Fine Art and Artisan Jewellery. Inspired by nature. Fueled by Tea and Dark Chocolate.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'm Moving my Blog!

After much ruminating, mulling over, and just plain thinking, I have decided to move my blog to my website. This should make it easier for me to offer a complete branded package to my customers, collectors and fans. I've given it a cleaner, fresher look, so I hope you will join me over at my new blog!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gracie the Whippet Watercolour Portrait Continued

watercolour whippet dog portrait by Julie A. Brown Wabi Brook Studio
My blog has been sadly neglected lately. I've been running madly off in all directions, making preparations for my booth at the International Plowing Match coming up in September, selling every Saturday morning at the local Farmer's Market, helping my daughter get ready to go off to university, and the list goes on. There just don't seem to be enough hours in the day.

I have managed to squeeze out some time to work on Gracie. The reference photos I have are not very good, which makes it quite challenging to get the coat colour correct! I'm still working in watercolour, and managed to lighten most of my initial drawing which was much too dark. I've added a few more layers of washes to the background and to Gracie. It is starting to come together, but I still don't feel that I've got the balance of values correct. So, lots of work yet to do!

I've also started working the commission with the two Shepherds Keady and Blue again. I posted their reference photo quite a while ago. I had the initial sketch done, and then had to quit because of my darn shoulder. The position that I have while drawing aggravated it a lot, and it's just been over the last couple of days that I've felt that I might be able to draw again for short periods of time. I will post the work-in-progress when I have a bit more finished.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Dog Portrait - Another Watercolour Wash

I've added another couple of washes to Gracie's portrait, strengthening the darks slightly. She has very delicate colouring, so I'm being very conservative with my paint and keeping the washes very light. I forgot to erase those "too dark" lines from my initial drawing! If they won't lift off now, I will have to change to acrylic paint or pastel.

I completed this a week or two ago, then became busy with other things. I'm hoping to get back to it next week. I would like very much to have this commission done and on it's way!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Dog Portrait - Stage 2

Here is stage two of my portrait of Gracie. Just a light wash over the body. I went too dark when I transferred my drawing on to the watercolour paper, and it's going to give me some trouble if I continue working in watercolour. I will have to see if I can lift and lighten some of the lines. If not, I will have to switch over to acrylics.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A New Dog Portrait on My Easel!

Yes, I am finally painting again after a very long dry spell. This portrait was commissioned by my daughter, to give to the wonderful family who billetted her during an International Pony Club Exchange way back in the spring of 2008. This long overdue portrait is of Gracie, the family's whippet. The photo's that I have to work from aren't the best, and Gracie passed on shortly after my daughter came home, so I will have to do the best I can with what I have been given.

This is the first stage of the portrait. I have transferred my drawing on to watercolour paper, and started on the background. I had originally planned to paint this with acrylics, but after transferring the drawing I was compelled to start in with watercolour. I haven't painted with watercolour for a very long time, so it will be interesting to see where this goes. I have a feeling it will end up being a mixed media painting!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Art and Jewellery is in a YART sale!

I am very excited to be taking part in the second annual YART sale at Etsy!

The “2nd Annual Yart Sale” will be held from Wednesday June 10th-Sunday June 14th, 2009. This year the “2nd Annual Yart Sale” will be sponsored by the Etsy Supply Street Team (Team ESST).

A “Yart Sale” is an artistic spin on the traditional Yard Sale: Art + Yard Sale = “Yart Sale”. There are many art museums, artists, and groups that have Yart sales annually to raise cash.

I have marked down some of my shop items 25% or more, plus I am offering free shipping to Canada on all items in my shop! Take a peek at the art and jewellery I have in my YART Sale section.

