Saturday, January 30, 2010


eve, originally uploaded by howtouseart.

"Eve," 4 x 6", acrylic and marker on paper (painted and drawn a few weeks ago and finally scanned!)

It's raining. I feel lazy... My neighbors are being loud. This week sort of put me in a funk, but I'm hoping to make some time for art today, since that usually helps me get out of a funk. What are some of the things you do to get out a funk?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Straight Outta the 1800's

Another flea market find. This one is an old box filled with pieces of Victorian childrens' blocks. So cool! I think I might use them in a collage or something.

I have some screenprinting to do tonight - a couple of ink tests for a custom order, and I want to reprint the "Love to Sew" tote bags. I tried to draw, but it just wasn't happening today. Hopefully tomorrow... I stayed up late last night working on a painting, and that was really fun. Sometimes I forget how much I love painting, then I sit down and do it, and I have a blast.

I wanted to go to the salvage yard to find some cool things to print on after work today, but then I realized I had completely forgotten where it was; it's been a really long time since I've been there! I stopped at a thrift store, and it was terrible and overpriced. I am spoiled by flea market bargaining...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

What is She Saying?

What is She Saying?, originally uploaded by howtouseart.

...from the looks of her hands, it's either "Woe is Me" or "Be Still My Heart." I prefer the latter.

Did a few little sketches today, nothing special. It's amazing how even if I just stop drawing for a week, I have to re-learn and practice how to make the faces I am so used to drawing. They turn out really bad at first. I have a page in my sketchbook full of horrible looking faces, and over the top of it, I wrote, "Sometimes the drawings will be bad."

Played some Super Mario Bros. for Wii with my dad today. That game is HARD.

I am loving my clean, clean house. My bedroom is another story, but the rest of the house is sparkling. Yay!

It's almost 9pm on a Sunday, and that means the weekend is over. I better draw some more before it's time for the work week again, sigh...

Flea Market Finds and Drawing Doubts

From left to right - vintage monkey with celluloid head $5, Dawn doll bride $2, Fuzzy weird dog ceramic statue $2, Marie Antoinette pill case $1, very old Skipper dolls in need of some TLC $1 each.

I am trying to motivate myself to draw or work on something creative today. I haven't had time to draw all week, and the only creative thing I've done this weekend is to do a little embroidery while watching the movie "Paper Heart" with a friend. (The embroidery is coming out pretty cute; it's a drawing of a girl that I did on fabric. I'll take some photos when it's all done.) The longer I go without drawing the harder it is to get back into it...all those doubts seem to creep into my head - those negative thoughts that try to talk you out of doing anything creative. I wish we had a decent art museum that I could go to here for some inspiration...but since we don't, I think I will search for art on the internet and hopefully get inspired to make stuff that way. I think it takes some bravery to make a painting or pull out the nice paper and start a drawing, so seeing art by other people is so encouraging when I am in this state of mind. Off to browse the internets... :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

All The Small Things

Last week was:

*A Monday flea market filled with goodies, like these little tiny treats that were 5 for $1:

*Getting free dog hoodies at work (a t-shirt company sent them as promos) and printing one of my "Drink Booze, Make Friends" designs on them (seen on a people t-shirt here) for Roo

*New music! And I'm loving the new season of Project Runway.

*A little bit of time to sketch in my small "experimental" sketchbook

*A short workday on Friday followed by an extended lunch at Boca Fiesta with the crew from work

*Shopping with a giftcard at Old Navy on Saturday and lunch with mom

*Playing Wii with my parents on their new game system that I got them for their anniversary

*Cleaning up the apartment for friends coming over later today!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Through the Viewfinder!

I finally found a vintage camera to try TtV (Through the Viewfinder) photography! In case you aren't familiar with it, TtV photography is when you use a digital camera to shoot through the viewfinder of a vintage TLR camera. It gives the photos a cool vintage feel. I used my new Kodak Duaflex IV, which I just found at the flea market yesterday for $15. Below is one of my first attempts, taking a photo of some of my other flea market finds:
Another attempt, a photo of Roo. I haven't built a "contraption" yet, this is just me shooting straight into the camera:
Oops! Below was my very first try, a photo of Ruby Roo and my mom. It didn't work out so well:
The flea market was a great success yesterday! I found lots of cool goodies, and I will take photos of them soon. I also still owe you a video of my Polaroid POGO printer and how it works. I haven't forgotten, just haven't had time to shoot video in a while...

Going back to work after a three day weekend is hard. I wish I had a job that required me to go to flea markets every day...set decorator? Cracker Barrel interior decorator? Who knows...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My Book and Random Thoughts

dusty bookshelf, originally uploaded by howtouseart.

I should be sleeping...I have to wake up E-A-R-L-Y in the morning to go to the flea market. I can't wait! Visions of vintage cameras and old scrapbooks on the cheap are dancing through my head...

