One of my favorite places here on the beach is turning 30 this year!
The Art Center of South Florida has a slew of fun parties, openings and exhibitions going on to celebrate – and I was thrilled to be able to help out during the opening on Wednesday of this week.
For this particular show, we were in charge of postcard dispatch. The postcards were created by 75 artists, some currently showing at the center as well as distinguished alumni. Our job was twofold; to dole out packets of cards to the artists as they came by during the opening, as well as sell to any interested members of the public.
I loved watching people fawn over the cards (as I was doing myself, they were all incredible) but I also really enjoyed speaking with the artists about how they made their particular card. Packs of all 75 postcards are still available for sale, all proceeds benefit the Art Center and the great work they are doing in the community.
If you are local and have some free time, I can’t recommend the show enough –some really great work was made to celebrate the anniversary! Or check out their website for a schedule of upcoming event/shows, there is always something fun going on
For this month’s installment of My Favorite Things — we’re going old school. Rather literally.
These items were purchased in the fall of ’06 as a student at Michigan State University.
It was the beginning of the semester and I was curious about exploring downtown Lansing – so I hopped on a bus that I hoped would get me close to the capital (I had a penchant for getting lost once upon a time…) I walked those grey masonry blocks for a few hours, stopping by the river and of course the Capital building and at some point during my exploration stumbled upon Grand Art Supply.
Never one to walk past an Art Supply store – I had to poke my head in. I emerged much later with three things that have followed me through multiple moves, countless projects, commissions and experiments and have become tools I use nearly every single day.
Aside from my easel and a collection of sketchbooks from my husband’s grandmother, these are probably the oldest supplies that I own and still use.
((I love that the sharpener still has the price tag. ))
I adore these guys for the memories they bring back. In the moments when I sit back from what I am working on and let my mind wander, I am greeted with fleeting images of my myself holding the same tool 9 years ago. Through some sort of silly object-based time travel I am transported back to my dorm room floor, cheap maroon carpet covered with curls of torn paper, pencils of varying length and trails of glue (usually webbing from my fingers out over my workstation). My ruler is pressed into the paper, bone folder at the ready and sharpener full of woodsy refuse.
It’s a wonderful memory, but I am always more than happy to open my eyes and return to the present.
I love having a few tools that recall places so vividly. Especially when most of my supplies are either used up and piled in a corner (ie sketchbooks) or used up and thrown away (tubes of paint.) It’s nice to be able to use something repeatedly — and that’s why these guys are my favorite.
What about you? What’s your oldest tool still in rotation?
I am an overthinker — especially when it comes to my work.
In most cases I am slow and meticulous with each detail, leaving no mark where I didn’t completely plan to leave a mark. When I work with pencil/pen it is a time consuming but quite possible task. With watercolor however it’s not only incredibly difficult but contrary to the nature of the medium itself. Watercolor goes where it’s going to go, leaving all sorts of blooms and trails behind if you don’t sop up the pigment or push it around the page.
I think that might be why I am so drawn to working with watermedia; for all my intent and planning something usually happens that wasn’t totally planned out. And I love it.
So when I find myself getting bogged down in detail, fingers aching with teeny tiny repeated movements — I turn to my watercolors and let loose. I make a few washes in various trays, get out my big fat brushes and go to town. No sketching. No planning. Just color on a white page. There is something slightly terrifying about surrendering the page to whatever in his my head at that exact moment in time, but the resulting paintings usually turn out to be some of my favorites.
Here are two that I created recently. I loved these so much that I actually turned them into iOS wallpapers
(Shoot me an email if you want a set — still figuring out how to add a download area.)
The rich eggplant shades of autumn lipstick, the pinched pinks of blush palettes and the little jeweled cases that open to reveal gemstone shadows have inspired me to make a few small watercolors. Thanks to warm welcome these small paintings have received, I’m going to try to make a series of makeup-inspired works and post a few shots weekly.
Follow @ellen_the_lemon on Instagram and watch for #MakeupMonday to see the paintings and feel free to drop me a line and suggest any products you’d like to see!
Today is a wonderful day.
Not only is it Friday, but it is also the day I get to launch FinandFeatherArt.com!!
This site has been a true labor of love. The incredible designer and I spent many a long night on Skype going over mockups, sketches, slideshow functions and various hairbrained schemes, with the main purpose of providing you with the best access to my work, the easiest way to view each collection and the fastest ways to get in touch with me.