The YART sale only runs until June 10th, so don't wait too long to visit all the wonderful shops participating!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I've Got Sunshine on a Cloudy (Snowy) Day

It has been snowing on and off all day here on this, the last day of May. I snuck out for a quick walk between blizzards wearing my winter coat, toque and mitts. It was a bit surreal to be walking, all bundled up, among the green grass, and newly blossoming plants and shrubs. But no photos of snow-covered flowers - I need something to brighten up my day! So, here is a photo I took a few days ago, of one of the first mosquitoes of the season one of the first flowers to blossom in my garden.
narcissus photo by Julie A. Brown, Wabi Brook Studio
And, just because I haven't seen the sun for a few days, here is a bright yellow pendant I finished a few days ago.
sterling silver wire-wrapped fused glass pendant
The fused glass with attached hematite bead was made by Cheryl Olafson of Visions in Glass. We have been collaborating on a quite a few pieces lately. I wire-wrapped the piece in oxidized sterling silver to frame it, and keep the modern feel.
This, and other pendants are available for purchase in my Etsy shop.

Here's hoping for a brighter day tomorrow!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Sunrise, a Good Mother and Earrings

sunrise at Wabi Brook Studio I woke up early this morning to this beautiful spring sunrise. The pinks, oranges and yellows of the rising sun contrasted beautifully with the blues and violets in the clouds. Five minutes later it was gone and the horizon was just a mass of dull, grey-brown clouds. Being in the right place at the right time is always nice, but sometimes it can be downright magical!

Lately, the talk in my house has often been about prom and grad. The prom tickets and dress are bought, ready for the big day next week. My daughter wandered in to my studio the other day purple fire glass bead and sterling silver earrings by Wabi Brook Studioand started playing around with my stash of pearls, informing me that I should make her a necklace for prom. So, good and dutiful mother that I am, I promptly hopped to it and started creating.... some earrings. For pierced ears. Which my daughter does not have. (I said I was a good mother, not a perfect one!)

I haven't made earrings for a while, so I enjoyed going through my stash of pearls and other beads, trying out different combinations, and making the ear wires to go with them. Here are some of the earrings I've created so far:

Purple Fire made with amethyst coloured fire-polished glass beads,

Teeny Weeny made with tiny freshwater pearls and oxidized sterling silver,

and Neapolitan made with three flavours of freshwater pearls.

See more prom, graduation and wedding earrings at my Etsy shop.

And that necklace my daughter wanted me to make? I just might finish it in time .... for next year's prom.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Garden, Creek and a Tangled Bangle

Yesterday started off very cold and miserable, but it cleared up in time for our Mother's Day barbecue, and by late afternoon had warmed up enough that I ventured out to my garden to see if any new flowers had dared to show their faces. I was pleased to see that my single lungwort plant had opened up a blossom or two! With nothing else exciting happening in the garden, I went down to the creek to see if I could photograph the ducks that are nesting along the banks and in the trees. Just as I was heading down the laneway, a Great Blue Heron flew up. That is the first time I've seen one this year. Usually they arrive when the ice is still on the creek. It's good to know they haven't abandoned us entirely!

I haven't been down to the creek yet this year, so of course my presence frightened the ducks, and they swam downstream and around the bend. I waited for a while partly hidden among the hawthorn bushes along the bank, but none came back. They like to nest along the far shore across from the beaver lodge. That side of the creek is only visited by cattle, so it is a safer nesting habitat than on this side. There is quite a tangle of bushes, grasses and trees along the shore.
Wabi Creekbeaver lodge

Which leads me to my latest piece of jewellery, inspired by the tangled thickets of vines and branches I see while out and about on the farm.

Tangle Bangle copper bracelet by Julie A. Brown Wabi Brook Studio
I love the beautifully interwoven patterns found in these thickets so I recreated them in this earthy, rustic free form bracelet. I heated, wove and fused several strands of heavy copper wire into a tangled bangle. I then antiqued the bracelet using two different methods. This created a rich, multi-coloured finish to the metal. Finally the bangle was tumble polished for several hours to strengthen the piece, and to add depth and shine to the finish.

I'm very happy with the result. It is comfortable and casual.
See more information about the Tangle Bangle and other artisan jewellery by Wabi Brook Studio.

