolis arts district is home to a thriving artist population of people doing really cool things.  I'm super excited to explore this gnarly neighborhood and learn more about it!

Mailing in my application :)
"Spring Showers" (acrylic and watercolor on canvas, 20x16)  2016

Today's musical selection is a new one from Lucius.  Enjoy!

"Something About You" by Lucius via YouTube


Monday, March 21, 2016

Children's Art

Meet the crew :)


Last week, I stumbled upon a local Craigslist ad looking for an artist/illustrator for a new children's television show.  I was intrigued!  The animals they wanted were a tiger, a snake, a giraffe and a jackrabbit.  I don't have experience with this particular type of subject matter, but I knew it could be a great opportunity to experiment and challenge myself.  Plus, who doesn't want to draw a jackrabbit?  THOSE EARS <3

3 Things I Learned:

1.) Drawing animals that don't look creepy is REALLY difficult.  I swear, the first few versions of the snake and the jackrabbit in particular were terrifying.  I couldn't figure out why!  Eventually, I realized I needed to adjust the eyes to make them look friendlier and completely remove the eyebrows, because I think those were making them look too human.  Sometimes less is definitely more.

2.) My watercolor art actually kinda...maybe(?) works for these?  I realize this is my first attempt at this type of mixed media -- but who knows.  I think I want to pursue this further.  What do you think?

3.)  Whether or not my art is selected for this children's show, I don't consider this a waste of my time whatsoever.  I'm grateful that I found the post because it forced me out of my comfort zone :)

Today's musical selection just makes me smile and I swear it sounds like they're saying "jungle" (ya know, where animals live?!) instead of "junk-yard"...we'll count it.   Enjoy!

"Flashed Junk Mind" by Milky Chance via YouTube


Friday, March 18, 2016

Painting Inspiration: Spring

When I need inspiration for a painting . . . I flip thru these beauties :)

For today's post, I wanted to share my journey as I start creating a "Spring-inspired" piece for a new gallery submission that I (*fingers crossed*) will get selected for.  I've been painting A LOT of Spring-y pieces lately . . . cheery pastels galore and my favorite color to paint with:  shades of yellow <3  It may be snowing, cloudy, and blaaah here in Minneapolis, but my passion for painting all things Spring will not be deterred!  Another plus: I get to wear my favorite scarves a little longer ;)

So, now it's time to put these colors and stylings to the test -- do I want to go super colorful, landscape, abstract, mixed media, all of the above (?).  Why not!  Let's try all of the above ;) 

I also have been flipping thru my Spring 2016 Anthropologie & J.Crew magazines and the two features that are just begging to be painted are the men's lightweight Italian cashmere sweater color options (pg. 57!) -- so beautiful! and the rugs in the Anthropologie magazine (pg. 31!) because they remind me a lot of my signature mixed media rosettes :)

With that said, stay tuned!  I'm super excited to put all of my favorite elements of the season in one piece ~*

Our musical selection today is the new one from Har Mar Superstar -- smells like a hit to me <3  Enjoy!

 "Youth Without Love" by Har Mar Superstar via YouTube



Wednesday, March 16, 2016

"Taylors Falls" (2 piece 16x20 canvas set)

Today I'm pleased to share the finished "Taylors Falls" commission painting that I've been working on [here + here] . . . 

These two pieces were a lot of fun to create :)  I truly enjoyed taking a trip to visit the beautiful St. Croix River along the Minnesota/Wisconsin border to scope out the scenery -- plus, I'd never done a commissioned set of paintings before, so I loved getting inventive in a new way.  For additional texture and depth, I used salt as a resist after trying it out here with fleur del sel.  I used a finer grain size this time, because I wanted the effect to be more organic.  Additionally, several washes of paint layers were a vital component of these paintings.  In order to build up the structures of the flowing river, riverbed/cliffs and trees, multiple layers were used to create the dimensions and shadows that make nature so lovely and lush.

Playing with nature's basic colors
Where I save my tiny color combos!  These are a life saver.  Plus, you can never have too many shades of green, blue, and brown when it comes to landscapes  :)

Work in progress
A chunk of the final piece
 See the difference between these two?  The additional washes of color for texture and dimension -- I also left the drip lines down the middle completely untouched because I wanted to maintain their simplicity.

I tried to make the river appear dynamic by using multiple layers.  Several blue hues also were used to depict the waterfall vertically falling and splashing in the background.

Today's musical selection is one from The Strumbellas!  I'd heard and loved there song "Spirits"  ('I got guns in my head and they won't go' know the one) so I decided to find more of their tunes.  Also loving this one:

 "In This Life" by The Strumbellas via YouTube



Thursday, March 10, 2016

I am a rock, I am an I...T help center!


If you've been following along this week, you may have noticed that the website is under-construction . . . I'm giving it a much needed Spring cleaning :)

Over the past year or so, I've been compiling a massive list of my website needs for my dream of running an Olivia J Designs web business, and I decided it was time to roll up my sleeves and get nerdy.  Luckily, I kinda sorta LOVE this stuff.  Does anyone remember circa early 2000's?  Yeah, I was obsessed with that site and created a bunch of meaningless websites about random things, my BFF's, and I can't remember what else.   Probably raves about Fruitopia and Bath & Body Works.  Typical middle school stuff.

