Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Self Image in Advertising

My father came to me a few days ago, asking me to help him out with creating some promotional materials for a new natural Dietary Supplement/Food Source that he is distributing.

He and my sister are trying it out and are hoping that it will help me too.

The original concept for the drawing had been brought to me in a cartoon that was clearly "dated" from some time in the 80's and my challenge was to update it, and make it more appealing to today's woman.
A picture tells a thousand words and that was what my father wanted this picture to do for his promo materials.

When creating this artwork, I had to face the fact that I look much more like the girl on the left than the one in the mirror, and while I was working on this piece, I gave a lot of thought and consideration to how self-image is used in advertising.

I felt that the original illustration given to me as a reference material was a bit condescending and sexist, so I tried to be as honest in my illustration as I could be. I asked myself to evaluate how the image I was creating would make me feel if someone handed me this ad. Would it make me thoughtful? or offended. Would it cause me to feel a bit of interest? or turn me right off.

One of the hardest things to do is to realise that as much as we nurture our creative soul, we must nurture our physical body and take care of it so that it can continue to contain our soul and keep us in the world as long as possible to inspire others.

(I created this art in Photoshop CS2, on my Wacom Intuos3 Tablet)

Friday, April 25, 2008

London Beadery: Winner Creative Bead Competition

I got a phone call this morning from Rita (the owner) at The London Beadery asking if I would mind if she showed my project on tv today so that she could talk about their beading competition.
I told her that I had no problem with that...
On the left is a picture of my piece: "Cuckoo's Nest"
Last august, I won first place in their Vibrant Creativity: 2007 London Beadery Creative Bead Competition.
This competition is where customers buy the same kit (almost like an affordable entry fee) and then create a project using the same beads as every other contestant. Other than that, you can use any findings and make whatever you want, you just can't add any more beads to the mix.
In 2006 I bought a kit for their first competition, but didn't get around to creating anything, as I was away camping for a week and then my sister got married in the same month that I had to complete the project in. Last summer, I vowed that I wouldn't let that happen again and was quite conscientious about working on my entry. I was very pleased to place, let alone win!
I don't know if this disqualifies me from entering this year, but I know that there will be many wonderful beaded pieces made by customers of The London Beadery.
Keep your eyes open for details sometime in July which is when the contest starts! (or better yet, sign up for their informative email newsletter!)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Gifts of the heart

Yes actually, I do love my mother-in-law...

This weekend we went and visited with my in-laws. One of my biggest "fans" is my mother-in-law, Maxine. She's been truly supportive throughout my 15 year relationship with her son and I found a kindred spirit in her when I married him. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones.

While we were there, I crafted a new necklace and earring set for Maxine, as sort of an early Mother's Day gift. ("Springtime Hope")

I was thinking of putting the felted bead pendant on a gold chain and asked her to see if she had one of an appropriate length.

Maxine pulled out her jewellery box and I was surprised to see that about 85-90% of her jewellery had been crafted by me over the years!

When I give jewellery that I've crafted to family and friends, and I see that they wear it and enjoy it, I tend to give them such gifts again. I think that my family and friends have the best collections of my artwork because I'd much rather give a gift that I've made than buy one.

It just seems more special that way...a gift of the heart.

Looking at those jewellery pieces, I realized that I hadn't documented them and decided to do that since I happened to have my camera with me.

The wall hanging was commissioned by Maxine a few years ago. She had decided to buy a new couch and chair, so she told me what sort of colour that she was going to get and then gave me free reign on the hanging.

I love crazy patch and have enjoyed quilting ever since I won the london embroiderer's guild bursary for a quilting workshop in 1990, when I was studying art at Beal.
I chose the fabric patterns and colours based on Maxine's decor and her country-folk style.

Maxine is now a retired elementary school teacher, and I'm certain that there are many adults out there whose lives were changed by spending time with this very special lady.
I know that my life has been changed in a very good way.

Thanks Maxine. I love you.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bodypainting: External and Internal Beauty

I did some bodypainting again today on my friend, Kay.

I'd had this vision as I was trying to go to sleep last week of her as Queen Boadiccea. The first image, "Celtic Queen" is the result. I'm sure that I could have gone really elaborate and spent hours on the painting, but she had limited time today.

