Rolling in the random - belated RTT

Dang! I am so behind this week, I'm posting Random Tuesday today.


If you are behind the times, like me, or just need some chaos in your life, click the button & go see what the followers of The Grand Un-Mom have been up to lately.

In the meantime, I need to siphon off some spare brainwaves so here we go:

My 5 yr old wants to live off of bread & butter. Love to see his reaction if he found this "state fair butter sculpture" on his toast!

Did you ever see The Devil & Daniel Johnston (2005)? A thought provoking documentary. You can find out more about his music & drawings on his website hihowareyou.com. Now someone has made an Iphone game based on his world. (Personally, I've got mixed feelings about this.)

Love this: "In 1986 Peter had the idea of growing a chair."

photo borrowed from pooktre tree shapers

Doesn't it sound like a great start to a fairy tale? It's from the Pooktre Tree Shapers website. Very interesting stuff - worth checking out.

Actually, it would be a good opening line for a book from the Memorable Children's Books and Gifts Company. I found these guys while I was poking around The Mom Blogger's Club. MCB&G hosts kid's book giveaways too.

Seems like a lot of people I know are having babies lately. Found them some random drawings over at Unique Baby Gear Ideas: A chance to win Maternity clothes & Baby shoes

Okay enough baby-talk. Lets talk talent!

Tom Banwell's incredible Underground Explorer helmet has been picked by the Museum of the History of Science (Oxford) to advertise their October-Feb. Steampunk Exhibition. Congrats, Tom! By the way, if you want an amazing mask this Halloween, stop by Tom's Etsy Shop.

This sound like such a fun show. Check out the exhibition's blog for a clickable list of artists involved in the show & some cool pics. I see that the talented Daniel Proulx of Catherinette Rings is on the list too! Looks like a great lineup.

Shifting gears again - my 5 yr old is crushing me in Gran Turismo...

Have you seen the art of Sarah Fishburn? She calls her art "Mixed Media Narrative" Very fitting & very cool! The above link is to her elaborate website - chock full of arty goodness. You can also see what she's up to on her blog, ragtagsf.blogspot.com

Oh I almost forgot the Mix It Up With Melange art challenge prompt is Gateway. Click through sometime this week & add a link to your mixed media interpretation. While you are there see what other folks have come up with.

P.S last chance to enter tomorrow's random drawing for a print of Amber Freeman's drawing, Little Gift. Just leave a comment here before noon (EST) 10/1 to enter. Details & pics of Amber's art can be found here.

Well, gotta run. The to-do list beckons. I have a theory.... I think it grows while I am sleeping.


Water Music on Mixed Media & Musical Monday

Today the Musical Monday theme is My First Concert

while Mixed Media Monday's prompt is Meaningful Music

When I was 10 we moved from our tiny town to a slightly larger, picturesque city by the sea. Though we only there 2 years, my eyes (& ears) were opened to some life altering experiences. My Mom started taking me to the local "Opera House" where I was introduced to everything from Shakespeare to Gilbert & Sullivan. She also took me to a number of concerts, mostly chamber music & classical soloists. And then 1 day.... it was Respighi's Pines of Rome! That was it - I was sold on both classical music & dreams of visiting Rome.

Trevi Letters

For a while I've wanted to paint again. Just too busy to work on anything big right now. So I've been "sketching" in my ancient photoshop elements. Trevi Letters is my prep for a bigger piece inspired by the 3rd movement from Respighi's Fontane di Roma. Think of it as part of series of love letters to Rome.

If you are curious, I digitally collaged a scrap of printed paper, a Polaroid emulsion transfer made from a close up of the Trevi fountain (yes, I did make it to Rome), and a charcoal drawing of a cellist from years ago. Then I played with some colors & swirls but when I printed it out, it looked like mud (my printer sucks). Rather than toss the print, I had fun adding watercolors, pencils, markers, white paint & gel pens. Unfortunately, I can't seem to capture the shimmer of the gel pens or the white highlights, but you get the basic idea.

If you've got a few minutes, click through the links above to see what other folks have posted today. Also, why not play along & add your own music / art while you are visiting them?

And while you're at it don't forget to visit Maternal Spark's Weekly Inspiration. What is inspiring me this week? I think you can guess what I'm going with.....