I enjoy solving problems, and that's what building a website from scratch is about.  Yes, it may have taken me nearly an hour last night to get my domain names jiving, but I figured it out because I knew I had to.  Another perk is that a lot of websites provide lovely templates to build from, so it's not like I'm completely navigating in the dark.  I even learned what a favicon is and how to make one!  Yeah yeah, it's the little things.  Pun intended.

Looking back to approximately a year ago....I didn't have a website, barely knew how to use Instagram, didn't own a camera, had no idea how to use Photoshop and the idea of promoting my art made me uncomfortable.  Oh what a difference a year makes!

 So, stay tuned.  This is going to get fun :)

Today's musical selection is another one by Harper Simon (and in honor of his father, Paul...hence the title of this blog post.  With me? Good.)

"Tennessee" by Harper Simon via YouTube


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Free Backgrounds! (SPRING)


Today I wanted to share a few free backgrounds that I painted with a Spring theme :)  


Today's musical selection is from one of my favorite super heroes . . . Lizzo ~*  She really brings it in her live performances, especially in this one on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.  I saw her jam out a few years ago at 89.3 The Current's b-day party, and whoa.  She is so talented! (+Sophia Eris!)

"Aint I" performed by Lizzo on Stephen Colbert via YouTube


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Update: Painting Taylors Falls

Commission piece work-in-progress: Taylors Falls, MN

Today I wanted to do a mini post with an update on my latest work --

There are so many gorgeous views of the Taylors Falls area...along the lower river bank, looking down into the river from above, through the trees, along the hiking took me awhile to figure out which view I wanted to use to capture the beauty of this area.  I decided I wanted to incorporate the falls, the river, and rocks, and the greenery in a cohesive visual from the banks of the river with a view of the tops of the woodsy cliffs.

As it's a 2-piece work, I wanted the canvases to fit together visually, but not be identical.  I came up with the idea of working in the falls in between the two canvases where they meet at the sides, and then depicting the rolling river horizontally along the bottom of the pieces.  I also wanted the falls to be abstract enough that they looked organic -- not overworked.

Blues and greys work together to create the place where the falls meet the river
I started building up the river banks, rocky cliffs, and green hills to place my trees.  Again, the goal here was not symmetry, but an earthy pairing of similar colors and shapes.

A woodsy corner with a hint of a steep river bank
Next, I will be working more to define the rocky cliffs, greenery, assorted vegetation, and making the river even more dynamic with additional layers of blue and grey.  Stay tuned!

Today's musical selection is a cover of Joanna Newsom's tune by the lead singer of Fleet Foxes (Robin Pecknold).  If you miss Fleet Foxes as much as I do, you'll enjoy this song...Mr. Pecknold's voice is as majestic as ever.   

(P.S. I can't figure out why the font above is so tiny!  I've tried to fix it 50000 times, and it won't work....grrrr.)

 "On a Good Day" by J. Newsom, cover by Robin Pecknold via YouTube


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Painting Places: Happy Places

A mixed media 4-in-1...welcome to the places that make me smile :)

Today I wanted to share a new collection I'm working on: "The Happy Place" Collection.  It has all my favorite elements of my last collection, but with a twist: a focus on the space and the accessories/decor that make it unique.

To start off the series, I've created four places that are my ultimate in happy :)  I must admit, I'm a pretty simple lady....I get most of my joy from baking/cooking, reading, painting, and loving.  
"Happy Painting" (mixed media OJD 2016)
The musical selection for today is an artist I just discovered....have you heard of Harper Simon, Paul Simon's son?  Well, people....I first heard him on the HBO's GIRLS (season 1) soundtrack and I totally thought it was a rogue Paul Simon song.  I just recently investigated the tune (+ truthfully the entire GIRLS soundtracks, seasons 1-4), and whoa...bliss.  Enjoy:

 "Wishes & Stars" by Harper Simon via YouTube



Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Painting Places: Taylors Falls

A little icy, but still gorgeous on a balmy February day

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to get out on an adventure!  I've been stuck at home the past few weeks recovering from a health issue, so it was incredibly refreshing to spend some time outdoors.  My newest commission is for a two-piece painting inspired by a hike around Taylors Falls.  For those not familiar with this area, it is located at the border of Wisconsin and Minnesota, located along the St. Croix River.  It's beautiful.  It had been awhile since I'd ventured to this spot, so I knew I needed to head back to refresh my memory for my canvas creations.  Sure, there are photos online, but I needed to go back to truly get a feel for the place to make the colors, river rocks, trees, and greenery more meaningful.  Luckily, a freakishly warm weekend appeared out of nowhere!   

Two main features of the area that popped out to me:

1.) The gorgeous river rocks.  I think they are technically "glacial deposits" from lava flows.  Anywho, the geology is beautiful and the colors were something I wanted to focus on because they are a timeless feature.  Some of the colors reminded me of the gnarly rocks we saw back when we lived in the Black Hills -- just a multitude of colors.  Warm, semi-sparkly hues mixed with grey stone.  

Spotted along the river's edge

 2.)The variety of trees and the sheer number of them!  I was actually quite impressed that I saw as much greenery as I did for late February.  I decided that this should be a dominate element in the paintings.

Pretty greenery popping up along the riverbank and beyond

 Next, I created my color palette and played around with the elements  . . .
Taylor's Falls mini paintings

 I'll keep you posted as I translate these ideas onto the two-piece canvas creation :)

Today's tune is another one by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats.  I'm still obsessed.

 "I Need Never Get Old" by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats via YouTube