Rainbow Raindrops

If you are just joining my art journey, then umbrellas and raindrops may seem a bit out of place here.  But one of my favorite subjects awhile back were indeed umbrellas.  I painted many umbrellas actually.  They hold alot of symbolism for me.   I've not painted one since, well.....I get a little teary as I write this.  You see, I sent a friend an umbrella painting card while he was very ill to "guard and protect him from the pain.  an umbrella that would always be waiting when he needed. an umbrella that I would hold if he needed....."  And he kept that card with him, always.  Up until his death I was told.  So I've not painted an umbrella for sometime now.  But as I was playing with some new encaustic paintings ideas I decided it was time.  And boy am I glad I did.  There is so much joy in this little painting.   Two little friends sharing an umbrella as rainbow colored raindrops fall all around them.  

As I continue to prepare for my upcoming Solo Show, I made a simple request of myself.  To let go of fears, to paint in as many mediums as I knew, and to share the love of ALL I do in the studio.  And most of all, to be proud of the end results.  So this show will include acrylics, oil pastel paintings, encaustics, plaster sculptures, mixed media, and jewelry.  Yep.  It's going to be good.  I can feel it.  I promise to share more details about the show later.  But for now, I pass an umbrella on to you. 


Art and Soul Portland, Oregon 2011

So did you guys see I snuck this little icon onto my sidebar?  Yeah, you did?    I've been keeping this a HUGE secret because until the site went live it really didn't seem real.  It has been so HARD keeping this from you guys!!  But now it's time.  Teaching outside of my little area has been a dream since, well since I can remember!  This past fall I finally worked up the courage and mailed away my little dream of instructing on the national level.  Let's just say, they loved my project ideas.  And now I am teaching at Art and Soul:  Portland, Oregon 2011!!  yippppppeeee!  If you've never attended an adult art workshop series, I HIGHLY recommend your saving your dollars and join me in Portland!   I would love, love, love to meet so many of you.  Yep. 

So what am I teaching you ask??  On Saturday I'll be guiding you through a painting project.  These paintings were featured in a lovely Somerset Life article, so you might recognize the idea.  I'll be providing an amazing wood frame and wood to paint on, tons of embellishments and my enthusiasm as we navigate making our own story through paint.  All day....me and my over the top enthusiasm....all day.  Yep.  Can you tell I am EXCITED?
On Friday we'll be exploring pattern making to make our own special fabric bird creations.  My favorite are the hoopy cages, but feel free to bring other fun items for them to perch.  Hopefully in the end you will leave with two finished little birdies to share with your friends!!
This project in particular I am excited to be sharing.  I've only taught painting to adults so this sculptural class will be so fun to introduce.  And again, my enthusiasm will most likely be boiling over.  I don't get nervous, but I do get beyond giddy on occasions. 
As you can only imagine I am already scheming and planning for the retreat.  What to wear, what to mail and when, who to see while there, what to go do in Portland, what to eat, what to sell.  Oh yeah, on Saturday night there is a fabulous "Vendor Night".  In Vegas there were amazing artists and super fun embellishment sellers.  I participated then to help pay for my trip.  The best part of a Vendor Night at an Artist Retreat, well it's like one giant love bomb towards your work!   So even if you don't take a class hopefully you'll come to Vendor Night so we can meet.

Well, I am sure to be talking about this some more.  Just a little, well maybe a ton.  PLEASE email me if you are attending.  We can do lunch or dinner all together.  The one thing about going on these retreats in the past for me and my buddy Valerie was always feeling a tad bit on the outside.  If you are going, you already know someone else going!  And that makes it much less intimidating and much more fun!  Don't you think?  Registration begins Feb. 1st.....so head on over and get your classes chosen.  Some do fill up (especially the Sally Jean ones)!  Hopefully mine will too!!  Yea!