By the way, still accepting entries for 2 random drawings:

On 10/1 one winner gets the matted print Little Gift from Amber Freeman. Just leave a comment before noon Thursday to enter. CLICK here to see print

On 10/22 one winner gets custom printed vinyl banner from Uprinting.com. CLICK here for prize details & rules


Saturday Studio Tour #6 - Artist Amber Freeman

Innocence by Amber

Welcome back for another behind the scenes peek into where artists create. Today our tour guide is Amber Freeman of Cinnaber.etsy.com. Skilled with a pencil, Amber also creates with photoshop and paints. To read Part 1 of her interview & see more of her beautiful drawings click HERE. I'll step aside now so Amber can tell us a bit more about her art & work space.

Amber: I have been drawing all my life, but it was not until my freshmen year of high school that I got serious. It was during this time, I could no longer draw simply for my enjoyment. Drawing became something my grade rested upon. I had to push the boundaries of my comfort zone to get an A. It was during this time that my art cocooned. No longer was my art in its paper-munching, caterpillar phase. It was time for it to mature into something new and beautiful.

Amber: Now, I am a college art student sophomore. College is considered to be a time of letting go of one's past in return for heightened understanding and adaption. I can confess to this especially in the realm of art. While abandoning the house I grew up in, and taking up residence in a university dormitory, I all but signed away my privacy, space, and personalized zone of retreat.

Amber's Home Studio

Amber: At home, my father and brother were kind enough to carve away a studio space for me in the garage. If our house were a human, our garage would be the intestines, the buffer zone between useful and used-up material. Under the course of twenty-four hours, I watched the storehouse of junk and debris be transformed into a creative grotto. In which, I spent many afternoons, painting the hours away. It became a tradition to have friends and family paint on the room's walls. Today, it is filled with a spectrum of creative footprints sketched by loved ones.

Amber: In college, I work with a much more limited space. My portion of the dorm room is sprinkled with pictures from my art collections. I keep my art supplies tucked inside my desk drawer. I use a slide-out tray to draw on which I line the edges with as many supplies as I can make fit. When I draw larger than my standard 8.5x11, I use a large clipboard.

Amber: This clipboard is stored between my unreasonably tall bed and a wall. I keep it and an assortment of other art supplies inside my portable studio, also known as my big black bag of wonder. This bag is waterproof, large, and study. It is the perfect vessel for a roaming artist.

"bag of wonder" portable studio

Amber: Despite the “cozy” living conditions I have been exposed to in college, I am greatly enjoying the submersion into art it has created for me.

Amber: I have always had a love of art, but only recently have I begun selling it. I've sold at several anime conventions across Florida and done well. I hope to find a job as an illustrator and illustrate children's' books. But so long as I can find employment as an artist, I'm happy.

Feets by Amber

Many thanks, Amber, for showing us your workspace - a perfect example of how an artist will make the best of a modest situation in order to create magic. Even if a space is small, if the imagination is large, wonderful things will happen! My goal is to feature all types of studios & artists here on Saturdays. Readers, if you would like to share your space & art, please send me an email (address is in my profile).

Amber's art is available through her online store www.cinnaber.etsy.com where she sells prints as well as stickers and custom portraits. You can view more of her art at http://cinnamonsoldier.deviantart.com/. You can also read Part 1 of her interview, where Amber shares about her first art experiences HERE

Would you like to win a free print of Amber's drawing, Little Gift? If so, just leave a comment on this blog to be entered in the random drawing at noon (EST) on Thursday 10/1.


By the way, I'm also hosting a custom vinyl banner giveaway for Uprinting.com, click here for details. 1 winner will be randomly chosen on 10/22.


Art of Cinnaber, Thoughts by Amber + art print giveaway

Cinnaber is a new Etsy shop featuring the work of talented Florida artist, Amber.

I first met Amber in the Etsy Forums when her Avatar caught my eye.

Yuna Falling by Amber

I really admired her line & shading, as well as the unusual upside down portrait composition. So off to her shop where I bought some lovely prints. The only question now is whether to give them as gifts (my original intention) or keep for myself...

By the way, her prices are very reasonable - $4 for stickers, $10 - $15 for her beautiful prints and only $50 for a custom portrait (person or pet) made from your photo. She will create your portrait in graphite, colored pencil or photoshop, which ever you prefer.

She also accepts commissions for drawings of hands & feet . What a unique family portrait that would be!

Amber was kind enough to stop by and share some of her thoughts on art today. She has also donated 1 of her wonderful prints for next Thursday's random drawing.

You are very skilled with a pencil, Amber. When did you first become interested in art?

