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Quirky Dame Designs Update

Things have been quiet around here lately, but I’m still around.  The past two months have been a little crazy, so right now I’m taking a little break from creating and listing new art.  The shops are still open and will remain open through the holidays, though I’m not accepting any custom orders at the moment.  Right now I’m giving my body and my heart time to heal after going through surgery a few weeks ago and losing my beloved niece last month.  While I haven’t felt up to painting yet, I have been sketching quite a lot and have started creating some fun quirky little girls, along with working on two tattoo designs (one for me, one for my sister) in memory of my niece.  Art therapy is a wonderful thing!  I’m looking forward to seeing where some of this will go when I start creating again in the new year.

I hope that all of you are enjoying this holiday season and that you will all be greatly blessed.  I am always available here, on Facebook, through my shops ( and or at  Feel free to contact if you need help with anything!


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Quirky Dame Designs Zazzle shop now open!

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!


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!


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Special project revealed!

About six weeks ago, I was perusing the forums at Etsy.  I did a few searches for “art” and “artists” just to see if I could find any hints or advice from other artists. Maybe learn something new.  I came across a thread about something called an Art-o-mat.  My curiosity was piqued, so I took a look.

What are Art-o-mats?  I learned that they are old cigarette vending machines that have been repurposed to vend miniature works of art instead.  (They have a website at, check it out!)  How cool is that???  There are over 90 machines and for $5 at most locations, you can buy a small piece of art, jewelry, or even a little sculpture, for example.  I was enchanted by the idea, absolutely smitten.  What a creative way to recycle and put these old machines back in use.  And I love how it makes art friendly, accessible and affordable for people.

I spent some time browsing Art-o-mart’s website, Facebook ( and even a group on Flickr where artists submit photos of their work and people who have bought some can post their pictures, too.  I studied the artwork and realized that my art might be a good fit for this.  Feeling energized and inspired, I went for it.

I ordered a sample of the wooden block (pre-cut to the exact specifications they need) that they have available.  I love painting on wood, so that was the perfect choice for me.  While waiting for it to arrive, I started working on possible designs.  The painting must measure exactly 2 1/8″ x 3 1/4″ so I created a template in Word with 8 squares that size on a page, then printed out multiples copies and started sketching my ideas in the squares.  I also developed and created the designs for the promotional card to be included with the work and the placard that they would use to advertise my art on the machine itself.

Art-o-mat prototype, placard and leafletOnce the block arrived, I decided on the design to use, then transferred it and painted.  Then I covered the sides and back of the block with black gesso and then, after letting it dry, I sprayed it.  Then it was time to put it all together.  Your submission must be complete and vend-ready.    For the back of the block, I printed out a label with the title of the painting, my name and my email address.  Then I wrapped the block and the promotional leaflet I had designed with the strip of acetate.  I packaged that up with my application and placard and sent it off around the first of the month.

Then I waited.  That was the hard part!  It was only three weeks, but it felt like three months.  🙂  But while I waited, I continued to sketch out more ideas in case I was accepted.  I’m unbelievably thankful now that I did that.

This morning I arrived at work before it was time to punch in.  So I decided to finish checking my email.  And there it was… the email saying that they had accepted me!  I was giddy all day.  🙂  Made it very hard to concentrate on the day job!  But now the fun part of gathering the supplies and finishing up the designs commences while I wait for my package of 50 blocks to arrive.  (Plus I have to finish the pet portrait!)  I’m going to be a very busy painter, but I’m so excited to have this chance.

I’ve not yet had the opportunity to visit an Art-o-mat in person yet, but I’m visiting relatives in Seattle come November and there is one there!  I will be visiting it and starting up my own Art-o-mat art collection.  I’ll also be in Hawaii, but Kailua Kona.  The Art-o-mat there is in Honolulu.  Oh well, one day.  🙂  They have a list of locations on their website.  Check it out… maybe you’ll discover one in your hometown!


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Alaska Flag Day

Alaska Flag Day t-shirtToday is Alaska Flag Day and the agency I work for throws a big celebration for it every year.  (The child who won the contest years ago to design the Alaskan flag lived at our facility.)  Every year they also hold a contest for the staff and students to submit a design for the Flag Day t-shirts.  This year I entered a design and my drawing was chosen!   Pictured is one of the kid’s t-shirts.  It’s a total trip to see everyone walking around with my moose on.  🙂

I’m biding my time – only 50 minutes left to go – before I can go down and start volunteering.  The big festivities start in one hour and 50 minutes.  We’re having unbelievably gorgeous weather, so things are going to be hopping tonight!  I’m hoping there will still be an apron featuring my moose available.  🙂  Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!


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Pet Portrait – Day Five

So… I’m a few days late.  I pushed myself a little too far last week and my brain and body just shut down this weekend.  I needed a long time out to regroup.