Practice Being Grateful

Monday morning I was folding the laundry, trying to mentally prepare myself for the art chores that needed to be accomplished for the day.  Not everyday is a painting day in the studio...nope.  Some days are spent making inventory sheets, photographing paintings, uploading photos, editing photos, wiring paintings(my least favorite chore), and hammering sawtooth hangers on.  Yes, some days are less exciting than others.  But as I was folding William's clothes and organizing my day I couldn't help but SMILE.  Because even the most tedious of days in the studio are days I am so very grateful that I CAN be an artist.  That God has first and foremost given me a gift that I enjoy sharing with you.  And second, that we can afford for me spend my days at home making a living instead of elsewhere simply dreaming of being an artist.   So yes, I practice being grateful daily.

On another note, my children are often very quick to offer up opinions about what I am working on in the studio.  William came in the other day and I very excitedly said, "Look William what I've been working on!"  He kind of tilted his head back and forth at this painting and said very innocently, "Mom, those just don't look like your birds."  "Oh, well I was inspired by some little finches I saw recently and wanted to paint them."  "Ok, but Mom I like the other birds better."  "Ok, thanks William".

I suppose I share this because recently I posted about finding a common thread in your work.  How important that it is to find you own voice in your work.  And although I paint in many mediums, I try to keep the thread running through.  But this round of paintings, well I am beginning to see a new thread appear.  Not that this is bad because it's coming completely from my little head.  But it's a little different.  I didn't see it until he pointed it out.  Not that I am painting in a new style or anything.  But they have a fresh feel.  It's almost like they are stronger paintings now.  Does that make sense?    They are bolder and have a new confidence about them.  Huh....isn't it cool the way life and art can mirror one another? Just saying.


The Red T-Shirt

Today I bought a red t-shirt.  Yep.  I ......bought...... a .....RED t-shirt.  Holy cow.  Red.  Next thing you know I'll be buying something crazier like yellow.  Well, maybe not yellow with my Goldilocks, but perhaps green.  Yes.  Green is next.  You see folks, I am feeling outside of my box these days.  The creative juices are in overdrive.  Yep.  A turbo BMW can't keep up with this cool chick.   And it's super fun I tell ya to be THIS EXCITED about how you are living.  I went to sleep last night dreaming of little girls under umbrellas and by golly today I painted those little girls in rain boots under umbrellas!  You see, this race, well it's not as huffy and puffy as I'd feared.  And your encouragement along the way is VERY appreciated and noted.  And I pinkie promise once all these paintings are done and in the car I am going to visit ALL your blogs and comment.  I'm going to comment till my fingers say no more!   Because our little circle is indeed a family I hold onto so tightly.  And cherish and love this blog.  Oh boy do I.  It's a saving grace.  Knowing you are out there reading and hearting my work, well it keeps me running.  Yep.  Double yep.  I really wish you could here me say that.  Yep. Actually in person I'd probably say "Hey Ya'll" and give you a giant hug.(imagine a sweet southern drawl with it, can't help it...I am from Alabama originally you know.)   So here's a sneaky peeky at a fun new work that may have inspired the red tee:

The words haven't been collaged yet, but it will say, "rediscover yourself along the way".  And I am sure I'll add some other collagey elements.  All my paintings are still  "in the works".  But it's fun to see them scattering themselves along the walls of the studio.  Yep.  It sure is. 

So, I'll be back in the middle of the week.  I need to unplug and focus before delivering paintings Friday morning.  I hope you have a great weekend and look forward to seeing you later this week!


Sometimes Love....

After drawing out my many bike painting compositions I had this overwhelming sense of joy.  Like bursting at the seams joy.  Total big puffy heart moment.  And then these words came, and this bike had to be floating with heart balloons holding it up.  Because folks, sometimes love is exactly what we need to move mountains.  And at this very moment in our little Horne family life we have the perfect harmony of just this.  Yep.  Gooey puffy heart stuff.  And it is SO about to be coming out in my work.  Just warning ya. 

Billy and I hit the 15 year anniversary mark last week (we've been together a total of 19 years with dating).  I'll admit it's not been a silly log ride, but rather a roller coaster with way too many upside down loops.  I harbor a ton of guilt for past mistakes, mostly with money.  But through it ALL, like crap hitting the ceiling fan ALL, he has stood by me.  Sometimes I ask myself why.  I mean I wouldn't stay.  I wouldn't put up with me.  But he has.  He's been my red balloons.  Holding me up, carrying me through the toughest of times.  Sometimes with silence, sometimes with words.   He's an example for me...to learn to be content, learn to forgive, and learn to just love

So there it is, some depth into the me.  The me who makes all these silly little paintings.  Oh man are they an extension of who I aspire to be. 


