Art Fairs, 2016

I can’t believe it’s May already. Art fair season is upon us. I will be at a couple art fairs this summer. Both of these fairs are beautiful one day events with music and food as well.

May 21: Arts in the Park Eden Prairie

July 9: Art at St. Kate’s

I am also proud to announce my acceptance into the Colored Pencil Society of America’s 24th International Exhibition. This show is in Tacoma, WA and runs from June 25-August 13. I am honored to be the only artist from Minnesota in this show that has accepted work from all over the world!

On May 1st, I was a vendor at the Minnesota Reptile Show which was fantastic. I sold five of my baby carpet pythons. It was so nice to send them off to new homes. I may vend at the September show if I have hatchlings left. Stay tuned!

 

I will end this post with my latest finished piece, a little 5×7 I call “Snappy Birthday.”

Birthday Turtle5x7

 

 

 

I’m back!

I let myself off the hook on art in 2015, only doing a couple shows and completing only one large piece. It was a nice break filled with spinning yarn and knitting. I learned a lot about the art of yarn making. I did some amazing gardening and I even brought brand new baby snakes into the world. 2015 wasn’t a very artful year, but it was a good year.

The urge to draw became stronger at the end until Christmas weekend – I just had to start a new piece. The rest did me good, and I completed “Zen Turtle” in only 2 weeks!

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It was fun and got me all excited to get back outside and photograph more reptiles and amphibians in the wild. Of course it being January, that will have to wait. To pass the time, enjoy this .gif of the making of Zen Turtle. Then go check it out in my Etsy shop!

 

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LoLa and Animal Attraction

Hi! I haven’t posted in a long time. This is not good. I will try to be better. Meanwhile, I have a couple events this week.

On September 19th and 20th, I will be at the LoLa, the Longfellow Art Crawl at Forage Modern Workshop for the third year in a row. I love Forage, and am excited for a fall LoLa. It goes from 10-5 both days.

I also have two pieces in an upcoming show at Gallery 427 in the Northrop King Building, Animal Attraction. It starts with a reception Friday, September 18th and will be open September 19th ,26th, and October 3 from noon to 4pm. The gallery is also open for “First Thursdays” on October 1 from 5 to 9 pm. Check it out!

This guy probably won’t show up, but you should!

 

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“T” Time

This past weekend, a show at the Edina Art Center opened that I am proud to be included in. It is ten artists and our art based on the letter “T”. T for Toad – get it? I get a lot of visitors at art fairs calling them frogs, and that is OK. I don’t blame anyone for not knowing which is which. Either does this gal.

 

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She’s a toad.

Come down between February 28th and April 1st 2015 and see this Showgirl, more new work by me and great work by other artists. I also recommend checking out the classes they have at the Art Center, and taking a walk around Lake Cornelia which is right outside. Some of the toads in my work were photographed out there. It is a very rich place for wildlife despite it’s relatively small size. I have found toads copulating there two different seasons. I know that sounds like something a crazy person would go looking for, but there you have it!

 

So, ahem, speaking of photography. I have had an older dSLR body just sitting around. It is my “back up” camera, but since I don’t bring my nicer camera with me except for planned outings and vacations, I thought why not make this my every day everywhere I can lose it in a snowbank and not feel too bad camera?

I just had one “problem.” No camera bag.

Well, OK; I have a few camera bags and even a couple purses that work really well AS camera bags. But I never had one small enough for one body and that does not scream “camera.” I looked for a bag and even found a couple that are remotely girly and cute, which the camera bag industry is slowly getting better at.

Alas, every purse-like camera bag was either too expensive, too frilly looking for me or made of “faux leather.” Ugh. I don’t know if I like any material less than fake leather. It feels so plastic to me. Probably because it is made of plastic. And these bags aren’t cheap! $200 and more for “leather” that will wear away to reveal little threads criss crossing about? $200 + for a bag that will creak and crack on a cold day like this? No thanks!

So I had no choice but to make one. I had a couple deer leather hides lying around from making thin wallets to sell on Etsy. I had the first sweater I knit from pure bulky wool. I felted the daylights out of the sweater and devised a more than simple pattern for the basic bag shape. Here a zipper, there some webbing; add two of the beautiful buttons (from the sweater) that I bought at Linden Yarn and Textiles for eyes, and viola!

Sometimes it’s good to be a hoarder. (Of craft supplies at least.) Behold my goofy snakey camera purse bag!

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Next, to finish Husband’s sweater vest. Then I can get back to drawing!!