And it’s ready to be unveiled!!!!!!
In celebration of this event, (and because I love you guys) I’ve created two collections of luxurious watercolor iOs wallpapers for your phones/tablets! Simply pop over to the Contact page of my site, enter your info with the subject line “Watercolor Wallpaper” and I’ll send you back a free set of handmade watercolor backgrounds.
With all the pumpkin, scarf and boot goodness circulating the internet right now I’ve developed some serious autumn-envy. Miami might have a slight change of season, but it’s usually just of the wet variation.
So, nice and early this morning I lit a fall candle, made myself a caramel latte and started drawing some maple leaves.
I think it helped with my fall-withdrawal. Aaaaand then I made a print
Awhile back, my mom and I decided it would be fun to work on a project together. I’ve always been in awe of her brilliant sewing ability, so it made sense to team up and make something fabric-related.
At the same time, I was also in need of some tea towels — so BAM! It all came together.
We used one of my prints as the basis, had it printed on beautiful linen/cotton canvas and my mom sewed them up into legit towels. Mine is already covered in spaghetti sauce from tonight’s dinner, but we have three (clean!) others up for sale on the shop.
So I have a lot of tools.
Stacks of paper, containers full of brushes, cartons of paint…etc.
I do use it all (eventually) but various paints and papers usually rotate in and out of usage every few months, as I get the itch to try something new.
Recently I’ve been answering a number of questions on the types of artistic implements I use, how I use them, and my basic opinion of aforementioned supply. It was with these inquiries in mind I decided to start a monthly feature on my current favorite *something*.
This month, it has to be the backbone of my work. The basis of my existence as an artist, the thing(s) I would grab from a burning building*, the reason why all my purses have to be so huge.
My beloved, much used sketchbooks.
I am currently using three books, each one for a different purpose. It may seem a bit over-organized, but I’ve learned over the last 10 years of wasted sketchbooks that I need to keep various things separate.
I’m totally envious of artists that can keep that one precious book of jumbled drawings, thumbnails, grocery lists and scheduling… but I just cant handle it. I crave a system.
These guys are my life.
So here’s a brief little synopsis on my three favorite sketchbooks for this month’s ‘My Favorite Stuff’:
If you follow me on Instagram (@ellen_the_lemon) the top and bottom book should be pretty familiar.
The top book is my ‘list’ book where I organize my to-dos, plan posts, block off days for commission work, take notes… anything written goes in here. It’s a soft-covered Moleskine, velvety pages perfect for quick scribbling of plans. The paper has very subtle dotting which helps to keep my scrawled plans and hastily doodled thumbnails in order. I’ve been using it since the beginning of September and it’s roughly a quarter of the way filled.
The bottom book is part of the Pantone/Moleskine collaboration, purchased in Barcelona back in February. I spent awhile looking for a link for the book and I was horrified to find that I don’t think it’s available anymore. I love this book. Sure, a lot of the emotion of using it is knowing where I was when it was purchased, the places it went overseas before coming home, etc, but it is also just a very well designed drawing surface. The pages are the happiest pale yellow paper ever. It begs to be filled with sketches, drawings, letter practice — everything literally looks great on this paper. The coloration also keeps me from taking the insides too seriously. It’s not a fresh white canvas, ready for a masterpiece (hello anxiety) but a worn, friendly page that just needs a doodle or two.
The middle book is also a moleskine (keeping with a theme here I guess) but it is designed specifically for watercolors. This is the book I’ve had the longest of the three and has accompanied me on three different trips overseas. I don’t use it for serious watercolor paintings as the binding makes it a bit difficult to scan properly, but as a watercolor sketch book more-or-less. (99% of my watercolors started out as experiments on these pages.)
Moleskine uses some very nice watercolor paper, thankfully taking pigment on both sides– so its perfect for a mess of paintings and inkwork. I’ve drenched a few sheets in layers after layers of wash and it’s held up extremely well. This books’ pages are nearly completely filled so I’ll be in the market for a replacement soon, and it will definitely be the same.
What about you? Have a favorite trusty sketchbook? I love to see where other artists store their thoughts, notes and doodles. Post yours to instagram with the #favoritesketchbook and let’s see what everyone is using!
*inanimate thing. Obviously, husband, ferrets and bird come first.