On Your Mark...Get Set....

GO!!!  There's something about running a race and hearing those two letters resonate across the crowd.  And today, those two letters are ringing true for my little creative life.  To compare the two I shall share this:  I've trained for the race (sketched, thought of ideas, mapped out paintings for the next two weeks to complete, etc), bought the perfect race day outfit (supplies are fresh, cleaned and ready to go including a new easel), Ipod is charged (a race day must), heck I've even been sure to go potty before sitting down in the studio.  I am ready for the word and the little pop gun to sound "GO!!" 

So what's the race you ask?  Nice of you to ask blog readers!  Next Friday I have to deliver paintings to the Trinity Spotlight on Art show.  A wonderful show I've participated in now three years.  I need about 15 paintings plus little things for this show.  And I have 0 paintings as of today.  Umm....yes you heard that right.  0.  It was a fabulous Fall Show Season.
Then exactly one week later I have to deliver to Birmingham, Alabama the pieces for my Solo Show.  Yep.  Flying Solo on this one, literally.  Which means like 50 paintings of different sizes.  But we painters know those darn tiny ones take as much time as the big ones, right?
So as pictured above the studio, including Lily are ready for me, the easel is ready and my dear orange Ipod is ready.  Am I ready yo ask??.....YES!!!!!!  Yippppeeee! 

And of course, I'll be sharing more details as the week unfolds.  I need you guys here to hand me water every once in-awhile.  Oh, and a shout out or two always helps the runner cross the finish line faster!


A Common Thread

Last Wednesday I showed you some of the new jewelry baubles headed to the Micro Love show in Birmingham.  I talked about my love of making things...all sorts of things.  And how sometimes my creative brain works in overdrive which can be quite inconvenient sometimes!  Seriously folks, after Christmas I went to Target to A.return the Spy Watch William got for Christmas that did not work and B.buy wrapping paper for next year.  I mean, that stuff doesn't exactly go out of style right?  While cruising the aisles I came across a rack FULL of these little dainty clay bird ornaments.  Yep.  Overdrive time.  I placed a couple in my buggy thinking to myself, "maybe these would look good with my stamps?"  I walked around a little more with the gnawing thought that if I didn't get more birds now, they would not have them later as they were seasonal, so I better buy a pile!  So I did.  And look how sweet they look!!

Which leads me to the Common Thread thought.  I do make a bunch of stuff.  Yep.  Love that about my brain and my hands.  Together they have the ability to turn ordinary items into art.  But here's the thing, although I make lots of different types of art they all have a common thread that unites them.  I saw plenty of other adorable ornaments at Target that day that would make adorable charms.  However, had I placed "give them wings" on an elephant charm...although dear Dumbo did learn to fly, it would not exactly have the same meaning to who I am and what I create.  See, finding your thread is important to creating a body of work and giving yourself an identity in the art world.  It's very important.  Very.
I've had some conversations recently with an artsy friend about just this.  We are amazed at the number of artists that feel transforming themselves into others will give them success.  I think the total opposite will happen, because it's not part of your thread, of your sweater.  And in case you've never tried this....two people indeed can not wear the same sweater at the same time.  You must find your own.  Now my sweater is striped, yep, with a ton of colors and textures all in one big over sized piece.  But it's mine.  And all the threads I add continue to make me an authentic voice in the world of art. 
With all that being said, no I did not invent the bird charm or the woven nest, or metal stamping, or be the first to paint a bird or a nest or a bike or a truck or a camper or you get the idea.  However, the way in which the elements I use are placed together and the process that puts them all together, those are the threads that are uniquely mine.  I treasure those threads and look forward to adding to my sweater this year.