Amber: Like all young children, I loved to draw. I remember the first time I was artistically inspired. It was during arts and crafts time at home. My two-year-old self sat on the carpet, doodling with a crayon clenched in my palm. I drew what all little girls liked to draw: hearts, rainbows, and the people and pets I loved. Only, my drawings did not look like my subjects. Instead I drew them how I imagined the things looked. My hearts were distant relatives of the marshmallow family, my rainbows were a mess of toxic bright colors, and my people more closely resembled giant bouncy-balls with sticks puncturing the sides at random angles then anything living. To a two-year-old, having never drawn anything better, these drawing were perfect. I spent many countless hours glued to a sheet of paper, mesmerized by their creation.

You have a great story about your "First artistic insight". Would you mind sharing it?

Amber: I was soon humbled by my four-year-old brother, who had experience to double my own. During arts and crafts on that fateful day, I had drawn my usual, bouncy-ball people while my brother evolved his own bouncy ball people into stick figures. Seeing his drawing was like waking up from a daydream. Suddenly the concept became so obvious: of course people have bodies in the real world, so by giving people bodies in my drawing, I could make my image of a person more clear. At the time I was too overwhelmed with my feelings to give much thought to my discovery. I had no idea why adding the body made my brother's drawing look so much better then my own, but I did know that it looked and felt like the right thing to do. Little did I know I had gained my first artistic insight.

While visiting your cinnamonsoldier.deviantart.com gallery I noticed a number of characters from anime and video games.

Amber: Artistic inspiration struck me first through video games. When I played video games, I entered their world. As quickly as I was captivated by the games' beauty, I wondered at their mystic powers. How did the games hold me in their spell? There had to be a logical explanation. What were the game designers doing that I could not wrap my mind around?

Amber: These games were artistic masterpieces devoted to arousing human emotions. They awoke a passion inside me. I wished to harness their power over emotive beauty and express it through my own individuality. This passion broke from me through a pencil and paper.

What caused your art to move beyond video/anime phase?

Amber: Before high school, my drawings never went beyond the outline phase. I was too terrified to cross the point of no return by putting down color or shading. My high school art teacher made it very clear that this basic level of art would not be accepted. If I truly wanted to grow as an artist I needed to shed my old habits.

Gradually, I started looking at the world differently. No longer was a shirt a shirt; it was now a complex web of subtle values, underlined by textures, and defined by value and contract. I began to break down the world around me into artistic terms. From there, I would lather layers of graphite onto a sheet of paper until a gradation of values was finally achieved. Now, shading is all I do. I love to hint a smile through the ceases of the skin, conduct movement through every strand of hair, and speckle magic in a shimmer of light.

Love by Amber

And we love seeing the results of your efforts! You have developed a fabulous eye for detail & your love of drawing really shows in your artwork, Amber.

Readers, if you've enjoyed Amber's thoughts & art, stop back for Studio Tour Saturday. She is currently a sophmore in college & will take us on a guided tour through her modest space & great imagination!

NOW FOR THE PRIZE DETAILS! Next Thursday 10/1 at approximately noon (EST). I will hold a random drawing for an 8.5" x 11" print of Amber's wonderful piece, The Little Gift . Tell you what, I'll also custom cut an acid free mat for it. Winner's choice of black or white mat.

TO ENTER the random drawing, just leave a comment on this blog before the October 1st deadline. It is that easy. Contest is open worldwide with free shipping. Please make sure your contact info is in your profile or comment.

Please note I am also hosting another giveaway for the generous folks at Uprinting.com. On 10/22 one lucky ArtSnark reader will win a 2 ft. x 3ft. custom printed vinyl banner of their own design CLICK HERE for details & to enter banner giveaway.

1st of 2 new Prizes - Free Custom Banner from UPrinting.com

The generous folks at Uprinting.com have stepped up again with another fabulous free prize - a huge custom printed Vinyl Banner!

Winner of this random drawing will get one 24 x 36" Vinyl Banner with grommets ($62 value). They will print your custom design or photo on the banner if you win.

Uprinting makes sturdy (15 mil) vinyl banners that are top-notch quality and don't look cheap like low-end banners. The banners come with heavy metal grommets that make them easy to hang. The durable material and archival ink will ensure that your banner will last for years to come.

I love these guys! Not only do they donate fabulous prizes for the Thursday Giveaways, they do some great quality printing of all kinds of items like posters, brochures, business & greeting cards and (of course) banner printing. I've used them to print promo-stickers for this blog as well as a wrapped canvas portrait of my son. The quality was top of the line, plus fast shipping & great customer service.

UPrinting has made custom vinyl banners (with photo quality printing) for all kinds of events: weddings, birthday parties, graduations, advertisements, rallies, and backdrops. What will you with your banner if you win? TO ENTER the random drawing just leave a comment with your answer. It is that easy!