Perhaps the next time I'm down at the creek I'll be able to get some photos of the ducks!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

A Reluctant Spring at Wabi Brook Studio and More Jewellery

daffodil at Wabi Brook Studioforsythia at Wabi Brook StudioSpring is ever so slowly making an appearance at Wabi Brook Farm.

My daffodils are stubbornly refusing to open, but I noticed on my way from t
he studio to the house that our poor forsythia bush actually had a few flowers on a branch right above the ground. Our little micro-climate is a little too cold for it, and it rarely has many flowers. It is always a pleasant surprise to see the bright yellow bells on the bare stems. I noticed that some ants seemed very happy to see the flowers, too, crawling in them to find some nectar.

We've had a couple of warm days in a row, enough to make one think
about packing away the long underwear, and other winter apparel, but I think that would be tempting fate - especially this spring!

Even though it was warm out today, the breeze was cool, and I noticed my daughter's little dog stretched out in the lee of the wind beside a pile of hay.
Tilly at Wabi Brook Studio

I've not been able to do much in the way of serious drawing or painting lately because of a shoulder injury. So, while the portrait commissions pile up, I've been focussing on making jewellery. Here is the latest piece:
wire-wrapped dichroic glass pendant by Julie A. Brown Wabi Brook Studio
Delicately coloured pink/violet fused dichroic glass is discreetly wrapped with high quality sterling silver plated wire. If the light hits the pendant a certain way, a hint of pale green appears.

It is extremely difficult to photograph the colours in dichroic glass. The colours appear richer in person.

The glass was designed and fused by Sudbury, Ontario glass artist Cheryl Olafson of Visions in Glass. This is one of many pieces on which we have collaborated.

Browse through my shop to see this and other examples of my work:

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Trust Your Heart Copper Pendant

If you can't trust your heart, what can you trust?

I heated and hand-formed this wire heart, then hammered it to give it texture and strength. The pendant has a rich, deep patina.

I added a metal charm and a lustrous pink vintage bead that belonged to my grandmother. The bead symbolizes the love and wisdom that is in one's heart.

I like the substantialness and simplicity of this design.

Go to to purchase this pendant and to see more of my work!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Spring Lambs and a Blogging Award

The early spring lambs are arriving at Wabi Brook Farm. The ewes and lambs have snug, safe quarters in the big run-in barn, but a few of them decided to go walkabout yesterday. I think the ewes are longing for green grass and open pastures after a winter of only having the run of the barn and yard. Things are finally starting to green up, so it won't be long until the sheep will have their fill of green grass, and the lambs will be leaping and playing in wide open spaces.

I won an award! Laure from Painted Thoughts Blog recently bestowed a Kreativ Blogger award upon me, or rather, upon my blog. Laure has a wonderful blog, full of beautiful sketches of, and information about, birds and nature .
Thank you, Laure!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Bittersweet - Red Jasper and Sterling Silver Earrings

These lovely red orange beads remind me of the berries of the native bittersweet plants I often saw while growing up in southern Ontario. I understand that the native bittersweet is becoming more difficult to find, while the introduced oriental bittersweet species has become very invasive.

These earrings drop 1.25" (3cm)from hand formed sterling silver ear wires that have been tumble polished to add strength and shine.
The red jasper beads are 6mm in diameter.

Available to purchase in my Etsy shop.
Purchase before midnight tonight and take advantage of my "Spring Has Sprung" Weekend Sale!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Spring Has Sprung Weekend Sale!

The snow is nearly gone in my neck of the woods. I can finally get to my clothesline and hang clothes out to dry! The rhubarb is up, the ice is out of the creek, and the horses are shedding. Yup, spring has sprung! To celebrate, I'm having a Spring has Sprung Weekend Sale ! 25% off everything - Art and Jewellery - at Wabi Brook Studio's Etsy Shop! Sale runs until midnight on Sunday.