I've been trudging through this boring movie called "Two Lovers" on Netflix instant view. It's seriously taken me like two weeks to watch this crappy movie, but for some reason I force myself to finish these things. As if it will suddenly get good towards the end; as if I could learn something from it; as if it could inspire me. I'm still not finished watching it. Thirty minutes to go. Ick. Do you put these silly rules on yourself too? Like, if you are reading a book but don't like it, do you force yourself to finish it? I am better about dropping books midway through if they bore me. The last one I dropped was Twilight. I don't get the hype.

Made a *huge* amount of progress on my book zine thing today. Huge! I was so thrilled. It's starting to shape up into something that tells me what to do next, things are just falling into place. Don't you just love that feeling? I worked on it for hours, then I realized I was totally drained and couldn't look at it for another second. Into its tote bag it went, not to come out again until tomorrow...

What else? Today was my parents' anniversary, so I bought them a Nintendo Wii. It's on its way from They are going to flip over it.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Day Indoors

We had big plans to go to the flea market today, but it was totally rained out. We spent part of the day antiquing indoors at a couple of antique malls, and I found a small Japanese pose doll with a dog that looks kind of like Roo. The rest of the day was spent at home with the Ruby Roo herself, surfing the internet, napping, and just generally being lazy because of the rain. Do you get like that too when it rains? I just want to do *nothing*. I didn't even pull out the art supplies all day. Hopefully tomorrow it will be sunny, and I'll feel more motivated. I get "creative guilt" when I don't do something creative every day, and it seems like the more days that pass not drawing/painting/etc., the harder it is to start.

The good news is that I have been working on my big zine book project thing the last few days, editing and adding, rearranging pages, etc. AND there is another flea market on Monday, so hopefully that one will not get rained out too!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Art Wall & How to Make Texture with Salt and Watercolor

My art wall! Click on this link to the photo on Flickr, which has notes as to who made which piece.

The first page of my sketchbook. The more you paint and draw and paste into a book, the fatter it becomes...

1. layer of gesso (let dry)
2. layer of watery watercolor
3. sprinkle sea salt (while watercolor is still wet)
4. texture happens as it dries and the salt absorbs the water

I just got this lovely book by/about arist Camilla Engman, and I am currently lost inside of it and full of inspiration...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tired Face

This pretty much sums up my day. Some days, my job just takes a lot more out of me for no apparent reason, and I come home spent, tired, frustrated, unable to do anything creative... Days like this are so hard and unsatisfying, but I know it isn't like this every day. I hope this won't be another week that goes by so s-l-o-w-l-y like last week! I am excited for the weekend and the fact that it will be full of flea markets and photos and drawings and paint...

At least it was a good mail day - got a book from and a box full of vintage porcelain doll pieces that will soon become art and jewelry. Oh, to stay home all day and make things instead of going to work!

Monday, January 11, 2010

White Couch White Dog

white couch white dog, originally uploaded by howtouseart.

The sweet puppy has been having some separation anxiety ever since i went back to work after a long Christmas break...she has been chewing her tail. Don't worry, she has medicine, but it still makes me sad thinking of her at home all day while I'm at work... Luckily, her grandma has been visiting!

My Crazy Living Room "Display"

Some vintage, some new, some made by fellow Etsyians, some made by me...
For a detailed look at what each of these things are, take a look at the notes on the Flickr link here. I just changed my little "display area" around last night, and I'm so thrilled with how it looks now!

In the photo, you can see some of the new painted blocks I'm working on. I found the wood blocks at my parents' property, and there are plenty more where those came from, so I will be painting more and more of them...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Drawing and Antiquing

...A few more drawings done at the end of 2009. I'm almost finished showing you the end-of-2009 sketches and can move on to stuff from this year soon!

I've been searching for an old camera to take TtV (Through the Viewfinder - google it!) photos, but to no avail... I keep getting outbid on eBay (I guess I'm cheap.) and went antiquing today but didn't even find anything close. How come when I wasn't looking for vintage cameras, I used to see them all the time? So funny... I'm not giving up the hunt, though, it just makes me more determined.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Art Filled Saturday

Here are some more sketchbook pages, done at the end of 2009:

I have big plans to draw and paint all day today. My car is in the shop (nothing wrong with it, just a check-up!), so I will be at the house all day with my art supplies. I should really clean my living room, but art is so much more fun than cleaning. I made a few drawings yesterday after work, and I was pretty happy with them; photos soon... My mood is always so good when I am making art. I notice that during the work week, I hardly have time to draw and am often too tired when I come home, so by the end of the week, I am ready to burst with creativity after having no creative outlet all week. Is it like that for you too?

Hope you have a fun and creative weekend!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

And the Winner Is...


She was comment #4 on the post, and as you can see below, #4 was the winning entry. Hooray! I hope you will enjoy the zine and goodies. I'll do another giveaway soon; they are so much fun. :)

And a quick sketch to share with you:

And how about an altered photo?

