Recently I entered three pieces in an exhibition at the Cottonwood Center for the Arts in Colorado Springs. The theme was “Motifs” and “Patterns”, a very good fit for my art. All three of my giclees were florals in repeat, inspired by my travels to Portugal and to Taos, New Mexico. A gentleman who spends a lot of time in Portugal every year, purchased the piece below. I was happy to have captured the essence of tile designs in Sesimbra, a small and picturest fishing village south of Lisbon. I hope to be able to visit this area again, and do even more sketching this time.

A Day in Sesimbra
A Day in Sesimbra

Traveling and Creating

This year I have been lucky enough to spend some time traveling. From Portugal to New Mexico, and the mountains of Colorado. All along, I have been taking photos and jotting down ideas, either to use in my garden, or my licensing collections. After spending months working on my property, I realized how much I love creating environments, and how this is a path that I will continue to pursue.

Now that fall is in full swing, I am heading back into the studio, and just finished designing my first image inspired by Portuguese tiles. This year I have been particularly interested in how to take travel ideas from sketchbooks, and translate them into viable collections. it’s certainly great fun!


portuguese tiles

Creating new work

It’s been a while since I have posted an update. My foundation repairs on the house and studio have been taking up a lot of time. I have however created a number of new collections that are ready for licensing. 

It’s been fun working in a brighter palette as on my last trip to the Atlanta Gift Show I really noticed how the colors are cheery and fun! The piece below “ladybug with Flowers” is part of a collection that I’m working on right now. My focus now is to make the groups as exciting as possible while keeping the themes coherent. Of course scale, flipping out background colors,   adding elements, playing with movement are all ways to accomplish the objective.

Stay tuned for a lot of new design work and shared ideas this year.


Spring Collection

Although I have designed many collections over the years, they sometimes present a challenge. My first piece below has been well received so far so I decided to create a collection around it. I really like the color balance, flow and energy in the image ; I am now working on the second design and am trying to achieve the same qualities. At first the next piece did not flow as well. How did I solve the problem? As I am working in Illustrator I opened both files and looked at the designs side by side. This allowed me to compare size and shape relationships, movement, and subject matter. I am deleting some of the icons and replacing them with more pleasing shapes as well as adjusting sizes. My hope is that the design will look fresh and lead me to the idea for the next piece.

Starting a collection

As you might have read in the last post I spent some time in Tuscany at the end of September. With all the inspiration for decorative design in Italy, I was thinking of a Tuscan collection while traveling. So how does one start the process? I purchased some research (did not have time to draw on location) took photos, and starting sketching in my studio as soon as I was home. Although I chose some local colors I wanted to expand a bit on the typical earth tone and make the collection a little brighter. The first drawings were in colored pencil, they were then scanned into my computer and opened in Illustrator. Although the subject matter is typical of the region rendering the pieces digitally gave them a contemporary look.

The collage below represent part of the evolution of the group. It’s been fun. The art work will  be shown in my portfolio at the the Gift Show in Atlanta in January.

Tuscany Collection

What inspires us as artists? Different things for different personalities.

I just took a trip to Tuscany with some friends where we rented a gorgeous villa in the hills above Cortona. I am starting to formulate a collection or possibly several collections based on the huge amount of visual inspiration that the region offered.

We visited several cities, churches museums and wineries, and I was always on the lookout for some interesting themes, patterning, color and simply things I had not thought of. I didn’t realize that there were so many  fruit trees in the area.

I took pictures of tiles, landscapes, art in churches and bought a fair amount of research to bring home to work from.

So far I am thinking of a design with olive branches, some landscapes, maybe a wine theme and definitely a fruit design. Or some of the themes may mix and mingle.

If you are thinking of traveling to the area I recommend going the the Eastern part of Tuscany where there are fewer tourists and beautiful towns perched on hills surrounded by magnificent countryside.

Colorado Alliance of Illustrators Annual Show

Last Friday I worked at the CAI’s Annual Art Show in Lakewood CO. Two days before the event several illustrators helped us hang the art… it was great to have so much help this year. The quality of the pieces was rather high, with a variety of styles and techniques used in the illustrations. I was showing two designs that were acrylic paintings with pastel accents. A patron was interested in my butterfly image, but it was not for sale as the piece is now under a licensing contract.

