Saturday, January 29, 2011

Puzzle Licenses

what a funny coincidence- this week i received 2 orders from my lovely licensing agent for more designs from 2 different wooden puzzle companies, both of which already carry my art as puzzlesthese hand-crafted wooden jigsaw puzzles are truly works of art in themselves.  it was interesting to see which of my designs they selected. stave puzzles, called the rolls royce of puzzles by smithsonian magazine, is adding 3 of my rabbit pantings to the 2 florals they now carry. 

these bunnies are all from the early to mid 90's when i lived in an old farmhouse on a small homestead outside of eugene, OR where my life centered around my young children, the garden, the animals and of course painting.  looking back on these paintings which are nearly 20 years old, i realize how narrative my work actually is.  although i raised these angora rabbits for the wool, which i plucked from them (which they love) and spun into yarn, knitting garments for the kids and me,  i find it telling that i spent 5 solid years painting my bunnies. i felt such a deep connection with these sweet creatures. they are such a symbol for that period in my life which was full of fertility, tenderness, intense shyness and lots of fears.  yet, it was a wonderfully simple time  in which i was quite removed from the modern world- just me and my family and nature in a small close-knit community of creatives and farmers. i will always treaure those gentle memories which these bunnies keep alive for me. i am happy to see them rebirthed here at stave's puzzles.

elm's puzzles are really incredible.  each one is also hand-cut and no two are alike.  they sent me a sample of one of my florals which i gave to my daughter hillary for high school graduation and she enjoys piecing it together with friends.  elm's does fun things like cut out shapes of hummingbirds and other flowers that might go with that  particular design, really customizing them, and you can even request shapes for them to cut.  they already carry 12 of my designs and have decided to add 2 more-

 this one is called dance of love and was painted 5 1/2 years ago just before my move from eugene to santa barbara.  i had spent 5 years healing my broken heart ang getting my bearings after my divorce and had finally entered back into the dance of love, this time with myself, with life.  i think on some level i also was anticipating the wondrous love and life awaiting for me in santa barbara, though the idea to move here hadn't yet been seeded. 
as a side note, this design was also chosen by a fabric company for me to develop into a collection of 8 patterns- more on this later.

this basket of fruit, painted about 3 years ago reflects the abundant harvest of all the sweetness i have gathered in my new life here in santa barbara.  on every level, my life is rich with colorful tasty fruits to be savored and nourished by. and i am enjoying every bite!
wishing you tasty goodness in all area of your life~

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Art Show Friends

here we are back at the weekly santa barbara art show which is enveloped between the mountains.......

and the beautiful bay......

it's always a festive scene with colorful characters....

 this week i took a little break to snap some pics for you so you could meet some of my favorite artists there and see how we each bring our own energy and style to the people.  artists are a very giving breed.

 me, i bring plenty of good cheer.  i paint because it makes me feel better and the work seems to have the same effect on others.  this gives me great joy.

this is ana victorson (website coming soon) and she moved to the states from bolivia as a young girl and has had an amazing life. she's one of my best buddies here and she sells her matted original collage paintings like hot cakes.  she is always experimenting and trying new things.  she makes me laugh with her outrageous comments and we like to call in the angels together to give us a helping hand down there.  we also get chinese foot massages together.

this is chris pavlov and he does these sophisticated abstract landscape paintings and gets good money for them. he owns a gallery in the quaint denmark town of solvang on the other side of the mountains.  he's from yugoslavia and quite an entrepeneur.  he's always upbeat and positve.  i believe he has a masters in psychology- he's probably good at that too.

this is yin ping zheng, known down there as ping, and he does traditional chinese painting and calligraphy.  all the women are in love with this guy- he used to be an acrobat and has a body to prove it.

he paints all day for the people and is truly devoted.  he had just arrived back froma quick 5 day trip to china to visit his family the night before just to make it to the show this day.  he was dizzy and exhausted but still, he painted for the people-  he's amazing.

and is work is absolutely exquisite.

this is john grandfield with his beautiful, serene, elegant paintings of the land and ocean, who has been in the show forever and currently serves on the board for which we are all grateful. he is just as calm, gentle and humble and soothing as the ocean on a quiet day.  he captures outside what is within for him.  love his work and his presence.  he makes it so all is well in the world.     

here we have our fun, lyrical, witty mick lestrade who hails from france.  he has the most adorable french accent and talks about love, peace and harmony all the time.  as you can see he also provides lovely guitar music to the people strolling by.  the L.A. people just eat up his work and the young, asian girls love to flirt with this guy.  he is one of the most loving people you'll ever meet but he also has a really witty, political, social bent to his mind.  he lives in a dramatic house on the mountains and paints in a very passionate way and has recently published a powerful book of his images with intelligent commentary.