I think I might plant a few early peas today.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

"In the Eyes of the Children" Solo Exhibition by Tyna Silver

An art friend of mine, Tyna Silver, is holding her first solo exhibition and sale from April 24 to May 9 at the Foto Shop Gallery in New Liskeard. The exhibit is comprised of pastel portraits of children from around the world. The portraits are painted from photos supplied by Plan Canada (formerly Foster Parent's Plan). Tyna is a supporter of Plan Canada, and will be donating 30% of the proceeds from sales of the portraits to Plan Canada.

her press release for the full story behind the exhibition and sale.

Several of the portraits may be seen on the multi-talented artist's new website, but if at all possible do try to see them in "person" at the Foto Shop. They are hauntingly beautiful.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Earth Day Sale!

In honour of Earth Day, I am having a sale in my Etsy Shop! On April 22, everything in my shop is 20% off!

In the top photo is a bracelet made from recycled vintage copper wire. Below that are my "Bark" rings, made from reclaimed sterling silver wire. Just a couple of the earth-friendly things I have available.

I do my best to nuture and celebrate our beautiful planet every day in my work and play, so I don't have any plans to do anything big tomorrow. I will probably just take my recyclables to town, and continue my never ending quest for earth-friendly, locally produced (in the broad sense) supplies for my studio.

How are you celebrating Earth Day?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

At the Bend in the Road

I'm happy to announce that "At the Bend in the Road" was accepted into the Temiskaming Art Gallery's Juried Competition! This is an annual fundraiser for the Gallery. Approximately 24 paintings are chosen to be in a day-planner that the Gallery sells to raise funds. The day-planners are beautiful, and a practical way to get a daily dose of the creative talent of our local artists!
There will be a showing of the art work featured in the 2010 day-planner sometime in the latter part of June at the Wabi Iron and Steel Gallery. I understand that the day-planners will be available for sale then. I will keep you posted as to the date and time!

"At the Bend in the Road" is an Acrylic and Ink Collage painting. It is based on a photo that my husband took on his way to a friend's farm on "Casey Mountain". I liked the view between the tall trees into the sweeping valley with it's golden fields sheltered by the hills and trees in the distance. The sun was just coming up, so the dramatic sunrise lends interest. I tried to capture the mist lying close to the ground, but I'm not sure I pulled it off. The tiny barn with the sunlight glinting off the roof is meant to be the focal point. I think I get away with that - just!

This painting is for sale, but can't be delivered until after the show in June - unless you live in the Temiskaming Shores area, then you can take it now as long as I can borrow it for the day of the show!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Wet Pastel Workshop - Waterlily Finished!

Here it is after adding some shadows, and removing some of the pastel on the leaves so the underpainting can shine through, and a bit of other tweaking. The photo isn't showing the brighter tones, the reds, yellows and oranges are much brighter than is being shown here - at least on my monitor, anyway. I am fairly pleased with it, and will put it away for a bit, then look at it again to see if it is worth selling.

I have some pastel portrait commissions waiting to be started. I think I will try this technique with them!

Wet Pastel Workshop

I recently had the pleasure of taking part in a one-day workshop with Diane Green, a well-known local artist, and experienced pastellist. The workshop was hosted by the Temiskaming Palette and Brush Club and was held in their club studio in Haileybury overlooking beautiful Lake Temiskaming.

I have worked quite a bit with pastels and have done some experimenting with them, including working with them "wet", but I was quite interested to see what Diane had to share with us.

I was very excited to see that we would be working on Wallis Pastel paper. This is a very heavy paper with a sanded surface that can take quite a beating - including wet washes. It is my very favourite pastel paper to work with, accepting many layers before becoming saturated. It suits my style of working with pastels perfectly. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find in Canada. Thankfully, Diane had extra sheets available for purchase, so I stocked up!

After choosing an image to use (I chose a waterlily from one of my own photos - something fairly simple), we made some preliminary thumbnail and value sketches to fine tune the composition.
Next we transferred our final drawing on to our pastel paper with a pastel pencil. Diane then explained and demonstrated how to do the wet part of the process. She explained that we would be doing an underpainting by laying down colours, then wetting them with a brush. She chose colours that were much brighter, often complementary, to the dry colours she would be putting on top. They could be of a lighter or darker value than the top layer. The important thing was that they should help the painting to glow. Here is my wet layer:

The flower will be white and the leaves green, so I chose these colours for the underpainting. Hints of them will show through the top dry layer creating some vibrancy and interest. I'm not sure that I made the best choice for the leaves....