Field Trip Friday...Scott's Antique and Flea Market

We are so lucky to have this amazing flea/antique market once a month here in Atlanta.  We used to have two,  just thinking about it makes me sad....but alas, Scott's is still up and running.  And for some reason, I had a hankerin' to head there last weekend.  It was cold as cold could be.  But Tiffin and I with gloves, hats and coats were not deterred.  Promptly we drove up to the market at 9am and started with the outside booths.  I've never been to this with her before, and it turns out we have the same excitement about the outside booths!  Actually, we had the same excitement over lots to do with this market....thankfully not over any merchandise though!

Look at all those awesome ART stools below!!  Too bad I didn't need any.  They were a find though.  I loved the yellow and blue cart above as well.  It cranked up and down which would rock with my heat press.  Maybe next month.
 Anyone need a hand?  hehehe......
These bathtubs all lined up were just to funny.  I bet in houses built today these babies would fall right through the ceiling.    Oh, BTW, you guys like my hat?  I got LOTS of stares and some compliments.  Funny, in Georgia I'd never thought I'd need the darn thing.  But man I've worn it A LOT this year!
Tiffin on the other hand was mesmerized by the sitz baths.  She cracked me up talking about them being so comfortable and so much better than the stupid pink plastic tub they sent you home from the hospital with.  OK folks, I pretty much remember the birth stories of my children down the the minute, but the sitz bath thingy....I'd obviously blocked because until that very moment the pink plastic tub had escaped my memory.  Needless to say these sitzers became the giggle conversation the rest of the day. 
I managed to spend my entire Naked Art Consignment check in a few hours.  What did I buy you ask?  Well.... some beautiful beads, vintage jewelry pieces, faux pearl ring that ROCKS, hen house bins for the new kitchen, a beautiful 1st edition map for Billy (our anniversary is this week), 4 hand carved metal jewelry stamps I am praying work with my stamping techniques and these two rockin' items:
Above is my new jewelers bench.  It has the most amazing butcher block finish with pretty markings by the previous crafter.  The bin pulls are brass with remnants of paint from previous projects all over.  Ellie has already claimed it as her own little house.  I intend to add casters so it can be wheeled around.  And no, I have no real place for this....but for $130, it could not be passed up.  Nope.  It would have haunted me.
And last but not least, this little bauble I spotted immediately, and the owner wasn't even in his booth yet!  I have no idea how I noticed it amongst the tray of other baubles.  I mean seriously how many people are looking for a Pi Kappa Alpha signet ring?  Not me at the time of course, but it was definitely scooped up once I figured it out.  And Billy really liked it.   I got the really like it expression and the wow...you got this for me?   And those of you that know Billy and his small variations in facial expressions, it was definitely a good buy.  

So....I may have to take next month off for my pocket book's sake.  It was fun to go this month and spend time with a friend, plunder through vintage finds, and come home with all sorts of amazing finds.  Oh and the rice pudding, I can't forget the rice pudding.  Yummmmmmy.  So have you been on any field trips lately?


I Love to Make Things

So here it is, I love to make things.  Yep.  LOTS of things.  Jewelry projects, sewing projects, sculpture projects, clay projects, paintings, encaustics, colored pencils and even oil pastels.  Yep.  Like I said, I like to make things and that means lots of materials and lots of products go through this studio.  With that being said, I am always on the look out for a new product to incorporate into my work.  Sometimes it's a bother.  I mean who goes to Target after Christmas to buy wrapping paper and leaves with a cart full of clay bird ornaments in the hopes that they can be incorporated into her jewelry one day (which they did...oh yeah!)?   Oh, and I totally forgot to buy the wrapping I was too tickled about the darn ornaments!  Anyhoo, while cruising a Michael's store about a year or so ago I found these brushed nickel birds on a branch necklace charms.  OH MY GOODNESS it was love at first site.  It looks like a little 3D version of my favorite painting subject, right?  Love.  I bought all they had, then went to another Michael's and bought all they had.  Because they were definitely a part of my thread.   And then they sat....and sat....and almost got returned because what in the world do you attach to those rather long bird branch charms to make a necklace pretty enough to wear?  And then came along my statement necklaces with the beads linked together forming a perfect chain....and then I found the nickel chain I'd stashed forever ago....and then the flower beads I'd defiantly saved for a rainy day....Sigh.  I love it when a plan comes together.