this was the sunset greeting me when i returned home from another wonderfully fulfilling day at the beach show.  you can see why i love it so being surrounded by the beautiful environment and truly gifted artists who make up that show.  there are others to introduce another time, many more....
i hope you will check out their websites yourselves to see more of their great art.
with love, erin

Monday, January 24, 2011

From Watercolors to Liquid Acrylics

i tend to evolve very slowly, taking tiny baby steps of change until one day i wake up and am a different person in a different place and it feels like i've just taken a quantum leap but i understand it's actually been a long, slow process. this has been the case in switching mediums from watercolors, which i've been doing religiously (no exaggeration) for 30 years, to liquid acrylics, which i started introducing to my painting 5 years ago  when i moved from eugene, OR  to santa barbara, CA.
the move itself was very humbling.  i went from being a locally famous artist with a strong following and steady sales to being a nobody in an international. cultural city known for it's vital, thriving art community of very talented and established artists. 
the first thing i realized is that the bulk of the artists here paint plein air landscapes using oils.  everywhere you go here you see that look, in part because the land is so exquisitely beautiful and the other part is that it is a tradition that began here many, many years ago.  it is integral to sanat barbara's history which is being kept alive by todays artists.  and belive me, there are tons and tons of gorgeous plein air landscapes to be found here, along with just as many if not more amateurs trying to make their way.
the second thing i realized is that due to the bright southern california sunlight, people here are reluctant to buy watercolors for two reasons; the first being the misconception that they will fade (no longer true with current pigment quality) and the second being the blinding reflective light of the glazing (glass or plexiglas) that is needed to frame the watercolor makes it difficult to see the work.
although i have had a large amount of success in both sales and recognition since arriving here i have sensed it could be even better if i could figure out a way to paint and frame using different materials.
in short i have been experimenting with numerous ways to get around this with many trials, tribulations and mini identity crises' along the way.  finally, i am able to report i have found a medium, a technique and a way to present my paintings in which they are more solid, do not need glass, have even more vibrancy, etc. etc. and boy oh boy what a difference in the response from the masses.  people are a little confused about the medium- they look like watercolors but clearly they aren't.  they're mounted on a board and coated with a gel medium for protection.  they are more present, more rich, more bold. i like to think they reflect the changes i've simultaneously been making in my inner life. 
here are some pics-  keep in mind when you see my watercolors on the web they are shot unframed so no glare, so the difference in qualty might not be as apparent until viewed in person. also i want to make a note that my frames have gotten way more upscale and custom and they are not shown either.

it's been challenging, and at times frustrating, to make these changes in my method and i've thrown away a lot of unsuccessful efforts.  but it's all part of the growth which is absolutely crucial to being an artist.  one thing i know is that there is a fine line between confident ease and getting so comfortable that you become stagnant.  you need to have enough comfort level to let the medium flow and feel secure about your technique, yet continually be striving to reach for new ways, higher levels of expression.  for now, i'm good.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Home/Gallery/Studio Tour

welcome to my sacred space.  this is where most of the action takes place~

this ancient ganesha is the gate keeper- he removes obstacles and negativity to keep the energy positive~

our place is a mix of casey's asian antiques~

and my bold watercolors~

but i think it works beautifully, just like our relationship, we have a perfect balance of ying/yang energies~

and magical light from the ocean~

this is where casey sits to read and drink his evening cocktail~

while i cook up a healthy dinner. ocean is right out that window but too bright to see here~

this is my spot to read, journal, drink tea, gaze at the ocean, dream and of course cuddle with georgie.  he wanted to be in the pics but he's too sandy from the beach walk so he's hanging in the garage with kozmo~

a living room shot~

or two

i've been ussing my fabric designs as a tv cover~

and i like to change them around~  
i keep thinking i should market these somehow~

this is my office space for computer and paper work.  i've been spending more time here lately, probably too much~

this painting is huge- 40 x 60~

i found this inlay frame at a secong hand shop and created the painting for it~

same with this mask frame from eastern bali with african influence.  it's at the bottom of the staircase and very large~

going up the stairs~

and coming down, my klimt phase from 6 years ago.  love him!

this is my art studio table.  i am drying some paintings i mounted and am weighting them with books~  

i have all my goddess paintings here to keep me in good company~

and give me guidance~

the deities are all in here too~

keeping the higher vibrations alive~

view from studio balcony.  those are the channel islands~

i get fab sunsets from this balcony too.  it's where and when i like to meditate~

bedroom- you can tell i was just resting there after my bath~

birds of a feather~

i meant to show art supplies when we were in the studio~

casey's office with japenese dragon protecting him and my self-portrait with peacock (my animus) giving him love~

the sun rises here in the morning.  this truly is an enchanting space for me to live, be, create, rest, work, play and to me they all blend together in a very wholistic way.  hope you enjoyed a peek into my world.  namaste~