Me with paintingFriday night was a rough night.  Mentally I was working against myself, overthinking things, doubting myself and any ability I might have, comparing myself to others (unfavorably, of course) and such.  It was a hard night of painting.  The painting wasn’t going well, the colors just weren’t right.   At one point, Linda and I were talking and studying the painting and determined that the values of the cat weren’t right.  Which mean I got to paint the undercoat all over again.  But that was a good thing as it corrected something that needed to be fixed and I loosened up a bit in the process.  The class ended on a positive note with me feeling much more confident than I had felt at the beginning.  And yes, that’s yours truly posing alongside her creation.  🙂  (Picture is courtesy of Kristen, another student in the class.)

Penny looking weirdI learned so much from this class.  It was a good way to throw myself back into the oil painting again.  And this time I really have vowed not to let it go.  While I didn’t work on the cat this weekend, I forced myself to sit down tonight and mix up some paint colors.  Then a little while later, after an impromptu visit from a friend, I sat myself down to start the process of painting in the fur.  Linda warned us it would look and feel weird at first, but that as we continued the process, we would see it start to come together.  Well, Penny is looking a little weird right now.  *g*  I can see a few spots where the values aren’t quite right and will fix that tomorrow.  However, you can’t see it in the picture (sorry for the lousy iPhone pictures – I can’t find my camera) but on the right side in the dark patch of fur on her body, I started to fill in the hair a bit and I can see how it will come together.

I’m pushing myself to keep at it,  to keep learning and playing and experimenting.  It’s just little moments of fighting the fear of messing up or making a horrible mistake or just painting bad and doing it anyway.  🙂


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Pet Portrait – Day Four

Cat Painting UpdateAs I was typing this entry, talking about how tired I am and how this entry would be short and sweet, my &%#$ laptop decided to shut down and install some updates.  So now I start again.

So today in class we went over painting fur and cat eyes.  Very helpful.  I’ll be using that tomorrow night!  Tonight I finished filling in the background.  One of these days I will learn to actually fill in the background as I go along, instead of trying to painting around say, a cat and bird.  I know better, but still I don’t do it.  I’m learning, slowly but surely!

Now I get to start adding in the fur and all the other details.  Fun!  One last class to get some hands on help from Linda, though I guarantee you I’ll be emailing her a picture to get her input.  🙂

Tonight I’m keeping this entry short.  I’m giving myself a break tonight and will spend oh, 45 minutes or so playing with the new computer game to relax (got Sims 3 Ambitions!) and then it’s time to get ready for bed.  Will write a bit more tomorrow night!

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Pet Portrait – Day Three

Beginning of undercoatDay three of pet portrait class and we’re now more than halfway through.  Despite the killer schedule of having class every night, I could really use another week at least!  Thank God Linda welcomes us emailing her with pictures if we get stuck or have a question.  Since I’m hoping to donate this painting for a silent charity auction later this fall, I will totally be taking her up on that!  There’s no way I’ll be able to finish this painting by the end of class on Friday, but I hope to make great progress the next two days.

Today she went over a little bit about colors then we all got busy working on the paintings.  I had experimented with mixing up some colors last night to help speed things up tonight and boy, was that a good thing!  I got a nice gray mixed up for the undercoat and started blocking in the cat.  I hate this part.  This is the part where I want to give up and walk away from the painting. But I know if I stick with it, I’ll get past this part and it’ll get better.

Really doesn’t help that I hadn’t painted with oils for around 7 or 8 months before taking this class.  I will NEVER go that long again.  This is my new resolution and I will be sticking with it.  I take a class and make great progress, then once the class is over with, I stop doing it.  Then when I take the next class, I feel like I’ve been thrown in the deep end and I’m struggling to get back to where I was before.  Then just when I’m feeling like I’m getting there, the class is through and again, I stop.  I’ve done this with various things through my life when it comes to art and slowly, I’m starting to mend my ways.

Cat undercoat done!Anyway, I persevered and kept on painting and finally, I started to get to a place where it began to actually resemble the cat.  That was a good moment!  I started to feel hope that it might all turn out well in the end.  🙂  I finally did finish the undercoat of the cat.  I can spot a few areas that aren’t quite right, but overall, she’s looking so much better than I thought she would be!

Towards the end of class I started to move on and got the base of the bird feeder blocked in.  I have to look for a few reference photos for the bird so that I can be prepared to work on him.  I think that blocking in the rest of the painting will go much faster, especially since it’s not as detailed as the cat itself and then I can get started on adding the layers of fur to her.

Anyway, now I’m off to go finish up a few things and hopefully be in bed by midnight.  As much as I would love another week of this, I really need sleep!  So thankful I was able to take this class.  I always learn so much in Linda’s workshops.

Be back again tomorrow night!


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