For the next step we added our dry layer on top, allowing the underpainting to show through in places.
Here I am making a start on the leaves.The leaves are mostly done, except for some tweaking. It looks like I got a little carried away with the dry top layer of pastels, and didn't leave enough of the underpainting showing. Oh well, one good thing about pastels, is that it is easy to remove! I have also started on the flower.
And here is the painting as it was at the end of the workshop. It still needs quite a bit of tweaking - more shadows, some reworking of the leaves, and no doubt some other things which will jump out at me once I get it home and see it with fresh eyes!

It was a very enjoyable day. Diane is a very enthusiastic and upbeat instructor, and it is always fun to see other artists and their work. Using pastels in this way will certainly add another dimension to my artwork.

I will show you the finished version of my wet pastel water lily in another post!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Temiskaming Palette and Brush Club Visual Poetry Exhibit "Meet the Artists" Reception Tomorrow Night!

I can't wait! I haven't yet seen the exhibit, so I'm looking forward to seeing all the wonderful painting and poetry combinations that my artist friends have come up with (and to seeing how my own paintings look as part of the show)! Some of the artists also wrote their own poems, which just shows the depth of creativity that some people possess!
The reception is also the official opening of the Spring Pulse Poetry Festival which is based in Cobalt, but has events occurring all around Temiskaming Shores as well.
This is the second year for the festival, and for the collaboration with artists and poets, and I hope it will become an annual fixture!
The Festival was started by Dave Brydges in honour of Dr. William Henry Drummond, Canada's first national poet, and Cobalt's first doctor.
I do hope to see you at the reception, and perhaps at some of the poetry readings and other activities that will be going on this coming week!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Wabi Brook Studio is Sponsoring Contest at Indie North

I am thrilled to be sponsoring this week's contest at Indie North. Entering is easy, fun and free! Just go to Indie North to find out how you can be entered into the draw for a $20 US Gift Certificate valid for anything at Wabi Brook Studio! Contest closes this Sunday.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

IndieNorth Showcase - Adornment

My "Drop" pendant is in today's Showcase "Adornment" on IndieNorth's Blog! Thanks, Beth, for including my work in your feature.

Beth is doing a fantastic job of promoting Canadian Indie businesses. She has some fun contests, interesting articles and features. I enjoy visiting her blog to see all the creative talent we have here in the "great white north". She is very creative herself, making natural skin care products which she sells in her Etsy shop jazoie .

I encourage you to visit IndieNorth, have a look at the showcase, and enter the current contest. Feel free to leave a comment there!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Art Sale for Kiva

Ellen over at Creative Laundry is having a Give-away and Sale of some of her artwork, with proceeds to go to Kiva.
Kiva is an organization that pays out micro loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries. Hats off to Ellen for supporting such a worthwhile cause!

On a more mundane (but still rewarding to me) topic, the title-less painting from my previous post now has a name! My creatively inspired sister-in-law suggested "Illusions", which seemed to me to be a perfect fit, so "Illusions" it is!

The painting was done at a mini-workshop given by local Temiskaming Shores artist Faye Digulla. The workshop was all about creating and using textures in paintings. We had a blast playing with the different mediums and materials that Faye brought with her. Modelling paste, drywall compound, white glue, sand, eggshells, fabric, paper, and more were glopped, sprinkled, dripped onto gessoed canvas.

Because many of the mediums used take several hours or days to dry, Faye textured some canvasses ahead of time and brought them to the workshop for us to paint. She randomly handed us each a canvas (she wouldn't let us choose our own!) which we were then to paint. It was interesting to see how each artist interpreted the canvas they were given!