The Best in Show piece “Afrika”  by Jeff Crosby will be drawn with chalk at the Pizza Dell’ Arte event in Larimer square in June.

The attendance was fantastic this year, great to see so many people, and the party rocked! The show will continue until June 11th 2010 10:00 pm.

Anam Cara Living Arts Studio and Gallery
445 S. Saulbury St.
Lakewood, CO

Art Licensing

There are five things that I do on a  regular basis while working on my art licensing business. Some of these may be of help to artists considering entering this interesting line of work.

1. Research companies; I do this at trade shows, online, and look at products in the marketplace. My new clients are found this way.

2. Create collections or individual designs to show to manufacturers and publishers. This is a really important part as companies like to look at new ideas on a regular basis.

3. Tend to the business aspect, contracts, tracking who still has disks that need returning, taking care of copyright etc.

4. Research trends; although I have my own style, I am always looking at new ways of interpreting the same subject matter. Studying color trends is really important too.

5. MARKETING. I do this in a number of ways, online, at trade shows, networking and contacting companies directly.

There is a lot more to licensing, but this should give you an idea of where to start. My work lends itself to the juvenile and feminine markets, and I truly enjoy seeing my designs on products. Still a thrill after so many years.

Colorado Alliance Of Illustrators Show

It’s that time of year again, the Colorado Alliance of Illustrators annual show opening will be on May 7th at the Anam Cara Living Arts Studio & Gallery, 445 S. Saulsbury St. studio B (block 07) Belmar, CO.

This year I am showing two illustrations, acrylics with pastel accents; as I am on the board I will help hang the show as well as help on opening night. This is a really nice venue, please join us for the show, you will enjoy a nice variety of art from our talented artists. Will post photos later.

Working on licensing collections

Today is snowy in Colorado, a good day to spend in my studio working on licensing art. My juvenile painting of a garden fairy  is coming along, this image may become part of a group or stand on it’s own as an individual piece. I have had success with creating designs that are fun and whimsical, without a particular product in mind, just letting my imagination run wild. These are the pieces that the manufacturers tend to like the most and become good sellers in the marketplace. This is the reason I love the licensing business as it allows me to express myself and share my joyful vision thru products.

Working on SEO

In the last few months I have realized that having your blog and website come up in search engines is really important for your online marketing. I listened to a call with Tara Reed and Daniel Tardent who gave fabulous advice for achieving this goal. As I needed a lot of help with this I purchased  a program from “Beautiful Artists Websites” to guide me thru the task.

Although the process takes time the main components are:
a) the right keywords
b) your website structure
c) page rank, incoming links

During this excercise I learned that my iweb site is not “google search” friendly, so I am in the process of designing a new website. I was however really excited to find that this blog is on page one of a “juvenile paintings” search. Will keep you updated on my progress.

Atlanta Gift Show

Last Friday I arrived in Atlanta (my parents home town) to attend the Gift Show; my flight was a day late due to a bit of snow at the airport. This seemed rather silly to me as I live in Colorado, but the delay must have been due to de-icing challenges.

It was good to get out of the cold weather and into the Atlanta’s Mart building; didn’t have trouble getting my pass which was a huge relief! I walked the C building where “Children’s World” is located and enjoyed seeing really fun products for kids, and talking with prospective clients. Most of the exhibitors were willing to chat and direct me to their Creative Directors in the corporate offices.

I spent two more days in buildings A and B looking at home furnishings (made me want to decorate my house), greeting cards and paper products. After showing my portfolio to a number of manufacturers I came to the conclusion that too much time has been spent on juvenile art, as my Everyday and Holiday designs were well received. So back to the drawing board.

It was also fun to run into several friends, and to visit old friends in Marietta and Roswell after working all day.

Since my return I have been following up, sending samples to interested parties, and planning new directions for my art work. All together it was a very successful trip, and I plan on returning in July for the next show.