Thinking of you…

That is the title of my new oil painting that is almost complete.  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!

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Checking in with an update…

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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Mutual Admiration – An Original Oil Painting by Julie Behm

Initial sketch for Mutual Admiration A few years back, my best friend and I started a tradition.  For our Christmas gift (or at least part of it) we would create something for each other.  I’ve given paintings each year and in return I’ve gotten a wonderful hand-painted plaster mask, a painting and this year, a wonderful piece of art done with watercolor pencils, plus a gorgeous handmade necklace and earring set.  I’ve been very spoiled!

This year, I was pondering what to do.  I started out with the idea to paint a realistic nude and the initial sketch came out gorgeous.  Somehow, things went downhill between finishing the sketch and transferring it to the gessobord.  I didn’t like the composition and I found I wasn’t very excited about it and realized that I needed to rethink things.  I do enjoy the challenge of painting realistically, but honestly, I don’t want to do that every time.  And this time I wanted to do something different – something fun and colorful but not too realistic.  By the end of the day, I had a new sketch of a woman and her cat completed.  And I found myself getting excited about painting this one.  It just felt right.  By this time, it was already into December, but I knew that I wanted to do this one in oils.

So, I got to work.  The skin tones came together fairly easily.    Painting in oils was the right choice.  I’m so much more at ease with the oils, especially when it comes to painting people.  Working on this painting helped solidify my decision to focus more on oils this upcoming year and less on acrylics.  Some things, such as my owl and the Art-o-mat blocks will still be done in acrylics.  But the rest will mostly be done in oils.  And I’m really excited about that!

Mutual Admiration To the left, you can see the finished painting.  I’m pretty happy with it and feel that I made the right decision to scrap the original idea for now.  Best of all, it was done before Christmas and in time to exchange today, though just barely!  Thanks to thesunnysidebiz on ArtFire, it has a name, which is Mutual Admiration.  (I’m simply horrible at naming paintings and when I mentioned it needed one on the forums on ArtFire, she put forth her idea.  I’m very grateful!)   It was done on a 9×12 stretched canvas.

My next project is another owl, a special custom painting for my darling aunt.  This owl will be a red hat owl and it promises to be a fun project.  After that, another oil painting and I’m narrowing down the possibilities out of several promising sketches. I hope to spend New Year’s Eve doing what I love best… painting!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and may the New Year be filled with many blessings!

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Quirky Dame Designs available in Art-o-mats!

That’s right, I just received word that my mini paintings have been shipped to the following three locations:

  • The Smithsonian in Washington D.C.
  • The Studios of Key West in Florida
  • The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas (Opening on December 15, 2010)

Ah, now I’m wishing I could arrange a long weekend in Vegas!  🙂  It feels great to know that my paintings are now out and about and available for purchase.  I have started painting backgrounds on a few of the remaining 30 blocks that I have left to paint.  Ideas are brimming in my brain and I’m excited to start creating some more pieces soon!  If you have found this page after purchasing one of my pieces, please comment or email me.  I’d love to hear from you and find out which painting you received!

While I was in Seattle at the beginning of last month, I had the pleasure of visiting a delightful shop called Venue Ballard.  It was full of wonderful jewelry and art.  I found a charming owl print that I just couldn’t resist.

Owl print

And how did I discover this business?

Art-o-mat at Venue

Art-o-mat!  Yes, they have one there and I was lucky enough to pick out six wonderful pieces, though I’m wishing that I had gotten a few more!  🙂  I took the pieces back to my Aunt’s home where we were staying and had a great time checking out the pieces I had purchased.  Here’s what I got:

The little robot dude makes a great pendant.  🙂  My aunt was kind enough to give me a silver chain and I ended up wearing him to the Art Walk the next day. I’m looking forward to the day when I have another chance to visit one of these machines!

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Holiday Happenings at Quirky Dame Designs!