The workshop, sponsored by the Temiskaming Art Gallery, was loads of fun, and a wonderful opportunity to share some creative time with other artists.

"Illusions is for sale in my Etsy Shop.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

This Painting Needs a Name!

I enjoyed painting this textured little abstract, and I quite like it, so why on earth can't I think of a title for it? Perhaps the creative side of my brain is on overload. Do you have any ideas? Any and all suggestions gratefully received!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Oh Frabjous Day!

I managed to get one reasonably decent photo of the second painting I've been working on for the Poetic Visions Exhibition. So, here it is! This one, too, was finished just in time for the varnish to dry before taking it in today.

Inspired by one of my favourite poems, "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carrol, I had fun painting this. The poem is chock full of nonsense words, leaving much up to the imagination of the reader. This is my interpretation of this delightful poem, based on the author's definitions of his made-up words.

Here is a snippet for your amusement:

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

Toves are the badger/lizard/corkscrew creatures, the mop-like birds are borogroves, and the lost-looking green piggy things are mome raths. That is just the beginning of the fun!

You can read the entire poem and the definitons here.

This is not one of my best paintings by a longshot, but it was fun to do and a chance to explore some new techniques. It will likely end up being painted over at some point in the future, but for now it can hang in the exhibition and hopefully make some folks smile!

NOTE: This painting is currently on exhibit at the Classic Theatre in Cobalt, Ontario. It is currently for sale, but will not be available to ship until the end of March.

Details and purchase information available here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tea and Oranges

Finished just in time for the deadline tomorrow, this is one of the paintings I am entering in the Poetic Visions Exhibit at the Classic Theatre in Cobalt, Ontario. Artists are invited to interpret a poem of their choice with a painting or drawing.

This is my interpretation of Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne". I am an avid Cohen fan and often paint to his music. I've had the phrase "and she feeds you tea and oranges" stuck in my head for quite some time (isn't that called an earworm?), so thought I'd get it out of my head and on to some canvas. I didn't do any preliminary sketches, just started painting. I'm not completely happy with it, although there are parts that I like. I did learn a lot by painting it, and am happy to say that my tea and oranges earworm has wiggled away to places new.

"Tea and Oranges" will be on exhibit starting in March at the Classic Theatre. It is for sale, but will not be available to ship until the end of March.

Details and purchase information are here.

As soon as I can manage to take some decent photos of my other Poetic Visions entry, "Oh Frabjious Day!", I will tell you about it, too!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

It couldn't weasel it's way out of this one!

weasel photoFrom time to time we see weasels on our property. Haven't seen as many since we got rid of our chickens and pigeons, but H saw one the other day on his way out to weasel photofeed the critters.

There is a flock of wild pigeons that like to hang out on the rafters in one of the run-in sheds. H said this weasel ran across the paddock, up the wall of the shed and sunk it's teeth into a bird almost in the blink of an eye. It then ran down the wall, and proceeded to drag the bird across the paddock, into a hole burrowed into the snow in the shelter of a fallen tree. I think the pigeon is as big as the weasel!

It was very determined, and totally focused on getting it's prize to safety, totally ignoring the human and ponies who were watching in amazement.

We are planning on building a chicken coop and getting some laying hens in the spring. I think we will have to do more research to come up with a weasel-proof design!

I've been back in the studio, painting like a fiend, trying to complete two paintings for the Poetic Visions show coming up in March. The deadline for submitting paintings is February 24th, so I'm feeling a bit of pressure! I'm hoping to finish the first one today, then it's on to the next one!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

It Never Rains but it Pours!

Well, it's not actually raining, or pouring, it is -38 celsius without the windchill, and some obscene number with the windchill. So, housebound yet again...

But it is raining and pouring art projects. I seem to have all of a sudden racked up an incredible number of portrait commissions, as well as several paintings for shows with rapidly approaching deadlines. Maybe a bit too rapidly for comfort! It's a good thing I work well under pressure.