You have until noon (EST) on October 22nd - that is when 1 random winner will be chosen. That's a whole month to think of what you would use your banner for. Just remember to leave your answer here. This contest is only open in the USA. Prize will ship free via UPS Ground within United States. Thanks for taking the time to enter this fun drawing.

(Please note that Uprinting is generously giving me a banner also for hosting their giveaway)

2 Lucky Winners Today!

Prize #1 is a free custom printed 18" x 24" rolled poster from Uprinting.com.

According to random.org, the lucky winner is ...... SF

Prize #2 is winner's choice of 1 Fine Art Print from Koniver.etsy.com.

Path Filled With Sunshine by Dr Laura Koniver

And The Winner Is..... Katherine White

Congrats SF & Katherine White!!
I will contact you both today with info on how to claim your prizes.

Many many thanks to today's generous prize sponsors:
Dr. Laura Koniver

I'd also like to thank everyone who visited & left a comment here in the past week. Please check back later today. 2 new prizes will be revealed, as well as a feature on another talented
etsy artist.


Mix It Up With Melange Challenge - Heavenly

Calling All Angels ATC

I made this ATC for a swap & (lucky for me ) it kinda fits this week's Mix It Up With Melange prompt. If you have any Heavenly mixed media art you've created, click through & add your link in the comments. If you just want to check out some cool art pieces, that is where you'll find them.

This atc started with a photo I took years ago that was altered in P.Elements. The angel was then printed onto textured paper & enhanced with watercolors. This was trimmed & glued to a piece of red mat board. The whole thing was worked over with colored pencils,pastels & metallic gel pen. Then colored swarovski crystal pieces were glued on. Unfortunately I had a hard time getting a good photo of the little sparkly bits

On different note, I finally had a sale on Etsy - feels like it has been forever! It is easy to come up with excuses, but the reality is that I've not listed anything new in ages. I've just been making stuff & setting it aside.

My drawings have not been selling, so I've pulled out the mat cutter and am busy making acid free mats. These will allow the art to fit easily into standard sized frames. I'll be adding these to ArtSnark.etsy.com this week & sure hope this helps make them more appealing.

By the way, If you haven't signed up for tomorrow's 2 random drawings, you have until noon (EST) on 9/24. Click through for details:

1 winner receives a custom printed 18" x 24" poster from Uprinting.com - US only

The 2nd winner chooses 1 print from Koniver.etsy.com - Worldwide


Happy Birthday, Mr. Wells!

Considered by some to be the father of Science Fiction, the imaginative H.G. Wells would be 143 today. Shame we haven't created the time machine yet - we could all go back & have a grand party!

National Geographic has posted a fun piece which looks at his ideas: 10 Predictions that have & haven't come true.

Last month I wrote a post about how much I have enjoyed rereading the works of Wells this summer (seeking details for a new Author's Box). If I'd been thinking, I'd have finished the box today.

Instead I went with a blend of Mixed Media Monday & Maternal Spark's Weekly Muse (formerly Monday's Muse).

Mixed Media Monday's prompt today is Metal/Metallics. Visit that blog's comments for links to some wonderful creations. Even better, add a link to your own interpretation.

In addition to asking "What inspires you this week?" the Weekly Inspiration presents a number of thought provoking questions today including "If you find yourself pushing something away, be it an idea or an object or a color, stop and examine why you’re doing this?"

These 2 topics prompted me to get to work on some of my unfinished toys. While I enjoy drawing, I really love tinkering. Lately, it seems I can hardly find the time. The ideas have been piling up in my head like the famous newspaper stacks that smothered Langley Collyer. Actually, so have the supplies. I could make a tin man with all the metal bits I have stashed away.

For the last year several half-finished projects have been stacking up. Why? Excellent question. I'll over-analyze it later tonight when I can't sleep. In the meantime, I managed to complete these 2 pieces

My contribution to Mixed Media Monday this week is 2 altered telescoping mirrors. I took these cool gizmos & secured tiny art to the mirror backs. These little pieces are surrounded by metal rings marked with the words Focus & Imagine. The tiny art is protected by a thick glaze.

Just in time for Halloween. Use them to peek around corners to see what goes bump in the night. Perfect for cosplay or looking for the monster under the bed.

Hopefully I'll get them posted to 1 of my etsy shops this week. ArtSnark is looking cluttery to me but SteamDreams is almost empty & supplies-heavy just now. I will have to think on it. Any suggestions?


