Fall Painting Classes

My first round of painting classes (July/August) turned out really well! I’ve had such a fun time teaching and I love getting new ideas from my students. For the new season, I came up with some ideas for fall-themed paintings – and I’ll also be re-teaching a couple of the popular ones.

For the fall, I’m planning on doing a Fall Leaves painting. The background is teal, and it has birch trees and fall leaves. This is actually going to be part of a series – for Winter, I’ll do a birch trees with snow painting; for Spring, maybe I’ll have flowers, or birds…

I also have a few Halloween paintings planned. A black cat on a pumpkin, a crow, and a black cat on the moon!

I also have a few non-seasonal paintings. The owls on a branch & cupcake paintings are the most popular ones, so I’ll be re-teaching those ones. I also came up with 2 new owl paintings – an owl on the moon, and a little owl (on a small 4×4 canvas)!

Classes start Sept 19th – the schedule is posted on my website under Painting Classes, and anyone can sign up online at the Claytopia website on the Canvas Class Schedule page. Looking forward to a fun Fall season of painting!

Erie Summer Festival of the Arts

This past weekend was the Erie Summer Festival of the Arts! It was fantastic! This was my first big art festival. It was so great to hear feedback on my paintings first-hand, and it was so inspiring when people really gushed over my stuff!

I sold so many more paintings than I had expected to. I sold over half of the paintings I brought, as well as some coloring books, greeting cards, and bookmarks. And now I’m just super excited for the next art festival, whenever that will be!

Here is a photo of some of the paintings that I brought to the festival. Most of these ones sold!

I even got a small custom painting order! She wanted a small 5″x5″ canvas block, similar to my other pink paintings with birds:

Here is how it turned out:

I really love the way it turned out!! It makes me want to do more like it! And it inspires me with more ideas. I am really starting to like these canvas blocks. They’re cool because they stand up all by themselves. I’m going to make some more and I’ll post pics when I get some done. :)

Painting on canvas classes at Claytopia

I have some exciting news – I’m going to be teaching painting on canvas classes at Claytopia in Erie, PA!

Shortly after I moved here, I met Gretchen from Claytopia. She invited me to teach painting on canvas classes there. I did a practice class last Friday, and it went really great!

The classes will be standalone (not in a series) and each class will focus on painting a particular painting step-by-step.

For the practice class, I did a painting of owls on a branch.

Here I am showing how to paint the branch in a wavy line.

And here, I am describing how to paint the shapes of the owls (my special trick!).

Here are the students hard at work painting their backgrounds :)

My Aunt Stacy and my cousin Jake came too!

Here I am with all the students holding their paintings!

I think they all turned out great, and they were each very different and unique!

My next steps will be planning out the painting classes – I have a lot of ideas! Pajama night, girls night, boys night (dragon painting?), and storytime + painting with kids. After I plan the classes I want to teach, they want a month to advertise it before I actually hold the class. The first class I do will probably be the same as the practice class though, since it is something I’m already familiar with. I will post updates as more stuff happens with this!

Local art, coffee, & lots of history at the Erie Book Store

Today the Erie Book Store opened up a coffee shop inside! I’m so excited because after moving to Erie in February, I’ve been looking for a cute little independently-owned coffee shop (I’m not much into chains) and haven’t had any luck. Also, I love the Erie Book Store because they are really involved in the community & they even sell art and gifts from local artists in their shop!

The coffee shop is called Flagship City Cafe, and the whole theme is nautical, even down to the drinks! The drink I got is called War of 1812, and it has espresso and amaretto. It was so good! The next one I want to try is The Crows Nest – Espresso, steamed milk, chocolate and peanut butter syrup topped with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle. Supposedly it tastes like a peanut butter cup – yum!

They also have some yummy looking pastries and a coffee discount card! After buying 10 you get 1 free!

But, one of the coolest things about the cafe is that it has so many handmade personal touches! Mimi, the owner’s fiance, made these amazing vases by hand to fit in with the nautical theme.