Here is the reference photo for one of the portraits I am starting, Keady and Blue, two lovely German Shepherds. This one will be in graphite, which I haven't worked with for a while so I will have to get out my pencils and do some warming up sketches before I dive in.

This commission is from a repeat client, a gift to her son. I just completed another portrait for her last fall, a gift to her son-in-law. This was a black lab done in acrylics. You can see it and the reference photo here.

I also have to get going on two show paintings which are due on the 24th of this month, and I which I have yet to start. Well, they do have titles, does that count as started?

Off to the drawing board I go!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Playing with Fire, the Valentine's Day jewellery-making push

Finally! I'm back where I love to be, in my studio (messy disaster though it is!). I must have been a fire-bug (arsonist?) in another life because nothing makes me happier than playing with my torches, and I've been playing a lot this week, so I'm a very happy camper!

As Valentine's Day draws rapidly near, I'm in a frenzy of creating love-themed jewellery to list on
my Etsy Shop and website. This one-of-a-kind pair of earrings, "Two Love Birds" are available here. They are made from two vintage metal (pewter?) bird beads, fresh water pearls in soft shades of pink, grey and white. Hung with hand-formed sterling headpins on hand-formed sterling earwires.

As a break from hearts and pearls, I have also been adding to my "Hobby Horse" series of pendants and earrings. These sweet little earrings are the latest in the series, and would make a great gift for horse-loving girls (young and old) . Every pair is free-formed by hand, making each pair slightly different, with its own unique character. These are made from copper wire, but I will also be making them from sterling silver as soon as my shipment of wire arrives. You can see them on my website.

Now I'm off to my studio to make some more love - jewellery, that is!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cabin Fever and My Favourite Winter Things

Another bitterly cold -40 celsius day, which means another day of being cooped up in my little house. I almost can't remember when I was last able to go outside, or get up the hill to my studio. I'm starting to go a little stir crazy!

So, before I start to feel too sorry for myself I thought I'd make a list of all the things I like about winter. Because I can no longer do my favourite winter things - cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, photography, making snowmen - this took quite a bit of thought. I did manage to come up with a few things:

1. Watching the woodpeckers at the suet feeder on our porch. Downy, Hairy and Pileated woodpeckers are constant visitors throughout the winter months.
2. The morning sun shining on frost-covered trees and bushes.

After this I got a bit stuck, but eventually thought of

3. Snow angels. I've loved making snow angels ever since I was a child. I can't do it very often any more, but it is still one of my favourite things to do in winter
4. Animal tracks on a pristine snowy river or field.
And then I couldn't think of another thing. I know there are more things to like about winter, but the walls are closing in and I can't think of any!

I wish I had thought to bring a stash of art/jewellery making supplies to the house. If I can't do something creative soon, I think I will start climbing the walls! I have been using my time well, working on my website (which is not quite finished, but live - ) and some much needed marketing plans for 2009. After all this office work, I expect that once I can get up to my studio, the creative energy will be flowing in every direction!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

No Time to Paint!

I thought that, after a busy autumn focusing on selling, I'd be able to jump right in to painting and creating in the new year. It hasn't worked out that way so far! Now I'm up to my eyebrows in website building. At the rate I'm going, it might be completed by spring. I took a couple of courses on website building and coding, but that was about two years ago. A case of use it or lose it - I didn't use it and it seems I have lost much of it. Ah well, frustrating though it is, I do derive some satisfaction from working through issues and having something to show for it all at the end.

I have been thinking a lot about painting, in between dredging up long forgotten pieces of code. Last fall I painted this picture of Wabi Creek as seen from my garden. I really need to get busy and paint a winter version. It won't be quite the same view - the snow is so deep I can't even get to my garden, and it is too cold to paint outside anyway - but I have nearly the same view looking out my front window. Or, perhaps I can get close enough to my garden to take some photos. Painting from life is so much more satisfying, though.....

By the way, Wabi Creek Autumn is for sale at the Foto Shop gallery on Lakeshore Road in New Liskeard for those living in the Temiskaming Shores area, and also online at my Etsy shop.