By the way, 2 random drawings will be happening here on Thursday. Click through for details:

1 winner receives a custom printed 18" x 24" poster from Uprinting.com - US only

The 2nd winner chooses 1 print from Koniver.etsy.com - Worldwide


Studio Tour Saturday #5 - Dr. Laura Koniver

We're off to South Carolina today to visit the studio of Laura Koniver, M.D. - you are going to love this! Some of us dream of making art a more prominent part of our lives (I know I do). Laura has completely reorganized her house, giving her studio (& creativity) the attention it deserves. Now let me get out of the way so she can give us the grand tour.

Laura: Hello ArtSnark! I am thrilled to share my studio space with you.

I used to have my studio hidden away in a large closet in my guest bedroom. I finally decided one night that I didn't want my artistic side to be squirreled away, hidden, with only stolen moments of art making... I decided that art was to become front and center in my life, threw caution to the wind, and made my entire entryway and dining room my art studio! It has raised a few eyebrows of folks that have walked in my door unaware, for sure! Right when you walk in, there is a staircase to the left. I have my sewing machine and a craft cabinet tucked at the bottom of the stairway, right before you reach the coat closet.

Laura: In this area, I sew birds, flowers and other fabric accessories that adorn my organic branch sculptures. Then, directly opposite this sewing area, is my dining room... ummm.. make that my painting area.

Laura: I transformed my dining room table into a place to spread out and assemble the branch sculptures... I create organic branch sculptures in vases and bottles for wedding centerpieces (and other special events)... I also make branches that directly hang on the wall and even suspend from the ceiling.

Laura: Because these pieces are sometimes very large, I needed a huge table to spread out on. The bonus has been that my kids love this table too, using it for all kinds of arts and crafts themselves... my daughter started a puzzle and I didn't have the heart to clean it up when taking these pictures!

Laura: In the corner is my easel... my first love! Painting was my gateway into this artistic life. I love to paint and discovered it was a total release for me when I was in medical school. I combine my background as a physician with my artistic side, and see patients for a unique form of art therapy that I call Casting Transformation. This therapy is for patients who are experiencing a disease that they are wanting to release -- I help them symbolically release this by encasing the patient's torso in plaster, lifting this casting from their being and allowing it to dry... affixing this casting onto a canvas, and painting all the healthy energy that radiates out of them, along with all the souls that touch this particular patient's life. I might include affirmations that are specific to that patient and the disease they are breaking free from, and thereby create something beautiful and healing, and most importantly -- whole -- transforming the unwanted disease energy into a work of art.

Laura: These bookshelves are collected from all around my house and are lined up to hold all my painting supplies, fabrics, plaster, art books, etc... I love this organization and the energy it brings to the room. I hung pictures of my husband and kids on all the walls... I love being surrounded by their joy as I create!

Laura: From this perspective, you can see how my dining room/painting studio connects across the hallway with my sewing table. I have really found that by making the very front part of my house my crafting area, I have shifted the momentum of my art to be more the focus of my life, not a side hobby. I highly recommend making your studio space a prominent feature in your home, if you feel that it is a prominent feature in who you are and your life's work. I've definitely made more time for my painting and crafting since making this change.

Thank you for sharing your fabulous space today, Laura. It is always so inspiring to see where an artist actualizes her dreams. I absolutely love how you've placed creativity front & center in your house and life!

Want to see more of Laura's art? Click HERE to enjoy more of her work and thoughts on art. Laura was Thursday's featured artist. She has also generously donated one of her glicee prints as the next Thursday Giveaway prize. To enter the random drawing, simply leave a comment on this blog before noon (EST) on 9/24. 1 winner gets to choose a fabulous print from from Koniver.etsy.com.

You can also view Laura's art at GardenPlum.com and these Charleston, SC area locations:

Ladles in West Ashley and Kiawah Island
Eileens in Summerville
All is Well in Mount Pleasant
Primary Plus in North Charleston

If you've enjoyed this tour, please come back next Saturday to explore a new studio. (The last 4 Saturday posts have also been studio tours). Like the artists who inhabit them, these spaces come in all shapes in sizes. They also have 1 important thing in common - they are sacred places where imagination knows no bounds!

Are you a creative person? Would you like to share your work space with others? If so, just drop me an email (found in my profile). I'd love to see where your artistic magic happens.


Please not I'm also hosting a 2nd giveaway on Thursday 9/24. 1 winner receives a custom printed 18" x 24" poster from Uprinting.com. CLICK HERE for details and to enter.