I should also mention, because it is so cool, that these little pretties were taken on our ice day.  Ooolala...love the way the snowy ice looks like crackled glass under the hardness of the beads and charm.  Nice.  So these little charmed necklaces are headed to Birmingham, Alabama to Naked Art.  Vero holds a Microlove Show ever year which includes tons of jewelry and micro sized paintings.  This year I am just doing jewelry..... paintings have to be saved for MY Solo Show coming before I know it!


Ice Day!

So have you seen the news?  Atlanta, actually most of the south, is covered in a blanket of not snow but this:
We Southerners are not equipped for 1" of snow, much less several thick inches of ICE!  Looks like an amazing blanket of snow, but upon closer look and the crunching under your boots, you realize the next few days are going to be very long..........

Although I'll admit the day didn't turn out so bad.  The kids and I kept ourselves quite busy.  We made snowman art like above (the ice was too compact to build a 3-D version), did plenty of sledding on the vintage clipper, drank cocoa, made jewelry, napped, ate...and ate....and ate!  As you can see below, I really liked the sledding!  William and his buddy were complaining that the Rubbermaid top wasn't working too good as a sled.  I said, "You guys want a REAL sled?"  William was like, Mom we don't have a sled.  Oh yes we do!!  It was your Grandmother's too!

Lily cracked us up running and sliding into home....literally.  Thank goodness we bought the pink wool sweater recently.  Else wise she'd be lost in the ice.

Isn't this sled awesome!  And to think it's like 60 years old and still running.  William and Noah rode for about 2 hours trying out every driveway in the cul-de-sac.  I can't wait to get out there again today and try from the top of our street.  Because we still have ice on the roads.  And no school for probably tomorrow either.  The ice is pretty thick.  The thought of a school bus on this stuff freaks me out a twinge.
Mailey ran off to the neighbors house and went sledding down the "BIG" hill.  She said it was the funnest thing she's ever done! 
So today the agenda is to roast marshmallows in the kettle outside, eat cookie dough we are about to make, and of course more sledding!  So what are you doing on this ice day fellow Southerners? 


Party Time!!

Did you guys know that I can customize an artsy Birthday Party?  No?  Well I can!  Man, back in the old days when the Bubble Gum Ice Cream Art Studio was up an running there would be 3 parties in one Saturday!  In fact, parties were one of my favorite things to do with kids in the studio.  So when one of my current art student's Mom called and asked if I did art parties I did not hesitate to say, "YES!"  Since Rachel was turning 11 and it was a boy/girl party we decided on Volkswagen Bugs as our painting theme. 

The paintings all turned out SO good.  We had lots of inspiration on the table printed off the internet.  And pink seemed to be the favorite color in the bin.   Personally I love the robin's egg blue color they make.  But if I had my preference, it'd be a vintage bug.  Convertible that is.  Can't you see me in that?  Top down, canvas and easel propped in the back, headed out to Serenbe to paint the daisy field?  Well, maybe you can't image that, but I sure can!!
So email me....I can even do ADULT birthdays, Ladies Night Out, etc.  It'd be fun!  And if you're a bit too far away perhaps a road trip would be in order.  I love a road trip (especially in a vintage bug). 


Getting Organized

I am a picture taker.  Yep.  1,000's of photos a year minimum that I upload right here into this Dell.  And last week when I was trying to find an image for someone I just about lost my marbles opening files, looking here and there trying to locate the photo.  Urgh.  So on our way to Alabama in the car I turned on the trusty Dell and started cleaning up my photo files.  For 2 hours.  On Saturday while enjoying a cheesy Lifetime movie on the deck at the lake I worked another 3 hours.  Sunday another car ride home.  Monday night during another Lifetime movie.  And no, I am still not done.  Geesh.  Of course some files were accidentally deleted and I am a tinge freaked.  But all in all I am very pleased with the organization of the photos now.  Bikes in bike file, Jeeps in truck file, shows in their own files, blog banner stuff in file, all files named and dated so neatly.  It's a sweet thing I tell ya!   

