The Quirky Dame is back!

So it’s been a while!

I had a lovely vacation in Hawaii and it ended up being such a good break from reality.  I went with six other lovely people and it was so hard to leave.  So hard, in fact, that I had quite the difficult time getting my groove back when we returned.  It took at least a month to finally settle in to something resembling normal.

Complicating matters was a certain little neighborhood rabbit.  You might remember I mentioned Hopper in my last two posts.  (If not, well, it has been a while!)  While I was in Hawaii, my wonderful and talented brother-in-law built a fabulous hutch and rabbit run.  It is truly an amazing little home for a rabbit and better than anything I could have bought at the store.  (Believe me, I looked!) 

So, less than a week after getting back, Operation Rabbit Rescue commenced.  At 8:30 am on a Saturday morning, I was able to grab a very surprised rabbit and put him safely in his new home.  The next few weeks were full of adjusting to having a new pet and helping the new pet adjust to us!

I have enjoyed every second I’ve spent getting to know Hopper and learn about his unique personality.  I can’t believe what a blessing it’s been.  He’s become such a happy, loving little bunny and a special part of our family.  And he’s also become a major focus of my artwork.  Every day after I get home from work, I go outside and let him out into his special playpen for two hours, twice as long on the weekend.  I sit out with him and spend lots of time petting and playing with him, then I use the rest of the time to read or draw.  I just received a portable easel for my upcoming birthday and will be using that to start painting out there.

Hopper

Spending this time with him has given me the chance to observe him endlessly and record it with photos, videos and drawings.  I am inspired and now rabbits are popping up everywhere in my art!  One of the goals I am working on is to build up my collection of rabbit art and  I plan to donate a portion of every sale to a rabbit charity.  These furry little critters have hopped their way into my heart and it has become an important, heartfelt goal for me.  Plans are in the works and I am having a good time putting those plans into motion.
 

The king on his throne

The latest piece of art that I am concentrating on is a block print.  A local gallery, the Upstairs Studio, features art challenges very month or so that anyone can participate in.  This time around they are doing a summer block print challenge.  I have completed my sketch and plan to start carving the linoleum this weekend.  I’ve been working on some others, as well.  It’s been great fun to get back into this medium.  As soon as my entry is completed for the challenge, I will be sure to post it on here.  (In case you are wondering, it does include a rabbit!)

I hope that all of you are having a wonderful summer so far.  I promise it will not take nearly as long for the next update!

New pet portrait in progress!

Meet Hopper.

Photo of Hopper

I mentioned him in my last post and he’s still hanging around.  (He just started showing up around our house around the end of January.)  He just makes my heart melt.  I go out every night and feed him by hand while talking to him.  Slowly building up the trust with him and hoping one day I’ll get to hold him.  I took this picture recently and it’s one of my favorites of him.  I felt inspired and decided to do a portrait of Hopper using this photo as inspiration.

Initial sketch of Hopper

So I grabbed my sketch pad and pencil, then got to drawing.  First step was to create a sketch using the photo.  I’ve done a couple of simple quick sketches of him, but this portrait will be a more realistic version done in oils.

Underpainting of pet portrait

Next I transferred the sketch to the 16×20 canvas I’ll be using for this painting.  Then I grabbed some burnt umber oil paint and painted over it.

Initial blocks of color

After letting the underpainting dry, I then mixed up some paint and added the initial blocks of color to the painting.  Because this is a more realistic painting, I am using oil paints.

Progress so far

Then yesterday I got down to work.  I painted in the background and the branch on the upper left of the canvas.  Next up is to make any changes I feel are needed to both of those, then I get to start on the rabbit himself.  This painting has been quite wonderful to work on.  I felt a little lost with the background at first, but I’m pretty happy with it now.

I won’t actually be putting this painting up for sale.  I’m being selfish and keeping the original painting for myself.  I really want a special piece of art honoring this adorable little critter.  :)   However, I do hope to add prints to my shop and will be using the image for my Zazzle shop, as well.

I’m hoping to finish this painting by the time I go on vacation, which is April 14th.  I’ll be sure to post updated pictures as soon as I can!

Red hat owls and bunnies, oh my!

Red hat owl painting

Just finished a brand new 7×5 custom acrylic painting for someone very special in my life.  I visited my aunt in November and, knowing that she’s been interested in my owl paintings for quite some time, we sat down and figured out just what she wanted.  She’s the one who came up with the idea to add the purse and I just love it.  I’ll be taking pictures this weekend – for possible prints and to add to products in my Zazzle shop – then I’ll be mailing it off on Monday.  I can hardly wait for her to get it.  :)

Some new projects in the works involve a little critter named Hopper (thanks to my seven year old niece) who has decided to adopt us and steal my heart.  ;)

Hopper and the sketch

I’ve gotten some great photos of my little buddy and used one of them to do this quick little sketch Thursday night.  I’ll be working on some art featuring this fun little fellow soon.

I’m off to go run errands now then hopefully do a bit of creating.  I really must finish up the last of the Art-o-mat blocks, as they are almost out of them.  Then I’ll be ordering 80 more and starting the process again!  I hope you all have a fabulous weekend.

And the winner is...