The second painting is called "Tiger Inside". I tried to create the illusion that she was scratching her skin away to reveal a tiger persona inside.

Stay posted for more variations on these themes...I see a "Queen" series and an "Inner Beauty" series in the offing.

Recently, I've been talking with a local photographer and models about doing bodypainting sessions. I should have some really neat stuff come out of that soon!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tweaking Pics

I was surfing through the ukfacepaintingchat today and one of the members, Erica, wasn't happy with some of her latest new pics...

What's not to love? Good models who emote, attractive facepainting that is well executed with good brush-strokes and colour choices...

I figured that it was just because the background was too pale and the light a bit harsh (bright daylight).

I did up these examples with her ART on Photoshop to show her what I'd do if a photo I'd taken of my facepainting wasn't "singing" to me...

Afterwards we chatted online and I took her through the process so that she can do it herself! I enjoyed helping her out and giving another person a "push" to explore this nifty program.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Fuzzy Gems; part two

Over the last week I've been working on creating some felt bead tutorials. Here's a group pic of more of the embellished felt beads that I've made.

The bead in the center is the one featured in the tutorial.

All of these beads feature seed-beads and embroidery (glass seed beads, delica miyuki beads, cotton, & hand-painted silk embroidery floss).I've mostly used the chain-stitch.
The little eyeball-with-eyelashes motif that I'm using is inspired by micro-organisms.

I think the lash-like cilia on paramecium are cute.
I don't know why I think single-celled organisms are cute and parasites are the most disgusting thing on earth... I guess it's a matter of scale.
I really don't want to see it unless I'm buffered by a super-powerful microscope!

I *might* be doing a bodypainting today. I'm still waiting to hear from my model...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Bodypainting: Queen of Cups

I had my friend Kay, over for a visit yesterday, and she generously agreed to model for me and let me paint her back.
I wasn't quite sure what I was going to paint at first, but I thought it might be neat to so something inspired by the Tarot Deck since she knows how to do readings.
I had her shuffle through the deck and the Queen of Cups came out, along with several Swords cards.
My book had this to say about the Queen of Cups:
"Physical Description: A beautiful woman, with expressive eyes and sensuous lips. Her colouring is generally fair.
Meaning: A warm, sympathetic, and sociable woman. She may be artistically gifted and very imaginative. The Queen is honest, loyal, and devoted to those she loves.
Reversed Meaning: A vain and immoral woman, who is deceitful and perverse. Someone who constantly demands attention."
Here's what it had to say about the suit of Swords in general:
"The suit (of Swords) relates to the element of Air and is associated with mental activity, strife and troubles." ~ from "Tarot" by Jonathan Dee, ISBN 0-75256-315-7
I made the queen's hair more brown to represent Kay and thought of her and her life right now as I painted to "customize" the design to my friend. I hope that life turns around to the better for her soon. With the love and support of friends, it is bound to!

Beading Daily: Glass Design Challenge Win

Well, the news came out yesterday in the Beading Daily blog about my win as "Author's Choice" in the Glass Design Challenge!

I was thrilled to get the news, and was really interested to see the other winning designs!

Congrats to:
Earrings Category Winner ~ Marsha Melone
Bracelets Category Winner ~ Jennifer Judd and
Necklaces Category Winner ~ Samela Dorey

I have been truly enjoying my prizes of a copy of Stephanie Sersich's new book; "Designing Jewellery with Glass Beads", and the gorgeous glass starfish that she made.
I'm not quite sure what I'm going to create with it yet, but I think it will be neat to blend our styles in a necklace that I can wear.

I do pewter casting as well, so when I saw that she uses a custom tag to "sign" her designs (attached at the clasp), I put that idea on the back-burner of my brain to bubble away and come up with a little tag design for my own designs! I'll keep you updated on what I come up with.

There were some neat links to other contests as well that I'll be looking into entering, and I'm also working on some tutorials for Beading Daily that I hope you'll be able to buy soon.

I'll be doing Tutorials on:
1) Dry needle felting a wool bead.
2) Embellishing Wool Beads.
3) Jewellery design(s) featuring my wool beads.

I hope you'll check back soon to see what progress I've made on these Tutorials!