Fantasy Flower pinI am back from a much-needed, very restful vacation and am getting back into the swing of things creatively. I’ve added a few new items to my shop.  To the left is the Fantasy Flower pin and there are two more featuring cats. I also have some hand painted pendants in the works.  I’ve been having fun playing around with the smaller scale pieces. I love unique, playful jewelry and creating it?  So much fun!

While I was away, I was gathering inspiration.  I spent two weeks soaking up the sights in Hawaii and have come away with many wonderful photos to use as references and a couple of sketches.  I attended two one-hour demonstrations featuring Hawaiian musicians and hula dancers.  I am fascinated by the hula and plan on studying it more in-depth.  In the meantime, I worked on a sketch of a hula dancer and hope to turn it into a painting soon.  I’m also working on a whimsical 8×6 oval painting of a mermaid.

But first, I must paint my Christmas present for my best friend.  Each year, we create something for each other instead of just buying something from the store.  I love having the chance to dream up and create something special with her in mind.  That’s also one of the things that I love about custom orders.  Being able to tailor something to another person’s taste and vision is quite a challenge and it’s so rewarding when you have managed to capture what they wanted and even more in a piece.

Polka Dot Cat pinOkay, I had to share the picture of this crazy cat!  It is another one of the hand painted pins.  He was a fun one to work on!  If you are looking for some colorful, quirky items as gifts for Christmas, I do have a few special deals at Quirky Dame Designs.

First, all prints, cards, hand painted magnets and pins ship USPS first class for free!  If you need quicker shipping, please contact me.  I will deduct what the first class postage would have been from the total of the faster shipping cost.

Also, all mini paintings with easels, such as the oneSleepy Owl to the left, are 20% off!  I do accept custom orders, so if you see anything you like, but would prefer different colors, etc., please contact me about having something special made to your specifications.

Be back again soon with more news from Quirky Dame Designs!

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First Fifty Done!

First 50 Art-o-mat blocksThat’s right, the first 50 Art-0-mat blocks are done!  Okay, mostly.  🙂  I still have to paint the sides, sign them, print and attach labels, then package them along with the inserts.  Oh, and I want some photos.  LOL!   So a bit more to do, but the hardest part is done.  I will be ready to ship them out by or before next Monday.  Which is awesome, because I leave state on Tuesday.  I’ll get to attack the next thirty blocks when I get back.

Woo hoo!  Feeling very happy and productive today.  Now to celebrate by making dinner.  🙂

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More Art-o-mat blocks done!

The last time I updated, I had just received the blocks.  It’s been a crazy few weeks and I’ve been fighting to balance my time, making room in my schedule for everything that needs to get done.  I’ve had to curtail some art time until recently.  I’ll be going on a glorious three-week vacation to Seattle and Kona as of November 2nd, so it’s been a little nuts around here, trying to finish various tasks at the day job and home, wrapping things up all while doing three house-sitting jobs.  🙂 45 blocks done! By the time I leave, I’ll be needing that vacation!

Well, despite the harried schedule,  I just finished my 45th block and wanted to share a little peak at the blocks.  It’s been fun trying out new colors and ideas.  My goal is to finish at least 50 blocks before I go.  No problem, I’ll be over 50 by tomorrow night.  (I’d love to finish all 80, but that may be a little ambitious!)  Then I’ll send that batch out and finish the rest when I get home (and bring a few along on the trip to work on at night when I need an art fix!)

For now, it’s time to head back to the pets.  It’s getting near their dinner time and Hungry AngusI’ll have this sweet little guy begging for his meal.  🙂  Remember this face, one day next year, he’s going to be the subject of an oil painting.   I’ve been house-sitting him for a few years now and I’ve known for a while that he was going to be the subject of a painting.  I’m still working it out in my brain and can hardly wait to dive into it.  🙂  I plan on playing around with it and integrating the quirky style of the acrylic paintings I do into the oil painting.  It’s going to be fun!

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