And, there are handmade coffee cozies for sale, which Mimi crochets while waiting for customers! (And by the way – there’s even a knitting club that meets every Friday at the Erie Book Store! Now that the cafe is open, the meetings will be in the cafe over coffee!)

So, that’s the cafe… but bookstore is equally as unique and charming! It has so much history, character, and touches from local artists.

The first thing I noticed when I first went to the Erie Book Store is that they have art from local artists all over the walls! They let me put a few paintings up in the children’s book section (near the entrance). And they are carrying Treasure Hunt in the Enchanted Forest, the book I illustrated!

They also sell gifts and cards from local artists! There’s all kinds of cool knitted hats, bookmarks, etc.

They have all kinds of old books and even old newspapers! And cute places to sit, too :) I could spend forever in there.

Oh yeah, they also have an Erie Book Store Facebook page where they post about cool events that they hold at the shop!

So in conclusion, you can probably see why the Erie Book Store is now one of my favorite places in Erie :) If you’re in Erie, make sure you stop by and check out the coffee shop, local art, and unique books!

My 30th Birthday!

Today is my 30th birthday! Wow, what a year it has been. So much has happened this past year!

I illustrated my first children’s book!

I participated in my first art festival (a small one :)).

I traveled to Ireland, Scotland, and Switzerland with friends.

I adopted a sweet lovey-dovey 12 year old cat named Maya from the humane society.

I moved from CA to Erie, PA to live near my grandmother.

And I’m super excited about my plans for next year! Here’s what I’m planning for another great year:

  • Illustrate another children’s book
  • Participate in the Erie Summer Festival of the Arts
  • Sell my work in Art-o-mat art vending machine
  • Get my cards, bookmarks, & prints in some small gift shops around the city
  • Write & illustrate my own coloring book

My Artomat Submission

I’m submitting my artwork to Artomat! They take old cigarette vending machines and turn them into art vending machines. There are over 90 machines in existence today! (Find one near you!)

In order to get your art into Artomat, you have to submit a prototype to get their approval. I just finished making my prototype which I am going to send to them today.

Each piece of artwork is 3″x2″. So, I used a 3″x2″ mini canvas to make a miniature painting. It’s similar to my Sleepy Fox painting.

On the Artomat website, they recommend putting some info about yourself with the painting, so after wrapping the painting in foam wrap for protection, I taped an “About the Artist” card on the top (along with a little thank you note to the buyer).

Then I put the whole thing in a 2″x3″ box made just for the Artomat machines.

Then, I put a hand-drawn cover on the front (although in the end I may end up printing something pretty)…

and a business card on the back. (The front of my business card is like a painting, the back is my contact info)

They also ask that applicants submit a little 2″x2″ place card for the machine, so here’s the one I designed:

And that’s all! So I send it out today, and then I wait and see what happens! Hopefully they will accept it, and if so, then I send them 50 more (each original hand made art, and each different!) and they sell them for $5 each and give me $2.50 for each one sold.

Art & Family

A year and a half ago, my dad passed away. Since then, I have realized that life is just too short to put off doing what you love (I always get sad when I remember that my dad never ended up retiring and doing woodwork), and that life is constantly changing. I’ve also learned the importance of family.

Because of this, I’ve decided to move to Erie, PA, to live near my grandmother – something I’ve always wanted to do, since my family moved to FL when I was 2, and I never got to live near her.

I’ll be doing freelance web development part-time, and the rest of my time will be spent on my true passion, art. I will work on illustrating more books, creating and selling more paintings, and hopefully participating in art fairs and getting my work in small independently owned boutiques! I made an artist page on Facebook, so you can subscribe to it if you want to stay updated on all my art & illustration projects.

I’m so excited to start spending much more time on my two favorite things – art and family!

My last day at Google is this Friday, and I’ll be flying to Pennsylvania in two weeks, on the 6th!

Art update

With all the holiday bustle I haven’t had a chance to post any updates, but I have lots to share! Here’s what has happened since my last post…

I designed a coloring book, bookmarks, and the Amazon Webstore for Treasure Hunt in the Enchanted Forest, the book I illustrated.