That's right, it's time! I checked all my blogs and the mailing list, gathered names and let random.org work it's magic. I'm pleased to announce that Staci Sharp has won the giveaway celebrating my new Zazzle shop!

Thanks to everyone who entered. Y'all are fabulous and I appreciate every wonderful comment. I hope you all have a great week. :)

Quirky Dame Designs on Zazzle!

That’s right… I now have a Zazzle shop!   I’ve been busy setting it up over the past few weeks.  My paintings are available on a variety of things so far – mugs, note cards, magnets, plus tote bags and I am adding new items every week.  I’m retaking photographs of my paintings so that I can add the images to an even bigger selection of products.  I’ve had a lot of fun with this and along the way, I’ve ordered a few things to see how they turned out.  I’ve been pleased with the results!  (I ordered myself one of the mugs with my Rainy Day Owl painting and it’s quite a kick to drink my morning coffee from it every day.  :) )

I decided that, in celebration of the Zazzle shop opening, I would give a prize pack of Zazzle products away!


Giveaway!


I will be giving away a tote bag and pendant featuring Quirky Dame (the painting that I use as my avatar and on my banner), plus an assortment of five note cards!

My shop opening was announced late last week in my monthly newsletter (click on the link to subscribe!) and the newsletter subscribers already have two entries in the giveaway.  Want to enter?  New newsletter subscribers will get one entry.  Also, check out my ArtFire shop and then come back to this blog and leave a comment on this blog post telling me what item is your favorite in my shop.  That will get you another entry in the giveaway.  Make sure to leave your email so that I have a way to contact you in case you win!

You have until the end of the day on Friday, March 4th to enter.  That weekend, I will gather all the entries and will choose the winner through a random drawing.  I will announce the winner on Monday, March 7th.  The winner will have three days to respond to my email.  If the winner doesn’t respond, I will then choose another winner and give them three days to respond, etc.

I’m excited to have this chance to say thank you my wonderful fans.  You guys are the BEST!

In honor of Valentine's Day...

I'd like to present my latest (almost) finished painting titled, "Thinking of You."

A bunch of artist from ArtFire are starting up a blog where we choose a monthly theme and create a piece of 2D art according to that theme.  This is our first month, so we went with Valentine’s Day.  It’s been cool to see how everyone interprets it and what they’ve created.  Here’s my (almost) finished painting:


Thinking of You


I still have a few tweaks to make and then the sides to paint.  After she dries a bit, then she’ll be listed in my ArtFire shop.  She was quite fun to work on.

I’m also hard at work on a new collection of paintings for my shop!  I have three completed so far and I’m planning to finish up at least five more before I introduce them.  I’m getting a new delivery of 5 inch round canvases tomorrow and those will make up half of the initial paintings, while the rest have been done on 5×4 inch canvas paintings.  My little inner child has been enjoying these mini paintings and I really hope that you’ll like them, too.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can finish up the other five this week and introduce them the week after.

Wishing you all a very creative and blessed week and I look forward to sharing the latest news with you soon!

New Year Updates from Quirky Dame Designs!

Hello everyone!  I hope that your new year is off to a good start.  I’ve got several projects in the works right now and there is excitement about each of them.  Plus the ideas are bombarding me constantly.  I’m making plans, writing notes and taking steps towards turning these ideas into actual pieces of art!

Early last year I came up with a sketch of a woman with flowing hair and a bird perched on her hand.  I loved the sketch and immediately started to paint it.  Right from the start, things went wrong.  Horribly wrong.  I ended up putting the painting aside after keeping it out for a month.  I just kept staring at it and every time I saw it, I felt worse.

Last month, something sparked in my brain and I came up with an idea that used that very sketch.  I made a few changes, added a background and a foreground, and voila!  I love this sketch even more.  I’ve transferred the sketch over to an 18×24 gessobord and the painting has begun.

woman with bird in rainforest

Here is a look at the sketch for the painting.  The first layer of the background has been applied and my next step is to fill in the foreground and the woman and bird.  I used photos from my recent trip to Hawaii as reference material for the jungle.  I visited the Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Gardens in Hilo and was blown away by it.  The beauty and diversity of plants and trees was overwhelming.  The path through the gardens ends at a spectacular view of the ocean and I was in tears.  I snapped hundreds of pictures and am so happy I did, as I can use them to inspire new artwork in the future.  I’ll be talking more about this (among other things) in the first newsletter for Quirky Dame Designs that will be sent out later this month.  If you are interested in receiving it, you can sign up at http://eepurl.com/o4tP.

Another project is the next series of 30 Art-o-mat blocks!  They’ve already sold over half of the first batch and are running low, so I’m continuing work on the remaining 30 that I have left.

art-o-mat preview

A preview of four blocks that are completed so far.  I have a total of seven done.  Once I finish them all, I’ll be ordering 80 more blocks and the work will continue!  I’m thoroughly enjoying my experience with this project and am so happy to continue participating.  I also found out that my blocks have been available in Winston-Salem, NC at the Reynolda House Museum of American Art.  Not sure if they are still available there, as I know that some have sold.

I’ll be back again soon with more news from Quirky Dame Designs.  Thanks for taking the time to read my blog!

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