Hope you are all having a good week! I am glad the weekend is almost here so I will have time to do some creative stuff. I will need it after this week - time seems to be going by reallllly slow at work lately, sigh...

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Photoshop Actions

These last few days at work have been kinda tiring, so I haven't had much time for making art. I did play with my Polaroid POGO printer a lot, and I will take a video or more photos of how it works over the weekend, since there were a few requests. I'm glad there are others out there who are interested in fun photo stuff too. I love the tiny size of the photos that the POGO produces!

Since I didn't have time to paint, I did want to do something creative, so I looked for a filter I could add on to my Photoshop program in order to create a vignette and make it look like it was taken with a Lomo camera. Instead of a filter, I discovered something called "actions" that you can add onto your program, and they will do a series of actions to your photograph to make it look different - kind of like tweaking your photos on autopilot, very cool. I tried a few of the ones I found, and my favorite was this Lomo effect. I think Roo looks so cute sleeping in this photo that looks like it was taken with a Holga camera.

Monday, January 04, 2010

A New Toy and More Drawings

Hmm...maybe I should be scanning these drawings rather than just taking photos of them... They might look better that way, but I'm lazy when it comes to scanning - such a slow process sometimes - I'd rather just snap a quick photo. The top one was done in ballpoint pen and the bottom one in pencil. I love working with just cheap pens taken from hotel rooms sometimes...

I got a fun new toy today in the mail - the Polaroid POGO printer. It's so rad. It's inkless, prints tiny & cute 2x3" photos, has bluetooth compatibility so I can beam photos straight from my Blackberry with no yucky wires, and is...PINK! Yay. If you know me at all, you know that anything pink can make my day. I have printed lots of little photos of Ruby Roo so far, and they have sticky backs, so they can go right in my sketchbook - hooray! I probably sound like a Polaroid commercial or something, but this printer is seriously rad. I am taking it to work with me tomorrow.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

More Sketchbook Pages from Dec. 2009

A few more pages from the sketchbook...both of these were done with acrylics, watercolors, and graphite onto sketchbook paper. I have been drawing and drawing lately, and I love it, but I have to go back to work tomorrow for regular work hours, ugh... Hopefully I will get back into my schedule really easily and will not be too tired to draw/paint at the end of the day when I get home. I would love to say I will do a drawing a day each day this year, but I know better than to commit myself to that kind of project - I just get so busy and tired out from work sometimes, so I know there will be days when I won't draw. Hopefully I can prove myself wrong and really do a drawing every day!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Fancy Sketchbook Ladies & A Giveaway

Up above are some more shots of my sketchbooks, drawings I did at the end of December 2009. I am really liking the crest designs I made around two of the drawings, and that might be a running theme in my work for now, we'll see....

I had a good dinner with an old friend last night. So much fun to spend time with creative people and talk shop! I've been working on some small works and a larger painting on wood today. I'm head over heels in love with the painting (photos soon), but the smaller drawings I did are not so hot (no photos coming of those!). I hate how discouraged I get when I make a bad drawing...sometimes I even stop drawing altogether for a few days when that happens. I also stop drawing sometimes when I make a really good piece, because I think subconsciously, "I can never top that - why even try?" It's so strange how complex our relationship with our artwork can be...

I decided to do a little giveaway on my blog, in case any one out there is reading... Just leave a comment on this post by Wednesday at midnight, and I will draw a winning name out of a hat. (Be sure to leave your email in the comments so I can contact you!) The winner will get a copy of my zine, "Lady Lady," plus a smattering of postcards, moo cards, and other random goodies. I want to make someone's mailbox very happy! Good luck!!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!

I hope your holiday season has been a great one this year! I love having time off from work and have been spending most of it drawing and painting... Above is "Laura," one of my newest sketchbook girls, painted with acrylics and marker. Below is "Liv," done all in marker. I have a new sketchbook for more loose, experimental works, and that is where Liv came to be. It's nice to have a sketchbook like that where there is no pressure to make things perfect - I think sometimes I try too hard in my other books because the paper is more expensive or something. How silly is that?

I've been working on some paintings on wood panels and blocks, but I couldn't get a good photo of any of them since the lighting is so bad in my apartment today (it's kinda gray out). I'll try again soon.

I've been getting more used to having a day job and am actually liking it more. I especially love that I don't have to worry about money so much anymore! When I was trying to make art for a living, money was a non-stop constant worry - to the point that I wasn't sleeping very well. I do hope to try to make art a full time thing again soon, but for now doing it part of the time is making me happy since some of that money stress has been alleviated.

In other news, I hope to give my Etsy shop a little facelift for 2010 and want to add lots of new goodies! I think I will shut down my yarn store and just focus on my art stores on there... I've got some new little sculptures in the works, art I want to make into prints, ideas for a new zine, and oh so much more... I just hate having to photograph and post the stuff - I wish I had little elves to do that for me. A girl can dream...

I hope 2010 brings lots of good things for everyone and is full of happiness and creativity!