The bookmarks are coin-themed. Each bookmark design features a different kind of special coin (like the War Nickel) along with a character from the book, and facts about the coin on the back of the bookmark.
Inside the book, there’s a different activity on each page, and the children can apply what they’ve learned from reading the book.
Designing the Amazon Webstore was an interesting learning experience! The Amazon Webstore editing interface definitely took some getting used to, but I was glad I could upload my own CSS files :)

Also, recently I participated in my first ever craft fair – the holiday gift fair at work. It was so much fun setting up my booth and I met lots of new people!

Here is a picture of my booth. I had little easels with small paintings on them, and the rest of my paintings in a box in front of the booth. I also had packs of cards and my bookmarks, and a copy of the book I illustrated. The greeting cards are what sold the most! They went so fast. I already have plans for a new set of greeting cards, so I’m already excited for the next craft fair, whenever that may be!

Treasure Hunt Children’s Book – Cover art and website

I mentioned in my previous posts that I was super busy illustrating this children’s book – well, I finally finished! All the files are in the publisher’s hands now, and we’re just waiting for the book to get printed.

The last piece of art I completed for the book is the cover art. I didn’t know what to do for the cover art, so I asked my mom and the author for ideas, and they both came up with the same idea! To show the whole enchanted forest, with a path leading to the treasure chest, since the whole theme of the story is a treasure hunt in the enchanted forest (the full title is “Treasure Hunt in the Enchanted Forest (The Search for Good Money).

The two owls are the main characters in the story. In the cover illustration, they are each holding a wing out, ushering the reader into the enchanted forest. There are coins on the path that lead to the treasure chest. I also included some of the other animal characters peaking out from the trees.

Another thing I finished recently is the website for the book. We were actually going to contract it out to someone else, but since I was finished with the illustrations, but my imagination was not yet finished running wild, I decided to create the website too. Here’s a screenshot of the homepage of the site:

I had so much fun with the website! I made a Meet the Characters page, where you can click on a character and it will show a scene from the book with the character in it, and some text about the character. There’s also some coloring pages, and a Make Your Own Matrix page (where kids can fill in things that they think could be money, and rate them based on the 5 qualities of money).
I have a ton of other ideas for the website, but one thing at a time :)
By the way, if you’re as excited about the book as I am, you can subscribe to the book’s Facebook page for updates!

Calico kitty cat Halloween costume

We had an early Halloween party at work this year, and I decided to dress as a calico cat, inspired by my kitty Debay which I had until she was 19 years old. She was my best friend.



It actually ended up being much easier than I thought it would be! I got brown, tan, black, and white fur from JoAnn’s (1 yard of each, though I hardly ended up using that much at all). I made arm and leg warmers, one of each color.
I had never made arm or leg warmers before! I was worried they wouldn’t be the right size, would slip down, etc. I got some pretty wide elastic which I first sewed to the top of the fabric. Then I folded over the end with the elastic, so that you couldn’t see the thread through the fabric. Then I just folded the whole thing in half and sewed along the seam. I thought it would end up sloppy because I didn’t do any proper measuring, just basically eyeballed everything, but somehow they all turned out perfect!
For the skirt, I did it even more sloppy than the arm and leg warmers, but it also ended up looking really good somehow! I basically just patchworked all the different colored furs together to make a big rectangle. Then I wrapped it around me to estimate the width. Then I cut the skirt to the correct width, and sewed velcro along the seam so I could get the skirt on and off. Then I put the skirt on, trimmed up the bottom, and I was done! I was amazed at how great it turned out.
For my face I just got a kitty cat face painting kit at the Halloween store and went crazy. It was super fun. I found that painting on my face is waaaay harder than painting on fabric since skin is so loose, whenever you paint or draw on it, it moves all over the place!
I also painted my nails calico! As you can see in the picture, they are tan, black, and white. Leaving your cats alone on halloween night? read more to know how to keep an eye on them even when you are gone.