 

 

 

 

Distractions

I have one huge problem with my “art career” and that is distractions. I love making things and I simply do not have time to make everything I want to. Colored pencils are only one part of the vast treasure trove of art and craft supplies I hoard in my basement. All winter long I knit. I have boxes of fabric, leather, acrylics, oil paints, and jewelry making supplies. We just moved to a house with a work bench in the basement. I can hardly wait to pull out my dremel and do some small wood and rock carving.

In fact, I get so distracted that I had originally begun this blog entry in May. Something must have grabbed my attention and. . . Then I got back to the post in September. Now, it’s February. Oops!

After my last art fair of the season, I typically let myself go on a break from colored pencil art. Usually by the time the Super Bowl comes around, I am ready to draw again.

This year I knit a Vikings sweater, learned how to spin yarn on a spindle, failed at some small wood carving and am now 90% finished with a sweater vest for my husband. I am finding it very hard to tear myself away from the fiber arts right now.

This is one of my projects, begun from loose fiber, made into yarn and then knit. These photos are the “singles” (one strand of spun fiber); the plied yarn and then finished fingerless gloves. The fibers are Jacob wool from Roving Acres on Etsy and Malabrigo Nube, a merino wool from Peru. So soft! The grey Jacob dulled down the colors of the Malabrigo really well, I think.

It is past Super Bowl weekend and so it is time. I have at least 4 drawings started and deadlines to hit. I am looking forward to participating in a gallery show at the Edina Art Center that opens February 28th, The Art of T. T for toads! Not every piece I am working on is toad related, but I hope to finish two drawings in time for this show. One is 90% finished and very large. The other is 8×8″ and more fun. I will post progress on these as I finish.

Then, after the toad drawings and the sweater vest, I will do my best to ignore the lure of the fiber arts (and the wool and dyes I bought) to work on a project that has been a long time coming and takes me somewhat back to my roots in reptile and amphibian art.

I have a great green tree python, Tikka. Her colors have changed to a brilliant green. I photographed her close up and have begun a drawing that blows her up to dragon size. I had to buy a piece of MDF to mount the paper on, as this will be the largest colored pencil drawing I have done so far. I am hoping to have it in time to submit to the MN State Fair Fine Art Show.

Here is how far I am, complete with Tikka and a 11×17″ print out as reference. Not very far. I am beyond excited to show the world how beautiful green tree pythons are up close and larger than life.

 

Tikka

 

 

 

Thrivin’ Tadpoles

When I opened the box full of potential tadpoles from the pond supply company, I expected to already be a little disappointed. It was 80 degrees out and 5:00. The mail had to be sitting on the front steps for hours. Casualties were not a possibility, but a certainty.

 

What I found was a bag of awesome. I counted eight tiny swimming spermy critters sealed in a bag like an ill-fated goldfish. Obviously, they give you a couple of extras “in case.”
American Toads are extremely resilient creatures, but I didn’t expect a 100% survival rate. Nearly 2 weeks in to tadpole ownership, I really did not expect that.

 

My “taddies” as my daughter calls them, have exceeded expectations. They’ve already grown. They swim with the vigor of a sober Michael Phelps. Watching one wiggle it’s way through a lettuce leaf piece three times it’s size was hilarious.

 

Still, I am not sure how to make these guys into art. I mean they are TINY. Even the smaller adult toads I have drawn could be measured in inches. These guys not so much. Taking photos of them is quite difficult – they zoom around like little torpedoes. My camera lens is a notoriously good prosumer lens but it can’t dream of focusing fast enough.

 

Still, what a fun adventure! If these little guys do well, I may make toad raising a tradition. Their energy and the amazing transformation they will partake in is cause for celebration. When I do finally get to drawing one of them, I think it will be a very large drawing to convey just how great these little guys are.

 

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Tadpole Songs

So one fateful day on the internet, I found a pond supply company selling¬†Anaxyrus americanus tadpoles. That is, of course , American toad babies. They didn’t have any in stock in February when I found the link, but they had a fateful form. “Let me know when American toad tadpoles are in stock.”

 

I filled out that form and a week ago I got the call. (E-mail, really.) Six tadpoles for twelve dollars. I don’t know how one says “no” to that. Ten minutes after receiving that e-mail I had some baby toads on the way.

 

So here they are. We received eight little sperm-like critters in a plastic bag. We put them into our sadly empty aquarium. In true eat-anything toad fashion, they prefer lettuce as their main meal.  I am very encouraged that they are so far after 24 hours all still alive and seemingly thriving.

 

So this means I will hopefully have some tadpole/changeling/toadlet art in the near future. They are so incredibly tiny right now. they are also a great mystery. Unlike we humans who develop in secret, toads develop out in the open, for all to observe. I can’t wait to watch them become little toadies!

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