I suppose this desire to organize is a part of my "rediscovering".  Because while organizing I found these images.  All of which I painted in 2006 for an Artwalk.  I was very timid with my work back then.  At the time teaching art was my passion, my comfort zone.  Creating work to sell was something I never gave thought to.  But Valerie kept pushing me to make paintings to sell in our store.  So I did.  I love seeing how gentle these paintings are.  Sweet and simple.  Maybe I should revisit this idea.........

The one above is actually oil pastel on paper.  Now this is a technique I LOVE.  And definitely plan to get these tools back out.
 Blue bird above was acrylic on canvas with a resin overlay.  I love the way resin makes colors POP!
This last painting is acrylic on canvas with my favorite china marker doodles. 

So I hope you enjoyed my little memory lane.  It's interesting for me to see how artists come into their "style".  From the beginning my paintings have had a naive, gentle spirit about them.   And I just love that they make people smile.  :)  They are certainly painted with loads of joy.  Wishing you a fabulous Thursday!!


Ansel Adams Inspirations

I have always loved the photography of Ansel Adams.  In fact, in High School I had a HUGE poster of his over my bed framed.  There is something so magical about his photographs.  They are lonely, mysterious and calming.  I could stare for hours at the poster while listening to George Winston's winter tape and ponder  my little teenage life. 

This weekend while at the lake enjoying our last Christmas celebration it decided to rain on Saturday.  And rain...and rain.  And once the rain stopped a mist set over the lake that was as mysterious and quite amazing.  My sister Molly with her a new Canon Rebel in hand was all, "Jenni, let's go get some cool pictures of the boats at the marina in the fog".  OK.  So off we wandered down to the dock, umbrellas over head to protect not the hair on our heads but the fancy cameras in our hands.  She was busy snapping the boats.  While I saw this:

I'd like to think that Ansel would say, "nice compositions Jenni"  or "I can see the essence of your feelings through this mist on the water".  Yeah, something fancy pants like that for sure.  Anyhoo, I love my photos and think maybe I need to dig out the George Winston's winter tape.  It just might aid the rediscovering of 2011. 


Time to Rediscover

Well the door is closed on the year 2010.  And I'll have to be flat out honest I am a little sad.  It has been a good year.....an incredible year in fact!!  In my first post of the year here I stated that I am not one for "New Year's Resolutions". But rather take the time to recognize the doors that have opened and closed, and those that need to be padlocked!   I also declared 2010 the year to "be incredible".  I know, this word means "hard to believe or too extraordinary".  I was ready for that kind of year though, one of unexpected joy, of over the top ideas and dreams loftier than I could possibly attain.  I was ready to be better than normal and begin opening doors that had "Principal's office" on them.  Yep. 

So incredible this year you ask?  Really?  There's so much I can toot my horn about with both my personal life and my art business.  And by golly I a going to share my business happiness:  207 blog posts, facebook fans hit 200, etsy sales finally broke 100, paintings sold and sold (I keep crappy inventory so don't know how many but it was a lot), blog following continues to AMAZE me (puffy heart you peeps!!), got my hopes up really high with a major licensing company (didn't work out yet, but the experience has been life changing),  featured articles in 4 Somerset Publications, had a career boosting trip to Art and Soul Las Vegas, met so many amazing artsy people this year who have inspired me to be more, and last but not least I finally feel like I'm in my space as an artist.  It's funny how through the years of navigating this art career I've looked over the shoulders of others to keep myself in check......basically compared myself to their careers.  And now, well I've got my own space.  My own space to reach, stand tall and grow into.  I can't thank all of you enough for being my quiet audience to share all of these joys, surprises and dreams with this year.  I think of you as friends, many of whom I will never meet, but your joining me on this journey makes my space that much more special.   Which leads me to this year, 2011.  My inspiration comes again from the little Hallmark book, Be INSPI(RED).

"Rediscover you. Admire yourself more often. You are as beautiful as your heart remembers."

This year I pledge to rediscover myself on many, many levels both personally and in my business.  I've got them written down.  And am ready to face the fears.  And I can't wait to see how the discoveries unfold in 2011!
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